Category Archives: food

Ahimsa and Veganism

by Susan Craig

“The most violent weapon on earth is the table fork.” Mahatma Gandhi

I became a vegan nearly 30 years ago – long before I found Sri Dharma. My decision to stop eating animals was born out of a very hopeless period in my life when I was severely abused. During that darkest days of my life I made a pact with myself that, as small and inconsequential as my life seemed to be, knowing what it felt like to be abused and to be treated as if I had no value, I would do my best not to treat others as if they had no value. This decision included non-human animals; the least that I could do was to stop eating them. Little did I know that this decision, along with the beginnings of an asana practice, would take me on a most amazing journey which recently included finding Sri Dharma Mittra as my yoga teacher.

While the deep pain in my life did not suddenly dissipate as a result of becoming a vegan, I did experience some immediate benefits. My overall physical health improved quickly and dramatically (To this day, at nearly 60 years old, I am far healthier than I was in my teens  and twenties.). Along with that, issues around body image and eating that had been a source of personal torture since my teens disappeared and never returned. These were miracles!

With veganism as a non-negotiable core value, along with the beginnings of an asana practice, I began the slow and arduous climb out of the deep pit that I found myself in. While I have utilized many additional means of recovery support along the way, I believe that the deepest and most profoundly transformative decision that I have made has been to become a vegan. Sri Dharma’s core teachings around Ahimsa certainly support this.

It is a rare individual who has not eaten animal flesh, dairy, and eggs. We have been born into cultures that treat food animals as commodities meant to be eaten. From birth we have been indoctrinated into a culture that tells us that we must consume animals, that it is normal and necessary for health. Upon questioning this indoctrination, however, we find that it is based upon false information. The human body is designed to thrive on a vegan diet. Additionally, on a deeper, spiritual level, the simple act of changing what we put on our plates at each meal – the decision not to participate in the abuse and slaughter of food animals, is liberating  beyond words. The benefits extend far beyond one’s health and spiritual development. As the effects of climate change become become increasingly evident, numerous sources of scientific research indicate that animal agriculture is the leading cause of global warming. (Perhaps the law of Karma is at work here…as we reap, so shall we sew.) What a blessing that, by choosing a plant-based diet, we are improving our own health, we are ceasing to participate in wide-spread violence towards sentient beings, and we are drastically reducing our contribution to the environmental stress on the planet!

In June 2015, I participated in the deeply transformative 200 hour LOAY training with Sri Dharma Mittra. Prior to making the decision to go through the LOAY training, as I searched for my yoga teacher, I started with one screening requirement: I needed a teacher who practiced and taught veganism as a core requirement of being a yogi. This one requirement narrowed the field of potential teachers down to few enough that I could count them on the fingers of one hand. Out of these few, I found myself drawn to Sri Dharma – his wisdom, dedication to his practice and to selfless service, his humility and egoless presence, and his fidelity to practicing and teaching the Yama of Ahimsa or non-violence. Ahimsa literally means A=not, himsa= killing or violence. In the LOAY Teachers’ Manual (2015, p. 4) Sri Dharma says, “Ahimsa means love; ‘thou shalt not kill!’ This applies not only to human beings, but to every living creature.”

Sri Dharma is one of the only yoga teachers of whom I am aware who does not shy away from teaching the yama of Ahimsa to his students truthfully. He regularly states while teaching that one must extend one’s compassion beyond one’s pets and that when one eats animals one is engaging in cruelty. He talks about how when one consumes animal products, one’s body becomes a morgue. In Sri Dharma’s words, “Without taking on the yama of ahimsa, there is little benefit to observing the other four yamas or any other aspect of the holy science of yoga.” (LOAY Teachers’ Manual, p. 5) I know, from the center of my soul, that this information is true and correct. The decision to become a vegan as a core component of one’s practice of Ahimsa will deepen and strengthen one’s  yoga practice. It will simultaneously improve the quality of one’s life immeasurably while benefiting other beings and the health of the planet. I highly recommend it!

Note: For additional information on the benefits of veganism that this blog has room for, I recommend reading The World Peace Diet by Dr. Will Tuttle and viewing the documentary, Cowspiracy.

Susan Craig is a Berkeley, California native who participated in the transformational June 2015 LOAY 200 hour training. Susan strives to practice Karma Yoga each day in her job as a school district administrator where she oversees support services for marginalized youth, as an advocate for animals through vegan activism, and as a teacher of a weekly donation-based yoga class. She resides in Napa in the home of the four cats and a rabbit who rescued her. Susan is most grateful to have found Dharma Yoga and to have Dharma Mittra as her yoga teacher and spiritual guide.

Recipe: Raw Vegan Chocolate Caramel Dream Bars

by Karen Fan

raw-vegan-chocolate-caramel-bars

Makes 8-10 servings

For the base:
1⁄4 cup raw walnuts
1⁄2 cup sprouted raw almonds (soaked 24 hours in water and peeled skin)
6 pitted dates
1⁄4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 Tbsp coconut oil, liquid

For the almond butter “caramel” filling:
1⁄2 cup spouted raw almonds
2 Tbsp coconut oil
9 pitted dates
2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
Pinch of Himalayan sea salt
2-3 Tbsp water

For the chocolate icing:
1⁄2 cup raw cacao powder
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
2-3 Tbsp water

1. To sprout the raw almonds, soak them overnight and then peel the skin. Set it aside for now.

2. To make the base, place the walnuts, almonds, dates, coconut flakes, and coconut oil in a food processor or high-speed blender and pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Scoop the mixture into your hands, and if the ingredients hold together, your base is perfect. Press the mixture into a square pan.

3. To make the caramel filling, place the raw almonds, coconut oil, dates brown rice syrup and sea salt into a food processor or high-speed blender, and process until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Add 2 to 3 tbsp of water to help make the consistency smoother while processing. Spread over the base.

4. To make the chocolate icing, place the raw cacao powder, coconut oil and brown rice syrup in a mixing bowl and stir until the mixture is creamy. Add 2 to 3 tbsp of water to make the consistency smoother. Spread the chocolate icing on top of the caramel filling.

5. Freeze the bars for a few hours. Chill for half an hour before slicing.

Vegan Delights

by Tracy Bechtel

Wheatberry Green Bean Salad
Servings 4

TracyBlog2

1 cup wheatberries, soaked overnight in water
1 lb green beans*
1 large heirloom tomato*, or any type of tomatoes
¼ cup mint, chopped
¼ cup parsley, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
1-2 lemons, juiced, to taste
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3-4 large handfuls of salad greens*
sea salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium-size pot, boil water. Add soaked wheatberries, lower heat and simmer covered for at least an hour. Drain wheatberries and set aside to cool.

In the same pot, boil water. Add green beans and blanche for 3 minutes. Drain and place green beans in ice water to stop cooking. Cut green beans in bite-size pieces, approximately 2-inch pieces.

In a large bowl, combine cooled wheatberries, green beans and the rest of the ingredients. Add sea salt and pepper, to taste. Toss and enjoy!

 

Wild Brown Rice Pilaf with Cauliflower and other veggies
Servings 4-5

Tracy Blog 3

1 cup brown rice
1/2 cup wild rice
2 ¼ cups filtered water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
sea salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium sized pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until onions start to become soft. Add carrots and celery and continue sautéing for 5 more minutes. Add water and bring to boil. Add brown rice and wild rice; lower heat and simmer covered for 25 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to stand for another 10 minutes covered.

While rice is cooking, put cauliflower on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toss with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring in the middle of cooking time.

Once rice and cauliflower are finished cooking, toss rice and cauliflower with the remaining ingredients. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste.

 

 

TracyBlogTracy Bechtel is a holistic health coach and mother of two beautiful children. She discovered yoga shortly after her second child was born over six years ago. After leaving a career in financial services, she began exploring her interests in health and wellness, and yoga was a natural extension to these pursuits. After practicing at different yoga schools in NYC for several years, she found Dharma Yoga and has been a devoted student to Sri Dharma Mittra since. She recently completed the 200-hr LOAY teacher training in June 2015. Since then, she has been teaching community classes at the beach in her hometown in Connecticut.

 

Crispy Kale with Vegetables Recipe

By Gabriella DiGiovani

Before transitioning into eating vegan, we often wonder how we will maintain a varied and interesting diet in light of cutting out certain foods. While it may seem that a vegan diet is restrictive on the surface, we soon discover that this way of eating allows for a great deal of creativity in the kitchen. The more we pay attention to what we put into our bodies by eating vegan, the more we seek to nourish ourselves in a healthy, pure, and non-harmful way. Over time, we learn that there are endless foods and recipes that sustain a fun, interesting, and healthy diet which further enhances our lives.

I love playing with different recipes, and find that with some adjustments, it is easy to make anything vegan friendly. I have been a big fan of kale chips over the years, and often make them as a snack or side dish. I came across a dish that uses crispy kale chips to give the rest of the recipe a delicious crunch. This is one of my favorite dishes, which is sure to please vegan and non-vegan eaters alike.

Ingredients:
4 cups of curly kale
1/2 cups carrots sliced thinly
1/2 cup zucchini sliced thinly
1 serving brown rice
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

Peanut sauce:
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp organic sugar
1 cup hot water

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brown rice on stove top. Mix together olive oil, kale, and sprinkle sea salt to your liking in a bowl. Spread kale on baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges turn brown. To make the peanut sauce, mix together the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice and sugar. At the end, add 2 tablespoons of hot water and mix, continuing until you reach a desired consistency. Put coconut oil in a pan over medium heat, then add carrots and zucchini, saute to your liking, and add the peanut sauce at the end. On a plate, place the sauteed vegetables on top of brown rice, and top with the crispy kale. Yum!

 

GabriellaGabriella began practicing Yoga four years ago in search of spiritual guidance. When she discovered  Sri  Dharma Mittra and embarked on the Life of a Yogi teacher training, her life was catapulted into a new upward direction. Through Dharma Yoga, Gabriella has found a stability and peace through constant practice. She seeks to grow as both a teacher and student of Yoga. Gabriella also works on a farm and apple orchard, and is a supporter of sustainable agriculture and small farms.

Kick your Asana Vegan Kale Blueberry Smoothie

By Sarah Eve Cardell

Kale, blueberries, maca, chia and hemp seeds, and more! This smoothie is filled with energizing nutrients and is vegan, soy and gluten-free.

Most traditional yogis suggest not to eat at least two-three hours before practicing yoga. For those of us with busy schedules and limited time for meals and body nourishment, this golden rule may be difficult to follow perfectly. I have created this smoothie recipe with no belly-bloating banana and sufficient protein to keep you charged and able to build those sexy yogi muscles. Maca is added for natural energy without the coffee caffeine jitters and gojis berries for their antioxidant value. Did you know that the goji berry (i.e. wolfberry) is revered in Chinese medicine as an elixir of long life? I suppose if you practice yoga and eat these berries daily, you might just live happily and healthily forever.

I soak small quantities of gojis in water and keep handy in the refrigerator for up to a week. The berries are great for smoothies, oatmeal, quinoa, and salads. You can also use the soaking liquid for a fragrant and healing herbal tea.

Enjoy the smoothie before class (I usually drink 30-45 minutes before) and experience a kick your asana (physical yoga) practice.

Kick your Asana Vegan Kale Blueberry Smoothie
Gluten-free • Vegan • Soy-free
Makes 1 serving

Ingredients
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
½ tsp. organic vanilla extract
1 tsp. chia seeds, ground
1 tsp. hemp seeds
½ tsp. maca powder
½ cup organic blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 small handful kale leaves, stems removed*
1 tsp. soaked gojis (optional)
1-2 drops liquid stevia (or sweetener of your choice)
Ice (1-2 pieces, less if using frozen blueberries)

Directions
1. Mix all in a blender.
2. Sip. Om. Repeat.

*Kale leaves can be tough and make a smoothie a bit chewy if you don’t have a high quality blender such as a Blendtec or Vitamix. If a simple blender is all that is at hand, no worries! Chop up the kale leaves a bit first and then blend solo with the almond milk. Then add the remaining ingredients. Make sure to use small(ish) size ice cubes to protect the motor and voila! You will produce a deliciously creamy drink.

 

Sarah Eve Cardell 2-9Sarah Eve Cardell is the culinary shaman, making magic in the kitchen and healing from the heart. She completed her 200 and 500-hour yoga teacher trainings with Sri Dharma Mittra, who deeply inspired her path to become a vegan chef. Combined with her shamanic studies, a student of the late Ipupiara a Makunaiman of the Ure-e-wau-wau Amazonian tribe, she uses the traditional wisdom from the yogic and shamanic paths to share modern day wellness. Sarah offers vegan and gluten-free cooking classes and catering up to 150 people. Whether in yoga classes, healing workshops and private sessions, or in the kitchen, she assists in creating a safe space in which you can heal you!  www.sarahevecardell.com

Have Your Sweetness Without the Guilt: Vegan Hot Chocolate Chai

By Sarah Eve Cardell

Do you sense the amazing energy of the New Year? I know I am. Creative juices flowing, rejuvenated desires to deepen my yoga practice, reconnecting with old friends…this year is already feeling magical.

The beginning of the year is a perfect time to renew, recharge, and evaluate all that you are and aspire to be.

As the holidays have come to an end, perhaps it is time to evaluate your physical health and diet. Are you getting sufficient exercise, sleep, and nourishing food?

The best way to stay balanced and well is to start with a healthy diet. It is nearly impossible to feel good without fueling your body well.

In the words of Sri Dharma Mittra, “If you eat dead, toasted, fried, or frozen food, you will feel dead, toasted, fried, and frozen.”

Instead of waiting until the spring (or even bikini season) to take the time to treat your body with love and respect, why not start now?

I have created a delicious hot chocolate chai recipe to keep you feeling warm inside and out. This hot chocolate chai is deliciously creamy, low in sugar and calories.

Traditional hot chocolate generally has 300-500 calories per cup and is loaded with sugar and fat. A comparable 16 ounces (grande) cup of hot chocolate at Starbucks has 400 calories and 19 grams of fat. Eeek!

This hot chocolate chai is low in fat and has only 100 calories. And no refined sugar.

Hot Chocolate Chai
Gluten-free • Vegan • Soy-free
Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1⁄4 tsp. organic vanilla extract
1⁄4 tsp. ground cardamom
1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. raw cacao powder
2 tsp. coconut sugar (or to taste)
A pinch of Himalayan salt & black pepper (optional for spicier chai)

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan.
2. Stir continuously on medium heat until bubbles begin to form and all ingredients are blended uniformly.
3. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!

 

Sarah Eve Cardell 2-9Sarah Eve Cardell is the culinary shaman, making magic in the kitchen and healing from the heart. She completed her 200 and 500-hour yoga teacher trainings with Sri Dharma Mittra, who deeply inspired her path to become a vegan chef. Combined with her shamanic studies, a student of the late Ipupiara a Makunaiman of the Ure-e-wau-wau Amazonian tribe, she uses the traditional wisdom from the yogic and shamanic paths to share modern day wellness. Sarah offers vegan and gluten-free cooking classes and catering up to 150 people. Whether in yoga classes, healing workshops and private sessions, or in the kitchen, she assists in creating a safe space in which you can heal you!  www.sarahevecardell.com

 

10 SuperStar Superfoods as featured in LA Yoga Magazine

By Rainbeau Mars

Want to feel younger, healthier and bring your gifts to the world?  The answer is: begin within. Aside from bulking up with herbal and protein supplements, salads, fresh juice and smoothies, we can “Let thy medicine be thy food” by utilizing superfoods to get more nutrient bang for our caloric buck. Though there is an abundant variety around the world, some superfoods can be easily grown in our own backyards. Notice the SuperStar effects on your health when you stock up with these powerhouse favorites in my family’s kitchen.

1.     Cacao – raw chocolate
2.     Chia
3.     Avocados
4.     Kale (and the other dark leafy greens)
5.     Seaweed
6.     Sea Salt
7.     Raw Organic Honey
8.     Lemons
9.     Olive Oil
10.  Garlic

1. Cacao – raw chocolate

Edible, beautifying bliss, cacao is the bean that chocolate is made from. In its raw state, it contains more antioxidant flavonoids than red wine, green tea, or blueberries, making cacao a delicious way to support the immune system, brain and a healthy heart. Have fun incorporating this superfood into your smoothies, desserts, and other compatible recipes.

LIVE CHOCOLATE PUDDING

INGREDIENTS

fresh meat of 1 Thai coconut
1 avocado
3 to 4 dates (soaked and pits removed)
2 to 3 tablespoons cacao powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
pinch of Celtic sea salt
1 teaspoon chia seeds

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients and blend until creamy smooth.

2. Chiachia

Chia seeds are an ancient miracle food that was a staple for the Aztecs. A small serving goes a long way, and the plant grows very quickly (just think of those ch-ch-chia pets) making it a sustainable resource. Chia is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, extraordinarily high in antioxidants, and it is a demulcent (referring to the way it gels up) which helps to strengthen body tissue, reduce inflammation, and aid in healing. One of my favorite ways to eat them is by soaking chia seeds with cinnamon, a little nutmeg, vanilla, fresh almond milk, and a touch of salt and raw honey for breakfast or as a delicious afternoon dessert snack. My daughter likes this too and has her own, simpler version. Often times, both she and my husband, Michael, grab a Mama Chia and go.

CHIA PUDDING

INGREDIENTS

3 cups chia seeds
6 cups pure water
3 to 4 tablespoons maple syrup
cinnamon to taste (optional)
clove to taste (optional)
nutmeg to taste (optional)
½ chopped apple
½ cup chopped strawberries
½ cup blueberries

DIRECTIONS

1.     Put the chia seeds in a bowl and soak. It takes about 10 minutes for the chia to absorb all the water, but leaving the water and chia to soak overnight is okay. Soaked chia alone is good for up to 2 weeks

2.     When the chia is gelatinous, add the chopped fruit and any desired flavorings (sweetener, spices, fruit, etc.). Mix well and serve!

Note: In general, soak chia seeds in 9 to 12 times their volume of water. You can also make chia as a savory, salty, or spicy type of porridge. But the best taste is sweet. You can also try it with cinnamon extract, chai spices, or cacao nibs.

3. Avocadosavocado

Avocados are a great source of digestible protein and balanced fats. Eating avocados can actually help to shed unwanted weight because they feed your body with the healthy fats it craves for optimal metabolism and brain function. Avocados nourish the skin by helping to maintain and rebuild collagen, and are also great for satisfying PMS-related cravings. Eating avocados targets the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female—it even looks just like these organs. Research shows that eating one avocado a week can balance hormones, shed unwanted weight, and prevent cervical cancers. How profound is this fact: It takes exactly nine months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit.

MEXICALI SOUP

INGREDIENTS

2 to 3 celery stalks
1 to 2 avocados
1 ripe tomato
corn from one cob
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 dash of cayenne, chili powder and/or paprika
Celtic sea salt to taste
handful of chopped cilantro leaves (optional)
2 cups of pure water, slightly warmed

DIRECTIONS

1.     Place all these ingredients in the food processor and pulse until blended but still with texture and chunks.

2.     Spice to your liking and enjoy!

4. Kale (and other dark leafy greens)

Kale is a mainstay for my family, and it’s always a hit with my daughter and her friends! This alkaline and slightly bitter green leafy vegetable is nutrient dense and a versatile food in the kitchen, lending itself well to salads, soups, smoothies, green juice, stir-fries, or steamed vegetable entries. Kale is 45 percent protein based on the total calorie content, and contains folate, which supports healthy cell growth and nourishes hair, skin, and nails.

When using greens like kale, you will want to break down the plant fibers by massaging the greens with lemon, olive oil, and salt to make them more digestible. Kale is listed as one of “the dirty dozen,” according to reports published by the Environmental Working Group, meaning that it is more likely to be sprayed with chemicals and pesticides by growers and should always be bought organic.

EASY KALE SALAD

INGREDIENTS

1 avocado
1 bunch kale
½ lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch Celtic sea salt

DIRECTIONS

1.     Chop the avocado and kale into bite-sized pieces and place in mixing bowl.

2.     Drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt, then massage until thoroughly marinated. Bon appétit!

Option: Add tomatoes and your favorite herbs. Toss in some hemp seeds for added protein.

KALE CHIPS

INGREDIENTS

2 cups kale, de-stemmed
¼ cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

DIRECTIONS

1.     In a food processor, mix all ingredients except the kale.

2.     Rub the mix into kale and lay out to dehydrate in the dehydrator at 105° F.

5. Seaweed

Seaweeds, such as kelp, nori, arame, irish moss, or dulse are a nutrient-packed addition to soups and salads.  Naturally enriched with all 98 essential minerals from the sea, including silica and magnesium, seaweed nourishes the kidneys, hair, skin and nails, and like avocados and olives, is a healthy source of the fatty acids that maintain and rebuild collagen. Seaweed is also 5 to 30 percent protein based on the total calorie content (depending on type). So next time you’re craving salt, instead of reaching for a bag of potato chips, eat more high-mineral foods such as seaweeds.

I’d like to mention that there has been some controversy lately about consuming seaweeds and other foods from the ocean due to such modern ecological disasters as Fukushima and the Gulf Oil Spill. While these concerns have their merits, it’s also valid that seaweeds are revered for their ability to assist the thyroid in detoxing from radiation and other poisons, due to its high levels of iodine. However, as a precaution you may prefer to purchase seaweed from more protected sources, such as products from Maine.

MAGICAL MERMAID SOUP

INGREDIENTS

3 cups coconut water or pure water
2 tablespoons coconut oil
¼ cup dulse or kelp seaweed
¼ cup nori, shredded
¼ daikon, shredded
pinch of Celtic sea salt (optional)
1 teaspoon miso (recommended brand:
Shaman Shack Herbs Sea Clear, with fermented kelp and chlorella)

DIRECTIONS

1.     In blender, combine coconut water, coconut oil, miso, and dulse or kelp. Blend until smooth.

2.     Stir in shredded nori and daikon and a pinch of salt and serve.

6. Sea Salt

When cooking, and especially sautéing, I always use dried herbs with a pinch of Celtic sea salt or Himalayan pink salt to season the food. It is a pure source of the 98 essential minerals that is easily assimilated into fuel for your body in the form of electrolytes. For hydration, put a pinch of Celtic sea salt into your water, perhaps even with some lemon juice and raw organic honey as a nourishing replacement for artificially colored and sweetened sports drinks. Something to consider is that when a patient is first admitted to a hospital, they are almost always first given an IV, which is essentially salt water. If used as a first response in the case of illness or injury, why not utilize sea salt as a daily dose of preventative medicine.

RAW POPCORNpopcorn-300x210

This easy recipe is proof that living foods are fun! The popcorn does not have to be dehydrated to be enjoyed and often is eaten before the job is done anyway.

INGREDIENTS

1 head cauliflower
½ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup olive oil
pinch of Celtic sea salt

DIRECTIONS

1.     Chop the cauliflower florets into small popcorn-sized bits and put them in a bowl.

2.     Add the nutritional yeast, salt, and oil to the bowl and cover the cauliflower completely with the mixture.

3.     Option: You can dehydrate the cauliflower for up to 4 hours or longer for a more distinct popcorn texture and taste.

7. Raw Organic Honey

Raw organic honey has a myriad of health benefits. In addition to being a mineral rich substitute for sugar and sweeteners that are highly processed and weakens the immune system, honey in its raw state is also anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal and can either be consumed or used topically. A potent source of antioxidants and enzymes, raw honey actually boosts immunity and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels when used in moderation. It also contains trace amounts of protein, vitamin c, calcium and iron, and fuels us with simple sugars and starches the body can recognize.

The best part of getting your honey organic and raw, is that in addition to preserving all the nutritious goodness, you are also supporting farmers who harvest their honey in the most humane practices possible and actually support the bee population and well-being, as opposed to some conventional farmers whose disregard as led us to our present plight of the disappearing bees.

BANANA SANDWICH

INGREDIENTS

2 slices of gluten-free or sprouted grain bread, or flax cracker
½ banana (sliced)
1-2 tbsp nut butter of your choice, almond, peanut, cashew, or tahini
1-2 tbsp raw organic honey
1-2 tbsp coconut oil (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1.     Toast your bread slices and spread on coconut oil, nut butter, and honey

2.     Thinly slice the banana in rounds and evenly spread between slices.

21DSClemon8. Lemons

Lemons are a useful way to “cook” raw/living foods without adding heat. When you marinate foods in lemon juice, they begin to oxidize and break down, making them easier to assimilate and digest. Foods may be acidic in composition, like lemons, but it is the food’s effect on the body when it is metabolized that determines whether it is labeled acid or alkaline. In the case of lemons and other citrus fruits, these foods are actually quite alkalizing, although when they are pasteurized they have an acidic effect. Fresh lemons being a sour food also lend much needed contrast to the habitual sweet and salty tastes, and when used in juice and smoothies can have a wonderful detox effect. Add lemons to your morning regimen in the form of a Lemon Liver Tonic, by adding lemon juice to pure water, optionally with raw honey and cayenne. A happy liver is one of the great pathways to beauty, so make lemons your best friends and have them stocked, but make sure to brush your teeth after consuming them because lemons are strong.

LEMONADE

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons raw honey
4 cups pure water
6 lemons, limes, orange, or grapefruit

DIRECTIONS

1.     Blend all together in a blender.

2.     Garnish with mint sprigs. (Serves 2)

9. Olive Oil

If you’re feeling hungry as you transition to a healthier nutrition regimen, be sure to eat as many fruits and veggies as you want and get as much liquid fat as possible. Organic extra virgin olive oil is nutritious, hosting beneficial fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins E and K. Being anti-inflammatory, olive oil is also shown to help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and preventing unwanted blood clotting.

Olive oil is one of the most volatile oils and is best stored in a dark glass bottle away from heat, and should never be used as a cooking oil. Instead, olive oil can be used in fresh, raw meals or added to a dish as a final step in its preparation.

OLIVE PESTO

Serve over vegetable pasta or on dehydrated crackers.

INGREDIENTS

½ cup pitted, sun-cured black olives
¼ cup basil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon chili powder

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a blender or a food processor and puree. Makes 2 servings.

10. Garlic

Affectionately called “the stinking rose,” garlic is an amazing nutritional powerhouse that is rich in antioxidants and sulfur-compounds which support the immune system. Garlic could be your first line of defense during cold-weather flu seasons and has many wonderful medicinal properties. According to Ayurveda, it is a bit stimulating (called rajasic in Sanskrit) and can be too strong for everyday use.  A great source of manganese, selenium, vitamins B6 and C, in its raw state, garlic is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, supporting the respiratory and circulatory systems by helping to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. It is also a very thermogenic herb, cultivating our internal heat and metabolism.

RAW COOLING GAZPACHO

INGREDIENTS

1 whole tomato, chopped
1 whole cucumber, chopped (if organic, keep the skin on; it’s a beauty food!)
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1 bunch of cilantro or basil
1 cup pure water
juice of half a lemon

DIRECTIONS

Put everything in the food processor and pulse until it combines. Go slowly to ensure that your mixture remains somewhat whole and not overly blended.

No matter what a person’s present daily eating habits, start including any or all of these 10 vital foods to experience a myriad of benefits both physically and spiritually. When transitioning, think about thriving and nourishing rather than dieting or withholding. As we are part of the solution and creating actions that are part of the healing of ourselves and the planets, we begin to shine with radiance.

 

21DSCstrawberryEver since her birth in a tepee under a double rainbow, Rainbeau Mars has helped inspire others on their journey to a greener, healthier way of life. The renowned yogi (and former face of Adidas) has sold more than 2 million yoga DVD’s worldwide. Her new book the 21 Day Superstar Cleanse outlines her signature zero-calorie-restriction vegan cleansetaking readers on an adventure of food, fun, fitness, and personal awakening! Featuring more than 75 recipes, positive affirmations, yoga poses, and a foreword by Woody Harrelson, the tome has already been endorsed by celebrities including Josie Maran & James Cameron. Mars has also previously shared her unique health insights on top tier press outlets including Good Morning America, E! News, and more.

 

Photo Credits for all images belong to Jeff Skeirik (aka Rawtographer)

Yogi Favorites: Carrot Raisin Salad

Recipe:
2 tbs. sun-dried raisins
2 carrots
1 tbs. lemon juice or juice of half a lemon
5 tsp. raw honey, date, or brown rice syrup
2 tbs. cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil

This deceivingly light and simple recipe is an excellent dish for an antioxidant boost. Every single one of the ingredients in the Carrot Raisin Salad contains various forms of phenolic compounds that work to alleviate oxidative stress and cell aging. Phenolic compounds are characterized by a broad spectrum of beneficial antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Besides increasing antioxidant activity, fresh squeezed lemon juice also adds vibrant Vitamin C, while high levels of monounsaturated fat in olive oil reduces inflammation, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Meanwhile, the natural sugar content in dates and honey make them great natural energy boosters. Dates are high in dietary fiber and rich in tannins, a type of flavanoid polyphenolic antioxidant, while honey’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties have been used throughout history to treat everything from respiratory problems to open wounds.

With all the superfoods in this dish, it’s hard to pin down one superstar, but among all the sources of Vitamin A, carrots boast the highest levels, making them an essential for benefits such as good eye health and clean skin. They also a great digestive aid, as they help cleanse the intestines, liver, and colon of ulcer and cancer-causing toxins.

Raisins are lower in phenolic content than raw red grapes, but still a great source of quercetin, the type of polyphenols found in this particular fruit. It is recommended to use dark raisins for flavor and also because they are available sun-dried, whereas golden raisins must be treated with sulfur dioxide to prevent oxidation and caramelization.

For an interesting variation of this salad, try steaming the carrots lightly.

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Text: Lana J. Lee  Picture: Marta Simonetti

Recipe Source: The Dharma Yoga LOAY Teacher Training Manual

Yogi Favorites: Spinach Salad

Since the Popeye days, spinach has always been associated with iron and great energy and strength. We now know that this was due to an accidental but significant misplacement of a decimal point when German scientist Emil von Wolff was measuring iron levels in spinach in 1870 (this date was eventually corrected in 1937 – but by that time the myth had already taken hold).

Additionally, iron from plant sources are rich in non-heme iron, as opposed to heme iron found in animal sources. Non-heme iron is not as readily absorbed by the body, but Vitamin C can help increase levels of uptake so adding the lemon in this salad is truly essential.

Sun-dried and raw tomatoes are also both rich sources of Vitamin C, and together with lemon, they boost spinach’s nutritional power and add great benefits of their own.

Mushrooms are low in calories and  sodium, yet they provide important nutrients including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more.

Spinach_Salad_@Marta_Simonetti2

 

Recipe:

-1 large bunch of spinach
-1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
-4 oz. chopped mushrooms
-Sea salt to taste
-1 squeezed lemon
-1 tsp. cumin (optional)
-Olive or flax oil (optional)
-Chopped avocado and tomato (optional)

Spinach_Salad_@Marta_Simonetti 4

Add the tomatoes and mushrooms to the spinach and toss. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipe Source: The Dharma Yoga LOAY Teacher Training Manual

Yogi Favorites ~ Dharma Pure Tropical Bliss

Avocado and coconut, what? Yes! The avocado in Dharma’s Pure Tropical Bliss recipe is what gives this drink its smoothie-like quality, while the pineapple adds fruity punch to the tropical coconut water and meat. Coconut meat and pineapples are both high in dietary fiber, copper, and manganese.

Among its numerous benefits, copper helps the body utilize iron to form red blood cells, keeps thyroid glands functioning normally, and reduces tissue damage by free radicals. Manganese is a trace mineral that metabolizes amino acids, protein, carbohydrates, and cholesterol, providing the necessary chemical reactions to convert  food into energy.

Caution is advised when extracting coconut meat with a knife or spoon from a raw young coconut . It takes yogi patience and some practice, but can be done! Otherwise, it is readily available at most health food stores.

Tropical_bliss

Recipe:
1 ripe avocado
1 pineapple
1-2 cups coconut water
Meat from 1 young coconut
1 tbs of vanilla extract or vanilla bean seeds
Pinch of sea salt
Agave nectar, honey, maple syrup to taste (optional)

Prep everything. You can adjust how creamy or watery it is by adding more or less coconut water.

Place all ingredients in blender and mix until liquified to a smooth, creamy consistency.

Tropical_bliss

Try it with fresh mint if you have it! Voila!

Text: Lana J. Lee & Amy Stinchcombe Pictures: Amy Stinchcombe

Recipe Source: The Dharma Yoga LOAY Teacher Training Manual