It’s fall, so that obviously means pumpkin in everything! I love fall and I find fall foods deeply comforting and grounding. I can eat pumpkin and squash soups for days, but sometimes I crave a sweet treat and since I can’t do ice cream I have to get a little creative. Chia pudding is ridiculously easy to make and it’s pretty healthy too (although I suppose that is determined by what goodies you add). Here is my fall take on chia pudding: Spiced Pumpkin Chia Pudding
Why should you eat pumpkin chia pudding? Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamins, including Vitamin A, C, E, and K. It is also high in iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese and dietary fiber. Boom! That’s a lot of goodness packed into one veg. Chia seeds are an excellent source of healthy fat and dietary fiber and provide calcium, phosphorus and manganese. Coconut milk, if you’re buying the pre-packaged beverage kind, like Silk Brand, it is fortified with other vitamins and minerals. If you’re going with the natural stuff, perhaps you’re hardcore and make it yourself or are blessed enough to have fresh coconuts at your disposal, your coconut milk won’t be fortified with vitamins and minerals, but it still remains a healthy source of fat. Remember that not all fats are bad for you. Our brains need fat to function.
Ingredients for Spiced Pumpkin Chia Pudding
2 1/2 Tablespoons chia seeds
3/4 cup coconut milk beverage (not the canned stuff… it’s way too high in fat)
1/2 cup organic canned pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup (or 1 teaspoon maple syrup and one Medjool date pitted and minced)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice blend or make your own (ground cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and cloves)
In a medium bowl, combine your chia seeds and coconut milk. Allow the chia seeds to soak 5-10 minutes.
With an immersion blender, give them a quick spin.
Add your pumpkin, maple syrup (and date if you’re using one), vanilla and spices. Spin again.
If your impatient, you can eat it now, but it’s best after it has had a chance to set in the fridge for 30+ minutes.
**If you’re kapha, cut your coconut milk with water or extra pumpkin.
Hello yogis and fellow veggie lovers! Here is one of my new favorite weeknight vegetarian recipes. It’s super easy and takes less than thirty minutes to make… maybe even less than 20 if you don’t dilly dally and goof off while you’re making dinner. Hope you love this super easy vegetarian cauliflower fried rice as much as I do!
Did you know that one cup of cauliflower provides over 70% of your daily vitamin C requirement? Yep, it’s true. Cauliflower is also a good source of Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate and Potassium. It even has a little bit of protein (2 grams in one cup). Who knew?
Quick and Easy Cauliflower Fried Rice
1/2 head of cauliflower
1 large carrot, chopped up into smallish pieces
1 big handful of snow peas, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 shallot, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 eggs, whisked
1- 1 1/2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 tablespoon tamari (or regular soy sauce)
white pepper, to taste
sea salt, to taste
chili pepper flakes, to taste
toasted sesame seeds to garnish
diced green onions to garnish
Prep your cauliflower. Cut the heads of the cauliflower off and feed the heads and top of the stem through the grater on your food processor. You might also be able to use a blender on pulse or hand grate using a cheese grater (but who has time for that). (1-2 minutes)
In a 10-12 inch saute pan, add about 2 teaspoons of your oil (not two tablespoons!) and heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, shallot and carrots to your pan. Saute until the shallots are transparent and the carrots have softened just a bit. (~ 5 minutes)
Add the remaining sesame oil, cauliflower rice, and snow peas to the pan. Turn the heat up to medium-high and saute another 7-9 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked, but not mushy. (7-9 minutes)
Create a well in the center of your pan by pushing all of the cauliflower rice to the side and add your whisk eggs to the well. Allow your eggs to cook a bit and then fold them into the rice. (2 minutes)
Add your tamari and adjust to taste. You may also like to add sea salt, white pepper, or chili pepper flakes at this point too.
Plate your fried rice and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and green onions.
Enjoy your cauliflower fried rice!
Love cauliflower? Craving something to warm you up on a cool fall or winter evening? Check out my Hazelnut and Cauliflower Soup. It’s also delicious and surprisingly healthy.
Summer is finally here! Which means it’s time for outdoor yoga classes. This is the first summer that I have seen tons of outdoor yoga classes in Bend… seriously, you can practice yoga outside every day of the week. How do you even choose which ones to attend?
Every Sunday 10:30-11: 30 am (rain or shine) NEW TIME: 9:30 – 10:30 am
This is my favorite class of the outdoor yoga classes in Bend. Every Sunday, tons of Bend yogis gather for a yoga session on the lawn. Helen, owner of Wild Thing Yoga, teaches a super fun, truly all levels vinyasa yoga class. There are plenty of opportunities to play on your hands or simply stretch it out. The lawn is also surrounded by a wildflower-covered hill (perfect for those Instagram pics!). After class, you can hang out on the hill with a can of Deschutes beer and chillout with Bend’s awesome yoga community. It’s pretty rad. You can usually catch me here on a Sunday morning– usually practicing, but occasionally teaching.
Location: 901 SW Simpson Ave, Bend, OR 97702 (this is the address to the Brewery) — Yoga class is on the lawn behind the brewery off of Shevlin-Hixon Road.
Every day of the week except Wednesdays from 9:30-10: 30 am
Lara House is a super cute B&B owned by a mother-daughter team. It was built in the early 1900s and still has that original charm. Lara House has a giant lawn surrounded by huge, gorgeous trees and rhododendrons… it’s also right across from Drake Park and the Deschutes River. It’s a new favorite of Bend downtown locals and tourists alike. After your outdoor yoga class, you can head over to Drake Park or walk back downtown and grab a coffee at Crows Feet Commons or the Looney Bean. On July 6th there will be a FREE yoga class at 5:30 pm taught by myself and Helen for First Friday. Happy hour to follow.
Leanna Schweitzer and Wren and Wild have paired up to offer a fun Sunday morning flow at Millers Landing. Noise canceling headphones + groovy jams and sunshine by the river. It’s a great opportunity to try Silent Disco yoga in a beautiful low key setting. I loved the DJ’s playlist and Leanne’s class was awesome, as always. After class, go grab brunch at Jackson’s Corner… get their Portobello breakfast and a bloody mary. YUM!
Fridays at 5:30 pm; Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00-10:00am
If you remember the old school Entrada Lodge and it’s old school vibe you will love that the new owners are keeping that old school nostalgic vibe, but making it super cool! They’ve added fire pits, string lights, daily yoga, bike rentals and more. Loge Entrada offers yoga every day of the week for guests and locals alike. Their outdoor yoga class is on their side lawn near the stage. Grab a yoga class and then hang out for a beer, movie, or live music. Occasionally there are even beginner friendly mountain bike rides after the Wednesday evening classes… contact Loge Entrada or Wild Thing Yoga for the details.
Another great outdoor yoga class offered by the Deschutes River. Bend Brewing Company, or BBC as the locals call it, opens right after class, so you can grab a beer or a bite and chill by the river and enjoy your post-yoga glow. Class is taught by Kayla Heuton. Kayla teaches an all-levels vinyasa style class… well-behaved dogs and children are welcome!
Location: 1019 NW Brooks St, Bend, OR 97701
Outdoor Yoga Events
Athleta | Free Yoga With An Athleta Ambassador | July 7, 2018
Athleta offers free yoga classes… sometimes in the store and sometimes outdoors. Here is a link to their July 7th class.
Bend Beer Yoga | Saving Grace Fundraiser | July 8, 2018
Bend Beer Yoga offers outdoor classes in Bend at local breweries, Crows Feet Commons, local guesthouses and hostels. Check out their website for upcoming events… this is a great opportunity to convince your non-yogi friends to give yoga a shot!
Yoga + Beer Bend, Oregon Retreat | August 15-19, 2018
Mikki Trowbridge leads a yoga and beer retreat here in Bend. She gets a great turn out and I can only imagine it’s a ton of fun.
End of Summer FREE Yoga at Les Schwab Amphitheater | August 30, 2018
Helen Cloots of Wild Thing Yoga will be packing the lawn at Les Schwab. Don’t miss out!
The feet tend to take a lot of abuse and they almost never get a day off as most people are always on their feet whether they are working or playing. While keeping active is always a good thing, it can leave you with achy and sore feet. But, if you are a fan of yoga, you should know that there are some poses that can be very useful in keeping your feet healthy so that they can withstand the almost constant abuse.
Some of the best yoga poses for better foot health include the following five.
#1 Mountain Pose-Tadasana
If you are going to do any standing yoga pose, mountain pose is always going to be your foundation. However, it is also a helpful pose for your feet as it helps improve balance, focus and your general posture. Healthy posture is vital for foot health as it reduces irritation and inflammation of the foot muscles and joints. Mountain pose helps you focus on your posture and stance which in turn ensures you are more aware of your standing habits to minimize the pressure on certain parts of the foot which tend to be the most problematic such as the heels.
How to do it:
* Start by standing with your feet parallel and about hip-width apart.
* Spread your toes apart and then distribute your weight evenly across both feet.
* Make sure that you do not lean forward or backward as you apply even pressure on all four corners of each foot.
* Keep your legs straight but not locked and make sure that your hips are aligned with the ankles.
* Breathe in deeply and then stretch the spine towards the ceiling with the arms at your side.
* Hold the pose for about 3 minutes and try to focus on both maintaining the correct position and your steady breath.
#2 Tree Pose-Vrksasana
Tree pose is a classic yoga pose that will help to improve your balance and the distribution of weight across your feet. This pose will entail transferring weight from one foot to the other which in the long run will improve your balance. Also, the weight transfer will help to stretch the micro muscles around the shin and foot.
How to do it:
* Start by coming into mountain pose.
* Slowly shift your body weight to the left foot, bend your right knee and then use your right hand to bring the sole of your right foot to your inner thigh, calf, or ankle.
* While in tree pose, keep your pelvis centered and parallel to the floor and your back straight.
* Bring both your hands in front and together to form anjali mudra (prayer hands). Lift your hands above your head to come into the full expression of the pose.
* Hold the position for at least 10 seconds and then release before repeating for the other foot.
#3 Warrior 1 Pose-Virabhadrasana 1
Warrior 1 or Virabhadrasana 1 in Sanskrit is also a classic yoga pose that can come with numerous health benefits for the feet. This pose is all about stretching your feet and strengthening the foot muscles but it can also help to reduce heel pain. And it can also help lift flat arches as it targets specific arch muscles to help lift the feet.
How to do it:
* Start in mountain pose.
* Take a long step forward so that your feet are 3-4 feet apart and hips width distance.
* Make sure your body and front foot face forward and turn the back foot 45 degrees to provide some balance.
* Bend your front leg until the front knee is directly above the ankle to form a 90-degree angle.
* Press your back heel and pinky toe edge of your foot into the ground
* Lift your arms straight up. Hold this pose for 30 seconds before switching to the other foot.
#4 Thunderbolt Pose- Vajrasana
When you want to release tension on your feet Thunderbolt Pose is a great option. And this is because it entails sitting on your heels which helps to press into a natural pressure point in the arch.
How to do it:
* Start by kneeling on the floor.
* Bring your knees to touch and press the tops of your feet flat against the floor. Your heels should be as close to one another as possible.
* Now lower the weight of your body onto your heels and then sit with a straight posture and your hands resting on your thighs.
* Hold this posture for about one minute before releasing.
* Finish by stretching your legs out in front of you. Give your legs a little shake or find movement before repeating the routine again.
#5 Toes Pose
Toes Pose is a popular Yin Yoga pose that targets the plantar fascia ligament, one of the most problematic ligaments in the foot as it is where the pain that comes from plantar fasciitis originates. This pose aims to stretch, strengthen and elongate the fascia, and in doing all this it helps to keep the soles of the feet in great shape.
How to do it:
* Start by sitting in a kneeling position.
* Next, lift up on the toes (your toes are curled under) with the knees still anchored in front of you and still on the ground.
* Gently let your weight settle back onto your heels and hold this pose for a minute or two.
* Make sure that you breathe calmly and deeply through this pose, and also try to imagine the fascia becoming more flexible and elongated.
Your feet have to carry a lot of weight every day and so keeping them in good shape is vital not only for their health but also for your overall well-being. And while there are many ways of doing this, yoga poses like the five above are a great starting point.
I’ve been deep diving into living a healthier and more vibrant life. My desire to live the best life possible led me to Cate Stillman’s Body Thrive course. The course is fully rooted in healthy habits and Ayurvedic principles. I’ve been feeling so great, that I committed to doing her twelve month Yoga Health Coaching course (I’m in month one as of May 2018)! This little blog post is simply meant to be an intro to Ayurveda, an Ayurveda 101 if you will. 😉
Ayurveda 101: What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an ancient science that originated during the Vedic era in India, thousands of years ago. When one looks at the Sanskrit roots of the word Ayurveda we see Ayu = life and Veda = science or knowledge, so Ayurveda is literally the science of life. Ayurveda is not just a way to cure disease, it is also a way of life.
Following an Ayurvedic lifestyle leads to overall health, improved immune system function, weight loss/weight maintenance, lowered risk of disease and improved energy. I think we all want more of that!
Ayurveda 101: Ayurveda and Your Whole Being
Ayurvedic practitioners take into account the person’s entire being: physical, mental and spiritual. They assess diet, lifestyle, daily habits, imbalances and instances of dis-ease. Ayurvedic practitioners look at your prakriti (or constitution) and your vikruti (current state of imbalance) and work on bringing the patient back into balance by balancing the doshas.
The Ayurvedic College defines “a person’s prakriti [as] the inherent balance of the three doshas at the moment of their creation.” To know a person’s constitution is to know their tendencies. And to know your own prakriti is a way to step into your own power and live a vibrant, healthy dis-ease free life.
Your prakriti, or constitution, is determined by the balance (or imbalance) of your doshas. It is common to have one or two dominant doshas. The three doshas are vata, pitta, and kapha. Each of the doshas has very specific tendencies and are identified by different characteristics of body type, energy, digestion, personality and so much more. Want to find out your dosha? I like the Banyan Botanicals quiz (although they do try to sell you their products). Here is a link to the Banyan Botanicals dosha quiz. I’m Kapha-Pitta, and almost NO VATA!!! I’ve been working on balancing my own doshas and it’s been a fun experiment in self-care.
Your vikruti is your current state of imbalance and is not static. Your vikruti changes at different times of day, seasonally, your stage of life and with lifestyle changes. Would you like to determine your vikruti? Here is a short worksheet from the Ayurveda Institute that you can take.
Once you’ve discovered your prakriti and vikruti, and therefore your dominant dosha(s), you can begin to make lifestyle changes to balance your doshas and thrive. Three easy ways to balance your doshas are to eat a diet to pacify your dominant dosha(s), establish a dinacharya practice, and align your lifestyle with the ayurvedic clock.
Ayurveda 101: Ayurvedic Diet
In Ayurveda they have broken down our tastes into six dominant tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Certain tastes increase or decrease the qualities of each dosha.
For example, pitta types typically tend toward hot and oily need to eat foods that are cooling and drying to balance the firey qualities of pitta. They do well with smoothies, fresh and raw foods and should avoid garlic and heating spices. Spicy foods can aggravate pitta and bring it out of balance. Salty, sour, and pungent foods increase pitta, while sweet, bitter and astringent foods pacify pitta.
Kapha types who tend toward heaviness will do best with astringent, bitter and pungent foods, while vata types who tend to be light and airy need foods that are warm, rich, and heavy or foods that are characterized by sweet, salty and sour.
You can see here that the Ayurvedic diet is one way to find balance and overall health. Quote by Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Ayurveda 101: Dinacharya
Another way to balance your doshas is to establish a dinacharya practice. Dinacharya is a daily routine, specifically a morning routine. The Ayurvedic morning routine begins with rising before the sun and involves a handful of self-care practices. For most of us, we don’t have hours to dedicate to our morning practice, but I’ve found it pretty easy to streamline.
For example, I wake early, sit upright in bed and meditate for a few minutes, I get up and scrape my tongue and brush my teeth, evacuate my bowls, hydrate, walk the dogs, and then hop in the shower. After my shower, I use a little oil to massage my body and joints and then I’m ready to go.
Do I do all of the dinacharya practices? No, but I have it down to a habitual flow and it works wonders. The trick with waking early begins with eating an early dinner and going to bed at a decent time the night before. The beauty of following Ayurvedic practices is that we immediately tune in and honor our body’s natural rhythms.
Ayurveda 101: Aligning With The Ayurvedic Clock and Your Physiology
Our 24-hour clock and the doshas are also aligned: certain times of day align with certain doshas, which means that certain tasks are better done at certain times of the day. Here is a simple breakdown of the Ayurvedic clock:
10 pm to 2 am Pitta
From 10pm-2am it is possible to get a second wind, want to snack, etc. It’s best to head to bed before 10 pm, so that your second wind doesn’t keep you up later than you intended. This is also the time of organ healing and restoration, so it is best to skip that midnight snack.
2 am to 6 am Vata
This is the time where energy is most fluid. This is also the time when many people need to get up for a late night bathroom break. It is best to wake up and start your day before 6 am. This time of day is also characterized by active dreaming and is a time of expansion and awe.
6 am-10 am Kapha
The morning hours between 6 am and 10 am are characterized by a steady energy and it is the best time of day to get your daily exercise in.
10 am-2 pm Pitta
Digestive fire is the strongest during this time, so it’s recommended to eat your largest meal of the day between 10am and 2pm. This is also the time of greatest productivity.
2 pm-6 pm Vata
This is the time to work on projects or do seated tasks and it’s a good time to tackle problems as you may feel both alert and creative. It’s best to eat dinner before 6 pm to allow for proper digestion before bed.
6 pm-10 pm Kapha
This is a time of slowing down. It’s a great time to spend with friends and family or to get your daily exercise in.
The amazing thing that happened to me was that my energy improved. I’ve had more energy to do the things I want to do. I’m also more in tune with my body and its needs. Do I need to rest? Do I need to eat? What foods make me feel good and what foods make me feel “blah”. I love it!
Over the next few months I will work on sharing more info about Ayurveda, changing your habits and living a healthier life, so if you have questions please ask!