Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Brave and Startling Truth by Maya Angelou



We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I LOVE CARBS!


Somewhere in between the Atkins Diet and Gluten mania, carbs have gotten a seriously bad rep. When I just wrote “carbs are…” into my google search engine, I got back “bad,” “making you fat,” “KILLING YOU." I just felt so bad for the Carbohydrate, my little super engine that could. I mean Carbs have done so much for me that I feel it’s time to take a stand for the almighty CHO.



What’s CHO?
Carbohydrates really deserve respect. Especially if you’re an athlete!! CHO is the chemical shorthand. C=Carbon H=Hydrogen O=Oxygen.  According to, you know, medicine and science, humans should be getting 45% to 65% of their calories from CHO. I won’t go too much in detail on the scientific specifics of CHO because I’m not a Registered Dietician or a doctor. But CHO is present in most of what we commonly think of as our healthiest foods already. Super fad foods like kale and quinoa, those are carbs ya’ll. Coconut water, way more carbs that regular water. Just sayin’.

If you’re a pretty health conscious person, you’re probably already eating a lot of healthy carbs and avoiding the “carbs that will kill you.” Refined sugar, alcohol, processed bleached grains, we all know that these things are delicious but basically have zero nutritional benefit.

Still, if you’re looking to lose weight, you need carbs!

Here’s why:
Carbs are filling! Carbs make you happy and energized!
Yes, salads have carbs, but a handful of kale does not a meal make. Eating and the process of digesting healthy grains sends a message to your brain that you are full. Usually when we’re full, we don’t eat more. Unless we’re spending the afternoon watching Downton Abbey on the couch. Hey, it happens.

If you eat healthy carbs earlier in the day, cooked oatmeal, brown rice or quinoa for breakfast. Even the demonized whole-wheat toast, you get to use that energy all day long, isn’t that nice? And you’re less likely to have outbursts because you’re on a crazy juice cleanse or something (also CHO, by the way). No one wants to hang out with you when you’re not eating enough and obsessing over your weight and stressing about how much you eat. This does not help you make friends or lose weight. It spikes stress response and cortisol and all other kinds of hormone messengers that keep you’re body from losing weight. Stop stressing and start eating..CARBS! 

If you’re really trying to lose weight eat a majority of your calories earlier in the day, for breakfast and lunch and have a lighter dinner, like a brothy soup with lots of veggies.

The trick to carbs is watching out for high sugar content. Even, maybe especially, if you’ve gone gluten-free, watch out for the sugar content of those foods. If you’re worried about your weight, better to spend energy thinking about the glycemic index (GI) than stressing about eating too many carbs. Choose foods with a low GI.

Here’s how I love to eat carbs:
*I buy in bulk and always have the following grains in my house.
-Brown rice
-Quinoa
-Lentils
-Oats
-CousCous
-Pasta-full of gluten because regular spaghetti is the bomb! But you could go with whole grain, or Brown rice, quinoa pasta if you’re GF
-Asian noodles, rice noodles thin and thick, soba noodles, udon noodles

*I cook in bulk.
I find the best way to avoid eating a bag of chips while driving from work to yoga to workout is to bring food with me. So, once a week I’ll make a grain salad using any of the above grains. Mixing in veggies, sweet potatoes, squash, beans, and a small amount of protein. I’m also very fond of the sandwich; pile it high with veggies and just a little protein and you are good to go. I like adding grains to soup as well.

*I have some kind of treat with sugar once a day. I know sugar will probably kill us all, but a little dark chocolate, glass of red wine, or a cookie after lunch or dinner really makes me feel satisfied. It’s like a signal that I’m done eating. I have not yet done a scientific study on this, but I really think it prevents me from overeating. It’s a working theory. 

I’m sure you already know all of this because you’re all quite a bit smarter than me. But I just felt like the CARB needed to be defended. It is the foundation to a healthy diet. STOP OVEREATING PROTEIN! Seriously, stop. If you love good carbs, they will love you right back. I swear.

Here’s a recipe from a SUPER EASY dish I made the other day that can be good as a traveling dish as well. I’m trying to get better at measuring because I often just cook with what I have and don’t always remember how I cook things. So bear with me on this one. I'll get better at writing out recipes.

Asian Noodle Stirfry 

Ingredients:
-1 package Udon noodles, they usually come wrapped in three sections, I used the whole thing (can use rice noodles or gluten free rice pasta for more similar consistency)
-1 TBL Coconut Oil for cooking veggies
-1 TBL Sesame Oil
-1/2 TBL Low Sodium Soy Sauce or Braggs Liquid Aminos
-1 tsp. Rice Vinegar
-1 tsp. Chili Pepper Flakes
-1 tsp. Chili Powder
-1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
-3 cloves Garlic minced
-1 TBL. FRESH grated Ginger
-1 TBL Toasted Sesame Seeds
-1/2 cup Cilantro
-1/4 cup Green Onion
-1/2 Yellow Onion
Choose from the veggies and protein in your fridge:
I used:
-Red pepper
-Purple cabbage
-Carrots
-Broccoli
-Mushrooms
-Chicken (leftovers from previously cooked whole chicken)

-In a wok, cook onion and veggies, pepper, chili flakes and powder on medium low heat in coconut oil, retain crispiness
-In a separate pot, cook noodles and rinse with cold water
-Add protein, garlic, and ginger to the dish (if not already cooked, cook in separate dish and then add)
-Add noodles, sesame seeds, green onion, cilantro, and other oils/soy sauce, combing together. Cook for a few minutes on low heat.
-Season to taste



Thursday, February 13, 2014

Real love, I'm searchin' for a real love


Happy Valentine's Day, people! Before we get too deep into cards with teddy bears and heart shaped boxes full of chocolate, let's take a moment to appreciate real love. It's not always romantic. When best applied it extends not to those you care for most, but those who you may have an urge to punch in the face. Love is not a feeling or a destination to race towards in a relationship. It's not the three words, "I LOVE YOU." 

Real love is deep, wide, expansive, infinite. Love is the invisible string that binds us to one another. Love is being patient in line at Starbucks. Love is looking people in the eye. Love is action. It's not how you feel, it's how you strive to live. With presence, compassion, kindness, a generous and open heart. 
  
Adapted from Swami Sivananda’s Bliss Divine

Love is the law of life. 
To love is to fulfill the law. 
And to fulfill the law means eternal peace and everlasting happiness.
This world has come out of love. 
It exists in love. 
It finally dissolves in love. 

Love is the motive-power of the universe.
Love is constructive and creative. 
Love binds and builds. 
Love is the principle of regeneration.
 Love is an actual substance you can use with confidence. 

Love is a positive, concrete thing. 
He who applies the law of love with scientific precision can work wonders. 
The law of love is a far greater science than any modern science. 
The law of love prevails among saints and good men.

To live is to love. 
To love is to live. 
You live that you may learn to love.

There is no virtue higher than love; there is no treasure higher than love; there is no knowledge higher than love, there is no law higher than love; there is no religion higher than love; because love is truth.  



Thursday, January 23, 2014

This Year I Resolve to be Less Resolute



I’m really glad it’s almost February. Don’t get me wrong; I love Winter Clearance Sales and making
big pots of soup. But the whole New Year, New Me, New Attitude thing, I’m just not really into it. I have personally never been one to make resolutions in January, mostly out of deep seeded rebellious tendencies. But also out of a sensation that resolutions seem laced with guilt, cut with self-conscious poison.

There was nothing wrong with you. I love the you from 2013, just as you were. If you want to run a marathon or take up knitting, awesome! I support the desire for self-improvement and learning and pushing boundaries. But just so long as we can agree that you are already WHOLE. Changing your diet for a month will not make you a different person. Letting go of any expectation of how you will look or feel or be, start with that first. Then if you want to workout go-ahead girl, do your thing. But don’t do it with the expectation that at the end of the month your going to run or down dog your way into a different body or a different life. The moments I feel most self-confident have had zero correlation to what I weigh or how I look. Peace is not a number on a scale or even the crossing of the finish line. It’s in recognizing that I am not my body. My body is my vehicle through this life and as such deserves tune-ups and oil changes and dusting. But it will rust and the paint will chip and eventually it will break down. You can’t take it with
you, folks.

I love being active! I especially love running. There is so much freedom in running. The sensation of your body working, taking you places, giving yourself time to organize your thoughts and then clear your head, it’s totally awesome. It’s basically my favorite thing to do. Sometimes I run because I ate too much cake or drank too much wine, but primarily I run because I love running. It pumps me full of endorphins and makes me feel like I could conquer the world. Perhaps when I first got into running, I had a goal in mind to lose weight and get fit. I am not trying to dissuade anyone from giving up on making goals necessarily. I just want to discourage the guilt of goal setting and encourage the joy of activity and taking up empowering pursuits. If you love it, you’ll keep doing. It shouldn’t always feel like a chore.

Honestly part of this stems from a random article I read a few months ago about women and body issues. Yeah, yeah, I know right? Women worrying about their bodies is nothing new. That being said, a study commissioned by LYCRA BEAUTY revealed that the average woman spends 12 hrs a week worrying about how she looks and 2 hrs a week worrying that shes overweight.

What the fuck, ladies?!

This isn’t time spent putting on make-up or shaving your legs or getting dressed. This is time fretting, hours of anxiety instead of peace. Time spent thinking that you’re not enough. That you could be improved. That you’re not freaking gorgeous just as you are. Because you are! You are freaking gorgeous! Women are way better looking than men. Artistically, ascetically speaking, way hotter, gals. With the expectation of some gay men, we dress better, we smell better, our skin looks nicer. We are the better-looking sex. Why not just own that instead of trying to out do ourselves.


And who decided that wrinkles and cellulite and stretch marks are disgusting. Fuck that person! I have had both cellulite and stretch marks since I was like 13. No matter how many miles I run, planks I hold, or skin products I buy, that shit ain’t going away. And you know what, when I’m out in the world wearing short shorts, bikinis, and my underwear on several occasions in my 20’s, I don’t ever think about it, AT ALL. Because no one has ever said to me, “Oh, you’d be really beautiful except for that cellulite under your right butt cheek.” Or “Yeah, I just saw your stretch marks so I’m going to stop making out with you now.”

We know intuitively and intellectually that beauty has very little to do with looks. But it’s hard, those moment just before we get in the shower to not hold up our breasts and wish they were a little perkier or smooth the lines that are forming around our eyes. But way back when we didn’t have lines and our breasts were perkier, we were worrying about something else entirely. So, what awesome part of your body are you taking for granted now by spending 2 hrs a week worrying about your weight? Honor your temple as it is right now. Right in this moment. Know that you cannot be improved upon. It is only your vision that is ugly, you mind that needs to be wiped cleaned.

You know, I may have cellulite and stretch marks, but my legs have literally carried me up mountains and run me through marathons. My eyes may be getting lines, but let them be laugh lines, not lines acquired worrying that my butt was too big in these pants. Let me spend less of my time fretting about this skin deep self and more time meditating on the Supreme Being that resides deep within. May this meditation reveal the beauty of my Inner Divine Light. May I be at peace with myself enough to shine this Light in all directions, to all beings. Own it. Love it. Don’t abuse it, misuse it, or neglect it. We are power and grace and beauty incarnate.

Now, that's a resolution I can get behind.
http://www.gulanmusic.com/meditation.html