In the beginner’s mind there are possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.

-Zen Master Shunryo Suzuki

There are many ways to approach beginner’s mind, but today I am going to talk about the concept of clearing your mind particularly in relation to what you think you know about health and wellness. Letting go of all of your knowledge and beliefs, if even just for a moment, can create a wonderful opportunity to start anew with a clean slate and fresh perspective.

With a client last week, this was one of my suggestions and it was related to nutrition information. We are constantly inundated with information about supplements, superfoods, phytonutrients, it’s never ending. Some of us take a handful of supplements in the morning for a variety of different perceived benefits and we end up creating more disorder than health. We make a chia seed porridge with acai and goji berries, ground flax, hemp seeds and coconut milk or a smoothie with all this plus kale, almond butter and protein powder and we don’t always stop to consider whether it truly makes sense for our bodies, our digestive system and the energy we want to bring into our day.

Using beginner’s mind can help us take a step back and start from scratch, adding only those things that make sense today in this moment. Sometimes we have so many facts and assumptions crowding our brain, that there’s no space for our intuition to guide us. Our intuition is essential for guiding us on our path of health. Clearing our minds can help us become more aware of that insight.

courtesy of hyena reality at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

courtesy of hyena reality at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Many people have used a macrobiotic approach to help heal their bodies from cancer. The recommendations given for healing from cancer are very different from those given for maintaining health. It’s fairly common for people who have healed from cancer to keep doing the same recommendations that helped them heal even years after the cancer is gone. By doing this, they create other imbalances in their bodies.

Our bodies change over time and we have different needs, sometimes on a daily basis. This is another place beginner’s mind is very helpful. Your body is not the same as it was a year ago or six months ago. Beginner’s mind allows us an opportunity to see our health for where it is today.

Another benefit of beginner’s mind is to help us view life with childlike wonder. This post today is about using it specifically in light of our health and diet, but it can be used to help us have a fresh view on anything in our lives. I hope you take some time today to play with this. There are many ways you can integrate it into your life. I probably use this frequently throughout my day without even thinking about it anymore. I just clear my mind and look at something anew. It’s fun and helps me see things from a new perspective every time.

Blessings,
Teresa

Do you know how it is when you work on several projects simultaneously? Sometimes it seems like forever before you begin seeing progress. But, now I am beginning to see some of the results of all the changes I have made in my life recently.

I even moved this past week. I hadn’t really planned to, but a friend offered me her empty home to use for cooking classes and community meals and within less than a week, I was living in a new location.

One of my new projects centers around home-based community meals. Have you heard of Dyne? It’s a community meals concept that uses an app as its platform. It began in Seattle and allows hosts to post what they are cooking for dinner and set the time, date and price. Then guests sign up. New people, many who have never met before, arrive at the location and share a lovely meal.

On Tuesday, I joined six other Dyners for an amazingly delicious Ethiopian meal. The host graciously veganized most of the dishes and I was in food heaven. A few weeks ago, I Dyned at another house eating a fabulous build your own taco spread. For foodies who are tired of the restaurant scene and looking for more community and variety in their meals, this is a huge blessing. There is nothing like a home cooked meal shared with good company.IMG_20121231_105140

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On Saturday November 1, I am hosting my first meal. If you are in Seattle WA and would like to join us, I will give you the basic information here, but you will need to download the free app to actually register yourself.

My Gluten-Free, Vegan Autumn Celebration:

Red Lentil Soup with Deep Fried Croutons and Gremolata
Brown Rice and Aduki Beans with Caramelized Onions
Nishime Style Vegetables with Red Kuri Squash, Parsnip and Carrot
Mixed Greens with Pepita Sauce
Poached Pears with Hazelnut Dates and Caramel Sauce

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Dinner starts at 6 pm. $15 covers the meal and a small service fee. You will be sent my address (just north of Fremont in Seattle) upon registration. If you already know me, this can be a housewarming as well and a chance for you to see my new home.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

May you all enjoy cozy, shared meals in the coming weeks.

Love,
Teresa

 

I have been reading posts from Marlene Watson-Tara for long enough to know that she is a bright light in the world of macrobiotics. I first found her like I find most blogs and websites…while searching for a recipe. I didn’t know what I was looking for exactly, just a simple, vegan croquette made with grains. What I found was a yummy recipe for deep-fried tofu balls.

I also found so much more than a simple recipe. I found a site that I return to again and again and now I have dreams of heading over to Scotland or Spain to study with her. Marlene has an abundance of information on her site along with an online weight loss program based on whole, unprocessed, plant-based meals. She has wonderful recipes and you will also fun cooking videos, nutrition information, guest posts and so much more than I can list. If you haven’t found her yet, now there’s no excuse.

Marlene recently published the kind of cookbook that makes me super inspired to get in the kitchen. It’s called  Macrobiotics For All Seasons:  Vegan Recipes for Year-Round Health and Happiness. It’s going to be my next cookbook purchase. The recipes will be delicious and she incorporates the five element theory used in traditional Chinese medicine to show how to cook seasonally to strengthen and support your body throughout the year.9781583945582

You can find Marlene at marlenewatsontara.com.

 

Even though temperatures are in the 80’s this week, we can already smell the first signs of fall here in Seattle.

I don’t think I would do well in a tropical climate. One of the reasons is that I am in love with the fruit we grow right here in the Pacific Northwest. Pears, plums, peaches, apples, berries, cherries, figs. Paradise right here in my back yard.

But, pears are kind of special. They have such a mild sweet lovely flavor and smell, especially when perfectly ripe. That’s one of the reasons I am taking this dish to Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck.

Here is a lovely crisp in celebration of pears and fall. It’s not super sweet and has a hint of cardamom. Add a little more cardamom if you want more of its flavor shining through. You can even lower the amount of maple syrup a bit more if you prefer even less sweetness. The crisp topping stays chunky and crunches up a bit during baking. If you want more of a crumbly topping, just reduce the oil a bit. If your pears aren’t completely ripe, you might want to reduce the amount of flour in the filling and add a little maple syrup.IMG_20140905_115130

Cardamom Pear Crisp

Filling:
4 ripe pears (5-6 cups chopped with skin on)
2-3 tsp barley flour
1/2 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
pinch of sea salt

Crisp Topping:
1 cup barley flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup mild flavored oil, nut oil or melted coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla

1.  Preheat oven to 350º.

2.  Core the pears, leaving the skin on. Cut into small, bite size pieces. They should equal 5-6 cups chopped.

3.  Place pears in a bowl and mix with the other filling ingredients. Pour into an 8″ square baking dish.

4.  Make the crisp topping. In a medium size bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Set aside.

5.  Measure the wet ingredients into a glass measuring cup or bowl and whisk together until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until well combined.

6.  Crumble the topping on top of the pears. Place in oven on a middle rack and bake 20-25 minutes or until pears are soft and topping is light brown.

 

We are super excited to welcome Warren Kramer to Seattle October 2-5, 2014! We had such a great time last April that we decided to invite him again for more lectures, consultations and delicious, healing, vegan meals.

Warren Kramer is a highly regarded macrobiotic counselor and teacher. He travels regularly throughout the U.S. and worldwide giving lectures, cooking classes and personal health consultations. You can read more about him at Macrobiotics of New England. He is a personal favorite of mine and if you live near enough to attend, I highly recommend coming to at least one of these lectures or cooking class. His cooking is among the most healing and mouth-watering I have ever tasted.

Even if you are not interested in following a macrobiotic or vegan lifestyle, the information you will receive in his classes are still very applicable, practical and insightful. You can integrate most of the health strategies into your life in a way that makes the most sense for you and your own personal journey.

Warren's Strawberry Mousse from last spring in Portland, OR. Recipe is on sweetveg.

Warren’s Strawberry Mousse from last spring in Portland, OR. Recipe is on sweetveg.

Here is Warren’s Seattle schedule:

Thursday, October 2:
East West Bookshop
Lecture, 7-8:30 pm:  Overeating:  How and Why to Eat Less.

Friday, October 3:
Private Residence in Northgate Area of Seattle
Lecture/Dinner, 6:30-9 pm:  Understanding Cravings and Addictions

Saturday, October 4:
Private Residence in Northgate Area of Seattle
Cooking Class/Lunch, 9:30 am-1 pm:  Sensational Fall Cooking to Strengthen Lungs/Large Intestine
Lecture, 1:30-3 pm:  The Art of Visual Diagnosis:  How to See Your Health
Lecture, 3:30-5 pm:  Strong Vital Health and Immunity for Modern Times

All meals are gluten-free and vegan. 

Warren will also be providing personal, individualized health consultations. Personally, I have found consultations with him to be fascinating and very helpful. One of the skills he uses to determine the condition of your body is visual diagnosis. This utilizes the idea that the outside of your body is a reflection of the inside and it is incredibly accurate. You will gain insight into the condition of your body and how your choices up until now are reflected in your condition. His recommendations center on diet and lifestyle strategies to bring you back into health and balance. Warren is very loving and compassionate and that spirit shines in his counseling sessions.

Times are available for counseling Oct 2, 3 and 5.

Please contact me if you would like more information regarding pricing. Discounts are available for payments received before September 15 and for signing up for all Friday and Saturday events. Payment for Thursday, Oct 2 is directly to East West Bookshop.

You can also contact me if you would like more detailed information about the lecture topics or consultations.

 

On Healing
for Teresa

There is a stigma about quitting–
perhaps we were not good enough,
or strong enough, or we gave up.
Perhaps we were scared. But then,
aren’t we always scared? Isn’t it the fear
and our movement through it, that makes
us? We are at our best when we are
just past fear, the moment just after
quitting. There are dams that break
that so closely resemble the shatter
that is something ended. How could the river
ever carve a canyon without the break?
You Teresa, are a river mid release,
can you already see your canyon walls?
The colors they will turn
on their first sunrise?

e.i.reed 08/23/2014

I was at the farmers market, in Bellingham, WA, this weekend. Just on the outskirts of the market there are always some venders who set up tables, but aren’t a part of the official market.

A woman, Erica, was sitting at a small card table with her vintage typewriter, a notebook, paper and a money jar. A sign said something like The Poetry Store:  give me a subject, pay what you like, but phrased better than my memory can recall.

I write poetry. I am one of those super fast poets who writes from stream of consciousness and can produce something decent on the spot, but not super noteworthy. I have never had the patience to really work on a poem for more than a few minutes.

So, with this kind of speed poetry in mind, I put $2 in the jar. She asked me my name, what I had been doing that day, how my life is going. She asked enough to get a sense of me. Then I waited for a bit, but she already had five people before me and people walking by kept starting conversations with her. I quickly realized this was not going to be a two minute, speed poem.

I left for an hour and came back. I waited for a while again and then my poem was ready. She read it to me and that’s when I knew. She’s an intuitive poet, using her lovely gift to give people a message from spirit that they might not be able to hear otherwise. I had never met one before and I am not even sure she would identify herself in this way. But, what a super fun gift:  To sit at a table on a lovely Saturday morning, talk with people who pass by, write intuitive poetry and at the end of the day have some money in a jar. She didn’t need to say she was intuitive, all she needed was to offer poetry and be present. And people receive an incredible gift.IMG_20140824_163545

Not only did I receive an incredible personalized poem, perfectly in tune with where I am in my life this very moment, but another gift as well. She held up a reflection of how I would like to be in the world; hanging out on a sidewalk, in a park, at a music festival or spiritual gathering, on the bus, offering up my gifts to whomever arrives in my presence ready for a genuine connection.

Earlier in the week I had been thinking about how to put my gifts out into the world in a way that aligns with my natural flow. I just started paying rent for an office space. It’s my second go with having an office for healing work and I am focused on seeing how it works. But, I can tell there’s a way that it’s not really my style. My style is more to be out in the middle of life. I don’t like to feel like it has to come to me. Part of my gift is being able to immerse myself. Having an office feels more like separation.

But, what I really want to offer you is this:  Do you have times in your life when you walk right past that poet offering a gift? Do you ignore the quiet voice telling you to stop and put a few dollars in the jar? This is a little nudge from me. Stop the next time this happens. How many gifts are yours to receive if you just take the time to allow the universe to place them in your hands?

Richard Dalstrom, the head pastor at a church in my neighborhood left on sabbatical a few weeks ago. In his sermon right before leaving, Renewing Life by Reducing the Rubbish, he talked about Lewis and Clark’s expedition to find a route to the Pacific Ocean. If you want to listen, search for the title of the talk after clicking the link.

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Photo by J Frasse, http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

As the story goes, at one point in the journey Meriwether Lewis climbed what he thought to be a mountain and saw on the other side the enormous peaks of the Rockies. It was nothing like what he expected. He did not have the skills or tools necessary to cross the Rockies. All he knew was that he would need more than a boat. Instead of quitting the expedition, he adapted.

Sometimes we need “new skills, new tools and a new perspective… We need to adapt to the new realities,” says Richard.

So how do we keep going so that we not only start our journey, but finish it as well? What do we do when the journey isn’t taking us where we thought it would? We keep our goal in mind and we adapt and learn the skills and gain the tools necessary to keep making progress. And we maintain the faith that our vision is worth striving for. Even when it feels like it’s too much. We persevere.

I am feeling overwhelmed with this calling to help all of us strengthen the partnership between our bodies and our spirit. But, one place I know I can put effort is in my writing. I am just going to keep making the time to write. Daily. My goal is to have a book for you in the next month.

It’s hard for me to stay focused. I am an idea person. Idea people aren’t often the ones who complete things. But, I am going to hold my course and get this project completed, even when it feels like I can’t. Especially when I feel like I can’t.

Are you being called to step it up a bit (or a lot) in your life? Are you having a hard time continuing what you have started? I would love to hear about it and what you are going to do to step into your more expanded self. Remember, this is the month of the Leo New Moon. You have a lot of support right now for stepping into your life more fully and brightly.

Let me know about your next steps or where you can use support in the comments or send me a note personally and I will energetically add some wind to your sails. A gift from me.

I am cheering for you. You can do it!!

Love,
Teresa

 

I had planned to make you a compote to spoon onto this millet breakfast porridge, but the nectarines were so fresh and lovely, I couldn’t bear to cook them.

So, this is a cinnamon-y millet porridge with nectarine chunks stirred in at the last minute. The fruit cooks slightly and softens into the millet, but still retains that fresh flavor and texture.

Any stone fruit can be substituted here. Plums, apricots or peaches would all be lovely.

Yum! Millet is one of my favorite grains and it really supports our bodies as we head into late summer.

Add some extra sweetness if you desire. Brown rice syrup and maple syrup would both go well here. Or add a dollop of fruit sweetened jam. I’m thinking apricot or sour cherry flavored.

If you decide to make a nectarine compote, I slice the nectarines into thin wedges and cook in a skillet with cinnamon, a little brown rice syrup and a pinch of sea salt. Cook until a little soft and syrupy.IMG_20140802_093039

A gentle reminder:  Don’t forget your vegetable with breakfast! Last year I did 10 days of ideas for how to get those vegetables in right at the beginning of your day. Adding vegetables at breakfast changes the way my body feels the whole day.

Millet Breakfast Porridge with Nectarines

2 cups unsweetened vegan milk (I used oat milk)
2 cups water
pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 tsp Ceylon cinnamon plus more for sprinkling on top
1 cup millet
brown rice syrup or maple syrup to taste (optional)
2 nectarines, leave skin on and cut into small chunks

1.  In a large saucepan, start heating up the milk, water, sea salt and cinnamon.

2.  Rinse the millet several times until the water runs clear. Toast in a large skillet until dry and starting to smell a little nutty. I start with a higher heat and then lower the heat as the millet dries.

3.  Add the millet to the liquid and bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat so millet gently simmers. Cook until the liquid is gone and millet is creamy. This will take about 30 minutes. If your millet seems to run out of liquid before it’s done cooking, add 1/2 cup more liquid and cook for a little longer.

4.  When millet is done, remove from heat and immediately stir in the nectarines and the sweetener if you are using it. You can also just stir in some of the nectarines and leave the rest for sprinkling on top.

5.  Serve with a dash of cinnamon. Splash more vegan milk and sweetener on top if desired.

 

 

 

According to the Five Transformations Theory, there are five seasons. Late Summer is the time of year when there is a slight pause between the expansive energy of Summer and the inward pull of Autumn. The energy of this time of year is starting to come down, but not so much that we are drawn inward yet. It’s actually a very relaxing time. We are out of the frenzy of the height of Summer and can just float and enjoy the warm nourishing sun.

This time of year corresponds to the earth or soil element. Earth element is what brings all the other elements together. Earth is at the center and can also be found during the transitions between all the other seasons and elements. From tree to fire to metal to water back to tree. The earth element can be thought of as home. In this way, it represents our ability to nurture ourselves and others. In our bodies, this correlates to the pancreas and stomach and our ability to bring in nourishment and maintain stability. This is particularly evident in our blood sugar and our ability to maintain a steady, accurate and even rhythm in our daily lives.029

The rush and chaos of our modern society can make it hard to deeply nourish ourselves and maintain stable blood sugar. Irregular meals, stress, lack of predictability in our schedules are main contributing factors. At the root is the extent of our disconnection with nature. Our ability to deeply nourish ourselves will help us maintain our center and not be as swayed by all the forces around us. It helps me to visualize myself at the center of my life. Then I can notice everything swirling around me, but I am not swirling with it.

The main grain and vegetables that support our bodies this time of year are millet and the round vegetables. Round vegetables include winter squash and cabbage. In general, vegetables that have a good mild sweet quality are very good for supporting the pancreas and helping to stabilize blood sugar. Sweetness is the flavor that corresponds to the earth element, but strong sweet can bring this out of balance while mild sweet supports. Creamy puréed soups are a wonderful example. There is also a recipe for Sweet Vegetable Drink which works to relax and soften the organs corresponding to the earth element, can help even out blood sugar and address cravings for sweet.IMG_20130403_155703

Some dishes that are wonderful this time of year:

Millet with Sweet Vegetable
Millet Vegetable Soup
Aduki Beans with Squash and Kombu
Nishime style vegetables
Sweet Vegetable Jam
Creamy Carrot Soup
Creamy Squash Soup
Creamy Broccoli Soup with Pumpkin Seed Dulse Condiment
Sweet Potato Pudding

Other related posts:

Sugar Cravings
More Thoughts on Sugar Cravings

 

Welcome to our New Moon in Leo, 3:41 PST July 26, 2014.

This is a big month for service to self-growth. Leo is about self-love in the highest sense. Loving ourselves so much that we shine brightly for all the world to see. Completely full of ourselves, not in a selfish, prideful way, but really basking in our own beauty and power. When we allow our inner beauty to shine, the world becomes a bright, shining, beautiful powerful place for everyone.IMG_20140313_132629

Allow your creativity to flourish and your vision to expand. Follow your heart. Be courageous. It can take courage to be bold and stand in your power. Sovereignty is a word my friend Brett uses for Leo. He talks about this moon cycle on his page about The Moon Game. Just scroll down until you find Leo. You can also find more information over at Mystic Mama. I know it takes extra time to click over to another site and read more, but I highly encourage you to head on over there. The post about this Leo New Moon is packed with information and insight.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a visiting friend took me on a Flying Trapeze adventure yesterday. We went to Emerald City Trapeze. Holy Moly. There aren’t a whole lot of safe ways to tackle fear, but this is definitely one of them. I was terrified and felt super brave. It’s so great to do things that help us feel courageous. Jumping off a small platform, high up in the air, gave me a taste of the courage I need to tap into in the coming month as I set intentions of really going for it in my life and new business in a big way. I have already given notice at my work and trust that the Universe and my own power are my safety net. Even if I fall I won’t hit the ground.

I will also be tapping into my creativity as I spend more time writing, playing music and creating recipes. I have been inspired, both by a friend’s cookbook writing adventure and recent outings to several fine vegan restaurants in Seattle and Philadelphia. There are many uncharted territories in macrobiotic gourmet cooking.

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Reaching for sun through a crack in the sidewalk.

I started this year of writing about my New Moon intentions back in October with a post called Playing with the Moon. It’s been fabulous. You can join any time. I will just keep recommending it. I love exercises that are simple and powerful and connect me with the cycles of nature. If you have any questions, just let me know. I would love to help you get started.