Deck the halls with boughs of produce…fa la la la la la la la la

I’m back to the blog.  It is my busiest time of year with less than three weeks remaining in my fall term and Christmas around the corner.  However, this year, I will be ringing in the holidays a little bit differently.  About four weeks ago, my dear friend “G” was diagnosed with breast cancer.  What began as stage-one with a low likelihood for chemo or treatment after surgery has turned into a messier situation.  After surgery, a secondary tumor was found in the muscle and in a lymph node.  As I write, my friend is in another surgery and in six weeks she is scheduled to begin chemotherapy followed by radiation.  Her doctors have told her this will be a two year plan.

So, G asked me to help her get her immune system in tip top condition as she has had a suppressed immune system for years, possibly because her system was trying to kill this cancer off.  Knowing that chemo will knock her down, she wants to get as strong as possible on a cellular and metabolic level to withstand the side effects of her treatment.  We have decided to move forward with a modified Gerson Therapy. This therapy uses fresh pressed juices, slow cooked vegetables and raw vegetable salads along with coffee enemas to detox the liver and provide the body with every imaginable vitamin, mineral and enzyme that it needs to do its job properly.  I have been studying this method for a few years and it is often used to treat cancer and other auto-immune disorders.  In 2011 I volunteered at their institute in San Diego for four days and was amazed by the healing stories I heard from family members and survivors.

Anyway, I decided that if G was going to do it, I would too. I have not been 100% for a long time so this is as good a time as any to jump back on the produce wagon and clean out.  It has occurred to me that it is the holidays, i.e. cocktails, sweets, wine, and rich food.  But then I realized that consumption has nothing to do with why I love the holidays.  I love the traditions with my kids, decorating our home and tree, presents on Christmas morning in our PJ’s and finding elf on the shelf every morning.  None of that involves food.  In addition, I live in a free country and can eat and drink what I want whenever I choose to, so in six weeks when this is over I can have a hot buttered run if that sounds delicious ( I doubt that it will).
So, six weeks of cleansing delicious food while we celebrate the holidays and everything we have to be hopeful and thankful for.  I will blog along the way, hardships, successes and maybe some updates of my lovely, beautiful and strong friend. Wish me luck with the coffee enemas, I think I prefer coffee from the other direction but I can’t knock it ’til I try it.  One thing I can say for sure is that I am going to ring in 2014 with a large glass of green juice and a lot of gratitude!

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‘Tis the season to eat well

My house has been filled with coughing, hacking, sleepless nights. Thankfully, I have not been the one hacking and coughing because we know that when mama gets sick, the house falls to pieces.  However, the rest of the clan has been battling a nasty virus so I have been whipping up lots of lemon tea and wet socks (great for clearing congestion). On that note I felt like writing a quick note about the season.  Once Halloween hits, the temptation to eat delicious sugar-filled foods seems to be around every corner.  Holiday parties keep us up late as we sip lovely libations. This is the season of treats and traditions! However, sugar runs the immune system down and lack of sleep makes it hard for the body and brain to recover from the damage we do during the day.  Noses start to run and viruses and bacteria are out to play.  So, remember to eat real food and take a god plant based multivitamin!  It is really hard to eat too much sugar when we avoid processed food and treats. Another fun fact; iodine is a valuable mineral that is vital to the functioning of metabolism and apoptosis (cell death…like killing bad cells that we do not want to replicate….think cancer).  However, iodized salt is not normally used in processed foods.  Eat organic sea salt which is high in iodine and avoid processed food that can raise blood pressure due to high sodium without any of the benefits of real salt.  Let’s be honest, who does not want a fully functioning metabolism and immune system this time of year, so make sure your support yourself.

In addition, I want to announce the For the Love of Zucchini is now offering meal planning.  Along with celebrations and sickness, this time of year brings about a hustle and bustle that often leaves us making less than desirable food choices.  Let me take the planning out of your meal prep.  For $30/week you will receive a weekly meal plan with 6 days of meals and recipes as well as a weekly shopping list.  Check out http://www.fortheloveofzucchini.com for more info on how to get started! Cheers to staying well and holiday fun!

Try this easy seasonal recipe:

Roasted Roots

2 Large yams

3 Jerusalem artichokes

3 carrots

2 beets peeled

1/2 tsp salt

3 tablespoons fresh herbs (I like rosemary, thyme and savory)

3 tablespoons olive oil

fresh parsley for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Chop all veggies into 1/2- to 1 inch chunks

Mix all ingredients together and place in 9×13 glass dish

Place uncovered in oven for 40-45 minutes

Remove and garnish with parsley and serve

Sugar replacements to save your favorite recipes

I really feel like I have so much to blog about but no time today to do it.  I am knee deep in human nutrition and organic chemistry homework but I still have to figure out what I am going to feed my kiddos this week so thought I would share.  Today I had to stop and make a list for the week so I could stop thinking about what we were all going to eat (it really distracts me).  While making my Master List ( I will copy and paste this below in case anyone needs some ideas for the week…sorry I don’t have time to link all of the recipes today)  I gave into the fact that the kids really want those yummy fall foods like zucchini and pumpkin breads.  However, I like to make those things as nutritious as possible so I went Google-searching for a conversion of white sugar to dates or maple syrup.  Anyway, I came across this great site that I wanted to share with you all.  This site has some awesome options for substituting white sugar in your favorite recipes.  The main reason to do this is to get nutrients with your sweetener.  White sugar is so refined that you are basically getting a 50/50 mix of glucose and fructose …period.  Instead you could be absorbing the carbohydrate molecules along with other cofactors such as magnesium from molasses or iron from dates.  These are really important issues when looking at the crisis that our country faces with malnutrition. With the obesity rate in children sky rocketing , we often forget that weight does not equal nutrition and hunger is a very small factor in malnutrition in the US.  We eat so much calorie rich and nutrient poor food that estimates now suggest that people with Type 2 diabetes will soar from  the current 11 million in the US to 29 million in 2050…those are our children in their adult life.  Malnutrition is failing to absorb (take up into the circulatory system) the necessary nutrients that are vital for health and wellness.  So, you can eat as many calories as you want but it does not mean you are truly nourished.  This is why it is vital to maximize your nutrition by subbing out things that are nutritionally barren (white sugar/white flour etc.) and replace with foods that are nutrient dense.  I have found that wellness is less about the type foods that you eat and more about the quality of the ingredients that go into them.  Cheers to meaningful sugars!!!  Off to make some zucchini bread…

P.S. Here is my master food list for the week.  I try to do this every week so I buy the appropriate groceries and don’t have to think about what is for dinner.  Most of these recipes are at http://www.pepperclip.com.  My user name is megan and password is eloise.  If you don’t see a recipe on pepperclip that you want, shoot a comment to me and I will try to post it.  I also want to make a note that some of these foods are going to sound wacky to you coming from me such as hot dogs and pizza pockets (which I make from scratch) for lunch. As I mentioned above, it is about the quality.  I have no problem feeding my kids organic hot dogs from grass-fed cows and bacon from a pig that was pastured raised at a local farm.  It is a totally different food than an Oscar Meyer wiener and Hormel bacon. That being said…

Master Food List

Breakfast

Eggs and Bacon

French toast

Almond pancakes

Pumpkin muffins

Zucchini Bread

Frittata

Banana bread with grass fed butter

School Lunches

Tuna sandwich/ peppers/apples

Hot dogs/ carrots/ banana

Ham sandwich/ peppers/pears

Beans and “rice” with cucumbers and berries

Taco muffins/ peas and apples

Raviolis  / peppers and banana

Pizza pockets / carrots and oranges

Veggie Soup / zucchini muffin

Snacks

Candied nuts with fruit

Apple cinnamon muffins

Trail mix with fruit

Kale chips

Energy balls

Dinner

Salmon with green salad and brown sugar squash

Asian meatballs on cabbage or zucchini noodles with cabbage salad

Zucchini noodles with chicken sausage marinara with beet salad

Sweet potato enchiladas with beans and broccoli

Polenta lasagna with bacon collard greens

Quiche with sweet potato wedges

Roast Chicken and root veggies

Nacho night!!! Nachos with taco seasoned broccoli and sweet potato topped with cheese, salsa and guacamole

Fried Plantains, who knew?

Often I get really excited about a recipe and I buy all of the ingredients and then some. Then I make the recipe and I am totally disappointed and I end up staring at a bunch of ingredients that have no purpose.  That is where Google and I begin to work together.  When I don’t know what to make or if I have a lot of food with no recipes to call their own, I Google the ingredients.  This time around I ended up with 6 plantains that I was supposed to use for muffins.  The muffins were less than pleasing so the extra plantains sat for 5 days until I found this recipe to use as a side dish.  This is SOOOO easy and makes a great appetizer or addition to a meal. Sadly, I cannot remember where I found this recipe online so I cannot give credit but the recipe was presented as an appetizer so there was a fried plantain slice with a chunk of pineapple, a chunk of avocado, a little diced red onion and minced cilantro on top with a toothpick holding it all together.  I used all those toppers as a salsa and loaded it on top.

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Fried Plantain

2 plantains – sliced 1/4 inch thick

1/4 c coconut oil

1/4 tsp salt

Salsa

1 pineapple – diced in 1/2 inch cubes (you can use canned if needed)

1 avocado – diced in 1/2 inch cubes

1 small red onion – finely diced

1/4 c cilantro minced

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 lime juice

Directions

Heat coconut oil on medium.  Add plantain slices to heated oil and fry for about 7 minutes until edges begin to brown.  Flip all slices over and fry on the opposite side for about 7 minutes until slightly crispy.

In the meantime, dice up your salsa ingredients and mix them all together and let sit for ten minutes.

That is it, easy peasy…serve it up!

 

Dessert for Breakfast

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of force feeding my kids before school.  I feel like every morning I am frantic about them getting enough to eat before they head out to face the demands of school.  I find myself escalating from a stern “please finish your breakfast, you have to leave in 5 minutes” to ” EAT YOUR DANG FOOD OR YOUR GOING TO BE SORRY WHEN YOUR BLOOD SUGAR PLUMMETS IN AN HOUR AND YOU CAN’T THINK”…yes, those words come out of my mouth on a regular basis and ,very loudly.

After much strife, followed by plenty “Google-ing”, I have solved my problem. I have figured out a way to get my kids begging for breakfast as soon as their eyes flutter open in the morning.  I have convinced them that breakfast is a treat which means that I hold the power, I can use breakfast as a bribe.  Ahhh ha ha ha (imagine that sounding very evil). Dessert for breakfast is my trick.  Chocolate cupcakes, pumpkin gingerbread muffins and cookies.  And now you are thinking that I have fallen off the cliff of insanity and given up all of my beliefs and values. Well you would be wrong.

This all happened by accident.  I decided to take the family gluten-free so I began looking up Paleo breakfast foods because they are always wheat-free and really low-sugar (a requirement of a good breakfast, in my mind).  Not only did I stumble upon delicious mini quiches (I will add those in just for fun) which work for Parker but not so much for Finn, but I came across snack and breakfast recipes that look a lot like dessert.  I was skeptical.  It was not the tapioca or coconut flours that made me suspicious because, trust me, I was thrilled to find some recipes that might rid me of the Bob’s Red Mill overflow in my pantry, it was the lack of sugar.   These recipes had very little sugar and a lot of protein.  Was it possible that these actually tasted like desserts?  So, we tested them out on Sunday.  Three recipes and three successes.  So, this is how mornings look for us now…

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Kids get up, get dressed, get in the car.  I hand them each a cupcake and a cookies and a bowl of fruit. We talk and share riddles and eat on the way to school while I sip my chai tea and drive with a little grin thinking…”At last, I have out-smarted the little rascals”. So, now I pass on my grin to you.  I also thought I would share some pictures of what Sundays look like in my kitchen when I am getting ready for a week of “ready-to-eat breakfasts” and lunches just so you don’t have some illusion that all of this madness happens in some tidy little cooking space.  It is chaos, pure chaos.

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A note about these recipes…The cupcake and muffin recipes can be made by throwing all of the ingredients into a high powered blender or your food processor.  I also used the blender for the wet ingredients in the cookie recipe and I pulsed the seeds and nuts so they were not too chunky.  Also, I recommend using real organic sugar for the cupcakes and not the suggested sugar. Lastly, if the ingredients in these recipes freak you out, take a deep breath. You can find them all at New Seasons, Whole foods or the natural section of Fred Meyer.  Trust me, it is worth it to get to know these ingredients, it will open up a whole new world of baking that keeps the blood sugar stable and tastes great (and makes it possible to eat dessert for breakfast).

OK, here are the links for breakfast that will keep your family smiling.  (PS.  These are great for grown-ups too.  I normally hate baked goods for breakfast as they always leave me feeling horrible afterward, but the chocolate muffins are a perfect small meal that keep me satisfied all morning).

Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffin (I ran out of pumpkin on the second batch and used frozen sweet potato. Also,I roasted my own pumpkin which tastes a bit better than canned and is as easy as throwing a whole pie pumpkin in your oven for 60 minutes on 350F)

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/07/recipe-pumpkin-gingerbread-muffins-nut.html

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes (You can probably substitute the hazelnuts for sunflower and pumpkin seeds if you want nut-free)

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2013/09/chocolate-hazelnut-zucchini-cupcakes.html

Breakfast cookie (I added vegan dark chocolate chips and walnuts to these too)

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/06/18/breakfast-cookies/

Check out my website at http://www.fortheloveofzucchini.com

Dear Tomato, how I love thee

 

My favorite time of year for produce is right now because tomatoes are falling off the vine and there is nothing better than a tomato from your back yard.  In honor of my little red friend, I am sharing my favorite tomato recipe with you.  This is a recipe that Bobby found in a “Food and Wine” years ago.  We have since lost the recipe so we throw it together each time by memory and even without exact measurements, it is always amazing.  So, here is an approximation of this amazing recipe.  The best part…It takes about 2 minutes to make this sauce and it only have a tiny list of ingredients.

Throw the following into a blender or food processor.  Make sure to remove the tomato stems first.

3 med tomatoes
1/2 c olive oil
1 tsp salt
about 10 basil leaves
1 large garlic clove or 2 small
2 tbsp tomato paste
5 sun dried tomatoes (I used the ones that are packed in oil)

In the meantime, boil your pasta.  I use rice pasta and this sauce is best with pasta shapes like fusilli, penne, etc. because they have lots of nooks and crannies for sauce to get stuck in. Once your pasta is boiled, strain it and throw the sauce in. Toss and serve immediately.  This is such a refreshing and delicious meal!!!

A couple of little notes about the recipe.  Any tomato works for this so whatever looks the most beautiful in your yard, at the farmer’s market, or your local grocery store.  Regarding the tomato paste, most of you know I hate cans so I use a paste that is in a little jar at New Seasons which I like because unlike a can, you can put the lid back on and save it in the fridge.  This recipe does not keep well for leftovers if you use gluten-free pasta but you can make extra sauce and freeze the sauce to pull out and mix with pasta later.  I will be making this in bulk this week and storing for the winter.  And lastly, another amazing way to eat this is over raw zucchini pasta which can be made with a spiral slicer (one of my favorite kitchen gadgets).  Dunk the zucchini pasta in boiling water for 5 seconds, remove, strain and mix with sauce. 

I have more to say….

Hi All,

Well, it has been a crazy year and I have not been in the mood to blog until now.  Last year I finished my prerequisites for the dietetics program and Kansas State so last month I began my junior year of college at KSU as an online student. I have two years left of school, one year of interning, and one big test to pass my boards and then I will be a Registered Dietitian.  What is that you ask?  An RD is a medical professional that is trained in the sciences to understand how nutrition affects the biochemistry of the body and how food affects wellness and disease. How is that for a mouthful?

So, although I have not been blogging, I have still been obsessing about nutrition and health as a mom and a student.  However, we have also had a big change in our lives recently which is slightly altering my food habits.  We moved to the burbs!!!!  Honestly, I love it (which is a huge shock).  I love being in a neighborhood full of friendly people that keep a watchful eye on my munchkins.  I love that there are kids running around at all times so my children have tons of friends to keep them happy and busy. I love that I don’t have to share one bathroom between 4 people.  Here is what I don’t love. I DON’T love that my husband’s commute to take the kids to school in the morning is 45 minutes to go ten miles. I DON’T love that I have to get up at 6:30 to get breakfast and lunches ready.  (This is where the food comes in). So, I did some summer planning and researching to figure out what I could have pre-made and frozen to throw in their lunches each morning.  I also wanted a healthy breakfast that I could give them to eat in the car on the way to school so they could maximize sleep time.  So, here are the favorites that I want to share with you just in case you are feeling the agony of school lunch and breakfast prep!!!!

Each week I make a pan of granola squares.  They are different each week so there is a little variety (last week I threw in a little dark chocolate and peppermint oil and called it a chocolate candy cane granola bar).  I hand them a granola square and a piece of fruit and they eat breakfast on the way to school.  I am not a fan of granola bars from the store because they are normally really high in sugar, (like 20 g) and low in protein (like 4 g) and expensive so I make my own so I can improve that ratio. I want my kids to have a hearty, protein packed breakfast that keeps the complaints at bay.

As for lunch, I have fallen for pizza pockets.  Well, really any kind of pocket.  I know, this sounds very unhealthy but hang with me for a minute.  This is another recipe that by making at home you can make with healthy ingredients and save money too.  This week I made two batches. One was a broccoli/goat cheese pocket and one was pumpkin pizza sauce with mozzarella.  The other nice thing about this recipe is you can buy premade pizza dough, make your own whole wheat dough or make a gluten free crust.  I always make my own sauce because it takes no time at all and then I can avoid processed sauces with added sugar. The great thing about a pocket is you can put anything in it so think of all of your favorite foods and stick them in pizza dough.  Next week I am doing taco pockets with shredded zucchini, black beans, rice, taco seasoning and cheese.  Be creative!

Ok, here are the recipes.  Normally I post pics but Finn trashed my beautiful camera lens last week and I have not made it out to buy a replacement so I am picture-less this time around. 

 

Cinnamon oatmeal squares

4 c oats

1 c walnuts

1 c almonds

1 c raisins

1/3 c chia seeds

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

½ c coconut oil

½ c molasses

½ c raw honey

2 eggs beaten well

***Just a note about the hone and molasses.  Although both of these are straight sugar, they are both very high in nutrients that are superior to plain sugar.  Another option is maple syrup.  Real maple syrup is also dense in nutritional value.

Mix all dry ingredients. I normally chop up the almonds and walnuts in a blender or food processor.  Then I take half of the dry mix and throw it back into the blender or food processor the grind it down which helps the bars stick together better.

Heat the wet ingredients (except the eggs) on the stove to melt together. Mix beaten eggs into dry mix and then add remaining wet ingredients and mix thoroughly until all dry ingredients are moist.  Press into large glass pan (I use 9×13) lined with parchment paper or greased. Bake on 350 for 20 minutes.  Cool in the fridge over night and then cut into squares.

 

Pizza Pockets

Sauce

1 c tomato sauce

1 garlic clove

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp marjoram

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp olive oil

¼ tsp salt

Put all of this in the blender for 1 minute on medium/high

Make or buy dough

Here is a link to making regular pizza dough http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/pizza-dough-recipe/index.html

Here is link for gluten free but you can also buy Bob’s Red Mill gluten free pizza dough mix which I like a lot.

http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2011/02/gluten-free-pizza-crust-my-new-recipe.html

You can also pick up premade dough at Trader Joes.  It does not have a bunch of additives but it is not organic either.  I think Whole Foods and New Seasons also have options. 

One other option is using wonton wrappers…

Cheese

I love to put a great mozzarella into the pocket but goat cheese is delicious too.  Whatever your kiddos like.

Putting it all together

Roll out your dough until it is really thin, about 1/8 inch.  Use a pizza cutter to slice it into 3 inch squares (these really don’t have to be perfect, mine are always uneven. In the middle of half of the squares add 1 tbsp sauce, 1 tbsp cheese and then I often throw in a few leaves of spinach. Take another square that you have not filled and gently place over the top of your filled square. Press all around the edges with your fingertips to seal the top and bottom together. Place each pocket on a baking sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes.  Remove and let cool and then throw in the freezer in a plastic baggie. My kids have a microwave in their classroom but you can also thaw this in the morning and kids can eat it room temp/cold in their lunch. 

 

Hope you find this stuff useful.  If you are having food frustrations, email me or send a comment and I will try to address it in the next blog.  Next up on the blog front will be some dinner options for those rushed extra-curricular activity nights!  Cheers and happy eating!!! 

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Muffins for lunch

The thing that keeps me up at night is always what I am going to send for lunch with my kids the next day (yeah, I know…big problems over here). But seriously, packing lunch is a pain in the butt and we all know that if the kids does not like it, they don’t eat it and we are not there to bribe them into 3 more bites, etc., etc.

So, this month, faced with the vegan cleanse and all, I was officially stumped last night.  What compounds my issue is that the kids go to a nut-free school…don’t get me started on how irritating that is.  Anyway, I was googling around and I found a recipe for muffins that have no refined sugar, no animal products and you can add in whatever extra healthy stuff that you want.  Bobby and I are going gluten-free but the kids are not so this recipe is perfecto!  It is so super easy and pretty darn good.  It beats a sandwich and the kiddos think they are getting a treat. In fact,  my kids think I have lost my mind.  This recipe calls for applesauce (which you can make easily but peeling, coring, and cubing apples and then putting them on the stove top for 15 minutes with 1/3 c water until soft…then mash of blend until smooth…super easy)  and flax seed meal (ground flax seed can be purchased that way or throw flax seeds in your blender until it is powder)  Those two items keep your muffins moist and together. I added  1 c shredded carrots and 1/4 c sunflower seeds into mine but you can throw in any of the following

2/3 c nuts

1 c berries

1/2 c seeds

1 mashed banana

1 c shredded zucchini

Get creative.

jan cleanse 005

Here are the nuts and bolts of the recipe

2 c organic flour

2 tbsp flax seed meal

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/3 c real maple syrup

1 c applesauce

2 tbsp coconut or other veggie oil

1/3 c nondairy milk such as almond, hemp, rice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Happy Baking!

36 hours until my vegan family cleanse begins…

I’m Back!

It has been a while since I last blogged.  I needed a break to focus more energy on school and my kiddos and my other endless projects.  But, the New Year is here and I am inspired to write again at least for the month of January.  The Barnett family has decided to clean house this month.  Our houses have been cluttered with cheese, gluten, wine, and enough sugar to fill a shoebox.  Bobby has hesitantly agreed and the kids are clueless so here goes.  For the next four weeks we will indulge in vegan anti-inflammatory meals.  Our first week will be raw food all day with a cooked soup for dinner (well, at least for the parents…the kiddos might have to cheat a little). From there we will do about 50/50 raw and cooked.  No refined sugar, no caffeine and no alcohol.  Bobby is digg’in in his heals about his daily cappuccino so we will see what happens there.

Today is a prep day so the healthy brown rice crispie treats, veggie soup, smoothies, curry, juicing and black eyed pea soup are in the works and off we go!Image

Brown Rice Crispie treats

6 c. brown rice cereal puffs

1 c. brown rice syrup

3/4 c. organic peanut butter

3 tbsp. coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

My Add-ins (these are up to you)

1/2 c flax seed

3/4 c raw sunflower seeds

3/4 c raisins

1/2 c crushed raw almonds

1/2 c coconut

Heat oil, peanut butter, vanilla, and brown rice syrup on stove top on low until melted together and liquid consistency.  In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  Then stir in your melted mixture until all dry ingredients are mixed and sticky. Press your finished mixture into a 9×13 glass dish and put in the fridge to cool for a few hours.  Then cut into individual bars.  You can wrap them so they are ready to take on the road or leave them in the fridge.

Anyway, my blogging goal is to write  a couple of times a week and offer recipes with each posting so wish me luck!  Here is to health and happy days in 2013

One Smoothie, I mean breath at a time

This is right around the time in a cleanse when I start thinking about what kind of smoothie I am having for dinner while I am sipping my breakfast smoothie.  Why am I worrying about dinner at breakfast?  I have no idea other than it must be my habit of “buying trouble” or rushing through this precious life.  Thankfully, I was slapped in the face by an “aha” moment yesterday. Yesterday morning I pulled myself out of bed at 5:45 to go to Kristi’s 6:30 am Mornin’ Joe class at Yoyo Yogi.  I always intend to make it to her class but normally by Friday I am in no mood to get out of bed before my kiddos force me out with breakfast requests. However, summer break is forcing me into more early morning yoga dates since my free time during the day is nil.

So, a few minutes into class I start running away with my thoughts, discarding my ujjayi breath for thoughts of yard work and house work. Right about the time when I start to think Kristi is trying to kill us, which snaps me out of my streaming to-do list, Kristie reassures us that we will live through her crescent lunge series with this super profound statement “Don’t worry guys, its just one breath, not the whole practice!”  I take a look at the clock, 30 minutes to go, and then it sinks in.  I could be in this pose for 30 more minutes but all I have to do is worry about this one inhale.  So, I zero my mind in…inhale slow, exhale slower, inhale, exhale.  And then the joy came…ahhhh, sweet presence. How amazing life is when we are where we are.  A few minutes later we were about to repeat the difficult sequence on the other side so I took my breath with me and it was actually fun instead of what I may have previously categorized as borderline miserable.

I lay in savasana, thinking about how much less anxiety and more happiness I would have if I lived in the inhale or the breakfast smoothie without worrying about the exhale or the dinner smoothie. While there are times in our lives when we have to plan ahead and think about tomorrow, there are so many times when we don’t.  In those moments try to breathe in the present, the discomfort, the joy, the pain, the monotony, the smells, sounds, the laughter, the tears, the sweetness that can only be found in that moment and then is lost forever.  It is a practice, it is yoga and I love it.  I only get rare glimpses of this thing called presense so thank you Kristi, you reeled me back into living, at least for the moment!

Now, to you cleansers out there….it is breakfast time and we are on liquid right now so stick with it…one smoothie at a time. You have the plan, you know you are on smoothies and juice for four days but who cares.  Just worry about breakfast, you will have plenty of time later to worry about lunch.

Cheers to smoothies, and breathing and living! Happy weekend!

Breakfast!