Soul Care, healthy eating with my new Super Energy Bars and steamer!
So today was the day. It's the New Year, right? So, I attempted a new recipe of something I'd distantly admired for years, never dared to try and ...it turned out so deliciously that it will be a staple in my fridge.
I was inspired to finally try my DIY, no-bake granola bars on a nature walk with my friend when at the end she pulled out something similar to these treats and my kids devoured them! What I love most about these lovelies (see photo above) is that they are ... tataaa... beautifully DIVERSE (: yes they are a combination of all the best all natural, organic, even vegan unprocessed ingredients. Namely, cashews, figs, raisins, chia seeds, coconut shreds and whatever else I had in the house. I love that I can mix up this basic recipe and am planing to add friends blueberries and almonds to it. (Recipe is below)
Another thing I love about this recipe is that it's so delicious and I can give it to my kids for a healthy snack that gives them energy. Especially the chia seeds provide so much good stuff such as healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium! Chia actually means "strength" and was used by the Aztecs before they went into battle! Yes, so I feel super good about adding more of that to our meals (:
The only thing that I do not like about this recipe is the clean up after (: i used a regular blender and the stuff just gets stuck in it (of you have a food processor that may be a breeze). So yeah clean up... But honestly I would deal with clean up even after I made acalorie bombing browny recipe for snack. And weighing the pro and cons, the clean up is so worth all the benefits of feeding our bodies with such a healthy treat.
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Recently, and as we start a fresh new year, I have been thinking a lot about the fact that what we put in our body ultimately reflects how much we value our bodies and reveals our self image. Do I believe my body is valuable, sacred, meaning worth to be fed with wholesome nurturing ingredients? Or do I fill my body with foods that are not benefiting her and actually making her fight hard to conquer whatever pesticides enter in?
Same is true for our souls. Not to go too deep here. But since we are already going that direction... (and please drink some tea with me), ...what do you feed your soul? All year I've been pondering and discussing with friends this whole concept of soul care. Self care. What do we watch, read, eat, inhale. What activities do we engage in, what conversations are we part of? Are they uplifting and healthy or destroying some parts of ourselves and others?
I believe for many people being truly kind to our own body and soul is ultimately a journey. Not many grow up being taught how to truly take care of self, live self as we live others. Yet it's vital in order to love others well. Here the good news: I'm convinced that with every single decision to treat, feed, rest and restore your body and soul well, we are moving a little closer to a lifestyle of balance and habitually take care of ourselves. So, as you are reading this and choosing to much on some cashews, pistachios, plantains or almonds instead of the Snickers bar is a healthy choice in the right direction and will positively affect not just your future (body, spirit, soul) but your following ability to continue to make great decisions. What am I saying? Every good choice counts! When it comes to random acts of kindness to yourself and others, every great decision counts! Every decision on what book and life story to read counts!
And when we are gracious, good, kind to self we can also be gracious, kind and good to those around us, no matter how seemingly different they are from us.
So, throughout the years, as I became more aware of the body-soul connection I started intentionally feeding my body things that are good for her. I started investing into my well being knowing with that I was investing into the well being of those around me.
I started shopping at store like Thrive Market and Farm Fresh and learnt the tricks of buying healthy and organic on a budget... Healthy doesn't have to be expensive. And healthy doesn't have to be time consuming.
I found keeping it simple is always the best policy. Simple clean, pure ingredients, as little processed and add-ons as possible. And same goes for life... Natural will always be beautiful and never goes out of style when it's authentic. There's so much beauty to a pure, clean heart that has learnt to love and embrace self and others for who they are.
Yeah... deep thoughts here surrounding a vegan energy bar. Kinda random. But I hope it provided some inspiration for the new year in taking care of your body and souls...
... and I hope you will try and enjoy making your own energy bar soon too!
And if you are interested in trying incorporating organic fresh fruit and veggies on a regular basis into your week, here's a $15 off your first basket at Fresh For You (:
And to keep this blog and post multiethnic book centered (though I believe a healthy multiethnic lifestyle does include a healthy diet and soul care..), here a short review of two wonderful books that we read and re-read this week while battling the flu :-).
In between tea, naps and medicine we loved diving into the worlds of these two children books. And we keep falling in love with these book every time we read them! One is an early chapter book, the other one is a picture book:
#1 THE NAME JAR by Yansook Choi.
Each time we read this picture book (ages 4-8) I find even more and deeper layers of truth and love it even more! It's the story of a little girl who comes to the U.S. (from Korea) and rediscovers the beauty in her cultural identity! I love how little hero Unhei is portrayed as a self confident yet relatable little girl. Such a gem of a book that belongs in every library that aims to teach about valuing your own or other cultures. As a bonus your young readers will earn quite a bit about Korean culture as well!
#2 LONG WALK TO WATER
This book is by one of our favorite authors, award winning Korean American Linda Sue Park. This chapter book tells the inspiring story of a ten year old boy who escaped the war and led a group of 1,500 boys(5 years and older) from Ethiopia to a refugee camp in Kenya. He eventually gets to travel to the U.S., go to college and start a non-profit that provides wells in South Sudan. What I love about the book is for one that it gives so much background information on the war in Sudan, the war and how it affected the people. Secondly, I love that it is authentic and draws the reader into the realities of every day life of two Sudanese children. The book is meant for age 11 and older. There are two parts that are very sad (when his uncle gets shot and when his friend gets killed by a lion), but I could easily leave them out or adjust for my 5-ear-old. They weren't too graphic for my 8-year-old to safely read. But then again she is very mature. Third, I love even more that it has such a positive happy ending. It deals with a serious an important topic but does so by showing so much hope. It's definitely a book that belongs in any library that aims at allowing the child think and learn globally without leaving out any parts of the world. One of my favorite chapter books!
Genuinely wishing you a healhthy Eating, Reading and Living!
2/3 cups cashews or almonds
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup freeze dried blueberries or other berries
1/4 cup chia seeds (soaked in water over night) for that extra energy push!
Coconut shreds to your heart's content. ?
Blend the nuts in blender, take out. Blend all other ingredients except the chia seeds. Mix everything together per hand. Mix well into a doughy consistency. Now form either small balls or roll them between parchment paper in 1/2 inches and cut into squares. Sprinkle good portions of coconut shreds on all sides. Stores in fridge about 4 days well!
Ps: And since we are talking about health right now I just have to share with you a healthy lifestyle change I discovered and absolutely LOVED today!! The steamer in my rice cooker! Ok so a little history here: Ever since my second child was born, I realized that anytime I cooked rice, I burnt either the rice or the pot. One day when I was pregnant with my third child, my brother and sister-in-law visited from Germany and they couldn't behold any longer those burning accidents (: Solution: My brother told me I HAVE to get a rice cooker. I tried to tell him that as a aspiring minimalist and living on one income I really am not looking to make any new purchases on things I don't need. Especially since we are not even eating rice THAT often (2-3 times a week). But my big brother wouldn't listen and literally placed the order in my amazon basket. He's known to find the best deals and best quality products and I'm glad I trusted him on that, You know how people say, "this is the best $20 I ever spent"? This is REALLY the best $29 I have invested on convenience AND health. Even more so since I discovered the steamer today (: .... today that I'm not only able to easily let my cooker do all the cooking and forget about the brown rice bowling and switching off into warm mode all by itself, but because since today I LOVE the 5 minute steamer option. Yesterday I read a health book we bought a year ago and was so inspired to make some more changes in how I prepare foods. One thing I realized that it is SO much healthier to steam (vs cook or fry) your carrots and broccoli. Now I'm super excited about all the vitamins and goodness we get to preserve with the steamer tray of my rice cooker! And it even takes less time. My broccoli was done in less than 5 minutes. So, yesI may be the last person on the planet finding out about the steamer/rice cooker(: But if your family enjoys rice and your dinner times are more often than not interrupted, you should consider this rice cooker. Heres my whole hearted encouragement: get this beautiful (it's really pretty good looking!) tool. It will seriously change your life! It's built to last by the way. I've had it for over 3 years and it's going strong. Also, super easy to clean. This size is perfect for my family of 5. If you have more people I would go for the bigger option. And as I researched it I realized they just raised the price by $5 since I bought it.... sorry, but still so worth it!
If you are ready for a serious health make over, don't want to go vegan and enjoy the paleo eating plan, check out this discounted paleo cook book with lots of yummy recipes!
California based Ghanaian-German educator, writer, bookworm and mama of three. A lover of all things nature, diversity & healthy.
"Education is nothing else than discovery.
And discovery full of diversity is beautiful."
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About the author
My name is Nancy. I'm a teacher, home educator, wife, mother, writer and accidental German-Ghanaian transplant to the U.S., in love with California and all things diversity.