Monday, February 28, 2011

Chia Seed Pudding

So recently, a co-worker turned me onto Chia Seeds and Chia Seed Pudding. Chia Seeds are an ancient crop that was harvested by the Mayans, and continues to be a popular crop in Mexico.

Chia seeds are known as a super food because they are extremely high in protein, Omega 3s, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Chia seeds hold over 9 times their weight in water, making them a great supplement for athletes. With this super hydration power, and the Omega 3s to lubricate joints they are perfect for pre and post workouts.

Chia Seeds have a nutty flavor that can be eaten alone or added to salads and smoothies, top yogurt or other snacks. When water, juices or milks are added to Chia Seeds they start to gel up. This gel texture makes them a great pudding with the right flavors that you can have as a healthy snack or breakfast.

Chia Seeds can also be sprouted, and were sprouted in clay pots in Mexico (this is where the Chia Pet came into existence) and are used to top salads and sandwiches similarly to how we use Alfalfa sprouts.

Here is the recipe I use to make Chia Seed pudding that I have being eating for breakfast:

1/4 Cup of Chia Seeds (I found them at Whole Foods)
1 1/2 Cups of Almond Milk
2 Tablespoons of Agave Nectar
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon of Nutmeg
Dash of Sea Salt

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and let sit for about five minutes and stir again. Cover and let sit in refrigerator over night. The mixture will gel up and have the consistency of a pudding or porridge!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Anusara Yoga

 I am feeling totally blissed out after my second Anusara class today. There is just something deeply relaxing about being so connected to the breath and the movement that you don't get in other classes like Power Flows or Bikram, where it's about powering through the poses just to feel the burn like any other workout.

Don't get me wrong, I mean Yoga is a great workout, and sometimes (like in the case of Bikram) I do want to power through poses. I remember when I found Yoga again recently I told my husband that I wasn't going to get all spiritual and new agey on him. But there is definitely something to be said about feeling the spiritual connection like you do in Anusara, like you are connecting to something that is bigger than me or you.

 Anusara means "flowing with grace" and was founded by John Friend in 1997 making it a relatively new style of Yoga. The idea behind the style is rooted in traditional Hatha Yoga, but is more aligned with celebrating the heart and the beauty that is within us all.

Classes begin with a centering of your mind and body, and a slow chant and the class ends in a quiet mediation. It is with a deep intention that while practicing Anusara that you align yourself with the Divine, and with your own body. I left more relaxed, more patient, and more aware of the beautiful world we live in.

Flow with GRACE!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Buddha on Being Vegetarian

To become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.
-- Buddha

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bakasana - Crane/Crow Pose

 So I've decided that in addition to becoming stronger in my day to day Yoga practice which includes a Bikram class once a week, that I want to start trying to master some of the harder poses. The first one I've decided to try to master is Bakasana. Bakasana is also known as the Crow or Crane position. My ultimate goal is to one day soon be able to do Side Crane!

 The Crane position helps to strengthen arms and wrists (obviously) and is a great pose to tone the abs. It also helps to stretch the upper back, and open the groin area. I tried it yesterday for the first time, and defintely felt it in the inner thigh and arms. I was not able to get my feet off the floor for long, but I'm working on it.

I've read that the key to this pose, is to NOT concentrate on lifting your feet off of the floor, but to gently and slowly move your body forward to put all of your weight onto your arms and wrists and by contracting the abs at the same time your feet should automatically lift off of the floor.

I think partner work on this pose will be a great way to ease into it. My main fear is falling flat on my face, literally. So having a partner to hold my shoulders and keep me from falling forward as I move into the pose will be a huge help. This way I can get a feel for the pose while being supported.

I mean...if this guy can do it, I certainly should be able to as well! Don't you think?


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Vegan Mushroom Pate

We made this recently for a get together and it was a HUGE success! Sadly, I didn't get a picture of the finished dish, but it's pate, it doesn't look pretty!

This is a recipe we found in "The Vegan Table" by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

2 Tblsp of Olive Oil (We used Hemp Oil)
1 Med Onion, Chopped
3 Garlic Gloves, Minced
15 Cremini or Shitake Mushrooms, sliced
1 Tblsp Fresh Thyme
1 Tblsp Fresh Sage
2 Tblsp of Nutritional Yeast Flakes
3 Tblsp of tamari Soy Sauce
2 Tblsp of Balsamic Vinegar
2 Cups of Walnuts, roasted
1/2 Tsp of Ground Pepper

Heat 1 Tblsp of oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook about five minutes until the onion becomes translucent. Add the mushrooms and the remaining oil and cover the pan. Cook another five minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover pan and cook for another ten minutes.

Add Thyme, Sage,  Nutritional Yeast, 2 Tblsp of Tamari, and vinegar to combine. Cook for one minute more and turn off heat. Transfer the mushroom mixture and the walnuts to a food processor, adding pepper and the remaining Tamari. Pulse until it becomes a creamy, pate consistency. Serve with Vegan crackers or crostinis. We like it with Mary's Gone Crackers!!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Outlook on Running

I know for me, all this cold weather and mountains of snow has begun to make me a little stir crazy! I find it physically difficult to run in temps below 40, add to that the mountains of snow and icy roads that make it even unsafe for driving, it's been hard to get my run on.

I'm fortunate enough to have a small gym in my building with treadmills that I can get in some runs. However, I absolutely HATE running on a treadmill. No matter how I change up my treadmill workouts, I get bored very quickly and manage to only get in two or three miles before I hop off. I just can't sit there and stare at myself in a mirror for more than 30 minutes. Even with the television on, I get bored.

Running for me as always been more about just finishing the distance. It's more about getting your scheduled 10 miles or what have you in. It's a time to clear your head, enjoy beautiful scenery as you run around, and see what's out there in the world as you fly by.

That is why I really enjoyed this quote from Ultrarunner Dean Karnazes in "Shit That Dean Says" in the latest issue of Runners World Magazine - "Running has an uncanny ability to mellow the soul, to take the edge off hard feelings, and put things back into healthy perspective"

It really is so true. How many of us have had an issue on our minds, or a problem to solve, or anger that you wanted to express and simply said "I'm going to go run this off"??

So as I write this, watching plows move snow (as more snow falls) and people scrapping ice off of thier cars so they can get into work this morning, I can only keep dreaming of a day soon that involves temps in the 50s or 60s with some sunshine that will allow me to get outside and "run off" this frustration I feel at being stuck inside for so many months!