I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. I have also been doing a lot of eating lately. I have so many books on healthy living, have read so many articles, watched so many videos, visited so many blogs, that I have convinced myself that I am living a healthy life. I have been through a course of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) that has eased a lot of my anxiety and stomach related issues and I have begun to make the transition from chemical beauty and household products to something more natural, but I am not living as healthily as I would have myself believe.
My stomach issues have come back severely over the last week or so and I have been left scratching my head as to why. Yes, I have been having some gluten, some dairy; quite a lot of fat and sugar, but I have been cheating for quite a while now so why is it only bothering my stomach now? Don’t get me wrong, it bothered my stomach before, but it was an easy trade off for more freedom. I convinced myself that the emotional comfort was worth the physical discomfort. People are always going on about how damaging stress can be so why not eat a few bad things if it helps me relax?
So I sat down and wrote down everything I had eaten the previous two days and was pretty disgusted with the results. I looked back even further and realised that I wasn’t just cheating with the allergens that upset my stomach, I had pretty much reintroduced everything without really noticing. And where were all my home cooked meals? Where was all the fruit and veg I used to eat so much of? Have you ever tried an app called Fitness Pal? I put one days intake into that bad boy and I had eaten around 195g of sugar! In one day! Shit got real for me then. On top of all this, I hadn’t exercised in longer than I could remember. I had been on holiday to Devon and done a lot of walking but that was the most exercise I had done all year! Now my stomach troubles weren’t looking so strange. And it is high time I did something about it before all the anxiety and all those other nastys come back.
So here I am, starting small and trying to remember everything I have learnt over my six years of dealing with my various problems. Step one is going to be battling the sugar demon. One of the most difficult things to do if you have a sweet tooth like me, but one of the most rewarding. Going cold turkey does NOT work for me and I have tried it many times. Having had chocolate pretty much everyday for weeks, chocolate is the natural place to begin.
So this is where the recipe comes in if you are still with me. I’ve seen a lot of baking recipes using avocado and have never tried any of them until now. I had four nearing over ripe avocados sitting on my worktop and this seemed like the perfect time to experiment. I have to give credit to Yummy Healthy Easy who’s recipe I adapted to make these cookies and I was treading into unchartered waters. There recipe stood out to me as a healthy option using coconut oil instead of butter, and being low in sugar. I used brown rice syrup which I bought recently as a low fructose, and therefore low FODMAP, sweetener. It has the consistency of honey and a similar taste, however not a strong; good for vegans and honey haters a like.
But before I give you the recipe, I want to share a few more of my steps to health; as a reminder that the journey to health is everlasting and you can always pick yourself up when you fall off the wagon, and to set in stone my commitment to this. I have set myself the goal of 10 minutes of exercise a day. This one seems pretty easy but I have struggled with cronic fatigue or something similar for quite a while and still find exercise a lot more taxing than is natural. Therefore I plan to do my 10 minutes a day (or 20 one day if I miss one) using my aerobic step. Step two is to further explore natural alternatives to chemicals that I use on my body and in my home. I have tried a few different products this year and further promise to post reviews for you guys. Step three is simply to cook more at home and from scratch. I’m hoping my new exercise regime will give me the energy to do this. Energy makes energy, so they say. Well that’s what my mum says anyway.
1 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda)
Pinch of Natural Sea Salt
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Brown Rice Syrup (or Maple or Agave)
2 sachets of Stevia (the single serving kind, or the more natural kind to taste)
1/4 cup Coconut Oil, melted
2 tbsp Ground Flax + 4tbsp Water
1 tsp Natural Vanilla Extract
Chocolate Chips (Optional; I used about 50g of chopped vegan dark chocolate)
Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl. Gently melt the coconut oil and mix with all the wet ingredients. Introduce the two mixes together to form a dough, along with the chocolate chips/chunks. I recommend blending the avocado, or all the wet ingredients together. I mashed my avocado with a fork and there were a few lumps in the dough.
Roll into balls around the size of golf balls and spread out on a lined baking tray. Flatten gently with the palm of your hand and bake in a oven preheated to 180c/160c fan for 10-15 minutes.
They cracked a little but it doesn’t matter. They aren’t as sweet or moist as you may be used to but really hit the spot when you need a chocolate fix without actually having the sugar fueled treat. The use of brown rice flour makes them a little crumbly but I was really pleased with the taste and will be packing a couple in my bag to eat at work tomorrow. This recipe made 10 cookies the size as pictured.
One last thing that I am working on is living for the moment and enjoying each and every day. I have spent a long time hoping for better days; for that financial constriction to be relieved, to have a break from working in a job I don’t particularly like. And do you know how much time passes while you are wishing it away? A LOT! The one thing I am finding useful at the moment is to mentally plan my day in the morning over breakfast. And it doesn’t have to be ridged with strict times and what not. It can be as simple as what I am going to make for my evening meal and what I will do with my free time. This evening I had a vegetarian stir fry with rice noodles and baked these cookies. I had a long, relaxing bath and went on to blog this while watching Game of Thrones in the background, because I am a woman and I can multitask like that! But be kind; I am only on season one! Oh, and I did my 10 minutes of exercise straight after work.
I would love to hear any tips you might have on keeping healthy, whether it be food, exercise or stress related.