What a great combination! I decided on the title of this topic after reading an interesting article in MASSAGE Magazine titled "What We Most Fear" (February 2018, massagemag.com). After reading about anxiety caused by emotional and mental stress, I figured a follow up with an awesome recipe for gluten-free chewy peanut butter cookies dipped in dark chocolate (pictured above with my mascot, Chubby Chef Charlie) makes everything better!
WHAT DO WE MOST FEAR?
There was a nationwide study done by Chapman University in late 2017 on what motivates people to book massage sessions, and the majority indicated that anxiety was the leading reason. What was more interesting was the top causes of all of the mental and emotional stress, which I listed according to the article, along with the percent of Americans feeling afraid or very afraid:
*corruption of government officials (74%)
*pollution of rivers, oceans and lakes (53%)
*pollution of drinking water (50%)
*not having enough money for the future (50%)
*high medical bills (48%)
*that the U.S. will be involved in another world war (48%)
*global warming and climate change (48%)
*North Korea using weapons (48%)
*air pollution (45%)
I look at that list and wonder to myself, why am I not busier? (Half joking, haha!) In all seriousness, anxiety just sucks. Period. We just can't get out of our own way, can we? We all wrestle with the gremlins in our heads at one point or another, and a little anxiety is actually not unhealthy- it's the amount of anxiety that the average person experiences on a daily basis. Anxiety and stress creates the fight, flight or freeze response (the third response is rarely mentioned), due to the amount of adrenaline that courses throughout our bodies; pupils dialate, heart races, respiration increases..the human body is amazing when it comes to survival. Being in this state used to be reserved for running away from the saber-toothed tiger- a defense mechanism that helped our chances of survival in a life-threatening situation. Unfortunately, in modern day society, too many of us are trying to survive in a miserable job, or an unhappy marraige, an illnness, lack of finances, struggling with self-worth, obsessing over the news and situations that we have no control over... If you think about the detrimental effects that this creates on your health, you might as well take up smoking and buy a membership at your nearest tanning salon!
BE THE CHANGE....
Ghandi said "Be the change you want to see in the world". I think of this often when the whole world seems to be spiraling out of control and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. However, being the change has made me become more conscious of my thoughts and actions, and how they can effect not only my health, but my surroundings as well. I have to make the decision that I can't allow myself to to become anxious about global issues or anything else for that matter, because it's a waste of precious time, which is becoming even more precious as I get older. What I can do is project optimism, joy, love, peace, hope and faith, believing that my thoughts and actions can positively impact this crazy but beautiful world that we live in.
If all esle fails, either come in for a massage, or make PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES....or do both! :)
CHEWY, GLUTEN-FREE DARK CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
This recipe is so easy! I hope you don't mind, but I'm not listing calories, sugars, fat content, etc. because sometimes that just takes the fun out of it. I tried to make the recipe as healthy as possible. I suppose you can use almond butter if there's an allergy to peanut butter (if that's the case, I feel so sorry for you!)
1 cup smooth all natural peanut butter (no added oils or sugar)
3/4 cup organic coconut sugar (tastes simular to brown sugar).
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 16oz bag good quality dark chocolate chips
*optional- 1/4 cup oatmeal, raisins or cranberries
1. Heat the oven to 350'. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Beat together the peanut butter and sugar until well blended. Add egg, baking soda, vanilla and salt and beat until well combined.
3. Roll the dough into 1-oz balls, place in sheet pan, then flatten with the tines of a fork (because peanut butter cookies would not be the same without that criss-cross pattern!) Bake for about 10 minutes or until a light golden brown. Cool for a few minutes before moving; they are less likely to crumble if you let them cool completely.
MELTED DARK CHOCOLATE (The darker, the better!) The slight bitterness from the dark chocolate and sweetness from the cookie makes a great combination!
You will need a double boiler. Alternativley, use a large cooking pot (like you use for pasta), and a small metal bowl. Fill the bottom of the pot halfway with water and place on the stovetop burner on low heat. Place the small bowl inside the large pot and allow it to warm up for a couple of minutes. Pour half the bag (you can always add more as you go along) of chips in the small bowl and stir with a wooden spoon unitl they begin to melt. Stir constantly to prevent over cooking. When the chocolate is melted, turn off the heat but leave on the burner so it stays melted longer. Simply dip the cookies in the chocolate and allow them to set on wax or parchment paper, which prevents them from sticking to the surface.
A really good friend of mine used to say "OMG it's so good you'll pull your ears off!"
ENJOY, ENJOY, ENJOY!