The Teacup Chronicles

Month: March, 2010

Growth

There is nothing quite like spring to remind us that just beneath the skin of our daily habits and routine, transformation is the true language of the universe.

In a period of weeks, the world around you becomes entirely changed. White, frozen expanses of land give way to browned fields, barren looking forests and overflowing streams full of sleepiness and mist. Then, as the sun grows brighter and the skies more blue and clear, the hillsides become painted with the most delicate etching of pastel roses, maroons and greens and the valleys tentatively awaken with the palest virescent shimmer. Then, after winter battles briefly one last time for the domain of the land, the inertia of spring seems to take hold and the world plunges forward in excitement. Soon, it as though wherever you find yourself, some merry procession has just passed through, sprinkling flower petals and golden pollen in their wake and filling the air with perfume and birdsong. The entire world seems in a state of constant merriment.

Spring is also a time of transformation within us. It is the time when your sleepy dreams and visions are transformed into creation and growth. Like a seed drawing on the energy contained within to create new growth and metamorphosis, we too draw on the nourishment of our winter slumbers to recreate ourselves anew. The ghosts of our dreams can be given breath now. The inertia within us plunges us forwards.

At first, the call of spring is cautious and gentle – a stirring of life within your spirit, a sleepy awakening. How hard it must seem at first to the flowers, to break that first bud through the soil and into the barren, frigid world. I think it feels much the same to us – to draw our dreams out of the warmth and security of our own spirits into a world of uncertainty and risk.  But like the plants around us, if we fail to take that risk, we pass our only opportunity to experience the gloriousness of the possibility that lies within us. So we must take the risk, and trust that the warmth of the sun and the love within our spirits will nourish our creation with what it truly needs to blossom.

So as you watch the miracle of spring transform the world around you, let the inertia and movement it stirs within your spirit give you the courage to pull your dreams out into the sunlight. What do you need to do to create that in your life? The impossible is present in every moment, every breath you take – so don’t credit your dreams with being more complex and profound than your own existence. What you want for yourself in this world takes only the trust and courage that you are worthy and capable of it….for isn’t that what often stops us in the end?

And, as the inertia of your creation and growth takes over your spirit this spring, let it dance in merriment at the transformation of the impossible into the possible, let it revel in the endless warmth and possibility contained within each precious moment of our lives.

Some things to create this spring:

Gardens

Friendships

Artistic expression

Adventure

Reflection time

Optimism

Daily rituals of celebration

Healthier habits

Advertisements

Spring is Springing!

Spring has returned. The earth is like a child who knows poems.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

All this warm sunny weather has cleared most of the snow from the land, and if you look closely enough, you will find miracles – like this pansy, which was happily blooming under the snow until the sunshine came and revealed it.

I think we too, find our tenacious spirits bathed at last in sunlight, and can reveal the splendor and miracle of our own flowering lives.

Spring is full of magic, so don’t forget to see it.

The secret to having more energy, better metabolism and increased vitality …..

EAT A GOOD BREAKFAST!


Your mother told you to always a eat a good breakfast, and as in so many other things, she was right. Breakfast is the meal of champions, simply stated. Nothing makes more sense than to fill up your tank first thing in the day so that you have the energy you need to spend (and use up) on your daily activities. You wouldn’t sit around in a freezing cold house all day and then build a fire right before going to bed, would you?  Yet, many of us Americans do just that with our diet – little if no breakfast, quick on the run lunch (if any), and then a whopping giant meal or lots of snacking  just when we need the calories the least (right before bed). This loads our system down with calories that don’t end up being used (and are more likely to be stored as fat), and burdens the body with metabolic activity when it should be focusing on repair and detoxification work.  Our health, energy and mood would be greatly improved if we just added this one simple meal back into our day and ate food when we actually needed it.

But what we choose to eat for breakfast is just as important as if we choose to eat it at all. Anytime a person comes to me in clinic complaining of fatigue and poor energy,  I start out by asking them what they generally eat for breakfast.  Majority of the time, the answer is something high in refined carbohydrates (cereal, toast, bagel, etc). The problem there is that refined carbohydrates just don’t sustain – they’re broken down and enter the bloodstream rather quickly – leading to a spike in blood sugar followed by a rapid plummet that leaves us feeling lethargic and moody far before lunch. When do most of these people experience fatigue? Mid-morning, and late afternoon – just a few hours after  heavily carbohydrate loaded meals leave them with plummeting blood sugar levels.

The key to a good breakfast is protein and complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates and protein both have in common the property of slowing the process of digestion and breaking down very slowly into usable energy – sustaining you for far longer and promoting more balanced and sustained energy levels. For that reason, bacon and eggs is actually a more healthful choice than a bowl full of fruit when it comes to sustaining your energy throughout the day.

But let’s take it one step further.  If you really want to start of on the right foot, why not select the best quality most vital foods to start off your day? Foods that contain healthy anti-inflammatory fatty acids and the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients) that your body truly needs to function most optimally and prevent disease. Eating vital food is what truly creates vitality in you! So don’t just eat an egg – eat an egg from a free-range, pasture raised hen with a shining bright orange yolk and lots of vitamin A, omega 3 fatty acids and carotenoids! Don’t choose high fiber cereal from a box that has been significantly processed and altered from its natural state (damaging fragile nutrients and fatty acids), choose whole grains like oats or quinoa that supply lots of B vitamins and micronutrients! And most importantly, throw in some fruits and vegetables to the mix to boost the nutrient value of your breakfast and provide antioxidant, disease fighting phytonutrients.

So now that you are in the breakfast eating spirit, ready to join in on the meal of champions, here are some recipes to get you started. These recipes feature the protein and complex carbs to sustain your energy, and the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients from fresh, vital fruits and vegetables. Just to note, when you first begin to incorporate breakfast into your day, you might find your digestion and appetite a little lacking after years of adjusting to not eating. You might try sipping hot water with minced fresh ginger first thing in the morning to prime that digestive fire and get your appetite roaring – after several weeks I think you’ll find your body has adapted to the new rhythm just fine.

Scrambled Greens with Egg, Feta, and Salsa

I call this scrambled greens because it has more greens than egg – providing lots of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants to really bolster your health. A sprinkle of feta and a generous serving of salsa makes this a delicious breakfast! Feel free to add as many veggies as you like – a little minced garlic or shallots would be a nice choice or substitute broccoli for the greens. Serve with a side of grass-fed bacon and a piece of whole grain toast.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped darky leafy greens (kale, collards, swiss chard, etc)
  • 2 -3 tbl crumbled feta
  • 1 tbl organic, grass fed butter, ghee or extra-virgin olive oil
  • salsa to taste

Heat the oil in a pan until a drop of water sizzles. Add the eggs and immediately toss in the greens. Gently fold the greens into the eggs until the eggs are just cooked and the greens are softened and brightly colored. Sprinkle the feta into the egg and stir until incorporated, then serve piping hot topped with salsa.

Wholegrain Oatmeal with Blueberries, Cream and Almonds

This oatmeal is made from WHOLE oats – known as oat groats – which ensures that important nutrients and fatty acids are preserved. Blueberries provide antioxidant flavonoids while almonds and cream from grass fed cows provide heart healthy fats, calcium and protein.You’ll need to plan the night ahead for this because the oats need to be soaked.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oat groats, soaked overnight with water to cover and 1 tsp yogurt or vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 2-3 tbl fresh ground flax (optional for added omega 3s)
  • Cream to taste
  • Butter to taste
  • Maple syrup, honey or agave to taste

Soak the oats overnight, or for at least 8 hours. In the morning, strain the oats and place them in food processor or blender with  2 cups of fresh water. Process until the oats are well broken up and then transfer to a small saucepan. Heat the oats until thickened (5 or 10 minutes) to your desired consistency. If frozen, place the blueberries in the bottom of your bowl, and pour the hot oatmeal on top. Add a small pad of grass fed butter, a drizzle of cream (grass fed of course!), and a drizzle of maple syrup. Top with almonds and freshly ground flax and enjoy!

Quinoa Porridge with Coconut Pecan Marmalade

Quinoa is one of the highest grain sources of protein, and contains lots of iron and B vitamins. Coconut, while high in saturated fat, contains medium chain fatty acids that the body metabolizes directly for energy and does not contribute to high cholesterol or heart disease. It also contains lauric acid, which supports immune function.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 chopped and toasted pecans
  • 1/3 toasted coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 T  agave nectar or maple syrup, or to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Place the quinoa in a saucepan with the water and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until the water is mostly absorbed and the quinoa has become fluffy and increased in volume. To make the marmalade, toast the pecans in the oven at 350 for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Toast the coconut in a saucepan until it becomes golden and fragrant. Add the pecans, coconut milk, sweetener and vanilla to the pan and cook until it begins to steam. To serve, pour the quinoa into a bowl and top with the marmalade.

On the Run Chocolate Banana Smoothie

Since we don’t always have the time we would like to luxuriate in breakfast, here is a quick recipe that you can make in 5 minutes or less.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk of choice (grass fed cow’s milk, hemp milk, almond etc)
  • 1 banana
  • 4 T raw cocoa powder
  • 2-3 T almond butter
  • 2-3 T freshly ground flax

Pop everything into the blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Note: Flax can be ground in a coffee grinder and stored in the fridge for 2-3 days.