The Organic Baby

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Anytime in the next day or so, my wife, Chelsea is going to go into labor and if all goes according to plan, we will have a baby, in our home, with no drugs or painkillers, completely naturally. Something I never even imagined a few years ago, before I met her.

I didn’t even think I would have children, much less try to have one at home. I was in my 40’s, with no kids and had come to terms with the fact that it probably wouldn’t happen for me and I would just be an awesome uncle to my younger brother’s 4 children and felt blessed to have them in my life.

Funny enough, shortly after I surrendered to this fact, I met Chelsea. We became friends, then lovers and I knew for the first time in my life, I wanted to have a family of my own with her. We were married a few years later and began praying every day that we would be blessed with a baby, naturally, with no stress.

In addition to being an amazing prenatal yoga teacher, Chelsea is also a certified birth doula (birth coach) and she leads childbirth education classes where she teaches women the tools they need to have a natural birth. So she is very passionate about the natural birthing process and was born at home herself. After assisting in mostly hospital births, we decided that we would rather delivery our baby in the safety and comfort of our own home also. Before she was even pregnant, we told our family about our plans and my niece Honey said, “so you’re going to have an organic baby?” I thought about that and said, you know what? that’s a great idea. I wonder if we could actually do that.

Less than a month after my 45th birthday in May, we went to Turkey, where I was IMG_3507officiating our friends wedding. Chelsea said, “I want to get pregnant in Turkey.” I said, “I do too!” We stepped up our prayer requests in hopes of it happening then.

 

About a month later, I came home on the morning of the 4th of July after an early morning bike ride to watch the Ironman in Hermosa Beach and caught her in the guest room with a weird look on her face. I said, “what are you doing?” She said, “Am I reading this right?” as she handed me a pregnancy test. There was a giant + in the spot where it said yes you are indeed pregnant. I looked at her with my jaw dropped open and she said, “There goes your freedom.” We laughed.  But were serious at the same time, things were about to change in a major way. After 45 years of being the most important person in my life, I was now #2 and soon to be #3. My instincts to take care of Chelsea during these next 9 months took over. I knew that her water intake and food intake were of paramount importance for the proper development of our child. Let’s eat everything organic and see if that makes a difference. If we’re going to have an “organic baby” let’s go all the way and eat an “organic baby diet”.

I am a big believer in the importance of organic foods and eating lots of fruits and veggies. In addition to that, staying away from processed foods. I’m on the board of directors for the nonprofit organization GrowingGreat, which teaches science-based garden and nutritional education to elementary school children and is now expanding their programs to reach middle and high schoolers as well. So eating healthy is a passion of mine. I decided that I would do my best to make sure Chelsea ate as much organic, locally grown, seasonal produce as possible. We normally eat like this, but we now had more motivation to be even more mindful of what she was putting into her body. Since a growing baby is so small, things matter that much more.

So for the past 9 months now we have created several delicious, healthy and easy to make meals that are nutritious and satisfying to Mommy and Baby and even Daddy. I have included our favorites below. There is a meal for each night of the week, with one night set aside to go out to dinner. Even though we both love to cook, it’s nice to go out to eat and have someone else do the cooking. Whether its dinner with friends or out to eat Simmzy’s (our favorite local spot). It’s the one night we let go of the strictness of everything having to be organic. We do our best, but some things you just can’t control. So we let it go and just enjoy.

Chelsea has been a vegetarian for most of her life, but she said she would be open to eating meat during her pregnancy if she felt like her body craved it. Turns out, this baby is a meat eater. From her early cravings for chicken wings and breakfast sausages to this morning when she said “I want some bacon”, Chelsea has indulged in turkey, chicken and pork. However, I made sure of two very important things when it came to her meat intake. #1 The meat had to be consciously raised. Meaning it had to be organic, grass fed, free range and therefore, free of hormones and antibiotics. #2 We blessed the food before eating it and thanked the animal for giving its life so that we and our baby could enjoy the protein that it provided. This made us feel better and enjoy the food more.

There are so many unknowns in a pregnancy and things that are out of your control. However, you can control both what you put into your body to nourish it and your growing baby and you can also control your thoughts. It’s easy for fear to creep in. When you become pregnant it seems like everyone wants to tell you either their birth story or an exceptional tale that someone they know went through. This seems to be especially true with a home birth. Some people will tell you their fears as they question the sanity of what you are doing or the negative stories that they have heard along the way. It is important to not allow their fears or the worst case scenario to dominate your thoughts. Chelsea and I both have our own ways of dealing with this.

We both meditate every day. For me, the first thing I do when I wake up, is to go to my IMG_3638meditation spot. We have a little loft (above the nursery) in our house and I go there and just sit. I sit quietly and breath and just allow my thougths to come and go. Usually after a few minutes, they dissipate. Then I say a short prayer and go on with my day. Chelsea has her own space that she goes to meditate. She does a Chakra meditation each morning and plays her harmonium as the sunlight beams in from the window above where she sits. I know in my heart that the meditation practice has helped us both keep fear at bay and trust in the process.

 

Another thing that has really helped Chelsea is her prenatal yoga classes. She teaches prenatal yoga three times a week and performs the class with her students while teaching. She has prenatal classes that can be found at Spread Yoga Love.

So what have been the results of her “Organic Baby Diet”… Well, let me tell you from my perspective. It has been amazing! She is rocking it. She has plenty of energy and has been happy and vibrant this whole pregnancy. We even hiked the Napali Coast when she was 30 weeks pregnant!

In general, Chelsea is very verbal about how she feels. I always know if she is too hot or too cold or if her back hurts or if she is generally uncomfortable, tired or annoyed. Amazingly enough, she has rarely complained this whole pregnancy. She was tired during the first trimester, which is normal, and she was only nauseous when she didn’t eat anything. Otherwise, she has had plenty of energy and been able to get lots of sleep. In fact, we moved during this pregnancy to a new home and she had everything organized and packed up and then unpacked and re-organized into our new home with the greatest efficiency I have ever seen and I’ve moved over 20 times in my life.

One night a few weeks ago, she was feeling uncomfortable in bed and said, “I guess this is the time in your pregnancy where I won’t sleep very well”, but it only lasted one night. I can count on one hand the number of poor nights sleep she has had during her pregnancy.

She continues to comment on how good she feels. Throughout her pregnancy, she has said that she feels great both physically and mentally. Our midwife seems very pleased and has continually said that everything looks great.

So something is working. As it is with most things, there are several contributing factors. The prenatal yoga, her food intake and our love for each other and this baby have all had a positive impact. YogaLoveFood. The combination that helps with everything.

Here is Chelsea’s typical day eating The Organic Baby Diet.

Warm water with lemon to start the day – This is great for the body’s digestive system.

Smoothie in the morning with…

  • Coconut water (hydration, reduces swelling)
  • Almond milk (calcium)
  • Spinach (Iron, Vitamin A)
  • Frozen fruit
  • Hemp seeds (protein)
  • Chia seeds (hydration)
  • Dried oats (fiber plus keeps you full for longer)
  • 1/2 avocado (healthy fat)
  • Sunflower seed butter (Protein)

Since Chelsea doesn’t drink any dairy from cows, she needed calcium from other sources. Almond milk was the main one. Yogurt too. We found creative ways to use the almond milk. In addition to the smoothie, we ate cereal and oatmeal and added hemp and chia seeds as well as many nuts for healthy fats and proteins. Strawberries, blueberries and banana as well for some fruits with all of their nutritional content. Be careful with fruit to not have too much. The body craves it, but too much sugar can lead to other issues like gestational diabetes. So be mindful of how much fruit you eat but, definitely eat fruit.

Eggs provide good protein and she has craved them nearly every day in some form or another. Hard boiled has been her favorite, however today we had a curried egg salad sandwich. Oatmeal has also been a breakfast favorite in addition to cereal and yogurt. Along with these, she will usually have toast with a nut butter and hemp seeds for additional protein.

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Chelsea noticed that small snacks throughout the day, every 2-3 hours helped keep nausea at bay and from what I’ve read on the subject, better for mom and baby. Our doula showed us a picture that shows what happens to all of the internal organs as the baby grows. There isn’t much space for the internal organs, so you have to pee a lot and can’t fit as much into your stomach, but need to eat more because of the nutritional needs of the baby. By eating every few hours, your body has time to process the food and give the baby what it needs. Babies are small and growing rapidly. So feeding yourself with nutritious foods every few hours is feeding the baby, nutritious foods every few hours. Which if you think about it, is how often they usually eat when they are born.

Healthy Snacks

  • Hard boiled eggs (protein)
  • Dried fruit and nuts (apricots for iron) (Walnuts for healthy fats)
  • Apples with almond or peanut butter
  • Carrots, celery and cucumbers with hummus
  • Chips and guacamole (healthy fats from the avocado)
  • Yogurt with hemp and chia seeds

Being someone who grew up a vegetarian and rarely had dairy, she had never experienced a grilled cheese sandwich. Well, for some reason, one day she was craving one, so she had one and fell in love. It became almost a daily occurrence for her. I was slightly worried because I wouldn’t condone eating one every day, no matter how delicious they are! However, I knew the calcium and proteins that the cheese had are good for her and our baby, so I just made sure she had good organic cheese, from Wisconsin of course.

Dinners

The great thing about these meals is that they use a lot of the same ingredients. So these delicious, healthy, organic dinners can all be made on a budget and the ingredients are easy to find. All ingredients are organic unless otherwise noted.

  • Red lentils
  • quinoa
  • chicken or veggie stock
  • sweet potatoes, potatoes
  • butternut squash
  • onions, garlic, carrots, celery, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli.

Cans – Chickpeas, diced tomatoes, coconut milk

Gluten free pasta noodles. Pasta sauce. Cheese if desired.

Here are 6 dinners that can be made from all of the above ingredients, except for the pizzas which you will need to buy crusts or make them.

Red Lentil Soup

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Recipe

  • Chop onions, carrots, celery, zucchini and add to a pot with olive oil. Sautee over medium heat about 7-10 mins
  • Rinse 1 cup of red lentils and add to pot with enough chicken or veggie stock to cover veggies and lentils
  • Add 1 Bay Leaf, Salt & Pepper, and Everyday Seasoning
  • Stir half way through and add more broth to your desired amount
  • Cook until carrots are soft and soup is thick and creamy (about 30 mins)

Butternut Squash Stew

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Recipe

  • Chop 1/2 onion and garlic, add to a pot with coconut oil. Cook over medium heat
  • Add spices – 2 t Cumin, 1/2 t Cinnamon, Salt & Pepper. Cook a few minutes
  • Chop butternut squash and add to pot with 3 cups of chicken or veggie stock
  • Add a can of chickpeas and diced tomatoes along with 1 cup of red lentils
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until butternut squash is soft
  • Squeeze juice from 1/2 lemon and add red pepper flakes (Optional)
  • Stir in spinach at the end and mix it up until spinach is soft (less than a minute)

Coconut Curry

Recipe

  • Chop onion, potato, sweet potato, carrots, cauliflower
  • Cook down onions and mustard seeds in coconut oil
  • Add remaining veggies plus 1 can of organic coconut milk & 1 can of water
  • Add 2 t Curry Powder, 1 t Tumeric, 1/2 t Corriander (taste – add to liking)
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer until veggies are soft
  • Lastly add, frozen or fresh green peas
  • Serve over Quinoa or Rice (optional)

Red Lentils and Quinoa w/broccoli

Recipe

  • Rinse 1 cup of red lentils and 1 cup of quinoa
  • Bring 1 cup of water and 1 cup of chicken or veggie stock to a boil
  • Add lentils and quinoa. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 10-12 minutes
  • In a separate pot, steam broccoli or cauliflower
  • When lentils and quinoa are finished cooking (thick and creamy) add 2 T of ghee
  • Broccoli or Cauliflower on the side with a dash of Salt & Pepper

Pasta with Turkey and Veggies

Recipe

  • Boil spiral or elbow pasta noodles and drain
  • Sautee onion, garlic, carrots, zucchini and 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • Add Garlic Powder, Cumin, Red Chili Flakes, and a Bay Leaf (to taste)
  • In a separate pan cook ground turkey meat until browned
  • To finish toss everything together and add extra sauce if desired
  • Top with fresh spinach and shaved parmesan cheese (optional)

Homemade Pizza

Recipe (crusts purchased from Whole Foods)

  • Sautee bell peppers, onion, garlic, zucchini (anything else you like)
  • Cover pizza crust with marinara sauce (I like BBQ sauce on mine)
  • Add toppings and cheese plus spinach or kale
  • Cook for 15-20 mins

 A night out

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  • Have fun and let someone else do the work:) She’s having a kale salad with salmon. Yes, those are fries (probably not organic)

Dessert

Some studies show that eating 6 dates a day the last 4 weeks of pregnancy can lead to a shorter labor, prevent postpartum hemorrhage and reduce the need for induction.  Chelsea has noticed with her clients that have done this that they have all had shorter than average labors. So she is doing that. One of the ways we have incorporated that into her diet is through some delicious ice cream that we were able to make with our magic bullet.

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  • Ice cubes
  • Almond Milk
  • Coconut flakes
  • 2-6 dates
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • Frozen berries
  • Peanut butter

Blend it up in the magic bullet for a minute or so until it becomes nice and smooth like ice cream or gelato. So delicious.

Another way to get your dates in is to take out the pit and put a dollop of peanut butter inside and place in the freezer.

So there you have it. Our humble attempt at making an Organic Baby. Check back in a few weeks to see how the delivery went. We don’t know if it’s going to be a boy or a girl, but I’ll be sure to let you know.

Namaste ~

 

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The Last Supper

Starting October 1st I decided to fast for 10 days. That’s right, fast, as in not eat any food or drink anything besides water and this “master cleanse” concoction of water, lemons, cayenne pepper and cane sugar that I got from my friend Lindsay at the Manhattan Beach Farmers Market. I bought a 10 day supply from her. She said it would be enough to sustain me for the 10 days of not eating any solid food. Not even any juice. Just water and the drink.

This was my last meal. It contained my 3 favorite B’s: Broccoli, BBQ sauce and Beer. Also, my other favorites, Salmon, Corn on the Cobb and Grilled eggplant. I wouldn’t say eggplant is necessarily my favorite vegetable, or even that salmon is my favorite protein, but when I add my BBQ sauce to it and cook it on the grill, then they jump to the top of the list.

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I did the 10 day fast to honor the life and memory of my good friend Clint Clausen, whose 45th birthday would have been October 4th. Clint died of a heart attack suddenly back in August. Leaving behind an amazing family including his beautiful wife Kori and their four beautiful daughters all under 13. He also left behind friends and a community of people of loved him and whom he loved like family. His restaurant, Four Daughters Kitchen, is a local gathering place where we have all of our “yoga meetings” since it is across the street and opened up the same time as our local studio, The Green Yogi, 5 years ago. Clint gave me a job at the restaurant a few years ago when I needed some extra money while trying to make ends meet as a yoga teacher. He was unlike anyone I had ever worked for. He had a positive impact on anyone that came across his path.

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From the paddle out to celebrate his life.Clint’s paddle out

Clint used to do the Master Cleanse every year for at least 10 days. Sometimes he would go 20 or 30 days without ingesting any food into his body! I would always be amazed at how he was still the same person, albeit thinner. Usually when I don’t eat for a few hours I get cranky or hangry. Clint was always a positive person, whenever you saw him he would be laughing and light hearted. He had a way of making you feel like you were someone special… Even when he hadn’t eaten for weeks! To me, that said a lot about his character. Making people feel special and having a positive attitude are two traits that I want to always emulate in my life.

Having done the Master Cleanse twice before in the past, I knew it would be a mental challenge as well as a physical one. Having previous experience with it also helped because I knew I could do it. However, the previous times I had done it were solely for myself. Dedicating it to my friend made for an altogether different experience.

Several friends have asked about my experience, so I thought I would share on my blog. Obviously I LOVE food. Hence the name of my blog, yoga love food. I not only love food, but all things food related. I love shopping for food at local farmers markets, Whole Foods and Trader Joes. I love growing my own food, writing and talking about food. Watching food related t.v. shows like Chopped and Diners Drive Ins and Dives. I love preparing and cooking food. Finally, I love eating food. Pretty much anything that has to do with food, I love. I loved serving food to customers when I was working at Clint’s restaurant. I even enjoy doing the dishes and cleaning up after eating. That’s right even the clean up. My first job when I was 16 years old was doing the dishes at Papa’s Pizza in Hickory, North Carolina. So taking 10 days off from all things food related was a big deal for me.

I was excited for the Spiritual experience that I was about to embark upon. Having done several fasts in the past, I knew that one of the great benefits of not eating for a while takes one’s mind to a different place. It also helps to show you what your habits and tendencies are. It’s a great way to hit the reset button on your life and get a fresh start and a new perspective on many things. Not only food, but life. I’ve noticed in the past, when I’ve done a “cleanse” I not only clean out my physical body, digestive system, etc., but also different areas of my life would get a clean up.

I’ve done a pretty good job over the last few years of cleaning out my “closets”, but I have pack rat tendencies and so invariably there is a drawer or drawers that house papers and reminders of things that I’m not yet ready to part with. Relationships and other things tend to get “cleansed” as well and this time was no exception.

I also feel like I have some great insights when I’m fasting. So I made a point to journal much of my experience. I will share one of those entries. Here is from Day 2 I wrote the following…

For more Joy…face your fears. Confront them. Once you move past them, you will usually find more joy on the other side. Exhilaration is a great word for it. Clint and I used to talk about this. It happened to me with surfing. It happened to me with love. You won’t know the amazing feeling of being in love if you are afraid of being hurt. Tomorrow I’m putting this theory to the test by going skydiving.

After I wrote the above entry in my journal, (I was down at the Ocean), I decided to go swimming. The water was glassy and the waves were big, with the occasional head high sets coming in. There have been multiple shark sightings in Manhattan Beach this year, but I was not going to allow any fear stop me from going swimming in the beautiful ocean, especially after what I had just written about overcoming fear. Here was my first test…

I started to swim out and think, you know, I haven’t seen any dolphins in a while. Wouldn’t it be great to see some? Then, as if orchestrated by God and Clint’s Spirit, I looked up and a pod of dolphins was swimming by and if I continued swimming out past the break, would cross my path. So I did. As I swam out, they continued to swim by, at least 20 of them. One was about to cross right under me, I felt the water temperature change…took a deep breath… and swam under water. I opened my eyes under water and saw this large dolphin swim right underneath me. I reached out and touched his tail as he swam by. It was amazing! One of the most exciting experiences of my life so far. Exhilaration!

The next day I went skydiving. Yep, no food for 3 days and I was about to jump out of a plane. No I wasn’t trying to kill myself. I was looking for that feeling you get from overcoming fear…Exhilaration. Well, I got it! I was trying to act cool the whole time we were in the plane rising up to 12,000 feet. I’m not sure if I pulled it off. I wasn’t really that scared until the moment I was standing in the open door to the plane with a guy that called himself “Dark Side” strapped to my back. There was no time to panic, we jumped and the first 3 seconds were pure exhilaration! Then my body and mind regulated to the speed and I screamed out “Woo Hoo”. So my theory about overcoming fear was proving to be true.

The next 7 days of my fast and dedication to my friend were pure joy. Dedicating this experience to my dear friend proved to be extremely meaningful. This post is proving to be long enough, so if you would like more details, feel free to reach out to me and I will be happy to share more. Needless to say, it was an amazing experience. I was truly able to connect to my friends spirit and gain much needed insight into my life. Thank you Clint. I love you brother. Your light will continue to shine bright. I will always remember you and the amazing impact you had and continue to have on my life and the lives of so many others. Thank you for being such a great example of how to be a Man. Face your fears. You will be overcome with Joy.

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Clint Clausen October 4, 1969 – August 8, 2014

Incredibly Satisfied

That’s what Chelsea said after tonight’s dinner… Homemade Veggie Chili…A healthy dish we have been trying to perfect over the last year. We make it every week or two. There are always leftovers and it’s great to take them to work the next day. It’s super easy to make and so now I’m going to share the recipe with you. Don’t you want to feel incredibly satisfied?! I know I do!

Part of the recipe is always the love and intention you put into the food you make. I love to cook and so that really helps…When I’m chopping vegetables, listening to music, I love it, it makes me so happy…making food for myself and someone I love. Somehow the love goes into the food. I don’t know how, I’m not a scientist, I just know it works. If you don’t believe me try it for yourself and you’ll see.

So here it is. I always try to buy organic for many reasons, one of which is its tastes better. I even used Kale from our garden. Here is everything I put in…

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I first chopped up the onion, garlic, carrots and peppers and put them in a pot on medium to low heat with olive oil. After they all softened up I added a little salt and cumin and chili powder. Then I added the zucchini, squash, kale and all the beans plus one cup of veggie broth. Then another dash of the three spices. I let this go on with the heat on low for about 10 minutes and then Chelsea called. She was on her way home from teaching her prenatal yoga class. She said to add the corn and diced tomatoes cover it and let it simmer until she got home to give it the final flavoring… That’s her specialty. She has the palate of a sommelier… I’m just the sous chef. She always gives our dishes the final touch. It’s about a 20 drive home and it simmered the whole time. I went up to the roof, watched the sunset and finished my Moscow Mule…

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Chelsea arrived home and added a little more cumin, chili powder and salt and said we could have used another can of the diced tomatoes. So add that to your recipe if you want to make it more like a true chili. She said ours looked liked a goulash. Well, however it looked…

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It tasted delicious and left us both incredibly satisfied…

Grow your own

Right in the center of my vision board are the words Farm to Table. The further along my yoga path I have come, the more this means to me. Eating consciously. Locally grown, seasonal, organic…you know, the good stuff.

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Since I live in Manhattan Beach, where outdoor space is hard to come by, having a farm is not an option. There is very little land here that is not beach or home. Few people even have yards. That means if you want to enjoy farm to table you rely on the farmers markets, which are amazing. However, my intention when I put it on my vision board was to have the farm myself. My grandfather was a farmer and he advised me at a young age to not take up farming as a career. So actually what I really meant when I set it as an intention is to grow my own food…at least some of it. Garden to Table is more accurate. With limited space you have to be creative in order to make this happen, but I’m here to tell you, it can be done!

We are fortunate enough to have a balcony, so we can grow things in pots.

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Sure it would be nice to have a big yard with a garden, but you do the best you can with what you have. As a lover of food, I can honestly say, I am hard pressed to find something more satisfying to my taste buds and to my soul, as food that I plant, take care of, harvest, cook and eat myself.

I believe there are several factors for this. First of all it’s 100% organic! Next, there is hardly any carbon footprint. Except for when Chelsea and I went to the Garden Center in El Segundo to get the seeds and soil. Third, it’ seasonal and finally they were grown and cooked with love and I truly believe this has a positive effect.

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We planted the beets and kale out on our balcony, along with some sweet potatoes that our friend Berit gave us. I have been on a morning meditation kick and I usually do it outside near the plants. It has been a nice practice, spending a few minutes sitting quietly in the morning, connecting to my breath, listening to the birds sing amidst the drills, saws and hammers from the construction next door. Then getting up and looking after the plants. Watering them and watching for bugs, trimming off the dead leaves, etc.

Meditation and gardening have this in common…to get the most benefits, consistency is key. You can’t just meditate once or water the plants once and expect results. However, when done on a consistent basis over time the benefits of meditation are a greater sense of peace and joy. The benefits of gardening are beauty from the flowers and food from the plants. So, after just a few weeks, it was time for a joyful food harvest. I decided to make Kale chips and beet greens with my bounty.

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The beet greens were surprisingly delicious and easy to make. I cut the leaves in half and chopped up the stems into tiny quarter inch pieces. Sometimes I toss them in the skillet with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and after a couple of minutes they are sautéed and ready to enjoy. Tonight I added them to a stir fry Chelsea was making using coconut oil and veggies from the farmers market.

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The kale chips were almost just as easy and even more delicious. I used my friend Katie B’s recipe. Katie Bressack Heat the oven to 425, trim off the stems and toss the kale lightly in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and spread onto a baking sheet.

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Place into the oven and keep an eye on them. They only take a few minutes and the difference between good and un edible happens fast. When they are crisp, they’re ready. Crunchy and yummy. What a great way to enjoy veggies!

Both the kale chips and beet greens satisfied my taste buds and my soul. The fact that I planted, tended to, harvested and cooked, made them even better.

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Cheers…to homemade BBQ sauce

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Let me start by saying, I LOVE Barbecue Sauce! Maybe it comes from my roots in Arkansas, or my upbringing in North Carolina, where the Southern folks love them some BBQ. But, I have always loved the sauce. There are so many different kinds too. Even different regions of the state have different flavor profiles. Some are sweeter, some more tangy , but all just a little bit different. Have you ever noticed, there is basically just one ketchup, but there are a wide variety of sauces with the title BBQ attached to them. Over the years, I would always order a side of it whenever I was at a new restaurant. As a result, I have tried hundreds over the years and my love of cooking inspired me to make my own. I have modified this recipe over the years, so sometimes it is sweeter and sometimes more tangy, but I love it and rarely do I find one out on the town or even in stores that I like better.

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The great thing is, it’s easy to make and can be made from organic ingredients , which is important to me. I look at the ingredients of many of the popular versions in stores and they have high fructose corn syrup as one of the first ingredients. None of that here, so you can slather it on whatever you want. One time Chelsea came home to her roommate eating it with rice. She said “I just wanted to eat this sauce”!

So, at the request of my friend Val, I’m sharing this recipe on here for anyone to try. Have fun with it and feel free to make modifications depending on your own preferences. This one is a little sweet, a little tangy, a little spicy and full of umami. (Which is that pleasant savory taste that helps make ketchup so satisfying) http://www.umamiinfo.com/2011/02/What-exactly-is-umami.php

For Matt’s homemade BBQ sauce 2014 edition, mix together
1 cup organic ketchup
1 cup organic brown sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

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The key is then to cook it down, meaning adding mixed ingredients to a skillet and cooking it on low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring it occasionally, especially as it begins to bubble. This will give it that stickiness that takes it to the next level for my taste buds, it’s where the umami comes out. Then after it cools a little, I put it in a glass jar and either give it away to someone I love (I’m bringing some to yoga tomorrow for you Val) or enjoy it on everything from salmon to grilled eggplant. I even use it on our home made pizzas.
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Oh yeah, the beverage… It’s a mock tail. Non alcoholic cocktail. Fun to drink and easy to make. Chelsea and our friend Laurel made some ginger syrup. I used a little of that, along with soda water. I then muddled up fresh basil from a basil plant we have next to the sink along with lemon from a tree outside, mixed it all together while the sauce cooked down. Delish!
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This is the yoga pose for today’s post. It’s called Malasana, basically a squat. Great to do when your muddling. This pose helps my low back feel better the way it stretches and builds strength. I have had two yoga teachers say that “Cultures that spend time in this position have fewer back issues” I can believe that. Since I’ve been doing it, my back feels great. Try to do it for one minute per day, followed by a forward fold, muddler not needed to perform this pose;)
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Ladies Night

Tonight Chelsea and Berit went to a Norwegian party. Berit is part Norwegian and recently won a reality show based in Norway with other Norwegian Americans called Alt For Norge. She was our upstairs neighbor at the time and we got to experience her being gone for two months and then coming back and keeping the fact that she won a secret from us for two months after she got home, while we all curiously watched the show. Convinced that she came in second or third. It was quite brilliant on her part actually. It made for an exciting run! So now she is a bit of a celebrity in that “world” and Chelsea is reaping the benefits, by being able to get dressed up and go to a fun party.
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I had a fun night too! Doing some of my favorite things, cooking and eating.

Tonight’s dinner was easy to make and delicious to eat. First, I thinly sliced purple potatoes, yellow squash and green zucchini and threw them in the same bowl and tossed them with olive oil and sprinkled salt and pepper and crushed up Rosemary and sage with my hand and sprinkled it over and mixed around and placed on a baking sheet and put it in the oven to bake at 400 degrees.
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I also snapped off the ends of asparagus spears (locally grown and organic as is all of my produce) put them in foil with butter, Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar.
I also added my homemade BBQ sauce on salmon and put those two on the grill>

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The end result…

BBQ salmon with asparagus, zucchini, squash and purple potatoes

BBQ salmon with asparagus, zucchini, squash and purple potatoes


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Boulder – ing

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Anne and I went “Bouldering” tonight. I thought that was only a hip town in Colorado that many of my closest friends have spent time in. Turns out that when you add an ing at the end, it becomes a new activity for my ADHD self.

In my efforts to find new exciting ways to exercise (see previous blog) I did this a couple of weeks ago with Anne and our friend Berit. It was so much fun, I went again and bought a package, ensuring that I would make this a weekly activity. It has all the things a good activity should have. It builds strength, it’s a challenge, it’s fun, and it gives you a chance to root on your friends and watch each other grow and progress, and sometimes fall. I was surprised by how much it increased my heart rate and even made me sweat a little. My forearms are going to be sore tomorrow.

I believe that there are yoga poses that will compliment everything we do, especially when it comes to sports. So I always like to think of which poses will best compliment each activity. So here my friend Anne is demonstrating three poses that will help with ‘bouldering’
The first one is finger stretches. Definitely needed for all the use of the fingers to hold on with.

Finger Stretches

Finger Stretches


The next one is crescent pose to stretch out the hips and strengthen the legs with the palms touching and hands behind the neck to stretch the shoulders and triceps.
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Finally, we have chaturanga dandasana, which is very similar to a traditional push up. This helps build strength in the arms.

Yoga push up

Yoga push up


The other climbers all seem to be really nice and helpful. On my last attempt tonight, before my body said enough, I was almost to the top, my fingers slipped and I fell all the way to the ground. Fortunately, I safely landed with bent knees on the cushy pad at the bottom, about a 20 foot fall. A guy next to where I landed said, sorry I wasn’t paying better attention, I would have helped you out. Then he proceeded to give me a bunch of climbing tips.
We went to this place called Hangar 18 South Bay, just a few minutes from the beach in one of those places with a bunch of office buildings, you’d never know what was inside from the looks of it, but inside here is a lot of fun!

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Then, the best part is when we came home, Anne came in to say hi to Chelsea and she had cooked us a delicious organic whole food vegetarian dinner.
Roasted carrots, fingerling potatoes, steamed broccoli, red lentils and quinoa

Roasted carrots, fingerling potatoes, steamed broccoli, red lentils and quinoa

Oh yeah, I was talking about Boulder…I’m going there in June for the Hanuman Festival with YogaGlo. We are one of the main sponsors and 10 of our teachers are going to be there. I’m going with an amazing company of friends. I’m excited to experience this wonderful town. It’s my kind of place. It’s “Green” for the lack of a better term, I like to call it “Conscious”, you know what I mean. It’s set up to bike and people compost and everything is local, you know, cool. I’ll have a word for it when I get back I’m sure. I’m going to a yoga festival, so “Amazing” might be the word. I’m excited to learn and be inspired by like minded individuals. Happy Now and looking forward to June. I Love it when I have something cool to look forward to. Like Bouldering next week.