“Sometimes it’s okay if the only thing you did today was breathe.”
May is mental health awareness month, so today I wanted to have real talk regarding this subject. Too often metal illness is negatively portrayed in the media. As a result, there are stigmas that keep people from seeking the help they need.
A few weeks ago two of my Professors encouraged me to apply to the Sociology honors program. Just thinking about it began to give me anxiety. My mind started racing with thoughts of how I would handle assignments, readings, workouts, cooking and my relationships. I then started feeling guilty for not wanting to apply. I went to see my counselor the next day and talked to her about my concerns. When I began to talk about my biggest concerns, like not being able to workout or cook (my greatest joys) I realized I didn’t have to feel guilty for not applying to the program. Sitting there saying these things out loud helped bring to light my truth, the things that are most important to me, the things that make me feel good.
She also reminded me that cooking and fitness are my foundations, they are part of my coping mechanisms for my anxiety. She was right. Over the years cooking and fitness have become tools for addressing my anxiety, especially my workouts.
I use workouts as way to help me feel empowered. On days that I feel my anxiety take a hold, I go to my favorite studio and challenge my strength. When I overcome some of those physically challenging sets, I leave feeling empowered and strong enough to take on anything, including my mental illness.
Cooking is a way for me to use my hands and create, it allows me to quiet my mind and practice living in the moment. Cooking is my meditation.
Knowing these things about myself has helped me be more compassionate towards myself and in turn others. It also allows me to be more self aware of what my needs are to stay in balance.
Which brings me to yesterday, I came home from school feeling ridiculously tired. I mean so tired I could hardly stay awake on the bus ride home. I was also feeling anxious about the end of the quarter fast approaching. While I sat on the couch writing up my to do list, I fell asleep, for 4 hours. When I woke up I had a second where I felt upset for allowing myself to fall asleep when I could have used that time more productively. I quickly stepped back and asked myself if skipping a much needed “nap” would have made me feel better, the answer was no. My body needed that sleep, and if I had chose to work over that nap it may have made me feel worse.
The message I’m hoping to spread is that if you’re experiencing feelings of anxiety or depression or whatever negative emotion you’re feeling, it’s important to give yourself grace. Understand that having those feelings are okay, what’s important is loving yourself enough to ask “what can I do to make myself feel better?”
I asked myself this yesterday, and it brought me to today’s recipe.
Cookies always make me feel better. The entire act of baking and seeing those cute little dough pieces fluff up into something so tasty brings so much joy to me. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I don’t restrict myself from any foods (unless I have allergies to them). If they’re made with real ingredients, they’re good in my book. Because I have allergies to certain grains, I’ve relied on grain-free cookie recipes. I have tried many grain-free versions, but these are above all my favorite.
This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite bloggers turned New York Time’s best seller, Danielle Walker. Her recipe books have taught me so much about grain-free cooking. Not only is she a fantastic recipe developer, she is such a kind person, anytime I’ve commented on her Instagram posts or stories, she’s always sweetly responded. I urge you to visit her blog.
One more thing before you get to baking… if you or anyone you know struggles with mental health please don’t be afraid to seek help or reach out to someone who can help by listening. Be kind to yourself, you’re not alone, this too will pass.
- 1/4 cup unsalted grass fed butter, softened I used Vital Farms
- 1 egg room temp
- 1/4 cup coconut crystals
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 11/2 cups blanched almond flour I used the Trader Joe's brand
- 2 Tablespoon coconut flour I also used Trader Joe's brand
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4- 1/2 cup chocolate chips I used the Enjoy Life dark chocolate morsels
Preheat your oven to 350° F
Place the butter and egg in a food processor and process for 15 seconds
Add the coconut crystals, honey, and vanilla extract to the mix and process again.
Add the flours, baking soda, and salt to the mix and process about 30 seconds.
Scrape down the sides and process again to fully combine. Alternatively you can place the mix in another bowl and hand mix.
Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
Using a large tablespoon (I use a cookie scoop), scoop the balls of dough and place them on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper.
Lightly press them down to flatten, making them about 1/2 thick.
Bake for 10 minutes, until the cookies are browned around the edges.
Cool on a wire rack before enjoying.