Woah those Nanaimo bars look good! But more on that later. Our family went to Victoria this weekend to run! Here is my story:

It's way to early. 6:10 am to be exact.  I'm running in the Goodlife Fitness Marathon. I am running an 8 km race at 7:15am and my husband Tod is running the full marathon at 9:45am. Last night Kyri woke me up once to eat and I woke up multiple times thinking I had slept in and missed the start! I'm drinking my prework-out shake as we speak. It's a smoothie with a banana,  strawberries, blueberries, chlorella, spirulina, maca, a green blend containing wheat grass, Chia seeds for more energy and filtered water. It's hitting the spot right now. I'm getting a bit nervous. Super excited though. The sun isn't even up yet. I really didn't train for this run other then doing Zumba twice a week, which is mostly cardio. Wish me luck! I gotta go!

7 in the morning. Before my race.

Got my metal and now I'm seeing Tod off

Okay I'm back! The run was awesome! However, I was on time for the 8K race but the only problem was that I was in the line up for the half marathon runners, who started at 7:30. We were wondering why the race hadn't started when 7:15 rolled around. Then Tod and I noticed everyone had on a red bin number and mine was green! Oh no! So we raced around asking everyone where I had to be, one person led us in the right direction,  I saw my start, got a quick kiss from Tod for good luck and away I went. Another fellow ran up along beside me and said he started late too! We ran side by side until 2 km then he stopped and I continued on. I ran into my good friend Marlene who was walking with her mom and sister. I gave a quick Hi! Bye! and ran off. It was sure hard running through all those walkers. They were a condensed group! I was weaving in and out, and I know it slowed down my time significantly but I'm not too hard core on keeping track of my time. It's all for fun!

Running along the water was beautiful! It wasn't windy and there were clear blue skies. The sun had been up for an hour now. I really appreciated all the people who took time out of their busy lives to stand on the side lines and cheer for us runners. It really makes a difference having support. I finished the race without stopping. I kept a steady pace the whole run and caught my "wind" a couple  of times. I felt super great at 6 km and then got tired from then on but overall it was a fantastic run. I ran the 8 km race in 46 minutes.

We walked downtown around noon to watch Tod finish his race. He completed his full marathon at 3 hours and 20 minutes, a whole 16 minutes better then last year! Way to go babe! He's goal is to beat 3 hours and 10 minutes, that will qualify him for the Boston Marathon.

We had a nice chill drive home, stopped in Nanaimo and ate at the raw foods place and went to Chapters to look at cookbooks and Seth got a new journal. He is inspired by Diary of a Whimpy kid to start his own story. He called it Diary of a Dugas. We got home around dinner and had popcorn and steamed veggies. We were super lazy! Then when the kids went to bed we taste tested my new raw recipe for Nanaimo bars. They tasted just like the "unhealthy" version.

The old version of Nanaimo bars included ingredients like:

refined sugar, butter, custard powder, icing sugar, and graham crackers, which have white flour, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oil such as corn, cottonseed, palm or soybean, table salt, artificial flavour,cornstarch, soy and synthetically added minerals and vitamins. 

All of those ingredients are harmful to your body in some form or another.

Since we all love Nanaimo bars, and the city of Nanaimo, I thought I'd make a healthier version which includes ingredients like:

pure maple syrup, coconut oil, dates, celtic sea salt, raw soaked cashews, raw walnuts, pure vanilla extract, cacao butter, unspasteurized honey, cashew butter, cacao and carob powder, and shredded coconut

which all include living enzymes, to help aid in digestion and they all have high levels of vitamins and minerals. Two awesome ingredients I want to talk about are raw cacao and nuts!

Raw nuts are a healthy kind of fat called Omega-3 fatty acids, and even though they are high in this fat they are a great food for the support of weight loss and for the prevention of obesity. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to help brain function and improve memory. Walnuts are rich in protein and help reduce the risk of heart disease and are high in antioxidants, which help fight off free radicals in the body. They are very low in cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of mineral copper and manganese. Walnuts act as a natural anti-inflammatory, containing the phytonutrients tannins, phenolic acids, and flavonoids. Cooking, toasting, and frying nuts reduces nutrients, like as enzymes, vitamins and antioxidants.

Baking with cacao, raw chocolate powder, is very beneficial to our health. (Don't get this confused with processed roasted cocoa powder.) Health benefits range from improving heart function to alleviating stress. The theobromine from in cacao is a mild stimulant that isn't addicting but delicious. Cacao causes the brain to produce more neurtrasmitters, called anandamide, While transmitters are being fired a sensation of euphoria is released. Like nuts, cacao is high in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, which help lower cholesterol. Cacao also contains a good source of sulfer, magnesium, dietary fiber, iron, and protein. 

I love making raw chocolate. I made a fudge like chocolate by adding cacao butter and cashew butter to the top chocolate layer. And boy was it ever amazing. I hope you get the chance to make this dessert for your next family gathering. These bars are free of gluten, soy, dairy, refined sugar and hydrogenated oils. They were created with love and wonderful thoughts, in hopes that we all have an amazing Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend.

Raw Nanaimo Bars
Nanaimo bars were named after a three layer bar that was created in Nanaimo, BC. The city is 1 and a half hours away from our town. My mom made Nanaimo bars and I have always loved them. Especially mint flavoured ones. Today I am sharing my version of the traditional bar, but raw and oh so good for you! These bars have the perfect amount of sweet and the top two layers melt in your mouth like fudge. Enjoy.

Makes 20 bars

Prepare ahead - Soak 1 cup raw cashews, covered in filtered water, for 4 hours
-Remove pits and soak dates, covered in filtered water, for 20 minutes

·         1 3/4 cups shredded coconut
·         3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
·         1 1/2 cups raw walnuts
·         3 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
·         1/4 cup dates, soaked
·         1 Tbsp. cacao powder
·         1 Tbsp. carob powder (or 2 more Tbsp. cacao powder)
·         1/4 tsp. celtic sea salt, ground

·         1 raw cashews, soaked
·         2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
·         1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
·         1 Tbsp. unpasteurized honey
·         1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
·         2 Tbsp. filtered water
·         pinch of celtic sea salt, ground or pink Himalayan sea salt

·         1/2 cup cacao butter, melted
·         1/2 cup cacao powder
·         1/4 cup carob powder
·         1/4 cup unpasteurized honey
·         1/2 cup cashew butter
·         1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
·         pinch of celtic sea salt, ground or pink Himalayan sea salt

1. Soak cashews for 4 hours. Rinse. Remove pits and soak dates for 20 minutes. Drain. Base - Add shredded coconut, cacao powder, carob powder and ground celtic sea salt to a large bowl and stir. Add walnuts to a food processor and blend until fine. Pour walnuts in the large bowl and stir in with other ingredients.

2. Remove pits from dates and soak. Melt coconut oil in a pan. Blend dates with the melted coconut oil and maple syrup in a high speed blender until smooth. Add mixture to the large bowl and stir until all the base ingredients are fully incorporated. Line a square 8 X 8 baking dish with parchment paper and cut the corners so the paper fits in nicely, and then pour in the base. Use the back of a spoon to level the base mixture, pressing down firmly. Cover and freeze until middle layer is finished.

3. Middle - Rinse soaked cashews and add to a high speed blender. Melt coconut oil and add it to the blender along with the maple syrup, vanilla extract, filtered water and ground celtic sea salt. Blend on high until smooth. Pour on top of your base layer. Cover and freeze for 2 hours before adding top layer.

4. Top - In 2 hours, melt cacao butter in a medium pan on the lowest heat. Add honey and cashew butter. Stir until melted. Add cacao powder, vanilla, carob powder and ground celtic sea salt and stir until combined. Pour on top of middle layer. If you don't want until the middle layer is frozen the chocolate top layer will sink into the white middle layer. Cover and freeze for 1 hour.

5. Once the Nanaimo bar is frozen, take out of the fridge and cut into small bars. You can eat frozen or let thaw for 15 minutes. They are delicious either way.

I am sooo looking forward to thanksgiving dinner tonight, AND dessert!


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