On Balance

Saturday, March 23, 2013

   The concept of balance is being tossed around a lot these days. It is a popular topic of discussion among many of the blogs I routinely follow, and considered an important factor for healthy living by the preventative medicine physicians I respect and emulate.

   The message is generally dripping with well intentioned instructions to exercise regularly, avoid television, watch what we eat and sleep eight hours (no more and no less) every single night. Basically, we are told that balance is struck when we are able to overcome our daily obligations in favor of activities that bring us closer to the physical and mental ideal.

   But what does it really mean for most of us? I'm sure I'm not alone in a job that takes up the majority of my day and ties me to a desk most of the time. Or that I have obligations at home such as a needy dog (her eyes practically scream 'I can't walk myself!!' as I walk in the door), laundry and grocery shopping that prevent me from routinely doing holistic, soul enriching activities. As much as I would really love to be that bendy, hip girl with incense on her yoga shrine and home made lavender infused pillows at her bedside, most of the time I'm just not that person. And you know what? I'm perfectly ok with that.

   It just isn't the stereotypical well rounded modern day woman who I really want to be. I like having a small amount of chaos in my house. I like that sometimes I'm too tired to exercise when I get home and I don't beat myself up for snuggling on the couch with my dog instead. I like that when the weekend rolls around I don't feel the least bit badly for sleeping a full twelve, glorious hours or that maybe instead of reading that latest hip biography everyone's talking about, I would rather watch the rain fall on my backyard. And I know I don't need to tell you how how much trashy reality TV can feel like meditation!

   Finally, it feels oh so good when I forget about how much fiber and protein my breakfast contains and reach for something that has, yes, chocolate!

   Maybe the bottom line is my balance includes chaos and occasional idleness. It includes deciding not to exercise and sometimes choosing trashy TV over activities that enhance my self knowledge. It is part healthy and part indulgence.

   Come to think of it, maybe that's just balance, period.

   As for the cookies, they speak for themselves. They are no bake and therefore delightfully quick to put together. They are cute and a little nubbly. They have that slight chew that I love in a peanut butter cookie but also a hint of salt and chocolatey darkness. I love that they are sweet and gooey but also vegan. They are part good for you and part excess- just what the doctor ordered on a morning you may be craving a little chaos and indulgence... we can self reflect later!

Chewy Raw Peanut Butter Cookies
    Credit to Ashlae of  Oh Ladycakes for original recipe

2 cups rolled oats (the old fashioned kind, no quick cooking)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (half this amount if your peanut butter is salted- or if you are using non kosher, regular salt is very harsh)
1/2 cup natural chunky peanut butter
10 medjool dates, pits discarded
6 tablespoons almond milk (or non dairy milk of your choice)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

   In a food processor fitted with the S blade, process the oats and salt until you achieve a coarse meal. Add the peanut butter and dates and process until they are fully incorporated.  Add the almond milk and chocolate chips. Pulse until the dough starts to come together. Transfer to a bowl and knead the dough with your hands until it forms a ball and the chocolate is evenly distributed. Roll 1 tablespoon sized pieces of dough into balls and place on a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Use a fork to flatten them into disks, leaving behind a fork impression on top. Cookies will keep in a sealed container for four days at room temperature, or two weeks in the fridge.
Yields about 2 dozen.

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