SalmonBerry

Posts Tagged ‘silence’

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.

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.