Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Equanimity and of course a little food....

The other day, I finally took the leap and erased all my pictures off of my camera and now I can't find the darn thing. I've been thinking about investing in a new one but not until it was closer to my birthday. Anyways, forgive me for posting recipes without any pictures-boring, I know! Yesterday I had a much needed day off. In addition to taking my pup on a walk,  I did 30 minutes of Jillian Yoga Meltdown - Level II. I was so excited because I actually was able to do the crow pose this time. The week before when I tried it, I failed horribly. I only held it for 10 seconds but that was all Jillian was asking us to do.  My balance and flexibility are slowly getting better. Although I've always had very tight hamstrings, I still cannot get my heals down during downward dog but I'm getting closer!

The crow pose
Yoga, to me, is more than exercise. It helps me be mindful and I use that time to focus on my intentions for the day. It helps me strive for equanimity, a state of even-minded openness that allows for a balanced, clear response to all situations, rather than reacting or responding with emotion. There's an old story that was shared in Yoga Journal that helps illustrate the importance of this mind set :

 A farmer's most valuable asset is the one horse he owns. One day it runs away. All the townspeople commiserate with him, "Oh, what terrible luck! You've fallen into poverty now, with no way to pull the plow or move your goods!" The farmer merely responds, "I don't know if it's unfortunate or not; all I know is that my horse is gone."
A few days later, the horse returns, and following it are six more horses, both stallions and mares. The townspeople say "Oh! You've struck it rich! Now you have seven horses to your name!" Again, the farmer says, "I don't know if I'm fortunate or not; all that I can say is that I now have seven horses in my stable."
A few days later, while the farmer's son is trying to break in one of the wild stallions, he's thrown from the horse and breaks his leg and shoulder. All the townspeople bemoan his fate: "Oh, how terrible! Your son has been so badly injured, he'll not be able to help you with the harvest. What a misfortune!" The farmer responds, "I don't know if it's a misfortune or not; what I know is that my son has been injured."
Less than a week later, the army sweeps through town, conscripting all the young men to fight in a war...all except for the farmer's son, who is unable to fight because of his injury.

Now let me just say, I am an emotional girl. Actually that's probably an understatement, I am an extremely emotional girl. I feel others' pain (you cry, I cry), my feelings get hurt easily, if someone is being mean to others, I feel hurt or upset for them, and if someone is going through an illness or a struggle, you can bet that I'm worrying about them.  However, I started realizing that this isn't particularly healthy for me. It doesn't mean I have to stop caring about people but that I just need to take a different approach. Equanimity is not indifference nor a boring neutrality. It doesn't mean you stop caring, in fact it means to care about all beings evenly. The key is balance. Having a balanced heart means you can feel pleasure without clinging to it and feel pain without condemning or hating. It means staying open and present for experiences. Because the truth is that you can never know what life is going to bring and there is actually very little we can control, other than our own reactions to circumstances. Personally, this is challenging for me. I try to protect those I love, just a little too much. I try cleaning up others' messes, when I really shouldn't get into it. I try to fix what is broken, over and over. If you're like me in any of these ways, let it go and remember this: 

 " However much you may care for someone, however much you may do for others, however much you would like to control things or you wish that they were other than they are, equanimity reminds you that all beings everywhere are responsible for their own actions, and for the consequences of their actions."

Otherwise, you might just fall into "compassion fatigue" and sometimes even push others away by getting over-involved.  Open your heart to all beings but remember each person is responsible for their actions and you cannot control what others go through in this life. This is something that I see myself working towards for a very long time but it helps to remind myself every now and then.

Whew, enough with the deep yogi thoughts for today! I think I need a yoga session after all that! Or I can just talk about food. I had about 3/4 lb of leftover pork from my roast to use up so I decided to make some pulled pork from stuff I had around the house and came up with this.

Tangy Carolina Pork
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 Anaheim pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1.5 Tbsp brown sugar
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Shredded pork ( I had 3/4 lb)
  • 1/3 c apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • Red Pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 3/4 tsp white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp gr mustard
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • Up to 1/2 c water
In a Dutch oven, saute onion and peppers in olive oil. Add the remaining ingredients and let simmer over low heat for awhile, add water if needed. Serve on whole wheat buns. This dish smelled really good but since I couldn't personally taste test  (which is really hard for me), it is hubby approved. :)

Grilled Asparagus w/ Lemon Cream Sauce:
This recipe was taken from the book, 'Cooking for Isaiah.' It contains multiple easy and delicious gluten-free and dairy-free meals. My favorite brownie recipe, found in a previous post, is from this book.  
  • About 2 lbs of fresh asparagus, washed and bottoms snapped off
  • Metal skewers
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, Pepper
  • 1/2 c mayonnaise + additional for brushing (if desired)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
Preheat grill. Brush asparagus w/ mayo (or toss w/ olive oil). Season with salt and pepper and thred crosswise onto skewers. Grill, covered and turning once, until tender (about 6-8 min).

To make the dip, combine the mayo, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, vinegar, lemon juice and lemon zest in a food processor or blender. Add the olive oil in a slow and steady stream. Blend until smooth. Serve the dip with the grilled asparagus (or thin out and drizzle lightly over top).

These are two of the smoothies I tried the past few days.
Tropical Chocolate Smoothie:

  •  1 banana
  • 1/4 c unsweetened coconut
  • 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1 scoop Chocolate protein powder
  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp dried organic goji berries
  • 2 c spinach
  • Handful of ice
I let the coconut and dried goji berries soak in the milk for a bit before blending all of the ingredients together with a handful of ice.

ChocoPBB Smoothie:
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 Tbsp Chocolate PB (not full of sugar or HFCS) or natural PB + 2Tbsp Unswtnd cocoa powder
  • 1 c Almond milk ( I like unsweetened vanilla - only 45 kcal/cup)
  • 2 c spinach
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder of choice ( I like Spirutein)
  • Handful of ice

Ah ha! I found my camera!! I must have set it on the arm of our big chair and it slipped down into the cracks. Good, I really wanted to be able to take pictures this weekend. That's it for now, I must get some errands done for my beautiful bride-to-be friend and get caught up on the house and some exercise! Enjoy your day!

Positive vibes...

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