Beet Blueberry Superfood Smoothie Bowl

beet hemp smoothie bowl

Beet Blueberry Superfood Smoothie Bowl

When I find something I like, I keep it.  Here’s a great smoothie bowl that I’ve been making.  I like to add whole foods, chewable foods, to it, because there are certain body processes that are initiated by the act of chewing; our body primes our digestive system and gets signalled to release enzymes etc.  So, smoothies in moderation.

Ingredients:

scoop of frozen blueberries
some slices of cooked beets
splash of almond milk
splash of water
2 tbsp Great Lakes Gelatin, the green one (I get mine here)
Superfoods: 1tsp of each – spirulina, wheatgrass, maca powder, acai berry powder
Vanilla and Almond Extract, when I’m feeling fancy or whatever
Cinnamon and nutmeg
Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

Blended and topped with: bee pollen, cacao nibs, flax seeds, unshelled hemp hearts, banana, Manitoba Harvest Hemp pro 70 (unflavoured), and I eat it on the side with a coupla spoonfulls of nut butter, yogurt, apple and cheese.

It’s good shit.

Coming from a space where I had an eating disorder, and was a binge-purger, and had anorexia nervosa, or whatever diagnostic category is titled for an abusive relationship with food, I now look at foods based on the way my body thrives from the nutrients.  And I eat, because I love myself, unconditionally (and ongoing process).  This is important.  Food is not a “treat”, it is a beautiful accompaniment to a beautiful life.  I don’t deserve or not deserve it.  It is what it is, and I am always grateful.  I eat real food, from the earth, wholesome, no sugar/fabricated/man-made poop.

It’s a blissful way of self-respect, encompassing a symbiotic relationship between the nourishment that I am about to receive, and my mind state and body state of acceptance of the food.

Self-love is always the way, and breathe deeply.

How Food and Emotion are connected

In Ayurveda, there’s big emphasis on the state of mind, and how food affects us.

Did you know that food, and the way we eat, and how we feel while, during, and after eating plays a huge role in how we live our lives?

yoga-diet

Hansaji Yogendra of The Yoga Institute in Mumbai, India, has great insight onto this topic in her article Yogic Principles of Healthy Eating:

The ancients knew this long ago – they equated food with God. Thus, were developed rituals and practices like praying before meals, eating with full concentration, relishing the meal, etc. Therefore while eating, one should attend to the way food is being chewed, the subtle tastes of the different food items, the way it goes down the oesophagus to the stomach, etc.

When food is eaten thus, with one -pointedness, the assimilation and absorption of food is at its best. This is the ideal way to eat food. Alternatively, one could also indulge in polite conversations bringing joy and happiness. Avoid watching television while eating. One should also try to go beyond likes and dislikes and not have a negative opinion about food. Most physical ailments are caused due to unhealthy food habits.

Moderation is the key word. Eat food as a duty, eat only as much as will make you feel hungry after 4 hours. Remember that food we eat is only to sustain us and our body’s proper functioning, avoid overeating just because you like the taste of the food. Instead eat what you love slowly, relishing every part of the meal; that way you will feel fuller faster and not crave for more food.

Furthermore, here are some key points to take home:

Tips to eat right from dawn to dusk

  • While lying in bed on your back inhale 5 seconds and exhale deeply 5 seconds. While going for a walk inhale for 2 steps, exhale for 2 steps. Follow this pattern for about hundred steps. This will help you wake up feeling happy and relaxed.
  • Appreciate whatever there is on your plate. In case some taste is unpleasant for you, instead of becoming critical, enjoy every morsel of food and be happy that you have some food to eat, unlike others who do not. Our likes and dislikes have to be tempered by what is good for us. Remember to chew your food thoroughly. Make sure you do not have another morsel ready as you chew, this will tend to rush your meal. Wait till you have swallowed the food in your moth before you pick up the next morsel.
  • If your job is a sedentary one, get up every half an hour and walk a few steps.
  • Change the position of your legs often, this helps prevent swelling in the legs and keeps your blood circulation in order. Whenever possible close the eyes and think. Listen more and speak less.

Now here is a log that I used to track my emotions and how I felt after eating different foods.  I noticed consistently that there was a theme to how I felt after consuming different foods.  The Ayurvedic food groups are tracked into 3 Categories:

According to Yoga, the type of food you eat determines the type of mind , you have. As the food, so the mind; As the mind, so the man. Therefore, eat easily digestible food or

  1. Sattvic food which includes: Milk and milk products fresh fruits and dry fruits seasonal vegetables, cereals (like wheat, unpolished rice, jowar, bajra, corn), pulses (like moong dal – green with skin and yellow), sprouted cereals and pulses. A little ginger, turmeric powder (haldi), cumin seeds (jeera), coriander powder (dhania). Honey, jaggery, crystal sugar (misry), raw sugar (gud shakkar), ghee or rice brand oil and filtered oil (groundnut or till oil). Eating this food brings relaxation and a feeling of peace.What not to eat?
  2. Only little of rajasic food may be eaten. This food is difficult to digest and leaves one in a disturbed state of mind. All non-vegetarian foods, hot spices, onions, garlic, non-seasonal vegetables and salt fall in this category.
  3. Tamasic food is unnatural and stale. All refined, processed, artificially coloured, flavoured and deep frozen foods are Tamasic in nature.

NOW: Keep in mind that moderation in moderation is key.  This info is powerful knowledge, and so use to your digression.  Every body is different, so why not experiment with the log below to see how you feel?  It’s a cool self-experiment.

Mind and Body Reaction to Food Intake: Rate each which is applicable /10

This is a log which is a tool to use in order to see how our food choices affect the way we function in our minds and bodies. Food is a powerful medicine that affects not only our body functioning, but also our state of mind and state of being. This log is a way to watch how we feel after eating the food we eat, in a way to mindfully shift our behaviours after becoming aware of the way our choices are driving our sense perceptions.

  Morning Afternoon Evening
Time of Eating      
Food      
Mental state prior to eating      
Perceived Quantity      
Calmness      
Clarity      
Stress-level      
Mental comfort      
Physical Comfort      
Energy Level      
Happiness      
Self-Image      
Confidence      
Anxiety      
Ease/dis-ease      
Satiety      
Other      

Here’s an extra vid of brilliant insight if you want to hear more about Hansaji, and what she has to share:

When you can’t stop thinking, Sing.

indian princesses

At The Yoga Institute where I got certified as a Yoga Instructor, the Director, Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra shared with us a few healthy habits to incorporate into our lives.

Simple Good Life Tips from a Yoga Perspective: (basically, from a “self-love” perspective)

  • walk for 10 mins before and after eating, faster before, slower after
  • breathe deep for 60 seconds before eating a meal
  • practice Jalneti, or clearing of the nasal passage daily 
  • practice asanas, or yoga postures daily
  • think less

Sooooo, the bolded point.  This is tricky.

During a walk with Hansaji one morning, I was humming and hawing about my life troubles, like: my ass that had been injured, a sense of “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life”, being broke, and wanting to travel.

She let me ramble, and then said, “Canadian girl, you think too much.  Less thought will mean more peace, and then you will see how your life will just happen as it is meant to.”

To this, I replied, “I know, way too much, and am struggling with how to stop so that I can just live.”

She then said this brilliant thing, “When you find that you cannot stop thinking, sing.”

I love this, have loved it since, and have followed it.  It is wonderful, I suggest to try it!  By singing, the mind is unable to multitask, and it focuses instead on the beauty of the melody that you are singing along to.  It’s like laughter, an instant vacation, so calming and blissful.

Here’s a sweet lil mantra that I fell in love with.  It’s a pop version of a powerful mantra, that is one of the oldest and most powerful of Sanskrit mantras . It is believed that by chanting the Gayatri mantra and firmly establishing it in the mind, if you carry on your life and do the work that is ordained for you, your life will be full of happiness.  You can often find me singing it on the Scarborough streets, among other songs 🙂

(Almost) Raw Curry Spinach Soup – Paleo

(Almost) Raw Paleo Spinach Soup
Raw Blender Sou

I tend to fall into a pattern where I find a recipe I like, and stick to it consistently for a bit of time.  I’m now in a phase where I’m trying to balance out my PH level, my body is in a higher state of acidity.  SO, I’m taking some steps to do this:

  • cutting out coffee (putain de merde)
  • limiting condiments (le sigh…salsa…)
  • including lots of cooked and raw veg (more cooked than raw)
  • adding wheatgrass (it’s ok, and can’t taste it when added to things like smoothie bowls and soups)
  • walking before meals to lower stress, and to focus on my breath
  • abdominal pranayama breathing to calm myself
  • reiki (mmmmhhhmmmm)

Here’s a recipe for a nice blender soup, you can make it in 5 minutes for lunch/dinner:

Ingredients:

2 handfuls Spinach
Palmful of Cottage cheese (can omit, or sub with coconut/egg protein/gelatine powder)
Splash of Almond milk
Splash of water
Splash of Olive juice
1 spoonful Nooch
Curry pow
Mustard seeds
Cumin seeds
Caraway seeds
Pepper
Smoked paprika
Soy sauce
Slice of fresh Ginger

Put it in a blender and whiz.

Suggested soundtracking:

Top with sliced avocado, drizzle of tahini, and enjoy 🙂

Coconut Mint Chutney

In India I got to try a wide variety of condiments, sauces, chutneys and toppings that I loved exploring.
Mint coconut chutney
This is one of my favourites:

Coconut mint chutney:

1 cup shredded fresh coconut meat
1/2 cup curd (yogurt)
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 cloves garlic
Red chilli to heat preference
Salt and pepper to taste
Put it all in a blender and whiz

Olympic Marathoner’s ABS Routine

Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan’s Stability Ball Abs Routine

This video highlights an ab-focused routine for great core stability in your workouts.

The core muscle groups are important for keeping our spine stable and erect, and balancing out our hip girdle so that we are biomechanically in line, and bilaterally equal in our muscular development.

What does this mean straight up?

You are less likely to get injured, you can breathe properly, and you aren’t putting more strain on one side of your body.

You are balanced.

Check it out:

I like to adapt this into a mini-circuit:

Complete 3 rounds (the number of reps can be reduced: I recommend starting at 10)

20 reps forward and backwards
20 reps side-to-side
20 circles left
20 circles right
20 shoulder crunches

30 V-Sit Twists
Kettlebell Workout 3.indd
Try it out!  I’ve lured in a few people to join me in this sequence at gyms, because suffering is better when shared 😉 and I can say from experience that I’ve seen jacked men tear from it!

Suggested soundtracking:

Feel it in your “GUT”?

A good day starts with good shit.  Is that not true?

In the Western world, talking “shit” is considered embarrassing, and not appropriate.  Alright, so maybe I don’t really want to hear about my brother’s “solid one” and give him a high 5 when he reports to me at breakfast, but(t) I think that the topic of our gut is something that is of integral importance to health.  I think that social support around the topic is another healing component of colon health, and that this directly relates to state of mind and contentment.

gut health

Be honest with yourself here, how good do you feel after you’ve had a great bowel movement?  Pretty good, like you can take on the world, invincible 😉 ?

According to Ayurveda, proper management of the colon is the foundation for treating the digestive system and all our digestive diseases.  And furthermore, our gut health is directly related to our state of mind, our body’s immunity and our happiness.

Let’s have a look at our gut bacteria.  Our gut flora is an array of microorganisms residing in our large intestine that functions directly to impact our health in order to:

  • help the body digest certain foods that the small intestine cannot digest
  • produce some vitamins like Vitamin B and K
  • combats aggressions from other microorganisms and maintains wholeness of intestinal pH and integrity
  • It plays an important role in the immune system, performing a barrier effect.
  • A healthy and balanced gut microbiota is key to ensuring proper digestive functioning.

While our general composition of microbiota is similar in most healthy people, everyone does have a different make-up of gut microorganisms, with more than 3 billion microbial genes in our gut (150 times more than in our own genes!).  The personalization comes into play based on environmental factors, ethnicity (for example, Japanese people cannot easily digest lactose), and studies show that a big influential factor on our gut flora health is environment, diet and lifestyle.

So what happens when our gut flora is off and what causes it?

Dysbiosis is a condition where there is an imbalance of out gut microbiota, and occurs when we are under stress, abuse our health, and make poor diet and lifestyle choices.  This can be linked to disorder and malfunction of the bowels, inflammatory diseases, allergies, obesity, diabetes and many more.

Let’s link this to brain function:

Studies in rats show a link between gut health and brain function.  The Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) is a network of cell that provide a gateway between the bloodstream and the nervous system.  It protects our brain from toxins, and filters out threatening components in our blood.  A study took mice that were raised in a germ-free environment, where they had weak gut flora, and weak protective mechanisms and immunity, and showed that their BBB had weakened junctions.

This leaky barrier resulted in nerve damage to the brain, particularly the hippocampus which controls stress and memory formation.  Other affected areas were the frontal cortex (our happiness brain centre!) which functions for executive control and decision making, and the striatum, for coordinating movements.  These deficits lasted through into adulthood.

Gut flora determine our relationship to the environment around us, as 75 percent of the immune system resides with the gut. They determine much about our emotional well-being, since 80 percent of our serotonin is in the gut. The enteric nervous system—often referred to as the “second brain”—is embedded within the gut. Gut microbes determine our vulnerability to disease and stress, and direct our potential to thrive emotionally, physically and intellectually.

http://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/The-Outer-Womb/the-gut-microbes-and-poop/How-Our-Gut-Flora-Shapes-Us.html

According to a study reprinted on the website Green Med Info:

“… [A]n increasing number of clinical studies have shown that treating gastrointestinal inflammations with probiotics, vitamin B, D and omega 3 fatty acids, through attenuating proinflammatory stimuli to brain, may also improve depression symptoms and quality of life. All these findings justify an assumption that treating gastrointestinal inflammations may improve the efficacy of the currently used treatment modalities of depression and related diseases.”

So how do we promote healthy gut?

Dr. Mercola recommends:

    • Fermented foods are still the best route to optimal digestive health, as long as you eat the traditionally made, unpasteurized versions. Healthy choices include lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner), fermented raw (unpasteurrized) grass-fed organic milk such as kefir, various pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots, and natto (fermented soy).

If you regularly eat fermented foods such as these that, again, have not been pasteurized (pasteurization kills the naturally occurring probiotics), your healthy gut bacteria will thrive.

  • Probiotic supplement. Although I’m not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics are definitely an exception. I have used many different brands over the past 15 years and there are many good ones out there.
  • If you do not eat fermented foods, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement certainly makes a lot of sense considering how important they are to optimizing your mental health.

Probiotics have a direct effect on brain chemistry, transmitting mood- and behaviour-regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve, which is yet another reason why your intestinal health can have such a profound influence on your mental health, and vice versa. Two other important factors to treat gastrointestinal inflammation and also help relieve depression are:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/06/can-inflammation-in-this-organ-be-at-the-root-of-your-depression.aspx

How does this link to a good shit?  The life you live, the stress you put yourself under, the food you eat, and how you eat them, all factor into your colon health.  A marker for damaged or compromised gut flora is directly related to healthy bowel movement functions.  Are you plugged up?  Incomplete?  Grumpy?  Take a look at your state of mind, your diet, and lifestyle.  Consider where you are and where you want to be.  Maybe this is where you begin to change your life.