sinfully serving brownies for breakfast

Life takes on many variations...we have to be willing to change the recipe some times.
...un-baked. refined anything.
AKA "good for you"...
Meet Ginger Cake.
Not only is she gorgeous, she packs a fibre punch...
Fresh, warm and obviously ice cream.
Jumped ship on the "cleanse" my body...
I firmly believe that WHAT we believe...IS what we create.
I know how to eat extremely well. I've been fighting a few of the same pesky ailments for years and maybe it's a never-ending battle because there's...nothing to fight and only one thing to purify...
My mind.
The way I live my life, the way I eat and nourish my body, mind and spirit - it didn't make sense.
So if something was off - it was my 'thinking'...
From books to people...all with completely different advice or ideas about what to do.
Inside something was like "you know know how to eat..."
Not trusting...second guessing...and constantly depriving myself of things that I love, that give me pleasure...

"If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place" ~ Lao Tzu

And it became that easy.
A decision. Going back to what I knew, how I was eating and firmly *believing* that everything I was doing for me was intentionally...awesome.
A weekend of brownies for breakfast.
Here's the thing: In our constant efforts to heal ourselves...become more of 'this or that'...
Find ourselves, fix ourselves, change or transform.
On our way to 'becoming'...
We have forgotten...We ALREADY ARE.
Everything we need to be.
There is nowhere to GET.
No ONE to 'become'...
except our awesome, healthy and amazing 'we are'...

Oh the Raw Brownie Gods (and Goddesses) have reminded me that nourishing CAN be decadent and sinfully delicious. And yes, sometimes you can over-indulge and it's exactly what you need (you'll just be flushing the rest. What!? they are...full...O...fibre...) Move over prunes!
Like melted can get messy.
And it doesn't take long to remake, remold...
Gingerly we can approach ourselves.
Switching and substituting.
Trust yourself. Experiment.
And for the love of God...have fun and indulge!
I don't know about you, and I seemingly always deprive myself...
of the little things that give me SO much.
So while a breakfast of brownies may not be ideal for the long haul,
like a weekend of sand and sun (which I also desperately need!) I am soaking it all in ova here!
...hammock Mondays sound divine hey? Brownies...browning and a book! (recommendations??)
Believe it! These are recipes fueled with awesome, temple love'n ingredients! Super awesome.
ahem...moderation? very tough I know...
Anyone care for the recipes...?
Mulberry mayhem and ginger love!
jodi renée

A big shout out to to Mums Original Super Foods! ...and SO Delicious Coconut Milk Ice Cream!
*great stocking stuffers...just sayin.
join me on Facebook! ...I want to hear from you!

my dirty dirty mind...

I've been on a cleanse for about a month now.
The free dictionary's definition of "cleanse" is: to free from dirt, defilement, or guilt; purge or clean...hmmmm
Something doesn't feel right.
If you follow my posts on here and facebook you probably look like an animated figure with a big question mark over your head (if it's a lightbulb we need to talk!)
Because I eat ridiculously, fanatically...uber, obsessively healthy. Those all sound hard core and while eating seaweed paper in the car instead of fries is probably hard core (and well my nick name is hard core) it's actually not as hard core as it sounds. Ok, you're right it is.
I go out of my way to put the best, most nutrient dense foods into my body.
Because it's my temple.
It's yours too...well, yours is yours, not mine is yours...well it can be yours cuz we're all connected and part of the whole collective...
So wouldn't we want to be hard core about the temple?
Sounds sacred and ancient, full of possibility...with stories to tell.
Sound familiar or feel good...resonate at all?
Your body is your freaking temple! Just like you wouldn't put regular fuel in your Ferrari 12 cylinder FF...why on earth are you putting less than premium into your temple 80% of the time? *note that anything hyper-linked in bold makes a great stocking stuffer!

So I've been off lately (thus the cleanse)...Stress and/or imbalance, at first, like faint, soft music playing in the background...until you're at a bloody rock concert standing right beside the speaker.
Not a subtle tapping anymore to grab intention, it's more like:
SISTA! What the fuck is up!? ...LISTEN!
Seriously. You know what' I'm talking about.
Then we get mad and frustrated at our temple.
Say wha?
The mailman brings you bills and bad news...he's just the messenger.
He's not at fault for your bad debt! Just like your body's not at fault for falling apart.
Bad debt or bad knees...The messages are for you...from you.
Embrace that this is a wonderful gift to explore.
There is room for growth and opportunity when we can SEE the message as a gift and not something that hinders and limits us. For limitations are only of the mind.

Insert every food and diet book known to man. I've honestly probably read them.
Insert every type of holistic and alternative practitioner...for...years.
Insert a merry-go-round of constantly cleansing or eating 'this way or that'...because of 'this or that'...
And how does all this FEEL?
Fucking crazy...yep. Not to mention that the concoction I just made for breakfast was pretty harsh.
Knowing that when I eat too many fatty foods (even the good fats) my body puffs out like I'm 8 months pregnant -- maybe a blowfish even.
Eat this...
Don't eat that...
Stay away from...
Can't have this.
My God give me fudge pancakes sprinkled with brownies on top, smothered in ice cream (that would be buckwheat batter with coconut milk ice cream...ha! still counts as a gluttonous binge!)

In the 80/20 rule that is how we operate in most of our life...with everything.
Most being in the 80% that is not in our favour...for anything.
I operate like 90/10...FOR my temple. point?
We must experience everything for ourselves.
All of my reading and absorbing of information is out of a pure love and enthusiasm for what the body is capable of. So having different opinions and theories allows us to come to our own conclusion.
Be mindful however, of...Dogma.
When we believe this or that to be true because a collective says it's true...
...we can often go against what FEELS right for ourselves.
Easier said than done.
I'm so aware of my body, what it reacts or responds too.
Ironically when it does start reacting...I start looking...outside of myself.
Last night I had a chat with someone who questioned WHY I was cleansing. I provided a myriad of answers.
Until this morning...(when I woke up at 3am starving!)
I began to question.
What's not about the food or the cleanse.
What if it' thinking around both?
Cuz that's really all that it can be.
I am hard core in my love for my body as a temple in this life.
If the cleanse represented a relationship (say in the form of a person)...what would that look like based on what I'm doing? ...depriving, not trusting, controlled and goal oriented, looking to 'get' a certain outcome.
Wow...where's the love!?
There can't be.

(...for some who have extreme conditions chances are your lifestyle is seriously contributing TO your ailments - that's just a whole other jambalaya of self loathe...and we need to talk...)
Me on the other just doesn't make sense because I live and walk the love that I have for this temple.
Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world...
It's my thinking that's in need of a cleanse.
Dirty dirty mind.
Purge - yes please!

We don't know 100% truth in ANYTHING.
Thus we need to question EVERYTHING.
When it comes to our own bodies and lives...
Our best compass is "feeling".
This is true. This is valid.
Not everything works for everyone because we are all so completely different.
Sure, we can pull out what works for some, test different theories and make our own life an experiment. That's probably the best thing we CAN do.

I believe the most important thing in a healthy life...
Is a healthy mind.
And a heart that is always full, ever expanding.
To love myself and my temple...
The answers lie in my ability to trust what FEELS good for me.
And perhaps apply a filter to purify this dirty dirty mind O mine.

We are SO toxic in the way we treat ourselves. Often the most toxicity coming from the thousands of thoughts that we have to process that are worse than hormone laden meat and refined sugars.
Often eating that piece of ginger cake drowning in buttercream isn't quite as bad as your stress around eating it...then knowing you have to work out for another 2 hours tomorrow because of it, and how will you ever fit into the holiday mini dress you just bought...and I feel like my ass is growing while I eat this? guilt, stress...toxic!
Enjoy...indulge! nourish yourself with the pleasures of life.
If you take care of your temple almost all of the time...
Life expects you to indulge.
That's part of the enJOYment of it.

To the mat for some stillness and maybe to Dyson the old mind (no hyper link! I don't want a vacuum for Christmas!) ...this is my vacuum alternative though...jus sayin!

And I love all my woo-woo, my alternative super hero guru's...
They are part of the journey and I'm not dismissing them EVER.
Just want you to open up a space that cultivates the knowing you have always had...
and often we do need help along the way. Every bit coming when you need it.
loving you from here...
Jodi xo

you know there's a recipe coming for Ginger cake now...

okay...are you curious about this cleanse?
the idea is not to feed the 'bad bacteria' in the body. We have both GOOD and BAD. We need'm.
We just want the army of GOOD to dominate. Bacteria thrive off the stuff we loooooove...
yeast, sugar and starchy goodness to be exact.

So here's kinda what my food intake looks like:

Can you tell I'm German? hello Sauerkraut!
The stuff that's fermented naturally is actually a really good source of GOOD bacteria!
 Awesomeness is the benefits of kale...and hale to the avocado. Sustaining me through this...
Here's where things go a tad askew.
More for ethical reasons I don't consume a lot of meat. Not to mention it's very acidic for the body. I partook in the carnivorous venture after my...uh...colonics (you can google that one) ...and this is where something didn't FEEL right. Again, I don't eat a lot of meat for various reasons. When I was given the go ahead TO eat quite a bit of it I thought...ugh...and then...yay!
I did sorta do a bacon dance at the market that Saturday. I mean...who doesn't like bacon! ...and it does look delicious. It was delicious...
it just kinda goes against so much of what I believe and what I've read...
(insert overwhelm and confusion...)
Steel cut oats.
Warming soul food on these almost winter days..avec raw, shredded coconut!
And I'm completely baffled IF this is allowed on the cleanse or if I can eat it...
It's really good for you. I do question grains...
Everyone has their own opinion.
Again! So many questions! it's fibre, I'm not consuming sacks of the stuff and it's...healthy...
I like it.
Can that be enough?? Because do you have any clue how much green I'm taking in??

See the conundrum? Toxic thinking from over-thinking, over-stressing! questioning...feeling guilty...
I'm off to bake a cake...
Or make some kale chips :)
...or meditate.

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the unconventional celebration...aka 'the fuck up'

amen for the cleanse that kept me from the eggnog this evening...
Or the nog.
just rum.
Not even ice.
I couldn't do it. Only because this probably would have ended up a totally different blog post had I partaken in the "just rum"

Cut to the chase!? 
I bought my own condo in the spring - hoorah! (that might be the biggest celebration I allowed myself to have over this very committed, very un-gypsy-like thing I did...) 
And true to Jodi style I purchased this condo in a city I didn't really EVER think I'd live in...
A little off the beaten track.
And did I mention I purchased it alone?
Wine and confetti I get it.
I still have not been able to find it within myself to let myself be happy.
Like the guy your friends warn you about...
I did years of the douche bag warnings only to find myself IN a douche bag living situation.
Easy easy...
And can I also relish and marinate in this big fuck up?
I'm allowed to fuck up.
I do it quite often.
We all do (we just often are too ashamed to throw the party for it)
And there should be a party - for the mistakes, the failures, the fuck ups.
They get us to where we're going...
You may have to jump over a thousand 'not the ones' to get to THE ONE...
You often know what you like, because you know what you don't like...
And it's not like you can test drive a home? 
And yet...
I rushed it.
I let things go on longer than necessary until I'm bursting like those jeans after you've ate the whole cheesecake.....with a tub of ice cream......and then made room for brownies......
Not only is the belt coming off, the buttons were undone before I even started (I may even have had a spoon in my pocket...) Oh for real! I can eat pints of ice cream...(that's a whole other blog post though)
So I've been torn.
Do I make it work. Do I bask in all that preach and 'water my own grass so it's green...right where I'm standing'... community, food.
Cuz I feel starving. And alone out here.
And I can do alone...
Probably under par for alone.
I thrive around people. Nature.
The lifestyle I know I thrive in is the one I just denied myself ...because I heard a voice. 
That said "investment"...
Money was burning a hole in my pocket to invest...
And a much quieter voice said "it's not you"..."don't do it"...
bah! "I totally got this," was my reply "and just because you said that - I AM going to do it!"
yea, that's me having a written conversation with myself. crraaazeee...

And something felt right IN the space. And it still kinda does. 
And that's the OTHER thing.
We think it's what we want that we want.
Riddle me wha?'s never THE THING...
The house, the guy, the car, the trip...
It's the feeling it cultivates.
We're after the feeling. Always.
So as I longed for a space...I needed my own space...gots to have me my own SPACE.
What did I really want? What IS space?
To me?'s's expansion. I wanted a place that was mine, that I could feel completely myself in...(oooh...might have to get my 'om' on around that revelation)!
Years of always having 'fit in' to someone else's space or 'living in the meantime'...
I wanted a home.
Loved by me, inspired by me.
And I certainly didn't see it 33...pretty much alone. My first home...
The hallways are empty. The silence can be deafening.
I work alone...
The 'way things look' is a default ironically that breeds purpose to my passion. 
Thus it doesn't surprise me at all...that I purchased a gorgeous space and see the vision of a dream I've always had coming to life. I'm just wondering...does that matter? 
When I missed what's truly important...
Relationships, people and connections are what fill me. Make me come alive.
See my conundrum?

I wonder if they're happy. The people. 
Putting up their Christmas lights.
Trimming the tree.
It dawned on me that the last time I actually put up a real tree with someone was probably...oh...10 years ago.
So you can see why this evening I may be a tad verklempt...
my heart feeling like it's strangled by the dickie underneath the mock-neck (because I'm pretty sure that's a self torture in itself? Especially if it's cheap wool...rash!)
I know this has a purpose... 

I'll take deliveries of the rum'n eggnog thank you. Don't forget the vegan cheesecake with an elastic waist-banded pair of sweats! What's a party without a tad of guilt the next day? :)
love (and a little lost)...
jodi renée xo

Am I being ungrateful? Am I not seeing something? Do you always have to make something work...or can you just...throw in the towel? Walk away...
I would love to hear from you! did this help or maybe I just sent you off to get cheesecake for kleenex and pure gluttony!? ...

navigating home

How haunting the moon has been the last couple of nights.
And it gives me comfort...I'm not really sure why. I wonder if it provokes the feelings of craziness, loneliness and then the abundance of inspiration...(yep that sounds a bit crazy)
Anyone else have those feelings lately...ever...
Before the moon became so full a few days ago...there was moon, madness, balloons, and...there was geese! (right on cue. I often hire an entourage to sit amongst the fields...snow, geese, perhaps an elephant. Okay. No elephant...)
Been feeling really overwhelmed and scattered lately...lost.
I can easily lose my focus, my way.
I wonder if the message of the goose is for me.
Never lose sight of your vision. Navigate and continue the matter what. And when things become tiresome, let your community, your flock, your family...,guide you and take care of you.
We can accomplish more together than we ever can alone.
Don't become so driven and focused however, that you lose sight of what makes life truly enjoyable...the connection to other souls along this journey.
What wants to unfold, will. Allow integrity and proper action to weave a beautifully woven, warm and full nest. Home then becomes the place you always are.
Stay wild...
love xo
jodi renée

Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees, 
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, 
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things...
~ Mary Oliver

the bold and the butternut

Americans choose to eat less than .25% of the known edible food on the plant 
~ Jonathan Safran Foer | Eating Animals
(thanks Marta for the book!)
I do hope this sexy butter beast made the cut.
Sadly, I don't think she did. Do you eat the winter squash? Cousin of the zucchini.
I'm addicted.
Fries are lookin pretty pale (literally!) in comparison to these baked butteries.
LOADED with fiber. Vitamin A is 'off the charts'...for real. So think youth, think radiance, think glowing skin and clear eyes!
Bake'm, grease'm (with some fine extra virgin olive oil or I like to use coconut oil)...salt'm...thrown'm in the oven for about 20 minutes or so (they take less time then sweet potato or yams) -- honestly you have hands down a fry like no other. And the kids will poop if they eat them.
Annnd you might just start trimming up. I honestly just realized that I've been feeling so full lately and it may be because of the 'feel full factor' of this bitchin butter. Equals not so hungry...weight feeling me?
Or you might get really bloated like me.
I eat a whole squash! and that's too much fiber...waaay too much fibre. Experimenting with my diet lately and well, this is kinda like my indulgence. Just when I thought a bran muffin at Starbucks was a cheat! geek?)
I may even have to cut out this lovely beast...sigh
caramelizing releasing sugars...and I'm off the sugar train for a while. Sad and yet exciting! (more about this later in it's own spotlighted post)
Seriously. There's no excuse for eating the same old. Not to mention it's really quick and VERY yummy. Great family add-on. Don't be turned off because it's a squash and hangs with the gourds.
You will thank me.
Be bolder. Butternut and beyond! xo
jodi renée

beauty in the face of darkness. A mother's vow...

I can't believe a year's almost gone by...
I remember when my girlfriend called me last November. I was in Calgary. She had a favour...
A friend's daughter, Tamarra, had was terminal. She was 18.
Could I do photos she asked.
Absolutely I replied.
Death at any age is tragic. And for some reason, Tamarra at 18 had entered my soul...I was out for a walk in the fresh, crisp, air...mountain back-drop...breath taking as usual and I was dying...
Aren't we all...?

I time-warped myself to 18...knowing all that was in front of me...all that was behind me. The past the future, all the sum of Where was I going, who would I become? What did the future hold? I imagined my days numbered, right down to the beating of my heart...stopping.
And as I walked, looking around.
Nothing had changed and everything was different.
The world around me was brighter than before. I was soaking this all in like the first time I'd seen it...and like the last time I ever would...
Curious, amazed and blessed.
Tamarra was terminally ill.
Imagining I was dying.
We are all dying
cringing yet? ...(because we seem to make realities so effn' uncomfortable)
As I type I cry, and I love that I FEEL it all.
As I type I cry, with goosebumps for the AWESOME people that I get to experience.

I was a little concerned...really, only for a brief moment, that what I was undertaking was weird or wrong. For the reason that most of us avoid the reality that is...death.
And I couldn't imagine turning away from the truth that was before me.
To be in the presence of so much love at it's darkest hour. To be in the presence of a mother who's love for her daughter is a worship...
Is sacred.
She is life. And death. The epitome of what it means to be ALIVE.
Having seen up close, the face of darkness...she is the light.
And leads the way.
There is the path that most of us take...filled with illusions and untruths.
We are literally blind. It offers nothing. When we don't ever have to deal...(which sadly means to feel)...we aren't truly *living*.
Love comes wrapped in darkness. Expect it to break your heart and walk willingly into a fire that may just scar the depths of your soul.
Selfish beings are we to want only the joy, love and bliss that comes as the illusion of perfection.
Life is ugly and hurtful and full of sadness.
We don't ever know one without the other. We have to know both to all.

So I am inspired beyond words for this amazing woman, mother, daughter and friend.
The scars she bares for the world to see are fueled with purpose driven by passion.
Please read her story below...
Her cause is something I truly, truly believe in.
Please participate and donate. Anything you give is a gift.
jodi renée

It never ceases to amaze me how much impact a single photo can have. Sparking emotions so deep we forgot were even there. Frozen moments very much relive, reflect. Over the years we pack our photos into a box, a photo album or leave them on the computer and every once in a while we dig them up to laugh, smile, and cry. We take time to observe the smile of the story that goes along with the photo.  We grieve for our youth, that long weekend or season, perhaps grieving for that person that's no longer with us. Photos - the most valued treasure we have.

Micheal and I met Jodi on November 20th 2010 at the Stedman Community Hospice in Brantford where my daughter Tamarra was living out her final days. When we were delivered the news of her cancer becoming terminal, we vowed to appreciate every moment were were given until the very last. A very good friend contacted Jodi to take photos of us while Tam was feeling good and Jodi embraced the opportunity without hesitating. We planned for her to come to our home on November 20th for family photos. On November 16th, Tamarra took a turn for the worse and was immediately admitted to the hospice for round the clock care. Jodi knew of this and we both agreed to move ahead with the photos.

We wanted the expression of our immense love to be the focus. Jodi showed no signs of being uncomfortable, she stood at the at the end of her bed while we all held her hand, kissed her cheek and her forehead...telling her stories and laughing at the memories. In the ultimate face of darkness, we shed light with Jodi there to reflect this.

When I look at these photos, I see the intense love I have for my daughter. She was a strong, young woman with a calm acceptance of her fate. I look at these photos and I see the strength we gave each other. I remember all the moments we laughed together, all the kisses, all the embraces, all the tears - I remember HER. Everything she encompassed. Who she was. I see the ups and the downs of a family struggling to make it work when there was nothing normal about our lives and I see the unity we created from it. "I fought" - and she did, "Live, Love, Laugh" and we did.

Often death makes makes people uncomfortable; it's the part of life that we're supposed to be sad, angry and resentful over. I would like the world to see death as simply, The Circle of Life. We are all born and we will all die. Some with no warning, some with preparation, and ultimately, the goal is to Live, Learn and Let Go. My daughter had a purpose and that was to teach me the value of unequivocal, unselfish, and unconditional DEEP LOVE...between a mother and a daughter.

In Tamarra's final weeks we visited a Naturopathic Doctor for some holistic oncology healing. We were given no promises, and we wanted to improve her quality of life as much as possible. Tamarra showed signs of improved appetite, skin colour, better sleep patterns and energy. We continued as long as we could. The cost was an issue...borrowing money from family, friends arranging fundraisers to pay for the cost. I realized that had we started these treatments earlier in her diagnosis, we may have had a different result and I started to wonder how many families miss out on such an opportunity due to cost issues. Immediately I vowed to make a difference. I started the long mission of founding the Tamarra Cherryholme Foundation. Our organization financially aids children/young adults to receive holistic cancer treatments and offers grants to the research department at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). It's my way of celebrating my daughter's life in helping others through her experience and love:

After my daughter passed away I looked around and thought "what am I supposed to do now?"

Everything I did, I did for her. My friend answered it quite simply, "Why don't you let someone take care of you now..."

That someone is Michael. He waited for an appropriate time to ask me, after never giving up on me, on us...and on May 23rd 2011 her proposed and I said "yes".

Jodi was our immediate selection for our engagement photos as she shared a very personal, and intimate moment with our family. On a gorgeous day in August...Jodi reminded us of the love we have for one another and how far we've come in our 3 years together. The shoot was simple, quick and the results are forever...lifelong...magic. Typically photographers are strangers, found in the yellowpages, on the internet or a referral from someone. Jodi is much more to us than that...

She's real. Appreciating the flaws and so called imperfections, she creates a space for us to SEE, appreciating them ourselves. We met Jodi under the most unconventional of times...and she brought out the beauty of our family, so flattered and honoured to be a part of our very intimate moments.

When I look at our photos, I see a true love story complete with sadness, anger, patience, happiness, victory, pain, hope, laughter and so much LOVE. I see a future and cherish a past.

More a gift than 'photos' they will forever be a part of our home and our family.
~T. Cherryholme

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