All my dairy-free readers are going to fall in love with this recipe. Every time I make this cashew cream non-cheese and let someone have a taste, the first word to come out of their mouth is YUM! I often eat this with raw crackers (recipe to come) or spread it on some wild smoked salmon…Mmmm my mouth is literally watering just thinking about it!
1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked for two hours)
Juice of one lemon
3 large cloves garlic (use 4 if the cloves are small)
4 tablespoons of fresh dill chopped
1 chive, thinly sliced (I only use the light green part, so I use 2 chives)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup filtered water
To soak the cashews, place them in a medium bowl with water. The water should be about 1-2 inches above the top of the cashews.
Drain cashews after two hours and place all of the ingredients, except the 1/3 cup filtered water, in a food processor or high speed blender (I prefer using a processor for this particular recipe, but a blender works well too). Slowly increase the speed and blend for about 1 minute. With a spatula, scrap down the sides, pour in the filtered water and blend for another few minutes. Pour contents in a mason jar with a tight lid, and store in the fridge for 12-14 hours to thicken and then it’s ready to eat. This recipe can be stored in the fridge for about a week.
Let’s face it, taking responsibility for your health, initially, can feel painful. It requires withdrawal from your favourite foods; time away from lounging on the couch and watching the bachelor (admit it you watch it); it often means you have to learn to pre-plan meals and perhaps adopt the habit of carrying a snack-pack full of celery (yummy) just in case hunger strikes at an inopportune time or place. Then of course, there is that social factor. It’s not uncommon for those around you to so generously provide you with ample opportunities to display that willpower you have been so actively exercising. It’s not bad enough that you have to convince your brain that you are enjoying that celery as much as your co-worker is enjoying that glazed donut they are stuffing down their face. It took a lot of self reflection to come to a place in life where being called a “rabbit” for eating salad didn’t retard my progress by making me feel a sense of shame. By the way, if you would take great offence if someone referred to you as a slightly larger, pink barn-yard animal with a snout and curly tail, then chances are that that person doesn’t appreciate being labelled as a “rabbit’ or any other barn-yard animal either–just saying.
Perhaps my all time favourite is when, while stuffing their face with that donut, one says “Well, I’d rather eat this and die happy.” A brief moment of deep panic sets in as you fear you may not have your priorities straight. Not only is Mr. Donut-Face more up-to-date with today’s important current events–like who the bachelor picked–but he has also somehow convinced you that you are going to wither down to the size of a rabbit and may die a miserable old hag! Oh, ya “I’d rather die happy” why didn’t I think of that? Well, if eating whatever your heart desires makes you happy, then who can argue with that? Oh wait… that’s right, I can!
Unless you are planning on dying in the next few minutes with that said donut in your hands, then you will not die any happier than the person who learned to say no to instant gratification. In actuality, if your goal at the end of your life is to in fact “die happy”, then you need to very carefully step away from the donut and arm yourself with a few new habits instead.
5 Ways to Die Happier
We are all aware that over-consumption of sugar is a primary factor in developing type 2 (insulin resistance) diabetes. You may also know that type 2 diabetes can rob you of many of the joys in life, for example sight or mobility. Diabetes can ultimately lead to blurred vision, nerve damage and loss of feeling in your feet, but what many of us aren’t aware of is that researchers have known for some time that there is a strong link between type 2 diabetes and dementia. The research estimates that you are 125% more likely to become demented in your later years if you have diabetes. I don’t know about you, but I would assume that it would be pretty hard to die happy if you can’t remember any of the things in life you are happy about.
The old adage “Use it or lose it” very much applies to your brain. Continually using your brain and learning new things has proven to keep your mind sharp well into your older years. Take advantage and double up by educating yourself on what it truly takes to live longer and happier starting here, with 4 more facts you didn’t know about your brain and body.
In a past post, “Say No to Crack” I explain how a high sugar diet leads to increased abdominal fat. Studies show that those with increased abdominal fat are at greater risk of developing heart disease. While I have been fortunate enough to have never had to experience watching someone die of a heart attack, I’d would say it’s probably fairly safe to assume that they didn’t die smiling. People with belly fat tend to have higher levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which would indicate that not only are they no happier, but they are actually more stressed out.
The good news is that a whole-food, high fibre diet, rich in essential fatty acids can actually decrease your risk of developing heart disease.
The nutrients you get from your diet are what your brain needs to make “happy hormones” like serotonin or dopamine. Nutrient deficiencies can mean that your brain literally cannot produce the chemicals that evoke good feelings. Even one missing nutrient can pose a threat. It’s kind of like baking, you leave one thing out and the whole recipe is write-off. You may say “Can I eat a salad and then eat the donut?” The truth is…not really. Because refined foods are stripped of their nutrients, they can actually steal from your body the nutrients they need to be metabolized. Many of the nutrients missing in refined sugar–that it then loots from your body–are the exact nutrients your brain would need to make these pleasure inducing chemicals.
You can increase absorption and assimilation of nutrients by working on digestive health. Eliminating refined or processed foods; eating a variety of whole-foods; drinking plenty of water between meals; thoroughly chewing your meals; eating only when you are actually hungry (not bored, craving or overeating); and keeping a peaceful state mind at meal time, are some of the most effective ways to support the digestive system, making it easier to obtain adequate levels of nutrition for all your body’s biochemical processes.
The reason why one might initially feel happy when they eat sugar is largely because sugar causes large amounts of dopamine to be released in your brain. When large quantities are released at once–or all day long for that matter–the dopamine receptors in your brain then down-regulate. Fewer dopamine receptors means, your brain needs to release even more of this hormone than it would regularly need to, just to feel normal. The result is you feel depressed, until of course, you get your next hit. Just like any highly addictive pleasure-inducing substance, overtime you need more and more, not only to feel the same high, but simply just to feel normal.
Exercise is a healthy and effective way of making sure your brain releases safe levels of these pleasure-inducing endorphins. In addition, physical exercise provides your brain with the neurochemistry that adds new neurons in the area of your brain that is paramount to your memory and attention–which can help you with #1 and #5 ways to die happier.
In order to get up off the couch and want to exercise, you need motivation. How does one feel motivated? Oh ya, that would be dopamine again. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that regulates motivation. So in other words, no dopamine = no motivation. This is why depressed individuals tend to have little desire to even get up out of bed in the morning. To add fuel to the fire, there are two sides to your prefrontal cortex in the brain (right and left). Recent studies have shown that people who are generally enthusiastic about life and have a positive outlook, also tend to have increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex–this area of the brain is activated when we are focused and goal oriented. On the flip side, those who lean towards a depressive state, or heightened anxiety, have increased activity in the right prefrontal cortex–which is the area responsible for daydreaming and ruminating. Lack of motivation to do anything, makes it highly likely that you are not spending much time using the left prefrontal cortex and spending too much time using the right prefrontal cortex, exasperating and already miserable state.
Luckily, there is something that can be done about this. It has be proven, that you can change your emotional set point by simply making an effort to practice activities that require presence and focused attention. You can simply start by writing down your goals, and then taking action steps towards them. It makes it much less of an uphill battle if you do what truly inspires you. Overtime, this practice rewires your brain and eventually makes it easier to adopt the new habit of acting with purpose, thus increasing activity in the left PFC, leading to a generally more positive outlook and passion for life.
So there you have it, when it comes to your health, ignorance is not bliss. I’m no human happy calculator, but more sickness, less memory, more belly fat, more stress, less motivation and purpose doesn’t add up to more happiness to me.
I do realize that this was a long post, as it also took a lot of time and effort to write it, but I did it because I think there is no worse fate than being trapped in a miserable body. If you would agree, then try implementing these 5 things, and join me in my quest to die happy.
I was excited to share this recipe with you guys, because I got really good feedback on the granola recipe I posted a week or so ago. This yogurt goes really well with the granola and it’s such a great intro to raw “cooking”. This yogurt is so easy to make it’s kind of a joke.
Since I have learned how to make this yogurt I have made a slue of different raw salad dressings, dips, pesto pizza sauce and even frozen yogurt (recipes still to come) using this yogurt as a base.
2 cups of young thai coconut meat OR 2 two cups of soaked raw almonds (soaked for 24 hours) OR one cup of each
One cup of coconut water (bit more or less depending on how thick you want it)
1/2 teaspoon probiotic blend powder or 2 probiotic capsules (open the capsules and just use the powder)
Blend all ingredients together in a blender. Note: if you don’t own a vitamix or blendtec blender then you may NOT want to use the almonds. I also peel my almonds after they have been soaked, but it’s not imperative.
Pour mixture into a container that has a lid, but don’t put the lid on just yet. Cover the yogurt with paper towel and let it sit out for 4-6 hours (depending on the temperature and humidity of your room) until the probiotics start to activate and make the yogurt tangy. On hot humid days 4 hours should be sufficient and cold days you will need the whole 6 hours. You can taste it at 4 hours and if it’s really tangy like yogurt and it has thickened, then it’s likely ready. Cover with a lid and put it in the fridge.
This delicious yogurt should be good for a few days in the fridge.
If you don’t like the bits of almond skin in there then you can drain the yogurt through a cheese cloth.
To make the next batch you do not need more probiotics, a spoonful of the previous yogurt will be enough to culture the new batch. When you do this you will not need to let it sit out for the whole 6 hours. 4 hours should be enough time.
If your yogurt starts to go pink then you have left it out for too long and you should start over. DO NOT EAT PINK YOGURT PLEASE!
Good luck with this recipe and keep me posted on how your yogurt turns out.
How about if I very cleverly package it with the word “Organic” on it? “Vegan”? “Gluten-Free”? “Reduces Appetite”? “No Sugar Added”? Oh oh, I know… “Fat-Free”!
We are all taught, from a young age, that heroin–no matter where you buy it, how much it costs, and how cleverly it is packaged–is garbage. When it comes to what we eat, we have a harder time distinguishing between what is healthy, and what is garbage.
As a general rule, if you would be extremely concerned if your dog got into it, and ate it, then you probably shouldn’t be feeding it to your kids either. It might also be a good idea for you to pass on it too. All jokes aside, thanks to brilliant marketing, it is getting harder and harder to know how to properly read a food label, and then accurately assess if it’s nutritious, or toxic.
For the most part, real food is not preserved in a package, which eliminates the space to write these tricky little labels, or a list of ingredients. Real foods (healthy foods), have a short shelf life; are one ingredient long; can’t be stored in a cardboard box in your pantry for months; and are unrefined, whole-foods. Thus, if you are reading a label, then that is a good sign, that it does not qualify as healthy.
That said, in this day, packaged foods are so popular for a reason. They are convenient, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Even I have some packaged foods in my cupboard at this very moment. When I buy these foods, I read the labels, and do my best to determine which of the options, in my opinion, is less toxic to my body. Words like “natural” or “calories” have little to do with my decision. To me, it’s all about the quality and quantity of the actual ingredients. This post, which is #5 out of 5 Simple Ideas That Completely Changed the Way I Eat, is meant to help make reading these labels, a little less deceiving.
Each food in it’s natural unrefined state, contains in that food, all the nutrients needed to properly metabolize it. For example, raw sugar cane, before separated into two parts–refined white sugar and blackstrap molasses–can actually be considered healthy. Our body recognizes it; can metabolize it; and readily obtain nutrients from it. White sugar is devoid of it’s nutrients, so in order to digest it, it must steal from your body all the vitamins, minerals and amino acids required to metabolize it. Furthermore, refined sugar is robbed of it’s fibre. Fibre is good because it slows down the rate at which a food is digested. This is important because it reduces the likelihood that the sugar will be released rapidly into your bloodstream–causing a spike in blood sugar and insulin (the fat storing, stress hormone) release. My top three choices for added sweeteners are, dates (a whole food), maple syrup (often not raw) and honey (not vegan), simply because consuming these doesn’t mean my body has to be pillaged of it’s own nutrients in order to digest it.
Then there is also the “5 ingredients or less” rule. The rule is…don’t buy anything that contains more than five ingredients. Again, 5 ingredients or less doesn’t classify it as healthy, but I do think it’s a good idea to avoid most products that have more than 5 ingredients in it. Greater number of ingredients can mean more processing, and greater toxic load. Especially, if it sounds like one or more of those said ingredients were made in a laboratory.
One of these things just doesn’t belong here. Can you guess what it is?
A-is for Apple
B-is for Brazil Nut
C-is for Calcium Caseinate
And what about here?
Let’s start giving ourselves more credit… Identifying healthy, is this easy. Go with your gut, not a fancy label. While it’s true, when buying produce organic is often a better choice, that doesn’t apply to everything. Don’t be a sucker for marketing, fancy brown paper bags, and expensive price tags. A creative campaign never trumps the extraordinary intelligence of Mother Nature.
For a nutritionist, the word “superfood” is kind of a double edge sword. I, for one, am excited about this new trend, and encourage people to eat superfoods. I can only hope my new term “superfood me” one day grows to be as well known as “supersize me”. On the flip side, I fear that following this trend, without educating oneself, can actually lead to nutritional deficiency, allergies and binge eating. Yet, I understand that not everyone has the time or ability to learn about, and stay up to date with all the nutritional information out there… the truth is, they really don’t have to go that far to be healthy. There’s a trick to knowing if a food is a superfood, and you’re in luck because I’m about to share it with you. Now you don’t have to be a nutritionist, doctor, scientist, or journalist to be the first to know if something you are eating qualifies as a superfood. The most important thing to remember is that there is no one food coming to save you, no one nutrient that holds the key to a long, healthy life. When it comes to making the right food choices, the key ingredient is the spice of life- variety.
Superfood: A nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.
That’s it! Any nutrient-rich food qualifies as a superfood. So what is a really good indication if a food is nutrient-rich?
No, not like smarties 🙂
Live, whole-foods, vibrant in color are packed with nutrients, antioxidants, amino acids, and fibre, all of which are especially beneficial to your health. Each color is unique in the essential nutrients it contains (for example, orange foods indicate a presence of beta-carotene. In your body, beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A–an essential nutrient for your eyesight and a powerful antioxidant) for this reason, to help avoid nutritional deficiencies and to ensure a wholesome, balanced diet, it is important to incorporate an abundance of all colors of the rainbow. When preparing each meal, one of my main goals is to decorate my plate with a prism of colours; greens, blue, yellow, red, orange, purple and so on. The more chromatic your plate, the more superfoods it contains and the more bountiful in essential nutrients. Of course, not every plate needs to contain all the colours, but as a general rule, I like to aim to consume all these colors in the span of a day.
Interior designers would agree with me that decorating is not limited to color. Additionally, adding an array of textures as you design your plate (ex. crunchy or chewy) plays a critical role in helping you feel satiated, invariably reducing food cravings after your meal. You often see an example of this in restaurants, when you order a salad, you may notice it is garnished with nuts, seeds or dried fruits.
Have fun with your meals, it’s not about labelling foods as “good” or “bad” and it’s not about counting calories. Fruits and vegetables are vibrant in color, high in nutrients and relatively low in calories. If your plate is mainly white, beige or brown, then it’s likely lacking a medley of nutrients. Mix it up!
Decorate your plate is part 2 of 5 simple ideas that changed the way I eat. Adding colour and texture to your diet is so elementary even a child could do it. In fact it’s an exciting, guilt-free way to introduce healthy eating habits to your children too.
I am looking forward to hearing if any of you implement these ideas and how they work for you. I invite you to repost or share with friends if you feel they may benefit from any of these posts. I am learning as you are, so your feedback on the blog is really appreciated by me and by other readers. Feel free to comment directly on the blog 🙂
As a nutritionist, I do my best to practice what I preach and exercise all the tools I have learned in my studies. Of course, like everyone else, I have days where I eat things that I know I shouldn’t be eating, but for the most part I make my best effort to be as healthy as I can be. People often make comments about how “good” I am or they say things like “you have so much willpower, I could never do that.” The truth is I haven’t always been this way… In fact I started out on the opposite end of the spectrum… it was not an uncommon practice for me to eat ice-cream for breakfast. It took years of learning about nutrition, the body, and lifestyle choices to get this far and I still have a ways to go. I went from a junk-foodoholic, to what some people would describe as a health nut. Day to day it appeared as if nothing was changing, but as I look back everything is different. I would like to share 5 of the simplest ideas that largely changed the way I eat.
These 5 ideas will be spread out over 5 separate posts. If any of it resonates with you, then I encourage you to try each one as we go along. And of course your feedback is always appreciated.
#1. SAY NO TO CRACK
What incredibly addictive substance is hard, white, crystal like structure; rots your teeth; and according to Psychology Today, gets you hooked through invoking a feeling of euphoria triggered by dopamine, the pleasure-inducing chemical in our brain? Well if you guessed CRACK, you’d be wrong, cause I was talking about SUGAR.
I know what you are thinking, in my title it said “simple ideas” and we all know cutting sugar from your diet is as simple as shoving a pencil through your own eye.
Morning coffee with sugar and a low-fat muffin with extra sugar.
Healthy mid-day veggie snack, dipped in a sugary salad dressing.
Lunch: a cup of liquid sugar (Pop or juice) to wash down two slices of bread (baked with sugar) stuffed with some kind of luncheon meat containing sugar.
Dinner: something sprinkled, dipped, coated or marinated in sugar, with a side of something else sprinkled, dipped, coated or marinated in sugar… and don’t forget your pop.
Dessert: I think it’s safe to assume there is going to be some sugar.
There are a ton of variables that lead to the craving of sugar, but one of the most common and maybe easiest to manage is low-blood sugar. When your blood sugar gets low, your brain sends some very powerful and impossible to resist signals for you to quickly eat something. So, we do exactly that.. we tend to choose from the above meals, or something likened to them. This is too much of a good thing, your blood doesn’t need all that much. In fact, your blood only needs a very small amount at a time, even a tablespoon of extra sugar in your bloodstream can cause you to go into a diabetic coma. After eating a sugary meal, we now have excessive, toxic amount of sugar in our blood stream. Once your body senses this extremely dangerous level of sugar in the blood, what happens next is–insulin (also known as the fat storing hormone…super awesome for us ladies! NOT!) comes to the rescue and saves you from what you just ate. Our bodies are really freaking cool this way. They respond very quickly in this emergency state, buuuuuut, there’s always a but…Insulin rushes in and takes the toxic dose of sugar from your blood and stores it, mainly in the abdominal region, as you guessed it.. BELLY FAT! What’s even more exciting is, when all that insulin is released, it can take with it from your blood, ALL the sugar you just ate. Hey look, that takes you right back to where we started–low blood sugar again! Don’t worry, it wasn’t a complete loss, you did gain all that super sexy abdominal fat. By now the low blood sugar has got your brain sending those oh so familiar signals, inducing cravings that seem near impossible to refrain… Good thing you packed that sugary mid-day snack.
If you start your day with a huge hit of crack, chances are you’ll be hitting that crack-pipe all the live long day.
The sugar train works much the same.
Try a half-cup of fresh fruit (ex. grapefruit) or berries before you eat any meals of the day. This will help bring your blood sugar to a safe level, which may reduce cravings and can quite possibly help you make better food choices for the duration of your day.
Unrefined, whole foods, like fruits and vegetables, are high in fibre, which slows down the release of glucose into your bloodstream. Processed or refined foods (white sugar, sweeteners, white breads, pastas, packaged foods etc) are striped of their fibre, causing rapid spikes to your body glucose level, invariably leading to insulin release.
It is very important to refrain from baked goods, and heavy starchy or refined carbs, especially at breakfast. Sure, you’re more likely to burn off these early-morning calories, but you’re also now highly likely to ride the sugar-coaster all day.
Vegetables all always a safe bet.
Physical exercise is an excellent way to help balance blood sugar levels, this is why we tend to have less food cravings when we are physically active.
Faith: complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
Two years ago the universe sent a series of events my way, that were the catalyst’s that catapulted me in a completely new life’s direction and environment. Over night there was a drastic change in the habitat that I had been surviving in for the preceding 6 years. I remember my mind flooding with reasons why I may not have had the ability to lead this new life, endless list of reasons as to why Icould potentially fail. Unfortunately failure was not an option. I simply wasn’t going to crumble and die! I had no plan and so I prayed, “Please God or universe or divine power, please tell me what to do, just tell me the next step I should take. I am not asking for anything except–guidance. Amen” Once I opened my eyes the word ‘FAITH’ appear in front of me, barely visible, suspended in mid-air. “Ok, That’s something…I suppose.” I thought to myself, “Not only am I completely lost, but now I am seeing things too… this should be good.” I grabbed a sharpie-pen and I wrote the word out on my left hand, in the same bold, capital, block-letters, just as they appeared in the vision.
What was I supposed to do with this word? Faith in what? As the kid growing up who used to take apart all the electronic things in our house just to see how they worked and where it all started, I had a little trouble just simply having faith. None-the-less, I was certainly going to give it a try, I mean, these were letters suspended in space–that almost never happens, unless of course you are baked. No more than a day later, I spotted this word, etched in a little, silver, pendant in the jewelry case at Winners of all places. Obviously I was going to buy it, I mean who wouldn’t? Suspended letters in space have now magically appeared before me in real matter. You could say I wore it religiously. On days when I would feel lost–catching the necklace in my reflection as I passed a mirror–always gave me a tiny dose of strength. The constant reminder of the word “FAITH” gave me the ability to not only keep looking forward, but to also walk away from my past and let go of it, with a little bit of grace.
The thing about Faith is– it works better when you know what you have faith in. At the time, I simply had faith in the idea that in the end it was going to be alright and if it wasn’t alright yet then it must not have been the end. I had trouble with completely accepting the idea of having faith in GOD alone.
When I was growing up my stepfather–who you could say was very religious–introduced my sister and me to Christianity. At the time, learning, understanding and accepting everything he taught us, was something I needed to adapt to, in order to survive in my environment. My step-father, bless his heart, was our perceived life-line in that time and space. He provided for my family, in addition, my mom found some security in his intelligence, drive and social-status and consequently, so did I. He also believed in the idea of “spare the rod, spoil the child” and I wasn’t a huge fan of the rod, so the few questions I had about that faith, I kept to myself, burried them deep in the depths of my mind and I was certainly not going allow those thoughts to grow. Doing this was imperative to my survival–not that I connected all this at the time. I believed whole-hearted that all the scripture in Bible should be taken literally and when myself or any other human-being did not live accordingly, then they would without a doubt be sent into a eternal, fiery-pit, of doom and darkness, for the rest of eternity. Not a heavy idea to put on a child heart at all! I can’t imagine why I grew up to be so scared of the world. The stories and imagery made just enough sense to me that I could convince all the cells in my body that they were true. Survival of the fittest thoughts. Confidence in these perceived facts and this trust in something outside of me, molded much of who I was in grade school. I even went so far as to tell one of my closest friends in the 9th grade, that she was going to hell for choosing to have an abortion, and I thought this was a good idea because I was saving her soul. Clearly, I was a good person for telling her these things.
Like all things in life, changes occurred and in my late teens, ignoring those little questions I had about organized religion, no longer suited me. Moreover, my new habitat had the right conditions that allowed those questions, thoughts or seeds in my mind to grow. As they grew, the more I adapted to the idea that my beliefs just weren’t working for me anymore. I grew to describe myself as “spiritual, but not religious” this was another beneficial adaptation to my thoughts, because it allowed me to connect to my next life-line.
At the age of 22 I met someone… I found him truly fascinating, we shared many of the same ideas about the spiritual world and we had an incredible ability to teach each other things. This man, my perceived soul-mate; was my best friend; he was also educated; had confidence in his future direction; he came from a good family and he took care of me in many of the same ways my step-father did, so I married him. I loved him dearly, but a lot of the confidence that I had displayed during this time was a result of a sense of security we gave each other Together the two of us were a force to be reckoned with, we were a power couple to say the least. He was a doctor and taught me all about health and wellness, an area which I always had a keen interest in. He displayed so many traits that I perceived were missing or under-delevoped within me, and I am certain he felt exactly the same way. We both had a false sense of wholeness, and all we needed was each other to have the confidence to face the world
I now had an increased sense of confidence and I felt it was time for me to go back to school and learn about an area that interested me. Maintaining a healthy body was always high in my value list, so I first studied personal training. I had no intention of ever being a personal trainer, my occupations were being a wife and a make-up artist in the TV and film industry, I just wanted the knowledge of the mechanics of exercise for myself. While exercise is undoubtable a huge factor in maintaining a healthy body, it wasn’t long before I realized that I needed to learn more about nutrition (a study that fascinated me) if I wanted to achieve and or maintain my ideal physical form. After a considerable amount of debate in my mind about whether I could actually do it, I decided I was worth the investment and I enrolled in a program to become a nutritionist. I felt I would be able to do this because I had this amazing support system in my husband, who was intelligent and could help me through these two years.
It was near the end of my first semester where I first learned that there was an undeniable link between nutrition and mental well-being, and it was then for the first time ever, that I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I went to my husband and shared my dreams to continue studying, eventually combining nutrition and counselling and help people heal themselves. His reaction was not one I had expected and only two days later I found out exactly why… For the previous three weeks he had been preparing to leave me… and he did just that.
“I don’t love you anymore.”
This was the event that lead me to need that faith necklace. I was desperate to find faith in something and even though I couldn’t describe what I had faith in, I continued to have it. Even though there were days when I didn’t even want to bother to wake up, I continually got up every morning at 4:30 am for my morning workouts, worked 16-hour days to save money for my tuition and continued my studies. I was a heartbroken, insecure singe female, armed with only faith in, who knows what, and a million fears…it was now time to face ALL of my fears. This included jumping off a bridge (of course attached to a bungee cord) With each fear I faced and with each passing day, my confidence in myself started to grow.
It was about 18 months after my separation where I met a girl randomly on the street who for no reason started telling me about her recent separation. I could feel her pain with every fibre of my being, this girl was me, only a year earlier. I explained the story of my faith necklace–as tears filled her eyes she said to me “My friends don’t understand what I am going through, I think you will be the one to help, I must have met you for a reason.” –I knew then that telling her the story of my faith necklace was not enough and what I really needed to do was give her the experience too… so I took off my necklace and I tied it around her neck. The two of us instantly burst into tears, it was without a doubt the right thing to do, but the moment I saw it suspended around her neck, I realized I had just given my external power-source away.
Days later I randomly found another pendant online–it really resonated with me at the time–the script read the quote “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Over the quote was a picture of what appeared to be a mustard seed plant. I bought the pendant, but had no idea what a mustard seed plant represented. One day, out of sheer boredom I googled images of mustard seed plants and what I found blew me away. A collection of images with a plant and the word “FAITH”. I had no idea these two things could be linked. Turns out there is a scripture in the bible that reads “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Facing my fears; trying to live by “Be the change you wish to see in the world”; exercising the idea of having faith as small as a mustard seed were the perfect combination of nutrients my brain needed to product the thoughts that grew to new beliefs about myself. I finally granted myself the permission to conceive the idea that the only power-source I could eternally keep faith in (complete trust or confidence in someone or something) was ME.
From that moment on I vowed to myself that I would actively choose to stop believing in all the lies or fears that crippled me for so many years. From that point foreword only thoughts that were from a place of love for myself were allowed live and grow and flourish inside of my mind.