When Yoga Can’t Fix Everything

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“A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.” -Aesop

We all have heard it, “Yoga is the cure-all for any and everything.” I will be the first to admit, that yoga does indeed help with a lot. It helps with stress, posture, improves cognitive function, helps with sleep, makes you aware of your body, and so on and so forth. It isn’t just the postures, but the mind set that is created while partaking in the practice. However… no one system is perfect. Every individual is different, and sometimes yoga just doesn’t cut it.

I am not bashing yoga in any way, but from my own personal experience, sometimes an hour on that mat just does not make me calm, cool, and collected. Sometimes I feel worse off after a class than I did before. I have to be aware of my body and how I feel, not let my emotions get in the way of my postures and use them as fuel to move through it, and all that breath work stirs up hidden emotions and issues I have been holding onto. Have you ever seen someone cry in the middle of class while doing certain poses? I have and I have also been that person. I have fallen apart on the mat all due to anxiety, fear, hate, pain, and sadness.

The best way to put it is I am like a glass window, people read me really well with what is going on in my head and I am not one to hide my emotions very well at all. Granted, it takes a lot for me to have a full on meltdown or cry in public, but none-the-less, my face tells all. So, what happens when the anxiety monster comes creeping in and I am trying to bang out even a few minutes of practice? Sometimes, nothing…and I can let it go. Other times, I turn into a giant mess and just curl up in a ball mid practice. I guess it is a part of life and we all have something to work on, but lately it has been awful. It is harder for me to pay attention to my body and stay focused for a full practice than it is for me to go for a long walk…so I go for a walk.

It is not that I am ignoring my practice, but actually listening to what my body needs and wants. Some days, I want to do a deep asana practice with lots of bends and folds, other days I only want to go slow and do a few easy postures, and other days I just don’t fool with it at all and just try to do something else that is good for me. Yes, the emotions are still there and I try my best to deal with them, but I do think it is rather foolish for someone to think that yoga is the ONLY thing that can help out. I have met people in the past who have scoffed at my outlook and said, “You should practice more, you aren’t serious, you’re missing something, why would you say such a thing?” Truth is, my practice might indeed be deeper than theirs for that reason, but I am not one to judge. We all have our own path in life, so I am just going to do what feels right for me and let the haters sip on that hater-aid.

So, what is your body telling you? Namaste.

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The Chip Experiement

vegetable-chips

“The English contribution to world cuisine – the chip.”–John Cleese

Yes, I am on a cleanse, but I had a crunchy craving so I figured if I can’t have store bought chips, I will make my own. The results were AWESOME! So awesome, I didn’t get a chance to take photos before eating them. However, I figured I would tell you the recipe anyway in case you wanted to try it out!

Veggie Chips Of AWESOME

You will need: 1-2 lbs of root vegetables of choice, olive oil, salt and pepper and or other seasonings,a mandolin slicer/ vegetable peeler, a few cookie sheets, tongs and an oven.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Slice your veggies using a mandolin or veggie peeler. You want them to be thin enough that they crisp up while baking. I used sweet potatoes and carrots, but you can use any root vegetable or hardy vegetable of your choosing. Eggplant,  beets, acorn squash, ect. No need to peel either if you don’t want to.
  • In a bowl, toss slices with a drizzle of olive oil. You want enough to slightly coat them, not be smothered in it so use it lightly. A little goes a long way.
  • Lay out on cookie sheet evenly as possible. They will shrink up while baking so if they are touching it isn’t a big deal.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to add any other seasoning at this point too. Nutritional yeast would be great for a cheesy flavor packed full of vitamins.
  • Put in oven and let cook for 8-10 mins, take them out and turn them over and cook for another 5-10 mins. My sweet potatoes took about 25 mins in my oven, but my carrots only took about 15 so just watch it. You don’t want them to get burnt.
  • Once done, remove from cookie sheet and let cool in a small bowl. Then dig in! They will last about a week, but I doubt they will last that long because they are so yummy!

The best thing about these chips is the fact they are healthy for you. Yes, I said it. The reason why is because you are not using nearly the amount of oil that goes into deep frying and you can control how much you use. Plus, olive oil is great for your heart. Also using root vegetables gives you more nutrients than just plain old potato chips. So you can rest at ease knowing that all that yumminess isn’t going to go straight to your butt.

Oh, and here is a little tiddly-bit. I used a quote about chips above. The British slang term for chips is actually crisps. They call French Fries chips. Might seem a bit confusing since I used that quote in here, but it is one of my favorites and it seems appropriate. And they both are tasty none the less. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy and Namaste!

 

Thoughts on food (monthly update)

“Bad men live that they may eat and drink, whereas good men eat and drink that they may live.”–Socrates

So it’s been a good minute since I have done an update on how my vegan diet is going. For the most part, I have been pretty good about staying vegan, but I have had times where I had no other option but to eat vegetarian. I have avoided dairy at all cost though which has been the most challenging, especially when you live in a family that really doesn’t understand why you are vegan.  Being taunted about your diet choices plus having a limited amount of food that you can eat at home tends to make things difficult when trying to prepare food. hopefully that will be changing soon once I am back in the routine of making enough money to buy my own groceries.

I have hit a bit of a plateau as far as loosing weight. I have been hovering around 125 lbs for the past 2 weeks or so and I am thinking it has to do with not being able to eat all the things I normally would on a regular basis. Having to rely on carbs is not a good thing so I am thinking of giving up bread all together for a good bit to see if that helps. Yay not having gluten! On a brighter note, I have seen major improvements in my skin. No breakouts for a few weeks, my PMS is not nearly as bad and my hair even seems healthier.

I am also going to be amping up my meditation and yoga routines to combat the lack of healthy vegan options right now. I think an hour a day of yoga and 30 minutes of meditation will help me out greatly. That will be starting this weekend, plus a mini juice fast to boost my metabolism starting on Monday.

In other news, I am quite pleased to say that my new man (Bryce) is very interested in my vegan lifestyle and is wanting me to cook some things for him this weekend while I am in Chapel Hill with him. Can you say awesome?!?!?! I am so happy that I can share that with someone that I really care about. Most men I have dated previously have been outright carnivores; tolerant ones, but still carnivores none the less. His interests aren’t just for physical health, but more on the spiritual side of things. Eating a vegetarian/vegan tends to open people up spiritually, which in my opinion is a fantastic thing. Ill be posting a few of the recipes that I will be making with him this weekend (plus pictures) so stay tuned! Hope you all enjoy and Namaste!

The Yogi and Wine

Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.–Benjamin Franklin

Being a yogi and an avid mediator, people often ask me why I like wine so much. I mean I am only 23 so I should be drinking beer or mixed drinks right? Nope…call me an old soul, but that is just what I like. “But how can you drink and be serious about yoga?!?!” Here in lies the “issues” most people have while practicing yoga.

I am a strong supporter of having “everything in moderation”, which includes alcohol for me. We are but human and we are not perfect beings. Most religions and strict practices often prohibit alcohol, drugs, sex and other “worldly” things. If someone who works 40 hours a week with a family suddenly takes an interest in yoga and you tell them, “You can’t eat meat or drink alcohol again if you practice yoga.” they are more than likely going to turn their nose up at you and say, “No thanks.”

Again, yoga is an ancient practice that has changed over hundreds of years. It’s continuing to change as we know it, so why not change a few of the rules? Sure, if you want you can devote yourself to your practice and do all of the things and abstain from these worldly things if that is your path and what makes you happy. For me, however, I like to look at it as a challenge. A chance for me to practice what I have learned on the mat in my day to day life. Mindfulness at its finest!

This is normally what I do as a mini meditation when I am out and about having a glass of wine. Pick a wine that you know you will love or try something new along the lines of what you already like. When you get your glass, take a moment to look at it and examine how beautiful it looks. Hold it in your hand and swirl it around as you smell the aromas. Let them sink in and enjoy the smell, try even to identify what it smells like. Slowly take a sip and enjoy the flavors on your tongue and then take a moment to breath and sit with the taste. Take a few minutes between  sips to have lovely conversation and see how the wine affects you and how the flavors change with each sip. Once the glass is finished, take a moment to sit with awareness of your body and show gratitude. And there you go! Meditation with wine!

Usually if I drink this way, I don’t nearly drink as much because I don’t need to. I am happy with the feeling I get from one glass and I know that I am being mindful in the process. It works wonderfully. It is also easy to do with any other drink or even food. Anyone is able to do it, no special skills required. I hope you all enjoy and Namaste!

The Art of Vegan Baking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let them eat cake.-Marie Antoinette

Sorry for the missed post yesterday, all of this traveling has taken it out of me so I needed a day off. I will make up a post later on during the week. Anywho, so Valentines Day is Thursday and I am going to my lovely friend Jacob’s house for dinner. It is awful sweet of him to cook for me. I think I shall end up baking some sort of cake to help out, that is if he lets me. It should be an interesting evening.

Tonight, however, I am making chocolate carob brownies for all of my friend at writing club. They all LOVE my vegan baked goods and that really is how I got started into the whole vegan journey. I have had several friends who have food allergies or special diets, so I would bake stuff for them that they could eat. It tastes just as good, if not better and it much richer and healthier in the end. That is what got me hooked (since I have an outrageous sweet tooth at times) and I thought, “Well if I can still eat this stuff and it tastes even better then hell I will be vegan!”

It took a bit to get use to the idea but everything is a process. Anywho, so we are going to meet at Krankies and then head out to eat dinner with all of my buddies and just have a jolly good time! I know they will enjoy the chocolaty goodness that I am bringing too. Nothing beats chocolate for Valentines Day!

Here is the link to the recipe that I used : http://www.vegweb.com/recipes/brownies-improved-recipe-healthier  The only thing I did differently was just add everything together without putting it on the stove and add bananas instead of oil. It works out really well because they are still fluffy and moist but with more nutritional impact. I hope you all enjoy and Namaste!

How to be mindful while flying

“The Guide says there is an art to flying”, said Ford, “or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”― Douglas Adams, Life, the Universe and Everything

 

I didn’t go to bed till three last night because I was so nervous about today…and I was still packing (why must you have a quart bag limit for liquids? Like really?) Yes, I have anxiety but this was more of a “OMFG IT’S HAPPENING FINALLY!!!!” nervousness than a “OMFG…I don’t wanna die…HELP!” Regardless, it got me thinking of all the other people who, like me, either haven’t flown before or are anxious. So, what do you do to calm your nerves and come back to center while in a metal box with wings thousands of feet up in the air? YOGA/MEDITATE!!!!

“But what if people look at me funny?” Who cares? I mean really, I have seen far weirder things than someone sitting calmly with their eyes closed and breathing slowly while traveling, or even day to day. Same with yoga poses, besides it is a conversation starter. All you have to do is smile anyway and either that gets them to leave you alone or you make a new friend. Simple.

But what can you do on an airplane as far as yoga? Well, it is the same as chair yoga but maybe a smidge more cramped. Twist from side to side, do a siting forward bend, bring your knees to your chest, go to the bathroom and do some standing postures if need be. You get to be creative here and it is a challenge, but a fun one. If you aren’t up for the postures though then meditation here really isn’t as different as it is on the ground. All you have to do is remember to breath.

Here is another tip, if you really don’t want people to bug you while you meditate, then slip on an eye mask and put in some ear plugs. They will think you are sleeping and try not to bother you (at least that is my theory, I wouldn’t bug someone if they had an eye mask on). So, those are my plans for while I am jet set. Plus a good book, some pen and paper to write and decent music on my iPhone. I will let you all know how it goes and wish me luck! Namaste!

Trial and error

Age is something that doesn’t matter, unless you are a cheese. –Luis Bunuel
So I did have some cheese on Friday and I am utterly regretting it. It was just a little goat cheese on my salad, I figured it couldn’t hurt and well…now I am sick. I feel like I have a cold, my sinuses are horrible, and my body is soar. So yes…no more cheese ever ever ever again. I will admit it tasted absolutely divine, but I am NOT going to eat it since it made me feel this dreadful.
Trial and error is utterly important for me right now. The fact of me trying that smidgin of cheese does not make me a bad person or a horrible vegan, but it did remind me why I use to feel like total poo before. So, all in all it makes me much stronger in my diet choices now. I can really look at that piece of cheese and go, “Screw you, you make me feel like crap. BE GONE FOUL ONE!” (so punny, I know. it was too easy).
On that note, today was my juice day. I did have soup and a salad, (partly because the local smoothie place was closed when I was in town and I was starved) but they were raw veggies and a coconut based veggie soup so I will let it slide. Again, no one is perfect. I did have 2 green drinks before I left the house though so all in all I think i did fairly well. Still feel a bit crudy but hopefully that will pass in the next few days.
So here is the recipe for one of my favorite juices. I call it “The Cremecicle” because it is orange and it tastes a lot like one, only its healthy!!!! Juice 1 large sweet potato, 2 oranges, and 3 carrots. The sweet potato makes it creamy and the carrots and oranges make it really sweet. Its delicious and a great way to start out your day. Plus it is chocked full of vitamins and minerals like beta carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Potassium.
So, there you go! New recipe, how much I hate cheese and, and a fairly well done juice day. I hope you all enjoy and Namaste!