Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

The Trials and Tribulations of Western Medicine and Aging

I burned my left hand about 5 weeks ago, now.

The doctor was concerned that I hadn’t felt it until it was too late. We started talking and I told him that I often lacked feeling in that hand, as well as on the outside of my right calf.

All this comes on the heels of a recent diagnosis of Raynaud’s.

Off to the neurologist I go – five weeks later, which would be yesterday.

I spent several hours hooked up to electrodes, being shocked and measured all over my body. It seemed spookily reminiscent of the Milgram experiment, but I digress.

Carpel tunnel in both wrists (no surprise there) and asymmetrical reflexes. Those two things alone warranted an appointment for a spinal MRI and blood test in the amount of 7 (yes, you read that right) 7 vials of blood!

Today I get a call from the doctor at my office – a few minutes before 6:00.

There were some abnormalities in the blood work.

It appears that my Thyroid Stimulating Hormone test came back a 20. The “normal range” is 2.5 to 5.

“Have you had unexplained weight gain?”

Duh.

“Has your memory gotten worse?”

Check.

“Headaches?”

Check.

“Have you noticed a decrease in energy and overall motivation?”

(I started to ask if he’d been reading my blog!)

And then there were a few other questions you don’t need to know about….

Check. Check. And – you guessed it – check.

As a general rule I hate medicine and have lived my life to avoid it at all costs. However, I think that this is one I’m not going to be able to avoid.

Damn.

As my sister just so gently reminded me: “Getting old is not for sissies.”

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Burn More Calories…As Inefficiently as Possible

I think I mentioned a few posts back that I was working with a weight loss/fitness coach by the name of Susan.

Well, the last time Susan and I talked she told me that one of the easiest ways to burn more calories without having to spend a lot of extra time at the gym was to become as inefficient as possible.

At first, I laughed, but then I stopped to think about it.

As a society, we are one of the most efficient on the planet. We are also the fattest.

Everything is optimized towards saving time. Unfortunately, this means that everything is also optimized to conserving energy – that is, calories.

For instance, I typically carry in five bags of groceries at once to save myself a couple of trips up and down the stairs. Why not make five trips?

I balance multiple dehydrator trays precariously as I head down into the basement. Why not make three trips?

I cut corners as I cross the green to get from one place to another on campus. Why not mark out a pathway based entirely on squares?

I drive five blocks to the Coop…or three to my belly dance class. Why not leave a little early and enjoy the walk?

I carry my grocery bags out to the car so that I don’t have to return the cart to the storefront. Why not use the cart and make three trips instead of one?

I tend to enter buildings though the closest door. Why not walk to the next closest (or even the furthest) door?

I tend to use the bathroom closest to my office. Why not use the one down the hall or even the one up the stairs?

My homework this week was not to make any of these changes, but just to find the places where I could be less efficient – because when it comes to all of these so-called strategies to save time, you are also, unfortunately, saving energy – which again, equals calories.

And even if it may take you a couple of minutes more…it’s really not that much time in the grand scheme of things.

So think about all of the places where you could be a little less efficient and, even if you don’t think you have the time, take it. Just try it. I’m sure that if you really put your mind to it, you could think of some other way to shave 15 minutes off your day.

And if you do find places where you can be less efficient I’d love to hear them, because I bet my list – as long as it is – is probably not going to be long enough.

Keep me posted. I’d love to hear from you!

(And, if you’d like to see my full list, let me know; because, as I am sure you’ve guessed, I’m happy to share.)

Feeding My Inner Child

A few of months ago, I started doing a guided meditation every morning, where I awaken my “inner angel” – that would be “Kathy Jo” – and get her ready for the day.

Part of this entails letting her pick out what she wants to wear (which is inevitably a dress of some sort – that child has yet to put on pants or jeans), to give her whatever she wants for breakfast (usually something involving peanut butter), and then pack her a bag of toys and food for the day.

The purpose of this exercise is to make sure that your inner Mini-Me can eat whatever the heck you want so that you don’t have to. The first two months of this was great. But then, since Cat died, I stopped going to see Kathy Jo. I stopped going to see her because when I went there in my mind, Cat was there and it reopened the wound – instead of bringing me joy that Cat had found her way – as I should have known she would – to my inner sanctum.

It’s probably no wonder that that’s when the binging started, now that I think about it.

Since Kathy Jo wasn’t getting her peanut butter, her Doritos, her Hostess cupcakes, and her Fig Newtons – not to mention my mother’s famous fried peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwich or her homemade pancakes layered with – you guessed it! – peanut butter, someone had to eat it. And, unfortunately that someone was me.

Just as an aside: Looking at that list, is there any surprise at all that I have such a peanut butter fetish? Talk about eating your childhood memories.

Well. Monday evening, after yet another bout of hysteria over Cat, Bella, and whatever else happened to cross my mind, I decided to turn over a new leaf.

Tuesday I set the alarm 30 minutes early and did my guided meditation.

Kathy Jo was a bit stand-offish. Who can blame her, really? I hadn’t been there in three weeks (possibly more).

She selected a pale lilac dress, some Dorothy shoes, and a little white cardigan.

And for breakfast, she wanted the peanut butter pancakes – but only if the peanut butter had been slightly melted, like it used to when my mother would leave the jar on the stove top while she cooked.

In her bag, she wanted a mix of things that ranged from baby carrots and strawberries (yea! not all is lost) to Hostess Cupcakes, Cheetos, and some sort of orange drink out of a pouch. I can’t even remember the name of that stuff, but I remember what the pouch looked like – essentially, it looked just like something that my mother would have refused to buy either because it was too expensive or too messy or too something!

On the way home from my belly dancing class last night, I was really hungry.

It was 9:00 and I was sort of worried about walking into the house – read, the kitchen – ravenous.

So, as I was driving, I imagined that Kathy Jo was sitting next to me in the car, happily munching on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And – just in case she was as hungry as I was – there was another one in her lap!

When I finally got home, I walked in, made an uber-healthy shake with some rice protein powder and spinach and went to bed. There was no snacking, no peanut butter, no tahini, nothing. And, more to the point, no temptation – at least not for food. 😉

Today on my way home, just to see if I could repeat the experience, I imagined Kathy Jo sitting next to me eating cinnamon toast. (You know, it’s really amazing what comes out of your memory when you ask your inner child what she wants to eat, because, seriously, I hadn’t thought about my mother’s cinnamon toast in years!)

Regardless, even though I hadn’t consciously been Jonesing on my mother’s cinnamon toast, Kathy Jo obviously had. She had about six pieces.

I, on the other hand, drank my water and munched happily on a Spirulina Go Raw Bar.

When I got home, I “cooked.” I made hummus, tabouli, and beet and carrot slaw for Michael J. and I made two batches of raw marinara sauce for myself.

And you know what? I didn’t snack, I didn’t over eat, and I didn’t binge.

Two for two after a really bad 20 for 20 (in the opposite direction).

I wonder what Kathy Jo will want in her bag tomorrow. Because, whatever it is – she can have it!

The Missing Link: Introducing the CalTrac

I must admit, I have been completely flummoxed over my recent (over the last 3 months) 16 pound weight gain. I’m not obsessing over it (no, really!) but I was curious.

I was still exercising and I do think some of it’s muscle (as I’m still in my 4s – for the most part and my 6s, comfortably), but it’s clear that the belly (aka Bella) has taken on a life of her own.

Granted, I’ve been really sad over the last three weeks or so. Not miserable, but definitely feeling a loss.

I also have had less control over my eating – more peanut butter, more binges, but – in all fairness – my binge eating is pretty tame by most people’s standards. And even though I haven’t been counting calories, even on the days that I was over eating, I wasn’t over eating that much. I certainly wasn’t eating even lose to 2,000 a day, so things just really didn’t seem to add up.

Yesterday, however, it all slid into place.

It wasn’t that I ate all that much more this summer.

It wasn’t that I stopped exercising.

It’s that I stopped moving this summer, aside from exercise.

In the interest of saving time and gasoline (and spending more time with Cat) I worked at home this summer. And I worked a lot. Meaning that on most days, as soon as I finished working out, I took a shower and walked 15 steps to the dining room table (or 8 steps into the living room) and worked – i.e., sat on my ass, which got progressively bigger as the weeks passed.

It didn’t occur to me that this was a problem, because I had stayed tuned into food and exercise – that is, formal exercise – like High Intensity Interval Training, Nordic Track, K-Bells, Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred, etc. You know, the kind of stuff that you actually get dressed for and makes you sweat.

Well, because I am determined to get rid of my extra padding that I put on this summer, I started working with a fitness coach.

This woman, whose name is Susan, has given me a device known as a CalTrac. A CalTrac is beeper-like object that you wear on your waist band and it calculates the amount of calories you burn through movement, separate from the calories that you burn just by being alive.

The first couple of days that I had it, I was actually at a conference, which pretty much mimicked what I had been doing at home all summer.

Guess how many calories you burn through movement when you sit on your butt all day?

Less than 200.

Way less.

Yesterday, I headed back to the office.

Instead of shuffling from the bathroom to the kitchen – like I’d done everyday for the last three months – I parked my car at the gym and walked to my office. I walked back across campus to go to convocation (which, ironically, was pretty darned close to where I’d parked my car). Then I walked back to my office. Then, later in the afternoon, I took a turn around the pond, because I realize that the leaves are turning and I won’t have too many more gorgeous days left. At the end of the day I walked back to my car and then to my belly dancing class, because I figured that it would be hard to find parking (which, as it turns out, would have been had I drove).

At the end of the day, I had burned 809 calories through movement – and that’s not counting the 440 calories that I had burned that morning on the stair mill!

200?

800?

That’s a 600 calorie difference just by moving (or not moving) without any consideration of exercise whatsoever.

That’s 3,000 calories a week, assuming a 5 day work week.

That’s practically a pound a week.

No wonder I gained weight!

And no wonder I just didn’t get it.

Because I hadn’t changed what I ate – not that much anyway.

And I hadn’t changed the number of calories that I burned through formal/scheduled exercise.

But I had changed the informal/unscheduled calories that you burn just by walking, just by moving.

It’s a little annoying to wear a little blue device on your belt, but it sure is motivating.

In fact, instead of checking my email when I’m done here, chances are I’m going to take a turn around the pond. It is another gorgeous day after all. But, perhaps even more importantly, it’s another 200+/- calories!

It really never occurred to me that the non-sweat inducing activity of walking (back and forth from cars, between buildings, etc.) could make the difference of a pound a week!

Who knows? I may start parking even further away than I do now (not to mention using the women’s bathroom on the fifth floor instead of the one outside of my office)!

If you’ve changed your routine and you’ve noticed that you’re feeling a little thicker around the middle, perhaps you should get up and move a little bit more than you do – and maybe even a little more than that tomorrow.

I know that’s my plan!

Yes, It’s True – I Changed the Tagline

I was reading a book the other day on the law of attraction (don’t ask!) and it stated quite simply a principle that I have heard, yet stubbornly ignored, my whole life: you get what you focus on.

Or, to put it another way, that to which you give your undivided attention grows.

In this particular book, there was one line that struck close to home. It said very clearly – if you focus on losing the last ten pounds of fat or body weight, your body will automatically create situations for you do that. In other words, if you focus on losing the last ten pounds, you will always be losing the last ten pounds – because “the law of attraction” will bring to you that thing upon which you are focused.

In order to get what you want, you should focus on what you want – not what you don’t want.

In fact, the authors go on to say that you should live your life as if the thing you want is already true (which, in my case, is a flat, toned, size two tummy) and feel all of the good feelings (which, in my case, is confidence, higher self-esteem, higher sense of self-worth, accomplishment, health, pride, etc) that you feel now that that thing that you want it actually true.

Make sense?

Well, I stepped on the scale today.

And despite that I am only about a half size up, I have gained 16 pounds since last March.

Yes, you read that right, meaning that once again, I have 8 pounds to lose (which is pretty darned close to 10) if I want to get back down to my desired goal weight of 140.

Argh!

Believe it or not, I decided not to beat myself up over this.

Instead, I thought about that book.

And I asked myself what I’d really like to happen – to keep losing the last ten pounds or to have a flat, toned size two tummy.

It’s a no-brainer. But just for those of you who know that I have a history of being dedicated to struggle, I did indeed choose the latter.

And I imagined how much more secure, happy, comfortable, confident, and energetic I would be if it were true.

So, from here on out, it’s going to all be about getting my flat, toned size two tummy and letting the last ten pounds take care of themselves. And, as always, I’ll keep you posted.

Namaste.

Paying the Piper – Stepping Back on the Scale

Yesterday it felt like autumn and I pulled out my jeans.

There’s nothing like putting your jeans on after months of shorts and linen pants to shake up your psyche.

They were snug. And these weren’t even the 4s. These were the 6s!

So, in the interest of being honest (with myself more than anyone) I am going to the gym for the first time in months (MONTHS!) and after my workout I am going to actually step on the scale.

I’m doing this for two reasons.

The first is that I’d hate for three months from now to try on the 8s and have the same thing happen.

The second is that I am starting a new program – this one a little more intensive and comprehensive than the last. And, unfortunately, they want a starting weight…not just measurements.

So I think the key thing for me is that whatever that number says – which I have no doubt is higher than it was in March when I hit the magical 132.5 – is just a number.

It’s just data.

It’s not an endorsement.

It’s not failure.

It’s a starting point.

Just one more point on the road.

Wish me luck and, as always, I’ll keep you posted.

Lethargy – 1 (or maybe not)

It’s 11:52.

Can I get in eight minutes before midnight?

Sigh.

Post script: It’s now 12:28 a.m. and I am a hot, sweaty mess.

I was wrong in my last post – midnight is the worst possible time of day – or night – to exercise! But since I started at 11:52 p.m. (that is, yesterday) public accountability still has it – if only by a hair.

Public Accountability – 1

In my last post, I said that I was committing to morning workouts, because I just can’t seem to get it together if I wait until the afternoon.

Well, yesterday, I didn’t get my act together and I found myself – at 10:00 p.m., which is probably the worst time of day to exercise – clamping on the heart rate monitor and going for it.

And I mean I really went for it, as if there was literally no tomorrow.

In fact, I worked out so hard that I couldn’t even finish the workout! (Though, in all fairness, I was pretty beat when I started, which is just one of the reasons why working out at night sucks to begin with.)

Anyway, I have you to thank for the fact that I did anything at all – well, you and the fact that I told you that I was committing to move my body every single day (come hell or high water). Public accountability. Who knew?

Today, I missed my morning workout as well – this time because when I woke up I was fatigued from lat night – and Michael J and I jumped into a joint editing project shortly after I made my morning smoothie.

What to do? What to do?

Is it really worth it exercising again in the late hours and my heart rate up just before crawling into bed?

Or would it be better to do yoga and really try to turn my schedule around (that is, get up first thing and HIIT the ground running)?

Even though I didn’t do what I said I was going to do – get my exercise in early – it’s amazing how strong the pull to exercise was just because I told you that I was going to do it.

Now I guess I understand all of those women (and some men) who blast out their every food related indiscretion (or success) on twitter. If nothing else, I suppose, it keeps you honest.

So yoga tonight. Or maybe another couple, three rounds of HIIT.

One or the other.

It’s not quite six of one or half dozen of the other, but it’s close.

Thanks for being there. And for making me kick my own butt.

Nowadays it seems like my options are morning…or never

This whole summer it seems like exercise has been the bane of my existence.

I really never quite got there with any of my exercise programs – well, at least not until a couple of weeks ago, when I mashed together one of my favorites (high intensity cardio intervals on the nordic track) and HIIT (or high intensity interval training) on the ground.

That combination – while a total bitch – is killer.

And at the end of two rounds of HIIT, sandwiched between the cardio, I am almost always working out until failure. It’s great. And what’s even better is that I am seeing improvement! I can do more of each of the exercises than I could when I started and my form, for the most part, is improving by the day.

Just as I was hitting my groove on this new and improved exercise routine, however, my subconscious tossed up yet another block: If I don’t exercise in the morning, I don’t. And this from a woman who used to teach exercise classes at 5:15 – P.M.

What is going on?

Instead of beating myself up about it, as I am wont to do, I’ve decided to just accept it.

A.M. workouts it is. Now that school is starting again, it’s going to be a little tougher, but I am committing (hence putting it here, in writing).

The reason for the pubic declaration is thus:

Today, instead of working out immediately, I went straight to work and didn’t actually get around to exercising until 5:00. And trust me, by the time I got started, I had I spent more time – and almost as much energy – trying to convince myself to do it than I did on the exercise itself!

My body didn’t feel right.
I’m too full from lunch.
I have a headache.
I’m hungry.
I’m tired.
I feel sluggish.
I don’t want to.
It’s too late.
I didn’t get enough sleep last night.
I don’t have any umph….

You name it, I tried to sell myself on it.

Ironically when I finally got started it turned out to be one of my best workouts ever: 400 calories in just over 30 minutes – heart rate through the roof when it needed to be, coming right back down where I wanted it to be in the short (30 second) time allotted. When I was done, I was a stinky, soppy mess. And I felt great.

But was it worth the hassle of having to fight with myself every step of the way to go get my workout clothes, put them on, find the heart rate monitor, set the timer up, etc?

The jury’s still out.

So, tomorrow, morning it is. And the day after, same thing.

Ever since I was a kid, the Fall has brought with it new rhythms and routines that within just a few weeks became seamless and easy. Let’s hope that this autumn is no different. Until then, morning it is, as never really doesn’t seem like much of an option.

Perfection in a Glass

No, I haven’t started drinking again! But I have created (for now at least) my all-time favorite raw food recipe: Almond Maca Chia Cacao Shake with Goji Berries and Cacoa Nibs. Though considering that I spend most of my spare time in the kitchen, that – I am sure – is subject to change! 🙂

This all started earlier this summer, when I had a Chocolate Maca shake at Planet Raw, this phenomenal raw food restaurant in Santa Monica, California. It came out in a 16 ounce tumbler, lightly dressed with nuts, goji berries, and cacao nibs – and it was heavenly. Not only was it delicious and ridiculously good for you, it also had the additional benefit of the maca/cacao buzz.

(If you’re familiar with maca – which is a peruvian superfood with slight psychedelic properties – you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, it’s sort of hard to explain, but I’d recommend that you try it. Without putting too fine a point on it, it’s sort of like malt, with benefits. Mix that with a little raw cacao and you’re in for a supersonic treat!)

Anyway, I digress.

Since then, as you might imagine, I have been trying to replicate it with more or less success.

But the big breakthrough came with the Almond Maca Chia Cacao Shake I came up with a couple weeks ago. It was pretty close. The chia gel gives the shake a nice consistency – whereas the one at Planet Raw relied on coconut meat.

(Though I might use coconut meat too if I could figure out how to open one!)

But since I love nothing more than playing in the kitchen, the recipe continues to evolve – so maybe I should have called this post – Nearing Perfection in a Glass.

Almond Maca Chia Cacao Shake with Goji Berries and Cacoa Nibs (1 serving)

1 cups almond milk (I used Almond Breeze, Unsweetened Chocolate – though I’m sure it would be better if I made my own)
3 Tbs chia gel
1 Tb maca
1 Tb chocolate rice protein powder
1 Tb raw cacao powder
1 Tb dried goji berries
1 Tb psyllium husk (or Yerba Prima Colon Care, which is much finer)
cinnamon, to taste
vanilla, to taste
5 drops chocolate stevia
8 ice cubes

Blend together in a high speed blender! Garnish with raw cacao nibs and goji berries and enjoy!

Note: although this may look/sound like dessert, it can definitely be used for a meal replacement. It’s chock full of protein (close to 15 grams), fiber (close to ten grams), and essential fats – not to mention all of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in the cacao, the goji berries, and the maca.

Learning to mourn without food

I am sad.

I have been sad now for five days (give or take two days in the middle, where I thought I’d found peace).

But yesterday, in a middle of a conversation with Michael J. about de-cluttering, despair washed over in me in waves.

The spirit of my beloved companion for the last 19 1/2 years departed her body and returned to the – for lack of a better word – “energy soup” of the universe.

And I am left here, staring at my other life-long companion – food – with longing.

And not just any food, but the fat, salt, and sugar filled foods.

If I didn’t know that Michael would catch me full out, there is not a doubt in my find that I could finish off a jar of peanut butter (or a tub of tahini or a bottle of wine) without blinking an eye.

I finally know what people mean by the term “numbing out.”

So I drink my water, munch on kale chips, and exercise.

Instead of grabbing a spoon, I picked up an old forgotten chick lit novel that I’d bought once in some airport that I started but never finished.

And when Harley, Michael J’s cat, who isn’t sure what it means exactly to be the only cat in the house again, crawls up next to me and lays his head in the crook of my arm, I am simultaneously grateful and guilty.

Feeling your feelings. Who knew?

I settled down to sleep in Michael’s arms last night and just as I started to drift, deep choking wails broke forth from my chest – again, like a tidal wave, uncontrollable, unexpected, unheralded.

Life moves forward, haltingly, without compassion – and, if I have anything to do with it – without peanut butter or anything else that I might be tempted to use not only to ease, but also to hide, cover, and ignore the loss of a life that meant so much to me.

I love you
I’m sorry
Please forgive me
Thank you

Exercise Tip of the Day: Try Getting Some New Clothes!

You know, no one who has ever met me would mistake me for a girly-girl, much to my chagrin, as I’d like to be more feminine…it’s just I never seem to give that body-project the effort it deserves. In other words, although I’d happily spend hours on the infrastructure – working sometimes tirelessly on becoming the healthiest, the strongest, and the thinnest I can possibly be – I tend to forget about the window dressing, so to speak.

Seriously, I’ll spend days (if not weeks) researching new exercise regimes or recipes, but to take the 15 minutes it would take to do my nails, blow out my hair, or slap on some Chapstick? Forget it! And, not surprisingly, I tend to work out in the same old tired mix-matched workout clothes that I’ve had for years, well, mainly because I’ve had them for years and they’re all right. I mean, who cares if they match? They get the job done…don’t they?

As I have mentioned before, this summer I have really been struggling with finding the motivation to work out. Things are getting better in that regard as I am finally perfecting my HIIT routines, and I have discovered belly dance, but I’m still easily distracted.

The other day, when I was having a particularly bad day, I stopped in at an evil empire-like store that shall remain nameless (but has a big W on the sign) and on a whim I dropped by the women’s clothing section – mainly because all of my sleep pants are way too big and half of the time they hang around my hips like I’m some white trash “wrapper” wanna-be. Not a good look when you’re on the wrong side of forty. But I digress….

Instead of finding a pair of cheap cotton pants to shlep around in in the morning, I ended up checking out some Danskin Now exercise clothes. At only $5.00 per piece of clothing (yes, I know, can anyone say sweat shops?) I bought a cute little pair of shorts and a matching top. Once I got them home, I realized that if they had been purple and white, instead of blue and pink, they would have been scarily close to my old junior high gym suit – that is the junior high gym suit that I wear in imaginary land where I didn’t weigh 185 pounds at age 13.

Actually, now that I stop and think about it, this whole post is one big digression….

The point is – the image of children chained to sewing machines aside – I was totally excited to workout this morning in my new cute and girly exercise clothes! I mean, not only was I excited, I was psyched. And not only was I psyched, I brought it! It was literally one of the best workouts I’ve had all summer! Said cute and girly exercise clothes were sopping wet when I was done – the sweat was literally pouring off of my body. It was awesome. And I felt better than I’d felt in weeks.

That said, I think my next move is to buy some more politically correct exercise clothes and ditch the old rags that I’ve been wearing for the last 2, 3 or maybe even five years.

If you’re experiencing some minor resistance in your exercise regime, you might try it – who knows, it might work for you too!

Drop me a note and let know if it works for you! Or anything else you do to overcome your exercise-related bumps in the road.

Peanut Butter Cups – Raw, Easy and Delicious

I love chocolate and I love peanut butter.

When you think about it, what’s NOT to love?

But I don’t like the sugar hit that traditional chocolate peanut butter cups give me. They taste great, but sometimes you have to think about how the food that you eat is going to make you feel two hours later, not to mention two days later when you’re still fighting sugar crazing – you know, that was actually a typo, but it’s so apropos, I think I’ll leave it!

So here’s what I came up with.

I originally saw a similar recipe on Alissa Cohen’s blog, but I ended up experimenting – big surprise.

KJ’s Version of the Old You’ve Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate Classic – Peanut Butter Cups

Ingredients:

1 cup raw organic cacao
1 cup of cold pressed virgin coconut oil (melted; it becomes liquid at 79 degrees [or something like that] so you don’t have to heat it much, if any!)
1/4 cup of agave nectar
6-10 drops of chocolate stevia (or to taste; don’t do too much or you’ll get a strange after taste)
cinnamon, 1 – 2 tsp (or more; I like lot, so chances are I put in more)
organic vanilla, 1 tsp (or more, to taste)

raw organic peanut butter (or almond butter, or cashew butter….)

Whisk all of the ingredients – except the nut butter – until smooth.

Spray an ice tray or two with non-stick cooking spray (I know, I can hear Susan Powter as I type talking about the propellent in cooking spray, but what can you do?).

Spoon in about a T of chocolate into each ice cube space (the batch I made yesterday made about 20 pieces, but you might want to do one tray first and then start a second tray if you have any left over).

Let the chocolate set up for a few minutes; it shouldn’t take long.

Spoon in a rounded 1/8 teaspoon (or a 1/4 teaspoon depending on your chocolate:peanut butter taste ratio preference) into each cube space, then cover with remaining chocolate sauce.

If you have left over chocolate, start a second tray.

Put in the freezer overnight and you’re done!

Pop those puppies out in the morning and store them in an airtight container.

Now, the only caveat is you have to leave these in the fridge or freezer, because the coconut oil isn’t particularly stable – remember that 79 degree melting point? However, that said, they’ll stay good for a month or more (if they last that long) and if you keep them in the freezer, no one will know they’re there but you!