Stop.Refresh.Go

Learning and Teaching…12 Months. 12 Projects. 365 days


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A grown woman rolled her eyes at me yesterday… Not once…not twice… but three times. All I was doing was trying to help her. Needless to say I needed yoga last night. When I found myself say out loud more than once, “I really wanted to punch her in the face,” I realized that I did NOT have control of myself or my emotions at that point.

SO, that is what I was attempting to get back in check last night. It worked pretty well…I have a sense of peace that I feel through my toes and my fingertips, Last night we were focusing on back bends (I had nightmares of doing a bridge from a standing position like we did when we were little kids??? You know? I dreamt I fell on my head) and it actually was pretty cool. A lot of the positions were geared toward helping the thyroid, which really interests me. Also another super positive effect of yoga is that the practice is geared on keeping the kidneys warm and in fabulous working shape. ( http://suite101.com/article/yoga-for-improving-kidney-function-a144183) This is awesome especially considering many of us will go into renal failure at an older age due to the rough way we treat our kidneys, excessive drugs, drinking, and somewhat poisonous lifestyles. Keep them healthy now!

Anyway…I have been using a lot of Cumin and a lot of Cilantro when I have been cooking lately. I was never big on the fake meat…I may tackle that in upcoming weeks, but I haven’t gotten the guts or urge to go there yet. In addition to my burrito making, I love making a big pot of beans. I thought this was interesting because they are talking about how beneficial beans are in the book I keep talking about Born to Run. My beans as follows:

  • Black Beans
  • Corn
  • green and red peppers
  • red onion
  • cumin (to taste)
  • veggie broth (a tiny bit)
  • salsa (fresh or jarred)
  • fresh cilantro (a few leaves)

Throw it all in a pot together and cook down! Depending on how hard your beans are…cook longer or shorter. So Delish!! I don’t know why my taste has been running toward mexican as of late (I am not even sure if Mexican is culturally accurate so please forgive me for my ignorance) and I never get sick of it. A good vegan mexi site–> http://www.veganmexicanfood.com/

I eat this when I think I have eaten too many bready carbs… For example, I ate granola for breakfast this morning, and I know I am having spaghetti tonight, so I made these for lunch and skipped the tortilla. I add a little more goodness by dumping the beans over greens and making sure I eat a huge salad slowly before the spaghetti. This prevents me from shoving so much spaghetti in my face later I’m in a food coma on the couch groaning with my pants unbuttoned. No, I’m serious this actually happens.

So…One last thing I learned. Last night in yoga we chanted… “Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om.” I always was petrified to chant. It felt weird . Almost felt like I was praying to God…but maybe that I wasn’t supposed to be doing it that way? Well that is all far behind me. Chanting is such a cool thing to do and be involved in. Its like you are on a different, awesome wavelength. Its not so much the words, but the feelings that come along with them. Its like…the ultimate peace. Its hard to describe, but you really have to just get past your egos and let go. So… “Om” is actually just a noise, or vibration. It actually is the most sacred mantra. It basically is the vibration of life (If I am understanding correctly) It is more of like a wavelength, and apparently is is the only sound you can hear resonating in deep space—> http://hinduism.about.com/od/omaum/a/meaningofom.htm

Shanti means peace. So when you say it three times, then accurate meaning is “peace within ourselves, peace to those we know, and peace to everyone else.” I love the idea of mantra yoga ( http://www.yogaworld.org/mantra.htm) I think it has to be amazing. And actually when I used to pray when I was very young I used to pray for myself first, then my family, and then everyone else. I just thought that was funny that my little girl prayers came back around to me in my yoga class. I have to say that yoga is the most amazing, interesting thing I have ever wanted to learn about.

So to that lady who rolled her eyes at me three times yesterday, I love you, and I don’t want to punch you at all anymore.

Xoxo

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One, two, three…Burrito!!

I think I time traveled on my way to work this morning. Has that ever happened to you? One minute I’m cursing because I spilled tea all over my lap while I was attempting to “car jam out” to Kanye West (I know I’m sorry), and the next minute Im at my exit and almost at my work! And I wasn’t even have asleep today… I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t drag out my morning commute any longer. Anyway, I tossed and turned last night as soon as 4 am hit, and I could not go back to sleep after that, so after a little lazy laying around with my eyes closed, and a few morning sun salutations I was good to go. I even jogged with my dog for a little bit…I probably looked like an idiot flailing down the street in my work uniform and my nurse clogs. But I don’t care, it woke me up a little bit.

Anyway…I have decided that burritos are my PERFECT vegan food. I LOVE burritos. Mission tortillas are lovely and vegan. Some of the larger ones have pretty high calorie counts, so check that out too when you are purchasing and take that into consideration. The good thing about a burrito is that you can put anything in them! I honestly eat them ever day and never get sick of them.

Some of my favorite things to add…Black beans, Jasmine Rice, red and green peppers, red onion, corn, vegetarian chili, salsa, jalapenos, kidney beans, any kind of vegetarian chili, lentils, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, rasins…any vegetable you can think of!

What started me on this kick was Amy’s organic frozen burritos. I was buying them for lunches every day! I fell in love with the indian one, and the black bean option (no cheese). I figure, I can make burritos, freeze them myself, and save a bit o money in the process. I have found a couple tricks to my burrito trade! One is, I start with vegetable stock, and water (about a cup or so of each) and I add my black beans (after they have been soaking all day.) I also add my rice right to the same pot. After I let this come to a boil and then simmer for awhile. After that I just throw everything in! That is minus the veggies you wouldn’t want cooked…lettuce, avocado, tomato etc. After I cook down all of my ingredients, I put about a third of what is in the pot in a blender (I use the magic bullet, but it really doesn’t matter) and pulse it a few times. After it is smoother, add it back to your pot. To me, this just helps blend the ingredients together a little bit for a smoother taste, and basically acts as a glue to hold everything together in the tortilla.

In order to get your tortillas perfect and roll up ready, stick a few of them in your pan or wide pot on top of your ingredients and let them steam for a few minutes. They become stretchy and ready to go! Add a couple spoonfulls of your fav ingredients…top it off with whatever you love and roll up! If you want to freeze these for lunch, I typically use aluminum foil and roll em up… they are good for the work week without getting freezer burn!

Anyway…Those are my burrito tips for the day! I already ate my lunch burrito for breakfast so I am SOL for lunch today. Looks like its gonna have to be a granola bar. Happy day everyone! Try to make it a good one. Yoga tonight so I am getting excited!

Xo

 

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RUNNING OPTIONAL

I hate running.  I want to love running, but I just can’t…I am not sure if its the tiredness that hits me after a couple miles, the pain in my ankles, or the boredom that bothers me the most.  All I know is that it is just not something I look forward to.  The only time I crave running is when I am trying to escape everything and eveyone for a little while.  It is something I turn to if I want to shut my mind off and get away from it all.  That being said, I do not get a thrill out of lacing up my running shoes.  I would much rather be on my yoga mat challenging my body that way.  That being said, I know my body loves cardio.  I get leaner and my legs shape up fast.  But sometimes that is just not enough motivation for me to get my ass movin out the door.  Also I love to carb load…you would think a giant plate of spaghetti would be solid motivation, but no…

That being said, I started to read a book called, Born to Run, which apparently is pretty popular right now to vegans, vegetarians, athletes and my family.  I am not too far into the book yet but I wanted to focus on the magical little seed that they talk about … the “superfood” chia. 

(what is a chia seed?  –> http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA365093/Chia-for-Health.html) Now, I buy chia seeds and put them in my oatmeal.  For some reason they add a fluffy texture when I throw in a palmful, and although I do not know too much about their superpowers…I figured it couldn’t hurt.  I have also added them to salads with flax seeds (not sure if you are supposed to do that) and baked goods like muffins and banana bread). Some other ideas of how to use the seeds—> http://www.chiaseedrecipes.com/40-ways-to-use-chia-seeds.php Well the book talks about the slimy drink that these runners make with chia seeds called iskiate.  Basically you dissolve chia seeds in water, add a little lime, some sugar, and chill until cold—> (http://www.nomeatathlete.com/tarahumara-pinole-chia-recipes/)  I haven’t tried it yet, but supposedly you get a pretty significant boost of energy, plus its supposed to be a grand slam of goodness for your body.  It seems a little bit like the consistency of aloe vera, or hand sanitizer…but I imagine it probably tastes like limeaide  But I figure, I am going to try it out.  It can’t hurt, and I want to see what its all about. 

But, trying new things like this means I have to make time to get to the store, and actually put some things in my fridge and in my cupboard other than the tons of dried beans that are already hibernating there.  This week (although I am working 6 out of 7 days) I am going to make time for myself and the things I need to get done for myself and around my home.  This week I am prioritizing myself (as opposed to last week when I prioritized everyone else).  Its difficult, as an adult, trying to be a good friend, family member, and girlfriend…and make time for yourself.  It is hard to find a new balance.  I figure that is why your circle of friends get a bit smaller as you get older.  Or at least a little quieter and more far between.  I figure, I am going to attempt to let things flow and happen naturally instead of trying to force everything and everyone to stay the same. 

Anyway…off to a new week, 3rd full week attempt at my first goal out of 12, and hopefully on to a better body, life, and me. 

Namaste. 

Renee


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Today I woke up feeling good and HUNGRY!!! 🙂 I wanted peanut butter and jelly on a french toast bagel so bad.  Overall right now, I would say I am pretty happy with my weight and the way I feel with my body.  Let me tell you though, this was NOT always the case.  But, even after 9 days of being vegan, I feel my body changing.  I feel healthy and light, and happy.  Last night, I did a little Christmas shopping with my mom, and for the first time for as long as I remember… almost everything fit me.  I thought I could have cried a little in the dressing room.  It has not been an easy battle.  But that is not what this is about.  This is not what my vegan journey is about.  It is just a positive side effect I think. 
So… I learned about these cool water crystal experiments last night at yoga that were conducted by Masaru Emoto, a Japanese author. I am going to see if I can explain this properly… He claims that he conducted experiments in which positive words, thoughts and prayers have the power to actually change the molecular structure of water, in a beautiful individual manner. Apparently he took jars of water and prayed or mantra’d over them, shared positive thoughts and words, and when he was finishe he froze the water immediately.  He did the same with jars of water that he relayed hate speech upon.  Words like, “I hate you,” “You make me sick, I will kill you,” and “murder” were set upon these jars verbally, and hadwritten and taped on the front. According to Mr. Emoto’s photos and documentation, the crystals with the loving speech and emotions were beautiful crystals that look like snowflakes, and intricate beautiful designs.  On the other hand, the crystals that were produced after the hate speech was put upon them were ugly and cracked and did not form any sort of pattern of beauty.  Now…Is this something you believe?  There are different theories on this.  Some people claim that this is a hoax, some sort of scientific quackery.  Some others are strong believers…Maybe, see what you think?  ——->http://www.masaru-emoto.net/english/water-crystal.html
Since 1999 Emoto has been producing works called Messages From the Water.  My stance on this?  I am a believer.  I think that positive thoughts,  words, and actions…caring about yourself, and loving and taking care of your body and soul have just as much of a positive impact on your health as does a healthy diet.   It does not surprise me that the emotions and truth we put on words of hate or love would have the power to change water.  Essentially, we are water (at least 75% of us is…) so I think this proves that we should be much more self aware and cautious of the verbage that we put into this world. 
I always think about the different ways people are blessed. I think being grateful for what you have, creating a positive prayer and meditation practice, and developing a love for yourselves and the people in your life is so important.  If that doesn’t work for you, develop something that helps you have a positive outlook with a grateful mind set. Hateful words and thoughts get you no where.  Think of how you feel when you are talking about somebody, or when you say something terrible that may be funny in that moment… More than likely there is a small (or large) part of you that feels guilt. Imagine creating an honest life, where you don’t have to drag around that guilt.  Let yourself feel lightness.  You deserve it. 
On a different note, I visited my local mall yesterday that I used to go to all the time growing up.  I am not sure if that place is going down the tubes, or if getting older my needs have changed.  It seems like there are no good stores left anymore…And Macy’s is just not as good as I remembered it to be! Oh well…I probably do not need to spend the extra money anyway! 
Peace and truth
xoxo 


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Books and Nooks?

I can’t say I am a wealth of knowledge when it comes to anything… I think I am kind of a mini expert at a bunch of things. But I have read my fair share of books about the vegan life.  My lovely sister has been a vegetarian since she was in 3rd grade (approx).  When I was younger I used to make fun of her, and once (the evil child that I was) laughed uncontrollably at her when she ate a beef burrito from taco bell, and thought it was beans.  Now, when I think of that, I feel so sad that I did that!  I think that I was probably just jealous of her, and the fact that she could do something that I couldn’t at the time.   Hopefully I have transformed from the mean child I once was…Not sure if Jenna would agree with that statement, but that’s ok. 

One book I have read that I love is called Eat to Live.  It’s written by Dr. Joel Fuhrman and it gives you medically sound facts and information garnished on why the vegan life is the best thing for your body, and ultimate health in the long run.  His ideas and “diet” are “lifestyle changes” (you have heard that term from EVERY woman who has ever been on a diet) that is pretty severe.  He guarantees weight loss, but also guarantees optimum health.  It seems to me that he targets overweight and obese people (been there) with health and heart problems, to get them turned in healthy directions.  Honestly, the book was such an inspiration I have been using it at a guideline for about a year now. To learn more about the book check out –à http://www.drfuhrman.com/shop/ETLBook.aspx

His website has some great tips about organic living and alternates and substitutions for everyday food choices.  Although this may be too extreme of a choice for many, its worth a read solely for the medical information and statistics he shares relating to heart disease and cancer which, lets face it, effects all of us somehow.  I also came across this veggie site that outlines some great info about being a vegetarian ——-àhttp://www.vrg.org/nutshell/vegan.htm  It wasn’t too hard to find this site, it always pops up first when I search “vegan”  in google (lol). 

One other good read I am going to have to check out is a book my family is obsessed with right now.  Its called Born to Run, by Chris Mcdougall, and apparently it is amazing. 

http://www.chrismcdougall.com/book.html.  As inspired as I am by Dr. Fuhrman’s book, I am wondering if this book will encourage me to get out on my two legs more and take a run once in awhile.  Although I am much happier on my yoga mat, I can appreciate a good run once in a blue moon.  A very blue moon.   

If you notice I post about books a lot, its because I am a LIBRARIAN! Well, not in my current life, but in my University life that is what it says on my diploma.  I love books and am sooo close to buying a nook or a kindle fire but I haven’t had the heart to do it yet. 

Yoga tonight, black bean burrito for lunch, and shopping with mama after work. Life is good.  Right now I’m thanking God for giving me an easy path at this point in my life. 

Xoxo


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Can’t stop Won’t stop

Get these brownies away from me! I swear I have been covered in Ghiardelli for like…3 days.  Ever since I made the best black bean brownies ever! If you want to try—–>http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=986481… Vegan and freaking delicious.  My boyfriend, the pickiest eater ever, had no idea there was even a difference between them and the normal brownies that I make.  Plus, the best thing…you can cut them right away and they come clean out of the pan.  Amazing.  So I have been cutting small pieces off for about three days now.  I figure this equals about three brownies a day, which I am absolutely fine with…

Anyway.  Yoga went well last night.  I am a bit sore from the plank position, but thats nothing to complain about because I am getting stronger! So, in addition to my exploration of the vegan lifestyle I figure I would say a few words about yoga, and how I feel it relates to veganism.  First of all, I practice a version of yoga called vinyasa.  There are many different types of yoga, vinyasa by definition basically means moving with the breath, or being one with your breath.  Ashtanga yoga, a different form, actually means non-harming yoga.  This theory can be applied to yoga across the board, as yoga should never hurt.  You should bring your body to the brink of what it is capable of, know your limit and stop there until your limits soften and you can move deeper into a pose.  The idea of “non-harmful” can be applied directly to veganism.  You should not hurt yourself within your practice, but you should also not survive based on the harmful suffering of any other being.  To learn more about the practice of yoga —>http://www.yogajournal.com/ for starters. 

Although I will admit that one of my favorite foods when I was younger was in fact a Burger King whopper, the idea of not eating something that has suffered really resonates with me.  I know that people get annoyed when you talk about being  vegetarian when they do not participate in the lifestyle, and I guess I do not really understand that.  My friend Liz once told me that key to anything is being loving and accepting of anothers lifestyle choice and culture.  Maybe once we can figure that out, we can actually interact peacefully amongst ourselves. 

Sushi tonight.  I’m going to have to resist the lovely Tom C lobster roll I love so much. 

Ciao


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Never get so busy making a living, that you forget to make a life. 
~Anonymous

I love my little nights in my apartment with Craig.  Its the quiet comfort, mixed with comfort food that make it special for me.  I think sometimes when you are in a solid relationship, sometimes you do not need to talk at all when enjoying each other’s company. 

Last night I had taco night!  For Craig I made shredded chicken                       tacos—–>http://www.food.com/recipe/shredded-chicken-for-enchiladas-tostadas-tacos-169500 I did a couple small tweaks like added cayenne pepper, and left out the butter and marjoram (because I did not have the spice).  Apparently it was delicious… according to the BF. 

I made a vegan mexi rice…Really easy…I used jasmine rice and added some vegetable broth, cumin and salsa.  I also threw in some frozen corn.  I have realized that with simple changes I actually like the vegan options better than my old version.  As a non vegan I would have added sour cream and cheese to the rice (which is delicious, but honestly I don’t need the calories.)

I picked up some vegan tortillas and used them for the chicken tacos and my delicious lentil taco recipe—–>http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-242-303-308-10860-0,00.html They are amazing… I find that as long as I have the lentils, I can usually make some version of these and throw them in salads, wraps/burrito, or even eat them plain!

Anyway, after dinner I decided to begin my mom’s Christmas present.  Its coming along really nicely so far, but its just in the beginning stages! I haven’t painted in awhile, I have been using my artistic chops in other ways, so we will see how this little experiment goes.  I had a little trouble mixing the exact colors I need for the base, but I think after a few trials and errors, I had a little better luck.  Just in case she ever reads this blog, I will not say exactly what I am doing, but I will post pictures when I am done.  Maybe by then I will even be able to figure out how to do a step by step tutorial thingy!   🙂

I haven yoga tonight…and I was so sore from my repeated sun salutations in my last class (I must have done 50) that the pain in my shoulders did not go away for days! I worked muscles that I did not even know I had.  I am pumped to learn more of the correct way of doing these poses that I thought I already had down pat!  

Namaste