I was cooking at a friend’s house a few Sunday Dinners ago and she commented that, “I have cook books, but I end up picking recipes from magazines or on the net because cook books can be so intimidating.  A magazine recipe seems more approachable”.  Her part in our dinner was an Ahi delight.

What you see pictured on the left is the bedding for the Ahi.  Sweet basil, cherry tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, olives, need I say more?  Flavor, flavor, flavor. Yes there were several steps involved.  Roast the bell peppers (no green please); wash the tomatoes, rinse the sweet basil….The Ahi is not seared so expect it to be steamed.  Although I suppose you could sear it and place it in the oven for just a few minutes when the vegetables and herbs are almost finished roasting to capture the flavors of the  bed of savories.  Roast vegetables for about 25 minutes.  Sprinkle  with 1/4 cup of white wine and place the salmon slices skin up on top of the vegetables.  Bake about 8-20  minutes depending on how you like your salmon cooked.

I contributed a red cabbage salad with bacon and goat cheese from Cook’s magazine, several years ago.

1/2 head red cabbage,

4-6 slices of bacon,

5 1/2 ounces of goat cheese

Wash and core and finely shred the cabbage.  Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.  Saute the bacon until crisp and browned.  Drain on paper towels.  Save a tablespoon of the bacon fat, for flavor, transfer to a small bowl.  For dressing peel and mince the garlic cloves.  In a medium bowl whisk the minced garlic into the reserved bacon fat with the 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup of red-wine vinegar.

Bring cabbage and bacon to room temperature.  Warm the dressing in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Crumble the bacon over the cabbage, add the warm dressing and toss well. Transfer to individual plates (makes 6 servings) and crumble the goat cheese evenly over each plate.  Serve immediately.

The process of cooking or even preparing raw food can be a therapeutic process for me.  I will spend a whole afternoon making a meat sauce, preparing a soup to fill my freezer for homemade options on evenings I want a meal with little preparation time.  What are your favorites?

Tahini Wrap, my latest favorite  lunch or light dinner recipe:

1 warmed spelt tortilla

1 tablespoon of tahini

1/3 thinly sliced avocado

1/3 thinly sliced red or yellow bell pepper

1/8 of a cup of green onions

1/4 thinly sliced cucumber

and a handful of baby arugula

Layer in the order above; roll like a burrito to make a delicious wrap.

I have music playing on my jam box while I cook or I listen to a talk show such as Fresh Air on NPR or something from SoundsTrue radio.  I don’t rush, I enjoy the beauty of the vegetables I am slicing or the smell of the blood oranges which I am juicing.  Which brings me to my final recipe.  This one from the internet, a Cooking Light January 2011.  Quinoa rules!

1/4 cup finely chopped green onionsBloodOrg

2 tablespoons blood orange juice

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro

1/4 teaspoon salt, ground coriander,

ground cumin and paprika

3 tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup of uncooked quinoa

Quinoa1 3/4 cups water

2 teaspoons grated blood orange rind

1 teaspoon lemon rind (Meyer best)

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1 /cup blood orange sections, chopped

1 cup diced peeled avocado

6 whole kumquats, seeded and sliced

* recipe calls for 2 medium beets, not included here.

“Combine first 10 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Gradually add oil, stirring constantly.  Combine 1 3/4 cups water, quinoa, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; fluff with a fork. Combine quinoa, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, blood orange sections, avocado, and kumquats in a large bowl, tossing gently to combine. Add dressing; toss gently to coat salad. Spoon 1 cup salad onto each of 4 plates.”

Whispers of the Breath Diva:

real face.2In this moment I can enjoy my life!

I can nourish myself!

I can appreciate my senses!

The biggest loser star, Jillian Michaels was in San Jose on April 12th speaking on her “Maximize your Life” tour.  She emphasizes how important it is to set a goal.  Setting a fitness goal is easy, “I want to increase my endurance, I want a stronger upper body, I want to lose 10 pounds, …”  But, how do we map a road to success?   We live in a technological age of ‘gadgets’ that can measure our steps, our calories expended, the stairs we climb and yes, even our sleep.

SkyWhat we can measure, we can manage; we can modify our behavior based on the information we glean.  We can successfully set and execute a goal.  “In a 2007 analysis of several studies, people who used pedometers increased the number of steps taken by an average 2,491 a day and boosted overall physical activity by about 27% from previous levels”, cited in the Wall Street Journal article, “Hard Math: Adding up Just How Little We Actually Move” written by Sumath Reddy.      Reddy goes on to say, “Americans on average take 5,117 steps a day, according to a 2010 study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

A good daily goal, by contrast, is 10,000 steps, according to the American Heart Association.   “Walking a mile roughly equals 2,000 steps; climbing 10 steps is equivalent to taking 38 steps on level ground.”  We can do this easily by parking our car a few blocks away from our destination.  One of my clients walks to work two days a week instead of driving to improve his numbers.  Simple shifts in patterns can result in the addition of those extra steps we need to meet this health standard of fitness.  Even today on NPR a new story, “How Exercise And Other Activities Beat Back Dementia”  by Patti Neighmond of highly functioning ’80 somethings’ discovered that exercise is number one in keeping our brains healthy.  Walking tones our internal organs and forces us to breathe more fully thereby getting more oxygen into our healthy cells and our brains.  In Ms. Reddy’s article she cites another study,  “Dr. Bassett says a doctoral student in his department conducted a study in which 58 people watching 90 minutes of television marched in place in front of the TV during commercial breaks.  “They increased their steps by about 3,000 per day just by doing this during commercials,” says Dr. Bassett, “That’s equivalent to about 30 minutes of walking.”  The study was published last year in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.”

fitbit

I have mentioned in previous blogs that I use both a heart rate monitor and a Fitbit pedometer.  I park my car to walk a round-trip of 6 city blocks to teach a yoga class in which I do not participate; I walk around the room giving instructions.  According to my Fitbit I burn 737 kcal from start to finish.  I take 2836 steps in this time period; 3 of those blocks are up hill?  I have successfully quantified a routine activity.

When I suggest a pedometer to clients, I hear the usual, “I walk around quite a bit during the day.”  Still the question remains, exactly how many steps and how close is this total to the desired 10,000 steps for health standards?  Using a pedometer such as the Fitbit, the Nike Fuel Band or the the Jawbone UP  device make it easy and fun.  You will receive weekly reports, can keep track of your calories eaten by entering your daily food consumption and as I mentioned, even track your sleep.  The Jawbone UP can be programed to vibrate when you have been sedentary for a preferred amount of time, such as 30 – 60 minutes.  You can then at least get up and move around before heading back to the desk and the world of your mind.

StepsMy fitbit gives me little messages:  “Way to Go Laura!”  “Bravo!” “Keep Moving!”  These messages are endearing.  On the website you are able to set up a group so that you can track and support each other’s progress.  Buddy systems are known to reinforce our fitness goals.

On the down side, some people don’t like having any electronics on their person.  Or, some will find keeping track of the device can be challenging.  I have heard stories of Fitbits slipping into the toilet or still attached to a garment landing in the washing machine.  At a $100 a pop that can get expensive.  The wristband is a simple solution since it is not attached to clothing.  We are fortunate to have these products and their website support on our ever present  journey to health and fitness, one of our most important investments.

Whispers of the Breath Diva:

real face.2

“In this Moment I can design my lifestyle.

I am the author of my life!  I am fit.  I am healthy!”


 

I was at the hair salon the other day and the young attendants were raving about their lunch; a kale salad.  I was at dinner with a cousin I rarely see, she was talking about a kale salad she had recently.  My sister called to say she had a great “kale salad” recipe.  Ate at Frances restaurant in San Francisco recently; waited a month for a 5:30 PM Thursday evening reservation.  What was on the menu…”Lacinato Kale Salad – Pecorino, Grilled Satsuma Mandarin, Fennel, Medjool Date.”  So lovely!  Just enough sweet, salty and acidic to make a very interesting, satisfying combination.

The WebMed article, “The Super-Veggies:  Cruciferous Vegetables” puts the number one reason for calling these “Super-Veggies” as lowering cancer risk.  There are several of these vegetables from the cabbage family.  The article goes on to explain that “they all contain phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, and fiber that are important to your health (although some have more than others.)   Some have shown the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells for tumors in the breast, uterine lining (endometrium), lung, colon, liver, and cervix, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. And studies that track the diets of people over time have found that diets high in cruciferous vegetables are linked to lower rates of prostate cancer.”

I love this next study cited in the article.  “In a study funded by the National Cancer Institute, 20 participants were encouraged to eat 1 to 2 cups of cruciferous vegetables a day. After three weeks, the amount of oxidative stress in their body was measured. Then, after a three-week wash-out period, the study participants were told to take a multivitamin with fiber. Again, the oxidative stress was measured three weeks later.

Cruciferous vegAnd the results? Oxidative stress in the subjects’ bodies dropped 22% during the period when they were eating lots of cruciferous vegetables. But the change during the multivitamin segment was negligible (0.2%), says lead researcher Jay H. Fowke, PhD, an assistant professor and cancer epidemiologist for the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.”

How can we enjoy at least a cup of these healthy vegetables a day?

Here are a few recipes for a kale salad for you.

Dinosaur Kale Salad:  Kale.2

1 bunch Dinosaur Kale washed, spines removed
1 teaspoon sea salt
I avocado
1/2 fresh lemon
1 small tomato
1/2 red bell pepper
I leek or green onions
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds lightly roasted
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
Place the kale cut paper thin in a bowel.
Dry well and sprinkle with sea salt.
Mix with fingers until the kale is wilted.
Add the Avocado and ‘mush’ with your fingers.
Squeeze fresh lemon juice over mixture
Add the remaining ingredients and serve.
Be creative and add other vegetables such as cucumber,
grated carrots whatever you like!
Note:  It may not be the most beautiful looking salad;
judge it by it’s taste.
My sister’s recipe, simple and delicious:
Place on bunch of washed kale, any type, with spines removed in a salad spinner.
Chop the kale into bite size pieces.
Place in a bowl with cherry tomatoes and pistachio nuts or pine nuts.
Dress with 1/4 cup of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of balsamic or rice wine vinegars.
Salt and Pepper to taste
My cousin’s recipe from the restaurant, Plant Cafe` in San Francisco:
Wash and chop Dinosaur kale and arugula
Bring a cup of water to a boil add 1/2 cup of red quinoa
When you see the white of the quinoa appear it is cooked, about 20 minutes.
Cool and add to Dino kale and arugula along with
chopped avocado,
carrot shreds,
cherry tomatoes,
almonds.
Dress with 1/4 cup lemon juice,
cumin,
1/4 olive oil
Salt to taste and serve!
real face.2
Whispers of the Breath Diva:
In this moment I can nourish myself with beautiful, healthy vegetables.
tomatoes

tarot22We all know January is the time for resolutions and planning.  Are the resolutions milling around in your head realistic?  Do you wish to stop smoking, lose 30 pounds, limit alcoholic consumption?  How do we do this?  Simple right; one step at a time?  In a recent edition of IDEA’s FOOD magazine, M. Cartwright, PhD, RD discussed the “5 Stages of Change” in her article entitled, Realistic Resolutions.  She begins with the ‘Pre-contemplation’ stage.  At this point the person has no intention of changing.  During the ‘Contemplation’ stage we begin to be aware that a change is desireable and we lack the resolve to actually begin to change habits and behavior.  Once we decide to do something, to purchase a club membership, to use a Nicorette product, we have entered the ‘Preparation’ stage.  Even the tag line for Nicorette, “All little wins add up to one big” suggests the complexity of stopping a habit such as smoking.  There are so many factors involved.  Are you a tactile person who has been comforted by the tactile nature of smoking?   Are you a kinesthetic person who enjoys sitting with a cigarette and ruminating?  How can one replace this tactile sensation with a healthy process?  Will using a fake cigarette help?  Later we will discuss cues, routines and rewards.

I have a statement on my desk, “Your Path will reveal itself when you are looking at your life from a different angle.”  Focusing on our habits with a new perspective is very helpful.  Cartwright goes on to describe the 4th stage, ‘Action’, “the person has made specific changes in the past 6 months.”  What takes place in between the ‘Preparation’ stage and the ‘Action’ stage?  Cartwright sites Wee, Davis & Phillips 2005; Grandes et al. 2008 as documenting that “Those who perceive weight as a health risk are more likely to be in the advanced stages of readiness.”  Elevated cholesterol or shortness of breath may be effective motivators.

Beyond the fear factor of disease or disability, beyond having a team of experts designing your lifestyle as in the popular TV show, The Biggest Loser, it comes down to how much faith we have in our own ability to affect positive change in our lives.  Ralph La Forge, managing director of the Duke Lipid Disorder Physician Education Program at Duke University Medical Center, cites “displacement of unhealthy behaviors” as a factor in Self-Efficacy and as a benefit of exercise.  By introducing a new, healthy behavior we can be successful in replacing the habit pattern we want to alter.  Shifting the focus from what I don’t want to what I want is imperative in changing behavior.

Cartwright goes on to describe “Habit Loops”.  “Habits are powerful–40% of daily actions are habits, not decisions” (Wood, Quinn & Kashy 2002).  Discovering the cues, routines and rewards that are associated with a habit is crucial.

Self -efficacy “is the measure of one’s own ability to complete tasks and reach goals” according to Wikipedia.  Albert Bandura published the paper, “Self-Efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change,” in 1977.  What are the little wins that combine to make the big win?  And what are the contributing behaviors and attitudes that allow us to maintain our gains?  The 5th and final stage of change is ‘Maintenance’.   Kendra Cherry defines strong and weak senses of self-efficacy in her article, “What is Self Efficacy” in about.com.

People with a strong sense of self-efficacy:

  • View challenging problems as tasks to be mastered
  • Develop deeper interest in the activities in which they participate
  • Form a stronger sense of commitment to their interests and activities
  • Recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments

People with a weak sense of self-efficacy:

  • Avoid challenging tasks
  • Believe that difficult tasks and situations are beyond their capabilities
  • Focus on personal failings and negative outcomes
  • Quickly lose confidence in personal abilities

By focusing on a positive behavior, i.e. going to the club to workout and just doing that.  “By just doing that” and not altering any other behavior; by committing to one new behavior, it makes it possible to displace the old behavior.  I will not have a cigarette until an hour after I workout.  I will include raw kale in my diet everyday.  If I am hungry between meals; I will drink a glass of water.  If I am still hungry, I will reach for a healthy snack such as an apple.  These little choices make a huge difference in the long run.

Cartwright went on to define cues, routines and rewards.  How many times have you heard someone say, “When I get home from work, I reach for….I just need to relax.”  ‘Cue’ is the time of day, ‘routine’ is repeating the action day after day and ‘reward’ is the cigarette or the calorie rich coffee drink or the glass of wine.   Identifying your cues and rewards is the first step.  Will power can be strengthened with use.  The coffee drink may have 500 calories that are preventing you from losing those last 5 pounds.  By changing this one behavior you can create a ‘positive’ reward.  Create a positive habit pattern, i.e. going to the health club before going home.  Assess how you feel, still need to “relax” with that cigarette, that glass of wine?  You win because you have replaced a negative habit pattern and you are making a decision!  What we know and understand has an impact on us.   What I can quantify I can fine tune into concrete lifestyle choices.  Experts tell us that it takes 21 days or three weeks to reprogram a habit, to make it stick.  Be gentle with your self, do not give up.

real face.2

Whispers of the Breath Diva:

I am the author of my lifestyle.  In this moment I can make a positive choice.

I live in my body!  I can create a positive reward for myself right here, right now!

The  Thanksgiving holiday always makes me feel the need to do something, read something, write something to underline how grateful I am for so many things.  I was reading Rob Brezney, who has an interesting play with words.  He wrote:   “I invite you to keep a running list of all the ways life delights you and helps you and energizes you. Describe everyday miracles you take for granted . . . the uncanny powers you possess . . . the small joys that occur so routinely you forget how much they mean to you . . . the steady flow of benefits bestowed on you by people you know and don’t know. What works for you? What makes you feel at home in the world?”  The last sentence went ping!  That’s it!

I ask myself that question, “What make me feel at home in the world?”  Which brings me to another question:  Where do we live?  Do we live in ours houses, our geographical locations, i.e. San Francisco, CA?  Or do we live in our bodies?  One could counter and say their mind or their feelings.  In truth the territory of how you feel -where you live- resonates in what I term, your “internal space”.  How you manage your daily habits, lifestyle choices and most importantly, your thoughts, contributes to how comfortable you are with “where you live’.
Your lifestyle habits:  what you eat, how much you exercise, your friendships, your love relationship, these are all factors that combined, equate to your overall sense of well-being.  Your attitudes, your career, your avocations and your hobbies, etc. influence your mental state of mind.  Who is in control? Easy answer, you are!  Inherent in our thoughts is the ability to design a set of habits and attitudes that feed us, in short that make us feel at home in our world!

So what is your list of “ways that life delights you?”, “the uncanny powers your possess”, “small joys that occur?” “the steady flow of benefits bestowed on you by people you know?” Delight can come in a stranger’s smile, the sound of a child’s laughter, a good choice at a restaurant, the way a recipe turned out.  What are your ‘uncanny powers’?  Merriman-Webster online defines the word ‘uncanny’ as: “being beyond what is normal or expected”  My son Daniel can start a conversation with anyone practically anywhere and have them laughing or at least smiling within a few minutes.  What is your experience of “small joys”; can you think of one now?   What is or are the steady flow(s) of benefits bestowed upon you by people you know?  Too many to enumerate?  Have to admit, it feels good when you do.   How about looking at your daily through these lenses?  And, through the lens of “What makes you feel at home in the world?”

Whispers of the Breath Diva:

In this moment I can inhale and feel gratitude…gratitude for my life force, energy, intelligence and creativity!

A few years ago the Tufts University newsletter (Volume 10G) included an article on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet:  “Eat Like a Mediterranean to Protect Your Aging Brain”.  I recently took an Italian cooking class at Cavallo Cooking School at Cavallo Point resort in Sausalito, California.  I have always respected that Italian cooking is based on local markets and seasonal produce.  At this class we made a raw zucchini salad, recipe below.  The Tuft’s article cited that, “Two newly published studies…confirmed a 2006 finding that the so-called “Mediterranean diet” may protect against mental decline with aging.  David S. Knopman, MD, of the Mayo Clinic said the results ‘provide moderately compelling evidence that adherence to the Mediterranean-type diet were at 40% lower risk of Alzheimer’s over 5.4 years than those with lowest adherence.'”

Diet Mediterranean Style was defined in the article as:

“More:  fruits, vegetables, legumes, cereals, fish and monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil)

Less:  red meat, dairy products and saturated fats…compared to the typical American diet, along with moderate alcohol consumption, especially of red wine with meals.”

Insalata di Zucchini romane crude by Viola Buitoni:
1/4 cup almonds
1 lemon
1 handful of basil
6 small light green or yellow zucchini
1 fresh onion
salt and pepper to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil

Blanch, peel and toast the almonds.  Let them cool and chop them.  Squeeze the juice out of the lemon.  Pick and wash the basil leaves, dry them carefully and stack them.  Roll them longitudinally and cut them into thin ribbons.

Using a mandolin, a shaver or a very sharp knife, slice the zucchini and onions paper-thin into a bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and douse with lemon juice.  Toss well, cover and set aside.

Let stand for at least 15 minutes.  When ready to serve, add the almond and basil and toss well.  Dress with olive oil and pepper and toss again.  Taste and adjust salt if necessary.  * Please note,  the mandolin we used was small, the size of a cheese grater.  I hope you have or can find one.  The width of the zucchini slices really make this salad!  Do also note that the mandolin does not distinguish zucchini from fingers; do use the hand guard.

The second study followed 1,410 older adults over five years.  “Catherine Feart, PhD, of the Universite Victor SegalenBordeaux 2 compared adherence to the “Mediterranean diet” with cognitive performance on four standard neuropsychological tests.  Researchers found that a higher “Mediterranean diet” score was associated with fewer errors on the Mini-Mental State Examination and with better Free and Cued Selective Reminding Test performances, but only among subjects who remained free from dementia over five years.”

At this class we also made Pesto; talk about olive oil!  Three things were unique:  one we used a mortar and pestle to pound the ingredients, secondly we followed the same *instructions with the basil from the recipe above, and thirdly, no pine nuts.  *Pick and wash the basil leaves, dry them carefully and stack them.  Roll them longitudinally and cut them into thin ribbons.  The rolled pesto can be cut with scissors or with a knife.

1 clove of garlic

1/4  freshly squeezed lemon

4 0zs of finely grated Reggiano Parmigiano or other high quality Parmesan cheese

1 bunch of fresh basil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil to taste

Pound the garlic into a paste and place in a bowl.  Add the lemon juice.  Pound the basil until leaves are not discernible and place in bowl.  Because of variation in the amount of basil in a ‘bunch’ be aware of the how much you are adding.  Begin with 1/2 of the bunch and begin adding the cheese.   Stir in with wooden spoon and then add as much virgin olive oil as necessary.  Having some french bread close by to taste the pesto as you mix is highly recommended.

I used Orecchiette pasta for this meal because they are small and will provide a lot of surfaces for the pesto to coat.  Pesto can also be used as a dip.Sweet basil and zucchini are so plentiful this time of year.  Buy bunches at your local farmer’s market and make pesto and freeze it for future enjoyment.

The Tuffs University newsletter also went on to say, “The…analysis also looked at physical activity, finding that participants with the highest level of activity were at 33% lower risk of Alzheimer’s than the least-active subjects.  The most-active group average 1.3 hours of vigorous exercise, 2.4 hours of moderate activity or 4 hours of light activity per week.  Most important, said Dr. Scarmeas, was that the association of physical activity with Alzheimer’s disease risk was independent to that of the diet.

So move, move move.  Still using my Fitbit daily,  averaging about 100,000 steps a week.  One of my clients was very astute.  He started wearing the Fitbit without changing any of his activity patterns to establish as baseline.  Then he began walking to work two days a week.  He would climb stairs up and take the elevator down at work.  His baseline was about 2000 a week and he is now averaging about  20,000!  I said it in any earlier blog, “What we can quantify, we can calibrate!”

“Through conscious breathing, drink in Life Force.  Each increment of breath, each measure, is a space that opens.  It fulfills and cleanses.  Open to the resting phase of life to rebuild, to renew, to rejuvenate!  Just like in life, small steps equal large movement.  Step by step, breath by breath.”

Balance, how do we live a balanced lifestyle?  Surely this is a continual blending of responsibility and desire.  Am I leaving out spontaneity?  The markers of this process, of the work in progress that is “YOU” – your LIFESTYLE can simply be listed as questions.  Most of us will continually confront the question, “Have I met my responsibilities?”  The following questions pertain to balancing the rest of your life.

Have you had fun this week? 

Did you take time to exercise and move your body?

Did you participate in creativity outside of your work life?

Have you been your own best friend?

Did you connect in a spiritual way this week?

Speaking of fun, I spent an afternoon recently wine tasting, barrel tasting to be exact.  I was at the Amphora tasting room, on Dry Creek Road outside of Healdsburg, CA.

Rick Hutchinson,  the wine maker, gave us a lesson in what makes wine noteworthy.   He spoke of racking and turning the barrels,  the wines exposure to oxygen as well as the soil in which the vines live.  He said, standing with the ‘wine thief” filled and ready to dispense into a glass, “Wine is alive just like people.  What makes a wine age well is balance.  If you have balance in your life you will live longer and age gracefully!”

I was struck by wine maker Rick’s sense  of care, process and timing.  He truly is the husband, i.e. steward of his vineyards.  The results of course, unique and special.  His engagement a lifestyle to be sure.  It was fun to meet new people, to learn about wine making, to taste the wine in the barrel and a bottled counterpart.  Rick was kind enough to treat us to a few pairings of varietals from the barrel with a taste of the same, bottled and aged for a few years.  Yummy!

An interesting antidote:  Rick is a potter who throws beautiful clay jars,  “amphorae, modeled after the jars that ancient Greeks and Romans used to store wine”.  He has found a creative outlet that is not his ‘work’.

Cooking is a creative outlet.  I feel remiss for not sharing a recipe with you in some time.  I was cooking with a friend a few Sunday dinners ago and she commented that, “I have cook books which can seem intimidating; yet a magazine recipe seems so approachable”.  Her part in our dinner was an Ahi delight from a magazine.  What you see pictured on the left is the bedding for the Ahi.  1 bunch of Sweet basil, 3 roasted bell peppers (mix yellow, orange and red), olives(mixed green and black), need I say more.  Flavor, flavor, flavor. Yes there were just a few steps involved.  Roast the bell pepper and remove the skin; wash the cherry tomatoes, rinse the sweet basil and place in a roasting pan with the olives.  Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top.  If you want your Ahi on the rare side cook the mixture for 25 minutes and add the Ahi for 10-15 additional minutes.  Otherwise, place the Ahi on top of the pepper mixture and bake for 30 to 45 minutes.  The Ahi is not seared so expect it to be steamed.  You can sear it and place it in the oven for just a few minutes to capture the flavors of the bed of savories.  Baked tuna steaks contain only 1.4 g of fat per serving, while offering 26 g of protein.

Did you treat yourself with care and respect this week?  Were you your own best friend?  At the end of the yoga classes I teach, during the relaxation  towards the end of class I often ask, “What is it you want more of in your life?  What are you craving?  Interaction, connection, rest, curling up with a good book, a walk in nature….?”  In this short few minutes we can allow the answer to bubble up because we are creating a moment in time to pay attention to our inner space, living from the inside out.

I personally can combine the words “workout” and “fun”.  It is fun to walk or cycle or go to a yoga class.  It is fun to bat the tennis ball back and forth.  It is fun to interact with a pet and a ball.  It is fun to chase and be chased by a 2 year old.  And you?  What was the last “fun” experience you had?  I recently walked around Pacific Heights/Presidio Heights here in San Francisco with a friend and a book on the architecture of Maybeck, Farr and Coxhead.  This was fun!

To me the spiritual connection is about tuning in with gratitude for our life force, vitality and energy.  I have a statement I use to express gratitude.  “I totally love the continuous flow of ________ into my life.  This makes me feel ______.

You can fill in the blanks.  I totally love the continuous flow of ideas into my life.  This makes me feel unique.  I totally love the continuous flow of money into my life.  This makes me feel successful.  I totally love the continuous flow of healing energy into my body.  This makes me healthy.

Whispers of the Breath Diva:

I am healthy, I am happy, I am loved, I am loving!