Monday, April 26, 2010

A day at the Farmer's Market...

Farmer's Markets are filling up this time of year with loads of fresh produce, local milk, free range eggs, homemade breads and goodies, along with unique crafts and interesting conversations. The Farmer's Market is a place where locals unite to meander around the booths, letting their eyes pull them in, and their imaginations go wild.

When spotting a bushel of yellow carrots a few weekends ago I felt immediately intrigued and the hunter and gatherer part within inspired me to go taste one. They had a crisp fresh taste with a hint of citrus flavor and were surprisingly delicious! The creative juices begin to flow as I wondered.... How do I prepare this? What foods would match well with it?

Each experience at a Farmer's Market is completely unique and you can bet all the fresh produce is seasonal and local. In fact you never know what you are going to find there and will enjoy spending time picking out exactly which sweet potato will suit your needs as they will be of many different shapes and sizes. Skip out on making that grocery list until you scope out the available produce from your area because you can't guarantee whether or not there will be purple potatoes or daikon greens ready that week.

Be bold and try new things, most vendors at a Farmer's Market will gladly give you a sample and ideas on how to cook a new item. Our taste buds change periodically and there are so many thousands of ways to prepare something - you are bound to like at-least one of them!

Think of our traditional American grocery stores... a place where the shelves are filled from top to bottom, many varieties of fruits and vegetables are mostly available year round going against the way they grew in nature, noisy ads, machines, and the need to rush out of the store as hurriedly as possible are all influencing our experience. We walk carelessly and grab the first apple we see on the pile because they are all identical in size and shape. We stick them into our carts, wheel them around, grab items from shelves, and then watch someone else bag our groceries for us! This country truly is the land of opportunity and the food supply in America is something to be proud of! Large chain stores are very important for providing staple items like grains, oils, etc that can't be found at

Market's or even locally... they each serve their own place.

Now, take it back... way back. Think of the true hunters and gatherers... they spent hours each day simply collecting food and preparing it to be cooked. They didn't go out with a massive grocery list of "orders to fill," they went out with an open-mind and an empty stomach and were grateful for what crossed their paths for nourishment. Finding food was a highlight of their day and they got to expend creative energy seeking out their meals! Going to the Farmer's Market is like reconnecting with the hunter and gatherer part of yourself that is excited about discovering the nourishment out there! In fact I challenge you visit your local Farmer's Market and then visit your favorite large-chain grocery store and feel the difference for yourself.

Today we live in a society that views taking time to seek out quality, fresh prepared food as inconvenient and we take for granted the nourishment right before us. Major amounts of US dollars are spent supporting non-sustainable agricultural practices and growing food that is going to be used to produce highly processed and refined goods. According to the USDA, Corn is the most widely produced grain at 90% of all grains grown in this country. Most of this corn produced will be used to feed livestock, then it will be used for food an industrial products like high fructose corn syrup in beverages and even fuel ethanol. Farmer's are eternally in debt due to changing regulations and producing what the market wills them to. The current state of our food economy is a trend toward supporting and consuming highly processed foods. This attitude can shift one meal at a time and one shopping trip at a time. Whether your shopping at a Farmer's Market or a large chain store this is an important thought to carry with you.

Spending locally supports the economy and helps make fresh, affordable, and nutritious foods available to more people in your area! Also by buying fresh, locally, and preferably organic vegetables we "vote" with our dollars to support sustainable farming practices. Less toxic emissions in the form of greenhouse gases are released due to lesser amounts of transportation utilized to bring the food from the farm to your table. Bring your own bags to prevent the formation of even more waste in the form of hard to recycle plastic baggies.

Shopping at your local farmers market can also (drum roll, please) help you save money on some items! Imagine that... This week at the Farmer's Market I walked home with:

1-1/4 lbs. local organic purple and red potatoes $3
4 oz. fresh, local alfalfa sprouts $2.5
2 lbs. local, organic fava beans $3
1 lb. local, organic snow peas $3
1/2 gallon local, antibiotic/hormone free, happy cow local milk $3
1/2 pint local, antibiotic/hormone free, happy cow chocolate milk$0.75
1 dozen free range, antibiotic/hormone free, local eggs $5
2 lbs. local roasted peanuts $2
= $22.25

At average grocery stores a half gallon of organic milk ranges from $3.50-4.75. Similarly Alfalfa sprouts of a similar size cost $4.99 at the local grocery store. In addition you miss out on unique local products that are rich in antioxidants (like purple potatoes). Sometimes in chain stores apples are shipped in from Ecuador instead of New York or Pennsylvania, and so on. Thousands of extra miles the food is traveling to go from the farm to your hand! Where you spend your money determines the future of the food industry in our country - where do you want your food to come from?

Some vendors even offer discounts if you bring back the carton to reduce waste! Many Farmer's Markets are on the cutting edge and accepting electronic payment along with EBT. A day at the Farmer's

Market is indicative of People working together to keep costs down and the local economy strong!

Most importantly enjoy being a part of the community! :-)

To find out more about Farmer's Markets in your area contact your local Chamber of Commerce.

A few links to enjoy:

Moving and Shaking:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Blackberry Tea Infusion

Lightly sweetened tea blend with the hint of blackberry and the astringent qualities of green tea with the balancing smoothness of white tea.

1/2 gallon water, plus more

1 blackberry tea bag

1 white tea bag

3 green tea bags

1/4 c. organic cane sugar

Cooking Instructions:

1. Fill 1/2 gallon pitcher with water and pour water into a large sauce pan. Boil water to full open boil. Turn off heat and stir in tea bags and sugar. Cover and set aside to steep and cool. Pour into pitcher and fill with extra water.

From a simple sugar perspective: all sugars are created equal whether they come from honey, agave, molasses, brown sugar, or white sugar. However, some of the sugars do undergo less processing yielding a more natural product. For example, some types of honey like raw, and local honey are believed to help reduce allergy issues. You can substitute you favorite sweetener!

Album Release Picnic - Yoga: Exploring the Practice

Due to requests from several students a Yoga practice cd entitled, "Yoga: Exploring the Practice," was born. This CD is intended to be used by those experienced with Yoga and have gone to a regular class for a few months at least. Having a foundational knowledge of the practice of hatha Yoga (the physical practice of Yoga on mats) will help you to enjoy the practice and be in the moment. The sequence of poses utilized are designed to warm up the body, build strength overall and especially in the core muscles, open the hips, deeply cool down, and relax. Most students have rated this practice sequence as being "moderate intensity." So you can expect a challenge and a deeply de-stressing relaxation! Pick your favorite soothing music on as background noise turn on the CD and immerse yourself fully into the moment!

In addition to the hour long physical practice of Yoga, you will also find a meditation, mantra chanting, and laughter Yoga.

The mantra on the CD is a traditional Sanskrit mantra:

Ohm Namah Shivaya Gurave

Satchidananda Murtaye

Nishprapanchaya Shantaya

Niralambhaya Tejase

Sanskrit words have several English meanings. One interpretation of this mantra: is an offering of honor to the teacher that lives inside all things and every aspect of life. Every moment is an opportunity to be happy, aware, and feel bliss. This mantra suggests a link between a God, a life force, breath (whatever you call "it") and these higher states of consciousness. This mantra is about honoring the teacher within all things and feeling unity!

The CD will be released Saturday, May 1st from 12-2pm at Sweetheart Circle. Join us for some complimentary refreshments, and pick up a copy! CD's are $10 each or 3 for $25.
Copies will also be available online through iTunes and

Contact: for more details.

Last few weeks in Georgia Class Schedule

Hello all! Graduation is two weeks away - yay! My teaching schedule for the rest of the time while I am in Statesboro is as follows:

April 25-May 1

Sunday: Beginner Yoga 5:30-6:20pm @ the RAC

Monday: Yoga Clinic 8-9:30pm @ the RAC

Tuesday: Advanced Yoga 7-8am @ the RAC
Mid-Day Flow Yoga 12-1pm@the RAC
Flow Yoga 6-7pm @ Ogeechee Technical College

Wednesday: Rise and Shine Yoga 7-8am @ the RAC
Flow Yoga 5:30-6:20pm @ the RAC

Thursday: Restorative Yoga 5:45-6:45pm @ the Honey Bowen Building

May 2-8

Monday: Flow Yoga 6:30-7:30pm @ the RAC

Tuesday: Advanced Yoga 7-8am @ the RAC
Flow Yoga 6-7pm @ Ogeechee Technical College

Wednesday: Rise and Shine Yoga 7-8am @ the RAC
Flow Yoga 5:30-6:20pm @ the RAC

Thursday: Community Flow Yoga 5:45-6:45pm @ the Honey Bowen Building

May 9-15

Monday: Flow Yoga 6-7pm @ Ogeechee Technical College

Tuesday: Flow Yoga 6-7pm @ Ogeechee Technical College

Thursday: Community Flow Yoga 5:45-6:45pm @ the Honey Bowen Building

I am available for Private lessons, contact me at for more details!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Chocolate Chip-A-Root Bites

This recipe is the culmination of months worth of effort to create a high quality baked product that is friendly to food allergies and contains root vegetables. It's a moist, dense, rich chocolate flavored, low calorie, low fat treat. In addition, this product is very low in sodium, low in saturated fat, and a great source of antioxidants! Don't let all the health claims fool you - these are delicious!

Ingredients: see ingredient notes below*
1 c. sorghum flour
3/4 tsp. guar gum
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbl. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
3.8 oz dark berry applesauce
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c. original flavored rice milk
1-1/2 c. peeled butternut squash, grated
1-1/2 c. unpeeled sweet potato, grated
1/3 c. dairy-free, gluten-free semisweet chocolate chips

Cooking Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 176 degrees Celsius.
2. Spray two mini-muffins pans with cooking spray.
3. In a medium sized bowl, mix together: flour and all dry ingredients except sugar and chocolate chips. Whisk to combine and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together: all wet ingredients except vegetables until light and fluffy. Stir in vegetables. Fold in chocolate chips.
5. Spoon mixture evenly into 42 muffin cups (omit one column) approximately 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons per bite. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until tooth pick inserted in center of muffin comes out dry. Enjoy!

Serving Size = 1 bite. At under 40 calories per bite you can indulge guilt free on a few of these!

*Recipe options: note that any substitutions will alter the nutritional and allergen content
- In place of sorghum flour: all purpose gluten-free flour, rice flour, whole wheat flour, etc.

- You can purchase aluiminum-free baking powder at a health food store.

- Dark berry apple sauce refers to pre-made applesauce in individual 3.8 oz containers, find this with your premade applesauces at your local grocery store. Avoid ones containing high fructose corn syrup as this promotes storage of extra fat in the body. Fat accumulation around the abdomen and lower torso is related to increased risk of diseases.

- Rice milk may be substituted with cows, almond, or your favorite milk option. Soy has been widely researched for around 40 years now. Some research suggests that the consumption of Soy is beneficial due to it's ability to mimic estrogen. This product is used to relieve symptoms of menopause which is indicative of a decrease in the hormone estrogen in the body and physical symptoms like the loss of menstruation. Other new research from a long-term study suggests that Soy can lead to premature aging, growth disorders, thyroid gland problems, infertility, and tumor growth. Consider the facts!

Follow your bliss...

Everyday the times slips by and it grows ever closer to my graduation from college. When I think back of all that I've done with my life over the past 24 years I realize school has ruled all of my major life decisions.

For the first time in my life, I choose what is next and what interests to pursue, etc. To be honest this absolutely scared the stuff out of me! Doubts came flooding down like a thick rain storm covering everything. I kept thinking... do I go after an internship? do I need a masters degree? how can I make the money I need? what field do I pursue? what type of job ? where do I pursue a job?

.... In the midst of all these questions my mind was running in self-defeating circles. I felt stress manifesting in my body in the form of tight muscles and a lump in my throat that I just couldn't seem to shake. I saw the tears rolling down my cheeks and I witnessed first hand the turmoil inside. No matter how many conversations I had with parents and my loving boyfriend over all the options that I had... I still struggled with "making" choice over what to do.

Frustrated over the months of indecision... I finally decided to just let go and see what comes. Letting go was one of the most liberating and challenging aspects of this process. At the very core of my nature... I wanted a plan, and I had to face the realization that what I really needed was the exact opposite.

In all my "trying" to "make" a decision I was only adding to the stress, and feeding self-hate (doubt) by succumbing to fears. At the very essence of this inner battle, lied fears that I was inadequate or not enough. We all face similar emotions and have the choice to let the fears subside as we breathe into all the good that lies within us.

Once I let go I really just fell into a quiet place and allowed the wheels of my mind to slow down. Weeks later, I happened upon a quote by the scholar Joseph Campbell...

"Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss,
you put yourself on a kind of track,
that has been there all along waiting for you,
and the life you are living,
is the life you ought to be living.
When you can see that,
you begin to meet people
who are in the field of your bliss,
and they open doors to you.
I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid,
and doors will open,
where you didn't know they existed.
Follow your bliss,
and door will open for you that wouldn't have opened for anyone else."

After reading this, I sat in simple cross legged position in the middle of the day, with the sun shining through the windows, and tears of happiness gliding down my face. I felt a smile instinctively curl up onto my lips and I cried and laughed through the simplicity of this. The answer lay openly in front of me.

All along... through those months of indecision I knew and talked openly about how much I loved Yoga and wanted nothing more than to share it with the world. Yoga to me is bliss, practicing it, reading about it, and talking about it gives me limitless amounts of unconditional happiness.

So I have my answer, I am going to follow my bliss... by giving in to all that is Yoga. :-)

May all beings know peace, may all beings feel love from all sides, and may all beings seek their bliss!