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MY FAVOURITE LUNCH

MY FAVOURITE LUNCH

Posted July 05, 2011

I’m a creature of habit. I love routine. I seek it out. Hunting for ways to sort my life. Does that sound boring? Maybe… but to me it’s not – it creates the structure I need to have the space to be silly, creative, spontaneous and joyful. It’s funny, because as an Aquarian, people expect eccentric, creative and freethinking behaviour, but there is another side a lot of people don’t know – the side where we Aquarians crave routine, consistency and habit. But not only am I an Aquarian but, in Ayurvedic terms, Vata dosha dominates my prakruti (nature) propelling my desire for grounding, routine and structure even more… in fact, it becomes a necessity. Why am I talking about astrology and Ayurveda when the title of this post is ‘My Favourite Lunch’? Well… it’s because a certain homemade lunch graduated to the position of favourite lunch du jour, mostly because my routine-loving Aquarian meets Vata-ness wanted it that way. That desire for grounding, routine and nourishment led me to a Sunday night ritual. I love this ritual, not only for the end-point – the delicious lunches produced at the end – but the act of ‘doing’ is simply enjoyable. I love being in the kitchen and focusing on nothing else. It’s almost meditative. Every Sunday afternoon I take an hour to prepare lunch for myself and my boy (let’s call him Julio). I try and make enough for the week. The recipe does vary, and in all honesty, sometimes it doesn’t happen at all, but generally I stick to the recipe and ritual. The basis is Quino (pronounced KEEN-WAH). I absolutely L.O.V.E Quinoa… for more reasons than one. Quinoa, although widely thought to be a grain is actually a seed. And after trekking in Peru last year I totally understand why the ancient Incas called this seed the ‘Gold of the Incas’. It is a protein powerhouse. When you are looking for sustenance, Quinoa gets down to business. Complete with all eight essential amino acids that the body requires for tissue repair and growth, it is a dietary must. But forget all that for a moment – it’s actually just damn yummy! Slightly nutty, soft and crunchy all at the same time… I could (and do!) eat this everyday without complaint. It is incredibly versatile especially for you peeps who are gluten-free or avoid traditional carbs. So, here it is: My Favourite Lunch Roasted vegies (seasonal) with herb infused Quinoa • Soak one whole bag of red Quinoa (an essential – there is a bitter coating on Quinoa called Saponin which leaves a soapy residue in the water) • Finely chop a variety of vegetables. Choose seasonal vegies. In winter I love root vegies for their sweetness and grounding qualities. My favourite mix at the moment; Red onion, capsicum, zucchini, eggplant, asparagus, sweet potato, carrot, cherry tomatoes, fennel, mushrooms, leeks, • I roughly crush/slide a few garlic cloves (be generous, will help fight off winter colds) • Add in cracked pepper, cumin, dash of turmeric, chilli flakes, and salt if you desire (make sure it’s good quality salt like Himalayan!) • Toss in melted coconut oil (I prefer cold pressed, extra virgin, unrefined – healthier and tastes gorgeously coconutty!) • Roast vegies – I aim for a lower heat over a longer time say 100 – 120 degrees for 45 minutes or so. I toss the vegies halfway through as well • Last 20 minutes of roast I rinse out the Quinoa. In a large pot I add in a teaspoon of coconut oil, some more garlic, coriander (including stalks) and chia seeds then add in the Quinoa and toss to coat, fry off for a 1-minute or so and then add in water. I make sure there is enough water to cover the Quinoa and the let it simmer for 15 minutes. • Once everything is finished and cooled I package up the vegies separately in a big container and then bag up the Quinoa into individual portions. • Leftover Quinoa gets bagged and frozen for later use and the rest if ready for lunch each day at work. • Eat at work. I buy FISH4EVER Tuna (it’s sustainably caught and tastes better than the rest) or I might pre-cook salmon, chicken for some added protein. • Sometimes I add in Kale or Spinach before I eat it. It is my most favourite lunch. I look forward to it. It’s warming, grounding and I never get bored of it. In fact, I look forward to it. Knowing that after I eat it I don’t feel too full or sleepy like you would after a bowl of pasta or rice, it tastes soooo good, but mostly I feel content and it punctuates my day – the ritual of making it and then the ritual of eating it. Do you have a favourite lunch recipe that never fails? Do you love routine? Signing off with a big exhale. Pause.Listen.Live Cx Read more

PRESS PAUSE & MEDITATE

PRESS PAUSE & MEDITATE

Posted July 01, 2011

My mother has always meditated. She would take her self off and lay down for an hour. Her form of meditation varied from guided visualisations or simple pray. Like everything else, It was around me – I absorbed the ‘concept’ of meditation theoretically but did I ever put it into practice? Of course not. It wasn’t until the meditation workshop in my yoga teacher training that my interest was piqued. The teacher was literally the loveliest, calmest most incredibly glowing woman I had met. My god, I wanted that… to be like that! I needed to know what meditation was all about. I remember asking the teacher if she could share some of her experiences. Quite surprisingly she said no, she couldn’t because they were deeply private. Her response shocked me, but mostly it just fuelled my desire to understand even more. I had read about Transcendental Meditation on a few blogs and had noted it in my (long) list of things to study. But 2011 had been my cut-off. I HAD to learn how to meditate and mantra meditation resonated with me. No backing out. My issue – traditional TM courses cost over $1000. Although I knew it’d be a life time investment I just couldn’t swallow that price. And once again, my beautiful friend Emma introduced me to Carolyne Gowen from Still Your mind My boyfriend bought me the course for my 29th Birthday (it’s a heap cheaper than TM!) Over four sessions I learnt the art of Primordial Sound Meditation and received my personal mantra. PSM is very similar to TM. Primordial Sound Meditation originates from the ancient wisdom of India. Primordial sounds are the basic, most essential and sacred sounds of nature. They are meaningless – you can’t translate them, but you wouldn’t want to. You don’t need to attach an impression to your mantra. It’s just the sound, the feeling and how it resonates with you. During the course I received my own ‘sound’, the matra based on the vibration of the universe at the time of my birth. When trying to understand Primordial Sounds I think about that feeling, not really the sound, but the energy in the room when a group of students chant OM after a yoga class. The first time I ever heard the chant OM was at Dharma Shala in Bondi. I was 21 and attending a yoga class. Totally unconnected to yoga at the time, it came as a surprise when tears literally sprang into my eyes as 30 yogis chanted with so much passion and intensity. It was like a wave rippled through my body. It felt amazing. So, perhaps you get the importance of primordial sound if you’ve ever been to a yoga class? But if not, that’s cool. No need to intellectualise it, because it just is what it is. When you meditate though, the feeling is much subtler than when chanting. It’s like a long, slow sigh… an exhale as everything settles, softens and the mind finds a little spot to sit down and stop amongst all the mayhem. But, I digress – back to the course! Once I had my mantra Carolyne then guided me in the gentle art of meditating with that mantra. It’s so simple that of course I found a way to complicate it. In the beginning I was ‘waiting’ for it be easier. Trying to make it ‘work’ better and just generally doing what I do – putting pressure on trying to achieve! After meeting with Carolyne a couple of months after the course to talk it through she said something that clicked, made sense. She told me to give myself permission. To allow myself to simply meditate and let go of what I think should happen. Now, I do just that. A little insight into meditation: Just sit. (Upright in a chair is best – feet flat to the floor) Listen to your breath. Then focus nothing on the mantra – repeat it gently. Let it roll around in your mind. Use it to anchor you back to stillness when a thought pattern drags your attention away. Sometimes it’s really difficult to quieten the mind, sometimes It might only happen for a moment. Other times you find ‘the gap’ – the space between your thoughts and it’s like the wind has stopped. For a moment it’s just peace and then you step back out again. Just tasting that moment is so delicious! It makes meditating each day a need, not just a want. And other times you learn something in meditation. I discovered that I had to study at Integrative Nutrition. The name of this blog also came to me when meditating, and sometimes strange memories from the past crop up. And each time I just try and come back to my mantra. Trusting what Carolyne says – if that thought, memory, idea is meant to be there it’ll be waiting for you when you finish. It’s been life changing. And not in that big BANG kind of way – slow, gradual but noticeable. It’s something I will never stop doing. Something I love – just like ocean swims, or showering, or water, or cooking, or being in love. It is part of my life now. I will post more about meditation another time. Breaking down the things that happen during meditation, what to expect, how I meditate and where. If your interest is piqued or maybe you’ve been thinking about meditating then perhaps see this post as a meaningful coincidence and look into it. If you are in Sydney I cannot recommend Carolyne enough. Signing off with an exhale. Pause.Listen.Live Cx Read more

THE UNIVERSE GETS WHAT THE UNIVERSE WANTS

THE UNIVERSE GETS WHAT THE UNIVERSE WANTS

Posted June 26, 2011

Isn’t it funny how we all insist on ignoring the signs? I mean, sometimes they are screaming at us, right up in our face… and still, nothing?! We pay attention to street signs, instructions, directions and more on a daily basis. But do we pay attention to the signs that really make a difference to our life? It’s only lately that’ve I’ve had the enough ‘pause’ in my mental chatter to actually notice the little calling cards the universe has left me. I think it might be because of the daily meditation, or perhaps focusing on my breath in yoga, or maybe it comes with maturity? I don’t have the answer, but I do know something. If we listen to the universe it’s just trying to help. Without trying to philosophise the ‘universe’ too much or dance around a topic I don’t fully understand, there is one thing I want to break down. What is the ‘universe’ that people speak of? To me… it’s quite simply me, you, ‘us’, everything all around. We are all connected to the same source, the same energy, the same vibration (more on that later!)If we literally tune in, the universe we’ll find that it is continually ‘talking’ to each living thing on this planet. And it’s working at making everything happen the way it should – be fulfilled. So, I got to thinking about the universe on Friday. It had been a long and literally painful week. After changing my yoga practice to Mysore, Ashtanga my body was feeling it and so was my mind – it left me a bit shaky. That was the first sign. I had made plans to do an inversion workshop at Jivamukti in Newtown with my friend Nadia. All day I was quietly concerned about how I would get through a 2-hr workshop after a week of dynamic yoga, full time work, study and well, LIFE. I worked through my issues and stuck to my commitment to Nadia. Driving to the workshop I sent Nadia a text. 5 minutes later, no text and a thought literally popped into my mind – “Oh wow, she thinks the workshop is next week’. Second sign. I heard it, I acknowledged it but silly me thought I was bigger than it. I pushed the thought out and kept driving. As I arrived at the studio Nadia rang me. Would you believe it? She thought the workshop was the following Friday. Relief swept over me! The universe had tried all day to tell me I needed to listen to my body and go home, but my ego – the part that doesn’t want to let a friend down – got in the way. So I persisted and so did the universe, until it got its way! All I could do was laugh, genuinely. I thought the whole situation was hilarious and I felt comforted knowing that the signs are always there. I just need to take the blinkers off, tone down the ego and listen. So what I am now wondering is – how far will the universe go to get the message through? Does it eventually give up when it goes unnoticed? Ignored? Is that how so many of us end up unfulfilled with our dreams washed away? A few ‘universal’ thoughts to ponder over. Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live. Cx Read more

SUPERFOODS

SUPERFOODS

Posted June 24, 2011

Recently I listened to an IIN lecture about SuperFoods. I was surprised to realise that so many of the random health products my dad brought home when I was growing up are now classified as SuperFoods… thanks dad! Oh, and sorry I didn’t care back then… oops. That’s not to say I wasn’t fascinated as a child. Especially when my father explained that those amazing little bees carried pollen from flowers in their own purpose built ‘baskets’ all over their body! But to be honest, unless I could visualise a little bee with pollen filled baskets I was too busy building tents in my bedroom to pay attention or understand the worth of these SuperFoods. Whatever dad brought home I would eat/take, mostly because I was too scared to say no but now I’m on this journey and have learnt about the value of SuperFoods in our diet I would gladly welcome a delivery from the old man. So, what are SuperFoods? Well, it depends who you are asking. The macrobiotic crew classify wholegrains, green tea, berries, leafy greens, sea vegetables and fermented soy products (to name a few) as SuperFoods. And yes, they definitely pack a punch. But then there are the SuperFoods which are far from ‘new’ but only becoming more mainstream now. Thesen are frequently seen in the diets of vegans looking to maximise their nutrient intake. The more unusual kind like Hemp Seeds (which you can grow in Australia but can’t consume!), Kamu Kamu, Maca, and Bee Pollen. Either way, SuperFoods are the foods that sit head and shoulders above others in similar categories. Nutrient dense with long held healing and medicinal qualities. Maybe you are thinking that some SuperFoods are just another product with empty promises being marketed to us… or maybe some of them are actually quite spectacular in what they can bring to the table. Whichever way you see SuperFoods the only real way to answer is to try them yourselves. Pay attention to how they make you feel – do you feel fuller, more energetic, revitalised? Seeing as some of the SuperFoods around today have long been part of the diet of many ancient cultures, such as the Mayans and Aztecs, surely they got something super out of these foods? We used to supplement our diet with Propolis, Royal Jelly, Bee Pollen and Raw Honey and yep these are now widely available SuperFoods. There are also incredibly nutritious plant products such as goji berries, hempseed, cacao beans (raw chocolate), maca, spirulina, acai, chia seeds and more. Incredibly powerful sources of protein, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, good fats, essential fatty and amino acids, and other nutrients. In the words of David Wolfe (Raw Food, Health and Nutrition expert) these SuperFoods ‘represent a uniquely promising piece of the nutritional puzzle’. So how do you get them into your diet? Do your research first and make a decision for yourself what you’d like to include in your diet. As these SuperFoods are so incredibly nutritious it’s best to consume them as close to their natural state as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t bake or cook with them but to really get the most out these SuperFoods I say get your smoothie on. A morning smoothie, packed with a variety of SuperFoods, will leave you feeling fresh and bouncy. The fibre from the fruit and veg is great for your bowels and a well stocked smoothie can be a great breakfast on its own for those that struggle to eat a large meal in the AM. My favourite smoothie is a Green one and with the added SuperFoods it really is the most easily digestible hit of nutrients. Try this out: • Handful of cos lettuce • Handful of spinach • Squeeze of lime juice (helps with the absorption of X in spinach) • 1 cup of 100% organic apple juice (avoid anything with added sugar/additives) • 1 banana (frozen is fine) • 1/2 cup of blueberries (also frozen – buy in bulk www.berryman.com.au • 1 teaspoon chia seeds (soak in water first) • 1 teaspoon spirulina • 1 teaspoon cacao (be generous here!) • 1 teaspoon pure powdered acai • Dash of cinnamon (blood purifyer) • Ice Blend! What you will get is a dark greeny, brown smoothie that probably looks pretty off and unappealing. But to be honest, the more unattractive the better. The taste? I’ll just say this, my boyfriend, Chris, who is a chorizo loving, meat advocate who feels cheated if there is no bacon with his breakfast absolutely LOVES this smoothie. He loves it more than the berry/yoghurt/honey/cacao concotions I do when I’ve run out of greenage. That’s got to say something, right? But, in short. They rock. I’m going to continue my experiment with SuperFoods and I’ll update again… I’ll see what other smoothie recipes I can come up. Oh and I’m also attending a ‘cooking with cacao’ workshop. Which is basically a day of cooking and eating chocolate yumminess made with pure cacao. Soon, I’ll also break down the nutrient information around some of these SuperFoods. A little teaser – one of the richests natural sources of Omega 3! Have you included Smoothies, SuperFoods or anything similar into your diet? What do you think about SuperFoods? Signing off with a big exhale… Pause.Listen.Live Cx Read more

HEAD IN THE BOOKS

HEAD IN THE BOOKS

Posted June 20, 2011

This year I’ve started studying… again. I say again because in 2010 I completed my teaching certificate in hatha yoga. It was a really intense year – my social life suffered and my body underwent alot of physical transformations. Not to mention trying to absorb information from ancient texts whilst learning all the yoga poses in sanskrit! But I loved it. I mean, really deeply connected with it. The community created amongst the teacher trainees, the shared experiences, the joy in our achievements, the chance to fully immerse myself in my passion, the internal exploration and overcoming my fears of standing in front of people, teaching them. So, 6 months ago when I finished the course I decided to take everything slow no studying, teach a little … which goes against every instinct I have. I tried, really I did. But by May I was itching to sink my teeth in again. I had noticed that I was pouring over the nutrition magazines and blogs. Having come from a family built on health, nutrition and fresh whole food it came as no surprise to many that I was gravitating towards nutrition and holistic wellness. It came as a surprise to me though! Yoga had changed my life in so many ways but ultimately it had brought me full circle. To a place of balance, happiness and a desire to live in health, the seeds of which were first sown by my parents. Despite having told myself I needed to slow down and assimilate everything I had learnt during teacher training, I jumped into the deep end. Again. After hearing about this course three times from three seperate sources I decided it must have been a sign. But I ignored it. To drill the message home to a clearly ignorant person (me) I heard a little voice, which I sincerely hope was mine, during meditation one morning. It basically woke me right up and pushed me to enrol. Two weeks before the start day I enrolled in The Institute of Integrative Nutrition. A New York based school with an amazing online course that covers over 100 dietary theories, speakers and lecturers such as Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford and David Woolfe. A course that will certify me as Holistic Health Coach. Hopefully the perfect compliment to my yoga teaching. Which brings me to this blog. It is this course at IIN that has driven me to finally take the leap and start this blog. Mostly to download and integrate everything I am learning and to share it. I’ll be sharing more soon on IIN. Signing off with an Exhale. Pause.Listen.Live. Read more

BLOGGING & YOGA & ME…

BLOGGING & YOGA & ME…

Posted June 19, 2011

I’ve been thinking about ‘blogging’ for a while.  I deal with countless bloggers through my work as a PR Manager and have therefore always associated blogging with work. Despite that, something has been telling me that I need to do this. Or should I say someone (more than one someone!) has been telling me to do this. After a little push from my beautiful friend Emma, who has a special knack in simplifying the  things I over complicate in my mind, well here it is, or, here I am. Blogging. Ready to download the information that I so often share to my friends (mostly unsolicitied!) and create a space to explore the things I love. I welcome you.  If my world of yoga, wellness, nutrition, life and more gets your attention and you find my little journey interesting then please reach out to connect. So here it begins. With a little story about yoga – what else?! There’s no denying that I love yoga. I think about it obsessively, I attend five – six classes a week, practice outside when it’s sunny and inside my yoga room. I even chose a travel back-pack for South America that I could strap my mat to. My yoga crush isn’t uncommon these days; I’m not alone in this love affair. People everywhere are walking their downward dogs daily, trying to overcome the fear of standing on their head or relishing in the joys of savasana (aka lying flat in a sleep-like position). What is different is how I came to yoga in the first place. It wasn’t because of some divine calling or quest for spirituality nor was it a desire to wrap my legs around my head, although that would be a bonus. Yoga and I found each other through my work in PR. Almost three years ago during my interview with my current employment, I learnt that every Friday morning the team would trundle off together to an 8am Iyengar Yoga class, followed by a coffee. That was by the far the most awesome thing I’d heard from a potential employer. I wasn’t a yogi but I did like the idea of yoga and I loved, even more so, the thought of doing something a little different with colleagues. Sold! So, off I went where I was manipulated, adjusted and encouraged (read: forced) into postures my stiff body had never been!. Despite waking up every Saturday morning aching in all sorts of (wrong) places, I stuck to it. Soon, it became my religion. I noticed that my normally strung-out, easily stressed self had somehow chilled. I was coping better in those anxious moments at work; I was calmer towards my colleagues and was in a better mood, more often. Not to mention the fact that I was performing headstands and backbends – things that would have me floating in a bubble of energy and love – mostly directed to my colleagues. (Matt, I love you, have I ever told you that?) Eventually I decided to channel my love into a new challenge and as a result completed my teaching certificate in Hatha yoga. I think to myself, imagine if I hadn’t found this job? Where would I be, yoga-less, unhappy and unaware? I’m not saying that I am perennially walking around with a vacant smile saying, “I bring you peace, I bring you life”.I still have bad days, but I feel a little more stitched together, whole. Like I can sort through the crap and just get to the positive with much more ease. There it is. A little intro and a bit of insight into my love affair with yoga. I look forward to bringing you a little more Saha into your life, soon. Tell me, do you practice yoga? How did you come to yoga? How does it make you feel? Cx Read more

Mindful Meditation with Claire

Mindful Meditation with Claire

Posted May 28, 2010

Click here: Mindful Meditation Right click and choose SAVE TARGET to download and save this audio file (then upload to your smart phone) Read more

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