• Use Yoga & Ayurveda to Balance the Vata Dosha

    Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, is an ancient wellness system that can help us find optimal health and balance in life. It’s all about eating a nutritious and balanced diet that’s suited for your individual needs, engaging in self-care practices that nourish your body, mind and soul, plus, practicing yoga in a way that is informed by this ancient science of life. These three components are your Ayurvedic keys to good health and well-being.

    Our October challenge, #EatLikeAYogi, is all about bringing yoga and Ayurveda together as they were meant to be practiced. In doing so, you will have all the tools you need to find your way back to a place of optimal well-being. During this challenge, each day, participants will complete an Ayurvedic practice (based on food and self-care) with Sahara Rose, and an Ayurveda informed yoga pose recommended by Kino.

    Each of the yoga poses in this challenge have been selected based on their ability to help balance the doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha). As a compliment to the challenge, we are going to breakdown which poses are good for balancing which doshas, and why.

    Today we’re talking about Vata imbalance and which yoga poses you should incorporate into your practice if you’re working to find balance.

    A Vata imbalance is typically associated with many of the following signs and symptoms:

    • Constipation
    • Excess bloating and gas
    • Poor mental focus
    • Anxiety or excessive nervousness
    • Cold hands and feet
    • Physical weakness
    • Dry Skin
    • Irregular appetite
    • Restlessness
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Hyperactivity
    • And more

    Does this sound like you? Participating in the October Challenge with Kino and Sahara Rose is a great place to start for finding your way back to a more balanced state. Plus, be sure to put more emphasis on the following Vata balancing yoga poses that Kino has recommended for the challenge:

    Tree Pose – Since vata imbalance is usually associated with scattered thoughts, poor ability to focus, excessive nervousness and anxiety, balancing postures like tree pose can help to bring more stillness to the mind. Tree pose requires a keen mental focus, so try incorporating this pose into your daily practice to see if it helps.

    Paschimottanasana – Forward folds are grounding, calming, and encourage introspection. This is why any forward fold is great for bringing balance to excess Vata. Try this pose in the evening before bed to ease hyperactivity and help you prepare for a more restful sleep.

    Utkatasana – Chair pose is very effective for creating a sense of grounding, which is great for relaxing a Vata mind. Plus, it activates the downward moving force in our bodies (Apana Vayu) which can help when it comes to alleviating constipation.

    Warrior II – This is another grounding pose that can really help with balancing excess Vata. This posture does however pose a challenge for those of us who may be experiencing a Vata imbalance. This is because it’s a little less interesting than some of the other postures on this list. Vatas get bored very easily, but if you try incorporating a little movement with this pose before settling into stillness, you may find more success. Try this simple movement before settling in to hold Warrior II for an extended period of time: from Warrior II, inhale to lift your arms and bring the palms to touch. At the same time lengthen your front leg. On the exhale, bend back into your front knee, and extend the arms back in opposite directions. Repeat for several rounds of breath.

    Ustrasana – The last pose on our list for balancing Vata is Ustrasana, aka camel pose. This pose is recommended because it asks us to still the mind and focus on grounding through the legs before adding in the backbend. That’s what’s really important for getting the full benefit out of this pose. From this place of grounding, move slowly and mindfully into the backbend, being extra careful not to overdo it.

    Remember, a dedicated yoga practice that’s informed by Ayurveda is only part of what we need to do to find balance. Incorporate these poses into your daily practice and be sure to try the recipes and self-care routines recommended by Sahara Rose. This is what will truly help you find optimum health and bring balance to your overall life.

    By Alex Wilson

    Alex Wilson is a writer, yoga teacher, Ayurveda Yoga Specialist, and the content manager here at OMstars.com

    Alex Wilson, Anxious yogi

    Join The Challenge Today

  • Zucchini Roll Up, Over a Bed of Arugula

    What’s for lunch? Chef Adam Kenworthy’s Zucchini Roll Up Over a Bed of Wild Arugula! These zucchini roll ups are stuffed with roasted garlic and sweet potato, served over a bed of wild arugula, topped with a Tahini vinaigrette, some chopped basil and toasted sunflower seeds. Explore the full recipe, then give it a try and let us know what you think!

    Ingredients

    1-2 Zucchini

    1 large sweet potato

    3 cloves of garlic

    1 Tbs Olive Oil

    Salt to taste

    Arugula

    Tahini Dressing

    Sunflower seeds

    Chopped Basil

    Directions

    1. Mandolin zucchini into thin lengthwise cross sections using the flesh on the outside and avoiding the center seeded area.
    2. Peel sweet potato and cut into small squares
    3. Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a heated pan.
    4. When oil is hot, add sweet potato and 3 cloves of minced garlic.
    5. Once Sweet Potato starts to brown reduce heat, add salt to taste, stir well and keep cooking for another 5 minutes, then set aside
    6. Take approximately five zucchini slices and line them so they are overlapping. Put 2-3 tablespoons of sweet potato filling inside and roll up tightly and evenly.
    7. Put the zucchini roll ups onto a baking sheet and into the oven for 8-10 minutes at 300F.
    8. Remove from the oven, then place over a bed of arugula, top with Tahini dressing and sprinkle with sunflower seeds

    Tahini dressing
    Tahini
    Olive oil
    Apple cider vinegar
    Lemon juice
    Salt
    Cracked pepper
    Water (to thin)
    Sweetener (of your choice, optional —> to soften up the bitterness of the tahini.

    By Adam Kenworth

    Get More Vegan Recipes On OMstars

     

  • Mocha + Banana Smoothie Bowl

    Valentines Day was a little over a week ago, but we’re still craving sweets over here at OMstars.com, so for today, we’d love to share a super simple smoothie bowl that you’ll be able to whip up and serve in minutes! We got this super tasty Mocha Banana Smoothie Bowl recipe from Lee Holmes, founder of Superchargedfood.com. Check it out, then give it a try and let us know what you think!

    Ingredients:

    • 30 ml (1 fl oz) shot of espresso coffee or dandelion tea
    • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
    • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
    • 1 tablespoon Love Your Gut Powder (optional)
    • 1 frozen banana, sliced
    • 40 g (11F2 oz/1F4 cup) hazelnuts (or any nuts of your choice), soaked and roasted
    • 125 ml (4 fl oz/1F2 cup) Coconut Milk
    • 125 ml (4 fl oz/1F2 cup) Almond Milk, or other non-dairy milk of your choice
    • toppings of your choice, to serve

    Method;

    Pour the coffee or dandelion tea into a small bowl, add the chia seeds and let them sit for a few minutes. Transfer to a high-speed blender.

    Add the cacao powder, diatomaceous earth (if using), banana and hazelnuts.

    Pour in the coconut milk and almond milk and whiz until there are no lumps; the mixture can be quite thick. If your blender is struggling, add extra almond milk or water in small amounts to help it along.

    Pour the smoothie into a bowl or serving vessel; we’ve used half a coconut shell. Garnish with your choice of toppings — fresh banana slices, a sprinkling of mixed nuts and seeds, shaved fresh coconut, micro herbs — and dig in!

    By Lee Holmes

    See More Recipes By Lee Holmes

    Explore More Plant-Based Recipes on OMstars

  • Roasted Delicata Squash Soup

    OmStars – The Yoga Network presents:  Roasted Delicata Squash Soup by Naomi Seifter. If there is one soup recipe you make this winter, let this be it. The coconut milk makes for a creamy and dairy-free base, while the spice mixture creates a unique, yet subtle, flavor profile; the ideal balance of sweet and spicy. Choose a veggie broth to make the soup vegan, gather up your ingedients, and lets get cooking!

    Ingredients

    Produce
    • 3 delicata squash
    • 3 apples
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 1 yellow onion
    • Olive Oil
    • Himalayan Sea Salt
    Liquid
    • 1/2 cup coconut milk
    • 1 cup apple cider
    • 3 tbsp maple syrup
    • 6 cups vegetable stock (See below for optional shiitake mushroom broth* recipe)
    Spices
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric
    • 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1/2 tsp cayenne
    • 1/2 tsp ginger
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • 4 tsp himalayan sea salt
    • 2 tsp black pepper
    Directions
    1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Cut squash in half and remove the seeds.  Thick slice the delicata squash and large/rough chop apple and onion.  Peel garlic, and lay squash, apple, onion and garlic in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Liberally apply olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Place in oven to roast for 1 hour at 400 degrees.
    3. When roasting is complete, add produce from your 1st baking sheet to your high-powered blender (Vitamix/Blendtec) with 1/2 of the liquid and 1/2 of the spices (everything except salt and pepper – this will be added at the end). Blend and transfer to a large stock pot.  Repeat the blend process for the second batch of produce, liquid and spices.  Transfer to the same pot.
    4. At this point, soup can either be placed in fridge for later or it can be transferred to the stovetop and heated immediately.  I like to season this soup to taste with salt and pepper when I’m ready to serve it.  As the soup is thick, it can “pop” and make a mess as your heat it up, so it is recommended you use a lid.  An additional note:  If soup is too thick for your liking, feel free to add additional stock.
    5. Enjoy!
    Stock Recipe
    1. To make your own shiitake mushroom broth, add 1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms to 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, turn down heat and let simmer for 45-60 minutes.  Final yield is about 6 cups of stock.

    By Naomi Seifter

  • Baked Apples with Vanilla Ice Cream and Almond Butter Caramel

    Is it just us, or does Winter always seem like the longest of the 4 seasons? Even here in Florida where it feels like Summer most of the time! Luckily, we’ve got more hearty and warming fall/winter recipes to share with you! Today we are sharing a decadent vegan dessert from Devyn Howard – Baked Apples with Vanilla Ice Cream and Almond Butter Caramel! These apples make a perfect winter-time dessert, and as Devyn might say, cruelty-free dessert tastes extra sweet!

    Ingredients

    For the apples:

    -2 apples (I used honey crisps)

    -2 tbs vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)

    -.5 tbs cinnamon

    -.5 tbs sugar

    -two scoops vegan vanilla ice cream (I like Vegallia brand!)

     

    For the caramel:

    -1/4 cup coconut oil

    -1/4 real maple syrup

    -2 tbs almond butter

    -salt to taste

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place your apples on a cutting board and slice off the top of each apple. De-core the apple without penetrating all the way to the bottom. Carve out the apple so it’ll work like a bowl. Place on a sheet of baking paper on a baking sheet. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the vegan butter, then mix it with the cinnamon and sugar. Drizzle the butter mixture over the apples. Place the apples in the oven for about twenty minutes, or until slightly browned and tender.

    While the apples are baking, combine the caramel ingredients in a bowl. Mix well & set aside. Remove the apples from the oven, and place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in each apple “bowl”. Drizzle with the caramel and enjoy!

    By Devyn Howard

    Devyn Howard, Vegan Food Blogger

     

    Find More Recipes From Devyn On OmStars

  • Gut-Friendly Marrakesh Casserole

    As a practice, yoga asks us to explore the deepest regions, capabilities, and limitations of our bodies, minds, and spirits (among other things). As such, the practice of yoga asks us to take good care of our bodies and stay in optimum health, so that we can move through practice with more ease, and sit comfortably in meditation for longer periods of time. That means only feeding our bodies with the most nourishing foods available. Today’s recipe, by Lee Holmes, is a probiotic-rich Marrakesh Casserole that when eaten slowly and mindfully, will help nourish you from the inside out so that you can engage in a stronger, more comfortable, and all around better practice.

    Ingredients:

    • 60 ml (2 fl oz or ¼ cup) cold-presses extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 large onion roughly chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves minced
    • 2 cm (¾ inch) piece of ginger, minced
    • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 tablespoon turmeric
    • ¼ teaspoon Celtic sea salt
    • 2-3 teaspoons dried harissa
    • 400 g (14 oz) tin diced tomatoes
    • 1 tablespoon rice malt syrup
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • ¼ cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
    • ¼ cup chopped mint leaves
    • 1 small pumpkin (winter squash), peeled and cut into 5 cm (2-inch) pieces
    • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 5 cm (2-inch) pieces
    • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 5 cm (2-inch) pieces
    • 1 zucchini (courgetti), cut into 5 cm (2-inch) pieces
    • 400 g (14 oz) tin chickpeas
    • Cooked quinoa to serve
    • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, to serve
    • Mint leaves to serve
    • 80 g (½ cup) almonds to serve

    Directions

    • Heat the olive oil in a flame-proof tagine pot or casserole dish over medium heat, and sauté the onion for 5 minutes (until translucent).
    • Add the garlic, ginger and spices. Stir well to combine.
    • Add the harissa, tomatoes, rice malt syrup, lemon juice, coriander and mint. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat.
    • Add the pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot and zucchini. Stir well so they are all covered in the sauce, and simmer with a lid, for 1-hour
    • Add the chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes more.
    • Serve on a bed of quinoa, topped with coriander, lemon zest, and roasted almonds.

    Recipe by Lee Holmes

    Check Out Lee’s Gut-Healing Post That Goes With This Recipe

    Follow her on instagram for more inspiration

     

  • So Many Tips for Dealing with Body Image Angst Over the Holidays!

    The holiday’s may be over, but that doesn’t mean we get to stop talking about them. Anyone else out there struggle with anxiety over body image over this holiday season? If you did, check out what Erica Mather has to say about our feelings towards our own body image, especially related to the holiday season, and what you can do to avoid that icky body image angst in the future.

    There are a few times of the year when our body image anxieties reach a high pitch, and the holidays is one of them.

    Why? A few weighty reasons.

    1. You’re gonna see people you haven’t seen in a while, and they are gonna see you. People may have changed! (Gasp!) How will everyone react?!
    2. Food, food, so much food. And, booze. And dessert. So much: TOO MUCH!
    3. People talking about how other people look, behind their backs, usually not in a very nice way.

    Let’s take a look at each of these in succession.

    How we look. It’s beyond natural to want to really make a good impression on friends and family that you’ve not seen in a long time. Perhaps you’ve gained some weight (not that I personally think that it a problem, but other people seem to still think it is). Perhaps you’ve been sick, and it shows (again–cause for compassion, not for judgement). You know you’re not at your physical best. And you worry, because, not only does that dent your self esteem when you’re already feeling down, but now on top of that, you’ve forced into a situation where you’re worried about what other people will think, and what they will say–to your face–and what they will say behind your back. It sucks.

    Here are some suggestions.

    IN PREPARATION:

    • Dress your best. Take the time to find something to wear that you feel really good about, shopping, borrowing. Make it fun. In-character. Fashionable. Get a sympathetic friend to help you out, if you HATE figuring out what to wear alone. Be relentless in your determination to make the holidays feel good to you, so you emerge victorious, at least knowing that you took the best care of yourself.
    • Wear a smile. You ALWAYS are well-dressed when you do.
    • Rehearse gracious, de-escalating responses to incendiary remarks, like the following:
      • “It looks like you’ve gained weight!”Haha! Maybe!–My body does what it does. By the way: You look wonderful! I love you so much, and I’m so happy to see you. What is something really terrific that has happened to you recently? 
      • “You look so great! Have you lost weight?” I’m not sure! I don’t weigh myself. I really try to not get caught up in that: it makes me crazy and ends up taking up so much of my mental space, space that I want to spend thinking about truly important things. Speaking of really important things, how is your (fill in the blank, choose something you know is really important to that person in their life) going? 

    AT THE EVENT:

    • Take deep breaths, and feel free to spend some time alone in the bathroom to regroup.
    • Bring your compassion for yourself along. If someone says something less than kind, breathe, smile, say something that shows your own self-compassion, and encourages that in them, even complimenting them as a retort. Use your rehearsed responses. Trust yourself to be your own advocate, and to do so in a way that is gracious, and instructive, even if the people you are talking to don’t or can’t understand.

    How other people look. Basic rule: it is none of your business. If you don’t have something kind or gracious to say, then you best not say it! There is no real reason to comment on another’s appearance. You can focus on their person. After all, the body is just an aspect of the person. Say something honest, about them. Say: I love you, and I’m so happy to see you! Or if that isn’t honest: It’s been so long! We have so much to catch up on. Tell me, what has been the highlight of the last year for you? 

    FOOD, FOOD, FOOD. SO MUCH FOOD! 

    If part of your body image anxieties revolve around food (how could they not??!) make an honest assessment of where you are with this issue, and then make a plan.

    THE PLAN. Here’s my general plan. It might not work for you, we are different people with different histories and growth trajectories, but I offer mine as a sort of guidepost. Eat “normally.” Meaning: don’t NOT eat because there’s going to me SO MUCH FOOD at dinner. No, no. That suggests a restrict/binge cycle. Have breakfast. Have lunch. Then: eat “normal” portions at dinner. Not bird portions. Not THREE helpings. Like, one plate. There will be leftovers. Plan on enjoying those in the days ahead. Or not. There will be another scrumptious meal in your near future.

    THE ENERGETICS. Here’s something interesting I learned from my yoga teacher, Ana Forrest. Our energetic anatomy and our physical anatomy overlap. So, if the part of you that is busy taking in conversation, or energy from another person, the corresponding physical apparatus will be partially or fully offline. At these parties, there are often many people, and the energetic input is like a flood. Because of that, it makes it even harder for us to connect to the feelings of our actual stomach. When I can’t detect my stomach, I make the decision not to eat too much, because I can’t feel what’s happening. This is the ONLY reason I will personally accept for not eating much at such events. Often people bombard their stomachs with too much food, in order to ground, or in order to get pulled back into the reality of the situation, or to try to feel something. Pay close attention. Take a break, in the bathroom to regroup, if you loose the capability to pay attention.

    THE SOCIAL ANXIETY. Recently, I’ve noticed that I eat too fast when I’m experiencing an energetic situation that I feel uncomfortable with. It’s like, somewhere deep inside I’m thinking “when the meal is over, I can leave!” because that’s the way it worked as a kid. When the plate was clean, then I might be excused from the table. I don’t like the conversation: I eat fast. I’m tired: I eat fast. I JUST WANT TO GET AWAY! GAH! Oh, my. This is very disconnected patterning.

    This past Thanksgiving I commented on the “speed eating” phenomenon to my cousin, and she laughed saying at a friend’s dinner, they clocked it at fifteen minutes. FIFTEEN MINUTES! Ya spent all day cooking, and sit down to eat for FIFTEEN MINUTES?! Did anyone even CHEW?!

    Tips to slow down:

    • Take one bite.
    • Put down your cutlery.
    • Chew.
    • Taste.
    • Swallow.
    • Taste
    • Breath.
    • Taste your food.
    • Consider how fast you want to take the next bite. Or if you even want to. Sometimes the food is not as tasty as you anticipated. You don’t have to finish it if you’re not actually enjoying it! But, if you’re not paying attention, you won’t actually KNOW if you’re enjoying it or not…
    • How much of your attention is on enjoying your food? How much of it is one the conversation? Can you pay attention to both? I have a hard time with that, actually…

    Recognizing your anxieties and handling them head-on is an advanced, ADULT skill. Mostly we’ve been taught to ignore/deflect/numb, and at the holidays, we are confronted uncomfortably with so many of our boogeymen. Uncomfortable, fraught relationships with people who are unkind or judgmental. Our own unkind thoughts about other people. People’s assessments of us, and ours of them. Good grief. Of course I just want to eat fast and go home! It’s fucking exhausting! Adulting is hard. But, we can do it!

    Before I got better at really noticing that large groups of people–not even necessarily family, just PEOPLE!–make me uncomfortable, I would just position myself by the cheese plate, and eat the whole thing. The only people I ended up talking to were other people who loved cheese. So, they were already pre-approved. Haha.

    Before I got good at noticing that I was eating away my loneliness and my desire for other, safe, human contact, I would eat entire cheesecakes in solitude, by myself. So huge was my appetite and its need to be filled. The problem seemed so intractable, it was easier just to solve with food. At least cheesecake is reliable. And safe.

    The trouble with holidays, is the seem to be referendums on our entire life for the past year. And, often, when we’re not working on ourselves, they catch us by surprise. Even if we ARE working on ourselves, and somehow feel like we’ve fallen short of our goals (always a setup for disappointment…try “setting intents” instead), they will catch us by surprise as we administer a hearty dose of flagellation.

    The holidays don’t have to be a referendum. It’s just a yearly blip on the calendar. We can choose to cruise through them as such.

    Or–and I’m not necessarily advocating this approach–you can use them as a yearly check-in on how you’re growing, changing, becoming more resilient. I started to know that I was getting better at it all when I could sit quietly with a glass of water and talk to people and “sort of” enjoy myself. No more cheese plate stakeouts. Huzzah!

    But that progress relied on a steady, year-in-year-out self-study and examination using the tools of yoga and therapy. If you don’t have some tools, or support in place, the holidays will surely be as painful as they were last year. I think that’s a shame, and wouldn’t want that for you!

    Which is why I put together a worksheet for you, to help you get started making a better relationship with your body. I call it The 5 Adoring Core Competencies. CLICK HERE to get your free copy! 

    NEXT POINT.

    The Gossip. UGH. We’ve all experienced it. You go into the kitchen, innocently looking for a glass of water, and there are your (fill in the blank relatives) talking about another relative. WHAT A DRAG.

    “Did you see what she was wearing…?”

    “Did you see how much she ate…?”

    Sometimes, sometimes, people are talking about another out of true concern. But–does the talk really help them? Probably not.

    When I hear these sorts of conversations, or am involved personally in these conversations, what I’m feeling for is the place of HELP for the person. If it isn’t there, then I start to wonder what purpose this conversation is actually serving. Is it making the participants feel better about themselves by comparison? Is it creating a point of bonding for the people in the conversation, like they have something to concern themselves about together? Both of these are not good reasons to gossip, but they also show a deficit in social skills, specifically how to connect without doing it on the back of, or at the expense of others. This moment can be a teaching opportunity. A chance to elevate the awareness and basic decency in the world.

    If the people try to drag me into the conversation, the only way I will get involved is if they can answer these questions: Is our conversation actually helping the situation? Does the person in question desire help in this regard? If the answer is NO to both, then the conversation is a waste of time, and I would say as much. 

    Gossip does nothing but harm. 

    HERE ARE SOME BASIC TIPS:

    • Pull your energy back into the present moment, with the people present
    • Insist on talking about only the people present in the room: their lives, their concerns 
    • If you are talking about another person, make sure it is used to help you have insights into your own life and experiences
    • Make it part of your ethics to only speak well of people when they are not around, particularly if they have done nothing to harm you personally
    • Combat gossip by countering with kind, generous, compassionate statements. Insist that you do not know they entire story as to why a person speaks or behaves the way they do. Never rob another person of their autonomy. Make space for them to speak for themselves.

    Ok. Good luck, soldiers of love! Go forth, and spread good cheer! And, remember, it’s O.K. to make holidays that YOU love, and feel good about. You don’t have to spend them with people who make you uncomfortable about yourself. In fact, that might be the healthiest thing you could choose for yourself, and your sweet, tender body.

    By Erica Mather

    This article was originally posted on stuffilearnedatyoga.com. Check out Erica’s free class as part of our 30 Day Yoga Living challenge. Plus, stay tuned for more from Erica, coming soon to OmStars!

     

  • Vegan Creamy Mushroom & Leek Sauce with Caramelized Onions

    How is it already January 2018? If you’re anything like most of us over here at OmStars, the new year completely snuck up on you and now you’re probably scrambling to get on top of well-intended, New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier, exercise regularly, and practice more yoga! Luckily, the internet is teeming with healthy recipes from vegan food-lovers that are delicious and easy to make. Today, we’re excited to share an amazing recipe by Natalie Prigoone, author of The Great Uncooking: Real Food, Raw Food. It’s a Vegan Creamy Mushroom and Leek Sauce with Caramelized Onions, served over Cauliflower rice.

    For this recipe, you will need:

    • 4 Mushrooms
    • 4 Inches of Leek
    • 1 Large Brown Onion
    • 2 Cups of Hot Water
    • 1/3 Cup of Cashews
    • 1 Tbsp of Nutritional Yeast
    • 2 Cloves of Garlic
    • 1 Tsp Massels Vegan Stock Powder
    • 1/2 a Lemon
    • 1/4 of a Cauliflower.

    Directions:

    • First, wash and chop all your vegetables. Then heat a drizzle of olive oil on low heat in a large pan, and set a small pot of water to boil.
    • Using the pan with the olive oil, sauté your onions, mushrooms and leaks for approximately 10 minutes, taking extra care not to burn the onion. Natalie suggests adding a little salt during the cooking process to help the onions release some water.
    • Meanwhile, pour your freshly boiled hot water into a blender with your cashews, yeast flakes, garlic and stock powder and blend until smooth. (Tip: You’ll want to make sure that you allow some steam and pressure to escape through the opening at the top of your blender by leaving the small, plastic cap on only loosely).
    • Use a food processor to make your Cauliflower rice. Cut the cauliflower into small chunks, and process until it resembles rice.
    • Pour your Cashew cream mixture into the pan with your sautéed veggies, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens. Then serve the completed mixture over your Cauliflower rice, and garnish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. According to Natalie, this is important for balancing the palate.

    This recipe serves 2, and it’s is a delicious and healthy way to stay on track with your new years resolutions. Give it a try and let us know what you think! Plus, check out some of the other amazing recipes that Natalie Prigoone offers on her course, The Great Uncooking, available with your membership to OmStars.com.

    Recipe by Natalie Prigoone

    Learn more recipes with Natalie on Omstars

  • Plant-based New Years Eve Appetizers

    We can’t believe 2017 is almost over! What will you be doing when the clock strikes 12? Maybe you’re having a relaxing night in by the warm fire, or perhaps you’re heading out for a night on the town, whatever your plans may be you’ll need to figure out what your going to be eating on the last night of the year! How about your spice up your night with delicious plant-based recipes by Naomi Seifter owner of Picnik Austin! She has pulled together two absolutely amazing dishes just for you and your nearest and dearest to enjoy- Butternut Squash Soup and a Holiday Platter full of incredible flavours with each bite!

    Holiday Platter

    We played around with using yummy ingredients as the ‘bread.’  We used steamed butternut squash, steamed sweet potato, apple, red bell pepper, jicama and cucumber slices.  We also went the traditional route, using bread rounds for the crust.  We wanted to give loose instructions so that you to make this at home with your favorite fillings.  Take ours as a guide, but have fun and make it your own!

    ‘Crust’ Ingredients:

    • 1 large sweet potato

    • 1 butternut squash

    • 1 jicama

    • 1 red bell cucumber

    • 1 cucumber

    • 1 apple

    • Optional: gluten-free bread

    Directions:

    Step 1: Prepare “crust”

    Crust options are: cucumber rounds, gluten-free bread, steamed sweet potato rounds, apple rounds, jicama rounds, and red bell pepper. Mix and match to your heart’s desire! (see image below)

    1. Using a mandolin (or very sharp knife) cut the sweet potato and butternut squash into 1/8 inch thick slices length-wise (see below for reference).

    2.  Steam sweet potato for 5-7 minutes (dependent on how many you put in the steamer at once). You want the potato to be soft but not mushy. You want it to still hold it’s shape.

    3. Steam butternut squash for 5-10 minutes (dependent on how many you put in the steamer at once). You want the squash to be soft but not mushy. You want it to still hold it’s shape.

    4. Place both squash and sweet potato in fridge to cool.

    5. Using a 2 inch round cutter, make your “crust” rounds.

    *Repeat using 2 inch round cutter with other crust materials but do not steam apple, jicama, red bell pepper, or cucumber. These are best served raw! The bread can be toasted to make it crunchy.

    Step 2: Make Fillings

    Curried Chickpea “Chicken” Salad

    Ingredients:

    • 1 15 oz. canned organic chickpeas

    • 1 shallot bulb, minced

    • 1 celery stalk, small dice

    • 2/3 cup apple juice sweetened cranberries, rough chop

    • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard

    • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)

    • 1 tsp. Himalayan sea salt

    • 1.5 cups avocado oil

    • 2 tsp. curry powder

    • 2 tbsp. pecans, finely chopped

    • 1 pinch cayenne

    • 2 pinches paprika

    • himalayan sea salt and pepper to taste

    Directions:

    1. Strain can of chickpeas. Place brine in Vitamix and chickpeas in a large mixing bowl.

    2. To the bowl, add minced shallot, chopped celery, cranberries

    3. To the blender, add mustard, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt. Turn Vitamix on low and slowly drizzle in avocado oil to create your homemade vegan mayonnaise (you can skip this blending step entirely by using the pre-made mayo of your choice).

    4. Add ¾ cup of blended mayo to the bowl.

    5. Using a wood spoon, fork, or potato masher, mash the chickpeas for several minutes until the chickpeas break apart and are well incorporated with the other ingredients. *If you prefer, you can use a food processor to speed the process up, although we did not demo this method.

    6. Add curry powder, cayenne, paprika, optional honey, and pecans.

    7. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    8. Place in fridge until ready to plate sandwiches.

    Other filling examples:

    Hummus

    Mix a 8 oz. container of hummus with ¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper and ¼ cup finely chopped cucumber (reference photo) or other vegetables you prefer. Place on crust rounds of your choice.

    Nut Butter & Jelly 

    Combine equal parts almond butter (or peanut butter) with jelly. Mix together in a bowl. Try with apple or sweet potato crusts.

    Step 3: Arrange Tea Sandwiches

    Arrange tea sandwiches on a plate of your choice and top with any of the following:

    • Black sesame seeds

    • Hemp Seeds

    • Paprika

    • Flavored Salt

    • Garnish of choice

    Add fruit, herbs or decor to plate for extra color and sparkle!

     

    Butternut Squash Soup

    Before Naomi had a team to support her, she did all of the cooking out of her and Kevin’s house. This was a crucial time in our history because not only was Naomi creating the dishes, but she would then be at the trailer all day receiving feedback directly from our customers. That time laid a solid foundation of our food philosophy and helped us to discover exactly what kinds of food our regulars loved. This soup, was created during that precious time.  

    The coconut milk makes for a creamy and dairy-free base, while the spice mixture creates a unique, yet subtle, flavor profile; the ideal balance of sweet and spicy. Choose a veggie broth to make the soup vegan or a chicken broth if that is more your style. We hope you and your loved ones enjoy it as much as we do! Let’s get started…

    Ingredients

    Produce

    • 3 delicata squash

    • 3 apples

    • 3 cloves of garlic

    • 1 yellow onion

    • Olive Oil

    • Himalayan Sea Salt

    Liquid

    • 1/2 cup coconut milk

    • 1 cup apple cider

    • 3 tbsp maple syrup

    • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (we made a shiitake mushroom broth*, recipe below)

    Spices

    • 1/2 tsp turmeric

    • 1/2 tsp paprika

    • 1/2 tsp cayenne

    • 1/2 tsp ginger

    • 2 tsp cinnamon

    • 4 tsp himalayan sea salt

    • 2 tsp black pepper

    Directions

    1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

    2. Cut squash in half and remove the seeds.  Thick slice the delicata squash and large/rough chop apple and onion.  Peel garlic, and lay squash, apple, onion and garlic in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Liberally apply olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Place in oven to roast for 1 hour at 400 degrees.

    3. When roasting is complete, add produce from your 1st baking sheet to your high-powered blender (Vitamix/Blendtec) with 1/2 of the liquid and 1/2 of the spices (everything except salt and pepper – this will be added at the end). Blend and transfer to a large stock pot.  Repeat the blend process for the second batch of produce, liquid and spices.  Transfer to the same pot.  

    4. At this point, soup can either be placed in fridge for later or it can be transferred to the stovetop and heated immediately.  I like to season this soup to taste with salt and pepper when I’m ready to serve it.  As the soup is thick, it can “pop” and make a mess as your heat it up, so it is recommended you use a lid.  An additional note:  If soup is too thick for your liking, feel free to add additional stock.

    5. Enjoy!

    Stock Recipe

    1. To make your own shiitake mushroom broth, add 1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms to 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, turn down heat and let simmer for 45-60 minutes.  Final yield is about 6 cups of stock.

    By Naomi Seifter

    Follow Naomi on instagram at @picnikaustin 

    Discover more scrumptious plant based recipes on Omstars

  • Who needs Yoga?

    The imagery of modern yoga has an ethereal edge.  Wherever we look, we see lissome bodies bending into improbable forms, and balancing elegantly on the precipice of medical disaster.  This imagery can lend the impression that yoga is for people who live an ethereal existence, people who may be missing bones, who drift through the atmosphere, and rarely touch ground with their feet.  But these images are incidental.  They do not reflect the profile of the ordinary yoga practitioner.  On the contrary, they do something more interesting.  They reflect our fascination with the contortive potential of the human body, and in doing so, they symbolize, however imperfectly, our inherent admiration for resilience.

    Yogic imagery is remarkably old.  It provides the earliest evidence we have for yoga in the ancient world.  One of the earliest pieces is the Pashupati seal from the Mohenjo-Daro excavation site in present day Pakistan.  It features a humanlike figure with long horns seated in what appears to be Mulabandhasana.  The seal predates the current era by more than two millennia, and represents a civilization about which we understand very little.  The meaning of the seal is veiled in obscurity, and this is usual for artifacts that pertain to the ancient origins of yoga.  Sometimes we can decode their symbology enough to tell a coherent story about what they might mean, but we can only imagine the consciousness in which they were composed.

    Throughout its long and complicated history, yoga has formed countless alliances with  diverse alchemical and soteriological traditions.  In light of the diversity, many scholars now argue that there is no single thing called “yoga” whose tradition we can trace.  And so that may be.  But if we look at examples of yogic imagery throughout the ages—from the ancient seals of the Indus River Valley, to the medieval temple carvings of Tamil Nadu, to the Kalighat paintings of colonial Bengal, and to the crystalline images that stream through our social media channels today—there is always that ethereal edge.  There is always that evident longing to elevate consciousness above our limitations, and so to enrich and expand the human experience.

    This ethereal edge is the common thread to what we recognize as yogic imagery.  And if we can follow that thread through the ages, weaving through countless social and ritual contexts, this is arguably because of the way that what we recognize as yoga practice answers an archetypal human need—the need to be resilient, to be malleable, and to meet the persistent pressures to adapt to the ever changing circumstance of life.  That need has been understood in diverse and often opposing ways, as demonstrated by the Vedic, Tantric, and Advaitic approaches to the problem.  Arguably no single one of these is definitive, but neither can any one of them be discounted.  What is pertinent is the way that each of them answers our felt need to break up our inveterate patterns of conditioning, open our minds and evolve.

    Modern yoga does not cohere around any particular philosophy.  It exists more simply as an open set of practices and techniques for helping us overcome our psychological limitations.  Whatever the promises of yoga practice might be, the most pertinent and most compelling is that yoga allows us to relate more openly to otherness.  The practice teaches us to hold an open space of compassionate awareness for our own thoughts, emotions and memories to unfold, no matter how excessive or threatening they might seem.  Through this practice, we give ourselves space, and we allow our minds to breath, so that otherness can appear within our consciousness, and we can relate to it more openly, without being impeded by our fears and anxieties.  That is, we can receive otherness, and be impacted by otherness, adapting to its reality without having to reinforce any particular idea or image of ourselves in the process.

    The reception of otherness within ourselves helps break up our self images.  And in this sense, the practices of yoga are vehicles for psychical release.  They help us release ourselves from the tangles of thought, emotion and memory to which we so ardently cling.  They help us to let go of things, so that we do not congeal into the imprint of our experiences, but we can continue to change and adapt to our circumstances.  To put it simply, the techniques of yoga help us break ourselves up.  They help us break up the congestion of our delusions and conceits, piercing the armor by which we conceal and protect ourselves from the otherness of the world.  And in doing so, they help us liberate ourselves from the stagnation of our conditioning, so we can open ourselves to new relationships, and new possibilities of experience.

    The orphanage of modern yoga practices from the historical traditions from which they descend is often regarded as corrosive to their potency, but arguably the reverse is true.  However rich and compelling those traditions might be, it remains essential that we translate our experiences with yoga into our own living language, into words that bring those experiences home to us, and engage us as we are.  The elision of antiquated concepts from the language of yoga is therefore an essential and not entirely regrettable aspect of its adaptation to modern life.  Without imposing upon ourselves the arcane limitations of historically distant ideas, we can have a more authentic experience of ourselves through the practice.  The removal of those ideas means that we can give ourselves more room to breathe, more room to settle into ourselves, and more room to follow the currents of awakening that are already flowing through us.

    This is part of the intelligence of modern yoga.  As a global phenomenon, yoga is not bound too tightly to any particular philosophy, nor to any particular conception of the relationship between the human and the divine.  And for just that, it can focus on what is more compelling, namely, the process of breaking up the self, and creating more space for the natural processes of creativity to unfold.  There are, of course, people today who would argue endlessly about the relative credentials of dualism, non-dualism, monism and the like, but the modern yoga movement is largely agnostic on these speculative questions, and understandably so.  In these late modern times, we have no need for the kind of thinking that hangs so breathlessly on these delicate distinctions, and evidence abounds of the problems that arise when we allow that kind of thinking to congeal into certainty.  Moreover, the speculative questions that underlie these distinctions tend to lose their force under the softening influence of the yogic experience, and that experience is really the center of the attraction.

    What holds the attention of most modern yoga practitioners is not any particular view of reality that may or not be encouraged by the practice, but the immediate experience of psychical release that is so warmly invited by each and every breath.  The most intriguing thing about yoga practice is that it works—when we undertake the practice assiduously, without pause, for a reasonable amount of time, we find that we can break into ourselves, creating space within our minds to relate to otherness in a more open and authentic way.  And here is the point—it is only by relating openly and authentically to otherness that we can evolve, for it is precisely in relation to otherness that we express creativity, awareness, compassion, and resilience.

    So the process of breaking into ourselves, and creating space for otherness, is crucial for our psychological development.  And we all could use some kind of internal practice to help make that process unfold, for we all tend to stagnate into our own psychological patterns.  This is perhaps the fundamental problem that yoga practice has always been called upon to solve, the problem of pulling us from the mire of our own conditioning.  This problem is arguably more pressing now then ever.  Modern life, after all, draws us into extremes of isolation, where we shun our collective problems with dangerous apathy.  It is perhaps no coincidence, then, that an unprecedented collective effort is the only chance that we have to reverse our destructive patterns today and resolve the colossal problems of our time.  At this pivotal moment in history, when we have nuclear weapons pointed all over the globe, and our patterns of extraction and consumption are quickly destroying the conditions of human life on our planet, our survival depends on our ability to break our conditioned patterns of thinking and acting, to come out of ourselves, to recognize the stark reality of our crises, and then to join together, with the rest of humanity, to take radical and immediate measures to cope intelligently with our nearly apocalyptic problems.

    Today, we can no longer afford to limit yoga to spiritual purposes.  Yoga is perhaps the most powerful instrument that we have for breaking out of ourselves and overcoming the paralyzing effects of our psychological conditioning.  On the same account, we can no long afford to restrict access to yoga, or create divisions within yoga that reinforce that archaic and destructive “us-versus-them” mentality.  What we think of as “real” yoga might not be for everyone (or anyone living now for that matter) but everyone today needs the kind of provocation to openness and change that even the more popular forms of yoga can inspire.  The real yoga is not the one that comes down to us through this or that authority, but the one that rattles us out of our delusions, draws us out ourselves, and exposes us to the fact that we are not isolated from one another, but bound together inextricably, and tasked to find ways of living together that express our basic resilience, kindness and generosity.

    The popularization of yoga, whatever its drawbacks might be, can help to inspire this kind of realization, by giving us simple and compelling methods for breaking up our mental congestions and our practical stagnations, and dissolving the individual and collective delusions that obscure our deeper and more loving nature.  This is something that we can all support without reservation, if we can only set ourselves aside, and look at the bigger picture.  Instead of creating more divisive hierarchies, more elitist obscurations, or more structures of restricted access and protected privilege, we should work together to churn the collective mind, uncover the potent essence of yoga, and then allow it to flow, so we can share it with absolutely everyone.

    By Ty Landrum

    Have you tried Ty’s Ashtanga course on Omstars? He explores techniques and tips for jumping through and jumping back, the energies of prana and apana in practice and also teaches a full primary series practice as well! Stay tuned for more articles and courses from Ty on omstars, but in the meantime you can read more of Ty’s brilliant articles on his website tylandrum.com!

    Practice Ashtanga with Ty Landrum today on Omstars