Last one of the year, friends! The #YWP December newsletter is here. Enjoy & share.
Clean eating at a party? Is that possible? I love to indulge at New Year’s Eve parties. But I also enjoy eating things that make my body feel good. Luckily, those two things are not mutually exclusive.
There are loads of recipes out there for vegan party food, ranging from dips like spinach & artichoke to more involved creations like raw vegan mini-cheesecakes. The point is, whether your tastes run to simple snacks or elaborate spreads, there are definitely healthful options that will ensure you start the New Year feeling great, inside and out.
Click here for full instructions
Click here for full instructions
Share your favourite clean eating party food recipe in the comments!
Boxing Day is a chance to unwind after the hectic holiday season and the busy-ness of Christmas itself. We’re probably a few too many mince pies and cheese plates in, and maybe we overindulged on mulled wine.
That makes this the perfect time to relax, enjoy and (gently) take stock. There is no need to rush into a list of resolutions, or leap off the sofa for a tough yoga session. Today is the perfect time to contemplate and let our minds freely create the next step.
We are almost at the end of another eventful year. We’ve had triumphs and trials, good news and bad, highs and lows. What happens beyond Boxing Day?
This is the perfect time to let your imagination wander. None of us really knows what the future holds but we can contemplate how we want to face it.
My challenge to you this Boxing Day is to take some time (an hour will do) and let your mind roam. Note what memories spring up, what hurts surface, what hopes, what aspirations; think about the moments you want to relive, the ones you want to redo.
Be completely at ease. Don’t even take notes. Just relax into mindfulness. Observe yourself. See where you’ve grown, linger on the things that brought you joy, allow yourself to picture the perfect future.
In a few days time, we’ll be celebrating the New Year, ready with resolutions to improve and grow. For now, take the time to appreciate where you are, and how far you’ve come.
Let the next step be the next step.
This recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoestring makes soft, delicious gingerbread that you don’t have to be gluten free to love. If you’re having a holiday get-together, or taking food to a party, these are perfect: simple, comforting, tasty and suitable for all.
For the full recipe, and many more GF goodies, visit the website.
For full instructions visit Gluten Free on a Shoestring
What’s your favourite Christmas biscuit? Share in the comments!
Today, like many of you, is my last day of work before Christmas. Stepping out of our routine to celebrate and enjoy the holiday according to our beliefs and traditions is a chance to meditate on what Christmas can mean.
Tibetan Buddhist teacher Lama Thubten Yeshe gave a beautiful talk on spiritual meaning of Christmas, from the perspective of someone from a different philosophy.
I loved his words, and wanted to share them with you. Wherever you go, however you celebrate, may the gift of peace be with you.
Namaste, Paul xx
The following is an excerpt. You can read the whole talk here.
For a Christmas celebration to be a good one, it must be of a truly religious nature. Jesus came to this Earth and presented his teachings, but worldly beings completely disregard this fact. For them, Christmas means – first and foremost – spending money, buying presents, and creating confusion. Such confusion is entirely of our own making. We have the power to make Christmas meaningful, peaceful, and truly religious, but instead of using this power we succumb to worldly negative energy….
If we don’t not make an attempt to control the negative, confused mind, then there is no such thing as Christianity, there is no Buddhism, no Mahayana. There is nothing worthwhile! We must recognize the negative mind for what it is, and then slowly begin to find a solution for the pain it causes ourselves and others. In this way our mind can be brought to a state of everlastingly peaceful realization. If we do nothing to correct our motivation and distorted ways of thinking, then Christmas exists merely for the ego. Although supposedly making a celebration for Jesus, what we are actually doing is completely degenerate.
Therefore, if you want to come to this Christmas celebration and bring a present, the best present you can bring is a peaceful mind. If you can make such an offering with true love for one another, that is enough. There is no need for too much physical activity.
Share your Christmas wishes in the comments.
The holiday bustle can make it difficult to make your regular yoga class, not to mention that a lot of studios cut the number of classes offered, or close altogether.
Don’t let this stop you doing yoga, though! After all, you need it more than ever during busy, stressful times.
My recommendation for keeping yourself grounded, healthy and calm during the season is to do home practice. If you don’t have the benefit of the yoga studio warm up with a few sets of Surya Namaskara (sun salutations). Do five to ten rounds of sun salutations followed by other yoga poses and then rest deeply. This is perfect!
If you’re not sure of the sequence here is a great step-by-step guide.
You might find that this could be the mantra to stay fit over the festive season. You’ll be amazed how a home session can relax and invigorate you.
The three hour guided cycle adventure sets off at 3:30 PM daily from LBTC’s South Bank headquarters. They provide the bike, helmet, lights and a Santa hat so all you need to bring is yourself.
Your guide will lead you along the streets and cycle paths of London, through bustling Christmas markets, across the stunning Gothic Palace of Westminster then into the alleys of Kensington and Chelsea.
You’ll take in Sloane Square on your way to the iconic Harrods building, burning bright with over 10,000 bulbs! You will then follow the cycle paths of Hyde Park, passing the famous Winter Wonderland, until you reach the West End where Oxford Street, Regent Street, Carnaby Street, and Covent Garden are a winter wonderland of Christmas lights.
Finally, you cycle back through Soho, taking in the brilliantly lit Seven Dials before crossing Waterloo Bridge where a panoramic view of the city twinkles before you.
It’s a great way to see London’s holiday flare, and joining guided tour is safer and less stressful than navigating on your own. The tours run till 6 January so plenty of time to give one a try.
Holiday weight gain is hard to avoid. It’s cold, we’re busy; mince pies, mulled wine and multi-course dinners are everywhere, not to mention the party nibbles and hangover breakfasts. In short, it is easy to put on a few pounds over the holidays. However, with these four steps it is possible to avoid holiday weight gain without abandoning the social circuit or sticking to carrot sticks. Here’s how.
The problem with gaining weight over the holidays is not that we eat too much, it’s that we eat too much of the wrong things (and then compensate by cutting back elsewhere). This year, make a rule that you eat three healthful meals a day. Think soup, chili, stews, veggie curries, rice and beans — anything that is filling and nutritious. When your body has everything it needs it won’t crave junk, meaning you’ll be able to have a few bites of this or that Christmas treat and not feel deprived.
It isn’t just extra calories that trigger weight gain, it’s how our body processes the energy we put in. The best way to keep your hormones and metabolism on track is to be sure you have enough sleep. When you’re sleep deprived, your body tries to compensate in all kinds of ways, including increased appetite and fat storage. It can be tempting to burn the candle at both ends but making rest a priority will make you happier and healthier.
Moving your body is essential. Right now it is so tempting to stay bundled up and hunker down. Don’t! Every single day you go to the studio is a different day than if you don’t. You will work, energize, cleanse, and align your body. Yoga will keep your digestion on track, your skin glowing, your muscles toned, and your mind at peace. If you absolutely can’t make it to a class do 20-30 minutes at home. You’ll feel the difference.
Creating a routine is one of the best ways to get through the holidays with your waistline and sense of good cheer intact. Try to get the same amount of sleep every night (even if it’s a bit less than normal), go to the same number of yoga classes each week if possible and, of course, eat! You’ll be amazed how how good you feel come January.
Share your best tips for maintaining your weight during the holidays in the comments!
It’s fix up, look sharp for Christmas party time, so it would be remiss of me to not give a shout out to Somi Han.
I’m wearing out the deconstructed black jumper she made for me. If you want your own one-of-a-kind piece her new atelier collection is available and it is packed with seriously fierce fashion. Here are just a few examples…
Website: Somi Han London
Poking around for food ideas and recipes led me to this fun Thriving On Plants post on the top nine vegan food trends of 2017. Some I’ve tried, some I’ve recommended, some are new to me!
The ones that got me nodding my head were overnight oats, cauliflower, and plant-based beauty products. Soaking oats in non-diary milk over night, along with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, makes a delicious, filling, nutritious eat-anywhere meal. Switching up toppings (fruit, honey, maple syrup, tahini, coconut milk, etc) and using different kinds of non-dairy milk ensures it is never boring.
Cauliflower is, of course, one of the most nutritious, versatile vegetables around. If you want to cut back on grains roast cauliflower, cauliflower “rice” and cauliflower mash are great options.
Vegan health and beauty products just make sense. There are enough chemicals and whatnot in our environment without deliberately applying any to our bodies.
As for the unfamiliar trends: I’d never even heard of aquafaba but now I’m curious to try. It is “the gelatinous liquid, normally wasted, found in canned chickpeas. This gel is a result of soaking legumes in water for long periods of time.” You use it in recipes instead of egg whites.
Another trend I’d like to learn more about is vegan meal delivery services. Has anyone tried one? Are they worth the expense? Do they taste good? Hit me with thoughts and recommendations via the comments or by Tweeting @YogaWithPaul.