As a Canadian living overseas, I was recently invited to an America Thanksgiving celebration. We were each asked to bring something that represented our home country. Canada has three foods that are specifically Canadian: Maple Syrup, Nanaimo bars, Poutine. Maple syrup is not really a side dish and can cost about $50 for a small bottle here, poutine is not my thing and so, Nanaimo bars it was. I almost didn’t bring any of them because I found the thought of making Nanaimo bars from scratch, a three layered dessert, very intimidating. I had only made them once out of a package.

When I made the bars, I was surprised that they were quick and easy to make. I was commenting on the phone to my mother that I didn’t know why I had been so intimidated. She responded “That must come from my experience. Whenever I tried to make them, I couldn’t get the second layer to spread and stick to the base and I was really frustrated.” I didn’t have any conscious memory of this at all, making or eating the bars as a child.

This is called Infantile Amnesia which is now a fascinating area of research. It describes how adults, and even teenagers, can not remember in a episodic way what happened in their childhood, like I could not recall eating or making the Nanaimo bars. Until the 1980’s and 90’s, children were not thought to have any type of memory at all, the subconscious aspect of humans was ignored or misunderstood.

I recently found this post on an adoption forum, an adoptive mother speaking of her children – “The hardest part is helping them to trust you will be there, will feed them, etc after they’ve not had that stability. Their system is programmed to expect disappointment and their coping behaviours are designed to protect. They are no longer needed but their brain doesn’t understand that.” The things we don’t consciously remember are stored in the sub- and unconscious and create a large amount of our day-to-day behaviour.  Just like the child, above who had found a loving family with a mother extremely dedicated to her child’s healing and well being, the trauma of being separated from biological parents had been stored in the subconscious and now dictated her behaviour.  This happens to each one of us, adopted or not, through our experiences, beginning at conception and even coming down to us through our family tree.  This is why New Year’s resolutions and other attempts to do “what we should”, rarely work for long.  For the same reason we experience self-sabtoge, relationships that follow the same dysfunctional patterns and even our illness, disease and symptoms.

BodyTalk and Trailblazing Communications, are cutting edge tools which can address these issues in multiple ways – removing or shifting beliefs in the sub-conscious, taking the emotional charge out of old memories and traumas, relaxing the hyper-vigilance, and creating new neuro-pathways in the brain and much more.

For more information and a free 30 minutes consultation, please contact me at info@theshelteringyew.com or www.theshleteringyew.com. All sessions are via Skype or FaceTime.

~Shawna

Nanaimo Bar Recipe
Bottom Layer

½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs
½ c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut
Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an lined, un-greased, 8” x 8″ pan.

Second Layer

½ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar
Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.

Third Layer

4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.

If you do not have Bird’s Custard Powder, you can replace it will an equal amount of corn starch and some vanilla extract.

Nanaimo bars originate in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. You can see this recipe, more about this great place and the Nanaimo Trail here.

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