Monday, March 5, 2012

Lent Update

Hi all! Amanda here. Just a quick Lent update. So far, so good with the no dessert portion. I must admit I have eaten more clementines in the past two weeks than ever before (because as I have discovered, these serve as an excellent treat that tastes almost as good as dessert). And fruit juice popsicles don’t count do they? I’ve found that it was really challenging in the beginning, especially when Trader Joe’s insists on putting every delicious chocolate product they carry right next to the line that you have to wait in to check out (as do most grocery stores that are out to get those of us with a sweet tooth). However, I have noticed that the longer you live with something, the easier it gets. I have to say though; I already have a running list of things I can’t wait to eat after Easter!
Here are some awesome recipes I found for treats that are healthy and so good you might mistake them for dessert. I concocted the recipe for the Tropical Berry Bash smoothie on my own. It’s so fun to experiment with smoothie making because it seems no matter what fruit/juice combo you try, it’s always good for you and delicious!
The granola recipe is great and easy to make changes to to include your favorite ingredients.

Purple Monstrosity Smoothie – I just love the name!
▪ 2 frozen bananas, skins removed and cut in chunks
▪ 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
▪ 1 cup orange juice
▪ 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Cranberry Almond Granola
▪ 2/3 cup frozen unsweetened apple juice concentrate, thawed
▪ 1/2 cup maple syrup
▪ 1/3 cup almond oil, or canola oil
▪ 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
▪ 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
▪ 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
▪ 5 cups rolled oats, (not quick-cooking)
▪ 1 cup toasted wheat germ
▪ 1 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped (4 1/2 ounces)
▪ 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, (2 ounces)
1 cup dried cranberries, divided
If this recipe looks good to you, check out this link for info about the preparation:

Tropical Berry Bash
1 banana
½ cup raspberries
½ cup strawberries
½ cup pineapple or mango
½ cup fat free plain yogurt
1 dash cinnamon
1 Tbs Agave syrup
1 cup ice

As for the getting rid of frustrations and managing stress better, I seem to be surmounting this challenge in baby steps. It’s really difficult to instantly alter your perceptions on various situations that have always caused you stress, like the morning commute. However, I’ve been implementing new strategies to make my most stressful time of day a little more pleasant, and they’ve helped to reduce my reaction to these triggers. For example, I make sure to never leave my apartment without my iPod and a good book. This way I always have a distraction so I can phase out my stressors. I’ve also changed up the music I choose to listen to on the subway, opting for more relaxing tunes that soothe rather than make me want to dance. I have also found a new mindset that helps. If I enter a stressful situation knowing that everyone is just as stressed out as I am, I find it easier to be more compassionate and patient with those around me.
I found many helpful suggestions, and info about stress in general at If you can remember the Four A’s, you have a greater chance of dealing with a stressful situation in a healthier and more productive way.

Dealing with Stressful Situations: The Four A’s
Change the situation:
▪ Avoid the stressor.
▪ Alter the stressor. Change your reaction:
▪ Adapt to the stressor.
▪ Accept the stressor.

For more info on dealing with stress, visit:

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