SalmonBerry

Posts Tagged ‘mindful’

Super Green Silent Quinoa Salad

In Mindfulness, Nutrition, Recipe on June 7, 2015 at 3:04 pm
green quinoa salad

Green Quinoa Salad

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ~W.B. Yeats

Silence is golden. And not just at the movie theater. I am speaking about intentional silence. Not silence because you live alone and didn’t leave the house all weekend. I tried being purposefully silent.

For 27 hours and 45 minutes, I went entirely without electronic and verbal communication.

In my own home, on an ordinary weekend, I spontaneously designed a mini, silence retreat. Since I had attended longer, silence retreats with groups at Zen Buddhist centers in the mountains outside LA and ashrams in India, I thought to myself – I’ve got this, it’s only one day – failing to take into account how supportive it is, both energetically and physically, to attend an organized retreat with others. Everything is set up for your success. The environment and everyone in it is dragging you along to finish line with their earnest intentions of spiritual salvation.

So why bother trying this on my own? Why would I or anyone want to do this? Aren’t there many more “fun” things one could be doing with their weekend? Well, cost and convenience, for one. But, also, because I really needed it. I was actually craving it. And I found it to be an accessible undertaking all on my own.

sound of silence

The sound of silence…

At organized silence retreats, journaling and reading are strongly discouraged. You are instructed not to give your mind anything to hold on to or work with. Without distractions your mind goes ballistic and roves wildly and aggressively from topic to topic. The resistance hits a fever pitch within the first 24 hours and right when you’ve decided to sneak out of your bunk in the middle of the night and haul ass home so you can at least talk – or something – everything goes quiet and you are flooded with joy as well as relief.

Since this at-home silence retreat was only approximately 24 hours, I allowed myself the luxury of cooking as a distraction. This recipe is perfect for focusing your attention at the task at hand rather than letting your mind wander into the future or fantasy (those might be the same thing!). The making of the herb paste is tedious (really tedious) but only if you are focused on finishing. If you merely focus on individually separating each leaf from each stem, one leaf at a time, it becomes very meditative and quite Zen. Cooking in a gentle and mindful manner while being conscious of your thoughts leads to super duper delicious food.

Ingredients:

2 cups quinoa

2 onions, peeled and very thinly sliced into rings
2 TBSP (I like more) olive oil
1/2 – 1 tsp ground cumin (or toast and grind your own seeds)

Herb paste
1/2 cup parsley
2 cups cilantro
1/2 cup dill
1/4 cup tarragon
1/4 cups mint, fresh
3 TBSP olive oil (try citrus-infused olive oils)

1 cup shelled pistachios (or sub tamari toasted pepitas)

3 cups baby arugula (1 box works great)

Cook quinoa in 2 cups of water in a rice cooker or on the stove-top until all water is absorbed. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes after cooking and then fluff with a fork.

herbs

Herbs for green paste: dill, cilantro, tarragon, mint, parsley

Use an immersion blender to process de-stemmed herbs and oil until very smooth. Can be made up to 2 days ahead of time. I recommend making a large batch and freezing for future use. You can stir this paste into almost anything to add tons of flavor. And, yes, the herb paste is very tedious to make. So (if you aren’t on a homegrown silence retreat) put on some music, get really zen, maybe have a glass of wine, and hyper-focus on separating tiny leaves from their stems.

It can be a good idea to do this part the night before. Store the de-stemmed herbs between damp paper towels in plastic baggies. Herb paste can be stirred into greek yogurt as a topping for grilled fish or whipped into hummus or spread on sandwiches.

Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, heat oil and add cumin. Add onions and sauté over medium heat until soft and golden brown.

Add the herb paste to the fluffed quinoa and use fork to thoroughly combine. Add the hot onions to the arugula and toss well. Then add green quinoa and mix well. Lastly, top with pepitas or pistachios. Serve immediately or chilled.

Advertisements

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…”.

IMG_3503

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.

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.