Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Breakfast smoothies, Yoga Bitches and Sardicados!

Here are a few things that crossed my mind as I drove home from teaching today.

1) I was going to blog about my typical breakfast smoothie - I even took pictures as I made it early this morning - and then it turned this really repulsive color of brownish-green. Whoops. It sort of looked like something I think I saw in my 22-month old niece's diaper once. It's usually a really pretty color of green and tastes like bananas, but I added a handful of frozen berries, whereas I normally throw in a few strawberries and a handful of ice, so I guess that's what changed the color. It still tasted fine, but man, it was UGLY. The bare bones recipe is:
  • fill the blender with as much kale and collard greens as you can, then throw in a handful of shredded carrots. add 1 cup coconut water. blend it up for a long time, scrape down the sides of the blender, blend it up some more. 
  • add 1/2 a banana and 5 or 6 ice cubes, blend well.
  • add a scoop of your favorite protein powder, blend briefly to incorporate. 
  • pour and serve!
I have this smoothie every morning, and I think it's delicious. Sometimes I toss in a few strawberries to sweeten it up, but the carrot and banana add quite a bit of sweetness, and I use vanilla protein powder sweetened with stevia. It certainly doesn't taste like kale and collards! There is something SO REWARDING about downing a shit-ton of greens first thing in the morning. It's like you've accomplished something massive before 9am, and it forgives, in advance, a plethora of nutritional sins you may commit over the course of the day. =) 

2) I cannot WAIT to read Yoga Bitch. Suzanne Morrison has provided me with so much laughter this week that it's been better core work than navasana, both with this piece and this video. For as much as I completely love and respect the tradition of yoga, the reality is that I'm a goof-ball, and, in my humble opinion, there isn't much in life you can't laugh about. Most of the time my teaching style is pretty light-hearted and silly. Don't misunderstand, I can center a room with the best of them, and stay serious long enough to get you into a pretty kick-ass meditative place for savasana, but during the more active parts of practice, I kind of like to laugh. Especially when it's challenging.  Quads screaming in Vira II? Let's laugh!! Hip flexors weeping in the splits? Let's laugh MORE!

3) The Sardicado has taken over my brain. I'm coming off this strict 7-day detox, which I'm sort of extending for another seven days, except that I'm adding back Ezekiel bread, quinoa, and fish. Towards the sixth day of my detox I started craving SARDINES in the worst way. I never, ever, ever crave sardines. I dig them, but I don't CRAVE them. I think maybe I needed the calcium? In any event, on day six I googled sardine recipes and found this Alton Brown creation that took over my thoughts until day eight when I could finally eat it. (Okay, okay. If you stalk me excessively you know via my Twitter feed that day seven actually turned into a massive(ly fun) cheat day that included Mexican food, margaritas, wine, pizza and beer. FINE. Also, I kinda doubt anyone stalks me THAT excessively...) I finally made the Sardicado last night and OH. MY. GOD. It's the best thing ever. (Fine. It's NOT the best thing ever. But it's freakin' delicious, nonetheless!) You marinate the sardines in olive oil, vinegar, lemon zest, salt, pepper and parsley for an hour and/or as long as you can stand to wait (last night that was about 10 minutes. Right now I have them marinating in the fridge and I'm blogging in order to stall another 30 minutes before I rush into the kitchen and devour them! Alton recommends an hour. Mine went into the fridge at 12:46pm. Tick, tock...) and then you pile them onto bread spread with avocado, generously squeeze a lemon over the whole thing, and enjoy. I replaced the sourdough bread he recommends with Sesame Ezekiel bread, which is actually a GREAT swap because it toasts up SO crispy, providing glorious contrast to the buttery avocado and the oily sardines. YUM. 

Actually, OMG, between taking a break to make a friend watch Suzanne's video with me and adding in all those damn links (I hope the three of you reading this actually click them so I didn't waste my time) I'm now thirteen minutes PAST when my sardines were ready! MUST GO EAT SARDICADO!!

Om, shanti, peace, etc. ;)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Well-being; Being-well. Random musings about life in August.

I'm fascinated by the control I have over my feeling of well-being. If I eat crappy foods, skip exercise, skimp on my personal practice of yoga and don't get enough sleep, I wake up feeling HORRIBLE - like my body is too big for my skin, my muscles are frozen like big blocks of ice and it's an effort to even move, more or less stretch. It takes me forever (and a lot of coffee) to feel remotely human. But when I make a point to flood my system with healthy, nutritious foods, get enough exercise and go to bed before midnight I wake up feeling light, alert and HAPPY. I'm a pleasure-seeker - a comfort-craver - and so I am pretty motivated when it comes to doing things that make me FEEL good.

After a few weeks of seeking pleasure and comfort in all the wrong places I decided to give my whole system a reset with another detox. But this one is completely different than the four day Ayurvedic cleanse I attempted in March. I found it via Tiffany Cruikshank, who is Nike's in-house yoga and holistic health guru. She's the newest teacher on YogaGlo, and I've found her classes very intense, challenging, and athletic. Her 7-day detox is actually not restrictive or scary (let's face it, drinking ghee is scary, and there is no ghee-drinking involved in this one!) - it's essentially seven days of a fruits, veggies, nuts and protein powder. It's incredibly nutritious and I've actually not been hungry at all. Granted, I already eat relatively healthy on a regular basis - I very rarely eat processed foods and stick mainly to fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, good fats, etc. So the biggest exclusion in this plan for me is not eating quinoa and other grains and not having any meat or dairy. Half an avocado with raw almonds is already my go-to snack of choice. But I've been having a BLAST with the smoothies at breakfast and dinner and I'm blown away by how much kale and collard greens I can get into my blender (and then my body) and what a relatively small amount of fruit it takes to completely disguise the flavor. The best part is that after one full day I already could tell a difference in how I felt. And after two full days I feel lighter, more alert, more comfortable in my skin. And I feel oddly motivated to get other stuff done that I've put off - like cleaning the bathroom or organizing my desk. That's a bonus, I guess!

Saturday was the full moon, and it was GORGEOUS. I took this picture on Sunday, so it was still pretty full. I've really been enjoying incorporating the cycles of the moon into both my own practice and my teaching. I taught three or four different moon-flow classes on the days leading up to and after the full moon, and it was really nice. I think my students enjoy it as well - I got a lot of positive feedback about the classes.

I combined a snack and a lunch today, generally following Tiffany's detox guidelines, and this was the result. DELICIOUS. I didn't realize you could get rice cakes made from organic brown rice, but now that I know, I'm in love. I mashed half and avocado with some sea salt and lemon, spread it on the rice cakes, and topped it with cucumber slices. SO TASTY. I'm a big fan of bagels with cream cheese and cucumber, and this was reminiscent of that, but almost better because the rice cake is so light it allows the flavor of the avocado to dominate. And I just love the flavor and lightness of cucumbers.

Last but not least, my current favorite human being - my niece, Lily. She is heading right into my very favorite baby age - two! I know they call them the terrible-twos, and I'm sure it must be for good reason, but most of the kids I've been around seem to get even more annoying when they are three, so who knows. I love this age so much - Lily is getting better at actually communicating with me - she's funny and witty and charming and resilient - and I just adore her. Here she is reminding me (and you!) to be creative and embrace your inner-artist. =)