Archive for April, 2015

April 10, 2015

SEED BITE POWER BALLS

paleo balls close up

(A Recipe by Practically Paleo Bites)

These tasty power balls are the brain child of Suzanne Mullowney of Practically Paleo Bites. My family is  one of the lucky taste testers for her new products so we get excited whenever we hear she is developing a new bar. These Power Balls are great for on-the-go healthy snacks, and are seed based so can be packed for school lunches as well. If you love them as much as we do you will probably also enjoy the Practically Paleo Hunger Gap Bars available at Food for Thought and The Real Food Market.

INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup (62g) Medjool dates

1 cup dried apricots (unsulphured)

½ cup hemp hearts

1/3 cup organic sunflower seeds

Paleo Ingredients 21 cup organic pumpkin seeds divided (1/2 cup processed, ½ cup remain whole)

½ cup organic shredded coconut

1/8 cup organic chia seed

3 Tbsp of tahini

1/3 cup Unpasteurized honey

1/8 tsp pink Himalayan pink salt

VARIATIONS

¼ cup dried cranberries (sweetened with apple juice) or ¼ cup organic cacao nibs

METHOD

Place dried apricots in a small sauce pan and add ½ cup of water.  Heat until simmering and stir for 5 minutes or until apricots start to plump up.  Remove from stove and drain water.  Set aside.

Add ½ cup pumpkinseeds, sunflower seeds and hemp hearts to a food processor and pulse until finely ground (don’t over do it, some larger pieces are good too). Remove ground seeds and place in a mixing bowl.

Add pitted dates (use butter knife to cut date open and remove pit) and apricots to processor bowl.  Process until combined and paste-like.  Add processed dried fruits to bowl with processed seeds. Add remaining whole pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and shredded coconut and any of the variation ingredients, if using.  Mix to combine.

Paleo BallsAdd tahini, salt and honey to a small sauce pan and warm on low heat. Stir to mix the two fluid ingredients together.  Pour over seeds mixture in bowl and stir to combine.

Using slightly wet hands scoop a tablespoon of mixture and roll in between the palm of hands.  If hands become too sticky the balls will not form.  Rinsing hands to remove excess ingredients will help.  Place in a dish or container lined with parchment paper. Place dish or container in fridge or freezer to allow balls to firm up (15-30 minutes).

Practically Paleo Bites is a local business which provides grain and refined sugar free homemade foods. Check out the Practically Paleo Bites facebook page for more information on their nutrient dense, unprocessed and incredibly delicious foods.

Wondering where to find the ingredients for this recipe in St. John’s? Unsulphured apricots & tahini can be found at Food For Thought (84 Gower Street) and at all Bulk Barn locations in the city.  Tahini and organic cacao nibs can also be found at some Dominion & Sobeys locations. Organic pumpkin seeds can be found at The Natural Health Shop (16 Stavanger Drive) or Real Food Market (36 Pearson Street). Dried cranberries, organic cacao nibs and organic shredded coconut can be found at The Natural Health Shop (16 Stavanger Drive).

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April 6, 2015

Spring Cleaning for the Soul (and Your Closets)

Spring Cleaning Buddha DustingWith the arrival of spring, thoughts of cleaning seem to burst forth with the crocus blossoms. As I pondered what I’d like to get sorted in my home, I was reminded of how all yoga teachings are really, at their essence, all about cleansing.

Yoga uses meditation to cleanse from the inside out, while simultaneously chipping away at the obstacles from the outside in, with practices such as asana and even maintaining our environments to help facilitate a gateway to experiencing the essence of yoga. In the book The Life-changing Magic Of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art Of Decluttering And Organizing, Marie Kondo brings a spiritual reflection to organizing and simplifying, such as only keeping things that “spark joy”. This simple observation holds so much wisdom. If the things in your home don’t spark joy why are they there? As we clean our homes for Spring with yogic mindfulness we can weave this same kind of reflection into our meditation practice.

A few years ago in India I was extremely fortunate to have received meditation instruction from a respected teacher named Dr. Bogle. He utilized spring cleaning in its non-literal form to help us transcend the many sensations and blockages that can present during meditation. Dr. Bogle taught that attempting to “do” meditation rather than waiting for it to “come” is a common obstacle to finding meditative focus.  It is challenging because the body gives off so many signals as we wait. In meditative observation we look into spaces that may not have been inspected for some time. Dr. Bogle describes the distractions that appear as mental and spiritual “dust” that rises as we begin to clean it with observation. Like a messy room it would be easier to let it stay dirty but eventually we have to come home to the mess, whether it is in the form of mental, emotional or physical distress. So if we are to ever clean this space we must come back again and again to the present even when the hard work of meditation is felt. Otherwise it is like spraying awareness on the mess but never picking up the cloth to wipe it clean (or maybe emptying out the overflowing drawer and leaving the mess on the counter top in a shoe box. Yes, I did that once).

Spring Cleaning Blue SkyTo help you Spring cleanse on the inside as well as the outside I thought that I would also share three of Dr. Bogle’s meditation insights that have continued to resonate within my meditation practice for some years now.

  1. As you meditate, especially if the mind wanders, repeat “Something is happening in the body”. This reminds you to trust that the discomfort of coming back to the present means that cleansing/change is happening, that there is value in simply coming back to the breath. We just need to keep waiting, feeling, and not being concerned about reaching a specific state of “meditation”.
  2. Remember that techniques of meditation can be taught but meditation itself cannot be taught. Just as a mop is simply a tool for cleaning the floor, meditation techniques are merely tools to help us clean the mind. We may need to utilize a specific technique for an extended period to cleanse the mind, but one day we will leave it behind in pure meditation. We won’t get there, however, by trying to meditate. Thoughts cannot be removed before meditation “happens”. So don’t worry about the thoughts. Thinking about stopping thoughts is just another thought.
  3. All experiences in meditation are correct. Close the eyes, become aware of the body, observe the thoughts, return to the breath. If you are having problems “meditating” then stop, count to 10 and go back to the breath again.

As Marie Kondo writes, to truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose. That applies I think to thoughts as well as those knick knacks collecting dust on the fireplace mantle. This spring meditate internally and externally, enjoy the process, expect nothing, and be content with whatever comes. It is all meditation and it is all cleansing. I will leave you with a spring quote from the great Sufi poet, Rumi.

Come to the orchard in Spring.

There is light and wine, and sweethearts

in the pomegranate flowers. 

If you do not come, these do not matter.

If you do come, these do not matter.