Food (and Other!) Lessons to Share From this Weekend
Well I had a great weekend and I hope you did too- what with Thanksgiving, the notorious Black Friday, lots of running around and shopping, etc.
Here are some things I did this weekend: Had a great Thanksgiving, made lots of raw deserts and salads, gave a few yoga privates, practiced yoga, held a mini cooking class for 4 people, did some nutritional consultations, walked around a lot, meditated, went food shopping, went to a dinner party (where I helped make the food), hung out with friends, listened to new music, etc… :)
I consider myself a perpetual student- there is so much to keep learning about what we are passionate about. I also learn so much from my students as a yoga teacher and a nutrition counselor. I constantly learn more about people, how to deal with people, and on a more pragmatic level- what questions keep coming up that may need more reinforcing. So here are just a few random things that came up during the course of my weekend activities:
Random Thoughts/Lessons to Share
1. Throw out all commercial, pre-made salad dressings. I find that most people are okay learning to make a salad and chop things up and throw them together, but many are not confident about making a dressing that tastes good. The easy answer is to get commercial salad dressings. The down side is that those dressings are usually filled with preservatives, artificial ingredients and sugars, MSG, etc. in varying levels. Experiment with making your own salad dressings using olive oil, lemon, cayenne pepper, Celtic sea salt, herbs like cilantro and parsley, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, raw apple cider vinegar, dulse, etc. YOU can make a dressing that tastes good- it doesn’t have to come out of a bottle!! Also try out my tabouli salad recipe, the perfect dish when wanting something simpler.
2. Don’t assume you don’t like the taste of ____________. Many times people assume they don’t like how something tastes, because they had a bad experience or simply did not to like something in the past (papaya, avocado, acai, scallion, etc…). As we start to change our diet and our bodies let go of old craving-inducing toxins, you may be surprised that some foods you used not to like, you now really do like! I used to NOT like many of the foods I now eat every day- including avocados. Go figure! So remember that our food tastes can change (a great thing for moms to keep in mind if they are worried about the little ones! Their food habits will get better :) ).
3. Your yoga practice (or workout) does not have to be the most intense level every time. A woman I teach privately several times a week said to me this weekend at our session, “My body is just tired!” So we did a lot of breathing work and meditation/Reiki, and it was beautiful- and just what she needed. Admittedly, we had been pushing pretty hard in our sessions several times a week, and she has made fantastic progress. But there is no rush, no sprint to get anywhere. Resting the body is healthy and natural, and gives us a chance to have a practice where we focus more on pranayama (breathing) and meditation- the higher aspects of yoga. Asanas help keep the body healthy for mediation- and help us sharpen our will power. Plus they are a lot of fun! And get many people into yoga in the first place. But they are really a tiny part of the overall practice. It is important to introspect and be honest with ourselves, and not try to do the most hardcore practice (or workout) every single day, just because it is a habit. Our practice can and should adjust.
4. Don’t be scared of the sun. The sun is the giver of all life, and has the ability to activate enzymes in the body as well as kickstart our production of Vitamin D. When we are blessed with the gift of the sun being out- especially this time of year!- you can be sure I’m out getting me some sun time. Our media wants us to believe the sun is lethal and should be avoided at all costs- but in reality, the sun in moderation, at around 20 minutes a day, is healthy. It also makes you feel vibrant and alive!
5. If you make my Raw Pecan Love Pie or any of my pies- realize the recipe amounts were designed for a flat tin pie tray. In other words, if you use a traditional glass pie tray with a thick side, you may need to make more filling. I realized this last night when my friend surprised me by making my pecan pie recipe! But it looked a lot different than mine- because she used a glass tray. So the filling looked like a lot less than if the crust was thicker on the bottom and did not go up the sides- like mine. So IF you are using those glass trays with the higher sides, I would take the filling recipe and would make 1 ½ times that part of the recipe, so your pie looks more filled in.
6. Remember that if you become vegetarian- or more vegetarian- as long as you are not eating junk food all the time you will get enough protein! Eating a wide variety of greens, seeds, nuts, fruit, vegetables will give you a diet full of easily assimilated amino acids. Our bodies use high quality amino acids to build specific proteins in our body. Much of the cooked animal protein is unusable anyway because the amino acids become denatured with heat. As I start to switch people’s diets, I often find that people are scared they are missing out on protein. Again- as long as you are eating a wide variety of plant produce, you’ll be getting plenty of amino acids!
Well these are some random thoughts that come to mind. Yes, they are random aren’t they. :) If you like blogs like this, I will write more of them sometimes- let me know what you think!
Have a great end of your weekend and I will write more soon.
PS!! My good friend Leila, who is also a yoga teacher (and she is AWESOME!) is having a yoga retreat in the Dominican Republic March 6-13th. It is at 2 private homes with a pool/jaccuzi, right on a gorgeous beach. If you are looking for a getaway for cold March, this would be a great option. Leila is a loving, excellent teacher. Check out her site: http://leilayoga.blogspot.com/