Flying solo

I’d recently been following a prescribed routine from my colleague and online workout guru Scott Tousignant, a very knowledgeable trainer/ kinesiologist who is generous with his time as well as the customization of his workouts around his clients existing situations and equipment. I highly recommend his online programs. I’ve been following the workouts pretty regularly for a couple of years. I sort of fell off the wagon during the first pandemic summer and was doing my own thing. I also fell into a bit of inactivity, my house seemed too small, and then when the summer came I was able to stretch out and get back to it.

I like to think of myself as a creative person and as such I do like to frig around with my own workout regimen and also workout on body parts that don’t seem to come along as quickly and others that I seem to be gifted with.

As a dancer years ago I dabbled in weight lifting (although weight training can be tough on dancers’ flexibility, line and coordination). Our dance schedule and my day job schedule were pretty demanding so I was usually in recovery and not hitting the weights. My friends can tell you that I would fall asleep mid conversation around eight in the evening if I wasn’t working at a restaurant or performing. Needless to say weight training wasn’t really on the menu.

I’ve also been an astute rule follower, so when I started to be more focused on training, I heeded the warnings of damaged shoulders, back issues and torn and overworked muscles. I noticed that many guys who worked out focused on their biceps, and there I was, kind of noodly armed and trying desperately to follow the rules––not overdo any particular body part. The sad and happy part of the story is a lot of these guys tried to impress their friends by lifting way too much in the shoulder department, and, where they damaged their shoulders, I was to remain pretty shoulder safe.

Even now, guys will talk to me about working out and it seems almost a hundred percent of the time they admit they torched their shoulder(s) at some point and had to stop working out. Anyway my point is that slow and steady for me has seemed to win the race. I am sixty three and, knock on wood, pretty glad that my consistency has paid off and I am mobile, and injury free. I do need more time for rest and recovery, but that doesn’t mean the dreaded softening up that you might imagine.

So, all that to say I am back to creating my own workouts and right now I am doing an upper body day, a lower body day, a rest day, then a push day, a pull day and a leg day. Five days, sometimes four if my legs are still a little sore. My legs seem to respond well to working out and I tend to have to focus more on the upper regions for symmetry.

The way I divided things up in this workout is to do multi-joint on the first two days (presses, squats of some sort, chin-ups/ rows). The other days I focus on single joint (flyes/ curls/ extensions and some single joint butt work). It makes it interesting and increases my volume across the week and I can do hi energy on at least one of the days and then there is no shame in backing off on the other day, perhaps higher reps, but still close to failure.

I like the extra volume over the week and I like feeling a little tired in the muscles. I get to bed early, get up early, do some yoga stretching, yoga push-ups, a downward dog or two when I wake up and then work out later in the day. In an earlier post I mentioned that I was working out first thing. Now I hit other priorities early and workout in the afternoon.

All this to say that from time to time, see if you can listen to what your body is telling you. Be creative. Take it easy on yourself as well. You’re likely moving and getting outside, so good for you. You don’t have to go from zero to sixty all the time. Gentle days are not to be sniffed at! Enjoy your movement. It’s all yours. Try to think a bit more outside of the status quo and you might find that you are looking more forward to your workout, whatever you may interpret that to be.

A Workout Break

Well since I’ve enhanced my home gym I have been working out pretty religiously four or five times a week. It became apparent recently that I needed a break from working out. I needed a break from exercising and a break from the routine.

My body was feeling a little sore which I usually see as a sign that I am working hard and improving, but there was something different about this soreness. The joints were hurting and my sleep was uncomfortable.

Now I love to exercise and I love to do it early in the morning when I don’t feel like I am bookending it into other activities. I love the sense of accomplishment early on in the day. I love not worrying about being interrupted. I love having my favorite music as my backdrop.

I’ve always found that my need for a break coincides with a spell of the blues or some slight depression. In the past I was able to make the connection, let up from exercise and more or less bounce back.

The important thing about taking time away from exercise may be to not feel guilty about it. Replace that time with guilt free rest, a longer meditation, reading more news or indulging in guilt free doing nothing much. Waste a bit of time if you must.

It’s also probably good to get a bit of activity in or just continue with your walks, your dog walks, catch up on weeding the garden and avoid too much of slouching on the sofa. You don’t want those aching muscles to start aching because you’ve been coiled up in some terrible posture binge-watching Drag Race for a week. You want to heal, not create more problems, after all that is why you are exercising!

This is something to keep in mind now, when our routines are a bit screwy. Be good to yourself and you will see the results. You won’t go to seed. You’ll actually bounce back even stronger. It is referred to as many things, a rest, periodization, a break.

Just make sure to listen to what your body is saying to you.

The Meaning of Life

Well that’s an attention getting title if there ever was one. But seriously, let’s not be serious, that’s a good place to start. As you can tell from cruising over my site and my entries, I try hard to avoid seriousness as there tends to be ample amounts of it served up for free.

Anyway my wee story that I would like to share had me thinking about the true meaning of things –– okay maybe not the absolute truth but humour me for a moment.

I’ve been going off to Saturday morning outdoor yoga this summer. My serious side says I should be putting together and marketing my own fitness/ HIIT thing in some park, screaming at sweating victims and collecting some much needed cash in a coffee tin. But, anyway, I guess I just went with the flow and that other stuff may happen at some point. Anyway I really like being a student or a participant. I love workshops and stuff where someone is teaching me or telling me what to do. I am in there. (Judging by my high school marks this might not be apparent and I wasn’t into desk sitting back then nor am I now — I am an on-your-feet kind of learner.)

Anyway, there we all are on that sultry August morning, humid, cicadas and tree frogs telling us that it is going to be another steamy day. I brought my “man’s best friend” along for fun, as some others in the group do. There is a bit of maintenance: shade, water, a toy, something to chew on, a treat or two. Even so my buddy likes to put on a bit of a show. He loves attention. He loves to show how loud he can bark, unprovoked. But each session has gotten a bit more manageable. He takes care of his needs and stares at the trees and the neighbouring field in case a bunny should appear.

When my guy gets happy, and there are certain times, he humps me. He is not trying to dominate me, or be the boss or anything else. In moments when we’ve had a blast, at the end of his agility class, after a swim at the beach, and now yoga. Who wouldn’t be happy at these times?

So, in my early years as a ballet dancer, there were serious things to worry about like flexibility, strength, how many pirouettes, how high could you jump. These things seemed to be life and death. I thought of this on my yoga mat the other day as I was trying to get a flat back forward maybe touch my forehead to my knee. I also thought about earlier yoga classes I’d taken a couple of decades ago and the subtle competitiveness and seriousness there, in our lululemon, toe rings and designer mats.

I was thinking of this because on Saturday, as I reached for my toes in a sitting position, leaning forward, there appeared a somewhat heavily chewed red dragon at my ear, accompanied by warm breath and chewing sounds. The dragon had come alive and was getting a good going over by the poodle. But his was not the only activity in our corner of the field. Soon the dragon slayer climbed on my back and yes, started to hump me. There, with other yogis concentrating on their breath, their posture (and what to pick up at the new local bakery following the class). I had to laugh. I was being mauled by a dragon toting poodle, happy beyond belief.

And for my part I saw that for me, this really was the meaning of life. There would be time for all the other stuff, but for that moment I just had to soak it all up. Craziness. There would be plenty of time to find my centre and touch my toes, but there is only so much time to laugh and this was one of those moments. I hope in some way finding your core or your abs can be as enjoyable. After all, laughter will give you great abs, just try it with your hand on your stomach. See?!

Get Down On It

Who’s that old guy crawling around on the floor? I know I’m supposed to list all the benefits of exercise when I am first consulting with clients. How many fucking times have I written, “do you want to be able to play with your grandchildren,” lower your blood pressure, etc., but frankly, even though my clients are mostly moving out of what might be called middle age, I am all about aesthetics. Feeling beautiful. Sure fitness gets to come along but I gotta tell you aesthetics is a not-so-bad by product of healthy eating and exercise.

I was a dancer and a model, can you think of two other things that would require more mirror time? And thank goodness both models and dancers are now starting to come in a variety of wonderful, beautiful shapes. It’s the beauty inside that will reflect the beauty outside, and vice versa.

Over the years I’ve done my best, well, what I can, to go inside, where the mirror is of a different type, however I have come to the conclusion that there is something to be said for the profane, tactile, tangible world, and even those of us in it, who don’t seem to be in it.

I can’t really blame anyone for my adolescent bodily hangups, I’d say they were mostly a product of my strange misinterpretation of the world. My pained misunderstanding and non-acceptance of being gay (I spent a couple of years not looking at my body below the neck), and some weird misinterpretations of my mild Presbyterian upbringing. I got over it but the echoes of that miserable time are still there. Anyway finally going off to seek my fortunes as a dancer was not a whole-heartedly supported idea as you can imagine, being the son of a lawyer and politician.

The inside part, the meditative part, is the part where we establish connections and a relationship with our body. Breathe in, breathe out. Connect. It’s a good one. Not the kind where we ignore what’s going on below our neck until the physical pain is unbearable. We have a whole body and it should be one of most important relationships. I read a great book ages ago about mindfulness in exercise “The Strength To Awaken“, which incorporates, breath, connection and a whole lot of other stuff, so time to reread. It did leave an impression on me.

Speaking of mind body connection, the real reason we take breaks between set and reps and have days off is for the nerves to adjust and adapt to the work, so there is a real honest to god mind body connection, not just sore tired muscles. We need those neural connections to adapt and grow. Neat eh?

I know you’ve likely seen a picture of me and the poodle if you’ve read this far. Well, true confessions, I often go into the “poodle yard” and plunk my ass on a chair and throw the frisbee (before or after a walk). Recently it dawned on me I could actually get down on hands and knees and crawl around and he goes bananas, has the best time of his life and we are totally engaged. Since when did I decide crawling had become such a chore? So yes, if your grandchildren aren’t yet off to university you might want to get down on the floor with them, or maybe sit in the warm surf on a sandy beach and feel what the world wants you to feel, sand in your crack, water splashing up into your nose, pebbles between your toes.

Time to stop being such a homo erectus. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Two for the See-Saw

So according to this article I posted on my FB page it seems that we, well children in this study, all burn about the same amount of calories regardless of whether we sit on our patootie all day or are on our feet working rigorously in the garden or cleaning out the horses’ stalls. The big deal breaker seems to be the amount of food––I mean calories that we consume throughout the day.

It seems there is a common bandwidth of calories that are spent throughout the study groups and the differing populations. So where does that leave us? We thought that as soon as we could get outside we’d take up running or get back on the bike, or hit the pool everyday. All this seems daunting; the bike needs a tune up, your knees hurt, the pool is closed. So we’re resigned to our extra poundage. We head back to the fridge, muttering that if only we could get some serious exercise happening we’d feel better and maybe lose some weight.

From a feel good perspective you could take a walk, which will increase your heart rate and get some stale oxygen out of your lungs and perhaps clear some cobwebs out of your brain. Now, you’ll be thinking that a run or a big bike ride is what you really need, but you know, maybe just some fresh air and a bit of good food.

Now, a bit of fresh air or exercise will probably make you want to put something healthier into your body anyway–some water, an orange or a banana, rather than a bagel with schmear or a pumpkin spice latte. So it is hard to prove or disprove the theory.

It seems that the success of most diets is in calorie deficit, which usually means that after you go off the diet (that day does come) that the weight goes back on.

I’m a vegan and it is definitely less of a diet than a way of life, the proof being that there have been times when I have gained quite a bit of weight as a vegan. There is a world of high calorie plant based food out there to enjoy! From nuts to home made salad dressing, to second helpings to wine to beer to vegan ice cream and really yummy chocolate cake and fake cheese cake. I had to get wise to the not-so-hidden calories and be honest with myself (except for Sunday when I eat what I vegan well please), that calories are where it’s at, regardless of how healthy an handful or two of cashews are.

There are so many variables to overweight-ness, genetics for one, environmental, economic, emotional, the list goes on. But if you are in a position where you can replace the calorie’d snack for something as satisfying but with less staying (on your body) power, give it a try. Some grapes in the fridge to nibble on. An orange. Lime juice and tamari for salad dressing. A drop of oil to sauté veggies, rather than a glop of oil. These are tweaks you might not even notice!

The Age of Aquarius

There’s water in that thar glass!

So I would have to categorize this article under “it ain’t rocket science” to get some control of your weight. HOWEVER there are certain genetic factors and so many other physiologically based factors that affect and control our shape and size, that I do not want to tread down that path of shame that says all you need is will power. If I did that then all I would need is a head transplant.

But lets do some healthy stuff off the bat so we know that we are doing what we can regardless of our DNA and our ancestry and any glitches that happen because we are human, or because some weird experimental toxin that some guys in lab coats dumped in a nearby river or cloud 50 years ago may be continuing to wreak havoc on our system, our own little internal system, our body. Now give yourself a hug and sit back.

Until about a year ago I was spending most of my day sipping cold dregs of coffee in my car as I was tootling and occasionally racing about the country side to bring the gift of fitness and my P/T genius to the world. Water? Nope? Not a thermos and if I stopped to get gas I would quiver at the idea that another plastic bottle might go into the ocean to be swallowed by some poor whale. So I’d get a coffee, and doze at the wheel.

Anyway these were spontaneous and ill timed and though they were liquids they were minimal.

I heard somewhere along the road that drinking water is a good idea, and I made sure to pass on this gem to my clients but not somehow through my stubborn skull to my brain. Until recently. Now, upon rising I make sure to choke back two full glasses of water, from the well, from mother earth. It fills out my wrinkles and I look like a sixteen year old again. Sorry, that’s such bullshit. But it is helping me think straight, helping me poop, and cools me off the same way it does for a car, and then there’s other stuff too, but those are the ones I can vouch for.

Anyway I make sure to have another two glasses around pre-dinner time, and here is where I notice the difference. My cravings seem to dissipate and, if I am going to have a glass of something alcoholic which I am trying to cut down on, the urge and the speed with which I have my pretty glass of rosé vanishes. I can then savour the wine, the day, and my sobriety. I also believe that I may even control that drive for seconds (of dinner) before I have stuffed my cake hole full of stir-fry.

You see the water habit, like other habits, seems to crowd out the space reserved for the other not as savoury habits, the cravings, the second helpings. And I notice it too. Sometime I’ll post a picture of how fabulous I look, but for now you can take my word. So it isn’t really a matter of replacing your bad habits, as much as stuffing your day and your fridge with good habits that leave less room for the not-so-good ones.

This is all a process really, not a destination. We take it one step at a time but soon we have integrated water, fresh fruit and veggies and whole grains into our day without even noticing. And soon we are enjoying even more of the good of what this planet has to offer, so we don’t wind up at the pearly gates feeling like we missed out on the gifts of this wonderful place.

Whole Versus Processed

I came across a great article in the Nutrition Action Health Letter this week, one of the reliable publications to which I subscribe. It’s an article about recent studies into the affects eating whole verus processed food has on our weight maintenance and weight gain. They took various ways of eating (don’t want to call them diets), from high complex carb not much protein, to tons of meat and fat products, all more or less unadulterated (unprocessed), and held it up against a diet that included mostly processed foods.

The results were interesting and perhaps not surprising, but people who ate processed food experienced a certain amount of weight gain, while others who ate whole foods, regardless of what whole food, as long as unprocessed, did not experience the weight gain or not as significantly as the processed group.

This all leads to my point and Movable Beast philosophy that the rules of weight loss are not complicated. It’s already done for you. Nature did it by growing stuff! Really tasty stuff that is packed with nutrition.

Me eating linguine made from 100% durum semolina!

Look. When we walk into a grocery store and stand in the checkout line waiting to pay, we are pretty much assaulted by “bars” you know, those things claiming to be healthy, with a picture of a guy scaling a cliff, or if not healthy then damn satisfying at that moment as the fat, salt, and sugar combination cleverly created by guys in white coats in a lab, years ago, when as a screaming brat at that very same checkout, you first tasted the forbidden fructose, screeches out to us, bite me bite me, once again.

They did not give a shitey shit about your health, your longevity, your chronic whatever and the chance you might get cancer or be afflicted with severe obesity in the coming years. They were interested in profits and if they had to shove poison down your throat to make money, they’d damn well do it.

Anyway to cut to the chase, there is another bar, it’s called a banana, you bought a bunch and you’ll take them home, they’ll over ripen and you throw them away or put them in the freezer to make banana bread (with sugar and white processed flour).

To cut closer to the chase, buy one of nature’s whole food bars, even individually, they come in various shapes some are called bananas, like “one banana,” or buy an orange, or an apple, like one of them that you are going to eat after you check out of the grocery line, and not stuff an energy bar down your cake hole. Or maybe even at the gas station; they often have a basket of fruit sitting somewhere for some “health conscious nut”.

I’m sure the price of one of these pieces of so called “fruit” can’t be close to what you’ll pay for a bar touting protein and some flavour unknown to man, that tastes like regurgitated dehydrated diaper.

When you get home with your groceries, take a look in your fridge. Be honest. Could you survive on a whole food way of eating? No processed salad dressing? 100% whole grain bread products? A snack of fruit? Nut butter without added icing sugar? (now that’s what I call malicious. Can you imagien being a peanut and winding up in a jar where you are underappeciated because icing sugar is grabbing all of the attention?) The money you save on another dietary program, you can spend on good food. How’s that for a trade off?

Consistency over Intensity

I think this three word title sums up a great distraction that bogs us down over and over. (I am all about distraction, the world is full of distraction, we are pummeled with distraction, we are inundated and distracted by distraction.) I am posting this because I think I have come to believe that if we can stay the course in even the most limited way, with the most limiting circumstances, we can continue to move forward.

I think the pandemic has put us all to the test and there is no passing or failing, there has been coping and finding our way through this nightmare while the world continues to turn, friends die and we can’t attend funerals, social issues and problems continue to thrive, and we push on day by day.

I admit I stalled a year ago. Everything changed for me in a matter of days, as it did for all of us. Despite wanting more “me” time I hadn’t counted on creating a whole pandemic to manifest such a goal. I had no inspiration to workout. There was little space int he house, a hallway at best, a living room filled with distractions. I had a car full of exercise equipment that I had been using on my mobile clients, but it seemed to stay in the car. I was uninspired to do an outdoorsy thing, or put something online for the world to use. I kind of caved.

No gym, which I love, and the time of day wasn’t working for me. Would I do something before walking the dog? After? In the late afternoon before dinner? None of it seemed to coincide with energy levels and eating habits. And then there was cocktail hour. No clients to see the next morning so why not put back a couple of glasses of wine? Isn’t that what they do in Europe? On a week night?

I have had the good fortune to be able to create a new workout space at my home, with some privacy, and I have found a time of day. Here’s the thing. I love to write (am published), and had been writing first thing in the morning, then when I had finished a large writing project I was meditating and journaling upon rising, and then working out. The early morning was working for me. Amazing! Still there was a feeling of “crowdedness” and get-this-over-with during my workout time. So recently it’s rise, water (two big glasses), a mug of Lavazza coffee and hit the weights.

It’s hard to imagine doing it when I am just about to drag my ass out of bed at 5:30am but it happens. As I posted earlier this week “Go through the motions until the motions go through you.” So if you can find your own way into working out, it will be yours, no one else’s. It will be challenging with kids or pets or other demands but if you can do something to remind your body that you are here for it, it will finally happen.

(Me at 6am)

Glad Tidings! Motivation and High Reps

I believe it was back day here, and perhaps bad hair day too! It’s a bugger trying to use your dog’s electric clippers to cut the back of your head, but I am getting better at it! (I wear the mask all the time at the gym by the way, except for this quick selfie, as you can see I am socially distanced, well, alone.)

I imagine many of us have been struggling with various fitness/ wellness related issues––motivation, attitude, concentration, and sanity to name a few––over the past nine months, with more to come. I found motivation my biggest hurdle. I say this because exercise seems to have always come naturally to me. Movement was built into my routine, and when it wasn’t I became fairly grumpy. Of those few nine to five jobs I had, I could never leave exercise to the end of the day. I would be wiped out and the gym would be packed and kind of moist and smelly at the point. For those times I tried to hit the gym early morning or somehow trade lunch hour for gym time.

My mom told me I did a lot of kicking as a fetus, and I was the earliest of my siblings to walk (and talk), so yes movement has been on the agenda. As I’ve gotten older, to be honest, it seems a bit more difficult to get movement into the equation. Time does indeed race by. Seeing clients throughout the day however, I had been able to usually schedule my own gym time into my schedule. Then, at the gym I could be focused, no distractions, and get on with it.

Well with working out at home, and in a rural setting there seem to be a million distractions. I can’t seem to look anywhere without thinking that something needs a paintbrush, some pollyfilla or a spade or trowel or a hose or a pair of clippers. These distractions do not present themselves at the gym. And I’m sure that no matter where you are living, whether it’s a mansion with a pool in the basement or a wee studio tucked into Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan, you’ll find some distractions.

Anyway this is not all negative. I bring you good tidings of great joy! Over the year and in time for the home workouts, I read (peer review studies––S&C report Chris Beardsley––not just listcicles) that the sweet spot for reps to enhance hypertrophy (muscle growth), is actually somewhere above the 16 rep mark and can go as high as into the mid 20’s. NOW STOP! That does not mean you breeze through sixteen easy reps and sit around, check your messages and watch swimming puppies videos, waiting to crank out another sixteen easy reps. No. When you do those reps you take it to almost failure. By ‘almost’ I mean “if I do two more I’m gonna die, or I am going to compromise my brilliant technique (and you must have brilliant technique before you continue, lots of guys––AthleanX, Scott Tousignant––on Youtube to show you brilliant technique. Me too if I am training you). You do your reps to that point and allow yourself some good recovery of 60-90 seconds, or superset another body part, then recover. Perform 3-5 sets.

I tried this on myself. At that point I did not have more than dumbbells at home and the gym was closed. My weights were much less than what I use at the gym, and I was doing fewer reps at the gym with heavier weights. What the hell, I thought, I’ll give it a try it.

First of all, having that amount of reps gives you time to make the mind body connection, something so important as we workout. (Your workout should be a time of focus and in-the-moment kind of meditation, not an eye rolling what can I think about or dwell upon to get through this boredom.) It also helps you focus on technique. As well, your muscles are working longer than a rushed set of eight or five or three at a greater weight. These extended reps increase your overall volume of weight lifted, and your muscles’ time under tension.

I tried it, and lo and behold I saw the results, and I felt the results, the next day. Fatigued muscles that had had a good workout, not in the gym, but on the edge of my garden where the plants scream to be watered. Sixty to Ninety seconds for recovery? Hmmm, just enough time to pull some weeds before the next set. (It’s winter now, no weeds.)

So, seeing the results helped with my “why bother” motivation. Some other things did too: sometime I just said to myself, “look, let’s just go through the motions, no expectations, just move,” and invariably I would get caught up in my own little world of striving and soon the workout was over and I’d done something.

I know weights are scarce right now, but if you have some, or bands or anything, the Oxford dictionary (the big one) or some soup tins or a wet towel, taking those reps to almost “failure” will give you results. I wish you well. Be gentle, kind and forgiving to yourself now and always. Yours in continued wellness.

The Vegan Barbados Christmas Rum Cake

A work in progress that has finally hit its stride!


I had spent some privileged childhood Christmases on the beautiful island of Barbados. During one of those stays a lovely woman, the wife of a Bajan politician, Sir Theodore Brancker, introduced me to Christmas rum cake at their Boxing day party. I’ll never forget her giving me a cake of my own to bring back to Canada, where I very carefully sliced off rations to make it last as long as possible through the Canadian winter. The following recipe is the closest I have been able to come in terms of flavour, of the blessed cake. I will print it here before I lose it to the back of the recipe drawer and it ends up too shredded to read.

I did my research over the years on the internet, so I have augmented where necessary and improvised where there was no information. This is how I do it. No promises. You may have more baking common sense, instincts or talent than I. So use your discretion. Here goes:

Take at least 6, maybe eight cups of various raisins and currents and soak them in a bowl that has enough rum in it to almost cover them. If you run out of rum, add some sherry or port or whatever you have kicking around. Soak for days weeks or months.

Puree the raisin/ booze mixture in a food processor.

Add some spices: allspice, cloves, ginger, cinnamon. Stir it all together.

Here’s where it gets vegan: Instead of ten (yes 10) eggs, use a cup of ground chia seeds and two cups of water. Let sit until they goo-ify. This will have the gooey sticky consistency of ten eggs that you aren’t using.

Mix the chia goo with about 2 1/2 cups of brown sugar.

Another vegan substitute: use two cups of coconut oil semi firm, and mix with the chia sugar mixture. Us a beater for this.

Take four cups of flour with 1 large tbsp of baking power and a teaspoon of baking soda and about half a tsp of salt. Sift that all together (or use 4 cups of self raising flour).

Now mix the dry with the wet and add some vanilla extract, about a teaspoon.

Stir. Don’t want it too dry, if so add some booze, the batter should just fall off the spoon.

At this point you should have the oven heated to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

I have used a large bundt pan some years, this year I am using small loaf tins so that I can gift these or just use as semi individual servings (line your pans). Keep in the oven for 1-2 hours. Keep an eye on it/ them. The smaller containers will likely bake faster. Watch which rack you put these on you don’t want them to burn on the bottom.

Serve with a splash of rum on top, or light the booze if you’ve put enough on. Add some coconut whip cream or vegan ice cream.

Put away the calorie counter, it’s Christmas.

Ingredients: 8 cups mixed raisins; about a bottle of rum; mixed spices; 2 cups brown sugar; 10 chia “eggs”; 2 cups coconut oil; 4 cups flour; 1 tbsp of baking powder; 1 tsp baking soda; 1/2 tsp salt; vanilla extract