Happy Spring! It's been so beautiful here in the Okanagan this last week that I was actually in my flip flops today. It seems a bit crazy with it only being the end of March but I am dying for it to be summer already. I don't know about you but with each passing year I find I dislike winter more and more and dream about the warmer months as soon as January 1st hits (I know I know, the winter is SO mild here in comparison to other places but I'm allowed to whine a little, right?!).
It's about this time each year that I start to get the itch to detox- my body, my mind, my home, my everything. I'm not going to lie I'm a bit of a detox fanatic- but I can never make it through a major cleanse without cheating or going off the rails and eating everything I'm avoiding. I've found that A: I try to quit everything cold turkey and find there's nothing left to eat and I'm starving and B: Juice cleanses don't work! Not for me anyway. I so badly want to make it through one but I have such a strong gag reflex and vegetable juice is a major gag for me. So this year I've decided to be a bit kinder to myself, go slowly and listen to my body. Duh, why have I never thought of this before? I guess it takes having a baby to step back and say hey, it's ok that you snuck some chocolate and missed working out for an entire week (or two)! You will survive.
One thing I usually always want to do more of in the spring to help me cleanse is yoga. I adore yoga. I love yoga. I live for yoga. For someone that is a bit high strung it really calms me down, brings me back to earth and reconnects me with my body, my mind and my spirit as well as with the planet and the people around me. Yoga simultaneously shows me my strengths and my weaknesses and more than ever before it humbles me. Lately I've been doing a lot of yoga videos as it is a lot easier these days to do a bit of yoga at home while Harlow naps then make a big trek to the studio and try to arrange it around nursing and nap times. The people I've been learning from are so inspiring and they are really pushing me to try new things I didn't know my body could even do-and humbling me when I fall on my face!
Normally I would be talking about nutrition but exercise is just as important as a healthy diet. So my post for today is on the benefits of yoga. Most people are aware of some of the benefits of yoga such as increased flexibility and joint mobility, improved cardiovascular health and weight reduction. But there is more my friends! Yoga is wonderful at protecting your spine and improving posture. With all the compression and release of different muscles and organs in the various twisting and bending poses, your body gets a beautiful yoga massage which helps drain the lymphatic system (boosting your immunity and helping prevent sickness). Yoga is great for improving balance and co-ordination, and reducing blood pressure and tension. Yoga is not only good for the body but also for the mind. Serotonin release increases which improves the mood and can help combat depression. Do it long enough and you may start to notice an increase in self-esteem as you master all those tricky poses you thought you would never get. If you let it, yoga can help give you inner strength and awareness of your thoughts as well as your body. Try tuning out for an hour and tuning into what your body is telling you. You will most definitely learn something new about yourself if you give yourself the chance to stop talking, be quiet and just listen! Beware though-practicing yoga tends to help bring peace of mind, better sleep and the urge to be kinder to others and more connected to oneself, the people around you and Mother Nature!
So that brings me to my yoga bowl. We eat a lot of "bowl" meals in our house. Oatmeal bowl, burrito bowl, protein bowl, yoga bowl, etc. etc. My husband and I each have our own designated large pottery bowls that we load up on a regular basis with healthy, yummy foods. I suggest you get yourself a big, beautiful bowl too as it makes the eating experience that much more pleasurable. The yoga bowl I've created is something that I love to eat/crave after I've finished a hard workout or hot yoga class and want to eat a big bowl of nourishing food. It's also completely vegan, gluten free and sugar free as well. Three "things" that I am completely avoiding these days as the dairy bothers my daughter's skin through my breastmilk, the gluten quite possibly bothers my digestive system (more on that once I've fully cleansed it from my system) and the sugar-well the sugar is just not good for you as we all know and I overindulged a bit too much during Easter... Onto the recipe!
Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free
For the bowl:
1 bunch curly kale
2tsp olive oil
2tsp apple cider vinegar
1.5cups brown rice
3 cups water
For the tofu:
350g organic super firm tofu
1Tbsp chili paste
3Tbsp gluten-free tamari
1Tbsp sesame oil
1/2Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2Tbsp grated fresh ginger
For the dressing:
1/2c. orange juice
1Tbsp+1tsp freshly grated ginger
1Tbsp sesame oil
1Tbsp+2tsp gluten-free tamari
2tsp apple cider vinegar
4tsp gluten-free miso paste
1/4c. filtered water
1.Cut your tofu in half long ways, and then again with each piece. Cut into triangles (or any shape you prefer!). The goal is to get the tofu nice and thin for maximum absorption. Whisk the rest of the tofu ingredients in a small bowl. Place tofu in an even layer in a shallow dish and pour the mix on top to coat all tofu pieces. Refrigerate for a couple of hours (I did 4).
2.Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place tofu on a lined baking sheet and place in oven for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through, until tofu is nicely browned.
3.While tofu is cooking, place your water and rice in a medium pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed and rice is cooked.
4.Remove the stems from the kale and chop the leaves, discarding the stems. Place in a bowl with the oil, vinegar and salt. Massage until kale starts to become tender.
5.Grate carrots and beets.
6.Make dressing. Place all ingredients and blend until smooth.
7.Assemble bowl. Rice, kale, tofu, carrots, beets, avocado, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds. Drizzle dressing on top. Enjoy!
"There is purpose and value in each day of your life, in each season of your life. Nurture your times of action, of creating, of doing, and value your quieter times of going within. The more you study nature, the more you will learn about yourself. Nurture and trust the seasons of your soul."
from the book "Journey to the Heart, Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul"
Love and light,