Healthy Passion vs. Unhealthy Passion In This Crazy Age of Social Media

Categories: Uncategorized,

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This is me being silly, wondering how I discovered such a beautiful bathroom, not obsessively passionate about using my camera {cough cough yes you are cough cough who are you kidding cough cough} and deciding that writing about harmonious versus obsessive passion is a good idea. That is a lot to think about in just one camera click, but it happened and this blog post was the result. Let’s go…

The research of positive psychologist and passion expert Robert Vallerand is fascinating, and I can see why he became passionate about passion! More importantly, his research is wise and conducive to our happiest and most satisfying lives. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing. It’s easy to do things that you think will make you happy but will end up hurting you in the long run. Most of the time, we don’t even understand that we are doing it! The funny thing about us is that we don’t always comprehend what is truly going to make us feel good. Robert Vallerand understood this and he set the record straight on two very different types of passion.

Robert Vallerand has a great lesson for all of us to take to heart and apply every single day of our lives.

Get ready for this because it may alter how you see others’ actions on social media and it may alter even your own habits and routines. Vallerand discovered that there are two types of passions: harmonious and obsessive. The first is a healthy type of passion and the second is a hot mess of unhealthiness and unhappiness which we do because we think it’s good for us but is actually detrimental and the life equivalent of eating junk food.

Both types of passion can occur together, and both of them can contribute to how we define ourselves. Harmonious passion comes from our hearts and has no psychological strings attached other than our enjoyment. Obsessive passion, on the other hand, occurs when we become dependent on our hobby or activity or do it for the wrong reasons, such as the approval of others, for attention, accolades or in the age of social media, “likes”. It represents an uncontrollable urge to engage in the activity. According to this article, “Obsessively passionate individuals routinely fall back on the activity for self-protective purposes… obsessive passion is expected to be associated with less adaptive outcomes, such as pathological gambling, excessive online gaming, and online shopping dependency.”

For example, say you are an avid ice-skater and you twist your ankle on the ice. A harmoniously passionate person would take time off from skating to rest and heal, but someone who is obsessively passionate might keep skating and probably make the injury worse.

Obsessive passion can decrease your performance, increase stress, and reduce your overall health and happiness. It can even make you feel shame during or after the activity and interfere with your relationships. Obsessive passion can make us behave in ways that hurt other people while also hurting ourselves, they can be the propelling forces behind superficial friendships if you are “friends” with someone just to potentially increase your skill level and/or “likes”.

Social media is new in the big picture of life, but it’s making people do crazy things that make it “look” like they are passionate about what they post on social media, but is actually detrimental to the person posting it. Often posts are posted for the wrong reasons and to garner attention, rather than for the right reasons, which are to share help, knowledge, beauty, art and/or fun just because you love it and want to share your joy, creativity or knowledge. The important thing to recognize is why you are doing something. Are you doing it because you genuinely love it? Or for another reason?

Don’t get me wrong; it’s important to find things we love so much that we are willing to make sacrifices to achieve them or be the best that we can be. Just look at olympic hopefuls, expert musicians or that expert clown that traumatized you when you were a child! Wait, the expert clown was the one that traumatized me. Anyway, making sacrifices to pursue your dreams can be 100 percent healthy as long as you’re making them voluntarily and they don’t prevent you from enjoying the rest of your life.

If you start to feel like you’re making too many sacrifices, or that you’re too competitive or obsessed with one thing, take a step back and reevaluate. Your happiness and self-esteem are more important than other people’s opinions and/or approval from a group. Don’t forget about the other things in life that get you fired up, even if they’re seemingly small, like tuning in to a favorite show each week. Am I the only one who doesn’t watch Game of Thrones?! Don’t hurt me for this! It’s not because I am obsessively passionate about something, I promise!

We should allow ourselves the time and space to explore all the things that make us happy. When we are harmoniously passionate, we are happier and healthier, and will achieve success and greater fulfillment in our chosen activities!

Toffee Cinnamon Almond Cookie Bars

Categories: Uncategorized,

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Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences. ~Eckhart Tolle

Let’s face where we are right now. Let’s face head on whether or not our current situation can be improved. We always have options. Always. Now, one way any situation can be enhanced is by incorporating delicious food that also happens to be good for us. No matter what you are doing or where you are doing it, you can always have more pleasure hitting your tongue while not harming your cells.

Okay, well actually. I’m lying. Not every single situation can be improved with more delicious food. In fact, in order to make this work, you are going to need to be hungry. And on top of this, you shouldn’t be performing physical activity while you are eating. I am attempting to come up with any form of physical activity in which eating these bars would be ideal while performing the exercise and I am currently at a loss. If you happen to think of one, please let me know.

Yet, this still leaves us with many hours throughout the day in which you are potentially hungry. Hence, perfect opportunities to improve your day and ameliorate any feelings of requiring food which will likely ensue {unless you are not mortal and don’t require any food at all ~ I won’t rule out any superhuman creatures reading this}. You never know. Wow, and how old am I? Shockingly adultish. Shockingly or unshockingly my Peter Pan Syndrome {PPS for short} diagnosis remains as strong as ever. Let’s continue.

Recipe time for daredevils, non-daredevils, mortals and everyone else who has a sweet tooth without the guilt of eating calories that don’t serve your cells with health. This includes fellow PPS Syndrome diagnosed individuals. Mermaids I am excluding you because you live underwater and this recipe requires an oven. Sorry.

Note: The word toffee in this post comes from the usage of coconut sugar. I used coconut sugar when I made this recipe even though I usually use date sugar or whole dates as a primary sweetener. Why did I do this? The short answer is that I ran out of both dates and date sugar. Meanwhile, using coconut sugar definitely produced a toffee-like effect. A scrumptious, dark golden hue-contributing, toffee-like effect!

Ingredients:

2 flax eggs: (2 tbsp ground flax mixed with 6 tbsp water)
1/2 cup white beans from an EPA free can
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3/4 cup date sugar or coconut sugar
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground vanilla bean
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ceylon cinnamon
3/4 cup oat flour or whole wheat pastry flour (both work beautifully)
3/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup nondairy dark chocolate chips and/or raisins
Optional: Favorite coffee of choice to sprinkle on top (I used my fav dark french roast)

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper. Mix flax eggs in a small bowl or mug and set aside so a nice gel can form. Add all ingredients to a food processor except for the chocolate chips. Process until thoroughly mixed and pour the dough into a large mixing bowl. Evenly mix in chocolate chips and/or raisins.

Spoon dough into prepared pan and spread out until smooth and even. If desired, sprinkle extra chocolate chips on top and/or cinnamon. I use a pastry roller to roll the dough out evenly.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and slightly cracked around the edges. Place pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then, lift out and place bars directly on cooling rack for another 10 minutes or so, until cool. Slice and enjoy!

Melt in Your Mouth Blueberry Cake with Coconut Cashew Icing

Categories: Desserts,Recipes,Uncategorized,

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This cake. Ah this cake.

Is a cake really just a cake? Is a cake all that important in the world? It will depend on who you ask, of course. And it will depend on the cake, double of course.*

If you ask me, I will say that some cakes are more exceptional than other cakes, both in taste and in nutritional value. Recently I enjoyed Real Food Daily’s Chocolate Fudge Cake and that is not just a cake. A cake containing that much flavor, fudge and dark chocolate is something extraordinary in this world, especially when it doesn’t contain any dairy products or any animal products at all, for that matter.

Before I can allow RFD’s chocolate cake to take over this Blueberry Cashew Cake recipe post, let’s get down to unbusiness regarding why this unbusinessy cake (because its pure fun ~ antibusiness, if you ask me), is not just a “cake.” Besides the fact that this cake is so incredibly delicious it’s insane, it’s actually healthy. What. The. Heck.

Also, I acknowledge that business can be fun too. Very, very fun. For any business lovers out there, I get you. However, this cake remains antibusiness, pure fun and not just a “cake.” It is cake on health steroids (did I just write health steroids?!) and infused with deliciousness pixie dust. And when I write health steroids, I mean “steroids” in the form of plenty of nutrients from whole fruits, seeds and yes, even beans. This. Makes. Sense.

Yes, it’s true. It’s a healthy, exceptionally delicious cake. I don’t know how it happened but it did.

*Side note: Did that count for my philosophical questions for the day? That would be cool if it did. We can call it cake intellectualism.

This makes a decent sized cake, enough for at least 15 servings.

Cake Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon Stevia powder
¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
10 medjool dates, pitted
1 can (15 oz) white beans, go with an EPA free brand!
2 very ripe bananas
2 cups fresh or frozen wild blueberries, thawed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon ground vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds or chia seeds pureed with 6 tablespoons water
coconut flakes (optional)

Coconut Cashew Cream Icing Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw cashew butter
1/2 cup coconut milk (from a carton, not the canned variety)
10 medjool dates, pitted

Directions:

Combine whole wheat flours, Stevia powder, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl and stir thoroughly. In a vitamix, high-powered blender or food processor, thoroughly blend white beans, almond milk, pitted dates, flaxseed gel, bananas, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Blend until smooth. Combine this blended mixture to the dry mixture and mix until flour is completely immersed in the batter. Add 1 cup of the thawed frozen blueberries to the batter, setting the other cup aside.

Make sure to ONLY add the thawed blueberries and NOT the liquid blueberry juice. The liquid blueberry juice will make the recipe too liquidy. In a large, lightly greased cake pan, pour cake batter into pan. With the other cup of blueberries, add a layer of blueberries on top. Next, cover with the remaining bread batter.

Bake for approx. 45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

Blend all cashew cream sauce ingredients in a blender and spread over the top of the bread when it is finished baking. You do not have to wait until the bread is completely cooled before spreading the cashew cream sauce on top. It will not effect the outcome of the recipe!

Extra cashew cream sauce can be stored as a fabulously tasty dipping sauce for fruit for a few days. I find it difficult to resist eating the cream straight from the blender! On the final creamed cake, sprinkle coconut flakes on top if desired as an aesthetically pleasing garnish.

Gluten-free Energizing Superfood Fudge Brownies

Categories: Uncategorized,

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These brownies are benevolent, but may appear dangerous. After all, they are so delicious that consuming too many at one time is an entirely likely scenario.  This possibility can easily be averted. Perhaps not effortlessly averted at first, but averted nonetheless. Trust me, I am speaking writing from experience. There is a way! So, not only do I have this new decadent brownie recipe to share with you, but I also have a convenient strategy for avoiding overconsumption. Win and win! You may be able to thank me by preparing these brownies and celebrating the happiness of your taste buds. Well, that is if you love the chocolate, coffee and sweet medjool dates combination as much as I do. I seem to have a minor problem mistrusting people who do not enjoy chocolate {is this reasonable?}, but I hope to recover from this personality idiosyncrasy soon. Please wish me a full recovery from this chocolate “prejudice” of sorts.

Also to be noted is that while these beauties do justifiably appear as though they could be filled with mouthfuls of undesirable guilt, they are bursting with only the sweetest of intentions and salubriousness. Did I just write that these brownies are bursting with sweet intentions? Gosh, I would give human traits to brownies. Let’s both pretend that sentence didn’t happen. Moving on…

As a treat, I used Hersey’s Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder to produce an even darker hue and richer chocolaty flavor. As you can see {take note of photos unless you are blind, in which case I have no idea how you are able to read this}, I think that strategy worked. Look at that dark, almost black color! If you decide to use another type of cocoa powder, the final brownies may not turn out as dark, but there is no question that they will be just as yummy.

These brownies are energizing for numerous reasons. Firstly, this recipe contains coffee, which I highly recommend purchasing of the Certified Fair Trade variety. I’ve linked you to a great brand that I love.

Brownie ingredients (makes about 6 large or 8 medium brownies):

1 cup cocoa powder of choice
1 (15 oz) can black beans, aim for an EPA free brand
12 soft medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup oat flour (oats are naturally gluten-free)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup natural peanut butter (I used smooth)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon French roast coffee (or coffee of choice)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (aim for the ceylon variety)
1 tablespoon green superfood powder of choice (optional)
Grain-sweetened dark chocolate chips for topping (optional)

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Directions:

In a food processor, legit process every single ingredient together. You shouldn’t have any trouble processing them all. I added the dates, cacao powder, beans and water first, processed those ingredients completely and then added the other ingredients. This worked well for me.
Take a glass baking dish (8X8 size) and gently grease with coconut oil. Add the brownie mixture and press down with your palms to spread the mixture evenly. Bake for 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.
Cut brownies into squares, enjoy them as is or with your favorite non-dairy ice cream. Both ways are absolutely delicious!

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Finally, my strategy to avert overeating on these beauties if you decide to prepare them for yourself instead of a group of friends and/or family members is to cut them into individual servings you would eat for dessert {or um, breakfast}, wrap each square in tin foil and then freeze them all. This way, you can unravel a square and heat it up {it’s soooo good warmed!} any time you want without eating any other squares. Granted, this is unless you are unusually hungry after a hypothetically long workout {or hey, just unusually hungry} and can do with more than one square {lucky you!}. I hope you LOVE this recipe as much as I do. I am going to enjoy one tomorrow for dessert breakfast.

XO,

Talia

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