Book Worm

As a former high school English teacher, it’s no secret that I love to read. However, I am sad to say that I rarely take the time to read fiction anymore. Since resigning from my job (BIGSCARYLEAP), I have mostly been reading books related to my school. First, books related to Ayurveda–when I was studying at California College of Ayurveda and then any and all books related to nutrition and wellness when I was studying at Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

In connecting with Angela’s August Challenge, I’d like to say that today was the day I finally took the next leap and started my career as a holistic health coach for women and girls who have also/are also struggling with low self esteem and unhealthy eating habits. But I’m still working on that next big leap…..More on that later maybe. For now? Books.

I checked this out at the library a few weeks ago and really want to recommend it to anyone and everyone I know.  It was such a great read that had me thinking about what and how I eat now, and what and how I ate & thought that might have lead to my eating disorder. I had realization after realization–and I will share some of them in my next posts.

But today is Thursday. Sweet Thursday. My library books were due Thursday. So I made some bookmarks:

Stuck them in the books, and returned them today. I hope it brings a smile to whoever finds them.

What made you smile today?

Don’t Have a Cow…

I lifted this photo from this blog. If you have time, visit for news about the USDA’s promotion and then removal of the Meatless Monday campaign. It’s a perfect example of how the USDA’s food recommendations are not always based on health; some recommendations are fairly political.

Anyway, here is a belated Meatless Monday post (even though all of my meals are meatless). I made this for lunch:

Here’s a close up. Not much better, because I’m photographing with my iphone…

Over a bed of mixed greens (Spring Mix), Asian beet slaw, toasted mushrooms, barely warmed edamame, a spray or two of Braggs, and Sriracha. To make:

Asian Beet Slaw

1 large beet

1 watermelon radish

3 tbsp Annie’s Asian Dressing

2 green onions, chopped

3 tbsp sesame seeds

Wash & peel the beet. Grate it with a cheese grater. Wash a large Watermelon Radish, and grate it into the beet mixture. Add in onions, Annie’s, and sesame seeds.

Toasted Mushrooms

4-5 mushrooms (of any variety) sliced.

Spray with Bragg’s liquid aminos, and lay on some parchment paper. Toast in toaster oven until mushrooms are still firm, but cooked.

This salad is so flavorful and has soo many great health benefits. In addition to the greens (always a good idea!), the beets are are loaded with phytonutrients called betalains–which are antioxidant, anti-inflamatory, and important for detoxification. Watermelon radish are said to stimulate liver function and lower cholesterol. And sesame seeds are a good source of calcium.  A great way to be kind to your body.

 

 

Finding fear and making space for kindness

Before digging in to vegan cooking for Meatless Monday (check back later today or tomorrow), I want to share a little bit about the weekend and link up to Angela’s August Challenge:

We climbed Mt. Audobon  (13,223 feet) yesterday. I’ve climbed a few peaks before–a prerequisite if you were born in Colorado. Just kidding. But each time, as amazed an awed as I am by the beauty of the views, I am also scared. I enjoy the challenge of the ascent. The distance runner in me likes the burning legs and lungs, and like in distance running, I play an internal game–what I am running away from. The distance and the time it takes to run or climb it, is a means of letting go of aspects of myself that I no longer want to associate myself with. Running and climbing are ritualistic ways for me to say goodbye to what I don’t want to be, and hello to aspects of myself that I’d like to invite in.

This trip, I had decided to make the intention to let go of the HUGEFEARMONSTER that I have about actually using my IIN Certification and Ayurvedic Education to start a health coaching practice and writing business. I also wanted to let go of the negative self talk that I’ve wholly embraced and had 800 love children with (all who sing the same You Can’t Cut it in the City song).

All was fine and dandy on the way up–burning lungs and legs included. But on the way down? I get so scared my legs will give out and I’ll tumble down the scree and a helicopter will have to rescue the broken pieces of me. I get obnoxiously slow, and second guess so many steps.

I’ve always thought that climbing was a good metaphor for life. So what is it about this climb that can illuminate the shadow aspects within me right now? I’m obviously okay with a challenge…but I’m not okay with regret. Taking a wrong step. Failing. Falling headlong into an abyss. I’m not so good at faith–will this ROCK hold me? I’m not so good at accepting help–(I snapped at A. the one time he held out his hand to help me down). And I really hate letting other people down or feeling like I’m not living up to their expectations of me.

These are all fears I have to work on. These are all fears that I put energy into, and therefore result in a lack of energy I could be putting forth to bringing kindness into the world. So even though I don’t have another mountain to climb in the next week. I’d like to take on these fears that I found lurking within the shadow self. To write about them, to bring them out in the open and call them by name. To know them, and acknowledge their presence. And then to let them on their way.

It may take longer than a week. I realize this. But all I can do, like in climbing or running, is take one step at a time. I’ll be sharing some of them here (scary though that may be for me). I welcome thoughts and stories.

Meatless Monday on Wednesday.

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Maybe it was just because I was so hungry, maybe it was because my body is spent from cleaning our new place and moving heavy boxes throughout the afternoon, or maybe this meal really does have some kind of magic. Try it and tell me, okay? Because I seriously think this is my new favorite meal right now.

Vegan Veggie Stir Fry over Soba Noodles

1 bunch Soba noodles (cooked according to instructions)

1 large head of bok choy, chopped

1/2 red pepper, diced

2.5 tbsp coconut oil

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tsbp sesame seeds

Braggs liquid aminos (5 sprays)

1/2 cup frozen peas, run under hot water

Sriracha ( to taste)

1/4 block baked tofu (Teriyaki flavor)

 

Tp Make:

0. (forgot to add in) Boil water in large pot

1. Chop box choy and dice red bell pepper. Set aside.

2. Coat a wok or large pan with coconut oil, rice wine vinegar and sesame seeds
. Cook until seeds start to pop

3. Add in veggies and about 2 tbsp water. Put a lid on and turn to low heat.

4. Put baked tofu on sheet of tin foil (for one or two) , and warm in toaster oven.

5. Cook soba noodles according to directions.

6. After you strain liquid from soba noodles, put back into the pot. Spray 5-6 pumps of Bragg’s and Sriracha to taste.

7. Then use the strainer to warm up the peas. I hate it when they get mushy, so I just run warm water over them until they thaw (water unwise though it is–my one vice!)

8. Spoon 1/2 soba noodles, 1/2 bok coy mix, and spoon over peas, and choppped baked tofu over the top.

9. Enjoy, bite by bite.

10. Enjoy for tomorrow’s lunch

11. And know you are eating healthy because:

 

* Coconut oil is amazing for these reasons: http://www.organicfacts.net/organic-oils/organic-coconut-oil/health-benefits-of-coconut-oil.html

* Bok Choy is considered a cruciferous veggie. Cruciferous veggies are known to lower your risk of certain types of cancer, can be a healing agent in liver detoxification, and provide ample vitamins and nutrients such as B6, folate, and vitamins A, C & .

* Red bell pepper is loaded with Vitamin C, thiamine, B6, beta carotene and folic acid.

* Green peas are said to lower risk of type 2 diabetes may be connected not only with the relatively low glycemic index of green peas  and their strong fiber and protein content, but also with this unusual combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.

 

We only get one body to carry us through this life. When we treat it well, with kindness and love, we are capable of giving so much more. And, tell me, have you noticed a difference in the way you feel when you eat healthy, whole foods, vs. packaged foods? What’s the difference for you?

You are worth the effort it takes to feel amazing!

On a Day Like Today.

Not far from here, this happened last night:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/07/20/157090121/real-life-horror-many-killed-dozens-wounded-at-colorado-movie-theater

I went for an early morning run to sort things out. It was a quiet morning. Fewer people out. As the sun rose, I let my feet carry me at a pace that was hopeful of matching my racing mind.

I don’t understand why people kill each other. I especially don’t understand why people kill at random. I don’t understand why innocent people must die or suffer horrible tragedies. I don’t understand why and how we can’t turn away from news like this. How it is so difficult to drag yourself away from the unfolding scene of nightmare. I hope there will be no copycat crimes. I don’t understand those either.

But I do think–if there are forces of terrible violence and anger in this world, there must also be forces of unbelievable and unshakable good. And there is a whole day in front of me and anyone who might read this. A whole day to make something right. To open a door. To offer a hand. To smile. To give. To serve. To love. To pray. To heal.

I know it’s easy to feel powerless to help in situations like this. And maybe I can’t help those directly affected. But I can help who I see in front of me today. Buy someone a cup of coffee. Give up the rush to be first in line–in the store, in traffic, wherever I go. I can buy flowers and leave them with someone who I know needs a lift. Or to anyone at all—even someone I don’t know. Because we could all use a little more kindness in our lives.

What are your plans? For the next 24 hours?

Random Isn’t Always Wrong

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Today started with an early morning run around the lakes. Today started with a sunrise over the city.

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There is something so healing about drinking in morning air. About the sound of my breath. About the sound of my feet on the pavement. There is something about running that gives me a kind of quiet peace. I love the simplicity of it. I love the sweat, the dirty clean feeling it brings. And I love that it brings out a much kinder person in me.

 

I love also having met a group of people to run with. Runners are a breed of their own. And so far, in the city, they have been the kindest, the most embracing of someone new. I can’t quite name why this is so. I’m open to any thoughts.

 

Today also included an interesting mishmash of dinner, vegan–for the both of us. A had penne pasta with the spicy spaghetti sauce I make that he loves so much. I wasn’t in the mood for noodles. So, I baked a sweet potato:

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And spooned some lovely lentils over it (along with one leftover mashed up 1/4 slice of tofu):

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And then finished it with a half ladle of the spicy sauce:

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Yum. Seriously. Interesting and really good. And easy. While the sweet potato bakes, I made the lentils.

Lentils.

Rinse and drain.

Simmer until cooked.

Drain.

Drizzle with Mediterranean EVOO & balsamic vinegar. Add garlic salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste.

These lentils make a good base for quite a few lentil salad recipes I make in the summer. I love lentils so much that I prefer not to just make them in the fall. They are a nutritional powerhouse, and I think are a great legume to incorporate into a vegan diet year round. And, topped with the spicy sauce–the sweetness of the potato, tangy-ness of the balsamic lentils, and spicy pasta sauce were are great mix.

Sauce.

see here: http://thekindnessmanifestos.com/2012/01/31/new-shoes/

 

And for dessert, we went for a walk. The skies looked like this:

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But I thought we could make a lap around the neighborhood before the storm hit. Turns out, I was wrong:

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And, there is no treat sweeter than to get caught in a summer storm. To hear the first few splashes of rain land in the leaves of the tallest trees. To feel the cool sting seep into your skin. There was nothing that I could have eaten that would have made me grin ear to ear than to find shelter under a tin-roofed parking shelter with open walls. And to wait for it to pass, make a mad dash for the house, and laugh all the way to the front door.

 

 

Hold the Fries (Meatless Monday)

Make this soon! I hate to say it, but I’ve been vegan for a year, vegetarian for much longer and had never made home-made veggie burgers. Until tonight. I don’t think I will ever go back.

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I bet this would have been even better (hard to believe), last weekend when we were here:

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Camping with my mom & dad at one of our favorite places on the West slope since I was a kid. They even took us camping here when my sister was 6 weeks old. I love it. And I won’t say where it is unless you email me personally because I don’t want it to get crowded :)

Anyway, back to the burger. I pretty much followed this recipe:

http://www.mrkate.com/2012/07/01/4th-of-july-summer-grilling-and-entertaining/

Except I added 1 can chopped mild green chilis, no kidney beans (we didn’t have any), subbed quinoa for brown rice. Bragg’s, vegan  worcestershire sauce and seasoned salt just before grilling. Also, we didn’t have any kebob sticks, so I grilled the red pepper and yellow squash in tin foil with olive oil and sea salt. YUM!

 

Happy, kind cooking!