This Year, Be Your Own Valentine

Eat food you love that loves you back.

No-bake brownies prepared with walnuts, dates and cocoa powder rather than dairy, flour or sugar.

Eating is a universal pleasure. It soothes us in uncertain times (the country and the world could surely use a hug today, if not a physical one, an edible one.) Whether at an office desk, a restaurant lunch meeting or on your daily commute, one looks forward to eating food that provides succor. Comfort food is as popular as ever.

It feels good to nurture ourselves when we eat. How we feel after indulging our appetites depends heavily on our food choices. Unfortunately, the love we have for the food we eat is not always returned in kind by the body. The psychic pleasure from foods which do not serve us well (regardless of the short-lived high they may provide) come back to haunt us when the body bottoms out around 3PM or cravings go into overdrive into the night. Think sugar, the bottomless cup of Joe and processed fast food.

The body is pretty quick to inform us when it is not fond of our food selections through distress signals. Some of the more obvious include heartburn and indigestion, or the more subtle hints — lethargy, sleepiness, lack of concentration, bloating and chronic cravings. These are signs the physical body would like to break up with certain foods we hold dear.

CONSIDER THE ALTERNATIVE

We have all eaten a meal that offers up light, flexible energy immediately after we clean our plate. The food agrees with the body. It puts pep in our step. It brightens our mood and motivates us to tackle larger tasks because the body is in a state of balance. We’re thriving.

Today I opted in for a feel good lunch. I could feel the love long after my lunch break was over. It included a small handful of sweet potato tortilla chips (6–8 chips for those counting) which were dipped into a store-bought spicy carrot hummus. This was followed by a hearty, steaming bowl of vegetable bean soup. Dessert included a cup of green tea along with my three bite dessert rule on-the-clock. Two relished bites of a vegan peanut butter protein cookie and one perfect bite of a dark chocolate bar with sea salt and I was feel’in it -the love that is. This meal satisfied my desire for crunchy, creamy, cool, hot, spicy and sweet all at the same time while providing ample fuel for the remainder of the work day. Coupled with a commitment to ample hydration, I was charged to hit the gym in the evening.

Share these naturally sweet, heart healthy recipes with that special valentine staring back at you in the mirror. This year B.Y.O.V. (be your own valentine.) Your body will love you for it.

No-Cook Blackberry Jam

1 cup (4.5 ounces, 130 grams) fresh blackberries

Juice of ½ small lemon

1 T ground flaxseeds

In a bowl, mash blackberries with a fork or spatula. Add in lemon juice and ground flaxseeds and mix together until blended. Pour into a glass jar and let thicken for 15 minutes before using. If you want a thicker jam, let it set and then add more flax seeds. Store it in the fridge. Jam inspiration from Foodieunderground.com.

Serving suggestions: Spread 100% sprouted bread (the kind you need to keep in the refrigerator or freezer, rather than on the counter top) with your favorite unsweetened nut or seed butter. This softer, sweeter version of sprouted bread is from Mannaorganicbakery.com. Also, swirl jam into oatmeal or mix into yogurt with fresh berries and nuts.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Bites

Enjoy the simplicity of this decadent and healthy treat. Keep the bites in the freezer so that others cannot drool on what you crave!

Ingredients:

Ripe bananas

Peanut butter (substitute Sunflower butter for nut allergic eaters)

Dark chocolate or melted dark chocolate chips

Melt chocolate in microwave bowl or over double boiler on the stove. Slice bananas on parchment or a foil-lined cookie sheet. Top banana slices with nut butter and another banana slice. Lift banana ‘sandwich’ with a fork and lower into melted chocolate ‘bath’. Lift out of chocolate and lower onto lined cookie sheet. Repeat. Freeze banana bites before serving so that they harden slightly, or stash in freezer for later.

For more loveable recipes, including the raw brownies mentioned, visit my Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/wholefoodieronna/ or website at www.RonnaCorlin.com

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