Author: Cookie and Kate
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 4 to 6
A fresh and filling bean salad flavored with lemon and fresh mint and dill. Use steamed lentils and canned chickpeas for a meal ready in under 20 minutes. This salad keeps well for a few days in the fridge and packs great for lunch!
Lentils (cook your own, using the ingredients below, or use one 17-ounce package of steamed French lentils instead)
• 2 cups of any lentil of your choice.
• 2 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 medium lemons’ worth)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1 teaspoon honey
• 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
• ¼ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 1 (14 ounce) can cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
• 1 big bunch of radishes, sliced thin and roughly chopped
• ¼ cup packed fresh, leafy herbs, chopped (combination of mint and dill recommended)
• Optional garnishes: sliced avocado, crumbled feta or goat cheese, handful of fresh leafy greens
1. To cook the lentils: Pick over the lentils to remove any bits of debris. Rinse the lentils under running water in a mesh colander. In a medium pot, combine the lentils, halved garlic cloves, olive oil and 4 cups water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the lentils are cooked through and tender, which will take somewhere between 20 to 35 minutes. Drain the lentils and discard the garlic cloves.
2. To make the dressing: Whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl. If you're using pre-steamed lentils instead of cooking your own, add an extra clove of minced garlic and an extra tablespoon of olive oil.
In a large serving bowl, combine the lentils, chickpeas, chopped radishes and herbs. Drizzle in the dressing and toss to combine. Serve with avocado, crumbled cheese or fresh greens if you'd like.
I have been practising Kundalini yoga for 15 years. Little did I know that all that I had gained from my yoga practise would one day save my life and keep me a float.
From the very beginning I felt yoga brought an instant change within me on a physical, mental and spiritual level. Physically I felt healthier, more centred and a sense of calm giving me the extra energy and time to invest in the more important things in life. As my consciousness increased through the practice of meditation, I started observing miracles on a regular basis, which strengthened my belief in the divine. It led to unwavering faith and gratitude for everything in life. Yoga unfolded the strength that was in me and gave me the awareness to recognize who I truly was 'A Soul'.
Blessed with a beautiful family, I was able to enjoy time with my husband and two adorable daughters, whilst also sharing the gift of Yoga with others. In 2012 my eldest daughter and best friend Amreen, aged sixteen passed away. I have no doubt that without Yoga and God's grace I would have been unable to accept the loss of my child and inevitably gone into a state of depression. However, surprisingly what could have been an unbearable period in my life was made to feel divine and blissful with a calm acceptance of god's will. It gave me the understanding that I am not the physical body. I suffer and feel the pain when I think I am the physical body. In reality I am a soul, here to balance my Karmic accounts and evolve through new experiences.
I feel truly grateful and experience love and light because of Kundalini Yoga despite all that I have been through. I highly recommend yoga to stay healthy and above all experience inner happiness and peace.
In memory of our Inspiring Angel - Amreen, our family will be participating in a Fundraising Walk on Sunday 13th September 2015 to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust and Cancer Research.
It would be lovely if you could join us for the walk. Please request your friends and family to sponsor us at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/AmreensWalk3.
If you are unable to walk with us you can still make a difference by spreading the word and sharing this page.
Shavasana or the corpse pose is a relaxation pose when deep healing can take place. This pose gets its name from the recumbent posture of a dead body.
This asana relaxes the entire psycho-physiological system and should ideally be practiced before sleep; during and after the practice of yoga asanas, particularly after dynamic exercises such as Surya Namaskar or the Sun Salutation; and when one feels physically and mentally tired. It develops a sense of body awareness.
Shavasana is perhaps the most important part of yoga practice. Lying on the back, the arms and legs are spread at about 45 degrees, the eyes are closed and the breath deep, using deergha (long) pranayama.
The whole body is relaxed onto the floor with an awareness of the chest and abdomen rising and falling with each breath. All parts of the body are scanned for muscular tension of any kind, which is consciously released as it is found, optionally with a small repetitive movement of the area. All control of the breath, the mind, and the body is then released for the duration of the asana.
The asana is released by slowly deepening the breath, flexing the fingers and toes, reaching the arms above the head, stretching the whole body, exhaling, bringing the knees to the chest and rolling over to the side in a fetal position. After a short time and a slow inhalation, the practitioner takes a seated position.
Children need rest and rejuvenation as much as adults and probably more. I use a story and a calm, peaceful voice to get the children to relax and slowly bring their minds and bodies to rest. Children benefit from this deep rest not only at the end of yoga class but also throughout their day.
Shavasana gives the nervous system a chance to integrate that in what can be thought of as a brief pause before it is forced once again to deal with all the usual stresses of daily life.
Shavasana decreases heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension and general levels of anxiety. It increases energy levels, boosts memory and stimulates the ability to concentrate.
Shavasana also serves the point of ritual. It gives teachers the opportunity to guide students in relaxation, self-blessing, prayer, affirmation or simple, extraordinary peace. It allows the individual practitioner to give ceremony and sacredness to their yoga practice and to feel “the sweet spot” that so often results from our efforts in yoga.
A tip when doing Shavasana… Do not rush it. Take your time. Allow the body to heal itself slowly. Shavasana ideally should be done for around 20-30 minutes so give yourself that time, and remember it is an integral part of yoga; a chance to connect the physical to the spiritual.
Did you wonder why your mother insisted you soak your almonds before consuming them? Here’s why… It has nothing to do with taste; it is simply the healthier option.
The brown peel of almonds contains tannin that inhibits nutrient absorption. Once you soak almonds the peel comes off easily and allows the nut to release all nutrients easily.
Soak a handful of almonds in half a cup of water. Cover them and allow them to soak for 8 hours. Drain the water, peel off the skin and store them in plastic container. These soaked almonds will last you for about a week.
Benefits of soaked almonds:
1. Help with digestion - Soaking almonds helps to release enzymes such as lipase that in turn help with digestion of fats.
2. Help with weight-loss - The monounsaturated fats in almonds curb your appetite and keep you full. So feel free to snack on them because they'll help you avoid binge-eating and trigger weight-loss.
3. Almonds keep your heart healthy, reduce bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein) and increase good cholesterol (high density lipoprotein).
4. They are a good source of antioxidants: Vitamin E present in soaked almonds works as an antioxidant that inhibits free radical damage that prevents ageing and inflammation.
5. Fight Cancer: Soaked almonds contain Vitamin B17 that is vital for fighting cancer.
6. Flavonoid, present in almonds suppresses tumour growth.
7. Help in lowering and maintaining glucose levels and regulating high blood pressure.
8. Soaked almonds contain folic acid that reduces birth defects.
Vitamin D is perhaps the single most underrated nutrient in the world of nutrition. That's probably because it's free: your body makes it when sunlight touches your skin.
Vitamin D prevents osteoporosis, depression, prostrate cancer, breast cancer and even has an impact on diabetes and obesity.
Vitamin D facts…
1. The healing rays of natural sunlight (that generate vitamin D in your skin) cannot penetrate glass. So you don't generate vitamin D when sitting in your car or home.
2. It is nearly impossible to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from your diet. Sunlight exposure is the only reliable way to generate vitamin D in your own body.
3. A person would have to drink ten tall glasses of vitamin D fortified milk each day just to get minimum levels of vitamin D into their diet.
4. People with dark skin pigmentation may need 20 - 30 times as much exposure to sunlight as fair-skinned people to generate the same amount of vitamin D. That's why prostate cancer is epidemic among black men - it's a simple, but widespread, sunlight deficiency.
5. Sufficient levels of vitamin D are crucial for calcium absorption in your intestines. Without sufficient vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium, rendering calcium supplements useless.
6. Chronic vitamin D deficiency cannot be reversed overnight: it takes months of vitamin D supplementation and sunlight exposure to rebuild the body's bones and nervous system.
7. Even weak sunscreens (SPF=8) block your body's ability to generate vitamin D by 95%. This is how sunscreen products actually cause disease -by creating a critical vitamin deficiency in the body.
8. It is impossible to generate too much vitamin D in your body from sunlight exposure: your body will self-regulate and only generate what it needs.
9. If it hurts to press firmly on your sternum, you may be suffering from chronic vitamin D deficiency right now.
10. Vitamin D is "activated" in your body by your kidneys and liver before it can be used and kidney disease or liver damage can greatly impair your body's ability to activate circulating vitamin D.
11. On the issue of sunlight exposure it turns out that super antioxidants greatly boost your body's ability to handle sunlight without burning. Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful "internal sunscreens" and can allow you to stay under the sun twice as long without burning.
Last week we talked about left nostril breathing to calm yourself down and relax. Right nostril breathing, on the other hand gives you more energy. Are you feeling run down and tired... try this simple breathing technique that can alter the way you feel.
When you need clarity, focus and more energy, try right nostril (Pingala) breathing.
Simply sit up straight, take your left hand and, with your fingers outstretched, block off your left nostril by putting gentle pressure on it with your left thumb. Inhale and exhale slow and deep through the right nostril. Do it continuously for 2-3 mins whenever you need the extra boost of energy. Visualize the sun and feel the sun energy flowing in your body, energizing every cell in your body.
Doing is believing.... Yogi Bhajan
Do you need to calm down? Are you finding it difficult to sleep? Try this simple breathing exercise and notice the difference.
Have you ever wondered why you have two nostrils instead of one big one?
Our body is a finely tuned machine operating on positive and negative electrical currents. In the ancient science of Kundalini Yoga we are taught that there are two energies called Ida and Pingala that intertwine up the sides of the spine and that unite to form the Sushmana, the central channel.
The Ida energy, on the left, is the moon energy: reflective, calming, cooling, female. The right is Pingala and has the energy of the sun; bright, fiery, awakening and male.
We compare these systems in our Western terminology as the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic system, Pingala, is the fight or flight system and charges you up in times of danger. The parasympathetic system, Ida, slows you down and helps your body automatically run its day-to-day jobs of digestion, elimination, sleep cycles and more.
When you need to calm down, when your mind is racing very fast, or when you can’t go to sleep, try left nostril (Ida) breathing.
Simply take your right hand and, with your fingers outstretched, block off your right nostril by putting gentle pressure on it with your right thumb. Be sure to keep the rest of your fingers straight and pointing up towards the sky; the fingers act like antennas for the “cosmic” energy that surrounds us all. Inhale and exhale deeply through the left nostril.
Visualize the moon and feel the moon energy flowing in your body, cooling you down.
Consciously relax with every new breath. As you exhale breathe out all tension, all stress and all disease.
Enjoy being calm and relaxed.
We know that nuts are considered to be a super food i.e. food that is rich in nutrients and beneficial for our health and well being. In addition to nuts, seeds also have tremendous health benefits. Rich in energy, protein, packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and the all important omega-3 fatty acids, nuts and seeds almost seem to be complete foods.
Just 1 ounce a day of nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and peanuts can diminish inflammation and provide satiating fiber, protein and immune-boosting minerals.
Nuts and seeds contain healthful mono- and polyunsaturated fats. These fats are essential to health by managing inflammation and maintaining the normal structure of every cell in our bodies.
Nuts and seeds provide our bodies with fiber, key to the digestion process. The "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" published research that found an additional 25 percent reduction in cholesterol levels after nut consumption that could not be explained from the composition of healthy fat alone. Researchers speculated that fiber and mineral content in nuts were responsible.
Nuts and seeds contain minerals such as magnesium, zinc, calcium and phosphorus needed for bone development, immunity and energy production. One ounce of sunflower seed kernels contains 100 mg of magnesium. Calcium is a mineral needed for bone development, but it is also needed to send signals to cells and produce energy.
Including nuts and seeds in your diet promotes a healthy and balanced mind and body. A healthy body and a healthy mind are in co-existent. When either one is off balance we need to realign them to restore the balance. We need to ensure that all the food groups are adequately represented in our diet with nuts and seeds being an integral part.
Read more for a specific details on the benefits of different nuts and seeds (source: Joy Bauer)
Life is beautiful; it’s up to us what we make of it. Positive thoughts uplift us and allow us to overcome difficulties and challenges whilst negative thoughts pull us down and make us succumb to them, not rise above them. Being happy or sad is a choice we make; a choice that undoubtedly comes with consequences for which we must take responsibility. Negative thoughts are stepping stones and an opportunity to consciously make the right choice and decide that you want better. After all, it is our birthright to be happy.
Choosing happiness is simple. Find the silver lining in every situation especially when the going gets tough and appreciate all that is around you. If you feel yourself going down accept and acknowledge the feeling and recognise that it doesn't have to be that way. When you're ready, pick yourself up by doing something that uplifts you. No one knows you better than yourself. Something as easy as going for a walk, catching up with friends or spending time with loved ones will remind you of the blessings in your life. As you practise choosing to be positive and happy it will eventually become a habit and you will find that this wonderful quality will become a part of your character.
When we make a choice to be happy we also make a choice to be healthy. When we think positive things it naturally impacts our physiological state as well. By filtering out unnecessary thoughts that cause feelings of sadness and self-pity you manifest a healthy mind, body and soul. This creates an aura of vitality and draws people towards you… after all everyone wants to feel this way.
So start right now, unleash the power within and make the right choice.
We all know that drinking water is extremely important for the proper functioning of our bodies and all the organs working together.
The European Food Safety Authority recommends that women should drink about 1.6 litres of fluid and men should drink about 2.0 litres of fluid per day. That's about eight glasses of 200ml each for a woman, and 10 glasses of 200ml each for a man.
There are plenty of studies and articles explaining the benefits of drinking water but what is particularly interesting is that there are specific benefits based on when you drink water.
Drinking water at a certain time maximizes its effectiveness on the body:
2 glasses of water after waking up helps activate internal organs.
A glass of water 30 minutes before a meal - helps digestion. Drinking water before a meal helps you feel fuller, As a result you will be less likely to attack your meal like a starving person. Water helps prepare the stomach for the food that will follow; waking up taste buds on the tongue and moisturizing the stomach lining so brittle or acidic foods won’t be uncomfortable.
A glass of water before taking a bath helps lower blood pressure.
A glass of water before going to bed avoids stroke or heart attack.
A glass of water at bed- time will also help prevent nighttime leg cramps.
Your leg muscles cramp and wake you up when they seek hydration.
Drink more water to prevent illness following exposures. If you are around sick people in the hospital or at work and school, drink a little more water than usual to wash away germs and viruses that your body may have picked up from exposure to these people. A well-hydrated body helps to move along any invaders before they settle down and multiply in your system.
Have a glass of water when you’re tired. Feeling tired? Fatigued? Need a nap but can’t take one? Have a glass of water. Because of its ability to move quickly throughout the body, water can reach your brain and activate it right before a meeting or other situation where you need to pay attention.
Not only is water a vital element in maintaining good health and well being but knowing the right times to drink it adds to its effectiveness and ability to balance the various functions within our bodies. A hydrated healthy body in turn leads to peaceful and calm mind allowing our emotional and mental states to be centered and focused.