Slow Granola Bars

Slow Down Tip #30:  Make your own granola bars.

Part of the joy of slowing down is you give yourself better nourishment- especially with food.  For years I grabbed cliff bars or sugary boxed dried out granola bars on the go, but recently I discovered that homemade granola bars are where it’s at.

Not only do they taste freakin’ awesome (so much so that I served my ‘granola squares’ as dessert one night and friends asked for the recipe)  but the ingredients are pure & nourishing!  Here’s the recipe I recently made up.  Enjoy this ‘slow food’ treat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 &1/2 cup almonds without skins (you can find them this way in health food stores, if you really want to challenge yourself to slow down, soak raw almonds in water & peel them by hand!)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • sea salt

Soak the almonds in pure, filtered, or spring water overnight. Strain/ let the almonds dry, then peel (if peeling skins by hand).  If you bought them pre-peeled then only soak them for an hour.

Put almonds in blender, use medium speed & blend until chopped.  Add chocolate chips and blend just until chocolate chips are roughly chopped.  Transfer the chopped nuts/ chocolate to a bowl.  Add coconut oil, cinnamon, & sea salt to taste.  Pour into square pan or Tupperware & pat down w/ spatula.  Let harden in fridge then cut into squares.

Variation:  Add 1/2 cup peanut butter with the coconut oil, omit cinnamon.

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Thanks for continuing the seasonal mantra slow down & reading today’s slow down tip.  Interested in Mantra Made clothes?  See the collection here.

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#31 Slow Down Tip

Do gentle neck stretches in the morning before work.

Like a lot of people, I work a desk job, and I know how easy it is to fall into an afternoon autopilot slump in front of a computer. Luckily I discovered a morning practice that counteracts this tendency, & is soothing to the shoulders, neck, & head. The best part is it only takes 5 minutes!

Roll out of bed and onto a yoga mat, blanket, floor, or chair.  Sit cross-legged if  you can, or take any seat that feels comfortable.  Notice if there’s any stiffness in your neck. Gently lower your right ear to your right shoulder while walking your left hand out on the floor as far to the left as it will go.  Then walk your fingers back toward your body while raising your head to center slowly.  Repeat on the opposite side.  Next draw half circles with your chin, slowly, back & forth several times.  Last, raise your arms up over your head and take a deep breath with one big gigantic stretch!  Exhale, release the arms & you’re good to go!

Taking the time to loosen up in the morning will release stiffness & tension from the days before & help you be more mindful of your neck & shoulders while working.  Try it out and see if it doesn’t fill you with a sense of rejuvenation, deeper breathing, & improved posture!

Thanks for reading today’s slow down tip & being open to the mantra slow down.

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#32 Slow Down Tip

Make yourself a green smoothie.

Smoothies are incredibly nourishing to the body, and making them is a fun way to slow down because of the preparation, choosing ingredients, & experimentation.  Play around until you get just the right combination of flavors.

Try blueberries, strawberries, cherries, peaches, bananas, peanut butter, almond butter, yogurt, coconut milk, and cocoa powder.  And always a BIG handful of spinach!  You’ll feel rejuvenated & your body will thank you.

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My favorite instagram account for smoothie recipes is  @livingblisswellness, run by Louisvillian Erin Brennan, she shares amazing smoothie recipes & I highly recommend following her!

Thanks for reading today’s slow down tip & keeping up with the 50 Ways to Slow Down series as part of fall’s mantra slow down.  Interested in Mantra Made clothes?  Shop the collection.

Learn how you can help fund music therapy by purchasing a Mantra Made scarf.

#33 Slow Down Tip

Iron you clothes.

No, this is not the 1950s and you don’t have to be Suzy Homemaker…but ironing once in a while is a great way to slow down, as a meditative exercise.  And you’ll look oh-so-sharp in that wrinkle-free shirt!

When I started sewing I tried to get away with NOT ironing.  I dreaded it & these were my thoughts about it:  I have to set up an ironing board?  Buy an iron?  Put WATER in it?  Plug it in & wait for it to heat up?  And learn all those settings…UGH.

Well it turned out ‘all those settings’ were not intimidating, all it took was knowing my fabric (cotton, wool or acrylic?)  After time, the whole experience became a mindfulness practice.  It taught me that I really am capable of slowing down (and hemming clothes the right way!)

Thanks for reading today’s slow down tip.

Interested in Mantra Made Clothing?  Check out the collection.

Fund music therapy by purchasing a Mantra Made scarf.

#34 Slow Down Tip

Take a slow walk.

So often we take walks out of duty (to walk the dog) or exercise (“I walked 2 miles today!”) and we go fast, or on autopilot, & we don’t stop to notice the beauty in the simple things around us.

Today I challenge you to take a slow walk.  Let your pace be a mindful stroll & deliberately linger more than usual.  Notice what the trees in the neighborhood yards look like,  what the sky is doing, how the clouds are moving.  If there’s a nice breeze, really stop & appreciate it.

Bonus points if you take off your shoes & just stand- feel the earth beneath your feet!

tara20


Thanks for reading this slow down tip.

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#35 Slow Down Tip

Try meditation.

I started a daily meditation practice back in 2003 after I participated in a 10 day silent retreat in North Fork, CA.  I remember sleeping on wooden bunk beds in a cabin in the woods, eating delicious vegetarian food, waking up to a bell at 5:00 AM & hiking down a trail in the pitch black sky with only a flashlight- all to sit on a pillow & focus on my breathing for 12 hours/ day!

Since then I’ve reduced my sitting to a much less strenuous 10 minutes a day (my back thanks me!)  Having tried just about every meditation under the sun…from group Vipassana to zen walking meditation to more visual/ colorful tantric styles, I see they all have this in common:  they slow down the mind & cause an amazing shift to happen.

For example, all day today there was something nagging at me, a subtle frustration with life, with myself, with things not going at all how I’d hoped.   I sat in meditation & let the feeling fully come up, which my mind coded as “stuck emotionally”, “frustrated”, “suffering mentally”, & even “in despair.”

AFTER sitting in meditation for about 20 minutes I observed my inner dialogue again and it had totally changed to ‘I’m thankful for…”, “graditude,” “surrendering to change,” & “making empowered choices.”

Shifting our attention toward our own thoughts/ inner sensations, we see & feel through them & suddenly they change.   It truly is a life-changing practice.

wp_20141026_15_23_22_proMeditation exercise:

Set your phone timer for 10 to 20 minutes.  Find a comfortable quiet place  to sit using either a folded blanket or a chair.  When you get comfortable, start to relax your muscles & focus on the breath.  Just let your breathing be natural, unforced.  Watch it flow in & out, if it’s shallow let it be shallow.  If it’s deep, let it be deep.

Now, see how you’re feeling.  Be neutral- just watch what comes up.  Notice it & without judgement gently put your awareness back on your breath.  If you notice any sensations in the stomach you can put the awareness there & allow the breath to flow into that space. When you’re ready to end it gently touch your forehead to the ground & surrender/ release any leftover or unresolved feelings to the earth.


Thanks for checking out this slow down tip!

Check out Mantra Made Clothing’s collection.

Fund music therapy by purchasing an upcycled scarf.

 

 

#36 Slow Down Tip

Color.

Delight your inner child with a box of crayons & images of fairy tales, flowers, superheroes, animals, & whatever else strikes your fancy.

 

Coloring suspends the ‘adult’ critical, worrying, over-thinking mind for a bit & puts you in a slower, creative zone where negativity & stress can be channeled into something colorful & cool to look at.

Try shopping at a kids’ bookstore & see what they have in the coloring book section- you might be surprised.  I found this Paris Fashion coloring book!

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Here’s a coloring exercise:  At the end of each day reflect on your general mood over the last 24 hours. Figure out what color you’d assign to that mood.  For example, if you had a great day you might categorize it ‘happy’ & choose yellow; days where you feel more negative might be black/ grey/ brown; & anger might be red.  On a blank paper color each of the colors you assign to your changing moods over a period of 2 weeks, then look at all the different colors you added.  What does it look like as a whole?  What colors occur the most?

Interested in Mantra Made Clothing?  Check out the fall collection & scarves for nonprofits, where you can fund music therapy by purchasing an upcycled scarf!