Why skipping breakfast could be beneficial for fat loss (experiments with intermittent fasting)

I always loved breakfast, being a strong believer that 1) breakfast provides energy for the whole day, and 2) that it allows you to indulge in one or two guilty pleasures such as a piece of dark chocolate, or bowl of cherries. However, your approach to the first meal of the day depends on your goals, lifestyle, and work-schedule. In some cases skipping breakfast could be a highly beneficial strategy for achieving fat-loss.

What sort of situations am I talking about?

 morning-workout-tips_2

  • People who have just started a fat-loss diet (i.e. untrained or lightly-trained individuals with a body fat percentage of over 30% in females, and over 20% in males);
  • People who would like to shed fat faster (but not too quickly: there is no magic bullet in holistic nutrition);
  • Those who have a low-to-no chance of sticking to a very strict diet due to social obligations such as business, travel, dinners out and so on;
  • People whose bodies have adapted and become resistant to conventional healthy eating schemes, and who have ‘plateaued’ (This actually happened to me after six competition preparation diets over a two-year period);
  • Those who have a good overall fitness level, but who are trying to get rid of some stubborn fat (for example legs and gluts for ladies and the abs area for men).

If any of these cases apply to you, keep reading.


 There are three main ideas behind the strategy of skipping breakfast:

  • Intermittent fasting
  • Fasted cardio
  • Intensive but limited in-time feeding period

Let’s examine these concepts individually.


Intermittent fasting

intermittent-fasting-states

If you are not familiar with intermittent fasting protocols, the concept can be summed up as follows: An eight hour ‘feeding period’ followed by sixteen hours of fasting. According to Martin Berkhan, author of the Leangains protocols – a system widely known in the nutrition world – intermittent fasting helps to:

  • Increase blood flow to ‘stubborn’ fat cells during exercise;
  • Make the body use fatty acids for energy instead of traditional glucose;
  • Suppress Insulin release (a fat-gaining hormone);
  • Elevate concentrations of epinephrine and norepinephrine (lipotropic hormones);
  • Increase the metabolic rate when resting (the body starts to burn more calories when not exercising).

Berkhan advocates the extended fast (16 hours of fasting followed by 8 hours of feeding) as a powerful tool for fat-burn. I’d like to make a remark at this point:

Usually men respond better to the 16/8 eating scheme than women, due to hormonal differences. Researchers generally believe that women need a longer feeding period (14/10 or even 12/12) in order to support healthy female sex hormone production. The length of the ‘feeding time’ for women also depends on the menstrual cycle period.

My personal experience

My personal experience of intermittent fasting was extremely positive. I first gave this strategy a try 12 years ago when I experienced sudden weight-gain due to an inability to stick to my usual dietary and exercise routine. My job was extremely demanding at the time, and I consequently tried very hard to get back on track. I followed the extended protocol, skipping dinner instead of breakfast. It worked well and I lost 12 lbs over the course of 3 months, but unfortunately my social life also dropped off.

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A month ago I tried intermittent fasting again, as I had to travel a lot and I didn’t have the option of carrying on with my small/frequent meal strategy for a little while. I also felt that my body had adapted and become resistant to the latter technique, as I had been following it for the past two years. I altered the fasting protocol by skipping breakfast instead of dinner. My starting point was the 16/8 scheme, which I initially found sustainable, but within seven days I started feeling a slight lack of energy. I extended my feeding period to 10 hours for another ten days and then to 12 hours, which brought me to the final stage of my menstrual cycle – exactly one week before my period (at this time the female body requires more energy). Then I took three days off, eating clean, small and frequent meals. I started the course again when my period was over.

The overall result for one month was losing 6lbs and a decrease of 1.5% of body fat without being on extremely strict diet (I continued to eat fruits, berries and even had a glass or wine or a piece of dark chocolate occasionally).


The main principles of intermittent fasting:

*contact me for customized calculations and timing

  • High protein consumption*
  • High vegetable intake
  • Intense training: do resistance training 3-5 times a week and fasted cardio 4-6 times a week before your first meal.
  • Carb cycling: increase carbs* (sweet potato, butternut squash, whole grain bread and pasta, rise, fruit, etc.) on the resistance training day especially legs day.
  • Nutrient timing: eat the biggest meal straight after resistance training in order to avoid muscle brake-down and quicken recovery. If you want to increase the fat-burn effect, skip carbs after the fasted cardio.*

The easiest way to try intermittent fasting is by fasting from 9-10 PM until 1-4PM the next day, doing fasted cardio around 11am. In other words, by skipping breakfast. While you can always skip dinner instead, you may find that you end up sacrificing the pleasure of catching up with your friends.

Don’t labour under the delusion that by simply skipping a meal or two you will achieve a fitness model body. The strategy only works effectively with the right combination of meal planning, food selection, fasted cardio programme, workout plan and nutrient-timing.

Fasted cardio

morning fasted cardio blond with red pants

Fasted cardio is another idea behind beneficial breakfast skipping. When done on an empty stomach, such cardio is a great tool to combat that stubborn fat. The secret is simply this: Your bloodstream is cleared of both glucose and amino acids at that point, so your body burns its own fatty acids for energy. I was doing my fasted cardio as a first break in work from 11am to midday. After cardio I had a balanced high-carb and high-protein breakfast.

However, some practitioners believe that fasted cardio could be catabolic: Yes, it could. To avoid muscle loss, take HMB or BCAA prior to and during a cardio session, and stick mainly to low intensity cardio such as power walking, cycling or light jogging, as you prefer. I generally opt for a long power walk in the park, followed by a 15-30 minute Hatha yoga session.

You can join me every day in St James’ park. Book your session here.

Feed your ambitions

Practicing intermittent fasting, fasted cardio and skipping breakfast could work well together with an intensive feeding period. How does it work?

First of all, your body needs energy to function and recover. Logically, you have to use your feeding period smartly and introduce a sufficient – but not an excessive – amount of nutrients into your system. Secondly, having 4-5 small frequent meals or 2-3 big meals (it’s up to you; I personally prefer the first option, but when I’m pushed for time I always have the option of the second). You will boost your metabolism, stimulating the body into burning more calories during the resting/fasting period.  And last but not least, eating healthy and delicious food is always great fun.

Enjoy your diet.

 Possible Day Schedule

*contact me for bespoke dosages calculation and meal planning 

8:00 AM – Wake up, drink 500 ml of water with l-tyrosine and l-tryptophan powder mix* + 2 cups of green tea

9:00 AM – Drink 500 ml – 1l of water with a mix of L-taurine, threonine, choline, inositol and l-glutamine*

11:00 AM – 500 ml – 1l of water + l-carnitine short with vit C* (take alpha adrenergic receptors short-term antagonist as a pre-workout to increase fat burning effect and energy release + coffee (optional)

12:00 PM – 60 min fasted cardio + 1-1.5l of water with a mix of L-taurine, threonine, choline, inositol and l-glutamine*

1:30 PM – lunch

3:30 PM – high protein snack

5:30 PM – pre-workout meal

6:30 – take alpha adrenergic receptors antagonist as a pre-workout to increase fat burning effect + coffee (optional)

6:30 – resistance work-out (optional)

8:00 – protein shake or post-workout meal*

9:00 – dinner

Tatiana Dmitrieva

 

#Relaxation #food list

Which foods are able to act as natural relaxants and anti-depressants is a question I’m often asked by clients. 

CALIFORNIA WALNUT COMMISSION MEDITERRANEAN DIET
Mediterranean Diet probably is one of the best combinations of ingredients with anti-depressants properties. 
To begin with, an overall balanced diet is always helpful. By that I mean a clean wholefood diet with the minimum possible amount of processed food intake. Macronutrient modulation varies and depends on factors such as your:

– activity level

– overall fitness level

– body composition

– body related goals

– lifestyle

Probably the best healthy ratio is:

– up to 20% healthy fats

– 30-40% lean protein

– 40-50% carbohydrates.

We’ll talk about an ideal macronutrients’ modulation ratio in another article in more detail.

Returning to the main topic, the following is a (non-exhaustive) list of foods with calming and relaxing properties:

1) Almost all fruits and berries: They are full of natural sugar and antioxidants. Fructose is the quickest carb (source of energy) after refined sugar, and your body will automatically feel happier and more relaxed with more sugar in the bloodstream. However, do keep in mind that if you aim to become leaner you will have to pursue a diet with a low fructose content.

2) Oily fish. Fish oil is well-known nutrient that increases the brain’s metabolism. By combining fish oil with nootropics you can easily achieve a state of calm and have a clearer mind. Book aconsultation to get a list of over-the- counter nootropics.

3) Herbal tea. A blend of mint, chamomile, artichoke and lavender is one of the best relaxation options.

4) Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cacao are four spices that were historically used as natural mood lifters and relaxants. Adding a sprinkle of cinnamon in your coffee can help, or even simply inhaling their scent.

5) Chicken hearts and liver are perfect sources of essential amino acids, vitamin B, choline, inositol and Iron. This combination of nutrients is one of the most effective ‘cocktails’ for boosting the central nervous system.

6) Despite the negative publicity and misconceptions surrounding the consumption of egg yolks, the high concentration of cholesterol in them is designed by nature as a perfect source of nutrients. Rich in lecithin, vitamin B, amino acids, choline, inositol, vitamins A and E, phosphatidil serine and many more beneficial substances, egg yolks alone could provide your body with almost everything it needs. However, do not exceed the healthy allowance. Have 1-3 whole eggs a day, adding some separated egg whites if you need to increase your protein intake.

7) Now anyone with a sweet tooth can celebrate – Dark Chocolate!! Yes, having a piece or two of dark chocolate each day will definitely help your body to boost its ‘positive vibe’ hormones.

8) Have a glass of wine. Yes, and YES again!!! But only one, and make sure it’s a high quality wine. First of all, it’s an additional 75 kcal of quick energy that your body will be grateful for. Secondly, high quality wine contains a high concentration of bio-flavonoids and antioxidants.

Taken in a moderate quantities, wine can also act as a minor natural relaxant.

And remember; even if you eat healthily all the time and are a fitness fanatic, allowing your body a little bit of what you really love is always beneficial. By keeping your diet 95% clean, let’s say, you will have even better results than confining yourself to a strict regimen of traditional lean and mean boiled chicken breast, and rice and broccoli.

Enjoy your diet. 

Enjoy your life.

 

Tatiana Dmitrieva 

How to end a hurtful relationship

We often hear words like “Let it go” or “just cut him/her off”, but when it comes to actually following this advice, we’re not as good at letting things, people and situations go as we think we are. What are we afraid of?

 Read also What negativity does to our life.

 Ending a painful and destructive relationship is like removing a tooth that’s making you suffer. You have to be prepared to feel even worse pain after the operation, but it will ultimately recede.

 I can’t compare people with teeth but… some relationships are very much like toothache: you are constantly in pain, lose your inner peace, your productivity, creativity and sense of adequacy. Mental or physical pain is always a signal that we have to take some sort of action. You should never simply change your attitude towards pain and quietly accept it. Although you can endure it for a time whilst trying to deal with the cause, but if your ‘medication’ doesn’t work then ‘surgery’ may be the best option.

Letting go of people has been always been a challenge for me. Being highly empathetic I often find myself being highly attuned to other people’s feelings, and caring deeply about them. My parents and grandparents always taught me to consider others people’s feelings before my own. I think that people with high emotional intelligence are also more susceptible to suffering from such situations and that they are therefore open to exploitation by less sensitive people. If you feel that you fall into the former category, then the following points could be useful.


Pay attention to inner discomfort.

Emotions never lie. If you feel uncomfortable with someone this may indicate that you are in a toxic relationship. However, don’t stress. Just vocalize your worries, feelings and/or doubts immediately. Don’t wait for the problem to solve itself. If the other person is overly aggressive, highly defensive or attacks you instead of looking for a mutually acceptable solution, then it’s time to leave. Don’t wait for it to become unbearable.


Do not be afraid of emptiness.

First of all, the feeling of emptiness is a good feeling. Emptiness can be space for something new, for people who will truly appreciate you, for better opportunities and for inner peace. This empty space could be vacant for some time, but that’s ok! Don’t rush to fill it. Look around, try to spend more time with your inner child, listen what she is talking about, do something nice for her. I’m sure you will find plenty of things you have always wanted to do but never had time. You won’t believe how wonderful that time of ‘emptiness’ can be if you reinterpret it as time for yourself.


Cut! Cut and go!


Don’t be afraid hurting people if they were not afraid hurting you? Stop pretending that you’re Mother Teresa. Just cut those people off! Stay polite and respectful and explain your position if you feel like it, but don’t back away from the decision. Be ready to endure one last blast of pain. Be ready for the fact that some people might be aggressive. Don’t take anything personally, and remember that severing ties with the wrong people is like removing an unhealthy tooth: you experience extreme pain, and then relief…

Read also What negativity does to you life.

Big love and peace x

Tatiana Dmitrieva

 

A bit of music for quality trans meditation

Music could be a key to the Universal energy. Open your mind and make a step towards the unknown. Embrace the unknown and share your experience with us. 


Read also How and why to meditate. Simple techniques to start your mindful journey

Some people believe that ‘authentic’ meditation should only be performed in silence. It is completely up to you. I practice both ways: Listening to sounds of nature may be the best way to replenish your stocks of energy. However, hectic urban life often doesn’t afford us the opportunity to escape to a remote beach or a rural forest for an hour or two. In this case music can act as a key to open the ‘sacred door’ to the soul. Try various things, and choose what works for you the best. Here is a list of a few wonderful options I tied myself.

  1. Leichtigkeit Des Seins – LDS 5.3 by LDS ROOM on #SoundCloud

https://soundcloud.com/ldsroom/leichtigkeit-des-seins-lds-53

2. BABËL▽ Geju – Kudasai Chudes by BABËLIVE on #SoundCloud

3. We Go For Sound : 11 | MoM | May 2016 by Ethereal Kollektiv on #SoundCloud

https://soundcloud.com/etherealkollektiv/wgfs-11-mom

4. Jati Div at Leveldva by leveldva**| music on #SoundCloud

5. Bonjour Ben | Mandala by Bonjour Ben on #SoundCloud

Enjoy

Namaste

 

Why we have to be grateful for bad things

Being grateful for bad things too actually eliminate bad things as class from your life. They become things to be grateful for: lessons, freedom, understanding, and acceptance.

Gratitude is one of the fundamental principles of spiritual practice. But while it’s easy to be grateful for good things, what about bad ones? Many spiritual books and gurus tell us that we should be grateful even for the hurtful things in life. Many psychoanalysts and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy practitioners also strongly advocate the benefits of maintaining a positive attitude and outlook when undergoing painful situations. 

 

Have you ever noticed that everything happens for a reason? Very often negative events bring something really positive into our lives. I’ll give you a couple of examples from my personal life-journey. At one point my job application was refused because the level of my English didn’t satisfy my potential employer. I had to survive without an income for eight months and really struggled to make ends meet. That was a tough time, but being rejected actually incentivized me into learning English properly. 8 years later I moved to London, and succeeded in gaining postgraduate degrees from two top UK universities and graduated from a first class university in the United States. The entire curriculum was, of course, in English. Looking back at my experiences, I am grateful to the person who initially binned my application, an experience which drove me to improve myself.

There are plenty of examples of why we should be grateful for sad events in our lives. I’m pretty sure each of you have experienced something similar in the past, and you’ll know that the most painful time is the period immediately after the event. It is very important to be consciously present at this moment in time, and interpret the things that are happening to you in the right way. Being depressed is extremely counter-productive, and negativity merely attracts more negativity.

Here are few examples of ways in which we should try to react, in order to maintain our serenity, reflect gratitude and radiate positivity:

 

Stay ridiculously positive

Imagine that the person you’re in love with suddenly changes. Those sweet jokes, positive vibes, generosity, compassion, and appreciation are gone for no apparent reason. Be grateful! He or she has revealed their true self. Don’t dwell on the past, and remember that it was all a sham. Just move on: There’s no need to figure out what happened. Just be grateful to this person for emptying space in your life for someone truly amazing.

Your lover finishes the relationship, and there’s that awful feeling of emptiness…. Actually, you know what? Be grateful again! One who does not appreciate your company does not deserve to be next to you. Let them go. Probably your real friend, true love or partner is waiting for you around the corner, but doesn’t have the space to walk into your life.

Your business fails… Be grateful! Most likely, it was not the right thing for you, or not the right time. In any case, you are free to embark on new ventures. Every new start brings new opportunities, new inspirations, and new people into your life. Don’t miss these opportunities.

You lose money… Be grateful that someone took it. First of all, you made somebody’s life a bit better. Accept it as karmic: All good deeds will definitely pay off. Secondly, view the financial loss as a tax on your future happiness, health and wellbeing.

You break your leg… That’s shitty, but I would still encourage you to be grateful! You won’t be able to run for a while but you will have some free time to accomplish other things that you always wanted. Start learning a new language, read books from your reading list, go to art classes…

You’re treated poorly… Be grateful! Firstly, remember the old adage that what goes around comes around. Your karma will benefit from the experience. Secondly, you’ll be reminded of what you appreciate in those people who treat you properly. And finally, you’ll learn what you shouldn’t do to others.

So my dear friends, what are the three bad things you are grateful for today?

Tatiana Dmitrieva

 

Chocolate Matcha Coconut Cupcakes

My friends are coming over for a cup of tea today, so I decided to put my apron on and bake cupcakes! Today I’ll be making chocolate flavoured cupcakes with green matcha & coconut icing. Like many of my recipes, this one is created for people who are intolerant to dairy and gluten, but nonetheless the cupcakes still taste amazing.matcha-green-tea-cupcakes-chocolate-frosting_511218

Yield: – 12-15 cupcakes, prep time – 30 min, baking time – 30 minutes, total time – 1 hour


Macros:

Total calories per portion:  about 260 kcal

Protein – about 5g

Carbs – about  15g

Fat – about  20g


Ingredients:

Cupcakes

  • 200ml almond milk
  • 3 scoops of vanilla protein (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp stevia
  • 80ml cup rice bran oil (you can use peanut or almond butter if you prefer but the dough will be drier) 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 240g gluten-free flour
  • 3 Tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ½ cup roughly chopped walnuts or pecan nuts

Icing

  • 200 ml unrefined (virgin) coconut oil
  • 1 ½ Tbsp stevia
  • 6 Tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 Tbsp green tea matcha powder
  • 3 Tbsp organic sugar-free chocolate chips (to sprinkle)

Cooking directions3c6d8d80-b8a5-0133-8287-06e18a8a4ae5

Cupcakes

  • Preheat your oven to 180C. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
  • Add dry ingredients to the bowl (flour, protein, baking powder, cacao, stevia, salt) and mix well.
  • Pour milk, vanilla extract, bran oil into dry mixture and whisk until well combined. If the batter looks too dry, try adding a little bit more milk.
  • Pour apple vinegar or lemon juice onto baking soda (the two will burst into bubbles – these will give extra rise to the bake). Immediately stir into the batter. Add walnuts and mix for 20 seconds.
  • Fill each paper cup to 3/4 of the way. Bake for 20-25 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow them to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.

Icing

  • While your cupcakes are in the oven, you can start on cream.
  • Whisk the coconut oil until it gets fluffy  
  • Add in stevia, matcha tea powder, vanilla extract and coconut milk and mix together until nice and smooth
  • Once the cupcakes are cooled, pipe the cream onto cupcakes, sprinkle on top with chocolate chips

Enjoy!

What negativity does to you life

Negative thinking and subsequent emotions are probably two of our worst enemies, and not just because we are feeling down, frustrated or overwhelmed with negativity… What impact can these thoughts have? Here’s a rundown of their terrible effect on our lives. They:

 

Also read How and why to meditate. Simple techniques to start your mindful journey, and Being an Empath. Top 10 Traits

  • Kill productivity

first things first (coffee laptop)

Can you fully concentrate on the present moment when you’re overwhelmed by worry, fear, emotional pain or other negative emotions? I didn’t think so! You can’t be productive without completely focusing on what you do. You are ‘doing your thing’ but at the same time you’re not really there; your brain is gummed up with negativity. You could be stuck in this rut for hours, days or even months. In some extreme cases, people can’t escape this damaging cycle for years. It is well-established that we, as human beings, are incapable of engaging our full concentration on more than one thing at a time; if you are doing more than one thing at once, you’re already not 100% focused. Your attention is diluted. Very often, negative thoughts completely dominate us. What happens next? We lose our connection with reality, and as a result, experience a drop in productivity.

  • Supress creativity

kills creativity.jpg

When we do this it is impossible to be fully creative, and we carry out tasks on auto-pilot. We become remote, detached and mentally disconnected from our surroundings. What could we make without creativity? You’ve got it – nothing of real value. I haven’t even touched the topics of inspiration or motivation, which vanish instantly when ‘bad’ thoughts emerge. Passions are supressed, and the fire of life is doused by a flood of painful memories and negative thoughts.

  • Activate fears

anxiety

As we dwell on those negative things in our lives we increasingly fear the uncertainties of the future, and consequently our levels of anxiety rise. Negativity has regenerative characteristics: We think it’s conquered, but it can quickly take root again with only the slightest of triggers. It can also grow with astonishing rapidity, overwhelming us almost without warning. Memories of old grievances, lost opportunities, frustrating and anger-inducing situations and people who have, in some way, abused us, may all form part of the dismal mental fog in which we find ourselves, and which distorts our perception of ourselves and the world around us.

Our brain becomes locked into a sort of confirmation bias, in which we only see the negative things which happen around us and use those selective events to reinforce our world-view. It is a self-perpetuating cycle which can turn our world into a personal hell full of imaginary monsters and personal demons. Always try to remember that the ‘reality’ we perceive at these times is a fiction, created by our mind when drugged with negativity.

  • Affect your vibrations

empath-4

How do you feel when constantly surrounded by abusive people, unfairness and cruelty?  I imagine that the answer is “miserable”. Always keep in mind that your feelings determine the energy (vibrations) you radiate. As soon as you start feeling dejected and apathetic, other people will sense your vibrations and treat you accordingly. I knew one talented young man who was always unfairly treated by his colleagues and peers. Their behaviour toward other people was completely different, however; something he was constantly aware of. Finally, he was fired with no explanation and a few days later his girlfriend left him. When I asked him why it happened his answer was simply, “Those people are stupid”. It was difficult to believe his argument that absolutely everybody around him was both foolish and blind, and didn’t see his amazing qualities and personality. That young man was, in fact, vibrating on a very aggressive and arrogant frequency, which people picked up on. It was for that reason that they distanced themselves from him, partly as a protective mechanism. Why was he aggressive? Probably because of his past fears and anxieties. He tried to hide his internal insecurities behind scorn and criticism, adopting a position of ‘attack is the best form of defence’.

The moral? You get exactly what you give.

  • Affect communicative skills

bad vibes

You cannot interact with others productively when vibrating, let’s say, on a frequency of fear or anger. Even if you mask your true feelings with a friendly smile and polite demeanour, people will sense your vibration anyway. Moreover, sugar-coated negativity always tastes even worse. Can you imagine a piece of rotten fish coated with the finest Swiss chocolate? Both start smelling awful, don’t they?

  • Hold you from achieving your goals

tired.jpg

Summarising all of the above points, negativity holds you back from achieving your goals, rendering you unable to fully concentrate, express creativity, and properly interact with other people in a truly friendly and collaborative way. Negativity generates ever more negativity, leading to a vicious circle which can have a devastating impact on our quality of life.

By increasing your levels of self-awareness, and through perseverance, you can break out of that circle. Try starting today.

Tatiana Dmitrieva

IMG_0096

 

Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Fudge

Have you tried this recipe of a soft, rich and mouth melting caramel fudge? If you haven’t, you need to make a batch right away! It melts in the mouth and the recipe uses no heavy cream, dairy or refined sugar and it’s homemade. You know what you are eating! Once made, it can be stored in the freezer and consumed throughout a week.

Salted-Caramels-Recipe-

 

Yield: about 150g of fudge, prep time – 10 minutes, freezing time – 3 hours, total time – 3 hours and 10 minutes


Macros

Total calories per fudge of 20g: about 84kcal

Protein – about 7g

Carbs – about 3g

Fat – about 5g

____________________________________________________________

Ingredients

  • 100g organic peanut or almond butter
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 ½ Tbsp almond or soy milk
  • 1 scoop caramel protein powder
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp sea salt

ultimatefudge_lg

 

Directions

  • Peel and grate one medium banana
  • Add the banana paste to peanut butter and stir until it will become creamy and smooth. If you keep the butter at the room temperature it will help stirring (you don’t  need to do the heavy work, use your food processor)
  • Add the the rest of the ingredients to the mixture and and blend until very smooth! There should be no lumps at all.  Just smooth cream.
  • Layer a baking sheet with a baking paper. Spread the fudge paste on the tray. It doesn’t need to come to the edge. Sprinkle with sea flakes.
  • Place in fridge or freezer until firm.  Cut into squares (size is of your choice).  Store in the fridge to maintain solid bars.

Enjoy!

How and why to meditate. Simple techniques to start your mindful journey

There are an abundance of meditative techniques out there, ranging from ancient Buddhist practices to the latest theories of mindfulness. At heart, they share the aim of preventing the meditator from becoming locked in compulsive thinking patterns, in large part by encouraging them to fully focus on ONE particular thing at a time.  This could entail simply concentrating on the present moment, or contemplating a sacred Mandala, listening to mantras, or even (as was the case with me) having a kiteboarding lesson. You can use traditional authentic techniques or create your own way to meditate – whichever best works for you.  There are no rules, and everything is possible and permissible. 

1465840512534

 Our minds constantly oscillate between the past and future, and we are rarely fully present at any given moment. Even when trying to do yoga, or to meditate, we often slip into involuntary thinking patterns. Meditation is about achieving a mental stillness, about calming the mind for a period of time and creating a specific mental space. We need that quiet space to unwind, heal and recover, and to be able to create or perceive new things.


Also read Kiteaboarding as conscious evolution. Another view

How to declutter your mind

How to cope with information overload


Best time

You can meditate whenever you feel you need it – sometimes just 10-15 minutes is sufficient. It’s widely believed, however, that the optimal time (the ‘sacred period’) to meditate is when you wake up or go to bed. Morning meditation is a perfect way to start your day in the right mode, but do not confuse it with planning your day. Try to completely avoid thinking during the meditation time, clearing your mind of distracting or unnecessary thoughts. Evening meditation is a great way to unwind after a hard day before you sleep. You can also practice short “time-in” whenever you feel you need it. I meditate like this while I’m on public transport, or even during my morning run. Evening workout in the gym could also be a good time.

How to start

18589696 Meditation by sunset

The idea of spending between ten to thirty minutes without thinking may sound easy, but it takes practice to truly master.  How, then, can this be achieved? You can start by focusing your attention on your body. Try to feel each part of your body separately: your legs, arms and other extremities. Then switch your attention to your breathing, or try to feel the energy which flows through your body. Try to go beyond the physical, following your stream of inner energy: Don’t be afraid, just trust the journey and go with the flow. At the end of the meditation think about those ‘greater’ goals in your life, such as being kind, loving, grateful, compassionate and so on. Everyone has his or her own set of personal goals.


Practicing giving-receiving and gratitude

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My current goal, for example, is to learn how to receive love, help and goodwill, and to generally be grateful for everything that comes into – and leaves – my life.

Since I am naturally a giving person, I know how to love and how to help.  However I have always struggled with receiving. Psychologists believe that those who have difficulty with receiving may have deep-rooted trust, acceptance and/or self-acceptance issues. When you only give and are not open to receiving, you initially become rapidly drained, and then start to appreciate other people less. Such an imbalance could be harmful to your relationships. People around you invariably feel that they are underappreciated, and it’s painful for them and for you. That’s why it’s important to be able to give and receive at the same time.

Take a moment to think about your life goals. Perhaps your past brings back painful memories and prevents you from truly opening your heart to show your true self and feelings.  Or perhaps, conversely, you actually give too much, and don’t leave space for your relationships to grow and develop naturally. It’s a very personal journey and all of us have certain things to work on.

a very personal journey and all of us have certain things to work on.

Touch your soul

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Try to feel, see and talk to your soul. This probably sounds weird, but try it anyway. Eckhart Tolle, the author of the bestseller The Power of Now, describes this meditation technique perfectly.  Try to see, feel and fully focus on your ‘inner body’ (i.e. your soul). It can take time to become comfortable practicing this technique. When I tried it, I found it to be a very relaxing and mind-clearing experience. Advanced yoga and meditation practitioners can further extend this technique by switching the focus of their attention from observing the soul to watching how it’s connected to the Universe. Some practitioners are able to get incredible insights during such deep meditations. Try and share what you think.

 Music as a key to the door

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Some people believe that ‘authentic’ meditation should only be performed in silence. It is completely up to you. I practice both ways: Listening to sounds of nature may be the best way to replenish your stocks of energy. However, hectic urban life often doesn’t afford us the opportunity to escape to a remote beach or a rural forest for an hour or two. In this case music can act as a key to open the ‘sacred door’ to the soul. Try various things, and choose what works for you the best: authentic mantras, classical music or your favourite jazz band.

Breath of life

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If you haven’t decided how to start yet – try breathing. It is the easiest technique. Just breathe deeply. Inhale – exhale – and then feel the natural pause before you inhale again. Try to concentrate on your breathing, feeling how your body rises and falls. Sense the smell and taste of the air.   Next, try to feel how every inhaled breath fills your body with crystal-clear Universal energy and how, when you exhale, all your worries, anxieties and fears exit your body. Repeat this breathing cycle exercise until you start feeling relaxed and reenergized.

 

4 elements meditation

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Another way to meditate is to connect with the four elements: water, fire, air, and earth…. Interact with them one after another, fully concentrating on all the bodily feelings you will have. Start off by meditating for 5-10 minutes and then gradually extend this time. Remember, all four elements have their own energy, which you can absorb if you are open enough.

The ancient Greeks believed that Air/Wind gives us mental strength and the ability to think clearly and lucidly; that’s why it’s highly recommended to spend some time outside daily. It is precisely because of this elemental quality that, when we’re planning to take a walk, we say things like: “I have to refresh my mind”.

Water gives us flexibility, the ability to transform, and teaches us how to be more compassionate, understanding and loving. It also removes those negative energies we accumulate on an average day. To connect with water is the easiest task: just drink some (possibly while repeating positive affirmations) or take a bath.

Fire is materialized energy itself. It is warming, protective and in the same time tempering. Just put your palm next to a candle and try to absorb its energy, letting it flow through your body.

Finally, earth grounds us and imparts a feeling of stability and wellbeing. If you have the chance to walk barefoot on the ground – feeling the earth beneath your feet – fantastic. Obviously it’s pretty difficult to do so in a town or city, so just walk barefoot at home and try to imagine how the energy of the earth flows through your body, filling it with a sense of stability.

Plants are the creatures of earth. Bring flowers into your household and they will keep you connected to the fourth element. It is sometimes enough to simply smell, touch or observe them from time to time.

Good luck

Tatiana Dmitrieva 

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Protein-Packed Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies are buttery and crunchy, and packed with protein. Exactly what you need to treat yourself to after a good workout! You’d have to put them away before you finish them all. These cookies are suitable for freezing.e0a02ef89c439945623d5f448bf35536

Yield: 12-14 cookies, prep time – 5 minutes, cooking time – 10 minutes, total time – 15 minutes


Macros

Total calories per cookie: about 221kcal

Protein – about 12g

Carbs – about 6g

Fat – about 17g


Ingredients

  • 225g organic peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp Stevia
  • 1 egg, large
  • 2 scoops protein powder (peanut, chocolate or vanilla flavour)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp sugar-free chocolate chips (optional)making-peanut-butter-cookies

Cooking process

  • Preheat oven to 180C and line a baking sheet with baking paper
  • Beat the egg and stevia together
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until your consistency is like cookie dough. If the batter looks runny, add a few more tablespoons of protein powder. You can add chocolate chips, if you desire. Just mix them with the batter.
  • Take 2 tablespoons of dough into your palms and roll into a ball. Flatten the ball and place on a baking sheet. Use a fork to create classic peanut butter cookie criss-cross marks on your cookie.
  • Bake at 180C for 10-12 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown.
  • Leave them to cool for 10-15 minutes until the cookies become harden!

Enjoy!