Eat to cope

Edible Yoga? Well, kinda! Introducing, Adaptogens!

By : Nicki Formica

When you’re under stress, the stress hormone cortisol is pumping—no, raging! We need cortisol, don’t get me wrong, but as with “all things in moderation” this is not an exception. We are a a nation are under chronic amounts of stress which skyrocket our cortisol and lead to a whole mess of issues….

Back in the old days (way, waaaaay back) normal meant our cortisol spiked while under temporary stress in a “fight or flight” type response, and then, for it to fall back to normal levels once the stressor was alleviated. For instance, while your great great great great grandpa was hunting for food or trying not to be someone else’s dinner!

In 2014, our stress can last for hours, days, weeks or even YEARS ; Heartbreak, Credit card debt, being overworked—This is a recipe for disaster for our health and inevitably has devastating consequences on our bodies!

(By the way, Cortisol is also known as the “aging hormone”, I really don’t think I need to explain that! Chronically elevated Cortisol can affect every physiological and psychological system)

-An inability to lose weight- (think pesky belly fat that won’t budge)

-Hormonal imbalance 


-Sleep disruption



-Anxiety and Depression

-Autoimmune diseases (ex : IBS, Colitis, Chrones, Alzheimers)

-Thyroid issues



….all from too much Cortisol?!


So here’s where adaptogens come into the picture. Adaptogens, being the name because they help you “adapt” to whatever situation might be stressing you out. Sounds like magic, does it not?

These healing botanicals aid your body in balancing and recuperating via your adrenal system, while helping you properly respond to stressors. And by stressor, it could be anything from a bad break up, to battling the flu.

Adaptogens normalize your physiological functions, and while it might be subtle and take a bit for them to help you, these medicinal foods have been used and trusted for centuries. Adaptogens work to calm your nerves but also help you access more energy, a double whammy that coffee can’t promise. Your body receives better access to oxygen and thus strength and endurance, and it eliminates toxic by-products with ease. If you notice nothing else, it will be that of a sense of well-being and mental clarity!


The following is a very concise list of what I deem to be the most accessible adaptogens. *all of these are available in pill form, and if you plan on seeking them out, please note that I am not a doctor and to speak with yours before taking herbal supplements*

1. Maca – “Peruvian Ginseng” a powder made from a crushed root native to Peru, contains 20 amino acids and 7 essential amino acids and fiber, phytonutrients vitamins and minerals. It also contains 5x the amount of protein as a potato and is perfect for smoothies. Nourishing to the endocrine system and can help you balance your hormones. BMC complementary and Alternative Medicine 2006 found it effective for anxiety and depression in post-menopausal women.

2. Licorice root – Beyond being a candy flavor, licorice root has been known to help with SO many ailments including brain fog, depression, mood swings, circulation and energy. I personally take this in pill form daily.

3. Ginseng – Claimed as the most effective and potent adaptogen, ginseng also works to boost fertility and regulate blood sugar levels. Additionally, its been known to have anti-depressant effects and aid in mental clarity.

Here’s a broader list for those who are curious :
-Holy Basil
-Rhodiola Rosea
-Eleuthero Root

Eating like our Ancestors



By Nicki Formica


Before there was Nexium and zoloft and there were …better food habits

Its not exactly a newsflash that prescription drugs have become our go-to solutions for just about anything. We have headaches, a depression that just won’t lift, or whatever it may be, and our first move is to see our doctor. You have a problem? Theres a pill for that. There will always be an important need for western medicine, but during an era in which pharmaceutical companies can advertise potent drugs with some 52 odd side effects alongside a GMO-packed sugar cereal, the concept of preventative medicine is alien. …And you have to wonder—were people always this sick?

The answer is no.

Its not a secret : Nature holds the key to our well-being and longevity. Medical students and the average citizen alike; neither is taught much about nutrition, and what most do know is to just count calories and avoid sugar. Just as we swallow pills and expect an effect, the nutrients (or lack there of) in our dinner hold great potential to better us, or, cause us harm.

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”, a phrase coined by Hippocrates, known as the Father of Western Medicine, is not exactly a family practitioner’s modus operandi.

Did you know that viruses can mutate and replicate to stay alive longer in a host (you) low in antioxidants and phytonutrients? To boot, 80% of your immune system lies in your gut. Best to be mindful of what you put in it.

You could write volumes about the benefits of healthy eating, but here’s a list of some of my favorite vegetarian miracle foods and their benefits :




-Contains curcumin, a compound that may increase seratonin production in the brain. Used in Chinese medicine as an anti-depressant
-Potent anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, anti-bacterial, useful for disinfecting cuts and burns
-Liver detox
-Speeds wound healing
-Inhibits cancer growth

*Fact : India has the lowest incidence of Alzheimers, and consumes the most turmeric. Alzheimers disease, being inflammation of the brain.




-Immunity booster
-Kills viruses, fungi and parasites, i.e. things like the flu, throat infections, UTI’s, bronchitis
-Great source of electrolytes for rapid hydration
-Slows the aging process by protecting from free radical damage
-Lowers cholesterol

*Fact : Pacific islanders deem coconut oil to be the cure-all gift from nature for all illness.


Raw Chocolate (Cacao)

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 1.51.59 AM

-Flavonols relax arteries and reduce blood pressure
-Potent antioxidant associated with longevity
-One of the most chemically and nutritionally complex foods on earth!
-Aids in weight loss thanks to the high chromium content

*Fact : raw cacao beans have an antioxidant score of 95,500, 14 times more flavonoids (antioxidants) than red wine , 21 times more than green tea!




-Contains lentinan, an anti-tumor polysaccharide
-Act as a bloodhounds for irregular cell growth (reduces cancer of the breast by 64% via ONE mushroom eaten daily. Couple that with green tea and your breast cancer risk goes down 89%)
-Regulates estrogen levels
-Boots your immunity
-Helps improve circulation, eyesight, influenza

*Fact : mushrooms have been used in ancient chinese medicine for thousands of years. Mushrooms contain a substance called Germanium, a nutrient that helps boost the oxygen efficiency as well as counteract the body’s exposure to environmental toxins


-nausea, even from motion sickness
-digestive aid, improving absorption by stimulating the gastric and pancreatic enzyme secretion
-improve blood flow via chromium, magnesium, zinc which prevent chills, fever and sweats
-fights respiratory problems by breaking down mucus
-Reduces pain and inflammation

*Fact : In India, a ginger paste is applied to the temples to relieve headaches




-Contains and promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria (probiotics)
-Cleans and strengthens the intestines, making you more resistant to things like E. coli and parasites.
-Helps you digest food better (and is easy to digest itself even if you’re lactose intolerant)
-Eliminates yeast overgrowth in the body, which is a scarily common issue in men and women
-Supports immune system function
-Promotes a feeling of “well-being”, as its name means in turkish.

(*Get full-fat organic and grass-fed Kefir to ensure you are getting the best quality. I buy “plain” and add my own fruit in to a smoothie control the amount of sugar)




-Anti-inflammatory properties which reduce the risk for degenerative disorders
-Reverses insulin resistance (an issue if you’re pre-diabetic, or diabetic)
-Protective against stroke
-Controls blood pressure
-Lowers cholesterol levels
-Anti-cancer, specifically; mouth, skin and prostate

*Fact : Avocados are great for fertility


Wild blueberries


-Improve gene expression
-Protective against obesity, Alzheimers and cancer
-Reduction in chronic inflammation
-Decrease in damage from oxidative stress




-Combats allergies
-Prevents tumor growth, reduction in risk of cancer
-Reduces arthritic pain
-Boosts immune system while killing off bad bacteria, viruses and fungi


….Here’s a recipe that includes many of the foods above!


Thai Vegetarian Coconut Curry :
This recipe includes coconut, garlic, ginger, turmeric and mushrooms 🙂

Serves: 2-3

• 3 tbsp coconut oil
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 3 garlic cloves minced or thinly sliced
• 1 small piece of (peeled) finely chopped ginger
• 2-3 tbsp red curry paste, adjust to taste
• 1-2 tsp ground turmeric to taste
• 1 tbsp coconut aminos, or soy sauce
• 1 can full-fat coconut milk

Vegetables :
• 1 small eggplant, cubed
• 1 small red or green bell pepper, evenly cut
• small head of broccoli or as many florets as desired
• small bunch of mushrooms
Serve over :
• rice noodles, steamed white rice, or low carb options : zucchini ribbons, “spaghetti”squash

1. Heat the oil in a large pan or wok, once warm saute the onions until soft. Next add the ginger and garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the eggplant, bell pepper and broccoli florets and saute for a few minutes. Next add the curry paste, turmeric, coconut aminos / soy sauce and stir to mix all ingredients well. Allow to cook for 3 minutes then pour in the coconut milk and add the mushrooms. Cover and simmer under low heat until vegetables have cooked to desired tenderness. Serve over desired “noodle” or rice.

Notes :
-You can choose to add more heat to your curry by adding cayenne in addition to your red curry paste
-for pescatarians, I’d recommend adding shrimp, otherwise if you want more protein, add a scrambled diced egg or crushed nuts

adapted from “the spicy foodie”


Creamy Vegan Pesto “Spaghetti” (Squash) with Kale

Its squash season! Buy local! Buy organic! This recipe is super simple, guilt-free, gluten-free and vegan! I go for this when I’m craving something creamy and filling.




For the spaghetti squash : 

-Place your squash in a large pot with water and salt, and bring to a boil. Turn with a fork every so often to evenly heat all sides. When easily pierced with a fork, your squash is ready and can be removed. Should be allowed to cool for 10 minutes.

-Slice your squash directly in half, scoop out the pulp which hold the seeds and put to the side if intending to roast your seeds, otherwise discard.  The rest of the inside contents of the squash can be separated and removed by a fork and will naturally be in “spaghetti”-like strands for your dish! (*One squash can feed about 7 people.)

-Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and set aside



For the creamy dairy-free pesto : 

Food process the following :

1.5 Cups Fresh Basil

1/3rd Cup Olive Oil

5 Cloves Garlic

1/3rd Cup Walnuts or Nutritional Yeast

Lemon juice (optional)

1/2 TSP Sea salt

1/2 TSP pepper

1 avocado




For the Kale: 

-Sautee 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and moderately chopped, and one half an onion in your oil of choice until kale is semi-wilted and onion is translucent. Toss with your spaghetti, and mix your pesto into your spaghetti!


The magic of Apple Cider Vinegar : Nature’s multi-purpose product


Put it in your medicine cabinet, kitchen cupboard, bathroom and everywhere else, because this miracle vinegar deserves an infomercial! As far back as the ancient Egyptians, cultures around the world have been using Apple cider vinegar as a healing elixir, a youth preserver, disinfectant and much much more. This inexpensive multi-purpose product is an absolute must-have for those of us who love harnessing the power of nature. Doctor Hippocrates recommended!


Natural cleaning product.

Toss your chemical-laden cleaners! Drains, floors, kitchen worktops, windows, even vegetables! Diluted ACV is a great natural anti-fungal, disinfectant, anti-bacterial. It can cut through grease and act as a deodorizer. Most cleaning recipes call for a mixture of 50% ACV, 50% water.


Hair boost

Apple cider vinegar easily amps up your hair’s body and shine! This is a great way to remove residue and build up that come with using products, while also reversing the damage from exposure to sea salt and the elements. By balancing the PH of your scalp, your hair is left shiny and full as its meant to be. After shampooing, spray or pour one part ACV, one part water onto your hair and let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse, then condition. Though the scent is potent, it fades quickly.


Make your face glow

This detox concoction improves your overall complexion and has the power to turn back the clock—or at least slow it down! Skin is naturally acidic, so the acid in the vinegar helps to restore balance between dry and oily. ACV works to improve blood flow, reduce scars, acne, fine lines, age spots and just about any skin ailment you might have. This antiseptic and antibacterial is a multi-purpose toner and moisture retainer.

Toner Recipe :

1 part apple cider vinegar

2 parts water

*Note : try this out on part of your face before applying to the entirety as some may be sensitive to its potency. If so, just dilute further.


Whiten your teeth

After those few glasses of red wine and that venti coffee in the morning, you might be less than pleased with your smile. Swish 1-2oz of ACV in your mouth for 1-2 minutes and rinse with water. Some will notice immediate improvement, others need to keep up for a month, but theres no doubt about it— this stuff has definite stain-removing capabilities.


Soothe sunburnt skin

Add a cup of apple cider vinegar to your bath, and soak for 10 minutes to eliminate the uncomfortable stinging from sunburn. Its been said that it also helps to reduce the redness faster than when left alone. After bathing, I suggest moisturizing with coconut oil, another remedy for sunburn.


Your weight loss buddy

In a 2009 study, it was found that subjects that consumed acetic acid, the main ingredient in ACV for 12 weeks experienced significant declines in abdominal fat, body weight, waist circumference and triglycerides. Why is this so? ACV helps to inhibit the digestion of starches, for example potato or pasta. Taking a swig of this powerful stuff, (or using it as a component in your salad dressing) also regulates blood sugar. Inhibiting digestion might sound questionable, but the fact is, the less starch your digest, the less that gets converted to calories . Not all calories are created equal, we want to remember that excess calories from starches contribute to weight gain and weight retention. This isn’t a free pass to down three servings of penne, but it will certainly help.
*Note : Make sure to check with your doctor before regularly ingesting ACV as some people might might need to ween themselves onto this. You never want to do too much of a good thing. Stick to a tablespoon diluted before meals!


Balance from the inside out : Detox

Equilibrium is your body’s ultimate and constant goal. Did you know Apple cider vinegar helps the body maintain a healthy alkaline pH level despite it being an acid? Thats right, an acid doesn’t always make for a more acidic environment. Furthermore, ACV can swing either way, and it helps your body in whichever way it needs. Apple Cider Vinegar is such a brilliant form of preventative medicine, and is especially useful after some unhealthy habits like a junk food binge. Naturally, our body strives to be slightly alkaline. If it falls out of balance, the following can result : Lethargy, mucus, infection, anxiety, moodiness, headaches, sore throat, congestion and much more. Try taking a shot of 1:1 ACV and water prior to meal(s) or incorporating it into sauces and marinates! ACV is rich in natural minerals, vitamins and enzymes that bind to toxins and make it easier for the body eliminate. It breaks up mucus, purifies the blood, and cleanses the lymph nodes. Overall, the immune system is a big fan of this stuff!



Candida killer : Bacteria overgrowth

Rich in natural enzymes, regular use of ACV can help rid your body of excess Candida. A cousin of mold, Candida thrives in various places, and is one of the billions of necessary organisms that call your body home, but with overgrowth comes lots of problems, some of which include : yeast infections, eczema, fatigue, digestive upset, memory problems, sugar cravings and headaches to name a few (there’s a lot more symptoms sadly). How do we keep it at bay? You guessed it. ACV creates a very unfriendly environment for the yeast. Another reason to take this sour shot pre-meals! *Note : sugar and gluten, as well as the rest of the “standard american diet” have been shown to perpetuate and feed Candida.


Heartburn and Indigestion : The real answer

Cue pepto bismol jingle! So, you’re telling me to treat an acidic “burn” sensation (as well as other ailments pepto cures) with acid-containing vinegar? Yes I am. You can toss your Tums in the garbage can now, folks. ACV mimics stomach acid, so has the power to correct the true issue behind heartburn : low acid, not excess. Yes its true, we’ve been dooped again by big pharma because natural remedies are not money-making! When your stomach is lacking in its food-digesting acids, the environment gets a little turbulent as it tries to compensate, sending some of its contents into the esophagus giving you that awesome burning sensation. Next time you feel heartburn, give your stomach the pro-acid it needs, not the opposite.

Ok, so why should I not use antacids if it helps with the pain? Since heartburn and indigestion are a result of inadequate stomach acid, anti-acid pills, while they may dilute the potency of the acid that ails you, does nothing more than suppress the true issue at hand : your body needs more acid! If you are suffering from frequent heartburn, your digestion and immunity are very much at risk and you pave the way for costly health consequences. In addition to supplementing with ACV daily (dilute a tablespoon with as much water as needed), we must turn to diet to prevent heartburn in the first place. Refined sugar and excess carbohydrate intake are a few of the causes of low HCL (hydrochloric acid).


Ok I’m sold! What brand do I buy?

Just like theres conventional apples and organic apples, the same goes for ACV. You’ll reap more nutritional benefits if its organic and unprocessed! And good news, the best brand doesn’t burn a hole in your wallet. 32oz of Bragg’s Organic ACV runs for around 6 bucks and can be found in just about any health food store, or online. Despite your aesthetic preference, the “dirtier” the better : your cider should be cloudy, not distilled, refined and pasteurized to be perfectly clear. So stray from brands like Heinz or Goya, go for the gold!


Coconut Milk Cheddar



Coconut Milk Cheddar.. hold the cheese please…


Coconut Milk Cheddar

2 cans coconut milk/cream (I buy from Trador Joes)
3 T agar powder

(*If using flakes, they need to be ground down to a powder first)

1 t coconut vinegar/ rice vinegar
4 T tapioca starch
1 t smoked paprika
1/4 t liquid smoke
2 t sea salt
1/4 c nutritional yeast flakes (optional but definitely gives it more cheesy-ness)
Pinch of turmeric (for more authentic cheese color – optional)
1. Boil coconut milk until no longer separated. Add vinegar, agar, and salt. Boil gently. 
2. Add remaining ingredients, one at a time. Whisking all the while! Cook another 3-5 minutes.
3. Remove from pan and put in greased, flat-bottomed glass dish or parchment paper lined loaf pan.
4. Let cool for a few hours. You can also stick in fridge when cool and use the next day. Slice and enjoy!
This coconut cheddar is great for making quesadillas, to spread on sandwiches, topping on soups.. possibilities are endless my friends! The first time I made this, it was so exciting I had to check on it every 10 minutes. Have made many vegan cheeses the past decade, and to be honest this is my fav at the moment.
Hold the cheese please…..
Ever felt like you couldn’t give up cheese?  Ever think it might actually be a drug? The surprising news is that as far back as the 1980′s researchers have known that cheese contains trace amounts of morphine. Seriously.
“When you catch yourself slipping into a pool of negativity, notice how it derives from nothing other than resistance to the current situation.”

Cashew Cheese, Persimmon-Avocado Caprese, and the Four Sparkling Gems! Yipie!

As you may have been in a recent Yoga class, I have gifted the teaching, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I came across this many years ago, loved it, then placed it on the book shelf. A few weeks ago I had an internal experience that I could not find peace in. Lucky for a keen eye, I saw a sparkling gem on my bookshelf, eagerly opened and read within a magical hour. Bamm… my world was shifted upside down. This teaching has brought light into my life when I most needed it. I hope you can receive this gift as blessing to your life.


The Four Agreements are:

1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

(Above information from *Check out the articles from this website to learn more, or buy the book! : )

Rich and Creamy Cashew Cheese

This is great on its own and can be flavored to your tastes. Try blending in 1/2 cup chopped parsley and chives; 2 Tbs. diced chipotles in adobo sauce; or 2 tsp. dried herbs (oregano, basil, tarragon) in the food processor after the base mixture has been processed smooth.

  • 2 cups raw unsalted cashews, soaked 12–24 hours, and drained
  • 2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. granulated onion powder
  • ⅛ tsp. granulated garlic powder
  • ⅛ tsp. white pepper, optional

Place cashews in bowl of food processor. Process 1 minute, or until rough paste forms. Add 1/2 cup water and remaining ingredients. Process 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth. Transfer to lidded container, and refrigerate 12 hours to allow to thicken. Spread on sandwiches, crackers, or pita.


*(Recipe from November 2012 p.71 Vegetarian Times)


Persimmon-Avocado Caprese

Serves 4

30 minutes or fewer

Persimmons stand in for tomatoes and avocados take the place of mozzarella in this Asian take on a classic Italian appetizer. Use a serrated or ceramic knife to slice the persimmons—straight-bladed steel knives can have a hard time cutting through the skin and tender flesh.
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 ½ tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Fuyu or Hachiya persimmons, sliced
  • 1 avocado, halved and thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 green onion, trimmed and thinly sliced

1. Whisk together sesame oil and soy sauce in small bowl. Set aside.

2. Arrange persimmon and avocado slices in overlapping pattern on serving plates. Drizzle with sesame oil mixture, and sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onion.

*(Recipe from November 2012 p.64 Vegetarian Times)

Kamut Lentil Gratitude Salad

GRATITUDE by Pema Chodron

“The slogan ‘Be grateful to everyone’ is about making peace with the aspects of ourselves that we have rejected. Through doing that, we also make peace with the people we dislike. More to the point, being around people we dislike is often a catalyst for making friends with ourselves. Thus, “Be grateful to everyone.” If we were to make a list of people we don’t like – people we find obnoxious, threatening, or worthy of contempt – we would find out a lot about those aspects of ourselves that we can’t face. If we were to come up with one word about each of the troublemakers in our lives, we would find ourselves with a list of descriptions of our own rejected qualities, which we project onto the outside world. The people who repel us unwittingly show the aspects of ourselves that we find unacceptable, which otherwise we can’t see. In traditional teachings on lojong it is put another way: other people trigger the karma that we haven’t worked out. They mirror us and give us the chance to befriend all of that ancient stuff that we carry around like a backpack full of boulders. “Be grateful to everyone” is getting at a complete change of attitude. This slogan is not wishy-washy and naive. It does not mean that if you’re mugged on the street you should smile knowingly and say “Oh, I should be grateful for this” before losing consciousness. This slogan actually gets at the guts of how we perfect ignorance through avoidance, not knowing we’re eating poison, not knowing that we’re putting another layer of protection over our heart, not seeing the whole thing. “Be grateful to everyone” means that all situations teach you, and often it’s the tough ones that teach you the best. There may be a Juan or Juanita in your life, and Juan or Juanita is the one who gets you going. They’re the ones who don’t go away: your mother, your husband, your wife, your lover, your child, the person that you have to work with every single day, part of the situation you can’t escape. There’s no way that someone else can tell you exactly what to do, because you’re the only one who knows where it’s torturing you, where your relationship with Juan or Juanita is getting into your guts. When the great Buddhist teacher Atisha went to Tibet… he was told the people of Tibet were very good-natured, earthy, flexible, and open; he decided they wouldn’t be irritating enough to push his buttons. So he brought along with him a mean-tempered, ornery Bengali tea boy. He felt that was the only way he could stay awake. The Tibetans like to tell the story that, when he got to Tibet, he realized that he need not have brought his tea boy: the people there were not as pleasant as he had been told. In our own lives, the Bengali tea boys are the people who, when you let them through the front door of your house, go right down to the basement where you store the things you’d rather not deal with, pick out one of them, bring it to you, and say “Is this yours?” Pema Chodron


Kamut is the ancient Egyptian word for wheat. Even though Kamut is very closely related to whaet, many people who are wheat intolerant can eat Kamut with no problems. Kamut holds a power packed bite of nutrition with considerable amounts of protein, fiber, and essential minerals. Kamut is a healthy high energy grain with elevated levels of vitamin E, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Zinc. Pantothenic acid, Copper and Complex carbohydrates.

Kamut Lentil Gratitude Salad


1 Cup Dry Kamut, Cooked with about 3 cups of clean water

1/2 Black Lentils, Cooked with about 1 cup of clean water

Red Pepper, Cucumber, Onion, Daikon, Carrot diced in small pieces

Black Olives sliced

Parsley Minced

Optional Tofu diced in little squares

Dressing: 1/2 Cup Rice, white/red wine vinegar, 1/2-1/4 Olive or Sesame Oil, Sea Salt, 1 T Honey, Optional jalapeno pepper or cayenne

Simple. Hand mix Salad ingredients, and blend dressing ingredients, then combine. Smile and give gratitude!


Recently at a Thanksgiving Pebble Hill Service I had the privilege to listen to two amazing speakers named Cindy Greb and Kalie Marino. I will forward a link to a friend’s blog of her beautiful perception.


Almond Fun!

In the fall, through the winter solstice, we are in the metal element of the Five Element Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The metal element is associated with the lungs and large intestine, pungent tastes, the color white, and the emotion of grief and sadness. Some of the foods connected with autumn and the metal element are; rice, navy beans, almonds, celery, mustard greens, onions, radish,  broccoli, cucumbers, pears, and bananas.  Any favorite recipes with metal foods you would like to share?  Do you have any questions about the Five Element theory or the metal element?  Please leave us your questions and I will answer them!

Almonds are rich in vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Additionally, almonds are a significant source of protein and fiber, while being naturally low in sugar. About 23 almonds, a serving packs, 13 grams of healthy unsaturated fats, 1 gram of saturated fat and no cholesterol or salt. Of all tree nuts, almonds rank highest in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin and niacin content by weight. As if the taste and versatility are not enough, almonds are known to promote heart health, weight maintenance, digestive health and regulate blood sugar helping diabetics. I purchase my almonds from in a 10lb bag. A treasure to have on hand, whether it’s inventing more ways to creatively use an almond or straight out of the bag, delicious!

Raw Fermented Almond Cheese

1-3 cups of almonds

1 T probiotic powder or 5 probiotic caps

1 T sea salt

1 t raw local  honey

Water According to need

Nutritional Yeast

Herbs of Preference, Minced Shallots or Garlic

Soak almonds for about 12 hours, or overnight. Then place the soaked almonds in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients, except the nutritional yeast and herbs.. Use small amounts of water. (If needed, scrape the sides of the food processor.) The consistency is best to be on their thicker side. Next put the almond mixture in a glass bowl, cover with a paper towel and wrap a rubber-band around the bowl. Leave out at room temp in a dark place for 12-36 hours. This gives it a chance to ferment/culture. Since here on the east coast, the temperatures are dropping quickly, it may take more time. You may taste test to desired fermentation stage. I usually wait until I smell a yogurt-like smell. From here you have a few options. First, you may hand mix or food process in nutritional yeast, herb or anything else according to your preference. I rolled the fermented almond cheese into small balls, flattened them, then dipped in cracked peppercorns, thyme dill shallot blend, and Mexican chili spice. They store for about 2 weeks in the fridge. Another option is to store in the fridge and use for many possible uses, This can be used as any other raw cheese.

Raw  Almond Cookies

1.5 Cups raw almonds processed in a food processor

1 Cup of Coconut Flour

¼ Cup of Coconut Oil

¼-⅓  Cup Raw Honey

¼ Cup Coconut Sugar

¼ Cup Cacao Nibs

Toppings: Goji Berry, Cacao Nibs, Shredded Coconut

Process the almonds until it forms a butter. Then add the coconut oil , honey, and cacao nibs. Pulse in or hand mix the coconut flour. Simple. Roll into inch size balls, flatten, top with desired goodies. Set the cookies on wax paper, refrigerate. In my house, they lasted 5 days tops, but I would imagine they keep well, especially frozen. These were spare of the moment cookies using simple ingredients yet super tasty and satisfying.

Nothing other people do is because of you. It is all because of themselves. All of us live in our own worlds. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that the others know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world. If someone gives you an optinion, don’t take it personally, because the truth is that this person is dealing with his or her own feelings, beliefs, and opinions. Page 48 The four agrements Miguel Ruiz


Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Burrito

Scrambled Tofu Burrito

When you want a trustworthy and easy to modify standard scramble, this makes a great go-to.

This beautiful Sunday morning I enjoyed brunch with my lovely boyfriend, Colin. A wonderful variation from the recipe below using red palm oil for the radiant color, jalapeno, daikon radish, heirloom tomatoes, kidney beans, and my favorite chili spice.  What’s your fancy?


Spice Blend:

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed with your fingers

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced (or more, to taste)/and, or 1 small onion thinly sliced

1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Fresh black pepper to taste


First stir the spice blend together in a small cup. Add water and mix. Set aside.

(Optional and always space for creativity depending on what your food mood ring claims.)

Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. Saute the garlic and onions in olive oil for a few minutes. Break the tofu apart into bite sized pieces and saute for about 10 minutes, using a spatula to stir often. Get under the tofu when you are stirring, scrape the bottom and don’t let it stick to the pan, that is where the good, crispy stuff is. Use a thin metal spatula to get the job done, a wooden or plastic one won’t really cut it. The tofu should get browned on at least one side, but you don’t need to be too precise about it. The water should cook out of it and not collect too much at the bottom of the ban. If that is happening, turn the heat up and let the water evaporate.Add the spice blend and mix to incorporate. Add the nutritional yeast and fresh black pepper. Cook for about 5 more minutes. Serve warm. Use scramble in breakfast burrito, wrap, sandwich, stuffed peppers, crepe filling.. countless possibilities!

You can include these additions to your scramble by themselves or in combination with one another.

Broccoli – Cut about one cup into small florettes, thinly slice the stems. Add along with the tofu.

Red Peppers – Remove stem and seed, finely chop one red pepper. Add along with the garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Proceed with recipe.

Mushrooms – Thinly slice about a cup of mushrooms. Add along with the tofu.

Olives – Chop about 1/3 a cup of sliced olives. Add towards the end of cooking, after mixing in the nutritional yeast.

Spinach – Add about 1 cup of chopped spinach towards the end of cooking, after mixing in the nutritional yeast. Cook until completely wilted.

Carrots – Grate half of an average sized carrot into the scramble towards the end of cooking. This is a great way to add color to the scramble.

Black Beans- Mexican style with chili spice and maybe kick it up a notch with minced jalapenos. Add in towards the end of cooking so they don’t turn into mush.

Avocado – I almost always have avocado with my scramble. Just peel and slice it and serve on top. If you remember correctly I am CEO of the avocado club. : )

Taste is often forgotten when we eat the same foods regularly or are in a rush and eat while we are doing something else. Overconsumption of processed foods also numb our taste buds. Taking time to eat slower and savour our food will often result in eating less and becoming full sooner. Recently I experienced a deeper level of awareness with my taste and I invite you to open up to experiencing that as well.. The next time you sit down to enjoy a meal, notice the capacity with your sense of taste.

The word overconsumption reminded me of something. I personally want to share a short movie that is worth every 20 minutes of it,  called The Story of Stuff  Please watch, educate yourself and share with friends and family.

The Story of Stuff 

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ”- Pema  Chödrön


Spicy Banh Mi

The notorious Blue Sage Vegetarian Grill is a few miles down the road from Yogasphere’s Sun Studio, and ain’t that convenient. They have a sandwich just like this one that is Amazing. When I came across this recipe on, which by the way is a great resource if you are looking for new recipes, I wanted to share it. It is quick go to lunch that is quite filling. If anyone has any creative sandwich ideas they would like to share, it would be awesome to post in the comments bellow.

Spicy Banh Mi

Spicy Banh Mi

Makes 1 large sandwich 30 minutes or fewer

You’ll love this version of a Vietnamese street-food sandwich favorite. Fill with baked tofu, or substitute 1 cup leftover fried tofu cubes from the Stir-fried Tofu Bento Box.
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. honey, agave nectar, or sugar
  • ½–1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup shredded daikon radish
  • ¼ cup shredded carrot
  • 1 Vietnamese baguette or ½ French baguette, split in half lengthwise
  • 1 Tbs. low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. red chile sauce, such as sriracha
  • ¼ tsp. tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup baked Asian-flavored tofu, thinly sliced, or stir-fried tofu cubes
  • 2 6-inch strips cucumber
  • 6 sprigs cilantro
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 4 lettuce leaves, torn
1. Combine vinegar, honey, and red pepper flakes in small bowl. Add daikon radish and carrot, and stir to mix. Let stand 15 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place baguette on baking sheet, and crisp 5 minutes in oven. Cool 2 to 3 minutes. 3. Spread mayonnaise on both sides of bread. Sprinkle with red chile sauce and tamari. Fill with tofu, cucumber, and cilantro. Drain carrot-radish mixture, and spread on sandwich. Top with tomatoes and lettuce, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Press top half of baguette on sandwich, and slice sandwich in half.

May/June 2010 p.64

The notorious Blue Sage Vegetarian Grill is a few miles down the road from Yogasphere’s Sun Studio, and ain’t that convenient. They have a sandwich just like this one that is Amazing. When I came across this recipe on, which by the way is a great resource if you are looking for new recipes, I wanted to share it. It is quick go to lunch that is quite filling. If anyone has any creative sandwich ideas they would like to share, it would be awesome to post in the comments bellow.
I wanted to share my plans for this week as I am super excited about them. This Wednesday I am leaving for a 10 day meditation retreat called Vipassana.
Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills, and an Art of living.  I look forward to sharing my experience upon return, and will post on my personal blog if interested.
“Vipassana is an insight that cuts through conventional perception to perceive mind and matter as they actually are: impermanent, unsatisfactory, and impersonal. Insight meditation gradually purifies the mind, eliminating all forms of attachment. As attachment is cut away, desire and delusion are gradually diluted. The Buddha identified these two factors— desire and ignorance— as the roots of suffering. When they are finally removed, the mind will touch something permanent beyond the changing world. That “something” is the deathless, supramundane happiness, called “Nibbana” in Pali.” (Vipassana Dura Meditation Society)”
Read more about Vipassana – Insight Meditation Technique – HOW TO MEDITATE for Beginners on:

“Yoga is not a religion. It is a science, science of well-being, science of youthfulness, science of integrating body, mind and soul.” ― Amit RayYoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style