An Eclipse

Smiles with Leigh

Smiles with Leigh

There was a Lunar Eclipse last night.  Wikipidia says that an eclipse is “is an astronomical event that occurs when an astronomical object is temporarily obscured, either by passing into the shadow of another body or by having another body pass between it and the viewer.”  I believe I’ve been in my own eclipse.  When I glance at the news, I feel the world is in an eclipse of sorts.  There is a shadow that is obscuring our view.  There is nothing more frightening to me.  I like to see things clearly, to make sound decisions based on facts and truth and to know what direction I am going.  What this entails for me is faith.  Faith in myself, faith in those that I love dearly, and faith that behind the eclipse, there lies a truth that will give me peace.

So, in search of this truth, I went to my dear long time friend’s Leigh Mallis’ Kundalini class.  Kundalini is a type of yoga that is extremly spritual and has a lot of meditation included in the practice.  I like to think of it has an excersize of body and mind.  And, everytime I leave from a class, I feel stronger in both.

During a full moon, there is a meditation that can be done for healing.  Leigh guided 24 of us women attending class through this 31 minute healing meditation.  I looked around the room to see the different faces.  I was thinking about my own need for healing and those women around me.  The faces looked like this ~ a young girl who is a rape victim, a woman batteling cancer, a woman with addiction, a woman who is pregnant, a woman who has lived her life enmeshed in her career but longing for partnership and love, a woman lost, a 6 year old little girl, soon to be a woman, a woman desperate for her own child, a woman with a sick child, and the faces go on.  All of us, different faces, different struggles, different skin colors, different bank accounts, different pasts and different futures, all wanting to heal others, heal ourselves and live a peaceful loving life.  It was really a beautiful moment.

Honestly, I haven’t been very hungry lately.  There seems to be so much sadness around the world.  But, I have faith that this will pass.  I dig deep for healing.  I have faith others will do thier own healing.  As I write this, I hear the water trickeling in my fountain, the sun shining through my window and that alone can be so peaceful.  I am sure I have writen that before.  To build strength for tomorrow we must nourish ourselves even when we are in a shadow of an eclipse.

I found this recipe last week in a HeartSmart Recipes magazine.  It is a recipe that uses cauliflower as “couscous”.  For those of us who are building stronger hearts and looking to heal, this recipe is for you.

Turkey and Cauliflower Couscous

Ingredients

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup snipped dried apricots

1 large or 2 medium cauliflwer florets

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups shredded cooked turkey breast

1 large handfull of fresh organic spinach

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 green onions sliced

Directions

Place dried cranberries and apricots in a bowl of hot, boiling water for about 10 minutes.  While those are plumping up, pulse your cauliflower florets in a food processor in batches so that it resembles couscous.  In a large rimmed pan, sauté your onion in the olive oil for about 5 minutes on medium/low heat.  Add garlic and cauliflower spreading in an even layer to brown evenly.  Stir occassionaly for about 5-10 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and combine.

I did adjust the recipe to make my own from the original.  The original had walnuts instead of pecans and added butter for a little extra fat and flavor.  All of which you can do too.

I would suggest going to get this magazine.  It has some other good recipes in it too and it should be out until May of 2016.  And, I would totally suggest going to one of Leigh’s classes, www.leighmallisyoga.com.  She really is an amazing woman and an inspiration to so many.

I hope whether you are a woman or a man, rich or poor, sick or healthy, you have peace, hope and healing in your heart.  Cheer’s to finding grace in the little things, faith of a beautiful tomorrow and breathing through the eclipse.  Let’s put on and share those smiles!  #itsthelittlethings

 

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The Doctor Is In!

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Arugula with Walnuts, Grapefruit, Goat’s Milk Blue Cheese and Lime Dressing


Today we received some wonderful news!  My dear client, Becky,  that I have been working with for a year in January has gotten her lab results back from her cardiologist.  Our goal was to lower her cholesterol without having to take medication.  Her LDL Cholesterol was a high 156 and is now a low 126!  When people have high LDL thier arteries build up with plaque causing higher risk of a heart attack.  So on top of this great news, Becky also learned that she had no plaque build up in her arteries!  She took control before the build up.  Way to go Becky!

One way Becky wanted to tackle her high cholesterol was to eat healthier, which is why she called me.  We worked together to find the right things that she enjoyed eating but with a healthy twist.  I began making her breakfast, lunch, dinners and snacks.  I had her eat a breakfast of healthy granola, greek yogurt and fresh berries or smoothies.   I made salads with sockeye salmon or lean meats for lunches that she could bring into work.  Dinners ranged from Mediterranean Grilled Chicken with olives and capers to Asian Stir Fry’s with as many fresh vegetables as possible.

This is such great news for all of us looking to take control of our lives with out the quick fix of a pill.  Now, I won’t go ranting about my personal opinion of drugs, because I have taken my fair share.  However, I will say, the magic pill isn’t always the answer and, we as individuals have to decide what is best for ourselves.  In my humble opinion, it does take time and giving yourself that is most important.  This is not the easy way out.  This takes dedication and patients to see great results.  Good news though!  There are no strange side effects of eating healthy other than looking at yourself in the mirror wondering who the stud is staring back!

Becky and I continue to work together to keep her happy, healthy and out of the Doctors office.  I have added new clients this year that would like help with their diets, too.  We all want to feel good and that starts with eating and sleeping well.  If we are on a mental journey of wellness, it is super hard to focus when our belly hurts!   I encourage all of you to start your journey to wellness and reach out to someone who can help you on the path.   G&H would be thrilled to help you with your meals!  It is super easy.  Many of us don’t have time to plan, shop and cook.  Some of us just don’t want to do the planning, shopping or cooking!  Either way is ok!  That is what I am here for.  And, you get to continue on with your life but in a healthier way.  And, selfishly, I get to fulfill my desire to help others with something I know a little bit about!

Today I am sharing one of the most simplest of salads but so beautiful and delightful.  I like it because it is simple to make and beautiful to see but mostly because it is mouthwateringly fresh in the mouth.

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Grapefruit Segments

 

Arugula with Walnuts, Grapefruit, Blue Cheese and Lime Dressing

Ingredients

1 large bunch Arugula

1-2 Pink or Yellow Grapefruits (or both) cut into segments with out skin or peel

Handful of Walnuts

3 ounces Maytag’s Goat’s Milk Blue Cheese

1 Lime Juiced

1/4 cup Good Olive Oil

pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

Mix Lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Set the dressing aside.  Assemble a nice pile of your arugula on a plate.  Then sprinkle some walnuts, blue cheese and segments of grapefruiton top.  Drizzle your dressing over the salad when you are ready to serve.  Now, that is simple, fresh and delicious!  Just the way G&H likes it.

We are all on different journeys in our lifetime.  Life can be terribly difficult and wonderfully satisfying all in the same week.  One thing we all need though is food.  Here’s to taking control and living and eating wholeheartedly!  la vie est belle!

 

Heaven on Earth

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Sonoma County

The saying “Ive died on gone to heaven” keeps coming into my mind. When we arrived in California, the air was the first thing to take my breath away.  It is so clean and crisp in San Francisco.  It brought me to the thought of if we are stuck in a place where we don’t experience anything more than the four walls around us, we may only think that those four walls are all that exist.  When I was growing up in the small town of LaGrange, Georgia, I didn’t know what else was out in the world.  LaGrange was a lovely place to grow up but it is also very sheltered from other parts of the country not to mention, the world.  My father wanted me to be close to home when I left for college.  I could have traveled over two states to Mississippi (I know, crazy far) to attend school but one of the reasons I chose not to was because my Dad didn’t want me so far away.  I really didn’t want to be far away from them either out of fear.  But, I remember vividly my first trip past the Mason Dixon line.  I had traveled to Nantucket and we were at a cute little restaurant in the town of Nantucket but, the waitress was from Switzerland.  I began a conversation with her and she explained to me how she and many of her friends traveled every summer over to Nantucket to work.  My eyes grew big at this new thought.  That thought was – there are so many beautiful places to see and experience in this world and there is nothing to be afraid of.  How simple is the thought?  This thought had never occurred to me and it isn’t something that can be taught, only experienced.  People are mostly kind and generous no matter where you go.  I feel lucky and grateful to have learned this.  I do know, not all of us get to travel to far away places, but if we can, I recommend it.  If anything, it teaches us to appreciate our home that we return to.

We began driving north on “the 101”  into the Alexander Valley.  The view alone is spectacular.  Our destination was a beautiful estate on a vineyard that is over 5,000 acres.  There really is nothing like it that I have seen.  In my mind, this is what heaven would be like.  Your eyes could look out in every direction and see beautiful rolling hills, blue sky, white clouds, and green grape vines.  The vegetable garden is probably 4-6 acres large with every food imaginable growing.  There are very few bugs because of the dry air.  We pulled strawberries that were the deepest red, different varieties of pears, peaches, and apples that were the sweetest, most flavorful, juicy fruits to ever come into my mouth.  I never understood the love of figs until I ate one from a fig tree and added a little almond butter and dark chocolate.  My eyes and my mouth are watering with the joy these simple things brought to me.  I want to cry with joy now as I write about it on a plane back home to Atlanta.  It was and is such a special place.  We broke off leaves of dinosaur kale and ate them right on the spot. They weren’t so bitter that you needed something to wash it down.  They were refreshing and warm with the taste of the sun that was just hitting it.  I believe we can have this in Georgia.  It inspires me to crusade for farm to table food and better food in our lunch rooms for our children.  There is no reason why we cannot have more of this here.

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Everything tangible was so heavenly, but what really hit me to be so angelic, were the people.  We were in Northern California for a wedding.  I had never experienced a wedding so beautiful before.  And I don’t mean beauty with the eyes, even though everything was beautiful to my eyes.  I am talking about two people, whom I had never met, exuding love to each other and to all those who had come to share with them their love for each other.  It was amazing.  When the female minister spoke, it was so soothing and more like a meditation than a service.  The wind that blew in the air and rustled in the trees while the couple made their own vows was like a whisper from god blessing them and all of us lucky enough to share in their moment.
There was also the family we stayed with during our visit.  Tara can make you feel as though you had known her for a lifetime.  She has this beautiful way of showing you a comfort and a feeling of being right at home 3,000 miles away from it.  She must have had a thousand other things on her mind and exhausted from being up all night with her little ones,  but she never showed it.   She inspired me to be a better woman, mother, partner and friend.

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Sweetness 

All of this experience, the vision, the tastes, the warm hearts, it is what heaven on earth is to me.  I was lucky enough to experience it.  This, I will bring back with me to Atlanta.  This, I look forward to sharing with all of you.

There is no recipe for this.  Here is to the simple tastes of eating right from the garden, to the mouth, and straight to the heart.  Cheers!