FOOD FOR THOUGHT: SAUCHA

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Saucha is one attitude included in the Niyamas, the self observances “recommended” by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras.

Nurturing these niyamas can help us live in harmony with our inner self and others.

Within the Niyamas, there are five attitudes to cultivate so that we can work towards emotional stability:

– shauca or purity (more on that topic in the following text),

– santosha or contentment

– tapas or a strong desire to commit to self-transformation (being eager to sweat to purify our inner thoughts and our body for instance!)

– svadhyaya (being eager to know who we are deep inside, reflecting on ourselves)

– Ishvara – pranidhana (surrendering to the universe, trusting life)

All these behaviors and attitude patterns are linked somehow. Observing at least one of them helps us observing another one.

 

 

Saucha can be translated as purification or cleanliness.

We can consider the physical aspect of purification :

  • keeping the body clean inside by eating healthy. We should all become more aware of what we put in our body : Can we really call a coke a drink? Why is this cookie made of more than 50 ingredients (most of them being preservatives, additives and crappy sweeteners)?? Just start by paying attention to the ingredients listed in the food you eat. Avoid eating too many ingredients you cannot pronounce… That’s already a good start!
  • keeping the body clean out as well by taking showers and taking care of oneself (“pampering”, keeping the body fit and strong). It’s the same thing here: The things you put on your body matter! So many cosmetic products are made with hazardous ingredients. Here are some clean and easy tips : What about using pure coconut oil as a body moisturiser or maybe this more sophisticated DIY body cream recipe? Is your face dry? Try this natural honey and aloe vera mask or this DIY carrot and calendula mask. Do you need a body scrub: Mix together powdered coffee, sea salt, coconut or sesame oil and an essential oil… hellooo rejuvenated skin!

Believe me … it matters. We rarely nurture our health until a disease comes and slams us in the face!

 

But we should also consider the cleanliness of our mind.

Let’s strive and work on developing our own positive state of mind:

  • Be kind to yourself and to others. Kind words often lead to a peaceful mind. Small displays of caring goes a long way: So do not hesitate to send a card to your mum, to call a friend, to give a back massage to your partner, to keep the door open for a stranger, to help an old lady go up the stairs, etc.
  • Be optimistic. Stay positive. It’s said that people who have confidence in life and in themselves can really act on their own potential. They dream big and do believe that anything is possible. And you know what… they are often up to magical stuff! I know I have to work on that one… but I’m sure it’s really worth it! What could we achieve if we knew we could not fail?
  • Be patient an enjoy the ride. No need to rush!
  • Strive to keep an equanimous mind.

 

 

A third aspect of Saucha that can be regarded is the cleanliness of our surroundings.

Keeping our home clean and free of clutter. Cluttered surroundings often offer too many distractions! And this often leads to a cluttered mind.

Buying buying buying… vs decluttering… mmm… this is tricky in our consumer society. We should maybe start small: Next time you want to buy a white T-Shirt, ask yourself ‘Do I really need this fifteenth white tee-shirt?’. If the response is ‘well… not really… but…’, do not even bother listening to your ‘but’, just move along and forget about this T-shirt.

Turn off your phone at night. Turn off the wifi when you sleep. Do not charge your phone next to your head. Minimise the exposition to all the waves created by electronic devices. I am even considering investing in an Himalayan Salt lamp for its air purifying properties and as its negative ions are said to neutralise the positive ions created by devices such as TV, phones, computers, etc. (NB : Please notice that I wrote “invest in”… and not “buy”… ahah!).

Try to disconnect from social media (Facebook, Emails, Instagram, etc) from time to time: You will be able to connect with your inner self, tune in with your creativity and better connect with the people next to you as well.

And well… also… be aware of the people you surround yourself with. Don’t let toxic people drag you down. Wait wait! It does not mean that you should disregard friends asking for help or going through a difficult time in your life! No. It means that you should not let anyone tell you that you are worthless. You should not let anyone push you into doing things you do not want to do. Don’t let anyone destroy yourself.

Nurture honest and healthy relationships with your family, friends and partner.

 

To sum up: stay heathy, stay simple and stay happy!

Recipe : Cantaloupe, Fig and (vegan) Mozzarella Caprese Salad

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What a scrumptious recipe for summer! Fresh, juicy and flavourful!

All you need are:
1 cantaloupe, halved and seeded

3 figs, quartered

1 cup of vegan mozzarella

¼ cup basil leaves, thinly sliced

¼ cup mint leaves, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1½ tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

Himalayan  salt and ground black pepper to taste

 

Cut the fruits and mozzarella into small pieces (or use a melon baller to scoop balls from the cantaloupe  – if you have a melon baller that is).

Throw everything into a bowl.

Add the basil and mint leaves, the salt and pepper, the balsamic, olive oil and honey dressing.

Enjoy!

Recipe: How to eat more vegetables ?

How to eat more vegetables you ask?

Well… start eating them at every meal, I’ll say.

How is that even possible, you ask?

Let me show you how …

 

1 – For breakfast:

  • In a smoothie bowl: Mix together half a zucchini, some green leaves (collard, spinach, kale), one big banana, one pear or some berries, some green powder (wheatgrass, spirulina, etc) and rice or oat milk. Add extra crunchy toppings. And dig in! Here is another smoothie recipe made with beetroot.
  • In a creamy “puree”: Puree together one cooked purple sweet potato, one grated carrot, one banana, some raw cacao powder, cinnamon, vanilla bean, coconut milk and shredded coconut. Top your bowl with vegan chocolate, grated carrot, raisins and enjoy your filling breakfast!
  • In a fruit salad: Slice thinly one carrot, one banana, one apple, one orange. Add passion fruit, vanilla and activated almonds. Crunchy and yummy!
  • In a juice: But you know that already! Check this recipe! Or this blog. Or this carrot-turmeric juice.

2- For lunch or dinner:

  • In an interesting salad made with massaged kale, fennel, celery, apple, avocado, crunchy nuts with raisins and cranberries. Pour over the salad a lemon-tahini-honey mustard dressing.
  • In a “yogi bowl”: Quinoa, crudités (cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, celery), mint, parsley, coriander, pomegranate. Add an a baba ganoush (grilled eggplant mixed with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, sea salt, sumac, cinnamon, white pepper and cumin). Or you can have a look at this quinoa salad recipe.
  • In another yogi or buddha bowl (as they call it): Quinoa and brown rice pasta, homemade tomato sauce (fresh tomato, sundried tomato and basil), and green veggies (broccolis, zucchinis, spinach, etc).

3- For dessert!!!:

  • In an ice-cream: yep! You heard that right! You can buy a vegan ice cream and top it with shredded carrots, wheatgrass powder, raw cacao nibs and a green smoothie (made with zucchini, fennel leaves, coriander, banana and spirulina).
  • In a cake: Have you check this cake recipe made with juice pulp? Or this carrot brownie?
  • In a raw cake or a raw vegan “cheesecake”: More to come in the upcoming blogposts … 😉

Recipe: Upcycle your juice pulp

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I love juicing but I hate wasting food. This is why I never ever throw away the pulp of my veggies and fruits. I turn it into crackers, throw it into soups or smoothies or… I … well bake it! Yep! You can hide your leftover juice pulp into a toothsome cake. Here is the recipe:

 

Ingredients:

100g buckwheat or brown rice flour

100g oat flour

25g arrow-root powder or chestnut flour or coconut flour

12 tablespoons of carob (or cacao) powder

60 g of vegan chocolate chips

3 ripe bananas

1 apple

3 handfuls of raisins (or dates or dried abricots)

9 big tablespoons of your leftover juice pulp (mine was beetroot, carrot, fennel, ginger and orange)

4 tablespoons of maple syrup (OPTION – only if you have a real sweet tooth)

15 tablespoons of coconut milk

4 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds

3 tablespoons psyllium husk

3 teaspoons of spices (eg: cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ginger, clove, vanilla, etc)

2 pinches of sea salt

 

How to: 

1- Preheat your oven at 200°C.

2- Mix the leftover juice pulp, the fruits and raisins in a food processor.

3- In a bowl, mix together your spices, flours, carob or cacao powder, spices, flaxseeds and pysllium husk.

4- Pour in your coconut milk and then your fruit&veggie “puree”. Mix again.

5- Pour your dough in a non-sticking baking pan.

6- Bake it 35 to 40 minutes at 185°C.

7- Let your cake cool down before eating it.

RECIPE: CARROT BROWNIES (VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE, REFINED SUGAR FREE)

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Healthy yet yummy? Veggies and dessert? I’ve got you covered.

Here is a recipe of a vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free cake that is gooey and rich in chocolate flavour. You can have the best of both worlds: the benefits of the carrots (fibers, beta-carotene) and the satisfaction of eating a brownie.

You can have your cake and eat it too! Happy?

 

Ingredients:

400 grams of carrots

60 grams of ground flaxseeds

40 grams of buckwheat flour

6 tablespoons of raw cacao powder

1/2 tablespoon  of powdered ginger

1 tablespoon of vanilla

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 pinch of sea salt

160 grams of dates (pitted)

1 tablespoon of maple syrup

 

Instructions:

1- Peel and cook the carrots until soft. Let them cool down.

2- Preheat the oven at 180°C.

3- In a food processor, mix the carrots with the dates and maple syrup.

4- Add the spices, the sea salt and the cacao powder and mix again.

5- In a bowl, you can mix together this carrot “puree” with the buckwheat flour and the flax seeds.

6- Let it sit for about 15 minutes.

7- In a nonstick baking pan, pour your chocolat-ey dough and bake it for about 35 to 40 minutes.

8- Let your brownie cool down before eating.

 

Health benefits:

Carrots have a high content of beta-carotene, which helps prevent oxidative damage in our body.

Cinnamon can help to reduce inflammation and help to lessen the rise in blood sugar after eating.

Ginger can help to relieve nausea or other digestion pains. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to boost the immune system.

Dates are rich in fibers and help to have regular bowel movement.

Flaxseeds are a good source of omega 3 fatty acid.

 

RECIPE: SPICY BANANA BREAD (VEGAN, GLUTEN AND REFINED SUGAR-FREE)

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I was craving something sweet when I came across the recipe of Vegan Banana Bread by Deliciously Ella. I twisted the recipe a little bit according to what I had in my fridge and kitchen closet, so here is my spicy version of this delicious treat.

Ingredients for a yummy and soft banana bread (for 5 people):

– 6 ripe bananas

– 2 cups of chestnut flour

– 1 cup of freshly ground almonds

– 1 cup of buckwheat flour

– 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds

– 1 tablespoon of psyllium husk

– 1 pinch of Himalayan salt

– 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder + 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg powder + 1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder + 1 teaspoon of ginger powder + 2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder

– coconut oil for the cake pan

How to?

Pre-heat the oven at 160°C.

Then mix the ground almonds with the chestnut and buckwheat flours, the ground flaxseeds, the psyllium husk, the salt and the spices.

In a food processor, blend the bananas.

Add this puree to the “flour bowl” and mix all the ingredients together until you have a smooth yet sticky dough.

Oil a cake pan with the coconut oil and pour in the mixture.

Bake it for 1 hour.

Let the cake cool down and “dry” a little bit.

Enjoy!

Options: You can sprinkle some coconut flakes or add some banana slices on top.

RECIPE: Got Milk? … Plantbased and dairy-free of course!

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For all the lactose intolerant out there or my vegan friends, here is a delicious recipe of a dairy-free and plant-based milk.

Only simple, whole natural ingredients are used:

– 2 cups of sunflower seeds,

– 2 cups of hazelnuts,

– 6 to 10 dried figs,

– 4 to 5 cups of filtered water,

– 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla powder,

– 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon,

I eyeballed everything… so no exact measurements here… sorry.

1- The day before: Soak your seeds, nuts and figs in filtered water.

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2- The D-Day: Blend them.

3- Using a nut milk bag, strain the nut and seed puree.

4- Voilà! You’ve got yourself some fresh plant-based non-dairy milk.

5- Add some cinnamon and vanilla for some extra flavour.

6- Enjoy your vegan milk with your oatmeal, in a chai or in your smoothie!

RECIPE: Go Bananas for Chocolate!

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Guys! Listen up! I have a toothsome recipe for you: some frozen choco-banana bites! Oh so yummy!

To make these delicious treats, you’ll need:

– 1 or 2 bananas (before freezing them, don’t forget to slice the fruits!)

– 12 squares of (100% cacao) chocolate bar (it’s tantamount to about 75 grams)

– 3 table spoons of oat milk

– 1 table spoon of coconut oil

– 1 teaspoon of coconut palm sugar

– 1 pinch of cayenne pepper

– 1 pinch of Himalayan salt

– 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

– 1 teaspoon of vanilla

– 1 teaspoon of maca

– 2 tablespoons of pop-quinoa

Easy as a pie a banana:

The night before, you can freeze your banana slices.

First, melt the 100% cacao bar with the oat milk, the coconut oil in a bain-marie (hot-water “bath”).

Add a tea spoon of water if the chocolate is not runny enough.

When everything has melted together, you can add the coconut sugar, the maca powder, all the spices and the pop-quinoa. Stir it quickly once again.

Dip the frozen banana slices into the chocolate sauce.

You can roll these slices in some more pop-quinoa / raw cacao nibs / coconut flakes / Himalayan salt.

Let these choco-banana bites sit into your freezer for 2 hours.

Enjoy!

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Health Benefits:

– Banana is a good source of vitamin B6, potassium (which may help you improve your brain activity when learning for instance), magnesium and manganese.

Raw cacao is said to protect the nervous system as it is high in resveratrol (a potent antioxidant), to help repair damages caused by free radicals (again thanks to those powerful antioxidants!), to reduce blood pressure and to energize your mood. Raw cacao is also a great source of minerals like magnesium (again: Good for the brain!), potassium, iron and zinc.

– Maca is a root from Peru that may help balance the hormones, boost mental clarity and help with endurance.

Cinnamon can help to curve hunger and balance blood sugar levels.

Cayenne pepper is regarded as a metabolic-booster: It could be used to burn fat.

MORNING RITUALS

Morning rituals

A morning well spent brings a day of content, right?

I love having a healthy routine in the morning, so that I can boost my energy level and I’m sure I will be efficient and calm during the day… (otherwise, when I wake up late -like 5 minutes before the actual beginning of my work day- I’m cranky and ill-tempered… all day long… yeah… I can be that bad!)

Anyway… here are some of my tips to start the day on the right foot:

– Ok… well.. first, I try to actually wake up… and then I stretch as if I were a cat and I yawn as if I were a dog!

– Then: Oil pulling. Wait? What?! Yes, I rinse my mouth with coconut oil or sesame oil or sunflower oil every morning for 15 to 20 minutes. I do it on an empty stomach. The purpose is to cleanse my teeth, my gums and well… to get rid ot the bacteria in my mouth…After the 20 minutes, I spit the oil in the toilet (and oh dear Lord! not the sink!!! otherwise the oil could clog it up) and then brush my tongue with a tongue scraper and I brush my teeth.

– As I cannot speak for 20 minutes and cannot eat… I have to find something else to do: I would do some sun salutations, handstands or I would focus on an intention for the day and on positive thoughts (looking forward to my Mysore practise for instance…)

– After the oil-pulling and handstands ceremony, Idrink a big glass of warm water with a dash of lemon juice, some ginger and cinnamon. And then, an herbal tea (stinging nettle and fennel for instance)

– As I usually wake up at 5:45am, I have time to go to my Ashtanga Yoga Studio for a 2 hour-long Mysore practise at 7am. If I wake up too late: I will go for a run for 45 minutes.

– As I never eat before the Mysore practise, I bring some fruits or nuts to snack on at work afterwards. And I always take a green shot with me (basically = filtered water + wheatgrass powder + spirulina).

– Otherwirse, during week-ends or when I wake up later: I’ll take a green or pink juice and a smoothie made with greens, berries, banana or persimmon and other yummy superfoods (such as this one or this one)!

And of course… I never forget to smile!!!! A key ingredient to a good day!

So cheer up pumpkins and enjoy every single day of your beautiful life!!

SKIN CARE IN A GLASS

Green juice

When I have time (often: during the weekends) or when I feel tired, I start my mornings with nutrient-rich juices.

I have two favorite and beautifying combos: My green monster juice and the pink lady one.

 

For the Green Monster, juice 1 organic cucumber with the skin, 1 organic fennel, 1 huge handful of fresh organic mint, 1 big handful of organic baby spinach, 1/2 lemon and 1 organic green apple with the skin.

 

Pink juice

For the Pink Lady, juice 2 raw beets, 1 fennel, 1 finger of fresh ginger and 1 grapefruit… Pour in a glass and enjoy! Sweet and tasty!

 

As always pumpkins, try to use organic products as often as possible…

 

Health Benefits:

– Mint is not only rich in chlorophyll but is also often used to soothe an upset stomach.

Cucumber and fennel are hydrating, nutrient dense and low calorie veggies. Should I say more? Still not convinced to eat or drink your greens? Ok then. A green diet is said to help boost your immune system and keep your body running thanks to the enzymes. As they are also really rich in vitamins and minerals, they will nourish exhausted and stressed bodies. And greens are alkalizing foods: they will help balance your PH. And of course green veggies are beautifying food: the vitamins inside should help your skin clear out and glow!

Lemon is said to help alkalize the body and help flush out the toxins.

Ginger has stomach-soothing and anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in antioxidants. It should help with digestion.

– Beets are high in antioxidants (which help protect against free radical damage) and can support with detoxification. They are a good source of manganese (which can protect against free radical damage) and folate (or vitamin B9, which helps with tissue growth and cell function). They may also help your hair and skin look younger and healthier.

– Grapefruits are rich in vitamin C, which will boost your immune system and… should help enhance collagen production (= happy skin!!)

 

 

Tips:

Do not wait too long before drinking your juice. Try and consume it as soon as you strained it. Otherwise the live enzymes and the vitamins will deteriorate once exposed to air. You will then lose a lot of the nutritional benefits of the juice…

For the lucky ones out there who have a slow masticating juicer, you can store your juice for up to 24 hours  in a refrigerated container.

It’s up to 72 hours for the juices made with a press juicer!!