Valentine’s Day: Chocolate Meets its Healthier Match

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it might seem like there is chocolate on every shelf, every counter and every menu in town. It’s one of our favorite tasty treats, but it is also packed with sugar and even caffeine. We did some digging and came up with a brilliant alternative for baking, trail mix and snacking.

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Carob comes from a tropical plant and has much less sugar than chocolate. Plus, it is naturally sweeter, so it needs less artificial ingredients to become a palatable treat. Carob is also low in fat and has plenty of calcium and fiber.

Markets like Whole Foods carry carob chips, which look almost identical to chocolate chips. Use them for low-sugar baking, melt them down into a warm drink, use them for a healthier fondue, throw them into trail mix or make protein-packed nut clusters.

Here are our favorite carob-worthy recipes and treats:

DAIRY AND CHOCOLATE-FREE HOT (COCOA) CAROB

TRAIL MIX IDEAS WITH CAROB

VEGAN CAROB BANANA BREAD

CAROB-COVERED RAISINS

Dorothy Hamill: Olympic Star Coaches Cancer Survivors

While the annual Winter Olympics feature the most extreme of sports, they also feature the most graceful: Figure skating. Often young, beautiful and bursting with personality, skating stars quickly become role models and household names. As a teenager, Dorothy Hamill owned the Olympic skating scene, gliding to a gold medal in 1976.

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Later, Dorothy once again became a winner, but this time in a battle against breast cancer. In 2007, Dorothy’s diagnosis challenged her active lifestyle. After a successful surgery and treatment, Hamill was declared cancer-free.

Despite the disappearance of her cancer, Dorothy continues to recognize the lifestyle changes that cancer patients are encouraged to make for assistance resisting cancer’s return. Often involving drugs with intense side effects, the process can be exhausting.

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Fortunately for Hamill, she discovered a way to test her future cancer risk. The Breast Cancer Index test allows patients who are in remission and on anti-estrogen therapy to assess the risk of their cancer returning, and the risk-to-benefit ratio of certain drugs. The procedure is completed using tissue saved from surgery.

Now, Hamill is using her platform to help other women understand their choices after breast cancer. Her campaign, BeWisER+ About Breast Cancer, helps to empower women both during and after their battles with cancer by providing them with testing and treatment information. For Hamill, the wisdom about options allows women to find the post-cancer journey that works best for their unique needs, bodies and hopes.

Therapy on the Trails

Sometimes, clearing your mind also means freeing your body from its normal routine. For therapist Nicole Shannon, the power of time outdoors can be healing and deeply powerful. Below, she tells us all about her Trail Sessions, where traditional therapy intersects with exercise and relaxation on hikes.

Trail Sessions Therapy sends your therapy on a hike. It adds the vast benefits of the outdoors to those of traditional psychotherapy. It puts your healing of mind and body in motion. Wellness of body and mind are so closely connected, that engaging your body in the healing of your mind naturally accelerates results. The trail becomes a dynamic work space for your body and mind. I encourage letting go of technology to embrace the natural beauty around us while doing physical activity. Trail Sessions Therapy was developed out of the belief that one’s emotional health is closely tied to their connection to nature and time spent outdoors. The ground beneath your feet will center you. The direction will unstick you from where you are stuck.

The trail hiking therapy sessions emphasize the distance you cover emotionally. It will focus on your strength and empowerment. Every step is a manifestation of your progress, every inhale is energy, every exhale is letting go of what does not serve you.

While the trail can seem daunting and steep you will not walk it alone. You have already shown courage by reaching out and putting yourself on the trail. I will help you find your footing, overcome obstacles and gain a deeper understanding of yourself and those around you. You will hike into a stronger and better you.

You set the pace and I will match it. Slower, meditative walks allow for clearing of the mind and free-flowing contemplation. Faster, power sessions facilitate targeted break-throughs and emotional responses. Trail Sessions Therapy adapts seamlessly and instantly to your ever evolving path to growth, wellness and healing.

If you’re interested in booking a session with Nicole, email [email protected] for rates and more information.

And a Healthy New Year.

Resolutions are popping up everywhere, and often have a stigma of being unrealistic or unfulfilled. But at FFLB, we believe in the power of positive goals, wishes and self-belief. Resolutions can be reframed from restrictions, “no’s” or “should not’s”.  Resolutions can be full of joy and self-encouragement.

WE are going to continue a joyful community of Living Beauty.

We can all give our bodies time to rest, time to recover, time to be challenged and even time to be pampered.

We can all give our hearts and minds moments of peace. Meditate, embrace yoga. Look out the window and admire the rain. Pray or reflect. Build treasured friendships. 

We can all embrace the power of food and hydration. Learn about antioxidants, vitamins and protein. Try new recipes to get a great taste of unique ingredients.

Resolutions don’t have to sound like limitations. They can be joyful and inspiring. And they can be made together. Here’s to a 2016 filled with infectious joy and love.