Fall is officially here. The cooler weather means it’s finally time to turn on our ovens and start cooking again. It also means SOUPS! Not just any soup though, Ginger Squash Soup. This recipe is one of my favorites because it is so easy and delicious. I am honestly the laziest cook, so the easier the better. Plus this recipe makes a big batch, which means you can freeze some for later. Roasting the squash gives this soup a delicious flavor, the apples add a touch of sweetness, the ginger gets things spicy and the coconut milk mellows it all out with some creamy goodness. Happy cooking! I hope you love this soup as much as I do.
4 Acorn or butternut Squash (or any other variety)
2-4 T Fresh grated ginger ( The more you use, the spicier your soup!)
1 Large onion, diced
1-2 Cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 C Chicken bone broth or vegetable broth
2 C Coconut milk (I prefer this brand because it is just coconut)
2 T Coconut oil or avocado oil
Fresh squeezed lemon juice to taste
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Cut squash and apples in half and remove seeds. Place face down on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until soft, approximately 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Trust me these babies get HOT! Remove skins after cool and dice into small pieces. Set this aside. (This can be done a day before if you are short on time. Just refrigerate until ready to cook.)
Saute onion in a few tablespoons of avocado oil or coconut oil until almost soft. Add garlic, saute for a few moments and then add the squash, apples, ginger, broth and coconut milk. Let this all simmer on the stove for about 30 minutes to let all the flavors meld together. After 30 minutes, remove from heat and carefully use an emersion blender or regular blender to puree into a creamy consistency. Add water or more broth if it gets too thick. Add your salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Garnish with a sprig of parsley or cilantro and another squeeze of lemon juice. Then eat and enjoy!
For over 30 years students from all over the world have taken part in Integral Yoga Teacher Training Programs, part of the Basic Hatha Yoga Teacher Training. This summer, the Integral Yoga training will be offered at Shanti Om in St. Johns.
Integral Yoga is a complete science that cultivates and maintains the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of the individual. The non-competitive approach and meditative exploration of the Integral Yoga practices create an in-drawn awareness that allows each student to reconnect with deeper and more subtle aspects of being.
Founded by Sri Swami Satchidananda (Sri Gurudev), one of the most revered Yoga masters of our time, Integral Yoga is a complete Yoga that integrates all aspects of life and maintains our natural condition of an easeful body, peaceful mind and useful life. It encompasses the whole person: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Integral Yoga includes the physical postures, breathing practices (Pranayama), relaxation techniques (Yoga Nidra), selfless service (Karma Yoga), devotion and prayer (Bhakti Yoga), meditation techniques (Raja Yoga), mantra repetition (Japa Yoga), and Self-inquiry (Jnana Yoga).
Swami Divyananda Ma, the director of the Integral Yoga Institute in Coimbatore, India, will lead this training alongside Tilak Pyle and Shanti Om’s Bhakti Foster-Purvine. Tilak teaches yoga in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and leads national workshops and international retreats. He holds degrees in Religious Studies, Literature & Religion, and has studied Sanskrit at the American Sanskrit Institute.
This comprehensive certification program provides a strong foundation for personal and spiritual development, an appreciation for nurturing a personal practice and the skills to become a knowledgeable and professional Yoga teacher. The Integral Yoga training process fosters the teacher’s sensitivities to help create a safe environment for their students that allows them to realize their potential, gain self respect and learn to be of greater service to others.
The 200-hour course begins June 15th. [button link=”http://shantiom.com/teacher-training/”]More information and registration[/button]
After my first Integral Yoga class in the mid 90’s, I knew right away that I was hooked.
Since then, her love and passion for yoga has continued to deepen and mature. She is a graduate in Integral Yoga through the Satchidananda Ashram and has spent a lot of time in India practicing, teaching, and learning Yoga traditions. Bhakti has led retreats to India, Costa Rica and Guatemala but India remains her favorite as it is the birth place to yoga and she loves to bring that spirit back to Shanti Om Yoga.
Making the World a Better Place
Bhakti is passionate about supporting the orphanage, Families for Children, near Coimbatore, India where she does service work and also brings back beautiful bags for yoga mats made by the women’s coop out of recycled materials. She sells these at Shanti Om and uses the funds to help support the orphanage. In addition, she founded and teaches at her own yoga studio for over 6 years, Shanti Om Yoga in St Johns.
Yoga Teacher Training
Bhakti never felt like she wanted to offer a yoga teacher training but while in India her teacher, Swami Divyananda, suggested that an Integral Yoga training would be of good service to the Shanti Om Community. After she offered to come co-teach, Bhakti decided that Integral Yoga is exactly what Portland needs. It is an old lineage and a traditional practice that incorporates not only the physical aspects of yoga but more focus on meditation and philosophy. This particular training has been taught for over 50 years!
Bhakti is also a Certified Ayurveda Wellness Counselor at the 500 hour level and is working towards Practitioner at the 1600 hour level. She incorporates Ayurveda into her own life practices as well as her yoga classes. Ayurveda consultations and treatments are available at the Shanti Annex.
Please call 503-201-1614 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the Integral Yoga Teacher Training, supporting the orphanage in Coimbatore, or her Ayurveda Services.
Do you ever have those moments in your day where you need a little pick me up, but don’t have time to eat a meal? Enter the Raw Nut Ball…
These little balls of goodness are a great little source of fats for fuel on the go. And best of all, they are made of real food. Have you ever really looked at the ingredients in the protein and energy bars out there? It’s a bit terrifying. They are full of sugars and grains which can wreak havoc on your blood sugar balance. The protein sources added are often less than desirable and certainly don’t fall into the REAL FOOD category. (Soy protein isolate? What the heck is that?) Somebody needs to invent a better bar and get it on the market ASAP. In the meantime, we have these puppies to satisfy our hunger and energy needs.
This version is loosely based on one I found in the book Primal Body-Primal Mindby Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, CNT. One word. Butter. Ok, another word. YUM.
Raw Nut Balls
1/2 cup Walnuts, preferably soaked overnight
3 tbsps Almond Butter (raw or roasted, no additives)
2 tbsps butter or ghee (grass-fed, organic if possible)
2 tbsps Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Sea Salt
1. Place walnuts in a food processor and pulse until lightly chopped.
2. Add almond butter, ghee and pulse until mixed with walnuts. Walnuts can still be a bit chunky or you can process until smooth.
3. Add spices and coconut flakes and pulse for a few seconds until all mixed in.
4. Form dough into 1″ balls.
5. Enjoy one ball anytime you need a quick boost of energy! Store in the refrigerator, so they don’t become too soft.
Feel free to add anything that tickles your fancy to the nut balls! Some of my favorites are cardamom, raw cocoa nibs, gogi berries, and unsweetened cocoa powder. For more protein, add a good quality protein powder. (I like Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides.) Add a tablespoon of raw honey or maple syrup for a sweeter treat. If you want to go dairy free, substitute two tablespoons of coconut oil for the butter or ghee. No walnuts? Try brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, or cashews. The sky is the limit here, just make sure you don’t over process the “dough” to a batter. I’ve made that mistake and adding a couple tablespoons of raw gluten free oats seemed to hold everything together. I prefer to go grain free with these though.
Do yourself a favor and whip up a batch of these raw nut energy balls to have on hand for your next energy emergency!
Bacteria are everywhere. They cover every surface and live on every object and being, inside and out.
These wee beasties were one of the first life forms on Earth and there are more individual bacteria than any other sort of organism on the planet.They outnumber the cells in the human body ten trillion to one, so for every one human cell there are ten trillion bacteria! There are both helpful and harmful bacteria and most importantly, bacteria are essential for life on Earth.
When we ferment foods, we create conditions where these organisms thrive and proliferate. Fermentation preserves food by producing alcohol, lactic acid and acetic acid, breaks down nutrients in food into more digestible form, and creates new nutrients as a by-product of the bacteria. By eating fermented foods, we populate our gut with the beneficial bacteria that are necessary for good health. These bacteria are also known as probiotics. The process is actually called lacto-fermentation because the starches and sugars in the veggies are broken down by a group of bacteria called Lactobacilli. These healthy bacteria produce B vitamins and vitamin K. They kill bad bacteria in your gut, which helps eliminate yeast and decrease sugar cravings. They increase the biodiversity of the gut, which means increasing the variety of species, which is a good thing for your body!
History of Fermentation
Fermentation has been happening since before writing and cultivation of soil. Every culture traditionally made a fermented food, mainly to preserve the food before refrigeration existed. Europeans have sauerkraut, Japanese eat miso, soy and pickled vegetables, Koreans love their kimchee, and Americans traditionally used fermented ketchup and cucumber relish.What served as a natural means of preservation also offered protection from harmful pathogens and increase in health!
Are all fermented foods good sources of probiotics?
All are not created equal. Fermentation gives us many foods that we know and love, for example: bread, cheese, wine and coffee.Sadly, they all do not contain probiotics.
Bread A yeast ferment and baked. No probiotics. SORRY!
Yogurt Commercially made may contain a few strains, but only if added after pasteurization. Often loaded with sugars, this is not your best option. Also, dairy can cause inflammation in many people, so this defeats the purpose.
Coffee The fruit is fermented off the beans to give us the delicious flavors, but unfortunately, no probies!
Kombucha Yes, it contains probies! This can add more biodiversity to your gut. Not meant to be consumed in large amounts (like 12-16 oz bottles) due to toxic overload on the liver. Not good for people with candida issues because it still contains sugars.
Miso Contains probiotics only if aged 6 months or more, unpasteurized and not heated too high.
Sauerkraut Only gives us probies if it raw and unpasteurized and says on the label that it contains live cultures. OR you make it yourself
If you want to learn more about fermented foods and how to make your own sauerkraut, I will be collaborating with The St. Johns Clay Collective on March 23rd for a workshop that combines food AND art: Fermentation and Crocks. I will do a demonstration on how to make a simple kraut recipe, then you will paint a cool crock to take home! There will be tasting samples and lots of fun to be had, so sign up today at St. Johns Clay Collective or contact me at Delicious Life Wellness.
So we’re two months into the new year. You’ve held true to your healthy resolutions; whirled up and consumed gallons of kale and acai berry smoothies, done hours of meditation, started crossfit to shake things up, but you’re still feeling slightly flat.
Maybe it’s time to incorporate some clay into your routine? Not into your diet (that’s another article) but between your hands!
Use ceramics for well-being. You can pound clay, shape it, throw it on a wheel let it slip through your hands, then shift it into something that didn’t exist before. Its meditation, stress relief, and neuron building. It’s magic!
Creative Arts Impact Well Being
Evidence strongly points out that participating in creative arts can positively impact our health to the same degree as nutrition or exercise.
We’ve been doing art as long as we’ve been human. It’s an intrinsic component of what we are. We’re driven to create; to express ourselves. Children do it intuitively, but unfortunately, our culture holds the misconception that doing art is a luxury allowed to only the young. As adults we run from one responsibility to another, leaving no time for our own personal creative enrichment. Many of us don’t even realize that we are missing it.
Being in the Moment
We all need quiet moments when we can transcend into the act of making. Really, any material, medium or venue, are good, but the all-consuming tactile experience you get from playing with clay is incredibly powerful. There is a deeply primal satisfaction in the act of creating something from what is literally earth and water; pushing it, pulling it and getting dirty. Asking the clay to go where we want it to go while compromising with the clay body’s limits. It’s an exercise in patience, but also profoundly rewarding.
We now know that we can continue to create new neurons well into our eighties. Brain research shows that making new brain cells, neurogenesis, happens by doing something new, exciting and energizing. The cement that holds these new neurons into permanence is physical activity. That makes clay arts a perfect brain builder; concentration, exploration with lots of full body muscle engagement. Furthermore, art enrichment programs demonstrate that active participation in the arts delays aging disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s, and can improve brain function and mood in those already impacted by neuropsychiatric conditions including depression and anxiety.
Go for Process, Not Product
Sometimes in the process of neuron-building we might simultaneously build a cup, or a bowl, or even a ceremonial teapot, but the true health value is in the process of making, long before the vessel comes off the wheel. If a bowl materializes from your pinch-pot or a cup does come off the wheel, it’s a secondary bonus to all that you’ve already gained. This act of doing is specifically about each of us as a do-er, and not as a consumer of someone else’s doing. Yes, by all means attend the concert, museum, and be a patron of the arts. Artists of every level need our support, but take time for self-care and create some creativity-time for yourself.
St. Johns Clay Collective
Come by the studio in North Portland’s Cathedral Park Place and put your hands to work. We offer classes, lessons, and private events. [button link=”https://stjohnsboosters.org/arts-artists/st-johns-clay-collective/”]St. Johns Clay Collective[/button]
The human body requires three macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fats. Each macronutrient provides energy in the form of calories and are essential for our bodies to properly function.
Today we will look at the macronutrient, fat: why we need it and which fats are healthiest for cooking and consuming. Fat has been somewhat vilified for many years, but it actually plays a huge role in our bodies. Here are some key functions of fat:
Formation of cell membrane
Provide fuel for the heart
Help with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins
Build healthy hormones
All fats are not equal
Our bodies need healthy fats to function properly, but all fats are not created equal. There are many options available, but some are less than optimal for health. It may surprise you, but animal fats happen to be one stable source to use for cooking. They are delicious, satiating and add a certain depth to your cooking. YAY, butter!
The problem is that we have been mislead. Many of the fats and oils we are using to cook with are simply not safe when heated and some are not good to ingest at all. These oils are extremely processed, usually with harsh chemicals and heat. They are most often made from genetically modified ingredients. Examples are oils made from canola, soybean, safflower, sunflower, and corn. Avoid these as much as possible!
Sometimes manufacturers will hydrogenate these oils to prolong shelf life, which creates harmful trans fatty acids. Trans fats have been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and alzheimer’s. They reduce immune function, interfere with your body’s use of beneficial omega-3 fats, interfere with hormone production, and can cause major damage to your arteries.
Oils that have gone rancid are equally unhealthy as trans fats. This means they have oxidized and contain free radicals which cause inflammation in your body. Rancidity can be caused by exposure to heat and light. So this means we need to be conscious of what we use for cooking.
Healthy Fat Options for Cooking
Good options for higher heat cooking are coconut oil, palm oil,duck fat, butter or ghee. These saturated fats are more chemically stable and less prone to rancidity when heated. Extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil are best for drizzling over foods or low heat cooking. They are more unstable oils, which means they can become easily rancid with heat and light.
Qualities to look for when selecting oil/fats for cooking:
look for the words ‘first-pressed or cold-pressed’ when choosing oils from nuts, seeds, avocados, olives
always choose unrefined, this means less processed
choose dark colored glass jars to protect from light and heat
choose organic, non-genetically modified whenever possible (especially animal fats since the toxins hang out in the fat)
fish oil, cod liver oil and flax seed oil are oils that should always be refrigerated and never heated
Happy winter St. Johns! It is officially cold out there! During these cold winter months, I like to warm up from the inside out with delicious homemade soups. This paleo chili is an easy breezy dish I made that was so tasty I wanted to share it. I have a hard time following a recipe, so I combined two, added a few extra things and came up with this concoction. The beautiful thing about this dish is that it makes a huge pot and you will have tons left over. I get real excited about not having to cook every single meal. Left-overs equal HAPPINESS! This is a paleo version of chili, so it contains no beans. Instead, I used butternut squash and both red and orange peppers to make it interesting. The cocoa powder and cinnamon may seem strange, but trust me here and just try it! If you wish to change it up, you can add your favorite beans. Or you can omit the meat and add beans for a vegetarian option. Here is the recipe:
Allison’s Paleo Chili
Ingredients 1 pound of grass-fed ground beef
1 pound ground pork (if desired or use all beef)
1 onion, diced
2-3 orange or red bell peppers, diced into medium size pieces
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 boxes of finely chopped POMI brand tomatoes (or any canned tomatoes)
4 cups of bone broth (homemade or look for boxes that say bone broth rather than stock)
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of cumin
cayenne to taste (optional)
sea salt and black pepper to taste
Cook the ground beef and pork with the onion in a large pot until brown. Strain the fat if desired, then add all other ingredients and simmer until the squash is soft, about 40 minutes on low-medium. I served mine with side of avocado, chopped parsley and a drizzle of walnut oil. Easy and delicious!
Every year, I dread the ending of summer…until fall arrives! In opposition to the fast pace energy of summer, this season brings a time for slowing down, turning inward, and being indoors more. The crisp, cool days and different smells in the air motivate me to get back into my kitchen and start cooking delicious, hearty meals.
One of the staples that I like to have on hand, is homemade bone broth. It is pretty easy to make and you can use it in a variety of soups and meals that call for stock. Did you know that bone broth is full of health benefits? Unlike the stock you find at the grocery store which can contain artificial color, preservatives and “natural flavoring”, this broth is pure and clean. And importantly, it is cooked at a low temperature for a long period of time, in order to pull the most nutrients from the bones.
Because bone broth is easy to digest, it helps heal the lining of the gut. It is full of calcium, magnesium and other nutrients that help healthy bone formation and promote all over healing. It contains amino acids, that have anti-inflammatory effects. Bone broth also can help reduce joint pain and inflammation because it contains certain compounds, chondroitin and glucosamine, that are extracted from the boiled down cartilage. There is some truth to the old wives’ tale about eating chicken soup for a cold!
Basic Bone Broth 4 quarts water 1 teaspoon sea salt 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 2 large onions, unpeeled and coarsely chopped
2 carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped 1 bunch fresh parsley 2-3 garlic cloves, lightly smashed 2-4 lbs meat or poultry bone sea salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a large slow cooker set on high (or large pot on stovetop at low heat). Bring to a boil, then reduce the setting to low for 12-24 hours. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes! Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl, and discard the waste.
After the broth cools, it will form a layer of fat on top. You can eat as is, but if you prefer you can remove it. Let your broth sit in the fridge for several hours, until the fat rises to the top and hardens. Scrape off the fat with a spoon, and your broth is ready to go. (Skimming off most of the fat is more important if you’re using bones from animals that are conventionally raised. This is because pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers in the grain they are fed are stored as toxins in the fat of these animals.)
I recommend seeking out pasture raised poultry or 100% grass-fed animal bones from a local source: your local butcher, a local farm, farmer’s market, a friendly hunter, your local health food store, or order bones online from U.S. Wellness Meats. You can use bones from just about any animal: beef, lamb, bison or buffalo, venison, chicken, duck, goose, turkey. Try to use a variety of bones and ask for marrow bones, oxtail, knuckle bones or “soup bones”. You can also use the bones after roasting a whole chicken, turkey, duck, or goose.
This process sounds more intimidating than it really is. Once you get everything assembled and in the pot, you can leave it and let heat and time do the work. If you are short on time, you can even omit all the veggies and still end up with a healthy bone broth. Give it a try and enjoy!
If you aren’t familiar with this gem, you are missing out on one of the easiest, least expensive and nutritious beverages around. Kvass is a traditional fermented beverage that originates in eastern Europe. It was usually made from stale rye bread. Kvass was considered a tonic for digestion, an excellent thirst quencher and cure for too much vodka! When kvass was made with beets, it was served more for its medicinal properties than its taste. I love beets and always have, so I think this stuff tastes amazing. However, I realize there are a lot of *beet-haters* out there. Well. I am the messenger and I think beets have something they would like you to know…
Standing alone and proud in spite of haters, the beet is an absolute nutritional powerhouse. Beets are a great source of folate, manganese, potassium, copper, magnesium, vitamin c, iron, and vitamin B6. Whew! They also contain pigments called betacyanins and betaxanthins which have strong anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory properties and aid in detoxification.
Why would you want to drink this? The fermentation process enhances this beefy nutritional profile by increasing enzymes, B vitamins, and probiotics. Beet kvass can alkalize the blood, promote regularity, cleanse and tone the liver, heal the gallbladder and thin the bile. It also promotes production of healthy stomach acid. Sounds pretty good, right?
The first time I made beet kvass, I threw it out. It can look a little scary because a mucky, film can form on the surface. I was a lot more timid with things concerning mold and bacteria back then. Now that I am older (and wiser) I realize these things are natural and can be our friends! So I tried again and once I got past that layer, I discovered a salty, earthy and slightly sour concoction. It can be an acquired taste, but you don’t have to chug this stuff to reap its’ benefits, although you may eventually want to! You can drink about 4 oz in the morning and evening and your body will be high-fiving you. YES.
Beet Kvass Recipe
2 large or 3 medium beets (peeled if not organic)
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1/2 gallon filtered water
Dice beets into course chunks. Do not grate, as they will ferment too fast and produce alcohol. (Sometimes we want that, but not here !) Place in a glass jar. I use a one gallon jar and then just fill it half way with water. No precise measuring needed. Add your sea salt and water. Cover with a cloth and rubber band and let sit on the counter for 2-3 days.
Strain beets and store this ruby red liquid in glass jars/bottles in your refrigerator. You will know if it’s ready when it tastes slightly sour, earthy (like a beet!) and perhaps a little fizzy. Do not let the scary film deter you. Simply spoon it off or use a fine mesh strainer. Occasionally these natural processes can go awry, so use your senses to guide you. If it tastes ‘off ‘ you will probably know. Like how you know when milk has gone bad. You just know something is NOT right. Or call me and I will be your taster 🙂
A beautiful thing about this recipe is you get two batches out of one! Save a cup of the liquid and the original beets and return to the jar. Refill with another half gallon of water and let this batch sit for 2 days. This liquid will be weaker and lighter in color than the first but still just as tasty and nutritious.
I like to add a squeeze of lemon to my beet kvass. It is also fun to use in smoothies, soups and salad dressings. Be brave my friends and give this a try!
This month I wanted to talk this important topic because it is such a huge factor in good health. We are living in a time where America is in a health crisis and diabetes is an epidemic. If you are wondering what exactly blood sugar balance means, read on. Have you ever experienced “hanger”? In other words, mood swings, shakiness, or a headache when you haven’t eaten for a couple hours? Or maybe you have felt sluggish and fatigued after a meal? It does not have to be this way, my friends. All of these symptoms can be caused by an imbalance of blood sugar levels and can be controlled simply through what you eat.
Our amazing bodies continually monitor the glucose levels in our blood stream. It is a delicate balance. Too much or too little glucose triggers the pancreas to release the hormones insulin and glucagon whose function is to return levels to normal. When levels are higher than normal range from a diet high in carbohydrates, a vicious cycle begins. Insulin demand is so high, that it will do it’s job too fast and shuttle the sugars out of your blood for storage in the body (liver, muscles, and fat). Your blood sugar then drops too low, causing you to reach for your next quick snack, which more than likely is going to start the whole cycle again.
The stress of imbalanced blood sugar levels and consistent nutrient depletion can cause decreased energy, brain fog, weight gain, mood swings, inflammation and suppressed immune function. The pancreas, adrenals and liver take a big hit and can eventually wear out leading to insulin resistance and diabetes.
Here are some tips to get off the highs and lows of the blood sugar rollercoaster ride!
Eat a balance of fats, proteins and carbohydrates in each meal. Use the 40/30/30 Rule: 40% Carbs/30% Protein/30% Fat
Plan your meal around protein, add healthy fat followed by nutrient-dense, and whole food carbohydrates. Adding your healthy fats will slow down the absorption and result in less spike of blood sugar levels. Example: 2 poached eggs, small sweet potato with butter or grilled chicken on salad with avocado oil and vinegar
Eat breakfast. You may have to change your idea of “breakfast” foods. This meal can make or break your whole day!
Avoid foods that raise blood sugar levels and are void of nutrients: refined foods, sugars, excessive grains, starchy vegetables, alcohol, hidden sugars in food
If you have strong cravings for grains, sweets, and alcohol try doing a four week sugar detox like my Delicious Life Reboot in October!