Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars (vegan)

May 22, 2017

I know. It’s taken me way too long to post the Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars.  I posted this shot week’s ago and I’ve only just had the time today to get it out to you all.

I’m actually vacationing right now in Palm Springs, California. We’re here for about five days and of course, it’s 40+ degrees. We went out for a run this morning and had to stop because it was way too hot.  It didn’t help that we got up a lot later than I wanted to. My body has been naturally waking at 5am, and then 6:30am as the days go by. This morning was 6:30am and I thought, what am I going to do until James wakes up. But then, I happened to fall back asleep until 8:15am!! What!!! I hate losing precious day time.




So, by the time we shuffled out of the building, it was 35+ degrees.  But we ran and made our way to one of the gyms and did some weights.  It’s so important to integrate some form of exercise on holiday.  Sure, it is a time to enjoy life’s pleasures. But, as soon as we get off of some form of routine, we lose our commitment to our health goals.

That’s why James and I make a point to get in early morning exercises.  This could be a run, a hike, the gym, or just a good walk.  I do eat relatively healthy on holiday simply because that’s when I feel my best. It’s also the fact that I need to rejuvenate. But, I’m not exaggerating when I say that we do still indulge. For us, it’s a cocktail by the pool and some amazing red wine for dinner.




Do you see the perspective of balance that I am giving you? There’s a lot of this (exercise and healthy food) and a little bit of that (those indulgences).

Okay, so it doesn’t help that I have pictures of these epic Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars embedded in this post. Hahaha…sorry, about that. But, to be real here, these bars are very balanced. Are they 100% healthy?  Not exactly. Maple syrup is still sugar but I actually made these bars to be as low in sugar as possible without compromising the taste.

For those with peanut allergies, you could totally use almond butter.

Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars (Vegan)

ingredients

For the chocolate crust:
3/4 cup ground almond meal
2 tablespoons raw cacao or cocoa powder
1.5 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoon melted coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt

Peanut Butter Filling:
1/2 cup creamy or crunchy natural peanut butter ideally without salt (*I personally love crunchy for the texture)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoon melted coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt

Chocolate Topping:
1/4 cup raw cacao or cocoa powder
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon of peanut butter (this helps to incorporate the maple syrup so it doesn’t sink but you can omit ensuring that you blend it well)

Directions:

– Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set it aside.

– In a medium bowl, stir together all of the chocolate crust ingredients until a moist dough is formed. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the lined loaf pan, and place it in the freezer to set (about 10 minutes).

– For the filling, in a bowl, stir together the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil and salt.

– Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the peanut butter filling over the top, using a spatula to spread it out evenly. Return the pan to the freezer to set.

– For the top layer, combine the cacao/cocoa powder, melted coconut oil, and maple syrup, whisking well to break up any clumps. Once the mixture has become a smooth chocolate sauce, pour it over the peanut butter layer, and return the pan to the freezer to set until firm. This should take about one hour. About 10 minutes into the freezing process, I add a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.

– Once ready, grab the edges of parchment paper to easily lift the solid bar from the pan. Use a sharp knife to slice the bars to your preference.  I dip the knife into hot water to help cut them. Otherwise, they may crack (although, I kinda like that look!)

These can be stored for about two weeks in the fridge. They can also be frozen.

Roasted Carrot Hummus

May 6, 2017

Happiness is …. Spring time!  I’m sure that you’re with me on that, right?

I am sitting in a massive craving for some sun and warmth, and mostly, REST. James and I are off to Los Angeles and Palm Springs in exactly two weeks to do just that. I’m also curious in exploring the L.A Health food scene for both research and inspiration. Even just walking through Whole Foods in the U.S is an experience all in itself since a lot of the products I see online are not available here. So, now I get to try them myself!

Read More

5 Signs That You May Be Headed To Burn-Out

April 29, 2017

I’m a Human Resources Manager with a large hotel (within a large chain) in Vancouver BC. It’s a great place to work actually – great people, ever-changing, and not without it’s set of challenges like any job. This job actually keeps me connected with the women that I work with – career-driven women!  I value that connection and I can honestly say that I truly understand the challenges.

Read More

Maca + Bee Pollen Fat Bombs

April 23, 2017

I might be a bit behind the times since I’ve only just started to eat bee pollen. I mean, why have I been missing out?

What is bee pollen exactly?

Read More

Why Over-Exercising May Be Sabotaging Your Health

April 14, 2017

What!?!?  Is Julie actually implying that exercising is detrimental to my health?  If that’s what you’re thinking (and now your confused or worried), hang on a quick minute and let me explain.

Many of you are familiar with my health issues over the years, but more likely, my health in the past six months.

For those of you that are new around here, here’s the quick and dirty story: (Oh, and hey, welcome!)




In late November of 2016, I was diagnosed with low cortisol. Our adrenal glands (they sit on top of our kidneys) produce all of our essential hormones, including the stress hormone cortisol.  Cortisol is an essential hormone to our body as it assists the body with it’s response to stress.

How did I get low cortisol?

I basically burned it out and was running on nothing.  If you’ve heard the term “burn out” before, that’s the unofficial description of adrenal fatigue. I’ve done this at least three times in my life. And, when you’ve had it once, it’s easy to teeter off into burnout again.  The symptoms of low cortisol include:

Dizziness
Fatigue
Unexplained weight loss
Dark rings under the eyes
Palpitations
Cravings for salty food

I’ve since made and re-established some nutritional and lifestyle changes to shift my energy.  And, a proper supplementation plan is definitely key as well.




Okay, so let’s talk exercise. And, I’m framing it to women who may or may not be diagnosed with a high or low cortisol (there are both) or an adrenal issue but who have low energy, and perhaps are having a hard time losing those last five (or more) pounds.  Let’s face it, many of us don’t know that there is a diagnosis for those with severely “low energy” and those symptoms listed above.

There was (and quite frankly still is) a time where I would work out daily and still not be able to lose weight or “tone up”.

Do you know when I feel my strongest and healthiest?

When I exercise for 30-40 minutes a day, take a walk in nature, and of course, yoga.

Why do you think that is?

My body is telling me that it prefers to be more in a resting state versus a period of high impact movement that either creates a surge of cortisol or taps out my adrenal glands.




That is also why many of us come back from holidays, not only looking rested, but looking like we’ve lost weight and looking a whole lot healthier than when we left!

High cortisol can have devastating effects on the body. That’s why intense exercise may not support your health, at least for the short term. Studies have shown that intense exercise can increase cortisol levels. And high cortisol does not allow fat to be burned. In fact, when we’re in a state of stress, the body panics and stores glucose into your gut region (to save for later). That’s why those that lead very stressful lifestyles will likely have excess weight in the gut.

Now, I would never EVER say to stop exercising but you definitely need to take a look at the best forms that will support your overall health.  I talk about some options in my {FREE} Weekend Stress Detox Program which you can get HERE.




I’m personally drawn to yoga, weights, and as much as possible, walking and hiking outdoors. Since my health has improved, I’ve actually recently started to run as I am training for a 5 km race for charity. Some other recommendations could be:

Pilates, and Barre programs
PIYO which is a combo of pilates, yoga and some cardio
Light interval training may be an option but pay attention to any fatigue during and after.

Now tell me: what exercise do you think best supports your health goals? Let’s have a discussion so tell me in the comments below!

Eat Life Balance and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. 
All material on Eat Life Balance is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.

Basil Pumpkin Seed Pesto (vegan)

April 8, 2017

2017-02-12 16.09.23

I’m ready for Spring. Like, ready yesterday!!! How about yourself? I think even my digestive system is confused. Normally, when the weather starts to warm up, I start craving more raw foods but that hasn’t quite happened to me yet. We have been having constant rain in Vancouver and I know that other parts of Canada and the U.S are experiencing boughts of snow. Isn’t that cray-cray?

Read More

Gratitude + Matcha Green Tea Truffles

April 3, 2017

I got to tell you, this past week wiped me out. I’ve been getting up at 5am as I had started my study plan for my nutrition certification.  But, then a few things happened this week that presented a bit of a set back. But, I surprised myself this week.

I was surprised that my reaction to these situations were calm and collected. No joke, a couple of years ago, my emotions would have gone off the deep end. The DEEP-END. Crying, moody, disconnected. We’ve all have had those feelings at some point. So, where did I attribute the change to?




GRATITUDE. Straight up, simple gratitude.

In the midst of the week of having those issues, I turned on the national news and saw footage of the recent attacks in Syria.  I was in shock and disbelief. The images, if you haven’t already seen, are haunting.  And, like many, I immediately felt lucky that I live in such a safe country.  I sleep in a warm bed with someone who loves me and who will protect me.  I continued to tap into that feeling for the rest of the week and when another set back happened, I immediately went to that space.

Gratitude is an amazing practice. In my {free} Weekend Stress Detox Program, we go through the importance of this practice and how you can easily incorporate it into your life.  Get the program HERE. Now, onto the recipe!




How surprised are you to see that I have another matcha recipe for you?

Hahaha, I know.  I’m matcha crazy. But, listen, here’s why.

Matcha is crazy good for you. Here are some of the many benefits:

Read More

Grain Free Breakfast Cookies

March 26, 2017

It was an epic week for me. I hit a a big milestone. I have literally completed all of my case studies for submission for my registered holistic nutritionist certification. I’ll be submitting them this week and as long as there are no technical difficulties, I’ll be on my way.




The next big step is my exam which I hope to have done by June. Honestly, it’s been a long road. I’ve worked a pretty demanding job over the years while I’ve tried to complete this certification. I took a year off school when I transitioned to the job that I have now. I was a big set back for me at the time but I figured if it was meant to be, I’d get back to it.

And, it happened. I started waking up at 5:15am throughout the week. I ended up tapping out my cortisol levels and ended up burning myself out. And, with the right supplementation and rest, I’ve managed to pull through.

Thank you for your continued support over these past few years.  I really, REALLY, R-E-A-L-L-Y appreciate it.  Once this is over, I’ve got some big things planned for us.




The next step, after passing my exam, is to create a program which will be a much bigger and enhanced program of my Weekend Stress Detox. You can get this free e-book HERE.

Now to the Grain Free Breakfast Cookies. These are so good, friends. They are so flavourful and hearty, making it a great option for breakfast on the go.  I’ll make a bunch and free them for later!

Grain Free Breakfast Cookies

ingredients
2 cups blanched almond flour (I used meal and it worked fine)
2 Tbsp coconut flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp orange or lemon zest
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 Tbsp ground flax
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut or coconut flakes
6 Tbsp of either coconut oil, butter (unsalted), or ghee, at room temperature (not melted)
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup or honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup unsulphured dried cranberries
Almond milk (optional: if the batter is dry, you can add a 1/4 cup of almond milk)

directions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, hemp seeds, coconut flakes, and coconut oil. Mix until they become a pea-like consistency. Then, slowly add in eggs, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir in the dried fruit. If the batter seems dry, just add a bit of the almond milk.

Take ¼ cup of the batter (I used a measuring cup) and dollop onto the prepared baking sheet (I used the measuring cup to flatten it out).

Bake until the cookies are golden on the outside and no longer soft on the inside, about 25 minutes.

Allow to cool. These can be stored in the fridge for a week or freeze.

Superfood Chia Bowl

March 11, 2017

IMG_9762

I’m giddy excited today. We’re just in the process of booking our Spring trip to L.A.  We had been toying with the idea of going to Thailand but given that we only had about a week, it just didn’t seem like the best use of such a short amount of time. We’ve tabled that trip for next year.

Read More