Look for Goodness

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“In everything, goodness is there, our goal is to find it. In every person, the best is there, our job is to recognize it.

In every situation, the positive is there, our opportunity is to see it. In every problem the solution is there, our responsibility is to provide it.

In every setback, the success is there, our adventure is to discover it.

In every crisis the reason is there, our challenge is to understand it.

By seeing the goodness, we’ll be very enthusiastic and our lives will be richer.”

– Brahma Kumaris

Taking control of your life at any age

“Mens sana in corpore sano”- Thales 

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Healthy mind in a healthy body, such a simple statement that has a very deep philosophical background.

Being healthy is something we normally aspire to, those of us who are blessed enough to have a “normal” health and don’t battle with any mayor diseases or body functions and even body parts…we still find the time to damage our bodies, slowly and passively through our habits.

It is really amazing how when you slow down for a bit and take the time to reflect upon it, you realize of the strong connection a healthy mind has with a healthy body.

In my opinion many of our toxic habits like sedentarism, poor dietary choices, stress, rage, over eating, not eating…etc, they all have to do with our inner state, with our mind and our soul.

We often wish for a healthier lifestyle, a healthier body…BUT here comes the unhealthy mind making up excuses and justifications for the lack of better habits. Some of the top excuses our mind can come up with, I don’t have time to cook, I have to eat outside and whatever comes in my way. I don’t have time to exercise, I can’t afford a gym or a trainer or a machine. I don’t like the taste of _______. I am happy with myself I accept how I am and the way I look. I am too old to start exercising.

What really happens is that we are so used to “domestication”- indoctrination in so many levels that we easily forget to realize our own potential. Everybody is capable of making a transition into whatever they want, at any stage of their lives, but the thing is that it’s not easy to break with old habits.

In example, a year ago my mother was diagnosed with pre-diabetes, her family has a history of diabetes so we are all prone to develop it.

Before she was diagnosed she lived a regular 59 year old woman’s life (work-go home-work) Her blood sugar levels were dangerously high although her household is not the kind of home where we worship junk food. I mean we ate vegetables, wasn’t that being healthy?

In order to prevent an irreversible disease like that, she had to go through some major changes in her lifestyle (not just her eating choices), she had to start exercising, something she had never done before, and she had to start eating several portioned meals a day (she used to procrastinate eating a lot, she would go for hours doing something, cleaning or working before having a bite for breakfast), she had to start measuring her temper, and following proper food choices for her condition (so long sugary fatty  frozen apple tarts), she also enrolled in a program to learn about what Diabetes really is, and the whole family has undergone a learning process about it.

By sheer will power, I am proud to say that every mont when my mother goes to her check up she has low sugar levels in her blood in a normal range, she has lost weight and she looks amazing!

Her workout: Every day she wakes up at normal human hours and she goes out for a bike ride approx, 1.5 km, then she gets to a park where she runs around the whole thing twice 1 km, after that she sits on a bench and does strength arm exercises no weights and streching. The she rides her bike back home 1.5 km and she does jumprope for 2 minutes.

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Way to go mom! From not exercising ever to beating all the neighbors on their bikes! yay!

If she has to go to work earlier she adapts her routine, she plugs in her iPod and dances away for 30 min non-stop.

After exercising some water and a nice fresh meal that includes all the food groups, that means protein, carbs, vegetables, fruit and fat.

For me my mother is an example of taking care of your health, and taking control of your life. Doing so has no age limit, no money restriction, no season or condition.

It all starts in the mind and the body follows, a healthy mind with healthier thoughts and emotions gives way to a body that will adapt to anything wether it’s a routine for fun or a formal sport.

It is a fun process too because our bodies already like being healthy and actually that is their natural tendency, it is us who choose to become ill. Listen to your body, even if you have no “diseases” 40 years from now,  it might be too late.

The tacos that made my mother crazy n.n

I feel so honored that such a great cook as my mother had gone absolutely mad with my vegan version of tacos…

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I love the blend of tastes you get from this recipe combining the 6 flavors in ayurveda but also I love that people don’t even have an idea that they are not eating meat in this tacos.

Ingredients:

3 medium size potatoes

1/4 onion

A handful of walnuts and a handful of almonds without peeling.

Fresh cilantro

Salt (to your liking)

1 cup of oatmeal (non sugar)

1/2 cup of wheat bran

1 clove of garlic

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Preparation:

Wash and peel the potatoes, cut them in pieces and boil them with the sliced garlic.

While they boil, slice the onion into cubes, the cilantro, the walnuts and the almonds and reserve.

When the potatoes are done, dispose of the water excess and mash them.

Then add a little salt along with the sliced onion, cilantro, walnuts and almonds, add the oatmeal and the wheat bran.

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Mix it all together. And finally add a little of condiment sauce (here in mexico it’s called maggi sauce) it’s a seasoning sauce made out of soy and it looks a lot like soy sauce, just saltier.

You can serve the preparation as “hamburger” or dumplings, you can give it shapes and cook it, fried in a pan.

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Or you can just have it raw. For the tacos I decided to serve it raw on a blue crispy heated tortilla and top it with alfalfa and broccoli sprouts and a slice of avocado.

To go with them, a green salsa with fresh cilantro, or xni-pec salsa.

DSC06275 copiaThey had such a positive effect on my family’s tummy that they have asked me to do them practically every day XD.

This vegan tacos are great for every dietary lifestyle and they are also good for every body type.

They are light, easy to digest and a very balanced meal since they incorporate all of the 6 tastes in ayurveda.

Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent Bitter and Astringent. Each of the tastes has a specific body function and since the recipe has them balanced, Vata-Pitta-Kapha mind-body constitutions can indulge freely.

 

 

Liver Detox Juice

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I found this recipe of a liver detoxification juice that was awesome because I had all the ingredients right at hand.

The blog is pretty awesome too, I really liked it.

Benefits of the juice: “This juice promotes the flow of bile and fat to and from the liver. The liver is the most important organ for metabolism and detoxification so if you are looking to lose weight and clean up your system, this juice is for you!” – Sonnet

Sonnet’s recipe:
Love Your Liver Juice
Makes one 8 – 12 oz juice

2 medium beets
1-inch piece fresh ginger
1 lemon, peeled
small handful cilantro
1 chard leaf
1/2 red apple (optional)

Photo: fortheloveoffoogblog.com

Serve others in everything you do

A statue of Shiva meditating on the Ganges River, rishikesh

There is a concept in hinduism called SEVA, and it means selfless service, to offer a service with a good intention at heart, just because you want to give.

Personally I have always felt the need and the desire to help others and to give, I have been involved in various activities that involve teaching, collecting money for causes, delivering food to communities in need, delivering groceries for relief after hurricanes, growing an interactive garden..etc.

Lately I’ve been wanting to get involved in more projects as a volunteer, there is always something going on that you can help with.

But more recently I have remembered that to serve others you don’t need to be “doing” something, you can serve others and give a positive feedback to their lives simply by listening, by smiling, by accepting, by practicing your patience and tolerance. Simply by offering the best of you to every being that you encounter in your daily activities.

That way you can always be offering a selfless service everywhere you go.

We should try it more.

X’nipec Salsa- Mayan Salsa Recipe

Living in the Yucatan Peninsula area of Mexico, we have the blessing and the opportunity to coexist with the surviving mayan culture.

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X’nipec (Shnee Pek) means “wet dog’s nose” in mayan and it receives it’s name after that moisty nose dogs have,  the effect the sauce has when you eat it causes  your nose to produce secretions (you feel the spicy effect.)

Anyone who has been to the Yucatan Peninsula and has eaten traditional food, might have seen it, it is a very typical dressing for modern Yucatan-Quintana Roo cuisine.

I decided to prepare my own version of X’nipec taking into account my particular approach on eating-food-cooking in general.

Sharing the recipe and hoping that people all over the world get to try this very simple yet powerful source of well-being.

Ingredients:

1/2 Purple Onion (typicall to the mayan mexican region) in case you can’t find it you can use white onion.

1 Habanero Pepper (typically grown in the Yucatan Peninsula) you might get it at the supermarket, since it’s an export from mexico. *There are different colors of habanero pepper, no matter which one you find, it has the same properties.

1 Spoon Fresh Coriander

1 Sour Orange

1 Pinch of Salt

1 Pinch of Oregano

1 Pinch of black pepper

2 Tbsp Vinegar

This recipe is for a small bowl and a mild spicy flavor, if you can handle it more spicy you can duplicate the habanero pepper portions.

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In this case, I used purple onion, a regular orange (not sour because I couldn’t find it) and I added oregano and black pepper to the recipe.

PREPARATION (5 minutes):

Rule number one of every preparation- wash your hands and work with clean utensils (as basic as it is, some people are not used to this rule).

Wash all of your ingredients, cut the orange in half, chop the onion in fine cubes, wash and clean the coriander and chop it, finally chop the habanero*.

*Habanero is a very spicy pepper, make sure you take proper measures to deal with it, use gloves if you need to, and make sure to wash your hands and utensils thoroughly after handling the pepper, never touch your eyes or face after handling the pepper.

For my body type, I don’t enhance strong spicy flavors, so I took away the seeds from the pepper and used only one pepper to make it mild.

After chopping your ingredients, incorporate them in a bowl.

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Add the salt (I used sea salt), the vinegar, oregano and pepper (optional) and finally add the freshly squeezed orange juice.

At this point you’ll be able to smell the typical flavor and tone of x’nipec.

Let it marinate at room temperature at least for one hour before serving, I personally like to leave it overnight.

THE BENEFITS OF X’NIPEC

“Food is medicine and medicine is food” That is one of the principles of ayurveda and I believe it to be true. Feeding our body is much more than tasting something or satisfying the feeling of hunger.

X’nipec is an amazing medicine because it stimulates our digestion, circulation and benefits many of our organs with its ingredients.

Onion: It’s the main element of our recipe and it’s almost raw, onion stimulates our papillae, it helps us to fortify our muscles (in the metabolic-celular level) and it cleans our reproductive system.

Coriander: Diuretic and cleansing, it helps us balance all of our body elements (earth, wind, fire and water).

Pepper: The spicy flavor stimulates the tongue, it makes the eyes, nose and mouth produce secretions, accelerates digestion, gives way to appetite and attacks un-evacuated food residue in our intestines (toxic).

Salt: Activates salivation, helps digestion and body purification.

Orange: Sweet/Acid flavor, it helps build all of our tissue and body functions, the sweet flavor is associated with the sensation of joy. Acid flavor helps to hydrate the body and stimulates the cardiac function.

THE PRE-HISPANIC PERSPECTIVE:

Since it is a recipe of pre-hispanic tradition it also has a wisdom to it. Traditional pre-hispanic herbal medicine recognizes that peppers stimulate appetite, increase the production of urine and menstruation and they fortify the stomach. The intake of peppers should be moderate and balanced, because the excess of it causes intestinal and stomach damage.

TYPE OF NOURISHMENT

I also love this recipe because it’s natural and fits every diet choice. It is raw, vegan, traditional, mystic and healing.

Hope you enjoy it!

Quality Thinking

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“The quality of thought creates the quality of life”

-Brahma Kumaris Spiritual University

Photo: KristinaG.

Mayan Yoga

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Today was the first class I had of Mayan Yoga, it is an amazing practice! I was amazed by the intensity of the class in terms of energy. It is a synthesis of many elements from different practices associated and liked into one powerful practice.

All I can say is that after the class I had to go and get a drum!

It all started with breathing which then turned into chanting and into singing and into awakening the chakras with a very strong resonance, to give way to asanas and a final meditation. (And it was just a demonstration class, the real class is 2 hrs long).

Definitely will be researching a bit more about this.

 

 

Women’s Day

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Photo by: Pernille Baerendtsen

I simply want to dedicate my post on women’s day to the mother.

Motherhood is a fundamental role in any society, wether modern or traditional, rich or poor, mothers are the key element in building the values and the conscience of new generations.

Although a natural task, it has never been an easy one, being a mother is not only giving birth, feeding and making sure the child lives, being a mother is being a role model. Due to violence many mothers grow up to become resentful of their own lives, kids and family included.

Taking action against violence to women starts with adults (men and women) towards girls, men towards women and women towards women.

Being an agent of change starts at home, and starts with women, Mothers that love and encourage their children, that pay attention to them, that share their inner light with them. Mothers that teach them to be better, to listen, understand, love and serve others.

 

Becoming my best friend

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The mind is one of the most powerful tools for human beings.

It can help to build and create great things but it can also become one person’s worst enemy.

It’s such an interesting practice to observe how you own mind works, step outside the routine for a little and listen to what that inner voice tells you with everything you do…is it encouraging me? is it bringing me down?

Most of the time we treat others with respect and love but we don’t treat ourselves like that, our mind is extreme and not balanced, either it treats your self with a lack of love and trust producing negative thoughts such as “I can’t do this”, “I’m so dumb”, “I hate this”, “why me?”, and all sorts of cursing or it can go to the other extreme where in order to abstract from reality the mind produces thoughts like “I am never wrong”, “Everything I do is perfect”, “If people don’t agree with me that’s their problem, they’re wrong, I’m always right”.

Treating ourselves with love is more work than it appears to be, it starts with the recognition of our true being: We are just us, without any titles, degrees or bank accounts.

When we are in love we tend to give the person we love everything, we pay attention, we take them out, buy them gifts, ask how they are, how they feel, tell them we love them, but we don’t often do that with ourselves.

Whenever people get lonely (and it happens a lot) it’s not because other people don’t show love, appreciation or support, it’s because we need to become our best friend, we need to recognize the qualities and values in ourselves, love ourselves, be proud of ourselves without having to win anything, listen to ourselves, take care of ourselves.

How often do we find ourselves living a life we didn’t want? Like I wish I was healthier but I can’t, I try and I can’t. We need to support ourselves and be teach that voice in our head to love, respect, give and serve.