Carrot Dogs on the Grill

It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy……… It wouldn’t be summer without hot dogs and hamburgers right? No, not your traditional variety

something a littler fresher, a little healthier, and so much more delicious: Carrot Dogs. I must confess,these are not my invention. I tasted my first dog almost 5 years ago in the Brooklyn backyard of my dear friends Kristina and John. These were John’s specialty and I have to say they have haunted me ever since. So hot dog like (but in a good way) and so easy. John generously shared his recipe which I think originated at a place called Mr M’s pub in Omaha Nebraska. It isn’t a crunchy veggie place just a regular pub that happens to have carrot dogs on the menu.

Seeing these on a traditional menu is one of those things that makes my heart sing. I have tweaked the marinade a bit, so that it has just the right amount of salty and spicy. One of my favorite ways to have these is with homemade sauerkraut and mustard. Yum. They can be grilled or not it is up to you but it IS summer after all, so fire up the barbie while you can and enjoy this happier healthier dog.

Carrot Dogs
6 medium sized carrots, with the ends cut off
Marinade:
Whisk together
1 cup Nama Shoyu (available at most health food stores) you can sub low sodium soy sauce if Nama Shoyu is not available
1 cup water
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 clove of minced fresh garlic
Directions:
Steam the carrots until they are tender; you should be able to pierce them with a fork.
They should be cooked through but still be a little “al dente”
When tender, drain the carrots and place in an ice bath. Drain again.
Transfer the carrots to a glass storage container. Pour the marinade over the carrots and refrigerate. 4-6 hours or overnight is best.
Remove from marinade and serve, or place on grill for about one minute.

Welcome Summer. Happy 1st Anniversary to Ahum. Juicing Fruits and Sugar.


Happy Summer! July marks 2 important occasions: The official start of summer and the one year anniversary of AHUM.   After a brief hiatus, I am happy to to be sharing some thoughts on all things yoga.  If you are new to the blog, Welcome!   There is a great archive of past posting to read.   If you are a current  subscriber welcome back!   Here we will PRACTICE.  EAT. and  LIVE.

Thank you for joining me.

Namaste

(“The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra.  the gesture is an acknowledgement of the soul in one by the soul in another.  “Nama” means bow, “as” means I and  “te” means you.  Therefore, Namaste literally means “bow me you” or I bow to you.”  Aadil Palkhivala)

I am a HUGE fan of juicing.  Especially during these hot and humid days, it is a great way to hydrate the body.  I was recently asked about the sugar content in fruits and the effect that the sugar may have on the body.  Great Question.  ( although I do find it kind of funny that someone could eat a lunch of a coke, a burger and fries and no one would blink an eye, but have a fruit juice and something must be awry  🙂

First and foremost when it comes to juice and food it has always been my firm belief that you have to listen to your body.
Everyone’s body is different and it is important to ask yourself the question “How do I feel” after you eat or drink something.

Juicing is and always has been an excellent way to get a concentrated source of nutrients, both vitamins and minerals, into the body in an absorbable form.

Since your body absorbs and digests the nutrients faster, it has more down time for repair.  When your body is not busy digesting food it is on the lookout for ways to heal itself.
When you juice,  you are feeding your body and repairing it at the same time.  Fruit juices in particular are known as “cleansers”.

Yes, when we juice sweet fruits, we are eliminating the key component in slowing down the absorption of the simple sugar fructose. This key component is the pulp, Pulp is an insoluble fiber that slows down the absorption of fructose in the gut by the body.  The rule of thumb for what is an allowable amount of sugar to take in on a daily basis varies tremendously.  The best answer I believe is the following:

“In petitioning for labeling changes regarding sugar, CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest), joined by dozens of leading health experts, also wants the FDA to set a maximum recommended daily intake (Daily Value) for added sugars of 10 teaspoons (40 grams) and require labels to disclose the percentage of the Daily Value a food provides.”There are many naturally occurring sugars such as sucrose which is a combination of glucose and fructose (or fruit sugar), lactose (from milk), maltose and galactose. You don’t want too many of the simple sugar glucose, but you can have a few more of the complex ones. If you digest too many simple sugars, your body gets swamped and the excess that is not used by your body gets stored as fat. Also useful to know is that sugars enters your cells using the same pathway as Vitamin C – so, too much sugar and your body does not absorb Vitamin C as well.  However, you can eat or drink natural sugars in moderation – say up to 100 grams a day (like orange juice which contains quite a lot of fructose). ”

As a frame of reference, on average,  a glass of fresh orange juice has about 30 grams of natural sugar, keeping you well below the amounts discussed above.

In a nutshell, processed sugar is to be avoided, natural sugar is fine in moderation.

In yoga, with food, and in our lives it is always about finding the balance.

Spring Planting

Spring has officially sprung. The bulbs are peaking up through the cold ground, buds are visible on the apple trees, and the birds have started chirping. From the moment we spring forward into daylight savings time, my mind turns to thoughts of planting our vegetable garden.  There is nothing quite like walking out into the garden and eating something freshly picked.  I could not LIVE without it. At this time of year cold hardy seeds can start to be planted. Cold hardy seeds would be any kind of pea or lettuce, leafy greens like kale or spinach.  It is a great way to get out of winter hibernation and start thinking warm weather.  Bartlett’s Farm has a wonderful selection of all kinds of organic seeds to choose from.  With the garden center now officially open, browsing though the seed packets and chatting with some of the super knowledgeable garden staff is sure to inspire.  If you haven’t done so already think about designating a small corner of your garden to edible plants.   It is easy to build a raised bed from scrap wood or a pre made kit, then start planting your favorites.   Maybe you don’t have room for a raised bed and can’t bear to give up your flower bed?   A dear friend of mine plants his flower garden by intermingling his favorite herbs and vegetables throughout the patch.  It is a truly beautiful and unique way to plant.  It is easy to be overwhelmed at first when thinking of planting a vegetable garden, start small and branch out from there.  If seeds aren’t your thing, think about edible landscaping.  Why not plant a fruit tree, or a blueberry bush?  The time and effort spent digging will be well worth it when you can pick a fresh apple and taste the difference.  I was asked once to name my favorite vegetable.  I started by saying asparagus.   Of course anyone who knows me knows that it is impossible for me to choose just one.  My favorite is ususally the one that I have just finished planting or eating.  I probably picked that initially because when I think of asparagus I remember digging the trenches with my husband ( it took hours), I remember being covered in mud (it was cold and wet),  I remember seeing the first stalk emerge in the spring and I remember waiting 3 years to eat any (I forgot about that part).  The first stalk I ate was the most delicious stalk of asparagus I had ever tasted.  We planted it together, we waited, we were patient.  There is a real joy in growing your own food.  Great stories emerge, laughter ensues, and a delicious meal is sure to be had by all.   Happy Spring. Happy planting! A great resource for pre-made raised beds: http://www.gardeners.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Gardeners-Site/default/Link-Product?sku=34-381RS

The Importance of Enzymes

enzymesThe food we choose to EAT is one of the most important decisions that we can make when it comes to maintaining our health.  The more fresh fruits and vegetables that we can incorporate into our diet the healthier we will be.  In fruits and vegetables there is a life giving element that exists: enzymes.

There are 2 groups of enzymes: exogenous; those found in raw food and endogenous; those produced within our bodies.

Enzymes are one of the most essential elements in our body.   Life itself depends on them.  We need enzymes for every bodily function.  Every breath you take, every move you make, every thought you think and every action you take requires enzymes. Enzymes are an absolute necessity to life.  They are your body’s workers. They assist in keeping our body in top form by lowering cholesterol, cleaning the colon, breaking down fats, strengthening the immune system, detoxifying the body, cleaning our lungs, and building muscle.

When we feed our bodies with enzyme-deficient food, our body systems start to slow down and deteriorate.  Cooking food destroys 100 percent of the enzymes in that food. When you eat cooked or processed foods your body must produce ALL the enzymes required to digest that food.  When we are born we are given a limited amount of enzymes.  This is like an enzyme bank account.  If you don’t make regular deposits into your account by eating foods rich in natural enzymes, you start to deplete your account and use up your enzyme supply.

After a prolonged period of depleting the enzymes in our body it starts to work overtime to produce more enzymes, causing extra stress which affects our immune system. This lowers our ability to protect from and fight diseases. Our digestive system eventually slows down causing food to be undigested. This undigested food stays in our system creating a toxic environment that saps your energy, clouds your thinking and is a breeding ground for illness.

The good news is that with the simple addition of fresh fruits and vegetables to our diet we can prevent the depletion of these enzymes.  All fresh and raw foods have naturally-occurring enzymes. Start by adding a fresh fruit or vegetable juice into your daily routine.  Carry bananas, apples, or avocados with you for a snack.  Start dinner with a salad instead of bread.

Start slowly, changing old habits with new fruit and vegetable inspired choices, and welcome the feeling of newfound energy with the addition of these life giving enzymes.

Chia Seeds: An Ancient Super Food.

chiaChia seed is an ancient superfood.   It is a member of the mint family: Salvia Hispanica. The little seeds were once a staple of the Incan, Mayan and Aztec cultures, along with the Native Americans of the southwest.  Chia is actually the Mayan word for strength. The seeds were used by these ancient cultures as energy food, especially for their running messengers.  In the southwest United States chia seeds became known as “Indian running food.”

Chia seeds are an excellent source of dense nutrition with their healthy omega oils, easily digestible protein, and antioxidants. In fact, chia is so high in essential fatty acids that it contains eight times more omega-3s than salmon.  They are also full of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Research has linked this valuable food as being beneficial for many health issues, including diabetes, hypoglycemia, celiac disease, and lowering cholesterol.

  • Chia Seeds are a complete protein with all 9 amino-acids.
  • Chia is the richest non-marine whole food source of Omega-3 and dietary fiber currently known to man.
  • They have six times more calcium than milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones.
  • They contain greater amounts of high-quality protein than found in soy.
  • Chia seeds work like an incredible digestive broom, sweeping through your intestinal tract, helping to remove toxins and eliminating old accumulated waste in the intestines.
  • They have 2 times the amount of potassium as bananas
  • They have 3 times more antioxidant activity than blueberries.
  • They have 3 times more iron than spinach, which is needed to carry oxygen from the lungs into the muscles and organs
  • Chia´s high fiber content and its ability to reduce blood sugar levels after meals inhibits the appetite making it a perfect food for effective weight loss.
  • They improve endurance by keeping the body hydrated and the electrolytes balanced, making them a perfect food for athletes.

In fact, Chia seeds are a perfect food for everyone.  But how do you begin to incorporate these magical little seeds into our diet?  The easiest way would be to start sprinkling them on your next salad.  They have no flavor on their own and take on the flavor of whatever they are added to.  Another great way to enjoy chia seeds is in your next morning smoothie.  Get in the habit of having some prepared chia gel in the fridge.  Prepared chia gel lasts about 1 week in the fridge.  Add 2 or 3 tablespoons into the blender with your favorite recipe.

Get creative!  Think chia jams and jellies, chia pops and puddings.  And then get consistent. Get in the habit of incorporating this super food into your diet, and embrace the strength of the ancient seed.

Basic Chia Gel

2 tablespoons of chia seeds
1 cup of water

Add water to chia seeds and mix well.  Let stand for 15 minutes then stir again,  then let stand for 15 minutes more.

That’s it.  You now have chia gel.  Enjoy!

A Holiday Gift Guide for the Yogi to Live By.

Part 3: Gifts to give for  Eating.

carols

Books:

rawfood
1.  Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow
by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis

sweetGratitude
2.  Sweet Gratitude: A New World of Raw Desserts
byMatthew Rogers and Tiziana Alipo Tamborra

cookEverything
3.  How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food
by Mark Bittman

Other Fun Gifts:

giftBasket
1.   Bring a basket of fresh vegetables and herbs to your next Christmas soiree.   Bartlett’s Farm has a wonderful selection of delicious organic greens and herbs.  Add in a few pomegranates and you have a living gift that any chef would love!

vitamix
2. This is the big splurge of all 3 lists, but it is an appliance that you will use everyday.  It is great for smoothies and soups, sauces and ice creams.   It guarantees that you will start eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, and what could be a better gift than that?
Available at:  http://www.vitamix.com/index.asp or amazon.com

hamiltonBeach
3.  Hamilton Beach 67650 Big Mouth Pro Juice Extractor. This is another appliance that I use everyday.  Starting the day with a fresh juice is a habit I strongly encourage.  This juicer is durable and afordable.
Available at: amazon.com

candlelitdinner
4.  The best gifts are those that are gifts of our time and attention.  Surprise the honey on your list with a romantic candlelight dinner  prepared by you.  Hire a babysitter and clear the calendar. Even if you are not a great cook, give it a whirl,  The love in the preparation will be readily apparent.

After all, that is what this Christmas celebration is all about, giving of ourselves and sharing our love.

Happy Thanksgiving! A Raw Pumpkin Pie Recipe.

pie1

Pumpkin Pie

Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving, a holiday that revolves around EATing?  A day where we get to gather around the table and take a moment to reflect on all that there is to be thankful for.  There are no presents to buy, not much to do (except maybe watch a football game) so we really get the opportunity to enjoy each others company and just be.  My mother started a wonderful tradition many years ago.  Before we dig in to the feast, we go around the dinner table and talk about what we are thankful for.  When we first started doing this my sisters and I were much younger and we and would roll our eyes a little bit and play along to appease her.  Now it has become a most meaningful moment in the day.  It is so easy to focus on what is wrong in our lives or in the world.  By taking a moment to pause and share what there is to be grateful for, we embrace the true meaning of the holiday.

pie2

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without pie and what better way to celebrate than with the quintessential Thanksgiving treat; pumpkin pie?  Try this raw version and you will be amazed at how delicious it is.

Pumpkin Pie

2 cups of soaked and dehydrated pecans
1 cup of pitted medjool dates
½ cup of raw coconut oil
½ teaspoon of cinnamon

Filling

2 cups of cashews soaked overnight
1 cup of sugar pumpkin juice
(To make the pumpkin juice: run ½ of a small seeded sugar pumpkin through a juicer)
½ cup raw agave syrup
½ cup melted raw coconut oil
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract

Pinch of cloves

Blend pecans in a food processor until ground into a fine flour like consistency. Add the dates and cinnamon and blend until it forms a sticky dough.  Press the dough into a 9 inch pie plate.  I like to flute the sides with a fork for a traditional old fashioned look. Place the crust in the freezer to set for about an hour.

pie3

Place all of the filling ingredients in a Vita Mix or other high speed blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into the crust and return to the freezer at least 2 hours or overnight.

Once the pie is set, you can store it in the fridge until dinner.

Enjoy!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Pick Your Own Tomatoes at Bartlett’s Farm with Raw Bloody Mary and Sun-dried Tomato Recipes.

tomatoes1

On Saturday, Bartlett’s Farm held pick your own tomatoes day. It was a little slice of heaven walking through the fields, canvas bags in tow, and filling them to the brim with all the delicious varieties.   At only one dollar per pound, it was the deal of the season.  Walking up and down the rows, I was mesmerized by the colors, the ripeness, the abundance.  Our fellow pickers were smiling and happy, sharing ideas and recipes.  It was a true example of the joy that can be found in the simple moments of the everyday.

Now what to do with 17 pounds of tomatoes?  First, share a few with friends, then get to work preserving the last taste of summer.

Tomatoes are full of wonderful vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E, K, niacin, and folate.  Potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, sodium, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, and chromium. Various studies have shown that the lycopene in tomatoes can help reduce chances of prostate cancer, stomach cancer and colorectal cancer. Lycopene is considered a “miracle” anti-oxidant that may help to stop the growth of cancer cells.

tomatoes2

Dehydrating tomatoes is a great way to preserve them without a lot of messy work. Once they are dried, you can reconstitute them by soaking them in some hot water.  The flavor is rich and concentrated as a tomato paste would be. If you don’t have a dehydrator you can dry them in the oven at the lowest setting.

Dehydrated Tomatoes

  • Slice tomatoes about ¼ of an inch thick
  • Lightly sprinkle with sea salt
  • Place on dehydrator trays so that they do not touch.
  • Set dehydrator to 135 – 140 degrees (the temperature of the tomatoes will remain below 118 degrees)
  • Dehydrate for approximately 12 hours.
  • You can store them in a cool dark place in an air tight container for 6-9 months, or in an airtight container in the freezer for up to one year.
    • 2 large tomatoes
    • ½ cucumber
    • 1 celery stalk
    • 1/3 bunch of parsley
    • ½ lemon peeled
    • 1 tablespoon of freshly grated horseradish
    • Pinch of sea salt
    • Water as needed
  • Oven option:

    Place tomato slices in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Set oven to 200 degrees, Allow the tomatoes to dry in the oven about 8 hours or until they become shriveled, checking frequently during the last couple of hours to ensure that they don’t scorch.  Cracking the oven door open can help prevent the heat from getting to high.

    The easiest fresh tomato juice can be made in a Vita Mix or other high speed blender.  No scoring, no peeling, no boiling, no waste just fresh delicious juice!

    Joann’s Veggie Mary

    (You can substitute ½ of a fresh jalapeño or a pinch of cayenne powder for heat)
    Puree all ingredients in blender.  Serve with cucumber stalk.

    

The 4 Immeasurables: Maitri, Karuna, Mudita, and Upeksha.

shoes

Today is my wedding anniversary.  I am filled with love and joy and gratitude.  And so, today this post is dedicated to love.  You can’t really LIVE without it.  Many of the principles that yoga teaches are easily applied to a loving relationship.  The word yoga itself means “to come together”; “to unite”; “to attain what was previously unattainable”.

By embracing the 4 Immeasureables as discussed in Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras, we have a wonderful support system that encourages positive attitudes and behaviors to create a fufilling relationship.

These 4 sublime attitudes are: Maitri (Lovingkindness)  It is a gentle, loyal acceptance with a deep sense of appreciation and regard. Karuna (Compassion) “ It is the intention and capacity to relieve and transform suffering, to lighten sorrow.” The Buddha described karuna as the “quivering of the heart” we experience when we are open and able to truly see suffering and are moved to do something about it”.  Mudita (Joy)  “True love brings joy, and mudita is the joy we take in the simple pleasures. When we love, joy seems to surround and pervade us”.   Upeksha (Equanimity)  “ It is the ability to feel  a connection fully, without clinging or possessiveness.”

Through these immeasurables we can talk honestly and openly without harm,  we can cultivate a greater awareness of our partner’s needs and put those needs before our own, revel in the simple joys of the everyday, feel a greater connection that allows us to trust that we are always with each other and that this love is constant.  A knowing that this love is greater than ourselves and that all beings are tranquil, happy, and aware of their gifts and accomplishments.  We in turn then feel interconnected to everyone and everything.

As Maharishi Mahesh Yogi said:  “Love is the supreme blessing of life; love as love is universal.  Personal love is concentrated universal love.  Ah my heart flows when I say: Personal love is concentrated universal love.  The ocean of universal love flows in the streams of individual love.  What a blessing in life.”

Indeed.

Juicing for Your Health.

Beet_juice-01

In this case it is actually, DRINK.  Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are one of the best things that you can put into your body.  Fresh juices are a wonderful source of vitamins, minerals, live enzymes and phytochemicals.  By juicing rather than eating you are giving your body all the life giving benefits of the plant without having to work so hard at digesting.  Therefore, the results of juicing are felt almost immediately.   It’s a great way to get an early morning burst of energy and a great way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet.  You might not be able to eat 6 carrots, an apple, a beet and some ginger for breakfast, but you can easily juice them.  Already, you have knocked off the equivalent of 4 servings of fruits and vegetables in one easy to drink delicious glass.  So why not just grab one of those new “all natural” juices in the easy travel plastic containers off the shelf?  The major reason is that these juices are all pasteurized.  While pasteurization may kill unwanted potential bacteria, it also kills everything else along with it.  You are left with none of the vitamins minerals and enzymes that naturally occur in fruits and vegetables; you are left with sugar water.  Do yourself and your body a favor invest in a juicer.  Start incorporating just one juice a day.  You will look better, feel better, and have more energy almost immediately.  Happy juicing!

Red Sky at Night

  • 6 carrots
  • 1 apple
  • ½ beet
  • 1 inch knob of ginger

Juice together and drink immediately.  If ginger is not your thing you can omit it.  Yum!

Ted’s Green Juice

  • 3 large leaves of Swiss chard or Spinach or Kale
  • 1 cucumber
  • ¼ lemon
  • A handful of parsley
  • 1 apple (quartered, seeds removed)

Juice together, and then drink immediately.

Check out:

Amazon.com for a great selection of juicers at prices for every budget.