Talking Heads: Listening to Your Inner Voice (Recipe: Blueberry and Peach Coffee Cake)

A’s mom sent me this article titled “Talking Heads: What happens when scientists try to eavesdrop on the inner voice?” from Discover Magazine by Cassandra Willyard. It was really interesting. This is how it started (I’m sure you’ll be able to tell from the first 5 words why I was hooked):


Halfway into my first marathon, a nagging ache begins to seep from my feet into my ankles. “The wheels are falling off the bus,” I yell as I pass my husband on the sidelines. I’m half-joking, but by the time I hit mile 20, the ache becomes a searing pain. Each time my sneakers strike the trail, the blisters on my toes threaten to rupture. I am in agony. The sound of Billy Joel blasting through my earphones isn’t loud enough to drown out the inner voice that says, “You can’t do this. You’ve failed.” My jog slows to a trot, and soon, I’m hobbling.

After the race, I start to wonder whether it was my body or my mind that gave up first. Could I have kept running if the voice had shut up? And what is this voice, anyway? Where does it come from, and why do we have it?”


I have asked myself many times whether it was my mind or my body that gave up first during a race, and I can never decide. A lot of research will tell you that your mind gives up first. But sometimes your body feels so horrible that I beg to differ.

The article goes on to talk about Willyard’s research into the subject of one’s inner voice. Lev Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist, proposed that our inner voice evolves when we are still children. We first learn speech to communicate with others, but then we start speaking to ourselves, too (we have all heard children talking to themselves). Eventually those private conversations begin to take place silently inside our heads.

Charles Fernyhough, a psychologist at Durham University in Britain, says, “Inner speech is just private speech that has been fully internalized. The stuff that you do in your head as you’re running the marathon is basically a version of the stuff you used to do out loud as a kid.”

Interesting, right?

Russell Hurlburt, a psychologist at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, says that because people tend to assess their inner voices by reflecting on events after they occur (a process prone to bias), he doubts that our inner voices are as negative as we say they are during things like marathons.

Sports psychologist James Hardy at Bangor University in Wales says that typically in the realm of sports, negative self-talk doesn’t necessarily have much of a detrimental impact on performance. In fact, he says that a little negativity can sometimes “act as a bit of a kick in the backside.” Hmm…interesting.

The area of psychology always tends to amaze me.

In random news, I earned my Fitbit Russian Railway badge the other day. This badge represents a lifetime distance of 5,772 miles—the same length as the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia! Holy mackerel! That’s a lot of steps and a lot of miles!

1 year ago: Food in Italy! And I Saw an Orthopaedic!

2 years ago: Spending Quality Time with Your Pooch(es) (Recipe: Baked Spaghetti)

Quote of the Day:

“Mind is everything; muscle, mere pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.” -Paavo Nurmi

So, a couple of weeks ago, A promised his coworkers I would bake them something. We chose for me to make this Blueberry and Peach Coffee Cake. It was a hit. Little did I know that one of his coworkers had brought in a homemade coffee cake the day before. She jokingly asked A if I was competing with her. Oops! Although, I don’t think most of his coworkers would mind if we had a bake-off! Haha. I better stay on top of my game! 🙂

Blueberry and Peach Coffee Cake

Blueberry and Peach Coffee Cake


For the Topping:
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened, cut into 8 pieces

For the Cake:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
⅔ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (10 ounces) fresh blueberries
2 cups chopped fresh peaches (about 2 medium peaches, peeled)


1. Make the Topping: With an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt on low speed until well combined, about 45 seconds. Add the butter and continue to mix on low speed until the mixture resembles wet sand and no large butter pieces remain, about 2½ minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

2. Make the Cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a round 9-inch cake pan, line the bottom of the pan with parchment, grease the parchment, then flour the inside of the pan.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and salt at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Reduce the mixer speed to medium, then add eggs one at a time; beat for 5 to 10 seconds, then scrape down bowl and continue to beat until fully incorporated (mixture will appear broken). Reduce the mixer speed to low, then gradually add the flour mixture and beat until the flour is almost fully incorporated, about 20 seconds. Use a rubber spatula to finish mixing until no flour pockets remain (the batter will be very heavy and thick). Using the rubber spatula, gently fold blueberries and peaches into the batter until evenly distributed.

4. Transfer batter to prepared pan; use an offset spatula to gently spread the batter evenly to the pan edges and smooth the surface. Squeeze a handful of the streusel in your hand to form a large cohesive clump; break up the clump with your fingers and sprinkle evenly over batter. Repeat with remaining streusel.

5. Bake until the top is deep golden brown and a thin knife inserted into center of the cake comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Place on a wire rack for 20 minutes (the cake will fall slightly as it cools).

6. Run a thin knife around the sides of cake. Invert the cake, then peel off the parchment from the bottom of the cake and discard. Turn the cake right-side-up onto a cooling rack or serving dish. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days.

Courtesy of Brown-Eyed Baker

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