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MUSINGS ON ‘DIET’… and a yummy cacao smoothie!

MUSINGS ON ‘DIET’… and a yummy cacao smoothie!

Posted August 08, 2011

Now, I’m not really into ‘diets’. That probably seems like a bizarre comment from a yoga teacher and holistic health counsellor in training… But what I mean is, I don’t specifically follow a plan or regime that limits what I can and can’t eat. I’m not good with restrictions. So instead, I just go with ‘healthy’ whenever I can and listen to what my body needs… with enough slack for a little indulgence and flexibility. Over the years there have been a few particular concepts in the health space that have hit a nerve – mostly positive … sometimes not so much. From the huge variety of diets (or should I say methods of eating/living) I have cherry-picked elements that make sense to me, read up on them and then slowly incorporated them into my lifestyle. For example, I aim to eat seasonal, local produce as much as possible – the concept of eating what the earth provides each season just seems right, doesn’t it? And local produce limits the amount of time your fruit/veg is in transport (often picked unripe, lacking nutrients!) From Ayurveda, I’ve worked more grounding, warming foods into my diet – especially in winter, or when I’m feeling a little strung out and anxious. Weston A. Price gave me confidence to eat good fats like coconut oil, milk and butter and of course meat all from high quality sources – knowing that my body and brain needs fat (as does yours!) is refreshing instead of giving into the ‘anti-fat’ campaign! David Woolfe and the Raw Food movement introduced me to SuperFood smoothies (click here for my recipe!) packed with Chia seeds, Raw Cacao, Spirulina, Blueberries and more, which are busting with anti-oxidants, protein and minerals. From macrobiotics I’ve embraced whole foods – particularly whole grains and am going to try out more sea vegetables too. As you can see, there’s quite a bit there… and it’s forever evolving. As I discover something new (that most likely has been around for centuries!) I trial it out and see how it works. Nothing will ever become a part of my lifestyle/diet if I don’t like the taste, it doesn’t make sense, or I can’t find a way of working it into a meal/smoothie – sometimes it’s just too difficult. Studying at IIN there are a few things I’ve learnt that have really stuck like glue. One of the biggest take outs for me has been coming to the understanding that people will not stick to a healthy habit/ingredient/meal and make it permanent if it just doesn’t work for them. Take, for example, a person that has an unbreakable bond with meat, of any kind, will just feel miserable trying to follow a strict vegetarian diet. A vegan would probably feel dirty trying to eat raw full cream milk whilst a raw foodie would probably weep over the dead enzymes cooked out of fresh produce. Every single person is unique. Each person not only looks different, but also thinks differently and reacts differently. So how can there ever be one diet that is right for everyone? It’s impossible. What is possible is finding health and balance within the framework and lifestyle that makes the individual feel alive, happy and content. Something that doesn’t mess with the way they see things. That’s not to say that sometimes people just need a little help and education to show them that, say, a kebab everyday is probably not the best option. Whilst studying at IIN I have learnt all about Bio-Individuality. The concept of bio-individuality is that each person has unique food and lifestyle needs. One person’s food is another person’s poison. Makes sense doesn’t it? And it’s comforting to know that I had been living my own life in this way and will soon be able to help other people do the same! Another diet concept that I connect with is the Acid/Alkaline diet – I’ll be doing a little spotlight on this soon. So check in again because it’s a fascinating one. And just because I like to share, here is another delicious smoothie recipe. A perfect example of how easy it is to enjoy a delicious yet incredibly nutritious diet! This little gem is actually from a fellow Integrative Nutrition student – Scott Mathias. He is in QLD so if anyone up that way is seeking an amazing health counsellor with a wealth of knowledge and a heap of great foodie ideas then get in touch! Dairy free, Sugar free, Cacao Superfood Smoothie: · Chocolate Milk: 500 ml of filtered/spring · 1/2 tbsp tahini (I used black unhulled tahini) · 5-6 mejool dates (or ordinary dates soaked overnight) · 3-4 tbsp raw cacao · Small handful of walnuts · 2 tbsp of chia seeds (soak in a little water first) · Blend ingredients together Enjoy the yumminess! *Image from Scott Mathias I took Scott’s recipe and changed it up slightly – so you can do the same. It is so delish it’s hard to believe it’s not only healthy but bursting with vitality and goodness! So tell me, how has your diet evolved? Or do you stick to one particular regime and rarely deviate? Tell me what works for you or what you are hoping to change? Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen.Live Cx *Food images kindly borrowed from the Integrative Nutrition Read more

FIVE ON FRIDAY … five meditation techniques

FIVE ON FRIDAY … five meditation techniques

Posted August 05, 2011

Here are five meditation techniques to try – explore each one to discover which technique works the best in calming your nervous system and bringing you into a more present and quieter state. 1) Mantra – Primordial Sound/TM I posted on Primordial Sound Meditation here. Similar to Transcendental Meditation, this meditation technique focuses on stilling the mind in order to reach ‘The Gap’ or the state of ‘no mind’ between your thoughts. The vehicle to reaching this state is via the repetition of a mantra – usually issued to you by a certified PSM or TM teacher. Often this mantra reflects the vibration of the universe at your time of birth (as with PM) or something similar. Your mantra is meaningless and meant to be that way. The less meaning you connect to the word the more opportunity you have to use it, simply as a tool to quiet the mind whilst preventing a thought pattern to emerge from your ideas around the meaning of that word. Simply sit, breathing softly and quietly rolling the mantra around in your mind – like the gentle repetitive movement of the wave; each wave is different, big, rough, smooth, small, as is your mantra, sometimes it’s louder, softer, clear, undefinable, jumbled. 2) Visualisation I find this technique incredibly relaxing but difficult to reach that point of stillness – that delicous state of deep consciousness when you are both present yet removed. Despite that, some people achieve an incredible calm state with visualisation so it is still worth a go. Visualisation is often best experienced when guided by a teacher – either on a cd or at a meditation workshop. By drawing your attention onto the descriptions the teacher is conjuring up you are slowly able to empty out the clutter and jibberish knocking about in your mind. This is turn allows the body to relax into the visualition – sunrise, never-ending ocean, tropical island – which then encourages deep physical and mental relaxation 3) Yoga Nidra Also referred to as psyhic sleep where the mind stays awake and the body goes to sleep. Yoga Nidra is something I recommend everyone seek out and try. I first experienced it during my hatha yoga teacher training and fell in love with it. The beautiful, ever peaceful Naomi Nahoum took our class on a journey that left each of us energised yet completely blissed out. Yoga Nidra is a guided meditation that quietens the mind by first stilling the body. A teacher will invite you to bring your focus to different parts of your body, rotating from your right foot, all the way around finishing at your left foot. From here visualiations, breathing exercises and spatial/physical exercises will work to take you deeper and deeper. Ultimately, a thorough Yoga Nidra session will take you into a XX brainwave pattern, which is a highly active brain wave pattern, however you are simultaneously in a deeply restful state. 1-1.5hr Yoga Nidra session is equivalent to 3-4hours of restorative sleep. 4) Mindfulness meditation This is learning the art of living and being in the present moment. As a collective consciousness we spend too much time dwelling in the past and waste energy worrying and planning for the future. But if you were to ask yourself, despite your problems, concerns, life issues, and ask this question, “what is the problem, right now, in this moment?’ usually, there isn’t one. If you think about it there is nothing too great a concern to warrant the stress and anxiety we often dwell in. Meaning, stressing over that deadline, or what you are going to cook or picking up the children are all tasks for the future. Your anxiety over it now doesn’t serve a purpose, except to overtake the ‘now’ with future worries. Often when I’m having a bad day/moment I run through these three questions – something I learnt from Eckart Tolle and his hugely popular book “The Power of Now’. First I ask – 1) Can I change it? If I can, then I do so. If not, then I ask 2) Can I leave it – the situation, the conversation, the argument? If I can then I do and if neither of these questions can be answered then I finally ask 3) Can I accept it? By the time I’ve reached question three, the reality is that I have no other choice but to accept the situation. And as soon as I do, as soon as I let go of the stress, concern and anxiety that I am creating, then the situation is bearable, manageable and I begin to learn from the situation. Instead of fighting against the unchangeable, in that moment, I have entered the present. The now. Becoming mindful of all that the situation has brought about – the good, the bad, the ugly. So mindfulness meditation is practicing how to be in the now. And it can be done in the most mundane of daily tasks. Cooking – set yourself up and then focus your heart and mind on the task. No distractions – just you and the art creating. When you are eating – take yourself away from your desk, magazine, phone conversation and just sit with your meal. Focusing in on the taste, the smell, the way your body reacts and just allowing your body to absorb. Or singing with gusto along to your favourite song. Have you ever noticed when you are driving and singing along to a great song before you know it you have arrived at your destination with no recollection as to how you got there? All you know is that you were belting it out, loving life. That is being and feeling the ‘moment’! P.s, I don’t really recommend this, for safety purposes and all… but hey, it happens. 5) Pranayama/Breath work Not necessarily classified as a ‘meditation’ technique, but to me the cleansing and mind-calming properties of pranayama/breath work achieve a similat goal to most meditation techniques. Prana […] Read more

SEASONAL SALAD

SEASONAL SALAD

Posted August 03, 2011

Summer is almost here! Ahh, the warm days, the endless sunshine, hours of dipping in and out of the water… pure bliss. Ok, I realise that this may be a tad premature, considering it’s only just gone August. But this week in Sydney we’ve been blessed with flawlessly sunny days and temperatures in the low 20s! I do also clearly recall that this is just the teaser, the taste of summer. There will certainly be another cold snap soon. But until then, I’m going to relish in the warmer weather and what that means for my diet. I always marvel at how my body (and most likely yours does too) tells me what it wants and needs. In the winter, it needs porridge, warming stews and roasts and in the summer I start to crave crunchy veg, zingy flavours and lighter meals. Our bodies our incredibly intelligent and if we listen it’ll sing out, loud and clear, for what it needs. So it’s no surprise to me that last night I had my first salad craving since last summer. My body has sensed the slight shift in the weather – the days are gradually getting longer (woohoo!) and the bite in the air has eased off. From an Ayurvedic perspective the warmer months are related to Pitta Dosha. The ‘body-mind’ type related to heat, energy, activity and drive. During this time, to prevent too much build up of Pitta, we tend to crave cooling, refreshing food and drinks to reduce the heat energy. Too much internal heat can lead to a tendency towards aggression, feeding the fiery Pitta in us throughout the summer months. Each person has a different dosha or nature, so you may not need as many cooling foods in the warmer months as others do. Have you ever noticed how so people seem perfectly calm in the heat (possible a Vata who loves the warmer weather – me!) whilst others are so irritated and are constantly seeking the solace of air-conditioned shops? They are probably strong Pittas who need to chill out! Either way, whether you are one or the other, or somewhere in between, what is important is to transition through the seasons eating local produce and listening to what your body craves. If cold, crunchy salads seem wrong in winter, it’s probably because your body is looking for warming, grounding foods with nourishing spices and oils, and vice versa. That brings me to the yummy salad that I made last night for dinner. At work I had been thinking about what to eat – summery salad said my body! I did take into consideration that the temperature is still quite cool at night so I shouldn’t go to fresh and crisp with my salad. In the end, I compromised by creating a delicious butter bean, chicken and paprika salad. The paprika is a nice ‘warming’ spice and I made sure there was plenty of lovely olive oil tossed in to help absorb all the fresh veg whilst keeping the salad a little more grounded. So if you are craving a delicious, lighter meal whilst the warmer weather continues try this out. Ingredients: · Chicken (can do this without if you like!) · Can of organic butter beans · English Spinach (avoid the one in the bags!) · Zucchini · Red capsicum · Red Onion · Kale · Garlic · Olive Oil · Juice of one lemon and one lime · Coconut Oil Method: 1. Marinade the chicken in lemon juice and paprika. Heat coconut oil in a wok. 2. Cook chicken – start on a medium heat and then drop to low so the chicken stays nice and tender 3. Before the chicken has finished cooking chuck in roughly chopped zucchini 4. In another pan gently sweat off the diced up garlic and diced red onion – only a couple of minutes 5. In a separate bowl with a lid/Tupperware container put the rinsed butter beans, 1/4cup olive oil, lemon and lime juice and add the red onion and garlic. Put the lid on and shake everything up quite vigorously 6. In a large salad bowl layer spinach, kale and chopped up red capsicum 7. Toss in the chicken 8. Pour of the beans/oil/red onion mixture Serve it up! Fresh, light, delicious yet nourishing – will leave you feeling content. Enjoy. Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live Cx Read more

SALT WATER STOMACH FLUSH

SALT WATER STOMACH FLUSH

Posted August 01, 2011

During my teacher training in Hatha Yoga we learnt all about a series of cleansing techniques. In theory, they sounded pretty outrageous and unusual. And, after experiencing them I can attest that a a couple of them were intense – more on that another time. But there is one particular cleansing technique called Laghoo Shankaprakshalana that I have become a huge fan of, and perform every Monday. SOoo, what is it? Well…Laghoo blah blah blah is basically a very long-winded sanskrit term for intestinal salt water flush. A little warning: We are about to get a a little more personal here – you, me and any other readers out there (hello to those people in Qatar that keep reading my blog!) I’ll do my best to be discreet but we talking about flushing out your digestive tract here… so I won’t be offended if you log off now… Well, if you are still here then brilliant, because you are about to learn about the simplest technique to giving your digestive system a flush and reboot. Laghoo is an ancient yogi practice, amongst other cleansing techniques, that is carried out as one of the ways to begin to cleanse the body. You see, before one can reach enlightenment there is a whole lot of work that needs to be carried out in the body. Cue: yoga postures, breathwork, cleansing techniques and learning how to withdraw the senses. If there is alot of chaos going on in the body – physically – then it’ll be near impossible to quiet the mind and find stillness in order to reach enlightenment. But, I’m not telling you about laghoo because it sends me on a spiritual rollercoaster – because It doesn’t (if only it were that easy!) I’m downloading about laghoo because it simply is an awesome way to care for your gut, intestines and colon which helps to build your immunity (the gut is the powerhouse for your immunity) and detox the body of built up junk and debris. Recently I was discussing this with a friend who tried it for herself and had a great result – so it got me thinking that maybe I’ll share it here! Oh and also, if you are a fan of colonics, this is technique is a) a fraction of the cost b) a whole lot less embarrasing and c) no where near as uncomfortable! Here is a little breakdown of Laghoo. Although it’s incredibly simple to do, most people learn Laghoo at a retreat or with the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher. If you can get to a retreat or try it with a teacher then great. Otherwise be careful and mindful of this practice – although there is nothing to worry about! A few starting points. • Once you have learnt from a teacher/at a retreat and want to try it again, laghoo can be conducted weekly. I do recommend that when doing it at home for the first time that you choose a day when you are totally free and have a bit of privacy • Keep an open mind and stay calm – many of people freak out when it comes to their stomach/bodily functions. There is a lot of emotional tension/trauma held in our stomachs so it’s no uncommon to feel quite nervy and unsettled about it- you can always look to a professional for guidance if you want to do this. It’s important to stay loose (pun not intended!) and trust your body to do its thing. • Depending on your current digestive system you may only need an 1hr or you may need some chill out time at home for alot longer – it does take a little longer to, ahh, pass the salt water if you are prone to constipation etc • Don’t skimp on the salt – buy a good quality salt. I recommend Himalayan Rock Salt – you should be able to find this at most health food shops • The yoga postures are designed to encourage the salt water to move fluidly and quickly through the digestive tract. • The slightly salt water (which is the same salt water solution within our bodies) grips onto debris in the intestines helping to move it through and out! Ok… now, here’s the how to: 1. The night before the morning you are planning on ‘flushing’ create 1.5 – 2litres of warm water. 2. Add 1 flat teaspoon of salt per 500mls and ensure it fully dissolves. I store it in large glass bottles and cover it overnight on the counter top 3. In the AM – before eating/drink anything – head to the kitchen and boil up some fresh water. 4. Pour yourself a 500ml cup of the salt water solution and add in some hot water. 5. Drink the 500ml cup quickly and then perform these 5 yoga postures 8 times each. 6. Once you’ve completed the postures, drink another 500ml cup and repeat the above. 7. Continue to do the above until you’ve drunk 3-4 cups and then wait – allow the system to do what it does. 8. Eventually you wll pass the water and a whole lot of junk! My advice the more relaxed you are (the less you stress yourself out about what you are doing) the quicker and easier it’ll be. 9. Let’s be honest – you can either sit on the toilet for a while (take a book) and let it all flush out, or you can stay nearby to a toilet to run back and forth! I choose the former! 10. Take rest after it – even if it’s just half an hour – lay down, stay warm and enjoy some quiet time 11. When you are ready eat something nourishing after like a warm tea and porridge. Now, like I said, it’ll happen within a different timeframe for everyone. I usually can’t drink more than the 3-4 glasses before it’s all systems go – and it happens very […] Read more

LIGHT ON YOGA…camatkrasana

LIGHT ON YOGA…camatkrasana

Posted July 27, 2011

Also known as Wild Thing. It’s a beautiful, warming, exciting pose. A heart opening pose that lifts the chest and lungs, releases the shoulders, opens the quads and front of the hips whilst building strength in the upper back. Backbends, just like inversions, test our mental and physical boundaries – raising questions around what our body is capable of – in particular the spine. But the spine is able to perform the full range of motion, and with a little persistence we can start to explore our bodies with more depth. The result? Enjoying the benefits of a healthy spine and living a life without major injury. In terms of movement – the spine is articulated in four ways: · Extension: neck moves away from chest – backbending · Flexion: neck moves towards the chest – forward bending · Lateral flexion: cheek moves to the shoulders – bending right to left · Rotation: neck turns to the shoulder – twists In Camatkrasana, a few things are going on here. The chest is lifting and the shoulders are dropping away from the lower neck – creating space for the lift. The spine, from cervical to lumbar needs to gently open and curve. Whilst the legs are strong and grounded through the feet – using this power to lift. And finally the body is supported on three points (two legs and one arm). It is a challenge pose but one that can leave you feeling joyous, energised and buzzy. The spine may not have strength, openess and flexibilty to reach the full lift and to be honest, it changes all the time. Some days I feel so open through the spine and backbending comes easily. Other days it’s like moving cement, But that is the beauty of yoga, the journey never ends. So don’t feel discourage. But when you are ready to try, your spine will need to be quite warmed up before attempting this – try a few Sun Salutations, strong standing poses and bridge poses from the floor. And if you’ve never attempted a backbend before I would also seek out a teacher to guide you and to assess the health and strength of your spine. It’s not something to take lightly – our spine is integral to our health and well-being. No need to explain that! Here is a step-by-step guide. Full version 1. Start in Adho mukka svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog). 2. Bring your weight into your right hand and roll onto the outer edge of your right foot, so you are in a side plank pose. 3. Inhale. Push your hips forward and away from you. Stay strong and grounded in your right hand. 4. Exhale. Swing your left foot back and keep your knee slightly bent. 5. Lift the chest and begin to curl back with the upper body. Drawing your shoulders and shoulder blades down and back into the body 6. Inhale. Lift your hips higher to arch further into the backbend, meanwhile keeping your right food solid to the ground – pushing down towards the earth through all four corners of your right good. 7. Keep the breath steady and gently drop the head back, lift and extend your left arm. 8. Hold for a few breaths and then return to downward facing dog before you repeat on the opposite side. Beginner’s variation. 1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. 2. Bend at your right knee and place the base of your right foot against your inner left thigh – the right knee is bent out to the side. 3. Place the right palm flat, behind the right sit buttock. 4. Inhale. Draw the left foot down – pointing the toes and push into the right hand. 5. Exhale. Lift the hips up – pushing them away from you in the direction of your bent right knee. 6. Breath evenly. Lift the chest toward the ceiling. Stay grounded through the right knee, left foot and right palm. Ensure that the foot of the right leg is behind you and not rotated to the side. 7. Hold for a few breaths and release down. Repeat on the other side. Enjoy the freedom, power and release in the spine. Note: If you have severe carpel tunnel syndrome or a rotator cuff injury then go easy with this pose, or avoid altogether. Also, if you have lower back issues I would consult a teacher first. Signing off with an exhale. Pause.Listen.Live Cx Read more

PORRIDGE THE SLOW WAY

PORRIDGE THE SLOW WAY

Posted July 25, 2011

So, it’s the height of winter. It’s brisk – I’m wearing a beanie inside! And we’ve literally had more rain in the last 3 days than I’d care to know. It’s funny, before living in London, I used to detest the rain. I found it so draining and miserable. But now I appreciate it. Not only for it’s life-giving properties – watering those thirsty plants and hopefully reaching the rural areas that need it! – but mostly because it’s an excuse to slow down, to bunker down. You know? Be a little quiet, mindful, reflective. That’s not to say that carrying my groceries, handbag and yoga bag all whilst holding an umbrella, locking the car and avoiding the small rivers that have formed on the street is fun. Because it’s not. I’m thinking more about the opportunities the cold, wet weather brings. Weekend sleep-ins, DVD nights and reading in bed to the sound of the rain –all things I love but don’t allow myself if the sun in shining outside. Another thing I love about wintry and rainy weather is cooking, and cooking warming foods. Which brings me to one of my favourite breakfast at the moment. The humble porridge. This one is a little different though and is all about grains – beautiful, bountiful, health-giving grains. And, this porridge is also about taking it slow. Real slow. In a slow cooker, in fact. Which makes it super easy to prep, cooks overnight whilst you are asleep (I love anything that cuts out additional prep time!) and is super creamy and yum. This will keep you full for much longer… What you need: · ¼ cup Quinoa (red or white – your pick, but white often lends itself better to porridge) · ¼ cup Brown rice · ¼ cup Hulled Barley · ¼ cup Oats (not instant or rolled) · Ginger · Cinnamon · Nutmeg · Water or you can use any milk of your choice, although dairy might curdle over night – Soy, Almond/Hemp/Rice milk · Any dried or fresh fruit of your choice · Walnuts · Coconut Oil · Salt · Honey How to: · Coat your slow cooker in oil to prevent sticking – I use coconut, even for this · Add in 6-8 cups of water, or milk if you prefer (more water/milk if it is in the slow cooker for longer than 8 hours) · Add in your 2 cups of grains (1/4 cup for each grain, but you can change this up as much as you want. E.g. more brown rice, less oats.) · Add in a tbls of coconut oil · Chuck in grated ginger to taste · Dash of cinnamon and nutmeg · Pinch of salt · To sweeten up the mixture I add in 2-3 tablespoons of raw honey. But depending on your tastes add more/less or even try Brown Sugar/Stevia/Maple Syrup etc · Put on the cooker to low, aiming for 8hrs. So if you are getting up late maybe use a timer? Come the morning, what you should find is a soft, creamy porridge. There will be a lot – it keeps well, so you can enjoy it for a couple of days. When you are ready to eat, stir in some milk (I prefer Bonsoy, or a dash of coconut milk), fruit (bananas are my favourite!) activated walnuts and anything else you want such as coconut flakes, blueberries, stewed rhubarb. It’s your porridge… enjoy it the way you want. Come to summertime, porridge is cut right out of my diet. I can’t eat it when it’s warm and bircher muesli reigns! But until then I’ll enjoy my warming, nourishing porridge and hope you do too. Do you have a favourite breakfast recipe? Signing off with an exhale. Pause.Listen.Live Cx Read more

FIVE ON FRIDAY … 5 foodie tips

FIVE ON FRIDAY … 5 foodie tips

Posted July 22, 2011

My five favourite foodie tips 1. Try different seeds/grains Open up to trying a few different, incredibly nourishing and easy to prepare grains such as Quinoa, Barley, Millet, Amaranth…Whole grains are an excellent source of slow release energy. Nutritionally they contain essential enzymes, iron, fibre vitamin E and B- complex vitamins. Whole grains have been part of the human diet since early civilization when we figured out how to grow and yield crops. From here we shed their hunter-gatherer ways and settled into farming communities. From corn, rice and millet to quinoa, oats, bourghal, barley and more, cultures around the world enjoyed a variety of grains as a staple in their diet – so why shouldn’t we? 2. Oils are your friend Give oil a go. We’ve been brainwashed into thinking oil is the (evil) reason behind weight gain and bad health. Think again. Yummy healthy oils like olive, macadamia, walnut, sesame, coconut are all incredibly nourishing and essential fats! Eaten raw – drizzled onto avocado, a summer salad or vegies – it adds a unique flavour that can make the simplest, same-same meal taste different. Also, other oils like coconut, sesame, rice bran oil and peanut oil have higher burning or ‘smoke’ point, which means it takes a greater temperature to heat the oil to burning. You want to avoid cooking with oils that easily hit the smoke point because this basically marks the breakdown of flavour and nutritional value.Avocado oil has one of the highest smoke points at 271 degrees. Look for extra virgin, cold pressed and unrefined where possible. 3. Make your own yoghurt This is my parents totally old school method of making yoghurt, but it works and I stick with it, even though I know there are fancy yoghurt makers and all. It’s satisfying to eat your own yoghurt (or use it in a smoothie). I know what’s not in it! Just a note here – don’t even bother buying ‘lite’ or ‘fat-free’ yoghurt. Basic science; if you take something out (the fat) it must be replaced… otherwise it’s no longer stable. So all those fat-free, skim options are just packed with added sugar – check out the labels if you don’t believe me. When it comes to making yoghurt, anyone can do it. You just need a bit of patience. I prefer raw, unhomogenised, unpasteurised full fat milk. But technically it’s not allowed to be sold in Australia – so I won’t be talking about that. Otherwise organic milk and goats milk are two options that work well separately or sometimes mixed together. How to: · Pour milk into a pot. I usually do about 1 litre at a time. I also place a small flat plate in the pot – I’ll explain soon. · Gently bring the milk to a simmer. When the milk is a moment’s away from boiling and it starts to build a white frothy top (or when you first here the plate tinkle away at the bottom of the pot) take it off the heat. · Let the milk cool – I usually know when it’s ready if i can keep my little finger in for 10 secs(that’s a dad trick). No idea what that temperature is! · Add in 1-2 heaps tablespoons of yoghurt (starter) – either from the previous batch or from a tub of organic yoghurt, full cream milk · Mix in the yoghurt and then put the lid and wrap the pot in a cloth and keep it somewhere warm so the temperature doesn’t drop – allowing the cultures to grow. In summer it’ll be fine left out, but in winter I place my pot under my sick near the hot water tank! · Come morning what you should find is a tub full of thickened yoghurt. You’ll also see the curds and whey (running, goopy stuff) which is extremely nutritious. Keep it as it is, or if you prefer a thicker yoghurt place a muslin cloth over a strainer with a bowl beneath it and pour in the yoghurt. The longer you strain the thicker your final product will be. 4. Don’t cook with Chia seeds Chia seeds are packed with Omega 3 fats (as well as calcium, boron and protein), which are good for your brain, hormones and reducing inflammation.But, you should cooking with Chia seeds. Essential fats are polyunsaturated and this means they’re unstable. Oxygen, light and heat can quickly turn omega-3’s rancid, destroying many of their healing properties. (Similar to Olive oil) o Eat chia seeds raw, soaked (add to a little water and watch them soak up the water, turning into a goopy jelly consistency) or ground then up just before eating o Don’t bake with chia seeds o Avoid processed foods made with chia including crackers, breads, and cookies (your Omega-3’s must be fresh) o The best ways to eat fresh chia is (ground up) sprinkled on a salad/meal or added to a smoothie (soak first) Try 1-2 Tbsp of ground seeds daily for a nice kick of healthy essential fats, and can keep you fuller for longer. 5. Get Sprouting I love doing this. The process of it and then the final product is all very rewarding. What you get is pure goodness goodness! There are two examples here of sprouting. The first is about activating nuts and the second is sprouting beans. When it comes to nuts, enzyme inhibitors such as Phytic and oxalic acid, make it difficult for us to digest nuts and preventing the absorption of vital nutrients and energy.So, get activating. It’s really easy and something that can be done in 24 hours. · Buy a large (500g-1kg) bag of nuts – my favourites are walnuts and almonds · Soak the nuts in water, with a dash of salt, overnight. · The soaking process ‘sprouts’ the nuts – releasing the inhibitors, awakening the enzymes. · The next morning, drain and rinse thoroughly. Lay the nuts out onto a tray and bake (dehydrate) them in […] Read more

PRACTICE AND ALL IS COMING

PRACTICE AND ALL IS COMING

Posted July 20, 2011

Yoga to me is like breathing… it’s automatic. I practice because I’m supposed to. But now, after almost four years of practice I feel like a beginner again. Why? Well, I’ve embarked on a new method of yoga and yep, it’s like the first day of school. It is so refreshing. Today I might perfect a pose, tomorrow that same pose might not happen. The day after is a new day. The journey never ends. Forever a student. My new practice has me looking back to my first yoga class. That (literally) life-changing moment when the teacher attempted to put me into a modified version of Kapotasana (King Pigeon pose). My cement like shoulders refused to comply. It was here, being held in the pose, that I felt hot, uncontrollable tears streaming down my face. Margaret (one of the most influential teachers I’ve had) just kept saying, ‘I know, I know why you are crying, I know’. What she and I both knew was that, although I was experiencing more pain than I ever had, something deep inside me had been let out. Some sadness that was buried under the layers had been forced to the surface and found its way to the light. In that moment a thought entered my mind. “I need this”. My body and mind were calling out for a release. Over time I used my practice to dislodge a lot of stagnant energy and stuck emotions… the mat my shrink’s couch and the practice my therapist. Despite my love for the Iyengar method, which taught me correct alignment, anatomical understanding, patience and respect for the body recently I began seeking a new challenge. Without knowing it, I’d been searching for a practice that compliments the way I’m thinking, feeling and trying to live my life. A more meditative, spiritual experience. To do that I needed to connect internally. Mostly though I needed a teacher and practice willing to facilitate this. And then, just like that, I flipped my practice on its head and went from 5-6 classes a week in Iyengar/Hatha to 5 early morning starts in Ashtanga Vinyasa, (still doing 2 Iyengar classes!) Let’s just say it wasn’t just my practice that flipped. I’m eternally grateful for my previous practice and yoga studies, because without them I feel that the Mysore style of Ashtanga Vinyasa would’ve been the most intimidating experience to enter into. Let me describe it. Mysore method of Ashtanga is traditionally practiced in the morning and is very much about your personal practice – working through set sequences. When you enter the shala some people may have already begun and other students may be practising an entirely different sequence to you. You lay your mat down, you practice. With guidance from the teacher you flow through the sequence, focusing on your ujjayi breath and gently cultivating heat within the body. When ready you are given the next pose or you move through to the finishing sequence of backbends, inversions, meditation and savasana. You can easily see how going from the strong, detailed and heavily guided practice of Iyengar to the dynamic, flowing, meditative practice of Mysore Ashtanga has given me a little whiplash! As I write this I am still working through so many things when it comes to this new practice. Resistance, fear, joy, inspiration, insecurity. But I’m trying. I’m committing to the practice. Ashtanga has been holding a mirror up to me. Reflecting back emotions and insecurities I now need to face. It’s certainly demonstrating that it (yoga, life) is a long journey. One that is sometimes painful but that within every roadblock resides the answer. Yes the asana is important to me. I love the changes my body has gone through, I love that my practice inspires me to eat better, and I cherish the strength and vitality I feel during and after practice. Despite this it’s the gateway that the physical practice reveals that I value the most. It is a way to open myself up and face my ego, accepting where I am at, finding patience and pausing… breathing through the moment. All these lessons I take off the mat into my life. Not whether I can do 12 backbends in a row…although, that would be fun! Do you practice? What kind of yoga do you practice? What do you love the most about your practice? Signing off with an exhale. Pause.Listen.Live Cx Read more

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