SalmonBerry

Archive for July, 2013|Monthly archive page

Hurricane

In Uncategorized on July 12, 2013 at 10:49 pm
0230_130502_Salmonberry

Ganesha – remover of obstacles

You have finally found your calm center in the eye of the hurricane where you realize that all is love and all is waiting for you. You just have to see it, really see it, and choose.

Don’t hesitate.

All the choices and decisions of life are swirling around you in this hurricane and it’s not so hard to see the ones you should reach out for. They pause for you for just a millisecond and you see them, your heart recognizes them as the path towards your deepest desires and joy. All you have to do is reach out for them and they are yours.

All the other things that don’t serve you are whipping by at high speed and it’s much too hard to grasp on to these things and yet we try with all of our force and will. And we grip and we grasp and we cling and it still gets away.

These things that you desire, that your heart notices, can be yours but just for the moment or the day or the year or the lifetime. You won’t know and your intention is not to cling too tightly to these as well. They have their time and place and need to be released back into the hurricane eventually. You won’t be sad and you won’t regret because other things come swirling by and pause and your heart recognizes and reaches out.

All things come swirling back around. There is always another opportunity to feel it in your heart and this time you aren’t afraid and you reach for it.

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Fiber, Fermented Foods, & Your Gut

In Nutrition on July 11, 2013 at 1:30 am
kale, onions, strawberries, peaches

Kale with onions & garlic. Strawberries and peaches.

OK, so this topic is not super sexy but a healthy gut – gastrointestinal (GI) tract – is essential for our overall health and wellness. First a little primer on your large intestine – exciting! – and then we will discuss what to eat and why.

photo (11)

Mangoes – a high fiber fruit.

We all know the large intestine is in charge of eliminating “that which is of no use to our bodies” aka waste or non-digestible food products. During this process of elimination, the large intestine reabsorbs water and sodium back into our bloodstream, a very important function, and, also very important, the large intestine is the site for synthesis of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), B-vitamins and vitamin K. The aforementioned nutrients primarily feed the cells of the GI tract. You want to keep those GI cells happy because it turns out the cells lining our GI tract serve as the largest immune tissue in our bodies! Even more amazing is recent understanding that the cells of our GI tract secrete enough regulatory hormones to be considered the largest endocrine organ in our body!

cauliflower

Huge head of homegrown cauliflower.

How do we love our GI cells so they function properly?

Eat plenty of fiber and fermented foods (also, avoid sugar but that’s another discussion).

Fiber is considered a prebiotic while fermented foods are considered a probiotic. Both are essential to gut health.

Found in WHOLE plant foods (fruits, veggies, grains, nuts, and seeds), fiber is used by the large intestine to feed the “gut flora”. Our gut flora is composed of healthy bacteria who use fiber as a medium to synthesize those nutrients (SCFAs, vitamin K, and B-vitamins) that are so essential for properly functioning GI cells.

kombucha bottles

Cactus fruit kombucha from Robin’s Nest.

Fermented foods, such as miso, tempeh, cultured dairy (kefir, yogurt), kombucha tea, kimchi, sauerkraut, chutneys and any fruit/vegetable fermented using lactic acid, support a healthy gut flora by providing a source of healthy bacteria – Lactobacillus acidophilus – for that fiber that the GI cells needs to synthesize SCFAs, B-vitamins, and vitamin K…you see the relationship?

So, please, please, please…eat MORE fiber and fermented foods and LESS sugar and refined foods. Your gut will love you for it and your ability to fight the common cold and chronic disease depends on it.

Happy Gut, Happy You

In Mindfulness, Nutrition on July 11, 2013 at 12:27 am
gooey chocolate cookie

Gooey, chocolatey, sugar bomb.

Gloomy weather, stressful relationships, lack of sleep, can all affect our sense of well-being and kick sugar cravings into high gear. Mindlessly giving in on just a few occasions only intensifies our cravings and the vicious cycle begins. Why do we turn to sugar when we are feeling anxious and stressed? Perhaps conditioning – for some, sweets are associated with reward or comfort. Or perhaps it’s physiology – adequate amounts of carbohydrates allow for increased seratonin production, aka the “feel-good hormone”.

What does this have to do with your gut? Well, it turns out the GI tract produces 95% of our body’s seratonin! Taking care of our gut allows GI cells to produce all the seratonin we need. In turn, we will be less likely to turn to sugar when we’re sad, lonely, anxious, and stressed.chocolate bars

In a another post, I discussed beneficial foods for our gut – fiber and fermented foods. The question begs: “Are there foods that are harmful to gut health?” Yup, and I’m sure you’ve guessed it…Sugar! Sugar provides fuel for certain gut bacteria to proliferate far beyond what is healthy leading to a bacterial imbalance. So, even if we consume adequate fiber, we won’t have enough beneficial bacteria to fuel our GI cells. They’ve been outcompeted by other, less-helpful bacteria due to sugar-induced overgrowth.

What are the consequences of GI cells not getting the fuel they need? At the very least, you will have gas and bloating or, worse, suffer from anxiety and depression.

packaged veggies

Pre-washed and chopped veggies. High in fiber. The fuel our GI cells need.

Our gut is often referred to as the “second brain” because it has its own complex nervous system and is highly influenced by our thoughts and psychological stress. Most of us know this on an intuitive (and experiential) level and certainly Traditional Chinese Medicine and other healing traditions have recognized this for generations. Finally, western medicine has acknowledged the huge role our gut plays in our immune, endocrine, and nervous systems. Recent research has shown that tweaking the balance between beneficial and disease-causing bacteria in an animal’s gut alters brain chemistry leading it to become more bold or more anxious. Alternately, even mild stress can tip the microbial balance in the gut, making us more vulnerable to infectious disease.

What is sugar? It is a carbohydrate of which there are 2 general categories: indigestible (fiber) and digestible (everything else). Your body does not absorb fiber but your colon uses it for many healthy functions (as discussed here). Digestible carbs are those used by your body for energy – or, if you are taking in more energy than you are expending, they are stored (in your fat cells).

To balance your mood, regulate your blood sugar, and keep your gut bacteria in balance, remember these 3 things when consuming carbs/sugars:

dates

Deglet dates. Often used to sweeten desserts but loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Limit added sugars. Most added sugars are refined carbohydrates meaning it has been stripped of other nutrients and comes in a potent package that is a shock to our bodies. Added sugars include the “natural” sugars, too. Remember, “its not the vehicle, its the payload.” Use sweeteners sparingly – even honey and dates.

Eat carbohydrates higher up on the “whole foods” chain.

What does this look like?

Brown rice -> brown rice pasta/bread -> energy bar w/ brown rice syrup

Apples -> applesauce  -> apple juice

Steel cut oats -> rolled oats -> quick oats -> instant oatmeal packet

peppers, goat cheese, bread

Red peppers with goat cheese and honey on toast. Balanced protein, fat, and carbs.

Combine carbs with fat and protein at each meal. Toss sunflower seeds and unsweetened coconut on that fruit salad. Mash avocado on whole-grain toast. Add flax oil and walnuts to your banana-berry oatmeal.

Curb your sugar cravings: easy on the salt and animal products, eat sweet vegetables (tubers and roots), choose sprouted products, eat more sour or spicy flavors, and, finally, fully chew all carbs b/c those grains, legumes, and veggies will become sweeter the longer you chew.

Practical Gratitude

In Mindfulness on July 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm
shrimp n celery
“…to me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle. Every inch of space is a miracle…” -Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman’s Poem of Perfect Miracles appreciates the miracles in everything. The light, the dark, the space can refer to something different to everyone depending on experience, beliefs, and perspective. I’ve come to realize that nature is my muse and the place where I recognize the light, the dark, and the miracles. My early years were very grounded and earthy and rhythmically natural and yet there was the ever present and mystical influence of Native Alaskan culture. Whitman’s work walked the line between humanism and transcendentalism. He was practical and real and embraced all religions equally while not being a believer or follower of a particular one. I have a lot of that in me and I take a lot of pictures of food (where is this going, you ask?).

figs n goat cheeseIf you have a meal with me or follow me on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, you are painfully aware of my constant need to document my plate before consumption. I recently said (to an exasperated dinner companion) that my meal tastes better if I’ve taken a photograph of it first. At the time, I was making a joke but then I started to think about this idea more. And I actually wasn’t kidding. My meal does taste better because I am present with all the flavors and textures AFTER I snap a quick photo of it with my phone.

wine, cabbage, carrotsThe act of stopping to take a picture and capturing the beauty of the food is an act of GRATITUDE. It really just occurred to me today. It’s been my unconscious way of saying Grace before meals. Praying before meals was not a habit I grew up with but I was certainly taught, through example and lifestyle, to be grateful to the earth for the food I was consuming. Respect and appreciation for hunters and fishermen was automatic and celebrated. Native Alaskan culture is deep in respect and gratitude toward the earth and it’s resources. These were my influences during childhood and it shines through much more than I’ve realized. It’s just so beautiful that gratitude can come through no matter the method, strategy, practice, belief system, faith, deity…how do you put practical gratitude into practice on a daily basis?

Perfect Parfait

In Nutrition, Recipe on July 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm
fruit, yogurt, go raw

Fruit, yogurt, Go Raw Original Granola

Please step away from the acai bowls! They are loaded with added sugars. Sugar is added to those little, frozen packets of smashed berries and to the nut milk that is blended with it and, finally, the granola that gets tossed on top. No wonder they are a big hit – you might as well be eating dessert!

You can do a much better job by BUILDING YOUR OWN breakfast bowl with fresh fruit that hasn’t been processed, packaged, and flown in from Brazil. I eat a lot of fruity, nutty, yogurt-y concoctions. Some might call them parfaits, others might call them fruit salad. Either way, the hot summer months, with their abundance of fruit, call for cool, juicy breakfasts with enough fat and protein to keep you satisfied and nourished. On the outset it appears that the parfait is ‘healthy’ but there is much variance as to the value of each ingredient so I think it merits a discussion.

papya parfait

Papaya, yogurt, hemp seeds, coconut, & sunflower seeds.

There are usually 3 components to a parfait: (1) yogurt (dairy or vegan), (2) the fruit, and (3) the ‘toppings’ (hopefully nuts & seeds). What I find is that most parfaits resemble dessert in that they are much too high in sugar and other carbohydrates. Let’s leave the job of providing sugar and fiber to the fruit (choose a colorful variety) and do our best to eliminate it from the other two components.

Begin by choosing a sugar-free – yes, that means PLAIN – version of yogurt, whether it be a Greek dairy yogurt or coconut milk kefir or soy yogurt. This is not always easy, especially with the diary substitutes, but it can be done. Also, choosing a FULL-FAT version is essential for 2 reasons: (1) the balance of protein/fat/carbs is more supportive of health (nonfat yogurt is heavy on carbs) and (2) the plain flavor is not as sour b/c the fat is still included (hence less sugar needed to make it palatable). Even if you are trying to lose weight, a full-fat version is more supportive of satiation, smaller portions, and weight control (I promise!).

go raw simple

Go Raw brand granola – unsweetened or sweetened with dates & raisins

End by choosing toppings that include healthy fats and no added sugars. Sorry, folks, but ‘granola’ is not going to do it here. Yes, it’s delicious but it’s usually very high in added sugars. Low sugar varieties are available, such as those from Go Raw that are sweetened with dates and raisins, and, yet, this healthy choice is still adding unnecessary carbs to the balance. It’s much healthier to take a deconstructionist view of granola as a topping. Say what? Sprinkle on sunflower seeds or almonds or walnuts or hemp seeds or coconut flakes or chia seeds or pepitas or sesame seeds…you get the idea. These toppings add healthy fats and protein as opposed to more carbs.

Finally, add a little shake of cinnamon or cocoa or fresh mint to up the flavor factor without adding more volume or calories.

Building your own breakfast bowl ensures you get ‘good’ carbs, a healthy amount of (the good) fat, and plenty of fiber and antioxidants. Have fun and get creative!

Salmonberried

In Mindfulness, Yoga on July 8, 2013 at 2:32 am
salmonberry breakfast

Inspired by my business name.

When I first began handing out my business cards, one friend in particular (a very funny dude) immediately starting using Salmonberry as a verb. Such as “I salmonberried some shrimp on the grill” or “Let’s salmonberry this yoga class and get coffee and a scone instead” or “Why don’t you salmonberry some greens and garlic and pair it with brown rice?” Even as a verb it has many different meanings with most people not realizing that salmonberries are an actual fruit.

salmonberry lunch

Lunch break during Salmonberry photo shoot. Smoked salmon, avocado, and watermelon juice.

I like the anonymity of my business name in that it’s not tied to a particular industry. I could design motorcycles or develop a line of lip gloss under this name. Salmonberry Consulting was inspired by my childhood in Bristol Bay. Salmonberries are a tart, coral-colored (reminiscent of wild salmon flesh), raspberry-looking berry that grows wild in the Pacific Northwest of North America. And two of my favorite foods are salmon and berries, both of which are uber-healthy superfoods, so “Salmonberry Consulting” was born.

me looking at salmon

At 3 years old checking out sockeye salmon caught in set-net.

Speaking of born, I was literally built and grown on salmon. My parents would throw salmon and veggies from their garden in a blender and feed the puree to me in my high chair. The salmon was obtained by casting set-nets on the beach in front of our home. The 25-foot tidal surge would bring a bumper crop of king and sockeye salmon that would feed us all winter long. As I child, I didn’t realize this privelege and begged my parents to buy canned tuna at the store for a change of pace. They would just laugh and now I get why. Many of my friends growing up came from families of commercial fishermen (and are now fishermen themselves). Bristol Bay and the Nushagak River (to which the spawning salmon return each year) is the largest sockeye salmon run in the world accounting for over 50% of all wild-caught sockeye salmon. This fishery is heavily regulated with oversight by Alaska Fish & Game to ensure the runs are sustainable and both subsistence and commercial needs will be met for generations. You can feel good about purchasing wild Alaskan salmon as this wild fish has all the uber-healthy qualities we expect from seafood without being over-fished.

me meditating

Me. Pretending to meditate.

Anyway, the point of all this is an exercise for me to fully wrap my head around the fact that the scope of my business will be changing this summer as well as over the next year. And, it’s all going to be OK. I won’t be teaching as much yoga or meditation…in person…as I am evolving to doing online-coaching for both. I’ll be teaming up with a personal trainer from Vancouver whose fitness coaching is entirely online – Anthrophysique. I’ve dismantled my yoga studio for the summer so I could rent my home as a vacation rental and as I took it apart, I got this overwhelming feeling that I would not be putting it back together again in the fall. I immediately got this scary I-don’t-want-anything-to-change feeling. I’ve since reviewed that fear and I realize that my studio will be back in the fall but it will be used less for teaching groups and more for filming and documenting the goings-on at Salmonberry Studio. Online yoga coaching involves me demonstrating poses for my clients and for them to have access to repeated viewing (as opposed to a Skype session); therefore, the need to film myself. Scary stuff. For me at least. It’s a whole new way of putting myself out there.

nametag

I’m going to have to wear a name tag.

 Let’s also add in that I will basically be going back to school in the fall. Beginning in September, I will be a full-time dietetic intern doing clinical and food service rotations at various locations around San Diego…working 9-5, 40hrs/week. I’ll have to wear shoes and a bra. I won’t be able to take yoga breaks or eat lunch by the water on my favorite bench. This next year will be a time for enormous growth but I’m resisting. I am enjoying the current structure from which I will now have to release my grip. I’m feeling quite childish and stubborn. And scared. I am embarking, yet again, into the unknown to do things that I’m not quite comfortable with. I know I need to let go and relax into the experience because it is exactly what I have called into my life for a specific purpose. But, wow, I can feel my body resisting! Any chance you are maintaining a tight grip on an out-dated structure that may need to be let go?

Coconut-Berry Cheesecake

In Nutrition, Recipe, Yoga on July 3, 2013 at 7:27 pm

coconut-berry cheesecakeI got this recipe from Yoga_Girl’s Instagram feed. She’s adorable, inspiring, and positive…I totally recommend following her if you’re into beautiful yoga and healthy living. I made this recipe into mini, bite-size cheesecakes for the Salmonberry Open House last Friday and although I feel they turned out yummy, the recipe needs refinement as the crust is a bit too crumbly. Unfortunately, I won’t be doing much recipe development or experimentation this summer as I’ve closed down the Salmonberry studio and kitchen for a bit. I’m renting my house to vacationers and will be living with friends or family until mid-August. This is both discombobulating and freeing all at once. The usual structure – both physical and metaphorical – that I’m used to working under has been totally dismantled and I’m still trying to get both feet on the ground. I am currently located in Encinitas, CA – the birthplace of  Ashtanga yoga in the US, home to the Self-Realization Fellowship, and largest grower of poinsettias –  which is not helping me get more grounded. I’m feeling light, airy, creative, and, well, exhausted. It’s also unusually humid and warm here in SoCal adding to sluggish-ness of body and over-stimulation of mind. Suger cravings kick in for me when I’m feeling like this which is interesting b/c carbs, especially refined carbs, only exacerbate feelings of flighty-ness and spacey-ness (are those words?!). I really should be eating legumes and dairy to ground me but the weather makes me want to eat raw veggie salads. So I panic and eat sweet foods – ugh! Raw, vegan coconut-berry cheesecake is definitely a “sweet food” but can provide grounding with it’s healthy fats and protein from nuts, seeds, and oils. When it comes to indulging in sweet foods and desserts , these mini-cheesecakes are a pretty good choice. Sweet, tart, and nutty and only require time, a processor, patience, and a freezer. Works just as well as a large pie for slicing.

Crust Ingredients:

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup dates

1 TBSP coconut oil

Combine all crust ingredients and process until smooth. Press into pie pan or individual mini muffin tin. Freeze for 1-2hrs.

party foodFilling Ingredients:

3 cups cashews (soaked)

1/2 cup unsweetened, coconut flakes

1 tsp vanilla

4 tsp coconut oil

8-10 dates

1-2 lemons, juiced

Pinch of salt

Process all ingredients until very smooth and creamy. Spread over crust and freeze for 2 hrs.

Topping Ingredients:

1/2 cup Trader Joe’s frozen Very Cherry Berry Mix (defrosted)

4-6 dates

1 lemon, juiced

Berry mix must be fully defrosted and not at all cold or the dates will harden and nothing will mix well. Put all topping ingredients in processor and puree till liquified. Top frozen pie with berry mixture and freeze for 3-4hrs. Defrost for 20 minutes before serving and enjoying.