Sweet Potato Workout Cake

I think sweet potato has got to be one of my all-time favourite slow burning carbohydrates. Not only because it’s delicious and can be used in both sweet and savoury recipes, it also has a minimal impact on your blood sugar levels (depending on how you prepare it, that is. A baked sweet potato has a higher glycemic index than a boiled or steamed sweet potato). What better way to spend a rainy long weekend than playing in the kitchen? This single-serve cake is a perfect pre-workout or afternoon snack, breakfast, or dessert. It provides hours of fuel and loads of deliciousness!

Ingredients

2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and steamed

1/4 cup brown rice or quinoa flour (or even protein powder could work)

1 tbsp coconut oil, plus extra for greasing

1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp baking soda

Pinch sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a ramekin or small dish with coconut oil.
  2. Steam sweet potatoes and mash by hand or toss ‘em in the food processor.
  3. Add flour and mix or process with the sweet potato. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix.
  4. Scoop mixture into your ramekin and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy. Bonus: stick a square of dark chocolate into the middle of the cake when you pull it out and let it melt. Yummm. 

Max Out Your Workouts with Affirmations

One of my favourites from HeyManifesto

What do you think about when you’re working out? Lunch? Chore list? Chances are, your mind wanders when you’re training. I find I can zone out when I’m doing cardio (especially when it’s not super-high intensity intervals, or when I’m outside). Considering how much time I spend getting jacked, I thought I’d take advantage of this time to increase my levels of awesomeness.

I found this great app called HeyManifesto. It’s got a ton of positive affirmations on brightly coloured pictures for all areas of your life. If my cardio takes place on a machine, I like to have something to focus on aside from the timer counting down the minutes.

The increased levels of feel-good chemicals and more blood pumping through your veins while you’re working out puts your brain in place for super-optimal information absorption. The neuro-linking that happens when you’re in a good mood is amazing! It’s one of the reasons Kelsey and I host The Awesomeness Advantage: whether people watch it for our giddiness and hilarity, or just to look at our pretty faces, it puts people in a good mood and sends home a great message. It associates positivity and feeling good with the ideas or messages you’re absorbing.

Positive mood + positive messages = increased absorption rate of said messages

You don’t need the app to try this technique out. Send yourself some positive affirmation pictures to your email (assuming you get email on your phone, of course) and flip through them while you’re on the bike/elliptical/stair machine/tread mill. If you’re looking for some good ones, check out my page on Facebook (there’s a link on the right side of this page).

Let me know if you try this! I love doing it, and I’d love to hear your experiences with it.

The Chocolatiest Breakfast Bowl That Ever Was

I have always been a chocoholic. Nine times out of ten, I will choose chocolate over any other flavour. While some people crave savoury flavours for breakfast, I use it as another opportunity to eat chocolate. And you know what? I don’t see anything wrong with it. It makes me really happy. A few weeks ago I found I had an abundance of chocolate-flavoured items in my house and decided to make the chocolatiest breakfast bowl that ever was.

The Chocolatiest Breakfast Bowl Ever

1/2 cup chocolate almond milk

1/2 cup chocolate (or regular) coconut water

1 serving chocolate Sunwarrior Warrior Blend protein powder

1 serving chocolate Amazing Grass greens powder or 1 large handful of spinach

1/2 frozen banana

Optional optimizers: 1 tsp maca powder, 1 tbsp coconut oil

Optional toppings: 1 handful chocolate Kaia raw granola (or regular granola), goji berries, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds

Directions

Blend all ingredients (except toppings) and pour into a bowl. Top with your, erm, toppings, and enjoy! Smoothies in a bowl taste better. Especially ones of the chocolate variety. Happy weekend! XO

 

The New Age Crystal Light

When I was a kid we always had Crystal Light drinks in our fridge. It was a childhood reminder of summer time (especially the lemon-lime flavour). I have a different type of “crystal light” now, one without fake colours, flavours, or aspartame.

Okay, and it’s kind of hippie-ish.

Here’s what I do. I take a few crystals and let them sit in a big jug of water for about 24 hours. Tigers eye and opalite are my current picks, but you should choose whatever you vibe with. This alone will change how your water tastes (seriously, try it). Tons of research on water will show you the effects of positively and negatively influenced water cell structures (see picture below), and this is essentially what putting crystals in your water will do. It will infuse the water with the characteristics of the crystals. Add some trace mineral drops to take it to the next level (check out your local health food store, they’ll definitely have a product like ConcenTrace).

DISCLAIMER: Do your own research on crystals and their effects on the body before making elixirs. Some have less than desirable or even toxic effects.

If you’re so inclined, also try adding some crushed fruit and a few drops of stevia. Add lemon slices and strawberries for a pink lemonade flavour. Or orange slices with vanilla stevia for an orange crush flavour. The options are endless. Plus, it makes you want to drink more water! Water’s kind of a big deal when it comes to your overall well-being. Just look at a plant. As soon as you water it, you can visibly see it perk up and glow a little bit. Considering how we’re mainly made up of water, it would make sense that drinking more of it would have a similar effect on us.

With summer (and music festivals, and outdoor activities, and traveling) upon us, it’s key to start drinking more water than you normally would! It’s one of my top seven ways to instantly feel better (as featured on MindBodyGreen). Read the rest of those tips by clicking here!

Infuse Some Love into Your Mornings

I just have a short post for tonight! I wanted to share how happy little things make me, a realization I’ve been reminded of recently. The last couple of weeks I’ve been using a heart-shaped ice cube tray to freeze leftover Americano and other liquid goodies. Each time I pop out a little cube, I feel a little burst of rainbows explode inside of me. It’s magical! It also reminds me that summer is coming, because that’s one of the biggest associations I have with iced espresso. Anyways, I love remembering how happy I get from such small changes in my everyday routine. It’s inspired me take some cool pictures and write up new recipes. Here’s my latest:

Sweetheart Espresso Floats

1 cup of almond milk

5-6 drops of English toffee stevia

8 ounces of frozen heart-shaped Americano

Mix milk and stevia together and drop in the heart cubes. Allow the cubes to melt a little bit and sip away. Optional: warm the milk and stevia first make melting a bit easier.

Energy Vampires

Yes, this was posted on http://www.abigailchristens.com a couple of days ago. However, my site is being glitchy (and not the delicious dub step kind) and all the content jumped dimensions. Until it drops back into this realm, I’m back on here for a bit.

You know the type. You plan to meet up with them (somewhat reluctantly) with the best of intentions. You promise yourself you’ll be patient, and kind, and a source of unconditional love. And then you see them. They flash you a half-smile and eye roll. Oh crap, what’s wrong now, you think. So you ask, “Hey! How are you? Everything okay?”

Forty-five minutes later…

Cancel that! Back up! Forget I asked!

You’re not a bad person for thinking this. You’ve just had your energy sucked dry! Your compassionate ear has turned into a sounding board for everything that is going wrong in your vampire-friend’s life. They’re sucking the positive energy out of you to fulfill their lack of self-love. It’s not that you don’t want to hear or help them with their problems, but when there’s no comforting them it can be difficult. Not to mention how it’s nice to have two-way conversations with your friends. So what do you do?

First of all, breathe. Visualize yourself breathing in love and light energy, filling your body with white light. As you breathe out, visualize all the negative, dark energy leaving your body.  Continue for as long as you need. Then, think about the relationship you have with this person. How often do you see them? Do the conversations always go this way? Are they going through a tough time? Are they usually super negative?

Would you feel better if they weren’t in your life? At all, or perhaps just not as often? I’ve certainly had people in my life that no matter how much I try to be positive and encouraging (even over the course of several years), they don’t want to get out of their funk. In this case, it’s been in my highest interest to distance myself and let go of certain relationships. It can be sad, but this is another way of setting healthy boundaries. You’re telling the Universe what type of people you want in your life, and what kind you don’t. Again, this does not make you a bad person. It makes you an empowered, loving, self-respecting person who knows what you want to attract into your life.

All that being said, sometimes people really just need an ear. Check in with yourself before you start writing people off. You’ll know in your heart if continuing that friendship is a good idea.

Homemade Mocha Iced Capps

I can smell spring in the air when I step outside. Nothing quite says summertime like a good ol’ iced cappuccino. I remember the milk-and-sugar-laden concoction from Tim Hortons well. The whipped cream on top with sweet sugary frozen caffeinated goodness underneath. The almost flavourless ice left at the bottom every time.

The bloating and the blood sugar crashes. Good times.

Needless to say when I woke up to a particularly balmy morning here in Vancouver, I immediately went to my freezer to pull out some frozen Americano cubes. Enter, vegan mocha iced capps.

Ingredients

8 ounces of frozen Americano

½ cup almond milk

1-2 teaspoons cacao or cocoa powder

8 drops English toffee stevia

½ tsp maca powder (optional)

Directions

Add all ingredients into the blender and slurp away! Sun, warmth, and tan not included.

Are You a Victim of the Victim Syndrome?

This is true! Go with the flow and let things unfold naturally. People might just be making room for you. Either way, don’t play the victim if they don’t make the space. It’s all a lesson.

I discussed in my post about consistently lucky or unlucky people that we are responsible for every occurrence that happens in our lives. If you’re anything like me (human and occasionally susceptible to outside influences, no matter how much you try), this can be difficult to accept. You don’t want to accept fear or pain as your own doing. Sure, consciously you wouldn’t ACTUALLY want it in your reality. But on some level, you’ve attracted it into your life. This is something the Universe has brought up for me recently.

{Story Time} A couple of years ago, I was in a relationship that was not the most emotionally fulfilling. Against all of my best efforts, this fellow just did not seem to express any kind of emotion towards me. Needless to say, sarcasm and dry humour were abundant. I’d touted this relationship as being the one that had hurt me the most. I had been playing his role in my mind as some awful guy who didn’t want me to feel loved (a little note about music, I had Beyonce’s song Why Don’t You Love Me and Drake’s Find Your Love on repeat during this time in my life – no coincidence there). I had been playing a victim to this situation ever since. Why would I want to accept that I’d attracted heartbreak into my life?

First off, it’s easier. It’s much easier to blame others, at least for a little while until it starts to become a regular occurrence. Second, the victim role lets us avoid admitting that we have things we need to work on. In a culture that prefers perfection to personality (more on this here), admitting that we’re not already “perfect” can be scary.

Well, thanks to the Universe, I’m able to look at this situation with a new perspective now. I realized that I am fully responsible for attracting that specific man into my life. I was so hard on myself during that time. I didn’t accept myself on many levels. I didn’t practice self-love. How can I expect to have attracted others that accept me, when I hadn’t got there myself? I reframed it: He showed me just how painful not loving myself is. It really sucks.

Realizing this was incredibly empowering. It was like a veil had been lifted and I could clearly see that he played a crucial role in my personal development. Thank you Universe for bringing him into my life when you did! I’ve learned that lesson, and I’m ready for a loving, healthy relationship not only with a partner, but with myself.

Where are you playing the victim role? Accepting responsibility for everything that happens to you (not just in relationships) is empowering. It might not be pretty, but self-empowerment feels beautiful.

“These Things Just Happen to Me!”

How many times have you heard someone say this? It tends to be the chronically unlucky (or consistently lucky) folk that have this mantra nailed down. So how do things – good or bad – chronically “just happen” to people? Let me give you some examples to help you better understand.

There tends to be one person we know who always has a problem. Every time you talk to them, they’ve either lost their cat or crashed their car or come down with the flu. Chances are, all of those things have happened to them in the last two days. Usually they don’t even want your help to solve these problems, they’d really just like to tell you about how much their life sucks. The conversation usually ends with “These things just happen to me!”

Alternatively, there’s usually another person in your life who tends to have fantastic luck on the regular. They might’ve found a $50 lottery ticket on the ground, got all of their groceries on sale, or met James Franco at dinner the other night (“He’s just a regular guy, honestly, it wasn’t a big deal” Yeah, okay Shirley, whatever). When you ask them how they have such good luck, their reply is usually, “These things just happen to me!”

The difference lies in how in flow and in integrity you are. Are you living your life purpose with joy in your heart, or are you going by what other people tell you to do, against all of your intuitive hunches? Are you in an undergrad program you despise and find that your essays get lost in cyberspace, or you’re chronically late for class (if you ever even go, that is)? Chances are, if you were absolutely in love with your program, you’d actually look forward to class. You’ll find your bad luck turns around when you start to follow your passion.

People that consistently have good luck are probably doing something they love. It might not be where they work, but it could be a hobby they do on the weekends. Consider that we spend the majority of our lives working, and if it’s not something we’re passionate about, creating passion in your life will likely be more challenging. Doing things (work related or otherwise) that fuel your soul are crucial to your overall well-being. It’s not so much about results as it is satiating your soul. Do something creative, do something fun.

If you find you are having bad luck, acknowledge it and take responsibility for it. At the end of the day, we are truly responsible for everything that happens to us. Vibrate at a low level, and low-energy events will happen to you. Once you acknowledge that only YOU have the power to change your life, you can start to take full control of the events that occur.

James Franco loves animals too.

No leaves in my salad please!

No leaves in my salad please!

You know those days when you look in your fridge and see so many great ingredients, but no clue what to do with them? I realized that all you have to do is toss them in a bowl together and drizzle them with dressing. Cool, eh? Lately I’ve been into super simple “chunky salads”. These salads are fully forkable, with no leaves in sight (I’ve preferred to drink my spinach and kale leaves these days).

Creamy Citrus Chunky Summer Salad

Serves one, multiply to your hearts content!

Ingredients

½ avocado

½ cucumber

½-1 orange

Small handful of parsley

¼ lemon

1 tbsp oil

pinch sea salt

¼ tsp dill

Directions

  1. Chop up the ‘cado, cuc, orange and parsley into chunks.
  2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Toss and serve.

Cool Black Bean Cucumber Chunk Salad

Serves one, multiply to your hearts content!

Ingredients

½ cup black beans (Eden Organic canned and washed, or homemade)

1/3 cucumber

½ pear

1 tsp honey

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Pinch sea salt

Directions

  1. Chop up cucumber and pear and toss in a bowl with black beans
  2. Whisk together ingredients and pour over the salad. Toss and serve.