Join me in mindful living and everyday wellness. Yoga, meditation, and inspiration. Realizing and embracing the natural and spontaneous spirituality within us all.

 

Breaking News– 2500 years later

I always find it interesting to see news stories that proclaim some scientific discovery that validates super old philosophies and knowledge bases. I recently ran across another one that talks about the view of self. This article speaks to the Buddhist belief that the self is an ever changing stream of consciousness. Apparently, some scientists now agree. Buddhists also believe that consciousness is not dependent on the physical body. Scientists generally do not agree on that point. But maybe they will come around to that eventually.

I think it is useful for many people to see these studies that validate ancient Eastern philosophies, but I for one don’t discount the Buddhist beliefs that have not been scientifically investigated. I think it is arrogant to assume that science knows all and proves all. These other, non-scientific belief systems have been validated over thousands of years by people living them on a daily basis.

Read the article at the link below.

 

Neuroscience Backs up Buddhists

thai buddha

Silencing the Mind

Meditation. It seems like it should be an easy thing, yet it is so difficult in so many ways.

I struggle with it myself. But it remains a worthwhile endeavor. Here’s Alan Watts, with a few thoughts on silencing the mind..

 

 

Where does the time go?

I think I say this every year, and maybe with every season, but didn’t this summer just seem to fly by? It’s gone already. I remember as a kid on summer break from school that there seemed to be a nearly endless expanse of time to get to the things I had on my list of fun stuff to do. Actually, looking back, I realize that part of the reason I had that feeling was because I did not HAVE a list. That behavior has come with age, as has the feeling that time is running faster and faster. Connected somehow? Of course. As adults we over schedule ourselves, make time for the things we feel we should be doing , and often never get to the things we simply want to do- the things that feed our souls, nurture our creativity, and bring us back to the simple joys of life. We worry about tomorrow and yesterday, while robbing today of our full attention. We forget to just “be”, an important  behavior that I was recently reminded of by a new friend and teacher. I’m definitely putting that back on my “to do” list. Ha ha!

Putting a lid on the salads

I accomplished a few things things this summer that I meant to get done, while others got put on the shelf. I did manage to meet my goal of trying out some new summer salad recipes. I promised with my last post to share my favorites. One is a variation of an old classic, Creamy Macaroni Salad, which has been a mainstay of summer picnics for decades. The other, Baja Bean Salad, has a guacamole feel to it, which I love, but incorporates two different beans, upping the protein and nutritional content and making it completely delicious! Give them both a try, and maybe you’ll be adding them to your recipe book like I did.

Baja Bean Salad

1 can kidney beans, drained (15 oz)

1 can garbanzo beans, drained (15 oz)

1 cup tomatoes, chopped

3/4 cup cucumber, peeled and chopped

2 Tbsp diced onion

1/2 cup plain yogurt (add more if needed for consistency)

3-4 avocados, peeled, seeded, and mashed

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup shredded lettuce

In large bowl, mix together both beans, tomato, cucumber and onion. In separate bowl, mix together avocado, yogurt, salt. Adjust consistency by adding a little more yogurt if necessary. Stir in to bean mixture. Chill. Top with shredded lettuce, and serve with a side of corn tortillas or chips. Serves 6-8

Old Fashioned Creamy Macaroni Salad

4 cups small dried pasta- seashell, elbow, or salad

3 cups minced celery

3 cups peas, fresh or frozen

1 cup sliced Kalamata olives

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 cup thinly sliced green onion (white and green parts)

6 hard boiled eggs, chopped (optional)

1/4 cup chopped dill pickles

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp salt, or more to taste

fresh ground pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add peas for one minute, then remove to large bowl. Add macaroni to still boiling water. Cook till tender but not mushy. Drain, cool under running water, drain again and place in bowl with peas. Add celery, onion, olives, pepper, eggs, and pickles. In separate bowl combine mayo, buttermilk, mustard, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, and spices. Mix well. It will be a little tangy at this point, which is perfect. Pour dressing over salad and combine well. Add more seasoning if desired. Chill. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Serves 8-12.

 

 

Is it hot, I mean HOT, where you’re at?

Summer heat not only makes me feel like I’d like to eat less, but also reduces my motivation to actually cook anything. That’s a problem when dinner time rolls around at my house. So I’ve been looking for a few new light and easy recipes to try.  I trolled the internet for a bit, naturally, and came up with five summer salads that seem to fit the requirements. I’ll be whipping them up over the course of the week, and deciding whether or not they will earn  permanent placement in the recipe book.

On the menu

Baja Bean Salad

Asian Pasta Salad

Amazing Brown Rice

Asian Coleslaw

Old-fashioned Creamy Macaroni Salad

At the end of the week I’ll report back and let you know how they turned out! I’ll share my favorite with you then.

What are your favorite light summer recipes? Share them with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YogiSahaj


‎”The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.” – Dr. Ann Wigmore, ND

green smoothie ingredients

green smoothie ingredients

 

Green up your day!

Many of us have trouble including enough fruits and vegetable in our diets, especially the greens that are so good for us. One of the easiest ways I know of to correct that is to whip up a delicious green smoothie! Green smoothies are packed with nutritional punch, and can help you get some of those nutritional needs filled in one quick and easy trip to the blender.

Greens are filled with chlorophyll and phytonutrients, plant compounds that are important to our health and which bolster our immune systems. Leafy greens also provide proteins, trace minerals, and fiber. Try a variety of greens in your recipes. Don’t avoid the bitter greens, as these often have powerful cleansing properties. You can always balance the taste with something sweet- an apple, or maybe some berries.

Do something fabulous for your health, and give green smoothies a try!

Tips and ingredients

Drink your smoothie on an empty stomach, for optimal digestive absorbtion of all those much needed nutrients. They’re very filling!

Start with a liquid base. Water, apple juice, coconut water, orange juice, or a combination of any of these Add leafy greens and fruits of your choice. Blend. Add more liquid as needed for your desired consistency. Add seeds or nuts if desired, and blend well again. Pour into a beautiful glass and enjoy! Experiment with different combinations until you find your favorites. The possibilities are almost endless. Add a little stevia if you enjoy your smoothies sweeter.

Suggested greens: cucumbers, celery, kale, Romaine, peas, broccoli (chop stems for easier blending), spinach, avocado, sunflower sprouts, bok choy, mustard greens, collard greens, wheat grass, water cress, alfalfa sprouts, spirulina

Sweet veggies and fruits: carrot, beet, red pepper, apple, pear, banana, berries, mango, papaya, (frozen?), medjool dates

Additional yumminess: flax, chia, or hemp seeds, ginger root, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg

Blending a winner

Here’s a great video tutorial on how to blend the perfect smoothie, with some info on soluble and insoluble fiber!

 

 


 

 

 

Lost your peace of mind?

Have you noticed how sometimes when things seem to be flowing along smoothly, and you least expect disruption, everything suddenly falls apart and comes crashing down? Suddenly you’re overwhelmed, stressed out, and potentially deep in worry and distraction. It happens to us all at one time or another, sometimes with alarming regularity.

These are the times when we need to remember the basics, and draw upon the tools we have available to us to return life to a semblance of peace. Here are two simple and effective ways to set yourself back on the path of personal peace.

1. Breathe!

Stop for a moment. Relax your shoulders. Maybe even close your eyes. Inhale through your nose, and then exhale. Take three to five deep, full breaths. Fill your lungs completely, and then empty completely.

2. Come back to the moment.

Notice where you are and what you are doing right now. Be in the present. Let go of all the thoughts of the past and what may or may not happen in the future. Just “be here now”. Keep your conscious mind on the moment at hand. I’ve found that it is helpful to  stop thinking about what is bothering me, and put my worries away in the “cupboard” of my unconscious mind. You can even visualize yourself doing just that. And then leave it alone. Trust yourself to get back to it if it’s something that needs revisiting. Often when it does pop back into your thoughts at a later time it will be in the context of a solution to what was worrying you. Or it may just go away. Either way, you’ve saved yourself a lot of unnecessary turmoil.

 

“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes and make it possible.”               ~T.E. Lawrence

The Biology of Belief

Every now and then you run across a book that makes you exclaim, “Ah ha! I knew it!” The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, and Miracles by Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D has been one of those books for me.  The topics discussed include so many of the things that fascinate me- biology, nutrition, holistic healing, conscious vs. unconscious mind, fractal geometry. I know! It’s a lot! Oh, and lest I forget, the evils of pharmaceuticals. One of my favorite rants. Dr. Lipton manages to tie all these topics together in a look at our bodies and our minds, the connections between the two, and how we interact with our environment. He does so in a way that runs counter to much of what has been, and continues to be, taught in the fields of biology and medicine. And in doing so he validates the work being done in alternative wellness and healing arts, holistic medicine, Ayurveda, herbalism, polarity, psychic phenomena, and even faith healing, all of which believe that energy fields are influential in controlling our physiology and health.

Quantum Physics of Cell Biology

Dr. Lipton comes from a scientific background, having been trained as a researcher, a physician, a cell biologist, and an educator. In this book he discusses his research in the field of cell biology, how that research ran counter to the established scientific view, and the ramifications of his findings.   To bring readers up to speed, Dr Lipton begins with a description of basic human cell anatomy and behavior. He includes a really great analogy involving a bread, butter, and olive sandwich to illustrate the placement and function of phospholipids and integral membrane proteins (IMPs) which make up the membrane of the cell. He then goes on to say that it is the membrane of the cell that is the “brain” of our cells, not the nucleus. This may initially seem a little dry, but is hugely important  for the function of our bodily systems, including the expression of the genes contained in our DNA.  Turns out that the receptor proteins in the membrane, not the genes, are running the show. This means that “the cells operations are primarily molded by its interaction with the environment, not by its genetic code.” (p. 70)  As exciting as that is, it gets even better. Turns out, according to Dr. Lipton’s research, that the receptor proteins in the cell membrane respond not only to physical molecules, but also read vibrational energy fields such as light, sound, and radio frequencies! So, biologically, every cell in our body and the behavior of those cells, including gene expression, is “dynamically linked to information from the environment”. (p. 75)

This is no news flash for anyone in the alternative healing arts field. We all know that acupuncture, massage therapy, tone therapy, yoga, meditation, and prayer work to heal the body. We know that spontaneous healing can and does take place. What Dr. Lipton provides here is a framework for explaining why and how these things work, based on the newer quantum physics model rather than the outmoded Newtonian model on which Western medicine has been founded. After taking the reader through the biology, anatomy, and theory of this new model, Dr. Lipton goes on to talk about the implications of this system.

These are your cells on drugs

One of the ways in which we commonly interfere with our bodies ability to function is through the use of pharmaceuticals. Conventional biology believes that the body can be understood by studying the chemical building blocks from which it is made, and “adjusting” the system or the problems in the system with other chemicals. It is a very linear system where A leads to B leads to C and so on. This reductionist flow does not “recognize the massive complexity  of the intercommunication among the physical parts and the energy fields that make up the whole.” ( p. 83) And therein lies the problem with pharmaceutical fixes.  In a holistic pathway such as Dr Lipton ascribes to, a change in A not only affects B, but also C, D, E , L, R and more. So when a chemical is ingested to cure a specific ill, it may actually wreak more havoc on the system than it does good.  Side effects can often prove to be deadly. The numbers are, unfortunately, there to prove that this is a highly ineffective and extremely dangerous model of healthcare. In fact, “more than 120, 000 people die from adverse effects of prescribed medications each year.” (p. 86) Illness resulting from medical treatment is called iatrogenic illness. According to the “ estimates published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA),  iatrogenic illness is the third-leading cause of death in this country.”  Another study out of Harvard actually ranks iatrogenic illness as the leading cause of death. (p. 86) Worrying statistics, indeed, and a wakeup call for anyone concerned about remaining healthy! Doctor prescribing a cocktail of prescription drugs for your ills? You may want to think twice about that.

Don’t worry. Be happy!

All of Dr Lipton’s work points to the fact that matter and energy, the body and the mind, are intertwined, mutually entangled, and interdependent. What affects one affects the other.  Positive thinking has an actual physical effect on your vibrational field and on each cell in your body. Dr. Lipton says, “Your beliefs are like filters on a camera, changing how you see the world. Positive thoughts are a biological mandate for a happy, healthy life.” (p.116) Change your life, even down to the expression of your DNA, by changing your environment and your thoughts. I think that’s pretty exciting stuff!

Want to learn more? I’d recommend that you read The Biology of Belief.

 

 

What is quinoa?

Although not a common item in most kitchens today, quinoa is gaining in popularity. A South American grain that was used by the Incas, quinoa has a fluffy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. Quinoa is highly nutritious, containing all nine essential amino acids. Not only are quinoa’s amino acids well balanced, but it has an especially high content of the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features many other health-building nutrients, such folate, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc.

Quinoa is relatively easy to cook. Treat it much like rice, bringing two cups (or slightly less) of water to a boil with one cup of grain, covering at a low simmer and cooking for about 15 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed. The cooked germ looks like a tiny curl. The grain will expand and begin to look slightly translucent.  As an alternative, a rice cooker can be used to prepare quinoa, treating it just like white rice for both cooking cycle and water amount. I like to cover the pot and let it sit for another 5-10 minutes after simmer is done.

Here’s an easy and tasty recipe featuring quinoa.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

2 cups cooked quinoa (see cooking directions above)

2 cups black beans (organic canned or freshly cooked)

1/4 cup red or orange pepper, chopped

1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh when in season, or frozen)

1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

1/2 cup black olives, finely chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped (I usually leave this out, as I’m not a cilantro fan, but if you like it, add it)

salt and pepper to taste

Saute pepper and onion together in 1 TBSP olive oil until soft. Allow to cool. In large bowl, mix black beans and quinoa. Add corn, celery, olives, cilantro, and sauteed veggies. Combine thoroughly. Enjoy!