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Archive for the ‘Yoga’ Category

Ottolenghi’s Green Gazpacho

In Mindfulness, Nutrition, Recipe, Yoga on September 11, 2015 at 4:15 am
green gazpacho on grass

The greenest of green gazpachos

“Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.” ~Margaret Shepard

Last night I took a yoga class from one of my very favorite teachers and she prefaced her class by acknowledging that life throws you many twists and blind turns which require faith and surrender in order to find the flow in the midst of uncertainty. She promised us that all the weirdness was leading up to something. Of course, she was referring to the vinyasa flow she was about to subject us to but, at the same time, she was asking us to acknowledge this parallel to life.

It’s been three months since I’ve posted. This is not due to writing drafts and failing to publish (although I still have an embarrassing backlog). Creativity was a luxury that I could not afford recently with my energy going to more practical matters. I’m finally pulling out of that period but not without a significant (and somewhat permanent) rearrangement of my daily life and routines. Well, to be fair, this hasn’t happened quite yet but I am already preparing for it. I’ll reveal more as a I fully wrap my brain around it and accept that I cannot see the future of this blind turn.

green gazpacho ingredients

All this green goodness goes straight into your processor or blender.

A heat wave is scorching San Diego right now and since the weather is usually so darn perfect year-round, many of us don’t have air conditioning. We aren’t used to the weather affecting our lifestyles let alone even being a discussion topic. Needless to say, there is a lot of whining going on and very little cooking. Gazpacho is a nice change from constant salad consumption – you get your greens but you don’t have to chew them!

This cold soup recipe is perfect for people who don’t usually like gazpacho. No tomatoes mean no acidity and no lingering urge to eat it with tortilla chips. There is something oddly addictive about this soup from Chef Ottolenghi’s cookbook – Plenty More. You can’t find the recipe online, only the ingredients, but, since it’s a gazpacho, the instructions are pretty intuitive: put everything in a blender and push the ‘on’ button. I didn’t follow the ingredients list exactly and will indicate where I deviated below:

Serves 6 (at least!)

2 celery stalks (including leaves)

2 small green peppers, seeded

6 mini cucumbers, peeled (I used Persian so I didn’t peel)

1 green chile (I chose a large jalapeno)

4 garlic cloves

1 tsp sugar (I used brown)

1.5 cups walnuts, lightly toasted

Parsley and Basil: Original recipe indicates 2 TBSP of parsley but I love its fresh, cleansing taste so I added a large handful of parsley while completely eliminating the basil (1 cup). I like basil but I guess I like parsley more – you decide. Maybe next time I will do a handful of each herb.

4 TBSP balsamic vinegar (original recipe calls for sherry vinegar but I prefer the caramelized sweetness of balsamic and perhaps this is the source of the addiction)

1 cup olive oil

3 TBSP greek yogurt (full-fat)

1 cup water (Ottolenghi uses 2 cups and 9 ice cubes. I like the taste with only 1 cup water so I stopped diluting)

salt & pepper

green gazpacho on the beach

Seagulls love this gazpacho too!

Croutons: toss cubes of sourdough baguette with olive oil and salt and bake at 375 for about 10 mins. Ottolenghi also added 3 slices of sourdough bread to his gazpacho but I left bread for the toppings only.

Directions:

1. Cram EVERYTHING GREEN (and garlic) into your processor first (leafy stuff on bottom, chunks on top)

2. Run it until its get really liquid-y, adding the one cup of water, if needed

3. After the veggies are fully processed, add balsamic, sugar, olive oil, and yogurt

4. Last, add the toasted walnuts and pulse until the texture suits you.

I like this soup best at room temp or only slightly chilled. The flavors aren’t as nuanced straight out of the fridge and, the fats, olive oil and walnuts, are best at room temperature as well.

Recommended consumption: on the beach with an icy Rose´

Breathe

In Mindfulness, Yoga on December 2, 2014 at 8:09 pm
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Daily practice

If you can breathe, then yoga is for you. Yes, that does mean absolutely everyone.

Avoiding yoga by saying it’s not your thing or you tried it once is like saying that you’ve tried food and it just didn’t work out for you so you’ve decided not to eat.

Yoga is merely connecting to your breath, and, as a result, your body, wholeheartedly. Every single day. Every single vulnerable minute. Every single exposed nanosecond.

In a simple, yet constraining, seated twist or in a challenging, open-hearted backbend. Finding the place in a pose – and in your life – where you can truly breath, with depth and ease, is no mere feat. How you get to that place will be different for everyone. The magic of asanas is that they are designed to take you to this place of connection. To unlock the mystery of what is holding you back. To release the pent up emotions. The ones that are much more subtle then the overt twins of anger and anxiety that can usually be fended off by a good, long run. Emotions like shame, self-doubt, and contempt.

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Beauty in the struggle

No wonder you avoid yoga practice. It can feel super icky.

And it’s not the hurts-so-good burn of lactic acid build-up during a spin class. This is down-and-dirty, how-can-I-ever-look-someone-in-the-eye-again, kind-of hurt. But then you stay with it, you don’t avoid it, you breathe through it, and suddenly you have moved into a different pose/place/time and all is effortless. You feel light and shining and powerful and graceful and humbled and grateful.

Yoga is not balancing on your forearms while touching your toes to the top of your head. Yoga is not sitting in lotus for hours without moving a muscle. Yoga is not folding your sweaty self in half in a heated room. And, yet, if that is the yoga that works for you, then it is. Yoga is about viciously carving out time for yourself to work on the “you” that is outside the physical plane. It is the time you take to connect your body, mind, and spirit. The practice you do in order to sit with your self and your breath in silence without wanting to bolt from the situation. Without wanting your current reality to be different.

Yoga works on you energetically, emotionally, and spiritually. If you don’t buy that, it doesn’t mean that yoga is not for you, it only means you haven’t done enough yoga. You haven’t fully surrendered to the possibilities, to the potentiality, of really practicing yoga. This is a phenomenon that you can feel. It very visibly shows up in your life through the intensely radical as well as the softly subtle changes that occur once you commit to your practice.

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Freedom and peace is revealed

I used to run a lot. I still do. Just not as much. Running felt wonderful and cathartic and afterwards, for awhile, I was at peace. But it was never sustainable. Quite easily I would find myself jolted out of the flow and into reactive mode. Practicing more asanas, more often, allowed me to finally sit in mediation and actually capture that sustainable peace – for, like, days and weeks.

I am moving toward longer stretches of peaceful bliss and I always will be…

The Hunger Games

In Nutrition, Yoga on October 2, 2013 at 12:00 am
beet juice and avos

Veggie juice and avocados

September was Hunger Action Month (as well as World Alzheimer’s Month, Whole Grains Month, National Literacy Month, and National Preparedness Month!). And, yes, that was last month but I’ve finally finished this post and I won’t let the small factor of time affect the publishing.

figs n goat cheese2

Figs and herbed goat cheese

It’s hard to believe that, in an overweight and obese nation, there are those that struggle with hunger; however, 1 in 5 kids live with food insecurity, meaning they are not sure from where their next meal will come. Let us contrast that with the well-known fact that I like to cleanse and restrict the types of food I eat during a particular time period. I’ve also been known to fast (or “play famine victim” as a clever friend of mine prefers to call it) only consuming water over a 48hr time period. This is not some dangerous or irresponsible game I am playing. My choices are backed by the logical (the science of metabolism and nutrition) and the mystical (religious traditions and spiritual paths). I’ve been blessed with the abundance to not have to worry about whether I will have enough food to eat. In fact, I am spoiled in that I can afford to be choosey about what food I consume going to great lengths and costs to acquire exactly the type of food that I deem fit for my body. In theory, I have unlimited access to food. This is an outrageous luxury that I don’t believe I fully appreciate as often as I should.

As I settle into my dietetic internship, which begins in food service systems management, I see a wide gulf between what I consider nutritious and fit for consumption and what is being served in the school cafeterias and eateries. I’m not the first to feel this way and I’m certainly not going to solve the complex conundrum that is the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) during my 13 week rotation. The struggle to reconcile all of the contradictions and figure out where I fit into this mix is occupying way too much mental and emotional space. I want to let it all go. As such I’ve decided to take a different tack and see the issue from the practical, macro-level of scarcity and hunger.

retreat pantry

Retreat Pantry: organic, gluten-free, soy-free, blah, blah

In September, I attended a silent yoga retreat with Swami Ritavan at Questhaven, an esoteric Christian training and retreat center. When asked if I would do the menu planning and food preparation for the 18 participants, I quickly agreed then panicked, fearing I would give everyone food poisoning or have them running off-site to the nearest restaurant. As the menu-planning process began, the food restrictions, intolerances, and dietary requests from the participants started pouring in…gluten-free, vegan, no grains, soy-free, etc. I modified the menu accordingly carefully read labels as I spent many hours and loads of cash purchasing and prepping the organic groceries for the weekend’s meals. It was quite delicious to buy such high quality ingredients and lovingly prepare nourishing meals to support each participants’ spiritual journey inward. It’s also quite freeing to cook for a captive, voice-less audience who can’t complain about the food or make additional special requests!

Anyway, it was a lovely weekend. There was plenty of food and plenty of warm smiles and plenty of full bellies and plenty of nourished souls. On Monday, I quickly changed gears as I jumped into Day 1 of my dietetic internship at a high school district. There was neither a chia seed nor an organic berry to be found. I’ve spent the last month watching (and helping) prepare food – some highly processed and some made-from-scratch – on a much larger scale for growing, learning students. school food showEveryone who works in school food service is striving to do the best they can with the resources they are given. Putting together a balanced meal that kids will actually eat while factoring in labor costs makes ready-made, processed foods very appealing. With some schools having as much as 80% of children qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches, the costs for food, labor, equipment, and benefits must be recovered through the children that can afford to pay full price. This is an important service that schools provide to improve the learning capacity of their students and should not be de-valued. School food vendors are doing their best to provide foods that meet the new guidelines for whole grains and lower fats but still, at the end of the day, it’s mostly highly-processed, pre-cooked, flash-frozen, and very low in nutrients.

During my first week, I attended a school food product show and met up with grad school friends who appear to be thriving in this atmosphere even though I am aware of their personal philosophies regarding food and nutrition. I’m introduced to quite a few people in this type of dietetic work and I’m careful to remain neutral and friendly even though I feel conflicted and confused by the fact that I would rather be teaching yoga or developing a new soup recipe.

labryinthThe next evening I hosted SoupAsana attended by a group of women I met at the silent retreat. One of participants brings her sister who (how amazing is the universe in giving me answers to my questions and doubts??) happens to be married to one of the school nutrition directors I met the previous day. He too struggles with the quality of the school lunches and strives to provide the healthiest meals possible for the children who may only get one decent meal a day.

That’s all I needed. I am exactly where I should be. Doing exactly what I should be doing. On all levels and in all places of my life. No matter that it may seem contradictory from the outside. It’s all falling into place in the cosmic realm. And it will all be OK.

Perhaps Hunger Action Month is a good time to evaluate how much of your resources go towards food, how much volume you eat, where can you increase the quality while decreasing the quantity, and, most importantly, in what ways can you contribute to organizations that support other humans in their struggle with hunger and food insecurity?

Check out these top hunger organizations: Feeding America, UNICEF (my personal favorite), Share Our Strength, World Food Programme, Generations United, and Meals on Wheels. Hunger is a year-round problem so please take action even though it’s now October.

Watermelon-Cucumber Salad

In Nutrition, Recipe, Yoga on August 22, 2013 at 6:01 am

watermelon-cucumber saladI recently returned to hot yoga after swearing it off (for all of eternity) years ago. I optimistically bought a 10-class series (does anyone want to buy the remaining 5 classes?). In August. And I consistently went to late evening classes after long summer days. I honestly don’t remember thinking too deeply when I made these decisions. Shocked, right? After class I would find my dripping wet self, standing at my kitchen counter, chugging water and shoving blue corn chips in my mouth like I’d been lost in the desert for 3 days. And, I thought, there must be a better way to recover from this torture. As opposed to, you must never go back to those classes (for a hilarious account of one’s first hot yoga class, read this).

Anyway, when you sweat to the extent that most people do in hot yoga or football practice in Southern Florida or watermelon juice on beachcinder block-laying in Mainland Mexico you lose a TON of water AND salt! Coconut water and Kombucha will not properly rehydrate you under these circumstances, people. You must drink a lot of plain water and replenish your sodium and chloride stores (with actual salt!) thus rebalancing your electrolytes and your blood pressure. That’s what Gatorade is – salty water with a bunch of sugar to cover the saltwater flavor – and harmful food dyes. Contrary to popular belief, coconut water is not “Nature’s Gatorade” as it lacks (in large enough quantities) the two electrolytes actually lost during sweating – sodium and chloride.

This quick recipe is exactly what you need to rehydrate and refresh after a long day in the sun or an ill-timed, hot yoga class. Watermelon and cucumber are two of the highest water-content fruits and paired with some salt, crunch, and spice…you can’t go wrong.

Combine the following:

1/2 mini watermelon, cubed

1 english cucumber, peeled & cubed

salt and lemon1/2 lemon, juiced

1-2 TBSP olive oil, drizzled

Himalayan salt (pinch or 2)

Pepitas (tamari toasted are even better!), tossed on top

Cayenne (shake or 2)

OR – to simplify and tone it down the heat – substitute Seaweed Gomasio for the salt, pepitas, & cayenne

A little bit of fat and protein but mostly water, sugar, fiber, and salt. Serves 2-4 people depending on dehydration levels!

Opening to Curiosity

In Yoga on August 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm

0119_130502_SalmonberryMy journey into a daily, at-home, yoga practice has been long and varied with fits and starts and shifting focus. But all of it has been progress and a continual building on itself even if it didn’t appear that way at the time. Maybe to someone other than myself, it looks like a bunch of detours and u-turns but I’m just following the light that bubbles up inside of me when I practice – when I sit in meditation, when I kick up into a handstand, when I surrender to a forward bend.

Sometimes yoga feels like a struggle both physically and emotionally – but within any struggle there comes that moment of light, that burst of relief from the tension, a softening of the pushing and striving.

Practicing yoga makes you curious. You start to tap into and uncover parts of yourself that you didn’t know were there which then stimulates an interest and yearning to keep exploring and finding things outside yourself that encourage these ‘new’ parts of you. Sometimes you uncover light, sometimes you uncover dark. Either way, if you stay open and curious, it will lead you to miraculous places.

0143_130502_SalmonberryYou can start with any of the eight limbs of yoga or you can start with the most obvious, accessible, and least subtle. The asana or posture practice. For many, the physical practice is the beginning of being curious. The poses move your body in ways that are counter to it’s habits and challenge you to hang in there mentally. This physical opening, or energetic release, of the parts of your body – your hips, upper back, hamstrings, shoulders – that are tight or locked down allows something new to rush in.

A curiosity about your mind, a curiosity about your dominant emotions, a curiosity about the effect of food on your body and mood, a curiosity about the inherent beauty of nature, a curiosity about that neighbor whom you never bothered to speak to, a curiosity about your ancestor’s native country.

These peaks of interest – the places where you never realized the light was shining – lead you to take that belly dancing class or stock your pantry with new foods or pick up a different book or talk to a local artist or read old journals or ask your grandmother about her childhood or take that road trip or apply for that job or walk into that meet-up group.

The light will catch your attention anyway it can. Following your curiosity and consistently stimulating your innate knowing through yoga leads to a flowering of the heart and the realization that life can be, and, actually, always is, joyful.

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.

Cleanse – Day 4

In Mindfulness, Nutrition, Yoga on May 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm
tea

All tea. All day.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” ~Albert Einstein

I awoke feeeling rested on Day 4, aka All Tea, All Day, and, as a I made tea and sat down to meditate, I had every intention of writing (well, maybe I ‘planned’ it…) after I got up from my meditation cushion. Instead I ended up checking email, facebook, twitter…anything but starting to write. Although I was rested, I didn’t feel super sharp or motivated. At my morning yoga class I had a deep meditative experience and found myself very present with all that I was doing and with whom I was interacting. It’s an amazing experience. I felt so full and engaged and “ON”. Like everything I’m feeling and doing at that moment is exactly what should be happening and all of my energy and attention is a laser beam to the present moment. It’s the elusive “FLOW” and I want to live there always.

As a result of my amazing yoga class, I felt very energetic and alert when, after a quick stop for avocados and lemons, I returned home and started on food prep for the next 3 days of the cleanse. The 3 days following All Tea, All Day are known as the Raw Days where I would be eating only raw fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, a bit of raw honey and cold-pressed plant oils, as well as plenty of fresh-pressed fruit & veggie juices. Additionally, I would be entering that 1/2 of my week know as “full-on, single-parenting” and I needed to have a stocked fridge or I wouldn’t eat often enough to keep me pleasant towards my children or have enough variety to keep me interested in sticking with the cleanse.

stocked fridge

Prepared for the raw days of the cleanse.

While making my raw food staples, Chakra Salad and Salmonberry Spread, I rocked out to the Sgt. Pepper’s album. Who didn’t love the song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ when they were a kid? I thought it was the most imaginative and wacky adult song I had ever heard (it all made sense once I got to college!). And it is still a fun song to sing along to even with all that talk about tangerine skies and marshmallow pies fueling my appetite.

yogi teabag

Yogi Tea tags are my fortune cookies.

I felt very productive as I admired my stocked fridge and satisfied that I was able to kill 2-3 hours. And then it crept in. Now what? Sure, I could’ve filled my time with any numerous productive activities that may or may not have needed to get done. But they would have been distractions, another opportunity to not still myself, to not feel the feelings that I’d stuffed inside yesterday or last year or the last decade. I had wanted to cleanse myself physically and emotionally but I was also scared of truly letting go. My mind was saying “your kids will be back in 4 hours, get some stuff done before then. Make sure you’re ‘prepared’.” What does that mean anyway? Prepared? Isn’t it part of the Boy Scouts’ motto? Prepared means you are focused on the future. You are anticipating how it will turn out and what ‘things’ you will need for these future expectations. If you are prepared, you’ve done some planning.

I consider myself in recovery from ‘excessive planning disease’ which reached epic proportions when I become a mother twice within 18 months. I do believe some planning and preparation is necessary in life (I had just finished food prep for the next 3 days!) but it is so easy to get all self-righteous and control-freaky about planning. And, for me, it takes some serious mindfulness to ACTIVELY NOT PLAN my entire life away. Allowing myself the freedom for spontaneity and synchronicity to bubble up, taking equal precedence in my life, has opened me to some of the greatest opportunities for joy and playfulness that I’ve experienced since becoming so ‘adult’ about everything. This excerpt from the poem “What to Remember When Waking” by David Whyte sums it up for me: “…what you can plan is too small for you to live…”.

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Listen to your heart. Eat chocolate.

When my heart said to me “the best way you can ‘prepare’ is nurture yourself right now”, I followed my heart’s advice into a steaming, hot, bubble bath at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon! As I soaked in the bath I was conscious of how my body felt as it was supported and surrounded by the hot water. The scalding heat. The tickle-y bubbles. The slippery wetness. Conscious breathing took me deeper into my body as I inhaled the lavender scent of the bubbles and felt my muscles release and relax into the bath.

My mind, trying to rationalize as always, said, “of course! this is exactly what you needed to ‘prepare’.” But I wasn’t taking the bath to prepare myself for anything. I was taking the bath because it was most supportive thing I could do at that moment. Letting go and slowing down my breathing, along with my mind, allowed to me uncover messages, insights, epiphanies, aha moments, knowing, whatever it is that you want to call those magical, heart-centered moments, and then I could continue to stumble along…a little bit closer to those desires to which I’m being guided.

Red Velvet Soup

In Nutrition, Recipe, Yoga on May 16, 2013 at 10:03 pm
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Beet root, red lentils, tri-color quinoa.

I honestly cannot find the original source for this recipe which is a shame because I did not modify it at all (except for the name!). It is simple and brilliant just as it is. I’ve made it for two SoupAsana groups and was met with rave reviews. Both times, during the prep and cook process, I was skeptical due to the color and consistency but once I started simmering the spices in coconut oil, I knew everything was going to turn out just fine 🙂 Beautifully-colored and deliciously-edible, this soup is high in fiber, antioxidants, folate, and iron. Even more delicious served with corn muffins.

Ingredients:

boiled-over pot

A watched pot never boils but an un-watched pot boils over!

1 cup dried red lentils
½ cup quinoa
1 medium beet root, grated
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
¼ cup diced red onion
1 bay leaf
4 cups water
2 TBSP coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp turmeric powder

Garnish w lime wedges, rock salt, honey Greek yogurt or feta

beet lentil stew

Stew topped with feta and lime

Place lentils, quinoa, grated beet, ginger, onion, bay leaf and water in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Heat coconut oil in a small pan. Add cumin seeds, coriander, and turmeric and lightly saute for 1-3 minutes on medium heat (making sure they don’t burn). Add to stew…do a little taste taste…perhaps add fresh ground pepper and/or tamari.

Cleanse – Day 2

In Mindfulness, Nutrition, Yoga on April 29, 2013 at 7:21 am
cauliflower and cayenne

Steamed cauliflower with cayenne.

“Witnessing can be called the seed and enlightenment can be called the flowers. But begin from witnessing, and then it starts growing. Go on nourishing it, go on caring for it, go on watering it, strengthen it in every possible way — and one day it is going to blossom. That day will be the greatest day of your life.” ~Osho

Day 2 went much smoother. I had to be at the studio at 6am to open for sunrise yoga and I contemplated stopping at Brick ‘n Bell for a decaf coffee (I stop there every morning that I open the studio) but I didn’t think I could resist the smell of baking pastries (mmm, slowly savoring a cranberry scone in my mind right now). Had cleansing soup and green juice for breakfast at the studio. Went straight to DMV (had an appointment – painless). Then to my home studio to teach a class at noon. It was a gorgeous day so after class I took my soup bowl down to the beach and ate it while sitting in the sand. Getting outside and into nature as often as possible during your cleanse makes the 10th bowl of soup in 2 days taste sooo much better. Nature has a grounding, calming effect. Ever take a wailing newborn outdoors and suddenly the crying stops?

beach at westbourne2

Beach at the end of my street.

I had errands on my to-do list for that afternoon but the beach was too beautiful to miss the opportunity to dig my toes in the sand and write in my journal. I had also planned to go to power yoga in the early evening before full-moon meditation but, as usually happens during these cleanses, my energy starts dipping in the afternoon, so I skipped it and worked on my computer instead. I hesitated when deciding to skip yoga. It was tempting to just power through the fatigue. My ‘stay-cation’ was the reason I had an opportunity to attend that class and part of me was saying “grab every opportunity, every time”. It’s the part of me that believes in scarcity. I’d rather choose the abundance mentality as often as possible because who wants to live believing there is never enough or will never be another chance?

cleansing soup

Cleansing Soup.

Full-moon meditation was very intense. The energy was thick as I dropped right into a deep state and was grateful that I had taken the time to eat enough and had not pushed myself too far physically. The thing about this cleanse is that you’re eating all day long. Since the meals are only veggies, they are not calorically-dense but they are high in fiber; therefore, there is only so much volume you can eat in one meal. Fiber may make you feel physically full but it’s fat that is linked to satiety (fat delays gastric emptying – stomach to small intestine). The carbs in veggies are digested quickly and moved from your stomach into your small intestine for absorption and then, bingo – you’re hungry again. I carry around baggies of steamed sugar snap peas (and veggie juice) to make sure my blood sugar doesn’t get too low. I must have eaten 5 bowls of soup this day and I just couldn’t eat another so I simmered cauliflower in veggie broth, onions, and garlic for a quick meal before meditation. With a sprinkle of cayenne, it was a delicious change of pace and exactly what I needed to get to that place where everything just falls away…