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For the Love of Chocolate

Today I’m talking chocolate!

Before we get too far into this, (if this seems a bit strange and in case you don’t know this about me),  in addition to being a transformational coach, I am also a raw food chef. Food is a huge passion of mine and every now and again I feel inspired to write about it. Like today, about chocolate.

Chocolate has long been one of my favourite things in life.

I recall as a child, being sent on my bike to the grocery store to pick up a couple items. While I don’t recall today what exactly was on that list, I’m 100% certain chocolate was not one of them. And yet it was the only thing I came back with (in a variety of forms) as I spent every dime my mother had given me, on chocolate.

Yes, my love affair with chocolate started at an early age and I’ve been seduced by it in one manner or another for most of my life.

So, can you image my utter joy and knee slapping happiness when I discovered that chocolate is good for us??

You must understand however, that I’m not referring to any old chocolate. I’m speaking about the original nectar of the gods, raw chocolate, also known  as Cacao.

You might at this point, be wondering what on earth chocolate has to do with coaching and the other heart-based topics I typically write about. This, in part, is why.

I am about living. Living a life that is fulfilling, joy-filled, happy, healthy, abundant and by design. Part of what brings me joy is really, great chocolate. Simple as that. When I taught raw food classes, I got a lot of questions (and still do) about chocolate, so I thought I would share some information here.

All chocolate is made from the raw cacao or cocoa bean. The bean is the seed of a fruit of an Amazonian tree named Theobroma Cacao, which translates to “food of the gods”.  And with good reason.

Cacao beans contain no sugar and actual allergies to chocolate (as in pure cacao or cacao powder) are quite rare. It is more likely the allergy is to the dairy and or chemicals associated with processed and heat treated, mass produced chocolate.

Raw chocolate contains:

  • magnesium – important mineral for muscles and nerves – especially the heart
  • iron – critical for healthy blood
  • chromium – a trace mineral that helps balance blood sugar
  • Phenethylamine (PEA) – an adrenal related chemical that’s produced when we fall in love
  • flavenols – antioxidant compounds that help your body produce nitric oxide which is essential for healthy heart function
  • vitamin C – an important antioxidant
  • omega 6 Fatty Acids – an essential fatty acid we must get from food
  • tryptophan – an essential amino acid
  • serotonin – the primary neurotransmitter in the body
  • antioxidants – cacao contains the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food
  • manganese – helps to oxygenate the blood
  • zinc – involved in many enzymatic reactions in the body

This is not a complete list of the benefits of chocolate, but it covers a lot of the highlights – just in case you needed more reasons to eat it!

Please note, this is only true of raw cacao powder or raw chocolate.

So what does raw mean? It has not been heated, or pasteurized. Nearly all commercially prepared chocolate and chocolate products are heated/pasteurized. Pasteurization occurs at very high temperatures and kills most if not all the benefits listed above. Regular cocoa powder from the grocery store is pasteurized. If you want the health benefits of chocolate for you and your family, choose raw chocolate, which you can find in most health food stores.

xo

ps: If you really want to delve into raw chocolate, I highly recommend David Wolfe’s book, Naked Chocolate.

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Leaning In When Life Throw’s You A Curve

Have you ever been on a particular path in life, perhaps it was to do with your career or a relationship, or even your health, and something unexpected occured? That unexpected something can literally knock you on your butt and you’re left wondering what the hell happened and what to do next.

That is a “curve” and if you are a living, breathing being, you’ve likely encountered them. They are an inevitable part of life.

Knowing they are inevitable, the issue isn’t about avoiding them as much as it is learning to powerfully manage your reactions to them. It’s about who you are (or who you become) in the face of them, instead of having the situation dictate who you are.

It’s where you lean in instead of leaning away. Leaning away is akin to avoiding, denying and resisting. It may buy you a little time, but in the long run it serves nothing and no one, least of all you.

Your ability to lean in when something unexpected happens is directly connected to knowing who you are. The truth of who you are.

Having a deep connection to the truth of your being nourishes you on all levels. It fosters compassion for yourself and others, strength of mind and spirit and leads to a place of peace. All ways.

When you have this deep knowing of and for yourself, the fear based questions of how will I cope with….or, I don’t know what to do about…or, why is this happening to me… simply aren’t there.

Instead, you ask, where and from whom could I seek support…..or, is there something I need to learn about……or, what can I take away from this and where can I make a different choice next time?

You learn to ask better questions because at your core, the truth of who you are, isn’t tied to or affected by external events, people or circumstances.

I heard Dr. Wayne Dyer once say that when you squeeze an orange, you get orange juice because that’s whats inside. It’s the same with people. When we feel pressured or stressed, our reaction say’s a great deal about what we’re holding inside.

Do you feel anger, bitterness and frustration? Or do you react with curiosity, love and compassion?

Neither is right or wrong. The question is, does it serve you to be in one state more than another? If it feels better to come from a place of love and compassion, work towards embracing more of that.

Anger is fear in disguise. Inquire within; what am I afraid of? When you understand what the fear is about, it dissolves the anger and you are one step closer to your truth.

Leaning in is about who you are. The next time life throws you a curve, see if you can’t lean in, just a little more.

xo

 

photo credit: wwwironandair.tumblr.com

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What Yoga Taught Me About Trust

Have you ever noticed that life delivers lessons in the most unexpected ways?

I had a sudden insight into a way of being I’ve had my entire life, in a yoga class of all places!

As I was fidgeting about, trying to get comfortable in a particular pose, the instructor came around and stacked a few yoga blocks under my elbow for support. She gently took my arm, positioned it on the blocks and said, “now you can let go because your body will trust it has the support it needs”.

As I allowed the weight of my arm to be supported by the blocks, my entire body relaxed and I understood for the first time what yoga was about.

And suddenly I got it!

All this time I had believed that I didn’t have the right body for yoga; it was uncomfortable, I didn’t see any benefits and it ended up being a massive exercise in frustration.

Well this was an entirely new experience! I discovered that when I’m supported I can let go and trust the process.  All this time, I’ve had it backwards. I thought I had to first trust, get it right and THEN get the support.

I also learned that my not understanding or being challenged by something, does not mean I’m stupid, incapable or that anything is wrong.

It simply means I haven’t yet found a way that works with me and/or it isn’t an exact fit. But with a little tweaking or a different approach, it can work.

It’s kinda like purchasing a piece of clothing off the rack when it doesn’t fit exactly (but you love it so you buy it anyway). You can leave it in your closet and be annoyed and unhappy every time you look at it or wear it, or you can have it altered so it fits your body perfectly. You find another way.

The point is not to give up. Giving up is easy. It’s also why most of us take our dreams, ideas and ambitions to the grave instead of putting them in the world. We become victims to our fears, frustrations and lack of patience, and we give up.

What if we told ourselves something different? What if the fear, the frustration and the hard work doesn’t mean you aren’t meant for your dream? What if it means you’re almost there – keep at it. Or, you’re close, but not there just yet. Try again with a different approach.

What if you stopped relating to yourself as wrong, I can’t do this, or I don’t know how, and started relating to yourself as, I can do this? Or, okay, this didn’t exactly go as planned but what can I learn from what I did? Where could I do it differently?

Growing, learning and developing yourself is uncomfortable and challenging. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong.

So, as I learned in yoga, get support. Get support so that you can relax, let go and trust that there is a process at work and if you keep at it, you will absolutely find your way.

xo

Want to know if being supported can specifically help you? Connect with me on a free {private} call and find out.

Sign up here:  http://annlotwin.com/discovery-session/

 

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How To Become Successful By Mastering Your Fears

How many times have you had the best of intentions to do something; complete a project, return a phone call, meet a deadline? Only to have something or someone catch your attention, and bam!  Your focus is redirected and you’ve been de-railed.

Completing something, reaching a goal, or meeting a deadline takes focus and discipline. It also takes understanding. Understanding that even though it seems that the world occurs through our 5 senses, the truth is, it doesn’t. The world, (our perception of it), actually occurs through the filter of our 5 senses.

Our brain receives information via our senses, matches it up with belief’s and scans our memory for a similar situation so it can tell you how to respond.

So what’s this got to do with fear? Everything!

Your brain is hardwired to keep you safe. That’s it’s primary role and it is an expert fear detector. In our day to day life, most of our fear is from an internal source (our thinking) rather than an actual physical threat. The problem is our brain doesn’t know the difference so it still works to keep you safe, in subtle but powerful ways.

That’s why we load the dishwasher instead of making the phone call, walk the dog instead of responding to the email or end up on Facebook instead of writing the article.

It’s called resistance, but it’s really just another name for fear.

Everyone has fear. And most of it is based on some version of not being good enough; fear of not being approved of or accepted. When your brain registers apprehension or fear about anything, it calls in reinforcements to “save” you, which is where resistance comes in. But what your brain doesn’t know is that your spirit, your soul, knows better. It knows the difference between fearing for your life and moving through a perceived fear, and into your greatest life.

The degree to which you are successful is directly proportionate to the degree in which you allow your desire to be greater than your fear. Even if its only a fraction greater.

The only difference between you and someone you see as successful, is that their desire was slightly larger than their fear. They attached themselves or focused on the desire, not the fear.

There isn’t any magic formula that makes fear disappear. But understanding it goes a long way in managing it. If you do not learn to manage your fear it will manage you. Here are a few things that I’ve found helpful:

  • stop pretending you aren’t afraid and ask yourself: what am I resisting? Or why am I resisting doing X?
  • start from where you are; keep your focus in the present; what is the next step?
  • consider what you are getting out of being resistant and let it go
  • keep visible reminders of what fear really is: False Evidence Appearing Real.
  • work to eliminate “can’t and “don’t” from your vocabulary. Become aware when you are using these words and immediately change them to “can” and “will” or “do”.

Chunk it down into manageable pieces ~ what’s one thing you can do differently today? Can you replace a negative thought with a positive one? Do that – do what is before you, in this moment.

Fear or some version of it is the only thing between where you are and where you desire to be. Fear isn’t going anywhere. It’s a part of life, but the amount of space it takes up in your life is entirely up to you.

Master fear and you will master your life.

xo