Thursday, August 21, 2014

PB & B Balls {Recipe ReDux}

We're already more than half way through August and for some people that means the start of packing lunches again. For others, lunches are packed all year round and you might just need a change or something fun and exciting.

This month's Recipe ReDux theme is:
Bars & Bites for Brown Bags
Whether you pack your lunch in a bento box, a brown bag or a retro cartoon character lunch box, don’t forget the bars and bites. Small squares or round bites can pack nutrition into a sweet or savory taste. Show us your favorite way to jazz up any type of lunch box.
Since I work from home most days, I don't really pack a lunch box. I do however like to keep things around for my husband to pack and for when I need to grab a quick snack. I prefer to make things from scratch so that I know the ingredients and I also love spending time in my kitchen.
You may have noticed or made various 'energy bites' or 'power balls' over the last few years as these bite size treats have gained popularity. They are something I've made in cooking sessions with athletes and at home. I don't tend to make bars as often, but have recently tried two different hemp based bars which were great to add some variety. These little bites can pack a nutritional punch depending on the nuts, seeds, fruit, dried fruit, and other add-ins you choose to try. They can also be calorie dense, but I find the protein, fat, and fibre are great to help fill the gap between meals.

Feeling a bit nostalgic, I wanted to combine two of my favourite childhood favourites: peanut butter and banana. For whatever reason, we used to call pb and banana sandwiches, 'peanut butter and sardine sandwiches' - I don't think I even knew what sardines were at the time, but it was a fun nickname for a quick and basic snack/lunch. Depending on where you're sending these snacks, you may have to swap the peanut butter for a seed butter.

PB & B Balls
1 ripe banana, peeled
1/2 cup dates (about 12)
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (or almond butter or seed butter)
3-4 Tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup + 1 cup rolled oats
1/8 cup hemp hearts

1. Combine banana, dates, peanut butter, 1 Tbsp coconut, 1/2 cup oats, and hemp hearts in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
2. Place remaining 1 cup of oats in a medium bowl and add the processed ingredients. Gently mix (with a spatula or your hands) to combine and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
3. Place 2-3 Tbsp of coconut on a plate. Remove mixture from refrigerator. Form mixture into 16-18 balls and roll in coconut. Return to fridge for storage and enjoy!

What are you packing to keep your lunch box interesting? Check out other ReDuxer ideas below.

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Friday, August 15, 2014

Simply Enjoying the Weekend

Continuing with the theme of mindfulness, minimalism, and moderation, I wanted to share a few things I do to simplify my life. This simplification helps me enjoy each moment more and be able to spend more time doing the things I want to be doing. I am a list maker, and I hope that with a continued focus on these goals I will be able to reduce the size of my 'to do list' and spend more time on my passions. My own challenge is to not spend all my time ticking items off my list, but to get back to living each moment :)

If minimalism is something you're interested in, there are lots of blogs about it. A few that I've been reading (or trying to find time to read; hence why I need to minimize things!) include:
One thing I like about the minimalist movement is that there is no one definition of a minimalist person. We can all be minimal in our own way, just as moderation and mindfulness apply differently to our unique lifestyles. 

We only have so many second, minutes, hours, and days. I want to spend mine doing the things I love and with the people I care about. I want to continue to enjoy moments, experiences, good books, and great food, so I need to make that a priority in my life.

In my last post I talked about comparing ourselves to others, but at times we also try to live up to other people's standards. I want to live my life, not the life someone thinks I should live. So here are a few things I've already done or already do to simplify my life:
  • Donate items (such as clothes, books, etc.) to organizations (such as Community Living, the Opportunity Shop, etc.) - if I'm not using it, someone else should
  • Set things aside to see how often I use them - last winter I cleaned out the kitchen and put a box of items in storage, a few months later when I hadn't needed them I donated them or gave them to friends who had uses for them since I obviously didn't
  • Change gift giving traditions - my husband and I often try to purchase experiences or save up for a trip in lieu of gifts and on one side of our family we either only purchase a Christmas gift for one individual or all chip in and donate to a specific cause/charity rather than buying more stuff
  • Go through my closet every few months to see what I haven't worn in awhile and decide whether to start wearing it, alter it, or donate it
  • Clear papers out of my office and attempt to do more things on my computer
  • Go through drawers and get rid of pens that don't even work anymore
  • Make extra at supper so that we can enjoy leftovers for lunches
  • Plan out my weekly groceries so that I get what I need and will use
  • Prep for a few meals when I do get a chance to be in the kitchen
I'm sure there are more things, but this is also just the start of my journey into being mindful of being minimal. I am an organized person and I like things to have a place, so I think that helps me get started. What do you do to simplify your life?

Since it's Friday, I encourage you to enjoy your weekend and actually be in the moment. I know I have lots to look forward to (even if it's just a few ticks on the to do list) and I'm grateful for that.

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mmmy Journey Begins (and continues...)

I wanted to take some time today for reflection. As my business has grown, I've had time to think about the areas I am most passionate about and thus, where I want to take things in the future. This is both exciting and overwhelming and one of the many 'joys' of being an entrepreneur! As you will see in future posts, I am trying to declutter or minimize things in my life to reduce stress and create more time to pursue my passions.

I know many people in their 20s or 30s (or 40s, 50s, etc.) who aren't sure what they want to do with their life. I sometimes feel this way, although, I think it's more about the journey, because we might never have a clear answer to that question. I'm told that as I young child I asked my mom "what do you want to be when you grow up?" I always thought that was a strange story, because of course, she was my mom and a 'grown-up'. Although, I know many 'grown-ups' who don't know, so perhaps it was a very legitimate question!
 I have met people who have found their 'passion' and seem to be doing exactly what they should be doing for a career; although this is definitely the exception, not the rule. The more time I spend pondering my own passions and goals, the more I learn about myself and the more learning I do in general. As far as I can remember, I've been a competitive, driven person. As with any personality trait, it has its pros and cons. This drive pushes me to be the best me and live the best life I can. My struggle is when I compare my life to other people's lives, or have an unclear definition of what 'best' means for me.
I see comparison all the time in my practice, whether it is about weight, willpower, the media, money, time, etc. With social media, I feel that we also often see people's highlight reels and make assumptions about the people and their lives, when in fact we really don't know their situation. The idea of focusing on our own struggles really came out when I attended the Landmark forum years ago as a Lululemon employee. Many people were overcoming traumatic pasts, but we realized that we all have our own troubles, and if it's a big deal to you, then it's a big deal (again, we can't compare). My big take away was to focus on contentment. Not that I want to be complaisant, but to be in the moment and appreciate all that I have.

I am inspired by quotes, various books, my husband, my family and friends, my clients, and by setting small goals for myself. I will likely always be a work in progress. I will never be perfect, but I will always be me.

I continue to be passionate about mindfulness, moderation, and recently minimalism (hence the mmms). I'll continue to share thoughts and tips relating to those topics, so feel free to comment and join in! For now, enjoy a few of my current favourite quotes and feel free to reflect back!

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Friday, August 1, 2014

Smart Summer Snacking

As we start August today and celebrate a summer long weekend, I thought I'd put down a few snacking tips. In my experience, people eat differently on weekends compared to during the work week (and that could mean they eat more OR less healthy). The summer can add another challenge as people may head away from home on road trips or to a cabin/cottage or campsite. Each location can have an impact on what and when you're eating and drinking. It's also common for people to have a reduced appetite when the weather gets warmer and of course, even more important that you remember to hydrate yourself.

Yes, summer may mean barbeques and happy hours, but it doesn't have to be all hot dogs, chips, and beer, especially if you're being mindful, enjoying a variety of foods in moderation, and working on new goals/habits. As usual, it starts with a little preparation:

  • pack healthy road trip snacks and water bottles
  • chop fruit and veggies at home to reduce prep time at the cabin/cottage
  • pick up healthy groceries so you have options when you look in the fridge/pantry
  • bring snacks to people's homes/lakes so that you know there will at least be one thing healthy to choose from
Timing of intake can also change when you're away from home. Perhaps you stay up later, sleep in longer, and start the day with a large breakfast or brunch. You may not feel like you need a mid-day meal ('lunch'), but you also don't want to be starving and reaching for cheesies before supper.

Snacks can help us get from meal to meal, but they don't have to keep us full all day (I prefer if we avoid fullness and learn to achieve satisfaction anyway); they're meant to help us get important nutrients, hydrate us, keep our energy up, and fill the gaps when meals are far apart. Homemade bars, energy bites/balls, smoothies, muffins, and of course vegetables and fruit are both tasty and can be made/prepped ahead of time.

Lately I've baked a few snack items and have frozen them so that we have lots of variety available and I don't have to turn on the oven when it's really hot and humid out. I try to enjoy seasonal flavours (peaches, nectarines, berries, etc.) which means that the snacks in our house change all year round.

A few that I've tried recently or have been in our routine include:
  •  peanut butter banana roll ups (an easy staple)
  • strawberry, mango, sorrel smoothie (with sorrel from our CSA: PayDirt Farms)
  • saskatoon berry, red river cereal muffins (adapted from Canadian Family; with berries I picked with a friend at our local Berry Barn)
  • hemp bars (from my new roots; thanks to a sample box I received from Rocky Mountain Grain Products)
  • frozen grapes (great on a hot day)
  • chocolate cranberry balls (from elana's pantry; used in an athlete session; great to curb a sweet craving)
  • carrots and celery with hummus
  • spring rolls with vegetables and chicken or shrimp
 What have you been snacking on this summer?

Enjoy your weekend and make mindful snack choices!

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching