Sunday, August 29, 2010

chewing 100 times?



I just finished reading The Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics. Besides the fact that a dear friend swears by the Macrobiotic lifestyle/diet, I knew nothing about it before opening the book.

Many of the books principals seemed logical to me: the balancing of energy (yin and yang) through our food. I definitely will incorporate some of it into my own practices.

However, one of the bits of advice was to chew your food (particularly grains) between 50 and 100 times. When I attempt this, I rarely get to 50 before my food is completely pulverized and practically disintegrated. I like the idea of bringing this level of mindfulness to your eating. But I do find myself wondering about the logistics...Is Jessica Porter, the author, taking much bigger forkfuls than I tend to?

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the way that our foods can affect us or just generally curious about this practice.

nature

yesterday the husband and i went to raven run nature preserve just outside of lexington. The short drive took us through the Blue Grass past beautiful estates and horse farms. Though we have taken a few drives through this type of scenery before, it still takes our breath away to see strong beautiful horses grazing in the late summer sun.

Another surprise in Kentucky are the butterflies. I've never seen so many butterflies in my life. Yesterday on the trail we saw some particularly beautiful butterflies, large ones, the size of birds with bright yellow markings. It was such a joy to stop and watch them in flight, their fragile wings trembling on the wind.

We also saw the smooth rocks of a creek bed that must have been formed by glaciers.

I felt renewed by our 3 hour hike in the wilderness. Taking the time to commune with nature and observe the sights, sounds and smells in near seclusion gave me the sensation of opening my heart wider and allowing prana to enter and fill me.

It was no surprise then that my practice this morning was light and energetic. I felt the energy of the earth, and butterflies, and creek bed carrying me through my asanas.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

delicious accident

One of my favorite pasttimes is experimenting in the kitchen. Occasionally, I consult recipes and cookbooks to get information on cooking times and inspiration, but usually, I'm throwing together what I have on hand.

This dish was born of forgetfulness. It's an old standby I think I got from a Wholefoods flier. While I bought the key ingredients (frozen veg and tofu) I neglected the seasoning ingredients (the thai garlic chili paste and fish sauce). What I came up with through substitution was amazing:

Thai (inspired - I've never been to Thailand :) Basil Coconut Curry with Tofu and Veg

1 package frozen organic veggies
1/2 onion sliced
3-4 cloves garlic sliced
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 package extra firm tofu (works best if you weight it and press out the liquid for a few hours, but ok if not)
fistful of basil
splash of soy sauce
splash of siracha

Saute the onion in some vegetable oil until they are translucent and a little bit golden, add in the garlic and saute a few more minutes. Add the frozen veg for about 5 minutes. Cut the tofu into little cubes and add to the dish with coconut milk. Saute until tofu is heated through. It won't brown but should stay firm. Careful not to stir too much and break up the tofu.

Serve with rice and garnish with basil, soy sauce and siracha to taste.

fasting

In surfing around on the internet, I came across a Kundalini site that talked about fasting on the New Moon, the Full Moon and 11 days after the New Moon. Since I enjoy experimenting with food and energy, I thought that I would try this out myself and see what the effects would be.

I was going to fast from both food and technology. However, the timing turned out to be very bad. This fast coincided with my second attempt at making sourdough bread. And this time (unlike the first) my bread rose! How could I wait an entire day to cut into that warm delicious loaf. So, I took it easy this time around and only fasted from technology.

The iphone was off for the entire day and I didn't check email or facebook once. I felt very open and clear without the bombardment of this stimuli coming at me the entire day.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Eat Like a Yogi

I thoroughly enjoyed this piece from Yoga Journal on yogi eating habits .

My relationship with food is complicated to say the least. As an adolescent I suffered from anorexia. I recovered from it on my own, but my relationship to food still is not an easy one. I definitely go to food as an emotional crutch.

That's why I so appreciated the author's advice that food is perhaps the most important part of your practice. When you neglect what you're putting into your body, you won't be able to get much out of your practice. I work on mindful eating every day. Some days are better than others.

But one thing that is most helpful to me is how I shop. If it isn't in the house, I'm not likely to eat it. So I set myself up for success through these "rules":

1) If I couldn't fathom killing it myself, I don't buy it. I could easily catch, gut, and clean a fish. I could not slaughter a cow or chicken.

2) Buy local as much as possible. This is easy for me living in Kentucky where there is a long growing season and a great diversity of foods. I'm not dogmatic. I do get the occasional avocado. But when i do, I do it conscientiously, knowing that it was picked far away and took considerable resources to get to me.

3) Buy organic and in season. I love strawberries. They are my favorite fruit. But please don't give them to me in January. It's just not right.

4) If I consume meat, I only do it if I feel that it was prepared with love. I won't buy a burger at a fast food joint. But if my Turkish friend invites me over for Kebabs, he's trying to share his culture with me and I will accept.

5) Share. Eat communally. Sit together at a table with some friends. Our society is too interested in the pomp and circumstance of gatherings which crushes the spirit of them. If you are hungry, you can eat at my house. You don't need to bring anything. I don't care. And one day I'll show up at your house and eat too. We'll enjoy our food and a laugh.

The better I eat the lighter my practice and my conscience. I think it was Michael Pollan who suggested that every time we go to the grocery store we are voting with our dollar. I'd like to add that every time I go to the grocery store, I'm also practicing my yoga.