Nailed it!

I’ve been an apple crumble machine this week, making and refining this recipe three times (yes!).  The apples have been so delicious and plentiful this time of year in New England and I was determined to make an apple crumble that the whole family could enjoy that was gluten and dairy free, and I think I nailed it with this one, see what you think.

This week I’ve been teaching about being present, trying to get in the gap between the past and where you’re coming from, and the future and where you are going.  Each comes with its host of emotions.  For me, I tend to wander off into the future and live with some anxiety. With a high school senior in the house it is easy to worry about college acceptances and wonder what the future will look like without all of us regularly under the roof.  Staying present and appreciating the moments we have right now is a practice I need to perfect: just enjoying the now, the laughs, the tears, everything in between, and the crumble.

Apple Crumble

  • Servings: 4-6 hungry crumble lovers, maybe more
  • Difficulty: easy!
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Gluten free and dairy free, this apple crumble pleases everyone in the house!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and get out a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with tall sides (see the photo above)

Ingredients:
6-7 peeled and chopped apples (sprinkle a heaping tablespoon of cinnamon on them and mix around in your 9 x 13 inch baking dish)

Topping
In a bowl toss together:
2 cups of almond flour or meal
1 1/2 cups gluten free oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 T cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
1 t each of salt and baking soda

In a small dish, melt 1/4 cup plus 2T coconut oil in the microwave.  Pour over the topping and mix together with a fork till kind of clumpy, but mixed through.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, cover with a piece of tin foil for the next 30 min or so.  It’s done when you can see bubbling delicious apple goodness creeping up the sides!

The Final Frontier

Are you thinking the Wild West?  No, I’m talking about the brain.  We know so much and yet so little about this vital organ.  I seem to be flooded with information lately (two podcasts, a webinar, and an article) so I am taking my cue from the universe (I hear you!) and sharing it.  Why?  Because our brain health is vital to our health and happiness.  What we eat affects our brain and a yoga practice supports it as well.

Dr. Datis Kharrazian, a brilliant guy who happens to focus a lot of his work in my direction (he is an expert in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) was recently featured in a webinar I watched on brain health (he’s also the recent author of a new book called, “Why Isn’t My Brain Working?”).  I love what he had to say, and I will paraphrase here.  He said you can either have “positive plasticity” from positive thoughts, which increases your dopamine and makes you happy more often, or you can have “negative plasticity” from negative thoughts and stress, creating even more cortisol and epinephrine, expanding the black cloud effect of stress. The brain becomes efficient in the stress response (therefore propagating negative thoughts more readily). 

What does that mean for you?  You’re lucky your brain has positive plasticity because there is a great likelihood you’ll be able to reprogram yourself to being more happy.  Yes, really!

A recent article published by the Kripalu Center noted a Boston University study that found yoga offered “buffering effect on age-related decline” of the brain, and that yogis are better able to cope with novel situations, and engage in abstract thinking.  Not to mention better mindfulness.  To quote the article, “Researchers believe that yoga offers a combination of physical practice, conscious breathing, and cognitive frameworks (for example, the idea of seeing pain as “sensation,” without labeling it as “good” or “bad”) that allows us to manage and tolerate pain with more ease.”

It is no wonder yoga is starting to be “prescribed” to populations suffering with anxiety, depression, and a host of other afflictions.

Lastly, I listened this morning to a summer episode Abel James’ podcast, The Fat Burning Man. Mark Lugavere, the producer of a documentary called “Bread Head,” was the guest.  I found their discussion on Alzheimers and other cognitive decline disorders and the relationship with blood sugar to be fascinating.  There is a very strong correlation between the two, even giving Alzheimers the nickname “type 3 diabetes.”  So there is a lot of rationale, aside from trimming our waistline, to cut down on the sugar to support our brain.

There are just countless reasons for a diet and lifestyle that include reduced sugar and more mindfulness practices such as yoga.  It’s all self-care.  Take baby steps, roll out your mat in your bedroom, take a pass on dessert, notice your breath.  Connect with yourself, dial into your brain health, and support yourself.