Learning to Love Myself Chocolate Truffles (dairy free, gluten free, sugar free)

This recipe is delicious and quick and easy to make.

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cacao or cocoa
  • 4 Tbsp rice malt syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Melt the coconut oil and add the rice malt syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk and add the cacao cocoa powder. Whisk occasionally while pouring into mini muffin or cup cake cases. Cool for 30 minutes in the freezer.

Keep in the fridge, otherwise they will melt.

It’s not a diet. It’s a decision.











My experience with Clean 9.

Earlier this year I was diagnosed with M.E. / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. After having problems with fatigue for over 20 years, since I was a teenager, I knew that I needed to change my lifestyle and start taking better care of myself. As it turns out the fatigue was caused by not being on the right medication for my hypothyroidism and not chronic fatigue at all. Although I am feeling better since being on different thyroid medication, I am still not quite right and I know that taking better care of myself will help.

I know from experience that dieting doesn’t work. I have only been able to stick to a diet once. I lost nearly three stone on weight watchers, but I put it all back on again and more. I used to binge eat and I turned to Overeaters Anonymous (OA) for support. I found OA helpful for a while, but ultimately, continually focusing on overeating and my problems (i.e. focusing on what I didn’t want) was counterproductive.

Over the last two or three years I have started to change the way I eat. My motivation was to improve my health and if I also lost weight it was a bonus. I cut right down on sugar, dairy and white flour and increased my intake of fruit and vegetables. I found some great recipes for sugar free, wheat free and dairy free chocolate and cakes.

One thing I did discover during my time in OA was that I associated food with love. For me they are the same. My parents weren’t very loving when I was a child and they showed love through food. My Mum, Grandma and step-Mum were all good cooks and were often baking cakes. My Mum wouldn’t let us have sweets, sugar or sugary drinks, but we were allowed chocolate. When we used to visit Dad on alternate weekends he would give us 50p each to buy sweets and we would buy two chocolate bars and a selection of penny chews with what was left over.

I thought that one way of ‘learning to love myself’ was to treat myself as I would want a lover to treat me and so I ‘wined and dined’ myself. I would have a kind of date night at home, which usually involved TV, pizza, a tub of ice cream and a bottle of wine. I thought I was loving myself, but actually I was just filling the void. When I realised that I associated food with love, I started to have more awareness around this behaviour. Now I have a date night where I cook myself and my inner child something healthy and delicious and really nurture the two of us.

Despite all of this, I still find it hard to stick to eating healthily. I am definitely getting better all the time, it’s just taking a bit longer than I expected. Earlier this year I asked the universe for a way to help me to get motivated to improve my lifestyle and shortly afterwards I started training for a boxing match, which was just the incentive I needed. I loved the training. It was great fun and with the help of my awesome coach, I achieved things I never thought possible. Unfortunately, I had to pull out after about 8 weeks or so, as I fractured my ankle. As soon as my ankle is better I will be back at the gym.

One of the other things that has helped me tremendously is starting my new health and wellness business and discovering the power of Aloe Vera. I drink Aloe Vera everyday and take supplements that help with my energy levels. I recently tried the ‘Clean 9’ programme to clean out my digestive system and improve my health even more, hopefully with the added bonus of weight and inch loss.

I couldn’t do the Clean 9 exactly as per the instructions as I am intolerant to soya and was unable to drink the shakes, so I bought all the other products separately. For the first two days all I ate was fruit and vegetables, along with a whole lot of aloe vera and supplements. The natural supplements are designed to help you recognise when you’re full and boost your metabolism. I was surprised to find that I didn’t feel hungry and when I did, I filled up on grapes. In the first two days I lost three pounds. Unfortunately I didn’t stick to the programme properly and I put that three pounds back on by the end of the nine days. The mistakes I made was that I ate too many carbs, went over my calories and didn’t do enough exercise. I also didn’t prepare well enough for it. As I’ve been eating healthily for sometime I thought I could get away without doing the pre-cleanse and I was wrong. Having said all that, by the end of the nine days I felt amazing. I have learnt from my mistakes and I will be doing the Clean 9 again soon and this time I will be doing it properly, because I deserve it.

Since I changed my eating habits two years ago I have lost one and a half stone, one stone of which has been since July 2014, when I started my boxing training. I am passionate about continuing to improve my health and getting slimmer. I would also like to help others do the same.

Please click here to join our group on Facebook to share ideas, support and ask questions.

Mindfulness for Depression

This week has been extremely stressful. Work has been very busy and I’ve felt under a lot of pressure. The week started on Monday with a client complaining about me and asking for me to be removed from their account and ended on Friday with a conference call with the three directors of the company and a member of my team, where I got well and truly bollocked.

I have been referred to a Mindfulness Course with CBT through the Suffolk Wellbeing service, which is designed to help people with recurring depression to avoid relapse. The course is every Friday between 6 and 8pm, so my bosses agreed that I could finish work at 5.30. Unfortunately two of the Directors asked me to do something at the last minute and I didn’t finish until 5.45 and what with getting stuck in traffic, I ended up arriving thirty minutes late.

The facilitator asked us to introduce ourselves to the person sitting next to us. The lady sitting next to me and I just looked at each other and then I said abruptly,

“So what’s yer name then?”

In a strong accent she said, “Shall I go first then?” which I heard as “Shaggal Guffirst.”

I blinked. What sort of name as Shaggal? I thought I must have misheard.

“Sorry, can you say that again?”

Again I heard, “Shaggal Guffirst.”

“Shaggal?” I said incredulously. As soon as the words left my lips I felt that I made a faux pas. The lady looked at me.

“SHALL I GO FIRST THEN?” she said slowly and loudly, as if talking to a child.

I laughed out loud and apologised. She seemed unamused.


The facilitator talked about the seven principles of mindfulness: non-judging, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance and letting go. He explained the importance of being present and aware of everything and looking at everything as if for the first time.

“We’ll be starting with an eating meditation,” he said, picking up a bowl and a spoon.

“Did he just say eating meditation?” I thought, thinking I must have misheard again. My head was still in  a spin from the rush to arrive on time.

To my delight, it turned out that it was an eating meditation. I saw him dropping small things into the bowl, which I hoped was chocolate but which looked more like raisins. He then went around the room using the spoon to drop one or two raisins into everyone’s hands. Being mindful brought my awareness to my inner dialogue.

“Oh crap. Is that raisins? I hate raisins.”

“I wonder if I have to eat it.”

“Think about it with a beginner’s mind, as if you’ve never seen or tried a raisin before.”

“Oh crap, he’s put two in my hand. I’m going to have to eat two.”

I wondered if eating the raisin mindfully with a beginner’s mind might mean that I did like raisins after all.

The facilitator asked us to really look at the raisins. To squeeze them, to hold them up to the light, to look at the creases, to listen them, to squeeze them next to our ears. I was amazed to hear a distinct sound as I did so.

We then placed them on our bottom lip for a few moments and noticed the sensations, before placing them in our mouths, moving them around our lips and our gums with our tongue and then finally slowly chewing and swallowing.

I have to admit, it was a very profound experience. I have read a lot of stuff about eating consciously and this brought it to a new level. I didn’t think I could enjoy my food unless I was stuffing it in my face and this exercise proved otherwise.

We moved on to a body scan meditation and it was difficult for me to be non-judging and have a beginner’s mind. I have meditated for years and I was slightly scornful of what I considered to be a “secular” form of meditation. There was a part of me however, that was very impressed that the NHS was funding a mindfulness meditation course and I felt that maybe there’s hope for the world yet. Apparently studies have proven that taking part in such a course can significantly reduce the chance of a relapse into depression.

I reminded myself of non-judging and beginner’s mind and started the meditation with that attitude. A couple of times I felt bored and wondered how on earth I would last for half an hour. I kept bringing myself back to the breath and back to the meditation. The meditation lasted for well over half an hour and I was pleasantly surprised to note that actually the time passed really quickly and when we finished, I felt extremely relaxed.

I’ve got a feeling that this mindfulness course will benefit me tremendously. It’s an eight-week course. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.