Another fairly lazy Sunday here on the books at the Shanty.  After two weekends off I was back at the yoga studio early in the morning for my volunteer shift.  Last week was pretty busy for me and I actually didn’t make it to one class.  Having these Sunday shifts is a good reminder of why I love hot yoga so much.  I see the people as they enter the studio and as they leave the class and I can definitely tell you in that span of 60-90 min something changes.  Sweaty, smiley faces are always coming down the stairs after classes.  It makes me crave the same feeling.  This week I have no plans outside of work so am hoping to make it to a class everyday.  I can tell that both my mind and my body are missing it.

Besides missing the yoga classes my first week of “April the detox” month has been going very well.  I have stuck to the smoothie challenge and have had a green smoothie, or two, or three everyday so far.  I haven’t had any alcohol outside of one beer during the week and one on Saturday night.  My eating has generally stayed pretty healthy (with a few minor exceptions) and overall I am feeling pretty great!  I also got fantastic news from my rheumatologist last week.  It seems that my body is starting to heal!  In 2011 I had MRIs done of my hands and feet which were not good at all.  The images showed a lot of fluid, swelling, and other unfortunate symptoms of RA.  About a year ago I decided to start taking Enbrel in order to prevent any permanent joint damage and to try to “turn off” the mechanism in my body that was telling my immune system to basically freak out.  Well it seems to be working.  My blood tests have never been so good and X-rays show an amazing improvement in my hands and feet with no permanent damage.  And when I say that it looks like my body is starting to heal, this is not me talking, these are the words of my rheumatologist.  I can now start taking Enbrel every other week instead of every Sunday, and this has been a huge motivator for me to stay on track with the lifestyle changes in the hopes that very soon I can go off the medication completely.  Isn’t that swell?

I decided to treat myself on Sunday to a celebratory smoothie (not green but still very healthy) that imitates a good ol’ chocolate shake.  This is yet another thing I have been meaning to try for a few months now and I was not disappointed at all.  Here is the recipe if you want to give it a try.

Chocolate Date Smoothie

15 pitted honey dates (soak in water for about 2 hours)

2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk (rice, hemp, or soy milk would work as well)

1 banana

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cardamom (optional)

1 teaspoon turmeric (optional)

splash of vanilla

Throw in a blender, whirl it up, enjoy!  This recipe makes two smoothies.

This smoothie actually ended up being a little too sweet for me so in the future I plan to replace the banana with half of an avocado which will also help create that smooth texture without the added sweetness.  Also replacing the dates which are quite sweet with soaked prunes.  I chose to put ground cardamom in for a bit of spice, and the turmeric because it is a great anti-inflammatory.  I try to use it wherever I can.  Just a word of warning though, powdered turmeric has a very strong, and not very pleasant taste, so use sparingly.

I have also started to be very curious about how our current understanding of nutrition was formed.  How did we discover vitamins?  How do we know what vitamins and minerals are in what food?  And additionally, how do we know which of these elements is good for specific parts of our bodies?

My first attempt at research led me to a few books that the Toronto Public Library has.  First is Terrors of the Table: the curious history of nutrition by W. B. Gratzer.  This was my wrap up to Sunday evening.  A good read thus far of which I am sure I will be sharing tidbits on here very soon.

Hope you all had a great Sunday!


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