Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dorothy Surrenders: Now that’s cooking with cleavage

Dorothy Surrenders: Now that’s cooking with cleavage: "The New York Times recently ran a piece called “ Frump-Free Cooking ” about today’s kitchen goddesses and their propensity to display, shal..."

Monday, January 31, 2011

Food Sharing Gardeners of Peel and West Toronto

Hey there. I find January rather uninspiring. Not much to blog about today... Though, I wanted to let you know that I looked around for a food sharing org. - Its on Facebook! Its a group! Look it up and post on the wall and I will invite you to join the group.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Looking for a Food Sharing Group in Peel?

Hey There!

Today I am just putting my feelers out there...

Basically, I want to find (or start) a Food Sharing group in Peel. I want to swap/trade fresh produce from my permacultural backyard garden with other gardeners who grow food/ or heritage seeds, in Peel region. I'll travel. Does anyone out there know of anyone who does this or does anyone out there want to start a revolution with me?!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Eating to your Ayurvedic Food Type - An ancient practice that just makes sense!

Here is a quiz you can take to find out your Ayurvedic type  http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/2/a/ayurveda.htm

The best way to find out A LOT about this diet (do not assume diet means that you will be deprived. You will not) is to actually get to an Ayurvedic healer who can design an individualized diet for the people they see, based on various factors such as age and gender, the doshic tendencies that need to be balanced at a given time, the strength of the body tissues and the digestive fires, and the level of ama (toxins) in the body. The place where a person lives and the season are also factors that affect dietary dos and don'ts. (excerpt from http://healing.about.com/od/ayurvedic_diet/ss/eatforbalance.htm). My friend Mariellen of BreathDreamGo http://breathedreamgo.com/ has been to the http://www.caish.ca/ in West Toronto and reports that it is quite good! I have yet to go for an assessment but am eager to try it out. Will report back at a later date when I get to the centre myself.

So, for the last two years or so, but definitely the last year I've found that I've been eating to my Ayurvedic type without knowing it ;) That's how easy this is, folks. It's like Yoga, easy and practical :) Though it is an extensive Asana practice and philosophy and dare I say it, science, it is still a pretty straight-forward practice, really. To me, it has always made more sense than some other 'givens' when it comes to how we deal with our health in the (post) modern age. First of all, it is preventative. I prefer preventative medicine myself and feel it is much more effective to see a professional 'guide' (Naturo/homeopath, osteopath, yoga teacher, Ayurvedic physician, Chinese herbalist, acupuncturist, nutritionist) and remain healthy, then seek aid after becoming sick, as if the case with much of Modern Western Medicinal practice today. Yoga, If practiced daily, should result in improvements in your over-all health and your out-look on life. All the poses have simple names; if you are hearing them in Sanskrit and are not familiar with the language they might sound 'exotic' to some people, but the direct translations just tell it how it is, for example, Pavanamuktaasana, the pose, sounds pretty awesome, huh? Well, it translates to "wind-releasing pose"! You can piece together the purpose of such an Asana pose, now can't you? Here it is in a little flash animation. Great practical pose for a great practical purpose! http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/yogapractice/windrelieving.asp.

Which, brings me to my next point. Digestion. In my humble opinion, it's pretty darn important! I have found that if you are not digesting your food properly (and you'll know it) you are eating something that is inappropriate for 'your type'. It really is not brain science to see why the Ayurvedic diet is good for you. Below is a list of some of the foods for each type. You can see that there are many high fibre foods and also wholesome, nurishing energy foods that offer a lot of 'staying power' for the body, mind, and 'self'. With the exception of frozen foods, which I promote as being helpful during the Canadian winter (freezing fruits or veggies from our harvests in the summer and fall allow for a healthier diet in the Winter) and Ghee, which I do not eat, as I consider it to be a 'bad' fat, the list is pretty 'clean'. I LOVE HERBS & SPICES! I think they are the 'other' food group. You can also grow your own herbs and spices, and dry them for Winter use!

2.Opt For The Right Kind of Food:
In general, the following food items should be included in –
Ayurveda Vata Diet – Grapes, Bananas, Lemons, Strawberries, Onions, Carrots, Cucumber, Potatoes, Rice, Wheat, Almonds, Cashews, Chicken etc.
Ayurveda Pitta Diet – Apples, Mangoes, Watermelons, Brocolli, Mushrooms, Zucchini, Barley, White Rice, Kidney Beans, Freshwater Fish, Cottage Cheese, Cheese etc.
Ayurveda Kapha Diet – Apples, Berries, Cherries, Raisins, Cabbage, Garlic, Egg Plant, Spinach, Potatoes, Red Lentils, Split Beans, Eggs, Ghee, Ginger, Garlic, Fenugreek etc.
Eat natural and whole foods.
Stay away from food items that are frozen or canned.
Avoid such food items that contain preservatives, added colours or flavours.
Make a special effort to eat seasonal food items which are available only during those seasons. These include seasonal fruits and vegetables.
3.Satvic Food is Good For You:
These include green leafy vegetables, fresh seasonal fruits, almonds, rice, honey and easy to digest food items.
4.Include 6 Basic Tastes in Each Main Meal:
These include sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. It is said that doing so helps to create an optimum balance within the body.
5.Herbs And Spices:
Include herbs and spices in your diet as they help in improving digestion, as well as cleansing the body.
Always remember that Stomach is the Shrine of the Divine so treat it with respect and love and it will give back to you in the form of good health. Make the right choice, choose an Ayurveda Diet and move towards a healthy and happy life. And yes, an ayurvedic lifestyle does promote weight control. My weight loss post-partum has been consistent and steady as a result of eating 'right for my Ayurvedic type'. Slow and steady and doable for life, this diet a great way to achieve optimum health, support a Yogic and Green lifestyle, and lose weight gradually.

(excerpts from http://ayurvedadiet.com/)

Here are a couple links to more pages that discuss this diet and lifestyle choice! Happy eating ;)


 cool site for all sorts of awesome recipes http://www.epicurious.com/

here is a cook book you might want to check out! I have this one and its pretty good!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Death is the ultimate statistic, one out of one of us dies

George Bernard Shaw, you make a sound point! So, we all die and it is as certain and inevitability as life itself, yet we reject and deny it? Am I the only one who thinks that the Media is down-right obsessive-compulsive when it comes to death and dying? What feeds this morbid fascination? Most people do not want to talk about death. It's not dinner conversation, if you know what I mean. It's one of those things that just makes everyone uncomfortable. It's the elephant in the corner. Usually, people do not consider death until they have up-close and personal experiences with death (of a friend, a relative, old age). Yet, considering our own death might actually benefit us in living well. Yoga practice is about non-attachment, yet life (and living) is our biggest attachment. How do we become comfortable with this contradiction? There is a belief in Yogic philosophy that one aspect of our being is deathless. Can you imagine which part of you that might be?

Sleep: the final frontier - (or, alternatively, learning acceptance by sleeping in the play pen)


This is, in many ways, a mommy/daddy blog entry... Loosely formed around the topic of sleep training a baby. I may discuss bodily fluids, boobs and other such exciting sub-topics at will, as these and other such things quickly become central in your vernacular the minute you pop a baby into the world! So, if you are not into to it STOP READING NOW.  That said, I encourage you to read on. Especially if you are not a parent but hope someday to be one, and also if you are just a person who has had to meet challenges head-on in life. You know, the kind of challenges you cannot walk away from? This blog entry is, most importantly, about Acceptance, in the purest sense, so, if you are not a mommy (or parent) you can continue reading and still gain from the experience. It also is bound to be a funny one ;)

My first born is pushing a year. If you are a parent you will relate with my feelings of dread when the much anticipated question arises, "so, is he/she sleeping through the night????".  My face instantly turns a pale shade of grey, my natural sunny smile morphs into a plastered on 'happy face'. With the somewhat 'forced' positivity only a new love-struck parent can muster under the circumstance of approximately 4 hrs of sleep, a night for almost a year (and may I add these are often interrupted sleeps) I respond, "oh no, but we are being flexible with our little one...", or "we are trying new things", or something equally as vague.
Let me now interpret the true meaning of such statements. I am a wimp. I cannot STAND the (incessant) crying. I cannot bear to see my baby 'sad', 'lonely', or 'in need', as this is how crying registers to my semiotic senses. Many a wise parent has told me I am crazy (as if I didn't already know that, people!!??). They've told me that unless I want to be getting up 5-7 times a night until my kid is 7 years of age, I need to take charge (may I remind you here that one of the translations for the word "Yoga"/"Yuj" (in Sanskrit) is "to take charge") and do something about this. They explain that I am training the baby to sleep through the night. That all humans innately wake multiple times a night and all humans had to train to return to sleep eventually and sleep through. I get it... Yet, somehow, without much recognition of my own actions, I have dodged this 'bullet' with the deep dread of a wild Jack Hare pursued by the Hunter. I have elusively avoided sleep (the topic, the action..) much, MUCH, longer than many of my friends in parenting circles I roll with, in hopes that the Universe will intervene and offer me an easy out. It's not happening. I tried convincing my husband that HE had to do the dirty work; that the baby just won't sleep with me because I.AM.FOOD... If you are interested my mama(lian) friends, I will be making t-shirts that read this above truth, each with one giant burger over each breast, for all other unsuspecting new moms who thought breastfeeding would be a loving 'side-thought' in your days as a newbie mom (I recall telling another mom, prior to having my baby that I would just be BFing and giving him bottles and, you know, it would be no 'biggie'...Erin,  if you are reading, I am eating my words, no pun intended. LOL). NEWS FLASH!!!!! from one breastfeeding mother to the next, for the next 6-12 (to 24 or 36...) months you are the most delectable, morceau on the open market and that is what you ARE. 24/7 'round the clock all-you-can-eat-buffet. Suck it up. Anyhow, I digress. Let me return back to my other favorite (not) topic; Sleep. They are very entwined, these two topics but sleep has been my biggest parenting challenge and so lets focus on this for today.

I have moved through different stages of acceptance (or lack there of) when it comes to sleep (training) a baby. For the first several months, I did not believe that sleep (training) was needed. I was a 'la-di-da' attachment parent who thought that sleep was 'over-rated'. It is rather enlightening, once you do in fact embark on a journey of parenting a sleepless/sleep-little child, how very little sleep us Mothers can exist and function (albeit sometimes quite sloppily) on. Remarkable creatures we truly are! I say Mothers because, in my experience, they are the ones getting up for the 'post-motem' shifts. Sorry brothers from other mothers, if you are out there, feel free to pipe up in a response below, but thus far, I see the mama's lurching to attention when the desperate cries come through the milky darkness at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 a.m. So, this is exactly what I did for about six straight months. My parents called me "The Rocket-Part Deux" (my older sister was known as the original rocket). I would be up and out of bed to scoop up the little one in seconds flat, multiple times a night, every night. I was there. Easiest way to get a baby back to sleep? Feed, Feed, Feed. So it was all Feed and Sleep and Wake and Feed and Sleep for the first little while. When this pattern was broken up somewhat by the introduction of solid food (which, incidentally, sometimes comes with the promise of more sleep... do not believe the hype!!!???) it was like coming out of a drug-induced coma. I was still here! Wow!

Things got easier then, but, still, my fired-up little baby was not having it... Didn't you know? Sleep's just NO FUN AT ALL! Why would you want to sleep when you spent 6-8 months lying on your back and now you can go, go go!!!!
Nope. Mama and baby were still sleepless in suburbia. My next stage of acceptance (or lack there of) was that something had to be done. I got stuck here for sometime. Something had to be done... but, what? and how? Have you ever felt that way about a challenge or a problem? I think we all have at different times in our lives, come across a challenge that left us at 'loose ends'. Well, it had been awhile since I had to meet one of these lingering dilemma's head-on but this was one of those said-dreaded moments. I was petrified, literally, by what? A little crying, a tiny baby? Yup. My next stage was guilt. How can I be thinking of letting my baby '(not) go gently into that good night'? and Rage, Rage he does, believe you me! I had read a million and one books on attachment parenting (probably to encourage my fading feelings of solidarity as I grew ever more exhausted) and I was feeling really BADLY about the inclination I had towards 'forcing' sleep on my child. My stages of acceptance were flip-flopping between being committed to a cause (attachment parenting/random family bed sharing) and trying to see the forest for the tree (why, WHY? is it so bad to sleep, or train your kid to sleep? Is it so bad? Maybe no?).

So, lets cut to the chase... I am still somewhat in the guilt stage but I am also soon-to-be a working mama, with a super demanding day job (some of my 'clients' look for weakness and go for the jugular!) and I cannot, will not endure on the (lack of) sleep I have been able to beg, borrow and steal from the first 9 months of parenting. So, what now? Well, here is where Yoga, my age-old friend who never has failed me, enters stage left. I am my own sleep Doula, as I cannot afford $800 for someone to come to my house and sleep under the crib for 3-5 days to train my kid to sleep. I need to call on my powers of meditation (another mama in my circle suggests ear plugs!) to get through the dreadful night of tremendous screaming and fits. It's hard. Only, people who are not parents would suggest otherwise. I believe Mothers are hard-wired to have a chemical response to this sort of sound from their child. The number of times I have heard from a non-parent type, "can't you just let him cry it out?" makes me chuckle. Mostly, because I remember that not too long ago I was once a non-parent type too, and to answer the collective question, no, you cannot, and even if you did, it wasn't "JUST, letting the baby cry". It was hard. So, when things get hard, I/we must practice Acceptance. For me, to truly understand where a challenge is coming from, and as a experiential being, I must 'live' the problem, feel the feeling through, JUST DO IT. I must get down level to the challenge and check it out from all angles. So, the other day, in a moment of mad invention, I go INTO the pack n' play!!!! Yes, right in there with the baby... Someone write the company, that thing can hold either 10 plump babies or one 160 pound woman! made to last ;) I learned a lot in there... I learned that under the window there is a COLD draft (time to move the pack n' play). I learned that its a little bit alienating to be left in the corner of a room, in a mesh-sided pen, while you can hear everyone else 'having fun' in the other room, (time to readjust schedules so the baby can nap in relative quiet), I was reminded that, when the Universe delivers you a challenge you NEED to get creative, and that challenges don't just 'go away' if we ignore them. They are put here as 'opportunities' for us to learn, change and transform. To quote my Grandfather (R.I.P.) "there is always more than one way to skin a cat". So, much like when I am on my Yoga mat, practicing a difficult arm balance like 'Crow Pose'/Bakasana, especially post-partum as many of my poses have been transformed by pregnancy, I try, try and try again. Different approaches to seeking balance, different approaches to falling out of the pose... different approaches to sleep training my child. Tt's just life, baby, and its you and me together on this ride! If you come to a Yoga class as a beginner, and you are daunted by poses that seem too challenging, too 'hard' to handle, I hope you will think of my real-life tale of parenting as a reflection of what happens on the mat. There is a saying in the yoga community, "what happens on the mat, does not STAY on the mat". Life is Yoga: Yoga is Life. Wanna T-Shirt? I'll make you one ;)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Food for Thought - Eating Well during the Canadian Winter

Today I want to talk about food. This should be an easy topic as everyone needs it and everyone has a relationship with food! As I discussed in a previous blog, Yoga, the word, is derived from the Sanskrit root, 'yuj', which means 'to yoke', 'to control'... 'To unite'. I prefer to understand my Yoga as Relationship. This relationship is on the mat and its off the mat, it fuses with daily life as naturally as taking a breath does, and it begins to take charge ('control') the way you view things, people, practices, and yourself. Many individuals who begin a Yoga practice, on the mat, as mere 'exercise' (the physical practice of Yoga is called Asana), have gradually found life changing (or taking charge). Eventually, Yoga becomes a lifestyle (choice?) or rather, a way of life and it is integrated into all that we do. It's pure magic this way! Often I meet new students on the mat who have come to Yoga to gain in physical terms; flexibility, strength, fitness. I believe these to be very good reasons for beginners to find time and structure for a Yoga practice... the rest will just fall into place, just happen and before you know it, the transformative nature of Yoga will have you quitting that day job that you 'just weren't that into', ditching negative habits, routines and relationships, and forming new more positive practices! Which brings me back to my topic today... FOOD!

Sometimes it just isn't as simple as what you put into your mouth; Food is capital 'E' Emotional, Food is political too... The traditional Yogic menu is vegetarian, in support of living without causing pain or suffering to any other sentient beings (i.e. eating animals would be considered contrary to Ahimsa practices). I would also expect that, a true Yogic menu would also be organically-processed and produced, packaged, and circulated (i.e. one would avoid buying produce that had traveled long distances on transport trucks as this does harm to our earth, ourselves and all sentient beings that inhabit the earth). Is your head spinning yet? Like I said, I consider Yoga to be Relationship... and NO relationship is perfect. You do what you can, when you can, the best you can, to give back to your community, self, and Universe. That's all we can ask of ourselves.

If you have not guessed it yet, and you are a follower, this blog finds its form in delivering practical, accessible choices and advice that use Yoga as a means to an end of bettering ones self and one's world. On this note, I'd like to share some of my family's techniques when it comes to growing and buying good wholefood organics food that don't put us out of house and home financially.

 Grow a backyard/porch/deck veggie garden

You may think to yourself, what is a wee little garden going to do for me, really??? How can a couple heads of lettuce and a tomato plant help me keep money in my pocket and food on my table? How can growing plants make me a better person? The act of growing your own food, on a philosophical level, can have a profound effect on how you view food and self. Your relationship with food will forever be changed by growing it yourself. Grow it from seed (I get my organic seeds here http://www.seeds.ca/ev/events.php) and you will develop a unconditional love affair with your food. Once this happens, eating becomes a meditation. In fact, another practical and easy way to bring meditation into your daily life practice is a food/eating meditation http://www.metatronics.net/eat/
By gardening, you will begin to understand that your ability to nurture (dare I say, love?) and grow food, from the garden straight to your table and body; avoiding the middle man; a transport truck and a genetic engineer! You will foster a deeper relationship with nature. You will fall in love with the seasons and of course, you will revel in the pure bliss of the harvest! I heart my garden! Having even a small garden greatly decreases your carbon footprint, and it is an opportunity for new knowledge! You can share what you learn with others! Ways you can get the most out of your garden are preserving and canning, as well as pickling, saucing, and freezing food for our cold and rather bland (eating wise) Canadian Winter.You will save money! My family saves an average of 60 dollars a week by having a small 12 ft by 12 ft veggie garden!

Have you hugged a Farmer today?

When in doubt and when it is at all possible, buy locally grown foods from a Farmer or a Farmer's co-op or market. Below I will list some of my fave co-ops, markets and Farmers to help you :) My all-time favorite co-op is called http://www.ewenity.com/

Ewenity is a dairy co-op situated in Fergus, Ontario. It is a co-operative of Ontario farmers who milk their sheep. Milk is then crafted into delicious yogurt, cheeses and ice cream at the Best Baa Dairy  http://www.ewenity.com/contactus.php in Fergus, Ontario. Although I do consume cow's milk there is an ever-expanding amount of research that claims that cow's milk has it's own set of problems. If you are someone who is trying to minimize their cow's milk in-take, may I encourage you to use sheep's milk as an alternative. It is WAY tastier than Goat's milk and these farmers know where it's at when it comes to cheese, yogurt (my fave is the real maple syrup yogurt that Ewenity makes... if you live in the city, you can find them ever Saturday at the St. Lawrence market in Toronto). I ate it all through my pregnancy as my base for a healthy breakfast! It rocks! Also, I know these farmers (though it's been awhile since I hugged them) and it is always good to know your farmer's perspectives on working with the earth and animals... great people produce great food. period.

If you are a passionate cow's milk connoisseur than Organic Meadow's http://www.organicmeadow.com comes highly recommended by yours truly. Also out of Guelph, Ontario, you are doing your part in reducing carbon emissions by buying locally (a relatively short transport time from Guelph to your table), and its good sh*t! I LOVE THIS COMPANY'S WEB SITE! Please check it out. It's focus in on keeping the costumer informed and aware of the processes and method's used to produce the food, and it is community oriented. It's a good read, have a look-see! The milk is wholesome and delicious and the yogurt is great too. I also like their cheddar cheese.

Meat. Though it is not considered part of the Yogic 'menu', it is something that some of us believe is a part of a well-rounded diet. I, myself, was a devoted vegetarian for 14 years and after a long struggle with anemia, having tried b-6, b-12 injections and other supplements, have returned to eating (limited) amounts of meat. I will re-attempt a return to my vegetarian roots in the future, but as a woman who was invested in conceiving a child and one who may go for 'round-two' in the ring of child-bearing (and I use the metaphor of a boxing ring with intention... but that another blog. LOL) I have found that limited amounts of meat have brought me optimum health during my child-bearing years. This is my own personal opinion and I am sure some would disagree. Comment and links on how to find optimum health living with anemia as an exclusive veggie-eater would be well-received!

A little more on meat...

Reduce negative impact on the planet by practicing meatless 'Mondays' (and Weds and Fridays!). Though I am a meat consumer now, I do believe that our society in the West eats FAR too much meat for our own good. Not only does eating meat daily effect your health in a negative manner and reduce your life expectancy, it also contributes to the negative impact that humanity is having on the planet, especially, if you are buying meats produced by big agri-companies and not local farmed meats. My family buys strictly organic meats for a number of reasons... We are passionate about avoiding hormones and anti-bi's in our meats. Mainstream research is now showing that these additives are having real effects on the developing body (in particular, our children). I don't want to turn this blog into a (negative) discussion that instills fear in the hearts of those of you still eating big agri-produced meats, so I will simply encourage you to read up on these studies further, if they interest you. http://envirocancer.cornell.edu/Factsheet/Diet/fs37.hormones.cfm and continue by listing some of my fave local meat farms and co-op's.

Beretta Farms and Co-Op. http://www.berettaorganics.com/

These guys are my favorite, by far. Again, I love this web site that is informative and honest. I love that these folks address processing and packaging techniques. With the recent focus on BPA in packaging, it gets one thinking about meat that sits in styrofoam trays and wrapped in saran wrap for weeks on end in the grocery stores... These guys are up-front about the way they pack and process the meat, stating, "we do all our own cutting and wrapping, smoking, sausage maki'ng, which allows us to provide a healthy organic product that is custom-processed for each unique customer's needs.". You pay quite a bit more for Beretta if you buy it in the super market, but you can both buy it from the source, the Farm, which is a convenient jaunt north, by car it is only about 20 minutes, located in King City, Ontario, or, and this is the best, you can order ON-LINE from their web site (another reason I love this web site). It's cheaper this way. These guys also do catering, perfect for weddings and such things! If you do want to get it in the store; it is in Longo's for sure.

I also like Rowe farms http://www.rowefarms.ca/ and now you can get their eggs at some of the big super markets, Loblaws, for example. Woot woo! Rowe farms has several stores in the GTA and one in Guelph. http://www.rowefarms.ca/retailstores.html

Things I do to save $$$ while feeding my family the best food I can find

 Avoid convenience foods. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convenience_food What are convenience foods? Well, eating-out would be the ultimate convenience... so, as an alternative to the restaurant experience, (which is notably a nice experience that we have all indulged in, myself included) try cooking with your family at home. Buy some awesome cookbooks and get all-hands on deck! Then set the table with candles and all the frills and serve the food on your nicest plates, use the fine china, pull out all the stops. The art of cooking was featured in the movie "Julie and Julia" directed by Nora Ephron in 2009 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_%26_Julia
If you have not seen this wholesome 'comfort food' in film form yet, I encourage you to do so... it really brings to light the love one can foster in their lives through the simple act of cooking and the creative element involved in a lifestyle that involves cooking one's own food! 

Another way you can avoid convenience eating and foods is to 'draw a square' around the perimeter of your local grocery store. The big mega-stores are daunting to say the least, so simply avoid the throbbing nexus of the store (the only exception to this rule would be in Loblaws, which now has a fully-stocked organics section in the interior of the store, usually near the pharmacy... hmmmm, intentional placement? You tell me?). 

You may notice that I am talking a lot about shopping in the big grocery stores. Like I stated before, this blog is about accessibility and so I want to make sure I am addressing the 'status qou' in my community. Therefore, I've included big box grocery stores in my discussion. I maintain that buying you food from the Farmer, either directly, or from markets is, hands-down, the BEST way to buy your food, but in most people's lives, which are riddled with solving the problem of 'not enough time, too many tasks', well, sometimes running into the closest mega-store for your family's dinner is just easier. Sometimes its the getting home and getting sometime with your loved ones that trumps finding a local Farmers market in the Winter, in Canada. I get it. 

 4-season Farmers Markets! GO THERE!

More on the 4 season Farmer markets though... THEY DO EXIST! Here are some I frequent and find to have a good selection of wholefoods. The Brickworks in East Toronto http://ebw.evergreen.ca/whats-on/farmers-market is battling it out in my mind for the throne as far as my fave year-around markets. It's competitor? Well, the good ol' St Lawrence Market, but of course. http://www.stlawrencemarket.com/ 

What do I like about Brickworks? Well, you can DO YOGA and shop for yummy food at the SAME TIME! Wicked, right? http://ebw.evergreen.ca/whats-on/yoga-movement-meditation 

My last few tips are some savvy suggestions on saving while buying organics in the mega-store/grocery stores...

Circulate several different stores in your area, close to home. Sometimes you can find better produce at a different store than you usually go to, on any given day/week depending on the stores suppliers. It is worth it to 'switch it up' and get around a bit. Also, different stores will have sales on organics at different times. You can work the room. Otherwise, you may find yourself eating a very limited diet of sweet potatoes, other root veggies, and the occasional organic (frozen) strawberry. P.S: Frozen fruit is alright, actually, often times the frozen fruits have not been irradiated as they are frozen immediately after being picked. More on irradiation here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irradiation

Do not buy bulk. If you can, buy smaller amounts at one time... Why? You can then buy from the %50 off organics, which are genrally just fine, as long as you eat them up in a couple days. We live in a paranoid society where expiry dates are set wayyyyy in advance. Want to get great organic food for a reduced price? Wait until the store gets worried about the approaching 'expiry date' and buy, buy, buy!

I really could go on and on about food. If you want to educate yourself further on the politics of food I recommend this excellent read. 


and I also liked


I think I have to wrap this one, as I am off to cook lunch ;) but more on great cook books and other resources to come in future blogs. 

Happy eating ;)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Violence begates Violence?

Last night some of my friends were out for a birthday celebration at a bar in the city. I was not in attendance, though I wished I'd been there for my friend's birthday there is not much to offer me in bars these days. I guess I am past that stage of life and now the occasional glass of shiraz with dinner suits me just fine ;) This morning I was informed that while my friends left the bar, some other (drunken) party-goers were also leaving and they were 'looking for a fight'. My friends were in the wrong place at the wrong time and a fight ensued. I am sadden to say that one of my friends is now hospitalized with serious injuries (broken jaw, ribs, etc). This happened on brightly-lit street corner in my city of  Toronto during a fairly active time in the evening (albeit with bar-goers). I was not there so I cannot comment on the course of these events; who hit whom when, and so on. After hearing of this news, it got me thinking about how much violence has been in the forefront of the media as of late and if this presence and perpetuation of violence in the media reverberates in culture and, thus, instigates further violence? It also made me question why the current state of society is so prone to violence? What is it that we are so angry about? I think it is fair to say that violence surrounds us all, daily. I think it is also fair to say that it is in every country, every city, everywhere on the planet. I am an optimist at my core and I am apt to believe in 'the good public', yet, the events of last night (in my personal life) and the last week (in the greater community- what with the brutal attacks in Arizona, the death of an innocent child and the death of a Toronto police officer) have left me feeling empty inside. Today, I will meditate on a world with less suffering and less pain. Today, I will try to open my heart, despite the defensive feeling that takes over when one hears of loss and pain to a friend. Most of all, I will practice Lotus Mudra for the people who beat my friend, as hard as this can be, in hopes that they may be rid of violence as well. In the yoga community we call this Ahima; a practice of non-violence in the purest sense.


Friday, January 14, 2011

walking meditation

I walk in nature everyday... If the word yoga means 'to unify', my interpretation of this finds meaning in long meditative walks. I used to do these alone, now, I do this with my first-born who's content dreaming and deep methodical infant breath offers the rhythm, vision and soundtrack for my walks. Can't complain ;)

I get a lot accomplished on our long walks, and I get nothing accomplished. That is the beauty of it. This is most certainly an active form of meditation - If you do not have a regular meditation practice, I encourage you to walk. Through the seasons, where you live... find some nature and walk. I don't carry a cell phone, there are no interruptions, I am alone with my thoughts, or, if I care not think, I am alone with my nothingness- my blank slate. Everyone knows that this is the place that real creative invention comes from; the blank slate. I always take my camera, just in case... and this helps me to linger, look, breath deeply, and find starting points for new ways of looking at my world. It's nothing special... and it is. Maybe you'll try it and see what I mean ;)


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Respond to the call of your creative soul! Yoga, Art, Good Food, Live Creatively!

-The hero journey is inside of you; tear off the veils and open the mystery of your self. (Joseph Campbell)

 The inspiration for CreativeSoulYoga www.creativesoulyoga.com is simple; living right and in harmony with nature and making the effort towards balancing what I view as a developing state of 'confused priorities' in Western Society (perhaps the world?)... an inhospitable state of post modern social decay. That sounds so negative, yet, this is a positive blog about taking back your life! I am putting things into perspective in 2011. Mostly, this urge has been fueled by the birth of my first child; a very grounding event, to be sure! When you bring a life into the world you begin to realize the things that are really important you, at the risk of sounding cliche. I would like to involve you in my journey; as a teacher (Art and Yoga), as an individual on a journey, and as a dreamer who believes we can live harmoniously with each other and nature. Some of my goals this year both personally and professionally are as follows:

*further my own education and lead conferences on the importance of urban gardens (specifically veggie), the 100 mile diet and reducing your carbon footprint by growing your own food
*introduce my child to our own backyard haven
*conduct two retreats (one to west coast canada- vancouver island in the summer 2011 and one to the muskokas in the fall 2011) that allow others (adults) to engage in the creative arts and yoga in a safe and meaningful environment, close to nature
*take pottery lessons
*continue to commit to my Yoga teaching and personal practice.
*continue to commit and be 'fully aware' in my teaching job as an art teacher in the public sector. 

I am excited about collaborations with people I know (and new friends as well?) who are making 'it' happen in the areas of Yoga, Art, Food (nutrition, organic farmer, food cooperatives, etc), Education/life-long learning and basically just Living Well! I am inspired by my friends, both here on homeland soil and abroad who are making conscious decisions to better their lives, and the lives of those around them by being kind and aware human beings. I hope this will inspire others to come home to the capital S 'self' and love themselves, those around them and  their planet just a little bit more!

Thanks so much for visiting the CSY blog. Your support is important to me!