thank-you

It’s Always the Season to Give Thanks

Just because Thanksgiving is over doesn’t mean we have to stop being thankful for the many wonderful people and events which take place in our lives each day. Cultivating gratitude or thankfulness is a practice which never ends. It takes dedication and perseverance, paying off in great, unforeseeable ways (click here to read the 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude).

A byproduct of cultivating gratitude is presence. One may find it difficult to be truly thankful for something if they are not fully present to witness and experience the act. It is said that happiness occurs only in the present moment, right here, right now. Continue reading

buddha

Say this as you wake up…

While at a training earlier this fall, a Jackson Hole resident shared with the group five phrases he recites each morning upon rising.

I am of the nature to grow old.
There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health.
There is no way to escape ill health.

I am of the nature to die.
There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love
are the nature to change.

There is no way to escape
being separated from them.

My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.

My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

These are the five Buddhist Remembrances which open one to the truths of life and the role one plays within this world. Remembering these natural cycles as miracles deepens our ability to become present and openhearted- creating a more aware, awake, kinder world.


How to use the Five Remembrances in Daily Practice Continue reading

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Almond Cheese: A Vegan Treat!

Not all vegan cheeses are created equally. I think we have all been walking around the supermarket and happen to see the vegan ‘shredded cheese blend’, cringing as we read the ingredients. Water and canola oil mixed with soy proteins… No thank you! I will stick with real food that tastes real good, made at home!


Almond Cheese

Makes about 2 cups Continue reading

sprout-salad

Sprout Your Way to Great Health This Fall

Fall is upon us and as cold temperatures wreak havoc on our  locally grown leafy greens, they become more difficult to find. Although in my own backyard organic Russian kale continues to produce, it can’t keep up with daily salads, soups, and smoothies for the whole family. This winter-long shortage allows one to fill their diet with an abundance of freshly sprouted seeds.

Seeds are packed with energy to allow a plant to grow strong in early life. This energy is released when soaked (the first step to sprouting). These chemical changes create powerful enzymes which clean the blood and support digestive function. This allows your body to operate efficiently throughout the cold season, supporting the immune system and keeping one healthy. An added bonus – It supports skin health and the growth of healthy, strong nails and hair. Who doesn’t want to look great, inside and out?

Never tried sprouting? No problem! Sprouting seeds is easy. One does not have to pay attention to soil, pH levels, bugs, blight, or climate – perfect for those who live in cold environments! It is also low-cost. For example, a pound of organic lentils costs $1.95 per pound. Sprouted this pound (approximately 4 cups) would yield roughly 65 cups of delicious, crunchy, organic sprouts. That is enough to feed a family of four for about a week!

What to Sprout and What Not to Sprout

What to Sprout: Some of my favorites are listed below with links to an organic online company from which one may order. I have ordered many different varieties of seeds from this site and have always found their seeds delicious when sprouted! What Not to Sprout: Some beans, when eaten raw, are poisonous. Cooking them for 10 minutes (un-sprouted) renders them safe. The following are seeds in this category.
Lentils (see Comprehensive Guide to Lentils here)

Sunflower

Broccoli

Radish

Chickpea

Pea

Alfalfa

Aduki

Buckwheat Greens

Fenugreek

Red Kidney Beans

Lima Beans

Black Beans

lentil_varieties

How to Begin

Start with a glass quart jar, the band (not the solid lid- only the outside ring), a cheesecloth, and ¼ to ½ cup of sprouting seeds, some of which are mentioned above. Pour the seed into the jar, fill ¾ full with water, and place the cheesecloth over the top, securing the band over the cloth. Allow to sit over night. In the morning, pour out the water and allow the jar to drain in a tilted position. Every 12 hours fill the jar with water and immediately pour out again, allowing it to remain in the tilted position. I do this while waiting for my tea each morning and again while making dinner each evening. After 2 days one should begin to see the sprout forming. Between 3-7 days the sprouts will be ready to eat.

Sprouts can be stored in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.

Ways to Use Them

Sprouts can be enjoyed in many different dishes as well as a condiment. Here are just a few.

  • A topping in salads
  • A replacement of lettuce of greens in any dish
  • Sprinkle them with cumin, chili powder, and lime and use as taco filling
  • Sprinkle them of chili or vegetable soup (like a crunchy crouton)
  • A topping on baked potatoes
  • By themselves (a little oil, salt, and pepper.. yum!)
  • Sesame Sprout Salad
  • Avocado, tomato, sprouts sandwich

You won’t miss eating greens at all with these unique seed sprouts accompanying your meals all winter long!

Happy eating!

Photo Credits:
http://www.recipeshubs.com/sesame-sprout-salad/36399
Resources: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/04/foods-that-could-kill-you_n_4039765.html
Survival into the 21st Century: Planetary Healers Manual Edition unstated Edition by Viktoras Kulvinskas (Author), Jean White (Illustrator), Dick Gregory (Introduction)
http://sprouthouse.com/organic-sprouting-seeds/
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The Granola’s Granola

Urban Dictionary, a site dedicated to providing explanations of slang words, defines being a “Granola” as an adjective used to describe people who are environmentally aware (flower child, tree-hugger), open-minded, left-winged, socially aware and active, queer or queer-positive, anti-oppressive/discriminatory (racial, sexual, gender, class, age, etc.) with an organic and natural emphasis on living, who will usually refrain from consuming or using anything containing animals and animal by-products (for health and/or environmental reasons), as well as limit consumption of what he or she does consume.

Well, I’m here to say, I’m a granola and proud of it! I’m also proud of my granola recipe that is nourishing and oh so delicious! Continue reading

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Out of Balance: Signs, Symptoms, and What to do About It

It is easiest to think about our lives, in terms of balance, as being a part of three zones. The first zone, our comfort zone, is where we feel in balance, calm, present, and joyful. We can sometimes call this being ‘In the Zone’. The second is the stretch, or learning, zone. This is where we are out of our comfort zone, trying new things, putting ourselves out into the world. This can bring on feelings of excitement and anxiety. The third zone is the burnout, or exhaustion, zone. Feelings or depression, anger, and frustration often live here. Being is this zone for short periods of time can be powerful and transforming. After a life or death situation, one may find they have rediscovered their purpose, and set themselves on a different life course. This is a positive outcome stemming from adverse conditions.

Although the danger zone can teach us many life lessons, living beings are not meant to live there for long periods of time. It’s like sprinting the 100 meter dash for 100 miles. It might be do-able, but there are consequences which are taken in by the body and mind. Our biochemistry changes, and overloads the body with stress hormones, which can translate to disease over time. So, how does one avoid falling into this trap? Continue reading

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A Raw Vegan Breakfast Recipe for the Working People

I am constantly exploring different options for work-day breakfasts. During the week breakfast needs to be simple and delicious, something which can be made ahead of time, nutritious, and keep one satiated until lunch. And yes, a green smoothie fits all of the above requirements, but 365 days a year? Time to mix things up!


Anti-Inflammatory Maple Chia Seed PuddingIMG_20160724_105142

What you’ll need:

Quart size glass jar

Vita-Mix Blender (or other powerful blender)

3 cups water

⅓ cup hemp heart/ hemp seeds

¾ cup chia seeds

3 tbsp maple syrup Continue reading

Kicking the Plastic Habit

Many of us have heard how harmful plastic can be for the environment and our bodies, but just what can they do and who do they affect?

Plastic pollutants threaten marine environments, “where they have the potential to impact aquatic life through ingestion and the plastic’s ability to attract and absorb certain pollutants” (www.groundwater.org). They also leach chemicals into the foods and drinks we consume. Each of these chemicals react differently in the body, some synthesizing estrogen (BPA), causing hormonal imbalances which studies have suggested affect brain development in the womb leading female children to have ADHD, anxiety and depression (ElBoghdady, 2011). Another of these chemicals is phthalates which is found in pacifiers and the nipples of baby bottles.  This chemical is known to disrupt the endocrine system – glands that produce hormones to regulate growth and development. This disruption seems to adversely affect young males. These are major issues which stem from a product which, in many situations, is optional. Yes, plastic is convenient, but it isn’t our only option.

Plastic Free: The Why, What and How?

I heard about the idea of going plastic free from a podcast which I listen to regularly, The Urban Farm Podcast. This program hosted Beth Terry of My Plastic Free Life (listen to the podcast here) and asked several questions about her reasons for going plastic free and how she accomplished minimizing her use of plastic. Her passion inspired me to look more closely at my own plastic consumption and how to sustainably reduce my plastic use. She encourages people to collect the plastic they use over the course of a week and decide which items could be most easily replaced with a non-plastic. Continue reading

Overcoming Discrimination with an Open Heart

Overhanging my desk Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. nobly pears into the distance with his words floating below, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear”. After this week’s’ shootings in Dallas, brought on by  peaceful-turned-deadly protest because the deaths of two African American men whom were shot by white police officers, I asked myself, ‘What would Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. do now?’.MLK-love-vs-hate Continue reading

Anchors Away: Mindfulness Part 2

Recently I was able to attend a Mindfulness Training for Professionals which focused on transforming one’s life, work, and those whom one serves. The professor, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Certified Hypnotherapist and head instructor for Karatedo Doshinkan, offered us many ways of re-awakening to the moment through an array of practices found in different cultures and religions around the world. Those of us who registered and attend the two day seminar were from various cultural and social backgrounds, worked with different populations of both children and adults, in a variety of settings (school teachers, social workers, private practitioners), and had different experiences and exposure to mindfulness practices. Although we were different people, who came to the training for different reasons, we were able to find a technique or strategy which resonated with our personalities and needs in the moment.

This reminded me, no matter where we came from or who we perceive ourselves to be, we all share special characteristics which make us human. If we are able to tap into one of those characteristics, breathing or feeling bodily sensations, we can tap into the oneness which is in us all, that we are all here together with the same afflictions, difficulties, and needs.

Here I share some of the insight and strategies I received throughout the training. This is part two of a two part series. If you have another practice or strategy, please share it with everyone at the bottom of the post.


Trauma and How it Creates Limiting Beliefs

Trauma and how it affects the brain and body is complicated. As I like to say in the yoga classes I teach, “Every body is different”. Because of this, trauma, and other brain patterns, are stored differently in different people.

There are five factors from which a belief, or way of thinking leading one to act or behave in a certain way, stem. One does not have to experience all five to create a belief about themselves or someone else. 

  • Repetition
  • Authority figure
  • Multiple people
  • Identification
  • Emotional Experience

These factors create positive and negative patterns or ways of thinking. The following story is a belief created early on in a young boys life, which has negative effects. One can imagine the positive patterns created by these very same factors.

Continue reading