Healthy Chocolate Pudding Pie

chocolate lemon pixabaySeveral years ago, I learned that I was borderline diabetic and I also started having episodes of severe hypoglycemia. Really miserable stuff when that hits. So I had to learn to eat differently and tame my love for sugar and refined carbs. The first step I took was simply cutting back the sugar in recipes, sometimes significantly, but usually by about 1/3-1/2. Usually, the recipes were sweet enough, even with this adjustment.

Over time, I also learned to make things using more natural alternatives, such as honey, stevia, and xylitol. Honey still has to be used in limited quantities, as it is a sugar. However, it does have some health benefits and I find it tastes better than sugar. Honestly, I also limit how much xylitol I use, simply because it still feels very refined to me. Stevia is much more natural, made from a ground herb. I prefer the taste of NOW Better Stevia Glycerite drops.

I also learned to use organic sugar, for the times when I need real sugar in a recipe. It is less refined and has fewer chemical agents in it from processing. While it’s still sugar, I feel it is healthier because of this. It also has a fuller flavor, so I can use less of it.

This is a wonderfully rich and delicious recipe that also happens to be really healthy!

Healthy Chocolate Pudding Pie

Ingredients:2 avocados, pitted

2 avocados, pitted

1/3 to 1/2 half cup milk of choice (I love the way coconut milk tastes in this)

1/2 cup cacao powder (cocoa powder is fine and carob would probably work, though I haven’t tried it)

2-3 Tablespoons organic sugar or honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of salt

Optional: low-fat graham cracker pie shell

Instructions:

Put everything in a food processor or a blender and blend on high speed for a minute of so, until well blended. Scrape the side  and reprocess, if needed, to mix everything well. Chill for about 10 minutes. Pour into pie shell, or for a grain free, lower carb, no crust pie, pour directly into a glass pie pan and chill for 30 minutes to set.

You can drizzle a chocolate sauce topping on this for garnish/decoration if you like.

Chocolate sauce:

1/4 cup coconut oil (do not substitute with another oil!)

1/4 cup honey

2-3 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder

Heat in a saucepan over low heat, stirring often until oil is melted and ingredients are well mixed. Stir in drizzles of milk of choice until the sauce reaches the consistency you want.

 

 

 

 

Infinite Reiki, Infinite Healing

Infinite Reiki, Infinite Healing by Angie Webster

Infinite Reiki, Infinite Healing by Angie Webster

We all have the ability to heal…

A true healing comes from within.

It’s true. While others can support us in our healing and offer us tools to assist us, the real healing can only happen from inside of us. Once we make the inner shift, the illness or pain falls away and our perception changes.

Every one of us is born with life force energy and we are all connected to a much larger Life Force Energy–no matter what name you give that or how you look at it. While we forget that we are energy beings, we can begin to make a conscious effort to explore this and remember. That is what I learned on my own journey out of many years of multiple chronic health issues. I found that when I shifted my awareness and understanding to this energy, I was able to begin healing. It led me to Reiki, which improved my understanding of energy even more.

Infinite Reiki, Infinite Healing is my new book, which has now been released on Kindle and paperback. It offers simple tools and over a dozen energy exercises to help you begin to learn how to access and work with energy in many ways in everyday life. I share how I began to learn about energy, my journey with being ill and the basics of energy medicine, as well.

Available on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/q7s9tom
Available in paperback: http://tinyurl.com/qh3lrns

Sweet Cleansing and Immunity Boosting Tea

0208151057This tea is great for boosting your vitamin C levels, supporting your immune function and supporting the cleansing  and detoxifying ability of the kidneys and liver. It is helpful for anyone who is undergoing a stress on their immune system, be it a cold or cancer. It can also help to support your body as you detoxify from medications you may need to take for an illness. As a wonderful bonus, it tastes wonderful, even without any sweetener, and it looks and smells heavenly.

I don’t get really technical about the measurements when I make this, so adjust this as you feel you need to for taste. The ingredients can be found in the bulk section of most natural foods stores or you can find them online at places such as Mountain Rose Herbs and others.

Sweet Cleansing and Immunity Boosting Tea

about a Tablespoon of Pau d’arco bark (large pinch)–immunity support/balance

2-3 whole cloves (NOT powder)–cleansing

about a Tablespoon dried Hibiscus flowers–immune support, cleansing

about 2 teaspoons dandelion root–cleansing, especially kidneys

about 2 teaspoons burdock root–cleansing, especially liver

Bring 32 ounces of water to a boil as you gather your herbs, roots and flowers together in a wire mesh strainer placed over a small to medium bowl. Once the water has reached a boil, pour it over the herbs in the strainer and allow to sit and steep for about 15-20 minutes. Place a small piece of cheesecloth over the top of a pitcher or a Mason jar. Pour the steeped tea through the cheesecloth into the Mason jar or pitcher. I usually brew 32 ounces more water and make a second batch using the same herbs, and then I toss them in the garbage. Refrigerate. Drink 1-3 cups a day over the next 24-48 hours.

Let Go of Your Chains

Photo Credit: Geralt, Pixabay

Photo Credit: Geralt, Pixabay

Don’t wait for another person to give you permission to be free. You are already free. Let go of your chains. You already have freedom–always. Remember.

We have so many ways to keep ourselves locked in and constricted, mostly thinking we are staying safe or being “good.” We tend to lock the doors to our cages and then give the key away to others, believing they control our ability to know joy, peace and wholeness. We can keep remembering to look for our own key.

This all comes back to lack of forgiveness, lack of trust in ourselves. We carry a judgment, trauma, hardship or a shame with us for so long because we feel it protects us from experiencing the same thing again. But really, we experience it every day, because we still hold it in our hearts and minds. There is scientific evidence now that we even carry it in the cells of our bodies.

There is so much talk about forgiveness. Unfortunately, we rarely hear what it really is or how to go about it. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person. It does not let them off the hook for causing harm or release them to do it again. It does not make you soft and weak to another attack. It makes you strong and healthy. It opens your heart and makes your mind more available to clarity of thought.

Similarly, self-forgiveness doesn’t mean that we neglect the harm that our actions have caused or that we proceed to do it again. I repeat, forgiveness is not weakness or giving in.

When we wait for the person that harmed us to do something to atone before we allow ourselves to forgive, we create a situation where we suffer. We usually believe that we are making the other person suffer and we even feel justified for that. But justified or not, most of the time, the other person simply doesn’t feel our suffering. We are the ones that carry it, not them. Often they are never even aware of it.

“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die”–Buddha

But even if they were aware, holding on to suffering because of something another person did only allows them to create more harm for a longer time, long after they actually stopped doing anything. We are doing it to ourselves, through our minds every time we relive the experience and our brains send that rush of neurochemicals through our bodies telling us it’s happening all over again. Over time, our bodies can even feel worse than they did during the first event. It’s repeat trauma every time we relive it and tell ourselves we are justified. We keep telling ourselves that it’s the other person’s fault, when we hold the key to our own prison cell.

So what is forgiveness? It is laying down your chains. Setting yourself free from the internal prison that the situation has created in your heart, mind and body so that you no longer have to carry it around with you every day. It is allowing yourself to release the event to the past, recognizing that it can live there, rather than in the cells of your body and in the neural pathways of your mind.

We can decide to free ourselves when we recognize that what we carry today is only ours, based in what we decide to do from this moment forward. It is not decided by past events or by other people, unless we allow that. The decision is ours and we have the freedom to make it.

It is a very liberating thing to realize you are not a slave to the past or to the memories, events and people of the past. It opens you to your fullest potential. It also invokes great responsibility for your own life. You can no longer blame the past or those who hurt you for your decisions. Your life is your own. You are no longer a slave to your wounds. You can heal.

You can begin to release those old traumas that you have stored through lack of forgiveness by simply acknowledging that you are ready to do that. It sounds incredibly simple and in some ways it is, but it’s the internal shift that is important. That is the turning point and it is the part that can be most difficult to wrap your mind and heart around.

Don't wait for freedom2Whenever an old wound comes up and you feel the constriction in your chest or throat or belly–wherever you feel it in your body–notice that you are holding that pain in your cells. That is body memory. Use that moment to recognize that you have options. You could become lost in the old stories about how painful it was, how wrong it was, how it was unfair, etc., but that will reinforce the old patterns. You will feel worse in body, mind and spirit. Ask yourself if this will heal anything in your life.

Instead, you could shift your perspective and accept your own power in this moment. Ask yourself what you can do with the idea that you may not have to keep feeling this way. Say to yourself, “I choose to release this experience from the cells of my body and from the pathways of my mind. I accept the lessons and leave the rest behind. I am free.” Notice how that feels different in your body. You may feel lighter, more open.

See how that has nothing to do with the other person? Nothing is required of them. They have nothing to do with your healing at all. You are really free of them and of the past. You are also free of any past versions of yourself you may need to let go of.

Open the prison door. Let go of the chains. Pick up the key to your own heart. You have the power to free yourself, if you dare. Just remember.

Elderberry Syrup

elderberriesElderberry syrup is very easy to make at home and is a wonderful and tasty way to keep your immune system strong during the winter months or whenever viruses start making the rounds. It can be taken as a daily preventative dose or the dose can be increased during illness or after exposure to help you fight off the nasties. It only takes about an hour to make, costs about $3 for a quart or so and lasts for up to six months in the fridge. Take a teaspoon to a Tablespoon daily for preventative measures and up to a Tablespoon every hour during an illness, until symptoms subside or for the first 24 hours after an exposure to a virus or a bacterial infection. *NOTE*This is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you or a family member are ill, please follow standard precautions and all advice given to you by your health care professional.

3 1/2 cups water

2/3 cup dried elderberries

about 1-2 inches fresh ginger root, cut up

1- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 cup raw honey

1/4-1/2 cup organic apple cider vinegar (optional, but adds immune boosting benefits)

Add all but honey and ACV to pot and bring to a boil, cover with lid and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Strain off liquid into a bowl and discard berries, herbs and ginger. Cool in fridge for an hour or so, then add honey and ACV, if using. Store in a glass jar with a lid, in fridge. Keeps for up to six months. Take a teaspoon to a Tablespoon daily for preventative use or a Tablespoon an hour when ill until symptoms subside.

Adding other herbs, such as 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of lavender, thyme, rosemary, sage and/or peppercorns will strengthen the immune boosting properties of this syrup as well. Just add them into the water when you first put the berries on to boil and strain them off with the berries when done.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome–A Teacher I Resisted

chronic-fatigue-basics-1Life has taught me that struggles are often presented to us with valuable lessons, like jewels to be mined. We have to briefly let of the fight to escape the difficulty and pain of the struggle, stop looking for a way out, and look for the lessons or we may never see them.

I have never wanted to accept that I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. When it was first mentioned by a doctor in the late 80’s , I thought he was mistaken and was a quack. I didn’t think it was real. I knew something very real was going on with me. I didn’t know anyone who believed CFS was real back then. I had had enough of being thought of as a faker, a hypochondriac. I felt I needed justification for the intense level of rest and sleep I needed, for the days I could not leave the bed, for the constant sore throats and body aches, the brain fog and states of confusion. I needed to be believed.

I would rest and sleep for days on end, often recovering just enough strength to fulfill a longing to re-enter life again. I wanted to be outside! I wanted to be with friends! To be active! But I would run myself into exhaustion in a short period and be flat on my back again feeling like I was coming down with the flu, needing to sleep constantly for days. This cycle led to depression pretty fast. Feeling like no one believed me made that worse.

The way doctors diagnose CFS and fibromyalgia is to spend years ruling out every other possible cause for your illness, aches and exhaustion. Finding nothing conclusive, they settle on CFS and/or fibromyalgia. I have both. There is really nothing to be done for CFS, as far a modern medicine is concerned, except to pace yourself and rest. This combined with the fact that most of the medical community and the general public didn’t even accept CFS as a true illness when I was diagnosed made it a disheartening thing to hear. I did not accept it.

But it’s true. I got Epstein-Barr, or mononucleosis when I was 14 and my health has not been the same since. It was like something switched in my system at that point. Like my system and that virus really didn’t get along well at all! Epstein-Barr is highly associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, though no one knows why, and it’s not in all cases. In my case, the virus has become active again a few other times in my life, which rarely happens.

I am now trying to see the things I can learn from CFS. I can learn to release shame and guilt. The shame I feel attached to others not accepting me for who I am and what I can do as well as what I can’t. The guilt of having to say no when I can’t do plan to do something or go somewhere because I know it’s just not best for me. The shame I feel for not being able to just “get over it”.

I can learn to slow down. If I want to stand a chance of feeling the best I can from one day to the next, I have to go at a mellow pace. I have to do one thing at a time. No multi-tasking. Mindfulness is key when being able to clear brain fog and concentrate at all is difficult. Rushing only exhausts further and eliminates any hope of fun or productivity.

I can keep learning the many things I can do to take control of my own health, in addition to going at a pace that feels right for me. Food allergies and sensitivities are a very real issue for me, and I can honor that and unapologetically eat in the way that suits my body best. I can work some gentle movement and stretching into my day, because I know I feel better and have less pain when I do that. I can sleep 9 hours a night, on a regular schedule, because I know that means less exhaustion and fewer days sick.

I can limit my time in loud and busy places, because they sap my energy. I can say “yes” when I mean yes and “no” when I mean no. I can remember that I am the only one living in my body, and I know what is right for it better than anyone else. I can still love my body and my life, even on the days I still feel lousy.

I can release the need to live up to others standards. Really hard one. I hate disappointing people. Maybe the key is to release my own inner demon that says I am being judged all the time. I can be my own worst enemy in that regard.

Generally I can learn to accept that I can’t control everything or solve everything. This may be one thing I just have to ride. Not control or find a solution for. Some things are like that. That doesn’t mean they are broken. They just are. Feels better just to write that.

Finding the Body Temple

the_butterfly_by_perkunija-d4n0l0b

I love the idea of the body being a temple. The body is the soul’s mode of transportation, the vessel through which we operate, learn, grow and expand. Without a body through which to experience, our ability to understand ourselves, each other and the Universe would be greatly altered and limited. Physical form is a way for us to learn to express love and gratitude. We become humble and expansive through being here in these bodies.

Since our bodies are so important, it is vital to take very good care of them. Honor them with appreciation and love. Accept everything about your body as a gift to you. All of it helps you to perceive your soul more clearly. This includes pain. Pain is a signal. As such it helps us see that something needs attention and care. This is as essential to us as air or water. When we trust this, pain can flow through us as easily as air and water.

I am very familiar with pain and illness.

I have had to re-learn how to care for and protect my body, and to respect it. I spent most of my adult life very sick and in a great deal of pain. Many days I wasn’t able to get out of bed without help. I was chronically exhausted and had fibromyalgia and early onset arthritis. I had seizures, sometimes several times a day and excruciating headaches. This became so bad that for awhile I was unable to form new memories, so I couldn’t keep track of what I had done already, or often where I even was. I have had a total of 13 surgeries, eleven of them abdominal, one on a breast mass and one on a knee. I was 130 pounds overweight several years ago. I was depressed and felt I had no function in the world. I spent an entire summer bedridden with one health problem after the other. I had two surgeries in less than a year. I was told my spine was deteriorating and my knees would need replacements within a decade. I couldn’t walk even half a block. Part of me wanted to quit. Instead I started loving myself.

Then great things started to happen for me.

Exercise, healthy food, water and fresh air are all needed to keep our body temples functioning well. For me, meditation and regular sleep patterns have helped a great deal as well. Once I decided to love myself, exactly as I was, all the things I needed to be well started falling in line almost effortlessly. I had spent years fighting my body and my mind. I often said I hated them and couldn’t wait to be released from what I thought of as a physical prison. I fully knew that I am not my body, but I wanted OUT of my body.  Things shifted when I stopped expecting my body to be different.

I quit weighing myself, something that I did nearly every day since I was a teen. I started a journal to write down 3 things I was grateful for each night before I went to sleep. I discovered that I needed to eat gluten free. Hard as it was, I made the change. I began working out—yoga, Pilates, cardio, whatever felt good to me that day.  I wanted it to be fun, not work. I only asked myself for ten minutes each time, but I found it felt so good and was so enjoyable that I usually kept it going for 30 minutes or so. I began meditating every day for at least 5 minutes. I allowed one stress free hour before bed each night and I went to bed at the same time each night. I opened the curtains each morning and let the sun in. Soon the difference in the way I felt was amazing. I was able to discontinue several medications within 6 months. The seizures stopped and I haven’t had one since.

Then I began noticing that many of the gluten-free foods were also natural and organic. I wondered if this could be contributing to my improved health and feelings of well-being. I began including more and more organic foods in my diet. I also decided to stop eating processed foods. Initially, this was mostly because I wanted to shift my food budget more toward organic foods. There wasn’t enough money for these and gluten free processed foods.

A new culprit appeared as I continued weeding out.

I kept soda for awhile longer, though I switched to caffeine free. I noticed even more improvement in my mental and physical state. Around this time, I noticed that on the days that I drank soda with food dyes in the (orange, grape, etc.), I felt an extreme change mental change. I was anxious, irritable and wound up. I also noticed that I had urinary inflammation similar to a low grade urinary tract infection when I consumed these. These were exactly the symptoms I had hoped to rid myself of by stopping caffeine. I did several tests on my theory and realized I needed to stop food dyes also. My husband was not convinced, until he tested this out on himself and the colored sodas had the same effect on him. Things improved even more. I was down to two medications.

My weight stabilized at a healthy place. Overall I felt very well. My pain had almost completely disappeared. I still got sick frequently with infections. And I was still tired most of the time. I knew I was borderline diabetic, but I had never done much to take care of it. My blood sugar would plummet frequently, leaving me faint, shaky, nauseated and with an intense headache. I tried going sugar free, but I knew the artificial sweeteners caused me other problems. The only way I knew to do it was by going without anything sweet for awhile and then reintroduce sugar to test the difference. My energy level came way up and I noticed I stopped being so susceptible to infection. I missed sweets, but I decided it was worth it to find a way to cook without sugar.

These days, I do yoga for about 30 minutes day, most days. I eat mostly organic (lots of veggies and fruits) and gluten free. I am eating sweets more often, but I sweeten them with organic Stevia, honey, dates or occasionally maple syrup. I meditate for 20-30 minutes every morning. Most of all, I have continued to cultivate my love of life and of myself. I can’t imagine not taking good care of my mind, body and emotions as I do now.  These days, it’s hard to imagine I used to live in such a miserable state. I’m glad it’s behind me, but I am grateful for the experience. It taught me to love myself just as I am. It taught me that love is the key. Like a butterfly I have emerged renewed.

**Editor’s Note, 11/13/15: I have since chosen return to no sweets or high sugar fruits, as my body felt best eating this way, in the long run. Blog posts about this coming soon.