The Secret to Enjoying the Little Things in Life + Easy Plant Based Protein Bar

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Do you ever wish that you could be one of those people who truly enjoys the little things in life?

This version of you might have a homemade quilt in your bedroom that says “Find Bliss in the Small things”, a Pinterest board called “It’s the Small Shit That Counts”, or a bumper sticker that reads “Honk for the Tiny Moments.”

You envision a fulfilling afternoon, happily doing the dishes, humming all the while. After that blissful chore is over you go outside, tilt your head towards the blue sky and smile, giving thanks for the cool breeze that gently glides across your cheek. You go back inside and sit down, closing your eyes to take in the peaceful sound of your cat purring.

You’re in love with every goddamn small minute of your afternoon.

You picture yourself unwinding from a long day with nothing but a meditation pillow and silence. You wake up with the sun, excited to go for your morning walk. And there is nothing more orgasmic than a sunset.

The cynical part of me wants to say that this isn’t possible, but deep down I know better.

Do you want to know the secret to enjoying the small things in life and not losing your shit while trying to get out of the Whole Foods parking lot?

In theory it’s simple, which is why people miss it.

In order to find fulfillment, appreciation, and enjoyment in the little things that life so generously and frequently offers, you have to start weeding out the hyper-palatable and over stimulating things in your day to day, and work on turning down the volume of your life.

Does this sound like a buzzkill? Maybe. But!

When our external life is on high the majority of the time, anything below that level will seem dull, making it difficult to find pleasure in anything less than over-stimulating.

This includes eating stimulating foods (aka processed foods) that are high in salt, sugar and fat, drinking alcohol, spending too much time in front of a screen, incorporating drugs into your daily routine (prescription or otherwise), surrounding yourself with dramatic people and dramatic situations, and anything else that tends to numb out painful life shit.

Keep an eye out and take note when you engage in something that your gut tells you is overly stimulating.

After you have a laundry list, you can start turning it down a notch by practicing saying no, following your instinct, and making some personal life rules to follow.

This might sound uncomfortable, scary and even boring, but only when you turn things down will you be able to find bliss in the little things.

A sunset, a child’s innocence, a cold drink of water on a hot day, an apple, a good book, clean sheets, birds chirping, and all of the other cliché shit that might seem inconsequential and trivial right now.

When we find bliss in shit that used to be boring, we start to wake up and become fully alive. And when we’re operating from a place of being fully awake, aware and alive, we start to realize how much we missed when we weren’t able to bask in the magnificence of all the little things that make life so rich and satisfying.

And it’s from this place that true happiness, grace and contentment begins. Quietly. From within.

Last week I gave you six reasons why people don’t eat healthier. Today I’m giving you six more.

1: Stuck in a food rut and not inspired to try something new and healthy.

When you’re stuck in a food rut, the only way out is through new recipes.

And there’s a clever little something called the internet, which I know you have because you’re reading this.

The internet is full of healthy yummy recipes. All you have to do is put your fingers to your keyboard and be open to using ingredients that might not already be in your kitchen.

2: Want to, but too lazy to do anything about it.

This can change, you just have to want to change.

3: Addicted to unhealthy food.

Food addiction is a real thing and in order to break the cycle of addictive foods, you have to abstain from certain foods.

The biggest culprits are processed junk food and cheese. Do your best to swap out junk food for unprocessed whole plant foods and stay clear of cheese. I know. Fucking cheese.

4: Want to, but don’t know how or think it might be too hard.

Again, between Google and YouTube there’s nothing that you can’t conquer.

Making healthy delicious recipes doesn’t have to be hard, even if you’re not special friends with your kitchen. Simple ingredients are the most healthy and the easiest to prepare.

Being alive at this particular moment in time gives people with computers zero excuses for not doing something because they don’t know how.

5: Eating poorly because of boredom or emotional shit.

If you’re about to reach for a snack and you know that you’re not hungry, slow your role, drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes. Chances are your craving will pass.

If you’re eating because of emotional crap, take it as a cue to start unearthing some of that crap. Write in your journal, call a friend, go see a therapist, do whatever feels right to you and start shedding some light on whatever it is that has you down.

Think of food first and foremost as fuel to make your body purr like a kitten. Anything that you put in that beautiful bod that isn’t the very best fuel should be reconsidered.

And if after careful consideration, you still want that Tootsie Roll, then eat the damn thing and move on.

6: Life is short. I don’t want to deprive myself.

First of all, I hate it when people say life is short. But this is just because I like being in denial about growing older and the thought of the people I love dying. But whatever, enough about me.

Eating poorly because you don’t want to be deprived is a slippery slope. I’m talking my neck during Bikram yoga kind of slippery.

I’m all for the occasional treat, but I’m also all about quality of life.

Sure we could all drink like the Irish, smoke like the French and eat like Americans, but who wants to party like it’s 1999 if we constantly have a hangover, a smokers cough and a food coma? (I’ve done LOTS of this and it’s not at all gratifying)

Let’s trade in connivence food for a full and healthy life while we’re still alive.

If you need help figuring out how to do this, try our weekly Plant Fueled Meal Plans. We’ve got you covered.

Okay – recipe time.

So you know those bird seed bells that you can buy at Ace or other handy stores like that? They’re basically a big ball of seeds that birds go ape shit over.

Yeah – for this week’s recipe, I basically made that. But it’s for you, not the birds.

These energy squares are the perfect thing before a workout or during a hike because they’re packed full of protein, fiber and healthy fats. They’ll keep you full, satisfied and give you lots of energy without making you feel like you’ve hit a wall 15 minutes after eating them.

Fuck the sports drink, eat a few of these instead.

They’re also great for kids because they’re naturally sweetened with dates. I don’t have kids, but if I did, I would lie to them a lot about what’s in their food. This snack would be no exception.

When you make these, post a pic in the most awesome private Facebook group evah and let us know what you think. #birdfoodisgood

Easy Plant Based Protein Bar

Author: Molly Patrick of Clean Food Dirty Girl

Ingredients

  • 10 dried dates 115g, pits taken out and simmered in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa 95g
  • 1/2 cup almond butter 135g
  • 1/2 cup almond slices 50g
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds 75g
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds 70g
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds 40g
  • 1 cup coconut flakes 40g
  • 1/4 cup dried goji berries 25g
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries 110g
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 2g

Instructions

  • After the dates have simmered, discard the water and add the dates to the food processor along with the cooked quinoa and the almond butter. Process these ingredients until you can’t spot any big chunks of dates. If you process them for a solid minute, you should be good to go.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor (almond slices, raw sunflower seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, coconut flakes, goji berries, dried cherries and sea salt).
  • Pulse all of the ingredients together, stopping intermittently to press the ingredients down. This mixture will be thick and sticky and won’t fully process together. This is okay. As long as the mixture is semi mixed together it’s fine. We want the final product to have lots of crunchy bits, so processing it to a paste isn’t the goal. You just want to process it enough so that the almond butter is coating most of the mixture.
  • When you feel you have achieved this, take the mixture out of the food processor and place it in a bowl. With your clean hands, mix everything together so that it comes together in one big ball.
  • Place the ball on a clean surface and spread it out with your hands until you’ve formed a rectangle or square of your desired thickness. You can make them thick, thin or anything in between. It’s entirely up to you.
  • Once you have it the way you want it, place a layer of parchment paper on a large plate, transfer the seed block (sexy, I know) to the plate and cover the whole thing with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for an hour or two to set up.
  • After an hour or two, take your creation out of the fridge, cut it into pieces and store them in the fridge in a container.

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I hope that you have a happy week. May it be filled with turning down the noise.

Fall in love with plant based cooking

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Our Sweary Saturday Love Letters are written by our ex-boozer, ex-smoker, plant-loving co-founder, Molly Patrick.

11 Comments

  1. Michele Paul Hilliard on July 15, 2015 at 10:42 am

    You are awesome! Thank you for the laughs and recipes!

  2. Lauren on April 24, 2018 at 8:15 am

    5 stars
    Just made the Plant Powered Protien Squares and they are so tasty! I will keep making these to have on hand!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on April 24, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      Hi Lauren, Ooh, these sound wonderful and I have goji berries just waiting for such a recipe. Thanks for coming back to tell us you made these squares and that you love them AND for clueing me in to this recipe that I’ve yet to try.

      ~Karen

  3. Carolyn Kelly on June 3, 2018 at 8:09 am

    I am making these today. Do they freeze well?

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on June 3, 2018 at 5:30 pm

      Hi Carolyn, These should freeze just fine. Enjoy! ~Karen

  4. Kelly on June 6, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    are the dates in this recipe large or small?

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on June 7, 2018 at 10:56 am

      Hi Kelly, it’s up to you. If you want more sweet, use larger dates, if you want less sweet, use smaller dates. If you only have smaller dates and want it to be sweeter, add more of them. ~Karen

  5. Brenda on July 5, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Can I use fresh dates instead of dried?

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on July 5, 2019 at 4:23 pm

      Hi Brenda, Sure! Fresh dates would work well. Depending on how soft they are and the power of your blender you may not need to soak them at all. Let us know if you try the recipe. ~Karen

  6. Heather Goodchild on July 6, 2019 at 12:33 am

    Hi. These sound awesome. Is the quinoa dry weight before cooking or weight after cooking? Thanks

    • Molly Patrick on July 6, 2019 at 5:44 am

      Hi Heather,
      the weight is after cooking 🙂
      These are awesome! Have fun.
      xo
      Molly

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