Creating Joy, Nothing is Certain Don’t Skip Sweets

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I live in the present, I truly believe that nothing is guaranteed so we must live like we don’t know if tomorrow will come so appreciate each day and have some fun.

This post is a bit different from what I usually write about because I don’t typically recommend a specific lifestyle practice. But, one morning I was enjoying a glass of iced tea with a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie I made, I relished the deliciousness and I enjoyed the break. I thought what a simple, versatile practice and anyone can enjoy it, so I decided to put it to “paper”.

Cultivating our own happiness is how we become more resilient and self-reliant. No, we don’t walk around with a smile on our face all of the time, but rather than expecting happiness to come from a person, situation or an event, make yourself happy. Happiness is an inside job that evolves by creating practices that bring joy, a smile and a feeling of pleasure, a sweet or two a day should be one way to celebrate yourself and the day and there are benefits.

About Desserts: from Szandra Szabó, Model, Pastry Chef and Business Woman

They elevate your mood
Have you ever wondered why your mood goes from drab to fab the moment you sink your teeth into a gooey chocolate cake or a chimney cake straight out of the oven? This is because desserts, specifically the sugar in the desserts, causes your brain to release endorphins such as serotonin. These hormones are responsible for making you feel happy, cheerful and calm.

Sugar reduces stress
Sugar is a great stress reliever. So, if you sometimes feel like life, work or school is bogging you down, eating a dessert can surely help you manage some of the stress. How does that happen, you may ask? Well, it has been found that sugar brings down cortisol levels to a certain degree (cortisol is the stress hormone). Although eating desserts or sugar is not a long-term solution for stress, it can give you some momentary respite.

They are a great pick-me-up.
A lot of people eat desserts when they want to reward themselves. Sweet treats offer a great pick-me-up. So, if you choose to eat a dessert after a particularly stressful week, it will instantly make you experience a sense of contentment and satisfaction.

Confections are a part of my daily routine, they are satisfying and enjoyable and prompt pleasant memories of childhood. To assure that I have the best experience, all of my sweets are homemade, with the exception of ice cream, because I use healthier ingredients and adjust the sugar. Irrespective if I eat sweets with a meal or sometime during the day, it’s an enjoyable experience that I savor, whether I have something simple like fresh fruit, breakfast sweets, a piece of chocolate or a baked good.

While your brain only accounts for 2 percent of your body weight, it uses 50 percent of the sugar energy in your body. Your brain loves sugar! Why does it love sugar? Because sugar releases dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, the part of your brain linked to reward, novelty and motivation. Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter that plays a key role in controlling emotional responses. In fact, not only does it help us visualize the rewards, but it also enables us to take the action we need to achieve the reward. In addition to releasing dopamine in the brain, sugar also releases endogenous opioids. These are responsible for the wonderful surge of pleasure you feel when you eat a piece of candy. Warrell Creations

Eat Dessert First: Why It’s a Good Idea from David and Carla Hays/Mary’s Fine Dining

Whether it’s cheesecake or coconut pie, most desserts have a fair amount of fat. Too much fat isn’t good for you, but a little fat with a meal serves a useful purpose – it helps you absorb fat-soluble vitamin and nutrients better. Fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin A, D, E, and K, can’t do their jobs if they aren’t adequately absorbed from the digestive tract. Other nutrients such as the carotenoids in green, leafy vegetables and sweet potatoes also need fat for best absorption.

That’s where eating dessert first comes in. Taking a few bites of dessert before eating your vegetables helps you absorb vitamins and nutrients better – and that’s a good thing when it comes to your health.

I thought I’d share a recipe from one of my mom’s old cookbooks that I’ve enjoyed for years, it can be eaten anytime of the day.

Finnish Pancake: (4-6 servings)

Image Courtesy of JoCooks

This is a delightful custardy, souffle-like baked pancake that melts in your mouth, topped with honey or confectioners sugar and fresh fruit, it is delicious. Make sure when you remove it from the oven, you eat it immediately as it falls as it cools. (NOTE: If making for yourself, cut the ingredients in half, but must be eaten immediately)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups of milk or half and half
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tablespoons of butter

Preheat oven to 425o. Put an oven-proof 10-12 inch high sided frying pan in the oven for about 10 minutes to preheat. Combine the flour with milk, whisk until smooth, add eggs, honey and salt, whisk all together. Remove the pan from the oven, put the butter in the pan, when its melted, carefully pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Thank you for stopping by.

Your purpose isn’t what you do, but who you become, while doing it. ~ Matt Kahn

Living in a Harmonious Society, Lessons from Ancient Egypt

 

 

In ancient Egypt, the more good deeds you did, the lighter your heart became. If your heart was not light, you could not board Ra’s board and sail away into your Afterlife.  Lin Dunn, Ancient Egypt for Kids

This quote explains how ancient Egyptian’s knew that practicing selfless good deeds, living in harmony within their community and remembering that what they did and how they treated others was the ticket to a happy transition when the time came for them to leave this earth plane. While that may appear to be selfish, in truth, it was simply a way of life and a value system that was and is handed down from one generation to the next.

Today, In Cairo as well as major cities in Egypt, a large number of old Egyptian traditions remain from the time of the Pharaohs, and contrast with pure tribal customs brought in by many invaders throughout the centuries. UNESCO

How do you view the human existence?  How do you see the relationship between humanity and nature? What do you think you can do to be more in alignment and harmony with nature and your fellow-man?

I think we can all agree that we are living in very turbulent times, chaos seems to be the dominating factor everywhere we turn. From warring countries to road rage, the world seems to be at a point where it’s clear that we have to find another way to live or humanity will disappear. This is where living mindfully is successful because it’s about being thoughtful, kind, compassionate, observant and knowing that outside events and experiences are not the guideposts for your life, but living consciously within our community to create a harmonious existence is.

From everything I’ve learned over years of research and reading, if we go back in time to a wise and experienced society like the Egyptians, through a change in belief, we can implement harmony, collaboration and cooperation. While the ancients may have had an occasional war with their neighbors; within their society balance reigned. If there were any internal uprisings, they were settled with negotiation or conformity until something changed in order to maintain peace.

One major reason for their success was the common but strong belief in a wonderful life after death. It was not an absolute, it had to be earned, the belief was so strong that all levels of society conducted themselves to assure a safe passage to the afterlife.

I’m not suggesting that everyone believe in life after death, I am suggesting that if we all believed in living in harmony with nature and the balance it can bring, we would effectively be changing the way we interact with each other. Ancient Egyptians were extremely intelligent, their engineering accomplishments are far superior to those we’ve seen in the 21st century.  If they were wise and quick-witted enough to conduct a harmonious social life, settle grievances through a spirit of reciprocation and recognize the vital links between humans, nature and the divine, then so can we.

So what changes can we make?  Of course, the world wasn’t populated the way it is now when the ancients were alive, but in my way of seeing things, change happens one person at a time.  If we choose to embrace a healthy respect for nature, mindfulness and cooperation and live that wherever we go, we can eventually recreate the same kind of world the ancient Egyptians lived in.

For instance, I recently learned that one American rancher achieved more success and connection with his community by leaving commercial ranching behind to create his own compassionate, natural and humane ranch. By following his inner guidance, he inspired many other ranchers to do the same. In another instance, a gentleman who owns a small successful farm, founded a farming coop to help his community maintain their small farms rather than try to fight each other or large commercial farms. This happened because the founder was determined to continue to do what he loved and he knew the community he lived in wanted to do the same, forging social harmony and aligning with nature.

In my life, I moved into a situation where there was stress, conflict and tension between roommates. The love, compassion and balanced approach to situations I’ve brought has changed everything, one roommate even remarked that I am a miracle. We can all be and bring a miracle to effect harmony and live in tune with nature if we let go of the old way of doing things by creating harmony and peace with just our presence.

Ancient Egyptians believed the purpose of life was to nourish the seeds of the divine within us all, they revered the natural world. It is happening slowly as more and more people are coming to understand that we are all linked. People are realizing that life is better for everyone if we live more naturally and are more aware of the vital role we play in caring for nature and each other. I believe It is the only way humanity is going to survive and progress.

Perhaps the greatest lesson to be learnt from the wisdom of sacred traditions is also the
simplest; to honor creation by nurturing a kinship with nature. UNESCO

Nature has life all figured out, we just have to understand her and live in harmony with it. Thank you for reading my post, I appreciate your time.