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FIVE ON FRIDAY… nutritious + delicious smoothies!

FIVE ON FRIDAY… nutritious + delicious smoothies!

Posted August 19, 2011

Check it out. Five of my favourite smoothie recipes- I decided to whack them into one post after a friend mentioned she’d love a quick reference. Perfect for post-yoga/workout . Great on the weekend when you are running about with no time to stop and eat. Yummy healthy afternoon snack. No need to chop. No need to do anything really. Just bung it all in and hit the (right!) buttons on your blender. No nutrients lost (all whole, live foods and raw ingredients) and no fibre lost either. These smoothies are packed with Superfoods (maca, cacao, berries, chia seeds) and lots of greenage (spinach, kale, cos) or good fats (avocado, coconut oil) and great non-dairy milks! You’ll be getting an incredibly nourishing energy. A few tips re: measurements. Where I haven’t given a measurement/amount (e.g. water, milk, spinach, cos) I tend to just free pour and just chuck in handfuls depending on what kind of consistency I want that day. The fun in smoothie experimenting is just that – it’s an experiment. See what you like/don’t like. Try it out and aim for something that tastes delicious to you! Let’s be frank. Being healthy can be fun and easy, but if you are trying to force something vile down your throat, you are never going to maintain it, are you? So healthy, yes, but delicious is a must! 1) Maca + avocado power • 1 avocado • 1 tbls cacao powder • 1 tbls maca powder • 1-2 tbls chia seeds (soak in water first) • soy milk • raw honey • water/ coconut water 2) Super green but chocolatey • Handful of cos lettuce • Handful of spinach + kale • Squeeze of lime juice (helps with the absorption of iron in spinach) • 100% organic apple juice • 1 banana • 1/2 cup of blueberries • 1 tbls chia seeds (soak in water first) • 1 tbls spirulina • 2 tbls cacao • 1 tbls pure powdered acai • Dash of cinnamon 3) Thick, Green + surprisingly tasty • Handful of spinach + Kale (also known as Tuscan Cabbage) • 1 banana • ½ – 1 mango • Rice Milk • 1-2 tbls chia seeds (soak in water first) • 1 tbls spirulina 4) Zingy, fresh + playful • 2-4 tbls homemade/organic whole milk yoghurt • Handful of blueberries • 1 tbls cacao powder • Organic apple juice • Cinnamon • 1-2 tbls chia seeds (soak in water first) • Walnuts • 1-2 tbls coconut oil (click here to learn why this is so good for you!) 5) Nutty dessert • Filtered water • 1/2 tbsp tahini (black or white unhulled) • 5-6 mejool dates (or ordinary dates soaked overnight) • 3-4 tbsp raw cacao • Handful of walnuts • 2 tbsp of chia seeds (soak in water first) If you try any out let me know your thoughts. Or, if you have your own delicious recipe share it here! Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live Cx Read more

THE YUMMIEST BAKED SALMON + GINGER DISH… EVER

THE YUMMIEST BAKED SALMON + GINGER DISH… EVER

Posted August 17, 2011

A few years ago I lived in what can only be described as ‘The House of Love’. Actually, that is exactly what we called it… and we still do. HOL – Emma, Monique and I – it worked perfectly. It was the first time I’d lived in an environment that was honest, loving, fun and generous. It’s hard to break it down, but each of us brought a special quality to the HOL. Kind of like that must-have ingredient in a recipe, it just gave our home a heap of Vitamin L -L.O.V.E. Ahh… goo times. There was a lot of spontaneous gossip sessions in the hallway, accidental nudie runs and a heap of feeding each other. Some of us doing more feeding than others, but it all balanced out… laundry washed and folded, bedroom vacuumed! Ok, sorry, enough gushing now. I got a little side-tracked. This isn’t supposed to be a post about my awesome (ex!) flatmates (if you can believe it) but it’s about what the lovely Mon brought to the table… literally. Her dad’s amazing baked ginger salmon. We call it Cotton’s Salmon… no, there isn’t any cotton in this dish but it is named after her father. My second father in fact. The man who used to pick us up as teenagers (no matter what time) from seedy places like Kings Cross and Darlinghurst. Good times. And now, there are less late night Cross runs but Baked Salmon heaven. Cotton’s Salmon is so warming yet fresh, flavoursome, nutritious but still a bit indulgent. Here it is. Enjoy. And remember, if anyone asks you, it’s Cotton’s Salmon. Stuff you’ll need: • 2 x lovely fresh fillets of Salmon (skin on or off – your choice!) • 1 x 2cm cube of fresh ginger root • 1 x large white/brown onion • Shoyu/Tamari • Sesame Oil • Dash of chilli flakes + Pepper • Organic whole milk butter – pasture perfect is best! Or Ghee • Roughly chopped veggies of choice – I use Fennel, Asparagus and Zucchini • ¼ cup chopped coriander • ¼ cup chopped spring onions What to do with your stuff: • Pre-heat oven at 180°C • Grease a baking dish (I use a teaspoon of coconut oil) • Lay your two Salmon fillets in baking dish • Scatter chopped onion and vegies around salmon • Sprinkle chilli flakes + pepper • Grate ginger all over the fish and vegies • Zigzag a splash of Shoyu/Tamari + Sesame Oil around the dish • Place 1-2 very small knobs of butter on top of the Salmon (skip this if you don’t have good quality butter or ghee!) • Place baking dish in oven for 20 mins or so – depending on your oven you may need less or more time. So check it – you want it medium rare – nice and pink in the centre but not raw! Enjoy! Claire x Read more

RESTORATIVE FLU-FIGHTING YOGA

RESTORATIVE FLU-FIGHTING YOGA

Posted August 15, 2011

Over the last few years my immune system has slowly been getting stronger. I used to be that weak, sickly person…you know the one? That poor weedy human being that catches the most lingering of colds when someone sneezes 20 metres away. I guess it all comes down to a change in lifestyle and yoga! It’s happened so gradually that I’ve barely noticed, but then one day I got through a whole winter without coming down with anything, and that’s when I started to piece it together. Now, however, I tend to get a little weaker and more susceptible to colds around seasonal changeover. As winter clocks off and spring moves in I can feel the dampness building in my chest and the telltale irritable throat tickle kicking in. What I have learnt is how to stave it off as much as possible. If not totally, then to the point where I can shake it off a lot faster than before. The first thing I do is pump a lot of garlic, hot lemon tea and natural remedies like olive leaf extract, Echinacea and vitamin C. The other thing I do? I create a short yoga sequence that works on releasing whatever crap is building up in my chest but also a restorative set of postures to energise the body and immune system. So, with spring battling winter and trying ever so hard to move on in, be careful with the slight shift in temperature. Try these poses if you are feeling a little run-down or even if you’ve noticed a cough slowly creeping in. These poses really help to calm the nervous system down, allowing the immune system to focus on fighting! But also, by either being gently inverted, or opening the chest your body can work to release any build up in the chest. Try to hang out in each pose for at least five minutes and focus on maintaining long, slow, deep breaths. If you have a regular practice doing 3 x Sun Salutation A is always a nice way to warm up the body with out depleting your energy. 1) Uttanasana – standing forward bend You can perform this with bent or straight legs – this will depend on the length in your hamstrings. If you feel uncomfortable in the pose try leaning against a wall as well. 2) Supported Adho Mukka Svanasana – supported downward facing dog Same as the traditional down dog but resting the head on the bolster softens the pose and makes it less active. 3) Viparita Karani through the chair This is a beautiful gentle back bend that can easily be performed through a yoga chair or off the edge of your lounge or even a low table if you have one strong enough. As you can see, the chest is open and the head and heart are inverted. 4) Supta Baddha Konasana – reclining bound angle pose If you don’t have a bolster (as in picture) you can try a folded blanket. Lay the bolster/blanket lengthways along your spine. Press the base of your feet together and butterfly the knees out to the sides. Stretch your arms or hold onto either elbow above your head. Enjoy the pure symmetry of this pose, allow the chest to lift and open. 5) Legs up the wall As simple as it sounds. Using the bolster (cushion/folded blanket) elevate your hips and chest and stretch your legs up the wall. If you can keep your head, heart and chest below the rest of the body then you’ll maximise the release and really quieten the body and breath. Enjoy the peace and quiet that these poses bring, but mostly, enjoy your return to health! Do you have a restorative yoga sequence that you like to do? Or any other secret cold/flu fighters? Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live Cx Read more

THE CENSUS MADE ME RETHINK ‘RELIGION’

THE CENSUS MADE ME RETHINK ‘RELIGION’

Posted August 12, 2011

The other day my boy and I were at home doing our first census together. It was interesting to say the least, especially when it came to listing our income and trying to remember all the places we have lived over the last five years. There was one question that I tripped up on. Religion. There was a whole list of ‘religions’ listed to choose from… none of which really fit me. My boy looked at me and said ‘wait, you are saying ‘Catholic’ right? Umm… no. I felt sheepish (and a little silly) saying this… but my answer to his question was – “I’m not really religious, I was raised a catholic, but I’d say I’m more spiritual?” So after a little back and forth, we decided that I would write just that on the census form. It made us laugh, seeing ‘SPRITIUAL’ written in the little boxes and thinking about the person on the other end collating the data… but I had to be true to myself – that’s just what made sense to me. The difference between spirituality and religion? Well, I’m definitely not an expert and I’m only a new student in this long spiritual journey but I feel (not know) that spirituality is more about the internal life. It is the continuous search for meaning and the understanding of me, myself, the ‘I’, in this universe. So ultimately, it’s about moving inward and finding that still point – I talk a lot about this when teaching a yoga class. Slowly loosening the strong-hold grip on the outer world and reconnecting with your true, inner being and that being which is born from and forever tied to the source, the divine. And in turn I feel that I become more connected to the world and the people around me and hopefully continually improve as a person, a soul. When I think about religion I see it as external spirituality with a story, in a structured house, with guidelines and rituals that are shared within a community. An experience, a doctrine, a map to life and one that brings people together. I’m not going to go into how religion can bring about pain and suffering – I know you all have your opinions on that – I’m just talking top line here, peeps! Now, don’t get me wrong; I totally and utterly respect religion. It was and still is the saving grace for my mother. Without a shadow of a doubt it has offered thousands of people in difficult situations refuge and faith to stay strong and move forward. But to me, believing is enough. If you want to believe in the trees, the sun, the sky, all of mother earth and that is your religion, then so be it. If you want to bow to a statue of every spiritual icon that walked this planet, then so be it. If faith, religion, spirituality of any sort helps you feel whole, connected and true and in turn makes you a better person to those around you, then so be it! For me, my religion, my spirituality is most definitely an amalgamation of experiences, passions and lessons throughout my life. It consists of meditation, private prayers to the universe (or God, whatever you wish to call it), my yoga practice – a silent meditative prayer with each breath – being in nature and community experiences (such as Kirtan, or yogic events) shared with like-minded friends. Relishing in the moment, sharing what I’ve learnt with my students, enjoying time with friends, being there for my family, living my life by giving and receiving happiness, being true to myself. So, how did you answer the religion question on the census form? I’d love to hear your thoughts on spirituality/religion? What do you think is the main difference between spirituality and religion? Signing off with an exhale. Pause.Listen.Live Cx Read more

8 WAYS TO BALANCE YOUR VATA

8 WAYS TO BALANCE YOUR VATA

Posted August 10, 2011

I’ve mentioned Ayurveda before, here and here… It’s one of the health/lifestyle systems that I truly connect with and leaves me with a sense of promise. Why promise? Well I find it so inspiring that a 5000-year-old tradition was and still is so far ahead of our modern day. Ayurveda, unlike modern medicine focuses on treating the individual to come into balance or Perfect Health, rather than treating the disease in a isolated way. The other reason I love Ayurveda is because it’s the sister science to Yoga – we all know how much I dig Yoga! Together, when combined they complement each other. So Ayurveda (pronounced eye-yer-vay-duh) is an Indian Holistic health system that means ‘life knowledge’. Forget quick fixes, drugs and hospitals, Ayurveda works at achieving optimal health, every day of your life for your mind, body, and spirit. Yoga, nutrition, meditation, pranayama (breath-work), herbs, massage and more encompass the healing method that is Ayurveda. The bit I heart the most about Ayurveda is that it simply looks at the individual – YOU – in the scenario. What is happening in your life, around you, what are you eating, what are you exposed to – all the different elements that could be throwing you out (mind/body/spirit) of balance. And YOU are made up of more than one energy – Vata, Pitta, Kapha – which are called doshas. And each dosha relates to one of the five key elements – ether, air, fire, water and earth. In a nutshell – you could be dominantly Vata with a little Kapha, or equal parts Pitta and Vata or a different combination. The key is to understand the doshas, or your individual Prakriti or nature and bring them into balance. Now… Let’s talk about Vata. Vata is an Air + Ether Dosha. It is the energy of movement. The best way to describe Vata is by inviting you to visualise the air, the wind. It is ungrounded, floaty, changeable, cool, dry, erratic. But it’s also free, mobile, doing its own unique, creative thing. Vata is referred to as the ‘king of the doshas’ because it is responsible for any movement in the body – blinking, heart beating, dancing, running, talking, jumping, circulation, elimination and so on. But, as you can imagine, Vata people, made of air and ether or those of us with a Vata imbalance (perhaps caused by an unstable situation at home/work etc) generally need to work at creating stability and grounding. The other thing to note here is that despite that fact that we are all blessed with a different Dosha mix – a different Prakruti – we are all living in a predominantly Vata world. A world of fast cars, fast entertainment, fast information. Everything is now, quick, speedy. So often, each of us can be affected by Vata even if we don’t have much of it in our Dosha – our own nature will be effected by the world and environment around us. So these 8 tips to balance and ground Vata are vital for all of us. If you have had a hectic, all-over-the-place, feeling kind of spacey week – then these are perfect to bring your Vata back into balance. 1) Slow down + stop. Practice meditation. Learn to still the monkey mind each day, even if it’s just 10 – 20 minutes. Find quiet and see how Vata quietens too. 2) Practice grounding yoga. Avoid too much Vinyasa or Dynamic style practices, or at least, go slow if this is the style you prefer. Find a way to earth yourself in the practice – focus on the breath and move fluidly and with calm. 3) Breath into it. Focus on the breath – simply sitting for 5 minutes each day and practicing breath awareness. Watch the breath, feel the quality of it as you inhale and exhale and automatically the breath begins to slow. This helps Vata move from fight or flight mode (sympathetic) to the more calmer state of parasympathetic nervous system. 4) Keep Oiled. Add nourishing oils to your meal. Oil is warming, soothing and grounding. So avoid crunchy, fresh salads sans oil – don’t be afraid to add in some good quality Olive, Coconut or Walnut and notice how much more stable and nourished you feel. 5) Get warm. Seek out the sunshine and feel the warmth on your skin. Not only do you get your Vitamin D hit but you will feel less of the cold + dry Vata qualities and more energy and balance through the heat. 6) Stick to schedules. Having a solid routine from morning to night is best to ground the airiness of Vata. Try to wake up at the same time each day and follow a similar routine – exercise, meditate, breakfast etc… This will help Vatas who tend to be forgetful, late and constantly change their mind! 7) Rise with the sun. Between 2am – 6am is when Vata is most active. Ever noticed how you might wake between these hours and you are wide awake and unable to fall back asleep? The best way to work with Vata is to rise with the sun – this will get your energy going and help you maximise it! 8) Get your massage on. If you are feeling particular airy, ungrounded and restless try an oil massage in the morning. Get your hands on some good quality sesame or coconut oil and perform a mini massage. Starting at the feet and working up towards the head, massage with strokes towards the heart. Work clockwise on the belly and around the joints. Wait 5-10minutes and let the oil soak into the skin before showering A few tips to help you find stability in our crazy Vata world, and especially good if you have a lot of Vata in you – will bring you into balance. Love + light to you, Cx *Images kindly borrowed from http://www.yogaanonymous.org, http://www.ayusarathi.com and www.peacefulmind.com Read more

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

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