Archive for September, 2008


Metabolism-Boosting Cinnamon Treats

September 30, 2008

These delicious little balls of goodness have lots of health benefits. All their ingredients are 100% raw, with their enzymes intact to ensure easy of digestion and assimilation.   And best of all… they are not fattening!

Cinnamon has unique and potent remedial qualities and has been used for medicinal purposes around the world for centuries, including in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.  In modern medicine, recent studies have confirmed these benefits.

Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar, and is even recommended for diabetics. It also helps improve circulation, which is great with cold weather on the way – especially for you ladies that easily get cold (like me)! Cinnamon also helps improve digestive health and eases stomach discomforts. During your menstrual cycle, it can really help ease cramps.  It also helps kill and prevent the growth of harmful internal bacteria.

Another key ingredient, coconut butter, is a cold pressed, cholesterol-free oil that stimulates thyroid function, increases metabolism and promotes weight loss.

I use almonds in a lot of my recipes since they are such a potent antioxidant food, packed with phytochemicals, manganese and Vitamin B2 to neutralize free radicals.  Almonds are also rich in skin-beautifying vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin E, magnesium, protein, fiber, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and iron.

1/3 cup cinnamon

2 cups finely ground raw almonds

1/3 teaspoon Celtic sea salt

1 cup organic Thompson raisins

1/4 cup organic maple syrup1 ½ Tbs organic coconut butter (sometimes called oil)

Stevia, as needed to sweeten

Add the almonds, cinnamon, Celtic sea salt and raisins in a bowl and mix well. Next add stevia and coconut oil, and mix again until your “dough” is ready. Roll small pieces between your palms, making little balls. Freeze overnight, which helps to make the consistency solid. I keep them in the freezer until I serve them- or grab a few here and there as little deserts for myself. Enjoy!


Smoothie Skin Facial

September 15, 2008

This smoothie is like drinking a facial, and will help repair your skin from within. The watercress is especially rich in sulfur, which helps to build collagen, a nutrient necessary for elasticity. Grape seeds are full of essential fatty oils and antioxidants that protect the skin against free radical damage. The lemon and ginger work together to detoxify your liver and purity your blood, as the cleaner your blood the better your skin. Finally, cucumbers keep you well hydrated, which is a must for good skin!

–    6 cups green grapes (try to find seeded organic ones, which have not been genetically modified in any way and are naturally fertile and vibrant)
–    2 inch square of ginger
–    ½ bunch watercress
–    1 large cucumber
–    Juice of one lemon

Run all the ingredients through a juicer except for the lemon juice, which you can add at the end.



On Yoga

September 15, 2008

What I love about Yoga is that it is free for all. There is no fancy initiation ceremony, no formal vows you have to take. It is not a religion per se. The word “Yoga” literally means union. This union can be thought of to bind us with the higher light, with God, with the universe, or with love. You can take the teachings of yoga to learn more about yourself and how your soul fits in with the world around you. You can learn to be still, and finally, you can learn to meditate, if you’d like to, which I strongly feel has been the greatest gift I have ever been given.

Westerners are usually introduced to Yoga through asana practice. Ironically, in the ancient Yoga text, the Yoga Sutras (a sutra meaning a “thread”, as in a “thread of thought”), which can be thought of as a manual for yoga, out of 200 sutras the physical asana practice is only mentioned in three of them. That’s right, only three of them!! Meaning, of course, that the asanas (poses) are not only not the main portion of what yoga is, they are also not the end goal.

I find it a huge privilege, to which I am deeply humbled, to be able to teach asanas and share the love and joy that Yoga is, and hopefully be a channel to let some of the Divine light shine through. I think that anytime anyone practices asanas there are mental and physical benefits, so there is never a “wrong” reason to practice Yoga. Sometimes students want to learn more and progress further in the spiritual aspects of Yoga.

So here is a very short summary of the 8 Limbs of Yoga, since I briefly reference them in my classes:

1. Yamas- These are the moral rules for an individual and how they behave in society. The first is ahimsa, nonviolence. This explains why being a vegetarian is traditionally part of Yoga, morally, as you do not want to participate in violence in any form. The yogi believes that every single creature has as much right to live as he has. Other principles of the yamas include satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (continence), and aparigraha (non-coveting).

2. Niyamas- These are the rules of conduct that an individual must apply to themselves. This includes saucha (purity), santosa (contentment), tapas (ardour), svadhyaya (study of the Self) and Isvara (dedication to the Lord).

3. Asanas- Postures. The yogi first gains health with the asanas, then conquers the body by its practice and makes it a fit vehicle for the spirit. Asanas help control the mind, the intellect and the Self. The yoga frees himself form physical disabilities and mental distractions by practicing asanas. He surrenders his actions and their fruits to the Lord in the service of the world. He treats his practice as an offering.

4. Pranayama- Controlling over all of the functions of breathing. The word prana means breath, life, vitality, energy or strength. Ayama means length, expansion, stretching, or restraint. So pranayama is the science of breath, and through its practice you can control desires, cravings, and the senses, and still the mind.

5. Pratyahara- The senses are withdrawn and brought under control, and the energy and attention is turned inward.

6. Dharana- Concentrating completely on a single point or task. The mind has to be stilled in order to achieve this state of complete absorption.

7. Dhyana- Meditation. The mind thinks of the all-pervading divinity for long, continued devotion, and becomes transformed into the likeness of that divinity.

8. Samadhi- This is the ultimate state for the yogi, the end of the yogi’s quest, the peak of meditation when all the other limbs of Yoga have been mastered. This is a state when the body and senses are at rest, but the mind and reason are alert but he has gone beyond consciousness. A state of complete peace, joy and attunement with the creator. All sense of ”I” and “mine” have fully disappeared as he has merged with the Eternal.

For much more info on Yoga, I highly recommend Autobiography of a Yogi, which is the journey of my beloved guru’s life, Paramhansa Yogananda. I also recommend reading the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (The translation by Sri Swami Satchidananda is my favorite commentary), The Bhagavad Gita (Yogananda’s commentary), and Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar.

For anyone reading this, I wish you Light and Love.