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Back into Balance! January 9, 2013

Filed under: Ayurveda,Recipe — rejuvenateyourprana @ 1:15 am
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Do you ever feel like over the holidays, your good habits and routines somehow get lost in the whirlwind of social events, busy schedules and overindulging? I think a lot of us can relate to this!

I found that after a couple of weeks of drinking and eating more than I’m used to and having a lot of rich foods, my digestion was feeling a bit out of whack! I was gassy, bloated and was starting to feel some familiar food cravings popping up!

So, I decided to give my digestive tract a little retreat after the holidays!

I spent just three days on a simple Kitchari diet. Kitchari (pronounced [ki-cha-ree]) is a simple East Indian recipe that is easily digested and therefore supports and rejuvenates the digestive tract. It’s a great recipe to turn to on a weekly or monthly basis or after a little over-indulging.

I cooked the Kitchari in the morning and ate it, slightly warmed, the rest of the day. I played with the basic recipe a bit and added different vegetables on different days (sweet potatoes, zucchini, beets) for variety. I drank just water and simple, herbal teas.

I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly my digestion improved, my bloating decreased and my cravings subsided! It was a great reminder of how quickly our bodies respond when we do a few good things for them! I shared my experience and Kitchadi with a few friends and they were asking for the recipe, so here it is if you’d like to give it a try! It’s from Myra Lewin’s book, Freedom in your Relationship with Food.

Kitchadi
Basic Digestive Kitchari  
1/2 cup basmati rice
1/4 cup split mung beans
3 tablespoons ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/8 tsp asafoetida (a herb that aids in digestion, found at local East Indian markets)
1 strip kombo (like seaweed – you can get it at health food stores)
6 cups water
1/2 tsp mineral salt
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger root
1 tsp turmeric (fresh or powder)
1/2 tsp cardamom
2-4 cups freshly chopped veg such as carrots, greens, squash
 
Wash rice and split mung until water is clear.  Warm 1 tbsp ghee in a pan and simmer the cumin, coriander and asafoetida until you can smell them.  Add the rice, mung beans and kombu, stir together and simmer for 1-2 minutes.  Add 4 cups of water and simmer for 45 mins.  In a small pan, heat remaining ghee and add the salt, ginger root, turmeric and cardmom.  Simmer for 1-2 minutes then add to the rice and dhal with the ramining water and veggies.  Cook for 20 minutes longer or until veggies are soft.  The consistency should be soupy.  Add more water as needed.

I’ve included this recipe and another variation for ‘coconut kitchari’ under Recipes. I’d love to know if you try them and what you think! I’d also love to know what things you do to come back to balance!

 

Oh the weather outside is frightful January 19, 2012

“…but the fire is so delightful”

I can’t quite sing “let it snow, let it snow” at the top of my lungs with the same holiday zeal anymore. We were blessed with embarrassingly beautiful, mild weather in Edmonton over Christmas and the New Year – then boom! The beginning of this week saw temperatures plummet into the minus mid-thirties and forties. It’s the type of cold that makes your skin feel like it’s being pricked with thousands of tiny pins. It’s almost mind-numbing in that you are reduced to one thought and sole mission when you step outside – how to get from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time possible.

Unfortunately, my old ’96 Toyota Corolla has become a casualty at the hands of winter. She’s been sitting outside the house, covered in snow and refuses to respond. I’ve tried everything to give her a boost but alas, she remains icy and cold like a scorned woman who’s angry with me for neglecting her (which I did, in a way, because I left her outside with less than a quarter tank of gas!). Luckily, my sweet little sister was generous enough to lend me her car for work. Then it’s straight home and into warm socks and sweaters for the night.

Being trapped indoors does lend itself to resourcefulness though. As much as I would love to zip out and get a warm drink, the general consensus in our house seems to be, “Who the ‘bleep-bleep’ wants to go out in this weather?!” Well, I won’t argue with that. So tonight, I decided to revisit a favourite drink of mine that I discovered last winter. It’s a green tea hot chocolate that I made by accident as I was trying to create something else. I’m sure there are other versions of this drink out there; what I like about this one is that it’s dairy free but still oh-so-creamy. I can’t help but smile after every sip.

Vegan Green Tea Hot Chocolate:

Ingredients:
– Chocolate almond milk (sweetened or unsweetened – if you are limiting your sugar intake, opt for the unsweetened version and add your own natural sweetener, such as honey or agave, as desired)
– Your favourite green tea
– Matcha green tea powder for sprinkling on top (optional)

Directions:
Bring one cup of chocolate almond milk to a low boil. Steep green tea leaves into the almond milk for several minutes until desired strength. Ladle into your favourite “I’m having a relaxing night in” mug and sprinkle Matcha green tea powder on top. Slip under your favourite blanket on the couch and enjoy.

Despite the cold weather, we are looking forward to a good turnout for our Vata Workshop this Saturday. We will be working off the winter chill in Alanna’s yoga class and fuelling our bodies afterwards with a home cooked meal made by me. In the spirit of spreading warmth, Rejuvenate Your Prana will look forward to donating a percentage of the proceeds from Saturday’s workshop to Hope Mission in Edmonton to support their efforts to provide meals and a warm bed for those in need in our city.

Thanks for stopping by and please leave us a comment. We’d love to hear from you! Namaste.

 

…3, 2, 1 Happy New Year! December 31, 2011

2012 is swiftly approaching and since I am a glutton for punishment, I usually like to review my New Year Resolutions from last year to measure my progress. Oh, right – um, save money, lose weight, eat less junk and exercise. Oops! Forgot about those ones!

To borrow words from one of my favourite writers, Robert E. Howells, “New Year Resolutions are sewn with the seeds of their own demise. Why bother?” I know we’ve all been there. But Mr. Howells suggests that although goals are important, right now we should focus on…well, right now. My interpretation is that somewhere between penny pinching and spending my money with reckless fervour, or swearing to go on a no-carb diet to living on ice cream and bagels, or whatever dichotomies prevail in your own life, there exists a peaceful balance. Just as somewhere between mourning the goals we could’ve or should’ve achieved four years ago and the ambitions we could or should accomplish next year, there is simply “right now”. I think, at least for me, the real resolution is discovering the “balance”, the “right now”, the “today”, the “this moment” and loving it, imperfections and all.

These days, I come to that place of balance by revelling in therapeutic cooking. There’s nothing like preparing great food that can simultaneously draw out the methodical mad chemist and the free chaotic artist in me. At any given moment, I am the child licking cake batter off the spatula, or the teenager cooking dinner for her boyfriend for the first time, or the woman carrying out a labour of love for her family. This is my place of balance and of “here and now”. What’s yours?

While we’re on the subject of cooking, I’m still on my chocolate train (yup, gonna ride this one ‘til the wheels fall off! Then it’s straight broccoli and celery for 2012!) Oh right, no more extremes – I forgot! Here is the latest recipe, “Passion Pot de Creme” from our Rejuvenate Your Prana Kitchen (an egg-free, no bake version with cashew cream). Simple and delicious – just the way we should aim for our lives to be in the New Year.

Photo courtesy of Martin Phung

Recipe:
For the chocolate pot de crème:
8 oz. of good quality semi-sweet chocolate (I used Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate chips – use your favorite kind)
2 tsp of orange zest (other options: ground coffee, cinnamon, etc.)
1 C of plain almond milk
½ C finely ground almond
1 tsp of vanilla extract

For the cashew cream:
1 C raw cashews (soaked in water for 30 minutes)
3 oz dates (soaked in water for 30 minutes)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Water as needed (use soaking water from the dates)

Directions:
1. For the pot de crème: melt chocolate in heat proof bowl (e.g. I placed the bowl in a shallow pan filled with water to create a double broiler)
2. Mix orange zest in melted chocolate. Remove from heat.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the almond milk, vanilla and ground almonds. Pour mixture into melted chocolate and whisk until evenly blended.
4. Pour into 4 small ramekins. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The pot de crème should be thick and rich like pudding after refrigeration.
5. Make the cashew cream: Drain water from cashews and place in a blender, add with dates and the soaking water and the vanilla (the amount of water added should be just enough to cover the solids). Taste and add more sweetener if desired (remember that the chocolate will be quite sweet so the cashew cream should have a milder taste).
6. To assemble: Dollop cashew cream on top of chilled chocolate.
7. Garnish with berries or chocolate shavings and serve chilled.
8. Enjoy!

Oh, and if you’d like to get some of Alanna’s tips on centering and finding balance through Yoga, you can read her post on December 30th over at The Edmonton Tourist (a blog by our friend Robyn, which is thoughtfully composed with healthy doses of real life and humour).
Happy New Year from Rejuvenate your Prana! If you are in the Edmonton area, be sure to check out our upcoming workshops in 2012, where we will be providing “wellness escapes” from everyday busy life through yoga and nourishing foods. Namaste.

 

Dark and sexy November 18, 2011

Filed under: Chocolate,Vata — rejuvenateyourprana @ 2:51 am
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No, I don’t mean the snow globe situation that we are currently living in. The days may be darker, but there’s nothing sexy about running to your car in clunky boots with snow melting on your glasses and your keys stuck to your fingers – maybe that’s just me. Oh well, welcome to the Vata Season!

No, what I’m referring to is the oh-so-good-I-need-more vegan callebaut chocolate gelato served at our recent Rejuvenate Your Prana Workshop. Sweet dark chocolate meets spicy Saigon cinnamon – now that’s sexy. A room full of vibrant women taking control of their health through yoga – also sexy. Follow that with a home-cooked three- course vegetarian meal and the weekend is complete. At least the hope is that everyone went home a little more rejuvenated and refreshed from a great workout and quality time with friends.

I can’t wait until our next Vata workshop in January. Until then, check the site often for updates. Alanna and I are planning on posting yoga poses and recipes for your for Prana-rejuvenating enjoyment. So keep your yoga mat and an apron handy! Namaste!

 

Rejuvenate Your Prana with Jana and Alanna June 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — rejuvenateyourprana @ 4:15 pm
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Explore your Doshas through yoga and delicious nourishing foods with Yogini, Alanna MacGurry and Fusion Chef, Jana Phung. Upcoming workshops will be posted on this site!