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my good energy drink + some photos from the new place

my good energy drink (with maca, raw cacao + maple syrup) // the first messmy good energy drink (with maca, raw cacao + maple syrup) // the first messmaca // the first messraw cacao powder // the first messmy good energy drink (with maca, raw cacao + maple syrup) // the first mess
The discussion of poutine came up at work the other night because, yep, there was poutine for staff meal (and a giant salad so just relax a bit there). My coworker was telling me how she had recounted a story to some classmates at the yoga studio that she frequents. There was a visit to a local place that specialized in the ubiquitous Canadian calorie bomb. And then at the end of her story, sort of predictably, her peeps at the studio were grossed out by her totally personal food choice. Then I got home that night and saw this tweet from my friend, kindly asking for a halt to the same form of judgement. Funny how the universe always finds a way to communicate the fierceness of your own thoughts.

I have to tell you, the raw food experiment didn’t go well for me and there was no way I was forcing myself to carry it out over a whole month on principle alone. It’s not like I was half-assing it either (totally gave it the full ass) (had to). My body and boots, firmly planted in the cool grey of November in southern Ontario, were not adapting. There were bouts of lightheadedness, shivering despite wearing two sweaters, so much bloat, breakouts, constant hunger despite constant eating, and, most importantly, things that would normally just roll off my back became completely emotional huge deals. A good example: normally I would relish any opportunity to smash up something that causes me grief, but in the midst of clearing out the gross old plaster in our kitchen, I had to leave the room and then later cry my eyes out to Mark about how we would never, ever, EVER live there happily. I can be easily defeated sometimes, but this was shaking me to the core. In that moment, I knew some truer part of me, the part that sees and knows, was being denied.

When I went to the internet with my concerns (pro tip: if you want to keep your sanity, don’t ever do that), I read so many things that went along these lines: “Your body is just purging all of the evil things from the total misery that was your pre-raw life. It’s detoxifying, It’s AMAAAZING. Purification process!!! Etc.” I would never suggest that these well-meaning people are wrong, but as soon as a pile of rubble and some extra hours spent with a pry bar forced me into a crumpled shell of my former self, any concerns for vibrance and purity washed away real quick.

The admission of it here was weighing on me heavily though–the enthusiasm I shared early on, the acknowledgement that I’m extremely fortunate to have access to enough food if I’m perpetually hungry, the ridiculousness of going into it in the early stages of Canadian winter. When you’re privileged enough to have it regularly, your food choices become a belief system on some level and this one seemed too objectionable once I had some distance from it. In sum: I was worried what people would think, which is hilarious because when my coworker friend told me about that judgement-heavy moment at her yoga studio, my knee-jerk reaction was “OH FUCK THAT.”

So there’s all of that and yep. I’m feeling a lot better–the much needed warmth has returned to my bones, there’s satiation with less it seems and there’s that old tenacity creeping up in the challenging moments again. Since we could all use some of that good energy that buzzes in a low and warm kind of way, whatever our food/life choices, I thought I would share this everyday recipe with you. It’s a nice hot drink for morning calm, or any time you need it really. The base of it is any nut/seed/grain-based milk, maca powder, something to sweeten it up and a touch of raw cacao and cinnamon for my personal taste. Maca comes from a Peruvian root vegetable and it has a bit of a butterscotch-y/malt/sweet potato thing going on flavour-wise. I find it really does deliver in terms of an energy boost, but it’s less of a jolt than caffeine.

Sometimes after a cup of it, I’ll feel a little impulse to stretch out to the very tips of my toes and fingers and just breathe a little life into every inch of myself. It’s restoring/life-giving without being over the top, which I love. Anyway, I hope you’ll give it a go. I’ve seen maca in grocery + health food stores, bulk shops, and on Arrested Development, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find if you’re curious. Lastly, since I’ve been talking about house stuff with such frequency, I thought I’d include a couple little snaps I took the other day in this post (below). They definitely have a “in progress” kind of feel, which is true to life in all the ways you could imagine.

Sending all my good energy this week :)

home // the first messhome // the first messhome // the first messhome // the first messhome // the first messhome // the first messhome // the first messhome // the first mess
my good energy drink
serves: 1
notes: There’s so many options for add-ins with this. I chose a teaspoon of raw cacao powder and a star anise pod, but you could reach for fresh ginger juice, turmeric, cayenne, cardamom, vanilla etc etc.

10 ounces milk of your choice, unsweetened is preferable (I did a mix of coconut and almond)
2 tsp maca powder (link)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon + extra for dusting if you like
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp raw cacao powder (link)
1-2 star anise pods (so, so optional)

I start this drink by blending everything in an upright blender (except the star anise if you’re using it) to get all the powdery bits incorporated. Then I gently heat in a small saucepan over medium heat (with the star anise) until it’s really simmering. You could easily skip the blending step and just whisk the mixture lightly while it’s heating. Drink it warm with a dusting of cinnamon.

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SouthernSpoonBelle20/11/2013 - 8:24 am

Tried going on a raw stint a couple years back , and my mood/stomach/everything was so off kilter that I had to spend half an afternoon curled up on the floor under my desk at work. It’s not for everyone : )
Your posts/recipes always seem to come from a place of creativity and honesty (without a shred of judgment)– thanks for that! And for this lovely warm drink, will file away for Aussie winter.
Good luck in the Canadian cold season and house reno. The place looks lovely, those leaded glass windows are ace.

Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.)20/11/2013 - 8:40 am

There’s a whole list of reasons I love this post, and I could copy+paste all the lines down here…but for simplicity’s sake, I’ll just say: you go, girl. Always.

Best vibes being sent your way as the house adventure continues. Hell yeah for listening to yer body.

Mary20/11/2013 - 9:24 am

Woo! I for one, am glad you are back to cooking! Sometimes you gotta leave just enough to want to come back. And it’s comforting to hear that others have the same frustrations with judgey friends and food. At my work I like to eat in my office…even if you eat healthy or people have good things to say about your food it just gets a little old everyday to hear the peanut gallery’s comments about your lunch! One of those things that will probably never change – food is such a ritual for many and an insecurity for others.

But good for you for trying something different and trying to change your perspective! And at the same time glad you’re back :)

Merri Live Local Greens20/11/2013 - 9:28 am

Well done for trying! I couldn’t even begin to imagine how hard it must be – definitely not for me! We need warming foods in the cold UK winters! This drink sounds perfect; I try not to drink caffeine, but a perk me up in the morning is always needed. Will give it a go. Oh, and the house looks fab! Good luck with it.

Emma Galloway20/11/2013 - 9:30 am

Love your honesty Laura! I love raw foods and at least half of my diet (if not more) consists of this, but extremes have never worked for me either. Good on you for doing what’s right for you and giving the middle finger to anyone who cares to judge xx

Ashlae20/11/2013 - 10:02 am

I had a similar experience with raw food about two years ago. My doctor was certain it would stabilize my hormones and regulate my bowels and give me glowing skin and blah blah blah. But four days in I was so bloated I couldn’t fit into any of my pants and I had developed hives all over my chest and stomach. Super sexy. I went back to the witch doctor who fed me some bullshit about it just being my body adjusting/getting rid of all the bad junk it’s harbored over the years. And then one night I had a bowl of warm soup, decided the next day to stop relying on raw foods, and within two days the hives were gone and I could fit into my pants again. HALLELUJAH. Bodies are weird, yo. But also kind of amazing.

You know what else is amazing? THAT house (the bathroom is making me extra swoony). Cannot wait to see what you two do with the place.

Chelsea//TheNakedFig20/11/2013 - 10:02 am

This looks delicious! I make a similar drink with turmeric instead of cacao, but I love the idea of star anise and cacao together. Best wishes on your new home!

lysette20/11/2013 - 10:03 am

Demolition is brute and filthy. I work in construction(and live in British Columbia; -12 this morning whoot!) if I’m doing demo or pretty much anything to do with concrete I fuel with warming foods. I love raw and eat it most of the year (uncompromising vegan all year) but I also need to repair and refuel my muscles (and spirit) for the work day ahead. And I drink a ton of warm liquids!

Valentina20/11/2013 - 10:07 am

your new place looks awesome! I love when nothing is up and the world is full of endless possibilities !!

Valentina
http://valentinaduracinsky.blogspot.com/

Winnie20/11/2013 - 10:15 am

Love this post! I must admit I was a little worried about your raw experiment. I think raw is fine for, like, a week if you are spending lots of time on a beach in Hawaii. Beyond that I think it can be harmful and the whole “you are just detoxifying” thing is crap. ps the house is looking great!

Daria20/11/2013 - 10:17 am

Sounds awesome! I’m all about cacao. It’s as simple as “put cacao in it’ and it will turn anything into a delight. I recently finally developed a recipe which works for me (and my man, which was a little unexpected) for hot cacao: 1.5 cups of water, 1/2 cups of almond&coconut or just almond milk, 2tbsp (yes!!!) raw cacao powder, 2 tsp maca powder, 1-2 tsp raw honey, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves. Heat everything up in a sauce pan stirring frequently. Oh my, I melt while having it. Great stuff to fix energy levels, mood swings etc.

Kathryne20/11/2013 - 10:24 am

Yessss house photos! It’s a beautiful work in progress. Brava for listening to yourself and adjusting accordingly. No shame in that, ever. I get super annoyed when I’m on a healthy food blog and read a shameful confession about eating a few (organic/local, of course) French fries or some legit ice cream. I think that perpetuating some idea or image of a “perfect” diet does more harm than good. That’s why I don’t keep my love for bacon a secret. Anyway, if I come visit you in Canada someday, will you make me one of these energy drinks before we split a big ol’ plate of poutine?

Lindsey | The Next Course20/11/2013 - 10:30 am

I can’t wait to try this tomorrow morning! I love the idea of blending ahead of time (and can even see myself blending this up the night before and reheating the next morning). Thanks for your honesty about the raw thing not working for you–bodies are pretty incredible and mysterious, don’t you think?!

Sarah20/11/2013 - 10:34 am

I am new to your blog, so this was my first post of yours that I have read. I love it. Food is so, so personal. I cannot get over how everything is scrutinized, good or bad. I never have tried a raw detox or whatever. It would be hard here in Wyoming too. By the way, I love your photos, and your house looks awesome.

Amanda20/11/2013 - 10:43 am

Optimal health is about listening to what our bodies want and need. Sometimes that’s a salad and a smoothie, other times that’s a glass of wine and a slice of pizza. Big up on raising your white flag!

T20/11/2013 - 10:46 am

Honestly, I think it is fully impossible to go raw during a Canadian Winter. Access to all of those lovely fruits and veggies are no longer local. But that is just my experience as well, I need warm food in the winter and there is NOTHING wrong with that.

For the record, I feel like serious ass when I eat just vegetarian or vegan.

There is no right answer when it comes to what you eat, but instead what gives you the energy you need to take on the day.

Good luck with the Renos!

Maca will make it happen!

LC20/11/2013 - 10:51 am

You’re such an amazing photographer!

Stephanie Tucci20/11/2013 - 10:58 am

Lovely recipes, I love making simple warming hot chocolates like this!

michelle20/11/2013 - 11:20 am

YES YES YES YES!

Courtney20/11/2013 - 12:21 pm

I’ve always wanted to buy an older house and renovate it, though I’m not sure why because I don’t have a lick of any type of skills associated with it. I’m loving your in progress photos. As for the raw foods thing, you know your body better than anyone else so to hell with what anyone else says. I can’t imagine doing a raw foods diet in our mild Texas winter so kudos to you for sticking it out as long as you did. As for this lovely maca beverage, it looks awesome though I doubt I’ll be able to drink it without picturing scenes from Arrested Development :)

Shanna Mallon20/11/2013 - 12:22 pm

Hi. Boy, do I understand. Almost two years ago, Tim and I did a raw week, and I felt so good at the end of it, i wanted to keep going. Let’s just say the second week was NOT like the first one, and things got worse from there. I read the same articles about cleansing and Herx reactions and they didn’t make me feel better, haha. I do think I was cleansing, but I also think you can cleanse too fast and make yourself miserable. Hip hip for trying new things and learning from them! Hip hip for being an honest enough person to talk about it here. I loved reading about it.

oh and PS I have emotional outbursts all the time.

Grace20/11/2013 - 12:54 pm

Whew! I was thinking about you the other morning as I was indulging in a warm piece of spiced pumpkin cake (for breakfast!). I started feeling guilty for not having a healthier start to my day – knowing you were probably raw vegging out. Glad we can all get back to real life now. ;) Love the house pictures – please keep sharing them!

Cassandra20/11/2013 - 1:20 pm

Glad you’re feeling better! You do YOU! :)

Kathryn20/11/2013 - 2:29 pm

Totally, totally with you. I’m so bored of it all and of the this weird world view where what you choose to eat for one meal of the day – one of the thousands and thousands of meals you’ll eat in your life – becomes some sort of judgement on your worth as a person. Whatever. Welcome back to the land of warm food!

PS totally digging the pics of your new pad; it has a real English vibe to it which, obviously, appeals to me a lot.

Michelle20/11/2013 - 3:37 pm

This sounded awful until I got to the energy drink recipe. Kuddos and condolences for attempting such a diet!

Silvia20/11/2013 - 3:40 pm

Hi Laura, I have been following your blog for a while – love the recipes and the photography is beautiful.
I tried going fully raw one summer and found it pretty hardcore, I can’t imagine what it’s like doing it in cold weather.. I’m glad you listened to your body!

Anyway, I wanted to say I relate to what you said and thank you for sharing.
Cheers!
Sil

Harriet McAtee20/11/2013 - 4:25 pm

Dude – thank you for your unbounded honesty! Judgement is the nastiest thing, and I’m so behind us fighting the best fight against it. We each know our own bodies best. And your new place looks wonderful! Power through – I can see the beauty there already!

Grace20/11/2013 - 4:57 pm

Love this! I have a somewhat similar perk me up maca drink with cacao and maple sugar. I’m going to try this tomorrow morning. Glad to hear you’re doing what feels right for your body. Raw foods can be especially tough when transitioning to winter. If you get flac for doing right by your body, good riddance!

Emily20/11/2013 - 6:41 pm

I love this. Good for you for trying out the raw diet, and for listening to your body and stopping. Excited to try this drink!

Ashley20/11/2013 - 6:43 pm

I can’t even describe how much I love your honesty in this post. And, again, I can completely relate about the house things and I was never on a raw diet. ;) Your house looks adorably and so much character. It will get there!! I promise!! That light fixture is perfection. I want it! So great that you did what was best for your body and mental state and didn’t just stick it out and feel miserable. You are my high vibin’ hero!! <3 <3

Lindsey20/11/2013 - 7:54 pm

I tried the raw thing a couple years ago. I find that balancing my diet is what keeps me sane (or insane), so it’s totally key for me. Not too much of one thing, but always things that are soothing and yeah, healthy too. Anywho, your home in progress looks awesome, can’t wait to see the end result :)

JT20/11/2013 - 9:06 pm

Heya! Love your blog/photography. Am curious if there were any raw food recipe books you especially dig? Nice to have those in your back pocket even if you aren’t living a totally raw life style. I know I ain’t.

Laura Wright20/11/2013 - 9:10 pm

Hi JT, I love Raw Food, Real World + Living Raw Food, both by Sarma Melngailis. Ani Phyo‘s books are all great too!
-L

Shannon Murphy20/11/2013 - 9:12 pm

Hi–I just recently started reading your blog. From a Chinese medicine perspective, raw food is really bad for you. It’s because your body basically has to use all its chi (or something) to cook the food in your stomach before you can digest it. In the winter, especially, this can be really bad because cold is one of the five bad influences that can make you sick. You want to be warm inside, and eat warm food, in order to preserve your chi and stay well.

Incidentally, winter and cold are a time for kidney meridian stress, and the emotional component of a stressed kidney meridian sounds like exactly what you describe–total anguish over little things. You might want to go get some needles in ya! Or eat things that nourish kidney such as black beans, kidney beans, oatmeal, black rice, miso broth, black sesame seeds.

PS I am not an DOM–I just learned this the hard way

Cristina21/11/2013 - 9:30 am

I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to food rules and food boundaries–what a complex mess that is. Food can be medicine, or it can make us feel so crummy. It’s a windy journey, figuring out the philosophies worth listening to, versus those that are simply snakeoil, and then ultimately what works for each individual. But I think you have it right–listen to your body, and then let the chips fall where they may.

Also, your house is impossibly darling. I’m sure it’s been so much work, but I am a small bit obsessed with that handsome fireplace, the details carved into windows, the robin’s egg blue porch, the built in shelves, and most especially, that back deck where I can imagine a big table, a grill, friends, and a tangle of fairy lights. It’s going to be a great house.

I like the new place! And thank you for this recipe, I need an energy drink.

charlotte21/11/2013 - 5:39 pm

thank you so much for your wonderful honesty.

Riley Tea22/11/2013 - 12:00 am

When some people come to me and say “oh, so you’re one of those health freaks that doesn’t cook anything or only eats tofu and nuts.” I’m like “first of all, you’re mixing three different diets in one. Second, why “health freak”? Vegan or vegetarian doesn’t mean healthy. Neither does paleo or raw. Or any of those diets. They can be interesting to try, but ultimately, I believe in eating what feels right for you. I try to implement as much real/whole foods as possible and I feel good about what I eat. That’s what’s important. I don’t care about anything others have to say. (I once had a hindu scold me for eating organic free-range roast chicken.) I’m glad you were able to listen to yourself and stop from doing something that just isn’t for you. That doesn’t make it wrong, but you know your body (and I hear ya, for the Canadian winters. Damn, no hot cocoa?!)

Thanks for this.

Ines23/11/2013 - 3:49 pm

I made your drink last night and I really liked it! As I usually have cocoa in some variation or other every night – I get very sad if I don’t get the chance to have one ;-) – , this is a lovely new variation. Your ideas for the spices are very good!
Thanks for writing explicitly to not blend the star anise ;-) I did that once and the result was horrible.
That time I wanted to make a cocoa that tastes like the “winter chocolate” you can buy here in Germany and which contains small pieces of spekulatius.
I never succeeded in making something like this, though. So if you have an idea I’d love to read about it =)

sarah23/11/2013 - 10:58 pm

Laura, thanks for such good words here. You always give me so much food for thought. After reading this post and all the comments, I spent some time today reading about the yin and yang of food (and life) and figured some good things out for myself.

I always feel so encouraged here, and welcome. You’ve made such a great space.

And, your house. Awesome. I love the wallpaper. Sending love and peace to you. xo

[…] and rose petals. Self-love indeed! You will find the recipe for this reviving hot drink on The First Mess. I substituted with local honey and added some […]

Weekend Reading, 11.23.1324/11/2013 - 10:11 am

[…] gorgeously photographed good energy drink sounds like a perfect pick-me-up! (When I’m not clutching my coffee, that is […]

Hannah24/11/2013 - 5:42 pm

Keep your chin up; the truth your body tells you will always be better than any theory, yours or someone else’s. (And anyway, a warm drink on a cold day nurtures us, or most of us.) Also: love the house. Reminds me some of the craftsman I grew up in. Great light, great details, great potential. You will be happy there, my guess is you already are – in progress or no. Hugs.

Cel24/11/2013 - 7:15 pm

No judgement here! But I’m raw and living in Canada and loooove the results. The bloating in the increase in fiber and water and raw food clean out the junk baked on inside. I now have glowing skin! Read 801010 by dr Doug graham. Eye-opening. I would just love to see people give it a fair chance and then pass judgement

Sini │my blue&white kitchen26/11/2013 - 11:31 am

This was such a great and honest post with adorable photography! I think the take-home message from this post is “listen to your body”. Always.

tiffany26/11/2013 - 2:31 pm

have so had the dexter moments, lath (lath, and more lath) moments, and hidden wallpaper discoveries, and piles outside ready to go somewhere… heres to “in progress”!!

Spinning Plates giveaway28/11/2013 - 2:32 am

[…] Good Energy Drink from The First Mess. I love maca! […]

Rachel29/11/2013 - 4:35 pm

Beautiful! How do you get that grainy film-like effect in your photos?

Emilie21/01/2014 - 7:09 pm

Hi! I just wanted to say I think your blog is beautiful and very inspiring! I want to try making everything on here. All. Of. It.

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