Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Creative Eating

You are what you paint! Summer is a time for play and projects, and we are right in the heart of it as we head out of July. The difference between snacking unconsciously in front of the fridge or taking the time to make your food into an experience changes your relationship to what you are eating, and therefore the result. What if you are the WAY YOU EAT. So create and enjoy! Be creative.

I am not a chef by nature. I often pretend that Whole Foods is my personal chef. But with the overstock of fresh fruits that I have had delivered to my door from the local organic food delivery service FarmBox LA as of late, I need to find a way to make use of the excess sweetness in my fridge. I also love the idea of creating and making my food a project.

Case in point: Painted Fruit. (See below.)

I have daily recipes in my book. Some offerings from celebrity chef Melissa Costello, who works with Tony Horton and is one hundred percent vegan. I have an offering of an afternoon pick-me-up from the extra cool Justin Theroux, and I picked up this stellar RAW dessert or breakfast treat from my favorite vegan yoga-loving family, the Harrelsons. Yep, that lovable Woody we all so adore.

Leave it to this bunch of creatives to make their fruit fun. This is a great project for your kids, because the "paint" is dark green and super messy, but it's also good for them, as it is jam-packed with sea minerals and greens that are nutritious for the bloodstream. It is sweetened with agave which is low glycemic, and it is also hearty because of the RAW nut butter combo which is easy to digest. Since I am my own kid, I like to make this on my own and add coconut or nuts to give it extra chewiness or crunch. If you insist, you can add some granola.

Not only can you re-create your body with cardio, but you will be well on your way towards creating your way into a juicy, messy, sweet treat with this delectable recipe.

Painted Fruit

• 1 heaping tablespoon raw almond butter 
• 1 heaping tablespoon raw tahini 
• 1 teaspoon agave nectar 
• 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice 
• 1 tablespoon hempseed oil 
• 3 tablespoons spirulina powder 
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 
• ¼ teaspoon Celtic sea salt 
• ½ cup coconut water 

In a small bowl, mix almond butter, tahini, agave, lemon juice, cinnamon, and hempseed oil together until creamy. Slowly stir in spirulina powder. If mix starts to get too thick, start stirring in the juice and then add the remaining spirulina. Mix to desired consistency.You may forego the juice, depending on desired thickness. 

Pour or spoon the mix over freshly cut fruit (banana, mango, papaya, heaps of berries). Garnish with more cinnamon and dried coconut shavings.The paint doesn’t last very long, so consume immediately, share with friends, or store in the fridge! May be served with chopped almonds for added crunch.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Act As If

If you were a yoga pose, what pose would you be? Would you be a Reverse Warrior, solidly leaning away from conflict? Or would you be an Eagle Pose, finding balance as you gaze with soft focus at the big picture of the entanglement of opposites that creates tension and steadiness down below? How about the way you hold your stance? Would the way you pose be just as important as the pose itself? Have you tried imitating the masters like Iyengar, or tried to mimic the beauty and grace of yoga practitioner Christy Turlington? 

"Acting As If" can be a wonderful tool for practice. Just as you may have playacted as a child, so too can you use this practice in assuming the position. When I work with actors, I find that they are able to imitate and adopt the postures of the masters. When you start by acting, you may very well begin to feel differently. The phrase "You can't think your way into correct action, but you can act your way into correct thinking" is a motto I live by when it comes to motivation. I have mastered this in my workouts and my yoga practice, but I still need practice in my day-to-day life and shifting my attitude. How about those days when you feel down? Or when things just aren't going your way? 

Here are 5 active tips for changing your mood:

1. Smile.
 Just a simple smile can shift your mood through correct action.

2. Gratitude list. 
Often we can act our way into correct thinking by creating a gratitude list of 5 things we are grateful for. Soon, we feel better and move through the world from that place, and more abundance comes.

3. Fake it til you make it! 
Fake laughter becomes real laughter. Try a few minutes of really laughing out loud hard. Before you know it that laughter will become real, and will be the best abdominal exercise you can get.

4. Act As If.
If you find yourself a ball of nerves, act like your favorite rock star and watch your confidence level rise.

5. Work It Out!
Lastly, don't wait to feel motivated before you work out. Start working out and watch how your energy level rises! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Nurture With Nature

I have had a particularly intense week. After a month of travel, a few personally emotional ups and downs, as well as a pretty bad car wreck, my body, mind and spirit have been banged up, in an important way. I feel a personal earthquake shaking my foundation and the need to recalibrate on every level.

The actions I have taken towards nurture have been by grounding into the elements of nature.

AIR ELEMENT: I have slowed way down by doing only what is scheduled and not adding to my to-do list, leaving plenty of wide open space for contemplation, meditation, and time to walk to my destination. This action of simply slowing to a walk naturally brings me into the now. This reminds me to put my head where my feet are and become completely present. The motion and action of walking balances the hemispheres of the brain, creating a meditative space and an opportunity to fuse and blend my masculine "doing" energy with my feminine "being" energy. The mind and the breath both connect to the element of air, and I am reminded to breathe the fresh air a little deeper, as well as to notice the green trees that help to purify the air and provide plenty of oxygen. Dark leafy greens help to cleanse the bloodstream, and represent this air element. A green vegetable juice and an arugala salad strengthens and oxygenates my blood.

FIRE ELEMENT: Laying in the sun and gazing at the sunset vitalizes and replenishes my fire and fuels my creativity. I spent about 45 minutes each day reclining in the sun and drinking in the Vitamin D and the light. After my book tour, I really needed the new creative fire to get stoked, as I have poured out and emptied most of my creative fire energy, after reaching the culmination of my dream come true: Connecting with all of you personally. Lighting the flame in our classes together, we recreated with the theme of FUN! Cinnamon in my green tea latte and even cold pressed coffee fired my system with energy and got me moving!

EARTH ELEMENT: Feeling the ground beneath me and grounding into the gravity of the Earth is important to my well being. My physical body gets grounded when I sit upon large rocks, or literally pound the pavement. The sandy beach I walked upon today was littered with bodies of all shapes, sizes and ages, digging into the sand and building sand castles. As I watched two young girls digging into the sand, I could remember how healthy and grounding that felt. I also saw a boy who had buried himself waist deep in the sand. I tried to imagine that feeling from being young and firmly planted. Try imagining this when you are finding your balance in Tree Pose. The roots of a tree grow equally deep into the earth as the reach of its branches and leaves toward the sky. Root vegetables and grains can help to ground me when I feel too high. Imagine foods that grown beneath the ground. This weekend I practiced yoga with a group that does a food delivery from Los Angeles local organic farmers, FarmBox LA.

WATER ELEMENT: During these summer months, water is especially important. It's wonderful to start the day with purified water to get your system going. Many like warm water with lemon to cleanse the system. You may also try fruit- and herb-infused water for organ functionality. Water is cleansing and purifying. Baths and swimming in salt water help to pull out and rid the body of toxins. I have been doing an epsom salt/baking soda bath (one part each, one cup) to pull any traumas or aches and pains that my body may be holding. Juices and fruits are special in the summertime. Try eating watermelon or any juicy melon, but eat it alone. Separate from other foods to digest it easier.

Nature is the ultimate nurturer. Identify what you need, and find actions that balance you out. Slow down and go with the flow. It's Summer!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Moon, Lunar Cycles, and the Body of Water

With the New Moon on Monday (or Moon Day!) in the astrological sign dubbed the Moon Child, Cancer, I felt it fitting to give a Moon Salute today. I found this graphic (below) of the Moon Salutation for you to peruse. The moon rules our emotions, mothering, and felt sense. The moon reflects the light of the sun, and at the new moon, we get an opportunity to plant the seeds for what our internal emotional desires would like to manifest. In the sign of Cancer, the moon is particularly potent and moody. Cancer is a water sign, and with the physical body being made up of 65% water, we may be at least half as effected by the moon as the tides are.

I am a real emotional girl. It is not even so unlikely that one of my many nicknames growing up was Moon or Moonie. (Incidentally, it was also my mother's nickname.) When I was a little girl, these emotions were likely to get the best of me. Initially, this lunar state was uncontrollable, yet as I have grown and learned that feelings are not facts, I have also learned the undeniable power of fierce emotional intensity. When channelled positively and properly directed, that energy is what gets the job done. In fact, emotional energy is one of the primary motivators in life.

A lunar cycle is approximately 28 days. Women's menstrual cycles are lunar, and farmers use a lunar calendar to tracy weather and tide patterns. The moon, which represents home, nurture, and sustenance, has a great effect upon our homeland and food supply.

The moon is reflective and luminous. It gives a glow to our nocturnal secrets and allows us to share what we may not otherwise share by the light of the sun. The internal life is as powerful as all the rest, so it makes sense to honor this celestial body as a reflection of our own emotional body.

With this New Moon, we are being asked to release old emotional issues that no longer serve our lives. As with all patterns that have become habitual, we grow comfortable aligning with them, and they become a part of who we are. I ask you today, to use the supportive New Moon to access your deeper feelings and desires, and to part with what is now only a shadow of what used to be. Ritualize this by trying something different: a Moon Salutation. Then take a cleansing bath to wash away any left over debris.