macrobiotic

My top 10 self care tips

My top 10 self care tips

I dieted for years.

I was always trying the latest and greatest diets throughout my college years - Atkins, South Beach, The Zone to name a few to try and keep my overindulgences in check.

I learned a lot with those diets, but it wasn't until I started to learn about eating clean and organic that things started to really shift.

Evolve: Practicing Moderation

peaceI was talking to a friend the other day about how within this last year I've luckily been able to find new balance in my life, and avoid the extremes of my former Macrobiotic lifestyle, to invite in a new life that is now teaching me the art of moderation. I had to soften and open up by way of Ayurveda and my Vinyasa Yoga practice, to be able to invite in a little more play and exploration, but it has been a long journey out of the rabbit hole I dug for myself!

The topic of balance is something I've grappled with for a long time and have briefly touched on it in past posts, but have since found a newfound understanding of the significance in finding balance between two extremes.

As many of you know, I was a 'hard core Macro manic' a few years ago and completely dug myself into a hole that I couldn't find my way out of! I had no idea how I could stop the intensity and rigidity of my ways because I wanted to do everything perfectly! How could I pull away from one area without it all falling apart?!

I was inspired by becoming healthy through this new lifestyle, but was wondering where that other person who used to be so fun could have possibly been hiding! It was as if I left her completely...there was no trace!

I had swung from one side of the pendulum of having too much fun of drinking alcohol, eating sweets and such, to the complete other side of a strict self care life of no sugar, no alcohol, and obsessed with following 'the rules'! I was able to see that my new 'good' ways had replaced my old 'bad' ways, and that really it was just as bad to be good as it was to be bad, but I didn't know where to begin to find moderation!...extremes are never good, even if they're meant to be...

bostonIt was a slow climb out of the rabbit hole of my 'healthy' extremes when I started realizing I couldn't even enjoy being social anymore if I were to break out in a blood blister if I ate something that I didn't normally eat, or if I had a horrible night sleep after only one glass of wine...I was struggling to save a part of my old self while culvitating a new and improved one. I talk about it in one of my posts.

I'm now cultivating moderation! Ayurveda helped me to soften out of my strict Macro ways, but now that I'm newly enjoying being in a relationship, I'm learning that I can enjoy all the things I love without going to one extreme. Ha! Who knew this is what I needed?!

I'm finding I'm living outside my 'safe comfort zone of routine' by staying up late, eating later than usual, eating things I wouldn't normally, drinking wine, etc., but here's the amazing part ~ I'm not even feeling the extreme effects I normally would have before because I'm exploring more by introducing new ways of enjoying life, and I'm relaxed!!! When your mind, emotions and body are relaxed, everything is assimilated with grace! Wahe Guru!

This may sound easy to you, but it was so hard for me to drop my attachments of what I 'knew' (ego driven mind set) to be good for me and open up to the possibility of maybe a new paradigm of what could be 'good for me' as well.

Moderation is good for me. Balance and flow are key. By softening and relaxing the mind around these attachments, I slowly released my emotions of anxiety and fear around stepping out of my rigidity, and into a place that actually felt safe to explore life's treasures of joy.

The physical body follows suit. It all starts in the mind and manifests itself in the physical body. My mind said NO to many things, so my emotions became fearful and my body rejected  things accordingly. Now my mind says YES (with mindfulness) and my fears fall away and my body relaxes to accept, assimilate and digest what I'm feeding it.

It's a whole new world of exploring joy, which is love, which is peace, which is light, and truth! Cultivating balance is yoga and meditation in action. Life is a balance, a yin and yang, a time for play and a time for self care.

I thank God for the gift of finding Macrobiotics to teach me how to heal and cook for myself and I also thank God for helping me out of that lifestyle that became too rigid.

While Macrobiotics healed some parts of my body, it also aggravated others, so I feel grateful to have eased out of my extreme through Ayurveda practices, which allowed me to nourish what needed nurturing, and to strengthen and soften so I could open up to love and play, which in turn invited in a boyfriend who is now giving me the gift of learning how to find more moderation, more fun, more light, more flow.

Wahe Guru!

KATE-SIGNATURE

 

Food Fave!: Mochi ~ it melts!

mochi crutonsFor the love of Mochi!! There are so many ways to eat it and all of them are super satisfying! Mochi is a sweet brown rice that's been steamed and pounded into a block. It's kept in the refrigerated aisle of your natural food store and is a Macrobiotic staple originating from Japan.

Here are my favorite ways to eat it:

As little cubed 'crutons' in soups made by frying it up with a little oil for a few minutes on each side til it puffs up like this:

mochi crutons

 

Or as a savory breakfast eaten as a mochi roll up. I cut thin rectangle slivers and place in a steamer basket inside a cabbage leaf filled with grated carrots, pumpkin seeds and a few drops of tamari. It melts and becomes gooey and cheese like inside!:)  *You can basically steam any vegetable with sliced mochi on top to make it like a 'melt'.

Mochi Roll upsI also like to roast little squares that puff up funny in the oven for a few minutes, or on a saute pan. I drizzle with maple syrup and it's like a little pancake!:)

Try it and play around with your own concoctions! It's playful, yummy food and comes in lots of different flavors!

Enjoy

KATE-SIGNATURE

 

What brings me back to balance

I finally have a stocked kitchen again! YAY!! Who knew just how much I would crave grocery shopping, unloading my bags, and making a mess in the kitchen until I didn't have one to do it in! As you know, I have been in a transition of moving, and so I hadn't really placed myself anywhere until just about a week ago. See post: http://gowiththeglow.net/2013/10/16/are-you-moving-or-escaping/ While it was fun eating out every day, it sure didn't lend a grounding effect for me, as much as I do love all my healthy, vegan restaurants in LA!

Having already lived here, I had my favorite spots to frequent, but in a pinch, I type in 'vegan' in the yelp app search and see what's surrounding me. It's also helpful that you can find a Whole Foods or natural food store pretty much anywhere these days and get something on the run. This all sounds pretty great, huh? Easy to get sucked into this routine, but it doesn't have the grounding effects I need!

All this eating out could quickly become an 'easy' habit, and even if the restaurant choices are the best case scenarios, it will still never compare to my own cooking! Not to say my cooking is nearly as good, but it's my own energy being poured into the food and therefore has healing, and loving benefits that you just can't get from a mass producing kitchen, let's face it!

I was craving the ritual and relationship I have with my cutting board, my knife, my little routine of having some leftovers in the fridge, and planning my day ahead, that I couldn't wait to make a Trader Joe's and Whole Foods grocery run! It's amazing how important this ritual has become for me, now that I've learned how to cook for myself--It grounds me and brings me into harmony! Ideally, I like to cook dinners for myself 4/5 nights a week so that they can turn into lunch leftovers, which then frees me up to enjoy going out the rest of the week--win/win:)!

Just unpacking my grocery bags made me smile! Now, when I open the refrigerator door or the pantry door, I can have freedom to make whatever I feel like! it's so inspiring and exciting to have my vegetable/fruit bowl filled up, my array of leafy greens in the fridge, and tupperware filled containers of leftovers just waiting to be eaten!:)

I'm always brought back to balance when I make my 'go-to' Macrobiotic and Ayurvedic healing dishes: Nishime, Kinpira (see below photo), and Kitchari to name a few.

Just look at how grounding this meal looks!:

Kinpira

Cooking for myself brings me back to balance, into a state of harmony and peace. This is what happiness means to me!

The other 2 most important elements of balance for me are a daily yoga/meditation practice, and daily walks! I'm starting to realize just how important being grounded really is, and how ungrounded I can become! Now that I've adopted this yogic/healthy lifestyle, I'm sensitive to the effects of becoming overly stimulated/scattered.

Computers, iphones, sugar, alcohol, eating out, not moving your body, or cultivating quiet, can really weaken your adrenal glands, your nervous system and your kidneys, which ultimately creates stress and anxiety in the body. Needless to say, unplugging for little periods of the day are so so important for me!

Taking the time to go for a 30 min walk, to include a daily yoga/meditation practice, and to cook a meal for myself are the best ways to bring me back to balance--back to my center. Check out this post on other ways of 'zen-ifying' and how our gadgets are draining our inherent energy source:http://gowiththeglow.net/2012/03/07/zen-ify/.

Being near the ocean, surrounded by palm trees, feeling the breeze and the warm sunshine on my face, I am instantly uplifted and peaceful. Wouldn't you be if you were here:):

Palisades Park Walk

Being able to sneak a walk in is easy, but getting back into a groove of a yoga schedule wasn't quite as seamless. Finally, after two weeks of no yoga, I am back in business! There are so many yoga studios and teachers to choose from in this Santa Monica yoga mecca, that it is easy to pop in for a class, just as easy as it is to pop into a coffee shop--the hard part is just getting it on your schedule!

That's why I have to look at my schedule in the beginning of the week and plug in the times like I would with any appointment--it's a date with myself!:) And O.M.G. it's soooo worth it! Just breathing new life into all the cells of my body, becoming present to my mat, and opening up all the meridians in my body makes me feel oh so good!

So there it is folks, the ways in which I can bring myself back to my happy place, in it's most basic forms: cooking, walking and moving (yoga). If I make it part of my schedule, and stick to it, I've cultivated healthy boundaries and therefore created a grounding effect, anchored in my core values--health and happiness! I hope this inspires you to do the same for you!

Lots of love

In health and happiness,

Kate

The basic structure of your diet + a dressing recipe

what an amazing cooking class/lecture i had the pleasure of experiencing this weekend! my macrobiotic counselor hosted a 'fresh start program" outside of boston, in newton on saturday. he is truly amazing on all levels - spiritually and intuitively attuned to living a life that is whole and complete. if you ever get the chance to catch him in boston or on the road, i highly suggest it - you will feel inspired and centered in no time! check out his website @ www.macrobioticsofnewengland.com.

it's easy to lose your direction in regards to health and the best way to re-establish your intentions for yourself is through food.

i'm a firm believer in the eastern world's approach  of preventative health care. yes, there's a place for western medicine as well, but the cleaner we are, the more sensitive/intuitive our bodies become - speaking to us about what works and doesn't almost immediately.

my friends and family think it's crazy that if i have a few carob chips, or salsa or tomato sauce (anything acidic), i will end up with a blood blister on the inside of my cheek - just like that.

it freaked me out at first, but when i figured out what triggered it and why, i now am so grateful for my bodily functions to alert me of what it doesn't like. i still have the free will to eat it and understand what the ramifications will be, but the fact that my body can discharge/detox that fast is truly a blessing.

if it didn't happen that way, it would happen down the road, manifesting in other ways in the forms of tumors, disease, etc.

bottom line, being a clean, mean machine is pretty awesome!

with that being said, it is so important to be satisfied with our daily meals, so that we don't feel the need to eat things that don't serve us.

we need to stay on that road and realize that the things that don't work for us need to be let go.

we are re creating a healthy environment as we head down this road, and the things we used to do or eat, may not fit into that mold, and we have to be okay with it and embrace the new.

it's a challenge, to say the least, but it helps to have a structure within that journey.

the key ways in keeping that essence alive is by sitting down to at least one whole grain meal per day.

grains attract vegetable dishes, and the more we eat healthfully, the more we crave it, in turn decreasing our desire for sweets, flours, etc.

another way is to sit down to a satisfying bean dish a few times per week.

as long as it's cooked correctly, it will not give you gas. it will help improve liver function, creating younger looking skin, and will lower cholesterol.

the structure of my meals are based around whole grains, vegetables and beans.

it's meatless monday today so maybe you can try a meat free dinner tonight?

i'll be making brown rice, pinto beans with carrots and onions, and a vegetable dish.

remember to make enough for leftovers for your lunch tomorrow!

i always have some on hand and can whip up a quick dish - today i reheated last nights soup and added a light salad with a yummy sesame seed dressing!

dressings make everything more fun!

here's the recipe:

1/2 c. water

1/3 c. sesame seeds

1 tbs brown rice vinegar

1 tbs shoyu

3 tbs chopped scallions

1 tbs lemon juice

i'll let you know what i do with tomorrow's leftovers.

hope to have inspired you in sticking to your intentions of taking care of yourself through food and a good mental attitude, to respect your body and inner voice of your soul!