Sunday, 20 July 2014

Healthy avocado brownies


Hi there!

It has been I while since I last posted. I was crazy busy and the problem is that I like to do a lot of things and I have difficulties setting priorities. Sounds familiar? ;-)

Anyway, I made these avocado brownies somewhere in march and I wanted to share these with you. I was looking for a good recipe, which had the right nutrients for me, my family and friends. I stumbled upon this site called "The Smoothie Lover" and BINGO, the recipe looked great.

You should definitely take a look, this blog is very nice, full of good and healthy recipes and photo's.

I chose to follow this recipe for a few reasons. It's flour free, it has a better sweetening option instead of processed sugar and it has healthy fats. I found they are especially good if you have intestinal problems like me (if I eat to much grains, my intestines get clogged). This recipe is flour free so I don't get a bloated tummy eating them. The coconut sugar has a low GI level, witch will keep your blood sugar stable. The healthy fats in the avocado, will also keep your intestines in a good condition. Extra benefit: an avocado is very nutrient dense. You can eat them every day, without to worry about calories, if you have a well balanced diet.

So it was time for me to try the recipe. You don't need a lot of ingredients. Good! Because I like to keep things simple!















I also like to give away food, so I decided to make a present for my friend Marlinde!







Luckily I could try them myself, because we planned a cozy dinner at Marlinde's!























Try them yourself, they are delicious! And don't forget to browse around The smoothie lover !


Avocado Brownies

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 200 g. (1½ cup) avocado flesh* (very ripe, but not brown)
  • 1 cup (240mL) coconut sugar OR ½ cup (120 mL) honey*
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (240mL) dark cocoa powder (a bit more than 1 dl.)
  • 100 g. dark chocolate (I used 85% cocoa)
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 175°C / 350° F.
  2. In a bowl using a hand mixer (or use a stand mixer with the whipping-thing attached), mix together avocado and coconut sugar or honey until smooth. Beat in the eggs.
  3. Mix in the cocoa powder.
  4. In a foodprocessor grind the chocolate until fine (no lumps bigger than a small pea). Mix "chocolate-flour" into the dough.
  5. In a small bowl or glass dissolve the baking soda in water and add to the dough. Mix well.
  6. Butter a square pan or spring form. Pour the dough into the form and bake for approx. 20 minutes (until at toothpick comes out clean).
  7. Cool down outside the oven. Then cover and let cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The brownies becomes better the longer they sit in the fridge.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to an week.

Monday, 10 February 2014

EDS makes me happy

Being happy when having EDS is not something that comes naturaly. It's a growing process of learning, trying, falling....a lot... and trying other stuff. Sports do make me happy. Gymnastics did, swimming did, running did and also lifting weights did. I enjoyed it all. But what if your body tells you it is too much? Do you keep trying or do you give up?

Two years ago I stopped doing fitness completely. People always told me I should keep lifting weights so that I could keep by body strong. But it didn't. After ten years of fitness, my motivation was gone. I couldn't set new goals, because my body wouldn't let me. To much pressure on the joints caused a lot of inflammations and stiffness. I already knew doctors were not happy about me doing yoga, but after some research I found that there are a lot of different types of yoga. After trying a few of them, I knew Ashtanga yoga would help get some strength back and it would also keep me motivated.

So, here I am, almost two years later. By now I think I can tell you some of my experiences ;) Ashtanga Yoga did do the following things for me:

  • Less stiffness in the morning. I still need time to get out of bed, put my joints back at place, but my joints feel more relaxed and less tired.
  • I am more flexible! "But wait, that can't be right. Why do you want to be more flexible?" Let me tell you that EDS patients can also be too stiff. This tightness in the joints causes inflammations and tired muscles. Because of Ashtanga yoga I learned, in order to be in balance, you have to search for a balance between strength and flexibility. Sure, some yoga types work more on flexibility, I have learned that the hard way ;) But with Ashtanga, the poses (or asana's) come in a flow. You stay in every asana for five breaths, and then you flow into another asana. It's just enough to make the balance between strength and flexibility.
  • I have less subluxations and dislocations. Yeah!
  • My body makes cracking noises all the time, but not as much as before.
  • My core is stronger. That means less pressure on my spine and a more stable ribcage. (Although my ribs still tend to move throughout the day, an awful feeling).
  • I learn to listen to my body more carefully. I back off a pose if my joints hurt, but I will push through if it's just a myalgia (normal muscle ache). I also learned to plan my activities better. After a few busy days, I have to take some rest, instead of ignoring the pain.
  • I am more self-assured. I try new things on and off the yogamat, without the fear of failing.
  • My body looks great: more toned and slim!

For EDS patients who also want to try yoga, please be careful. I do have EDS, but a have an athletic build. I've always had pretty strong muscles for an EDS patient, so Ashtanga yoga wasn't that scary for me to try. If you have hypotonia (a weak muscle tone) or experience muscle fatigue, please be aware and patient. Start with some sun-salutations for a few months and take your time to feel what effects sun-salutations have.

Because of my own results I wanted to reward myself. My first cheap yoga mat was dying, so I bought myself a brand new Manduka yoga mat and bag. I also bought new yoga clothes from one of my favorite brands: Onzie. Don't they look great?



















I bought my yogamat and bag at Yogashop.nl: www.yogashop.nl

I am especially happy about Onzie yogawear. The clothes are ordered in the US, but they always arrive in Holland after no more than five day's: 

Because some items were out of stock, I ordered those items at Evolve fitwear. I can't wait for them to arrive!

So as an answer to why EDS makes me happy:
  • I'm mentally stronger because of overcoming the challenges of having EDS.
  • Without EDS I would have never found out that yoga could be a new passion and I'm looking awesome doing it :D

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Meet Pien...





















Pien is my yoga instructor and in 2013 she also became a good friend. Pien is also hypermobile. In a weird way, we discovered we had something in common. After a class Piens hip dislocated. She already knew I had the same problem in the past, so she asked me to help her. Piens hip was the first one I helped setting again. After stetting the hip we had some tea with the other students, like nothing had happend. Is she strong or what ;)

Anyway, Pien and I decided to experiment with specific yoga techniques. I could learn a lot from her, like alignment, tips for getting stronger and how to make my own yoga flows. And Pien could learn from me too, for instance: how to deal with hypermobile joints. We are a great team!

Yesterday we had a great yoga session. We did three sun salutations A and three Sun Salutations B. After warming up, Pien led me into a standing flow, witch was great for my strength. After the flow we helped each other to work on some poses. We had a lot of fun with those!




I always struggle with bakassana, but Pien is already strong enough, so she gave me some great pointers.

I could help Pien with her Natarajasana, because Pien has hypermobile shoulder issues!

Afterwards we wanted to try some arm balances and handstands.

With all the hard work, we had to finish with some closing poses, for cooling down and some safe stretching of our backs. Apparently my cat Avaldi had to check our alignment with this one ;)

After yoga, we had to close our great day with some Indian food, which was delicious.

Pien, thank you for all your help and being my new (best) (yogi) friend!

Piens facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/prijnink

She also gives private yoga lessons in The Netherlands. 
Her email: mailto:pien@sparklesofinspiration.com

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Christmas cooking

Don't get me wrong, I love cooking. But after a very busy year, I was hoping that I could keep things easy. With our family we decided to divide the holiday cooking. I chose to make the dessert.... a good one!

Not long ago I got this amazing App from this site: http://thewholepantryapp.com/ The flowerless Black Forest Cake caught my eye. It is mostly made with almond flour, eggs and sirup. The frosting in this recipe is made of coconut butter/ creme.


I was not sure If my family would like the coconut creme, so I used a basic chocolate butter creme recipe instead!

And here it is:



The cake was delicious!

If you want to be inspired some more, you can visit their facebookpage:

https://www.facebook.com/thewholepantryapp

The recipes are great and I really love the photography.

For now a happy and healthy new year everyone!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

My EDS story

Hi!

My name is An. I work fulltime and I am a wife and a loving friend, but I also have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. This blog is all about this syndrome and maintaining a healthy lifestyle by practicing yoga and eating the right foods. It took me many years of visiting doctors, reading on the internet and talking with experienced people to get diagnosed and becoming more healthy. I want to share the way I live, hoping that others with Ehlers Danlos will be inspired to consciously make healthy life decisions.

My story began when I was very young, at the age of six. I had already suffered injuries, caused by swimming, gymnastics and just playing. I bruised easily and had a very transparent skin. No wonder I felt different at that age. When I was sixteen, I started to have different problems. My hips, back, fingers and wrists were very painful and I had a feeling of losing control over my muscles. I also could not walk long distances. Later, at the age of 21, I got in contact with a chiropractor. He suspected that I was hypermobile. My muscles, skin and overall mobility where weak and my joints dislocated often. The chiropractor helped me to get more mobility. After a while I was able to go to the gym again and I started to run en lift weights regularly. I lost 15 kilograms and I was feeling more energized.

At the age of 26, I noticed changes. My joints where dislocating more often again and my intestines and esophagus started having problems. First doctors thought I had hypermobility syndrome (HMS). It took me another two years to get to a clinical geneticist who diagnosed me with Ehlers Danlos, type 3: hypermobility-type.

After this diagnosis, I started to do more specific research. I found that lifting weights can be good for some people, but it didn't work for me. My muscles became too tight and that is how they started to pull on my ligaments. I tried some yoga, to release some off the pulling sensation in my muscles. After a while I found that Ashtanga, or poweryoga, was the best fit for me. A combination of flexibility and strength training is keeping my body in balance.

My EDS is also giving me digestion problems. Especially my intestines are very sensitive. That's why I am also looking for the best food options. I already found that wheat, gluten and large amounts of meat are not digested well. And because of the EDS I can not do vigorous cardio-vascular exercise. So I keep on trying to improve my diet. I want to share that journey with you, my dear readers.

Maybe the best symptom relieve for EDS is staying positive and having fun in life. So have fun while reading my blog and please leave a message if you have tips or questions.