RECIPE: Gluten-free/nut-free Granola

In my recent attempts to balance my hormones and introduce creative food alternatives, I made a home-made granola and it was DELISH! And, its kid approved!

Recipe from my Holistic Nutritionist, Jenn Pike

Nut-Free/Gluten-Free Granola Bars

2-Cups Organic Oats

2/3-Cups Organic Coconut Sugar

1-Cup Gluten Free Flour (I use coconut flour)

1/2-tsp Baking Soda (I made without because I didn’t have it on hand, and it turned out great!)

1/2-tsp Baking Powder

1-tsp Cinnamon

1-tsp Salt (I used 1/2 tsp because I find the pumpkin seed butter salty enough)

1-tsp Vanilla Extract

1/2-Cups Raw Organic Honey (heat to soften)

2-tablespoons Coconut Oil (heat to soften)

1/4-1/2 Cups Sunflower Seed or Pumpkin Seed Butter (I used Pumpkin Seed Butter)

1/4-Cups Sunflower Seeds

1/4-Cups Pumpkin Seeds

1/4-Cups Carob Chips (Not part of the original recipe, but I added this in order to make it look enticing to the kids…and I prefer carob to chocolate)

Mix all ingredients together.  This will appear challenging at first because the seed butters and honey are gooey, but just keep working the mixture with a fork or wooden spoon. Once mixed, press into a greased pan (I use coconut oil to grease it), approx. 9×13.  The dough will be VERY dry and crumbly, but that’s ok.  Continue to press until the dough forms with the pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for approx. 20 minutes or until the edges are browned.  Remove from oven and let sit until completely cooled.  Cut into strips or squares and store in snack sized bags or a tupperware container.  I freeze mine and remove as needed.  You may find some pieces will stick to the pan or crumble off the bars.  Keep in a separate container and use as granola (perfect for topping yoghurt!). ENJOY!

Why feeling stuck is not always a bad thing.

I recently wrote a speech for my Toastmasters club, and in it, I described the lessons I learned from pain, feeling stuck and how its not always a bad thing.  Below is an excerpt from what I wrote:

“AH AH AH CHOO! Oh no! I think I’m stuck. But all I did was sneeze?!”

There I was, 18 years old, hunched forward in pain, and literally stuck. I had no idea what happened.  I tried to ignore it, hoping it was just a passing hiccup, but trying to ignore pain works as well as trying to bathe a cat.

I found myself a massage therapist who worked his magic on my back, getting me from 90 degrees of forward flexion to an almost upright position.  Not exactly ideal, but it was a drastic improvement from where I started.  I eventually ended up in my doctors office, and diagnosed with a herniated disc.

It took months to get better, and during that time, I became increasingly more frustrated.  One week I was fine, the next, I was stuck.

Try to imagine if you will, a single 18 year old girl, attempting to look sexy at club – only now, add in sweatpants and a cane. Not exactly the best way to find a boyfriend.  Yes, my social life was starting to suffer,and there was nothing that I could do about it.

I couldn’t go out. I didn’t want to stay in. It hurt to sit. But it also hurt to stand. I got really good at identifying people by their shoes. 


Ermahgerd! It was in front of me all along. If only I could have seen in front of me!

I was literally and figuratively STUCK!

They say the body mirrors what is going on inside our minds and coincidentally (or not), I was feeling stuck.

I had just graduated from ECE at Seneca college, a program that I loved thoroughly.  I loved learning about the psychology of the human mind, how we learn and the developmental stages we go through from infancy through to adulthood.  The arts and crafts weren’t bad either.  There is an art to cutting and pasting!

I was ready and excited to get this new chapter started.  I started sending out resumes to a few choice schools.  My very first interview was with a Montessori, and I was immediately hired.  Me! A teacher! I couldn’t believe it.

And then it started.

The snotty noses, screaming kids, and countless amounts of spilled milk!  Whoever said don’t cry over spilled milk obviously never worked in a daycare before. 

I was not enjoying this.  Not one little but.  It wasn’t at all what I imagined. I began to reassess, and I toggled between not wanting to be a quitter vs coming home exhausted, sore and sick.


I was stuck, in one of the biggest dilemmas I had ever faced.  Ok, maybe not the biggest but it was big enough to keel me over in pain from a simple sneeze. 

The days and nights I spent thinking, analyzing, over analyzing and stressing out over this, had created this huge monkey on my back. And it was weighing me down.

So, I quit.

I didn’t think twice about it. As soon as I got clear on what was happening, it was an easy decision to make. I was not where I wanted to be and my back was telling me so. I am so happy I listened, because a whole new world of opportunities opened up for me after that.

There was so much learning in that experience for me.  There were 3 main lessons that my back pain taught me.

  1. When you’re not happy with what direction you are going, you have full control to change it.
  2. When your body tries to telling you something, it’s best to pay attention. It’s giving you a clue to what is going on in your mind and heart. And, Ignoring it will only cause it to amplify its message for you.
  3. You are not stuck. Despite what you might feel, you are not stuck anywhere. Your life is yours to create. The sky is not the limit, your belief system is.

As for my back pain, unfortunately my herniated disc became a chronic issue and one that I continue to deal with, 22 years later. As much as I hate that I having chronic back pain, I have learned to be grateful for it. It is my guide in a sense. It keeps me connected to myself, my purpose and my true desires.

When I’m overtired and not taking care of myself, it screams at me to stop. And when I’m anxious or stressed about something, it is the first thing to wake me up so I can change direction.

Feeling stuck is a feeling not a fact. Use it as an indication that something needs to change, and know that when that feeling occurs, there is usually something really big waiting for you on the other side.

Don’t judge others because you sin differently: Reflections on Monica Lewinsky’s speech

I saw this video in my news feed and debated watching it.  I didn’t know what to expect, as the last images I had in my mind of Monica Lewinsky were the ones the media imprinted in my brain after the news of her affair with Clinton broke out.

Listening to her share her story, as a 22 year old girl who fell in love, my heart sank as she described her memories and experiences of the aftermath.  Twenties are hard enough without the added feelings of desperate isolation, fear, hurt and yes, shame.  Shame, the one emotion that has the potential to ruin someone’s life; the feeling that had her wishing she could just “disintegrate”.  A pretty powerful word for a young person (or any person for that matter) to have to feel.

There were so many things about her speech that impacted me, and reminded me of how important it is to be surrounded by people who love you.  To have people who, when you are so far removed from your true self, will remind you of exactly who you are.  People who mirror to you daily, your beauty, your light and your love.  Having that support is literally life-saving, because without it, shame wins.

I know I was one of those people who secretly judged her and got caught up in the drama that the media created.  I remember tuning in to the news broadcasts and reading the articles.  Having watched her speech today, I regret partaking in any of that, because the reality is, she is human.  We are all human.   And no human should be subject to humiliation, shame and hate. We are hard enough on ourselves that we don’t need others (in her case it was practically the entire the world), reinforcing the negative thoughts.

Today’s reminder:  Don’t judge others because you sin differently. We are all human.

Interested in watching the speech? Click link below.

Monica Lewinsky First Public Speech: Saying what needs to be said.

Walking dead – and no, its not the movie

Walking dead. Sounds more like a movie title (oh wait, it is a movie title), but in this case, its not.  It is basically what the doctor called me when I went in for results of a recent blood test.

Its a depressing term to use, and most people would not raise their hands in excitement and want to hug the doctor after hearing it. But I did.  And not because I was happy with what he was about to say to me, but rather that I finally had an answer to why I was feeling the way I was. It turns out (although there have been days that I certainly felt like it), I am not crazy or old or depressed.  

I consider myself a healthy person. I eat clean, I exercise regularly, I meditate, and I have a positive outlook on life. But over the last few years, I’ve struggled. Body pains, thinning hair, low-energy, tired 24-7, irritable, mood swings, forgetful….. Let’s just say that I know what an aging 80 year old feels like, and it ain’t fun. 

My days pretty much looked and felt like this: Wake up exhausted and in pain at 6:30am. Fight back tears as my feet hit the floor, only to waddle like a pregnant woman to the bathroom to freshen up. After about half an hour or so, my muscles would be loose and limber enough to allow me to get the kids up and out the door. Head downstairs to my meditation room to try and regain some mental clarity and focus, before forcing myself (literally) to get through a workout (thank goodness for my friend and trainer or I don’t think I would do anything). Shower, get dressed, and run out the door with a protein shake in hand (loaded with more vitamins and supplements than my tummy wanted to consume), and then off to the office where I struggled to stay focused and on task while smiling and keeping everyone around me motivated (actually, this part of my job is my saving grace. It gives me energy to carry on throughout the day. Although, I’m not sure I accomplished any it very well, and definitely not how I used to be able to.) Needless to say, that by the time 8pm hit, I was passed out with my kids, and praying that I was able to stay asleep all night (which was a rarity for me). And then, repeat.

Life shouldn’t be this hard. Simple tasks should not be this difficult, and my body should not hurt the way it does. So, I went to my doctor…a few times. After repeated discussions about how motherhood can be tiring (true but what I was feeling was not tired mommy syndrome), and unsuccessful attempts at getting her to run a few (non-standard) tests, I decided it was time to seek out another doctor who would. And I’m glad I did! Turns out, I am anaemic and hypothyroid (great combination – but not uncommon to be happening at the same time).

That little butterfly shaped thyroid gland is the master control center for the metabolic functions of every cell in your body. And when its not happy, it will wreak havoc on the quality of your life. It wasn’t until I came across this list of 300+ potential symptoms, that I realized how much chaos this little powerhouse of a gland could cause.

The lesson learned in all this? You know your body better than anyone else. If something doesn’t feel right, then push to get it checked. And if your doctor shrugs it off, get a second opinion. If I had pushed a little harder when all this started, I probably would have saved myself a ton of headaches (literally and figuratively).

While there is always a lesson, there is also always a gift. For me, its that I have both met and reconnected with some great doctors and nutritionists (medical and holistic), who are in alignment with my vision of optimal living. Walking dead is not living. I want to thrive not survive, and my hope is that for the thousands (probably millions) of people out there who are not aware of their condition, that you seek out what you need. I’m not suggesting that every person run to their doctor demanding thyroid tests, but listen to your body.

As for treatment? Well, it turns out that its not a one-size-fits-all and because this has been going on for years, there a number of things that need to be addressed.  Right now, I am working with my naturopath, new doctor and holistic nutritionist to get things back on track.  I’ve started on medication/supplements for the thyroid and anemia, and I can already see a difference in my energy.  I am sooo looking forward to feeling like a 40 year old instead of an 80 year old, and if I can fit back into my wedding gown again, that would be a bonus! (kidding! maybe…)

Did you know? January is thyroid awareness month


Creative Dabbler

I’m back! At least for today. It seems there is never enough time in the day to devote to all the things I love, writing being one of them.

As a Creative Dabbler (I prefer this term instead of Jack-of-all-trades. More fun and light-hearted, don’t you think?) I find that I love so many things that are creative and filled with opportunity for self-expression, and I sometimes wish I could just do them all at once. But I can’t. So I resolve to letting go and doing what I love in the moment that I feel like doing it. No pressure. Just joy.

When I feel like painting, I paint. When I feel like practicing guitar. I practice. When I feel like singing. I sing. When I feel like writing, I write. When I feel like meditating…..actually, I kind of don’t give myself a choice on this one. If I want to stay sane and grounded all day, I need to meditate. Especially with the busy mind I carry with me.

Today, I felt like writing. I just didn’t know about what. So, in keeping with my “no pressure, just joy” rule, I figured I would write and see what comes out. And here I am. Writing about being a creative dabbler who wishes she could have more time to dabble. And as I sit in my car waiting for my daughter to finish dance, I write. Just me, my thoughts and my phone. (I’ve pretty much written every blog post and quote from my phone. Excuse any typos or incorrect grammar because I really don’t edit what I write.)

I also wish I brought my meditation music, my guitar, a book.. *sigh* I know I only have 45 minutes but I like to be prepared in case inspiration hits.

The thought hits me; Could creative dabbling just be an excuse for not wanting to commit to just one thing? Hmmmm………..*puts down phone and thinks for a while*

Nope. I’m good with commitment. I think I just love too many things (is that even possible?). I want to feel joy and feel alive 24/7. So whatever I need to do in this moment (and the next….and the next) to feel connected to myself in the presence of love and joy, I will do. In this moment, it happens to be writing.

So that settles it. I am not a Creative Dabbler with commitment issues. I’m a Creative Dabbler who is committed to experiencing joy in every aspect of my life, all the time.

And I’m good with that.

Being human

Be kind, compassionate and loving.  Because that’s what this world needs.  It needs humans who will strive to be who they are, rather than who they are not.  Humans to love with all their heart and soul. Humans who will teach the next generation that life is what you make it, and everyone is perfectly flawed.  The world doesn’t need perfection.  The world needs humans, like you.

Connect to love to connect in love

You must be connected “to love” in order to be connected “in love”.

You connect “to” love when you fill your days and nights with things that bring you joy. Things that connect you to your true self, whatever that may be.

How can you truly connect to someone in love when you aren’t connected to yourself in love?

Something to ponder.



There is nothing you can tell about a persons life, simply by looking at a picture they post.

A picture is a snapshot. A mere second in time. What you don’t see is the moments (and sometimes the chaos) before and after. A crying child just before the family photo. Or the million and one selfies that were taken to get that “right one” to post. (Or in my case, a woman falling on her head after a perfect handstand shot!*grin* 😂)

Life is a series of snapshots. That is the whole truth.

Enjoy the moments, and embrace who you are. Life is not perfect, and neither are people. Live honestly, with love, kindness and peace. And don’t place meaning to something that is probably not true.