Fluffy Whole Wheat Oat & Banana Pancakes

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I am a pancake fanatic! Actually I just have a crazy sweet tooth so obviously pancakes are hard to resist. However, if you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you might have got the impression that I also care a lot about my health. Truth. Being that I love cooking and eating and health so much, its been my mission to take favourites like pancakes and create a healthy (but still delicious) alternative so we can all still enjoy without the guilt.

In my mission specifically with pancakes, I’ve had a few fails (more than a few actually). When you take away the butter and sugar from anything, you run the risk of creating something flavourless and dry. My husband would never say it in those words but a few of my pancake creations have unfortunately fallen into that category. This recipe though, was an absolute success! Moist, fluffy, and delicious. In his words, “The best pancakes you’ve made!”. That’s a pretty bold statement but I would have to agree! They were delicious. Topped with fresh strawberries and a little pure maple syrup, I could eat these everyday!

Try them for yourself and leave me a comment below with your thoughts or changes!

 

What you’ll need:

1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 Cup Oats

Pinch or Sea Salt

2 Teaspoons Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1 Ripe Mashed Banana

2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar (or raw or turbinado sugar)

2 Eggs

1 Cup Non-Dairy Milk

1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Coconut oil for cooking

Fruit or topping of your choice.

Method:

Pour 1 Cup of milk into a small container and add 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar. Set the mixture aside and let stand for about 5 minutes (this allows the milk to sour slightly making it into a sort of buttermilk). In a small bowl, combine; flour, oats, sea salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Set aside. In a larger bowl, combine; banana, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture then add the milk/vinegar combination. Try not to over mix the batter. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat and grease with a small amount of coconut oil. Use a 1/4 measuring cup to transfer the batter to the skillet. When the pancakes have small bubbles throughout they are ready to flip (1-2 min each side).

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When ready to serve, top with any fruit or topping of your choice!

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You could easily make this a gluten free recipe by switching out the flour for buckwheat or any other gluten free alternative. I would love to hear how they turned out if you try it. Enjoy!

 

Clean Green Smoothie Recipe

Recently I made a green smoothie that my partner commented, “was not his favourite”. Haha! I have to admit that particular smoothie was not my best work but I think I’ve nailed it with this one! Try the below recipe and let me know what you think!

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What you’ll need:

3 Silverbeet Leaves

1/2 Cucumber

1 Kiwifruit (with the skin)

1/2 Banana

1 teaspoon Coconut Oil

1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds

1 Cup Rice Milk

Method:

Chuck all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth. Super Simple!

Enjoy!

2 Recipes for “Super Oats” that will power up your morning

Oats. The breakfast staple that your grandmother always told you is healthy. But let’s be honest. Plain oats can be a bit, well, plain. My cupboard is always packed with a bunch of super food stuff that I got excited about at the health food store…. But what do I do with these hemp seeds???

Oats! Put all that healthy-health food store stuff right here in your grandmothers favourite! Whenever I make oats I always load them up with as many healthy ingredients as possible to add flavour and nutrition and to be honest I just get really excited about using goji berries and hemp seeds.

My weirdness aside. These two recipes below have been my favourites lately. They are full of nutrition and both have some healthy fats and antioxidant rich super foods to make you feel like the super goji berry freak that you are! Enjoy!

Goji and Hemp Seed Oats

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What You’ll Need:

1 Cup Water

1/2 Cup Oats

2 Tablespoons Goji Berries

1 1/2 Tablespoons Raisins

1 teaspoon Coconut Oil

1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon

1 Tablespoon Hemp Seeds

Shredded Coconut, Maple Syrup and Non-Dairy Milk to top (all optional)

Method:

Bring the water to boil and add oats. Add Goji berries and raisins just before oats are fully cooked to soften. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Top with shredded coconut, maple syrup and non-dairy milk. Makes one serving.

Super Banana Bread Oats

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What You’ll Need:

1 Cup Water

1/2 Cup Oats

1/4 teaspoon Vanilla

1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon

Handful of Walnuts

1/2 Banana (sliced)

2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds

Maple Syrup and Non-Dairy Milk to top (optional)

Method:

Bring the water to boil and add oats. Cook the oats completely then remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Top with a drizzle of maple syrup and non-dairy milk. Makes one serving.

There you go! Now go get your Super Oats on! Enjoy!

Opinions are like @#$holes

“Opinions are like @#$holes, everybody has one” – Unknown

I absolutely love this quote for two reasons.

1. It’s really F-ing funny!

2. It’s true!

I was inspired to write this post because I have been reading so many (mostly yoga related) opinion articles lately. All of which are very interesting and thought provoking! It seems that whenever a controversial opinion based article comes out, an opposing opinion article on the same topic pops up soon after. Very interesting stuff. All of which also proves that the above quote is, in fact, very true. It seems that everyone does have an opinion, but what’s more interesting is the impact that all of these opinions have on us as people. How do we decide who we agree with and how do the opinions of others affect our actions?

Firstly, let me begin by saying that this is not a negative rant. I’m not upset by other peoples’ opinions. In fact, quite the opposite! I’m inspired. The topics I’ve ran into lately have definitely been thought provoking and help me to see new perspectives from people who come from different situations than my own.

One of the popular topics recently has been peoples varying views on whether or not yogis should be posting so many photos of themselves in impressive yoga poses on social media.

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(a photo I posted recently on instagram @mindfulyogini)

Some people are all for it because it inspires others to practice more often. Opposing people think that it takes away from the true meaning of yoga and may be off-putting to new or aspiring yogis or make yoga seem too difficult.

Another interesting topic was; if inspiring people on the internet should use their popularity to promote other peoples businesses to make money. i.e.; Pushing yoga pants and whatnot…. Some claim that they don’t like to do this because they want to stay authentic to the love of their work. Others promote and share links to their sponsors brands openly. Claiming that they actually use and like the products they are promoting.

So, how do I decide who I think is right? The answer…. I don’t! These are just opinions and that’s the beauty of it! The simple fact that we live in a world where people are allowed to have their own opinions and publish those opinions for the public to read is so incredible. Peoples’ diversity, varying backgrounds, cultures, perspectives and ….. opinions are what make this world such an interesting and beautiful place!

Two people can be from similar upbringings yet lead completely different lives. A fantastic example of this is my brother and myself.

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(my brother and I circa: 1983)

The two of us were raised in the same house by the same parents and somehow turned out to be completely opposite people. He is a gun-slingin’ redneck family man and I’m a world travelin’ peace lovin’ yogi. As you can imagine, we have some very opposing world views and have been known to argue debate about such topics. Does that make either one of us more right than the other in the way we live our lives? No way! Neither one of us are causing anybody any harm. We are both insanely happy with our lives and to be honest our differences really color up our family and make for very entertaining reunions!

So, in my pursuit as a yogi and educator, I will continue to read all of these opinion articles (so keep ‘em comin’) to keep my perspective fresh and my mind open. However, I will never allow someone else’s opinion to set standards for the way I lead my life. I will always do what feels right for me and resonates in my heart. People do all sorts of different things in this world for all sorts of different reasons. Whether their motivation is because they think what they are doing is right or it’s just because they need to feed their family. In my opinion (yup, I have one too!) they are all right in their own way. In the end individuals decide what makes them happy and what they want surrounding them daily. If what you are doing truly inspires you and creates joy in your life, then rock on! If it doesn’t, then keep exploring! Be positive, be inspiring and be supportive and all of that love will come back to you ten fold!

Namaste!

Cacao Protein Truffles

Another delicious treat that you don’t have to feel guilty about! Living a healthy lifestyle can be so ‘sweet’!

Cacao truffles

What you’ll need:

1 Cup Date Paste (I made my own from about 2 Cups soaked dates pureed in the food processor)

1/2 Cup Raw Cacao Powder

1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1 teaspoon Pea Protein (I make sure to buy protein powder with no nasties or additives)

1 teaspoon melted Coconut Oil

1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds

1 pinch Sea Salt

1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut

Method:

Place all ingredients (except the shredded coconut) in a food processor. Blend until all ingredients are combined and start to clump together. Measure out heaped 1/2 teaspoonfuls of mixture and roll into balls. Then roll the balls in shredded coconut. Place completed truffles in refrigerator to enjoy later or right away! I couldn’t wait till they were refrigerated to sample the finished product! Yum!!

Enjoy!

5 Yoga Poses to Release Tension and Stretch Deeply

Most of us lead very busy lives and its easy to let stress from your day become tension in your body. I am definitely guilty of this sometimes. And, while it may not be possible to be less busy, it is possible to look after your health without taking too much time out of your day. After one of these long days, (or really anytime) practicing these poses is a great way to help you de-stress and release tension. So make it a point to take a few minutes of your day to do something (ahem…. these yoga poses) to help improve your physical and mental health.

Asana #1 – Downward Facing Dog Pose

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Sanskrit Name – Adho Mukha Svanasana

How to Get into it – Start by standing at the top of your mat. On an exhale, fold forward at the waist and place your hands on the mat alongside your feet. On an inhale, step both feet to the back of the mat, coming into a high plank position. Be sure that both wrists are stacked below your shoulders and from here lift your hips and lengthen the upper body by pressing the mat away from you with your hands. Engage your abdominal muscles and continue pressing your chest back towards your knees and your heels into the mat. Hold this pose for a few breaths then, to exit, place your knees on the mat and sit the hips back on the heels to rest.

Benefits – This posture relieves fatigue and rejuvenates the brain. It is a very soothing pose and can help with problems such as; headache, insomnia, depression and anxiety. On a more physical level, this pose stretches the arms and legs and can help to relieve pain in the low back.

Asana #2 – Revolved Side Angle Pose (Variation)

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Sanskrit Name - Parivritta Parsvakonasana

How to Get into it - Standing at the top of your mat, take a forward fold over the legs. Step the right leg to the back of the mat coming into a high lunge with both hands on the mat beside your left foot. Keeping the right hand on the mat inside of the right foot, stretch the left hand to the sky. For a more intense variation the right hand is placed to the outside of the left foot. This second variation is a much deeper twist through the spine.  Hold this pose for a few breaths then, to exit, take both hands to the floor and step the right foot up to the top of the mat. Take a forward fold for a few breaths then try the other side.

Benefits - As this is a twisting pose, the health of the spine is improved as well as that of the digestive system. The legs, groin and ankles are toned and stretched and the chest and lungs are expanded and stretched as well.

Asana #3 – Dancers Pose

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Sanskrit Name - Natarajasana

How to Get into it - Start in a standing position with your weight evenly distributed through both feet, hands resting on your hips. Gently take the weight into your right foot and bend the left leg behind you. Reach down with the left hand and grasp the inside of your left foot. Keeping the hips square, on an exhale start to press the left foot into the hand and stretch it behind you. At the same time, reach your right hand to the sky. If you feel balanced here, then start to lean your chest forward and continue to kick the left leg behind you reaching it hight to the sky. Always keep your abdominal muscles engaged in this pose to protect the health of your low back. Hold for a few breaths then slowly return to a standing position and try the other side.

Benefits - This pose improves your sense of balance and stretches the whole front side of the body. Also, the legs and ankles are toned and stretched.

Asana #4 – Reverse Warrior Pose

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Sanskrit Name - Viparita Virabadrasana

How to Get into it - Start in mountain pose (standing) at the top of your mat. Step the left leg to the back of the mat with toes facing to the left and lunge through the right knee. With your chest also facing the left, stretch your arms out in line with the legs, (length wise with the mat) looking over your right middle finger. Gently place your left hand to the left leg, flip your right hand up to face the sky and extend the right arm over head.

Benefits - This is a really great stretch through the side body, chest, legs, groin and ankles. It also strengthens the arms, legs and neck and improves your sense of self esteem.

Asana #5 – Cow Face Pose

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Sanskrit Name - Gomukhasana

How to Get into it - Start by sitting on your mat with both legs extended out in front of you. Place your left leg on top of right and bend the left knee. If your hips and knees still feel comfortable here, then bend the right knee as well so the heel of the right foot rests near the left hip. If your hips and knees are not comfortable then keep the right leg straight and extended out in front of you. Once your legs are in place and the hips are both evenly resting on the mat, then extend your right arm to the sky, bend the elbow and rest your right hand between your shoulder blades. With the left arm down by your side, bend the elbow and reach the left hand behind your back to join the right and hook fingers. If the fingers do not meet then just grasp your shirt with your hands and try to move them as close together as possible. Keep the chest lifted and spine straight, then lengthen the back of the neck and close the eyes. Stay here for a few breaths then slowly come back out, arms first then the legs. Rest in a seated position then try the other side.

Benefits - This pose stretches your whole body, including the hips, legs, glutes, shoulders chest and back. It is very soothing for the nervous systems and helps to balance out the left and right brain.

As always, make sure your take care of your body by knowing your limitations and listening to them. After your practice, take a few minutes in Savasana (lying down on your back with eyes closed). You will be amazed at how restful and restorative just a few minutes of quiet can be!

Namaste

6 Yoga Poses to Energize and Strengthen Your Body

Ever wake up in the morning feeling less than excited about getting out of bed? You are not alone! The good news is there are better (and more natural) ways to perk yourself up than sugar and caffeine! So before you head straight for the coffee pot… try this instead.

The following poses (asanas) are perfect for practicing first thing in the morning to start your day off on the right foot or in the afternoon when you hit that 3 pm lull and need a natural pick me up! Incorporate them into a regular practice to improve strength and start moving towards more advanced and challenging postures. Have fun and always practice safely by listening to your body and knowing your limitations.

Asana #1 – High Crescent Lunge (Variation)

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Sanskrit Name – Anjaneyasana

How to get into it - Standing at the top of your mat, step your left leg to the behind you. Come into a lunge with your left heel off the mat. Keeping your core muscles switched on, reach both arms behind you interlocking the fingers behind your back. Insure that you have a steady balance with enough space between your feet and your gaze fixed on one point out in front of you. If you feel strong and balanced here, gently start to look up to the sky and lift your heart while squeezing the arms and shoulders together behind you. In any back bend, you should always try to protect the low back by bending mostly in the upper back and keeping your low belly pulled in with your tailbone extending down towards the floor.

Hold this for 3 to 5 breaths. Then, to exit, gently release the arms to the mat and press your self back to downward facing dog to rest. Then try the other side.

Benefits – This posture expands and stretches the chest for better breathing and more effective use of the lungs. The shoulders are stretched which helps to relieve tension in your upper body and the legs and hips are stretched and strengthened. This pose can also help to relieve sciatic pain.

Asana #2 – Warrior III

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Sanskrit Name – Virabhadrasana III

How to get into it - Standing at the top of your mat, shift your weight into the right leg and balance by evenly pressing down through all four corners of your foot. With your arms by your sides, gently start to lean your upper body forward keeping your hips in the same position and swinging your left leg slowly back behind you. Rest your gaze to the top of your mat. If you feel stable here, then extend your arms out in front of you with palms facing in. Hold for a few breaths then exit slowly the same way you came in and try the other side.

Benefits – This posture strengthens the legs, ankles and abdominal muscles. Balance and focus are improved as well as posture and mental and physical agility. As the whole body is working to hold you in the pose, your heart rate increases and energy levels improve.

Asana #3 – Side Plank Pose

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Sanskrit Name – Vasistasana

How to get into it - Start in a high plank position with both wrists stacked below shoulders. Make sure your shoulders, hips and knees are all in one line. Slowly drop your right heel to the mat, balancing on the knife edge of your right foot and stacking the left foot on top. Stretch your left arm to the sky and lift the hips high to keep everything in one long line. If this is too challenging, drop your right knee to the mat for a less intense variation. Hold for a few seconds, then come back to a high plank and try the other side.

Benefits – This posture strengthens the wrists, arms, abdominal muscles and legs. The spine is lengthened and toned and balance is improved.  This also expands the chest, improving the functioning of your respiratory system.

Asana #4 – Upward Facing Dog Pose

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Sanskrit Name – Urdva Mukha Svanasana

How to get into it -

Benefits – This posture stretches the front side of the body, tones the backside and strengthens the arms and wrists. The abdominal organs are stretched and stimulated in this pose, which helps to improve the functioning of the digestive system. This can also help relieve feelings of depression and back pain.

Asana #5 – Camel Pose

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Sanskrit Name – Ustrasana

How to get into it - Start by standing on your knees with the tops of the feet on the floor. Place both hands to your lower back and lengthen your spine by lifting the heart towards the sky. Gently squeeze the thighs towards each other, press your hips forward and start to lean back in the upper body. With your hips over your knees, reach the hands back, one at a time, clasping the heels. Once the hands are down, continue to lift the heart and press the hips forward. Hold for a few breaths, then come back out slowly by placing one hand at a time to the low back. Come down to rest in childs pose for a few breaths to stretch the back.

Note: Be very careful coming into this pose. If there is any pain in the low back, come back out very slowly and take a forward fold. If you are aware that you generally have back pain, it is advised that you avoid this pose.

Benefits – This posture also stretches the whole front side of the body which helps to tone and stimulate the abdominal organs. The back side of the body is strengthened which can help to improve posture.

Asana #6 – Boat Pose

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Sanskrit Name – Navasana

How to get into it – Start in a seated position with both feet on the floor out in front of you, knees bent. Stretch both arms out in front of your body with palms facing each other. From here, lengthen the spine by drawing the abdominal muscles in and lifting through the crown of the head. Start to lean the upper body back but keep the same shape of the spine. Come to balance on the backside of the sitting bones and slowly lift the feet, bringing the shins parallel to the floor. If you feel strong enough, then extend the legs out fully and continue to lift the chest. Stay for a few breaths then rest in a cross legged position and practice one more time.

Benefits – This posture strengthens and tones the abdominal muscles, hips and spine and improves the digestive system by stimulating the internal organs.

After practicing these poses, hopefully you will feel strong and energized and that yearning for a double shot of espresso will subside……