Did you set any goals last January that you forgot about or are still waiting for completion?

One of my goals was to have a table doing readings at a psychic fair. My intention is to follow a similar path my friend Melissa Peil took when she was just getting started in her work as a psychic medium. She did quite a few psychic fairs in the beginning. Her business at Mystical Awakenings is now thriving and she is doing more teaching and has the outline of a book she will be writing.

Some goals seem effortless to bring to fruition. Others take many steps of letting go of limiting beliefs and fears. Most of my fears have to do with becoming a bigger presence in the world, but I keep moving into more of my best self no matter how scared I get.

I have no doubt in my abilities. With each session I do with people, I am struck with how my gifts and training are coming together seamlessly to provide Body Spirit Integration to those wanting deeper connection and healing in their body and spirit. When I bring in an energetic view of our food and lifestyle it adds a very grounded, practical level of healing to support transformation and growth way beyond our sessions.

I will be at the Boeing Conscious Wellness Expo this Saturday, July 26. The event is free and open to the public from 10am-4pm. It is located outside of Seattle at Kent Commons in Kent, WA. Donated gifts and readings from all venders will be drawn every hour. There will be speakers as well.

I will be doing 15 minute combined readings and energy healing so it’s a great place to come and get a taste of my work. If you want some macrobiotic guidance, you can request that as well. Several friends will be there as well. Among them are Susan and Ginny with I AM Spirit Art doing combined readings and a drawing of one of your spirit guides. Todd Rohllson, Living Light Alchemy Design, will also be there with his Living Light Energy Discs.IMG_20130916_164549

Some of you have a goal you haven’t started bringing to fruition. Right now is actually the best time to take some action on it, no matter how small your first step may seem. The universe loves when we step forward into the life we are wanting. We’re all cheering you on!

While attending macrobiotic culinary school, I was taught to not blanch onions. Supposedly this was because they lose too much flavor and so they aren’t appropriate for that style of cooking. I was also taught to blanch each vegetable separately. Then I met Jane Stanchich, one chef who taught me that there is more than one way to do things in the macrobiotic world.

I assisted Jane in the kitchen at one of the workshops she runs with her husband, Lino Stanchich. If you have never met Jane, I would seek her out. You can reach her and Lino at Great Life Global. She is one of the most gracious and kind-hearted people I have ever met. I feel blessed to know her and to have cooked with her. Jane is a fabulous chef and makes delicious, satisfying macrobiotic meals. I learned so much in the week I worked with her.IMG_20140706_080117

While this post isn’t about blanching greens, you can learn about that here, this idea can be used for both steaming and blanching. It just involves cooking your greens directly with thinly sliced onion, or in this case leeks.  It’s super simple, yet imparts a lovely flavor to the greens. Sometimes, knowing a simple and fast way to add flavor can make a huge difference.

Steamed Greens with Leeks

4 big leaves kale, collards or other greens
half of a large leek
unseasoned brown rice vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

1.  Wash the greens. Remove stems and cut the tender parts into thin rounds. Cut leaves into bite size pieces.

2.  Wash the leek and cut some of the leek or all of it into 1/2 inch circles.

3.  Bring a steamer basket and pot with an inch or two of water to a low boil. Place a handful of greens and a few slices of leeks into the steamer and cover. Steam until the leaves just start to wilt. You can taste a bit to see if it seems tender. Just be careful to not let it steam too long. The greens should still be a nice fresh green when you remove them from the steamer basket. You also don’t want to crowd the steamer basket, so do about three batches. You want the steam to be able to reach all the greens evenly so they don’t get overcooked.

4.  Serve the greens as is or with a splash of brown rice vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice.

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June was a doozy for me. Haven’t heard that word for a while? Well, it’s the only word that fits.

I know that I’m not alone. Many friends and people I have worked with are saying the same thing. It’s been rough out there with our relationships, work and our lives.

Our world is experiencing a huge shift in consciousness. As we transition, the gap between our old and new ways of being can bring up a whole spectrum of emotions including discomfort, pain, heartbreak and sadness. There’s the good stuff, too, like expansive love, deep connection and heightened senses. But, this post is about how to handle the parts of the shift that leave us feeling broken.

I have been through a boatload of change this past month, but it wasn’t until I received some news yesterday that I actually felt broken. I feel a need to get clear about how I am using this term. I am not using it in the sense of broken, never to be fixed again let’s throw it away. I am talking about split open wide, broken and exposed, ready for some serious healing. This is the kind of healing we can only do when it feels like we have gotten completely down to the core and exposed the seed to light.

The news that broke me yesterday is a thread of a generational pattern that has hurt so many people. It’s coming to light. It’s ready for us to heal. But, as a family we are going to need to be brave, hold on to each other, trust in each other’s goodness and our own strength. We are going to need to trust that by facing it head on, we are actually reclaiming more of ourselves and deepening our connections with everything and everyone around us.

I am speaking to all of us when I say these times are not for those who run from discomfort, challenge, pain and healing. We are all facing different challenges as we jump and reach for our best self. My wish for you is to face whatever needs to be faced. Embrace it with love and gratitude. Know that there is a shiny gem to be discovered right in the center of the pain.

So what am I doing to take care of myself?

1.  Stay home. Be willing to miss things, events, time with people. Go to bed early. Take a hot bath. Get some sleep. Hibernate. It’s okay. Sometimes we just need to hang out in our bed, sleep and recharge.

2.  Eat healthy comfort foods. My first inclination when I am in pain or overwhelm is to eat a whole box of cereal. We all have our different comfort foods. Instead, I try to eat some healthy, warm puddings, puréed soups, warm carrot juice. There are a lot of great recipes here at sweetveg and over at littleveg. I have been eating a lot of grain porridge with a spoonful of fruit-sweetened jam (I love the sour cherry) on top.

Make a commitment to find healthy ways to find that comfort rather than mindlessly reaching for cookies or your version of comfort. I think it’s natural to want to find comfort in food. Just try to be mindful about it, so you are still supporting your healing rather than numbing your feelings.

0193.  Time in nature. Do whatever it takes to get outside in a calm peaceful area of your town or city. Listen to the birds or the rush of water. Smell delicious flowers. Let yourself sink in to the earth. Let the trees heal you.

4.  Essential oils, Gems, Healing Energy Discs. Make sure you use high quality essential oils. Michelle Mahler, at Circle of Healing, makes some lovely blends. My friend Todd at Living Light Alchemy Design makes some truly amazing healing, protective, manifesting and strengthening discs. I  love them and sleep with several tucked in under my sheet.

4.  Connection with other people. Seek people who really know how to listen and be present without trying to fix anything. It’s a huge gift. We don’t need fixing, we just need to know someone else is with us and that they care. Foster these relationships. They are golden. I have about eight people I can call when I am feeling like I’m a mess. These are the same people I call when I am elated because I am doing so well. And they call me. If you don’t have at least two people in your life that are the kind I am talking about, then I am giving you an assignment. They’re out there. Go find yours.

5.  Feel what needs to be felt. I know it can feel hard and super painful. But, feeling and letting those feelings out is part of our natural healing process. I think it’s an art to be able to feel and keep our perspective at the same time. It’s possible. Start small. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Feel your feelings as deep as you can go until the timer goes off. When the timer goes off, spend time thinking about the good things in your life or the things you are looking forward to. Do this frequently. Even more healing is to do this in the company of a friend, each taking five or ten minutes. It’s powerful and a great method for processing some of those really strong feelings.

Know that you are loved.
Teresa

Second only to berries and cherries, green beans are one of my favorite summer foods. As a child, I could often be found sitting under the pole beans munching away.

My mom canned beans for years, but I wouldn’t touch them. The only way I like them is raw or slightly cooked, so they retain their perfect crunch and slight sweetness.IMG_20140627_150330

This salad uses a quick blanching technique that I use daily to prepare vegetables for a wide variety of salads. Easier on my digestion than raw salads, but lightly cooked so they still retain their crunch and freshness. Blanched salads are a great antidote for cravings for sugar and crunch.

I love this salad naked, but a yummy, sweet dressing is always a fun addition. The dressing makes enough for leftovers and will keep in the fridge for about a week as long as the lemon juice in it stays fresh. Feel free to add a little tahini to the dressing to make it a little creamier.

If you aren’t able to find daikon greens, you can use kale, turnip greens, radish greens.

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Green Bean, Snow Pea and Carrot Salad with Daikon Greens

1 carrot, washed and cut into moons
1 handful snow peas, stem end cut off and sliced in half on a slight diagonal
1 handful green beans, stem end cut off and sliced in half
2 handfuls chopped daikon greens, leaves and tender parts of stems
Lemon Balsamic Dressing (see below)

1.  Bring a medium size pot of water to a low boil on medium heat. You want the water to stop boiling as soon as you put the vegetables in, otherwise the heat is too high.

2.  Starting with the carrot slices, place into the boiling water and leave until just turning bright. Quickly remove from water with a slotted spoon or 6″ strainer like this one. Spread onto a large flat plate so they can cool quickly. Wait for the water to boil again and then continue with the next vegetable, cooking each type of vegetable separately. Cook the strongest tasting vegetable, the daikon greens, last. In general, each vegetable should only take 10-15 seconds. Stand and watch while you are cooking the vegetables, so you can get them out of the water as soon as they are done.

3. Serve with the Lemon Balsamic Dressing. You can also serve these vegetables as is or with a sprinkle of lemon juice or brown rice vinegar.IMG_20140627_150056

Lemon Balsamic Dressing

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp brown rice syrup
1-2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp all natural stone-ground mustard
1 Tbsp water

Put all ingredients in a small jar and shake until combined. You may need to use a fork or spoon to help the rice syrup combine. Delicious on blanched vegetables, raw salad or pressed salad.

 

I don’t know about you, but this past month has been exhausting for me. I have been out-of-town for four weekends in a row and will be gone the next two weekends as well. I recharge by getting time alone and this just hasn’t been happening to the extent that I need.

This is particularly important in light of the New Moon in Cancer this Friday morning, June 27 at about 1:09 am PST. I correlate Cancer with nurturing, home and mother and I am in need of all three.

I have been setting intentions with the New Moon for 10 moon cycles. With this New Moon, I set intentions to release the shadow and bring in the light specifically in the astrological sign of Cancer. There are links at the bottom of this post if you would like more information about ways to work with Cancer during this cycle.

A huge part of my exhaustion this past month can be attributed to mothering and nurturing anyone who came across my path who looked like they needed help. This moon cycle is the perfect time to release care-taking patterns that are no longer serving me.

I have intentions to dive more deeply into nurturing my whole being. Not just my physical body, like I did with the Taurus New Moon, but my emotional health as well. It’s clearly not okay for me to put my physical body in danger. But, it’s also not okay for me to put myself in situations where I become emotionally drained, especially not to the point of feeling completely empty.

I commit to only helping people in ways that feel in alignment with my highest good. I am already doing this in many ways and I view this month as one of refinement and integration. See Receiving, Giving and Spilling Over.

Cancer is one of the water signs, so she will also be encouraging us to feel the full range of our feelings. I continue my commitment to allow full expression of my emotions, even when it feels uncomfortable.

What are you being called to release and embrace during this Cancer New Moon cycle?

For more ideas/information, check these out:

Mystic Mamma:  New Moon in Cancer
More Than Astrology:  The Moon Game
Playing with the Moon

 

 

One day, during a visit, my Naturopath said to me:  “Teresa. You don’t always have to choose the hardest path.” 15 years ago, this was a revelation to me and I have never forgotten his wise words.

We all have messages we carry with us. Ones from childhood about what makes a person good, strong and worthy. Ones carried through our ancestry about how to survive.

Two huge ones for me have been that “the journey is only worthwhile if it’s hard” and “if I am afraid it means I am on the right path.” I have always correlated fear with personal growth. If I wasn’t afraid I must not have been pushing myself enough. It’s only recently that I realized that this sets me up to always look for fear.

These messages or patterns of behavior I grew up with have been useful. They have carried me to where I am today. I have achieved a tremendous amount of personal growth over my lifetime.

But, there comes a time when even the most useful beliefs or patterns of behavior have served their time and are holding us back from true authenticity.

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Image courtesy of dan at Free Digital Photos.

How many of us think that something has to be difficult for it to be worthwhile?

In reality, stepping into our full authenticity and walking our divine path is as simple as letting go of whatever is holding us back. It can really be as easy as taking our next breath. It’s only resistance that makes this feel difficult. The process is actually as natural as breathing.

Take a moment today to look at where you can choose an easier path for yourself. This is part of prioritizing your life and your body. Sometimes the easiest path is actually the most powerful and gets us where we are going efficiently and with energy to spare. Then we don’t use valuable time and energy cutting through all the underbrush. We are able to start the next leg of our journey quickly and see more terrain.

I actually can’t imagine my ancestors saying, “There are two ways to cross that river over there. I think I will cross at the deepest, widest spot instead of making use of that sand bar.” They may have chosen the easiest route, too. It may have made sense. It didn’t make them any less strong or courageous. They were actually using their intelligence.

I am not saying that tackling challenging situations isn’t useful. I’m saying don’t choose a path just because it is hard. Choose the path that actually brings you closer to who you truly are. You can feel it. Like in most things, let your heart and your body guide you. Enjoy your journey!

 

 

You have probably heard about the importance of chewing your food well. Especially in macrobiotics. Yes, even your soup! Whether the guidelines are to chew each bite 30 times, 50 times, 150 times or until your food turns into liquid, a lot of emphasis is placed on chewing.

But, how often do we think about breathing while we are eating?

Marc David talks about the importance of breathing while we eat in his book, The Slow Down Diet. So I started to notice my breathing, or more accurately my lack of breathing, especially during chewing.

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creamy carrot soup

Digestion works best when we are sitting down and in a relaxed state. This way our bodies can focus completely on the task at hand. A body that is in an active state or, even worse, under stress, just isn’t able to digest food as well. In general, when we hold our breath, it’s a sign our body is under stress. So it makes sense that if we hold our breath while eating, it can negatively affect our digestion. Breathing in a relaxed manner signals to our body that we are relaxed, relaxes our stomach and is conducive to good digestion.

Add to this the fact that many of us are trying to chew our food for longer periods of time. Personally, what I noticed is that when I focus on chewing, I tend to hold my breath. At first I wasn’t even sure I could breathe while chewing, but I tried it and it totally worked. I could feel my whole body relax with each breath. I didn’t breathe in my food at all. (I was worried about that.)

Focusing on breathing calmly and regularly while eating, and specifically while chewing, has helped me relax and slow down even more during my meals. Try it. I would love to hear about your experience.

I go bouldering at a gym several times a month with my friend Ian. We went yesterday and I was so pleased to be able to see concrete proof that I am getting better and stronger. One great thing about climbing/bouldering is that you can see improvement fairly quickly. It could be as simple as finally making a move that had been too difficult up until that moment.

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me

Yesterday, I completed some overhang moves that I couldn’t before. Plus, I was able to climb for longer and didn’t fatigue as quickly. It felt so good and I can feel how pleased my body is when it feels strong and capable.

Bill Tara talks about this in one of his lectures available for free at The Macrobiotic Guide, a site filled with articles about macrobiotics. The lectures are invaluable and I have gleaned some great wisdom from Bill’s insight. You can download the lectures here.

One thing I specifically remember him talking about is how it’s important for our bodies to feel strong, healthy and capable.

Visualize how your body feels when you haven’t had enough sleep, aren’t eating well and then you try to do something physically active that is a stretch for you. You trudge along, running or cycling, and maybe your body is feeling like it isn’t very strong. This can even be a little scary for your body which may feel that it wouldn’t be able to keep itself safe if it needed to run or fight to survive.

When your body feels tired and weak, it gets a message that it IS weak and it might even feel that something is wrong with it. This creates a negative thought cycle that affects our perception of our body and can actually impact our health.

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my friend Ian

It makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? It’s important for us to feel both capable and challenged in all areas of our life, our bodies are no exception.

I try to choose physical activity that my body really enjoys, not just after I am done, but in the moment, too. My body loves it when it has fun and feels excited even while it is being challenged. I think it’s okay for us to challenge our bodies even to the point that they may feel a little weak, but I encourage you to include a lot more moments where your body is able to feel strong and pleased with itself.

My arms are very sore today, because I pushed myself on the rock wall. But, every time I move and feel the soreness, I am reminded of how strong I am. It’s a wonderful, empowering feeling.

What activities can you add to your life that help your body feel strong and healthy? For further insight you can also check out a related post on The Problem with Exercise.

Jessica Porter’s book, The MILF Diet, has a wonderful section of recipes. The Super-Delicious Mystery “Cheese” Cake totally caught my eye a few weeks ago. It has millet, one of may favorite grains, and I was super curious to see how it would work as filling in cheesecake. A lot of vegan cheesecakes use either tofu or a lot of cashews to get the creamy texture. This recipe has some cashews, but the majority of the filling is the millet. The texture is amazing.

So, I made the dessert for one of our macrobiotic potlucks. I think the recipe is going for the classic New York Cheesecake flavor. It has lemon juice, lemon extract and vanilla. Everyone who tasted the “cheese” cake loved it, but even though the texture was perfect, I was a little disappointed about the flavor. My friend Allison thought it needed more vanilla, but I am not sure if that’s the answer. Plus, when I was eating those sorts of things, New York Cheesecake wasn’t really my favorite, anyway. So, I decided to take the basic concept in a direction more suited to my tastes.IMG_20140526_120353

I don’t like to use a lot of cashews and dates. I chose hazelnuts instead. I love the flavor, I have been able to get them to be pretty creamy and they are locally grown in Washington State. I added some decaf espresso because the flavor is dreamy with hazelnuts. For the crust, I replaced the dates with local dried prunes, which add a more distinct flavor, and used hazelnuts here as well. Ceylon cinnamon would be a lovely addition, too, but I haven’t tried that yet.

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The resulting cheesecake is quickly being devoured as I write this blog. Completely yummy! So yummy, in fact, that I am taking it to The Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck!

The original recipe is credited to Laura Taylor and Karen Bryson, Los Angeles whole food cooking instructors, and is in the MILF cookbook by Jessica Porter.

Vegan Hazelnut Espresso Cheesecake
adapted from Super-Delicious Mystery “Cheese” Cake  from The MILF Diet by Jessica Porter

3/4 cup hazelnuts, soaked overnight, then try to get as much of the skin off as possible (just do the best you can)
3/4 cup millet, rinsed and soaked in 2 1/2 cups water overnight
sea salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 shots decaf espresso (or regular) plus enough water to equal 1/2 cup
2 tsp vanilla
sea salt
1 cup toasted and skinned hazelnuts (do the best you can, it’s okay to have some skin)
1 cup lightly toasted rolled oats
3/4 cup dried prunes, chopped into small pieces
2 Tbsp maple syrup
sea salt

1.  Bring the millet to a boil in a medium saucepan. Lower the heat to simmer gently and cook for about 50 minutes. Use a flame tamer if you have one.

2.  Make the crust:  In a food processor, grind the oats and hazelnuts until coarse. Add the chopped prunes and maple syrup. Grind until the mixture starts coming together, but still has some texture. If it isn’t moist enough to press into a crust, transfer it to a boil and stir in a few tsp of water at a time until it starts to come together. Press into the bottom of an 8″ or 9″ springform pan. Set aside.

3.  In a blender, add the hazelnuts, maple syrup, espresso, vanilla and a few pinches of sea salt. Puree until it;s as creamy as you can get it with your blender. Optimal texture is super creamy.

4.  When the millet is done cooking, add it to the blender while still hot. It’s important that the millet is still hot so it will be creamy when puréed. I added the millet in stages. This will depend on the size of your blender. Blend until super creamy.

5.  Pour on top of the crust and smooth the top. Refrigerate for at least four hours.

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I felt an amazing shift in my relationship with my body during this past month’s moon cycle. My intentions for the Taurus New Moon centered around putting my body first in every way.

I made a commitment to enjoy some form of movement every day. Dance, yoga, stretching, biking, trail running. Any movement had to be joyful and what my body was asking for. I checked in with my body frequently during the whole month and learned so much about what makes it happy. I even chose dancing over spiritual endeavors several times. Not that they always need to be separate, but this decision really stood out for me this month. What would that be like for you to only choose those activities that really make your body excited?072

Diet wise, I took a month off of baked flour (bread, chips, crackers, etc), cane sugar and decaf Americanos. This has made a huge difference in the way I felt through my whole monthly cycle. Also, because I didn’t have any of the distractions that sugar can provide, I was able to stay aware of how I was feeling and learned an incredible amount about my body’s rhythms. This will continue into the next month as the intentions get integrated this week.

Playing with the Moon

I want to spend a little time on the nuts and bolts of the Moon Game. It’s a beautiful way to set intentions in alignment with the rhythm of a cycle of nature. The game repeats itself with every New Moon and continues throughout that moon cycle. Set intentions with the New Moon related to the sign it is in that month. Then follow those intentions through the whole month until the next New Moon.

The first week of the cycle is about seeding those intentions. The second week starts with the first quarter moon and the seed of our intentions start sprouting. As the seed sprouts we get to see what conditions are keeping it from growing well. The sign the moon is in at that time will give you a clue about where the conflict between where we are and what we want related to the intentions we set. The Full Moon in week three shines light on our intentions. It’s a time of illumination and blossoming. Again, look to the sign the moon is in to see the flavor of the illumination. The fourth week is the week of integration and harvest. Then, the cycle starts again with the next New Moon. This game is a wonderful way to get in touch with our own authentic self, set intentions on a regular basis and follow them through for a full cycle of action and reflection. It is also helping me get more in touch with nature.

Gemini New Moon

May 28 11:40 AM Pacific Time. I have to say it. I am trying to embrace air signs, but it hasn’t come easy. The things that really stick out for me about Gemini? Playful, Tricky, Twins. I am more than a little nervous.IMG_20130628_091629

So, how will this play out? I am actually not really sure. Everything I have read says this will be a powerful and dynamic moon cycle. My experience is that the longer I play this game, the more powerful and transformative each month gets. For more information on this specific New Moon cycle, head over to Mystic Mamma. I love reading about the insights highlighted each month and you will learn about other astrological aspects playing out during this time as well. My friend Brett writes about setting intentions with this Gemini New Moon over at More Than Astrology.

My intentions are to stay true to my heart, my deep inner sense of truth and allow myself to really let go and play. A huge part of my journey to reclaim my authentic self and full expression is to choose experiences that push my full being to radiate and shine. Nothing gets this going for me like an adventure.IMG_20130628_095252

 

One thing that’s already in the works the first week of this moon cycle is a trip to Philadelphia to spend time with a man I met on a cruise a few months ago. What is he like? Well, he loves to play and he loves nature. I can’t say that I know if he’s tricky, yet. No matter how it plays out, I am already charting new territory with this one. I trust that it will be just right for my first week of Gemini New Moon intentions.

Along with my big Philadelphia adventure, I am also embarking on new business territory. I am in the middle of putting a new website together focused completely on my Body Spirit Integration technique. You will be one of the first to know when that is up and running. I am already working with clients. My heart sings with joy and sweetness as I am being called to play this role in helping us heal our relationship with our bodies.

Are you playing this Moon Game with me, yet? I would love to hear about it. Feel free to jump on board. There’s really no right or wrong way to play and it keeps getting better every month.