Beets are a versatile veggie. They’re great raw, shredded into a salad, or even pickled, or roasted with a balsamic glaze. Yum!
They are naturally sweet, and their flavour mixes well with orange, carrot, ginger, lemon, apple, chocolate, and tangy cheeses. So, beets would work extremely well in a carrot cake, apple spice muffins, orange biscotti, chocolate cupcakes, or even in a cream cheese danish! But since I love chocolate, I decided to make chocolate brownies with this superfoods.
I didn’t want to use an online recipe because, you know, it’s my blog and that would be a copyright thing, so I just threw a lil’ bit of this n’ that into a large mixing bowl until everything looked like a proper brownie batter consistency.
Of course, I had to taste-test the batter before I threw it in the oven. I’m surprised they even made it into the oven! I freaking love batters and doughs, sometimes more than the baked goods themselves! Maybe I should try a raw-food diet? I’m sure my raw cookie dough recipe would be allowed!
Anyway, they worked. They worked really damn well
The texture of these brownies are soft, dense, chewy and moist. I really, really despise brownies that don’t “sink” when you bite them – when they have a stupid cake-like texture. Ugh. Just ruins it! So these ones definitely made me happy and satisfied my sweet tooth!
-1.5 cups cooked pureed beats (put in a food processor to puree)
-4 tbsp coconut sugar
-4 tbsp raw honey
-5 stevia packets (or more coconut sugar)
-3 tbsp melted fat (coconut oil, grassfed butter, whatever)
- 1/2 cup plus 2tbsp cocoa powder
-1 tsp vanilla
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp baking powder
-1/3 cup kamut flour
-1/3 cup rolled oats
*Optional add-ins: chocolate chips, nuts, chopped fruit, whatever!
1) Preheat oven to 350*F.
2) Mix everything except for the flour and oats in a large mixing bowl.
3) Add the flour in to the batter, then add the oats. (And any optional add-ins)
4) Grease a baking dish (about 8.5 x 8.5 inches, give or take) and pour in the batter.
5) Bake for 20 minutes, approximately, depending on the size baking dish you used.
6) Let it cool a bit before cutting and digging in!
Like this one? Want more delicious healthy recipes?
Check out my other recipes at the bottom of the my Nutrition Section!
A while back I posted a “recipe challenge” on my Facebook page, where I asked my friends to list their favourite treats, and I would try to make healthier versions of them.
The first challenge I took on was to make healthy cookie dough, and it was successful! I made a whole bunch and shared it with a bunch of friends and family, and they all LOVED it! I brought over a dozen cookie dough balls to my favourite health food store (where all the staff know me lol) and they were in love. Sure, it’s a biased sample group because they’re all obviously into healthy stuff, but even my brother ravaged the cookie dough! Awesome
And here, I bring forth a successful second challenge – chocolate ice cream! You don’t even need an ice cream maker.
-1/2 cup plain 0% yogurt
-1 medium avocado, ripe
-1 scoop (28g) Vega energizing smoothie mix, chocolate flavour*
-3 tbsp cocoa powder
-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-2 tbsp coconut sugar (or other natural sugar)
-natural sweetener, to taste (I used stevia liquid drops and 2tbsp natural xylitol. Xylitol has 10 cals per teaspoon.)
-splash of coffee (1 or 2 tbsp)**
*You can always buy just a single-serving packet at your local health food store. Or, feel free to use any other chocolate flavoured protein powder, as long as it’s natural! Gotta stay healthy
**The coffee won’t actually make the ice cream taste like a mocha/coffee ice cream. The purpose of the coffee is to downplay the avocado taste. You can also use instant coffee granules – just a teaspoon should work!
If you have an ice cream maker, great – just blend everything together and freeze according to your manufacturer’s instructions. If not, no worries. I don’t have one either. This is how you do it:
1) Throw everything in a food processor and whip it up nicely until it’s smooth and creamy!
2) Place in a tupperware container and freeze the mixture until it’s rock solid, or just about. It will be very icy.
3) Take it out of the freezer, and let it defrost on your counter for just a tiny bit until you can break it up with a spoon or a butter knife. Then, throw it all back in the food processor and blend it up again. You’ll notice that the texture is no longer “icy” and frozen, but it’s getting more fluffy, like real ice cream. If needed, add a splash of almond milk (or organic cream, if you want).
4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 one more time.
To make ice cream fluffy and creamy, rather than icy, air has to be whipped into it. Kind of like how whipping cream works. So yes, the process is a little bit tedious if you’re using a food processor, but it works the exact same way that an ice cream maker does, except you have to get a bit more involved. BUT, this recipe is totally worth it, because check out the nutritional info below!
Makes about 2 cups. You get a massive dose of fiber (from the avocado and cocoa powder) and protein, as well as tons of healthy fats (again, avocado and cocoa). Seriously, this stuff is great for your health. This is also high in iron and magnesium, thanks to the cocoa powder!
For the ENTIRE batch…
Calories: 540 (this includes my 2tbsp xylitol, which is 60 calories)
Carbs: 89g (22g fiber – WOW! – and 30g sugar)
Like this recipe? Of course you do! Share it on Facebook and Twitter
Feel free to add chocolate chips, banana slices, berries, shredded coconut – whatever you like!
And here comes more completely flawed research that will scare people away from eating animal products!
This gem of a study starts off like this…
“That chicken wing you’re eating could be as deadly as a cigarette. In a new study that tracked a large sample of adults for nearly two decades, researchers have found that eating a diet rich in animal proteins during middle age makes you four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low-protein diet — a mortality risk factor comparable to smoking.”
First of all, it only compares the people eating protein-rich diets to people eating low-protein diets. There are so many other factors that should have been considered – namely, organic vs conventional meats being used in the study. Duh. It says NOTHING about the quality of meat they were eating – so we can probably accurately assume that the meat, whether it was chicken or beef or fish, was conventional, factory-raised meat. Knowing how our disgusting food systems work, the animals were more than likely…
-fed corn/grain-based diets (typically GMO, non-organic, sprayed with pesticides, chemicals, and grown in fake fertilizers).
-crammed in small living spaces, thus raising their cortisol/stress levels (meaning their meat, when we eat it, is high in cortisol and then raises our own cortisol levels, contributing to the health problems that this study focused on).
-given growth hormones and antibiotics…take a look at how that stuff affects our human health before we blame our heart problems entirely on fat and protein. Maybe it’s not the grams of protein or fat we consume that lead to the healthy problems… maybe, just maybe, it could also be partly due to what the animals are pumped with!
And if they were eating meat from restaurants, there’s a good chance they came into contact with meat glue - you know, the stuff they use for fake steaks. Gee, I wonder if that causes health problems at all?
It then goes on to say…
“Not only is excessive* protein consumption linked** to a dramatic rise in cancer mortality, but middle-aged people who eat lots of proteins from animal sources — including meat, milk and cheese — are also more susceptible to early death in general, reveals the study to be published March 4 in Cell Metabolism. Protein-lovers were 74 percent more likely to die of any cause within the study period than their more low-protein counterparts. They were also several times more likely to die of diabetes.”
*Excessive amounts of anything can kill you, so this statement is unfair. Excessive water and excessive air will kill you, too.
**Linked to does not mean causes. “Linked to” means other factors could have contributed (and probably did) to the health problems, so they’re not allowed to blame it all on excessive protein.
Oh, and not only are these study participants consuming meat, but they’re also consuming dairy and cheese. If it was unpasteurized organic milk and cheese, perhaps their health wouldn’t have suffered as much as it did by consuming regular dairy – which is even more processed than the meat it came from! The milk is pasteurized, killing off the bacteria, sure, but also destroying the good bacteria and digestive enzymes that let you digest the milk properly.
On top of that, we all know how much blood and pus gets into dairy products from the cows (thanks to being hooked up to mechanical milkers all day long) and that has to be “cleaned” out of the milk before we consume it.
And this is just before individual companies add their own specialty ingredients and colours to the dairy products – for starters, just read a label of Cracker Barrel “cheese” and compare that to some organic raw cheese. Their extra sharp cheddar made with 2 per cent milk contain vitamin A Palmitate, which is naturally found in animal fats. However, when you actually see it on an ingredients label, that means it was synthetically produced and added to the product. Want to know the problem with this? Too much vitamin A Palmitate causes headaches, nausea, vomiting, birth defects, liver abnormalities and reduced bone density. But what can you expect from Kraft, really? (Or ANY brand that isn’t certified organic?)
Anyway, got a little off-topic there…
But do you see my point?
Do you see how FLAWED and BIASED these studies are? Besides, what were the activity levels of these subjects? What ELSE were they consuming – a lot of sugar? Artificial sweeteners, colours, flavours? Did they drink alcohol, did they smoke, were they overweight? There’s an awful lot of omission going on here. Don’t even get me started on The China Study…!
How about we compare people who eat conventional meat/dairy products to people who eat organic, non-GMO, pasture-raised meat and dairy? And keep the portion sizes normal, not excessive! Have the subjects exercise, have them eat healthy diets overall, and at least try to let the only variable be the quality of the meat and dairy.
THAT would be an interesting effing study! There is NO good reason to compare a good hunk of organic, pasture-raised and humanely killed beef (free of added hormones and antibiotics!) to smoking a cigarette. Brainwashing at its finest.
It’s no doubt that a nice hunk of grilled salmon does wonders for our taste buds – but is it true that it’s also good for your brain?
According to this recent study on omega-3 fatty acids and brain health, the answer is yes!
The Oregon Health & Science University study found that monkeys who ate a diet rich in omega-3′s had highly connected and well organized neural networks in their brains (similar to the neural networks in healthy humans). Monkeys that lacked these fatty acids, however, had significantly limited brain networking.
The neural networks in question were responsible for things like visual pathways, higher-level processing and cognition, and attention span.
So I just checked out my Facebook movie, and over the past seven years, much of what I posted about had to do with my fitness/powerlifting life (including writing for fitness magazines), my love for kittens, and my creepy spider encounters.
I understand that a large chunk of girls are not fond of spiders and we all have some creepy spider stories to share, but I can say with certainty that I have WAY more spider encounters than most people seem to.
For many years now – probably at least five or six – spiders have actually affected the quality of my life. I would average at least two spider encounters each week, even in the winter time. But if it was summer time, I’d be running into the eight-legged creepy crawlies at least once every day.
But the weird part is that the spiders were always in the same spots.
They would always mystically appear in one specific corner of my room near my dresser. This corner of my room has the vent in the floor and my window so I thought they’d come from there… but even after keeping the vent shut and never opening my window and checking for cracks, they would still appear. No nests or anything, though. Weird.
Another spot they loved? My car. Countless times I’ve been driving and see a little thing crawling across the inside of my windshield. Cue me pulling over suddenly, cars honking, so I can kill it.
Spiders would also seem to “wait” for me when I’d get home in the night time. They’d be on my front door just about every time I came home at the end of the day, forcing my to use my foot to open the door, kick it open, LEAP inside the house and slam the door shut. There were usually two or three spiders on the door. But one awful night, I was just overwhelmed by the number of spiders on my front door. I STOPPED counting them all when I reached twelve or thirteen and I called my dad from outside so he could help me get in.
And the last spot they’d love to “wait” for me was on the wall area above the doorframe on the outside of my room.
I’d have to get creative in killing them – usually my dad or my brother would get ‘em, but if they weren’t home, then I’d use other tactics.
Spraying them with febreeze (usually takes a while before they start suffocating).
Smacking them with a long stick, like a back scratcher.
Splashing water on them until they drown.
But even if I wasn’t home, they seemed to follow me.
They were around at other people’s homes when I was there. They crawled around on sidewalks when I’d go for walks, usually forcing me to walk on the roads instead (seriously, you can even ask my boyfriend at the time – he’d get mad at me for walking on the road until I’d point out the spiders that popped up on the sidewalk every ten steps). In my ex-boyfriend’s basement, I moved a box, and a BUNCH of baby spiders sprawled out all over the wall. There was a nest of them behind that box!!! GROSS!
I could go on and on with stories, but you get the point.
But because spiders had such a powerful role in my life, I decided to research what this could all mean (like spirit animals, or totem animals).
Here is what one source says:
“The spider is a remarkable figure of feminine energy and creativity in the spirit animal kingdom. Spiders are characterized by the skilled weaving of intricate webs and patience in awaiting their prey. By affinity with the spider spirit animal, you may have qualities of high receptivity and creativity. Having the spider as a power animal or totem helps you tune into life’s ebbs and flows and ingeniously weave every step of your destiny.”
Another very interesting point about spiders:
“We can derive more Spider symbol meaning when we consider certain subtle characteristics that represent ancient symbols of infinity. The infinity symbol meanings occur when we consider most Spiders have eight eyes and all have eight legs. The number eight is also a symbol of infinity or lemniscate (an eight turned on its side). Also, the vibrational frequency indicates the meaning of number eight involves cycles, passage of time, and evolution.”
But what rings truest for myself…
“The Spider is the guardian of the ancient languages and alphabets. Every society has had myths about how the different languages and alphabets were formed. One example is the Ogham. The Ogham can be found in the web of a Spider. This is why the Spider is considered the teacher of language and the magic of writing. Those who weave magic with the written word probably have a Spider as a guide.”
That above point is very relevant to my life. I went to school for Print Journalism – I’m a blogger, a health and fitness writer, I have written tons of poetry since I was about eight years old, and… well… my life revolves around writing!
“Spiders are also found to be connected to Halloween or Samhain. This is because Spiders are related to death because of the venom they carry. This venom is of course also used as basis for the antidote, connecting the Spider both to death and rebirth and thus she stands for the completion of the circle.”
For the past few months, I have had significantly fewer spider encounters. When I went to volunteer on an organic farm in British Columbia this past November, I dealt with the worst of the worst spiders. Huge, disgusting, thick black spiders, including black widows (yes there are black widows in BC) were all around in the little cabin/shack I stayed in, and I had to kill them all because I was by myself. I had to get my sh*t together and just get rid of them. By the end of my week there, I was used to it.
But since I’ve been back, I haven’t killed any spiders – I’ve seen maybe two or three, but I’ve left them alone.
And now, they just aren’t around anymore. But I probably just jinxed myself so hard and will probably find a spider sometime soon (thanks to law of attraction) but I think they have been less and less frequent in my life because I don’t need their “guidance” as much, and because I don’t have such a strong aversion to them anymore. I’ve “learned my lesson” so they are no longer needed, perhaps.
In the past few months, consider the infrequent spider encounters, a lot in my life has changed. After my boyfriend of 4.5 years split up with me in September 2013, spiders have not been around nearly as often as when I was with him. That was the life cycle of our relationship coming to an end – birth, rebirth, death.
Also, my freelancing “career” took off during this time – my first legit paid article was published around fall/winter – just after that breakup.
And I’ve also dropped about 20 pounds between September and November 2013. It’s like my body is “letting go” of old hurts, old patterns and issues (sometimes it’s difficult to lose weight when you’re still “holding on” to difficult issues or old ways of thinking).
Finally, as I’ve posted on here before, I’m more in tune with my femininity. Powerlifting and fitness had sort of hardened me a bit, but on my journey to letting my feminine side shine more, I’ve decreased how often I lift heavy and get competitive, and spiders have decreased their visits in my life.
So, this post isn’t totally fitness related, but it’s just a peek into my personal life and that facebook movie got me thinking.
Do you ever have frequent animal or insect encounters that are just plain odd? Or what about recurring dreams featuring a specific creature? (I’ve always had wolf/coyote dreams since grade four, and more recently – the past three years or so – I’ve had recurring bear dreams). I’d suggest looking it up. It can give you great insight into your life and guide you along the right path. Here’s a great online dream dictionary. Random fact – I’m huge on dream analysis. Love it. What are your little-known quirks?