May 8, 2013
So, I’m sitting with a friend today while he is getting chemotherapy, and everyone “plugged in” starts dream-talking about eating ice cream, and talking about how after a round of chemo, eating cold foods makes your throat close-up so they are all bumming that they have to wait a week before they can eat some again. I’m doing all I can to not start lecturing about our diets play an important role in our overall health. The “Nutrition After Chemotherapy and Cancer” booklet that they give all patients is a disgrace, with no useful information about what kinds of foods actually feed cancer cells. In fact, it encourages eating sugar-filled foods, which are cancer-cells best friends. Ugh. Since I’ve become a cancer survivor myself, I’ve read a bunch about how to better care for this body that is on loan to me for this time, and here are some easy things anyone can do to prevent this deadly disease from taking over.
1.) Spend 15-20 minutes daily in the sun to create Vitamin D. Most cancer patients are Vitamin D deficient. This plays an important role on our immune system’s ability to work properly.
2.) Avoid sugar like it is a toxic drug. We all have cancer cells in our bodies, but not everyone will feed them to grow out of control. Sugar does this, and it is added in just about EVERYTHING you buy to consume, even loaves of bread. Read labels on all foods, and make smarter choices, once you learn what foods are “cleaner”, this is a simple thing to do.
3.) Reduce or eliminate animal protein from your diet. Animals (yes, even eggs, milk and cheese come from animals) are not treated well these days for consumption. We pump them full of antibiotics, hormones, feed them the wrong foods to plump up, and these chemicals are absorbed into our bodies as well. 90% of toxins in your body come from animal protein (meat, eggs and dairy). (Dr. David Servan-Schreiber – AntiCancer) We don’t need as much protein in our diets as we Americans consume. Great vegan sources of high-protein foods are: avocados, nuts, seeds, quinoa, most vegetables, many soy-protein meat substitutes. There are excellent vegan cookbooks out there now geared toward meat-eating habits. (Vegan Cooking for Carnivores is excellent)
4.) Change household cleaning supplies to cleaner products. We touch and breath in these toxic chemicals. Let’s choose not to. Vinegar, baking soda, borax are all excellent options. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic, and there are many brands of products now that are without toxicity (I like Seventh Generation brand for all dish and laundry soaps).
5.) Change body/beauty products to toxic-free. Again, your skin is your largest organ and it absorbs these chemicals. Stay clear from: Parabens, all Phthalates, SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulfate, Mercury, Lead, Antibacterials, 1, 4 Dioxane, Nano particles, Hydroquinone, Musks, and Formaldehyde. Deodorant with aluminum has been linked to breast cancer. Tom’s brand is clean, it may just take your body a couple of weeks to adjust so give it an honest try. Just switch brands, when you know better, you do better.
6.) Ditch your scratched non-stick cookware. At least 6 toxic chemicals are released into your food and into the air when heated. These have been linked to cancer.
7.) Ditch your microwave. Remember when we didn’t have this option? Use your stove or toaster oven to re-heat foods. Less toxic. Less disease.
8.) Eat ONLY organic produce, and lots of it. Our typical veggies and fruits from the supermarket are loaded with pesticides and chemicals to make it stay “fresher” longer. They cannot be washed out, they are absorbed into the food. Our bodies are flooded with these toxins! Food should spoil in a few days. That’s why we have refrigerators. Grow your own, buy from local organic farms, only purchase from the organic section in stores or see if there is a local organic produce delivery service in your area. If you don’t already buy organic because it is a little more expensive…try pricing out cancer. It’s well worth a few extra bucks for your life.
9.) Avoid canned foods. The lining of canned foods are now being made with plastic, which has harmful BPA, which has been linked to cancer, other endocrine disruptive diseases and fetal development issues. Also to avoid BPA, never heat food in plastic of any kind. Change to glass or ceramic food-storage containers.
10.) Exercise regularly. Cancer cells cannot survive in an environment with high levels of oxygen, and loves an environment filled with mental stress. Exercise helps to improve both of these, making cancer less comfy in your body. Try Yoga, try biking, make the gym a priority, make being healthy a priority. Your life is important to those who love you!
April 18, 2013
Conner’s Care Fundraiser
Let’s all help to make a difference in this angel’s life!
Conner was born July 5th, 2010 with a rare bone disorder called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, OI for short and more commonly referred to as Brittle Bone Disease.
Conner is one of five children for Kip and Denise, he is also a twin! Conner’s twin sister does not have OI, as this disease is a mutation in their family. They were told Conner had OI in utero, as his limbs were much shorter than they should be and he was showing fractures and bowing of his bones.
Conner has a severe type of OI which is type III, he has had over 60+ broken bones in his short 2 1/2 years of life. Conner’s bones were compared to paper when he was born adn they had to carry him around on a pillow because he was so fragile. Although there is NO cure for OI, Conner recieves infusions of pamidronate every 6 weeks over a two day period to help make his bones more dense and help with pain.
Conner has had bilateral femur and tibia rodding surgery along with both of his humerous to help with the bowing of the limbs and to be an internal splint. He has had multiple surgeries and will continue to do so throughout his lifetime. Conner also has brittle teeth, he has had several teeth that have chipped and he will need to have all his teeth capped once they start to show wear.
Conner’s family travels from Charlotte, NC to Omaha, NE for this surgeries and clinic to see experts on OI.
His family will continue to have ongoing medical and travel expenses. He will also need to have his home modified to fit his needs.
We appreciate your support and taking the time to learn more about Conner.
April 17, 2013
This is the hubby’s new favorite dish, a creative, satisfying and healthful way to fix tofu, even fit for a meat-eater. The blackening spice blend is from the cookbook “Vegan Cooking for Carnivores” by Roberto Martin, this spice blend is also flavorful added to a snack of fresh sliced cucumber or cut mango. Delish!
- One block of 14-16 oz. extra-firm organic tofu
- Green leaf lettuce
- Red sweet pepper, chopped
- 1/2 sweet onion, diced small
- Balsamic vinegar/Olive oil dressing
- 1 Tbsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. cayenne
- 2 Tbsp. garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp. onion powder
- 1 Tbsp. dried thyme
- 2 Tbsp. dried oregano, crushed between your palms
- 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Mix all blackening spices in small bowl and store in airtight container, makes about 1/2 cup seasoning.
- Wash and chop salad greens and sweet pepper.
- Squeeze excess moisture from tofu, cut into cubes or strips and cover all sides with blackening spice.
- Saute’ onion with olive oil until clear, add tofu and saute’ until browned on all sides.
- Prepare salad in bowl, top with blackened tofu and dressing.
I sprinkled some cooked quinoa in the salad as well, which gave it a nice hearty addition of protein, this is a hearty meal! Enjoy.
April 10, 2013
As we go about living our lives, we are faced with countless choices, opportunities and decisions along our paths. In any given day, we decide what food choices to make, what clothing to wear, where we go, what we do, who we spend time with, how we spend our time, etc.
Sometimes life can become so routine that we forget to recognize the beauty and virtue in living. So, let’s explore the many ways we live virtuously by remembering why we do anything in the first place! You can practice having this awareness by asking yourself “why” you do anything, until a virtue is reached. Examples of virtues can be: Love, Compassion, Good Health, Peace, Service, Forgiveness, Freedom, Comfort, Balance, Harmony, the list goes on….
When you make healthy food choices, you are living for the virtue of good health. You are able to recognize that this short-term sacrifice, leads to a greater, long-term benefit. So, eat your greens, and avoid sugar like it’s the drug that it is.
When you show up daily on your Yoga mat for asana, or your meditation cushion for practice, you may be sacrificing some time for balance, harmony, peace, or good health.
When you go to your job (whatever it may be), you may be living for service of some kind. So, remind yourself that you are doing important work, and that there is great value in it. Even if your job is cleaning the house, or wiping little behinds, when you do them consciously for the greater good of service, it becomes more rewarding.
When you make healthy and balanced decisions with finances by not living outside your means, then you are sacrificing for financial comfort, being able to cover your living expenses or save for a comfortable retirement can be very reassuring.
When we sacrifice our time and energy for our beloveds, we put them before ourselves, and this is all for the virtue of love which is a powerful one. We connect with each other the strongest in the name of love.
Learning to say “no” to someone when appropriate is also okay, admirable, and also virtuous. You can practice forgiveness for yourself, compassion for others, and create a sense of balance in your life.
Always ask yourself for every activity, where is the virtue in this? Why am I doing this? By allowing yourself to realize how your life is filled with virtue, you are also filled with gratitude and happiness.
Maybe with your morning meditation, you decide on a “virtue for the day” as your daily mantra. You can breathe this all day long, a constant reminder that you are alive and living on a great, virtuous path exactly where you are.
March 27, 2013
Mark your calendars, this is a deeply meditative experience you do not want to miss! World-renowned artist, Matt Venuti is playing the Hang during our next Yoga Nidra offering, on April 7th, 2013 at Lotus Living Arts Studio of Concord. Class begins promptly at 6:30pm, feel free to bring any comfort items with you, a blanket, pillow, journal, etc. Donation-only offering, recommended $10-$25 cash or check at door, pay what you can.
March 15, 2013
So, while it seems as though we are being teased a lot this season with Spring, the buds are beginning to blossom and many of the birds that have migrated for the winter are making their re-appearance to our area. Oh, the glorious sounds and sights of Spring!
This is also the time of year that we “clear out” everything in our life that is no longer serving our greater well-being, giving a whole new meaning to “spring cleaning”.
There are countless simple actions and daily rituals that I find are quite effective at maintaining a pure, healthy and peaceful environment, and first we must acknowledge that our outer environment is exactly the same as our inner environment. If our homes, offices, cars, schedules, etc. are a mess – so are our minds, families, relationships, health and personal energies.
So, for this season I invite you to earnestly adopt simple ways to bring purity to all aspects of your life. Some of these tips should help:
- Greet each new morning with a gratitude for a new day by bringing palms together, bowing to the day with a smile.
- Allow at least 5 minutes first thing in the morning, and again in the evening to sit in meditation. All you need is to have awareness of the breath…just breath consciously and be still.
- At least once a day light a candle, burn an incense stick, or smudge your space with sage or sweet-grass. Your energy field will thank you.
- Spend 10 minutes each day to de-clutter something in your life. This could be one drawer, a kitchen cupboard, a closet, your schedule, your flower bed, etc.
- Watch what you nourish your body with! Is your food providing you with vital life-force energy? Make a healthy commitment to only eating organic vegetables and if you aren’t vegan, why not give it a try for a week, and see how you feel!
- Designate time during each day for work, time for your family and friends, and time just for you. “You-time” can be as simple as enjoying a chapter in a book, having a cup of tea, a walk around the block, a spontaneous dance party, spontaneous savasana, the possibilities are endless as long as you set this as a priority.
So with these small things each day, you will automatically be creating 30 minutes a day of healthy, peaceful practices for your inner and outer environment. Add in some physical activity and you are a champ at taking care of you! (I recommend brisk walking, Yoga asana, biking, hiking and don’t forget to stretch well)
February 26, 2013
Congratulations Divine Shanti Yoga Teacher Training Class of 2013!
I am extremely honored to announce the graduation of the first Divine Shanti Yoga school graduates. This program was born 8 months ago, after continued requests from students to do so. The Universe was giving affirmative signs that this was indeed supposed to happen, and so there it is. With the help and inspiration of many gifted guest teachers, musicians, and community support, the formal 200 hour Yoga Alliance recognized program has been a success.
These beautiful spirits understand the true nature of Yogis giving back, and have begun offering classes for FREE to the community for the next 3 months at Lotus Living Arts Studio of Concord, N.C. The free classes are each Friday evening 6:00-7:00pm, and each week will be a different teacher! http://www.lotuslivingartsstudio.com
Give yourself the gift of an extra class each week, there’s no excuse not to!
February 20, 2013
So, while I often read numerous comments and suggestions that are graciously shared with me regarding classes I teach, every once in a while I receive the great gift of hearing from someone from my classes via email. This is always a delight, and I feel that the average local Yoga practitioner can share great insight about the practice based on their experiences. We are all teachers in life. Here is a recent letter from Rich, a local practitioner and inspiring spirit:
“Angela, thank you for teaching our yoga classes, and I saw this article and thought of you and the yoga tradition.
The article is about combining Christianity and yoga. While some Christians now “openly” practice yoga, some still warn against such practice. In the late 1980′s friends knew I was taking yoga classes and a PhD in history asked me, “Can you do yoga and still be Christian?” My response was, “Sure.”
I think one can practice yoga as purely a science, and one can combine it with many of the “Peace Traditions” from religious and spiritual work. To me, your teachings and your series from your book are a peace tradition; and the lessons are wonderful for inner growth and connecting with the world. Some branches of Christianity are of a peace tradition, and some are not.
Thank you again for your work.” Rich
Beautiful way of stating this, “peace traditions.” Thank you for being you!
January 28, 2013
Last week in classes, I talked a bit about how we can balance our personal energies based on the winter season and according to Ayurveda, and how to experience each day from a more balanced state.
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian philosophy which literally means “the science of life.” This science of life teaches us to maintain balance in our bodies and minds as a way of preventing any dis-ease in these areas.
January can be a very over-active time for Vata energy, which is dry, cold, bitter, jittery, highly active, and anxious. If you are feeling like these qualities are elevated, or even over-active in yourself, here are some simple lifestyle changes you can make to create more balance and comfort:
- If you are cold, put on a sweater, socks or a blanket. (seems like common sense, but we don’t always do it)
- Allow time for periodic rest periods throughout your day. (5-10 minutes of spontaneous svasana can be VERY healing and balancing!)
- Eat foods that are cooked, warm/hot, moist, and oily like soups, roasted veggies, chili, etc. (this means healthy oils like sesame or olive oil)
- Massage your entire body with organic oil and let sit for 5-30 minutes before showering or bathing, and do not neglect the soles of your feet and your scalp. Organic sesame oil is great here, and feels sensational! Please be sure to ground your step upon entering tub or shower, you will be slippery.
- Invite an Asana practice into your life that includes slooooww moving postures that naturally build heat within the body. A faster-moving practice can aggravate this seasons Vata energy.
In the future, when early Spring approaches, this is when you will be best balanced with a faster-paced asana practice and eating more cold, raw foods like salads. Save them for Spring, and cook your spinach for now!
January 8, 2013
Mmm, love these recipes that I can take advantage of my winter garden crop AND cabbage is one of our cancer-fighting super foods. This is so hearty, it’s more like a casserole. I think the hubby will even love it (and he doesn’t love cabbage). I’ve just made croutons with my leftover bread, so in lieu of the hard bread, I’ll just use the croutons.
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 3/4lb. Cabbage, shredded
- 1 qt. vegetable stock
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 4-8 slices of day-old firm textured bread, toasted
- 8 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Saute’ the garlic in oil in large saucepan over low heat until pale gold, 2-3 minutes. Add the cabbage and saute’ until wilted. Pour in veggie stock and simmer for 40 minutes. Season with salt & pepper. Preheat oven to 350`. Place a layer of toasted bread in dutch oven or casserole dish. Sprinkle with parmesan, and pour in 1 1/2 cups of the soup. Repeat layering until all ingredients are used. Bake for 10 minutes and serve hot.