Get Over Your “Shoulds” + Enjoy Getting What You Want

terri event

Ever think any of these?

I should really lose some weight.

I should look for a new job. This one makes me unhappy.

I should really start eating better.

I should cut back the hours I am working.

I should really figure out what makes me happy, and do it more.

Should is just a dis-empowering word, so if you are using it, you most likely don’t really want to do what you are “shoulding” yourself to do.

 

Should Definition
dictionary.search.yahoo.com

Used to express obligation or duty. You should send her a note.

Used to express probability or expectation. They should arrive at noon.

Used to express conditionality or contingency. If she should fall, then so would I.

 

You may want the result of losing weight or finding a job you love, but inherent in the “should’ statement above is the connotation that it is an obligation, not something you want to do.

terri event

There is a lack of desire and a sense of guilt present in these statements.

There is also a sense of expectation.

AND, this is all GREAT information. Whenever you “should” yourself about doing ANYTHING, there is some aspect of doing this thing you feel you “should” do that seems unpleasant or uncomfortable, that you really don’t wish to do.

So, do you really want to shame yourself into doing it???

That never works does it? When anyone else tries to guilt you into doing something, does that ever feel good? You generally resent doing something you are guilt-ed into doing, right?

And, this entire conversation is energetically draining.

So, whenever you hear yourself say the word “should” can you please stop and think about what you are expecting in this scenario?

What about this seems difficult to you?

It’s easier to make time in our lives for things we want to do or for things we feel will have some kind of positive pay off, like advancing our careers in some way.

Who has found time to:

Go to a networking event?

Have dinner or lunch with a friend you enjoy?

Watch your favorite TV show, the one to which you are addicted?


You do these things because they pay off in some way.

Going to that networking event may help you make an important business connection.

Having dinner or lunch with your friend will be fun and supportive.

Watching your Favorite TV show will give you something to talk about at work and be a fun distraction.

So, if you can figure out something you can do that will support weight loss that also provides you with some other more immediate, emotional pay off, you are more likely to do it!

Walking in the park with a friend gives you a calorie burn plus some friendship- fun and support.

Riding a stationary bike while reading a great novel or watching a great TV series will make you want to get on that bike to see what happens next.

Taking a workout class or dance class that inspires and exhilarates you will make you want to go back for more!

You are most likely NOT going to do something that you think you “should” do, so watch for that word dancing around in your head or your conversations.

The word “Should” is just an alert that:

You have an expectation that the only way you can get the result you want is via hardship.

The ways you see this thing you want happening don’t have any positive emotional pay offs.

You think what you want is impossible for you.

 

If you don’t believe something is possible, it will be really tough to make it happen.

 

There are so many fun and engaging ways to exercise and feel great in your body!

There are lots of really delicious ways to eat healthy!

It’s way easier to take steps to get a new job when you believe it is possible to work in a situation you love!

 

If you would like to discover just how you “should” yourself and how you can get the results you want by taking actions you really LOVE and ENJOY doing, join me and my Buddies, Lara Riggio and amazing psychotherapist to the stars, Terri Cole for an amazing day in which we will be helping you experience how you can get Get it All Done with more ease, grace and joy.

In our Success Simplified Workshop on May 2nd in NYC, you will discover:

  • How to distinguish between a “Should” and a “Want” so you minimize unnecessary pressure in your life.
  • The art of mastering how to set effective boundaries with ease and kindness, so you don’t get roped into doing anything you don’t want to do.
  • How to identify what is stealing your energy, and get it back!
  • Discover how easy self-care activates The Law of Attraction, so you can benefit from this real phenomenon.
  • Sample the magic of quick & easy mindfulness practices like mini meditations and 60 second Present Moment
  • Awareness exercises you can do anywhere to harness the power of your intention.
  • And Uncover the downloaded limiting beliefs that are stopping you from having what you deserve, release them with energy work and feel the freedom and power you have as a result.
  • Release your resistance to receiving, so you can accept the help, love and appreciation available to you.
  • Learn how to listen to your body’s cravings, discover what your body needs from them and how to satisfy yourself with food.

 

Meet + bond with women like you: join this empowered posse of like-minded sisters, and know you are never alone.

Come get your health + inspiration on, and still have time in your Saturday schedule for your errands and a mani/pedi.

So, in addition to all the priceless strategies, tools and support you are going to receive during the day, you will be receiving over $160 of free stuff to help you practice what you discover throughout the day!

Sign up before April 20 + get the Early Bird Special, save $50!

Click Here to Register 

 

Come Play With Alex! 1-week retreat in North Carolina!

Women-Food-Desire-Workshop-with-Alex-Jamieson-FINAL

WOMEN, FOOD & DESIRE WITH ALEX JAMIESON

This transformational workshop is led by bestselling author, functional nutrition coach, and chef, Alex Jamieson. Alex will guide you in discovering the true meanings of your food cravings, and teach you how understanding these cravings is the key to satisfying your deepest desires. Along with Alex, some of Asheville’s top teachers, natural healers, and conscious cooks will take you on excursions to explore, concoct, and connect with your body and how to meet your desires in a way that serves your well being. In this workshop you will learn about the core of your desires, detoxing your system, feeding your cravings, healing your relationship with food, and embracing your body.

If you love pleasure and food, you will gain life-long wisdom in this week-long retreat.

DATE: December 6-12, 2015. LOCATION: Asheville, NC.

FEE: See Early Bird Discounts & other details below. Register + learn more here: 

Women-Food-Desire-Workshop-with-Alex-Jamieson-FINAL

 

LEARN:

Learn the real reasons behind all your cravings––for food, sleep, sex, movement, companionship and inspiration––and how to satiate your cravings in a loving, healthy way. Experience natural healing, emotional release, pure pleasure, and deep connection. Throughout the week, you will be learning about the following:

With Alex You’ll Learn:

To make peace with food & embrace your body
The importance of pleasure & how to prioritize it
How cleansing can connect you with your authentic self
What your cravings mean & creative recipes to satisfy them
The secrets to thriving relationships, vitality & positive aging
Heart habits & healing rituals to release the past & move forward
Transformational dietary changes & mindset tools to improve food habits

Hands-on Projects & Healing Practices:

The Conscious Kitchen: Active meditations for a healthier you
Nature Walks: Connecting with the beauty & stillness of nature’s wisdom
Herbs for Healthy Hormones: Making medicine for menstruation to menopause
Everyday Aphrodisiacs: Cacao concoctions, herbal teas & tonics for a sensual life
Emotional Freedom Technique: A.k.a “tapping” your way to food freedom & ease
“Combining humor and candor with a smart, science-based approach, Alexandra Jamieson helps you develop a healthier, sexier, more vital existence. With practical, easy-to-implement strategies, she shows you how to transcend obstacles and tap into your deepest purpose.” ~ JJ Virgin, nutrition & fitness expert and bestselling author

 

LOCATION
Asheville, North Carolina is based in a food-centric and ecologically lush bioregion. Surrounded by the oldest mountains on the planet, the hoppin’ downtown is full of local artisans, organic restaurants, farmer’s markets, street buskers, yoga studios, and independent everything. It’s the first Bee City, USA, the #1 Beer City in the country, andNational Geographic named it one of the best cities in the world, while Good Morning America recently featured Asheville as their top city to visit in 2015. There’s tons to do, so stay a couple extra days if you can.

Homewood-AshevilleThe workshop location for the morning portion of the workshop is at the beautiful Homewood stone castle in the historic neighborhood of Montford — a short five minute drive from the heart of downtown. The afternoon workshops will rotate between various homesteads, gardens, and woodlands — roughly within a 15-minute drive from downtown. Carpooling is encouraged and connections will be made for those without cars.

Asheville skyline

To learn more + register, go to: http://ashevillage.org/women-food-desire-with-alexandra-jamieson/

Kale yeah! Keep your kale close, win this golden kale necklace

#kaleyeah! Win this gold kale necklace from @rockthatgem!

#kaleyeah! Win this gold kale necklace from @rockthatgem!

Do you have positive triggers?

As I come a few days shy of earning my certification in Positive Psychology, I’m so grateful for having learned so many science-based interventions to help people (myself and my family included) feel more positive emotions.

Positive emotions help us enjoy our lives more, look for possibilities, and even improve your immune system.

One way to invoke positive emotions is to have positive triggers in your life: things that remind you of your intention to be happy, or things that bring a smile to your face…and heart.

This kale necklace from my dear friend Molly Clarke, creator of Rock That Gem, is one of my favorite, fashionable positive triggers.

When I wear this necklace, I feel like healthy eating is hot, sexy, and fun, not a chore.

I called up Molly and she said “Sure! I’ll give away a kale necklace for your birthday celebration, Alex!” Thanks Molly!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So what are your positive triggers? What makes you smile + laugh? What puts you in a creative mood? What triggers your excitement, gratitude, and hope? For some of us it’s looking at pictures of a favorite vacation or loved one. Some of us have a favorite song. Others go for a quick walk, or smell a favorite essential oil. Some watch funny cat videos on YouTube. Others remind themselves of their goals.  

My To-Don’t List – Mindset Makeover Technique

A cleanse is about more than just taking a few foods out of your diet - it's about a mindset makeover

I’ll be 40 in 4 days…

And what I hear from so many women, both older + younger, is that they want to feel like they’re living their own lives.

And that too often we wake up one day, or look in the mirror, and say:

what am I doing? Is THIS what I want?

I felt that way when I realized I couldn’t trust my marriage and asked for a divorce.

I felt that way when my body was breaking down, and I knew I needed to eat meat again.

And that feeling shows up in daily choices around how I spend my time, how I run my business, and what I do with my energy.

Our deep fears keep us from sharing our quirks, truths, and following our cravings. Cravings for experiences, creation, well-being, and adventure.

Fears of being publicly shamed, Fears of being selfish, being too much, being too loud, Just being ourselves. And then made wrong for our truth.

“What you say no to is as important as what you say yes to.”

I’ve gotten pretty clear about what I want, and sometimes that requires getting clear on what I DON’T want.

In positive psychology there are studies showing big birthdays (anything with a 0 at the end of it…30, 40, 50, you get it) instigate big changes, big goals, and an awareness of time passing.

What I WON’T do…AKA My To-Don’t List:

eat foods that drain my energy, and put me in a food coma

spend more than 30 minutes on social media a day

let my phone distract me from my family get lost in gossip magazines + reality TV (AKA the “comparison trap”)

let fear get in the way of sharing my ideas with the world

waste energy judging other women

read my book reviews online

apologize for taking time + resources for my self care

apologize for taking up space

spend time on projects that don’t serve me, my readers and listeners

get lost in negative mind chatter that my body and life aren’t good enough

respond to negative online attacks – haters gonna hate, and I don’t need to throw them any more fuel

To-DON’Ts from my readers + Cleanse members:

Joanne: I will no longer undervalue what I do for a living (graphic designer) or accept less than I deserve…

Allison: 1) apologize for needing a lazy day, AKA staying in bed and watching TV till 2pm while snuggling with my cat 2 ) feel guilty for satisfying a food craving 3) work for corporate America

Jan: stop using the word “just”…just a 5K., as in “just” walking rather than running

Carolyn: my story that there is not enough love in the world, my story that things have to be hard, my squicky relationship with money

What I WILL do…(AKA big motivating desires, or things I want to fill my life up with)

Move + stretch my body daily in ways that feel good, grounding + strengthening

Ask myself how I want to feel when I choose my meals

Take random, surprise days off with my son + go make memories together

Write as if my soul will wilt if I don’t express it, because it does

Cook + eat foods that boost my energy (recipes)

Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night

Meet up with at least 2 friends a week Read a new book for fun every month

Get the tattoo I’ve been dreaming of, now

A cleanse is about more than just taking a few foods out of your diet - it's about a mindset makeover

My To Don’t List

Take a trapeze class Roller skating birthday party (done!)

Frequently initiate juicy dates with my man

Read and play daily with my son

Take time for myself to read, walk, be in nature

Ask for time off, time away, time alone, and not feel guilty for it

Take my bike for a tune up so I can ride the first nice day of spring

Call my Dad, brother, and Grandma regularly

Write thank you letters to all the people who helped me spread the word about Women, Food, And Desire

Take hot baths and read inspiring books

Tell everyone I love them any time I feel like it

Draw, paint, color, and play my ukulele – and share them all with people

Give away $100 as a family every month to awesome charities…

Live as if 40 were my LAST birthday, because really, who knows?

This could be it. This could be my last year – or I could have 40 more years, as glorious as the first batch. What will I do with this time? How do I want to feel? What do I want to remember on my death bed? How much love can I share?

I want to hear from you: What will you NOT do anymore? What’s NOT serving you? And what DO YOU WANT?

Make a list. Declare it. Do it. xo, AJ

P.S. The spring Cravings Cleanse + Mindset Makeover starts 4/16 – go here to learn more + join:

Win a 3-Day Juice Cleanse from Alex + Suja!

Fresh, organic juices are a great way to flood your body with delicious healing fuel.

But you don’t always have time to shop, lug/carry, and juice the fruits and veggies yourself, right?

And there are sOOO many brands on the shelves – what’s the best choice? It’s enough to make a girl skip the grocery store and head right to the nearest bar for a cocktail…

to juice or not to juice!?

to juice or not to juice!?

That’s why I’ve teamed up with Suja Juices to give away one of their popular 3-day juice cleanses in my #20til40 give away!

 

Win a Suja 3-Day Juice Cleanse!

Win a Suja 3-Day Juice Cleanse from Alex + Suja!

 

Now that the weather is warmer, juice cleanses are safer to undertake. (I don’t do juices much in the winter – my Featherweight type gets too cold! More hot tea and soup, please!)

But you can enter here to have SUJA ship you a 3-day supply of their organic, non-GMO juices to reset your body – fun and YUM!

Enter here! Hope you win, juicy! xo, Alex
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Giving Away the Big O Pack from Babeland.com! #20til40

I believe that in order to be truly healthy, you need to connect to your physical desires, and indulge in your capacity for physical pleasure.

Case in point: masturbation!

A common, natural, and normal part of the human experience, masturbation brings a boat load of health benefits, and I recommend it to my clients regularly because it:

  • can relieve stress better than ice cream
  • balance your hormones cheaper than drugs
  • increase your self-confidence and body image more than any women’s magazine
  • can relieve muscle cramps and tension better than Midol
  • heal and relax bloating, stomach pain, and digestive issues as much as raw sauerkraut

To celebrate my upcoming 40th birthday in 20 days, I’ve partnered with Babeland.com to give away their awesome Orgasm In A Box!

Win an Orgasm In A Box From Babeland.com + Alexandra Jamieson!

Win an Orgasm In A Box From Babeland.com + Alexandra Jamieson!

Filled with non-toxic toys, lube and more goodies, when you win this fun-filled prize plan on a delicious night in without your old boyfriends, Ben & Jerry!

To enter, just follow the directions below and take as many actions as you want to enter as many times as you can:

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keep coming back every day until my big day, 3/27, for more give aways and prizes!

xo,

Alex

Guest Post: Dr. Anna + Happier Hormones

Struggling to Connect With Loved Ones? These 2 Hormones Might By Why + How To Fix Them

My dear friend, hormone expert, and amazing mom Anna Cabeca is guest starring on my blog today! She’s a hormone and anti-aging specialist. One of her specialties is helping women and men balance their hormones so they can feel better, look younger, and even lose weight.

I wanted to share her passion and insights into hormonal balancing, our desires for connection, and how to feel great in our own skin again.

At the end of this post you’ll see an offer for Dr. Anna’s Might Maca greens -

I personally use Mighty Maca (especially the cute little travel pouches) when I travel, and when I need a hormonal energy boost, to feel happy in my body, and when I know I need to lower my stress hormones.

Dr. Anna Cabeca's Might Maca

Dr. Anna Cabeca’s Might Maca

anna cabaca

Alex & Dr. Anna Cabeca

Here’s why, in Dr. Anna’s own words: 

Do you feel stressed, tired, lonely and disconnected from your relationships with others and even yourself?

Do you prefer to stay home rather than socialize?

Do you walk by people you know and not say hi because you don’t want to interact?

Are you missing the warmth of love and connection? Do you just not have the energy to connect?

What if I told you that feeling this way may not be your fault. Why? The answer is in your biology and your biology to a large extent drives your behavior. It’s very possible that two of the most important hormones in your body – cortisol and oxytocin – are waging war on each other and wreaking havoc on your life.


Allow me to explain how it all works:

Cortisol – one of your life-saving hormones – is an immediate responder in times of danger and stress. It’s our body’s natural anti-inflammatory. A perfect example of someone who runs on excess cortisol is a person who takes a vacation and immediately gets a cold. That happens because cortisol was naturally suppressing inflammation and inflammation makes you sick. Take that stress away, cortisol goes down…and boom any underlying inflammation flares up.

Sickness is just the beginning of the excess cortisol hit list. Chronic high cortisol can also lead to rapid aging, loneliness and depression.

Oxytocin is the powerful hormone of love bonding and connection. It’s the hormone we release in abundance during childbirth that overflows as we look into the eyes of our newborn. It’s also released in abundance with orgasm, laughter, play, hugging and giving. It’s the twinkle in your eyes and the smile on your face hormone! Yes! The peace, love and granola anti-aging hormone!

Cortisol and oxytocin oppose each other. They are the two boxers in a ring or two kids on a seesaw. When one goes up the other is forced to go down. The key is in balancing the two. I’ve helped thousands of women do just that and begin to live happy, full lives.

How did I learn how to create this balance?

This is where it gets personal. I struggled significantly myself and when nothing in my MD toolbox fixed the problem, I sought out another solution to save myself AND my family.

You see, several years ago, my family and I were traumatized when my son passed away in a tragic accident. We all experienced PTSD and I became clinically depressed, stressed to the max, sleepless, inflamed, infertile and hormonally imbalanced to say the least.

(To hear more about my journey and lessons, listen to my webinar here:)

I needed to find a way to live again for my family and myself. So I left my medical practice and we traveled the world… it was our healing journey. I came back pregnant, ready to make a new start. My children were best friends and healthiest ever. That was incredible. However, despite my enormous progress, I was still disconnected from myself and from my husband… and my marriage ended.

That loss allowed me to make a transformative discovery. I now recognize that chronic stress and PTSD trigger the cortisol-oxytocin disconnect and it may cause us to unconsciously walk away from things and people we love. Simply put, you may be walking away because cortisol won.

That discovery has since allowed me to help thousands of clients struggling with a similar disconnect BEFORE it’s too late. The key is an understanding the beauty in life is when oxytocin wins and that’s what I teach you to do.

I teach you how to put Oxytocin in the winner’s circle.

One winning set-up is to fuel your body with the nutrition it needs to thrive.
The green drink I created from my healing journey around the globe allows you to begin that process.

It’s called Mighty Maca and it’s specifically designed to support the adrenals, balance hormones and decrease inflammation.

I like to think of it as pure love in a delicious green drink – go oxytocin!

Mighty Maca is my gift to you today. I welcome you to give it a try here and I look forward to hearing how it fuels you.

Try Mighty Maca today:

To your health,
Dr. Anna Cabeca

 

P.S. From Alex: If you choose to buy any of Dr. Anna’s products, I will receive an “affiliate commission” which means she shares some of her earnings with me. Which is so cool! I love her product, and I only share products that I use and adore. I’m thrilled to share her with you, and use the few sheckles that come my way to keep on blogging, sharing, and creating great things for you. xo, Alex

Top Reviews for Women, Food, And Desire! Goop, FitBottomedGirls.com, Bustle.com!

5 books to love yourself

FitBottomedGirls.com named Women, Food, And Desire 1 of 5 books to Love Yourself Healthy – see the full list here:

http://fitbottomedgirls.com/2015/02/5-books-to-love-yourself-healthy/
GOOP

Goop.com, otherwise known as Gwenyth Paltrow’s health and lifestyle website, named Women, Food, And Desire their top non-fiction winter read for 2015!

See the whole thing here: http://goop.com/late-winter-reading/

bustle header divorce

Bustle.com names Women, Food, And Desire 1 of 12 books to help you get through your divorce easier:

See the whole list here: http://www.bustle.com/articles/61076-12-books-to-read-thatll-make-your-divorce-a-little-bit-easier

 Get your copy of Women, Food, And Desire here! xo, Alex

Amazon
Powells
IndieBound
Barnes & Noble

Healing Rituals: Tea Rituals | How to create healing rituals

I’ve learned that  you can learn to be happier just like you can learn to play ukulele or teach yourself Spanish.

One daily aspect of consciously learning happiness is to create healing + grounding rituals.

Rituals are any symbolic behaviors we perform before, during, and after meaningful event.

And they’re really everywhere in human culture:

 

Healing Rituals - Tea As Ritual

Healing Rituals – Tea As Ritual

  • Rituals are used by athletes, before and during games and contests, and studies show it helps to maintain or increase focus and performance
  • Rituals are used before meaningful events like weddings or ceremonies, and are used to help focus the energy and attention of large groups of people
  • Rituals are used to mark the passing of a loved one with funerals, and help people manage their grief and release the pain of loss

Our personal rituals matter much more than we realize. Recent studies have proved that our actions and thoughts are 40% habit – that means almost ½ of what we do and think is repetitive and happens without us thinking about it.

Sometimes life feels like a runaway train—it can seem like we don’t get to choose what’s going on in our daily lives.

When that happens, we can remind ourselves that we have the power to choose the way we live our lives, and the “personal brand” that we put on things.

I’ve been drinking tea since I was a kid with my mom, but now I set aside a little time and attention to make tea a ritual for rest, remembering good times, introspection, and creation.

One way to do this is through creating rituals in our lives that support and nourish us. Rituals and nurturing routines provide us with structure that grounds us and connects us to others.

They can connect us to the energy of the earth and seasons, our past, family, and community as well as help us to create the kind of environment where we’ll function best.

They also create a sense of predictability that can help us feel safe, and reduce the stress of uncertainty.
Rituals are rhythmic; they put us in sync with nature in a nurturing way.

They help us cope with the shifts and transitions we face daily, weekly, seasonally, and throughout our lives.

By creating structure in the form of a daily or weekly ritual, our minds can relax, and this frees up a lot of energy so that we can create the life we desire.

And they work.

Rituals help us manifest what we truly crave in life, by placing our energy where we want it most. CLICK TO TWEET + SHARE THIS!

Here’s what scientists are finding about our use of ritual:
performing rituals with the intention of producing a specific result appears to be enough for that result to come true.

  • One of my intentions was to bring more awareness to our family meals even at the end of hectic days. We set the table with cloth napkins and light a candle with every meal we eat at home. I’m teaching my 8-year old son how to light a candle, and how to set the table, so we has a ritual with calm, loving eating as well.
  • Another intention was to feel in control of my finances, so my partner and I created monthly “money dates.” You could call them cash rituals.
  • I also wanted to wake up my body after a long, cold winter, and created a morning yoga ritual – every morning, for 10 minutes, I stretch and then make my tea.
  • Music is a big deal in my family of musicians, and I want to pass that love of music to my son. Now when I give him a bath, I bring in my ukulele and we sing together as I learn a new song. (AND we put our instruments up on the wall in the living room, so we see them and take them down more frequently – a great way to trigger yourself into doing your rituals!
Ritualize your creativity by putting your art in full view.

Ritualize your creativity by putting your art in full view.

If you’re here you’re interested in healing and growing. That’s what my “clan of the crave bears” is all about. Healing the body, healing relationships, and growing a crave-worthy life.

So this week, focus on creating a ritual to heal an area of your life, or intentionally place your positive energy in a direction or on a project you want to create:

HOW TO CREATE RITUALS FOR A CRAVE-WORTHY LIFE:

Get specific about your intention + the actions the ritual will embody:

  • Why – you intention for the ritual (loving – no voodoo, framed in the positive)
  • When – at what time are you going to do the activity? Morning? After dinner? Spring or Winter? Sundays?
  • Where – is it portable or does it depend on a place?

Examples of Healing Rituals

  • Walking Ritual: at your favorite time of day, dawn, dusk, or after lunch – not for “exercise” but for feeling your body in nature
  • Learning Ritual: memorize a poem, playing a song, or some other new skill once a week or every evening
  • Friend Ritual: thursday night dinner with a friend, Sunday tea with a friend at a bookstore cafe
  • Gratitude Writing Ritual: For 1 week, write down 3 things that you’re grateful for at the end of dinner.

One of my Facebook friends created an “I Hate Mondays” playlist of uplifting songs and motivating music to help perk her up when she was having Monday Blues –

IDEAS FOR NEW FOOD RITUALS:

  • setting the table with napkins, forks, lit candles, flowers
  • Simply lighting a candle before you eat anything, and sitting down to acknowledge your desire to digest and enjoy
  • 5 deep breaths before you begin eating
  • 8-12 ounces warm lemon water upon waking to wake up your liver and hydrate your brain
  • saying a gratitude out loud at the end of the meal: that was delicious! I feel perfectly full and satisfied!

As you build rituals into your life, you build a lifestyle that supports your healthiest self.

I want to hear your favorite rituals!

In the comments below, share your favorite ritual, or tell us what you’re going to try first!

xo,

Alex

 

Chocolate IS love…Raw Cacao Valentines Recipes

Chocolate is Love.

At least that’s what our brains think.

See, when we eat chocolate, a whole cascade of happy chemicals and hormones get triggered, making us feel a bit high, happy, relaxed and excited all at the same time.

Kinda like love.

Raw Cacao Truffle Recipe

Cacao contains a delicious mix of natural chemicals that make us feel darned close to giddy in love:

Phenylethylamine is often called the “love drug,” that has heightening physiological effects… fatty acids called cannabinoids (yes, relatives of those found in pot), make you feel relaxed and intoxicated, and all of this leads to a release of the pleasure-producing hormones dopamine and serotonin.

Top it all off with a dose of sugar normally found in our cocoa treats, and you’ve got a world-class super drug.

With all of these happy high chemicals coming in legal, cheap, bite-sized nuggets, it’s amazing we aren’t all on the streets collecting pop bottles and turning tricks to get another fix! (Too much? Ok, maybe just collecting pop bottles…)

Luckily, the amounts of these mind-altering chemicals found in chocolate are relatively small compared with other drugs like marijuana, ecstasy, and morphine.

Our modern brains are used to the amounts and effects of the pleasure-inducing chemicals released by our coffee, tea, cocoa, and energy drinks, and we can only produce so much dopamine.

When we eat a ton of chocolate and release a bunch of dopamine, our bodies immediately seek balance by shutting down the hormone production. This leads to desensitization to both dopamine and chocolate’s effects over time.

Which makes me think we should all be living slightly cleaner lives with less caffeine, sugar and other “happy drugs” so that we can really enjoy the effects of chocolate more!

Cacao pod, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Cacao pod

A BRIEF HISTORY OF CACAO

Cacao flowers, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Cacao flowers, Costa Rica

Humans weren’t the first culinary smarties to figure out that cacao seeds were edible.

We learned it from watching monkeys.

Found in pods growing in South American rain forests, cacao seeds are covered with a slimy, slightly-sweet gel, sort of like leechee fruit.

Monkeys and people cracked open the pods, sucked on the fruit and spat out the seeds.

 

The raw seeds inside were bitter and pretty gross, so few animals or humans ate them, even though they were high in fat.

Carrying these seeds along their migrations caused the cacao trees to spread throughout South America and Central America.

But what happened next in chocolate’s history took a stroke of luck: someone realized that when you fermented and then roasted those seeds before eating them, the bitter flavor diminished and the ambrosia-like aroma of chocolate began to tickle their noses.

Once fermented and roasted, those bitter cacao beans begin to smell like melting chocolate. Grind the seeds, add some sugar, cinnamon, and chili pepper, and you’ve got a Water of the Gods, or cacao agua.

I’ve visited a rainforest cacao plantation in Costa Rica and watched the traditional methods for making cacao agua, as well as tasting the fruits, and learning about the lifecycle of this magical food.

Raw Cacao Fruit, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Raw Cacao Fruit

 

Until you can get yourself down to Central America to experience this for yourself, I’ve created a few healthy, delicious cacao (raw cocoa bean) recipes to enjoy with your Valentine, or any time!

Date Night: Cacao Nibs in Dates

Date Night: Raw Cacao and Medjool Dates, Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson

Date Night: Raw Cacao, Almond Butter and Medjool Dates

4 Medjool dates, pitted and halved

1 tablespoon cacao nibs

1 tablespoon almond butter

Directions:

Scoop ½ teaspoon into each half of the pitted dates. Sprinkle with cacao nibs and gently press in with your finger so the nibs stick. Serve to your loved one on Date Night!

Goddess Truffles

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe

 

Whether you’re serving them to a Goddess, or you ARE a goddess, these raw cacao truffles are super easy, delicious, and won’t tax your culinary skills. In short, you can show off in the kitchen without trying too hard.

 Raw Cacao Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Truffles Recipes

2 cups raw nuts (I used 1 cup each almonds and cashews)

½ cup pitted Medjool dates

pinch sea salt

4 tablespoons raw cacao powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon honey

optional: coconut flour, cacao powder, cinnamon for rolling truffles

Directions:

Combine all (except optional coconut flour, etc) in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are well ground and mixed with the dates.

Using a tablespoon or a small ice cream scooper, scoop the mixture into your hand and form into truffle balls.

You can now roll in coconut flour or other decorations, or eat raw.

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson, Valentine's Day Recipe, Vegan Valentine

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe

Serve as is, or crumbled on banana slices.

WHY I USE RAW CACAO

As you may have noticed, these recipes call for raw cacao, which is different from baking chocolate, chocolate chips, and all products made with dutched or processed chocolate. The health benefits of raw cacao are pretty awesome, and you can make a lot of easy treats with it.

And for me, healthy + delicious = perfect.

Why Raw Cacao is the best Chocolate

Why Raw Cacao is the best Chocolate

 

BUT, you have to buy the right kind of cacao to get the most benefits and avoid the toxins found in conventional cacao production. Certified Organic Raw Cacao is an excellent source of antioxidants. It it’s NOT Certified Organic Raw Cacao, then you are also eating a lot of chemicals from irradiation and spraying of chemicals which are standard practice in growing cacao beans.

All of my recipes use organic raw cacao powder and raw cacao nibs.

If you’re wondering, here are some health benefits of raw cacao:

Magnesium: Cacao beans are a great source of this mineral (270 milligrams per 100 grams), which is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies, including muscle and nerve function, and is a muscle relaxant associated with feelings of calmness.

Sulphur: Cacao is also high in sulfur, which helps grow strong nails and hair.

Fiber: A chocolate bar doesn’t offer any fiber, but if you eat raw cacao, you’ll get 9 grams per ounce!

Iron: An ounce of the raw cacao beans or nibs (crushed beans) contains six per cent of your recommended daily iron intake.

Antioxidants: Raw cocoa powder tops the antioxidant list with almost four times the amount of antioxidants as Goji Berries. But be careful! You may be sensitive to the caffeine effects on your nervous system, so take it easy on this stimulant.

 

Here are 2 compounds in cacao that you might want to be careful of:

Theobromine: which makes up 1-2% of the cacao bean and, like caffeine, is a nervous system stimulant that dilates the blood vessels — much like caffeine. This is what makes chocolate unsafe for dogs, and causes uncomfortable sensations for sensitive humans.

Phenylethylamine (PEA): While our bodies also produce PEA (an adrenal-related chemical) when we’re excited, it causes our pulse to quicken. While this makes some of us feel alert and excited, it can have an uncomfortable effect on people who are sensitive and wanting to lower their heart rate.

With all this in mind, choose the healthiest chocolate for you and your loved ones, and enjoy the natural high of the food of the gods.

These and other Toxic 6-Free chocolate delights are all Cravings Cleanse approved!

Join me for an 8-week exploration & healing journey to get your cravings, taste-buds, hormones, and waistline back in alignment.

Click here to register – we start 2/12: 

Xo,

Alex

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