Spring is known as a cleansing time of year. A time to clean up one's diet, one's house and maybe even change one's relationship status. It is a time to get rid of that which doesn't serve us, including our attachments.
I enjoy the small things in life. One of those small things is a hot cup of fresh, locally roasted coffee in the morning. Then in the afternoon. Then, later in the afternoon.
While I see nothing wrong with enjoying these small sips of heaven, I do see something wrong with my attachment to it. I'm at the point where I NEED it.
I broke the coffee Bodum yesterday (sorry Mark). Then later at the studio, Erika gave away a few cleansing kits. I go the message - time to cleanse!
Being a Holistic Nutritionist, I'm skeptical of these sorts of cleansing kits. If I want to cleanse, I usually stick to a whole foods diet (nothing processed) and try to get rid of common allergens like dairy, wheat, soy, etc. and alcohol. I drink lots of water and perhaps add extra greens like spirulina to my smoothies.
Looking at the ingredients in this supplement, it didn't look too bad. It contains 115 whole foods, probiotics, a fiber complex and no harsh purgatives. It was also free, so why not! It does contain psyllium, a type of fiber that bulks up stool, but is VERY drying. Something to know if you take this on its own or in a complex. Drink lots of water and I also suggest supplementing with some fish or flax oil for shall we say, lubrication ;)
As you could tell by my last blog I've been very inspired by the fiddleheads lately. Not only to eat, but to admire. Have you ever really watched them grow? They start coiled up in a circle, facing one another. As they grow they spread their leaves, reaching out to the fern beside them, forming one big group hug. It's like they've got each others back and help one another grow.
So...who's in with me??
Not like you have to do a full on 2 week cleanse, but I'm sure there is an attachment to something you can let go of for 2 weeks. Alcohol? Refined sugar? Twitter? Coffee?
Group hugs included in this challenge :)
I couldn't get any more local than my backyard! This past weekend, the fiddleheads were ready to be picked.
Even if you don't have access to them in the wild, I did see both Sobeys and Superstore had some local fiddleheads for purchase.
So what are they and how do you prepare them? These are the same questions I had last year.
Fiddleheads are the young tender tightly furled new-growth shoots of the ostrich fern. I suggest you watch the video below to make sure, if you're out picking them yourself you're picking the right ones. Some ferns are poisonous to eat. I have those in my backyard too! I was so nervous when I first went foraging, but once you compare the pictures you'll see they are very easy to recognize.
Fiddleheads taste similar to asparagus. The most important note about preparation is they need to be boiled or steamed first before you use them in recipes. According to the University of Maine, that should be for 15 minutes to eliminate any possibility of foodborne illness.
Fiddelheads can then be sauteed in butter, added to omelets or frittatas, or even canned. I pickled mine and found other great recipes here.
Fiddleheads are high in antioxidants, vitamins (including A and C) , minerals and electrolytes (including potassium, iron, manganese and copper) and omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.
Eating locally grown and seasonal foods ensures you are getting the most nutrition out of your food. These fiddleheads were picked at the optimal time and didn't spend hours on a plane to get to my table. Eating local means we cut down on that carbon foot print as well.
My other favorite way to increase locally grown and seasonal foods in my diet is to stop by the local farmer's market. Those in my area of North Granville, PEI will be happy to know there is a new farmer's market in Stanley Bridge Wednesdays. It's worth a stop for Remy's bread!
"I highly recommend this course. It will prepare you on every level and best of all, prime you for continued growth and learning going forward."" - Michael
This quote came from a student who attended the winter/spring session at the Maritime Yoga College. He took the course without the intention of teaching after. He wanted to go deeper into his practice.
More and more students are attending teacher training without the objective of changing their profession. Karin Fabin from MindBodyGreen.com has 5 other reasons why you would take teacher training:
1. Alignment: If you want to understand how to do each yoga pose, a teacher training is a great way to do it. Most programs will break down the alignment, discuss modifications and most include assistants that will show you hands-on adjustments for each pose. While this is part of teaching, it’s also great to know as a student too and is a wonderful investment in your practice that will pay off in the years to come.
2. Physical challenge: A teacher-training program is a physically strenuous endeavor. Whether it’s a week-long program or one that covers several weekends, you’ll practice a lot and you’ll try new poses you’ve never tried before. If you like a physical challenge or are looking for something that will push you to your edges, a training program might be just the thing.
3. Understanding other components of yoga outside of the physical poses: Many students never learn about the history of yoga, understand the Sanskrit words, learn about Yoga’s Eight Limbs or any of the other philosophical components. Attending regular classes is more about the physical practice and even if your teacher adds in explanation as to other aspects of the practice, you may not understand it. Training programs will give you a chance to understand the broader context of yoga, which will deepen your understanding and may provide some applicability to other parts of your life.
4. Dig deep into yourself: A common statement you’ll hear from people when they finish teacher training is, “This training changed my life!” Regardless of which training you attend, there is something to be said about committing yourself to the practice of yoga in a sustained way. Through this focused attention, you may find feelings and emotions bubble up to the surface that you’ve buried for years. You’ll explore your physical capabilities and try things you never thought you could do before, which is completely empowering. Being part of a supportive group experience may encourage you to share thoughts and feelings about what you want to do with your life at home and you may find you get more clear on what that is.
5. Practice teaching is a great tool to help you learn how to speak clearly, speak from the heart and manage a group: I approached yoga as a student having worked many years in the corporate world as a manager of teams of people. Over the years, as I continued with my yoga training and began teaching, I found that many of the skills I was learning in the yoga studio I was using in my job. The ability to lead a group of people towards a common goal; to speak succinctly to a group, to remain neutral and grounded in my own body even when there was external drama and turmoil; these are all things that you’ll gain from yoga teaching- even if your only experience is practice teaching in your training. Of course, it’s always great if you can continue with teaching when you come home, but if not, your training experiences will bolster your abilities both in your job and in your personal relationships.
There is no doubt that attending a teacher training is a significant financial and time commitment and one that should be taken seriously. One outcome for those that attend for any of the above reasons (or any others) thinking they don’t want to teach is that they return home realizing, “Oh my god! I DO want to teach yoga!” (this is what happened to me) That’s a beautiful realization. But even if that’s not where you end up, there may still be wonderful residual learning from your time in training that will last you for your whole life. Your practice will soar, your life may take a firmer shape and you may come back feeling great in your own skin; and what a great return on investment that can be.
We are so happy to welcome Rachel Leslie to the Maritime Yoga College. She will be leading the summer intensive with Samantha and Erika July 15th - August 9th.
Rachel is a registered and certified Yoga instructor in two different schools of Yoga: Hatha Yoga and Kundalini Yoga. She also has experience with Pregnancy Yoga, Ashtanga, Yoga as Therapy, Mantra, Meditation, Yin Yoga, Vinyasa and Hot Yoga.
Rachel operates the Fortune Bridge Yoga Studio (the very first and only Yoga studio in the community of Souris).
We are delighted to have her a part of the team. We know you will benefit greatly from her vast and diverse knowledge.
To follow up with my post yesterday on refined sugar, here are some great recipes that will satisfy that sweet tooth in a healthier way.
I use whole ingredients such as good quality maple syrup, unpasteurized honey and dates in my baking. I also find myself lately making a lot of baked goods that don't require baking at all.
Let's start with a great Nutella recipe. It's pretty disgusting how much refined sugar is in this store bought "breakfast" spread! Here is a great video showing just how much:
This recipe originally came from a friend of mine and fellow nutritionist, Susanne. She has it on her site along with other great recipes you should check out. I've made it twice now and adapted it slightly.
1 cup raw hazelnuts
1 tbsp. coconut oil (look for unrefined or virgin)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 ripe avocado (I know this sounds weird, but it gives the nutella body and creaminess and you can't even tell it's there :)
1/4 cocoa powder
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup almond milk
Roast the hazelnuts at 400F for 5-7 minutes. Once they have cooled, rub them in a dish cloth to peel off as much of the skins as you can. Soak the hazelnuts in water for at least 4 hours. This will make the hazelnuts creamy and help break them down a bit so the nutella isn't too grainy.
Put the hazelnuts in a food processor with the coconut oil and blend for a few minutes. It should eventually turn into a buttery consistency. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend together.
I store mine in a mason jar in the fridge. It will keep for 4-5 days (if it lasts that long!)
CHOCOLATE WALNUT FUDGE
2 cups coconut oil (look for unrefined or virgin)
1 cup raw or natural unsweetened cacao powder
1/3 cup maple syrup (the real stuff ;)
1 1/2 cups walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 tbsp. course sea salt (optional, my finance recommends this addition)
Melt the coconut oil on low heat in a pot. Once melted take off the heat and whisk in the cacao powder and syrup. Stir in nuts then spread into a 9”x9” baking pan. Sprinkle with sea salt and chill in the refrigerator until set (at least 1 hour). Cut into squares and enjoy. (Store in the fridge or freezer).
The above recipes are also gluten and dairy free. Remember, these are still treats and should be eaten in moderation.
There is a lot of buzz about the new Katie Couric produced documentary "Fed Up". I'm looking forward to seeing it myself.
It's about the rise of obesity and Type-II diabetes in America especially in the younger generation. A generation that is now expected to lead a shorter lifespan than their parents.
Sugar is cited as the culprit, but it's also the food industry and the government that is to blame since they are knowingly harming the public to further their own agendas.
I don't think most people understand the severity of this problem. Sugar is DANGEROUS!
Eating a candy bar loaded with sugar (and all of its blood sugar spiking friends) should be looked at as being just as detrimental to your health as smoking a cigarette.
Sure, one once in a while may mot kill you, but over time sugar can cause insulin resistance, which contributes to many diseases including Type-II diabetes. It burdens your liver, messes with hormones and slows down brain activity. Not to mention, there is NO nutritional value in sugar and it's highly addictive.
The great news is, by making healthier food decisions, we can stay away from any of these unwanted side effects or illnesses. Here are some ways to empower yourself:
Lesson #1 - Read Labels.
Just because something is marketed as low-fat, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc. doesn't mean it's healthy. Usually these products have MORE sugar in them!
Look for blood sugar spiking friends. It's not only refined sugar from the sugar cane you have to watch out for.
Some of these are of course better than others, for example good quality maple syrup and honey in moderate amounts are much better forms of carbohydrates.
Cook and bake more at home. Tomorrow I will share some great uncomplicated recipes that will satisfy that sweet tooth and won't require any baking at all.
For now, I'm off to the movies (without my milk-duds). Have you seen it yet?
Director of Teacher Training for the Maritime Yoga College and Registered Holistic Nutritionist.