Body Wellness Series
This article is part of the Body Wellness blog series. It's a proven fact that our thoughts influence our behavior. Body Wellness is a mindset we adopt to move beyond the preoccupation we have with our physical body and the "right" way to eat and upgrade our daily thoughts about food choices, body, weight, and lifestyle. It's a concept central to my coaching practice but also essential to keep in mind for any mindful cook and eater looking to achieve greater vibrancy and ease. Because as Tony Robbins says, where our focus goes, energy flows.
Sometimes we get tricked into setting idealistic standards for ourselves. If you follow the health and wellness space closely, you'll probably agree that the marketing for the health trend du jour makes a convincing argument for why you too should jump on the bandwagon to optimize your health. Whether it's to consume green smoothies and superfood salads daily, go gluten-free, run, dry brush, meditate, or journal, do we stop to think if adopting these habits really makes a difference in how we feel, personally - be it in energy, mood, digestion, clarity, or positivity? We should! Because when it comes to creating nourishing habits, we have to be motivated to start and stick with them so they become part of our lifestyle. Otherwise what's the purpose? We just dabble, become non-committal, and never feel fully satisfied. But lasting motivation is driven by, among other things, a desire to feel a certain way, not by an article touting proven benefits.
A healthy lifestyle is actually about discernment and adopting those select few habits that make the biggest impact on how we feel. When we try to do it all because we're worried about missing out, we dilute the positive impact any one habit could have. But when we prioritize doing what makes us feel best, we'll be less distracted by everything else we could or "should" do and more likely to make lasting change. Gretchen Rubin, an American researcher who studies happiness and habits, confirms this. She says the first step to making habits stick is to know yourself; to intimately understand your tendencies for meeting inner and outer expectations and learn what works best for your unique personality and lifestyle.
Below I'm sharing a few of my go-to habits that keep me feeling vibrant, in hopes that they provide you with direction and inspiration to finding or refining your own.
Whether it's walking, yoga, hiking, running, biking around town, or taking stairs, I do one of these activities almost every day. Movement is my number one priority (after drinking a big glass of water) first thing in the morning before the day's work can derail my good intentions. And remember, our digestive system - the regularity of which is key to body wellness - does not move if we don't.
I make sure my daily schedule allows space for two transition times. Like gradually shifting gears as the car accelerates, my transition rituals help me shift smoothly from one part of my day to the next without abrupt jolts. Early morning me-time where I'm moving and meditating grounds and energizes me to start my work day. Bathing or showering and reading in the evening signals a down shift from alert "on" mode to a relaxed, zen mode so I can fall asleep more easily.
I'm a big believer in proactively treating myself when I want something sweet rather than ignoring it. Whether it's a few squares of dark chocolate, chocolate chip cookies, fudge bars, or this clafoutis, these nourishing treats are preventative medicine protecting me against feeling deprived. If I make treats that I enjoy and feel good about, I'm less likely to overindulge on traditional desserts I enjoy on special occasions.
To give you an extra boost of inspiration I'm also including a healthy living graphic by Cotopaxi.
Cotopaxi is a company that creates outdoor products founded on the principals of making a difference, moving people to do good, and living an active lifestyle. When they asked me to collaborate on a blog post, I did jump on this particular bandwagon, because they're also committed to creating positive social impact, and their approach to healthy living, as you saw in the graphic, is the perfect complement to Body Wellness. Plus I personally want to support a conscious company like Cotopaxi that provides the tools we need to sustain our healthy habits, such as durable backpacks for our outdoor activities.
Cherry Chocolate Clafoutis
Notes: Speaking of treats, this baked custard with juicy ripe cherries and pockets of melted dark chocolate is a satisfying treat free of dairy and refined sugar and flour. (You wouldn't know it though.) It's one of my favorite desserts - though I'll sometimes eat it for breakfast on the weekends too - because it's so simple to throw together, especially if you have a cherry pitter. I prefer custard desserts on the firmer side which is reflected in the cornstarch and flour called for below. If you prefer a looser custard and are up for experimenting you can omit the flour and maybe 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
- 500 gr (1 lb) cherries, pitted (280 gr pitted)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup (75 gr.) Muscovado - unrefined cane sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 1/4 cup (20 gr) cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
- 2 Tbsp. (15 gr) flour (any flour works - I use buckwheat or brown rice flour)
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
- 35 grams dark chocolate (70%+), broken into small chunks
- Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Grease a standard (9 in. / 23 cm.) deep pie dish with coconut oil. You could also use a square brownie pan or something similar shape and size.
- Use a hand mixer to beat eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl until the mixture is smooth and silky. On low speed mix in cornstarch and flour, just until incorporated, then mix in salt, vanilla, and coconut milk.
- Scatter pitted cherries evenly over the bottom of prepared dish and pour the batter on top. Drop in chocolate pieces and snuggle into the batter so it's mostly submerged.
- Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until the custard is no longer wobbly and top is golden brown. Mine took 25 minutes in a convection (fan) oven.