The Secret to Letting Go


“I think of the trees and how simply they let go, let fall the riches of a season, how without grief (it seems) they can let go and go deep into their roots for renewal and sleep…. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.” – May Sarton

I went through a very difficult period a few years ago.

Well intentioned people around me would just tell me – you just need to let it go. Let it go!

This advice was useless to me.

I couldn’t let it go because letting go felt like giving up. It felt like telling myself it didn’t matter to me when it was all I could think of. The mere thought of letting go filled me with dread.

So I kept soldering on. I tried convincing myself that everything was OK. I tried positive thinking. I tried positive affirmations.

None of it worked. It only made me feel like a failure because there was a disconnect between what I felt and what I kept telling myself.
It was only when I allowed myself to feel sadness that I was able to let go of a situation that wasn’t working anyway and to start living in a much healthier way.

Sounds strange, right? Why would connecting to sadness actually help in letting go?

Because that is the role of sadness.

All emotions have a message they want to convey, a role they play in our internal village. 

The word emotions comes from the latin ‘movere’ or to move and that is what emotions want us to do – they want to move us to do something.

Sadness wants us to let go.

I see sadness is the street sweeper of our internal village. 

When sadness shows up, it helps us:

♥ To recognize that something is no longer needed or working for us

♥ It helps us release it

♥ And in doing so, it helps us make room for the new – to rejuvenate

Like the autumn trees letting go of dead leaves in order to rest in the winter and rejuvenate in the spring, we too are cyclical.

And when sadness shows up, it asks the question:

What no longer works for me and needs to be let go of? What needs to be rejuvenated? 

As Karla McLaren writes, “Sadness helps you slow down, feel your losses, and release that which needs to be released – to soften into the flow of life instead of holding yourself rigidly and pushing ever onward.” 

Every emotion shows up first as a physical sensation in our body.

We don’t just feel emotions as mental states but as body states first. And with sadness, when we allow it to be without resisting or fighting or numbing it – it helps us let go. Healthy sadness is a physical release, a relaxation, – and tears are also a way of letting go, of physically eliminating toxins and restoring flow.

Like the leaves of a tree, everything in life has its own time or cycle. 

What might have served at one point, worked well even, now no longer does. Sadness signals to us that it is time to let go.

Let go of things that aren’t working for us…

♥ like tension

♥ muscle tightness

But also 

♥ anxiety

♥ soldiering on behaviors

♥ thoughts, behaviors or beliefs that we are no longer working for us but that we are still holding on to

♥ a relationship or certain dynamics in a relationship

♥ a situation

Letting go restores flow. It allows us to make space for new ideas and needs and desires that are more connected to who we are right now – rather than holding on to outdated ideas or needs or beliefs or relationships.

So what happens in our village if we don’t feel sadness – if we try to not feel it or never allow ourselves to physically relax? Our village gets overrun with garbage. And who wants to live in a cluttered village that is overflowing with garbage? This can even lead to burn out or depression.

When you allow yourself to welcome your sadness instead of fighting it, trying to suppress it or distracting yourself from it, you allow it to sweep away what no longer works for you.

We think sadness wants to steal something from us or to hurt us and that we have to fight it or protect ourselves from it. Yet the willingness to feel sadness is the secret to being able to let go. And it is only when we let go that we can rejuvenate, that we can make room for new, vibrant, beautiful leaves – leaves that reflect who we are today.

So as much as possible, can you stay open to your sadness and simply notice:

What must be released?


What must be rejuvenated?

And next time you feel sadness instead of resisting it or trying not to feel it, see if you can breathe in deeply and let go of tension as you exhale. Let your body help you work with your sadness and notice how much more flowing and vital life becomes.

Allow your street sweeper to do their job.

In the hero stories, the call to go on a journey takes the form of a loss, an error, a wound, an unexplainable longing, or a sense of a mission. When any of these happens to us, we are being summoned to make a transition. It will always mean leaving something behind…The paradox here is that loss is a path to gain. – David Richo

Inspired by The Language of Emotions by Karla McLaren + Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Below are some photos of the recent yoga + psychology event in the park with Marisa of Wild.Happy.Heart.


What’s Your Word for 2016?

Word-of-the-Year 2016

I love the feeling of freshness and possibility that comes with ending a year and beginning a new one. Even though this is often the busiest time of the year, I find it is the ideal time to pause and reflect. To think about what you want your life to be about in the coming year.

I got very reflective in this lengthy post looking back on 2015, a year full of both shifts and stuckness for me.

And because I have never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions, for the past three years, I have been coming up with a Word of the Year.

Word of the Year can inspire and guide choices + actions throughout the year.

Here’s how it works: Take a moment to think about this coming year. 366 days laid out before you, waiting to be lived (it’s a leap year so we even get one extra day!).

If you could fill these 366 days in any way you want, what would your heart’s deepest desires for the way we want to interact with the world, other people and yourself be?

In other words…

What do you want to stand for across these 366 days?

How do you want to behave?

What sort of person do you want to be? 

And what word best summarizes this image of you? 

When it comes to thoughts, feelings and actions, can you guess what we have most control over? Our actions. We can spend a lot of energy trying to suppress thoughts or feelings or even trying to change them…yet the reality is we can already take the action we want, even with thoughts telling us the exact opposite and even when we don’t feel ready or are scared. So for example, it is possible to give a great speech DESPITE your mind telling you You’re not good enough and You’re not ready and despite not feeling confident at all.

In fact, taking action towards what matters to you despite having ‘negative’ thoughts and feelings is at the heart of becoming the person you want to be. Even if it might feel forced in the beginning. Even if you have to fake it until you become it. Willingness to feel discomfort or becoming more comfortable with being uncomfortable in the service of what matters to you is one of the best kept secrets to change and growth.

So this year I would like to suggest finding an ACTION word of the year.

A word that inspires you to take action and not just dream about the person you would like to be. A word that pushes you out of your comfort zone and into the world, even if this means taking only a teeny tiny step at a time. Once you have your action word, try to think of how you plan on taking small steps every day towards this word.

My action word this year is VITALITY.

The way I plan on acting on acting on VITALITY is:

♥ By turning towards my emotions, both the pleasant and not so pleasant ones, so that I am fully open to life. According to Steve Hayes, the founder of ACT, “There’s as much life in a moment of pain as a moment of joy” and I want to be open to the full spectrum of living.

♥ By moving beyond my comfort zone both professionally and personally and choosing to greet fear as a sign of growth.

♥ By making choices that lead to a sense of VITALITY, such as nourishing foods, movement, meditation and activities that inspire me.

♥ By following my curiosity and seeing where this leads instead of overanalysing or being too cautious or trying to plan things out too much.

I would love to hear from you: What is YOUR action word of the year? And what are some actions you can take in the next 366 days to live in line with this word?

Quick Gingerbread – Grain-free + Dairy-free

gingerbreadI’m really excited. I finally created a healthier gingerbread recipe that is super quick and easy to make and tastes amazing! And even though I don’t like labels, technically this gingerbread is paleo, vegan and delicious, with very little sugar.

One of my favorite Christmas specialities growing up was gingerbread and yet I have always found it challenging to make myself. Earlier this year, I discovered Chestnut Flour Bread, and this made me think – why not create something similar using chestnut flour for gingerbread? Afterall, the taste of gingerbread comes mostly from the spices, right?

So I experimented with different versions of this recipes, using different proportions of flour and water and adding almond butter for a creamier taste. I then thought it needed to be sweeter, so I added a little molasses – make sure you buy quality molasses

The hardest part of this recipe is finding chestnut flour. After that, it comes together in just a few minutes!


125g chestnut flour  – you can buy chestnut flour in any organic store or online in Switzerland here or here.

2 tsp gingerbread spice blend (see below for recipe or you can buy a ready-made mix)

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 tbsp almond butter (made only of ground almonds)

1 tbsp molasses

300 ml water

zest of 1 organic orange (optional)

German Gingerbread Spice Blend (Lebkuchengewürz)

This makes a bigger quantity that you can store in a jar and add to anything from soups to smoothies to yoghurt. Simply combine the spices in the quantities below.

3 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground anise

1/4 tsp ground star anise


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Mix all the dry ingredients then add the wet ingredients and mix really well so there are no lumps. Pour into 2 silicone cake loaf pans. If you are using silicone, you don’t need to grease your pan but if you are using tin or glass you do. The secret is to not fill the cake loaf beyond about 1 cm of batter so that it doesn’t fall apart.

Place in the oven for about 35-40 minutes. Your gingerbread is ready when the top starts cracking. Take it out and place to cool on a wire rack before cutting.

Download my Christmas Recipes eBook for more recipes like this one!

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Chestnut Flour Sweet Bread or Castagnaccio

chestnut flour bread

I find that one of the most beautiful things in life is enjoying seasonal foods – foods I can only find during a certain time of year or that my body mostly wants during this time.

My favorite season food-wise is autumn. As the days start getting cooler and crisper and darker, my body starts wanting warm, nourishing foods like soups and stews and roasted vegetables. Foods that are naturally in season like pumpkin, squash, figs, persimmon, pears, apples. There’s the sudden desire to add spices like pumpkin spice mix to pretty much everything and to make apple sauce. And finally, there’s my absolute favorite: Chestnuts.

The smell of freshly roasted chestnuts wafting in the cool, crisp air in the street, buying chestnuts and warming my hands with them – oh how I love this nut!

Yes, chestnut is actually a nut but unlike other nuts, it is very low in fat and protein and very high in starch. This makes it more similar to potatoes or rice or wheat in taste in taste and texture and also the way it can be used. It also has an alkaline effect on the body which is very beneficial as most of us tend to eat too much acidic food.

I discovered this traditional Italian sweet bread or Castagnaccio through a friend. She mentioned she had made a bread that was very quick to make and naturally gluten-free using chestnut flour. I was intrigued.

This recipe uses chestnut flour – a gluten free flour made from dried, milled chestnuts that is also naturally sweet. Sweetened with only raisins or dried figs, we don’t actually need to add any sweetener. The chopped walnuts add healthy fats and protein while contributing to the texture. The aniseed helps make the taste a little sweeter as a naturally sweet spice. The result is something between a sweet bread and a not so sweet cake. You can have it for breakfast or as a snack or even as a dessert. You can make more of the batch and freeze a loaf. And trust me. Once you try it, you will be as hooked as I am!


250g chestnut flour

35g raisins or finely chopped dried figs (that’s 2 dried figs)

350 ml cold water

15-20g aniseed (depending on how much you like the taste)

a pinch of salt

25g finely chopped walnuts (that’s about 10 halves)

3 tablespoons unmelted extra virgin coconut oil 


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Place the raisins or chopped dried figs in 350 ml of water and leave them to soak as you prepare the rest of the recipe.

Place a bowl over a scale and sift the chestnut flour into it. Most of the chestnut flour I have found is quite clumpy, so this is an important step.

Chop the walnuts finely and add them to the chestnut flour

Add the aniseed and salt.

Add the water with the raisins or figs and mix until you get a paste-like consistency.

Melt the coconut oil and add this in and mix so everything is combined.

Pour into 2 silicone cake loaf pans or a larger round one. If you are using silicone, you don’t need to grease your pan but if you are using tin or glass you do. This is traditionally made to be only about 1 cm high and it won’t rise so don’t over fill your baking form! Place the pine nuts on the top and press slightly with your hand.

Place in the oven for about 35-40 minutes. Your sweet bread is ready when the top starts cracking. Take it out and place to cool on a wire rack before cutting.

You can buy chestnut flour in any organic store or online in Switzerland here or here.

I would love to hear from you – what’s your favorite autumn food? 

Embracing Summer: Tips + My 12 Favorite Recipes

Embracing Summer

For many of us, summer is the easiest season to embrace. When the sun is out and the weather feels sparkly, everything just seems to take less effort. To feel more light-hearted and relaxed.

Make time for pleasure

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the dominant element of summer is fire. The heat of summer gives us the warmth and capacity to love and be loved, to mature and blossom. This is the time to really embrace life fully. Spend time with the people you love. Make it a priority to bring more playfulness and fun into your life. Reconnect with the carefree feeling you had as a child.

This may sound trivial but it is actually a vital part of health – so much so that it is now being referred to as ‘Vitamin P’ for ‘pleasure’. So many of us feel we have to ‘earn’ pleasure – to work hard first and then maybe if there’s some time left, allow ourselves a tiny bit of pleasure. How about starting with taking pleasure in eating? Studies have shown that actually taking pleasure in what we eat can help absorb nutrients and digest food more effectively. And yes, this applies to indulgences as well. When we allow ourselves to fully enjoy every lick of that ice-cream instead of buying into the feelings of guilt, we actually metabolize food better.

So why not try this instead of eating with guilt: Buy the best quality food you can find and afford and allow yourself to enjoy it fully, no matter how ‘healthy’ it is or not. When you allow yourself to be fully present with your food, chances are that you will actually need to eat less of it than you think. With eating as in all things in life, being fully present in the moment is the only way of feeling pleasure.

Reconnect with nature

Spend as much time outdoors as possible. Walk. Run. Jog. Bike. Rollerblade. Whatever you choose, notice the beauty all around you. Take in the energy of nature. Go into a forest or a place with trees and just be still and listen to all the sounds around you, particularly the birds tweeting (they are the original tweeters!).

Discover a new fruit, vegetable or herb

There are so many fruits and vegetables in season – now is the time to discover something new! The farmer’s markets are teaming with in-season fruits and vegetables. This is a good summary of what’s currently in season in Switzerland. In summer, many of us naturally crave raw foods to counter the summer heat. Raw foods have more active enzymes that make them more ‘alive’ so now is the perfect time to eat fruits, veggies and salads raw. It is feels natural to eat more fruits in summer than in winter, particularly cooling fruit like watermelon, melon or stone fruits like apricots or peaches.

Herbs are also in season right now. Why not try to plant a some herbs on your balcony or garden so that you always have them at hand? Otherwise, next time you go grocery shopping, buy fresh herbs and simply add them to anything – I add them to my smoothies, fresh vegetable juices, salads, as garnishing for dishes etc. Herbs not only add a more interesting flavor to dishes – they actually have great health benefits too. Did you know for example that basil boosts the brain’s production of dopamine and serotonin, helping to improve mood – and that coriander helps the body get rid of toxins like mercury? Or that parsley is an excellent source of vitamins C, K and A?

You could you also try growing your own sprouts, one of the most concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals, enzymes – true superfoods whose power you can liberate very easily in your kitchen! Get my tutorial here.

My favorite summer recipes

Here are some of my favorite summer recipes:

Perfect for Picnicswatermelon-salad_1-662x441
Sweet Potato Hummus

Watermelon Salad

Crustless Spinach Quiche

Super Fast Dinners:

Zucchini Crust Pizza + Raw Tomato Sauce

Creamy Avocado Pesto

My New Roots’ Best Lentil Salad, Eve

Raw Desserts + Breakfasts:

The 10-Minute Revolutionary Raw Jam

Almost Like Ice-Cream Soft Serve

Raw Chocolate Pie

Raw-Chocolate-Avocado-PieBetter Than Bircher Fruity Chia Pudding


Better Than Starbucks Ice-Coffee

Fruity Fermented Kvass

What about you, how do you embrace summer? How can you add more pleasure to your life this summer?



Raw Carrot Cake for the Easter Bunny

raw carrot cake2The Easter Bunny told me he was jealous. Jealous because at Christmas, children leave cookies out for Santa Claus when he brings presents. He also brings presents, or at least chocolate, he told me – but rarely finds anything waiting for him beyond the occasional carrot with a ribbon…

Would I make something special for him? Something with carrots (of course) and healthy enough so he wouldn’t end up looking like Santa Claus but still tasty enough to be more exciting than a carrot with a ribbon. And no chocolate. He was chocolated-out with all his deliveries which he admitted he might occasionally sample.

“A carrot cake?” I asked him. Raw, of course. And also free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar (because they have no room in a health-conscious rabbit’s diet).

“Yes!” He exclaimed. “With a creamy topping to compliment my beloved carrots,” he added.

So because the Easter Bunny asked, I was compelled to create this delicious, decadent-tasting cake that takes only minutes to make and contains wholesome Easter Bunny-approved ingredients.

The result? A double-layered cheesecake style cake with a layer of carrot deliciousness on the bottom and a lighter, cashew cream layer on top. This raw carrot cake is perfect to balance the chocolatey decadence of Easter or any other time of the year, really.

The spices used are ground cardamon and fresh ginger. Cardamon is botanically related to ginger and turmeric and I find the tastes are very complimentary. The lemon in the cashew cream brings a zest and lightness that compliments the earthy sweetness of the carrots and the magic of the spices.

Top your cake with with walnuts and dried flowers or whatever else inspires you (pumpkin seeds, roasted sesame seeds, chopped pistachios, cacoa nibs…)

…and don’t forget to leave a piece for the Easter Bunny!

Raw Carrot Cake

Ingredients – Base

1.5 cups buckwheat, quinoa or oat flakes

1/2 cup shredded coconut

3 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

1/2 tsp cardamon

small knob of ginger (about the size of a thumbnail)

a dash of unrefined salt

1/2 cup dried figs 

1.5 cup Medjool dates, pitted

Method – Base

Use a food processor for this – you need the S-blade and wider bowl a blender doesn’t have.

Start by blending the flakes until they are powder-like. The add the rest of the ingredients except the dates and figs in a powerful food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth. Then add in the dates and figs one by one through the feeding tube while the food processor is still running. Keep scraping down the sides if needed.

Once everything is combining, the mixture will be very sticky. Scrape it out with a spatula and press it into a cake form, preferably a small springform pan. Place it in the freezer while you make the topping.

Ingredients – Topping

1.5 cups cashews, soaked for a few hours, then rinsed

Juice + zest of 1 organic lemon

2 tbsp melted coconut oil (that’s about 1 tbsp solid) – you can also use butter if you prefer

2-3 tbsp maple syrup 

A few tablespoons water

Method – Topping

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until the mixture is smooth. Add more water if needed to create a creamy texture. Add more maple syrup or lemon juice until you find the perfect taste for you.

Take your cake out of the freezer and top it with the cashew cream.

Return to the freezer to set for at about 3 hours. Take it out about 20 minutes before serving. You can then store it in the fridge for a softer consistency or a keep it in the freezer for a harder consistency.

Enjoy this Easter Bunny approved cake and have a wonderful Easter!

Recipe inspiration here.

Easter bunny approved

Dreams of Asia Noodle Soup

Asian noodle soupI just spent two wonderful weeks travelling in Myanmar with my husband. We hadn’t been to South East Asia in six years and so much has happened during these past years that in many ways, we felt we were discovering this region for the first time.

Newly opened to tourism, Myanmar is still largely unspoiled and this is particularly evident in the people we talked to who were all very curious and genuinely warm – I have included some photos at the end of this post.

Food-wise, we very much enjoyed eating lots and lots of vegetables, mostly in curries, stir-fries and noodle soups. Because Myanmar has historically had a lot of contact with India (being neighbours and all!), chickpeas are part of the diet and are particularly used roasted to add crunch, texture and protein. I recently discovered chickpea croutons (recipe below) and thought this could be a great way of adding non-animal protein to the soup without using tofu which I try to limit as it can have a hormonal effect on the body.

So here is my first attempt at re-creating a taste of my holiday: A noodle soup that is vegan, soy-free and gluten-free, made with black rice noodles. The taste comes from the combination of ginger, garlic, lemongrass and onion/scallion. The garnish at the end of lime, coriander and chili flakes also add a taste I find reminds me of this beautiful region.

The recipe is very versatile, so feel free to leave out the lemongrass or one of the garnishes and to use different vegetables. You can also just use water instead of coconut milk for a lighter soup.

Ingredients + Method – makes about 6 servings

2 stalks of lemongrass, peeled and finely chopped. This video explains how.

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 onion or scallion, finely chopped

about 15 grams fresh ginger, finely chopped

Prepare the above ingredients and stir fry in a large wok or sauce pan on medium to high eat in about 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil for a few minutes.

asian soup

To your wok, add the below vegetables, then add a little water – just enough to cover the bottom of the wok – and cover. This is an easy way to cook the vegetables by steaming them, which allows you to preserve the nutrients.  Feel free to use other vegetables if you prefer!

1 head broccoli (save the stem for a juice or smoothie) – in small bits

2 large carrots – chopped

1-2 large handfuls of kale or spinach (if using kale, remember to massage it!)


While your vegetables are cooking, cook your noodles. I used a pack of black rice noodles, but you can use any noodles you want. Once they are ready, drain and set aside. In the same pot, heat a can of coconut milk on medium-low heat. Add water if you would like your noodle soup to be more watery.


Once the vegetables are cooked and the coconut milk is warm, add the vegetables to the coconut milk and add salt, chili flakes and juice of 1-2 limes to taste.

Garnish bowls with scallions (green onions), coriander leaves and roasted chickpeas without any spice added (recipe below) for some added protein.

Chickpea croutons

Here a few photos of this beautiful country and its amazing people:

Myanmar Collage

This old woman was such an inspiration! We crossed paths while on a trek with the guide in the photo below – she was alone with her water buffalos, carrying her bottle of green tea. She proudly told us she was 65 and that she had so much energy because she ate rice three times a day…Not sure this is something I would recommend, but it clearly seems to work for her!

old woman

Sweet + Healthy Love for Valentine’s Day

Guest Post by Candice Chetty of Raw Temptation

Who said you can’t eat a delectable chocolate-y treat without the guilt? Cacao in its purest form – raw, cold-pressed and unroasted – has been called the Superfood of the Gods. It is packed with powerful antioxidants and offers health benefits like lowering blood pressure, neutralizing the harmful effects of free radicals, improving digestion, and of course lifting our spirits!

I am always whipping myself up something tasty to snack or sip on after work or in-between episodes of House of Cards.  Most of the time, I add raw cacao for that choco burst of goodness and whether it be a Raw Chocolate Almond Smoothie or a Raw Chocolate Mousse (see recipe below), I always get my chocolate fix without compromising on my health.

Yet there are also times when I just need something quick, ready to go and on hand, for that afternoon 3pm slump at work, that craving en-route to Paris or simply to take to a friend’s dinner party!

That is why RAW TEMPTATION  has just launched their RAW GOURMET TRUFFLES which are all gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar free, organic and yes – 100% raw! These delicious creations are an amazingly convenient and nutritious way to satisfy your sweet tooth (or someone else’s) anywhere, anytime!

Every Raw Temptation creation is presented in an exclusive presentation box, which makes an ideal gift. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, wouldn’t these make an ideal gift for yourself or someone special in your life?

Raw Temptation Truffles

Currently, there are three varieties to choose from:

Seductive Chocolate Brownies: Playful pecan butter smothered in raw cacao chocolate brings to life the best brownie you have ever tasted! (highly recommended!)

Sinful Coconut Truffles: Almonds caressed by chewy dates and laced with coconut

Heavenly Nutzy Balls: Nutty bits merged with juicy dates and sensual spices

CHF 5.99 per box (includes 3x balls/truffles/mini brownies)

CHF 34.99 (6x boxes)

CHF 64.99 (12x boxes)

Get 10% off with your first order (quote discount code: HEALTHWISE) 

Contact to order: email: /tel: 0227005580

Order online: (quote discount code in the “Notes” section of the online order form and we will refund you the discount upon delivery)

Raw Chocolate Mousse

2 avocados (pitted and peeled)

1 cup almond milk

¾ cup sweetness (dates/maple syrup/coconut sugar – whatever hits your sweet spot!)

¾ cup raw cacao powder

1 tsp vanilla extract/ vanilla powder to keep it raw

¼ tsp cinnamon

Pinch salt

Pop all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until combined. Serve immediately with raw cacao nibs or coconut shavings as a topping. You won’t even notice the difference to the real thing ..promise! Enjoy!

You can find raw cacao in some health food stores or order it online here – use code WIV403 to get $5-10 off your first order – they ship anywhere in the world.

Chocolate Mousse

Healthy Apple Sauce – Spiced Up

Healthy Apple sauce2

Few foods say winter comfort to me like apple sauce. And what I’ve noticed about comforting food is that taste is only a small part. The bigger part is the sensorial experience. The smell. The texture. The warmth.

I hesitate to even call this a recipe as it is so simple. My apple sauce is a one ingredient wonder of apples cut up into small chunks and slowly stewed over low heat. No sugar added. Nothing else needed. Except, of course for the spices which bring this apple sauce to a whole new dimension.

So next time you make apple sauce, don’t just add cinnamon. Make your own spice blend by combining the spices below and storing the spice blend in a jar, adding as much as you want to your apple sauce or to spice up other foods, such as muesli, porridge, smoothies etc.

I love apple sauce as part of breakfast or even as a dessert, especially with nuts and seeds or granola/muesli.

Apple Sauce

Try to buy apples made for cooking if you can find them – they are quicker to cook. Otherwise, use the softest apples you can find, chop them up and put them in a pan. No need to peel the apples if they are organic.

Barely cover the bottom with water and cover. Place on low heat and leave to stew until the apples are soft and mushy. This can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 20 minutes, depending on the variety of apples used.

Once the apples are cooked, use an immersion blender to turn the apples into a smooth sauce.

Add your Apple Pie Spice Blend to taste, leave to cool and store in the fridge for several days.

Healthy Apple Sauce

Apple Pie Spice Blend

Simply combine the spices in the proportions shown below, mix and store in an air-tight jar. If you don’t have one of the spices, just leave it out – it shouldn’t change the taste too much. Unless that spice is cinnamon. Obviously.

You can use your Apple Pie Spice Blend with apple sauce, apple pie, muesli, porridge, smoothies or other foods to add a taste reminiscent of apple pie.

Apple Pie Spice Blend

Find Your Word for 2015

Word of the Year

Instead of New Year’s resolutions, I now come up with a Word of the Year.

This is a simple way of focusing on something you want more of this year, based on the idea that what you focus on, grows.

Your Word of the Year can help inspire and guide your choices and actions throughout the year.

In 2013, my Word of the Year was PASSION. I used PASSION to guide the way I lived my life and the choices I made in both my work (starting this blog, leaving an 8 year career in advertising to share my passion for healthy living) and my private life (from going to Australia to everyday activities like cooking, yoga or reading).

For 2014, I decided my Word of the Year  would be LIGHTNESS. I started the year thinking of lightness as more about fun, laughter, not taking things so seriously. However, what life taught me this year was more around acceptance and letting go, which have proven to be an ultimate form of lightness. I also discovered another form of lightness in taking my pleasure more seriously, especially during the 6 weeks I spent in Dubai.

I also explored feeling physically lighter in my body not just through food as I had originally thought, but also through a greater focus on movement. During my 6 weeks in Dubai, I experimented with many different styles of yoga, pilates and even a combination of both, yogalates. I also reconnected with a love for dance through Nia dance and 5rhythmn dance. What I learned through these experiences is that I not only want to feel lightness in my body, but also strength – and that the two are very complimentary.

Finally, this year, I fell in love with ACT – Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which I am currently specializing in. Applying ACT concepts, which are very much based on mindfulness, helps me lighten my thinking. I now realize that self-doubt is just part of the journey, and that I can allow these thoughts to be there without getting weighed down by them. I wrote more about how I no longer take my fears so seriously in this article.

For 2015, my Word of the Year is PRESENCE. I would like to be more present in everything I do, from taking a shower, to talking with people to cooking. I notice that the more fully present I am to my experiences and my life, the more magical they feel. I want to be able to touch this magic more often, and to give more of my attention to myself and the people I am with by being in the here and now, instead of thinking about something in the past or future. By being present with whatever shows up, I wish to fully experience life, both the pleasant and the not so pleasant, to be more fully alive and vital.

So how do you go about finding your word of the year?

1. Connect to your desires. 

Take some time to yourself, and really think about what you WANT out of life in this moment.

You might want to try listing everything you can think of even if it seems frivolous. This can include anything from the new iPad to getting married to going to Thailand on holiday.

2. Identify the feelings behind what you want

Once you have your desire list, identify how getting what you have listed will make you feel. What is the feeling you are chasing? As Danielle LaPorte writes “You’re not chasing the goal itself, you’re actually chasing a feeling.”

For example, maybe you want an iPad because it will allow you to feel connected. Or going to Thailand will help you feel adventurous. And perhaps you want to get married because what you are really looking for is stability.

3. Choose the word that attracts you most

Now go back to your list and look at the feelings you have written. What comes across most clearly or really makes your heart sing? What word makes you feel expansive, inspired, turned on?

Play with the idea that this might be your word of the year for a few days before deciding on this. You can try writing several words out on post-its around your home to see which you feel most drawn to.

Once you have your word of the year, you can really own it by creating a collage of images that remind you of this, creating an affirmation around it (I desire to be more present) or simply having it written out somewhere you can see it. You can even use it for email or social media passwords as a daily reminder (for example:beherenow2015).

I would love to hear from you – what’s your Word of the Year?

If you want to start the year off with the support you need to lose weight, make peace with food or simply make healthier life choices, why not book a free Health Chat to find out whether my approach is right for you?

Speculaas Spread (gluten, dairy + refined sugar free)

Speculaas Spread_blog

This delicious and decadent tasting spread recreates the taste of Speculaas cookies, a Dutch spice cookie I loved as a child. Spread it over bread, healthier pancakes, vegetable or fruit pieces for a taste of Christmas without all the sugar!

Start by making the Speculaas Spice Blend and keep leftovers in a jar to add to preparations like smoothies, yoghurt, muesli etc.

Speculaas Spice Blend

4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp white pepper

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cardamom

Once your spice blend is ready, combine the below ingredients until the mixture is smooth.

Speculaas Spread

4 tbsp almond butter (made only of ground almonds)

1 tbsp honey (or to taste)

2 tsp Speculaas Spice Blend (recipe above)

Store in a sealed container at room temperature.

Want more recipes like this?

Download my Healthy Sweet Christmas eBook with recipes for cookies, granola, chocolate and spreads that are all gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free.
cover 2014


Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Mix

One of the things I love most about autumn is the taste of spices associated with pumpkins or Pumpkin Spice Mix. I think that is also what makes Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte so popular (that and all the sugar).

To recreate this taste of autumn easily, you can make a Pumpkin Spice mix by combining all the spices, then using the mix on anything from smoothies to coffee to porridge to overnight oats to cookies or cakes. You can even use it with roasted vegetables or pumpkin soup.

Pumpkin Spice Mix

2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

4 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon allspice (optional)

Combine all of the spices in a bowl, mix, then store in a jar for up to a year.

You can find more pumpkin recipes that use this spice mix on my Pinterest board, Pumpkin Love Affair.

Have you tried making your own spice mix?

pumpkin spice mix

Coffee: Friend or Foe? + Iced Coffee Recipe (dairy, soy & refined sugar-free)

coffee cupAh coffee! There are few smells in this world that make me happier.

I remember waking up at my grandmother’s house in Jordan during the summers we spent there and smelling Turkish coffee. I would find her and my mother sitting in the veranda, sipping coffee and chatting. After every lunch, we had a coffee ritual where we would brew a pot of coffee, set out my grandmother’s little cups and choose something sweet to go with the coffee.

For me, there are few foods or drinks more imbued with memories and sensuality than coffee.

Which brings up this question I hear a lot: What about coffee? Is it healthy? How many cups can I drink?

My usual response to that question with any food or drink is ‘it depends…’ and it is no different with coffee.

Coffee is a great illustration of how nutritional research reveals both sides of a food or drink.

On the plus side…

Coffee has been shown to increase alertness, improve mood and energy, concentration and even athletic performance. It is also a great source of antioxidants and has even been shown to help prevent disease such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

On the not so sunny side…

Coffee has been shown to increase blood pressure, increases stress response in the body, spike blood sugar levels, can exacerbate gastro-intestinal problems, inhibits the absorption of nutrients, increases the risk of urinary and prostate problems in men and hormone-related problems with women such as PMS.

My own relationship to coffee:

I used to be a real coffee addict, downing 4 cups a day.

I was the typical office employee, heading to the Nespresso machine as soon as I got in, then taking a few more coffee-infused breaks during the day.

I then started noticing some hormonal issues and decided to experiment with cutting down on my coffee consumption.

I started small, simply replacing my morning coffee with a herbal tea.

Once this became a habit, I replaced another of my daily cups with a herbal tea. I actually bought a whole bunch of cool herbal teas to make this new habit more exciting.

I kept going until there were days when I no longer drank coffee in the office and kept it only for when I went to see clients (they had better coffee) or for weekends.

I also made a special condition: Drinking coffee had to be a moment of absolute pleasure – not just a habit or something I did to get a caffeine hit. I didn’t like the idea of being addicted to anything, so I wanted to turn my coffee addiction into a coffee love affair.

This was a few years ago, and I can safely say that I am no longer addicted to coffee…and I still love it. I have about one coffee a day but will sometimes go for a few days without if I am not in a context that offers great coffee. I also upgraded on quality – if you are in Geneva, the best coffee in my opinion is Boréal!

As the research above shows, coffee is neither black nor white. As always, your body is the only true authority on the subject, so why not try experimenting with reducing your coffee consumption to see how you feel? Experiment with how much coffee works for you

Moving from Coffee Addiction to a Coffee Love Affair

♥ Do not quit cold turkey. Start by reducing your intake very slowly, otherwise you can have caffeine withdrawal symptoms such as headaches. Caffeine addiction is real!

Focus on what you are replacing your coffee with instead of the coffee you are removing. This could be herbal tea or green tea (which still has caffeine but less than coffee) or even a chicory-based drink that smells and tastes quite similar to coffee.

♥ When you are tempted to have a coffee, ask yourself: Do I really feel like having a coffee right now or is it just a habit or an excuse to take a break? Try to have coffee only when it is pure pleasure.

Upgrade on quality. If you are making it at home, buy the best quality coffee you can find. You can even buy whole coffee beans and grind them yourself. If you are having coffee away from home, only drink the best quality you can find.

Try to avoid overly sugary, milky coffee drinks à la Starbucks Caramel Macchiato or Frappucino. A tall soy milk Caramel Macchiato (the smallest size) which sounds harmless enough actually has 24g of sugar – the equivalent of 8 cubes of sugar! If you need your sweet coffee kick, try my recipe for iced coffee below.

♥ If you add sugar to your coffee, use real sugar, not aspartame which is even worse. Even better, try adding half a teaspoon less of sugar until you can have your coffee without sugar.

♥ It is better to avoid drinking coffee first thing in the morning on an empty stomach as this stresses the body and spikes blood sugar levels. If you need your morning coffee, have breakfast first.

♥ Coffee spikes blood sugar, so in general, it is best to avoid having it on an empty stomach. The best time of day to have coffee seems to be after lunch.

♥ Some people are extremely sensitive to caffeine and having coffee or even chocolate late in the afternoon can affect sleep.

Better than Starbucks Iced Coffee (dairy, soy & refined sugar-free)

2 tbsp almond butter (made only of ground almonds)

3 dl water

1-3 tbsp maple syrup or honey (depending on how sweet you like it)

1 cup coffee – brewed, then left to cool in a bowl

Combine the almond butter and water in a blender and blend until smooth. This is actually a lazy version of almond milk which is better than store-bought almond milk as it has no additives. You can also use 3 dl almond milk instead – I use this recipe to make my own.

Add the coffee and maple syrup or honey. Serve in a glass with ice cubes.

Store leftovers in a jar in the fridge.

I would love to hear from you – what’s your relationship to coffee like? Would you like to make any changes?

Iced Coffee_Final



Zwyghuizen-Doorenbos A, Roehrs TA, Lipschutz L, Timms V, Roth T. Effects of caffeine on alertness. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1990;100(1):36-9.

Merideth A. Addicott and Paul J. Laurienti. A comparison of the effects of caffeine following abstinence and normal caffeine use. Psychopharmacology (Berl). Author manuscript; available in PMC 2010 December 1

“Caffeine – How much is too much?.” MayoClinic. N.p., 3 Nov 2010. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

“Caffeine – How much is too much?.” Rice University. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

Jennifer, Warner. “Caffeine may ease workout pain and soreness.” WebMD. N.p., 17 Jan 2007. Web. 22 Dec 2011. <>

Boyles, Salynn. “Is Caffeine bad for your heart?.” WebMD. N.p., 01 Aug 2002. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

“Caffeine’s Effects are Long-Lasting and Compound Stress.” DukeHealth. Duke University Health Systems, 03 Nov 2004. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

Kassem, Noreen. “Emotional effects of caffeine.” Livestrong. N.p., 24 Nov 2010. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

Collazo-Clavell, Maria. “Caffeine: Does it affect blood sugar?.” MayoClinic. N.p., 03 Feb 2010. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

McLaughlin, August. “Caffeine and Gastrointestinal Problems.” Livestrong. N.p., 13 Jun 2011. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

“Coffee and Prostate Health: Is it Bad for You?.” Web BPH. N.p., 02 Mar 2011. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

“Caffeine & Women’s Health.” Food Insight. N.p., 15 Oct 2009. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

MacDougall, Caroline. “Caffeine, Stress & Aging.” N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

Doyle, Marek. “Caffeine, Stress & Aging.” N.p., 3 Nov 2010. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

Lamb’s Lettuce & Egg Salad + Egg Love

Lamb's Lettuce & Egg Salad.jpg

If you have a few extra hard-boiled eggs lying around this Easter period, fear not – I have the perfect recipe for you!

This recipe is based on the Swiss-German Nüsslisalat and uses a type of leafy green called lamb’s lettuce or mâche (doucette or rampon in French). Lamb’s lettuce has its humble origins as a weed which was found growing among cereal crops in Europe. It became an important source of nutrients during winter as one of the few types of salads that grows during this period, and is traditionally eaten in early Spring as well. It is a good source of vitamin C, iron and beta-carotene and has a delicate, nutty taste that is quite distinctive.

This Easter salad is very high in good fats found in the walnuts, avocado and olive oil as well as protein from the eggs. Because healthy fats and protein are actually more filling than most carbohydrates (especially refined ones like white bread), you can eat this alone as a meal in itself without needing bread or anything else to make it more filling. I always find it ironic that people trying to be healthy have a really light salad without much protein or fat and then fill up on bread. Add healthy fats and protein instead and notice how filling a salad becomes! It is enough for two people as a main dish or 4 as a starter.

A word on eggs

Research is increasingly showing that even though eggs contain cholesterol, they do not increase cholesterol in the body. Eggs are actually one of the healthiest foods you can eat, containing high-quality protein, healthy fats, vitamins, A, D, E, K and B12, folate and iron.

The most important thing is to make sure you buy organic, free-range eggs – meaning that the hens lived outside and where fed a natural diet.


1-2 pressed garlic cloves

2 tsp Dijon mustard

6 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar

1-2 tablespoons honey

8 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste


200g lamb’s lettuce

4 hard-boiled eggs

1 avocado

Handful of walnuts

Lazy Lentil Stew (vegan & gluten-free)

Lazy Lentil Stew

Who said fast food had to be unhealthy?

This Lazy Lentil Stew is one of my go-to meals in winter when I don’t really feel like cooking (yes, it happens even to me) or I want to have leftovers for a few days.

It is basically just lentils, your choice of vegetables, tomato sauce and a mix of herbs such as rosemary, thyme and oregano. I also add in some more umami taste to enhance the flavor with some blended dried tomatoes  (you can buy them without the oil) as well as a dash of red wine vinegar just before serving. In many traditional lentil recipes you will see lemon or vinegar added at the end of the preparation because it really ‘lifts’ the flavor while making the lentils easier to digest. Also, make sure you never salt lentils until they are cooked.

I usually use green or brown lentils as they don’t become mushy, which I prefer for this stew. If you want to learn about the different types of lentils, watch this video. As mentioned previously, lentils are a great source of protein, fiber, folate, potassium and magnesium while being quite easy and quick to prepare since they don’t need soaking like beans.


(for 4 people)

1 tsp ghee or coconut oil

1 yellow onion

1 clove garlic, pressed

1 cup lentils – brown or green

2 cups water

About 2 cups vegetables – I used cauliflower, frozen peas and a parsnip but feel free to use whatever you have at hand, either fresh or frozen. If you are using green leafy vegetables, add them only at the end of cooking.

1 can tomatoes

4-5 dried tomatoes, blended or finely chopped

1/2 tsp unrefined salt

1 tbsp herbes de Provence or herbs of your choice


Rinse lentils under cold water.

Melt ghee or coconut oil in a pot under medium-high heat, then add the onions and pressed garlic. Stir for a few minutes, then add the drained lentils and 2 cups of water. Cover the pot.

Increase heat to high and bring to a boil then leave to simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.

Add the vegetables and leave for another 5 minutes or until the vegetables are almost cooked.

Add the tomato sauce and dried tomatoes and simmer for a few more minutes.

Add salt, pepper and herbs to taste.

Just before serving, add a dash of red wine or apple cider vinegar. You can also top each bowl with some crumbled Feta cheese.

If you have leftovers, store them in the fridge and eat over several days – simply reheat the stew in a pan with a little water.

Just One Small Change at a Time

Forget new year's goalsThere’s something about the New Year. The dizzying potential of so much newness. The opportunity to let go of the past and simply start over.

And if you are anything like me, you tend to overestimate your capacity for change. We have this eternally optimistic attitude that THIS time it will be different. THIS time, we will stick to that diet or make that change we really really want to make.

Yet it was only when I let go of my lofty ideals that I was able to create real, sustainable healthy habits.

For example, instead of focusing on getting rid of my 3 cups of coffee a day drinking habit, I focused on drinking more herbal teas. I bought a bunch of herbal teas in interesting flavors and kept them in the office, deciding I would have at least one herbal tea first thing in the morning. Guess what? By focusing on adding in MORE herbal teas instead of obsessing about drinking LESS coffee, I naturally crowded out one coffee a day. I kept going until eventually I had replaced most of my office coffees with teas, and I started only drinking coffee when I really felt like having one.

I did the same thing with my diet. Rather than focusing on what I wanted to eat less of, I focused on what I wanted to eat more of.

The nutrition training I did calls this crowding out, and research shows that it is a more efficient and sustainable way of making healthy change because the new, healthy habits naturally take the place of the less healthy habits.

So as we start 2014, I urge you to focus on what you want to include more of in your life. Are you thinking of detoxing after the holidays? Winter is not the best time for the body to detox as we need fats and proteins to deal with the cold, but it’s a great time to make healthy change. Why not focus on eating more vegetables instead? Leave the detox for Spring – nature’s detox season – and start building the foundation for healthy habits that will last you a lifetime instead.

I would love to hear from you – what do you want to add MORE of in your life right now?

  Forget lofty resolutions – add in one healthy habit at a time instead! Click to Tweet!


6 Recipes From 2013 to Start 2014 Off Right!


6 recipes for 2014


Happy New Year everyone!

If you are like me, your body might be needing a little break from all the heavy eating that happens during this time. So I put together a few of my favorite recipes from 2013 – a mix of snacks, not-so-decadant desserts and side dishes or meals to help you start 2014 on the right foot!

1. Chickpea Flour Crepe (Gluten & Dairy Free)

A great way of jazzing up any leftovers and a healthier alternative to bread. Top with anything you have lying around and you have a more interesting meal in minutes!

2. Raw Chocolate Avocado Pie (Gluten & Dairy Free)

A very easy and tasty dessert that tastes decadent but uses only healthy, wholesome ingredients – no baking needed! I always have a fun time getting people to guess the mystery ingredient…

3. Humus – No Bread (Gluten & Dairy Free)

Humus is one of my go to dishes when I need to bring something to a party or just want a light meal. While you can now buy ready-made humus in most supermarkets, it’s much healthier and very simple to make your own, especially if you are using canned chickpeas.

4. Harisa – Arabic Semolina Cake

This was  a traditional New Year’s dessert for me growing up – and this is a lighter, less processed version. It is very tasty with a touch of exotic Arabic flavor.

5. Roasted Winter Vegetables

This is my go-to recipe for preparing winter vegetables in a way which brings out their natural sweetness. Did you know that eating naturally sweet vegetables like sweet potatoes, pumpkins, beetroots or carrots can actually reduce sugar cravings? This dish makes a great side dish or light dinner.

6. Brown Rice Zaatar Crackers

These are a great snack for when you are on the go and need something healthy to tide you over!

New Year Wishes

Better Than New Year’s Resolutions: Find Your Word of the Year

Word of the Year

Instead of New Year’s resolutions, I now come up with a Word of the Year.

This is a simple way of focusing on something you want more of this year, based on the idea that what you focus on, grows.

More than New Year’s Resolutions, your Word of the Year can help inspire and guide you throughout the year.

In 2013, my word of the year was PASSION. I used PASSION to guide the way I lived my life and the choices I made in both my work (starting this blog, leaving an 8 year career in advertising to share my passion for healthy living as a Health Coach) and my private life (from going to Australia  with my husband to everyday activities like cooking, yoga or reading that I am passionate about).

For 2014, I decided my word would be LIGHTNESS.

I want to bring more lightness into my life, in the form of fun, taking things less seriously and enjoying life more.

I want to laugh more.

I want to lighten up my thinking and worry less.

I want to keep eating nourishing foods and moving in a way that allows me to feel physically light in my body.

I want to remember Eckhart Tolle’s quote that “Life isn’t as serious as the ego makes it out to be”.

I want to live lightly in every sense of the word.

So how do you go about finding your word of the year?

1. Connect to your desires. 

Take some time to yourself, and really think about what you WANT out of life in this moment.

You might want to try listing everything you can think of even if it seems frivolous. This can include anything from the new iPad to getting married to going to Thailand on holiday.

2. Identify the feelings behind what you want

Once you have your desire list, identify how getting what you have listed will make you feel. What is the feeling you are chasing? As Danielle LaPorte writes “You’re not chasing the goal itself, you’re actually chasing a feeling.”

For example, maybe you want an iPad because it will allow you to feel connected. Or going to Thailand will help you feel adventurous. And perhaps you want to get married because what you are really looking for is stability.

3. Choose the word that attracts you most

Now go back to your list and look at the feelings you have written. What comes across most clearly or really makes your heart sing? What word makes you feel expansive, inspired, turned on?

Play with the idea that this might be your word of the year for a few days before deciding on this. You can try writing several words out on post-its around your home to see which you feel most drawn to.

Once you have your word of the year, you can really own it by creating a collage of images that remind you of this, creating an affirmation around it (I desire to live lightly) or simply having it written out somewhere you can see it. You can even use it for email or social media passwords as a daily reminder (for example: livinglightly2014).

I would love to hear from you – what’s your Word of the Year?

   Better than New Year’s Resolutions – find your Word of the Year! Click to Tweet!

If you want to start the year off with the support you need to lose weight or simply make healthier life choices, why not book a free Health Chat to find out whether Health Coaching is right for you?

Chewy Ginger Spice Cookies + Free eBook

Chewy Ginger Spice Cookies

As this recipe shows, you don’t actually need white flour, white sugar or butter to enjoy Christmas cookies!


1 cup almond butter – if you don’t have this, you can use 1 cup ground almonds + 3 tbsp oil

3 tbsp molasses

2 large eggs

2 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1/2 cup coconut sugar or Rapadura

1/3 cup buckwheat flour or other flour of your choice

1 tsp baking soda + 1 tsp ground ginger + 1 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 tsp allspice + a few grinds of pepper + 1/2 tsp sea salt


Beat the eggs with a mixer.

Add fresh grated ginger, molasses, coconut sugar and almond butter.

Mix everything well.

Add the flour, baking soda and spices and mix.

Using a teaspoon, drop the batter onto a baking tray and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 8 minutes.

Leave them to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes before moving them to a rack to cool completely.

Inspired by this recipe

Want more recipes like this one? Download my FREE Healthier Christmas Cookies eBook here!


5 Reasons we overeat during the Holidays

psych effects post

Christmas is approaching with all the temptations it brings. Here are five reasons it’s so easy to overeat during the Holidays and what you can do about them:

1. The Pendulum Effect

Once December comes around, we give ourselves permission to eat the foods we consider off limit the rest of the year, promising to banish these foods or diet again in January.

While this may seem like a fair choice, every extreme act of restriction is followed by an equally extreme act of bingeing. Our relationship to food is like a pendulum: We can hold on to one extreme of the pendulum through willpower, but at some point we no longer have the strength and let go.

A better way: Cultivate a relationship to food that allows you to stay at the center of the pendulum, even if this means allowing yourself the forbidden foods more often throughout the year. When we use all our willpower to NOT eat something, we simply make it more attractive. We can’t stop thinking about it and spend a lot of energy trying to stay in control. By allowing ourselves to eat it in moderation, so called ‘off limit’ foods actually lose their power over us.

2. The ‘What-the-Hell’ Effect 

Does this sound familiar? “I already had one cookie – technically I am no longer gluten-free/sugar-free/healthy/on a diet today. What-the-hell, I might as well have another…and another…and another.”

A better way: It’s OK. You can have your cookie and stop there. Remember that eating healthy at least 80% of the time is as perfect as you need to be. Realize that life is not all or nothing and that there is no point in being black or white in your approach to food.

3. The ‘I-Had-No-Choice’ Effect

You’re at your aunt’s house and she is insisting you have just one more piece of pie. Or you’re at work and your colleague brought some leftover cake. Surely it’s impolite to refuse?

A better way: We seem to think that if something is offered to us or just sitting there, demanding our attention, it doesn’t count if we eat it, because we had no choice. Here’s the deal though. We always have the choice. And we are the only person responsible for our health. So next time you are faced with temptation, tell yourself you can have it if you REALLY want – but do you actually NEED it in that moment? This question will help you make a conscious choice instead of merely reacting to whatever is there.

4. The ‘So.Much.Choice.’ Effect

It’s not every day that we have the opportunity to eat at a buffet or a table filled with so much variety – so we overload our plates with large quantities of everything there is, afraid we may miss out if we don’t.

 A better way: Instead of focusing on the quantity of food, focus more on savoring the food. Take time to chew every bite. Put your fork down between bites and take your time eating. You’ll be surprised at how you actually need less food because you will be truly tasting the food and enjoying it rather than just trying to get as much of it in you as possible.

5. The Treat Effect

The Holidays come around once a year, and so do certain treats. So we figure “I can only have panettone during this period. So I have to eat as much of it while I can to really take advantage of it!”

A better way: Make a commitment to upgrade on quality. For example, if you love the Italian Christmas specialty, panettone, only eat panettone that is the best quality you can find and afford, rather than pouncing on any panettone that crosses your path. Or you can try making healthier versions of your special treat.

I would love to hear from you, which effect can you relate to most? How do you plan on staying sane this holiday season?