SalmonBerry

Posts Tagged ‘health’

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.

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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?

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…

Cleanse – Day 1

In Mindfulness, Nutrition on April 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm
juices

Veggie Juices

“Habits allow us to not think about what we’re doing . . . giving us the illusion of ease. When we are under the illusion of ease, not thinking about what we’re doing and breathing the same old way, moving the same old way, thinking the same old way, we check out of the present, out of happiness itself.” ~ Alex Levin

My day of silence prompted me to do an 8-day cleanse. I know what you’re thinking. She’s already so healthy. Clean eating, yoga, meditation. Does she really need to cleanse? Yup, I do. I do it mostly for the emotional release and spiritual growth which allows me to come back to my heart. I am constantly striving to live from my heart. Make decisions from this place. Take action from this place. From where does your action and decision-making come? Is it fear, anticipation, avoidance, contraction? Or is it love, expansion, joy, and present-moment acceptance? Taking the time to change up our eating habits (however healthy they may already be) with a mindful cleanse allows space for awareness of the ‘stuff’ we may still be holding onto.

avocados

Organic San Diego County avocados

Anyway, this cleanse – the Salmonberry Signature Cleanse – is, roughly:

3 days of cooked vegetables only (no oils, fats, protein). Just steamed or simmered veggies. Fresh-pressed juices are definitely on the menu with a heavy emphasis on the veggies and less on the fruits.

Day 4 is just herbal tea, water, lemon water, sparkling water…clean, pure water in all forms.

3 days of raw fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds with a bit of honey and oil. To me this means avocados all day long! Again lots of fresh pressed juices and fruits are welcome!

Day 8 is only fresh watermelon juice (or pineapple juice). At this point in the cleanse I’ll be feeling so fabulous, I’ll start annoying people (it’s happened before!). I usually drink over 100 ounces of watermelon juice on this day.

For 3 days prior to this cleanse I was to have dropped all meat, wheat, sugar, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol. But, since I don’t see the Cleanse Police in my neighborhood, I drank coffee right up to the last minute. The night before I started the cleanse was like the last supper at my house. I ate way too much and even had a belly ache…so embarrassing and clearly time for a cleanse.

Day 1 was tough (as it always is). I was crabby first thing in the morning. Most likely because I couldn’t have my beloved coffee and I hadn’t yet made the Cleansing Soup so there was nothing for breakfast. I pulled my foggy self out of bed, brushed my teeth and headed to my favorite juice bar to stock up on juices. Of course, the super cute juicer was working and I looked really rough (it was like I had a food hangover from the last supper). Oh well. I stocked up on Green Lemonade (ginger, spinach, cucumber, celery, apple, and lemon) and Super 7 (ginger, parsley, beets, bell pepper, celery, cucumber, and carrots) and transfered them into 12oz Ball jars filled all the way to the top and sealed tight so they will keep as many nutrients as possible over the next 3 days. I used to do my own juicing but my juicer is so old that it’s starting to suck at it’s job so it makes more sense for me to buy someone else’s juice. I really need to retire and recycle that poor juicer (here in SoCal that means ‘leave it in the alley’).

movie snack

Movie snack when on a cleanse: steamed sugar snap peas and veggie juice

So I started in on a green lemonade and preparing my home studio for our weekly meditation group. After meditation, I had a much better attitude so I cranked the music and powered through making the Cleansing Soup (recipes turn out much better if you sing during food prep). The rest of my day consisting of getting some work done, a walk on the beach, and 3-4 bowls of soup. In an effort to distract myself from my raging, caffeine-withdrawal headache, I met a friend at the movies. The movie was heavy, The Place Beyond the Pines, and, since I was subsisting off veggie juice and steamed sugar snap peas, I’ve had more enjoyable movie experiences. The movie was actually quite good but we both needed something lighter and more uplifting. That’s what you get when you pick movies based on eye candy as opposed to plot.

I could not get into bed fast enough after the movie and was sound asleep by 8pm. I slept like the dead all the way until 5am when I had to get up to open La Jolla Yoga Center for sunrise yoga. According to my iPhone app – Sleep Cycle – my sleep quality was 100% that night but it sure didn’t feel like it.

Plant Power

In Nutrition on April 11, 2013 at 8:39 pm
photo (52)

Superfoods: onion, kale, sweet potato

I’ll be the first to admit that nutrition research can be contradictory, changeable, and alarmist especially as presented by media sound bites. “Fat is bad” then “Eat more fat” and “Carbs make you fat” then “Actually, only ‘bad’ carbs make you fat” and “Antioxidants: more equals better” then “Wait, antioxidant supplements act as pro-oxidants”! During graduate school I was required to pore through the research and the one constant in almost 40 years of nutrition research was this: fruit and vegetable intake is inversely correlated with chronic disease risk.

This means that as you INCREASE your F/V consumption you DECREASE your risk of developing a chronic disease (and the other way around). This is one of the most consistent findings of nutritional epidemiology.

cauliflower

Huge, homegrown cauliflower

 The correlation starts at a min of 5 servings of F/V and – this is the good part – maxes out at 9 servings of F/V. So you can eat 12 servings per day of F/V (if you can fit all that fiber in your belly) but research has demonstrated it WON’T MAKE YOU ANY HEALTHIER than the person eating 9 servings of F/V. Of course, the amount of F/V servings needed depends on body size and gender: a petite woman needs 5-6 while a bigger man needs up to 8-9. Look closely at your diet to see where you can replace an animal food with a plant food. It’s time to change that long-told storyline in your head about the veggies you don’t like and the foods you think you “need” to be healthy. Challenge those old patterns and re-investigate plant foods you may have written off years ago. Meat-lovers, don’t dispair! There is room for animal foods in your diet but consider using them as an accompaniment (i.e. garnish or side dish, perhaps?) to your main meal of powerful plant foods.

Living a Sepia-Toned Life

In Mindfulness, Nutrition on April 3, 2013 at 9:52 pm
gratitude genius

From Danielle LaPorte’s book, The Fire Starter Sessions.

I’ve never been a black-and-white kind of thinker. You might say I am comfortable in the gray area but that evokes a kind of dullness. I prefer the gentle warmth of a sepia-toned life. My line of work, my physical appearance, or other observations of me by others prompt such assumptions as: I’m a vegan (I’m not), I never eat sugar (I do), or I sell salmonberries (I don’t!). I admit to having very healthy eating habits but I don’t follow a dogmatic approach to eating nor do I ever say ‘never’ (hmm, did I just say it?). I feel we can all learn to trust ourselves enough to live mindfully in the Sepia Zone. It’s the area between black-and-white-rule-following that is warmer and more inviting and nothing is out-of-bounds. I eat a plant-based, no-sugar diet like…80% of the time. I’m making that number up – it could be 90% or 75% – the number doesn’t matter! What does matter is that this is my diet the VAST majority of the time. It’s not painful or steeped in willpower. It’s just present moment awareness and mindful decisions that involve trusting myself and my body. This approach feels easy, joyful, and appreciative to me as opposed to strict, disciplined, and degrading. I am not the type to eat a daily dessert so when I want to treat myself, I go big. If you are the type that would rather have a treat more often but are concerned about the nutritional impact, then check out Chia Pudding and Choco-Chia Nut Spheres.

Lemon Water

In Nutrition on March 31, 2013 at 2:16 am
Filtered water with lemon. First thing every morning.

Filtered water with lemon. First thing. Every morning.

Implementing this simple and totally un-original morning habit still seems to elude most people. The first thing to do upon waking is hydrate (then eliminate, but that’s another discussion!). Before you put anything else in your mouth…this means coffee, tea, green juice…chug some warm or room temp lemon water first.

At night, I place a 16oz bottle of filtered water on my kitchen counter next to my French press pot. I wake, stumble to the kitchen, turn on the tea kettle, squeeze 1/2 a Meyers lemon (any organic limes or lemons will do) into the water bottle and down at least 8oz while I prepare my coffee. Done. 

How: Squeeze 1/2 Meyers lemon into a bowl, scoop out seeds, combine with 16oz filtered water, drink ALL of it.

Why: To rehydrate body after 8+hrs of fasting, to encourage morning elimination, to replenish vitamin C (water-soluble vitamin that requires daily ingestion), to purify the breath, and to increase production of bodily fluids.

I Heart Eggs

In Nutrition on March 31, 2013 at 2:08 am
photo (70)

Colorful eggs from happy backyard chickens.

I LOVE EGGS. I know it’s hip to be vegan but I just can’t give them up and it doesn’t feel like the right thing to do for my body. So I eat them. Often. With gusto and relish (not the condiment). I eat eggs from perhaps the happiest chickens in SoCal. Maybe it’s the ocean view – they check the surf at Scripps Pier – salt air, or foraging in the veggie garden but most likely it’s the sunny, 7-year-old girl who adores them and showers them with love. And, in turn, all those happy, loving vibes are ingested by me.

It is OK to eat eggs everyday…yes, really! Whole eggs are a nutritious part of everyone’s diet. Even for those of us with high cholesterol, eggs can be safely consumed (studies have shown dietary cholesterol to have little effect on blood lipid levels). Egg whites are a complete protein source meaning they provide all the essential amino acids the body cannot make on its own. However, if you are only consuming the whites you are missing out on vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. Whole eggs are low in calories and packed with nutrients so poach ‘em, fry ‘em, scramble ‘em, frittata ‘em, quiche ‘em, french toast ‘em, rancheros ‘em…have I left anything out?

photo (5)

Whole grain toast topped with avocado, poached egg, and salsa verde.