Tosca Reno


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Day 8 of Giving: The Circle of Giving (Truffle Liqueurs)

Welcome Zain Jamal - our resident yoga expert and baking whiz. She shares with us today her amazing approach to the holiday season along with a don't-miss, super-delicious treat of Clean Liqueur Truffles. Yes, I said truffles. Wow!
Zain's Clean Liqueur Truffles
For any of us who have sought for love in the refuge of self-sabotaging behavior, the concept of generosity, when directed to ourselves, may feel gluttonous, indulgent; yet our spirits are so deeply nourished when we are giving of ourselves to others in the form of advice, smiles, gifts, complements, and random acts of kindness.

I mean, how great does it feel to buy a sandwich for a hungry homeless person? How uplifted do you feel when you make a donation to a charity? What is more special than to see your best friend’s eyes light up as she unwraps a beautiful package created just for her, by the glow of a twinkling tree?

“Brain scans of people in the act of giving have found that generous deeds activate the same reward centers in the brain that pleasures like [laughter] and sex do. When these areas are stimulated, dopamine and other feel-good neurotransmitters are released, resulting in pleasurable feelings that can range from contentment to euphoria.”

Why is it that so many of us experience this euphoria when giving to others, yet are unable to truly give to ourselves?

Why do so many of us turn to food or other addictions as a means of rewarding ourselves and knowingly blur the lines between self-care and self-harm?

During my journey to recovery from Anorexia, I asked myself these questions over and over again.  I wanted so much to give to others in everyway I could, so I did.  The problem was that I was not giving anything to myself and thus became depleted.
This led to a wild goose chase of looking for sustenance in other forms: Shelter in the love of others who would take me for granted, fleeting satisfaction in the accumulation of material possessions, or drowning myself mindlessly in a box of Oreo cookies and a bucket of Ben & Jerry’s finest.

If we are passionate about giving and being generous to others, we must begin with ourselves.  Understanding this concept on a theoretical level can be quite easy; however, the practical application of generosity to oneself may be slightly more challenging.  I am not necessarily speaking of material things here.  Being generous with oneself may constitute a variety of things.

I have learned to be generous with myself through my recovery in the following ways:
My daily yoga/meditation and spiritual practice
Making a regular date with the gym
Drinking clean water and eating nourishing, healthy food each and everyday for every meal
Spending time with loved ones
Spending time in nature
Listening to my favourite music
Treating myself to a massage, spa day or vacation

If you have trouble identifying ways in which you can be generous with yourself, you can begin by understanding what being generous means to you.

This is a definition that resonates with me -

“Being generous begins with treating each person as though they have already achieved the potential for greatness that is in every one of us. It is in essence a sincere desire to make others' lives easier or more pleasant.”

As great as your desire is to give to others, my experience has taught me that true giving comes from a full heart, a heart that is nurtured and treated kindly.  In this way, giving does not become a means to an end but a circle, infinite and unbreakable.

I look forward to connecting with you and sharing in your journey to your healthiest self!  I welcome you to join me in my journey via my website, blog, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

My warmest wishes to you and yours for a safe, healthy and happy Holiday Season!

And don't forget to indulge in my favorite holiday treat of the season - Clean Liqueur Truffles.


  1. Great gift to us with your blog! Thanks, I am going through a stressful time in my life and the list of ways you are generous with yourself are things I am going to do for myself...and I'll make and enjoy the clean truffles! :)

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  3. Thanks for this post, Zain. You have mastered the art of being generous to yourself and I've learned so much from you about self-care. I have a ways to go, but I'm learning to be gracious with myself as I grow toward self-love.

  4. Yummy with truffles! I can't wait to try them! I'm thoroughly blessed and thankful for all the loving little people in my life, a wonderful, supportive and loving husband as well as GREAT friends. With that said, Tosca has been a wonderful source of encouragement to me over the years, through her Eat Clean blog & Tosca website, Oxygen Magazine and books. I'm a bit older than my husband, and sometimes knowing I can still have "IT"... well, makes all the difference in the world! Being good to myself is what gives me the stamina to keep up with all those little people, and that one big guy in my life! I've enjoyed reading your post!


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