a journey from the heart

Archive for the ‘Health & Wellness’ Category

February Poem of the Month

The weather this month has been anything but usual. Here in Oregon, we have been warm with little precipitation. Our mountains have maybe 15% of the snowpack they should have, our rivers are low, the rain comes in a misty drizzle. While I was in Pennsylvania the weather was odd; minus zero temps, little snow, lots of sunshine.

But on my yoga mat I find stability in my own weather patterns. The fluctuations remind me to return to my breath, to return to the only thing that seeks my attention, the present moment.

This month’s poem comes from my sunrise yoga practice, from within the storm.

Namaste
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A Piece of the Storm
By Mark Strand

From the shadow of domes in the city of domes,
A snowflake, a blizzard of one, weightless, entered your room
And made its way to the arm of the chair where you, looking up
From your book, saw it the moment it landed.
That’s all There was to it. No more than a solemn waking
To brevity, to the lifting and falling away of attention, swiftly,
A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that
Except for the feeling that this piece of the storm,
Which turned into nothing before your eyes, would come back,
That someone years hence, sitting as you are now, might say:
‘It’s time. The air is ready. The sky has an opening.’

Further Reflections of the Fast

It has been a lovely cool and rainy day. I started my day with a yummy green juice, using fruits and veggies I did not use during the fast. I had already started juicing when I eyed the lemon and ginger on the counter, so they got added at the last minute. Mason jars are excellent for taking juice on the go.

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For supper this evening we made stuffed portabello mushrooms. I apologize for not taking pictures of the prep work, but the boyfriend and I were chatting and cooking together.

Ingredients:
Portabello mushrooms
Garlic
Red onion
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
Carrot
Spinach
Olive oil
Thyme
Basil
Oregano
Parsley
Rosemary
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Sauté the garlic and onion in a little olive oil on low heat. Add carrot and chickpeas. Sauté for a few more minutes. Add spinach and herbs, then cover until wilted. Scoop the inside of the portabello out and add to the mix.

Heal the mixture into the mushroom. Place in original pan used to sauté the “stuffing”. Heat, covered, on low for 10-12 minutes, or until mushroom heated all the way through.

Serve and enjoy!

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As for the juice fast, I totaled up all the ingredients used and it came to just about $140.00 for the five days. That’s using a organic veggies and fruits. Quite a few people were surprised at the amount of money, but at the end of the day, and even at the beginning, I am worth it! Besides , better in my body than the doctors wallet. 😉

I highly recommend buying all your ingredients in the beginning. Great motivation to keep going when it gets tough.

In the days after the fast be sure to keep drinking plenty of water. I have struggled with this because I have been back to my regular routine.

Salt is not as important an ingredient to my cooking at this point. I find that my tastes have change significantly, and I enjoy the natural flavors, even with potatoes. Don’t get me wrong, salt has its place. But for now, less is more.

Well, I will sign off for now. Until later…. Happy Juicing!

Breaking My Fast

This morning I sank my teeth into a gloriously juicy granny smith apple!

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It has been a great day of fruits and veggies. Throughout the day I enjoyed a lovely, crunchy carrot, a smooth avocado, and a smoothie of blueberries, pear, watermelon, and kale. A word to the wise, spinach is so much better than kale in smoothies. Kale is just too bitter. (But I did drink it all!)

For supper I made a simple Potato Leek Soup. I will admit to using frozen, sliced leeks. But, after five days of chopping vegetable five times a day, I took a little of the work out of the kitchen.

Potato Leek Soup

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Sauté the leeks in a little olive oil.

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Add celery and garlic, sauté for five minutes.

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Add carrots, sauté 5 more minutes.

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Finally add the potatoes and simmer for 25 minutes. *Note: I put the potatoes in a bowl of water as I am dicing them. After rinsing a few times until the water is clear, I just cover the potatoes with water. Then I add the potatoes and water to the soup pot. I added about a half cup more water, but keeping the final soup creamy is key, so no more water than that. The veggies are not quite covered.

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I added dried thyme, a pinch of dried rosemary, a pinch of salt, a dash of pepper (okay six or eight grinds on the grinder) , and a bay leaf to the simmering pot.

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Let cool for for 20 minutes or so prior to pureeing. Add fresh parsley just before putting in blender.

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After purée is complete, return to pot and warm slowly. Pour into bowls, serve, enjoy. (Salt and pepper to taste.)

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Yum!

Okay, so no, I did not juice today, but I did smoothie with kale. Tomorrow I will be back to juicing once a day.

My belly is content with the fruits and veggies I ate, and I had to be extra aware to not be “stuffed”. A full belly is a phenomenon not experienced in a few days. There’s lots of grumbly action going on in there. 🙂 I am still drinking between two and three liters, which was surprising, but quite good.

A few reflections on the reboot.

This particular one recommended a cup of herbal tea in the evenings, but I never got that far. With the morning hot water, the coconut water, and five juices taking about 30 minutes prep and cleanup each, I ran out of time. And I usually had already drank nearly four liters of water so I didn’t feel the need.

When it is recommended to stay near a bathroom, believe me, it’s great advice. I probably peed every 20-25 minutes during waking hours.

Daily exercise is key, even if modified to a lower intensity. On the days I wasn’t swimming or at Jazzercise (including today) I still did some gentle yoga, stretching, and walking. (Short walks, due to the rate of peeing.)

Tomorrow I will share the cost of the fruits and veggies, just for the reboot, and other reflections as they arise.

Till then…. Happy Juicing!

Juice Fast Day 5

This is it! The final day of my 5-day juice fast. I am so looking forward to sinking my teeth into a green apple tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, I enjoyed my favorite of all the juices tonight for my after-supper drink.

Without further ado, the final line-up….

Carrot Apple Ginger

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Green Lemonade

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Sporty Spice

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Joe’s Mean Green

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Peach Pie Delight (my favorite!!!)

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By the way, the boyfriend liked the peach pie delight so much he was trying to lick the inside of the glass to get the last drags! And he doesn’t even like sweet potatoes or most of the other juices I make.

Yum!!!

Follow up and reflections tomorrow. Happy Juicing!

Juice Fast Day 4

I will admit I am so grateful I only have one more day of juicing. This is a great experience, and I feel fabulous. But I am feeling a bit juiced-out. I have not been hungry and I have not had any cravings. Well, except to actually bite into something solid. It doesn’t matter what, fruit, vegetables, something….

So, today’s line-up:

Carrot Apple Lemon

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Garden Variety (romaine added)

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Un-Beet-able (Loving the beets!)

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Green Lemonade

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Purple Passion (minty and refreshing)

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Four down, one to go! Happy Juicing

Juice Fast Day 3

So, day 3 has been great! I woke up with no headache and with quite a bit of energy. Each morning the reboot starts with 2 cups hot water, ginger simmered with it. Hot water in hand (or jar anyway), I took a stroll to the grocery store because I realized I hadn’t bought enough oranges. Came home, made my breakfast juice, and finished reading a fantastic book, The Memory Garden, by Mary Rickert.

Mid-morning drink is 16 oz unsweetened coconut water. Then green juice for lunch. Took my mid-afternoon juice with me to a game-con and played Lewis and Clark. Then back home for supper juice, and after-supper juice while watching
Searching for Sugar Man.

Today’s menu:

Sunrise (I love these beet juices!!!)

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Joe’s Mean Green (with parsley and romaine added)

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Watermelon Crush (yummy)

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Garden Variety (romaine added)

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Peach Pie Delight (Spectacular! I had no idea sweet potatoes were so good raw. Just like a milkshake!))

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Now that I have made all the juices, I am adding other ingredients to some of them. I had lots of extra romaine from pre-juicing, so it’s now in all the green juices.

That’s it for today. Three days down, two to go. Spent all day just wanting to sink my teeth into the fruits and veggies. The cherries at the market looked sooooooo good. Soon!

Happy Juicing!

Juice Fast Day 2

Day 2 of my juice fast has been pretty good. I woke up with a bit of a headache this morning, not sure if it is due to the fast or to hormones. Both are equally likely options. Perhaps it’s a bit of both.

I went for a casual swim that was refreshing. I would have stayed in the water longer, but alas, the biggest issue with juicing this much…having to pee every 20-30 minutes. Seriously!

Spent much if the day curled up with a good book and the cats. We took multiple cat-naps together, quite relaxing. Oh, and I splurged with a bubble bath while drinking my mid-afternoon, red juice. Decadent!

My headache continues, a bit worse for the wear this evening. Otherwise, I feel great. I have not been hungry, only thirsty. Again, nearly 3.5 liters of water so far today.

Without further ado, here are some pictures to tantalize.

Carrot Apple Ginger

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Green Lemonade (with a few extra ingredients)

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Sporty Spice (by far my favorite so far!)

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Joe’s Mean Green (zesty)

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Red, White, Blue (& Green!) – yup, that’s it’s full name (this one is odd and my least favorite thus far)

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So, I am going to finish this final (odd) juice and then curl up with another book until I drift off to sleep. More tomorrow.

Happy Juicing!

Juice Fast Day 1

This is my very first juice fast. Beginning today, I will be on a 5-day fast. I am following Joe Cross’ 5-day Reboot. If you haven’t seen “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” I highly recommend you do.

Now, I am not fat, sick or nearly dead. However, I can always be a bit healthier. So, enjoy the pictures; I am currently enjoying the juices.

Carrot Apple Lemon

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Garden Variety

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Un-Beet-able (forgot to add the ginger before I started blending, so it’s not in the photo, oops)

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Green Lemonade

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Purple Passion

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Finally, this is what the fridge looked like prior to beginning.

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Poor boyfriend, no room for much of his food. Good thing it’s only a five-day fast!

So, I have just the purple passion left to drink tonight. I feel great, haven’t been hungry all day, which is surprising because I went to my 5:30 a.m. Jazzercise class before I started this morning. And, no trouble drinking enough water…I’ve nearly put 4 liters away today. Will update again tomorrow evening. I have the next three days off from work, perfect to be gentle with myself.

Here’s to your health! Happy Juicing.

Baked Brussel Sprouts n’ Apples

I grew up in a house where food was not tended to with great love or joy. Or even, for that matter, with great taste. There was the usual assortment is prepared, packaged, processed food stuffs. Along with the required once monthly piece of liver (because we didn’t have the money for the good cuts of red meat and had to have our iron – so we were told). And yes, the daily vegetables (on those rare occasions that our mother was home at supper to make us eat them).

When we had to “eat our vegetables”, they were usually too bland or too mushy. Unfortunately for me that meant there were a lot of veggies I absolutely disliked.

It is only in the last few years that I have mustered up the courage to try some of them once more. And this time not boiled or slathered in butter, but in new and exciting combinations.

Tonight’s recipe is for all those lovers and haters of brussel sprouts. I include those who swear against them because my boyfriend is one of you, or at least was until I made the following dish. The sweetness of the apple, the zing of the garlic, the nutty crunch of the almonds….

Without further ado!

Ingredients
Brussel sprouts (the smaller ones are so flavorful)
Apples (sweet varieties work very well)
Garlic
Onion
Basil
Thyme
Salt
Black/mixed pepper
Olive oil
Almonds (I prefer raw)

Preheat the oven at 375F.

Trim and quarter the brussel sprouts. Core and dice the apples, leaving the skin on. Roughly chop the garlic, and coarsely dice the onion.

In a small bowl mix the thyme, basil, pepper and salt.

If your almonds are whole chop them, or you can buy them already sliced.

Combine the main ingredients in a glass baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with your seasoning. Lightly toss until (relatively) evenly mixed. Top with almonds.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until brussel sprouts are fork tender. Let cool 5 minutes.

As I said before, my boyfriend absolutely detested brussel sprouts until he tried them this way. He went back for thirds!!!

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Bon apetite!

Roasted Eggplant

After much time on various retreats, taking time off the grid, and overall tending to life away from blogging, I present to you the following simple, yet absolutely delicious roasted eggplant recipe.

Ingredients:
Eggplant
Tomatoes
Red bell pepper
Onions
Garlic
Pine nuts
Ginger powder
Cilantro
Cracked red pepper
Cumin
Coriander
Paprika
Salt
Black or mixed pepper
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Begin by cutting the eggplant into 1″ cubes, leaving the skin on. Place in a bowel, salt and let stand 30 minutes. (the salt removes some of the bitter liquid.)

While the eggplant is “sweating” (the bitter liquid will form sweat beads on the surface) cube the onion, red bell pepper and tomatoes. Roughly chop the garlic into chunks. Set aside in your glass baking dish.

Mix the cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, ginger, cracked red pepper and/or black/mixed pepper in a small bowl (as always use more or less of each dependent on your personal preferences – I prefer more cumin, less turmeric – but let your tastebuds be your guide). Set aside.

Rinse the eggplant well, place on a towel (or paper towels) and pat dry. Add the eggplant and pine nuts to the other veggies and mix. Lightly coat the veggies with olive oil, then add your spices mixing thoroughly.

Roast in oven, uncovered for 20 minutes, mixing about half way through. Remove from oven, add chopped cilantro, mix, and roast for 10 more minutes. Eggplant should be fork tender and the veggies should be nicely browned.

Remove, cool, and share with friends.

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Bon apetite!