XocolexiA – healthy raw chocolate

Awww…I totally missed to publish this post on Valentines day last week. Shame on me-  I prepared it and forgot nevertheless. Oh well, after all we can have Valentines day any day we want, can’t we? Who says you cannot buy your loved ones flowers on a random rainy Thursday? Who says you cannot eat heart shaped chocolates every other day of the year? Who makes the rules? YES, exactly, YOU DO!

xocolexia_vday

And because YOU are special enough to treat yourself to amazing things anytime you want to, I have a healthified raw chocolate recipe for you today. Just to keep the balance and to make sure you are spoiling yourself with the best.

My kitchen has really turned into a magic place in the last couple of months. In 2013 I did not only start making more smoothies, buy a vitamix, test a dehydrator and went to the Ann Wigmore Institute for a Raw Living Foods Certificate, but also moved into a new apartment with a MUCH bigger kitchen (which was totally needed by then!). Fast forward a few months- I set up my own little chocolate brand called XocolexiA and have been spoiling my community with delicious raw chocolate.

SO what’s so special about Raw Chocolate? While regular store bought chocolate usually contains A LOT of sugar and processed cacao, the raw “stuff” is filled with tons of nutrients due to the use of unprocessed cacao (air dried cacao beans) and the addition of natural sweeteners such as coconut sugar (low in GI). More on that another time.

Cacao in its natural raw form has lots of health benefits and has been called Superfood of the century by numerous health experts. Did not know that? Time to forget about guilt and eat up all the amazing benefits:

  • The theobromine naturally found in raw cacao is a mild, non-addictive stimulant that some believe can treat depression
  • The essential fatty acids found in chocolate may help the body to raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol
  • The high antioxidant activity helps protect the heart, prevent cellular damage, and keeps us looking – and feeling – younger!
  • Cacao is also a great source of magnesium, which helps with calcium absorption, metabolism, and protein synthesis. It may also be useful in the prevention of or treatment for congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, and premenstrual syndrome.
  • Cacao also contains iron, copper, calcium, potassium, and zinc.
  • Raw chocolate makes you feel vibrant, energetic and suuuuuper happy.

More facts and infos can be found HERE.

Now, maybe more facts and infos next time. Once I start I usually can’t stop talking about cacao. I do chocolate tastings at a wonderful amazing chocolate shop in Vienna called SCHOKOV on a regular base and totally love getting people excited to try what the bean has to offer.

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To complete this delicious post I am going to share a beautiful raw “almond mylk chocolate truffle” with you. It is one of my favourites so be sure to give it some love! <3 Everyone can do it and you save a lot of money when making the goodies by yourself. ENJOY and let me know how they turned out!

 

 

Raw almond mylk chocolate (makes about 40 truffles)

raw almond mylk truffles

raw almond mylk truffles

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cacao powder (ideally raw and organic)
  • 3/4 cup liquid sweetener (honey or coconut nectar)
  • 1/2 cup almond mylk (homemade if possible- for a tutorial on making it yourself read THIS post)
  • 5 drops of almond extract (I use an amazing one from rawliving.eu)
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 cup cacao butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter

Garnish

  • 1/4 cup sifted cacao powder
  • 3 Tbsp ground coconut sugar (in a spice blender or grind through sieve)

Blend all the ingredients except for the cacao butter, coconut oil, and coconut butter in a high-powered blender until smooth. Slowly add cacao butter, coconut oil and coconut butter. Continue to blend until you get a smooth paste. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for 30-90 minutes (depending on your fridge you might need to cool it even longer) until mixture becomes firm enough to scoop and mold. Using a small measuring Tablespoon, form mixture into small balls. Mix sifted cacao powder with ground coconut sugar and roll the chocolate balls in the mixture to coat. Refrigerate for another 2 hours to set.

Have you ever tried to make your own chocolate? What is your favourite kind? Would you like to see more chocolate recipes on the blog?

Vinyasa- Moving with breath

After deciding to blog again it took me yet another 10days (or more) to write this next post. Finding back into the routine is harder than I though it would be, however, it’s a great challenge for me this year. I am trying to stick with my decisions, not changing my mind a million times after having decided on something. Sound similar to anyone?

So today I want to talk about Vinyasa Flow Yoga. Ever since I have been teaching students come to me and ask me about characteristics of all the different yoga styles and what all those different descriptions mean. After all Yoga is Yoga, right? In the past few years lots and lots of Yoga styles have been born and they all differ each other in a few points. One style might not focus as much on breath as the other while the focus might be more on the actual alignment (i.e. Iyengar Yoga) of postures (asanas). There are styles that are primarily taught standing (Vinyasa Flow, Dynamic Yoga) while others mostly take place on the floor (Yin, Restorative). In some styles there might be a lot of chanting and invocation (Jivamukti) while in others that would be a total no-go (bikram yoga, hot yoga).  And so it is up to  us to find OUR own style that suits us most. I know, this is more difficult than it sounds, it definitely takes some time to try out all different varieties there are out there. But that is also the beauty of it: The more you try the more you fill find out what is NOT for you, what does not give you balance and energy. And the more you narrow it down, the more you fill find to the styles of yoga that YOU like, where you can truly let go and also integrate yoga OFF the mat.

For me, Vinyasa Flow is a vital part of my yoga practice. I love to move with my breath and come up with fun and challenging sequences. My friend Sofia from @Urbanyogavienna and I have been practicing some flows together recently and to give you an idea what a sequence might look like, check out this video (sidenote: it is NOT a real time video! people keep asking me and i promise you I do not do yoga in that type of speed;)

So what are the key characteristics of Vinyasa Flow Yoga?

Vinyasa means “breath-synchronized movement,” and Vinyasa yoga is a series of poses that will move you through the power of inhaling and exhaling. Vinyasa movements are smoothly flowing and almost dance-like, which explains why it is sometimes referred to as Vinyasa Flow or just Flow. Part of every Vinyasa Yoga class are Sun Salutations. Those can be varied and adapted to the strength and stamina of the group.

origins

Vinyasa Flow began as Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga by a Yogi named Sri Tirumala Krishnamacharya. He was given a place to teach yoga and eventually taught a young boy named Parrabhi Jois his learnings on the power of breathing. Jois then established an institute for practicing the specific form of Vinyasa yoga.

benefits

Like all styles of yoga, Vinyasa has both mental and physical benefits. Physically, sweat expels toxins and re-energizes your body. Mentally, the synchronized breathing relaxes your mind and helps to release any blockage of energy flow throughout your body.

good for beginners?

Absolutely! A Vinyasa class is both a great place to start and to continue challenging yourself. If you don’t love Vinyasa after your first class, try other teachers as one class can vary significantly from the next. If you like to focus on the power of breathing and flowing movement through poses, you will enjoy the Vinyasa style.*

*Summary edited via Lululemon

vinyasa flow

Do you practice Vinyasa Flow or Ashtanga Vinyasa? What styles of Yoga have you tried before? Which ones do you like and which ones are just not for you? 

PS: Have you checked out Yogalexia on Facebook? If not, visit me for more photos and daily news! I am also active on Instagram as yogalexia_ , connect with me!

PURA VIDA

So I decided to pick up blogging again. Yes you heard right. You will be seeing new posts here EVERY WEEK and not sporadically spread out over the years as it happened in the past. I am currently “re- designing” my life and have lots of things to share with you , so I am very excited to get blogging again. On a side note, I also need to practice writing in English as I find myself making way to many mistakes (my mother tongue is GERMAN!).

In this post I want to feature my upcoming Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica from March, 29th- 5th of April, 2014. I am more than excited to travel there with a bunch of crazy Yoginis and explore the pure and untouched nature of this country. We are going to be staying at a very unique place called “LUNA LODGE” , built by Lana from the US, a lady who has made her dream come true with this project.

luna lodge

Luna Lodge is located on an isolated peninsula in the southern part of Costa Rica. This area is one of the most bio-diverse spots on the entire planet, and has been described as „the most biologically intense place on Earth.“ The main feature of the Osa Peninsula is the 42,000-hectare Corcovado National Park, home to almost 400 species of birds, 140 species of mammals, 116 species of amphibians and reptiles, over 500 species of trees, and more than 6,000 species of insects. 

Now I have good news for you all: We still have a few spots available!! So if you haven’t planned your holidays yet and want to switch your annual beach trips up a little, this is for you! On a side not here: Yoga neewbies, computer freaks and unhealthy people welcome! *Go to the edge!*This is your chance!*

Here is what is included:

  • 7 nights ALL INCLUSIVE accommodation at luxurious rain forest Resort LUNA LODGE
  • 1 night accommodation after arrival in San Jose (28/3)
  • Airport transfer and taxis during your stay
  • 2 energizing Yoga classes a day
  • Daily meditation
  • Trip to the famous Corcovado National Park
  • Breathtaking CHARTER flight from San Jose to Luna Lodge (29/3)

For the full brochure, click here.

If you any more questions, check out my website: www.yogalexia.com or contact me! Would love to hear from you and have you aboard!! For some recent Yoga trips, just visit the Yoga Retreats page on the top menu or my facebook page for more pics!

I wish you all a happy New Year, may all your wishes come true!

“To dream anything that you want to dream. That’s the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do. That is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits. That is the courage to succeed.” – Bernard Edmonds