Getting Comfortable in my Skin (or leotard, or dress…)

natarajasana tahoe modifiedIt took me way too long, but I finally embraced my perfectly quirky/pretty, wear a leotard for yoga style. We all want to look and feel our best, whatever that is. And when we find what makes each one of us feel most comfortable, it’s more likely to happen, with less pushing and pulling and sucking in of stomachs and discomfort and spackle… READ MORE >

The Power of Ritual

hands with tea and lemonWhen I was younger, my family was deeply steeped in Jewish ritual and family tradition. We were kosher. We went to temple on Fridays. We celebrated holidays with candles and Challah and Matzoh and prayer. And we went to my Grandmother’s house for a meal every Sunday. Sometimes these rituals felt like a pain. We were tired. There was too much to do. We had to get up early the next morning…There always seemed to be a reason to skip the ritual. But we didn’t.

As I got older and moved away from home and into my career, these rituals faded a little, leaving me feeling disconnected and forlorn. Recently, I began structuring my time around these gatherings again. READ MORE >

Green Soup

Happy Sunday my sweet petunias! I hope your weekend was fantastic. They pass all too quickly don’t they?

I spent the weekend working, mostly, but I did manage to breath some air, do some yoga, relax (sort of) over a foam roller with candlelight on Friday night. Yeah, that’s how racy I am. Candlelight and a foam roller for a Friday night date. I think I was in bed by 10.

Anyway, I just thought I’d stop in and share an awesome and easy meal I threw together. We’ve been picking zucchini and kale like crazy over here. Seriously, the zucchini are beginning to frighten me.

Huge Zucchini Plus, we had visited the farmer’s market and scored some local leeks and garlic. And OMG we were starving and time-starved. Thank goodness dinner came together in a flash.

We put our Brooklyn blackberries in a bowl as centerpiece, roasted this maitake mushroom…

Mushroom Roast!

…and sat down to an incredible gourmet meal in about 20 minutes. Not too shabby.

You can pair this soup with anything. It’s just the green part. But super delicious and filling and satisfying. And healthy like drinking a green smoothie…only so savory.

Get thee to a farmer’s market and make this pronto! You won’t be sorry.

Very Green Soup

Serves at least 4

Ingredients:

2 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
1 bunch kale, torn
2 medium leeks, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
Hemp seeds (optional, for sprinkling)

Green Soup MakingDirections:

Add zucchini, leeks, kale and garlic to a large soup pot.

Add 4 cups water to the pot.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer about 10 minutes, or until all vegetables are soft.

Ladle most of the broth and about 1/2 of the veggies into a blender and blend until smooth. Return to the soup pot.

Ladle into soup bowls. Drizzle each portion with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

Optional: top with hemp seeds.

Dive in!

Green Soup 2 I’ve made something similar but added peas to the mix, which make it heartier, and fresh and springy at the same time. I’ve pureed the whole batch and eaten it smooth, but the BHH doesn’t love it that way as much. What I mean to say is, it’s malleable, make it your own. Got spinach instead of kale? Great. Got onions instead of leeks? Go for it! Use the veggies you have on hand. They seem to ‘work out their differences in the pot’ as Ayurveda says about kitchari.

And with that, I am finally turning off my computer until tomorrow morning. Time for a little wind down.

With love and green veggies,

L.

 

Can a yogi drink wine? Or, musings on judgement.

Have you noticed that although I profess to write a blog about food, wine and yoga, it almost always ends up being about food? It’s true. I’m often more creative with my food than anything else. So perhaps it’s time for some wine-ing. Or some yoga. Or hey, both at once?

Here’s the funny incident that prompted this post. I was sitting at my favorite restaurant last week, at the bar, with a book, about to order a glass of wine. And let’s just stop and examine that sentence. This in itself is actually a wonderful thing in a way! For so much of my life I was too shy and nervous and concerned about what others thought of me, I’d never have been caught dead alone at a dining establishment! I would rather have starved! But there I was, having made myself a healthy meal and needing some “out in the world” time for some reason and I just headed out on my own. This is huge progress. And I attribute it to yoga. I have only recently begun to just be whoever I am, both on the mat and in the world, rather than trying to shape myself to fit a certain situation. Man, it’s taking a long time!

So anyway, back to the evening. I was sitting there with my wine menu open and a yoga teacher I know and love walked in and came over to say hi. What did I do? Immediately slammed my menu shut! As if to cover the idea that I was going to drink wine.

She did what any normal, adjusted person would do. She laughed and hugged me and sat down at her own table. To “sneak out and indulge in a huge pile of pasta,” as she put it.

But after she left me, I had a good think. Why do I still feel this need to justify my choices, to anyone at all?

Here’s what I feel about wine: I like it and I’m not addicted to it. I have never ever been a big drinker. In fact, as a younger person I didn’t binge drink or even really go out to bars because I just could not handle my liquor and was too embarrassed to be a liability or to even try to use a fake ID.

I only grew into my love of wine while helping my Dad run his wine shop. And I know a lot about it. I drink it reasonably, not too often and not too much. But I do enjoy it. Is that so bad? No. the problem I have is not with overindulging in alcohol, it’s leftover judgement from the early years of my yoga obsession (now that’s something I’m addicted to). When I first started practicing, I decided certain things were good (austerity) and certain things were bad (wine, coffee, chocolate,  enjoying anything too much). It’s like if it wasn’t austere, it couldn’t possibly be yogic, present. Actually, I’m kind of embarrassed to say that ‘out loud’, so to speak.

It took me a long time to get over most of that. I had to go back to the beginning and rethink the point of yoga. I had to examine the philosophy in detail, for myself, rather than looking at things in big sweeping statements or from other people’s perspectives.

But certain vestiges of this remain, obviously. As in, “drinking is not yogic.”

And in that moment at Fragole, I decided to let the sweeping statements drop  away.

Guess what, I like a great glass of wine. Enjoyed slowly. With great pleasure. From time to time. I realize that clouding one’s life experience with substances is not a way to be truly present. But I also think aversion is the flip side of attachment. Life is an ebb an flow. And rocketing from extreme to extreme isn’t the way I want to flow. I’ll take the gray areas thank you very much.

So, I’m going to share with you  the really special wines I find. That doesn’t mean I encourage YOU to drink. Especially if you have a problem with alcohol. There are some things that you just can’t conquer with mindfulness and “everything in moderation.” I’ve known a few alcoholics, and can say for sure that moderation is not possible there. Getting help is absolutely necessary. For me, the addictive, sticky substances are different. Food, mostly. But I also got help. Some issues just require a helping hand.

What I want is for you, everybody, to examine your thoughts and make sure they’re your own. Also, check in, are you judging yourself more than you’d like, and hence also judging others? Maybe it’s time to drop the judgments and get back to a more connected, compassionate, really present way of going through the days and making decisions.

It’s not easy, in these human bodies in this crazy world with minds that think they are ‘everything’ and try to run the show. You’ve gotta still those swirling thoughts a little, step back from the world a little and drill down to what’s true. And that’s the yoga. It’s no easy feat. It’s certainly harder than learning a sun salute or (for me) putting  your leg behind your head. But it is possible.

And by the way, that hour with a simple glass of Montepulciano was maybe one of the best times I’ve had in a while. After I got over my own “stuff” and got out of my own way I thoroughly enjoyed that barstool and book in a way I might not have done if I were at home. I didn’t click around the internet or keep checking my phone, I just tuned in as I slowly sipped. Mindfulness in action, I’d say.

Whatever your issue, I encourage you to do the same: slow down, tune in, and get out of your own way.

After all, It’s hard. Living in these human bodies. This business of consciousness thrown together with matter with swirling mind stuff, it’s gets cloudy and confusing. But I think it’s possible to work it out. I strive to get better at it. And I raise a glass to the idea of fully embodying this human incarnation, all the quirks that make me me this time around.

 

 

What Pains You?

Hi all, happy spring! Can you believe it’s really here? Today I feel it. Total spring fever. I want to go for a massive walk and get away from the blinking screen so much! But you know, it’s a workday. I’ll have to settle for a shorter walk and some gazing out the window. I’ll take it!

Anyway, I am writing today to ask for your help READ MORE >

Today is the Day

Getting ready to say goodbye to 2013…

No, I’m not about to wax poetic about the joys of the past year and tell you to celebrate each moment while drinking green juice and sweating it out in an infrared sauna. Ok, that wouldn’t be bad either. But really, I’m just popping my head up to remind you that life is always delectable, even (or especially) amidst holiday craziness.

Or maybe I’m reminding myself. READ MORE >

Thursday Things

I wanted to write something earth shattering. I wanted to write something insightful and thoughtful. I wanted to write that deep post and shout it to the heavens. And, nothing earth shattering is happening today.  And, though I’ve got all kinds of recipes in development, they’re not ready for you yet.. So, here are just a few fun Thursday Things.

This week I’ve been seriously hitting the juice, and today I made one huge juice, having the rare time at home.

photo-33In the Mix:

1/4 Fresh Pineapple, cut into chunks
Juice of ½ Lime
Small Bunch Cilantro
½ English Cucumber
1 Whole Head of Romaine
A Handful of BHH Kale

photo-34

It was yummy! And big. Sipped on it all morning.

On the other hand, it cost me just as much to make as it costs me to buy my favorite Heartbeet Juices at the shala while running between teaching, practicing and the office. Even with the BHH grown kale. Plus, it was messy. Oh well, it was still worth it, to make my own blend.

I also ate this:photo-36

It’s awesome. No, I am not really Pitta. I just liked the ingredients listed in it but I love the idea of the bars made specifically to pacify the doshas. Maybe I’ll review all three soon! Meanwhile, I probably need something Vata pacifying today, this post is getting windy.

Later, I got overwhelmed. And I felt like I would cave up, shut down or cry. So I put on the soundtrack to Forrest Gump (Gotta revolution!) and hula hooped. Yes, I am totally a dork. But it was kind of uplifting. I managed not to break any valuables, by the way, but just barely. I highly recommend hula hooping as a silly counterpoint to a serious yoga practice.

And, I tried four superfoods and made the BHH try them too.

photo-31photo-32I’ve had them all before, mostly in smoothies, and wanted to see what they would be like in cashew milk, as a nice plain base for flavor testing. I loved the Lucuma and instantly made a smoothie out of it. Here’s what the BHH said to the taste test:

  1. Mequite—“I feel like I should be grilling with it.” He’s silly. It tasted yummy and malty to me.
  2. Lucuma—“That’s better, sort of mapely.” Yes, and I added maple to the smoothie for a great maple walnut ice cream type flavor.
  3. Cacao—“It’s almost like chocolate.” ‘Nuff said.
  4. Maca—He didn’t say anything. He made a face and spit it out. Yes, it’s an acquired taste he won’t be trying to acquire. And I think it kind of smells like old feet. Gotta think about what this means for incorporating it in “common man” recipes.

I’m also working on a big post about superfoods in general, mostly ones you can find in the produce aisle (hint, it’s blueberry season!).

What are your favorite “Thursday Things” and what’s up for the weekend?

Summer Lovin': Massaged Kale Salad

Well, I got that off my chest. And, of course, it’s only one small facet of the issue of yoga and body image and enjoying asana while realizing it’s a tiny piece of the yoga puzzle. Well, I guess that’s what’s wonderful about yoga. There’s always more. I’ll have to post a “retort” to my own post!

But for this beautiful Monday, let’s talk about something a little lighter. Food! I love the summer season. The flavors and colors are so vibrant. Everything is so fresh. The BHH grows an amazing garden and I don’t even have to go shopping to get my greens. READ MORE >