HEALTH WITH JESSICA

{NO Flour} Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Cookies 

I LOVE baking and I LOVE peanut butter cookies! Today was the perfect drizzly Oregon Spring day to get my bake on ūüôĆūüŹĽ Oh these are SO tasty! Definitely a treat as they do have some sugar…but far healthier than your typical cookie! 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup peanut butter or other nut butter

2/3 cup coconut sugar

1  tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1 1/3 cup old fashioned oats 

1 tsp baking soda

2/3 cup DARK chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a large bowl mix peanut butter, coconut sugar, eggs and vanilla with an electric mixer. Add dry ingredients & mix well. Gently stir in chocolate chips.

Scoop cookies by the teaspoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet (I like using a cookie dough scoop).

Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes and remove when edges barely begin to turn a golden brown. 

Makes about 20 cookies

ENJOY!!

The Sweet Spot

When I was younger…in my 20’s (I swear that was just yesterday), I was so obsessive about my fitness that I would be a bear if I didn’t get my minimum number of workouts in per week and it had to be for a minimum amount of time as well. It’s as though I thought my body would puff up in one day if I missed a workout. I struggled hard with body image and weight in childhood & adolescence. It’s amazing how wide that pendulum swing can be. It took several years to settle. Thank you, God, that it did.The journey has been interesting and eye opening, however.

A few years ago I went to see a holistic doctor after struggling with my energy level and being confused by it. After all, health and fitness is my thing…I thought I was doing everything right. My diet was spot on, my exercise was spot on…what the heck? To my surprise, the doctor sat down in the office and started asking me about my life starting back in childhood. I was very impressed by this, given that I was in the midst of earning my masters degree in Health Psychology and really learning how tangled the web is that¬†connects our physical, mental/emotional and spiritual selves. What a concept that a doctor would ask me about my mental/emotional health from childhood on. I had never had a doctor spend time fully listening to me about surface level issues let alone asking me all this stuff. This is when I first learned about Adrenal Fatigue.

Truly the man scared me. He talked about what chronic stress can do to a body and there I was thinking I was not part of that population. I have never smoked, drinking has amounted¬†to one or two glasses of wine a few times a week (hello antioxidants). I never eat fast food. I exercise 5+ days a week. I have awesome friends and a solid network and my faith is integral to me. What’s the problem? What stress? If there’s any there I know how to deal with it…or did I? I was a single mom, working and earning my masters degree at the same time. Sleep was something I did not do much of.

So really, what does all of this mean? Since that appointment I have done a lot of research on Adrenal Fatigue and it has made a lot of sense looking back. I realize this has been something I’ve struggled with for years. Now, I know when I am dipping back into it. In fact, this past year has been the worst ever (you’d think a girl would learn, right?). I had so much transition in my life, a lot of it actually good, but change nonetheless, that my body just decided it had had enough. My energy levels plummeted, my immune system took a nose dive, my sleep suffered horribly…

What do you do when you hit bottom?

You breathe. You pray. You rest. You take care of your body by not overworking it.

This stuff is NOT easy for me! Thankfully I found PiYo a few years back and started teaching. It has been such a Godsend for my body. The strength and balance I get without the hard impact has been amazing. However, I stopped teaching classes at night for now. That was a huge step for me toward simplifying my life. I didn’t like leaving a dinner time and coming back when it was pretty much bedtime 3 times a week. Plus it made it hard for my body to settle down at night. I gave up running for several months to let my body heal as well. Running is such a love of mine, but it can also be so hard on the body. I’m back at it and thankfully it feels good again!

I have been practicing the art of saying “no” as well. Seriously not easy for me! And I say “practicing” because I have a ways to go yet. But, it’s amazing how freeing it feels to protect your little world by saying that. When I say no to something that doesn’t fit my own schedule or goals or that of my family, I am saying yes to the direction I am really trying to go in and I am saying yes to my family. That part feels amazing.

So now, I am enjoying exercise on my own terms rather than having it dictate me and how I feel about myself. I am being more purposeful in decisions I make and making sure they line up with what I want life to look like for my family and myself. I am embracing “no” as something that can can be such a gift. It’s always an adventure, life is. I love that I am operating less on caffeine and autopilot and more from intention. It’s kind of nice.

If you are caught up in the constant going, always busy, saying yes to everything cycle….I encourage you to sit back and breathe. Then pick something today to say no too and say yes to something better.

Lots of love…
Jess

The Astonishing Power of Habit & How To Make it Work in Your Favor

First of all, wouldn’t you agree that when you hear the word “habit”, you instantly think of bad habits? I mean, most of the time when the word even comes up, it’s due to the fact that we want to get rid of a bad habit. This is part of the mindset that I think gets us off on the wrong foot with this whole thing.¬†

When you give it even a little bit of thought, it is clear that everything we do is based on habit. That’s what allows us to go about our day and not think through every little thing. I don’t argue with myself over whether or not I am going to brush my teeth, I just do it. I don’t ponder the idea of using my turn signal or not, I just do it (bad example? Don’t be that guy! ¬†Use your freakin’ turn signals #petpeeve). I don’t have to think about bringing my phone with me when I leave the house, it’s an automatic thing. I don’t have to think about doing something with my hair and makeup before I leave the house (you’re welcome) : I just do it.

We all differ in our habits, the ability to easily create new ones and on which are more important to us. But, we all have habits that are deeply ingrained in us and in our routine.

Here are some tips to help you along the way:

  1. LET GO OF IDEAS THAT MAKE CHANGING HABITS HARDER
    First of all, I beg of you to get the “it takes 21 days to form a habit” crap out of your head. Let it go. ¬†I have never read/heard any scientific¬†evidence that this little idea is anything more than just cute. Truly though, it can make habit forming so much harder. Do this for me: think LIFESTYLE CHANGE. Don’t set your eyes on just 21 days. Likely, that time will come and pass and then it will be a big relief (even subconsciously) to let go of all the progress you’ve made. Because, let’s face it: it’s hard changing habits! Instead, think of the awesomeness that will happen in your life because this new habit will be part of you.
  2. REPLACE THE BAD HABIT
    I cannot emphasize this enough! If you don’t purposely replace the bad habit with ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† something that serves you better, you’ll unknowingly¬†replace it with something just as ¬†
    bad, if not worse. Think about it: you’re doing it (whatever habit it might be) for a reason!For example: I have the habit of munching at night. ¬†I get very snacky, even if I’ve had dinner and I’m truly not hungry! What I have come to realize about myself, after trying to majorly restrict myself and feeling miserable, is that it’s a form of relaxing for me. It is part of my nightly ritual once my kiddo is in bed and I’m not longer focused on “work” and what all I NEED to be doing, to just take care of me for a bit. Isn’t that why we snack? It gives us happy feelings. It truly does. Food releases all those awesomely wonderful happy chemicals and that’s why we treat it like a drug without even realizing it.¬†So, rather than trying to take the habit away and hope it sticks, I have another plan that works better. I change the habit. I do a few things: I LOVE baths and an epsom salt bath in the evening really makes me feel more calm, relaxed and like I am doing something good for me. I exercise a lot, so it truly is therapeutic. I also still allow myself to snack, but it’s purposeful. I love a glass of wine in the evening and will do something like air popped popcorn (with real butter & sea salt!) with my hubby or a frozen Greek yogurt bar. It’s controlled, rather than mindless! No regrets then.
  3.  

    REWARD YOURSELF
    I am a big proponent¬†of recognizing hard work and celebrating it! Make a chart of what you will do when you’ve reached small steps with your habit. Choose a that will help inspire you to keep going and help make¬†that habit even more a natural part of your life. Obviously a donut would not be the choice to make if you’ve lost 5 pounds from eating better! A health magazine or new workout top would be, though!


  4. GO PUBLIC
    Now, for this one I don’t mean posting on Facebook¬†that you will never be eating sugar again starting NOW. That can backfire and then you feel ashamed when you slip up. Rather, announce that you have accomplished “fill in the blank”. Let’s say it’s been 7 days since your last soda: celebrate!! 2 weeks of smoking half as much as you used to and it continues to go down: tell us! You’ve exercised 5 out of 7 days for 3 weeks in a row: hello!!This is when you let the world know what’s going on, because the encouragement you will get will totally propel you forward! ¬†AND, you will inspire people along the way as well. ¬†Pretty awesome!

  5. BE REALISTIC
    Let’s me real about how hard it really is to change habits. Why oh why would you try to change 7 at once? Really. “I’ve never exercised before and I LOVE fast food, but starting tomorrow I’m exercising 7 days a week, tracking ALL my food, eating no sugar, giving up fast food, drinking 64 oz of water a day, eating 5 cups of veggies AND no more staying up until midnight: bed at 9pm!”

    GOOD LUCK to ya.

    Start with one thing. Focus on that and I am tellin’ you, other habits will change as well without you even realizing it! You might stop drinking so much soda simply because you’re exercising more and just don’t have the same cravings, for example. It’s awesome how this stuff works!

    Also, like my example with nighttime snacking, I am being realistic by recognizing it’s part of my ritual and it doesn’t have to go away: I just have to change how I do it. I’ve learned that trying to totally do away with it is not what I am interested in. If you’re not all in, it just won’t work.

So there you have it. This is all just my opinion and what I have noticed in myself and clients I’ve worked with. I want to hear from YOU! What works for you? What hasn’t worked for you?

Are you currently working on a habit and in need of some accountability? Connect with me! I’d love to offer some support and help you celebrate along the way!

Email: jessica@healthwithjess.com

 

Happy Spring, Friends!

XOXO, 
Jess

 

“Healthier” no bake cookies

For those of you wanting a delicious, chocolatey, peanut buttery treat that is on the healthier side…here you go!!

*WARNING: these little guys are super CALORIE DENSE and they go down very easy!! So, consider yourself warned! I recommend keeping them in the freezer and allowing yourself one per day. 

Also note, you can use whatever kind of nut butter you prefer! 


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil ūüĆī 
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cup oats (not instant please!)
  • 1/2 cup DARK chocolate (72% or more)

DIRECTIONS:

Melt chocolate, coconut oil, peanut butter & honey in medium pan on medium. Stir frequently.

When chocolate is completely melted and all ingredients are mixed well, remove from heat. Stir in vanilla & oatmeal. Mix well.

Drop spoonfuls of batter onto parchment paper or foil. Place in fridge or freezer to set. 

Again: these are very calorie dense! Regardless of the healthier ingredients you can very quickly over do it with these scrumptious treats. 

Makes about 24, depending on size of spoonfuls of course! 

Cranberry Vanilla Energy Bites

I am passionate about snacks (in case you don’t already know this about me). I can blame it on blood sugar issues, but really, I love food. I also love creating new snacks that I can take with me, that taste good and are still good for me! Here’s the latest and I have to say, my new favorite flavor!


INGREDIENTS

  • 6-7 pitted dates 
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (go for the no sugar added)
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (minus the shell)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of sea salt

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until it is a sticky dough consistency. I use my little cookie dough scoop and for individual balls with it. You could also press the dough into a small pan and cut them into squares. 

Wa-la! That’s it! My new fav!

ENJOY!

xoxo Jess

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