In Balance

I had breakfast at work again yesterday, I think I am driving my co workers crazy with the smell of apples and cinnamon in the morning. I had barley with apples and almonds topped with cinnamon, nutmeg and a bit of ground ginger. This time, I didn’t top it with any sort of dairy and actually enjoyed it much more.

A couple of hours later, I had a wonderful snack! I had a few kashi crackers with basil hummus and a pear. The pear looked terribly beat up on the outside but was just perfect on the inside.

My snack really held me over for a long time, so much so that I forgot to eat lunch! When I realized I hadn’t eaten in a few hours, I had a pretty hefty snack. I topped greek yogurt with frozen cherries, pumpkin seed granola and agave. This was very filling and satisfying and held me over for another 5 hours!

After work, I had an appointment with my therapist. It had been a couple of weeks because she had a death in her family. I was excited to see her because I wanted to tell her of all of the changes I have been making. Light therapy, yoga and working to balance my dosha have really made some drastic changes for me. I guess I am not the only one that feels that way because my therapist told me that she thinks that as long as I can keep up with these things, I won’t need medication! She feels strongly that I have what it takes to pull myself out of this and hopefully what it takes to stay out of it.

The one change I haven’t made is consistent exercise which is recommended for me for a bazillion reasons including my therapist and my dosha. So, I’m going to really try and make some hard effort to really get in my 30 minutes a day. Being a kapha, I have a tendency to be a couch potato (who me?) so this will take some real effort on my part but I feel determined to find it somewhere.

After therapy, I came home and made dinner for the dear husband and I. I made creamy polenta topped with black beans and salsa. I simmered the black beans in the salsa for about a half hour so that they really soaked up the flavors. Once it was all together, I topped it off with a little crumbled cheese. This was such a simple meal to throw together and it was fantastic!

After dinner, I had a little treat that the chef sent me home with. Brownies with peanut butter frosting! I only ate one of my little take home package but the dear husband polished off the rest without any problems 🙂

Thought Provoker: What elements of your lifestyle are key to your happiness?

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Warmin’ Up

According to my Ayurveda, a kaphas ideal time to eat breakfast is between 8 and 9 am though they should wake up before sunrise. I believe this is to ensure one does not feel weighed down. A Kaphas tendency is to be heavy and feel weighed down (uh…yeah) so lighter foods and less frequent eating helps combat that. I do worry about my blood sugar and will certainly eat whenever my body dictates but thus far, it seems to be working for me. And overall, I must say, I am feeling better. I feel much happier and everything doesn’t feel like a drag to me.

And with all of that, I ate breakfast at work, again, yesterday. I had barley with chopped apple, cinnamon and nutmeg. I warmed it up in the microwave until the apples were soft and then mixed in some cottage cheese. Hmm, this mixture I did not like so much. I guess I am not a fan of warm cottage cheese.

A couple of hours later, I had a few kashi crackers with sliced ham and a few prunes. This light little meal kept me going for a really long time!

T went out around noon and said she would pick up lunch and ended up not coming back until 2! I sipped on warm tea and felt fine. When she did return, she had a shrimp tempura roll for me. It wasn’t from our regular place and it really wasn’t as good either. They put a spicy mayo on top and the mayo actually tasted like miracle whip. And as some of you know, I am a pure bred southern girl and in my opinion mayo comes in a yellow labeled jar, Duke’s. There is no other kind unless you make it yourself so when a mayo isn’t Duke’s, I can usually pick it out. So, the sushi was a bit on the disappointing side. Lesson learned.

Lunch was so late, that I didn’t need an afternoon snack. Once I got home, I was hungry and I was excited about dinner. I made pinto bean burgers and roasted Brussels sprouts. I have been working for years, literally to perfect my bean burger recipe and yesterday’s version was pretty darn close. Here is how I made them:

Bean Burgers

1 can of beans, drained and rinsed until bubbles are gone

1/4 cup stuffing mix, crushed but still chunky

1/4 cup corn meal

1/4 cup salsa

1 tbsp mayo (Duke’s ;))

salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin

olive oil for sauteing

Instructions

In a large bowl, mash the beans until only a quarter of them are still whole. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and season with salt, pepper, chili powder and a pinch of cumin. The mixture should still feel wet but firm enough to form into patties. Shape the mixture into four small patties or two large ones and place on a parchment lined plate. Place in the freezer for at least 15 minutes until they feel more firm. Remove from freezer and put into an oiled skillet over medium heat. Saute on each side until very well browned.

After dinner, I made a batch of vitamuffins with extra peanut butter and chocolate chips. I ate mine warm and it was SO good!

Thought Provoker: What foods are you a purist about? Is there a food that you only a certain version of?

Burned Up

Yesterday, I woke up feeling ready to face the world and even incorporate some dosha balancing foods into my day. I waited until I got to work to eat and it worked out well. I steamed some cooked barley and chopped apple with cinnamon and nutmeg in the microwave and topped it off with walnuts and a splash of milk. To go along with my breakfast, I had a chai tea. Everyone that came into my office talked about how good it smelled and it tasted as good as it smelled.

A couple of hours later, I had a few prunes and kashi crackers. I also sipped hot water with lemon for most of the morning.

For lunch, T picked Panera and I wasn’t really sure what to get. I ended up with a bowl of french onion soup with whole grain baguette. This was my first time trying this soup and I must say, I don’t think I will ever get it again. It was really really salty. Salt was the only flavor I could taste so it was a bit dissapointing.

A little later in the afternoon, I had a little greek yogurt with cranberry orange relish. OOoooh, yuck. Cranberry is one of the recommended fruits to balance kapha as it is bitter. And bitter is was, I did not like it at all and after a couple of bites, I called it quits.

Once I got home, I was ready to make dinner. A dinner I had been planning to make for a couple of days and I was excited about it. And guess what, I burned it! I burned dinner. I don’t think I have ever burned dinner before. Sure, I’ve burned the bread or roasted the veggies a little too long but burned to the point of no salvation? This left the dear husband and I scrambling for dinner. We ended up with frozen pizza which turned out to be fine. I’m still looking forward to what I burned because it is a great recipe and I can’t wait to share it, so be on the lookout!

After dinner, we watched Brothers and Sisters and Army Wives on the DVR. Army Wives was exciting because they are building up to the season finale next week, I can’t wait!

Thought Provoker: I found that the warm foods and spice really did help me feel better. What time of foods make you feel good?

ps: sorry for misspelling, it is giving me an error everytime I try to spell check and I am a horrible speller 😦

Yoga and a Recipe

I woke up with a major food hangover yesterday, I didn’t want to get out of bed for anything. I had an 8:30 am yoga class so I got up anyway and made breakfast. I made 2 eggs n baskets with local nine grain bread and earth balance. I didn’t have anything on the side because I actually wasn’t hungry but I knew I needed to eat because I wouldn’t be out of yoga until late morning.

This weeks hatha flow yoga class was taught by Candy, a teacher I had never practiced with before. When I first saw Candy, my first thought was relief. She was overweight! I can’t tell you how many super thin yoga teachers there are in this world so to see one that I would consider to be like me, I was excited. For a couple of reasons, really. My big dream is to be a writer while teaching yoga “on the side”. She eased my mind that not all yoga teachers have to be thin.  And secondly, I knew my ego would not come in to play because I would not be constantly comparing how thin the teacher is to how overweight I am.  It was a wonderful feeling.

After class, I had a private lesson with Laura, the owner of the studio. If I have a mentor in this world, I do believe it is Laura. She compels me to want to live a yogic life and be my own best person. From the moment I met her, I felt a connection with her that makes me feel like she has been a cherished friend my whole life. Needless to say, I always enjoy my private lessons with her. This lesson was about a yogic approach to my anxiety, depression and seasonal affective disorder. I could write an entire article on all of the things that I learned but the biggest thing that I learned is that my body needs two different things depending on whether I am anxious or depressed. The two are so closely tied in my mind that I had just assumed the opposite. She taught me some “real world” techniques for when busting into warrior II just isn’t appropriate as well as the proper asanas and flows for when it is.  The whole session helped me understand why I enjoy the poses and the flows that I do with some real legit yoga wisdom to back it up.

In addition to the yogic techniques, we also explored a little more into ayureveda. We talked about my being a kapha and some of the foods that will help keep me balanced. From, that I have decided that I would like to educate myself more of these principles and probably make some changes to my diet accordingly. Laura urged me to take a real world approach and to avoid any extremist ideas which I find to be the most rational and intuitive. 

Once I was home from expanding my yogic horizons, it was lunch time. I was pretty hungry and wasn’t up for much involved cooking so leftovers and frozen veggies came to my rescue. I had a mango sausage with whole wheat couscous and steamed green beans with almond. The couscous and green beans didn’t really do it for me so I ended up only have a few bites.

After lunch, we headed to Barnes and Noble to look for books about ayureveda. That idea turned out to be a dud but we did get a latte while we were there 🙂 I got a toasted marshmallow mocha and a pretzel because I was still hungry from lunch. The pretzel was revolting, really, so I only had the one bite. It looks much better than it tasted.

Once we were home from B & N and the rest of our errands, I started on a pot of chowder right away. My friend was coming over for dinner and I knew it would be a really long cooking process. I had seen a couple of recipes for edamame chowder and with those, here is what I came up with.

Roasted Edamame Chowder

4 cups shelled edamame

3 tbsp olive oil

salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder to taste

3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces

1 large onion, diced

1 clove garlic, crushed with salt

1 lb of small red potatoes, sliced into half moons

2 cups frozen corn

4 cups chicken broth, plus more as needed

1 cup half and half

Cheddar cheese for topping

Instructions:

Pre heat oven to 400*. Coat the edamame the olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder and toss to combine. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes stirring often to ensure even roasting. Once roasted, turn off the oven but the leave the edamame inside.

Meanwhile, cook bacon on medium heat until crisp, about 7 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan as set aside of paper towels. Remove as little or as much of the bacon grease as you would like but be sure to add a little olive oil if you remove all of it. Sautee the onions in the bacon grease (or olive oil) until they are translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the crushed garlic and sautee for another minute. Add the potatoes and corn and sautee for 5 minutes. Add in the chicken broth and increase the heat to med high. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce head to med and let simmer for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.

Remove half of the soup mixture and add to the blender and puree until smooth. Once smooth, add back to the cooking pot along with the roasted edamame. Stir well to combine and taste for salt and pepper. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. After simmering, stir in the half and half and let stand for about 5 minutes. Top with crumbled bacon and cheese.

The chowder turned out great, I served it along side whole wheat yeast rolls and everyone was happy. The soup was rich and creamy and just what we needed on a cold rainy night! For dessert, I had a small bowl of local butter pecan ice cream, it was so good but it made me really cold. I think it is ALMOST time to retire ice cream for the season.

Thought Provoker: Do you make note of how certain foods make you feel? Do you have a tendency towards eating them anyway because they taste good even if they make you feel bad? My body does not like to be overloaded with sweets but my mind always wants to eat them. I try to only have a little but sometimes the sugar monster takes over.