Friday, October 28, 2011

Just Breathe

Today I have been in peace like I have not experienced in a very long time. I spent this cool,rainy day in my big orange chair in front of my windows reading in my pj's. The book, Dharma Punx, was lent to me by a fellow Sangha member. It is a memoir that I found a lot of insight and "oh yeah" recognition with concerning my own Zen Buddhist Mindfulness practice. This day also offered me time to reflect on my life in the present moment, my experiences, opportunities and expectations. Was I living my mindfulness practice? Why was fear, anger and worry creeping in lately. How was I dealing with it? Was I "doing" instead of "being" and how was that working out for me? My husband, Paul, was my greatest teacher. He began the practice in his life before we really even knew what it was. He wanted a spiritual path. It is an amazing story, it is to me anyway because I watched him transform his life and find peace. Many of the stories in this book reminded me of Paul and that reminded me of things he would say when things got tough and I or people we knew would use excuses not to deal with stuff. His favorite was "and how is that working for you?" So today I posed that question to myself. How is living with fear of being alone, worry about finding a job and anger at people I no longer have in my life or the fact that I almost died but did not and then he did, how is all that working for ya, Keri?" It's not working for me and I know better. I study to have the tools to deal with these things. I have been through the ringer and for the most part come out the other side ready to begin anew. I have lost focus that it is not up to me. I am not in control and I am being taken care of if only I allow it to happen. I have a purpose in this life and I will fulfill it but I need to let it happen and not worry about achieving it. Basically, I need to get out of my own way so that my life can unfold as it is meant to unfold not as I or anyone else thinks it should. In reflecting these teachings are in my life all of the time. One of my dear new friends and I had lunch this week and she was talking to me about many things but the difference between doing and being was one of those things. Another dear friend and I spoke about my fear of being alone and loneliness. She told me that I don't need to work at not being lonely. If people wanted to be part of my life they would make it happen and to have faith in others. They are both so right. I have been putting my fear based intentions out there instead of having faith in me. My practice teaches me to come back to myself and find refuge and revelation from within. It is the truth. My mind and heart feel clearer now. What gifts I was given this past week and just as I needed them. A book, a lunch with a friend and a night time conversation with another friend were my spiritual teachings this week. We never know where these teachings will come from but we must remain open to recognize them when they happen because they might just change your life.
So, how's your spiritual life and how's that working for you?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Juices & Smoothies

Bust out the juicer that is collecting dust and the blender for a green juice smoothie recipe.

First thing you have to do is get your juicer & blender out and ready or if you are one of the "lucky ones" with a VitaMix get her ready to go. For those with a VitaMix you do not have to make the green juice separately because your mighty machine with take everything in its' whole foods form and liquefy it. The choice is yours VitaMixers but for the rest of us we need to make a green juice and add some other ingredients to it in our blenders to get a nice, thick smoothie.

Green Juice (add veggies to your taste the amounts I give are my taste)

1 bunch of kale with stems
1 small bunch of baby broccoli with stems
1 cucumber
1 fist full of parsley
1 med. green apple
1 fist full of dandelion greens
5-6 stalks of celery

Juice these ingredients and transfer the juice to a blender. Add 2 very ripe, small avocado, about 1 cup of ice and 1 cup or so of blueberries or strawberries. Blend on high until thick and do a taste test. Add a few squeezes of lime to taste. I like the bitter green taste so you will need to taste for sweetness and add more berries if necessary for you. Enjoy!

Avocados are awesome in smoothies. When you drink this you can feel good in knowing that you are drinking liquid gold for your body. This smoothie contains ingredients that fight inflammation, cancer and support the liver.
It really is easy to make this and the best thing we can do is play around in the kitchen or experiment. A few squeezes of lemon or lime can cut something that is too salty or bitter. A little more avocado will add thickness and, in my opinion, cuts the strong taste of dark leafy greens. Adjust the apple and berries for sweetness as needed. Make enough for the whole family and let the kiddos help. Store extra in the refrigerator for later or breakfast the next day.
FYI....Green juice makes a nice addition to soups, etc.. Since it is enzymatically alive it is a good idea to make your soup and add the green juice last so it only heats for a few minutes on low.

One more tastey juice suggestion for carrot juice is to add a little cinnamon and nutmeg. Now you have a powerful antiinflammatory juice that tastes similar to pumpkin pie. I picked up that tip from The book Raw Foods Made Easy for 1 or 2 People by Jennifer Cornbleet.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Today my soapbox is a few inches taller and I have a few things to talk about from it.
As cancer and other serious diseases becomes more and more common in our society I think we all need to WAKE UP! It does not matter how old you are, where you live or who your parents are it can happen to you. You see we have lulled ourselves into a state of being that tells us we are infallible and that to be happy and healthy we just need to have the "right" job and work ourselves until we have nothing left, as well as all of the modern "conveniences" to make life easy. These would include chemical cleaners that promise to make the chore faster, never mind that they are full of harmful toxins, meals made from GMO veggies and factory farmed animals because this makes it easier to feed the world's starving population never mind that the animals are toxic, sick, the veggies are mutations and the world's starving populations do not even want these GMO foods, over the counter pills to mask the symptoms of a body in distress, never mind that they will ultimately contribute to illness and never do get to the root cause of what might be wrong and cell phones that can do everything but talk to aliens in space, never mind that the EMF's they give off are strong enough to affect our health. These things are making us sick and dumbing us down. We are buying a life that is of no quality or enjoyment. When you have cancer or any other serious illness these "conveniences" do not matter. Life matters but do we know what that means any more? It means waking up feeling good and hopeful about what possibilities and opportunities await us. It means sharing a real, healthy meal with a good friend(s) and dancing to our favorite songs. It also means taking a walk without a cell phone or ipod attached to our ears and enjoying the beauty around us and seeing the need to preserve it. It means simplify. Of course I am writing this on my laptop so I cannot deny that some modern "conveniences" are advantageous but our overbearing need to live life as dictated to us by them is not. We have to take responsibility for ourselves and the way we live. This means calling a lemon a lemon without excuses. Our lifestyles are one of the biggest risk factors in most all diseases. Stress has become an accepted part of life and that is wrong. Not having time to do the things we enjoy but instead replacing them with the things we have to do is wrong. I guarantee those "have to's" will still be there tomorrow. We need to share ourselves and our lives with each other now maybe not everything but we are all connected and your experiences might give your friend, neighbor, coworker a new perspective that is helpful and vice versa. I use social networking as much as the next person but nothing beats in person communication in my book. I can talk to a stranger till the cows come home and I love doing it. We are social beings. We need to interact with each other. We also need to realize that we have all we need to be happy and we possess the answers that we are searching for elsewhere. We can draw inspiration from each other, a coworker, doctor or spiritual leader but it is up to us to lead our lives as is best for us.
Take responsibility to achieve your given right to health and happiness as an intelligent individual.

Have an empowered day!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Orange Pistachio Quinoa

A few weeks ago I attended a workshop where Jeanne Wallace and Rebecca Katz were the speakers. The workshop was called The Cancer Fighting Kitchen. It was great. The message I took away is that the best way to fight cancer is prevention. Seems like a no brainer but many of us do not get it. The food that is on your plate is a great place to start. Eating for prevention is not a tasteless chore. It is an empowering, creative food journey.
One of the things I love about Rebecca's book is that she has sections likeCulinary Pharmacy
and The Power of Herbs and Spices. She educates about the foods she is using in this book. Rebecca is a chef who ended up becoming a nutritionist. She has fabulous tips for cooking too like using FASS (fat, acid, sweet, salt) to balance flavors, etc.
I am going to share a recipe from Rebecca Katz's cookbook The Cancer Fighting Kitchen. I gave the recipe a few tweaks of my own.

In her book this is the Orange Pistachio Couscous
I made it into Orange Pistachio Quinoa

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. corriander
1 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped mint
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 scallions, white and green parts chopped
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
2 tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2tbs. fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tbs. orange zest
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup currants or raisins

In a mini food processor (which can be purchased for about $10 at Target) chop your pistachios. Combine your cooked quinoa with the cumin, corriander, salt, pepper and mix well. Combine the mint, parsley, scallions, lemon juice, orange juice, orange zest, currants or raisins and oil. Mix well. Give it a taste test. Add lemon juice, oil or salt to balance it out.
I added more orange juice and that was a big hit. I am not ever strict to measurements . I did not measure my juices I just squeezed them right in.
Happy eating and isn't this the best kind of medicine