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Suzanne’s Blog

Saturday
Feb182017

Beautiful, Hot Cacao: Nourishing and Delicious for Breakfast!

I found this recipe on Dr. Claudia Welch’s site, and fell in love with it.  It’s been my recent self-care treat for breakfast, and makes February mornings brighter.

Hot cacao is grounding like coffee but without the extra stimulation.

Because of this it’s great if you have anxiety.  (Certainly many of us have struggled with this in the past month, with the political situation in the US.)  

If your nervous system has been in overdrive lately, the buzz from coffee may only be making that worse. Something more soothing and calming is in order.

You’ll find these ingredients easily at any health food store, or order them online.

 Ingredients:

12 oz. boiling water1 heaping teaspoon (tsp) organic, raw cacao powder

1⁄8 tsp. organic maca 

1-2 TBS pure maple syrup

1⁄8 tsp. salt

Milk, cream or milk alternative, to taste.

Optional: An 1⁄8th of a tsp. of vanilla or a pinch of saffron, cinnamon, cardamom or a touch of cayenne pepper a thin peel of orange rind. 

Mix the cacao, maca, salt, cream and maple syrup well in the bottom of a mug. Add the boiling water and vanilla or spices if you want those. Mix well.

Sunday
Feb122017

Stronger Together: Groups and Sustainable Change

It’s true: We can achieve more working together rather than as separate individuals.

At Saratoga Springs Yoga, I consistently saw positive changes in students over time, especially with those that took part in our membership program. Those folks attended class often, and perhaps more importantly, had friendships that allowed them to offer hope and encouragement to each other. 

Groups can provide a positive culture of sustained change.  A group helps you to actually show up.  They notice when you are absent, discouraged, or having a bad day.  

And, because just showing up increases your chances of making a shift, being in a group can help you with repetition, and with that often comes success.  

For true sustainable change to take place repetition, accountability, and support are key.  

Ever taken a step toward greater health?  Did you take two steps forward then and three steps back?  You’re not alone. We’ve all been there been there.  Failure is in fact, part of the process, and that’s why the support component of the group is so important.

Change is a process and not a moment.  Change takes focused attention to become a habit.  As a habit becomes more and more deeply rooted it slowly becomes more automatic, and then gets much easier to maintain as your “new normal”.  This process may take a while; joining a group helps you hang in there over the long haul.

Besides, being in a group can be just plain fun. One of the surprising and enlightening things for me about groups is that in our engagment together more insights arise for everyone involved.  Remember that old saying, “Two eyes are better than one”?  Well, from different perspectives comes a delightful depth of vision.

Last but not least, groups help us rise to the occasion, and remind us that we are all rooted in something much bigger than ourselves.  Rumi’s words remind us of the power of this kind of support: 

“Friend, our closness is this

Anywhere you put your foot

Feel me in the firmness under you.”

 

Tuesday
Jan242017

Soup Is Love.

Soup, it’s an amazing support these days.

A steaming bowl  provides deep nourishment, and a warm, soothing sense of well-being. 

Nearly every evening simple soups and stews are a standby for my family meal.

To make it easy, I always have delicious broth on hand. (You can buy broth as well—but it’s easy to make, and much less expensive than the “bone broths” sold in Health Food stores these days.)
Pictured above: broth with onions, celery, carrots, beet greens and store bought gnocchi.   
If I have broth on hand fresh or frozen, I can walk into the kitchen and have supper ready in 20 min. 

Make broth about once a week (it freezes beautifully) and then add whatever you like: spices, veggies, pasta, beans, rice, meat or tofu, to make endless variations of nourishing and soothing evening meals.  Add some crusty bread, or cornbread or crackers, and you have a delicious and easy dinner; everyone gets to feel the love. 

Here’s the recipe I use:  
Brodo, From The Splendid Table, by Lynne Rossetto Casper

8-9 lbs of chicken or turkey bones (you can use turkey wings)

2-3 pounds of meaty beef shank or soup bones trimmed of fat. (Leave these out if you’re not a beef fan.)

3 stalks of celery with leaves

3 large carrots chopped

4 very large onions, unpeeled (trim root ends) chopped

2 large bay leaves

3 or more sprigs Italian parsley

2 large cloves garlic, unpeeled and crushed

Working Ahead: This stock holds, cover in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Freeze it for up to 4 months in different size containers, from 2 tablespoon ice cubes to quart jars.

Starting Stock: In one 20 Quart or two 10 quart stockpots combine the bones you have.  Cover with cold water by about 4 inches.  Let the water come to a slow bubble.  Skim foam off surface.

Simmering: Add the vegtables, bay leaves, parsley and garlic.  Regulate the heat so the broth bubbles very slowly. (So you can say, “one hundred” between the bubbles.)  Partially cover, and cook 12 to 14 hours.  If necessary, add water to keep the solids covered.  

The long cooking surprises many. This extended simmering draws all the flavor from the meat and bones, producing stock with exceptionally deep taste.  You can start the stock after dinner and let it cook all night, partially covered, at a slow bubble.  Make sure it’s bubbling slowly, because leaving it below that will cause spoilage.  The next morning turn off the heat and strain the stock.

Finishing: Refrigerate the strained stock until fat hardens on the surface.  Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.  (In Italy one sign of a proper broth is luminous pin dots of fat called the “eyes” of the broth.  Although never greasy, that tiny amount of fat gives flavor.  Pour into containers and refrigerate or freeze.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday
Jan162017

Sleep for a Competitive Edge


There’s not a single tissue in the body that is not beneficially affected by sleep. 

Sleep is the single most important thing you can do everyday to reset and restore your brain and body.

Sleep is one of the most effective ways to metabolize stress hormones, which are the real culprits when it comes to the chronic inflammation that wrecks havoc on our brains and bodies over time.  (Exacerbated inflammation in the body has been linked to increased risk for Alzheimer’s diabetes, arthritis, heart attack and stroke.)

Getting enough sleep can not only help our health, but it can help us do our best at work, and actually give us the competitive edge we may need to succeed there.

Arianna Huffington, in her book, The Sleep Revolution, says many professional sports teams recognized sleep as essential to success:

“For athletes, sleep isn’t just about performance but also about staying in the sport over the long haul. Major League Baseball players who were fatigued were almost twice as likely to leave the sport early than there more rested teammates.  For players who want to have long lucrative careers, ignoring sleep is not the way to go about it.”    

When Golden State Warrior’s Andre Iguodala made 8 hours of sleep a priority:

—His points per minute went up 29%
—His free-throw percentage increased by 8.9%
—His 3 point shot percentage more than doubled
—His turnovers decreased 37% per game
—His fouls dropped by an astounding 45%!!!!!!

Once he got some sleep coaching, Iguodala was named the 2015 Finals MVP.
Go to bed 15 min. early tonight to increase your competive edge.

 

Monday
Jan162017

Simple is Better.

 

Most of us have lives with a LOT going on right now.  The nature of our world is complicated, and the waves of life seem especially choppy, chaotic, and erratic these days.

Because of this, I believe a simple approach to our health is better.

I’ve seen that to create a strong foundation for lifelong health, we can take simple steps that have a profound impact over time. 
The deep roots of chronic conditions, like heart disease, osteoporosis, anxiety issues, migraines, and a myriad of other conditions lie in the way we live our lives everyday. 

It’s pretty simple, in order to feel better, we need to address lifestyle, diet, and our emotional stress levels.  If we turn our attention there, and make changes, many disorders or chronic conditions lessen or even resolve entirely on their own.

Most of us try hard to make changes, and most often fail.  We overwork in ways that are not effective, and fail to make the simple changes that would actually help.  The refain here is: “Why did I even think I could change!???”.  

Or, we actually suceed in making a change, but then can’t sustain it without constant effort.  (Ever lost weight, but then gained it all back and more—if so you are in good company.)

As a Yoga Health Coach my job is to offer support to clients and help them take the most effective steps. I make this process of change as easily as possible.

Let’s face it: changing our daily habits is stressful. Who knows what that nightly pint of Ben and Jerry’s is holding together in our lives?  

I’ve found that the key is taking very small steps with ease and love, it’s the only sustainable way to create health and happiness.  In other words, don’t worry—I won’t take away your ice cream in the first week of our working together. However, as we progress you might decide to try giving up your nightly ice cream up, maybe one night a week, at first.  Together, we’d see how that goes, noticing if you feel more energy in the morning, and throughout the day from your action.

What simple step might you take today toward more health and happiness?