Food

My way of dieting!

Positive-thinking.jpg

A couple of weeks ago I decided to prescribe myself a Mental Diet. I became aware how I easy it is to slide back into my old behaviour pattern of thinking negatively about myself, my life or others. Before you know I am complaining, comparing and judging. Time for a different attitude! So my aim for the next couple of weeks (and then months, then years and then always); is to be aware of any negativity I am creating. Are you joining me in this revolutionary way of dieting? Here are five tips to help you getting used to this new way of living:

1)      Tell your partner/close friends/family;

Especially in the beginning it is so easy to complain and moan, since that is what most of us are used to. If you’re really ready for change, your family and friends can help. If they are aware of your mental diet they can remind you if you get stuck in any negative thinking. It can be annoying at times, but this confrontation will be very valuable. At the same you can inspire your network to be more positive as well.

2)      Be authentic;

Being positive, doesn’t mean you’re always happy and content. You’re still a human being with emotions. Rather than identifying yourself with emotions, just experience your emotions, as moving energies. Look at little children; one moment they cry and the next moment they are smiling. They are in the moment and flowing with life. You can develop gratitude for your tears, since it means you have let go of sadness, you have created space for new energies and experiences.

3)      Be compassionate;

Don’t get discouraged, if you fall back into your old negative thinking. If you challenge yourself, it means you’re learning something new. If you make mistakes, it means you’re learning something new. It took years to develop a negative way of thinking, so it will take some time to transform that in a more positive life attitude. Be compassionate with your process and progress and don’t take yourself too seriously.

4)      Find a diet buddy:

As with every diet it will help if you have a buddy to support each other so you can share your experiences. If you live close by you could meet once a week or email or call so you will keep each other enthusiastic and engaged in this life transforming diet. Mutual feedback can be encouraging and supportive. Together you could decide to celebrate your new way of thinking by doing something special together every month.

5)      Gratitude Journal

Keep a gratitude journal by writing at the end of day where you are grateful for. It can be something small or big, a lot or a little. Just try to write something in your journal every day, something positive, even though your thoughts were maybe not so positive. This will also help you to go asleep with a grateful heart which will enhance a good night’s sleep.

Have Fun and Smile!

Ghandi

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Mango-Avocado Rolls

For quite a while we had rice papers lying in our kitchen cabinet. We had it once with friends, but were not entirely sure what to do with it ourselves.

Then I came across a delicious recipe: Mango-Avocado Rolls

A great vegetarian or vegan recipe; easy to make and delicious to eat.

VegLite_MangoAvocado_MED

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In The Name of Being Well, I made Myself Sick

Laura Susanne Yochelson has published a book called: In The Name of Being Well, I made Myself Sick’She shares her story of being diagnosed with an eating disorder as a privileged, high-achieving adolescent living in Southern California. It is only after she finds the ability to dissociate from the identity of the sick person that she is able to recognize her purity underneath “anorexia nervosa” and live freely once again.

Have a look at her blog: Laura Susanne and learn more about this courageous, strong and beautiful young woman.

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Categories: Food, Freedom, Inspiration, Sharing | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

A Heart Healthy Pasta Salad

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 17 million people die of cardiovascular diseases, particularly heart attack and stroke, every year. That is a pretty impressive amount I would say. An unhealthy diet is, besides smoking and physical inactivity, one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Nowadays a lot of attention goes to lowering cholesterol levels. Though, there is also a ‘good’ cholesterol component in your body: High-density lipoprotein or HDL. HDL counteracts ‘bad’ cholesterol or LDL by helping to remove LDL deposits from the arteries. Consuming natural fat foods which are high in unsaturated fats increase your HDL cholesterol level. Therefore eating avocados, lots of fish (especially oily fishy like salmon and tuna) olives, olive oil, seeds and nuts will lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases. The following recipe is a perfect and easy way to increase your HDL levels and great to eat after a yoga session. You can easily make this recipe suitable for vegetarians or vegans by replacing the fish for haloumi or tofu. 

How do you keep your heart healthy?

How do you keep your heart healthy?

Servings:             2 persons main or four persons as a side dish

Total time:          35 minutes

  • 250 gram wholemeal pasta
  • 200 gram green beans
  • 1 avocado
  • Handful olives
  • 150 gram salmon or tuna (fresh or from can)
  • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Cook the pasta and green beans al dente. Slice up the avocado, fish and sundried tomatoes. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and if you wish add some olive oil. You can eat the salad either cold or slightly warm.

You can drink a glass of red wine with your meal, since this can also increase your HDL levels, if you keep it in moderation.

Natural fat food is great!

Natural fat foods are great!

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Healthy Chocolate Mousse

The last couple of days I have been eating soups, smoothies and other soft food mostly, since my wisdom teeth have been removed. Fortunately, I am blessed with a quick recovery and starting to eat bread and other chewable food already. I would like to share a delicious and healthy chocolate mousse recipe my mum gave to me a couple of months ago. It is perfect after a wisdom teeth operation, easy and quick to make, suitable for vegans and good for lowering down your cholesterol! So here are the ingredients:

–          2 medium-size ripe avocados

–          1 banana

–          1 tablespoon of Cocoa / Carob powder

–          2 cups Rice milk/Soya milk or Almond milk  (I have seen recipes with almond butter)

I would say this would be enough for 2/3 persons for a dessert. Mix all the ingredients together in a mixer, put in the fridge for 15 minutes or so and enjoy!

Surprising taste

Surprising taste

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The Sahasrara Chakra

The seventh and last chakra is the Sahasrara chakra or the ‘crown chakra’. This chakra resides at the crown of the head and connects you to higher consciousness and pure awareness. The Sanskrit word Sahasrara means ‘thousand fold’ and therefore this chakra is also known as ‘Thousand Petaled Lotus’. This lotus burst open when you remember your true nature and experience enlightenment. The crown chakra is the foundation of your spiritual body and links you to the highest spiritual consciousness. This chakra relates to spiritual will, inspiration, idealism and intuitive knowing. It is about integrating your consciousness and subconsciousness and living in the NOW. The associated glands and body parts are the pineal gland, brain and central nervous system. The element of the seventh chakra is thought or cosmic consciousness. This cosmic consciousness can feel like an ultimate intelligence and a sense of all knowing. The associated colour can be violet or white, a combination of all colours. This is in line with the chakra as an integration center of all the other chakras.

A white lotus, the symbol of the crown chakra

A white lotus, the symbol of the crown chakra

A blocked Sahasrara chakra

A blocked crown chakra can result in the following physical and mental problems: diseases of the muscular system, skeletal system and the skin, depression, chronic exhaustion, headaches, coordination difficulties, poor balance and clumsiness, sensitivity to light, sound or the environment. Emotional issues related to an out of balance seventh chakra can be; lack of purpose, loss of meaning or identity, trust, selflessness, lack of devotion, inspiration, values or ethics. If you have a closed crown chakra, it is highly likely that you are unable to live in the present and unable to gain closure on unfinished business. You always seem to be either revisiting your past or looking ahead to the future. You are normally confused and have no purpose in life. You may live on poor quality food, exhaust yourself and are probably ignoring your bodily needs. Fear of religion or spirituality and frustration can also be experienced. There is little joy in your life and you are afraid of things that cannot be understood with the physical senses. It can lead to unwise decisions, unhappiness and a sense of indecision. You can feel alone and separate and feel cut off from spirituality. An excessiveness in the seventh chakra can appear as being overly intellectual and feeling superior to other human beings. It can be described as ‘being in your head’ and you may possibly show some hysterical, psychotic and/or manic-depressive behaviour.

In the Here and Now

In the Here and Now

Yoga and other stimulants

There are different ways to balance your crown chakra for example through prayer, (chakra) meditation or colour and sound therapy. The Tibetan Bowl creates sounds that can help you to achieve a balanced seventh chakra. In terms of nature, viewing mountain tops can be helpful. Supporting yoga poses to balance this chakra are Padmasana (Lotus Pose), Salamba Sirsasana (Supported headstand) and all meditation poses. Since meditation is the yogic practice for this chakra, it clears and quiets the mind and connects you with the higher self. A daily head massage is also a good method towards balance of the crown chakra. In addition, you could focus on your dreams and write down your visions. You could also consume violet foods and drinks, wear violet clothing and use violet oils such as lavender or jasmine essential oils. Foods that can help to open up the seventh chakra are foods that generate space, for example raw green veggie juices. Moderate fasting can also activate the seventh chakra. One of the most important elements of physical, emotional and spiritual health is being inspired by your own life and live in the present moment.

Tibetan Singing bowls

Tibetan singing bowls

Balanced crown chakra

If your crown chakra is balanced, you are released from ego driven desires and you are able to trust in your highest guidance. Your sense of empathy and unity expands and your consciousness raises. You can experience another person, place or object as if you are inside of them or as if you are ‘being’ them. You will have wisdom, trust, selflessness, humanitarianism and the ability to see the bigger picture in a spiritual life. You feel calm, deeply at ease and fully aware with a gentle and compassion nature, free of worry. You show the ultimate goal of every human being: inner peace and satisfaction. You are truly in the present moment, living in the ‘Here and Now’. You reach a state of ‘being’, rather than a state of ‘doing’. There is no longer a sense of division, the macrocosm becomes the microcosm and all is in unity and you are in optimum balance. Compassion is the main sense that develops if you crown chakra opens. This ‘crown compassion’ is more about perception and communication, compared to ‘heart compassion’ which is more about emotions and empathy.

Union or Yoga

If all your energy centers are open and balanced, all selfish desires disappear. You are grounded, grateful, peaceful and visionary. By opening your crown chakra, you have reached the highest state of consciousness. Through firm grounding into the earth (first chakra), opening up your creative energy (second chakra), manifesting your dreams in the world (third chakra), opening your heart (fourth chakra), expressing your true voice (fifth chakra) and connecting with your inner knowing (sixth chakra), you are finally experiencing total unification or yoga by activating the seventh chakra.

Compassionate communication with lightness

Compassionate communication from the heart and with lightness

Categories: Chakra, Food, Freedom, Happiness, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Svadhisthana Chakra

The second chakra is the Svadhisthana or sacral/pelvic chakra. ‘Swa’ means vital force or soul and ‘adhisthana’ means seat or abode. This chakra is located at the tailbone, about two finger widths above the root or first chakra and about an inch below the navel. This chakra is associated with the emotion, passion and it represents desire, pleasure, sexuality and procreation. The element for the pelvic chakra is water, referring to change, fluctuation and movement. The location in the body can be related to movement as well, since the sacral plexus is a collection of nerves located in the lower spine which control movement in the legs and pelvis. The colour for the second chakra is orange and the sense is taste, especially a sweet taste. The organs, glands and body parts associated with this chakra are the reproductive organs, all liquids in the body (blood, urine, menstruation, tears), hips, sacrum, low back, adrenal glands, kidneys, spleen and lower bowel. The symbol for the sacral chakra is a six petal lotus flower.

Six petal lotus flower

Six petal lotus flower

A blocked second chakra

This chakra is primarily associated with creativity and sexuality. When energy is not flowing freely from this chakra it can lead to loss of creativity, low sexual energy, a feeling of dullness, loss of emotion, low negotiation skills and depression. You can be stuck in routine and sameness and you don’t feel good about who you are. On the other hand, signs of an excessive second chakra could be overly emotional behavior, sexual addiction or poor boundaries. It may be the result from a family environment where there’s a constant need for pleasurable stimulation, such as entertaining or partying or frequent emotional drama. Besides overindulging in pleasurable things such as food, drugs, alcohol or sex, you could also denying yourself pleasurable activities resulting in blockages in the second chakra. If you grew up in an environment where emotions were repressed or denied, you are susceptible to have deficiencies in this chakra, resulting in signs such as fear of pleasure, being out of touch with one’s feelings and resistance to change. Suppressing your emotions is another way to create blockages in the pelvic chakra. When this energy center is weak you are susceptible to lower back and hip pain and prostate, emotional and sexual problems. If this chakra is blocked, you can become over-sensitive, develop feelings of guilt (for no apparent reason), become extremely hard on yourself and ultimately become sexually frigid or impotent.

The seat of life

A key to open up the second chakra is to maintain balance when it comes to pleasurable, worldly things. This means don’t deny it, but do not overindulge either. In addition, feed your creative side and take care of your body. You could for example find a hobby or activity that provides you with pleasure; paint, draw, sing, act, dance or exercise to express yourself. If you are not sure what you could do, then go back to your childhood. What did you love doing and what made you happy and fulfilled? Our passions take birth in our second chakra – in fact any kind of birth takes place in this chakra: whether the physical conception of a baby, the birth of a new idea or the birth for a new song or book. Since the Svadhisthana is such a life giving chakra, some refer to it as the seat of life.

Relationships and the pelvic chakra

Relationships and the pelvic chakra

Relationships, boundaries and responsibility

This chakra is also the place where you connect and respond to others and build relationships. It includes reproduction and self-indulgence and relates to issues such as blame, guilt, money, sex, power, control, creativity and morality. It is the place where you can experience your sexual energy. If this chakra is balanced you will experience an enormous capacity for creativity and partnerships with others. If you have a strong second chakra, you have no problem saying no, since you are aware of and listen to your boundaries. You can balance this chakra by developing support systems and taking responsibility for what is happening in your life. Optimism, self-confidence, enthusiasm and courage are qualities which can arise from a balanced second chakra.

Ever changing water

Ever changing water

Constant Change

This second energy center is the chakra of emotion, sexuality, pleasure and nurture and all of these things are fluid and ever-changing, like water. This constant change is both the source of pleasure and the source of pain. A lot of people fear change – including myself – and therefore try to grip the present moment. Though, without change there is no pleasure, since if nothing ever change what would you have to be excited for? Meditation can be a perfect method to work through emotions and allow them to rise to the surface and go again. This chakra encourages us to open to life just as it is and if you allow yourself to accept what is, you taste the sweetness of life. If you let go of your resistance to life, your hips will let go, you reproductive organs become less tense and you’re open to experience your sensuality and sexuality.

Towards freedom, passion and growth

Foods associated with these chakra are orange foods, sweet foods (such as carrots, oranges and squash) and liquids. Drinking lots of liquid and using herbs as cinnamon and ginger can help to balance this energy center. The practice of pranayama can also be very helpful in creating balance in this chakra, especially alternate nostril breathing. Ideally, this should be done in quiet space and twice a day. In terms of yoga asanas, backward and forward bends and squatting strengthen this chakra. As well as any hip and groin openers, since they provide freedom of movement in the pelvis, such as Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose), Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose), Pavistha Konasana (Open Angle Pose) or Dhanurasana (Bow Pose). These hip and groin openers should never be forced, since they require the subtle feminine tough of sensitivity and surrender. This second chakra helps you to let go of control as it guides you to see life from a different perspective. From your first primary grounding chakra, you have the possibility to move forward into a world of freedom, passion and growth through a balanced second chakra.

Bow pose

Bow pose

 

Categories: Chakra, Food, Freedom, Inspiration, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A gluten-free diet and new trend among yogis?

Are you also wondering why gluten free food seems to be so popular nowadays? Especially among yogis and spiritual inclined people. Gluten free products can be found at every grocery store now and previously exotic grains that lack gluten, like quinoa and amarinth, have become more mainstream. Why is that and what is gluten? And is a gluten free diet healthier? Or do you only stop with consuming wheat and gluten if you are diagnosed with celiac disease and therefore gluten intolerant?

Gluten

So what is gluten (from the Latin word glue) actually? Gluten is a protein that is found in certain grains such as wheat, barley and rye. You can see it as glue that sticks up your gut, intestines, lymphatic system, sinus and joints. This glue can create inflammation, which causes pain along with many of the health-related issues we are facing nowadays including fibromyalgie, arthritis, asthma, ADD, autoimmune dysfunction, irritable bowel syndrome, all manner of gut issues, migraines and cancer. In addition, gluten can make you fat as well. So why is gluten used anyway? The purpose of gluten is to give elasticity to dough, helping it to rise and to keep its shape and often also adds a chewy texture to the product. In addition, gluten is added to foods that are low in protein and it enhances the flavours and thickens their consistencies. Gluten is also the glue that is used to preserve food for a longer shelf life. Gluten is mostly found in cookies, cakes, pastas, pretzels, crackers, pizza and most bread, cereals or baked goods. It is also found in less obvious foods such as soups, broths, sauces and salad dressings. It is rare not to find gluten in any processed food products.

Celiac disease

The main reasons for developing a gluten free lifestyle are wheat allergies and celiac disease. Celiac disease is a genetic disease that is most common among people of Northern European descent. The symptoms are many and range from chronic diarrhoea to chronic constipation and include depression, irritability, unexplained anaemia, failure to gain weight, fatigue and early onset osteoporosis. The obvious symptoms vary among sufferers, but the problem behind the symptoms is the same: gluten intolerance or sensitivity. They are not able to digest the gluten protein called gliadin found in wheat, barley, rye and occasionally oats. Furthermore, people with celiac disease have problems receiving the proper nutrients from gluten induced foods and therefore are not receiving sufficient nutrients. If you think you have gluten intolerance, the first think you should do is contact your GP.

Healthier?

Besides as the only treatment for this life threatening disease (if not managed well), a gluten-free diet is becoming more popular in the food market and among celebrities to eat healthier, loose weight, improve cholesterol levels, promote digestive health and increase energy levels. Though, if a product’s label says it’s gluten-free it doesn’t mean that it’s healthier. The gluten free product likely contains as many calories as gluten options, because a gram of sorghum, corn or rice flour appears to be metabolically similar to a gram of wheat flour. So gluten is not necessarily bad for the average person, since people have been eating wheat, rye and barley for thousands of years. Gluten free living may elicit health benefits, since most gluten free products are organic products and this diet includes a lot of fruit and vegetables. Some people say by choosing gluten free food, you are eliminating countless unhealthy and processed foods that contribute to health problems and weight gain. Since processed foods contain chemicals that are not beneficial to the body and gluten products often have a high amount of unhealthy oils and carbohydrates. So a gluten free diet is not necessarily the healthiest diet to follow, because gluten free products can be just as bad for you as the ones with gluten. More important is to be cautious of what you put in your mouth and keep in mind that the less processed the food is, the better.

So what to do?

Scientists suggest that there may be more celiac disease today, because people eat more processed wheat products like pastas and baked goods than in decades past. In addition, those items use types of wheat that have a higher gluten content. Today’s genetically engineered wheat contains far more gluten than what our great-grandparents ate. The amount of gluten in wheat has climbed from 4 to 14 percent and it is used everywhere these days: as fillers and additives in everything from sausages to ice cream. So should we all go gluten free then? Most people don’t have any trouble with gluten and there’s the risk that in eliminating gluten, you will eliminate important nutrients that may not be replenished by other foods. People need fiber and whole grains. I would recommend to eat mainly foods that have been locally-grown and seasonal foods. In other words, stick to those common-sense guidelines of eating natural, unprocessed foods and heaps of fruits and vegetables. You may incidentally end up in a way of eating which is about 80% gluten free anyway.  

 

Categories: Food, Sharing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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