Well friends, today is day 30 of my 30 day challenge. It is officially over at 12:01 am, but I will avoid any temptation of getting out of bed for a glass of wine. These 30 days have been quite remarkable, in the physical yes, but even more in the emotional, mental & spiritual realm. It's interesting when I tell people about this challenge, because there have been typical responses.
- Eyes pop out of their head
- They realize their eyes popped out and try to compose their facial expression to a more subdued look.
- Nodding of the head (as in I cannot believe you are doing this to yourself).
- The response, "Wow, you must have a lot of willpower,"
- Or my other favorite response, "That's amazing (but I wonder if they really think I'm nuts), but I couldn't live without...FILL IN THE BLANK!"
As for willpower. I guess if you asked my mom about me being a girl, if I had a strong will, she'd say yes. If you asked Ben the same, he'd probably agree. However, I think willpower is more about seeing the potential for something good and setting on the course to achieve it. It's making choices everyday because you see the end goal. I make choices now as a mother to discipline my girls, in order for them to know of life's consequences and how to have enough "willpower" to say no when faced with life's bigger dilemmas (you know the ones that have catastrophic effects).
When I looked at myself in the mirror even three years ago, I didn't see someone who was healthy or someone I wanted to be. But when you hit a place in health decline, whether that's being overweight, chronic health issues, lethargic, etc, you can easily get so trapped and wonder, "How did I get here? And how do I get out?" This goes for any challenge in life, it just happens to be nutrition & exercise for me. And specifically, this 30 day challenge was a challenge; considering I love to bake and my shelves are overflowing with cookbooks. Yet, when I see myself now compared to the girl who walked into Jogo August 4th for a basecamp fitness introduction (ached for days), I remind myself of her. I see that girl and think, "that's willpower, to get up at 5:30am to come workout, completely out of shape and all because she wanted better in life."
Who would've thunk it? Certainly not me, but I'm SO VERY THANKFUL for it. In fact, it's amazing how alive your taste buds are when you take away sugar for 30 days. Dates are simply ethereal (and a bit dangerous) and figuring out how to make my own Larabars were even more so. I first had a Key Lime Pie Larabar during the challenge, and I could have sworn there was cream cheese in it. The ingredients simply said: dates, cashews, almonds, key lime concentrate. I set out to do what any rational person would do...figure out how to make my own. And they're good, really good! But, I'm warning you right now to only save a couple and share the rest, because 1. you'll be sure to make friends that way and 2. you're body will thank you later.
Key Lime Pie Kamillebars (printable recipe)
I have made these twice. The first time they turned out better than the second time, merely because the nuts didn't get finely chopped in the food processor. I realized that the first round I used dates from Trader Joes, which were more dry. I think more dried dates work better in this recipe. While the second time I had these wonderful, soft dates from Costco. Due to the dates being quite soft, they pureed before allowing all the nuts to puree. So the pureed dates caused everything to stick without chopping.
16 ounces dates (weight is based on dates with pits still in)
2 cups/225 grams raw cashews
1 1/8 cup/165 grams raw almonds
1 cup/80 grams unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp pure lime oil
3-4 key limes, juice OR juice of 2 limes (the kind you find at the grocery store)
Directions: Place cashews, almonds, coconut, & pitted dates into the bowl of a food processor. Process until the nuts are almost pureed, just not into a nut butter. You may want to pulse a couple times. Once the the nuts & dates are chopped well, add the lime juice & oil and pulse to combine. You will want the mixture to be a bit sticky. Taste to see if you need to add more lime juice.
Put in a 9x9 square pan, patting down evenly. You can slice fairly soon after. I cut mine into small squares; rather, than the traditional bar. If left out they will dry a bit. So cover them if you want to retain some moisture.