Recently a client gave me a piece of her favourite banana bread. Her absolute favourite recipe after many years of baking. Truly outstanding. She was kind enough to share the recipe and it comes all the way from Australia! I went to try the recipe and had eaten enough wheat in recent times, so I tried making it gluten free. First it was dry, then I forgot xanthan gum and on the third attempt, replacing the walnuts with chocolate chips, it turned out amazing! Here is the recipe, be sure to use mini loaf pans, the smaller volume increases odds of success, as gluten free baking can be finicky. Also check for doneness sooner than you think, as this banana bread goes dry very quickly while baking.
1 3/4 cups gluten free flour blend (I used millet, chickpea, sorghum, rice, banana and teff flour, more types of flour is better)
1.5-2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3-4 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together dry ingredients. In another medium bowl, mash bananas then whisk together with sugar, eggs and melted butter. Fold dry ingredients into the banana mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into 3-4 greased mini loaf pans. Bake for 20-30 minutes, checking for doneness at 15 min. Tops will be cracked, if a fork comes out sticky, the loaves can sit in the oven that is off for a few extra minutes to finish cooking. Enjoy at room temperature and store in an airtight container.
The start of 2018 brought to mind the concept and practice of gratitude. I practiced something of a gratitude journal and after some time realized gratitude is more of an attitude, a frame of mind, a form of consciousness. With the continual practice of placing focus on a more positive frame of mind, I noticed being grateful helps build strength towards being inspired.
As the sun sets on 2018, I’m taking stock of all the amazing things that happened and all that I learned. The challenging experiences I take note and consider how I can improve and learn. Every challenge in life is a test of what you really stand for-
Tomorrow, the first day of the year, I’ll take extra time to meditate and reflect on my intentions for 2019. Happy new year!
I celebrated my birthday recently by choosing a Wayne Dyer book for myself. I chose Real Magic and I have been loving the book. Essentially the message is we can experience real magic in our lives by choosing to align with our invisible spiritual selves first and foremost. Another way to understand this is to develop our intuition and use it to guide us.
Intuition is visible and invisible information experienced in the body as sensations that guide us. The discernment and application of knowledge through all of our senses and mind in combination with any extra information we perceive/sense is the effective use of intuition. Our first impressions are quite useful as a marker of our intuition. Be it a person or life situation, using our first impression as guidance can be helpful.
I discussed crystal balls and tarot cards at my last yoga class. I believe these are tools that can be used as guidance for yourself. We cannot know the future, however, we can clarify what our intentions are, which will guide us in the right direction. Developing your intuition through trusting it and taking appropriate action guides your spiritual growth to help you find the best path for yourself.
Recently I was asked what my most important value(s) are. It was a great question and I had to say it was my word. I’ve written a couple pieces over the past 6 years that reference the habit of saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Or being mindful of your speech. What we say can be meaningless or hugely meaningful. It is a powerful choice we can make. The concept is referenced in the bible-‘in the beginning was the word’
In Buddhism, the concept is right speech. Right speech can be practiced by asking the questions of: is it true? is it necessary? is it kind? can it be heard?
Before we speak. This is a level of mindfulness that brings about compassionate communication that is bound to bring positive change to the world-
The past few weeks I have found myself giving the unsolicited advice of making sure to take time on a daily basis to take care of yourself by being around or doing something that inspires you. The literal meaning of the word inspire is to breathe in-when we take in ideas that come to us in sparks and act upon them, we can learn the path of our spirit. Day by day, step by step we live our true purpose. Being happy and fulfilled in life is a lot easier when we are fuelled by what really inspires us and live aligned with our spirit, as our true self.
I have social media accounts facebook, instagram and twitter. I have been meditating on what it all means for some time and I am drawing the conclusion that social media sets up unrealistic expectations for real life. Kim Kardasian is apparently an ‘influencer’, and that is hard for me to understand…it seems to me that she insidiously sells fashion or procedures of the moment and she makes being fake normal.
I have been off social media for nearly 2 weeks and I notice how much more time I have for myself and my original creative endeavours. I also notice that spending time on social media creates unrealistic expectations especially in terms of our appearance. Why is it that women are held to the standard of having no wrinkles and being a certain size??
I think it is important to reflect upon what standards we are holding ourselves to and the influences in our lives. I believe it is always better to follow our own path and live for ourselves to be who we really are.
This month, I found myself giving advice to a client to be sure she focuses on counting her successes/wins on a weekly basis rather than how far off she is from her ultimate goal. I named the practice positive accounting, as in counting the positives. Every day is a new day and we have the opportunity to choose our experience.
I need to complete 900 clinical hours in order to graduate from the program as a traditional chinese medicine practitioner. At first 900 hours seemed daunting, plus I set the goal of graduating in 2019. This month I started to focus on the steps I have taken and it just feels better. I am still a good distance from the end, however, I feel as though I am making progress all the time when I focus on the steps I am taking.
Positive accounting very much ties in with the gratitude practice I started in January. Accounting for the positives reminds us we always have what we need to keep moving towards our dreams, goals and inspirations. Not only are we on the right path, we are well on our way to where we need to go.
Having a gratitude journal has been in my consciousness for several years. In that time, I have practiced gratitude informally and inconsistently. A colleague and friend Erin Phelan encourages us all to have a gratitude practice at her spin class. I got more serious about the practice last year with her enthusiastic encouragement.
At the start of 2018, it became an intention and goal that I will note things I am grateful for each day in my journal. So far it has been an amazing experience. Taking a few minutes each day to reflect on gratitude is the perfect combination of meditation, reflection, positive thinking, prayer, humility, and spirituality. What are the effects? I am finding that the practice of gratitude helps me to focus on the positive direction I can take and to let go of various stressful events much more easily. It feels like contentment and the middle ground is becoming easier to find, which is great news in making life good!
2017 was a year full of discovery and growth for me with many highlights. A couple weeks ago, a client mentioned wanting to make New Years resolutions for 2018. I suggested that he reflect and take stock of all the accomplishments and positive experiences of 2017, make note of the areas that need improvement, which will guide him towards goals to work on for 2018.
Willpower is like a muscle that will fatigue, so when we approach any change of behaviour, it is best to align with what you really want rather than to resolve to change something drastically. Put in other terms finding unconditional acceptance and love for yourself will make any change possible.
I am practicing what I preach today by reflecting, taking stock with gratitude for all the accomplishments and wonderful experiences of 2017. I’m making note of the needs improvement areas and will meditate on and set goals for 2018. Happy new year to all!