natural health

FOOD!!!!

Let your experience guide your food choices, not the dogma of the hour!!

 

It’s brilliant that eating for health seems to be the talk of the hour. I’ve been vegetarian for 3 years, Paleo for 1 year, raw for weeks at a time, I’ve read the articles that say whole grain plant based diets are better for your body and I’ve read the articles that say organic meat and vegetables are better for you.
I’m really happy that everyone is thinking about what they put in their bodies :-)
I’d like to point out that scientific studies are always a work in progress, get debunked, revised, and improved on. That’s why science is so awesome, it’s not afraid to say ‘Oh wait, maybe it’s more like THIS!’ Therefore, read a study as a work in process, not a decree on the final word, cuz there’s going to a paper published next week that will totally debunk your favorite theory……
Personally I think it all comes back to BALANCE! People love to be part of a social group, and food is a great way to bond. Share recipes, be stoked on your food choices, this is all good stuff. But let’s not be too righteous, eh? I enjoy cuisine with Passionate Paleos and Virtuous Vegans alike cuz after years of experimentation, I’m learning what sits well with my body, for my training regimen, and it’s awesome …and it probably won’t be the same diet for you! Once we clear the processed crap off the table, it comes down to knowing your body!! Some bodies can handle bread, some can’t. Some people feel awesome after a grass fed steak, some don’t. Some people thrive on dried fruit and for others it’s as bad as candy.

Experiment. Keep a food diary of what you eat, and how you feel 30 min later. This is revealing!! See how you perform, how you digest and refine it from there. And get a better relationship with yourself at the same time <3
Namaste, Sara

Simple Yoga for Detoxing After the Holidays

This was first published in the Limerick Leader 5/1/12…..

Simple Yoga for Detoxing After the Holidays

Early January, after holiday dinners and New Years’ celebrations (not to mention winter weather) can be a recipe for poor digestion and a tendency for the body to hold toxins. Toxins are pollutants found in the body such as chemicals in food, alcohol, or body by-products that don’t get flushed out by the lymph and digestive systems properly. When the body isn’t at its best, we feel increased stress, retain weight, and have less energy.

Yoga is practiced by many to help bring the systems of the body back into balance and working at their best. Sara Cory, Vinyasa yoga teacher at Sásta Yoga Studio outside Corbally, offers here a few simple yoga postures you can do at home to help stimulate lymph and digestion, and get you feeling refreshed, de-stressed and ready for what’s to come in the New Year!

 

10 Minute Detox Yoga

For best results, allow at least 30 minutes after a meal, or first thing in the morning. These postures should feel good, so respect your limits. Spend at least 5-8 full breaths in each pose.

Seated ‘Cat & Cow’

Sit tall at the edge of a chair, hands at your sides or on knees. With every inhale breathe deep into the belly and up through ribs as you look up and arch the spine. With every exhale, curl the back, look down and contract the abdominals. This will gently get the spine moving, activate core muscles and deepen the breath.

Shoulder Opener/Lateral Stretch

Have a belt or scarf handy. Standing tall, hold belt/scarf in front of you with straight arms, and little wider than shoulders.  With an inhale, lift arms overhead, opening the chest and shoulder joint. Keep a gentle pull on the belt. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths.  If this feels good, on the exhale arch to the left, and feel the entire right side of the body stretch open. Keep looking up, rolling the right shoulder back, and press feet into the floor. If you can, hold for 5 breaths then switch sides. Otherwise, switch sides slowly on every breath. This posture stimulates the flow of lymph, allows for deeper breath by stretching the ribcage, and strengthens the core (deep) muscles.

Seated Twist

Come back to the edge of your chair with feet set firmly under knees. With an inhale, sit as tall as you can. On the exhale, rotate to the right. Bring left hand to right knee, and wrap the right hand gently around the back of the chair. Keep the face lifted and the neck long. Look in the direction of your twist, and try not to let the chest drop to the floor. This posture stimulates digestion, like wringing out a sponge; you are flushing and massaging the internal organs.

For more on yoga, detoxing, or any questions about these poses, Sara Cory can be contacted at 085 7371953, or sara@sastayoga.com

 

 

 

 

Sara’s favorite raw desserts

Unprocessed and nutritious, these deserts are free from refined sugar, gluten, and dairy. Great for detoxing, easing cravings and getting the body back in balance. Desert doesn’t have to be bad for your health!

A few notes about ingredients:

Creamed Coconut: Can be found at any Indian or Islamic grocery, it comes in blocks and you simply add water to make paste, cram, or milk. I love this stuff! Also great because the oil tends to separate to one side of the container so you can make reduced fat things easily. The oil it very good for frying and one of the healthiest fats around.

Raw Cacao Powder: Can be found at most health food stores. Common cocoa has been cooked and sweetened, so a lot of nutritional value is lost. Cacao is packed with antioxidants and very stimulating! I love it. Cacao Powder is quite bitter so more sweetness must be used to make the desserts nice and chocolately, thus I usually cut it with carob powder….

Carob Powder: Again, found at most health food stores, it is commonly used as a chocolate substitute. It’s simply the ground pod of the carob tree. It is not the superfood raw cacao is, but it’s very chocolately and not bitter at all. So you can use less sweetener and it adds extra depth to the chocolate flavor.

Date Syrup: This is my new favorite sweetener! Can be found at Indian and Islamic grocers. I am not sure if it’s totally raw but it’s very minimally refined by pressing the juice from dates. All the nutrition is retained, and it’s very very sweet.

Maca Powder: This south American super food is meant to be good for supporting the endocrine system and has a malty nutty flavor that adds depth to both sweet and savory dishes.

 

Break out the food processor…..

 

Raw Chocolate Cake

2 cups walnuts

1 1/2 cups chopped, pitted dates

3/4 cup cacao powder & carob powder mixed together

tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. sea salt

In a food processor, grind walnuts until they are a bit bigger than sand. If you over process they become oily! Add in the dates, powder, vanilla and salt little by little so everything gets combined easily. If your processor is small you may have to do it in batches. If the mix is very dry ass a little bit of water, but go easy; too much water will make mud. You want it to stick together when pressed between your fingers. It should start to form a ball in the processor.

Now simply shape into a cake, brownie pan, or cupcake tins and allow to settle in the fridge for 30 minutes, this will ‘set’ the cake. Garnish with raspberries, banana, peanut butter or whatever sort of nuts you fancy. Or you can top with the Avocado Frosting…

 

Raw Avocado Frosting

2 pitted and peeled avocados

1/2 cup honey

1/3 cup cacao powder & carob powder mixed

dash of sea salt

Super easy. First blend avocados. They are great because they behave much like heavy whipped cream, and keep their consistency. Then blend in everything else. You can alter the quantities to taste. If the avos are a little under ripe then more sweetener will be needed. I used honey last time, but date syrup is also very nice and hides a little better in the recipe; depending on the honey it can really stand out on the palate. Experiment with flavor extracts (hazelnut, vanilla, mint) or wisking in fresh berries!

 

Goji-Coconut Bliss

1/2 block creamed coconut, shaved or cracked into smaller pieces

2/3 cup goji berries

2/3 cup cashews soaked for 4 (this makes them soft and creamy, but don’t leave them too long!)

1 tsp. rose water

1 cup desiccated coconut

Start by processing the berries until they break up a little bit, then add the cashews and a bit of the coconut until everything gets creamed together. Add the rest of the coconut and rose water. If it’s very dry add a bit of warm water. At this point it should be kind of sticky and thick. You may add more rose water to taste. This dessert is quite sweet on it’s own, but I suppose a little honey would do if you want it sweeter I have never needed to. While it is still warm, pinch of portions and roll into balls and toss through the desiccated coconut, or form in little molds as you wish. Allow to cool in fridge. This recipe will firm quite a bit once cooled.

 

No Bake Fruit Tart

1 1/2 cups rolled organic oats

3/4 cup thin tahini

3/4 cup date syrup

Sweetest fruit in season

Process oats until just a bit coarser than flour. It’s nice to have some larger flakes left for texture. drizzle in tahini and date syrup until a doughy paste is formed. Depending on the strength of your machine, the thicker the better. Spood out of processor onto teflon baking sheet or pie tin, and with moistened hands press into base. This base is rich and flavorful so it doesn’t have to be thick. Allow to set in fridge for an hour and simply top with your desired fruits!

 

!!Orange Bites!! (this is a variation on a recipe I got from Sheila. Thank you!!)

1 orange peeled and juiced (just the pulp)

1/2 cup raisins or sultanas soaked in the orange juice

1 cup almonds and cashews soaked 4 hours

1 tsp maca powder

1 heaping tsp each cardamon and cinnamon

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

1/3 cup organic rolled oats, processed to a very rough flour

sea salt to taste

Blend everything except coconut. Form servings into balls, toss through the coconut and allow to set for 1 hour.

No-Bake Blackberry/Raspberry Pie

For the crust:

–          1tbsp apricot kernels (optional)

–          1 ½ cups of almonds (I used ground almonds)

–          ½ cup desiccated coconut

–          ¼ cup golden sultanas/raisins

–          1 tsp cinnamon

–          2 tbsp runny honey (maple syrup can be used to make the recipe vegan)

 

For the filling:

–          4 cups blackberries/raspberries

–          8 dates (medjool if you can find them)

–          2 tbsp runny honey/maple syrup

–          Squeeze lemon juice

 

–  Blend all crust ingredients together until they start to clump (you’ll need 1-2 tbsps of cold water to do this). Scrape dough into a small pie dish and press along the sides and bottom to form a crust. Put it in the freezer for a couple of hours, and when crust is removed from the freezer it should be pretty solid. For the filling,  blitz 2 cups of blackberries/raspberries with the other filling ingredients until smooth. Gently stir in the remaining berries and spread over the crust and place in the fridge for 4 hours to set.

 

I hope you enjoy! please write nad let me know how they turned out for you, or what variations you have come up with!

The practice of yoga goes beyond your time spent on the mat. The choices you make in the rest of your life (including your food choices) will start to lead towards balance and wellness. I hope these recipes help your process.

Namaste!

 

 

Yoga and Detoxing

It’s springtime, and both Ayurveda and Western traditional medicine agree it’s a great time of year to cleanse!

What’s a detox? Any prescribed diet/exercise regimen that is aimed at giving your organs a chance to “clean house”. It means not putting things into your body that increase the work of your organs so they can rest and rejuvinate, and in turn your whole system functions better! It’s a good time to break bad drug/eating habits, because often you will loose the craving for what was keeping you out of balance.

I believe yoga can totally change your experience of detoxing. If you practice yoga, you are probably used to listening to your body, and will feel a lot of benefit as you go through the process. You will probably already have the discipline required not to deviate from the program, and can use your practice to help even out the rough times. What do I mean by that? Headache, low energy and mood swings can all come up any time you change your routine or diet. These are symptoms yoga excels at alleviating, especially through pranayama.

Yoga can also help to assist deepen your detox. Twists are especially helpfull, as the rotation of the torso affects the circulation in the organs and help flush out any sluggish blood and lymph. Inversions (getting upside down) are also great because the heart doesn’t need to work so hard to return all that blood and lymph, you simply let gravity do the work. Shoulderstand is probably the best, as it is less taxing muscularly, but if you have neck issues or don’t know the pose, simply resting with your legs up the wall is also brilliant.

How should you detox? This can mean different things for different people. If you eat a lot of processed food and sugar, detoxing could simply mean eating fresh for a week without refined foods (white flour, white rice, vegetable oil…. basically anything that’s not whole). If you are already careful about your diet a detox can get a lot more intense: eating %100 raw, fasting, etc. I encourage you to seek advice or spend the time educating yourself and getting to know your particular constitution better.

I recommend everyone to try detoxing, you will feel a tremendous difference and learn a lot about yourself! Be scientific, cautious, and listen to your body always.

Namaste, Sara