Inviting Discomfort (& dill pickle kale chips)

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Food can be a pretty all-consuming aspect of our worlds—being preoccupied with food and eating is a safe place to hang out. It’s familiar and predictable, and it never challenges us to be uncomfortable in other ways. At least when we eat, we can control the discomfort, right? And you can’t tell me eating a whole box of cookies isn’t uncomfortable (hello buffet pants!)!  Are there ways other than food we can use to control discomfort? For example, when we put ourselves out there or take a risk, it’s new territory—new and UNCOMFORTABLE territory. It takes us out of that insular and isolating world of our eating disorder and makes us reflect on how we want to show up in the world. If there’s one skill that emotional eating (and yoga) has taught me, it’s how to recognize and tolerate discomfort.Read More »

Bust it Up (and Sassy Sesame Dressing)

Recipe: Sassy Sesame Dressing

The Sassy Sauce

How do we change? We change by doing something new or doing the same thing differently. If we’ve gone and painted an ideal life in our mind, there can be times when that vision seems a long way off and we default to a “why bother!”, resigning ourselves to the circumstances (painful or otherwise) that we wish were different. We exist in the discrepancy between where we are and where we want to be, frustrated and discouraged. And maybe this place is comfortable and familiar and—let’s face it—easier. Or this constant striving and failing is working for you. Who am I to judge? But if you are seeking change (and I suspect you might be, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog), then let’s break it down:

Remember cognitive distortions? We shy away from change when we think it’s got to be all or nothing and that if we aren’t there now, we never will be. It’s time to BUST that cognitive distortion right now. That’s right, bust it up! How does change happen? Change happens when we change! If you want something, START doing it! Think of every single thing in your life as an opportunity to start putting your goal into action—no matter how lofty or unattainable you think your goal is. You want to write a book? Write a sentence! You want to find a partner? Start practicing unconditional love with the people already in your life! You want to make healthier lifestyle choices? Park a little further from the entrance to the store next time. Catch my drift? It’s not all or nothing! Bring the change to you, in the present moment—through small actions and/or a tweak in the way you view your current circumstance. Simply viewing your current situation as an opportunity to act “as if” can completely alter the course of your path. Didn’t someone famous once say “Be the change?”(just kidding, Mr. Gandhi!). It’s time to get creative and start identifying the opportunities you are being given right this very moment to embody the life your heart yearns for. What does that look like for you?

Amid all of the sweets and treats this time of year, eating fresh just feels good. And it doesn’t taste so bad either! This dressing came out of a strange craving I had for something creamy but not rich, tangy but not vinegary, and flavourful but not over-garlicky. It’s wonderful poured onto your favourite kale and left to marinate for ten minutes. This recipe makes a little over a cup of dressing, but you may want to double it up and keep some in the fridge for a repeat visit or two.

Sassy Sesame Dressing

  • Juice of one lemon
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 – 2 tsp of agave
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp high quality miso (I like brown rice miso)
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 2 tbsp unrefined (raw) sesame oil (I’m sure olive oil would work just fine)
  • 1 heaping tbsp raw tahini
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients and blend with an immersion blender or in a blender. The salad I made to go with this (pictured below) consisted of kale, apple, grated beets and carrots, toasted pumpkin seeds, avocado and hemp seeds. A-MAZING! Let the kale soak up the dressing, and then top with the remaining ingredients.

ala Kale Salad

Reminders (and the smoothie that could)

Recipe: The Smoothie that Could

I came across a great post  by Anne Sture Tucker (or, I should say, it came across me!), on self compassion. Not a new concept, this is true, but one that I’ve posted on numerous times, and one that seems so easily forgotten. As this post found its way into my inbox, I realized I was in deep need of a reminder!

We so often have it in our subconscious frameworks that we are on a journey to self perfection, that working on ourselves will eventually pay off and we will have “made it”—at which point we can be home free from all this self improvement stuff. While I can say from experience that it gets easier, every so often there happens a little (OR BIG) stumbling block that trips us up and requires us to check ourselves and our actions. Funny part about this process is that the stumbling doesn’t often change – it’s usually the place that we stumble every time, again and again. It’s the poor judgement call. The inability to say no. Or maybe it’s the binge that happens faithfully after a certain circumstance. And this is why it’s so easy to be hard on ourselves; common sense tells us we know better, that we’ve been down this road before, likely more than once, so HOW could we let this happen AGAIN!? Is it AA that coined the phrase “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results” ? No wonder we come down so hard on ourselves. But you don’t need me to tell you that berating yourself isn’t the answer! If we can shift our focus from the event/action/pattern that was executed to how we responded to it (i.e., with compassion for ourselves) I can tell you that that simple but gallant shift will start to wear away at the grooves we so easily slip into (our patterns) and start to create new grooves and new ways of doing things. We will do things differently. In being kind to ourselves through it all, we will make choices that reflect our self love and honour ourselves.

I have a confession to make. I’m always a bit disappointed when I sit down to read my favourite vegan recipe blogs and lo and behold, I find posted a smoothie recipe. I don’t know why – maybe because I find smoothies essential, and formulaic, a sort of throw-the-same-key-thing- into-the mix-and-press-the -button type of scenario, not something that gets measured out. But as I was experimenting with life without sugar (including sweet fruit like bananas), I stumbled upon a smoothie concoction that rocked my world. I’ve made this smoothie almost every night for dinner over the last week!  It’s an unexpected combination of ingredients that just really really works, AND it covers some nutrient essentials. So, if you’re like me and disappointed by a smoothie recipe, I apologize in advance. But those of you who do get excited by “the smoothie” in all its variations, blend on!

The Smoothie that Could

¾ cup non-sweetened almond milk (or sweetened, other variety will do)

½ an avocado

1 small apple (I find gala works wonderfully)

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp of salted peanut butter (or add salt to taste if using unsalted—but definitely add a pinch)*

½ tsp blue-green algae or spirulina

2 tbsp of unflavoured protein powder of choice (I like pea-based protein powders)

1 packlet of Truevia sweetener (or stevia to taste), See note.

6-8 ice cubes.

Combine and blend!

*I find the trick to working with sweeteners like stevia, that often just taste slightly off the sugar mark, is in adding salt. If you aren’t avoiding sugar, than a squirt of agave would do just fine.