Countless people have attempted to make meditation a part of their daily routines, but few people actually achieve this. Why is it that some people find it so easy to silence the inner “chatter?” Meditation requires inner silence, but in our multitasking world it can be nearly impossible to get there.
Almonds are delicious, crunchy morsels, and this alone is reason enough to grab a handful. But almonds are so much more than a tasty snack – they are packed with healthy compounds and a great addition to any diet. Here’s why:
Almonds are a healthier choice than the ubiquitous peanut, which has held tight to its spot as the favorite nut (peanut butter, peanut snacks, peanut brittle, the list goes on). However, peanuts are acid forming, whereas almonds are alkaline. Some cancer specialists claim that everyone who is diagnosed with cancer has an acid pH. Almonds are also less toxic and less allergenic than peanuts, which are actually legumes, rather than nuts, and therefore can be more challenging to digest.
There are so many wonderful health benefits to eating almonds. They are good sources of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, which help in bone growth. They can help prevent cholesterol build up in the veins, which reduces risk of heart disease. They are full of vitamin E, which keeps the skin looking young, healthy and soft. Compared with other tree nuts, almonds have more protein ounce for ounce, as well as higher fiber (12% of the daily recommended amount) and calcium.
Practically speaking, almonds are a very handy snack. They are perfectly portable and great for grazing through the day. They also give that sought-after satisfied, full feeling. This is because almonds contain oleic acid, a healthy fat, which helps trigger the small intestine to produce oleoylethanolamide, a component that has been shown to curb hunger pangs.
Almonds are very versatile when it comes to including them in your diet. They can be eaten as sweets or savories, at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Almond butter (ideally, raw organic) is a delicious add-in to a morning smoothie or stirred into an oat, amaranth or millet porridge. Almonds can be flaked or chopped and sprinkled over muesli. One delectable savory dish that incorporates almonds is the Moroccan pastilla, which is a spiced vegetable and ground almond parcel, wrapped in filo pastry.
Almonds can be used in a variety of dessert recipes, still offering all the health benefits of this nut, wrapped in a decadent package. For baked goods, almond flour or ground almond can be used as a flour replacement for gluten free and paleo recipes. Many health food enthusiasts make their own variations of bliss balls, which are dried fruits and nuts, seeds, and oats, all blended together and rolled into balls. Bliss balls are perfect natural energy snacks and satisfy a sweet tooth. They are delightful with a cup of herbal tea after yoga class. Here is one recipe to try using almonds:
In a blender or food processor, mix pitted dried dates, ground almonds, a couple of teaspoons of raw cacao powder, and a handful of whole nuts of your choice (e.g. walnuts, brazil nuts or cashew nuts). Mix thoroughly, adjusting the consistency by either adding more dry or moist ingredients, or even a drop or two of water if needed). Roll the mixture into truffle sized balls and pop them in the fridge for easy access snacks and treats.
All in all, almonds help support the body’s internal systems, make the skin glow, and are a healthy, handy and filling snack. Almonds can be incorporated into every aspect of a natural diet. So if you’re in a peanut rut, switch up your habit for almonds and enjoy a delicious new spin on healthy eating. (courtesy of Gemma Ford)
Whether you consider yourself an artist or just a “dabbler,” there is something so wonderful about the Japanese art of Sumi ink painting. A close relative of calligraphy, Sumi ink painting is usually a monochromatic technique that relies on water-based inks along with special pens and brushes. Whether it is calligraphic writing or Sumi painting, there are four essential implements in this East Asian art form: they are the paper, ink, brush and inkstone. In China these four items are known as the Four Treasures of the Study, and in Korea the Four Friends of the Study.
We’ve all heard our super-tan friends bragging about how dark they get during the summer months, but they may not realize how “leathery” their skin will someday become. It may be nice to have some “color” on your cheeks or a tan-line after vacation, but consider how all this sun exposure may affect your skin. The sun’s rays can do more than cause wrinkles and age spots; overexposure to ultraviolet rays is also the number one cause of skin cancer.
During the summer, it’s especially important to stay hydrated for optimal health and beauty. Your body will crave more fluids as you perspire more. While pure water is always best, sometimes you want a little flavor in your refreshment. Unfortunately, many popular summer drinks are filled with sugar and chemicals that offer no favors in terms of your health or hydration. But there are many other good choices, and you can enjoy a refreshing summer beverage without all of the chemicals and sugar. Here are five great recipes.
This is a different twist on citrus-flavored water. Cucumber is a powerful beauty food, and this refreshing beverage infuses water with the flavor of cucumber. Cucumbers are high in vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as folic acid. Best, the drink is super easy to make and really delicious!
1 medium cucumber, cleaned and cut into ½ inch slices
2 quarts of pure water
Combine cucumber and water in a large pitcher and allow to sit for one hour or longer. Serve cool.
This popular Mexican drink infuses water with your favorite fresh fruit.
4 cups pure, cold water
2 cups of your favorite fresh fruit (berries or papaya?)
Stevia to taste
2 teaspoons of fresh squeezed lime juice
Place fruit and water in a blender and puree.
Place a small sieve over a pitcher and pour mixture into it, straining the liquid into the pitcher. Discard solids.
Add lime juice and stevia.
Garnish with lime wedges.
Iced Rooibos Mint Tea
Rooibos tea is high in antioxidants and flavonoids, so it promotes youthfulness and great skin. Over a little ice with mint and lemon, it’s a refreshing and detoxifying summer beverage.
6 Rooibos tea bags
One lemon, sliced
Several leaves of fresh mint
Stevia to taste
1 gallon of boiling water
Pour water over lemon, teabags and mint leaves and steep, stirring occasionally, until liquid cools. Remove tea bags, pour into a pitcher, and refrigerate. Serve cool or over a little bit of ice.
Lemons are high in vitamin C and promote alkalinity and cleansing in the body. The basil adds a refreshing flavor to this sugar-free lemonade.
½ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups of cold water
1 cup of fresh basil leaves
Stevia to taste
Place basil in the bottom of a pitcher and muddle it by slightly crushing the leaves. Combine lemon juice and water and pour over basil leaves. Add stevia to taste. Chill, and serve over ice.
Cilantro and Jalapeno Limeade
Cilantro is loaded with antioxidants and aids in detoxification, while jalapeno can help rev up your metabolism. Lime is high in Vitamin C.
4-1/2 cups of water
1 cup organic cilantro, washed and chopped
2 large jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed and chopped
1-1/2 cups of fresh lime juice
Stevia to taste
Lime slices for garnish
Pour water over cilantro and jalapenos. Steep for 30 minutes at room temperature, and then cover and chill for 3-4 hours. Strain the mixture into a pitcher and stir in lime juice. Add stevia to taste. Serve over ice garnished with lime slices.
Enjoy. If you like these drinks, give us a shout out on Facebook.
Thanks for the great drink advice from Kimberly Snyder. Visit her site at http://kimberlysnyder.net
No one can love, appreciate, value, approve, and admire you like you can. When you feel strongly and passionately positive about yourself, the Universe says, Oh, you feel worthy and deserving of the good things in life! In that case, here come health, wealth, prosperity, happiness, and promotion.
Practice these thoughts of self-love, or self-celebration. Look at pictures of yourself or into the mirror when you do this. Hardly anything can feel better.\Regardless of what is in your life now, you are worthy of a life of prosperity. It starts with passionate self-celebration.
Thoughts Make You Wealthy. Wealth and success start with what you choose to think and talk about most of the day.
(Makes about 4 servings)
This is a great soup for this time of the year. I never really considered myself a hardcore cauliflower lover…until I started making this delicious soup. Whenever I make it I consume a good deal of it. It’s raw and easy to digest, and contains turmeric, which has wonderful anti-inflammatory and alkalizing qualities. Turmeric is an Ayurvedic spice that has amazing antioxidant properties. It inhibits oxidation and protects us from free radical damage, and also helps us clean up metabolic waste. It also supports our liver, while adding some color to this soup!
Even though it’s raw, I don’t like having this super cold. I like to warm it up to room temperature, which takes about 30 minutes or so out of the fridge, or you can warm it gently over the stove.
1 medium head of cauliflower, with outer green leaves removed and chopped into pieces
3 Tbs. organic, unpasteurized miso paste (if you don’t have this you can just add more of the high quality sea salt at the end, adjusted to your taste)
½ ripe avocado
2 cups filtered water
Juice of 1 lemon
2 ½ Tbs. of low sodium tamari
½ tsp. turmeric
Chopped parsley, as a garnish
1 tsp. Himalayan Sea Salt
Add all ingredients and blend until smooth before serving. If you’d like a thinner texture, try adding a bit more water. Enjoy!
-Compliments of Kimberly Snyder (http://kimberlysnyder.net)
As someone who watches consumer trends and attempts to predict new ones, I am always fascinated at how they seem to “trickle down” from one segment of our culture to another. Environmental concerns are a terrific example of this. Once the domain of the auto industry and other emissions-producing corporations, it soon became apparent that we all needed to become ecologically-conscious consumers.
We’ve all heard about restorative sleep, restorative dentistry and restorative justice, but what about restorative yoga? What is different about this new and interesting form of yoga, and why should you learn about it?
Are you eating real, whole food as much as you’d like?
Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, went from being an overweight junk food eater to a lean, plant-food-loving machine. One key element of optimal health is to eat real, whole food as much as possible, preferably prepared at home. The good news is, it doesn’t need to take as much time as you’d think.
Here are 7 tips for eating real food without spending hours in the kitchen.
When learning how to meditate, one of the biggest lessons is to set small, achievable goals. Make it as easy as possible for you to take the first step. The same applies to cooking. Start with one night a week and build from there. Starting small assures you will less likely end up with a fridge full of vegetables, you will feel guilty about when they go bad and you throw them out.
LEARN QUICK AND EASY RECIPES.
Start with a small collection of easy recipes that focus on quick cooking techniques. Avoid recipes that have an ingredient list as long as your arm, or instruct you to simmer for 30 minutes. It is best to save those for weekend cooking when you have more time. Look for simple stir fry’s, hearty salads or one pot meals.
EXPERIMENT WITH DIFFERENT INGREDIENTS
Avoid getting stuck in food ruts by simply swapping different ingredients into your favorite meals. For example, if you normally make a stir fry with tofu and kale, try it with bok choy or broccoli. Same goes for flavorings. If you normally use garlic, try ginger or a new spice.
SKIP THE PEELING.
If possible, avoid peeling vegetables. It takes time and you often lose the nutrients close to the skin. Instead rinse or scrub and move on to the next step. For example, try leaving the skin on carrots or sweet potatoes. If using butternut squash or beets, try roasting with the skins on. It’s easy to slip the cooked skins off but try them with the skin on because they are often delicious.
TRY IT RAW.
Try to include some raw vegetables in your diet every day. Not only is this beneficial for getting extra enzymes and heat-sensitive vitamins, it’s also much quicker than cooking. For example, it takes a fraction of the time to finely slice a bunch of broccoli and toss in a dressing than it takes to steam it [recipe below]. Consider finely slicing or grating a vegetable and serving it raw. Try serving shaved raw broccoli or grated cauliflower in place of steamed rice with curries or in stir fry’s. Tyr shaved fennel or cabbage in salads and finely sliced kale or raw bok choy – which has a surprisingly crunchy texture.
USE CONVENIENT INGREDIENTS.
If you feel overwhelmed or short on time, consider using packages prepared vegetables when it makes sense for you. Yes, they may cost more, but it might be the “right” thing to splurge on. Pre-washed salad leaves and vegetables are available in a variety of styles. Be creative and try to alternate flavor profiles of your meals. Pick up a flavor highlight or sauce. Consider premade hummus, pesto, salsa, soy sauce, curry pastes or olive tapenade.
DONT FORGET ABOUT FROZEN VEGETABLES.
Many nutritional studies indicate freezing may be the next best way to preserving vegetables without losing much of the nutrition. Frozen vegetables picked at their peak, will often have more nutrients than older, fresh vegetables that are past their prime. They also save you loads of prep time. Compare sitting down to shell a giant bowl of peas with the time it takes to open the packet and pour them into a pot. Frozen peas, spinach, collard greens, green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower, are great for a quick stir fry.
Raw Broccoli & Feta Salad
Raw broccoli salads are popular and delicious. Try eating raw broccoli once a week to start. If you do prefer cooked broccoli, this salad is just as delicious with steamed broccoli.
1 tablespoon seeded mustard, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 head broccoli, 3 1/2 oz. feta, handful pine nuts (walnuts or pecans work well too).
Combine mustard, vinegar and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a medium bowl. Season to your taste.
Finely slice the broccoli stems and chop the floret’s into tiny bite sized trees. Toss in the dressing.
Crumble feta and sprinkle over the salad with the pine nuts.
Variations: vegan / dairy-free – replace the feta with an avocado, flesh scooped into chunks.
Nut-free – replace the pine nuts with sesame seeds or finely diced red bell pepper or red onion. Sun dried tomatoes work well too.
Herbs – serve sprinkled with fresh herbs such as coriander, cilantro, parsley, mint or basil.
More substantial – increase the amount of feta or toss in a drained can of chickpeas or white beans.
~By Leo Babauta and Jules Clancy