This post popped up in my feed and it was too delicious to keep to myself! A gluten-free, vegan, wholefood option for a light meal, snack or side.
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Yoga, as I often say in class, is a moving meditation. The aim is to achieve unity and harmony through purposeful attention to our breath and physical body. Mindfulness is a key part of yoga practice, and yoga in its turn helps us cultivate mindfulness.
There is a lovely article on WildMind about mindfulness. I’m sharing an excerpt that defines what it means, and how we can achieve it.
Mindfulness involves paying attention “on purpose”. Mindfulness involves a conscious direction of our awareness. We sometimes (me included) talk about “mindfulness” and “awareness” as if they were interchangeable terms, but that’s not a good habit to get into. I may be aware I’m irritable, but that wouldn’t mean I was being mindful of my irritability. In order to be mindful I have to be purposefully aware of myself, not just vaguely and habitually aware. Knowing that you are eating is not the same as eating mindfully.
Let’s take that example of eating and look at it a bit further. When we are purposefully aware of eating, we are consciously being aware of the process of eating. We’re deliberately noticing the sensations and our responses to those sensations. We’re noticing the mind wandering, and when it does wander we purposefully bring our attention back.
When we’re eating unmindfully we may in theory be aware of what we’re doing, but we’re probably thinking about a hundred and one other things at the same time, and we may also be watching TV, talking, or reading — or even all three! So a very small part of our awareness is absorbed with eating, and we may be only barely aware of the physical sensations and even less aware of our thoughts and emotions.
Because we’re only dimly aware of our thoughts, they wander in an unrestricted way. There’s no conscious attempt to bring our attention back to our eating. There’s no purposefulness.
This purposefulness is a very important part of mindfulness. Having the purpose of staying with our experience, whether that’s the breath, or a particular emotion, or something as simple as eating, means that we are actively shaping the mind.
How do you cultivate mindfulness in your life? Share in the comments!
A friend shared this article with me, What Happened When I Went Vegan and I want to pass it on to you. Obviously this is one person’s experience, but it offers insight into what we might expect if we tried a vegan diet. I like, especially, that the writer discusses the emotional and social component of eating vegan. Below is a brief excerpt.
To read the whole piece click here
I went on a plant-based (vegan) diet because I had systemic inflammation that was causing chronic pain. So, my motive in choosing the diet wasn’t to lose weight—although I wouldn’t have minded—it was to ease my pain.
Through research, I learned that a plant based diet was one of the most effective ways of reducing the inflammation that was causing my pain and, because I believe that food is medicine, I made the decision to change from meat (and dairy)-based eating to plant based eating.
I bought a cook book and started on the diet “cold turkey.”
I do not think of vegan eating as a “diet” per se. I think of it more as a way of feeding myself that does not include meat or meat products.
When I started eating vegan I learned right away that there were other flavors and textures that were as satisfying, even more satisfying, than meat. All I had to do was learn what they were.
the vegan food I was eating was a comfort to my moods. It satisfied my emotional hunger in a way that not eating vegan ever had and that was a glorious feeling.
I guess what I am saying is that going vegan isn’t only going on a diet at all. It is also going on a spiritual journey and in that sense, it changes everything.
In my case, I went on the diet because I was in physical pain—but the truth is, we are all in pain in some way, be it in our bodies, in our hearts or in our minds. Ultimately, eating vegan helped me to heal my pain in all those levels.
Have you embraced a vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free diet? Please share your experience in the comments!
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Yoga Holiday With Paul 2015 is coming soon: 19-26 June. If you’d like to be part of a sun-drenched week of Bikram yoga, beaches, delicious food, new friends, meditation and inspiration email: YogaHolidayWithPaul@gmail.com
Here is what some of the class of 2014 had to say:
It made me think more about alignment rather than relying on the mirrors and thinking about
other postures that are not covered in Bikram. ~Su Pang
Love love love Vinyasa flow as this is what I have started doing at home. It was brilliant to take
a class with Paul. ~Jane Sharp
The Vinyasa flow and yoga with music classes truly highlight the beauty in practicing as you can
feel your soul in your movements. ~Claire Farrell
Bikram with music was awesome! I am not sure why it isn’t used all the time. The choice of music was great. Now when I hear those songs my mind wanders off to remembering the retreat and
I always am smiling. ~Nikki Taylor
To reserve your place or for more information email: YogaHolidayWithPaul@gmail.com
If you love art, fashion, and creativity do NOT miss Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the V&A Museum. It runs through the summer till 2 August but tickets are already sold out well into May!
I just have one word for it: Wow. It is amazing to see what Lee McQueen created over such a short life span.
The show spans his career from 1992 till his death in 2010. Encompassing his clothing and stage shows, the exhibition reveals his rebellious, brilliant creative mind. As the website says: “McQueen consistently promoted freedom of thought and expression and championed the authority of the imagination.”
April and most of May are sold out, so I’d book soon! Tickets and info
Recommend an artist, designer or exhibition that inspires you, in the comments!
Sometimes it is difficult to get to a studio to do your yoga practice. We all run into days where classes just don’t fit, but that doesn’t mean giving up yoga altogether.
You can do sun salutations (Surya Namaskar) anywhere, with or without a yoga mat. They are the perfect way to ground yourself and maintain your practice when you’re travelling, away from your normal yoga studio, or simply have limited time. For example, on the Yoga Holiday with Paul retreat I make sure to do my own yoga practice each morning.
Completing five to ten rounds of Surya Mamaskar will give you the satisfaction and benefits of doing a class.
Remember to always focus on the breath and move calmly. As you become familiar with the sequence it can be a very deep moving meditation.
This Yoga Journal article has more details on the benefits of sun salutations.
How do you keep up your practice when you’re pressed for time? Share in the comments!
Regular readers will have caught the first of my two-part interview with Monica Blackburn of MFB Osteopathy.
Today, she shares advice on healthy eating, exercise, and her favourite part of London.
What is the best advice you can give a healthy, fit person to avoid injury?
Exercise. Do it. Make time for it. Enjoy it.
Exercise is the most important thing to incorporate into your life. The other day someone asked me what was the most notable difference I saw in “healthy” versus “not-so-healthy” individuals. And my answer was “exercise.” For starters, it’s great for your heart and cardiovascular system, you get an awesome hit of endorphins (your brain’s “happy” chemicals) making you feel more alive, and it helps you sleep better at night (which is the only time your body can repair and build itself).
Looking deeper, proper exercise — especially strength training — builds a strong and efficient frame to support your body’s joints. This support means you’re able to hold your body up with better posture and you’re able to run/bike/practice yoga/etc by using the right muscles meant for the job.
What is your view on the importance of nutrition in health?
I’m all about preventative medicine. It’s far easier to STAY well than to GET well. Nutrition is the foundation. If you eat crap, your body will be built with crap. Most people are disconnected from the notion that the food you eat is what’s used to build your body, not just fuel your body. We require fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals to not only function properly but also to repair our bodies.
In our hectic modern lifestyles, it’s sometimes difficult to stay on top of our nutritional requirements. But there’s lots of healthy choices on the high street, you just have to take responsibility for your own health and nutrition. I eat meat and fish. I try to keep wheat & gluten to a minimum. I build a diet around a colourful array of fruit and vegetables. And I try to avoid sugar like the plague. I spend A LOT of time grocery shopping, preparing food and cooking, because if we eat well, everything else slots into place.
What exercise do you do personally? Why?
I like a lot of different stuff and it changes frequently as I try new things. I love rock climbing, so I’m at the bouldering wall at least once a week. I do weight training, which helps keep my back strong. And then a bit of running, cycling, yoga/pilates, and when the weather allows I like trying my hand at tennis! I’m not very good, but that doesn’t matter!
What’s your favourite “good for you” food?
I love Borough Market, so much yummy food and atmosphere. But also the whole area near London Bridge/Southwark towards Tower Bridge. I love the gritty feeling of London’s sordid past in that area!
Share your thoughts on nutrition and exercise in the comments!
The annual barrage of Easter chocolate is upon us. If you fancy something a trifle fancier, and healthier, than your average Cadbury’s egg, check out new East London chocolatier Eat Chic. They have the tastiest ‘About‘ page of any site I’ve visited lately:
Eat Chic puts a modern twist on the classic American chocolate peanut butter cup, using high quality British and organic ingredients, with no preservatives or artificial flavours. Our signature chocolate is 73% dark chocolate or deep milk chocolate filled with lightly sweetened peanut butter and topped with Maldon sea salt. We also offer a range of toppings such as organic toasted coconut and pink peppercorn, as well as varieties filled with roasted almond butter, hazelnut butter, or cashew butter in the place of peanut butter.
Our chocolates are handmade using high-quality British and organic ingredients; are gluten-free, palm-oil free, and preservative-free; and the dark chocolates are vegan and dairy-free. We’ve basically made a guilt-free version of that infamous American chocolate peanut butter cup, so that everyone can eat chic, eat chocolate.
One word springs to mind: YUM!
Eat Chic is online at EatChic.co.uk and Twitter: @EatChic
What’s your favourite Easter treat? Share in the comments.