20 Instructions for Life

I recently came across these “20 Instructions for Life”  supposedly written by the Dalai Lama and wanted to share with you all.  Whether the Dalai Lama wrote these is questionable but whoever did has a wonderful grasp on morality, kindness and respect for one another.  They are truly the central tenets of life.

  1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
  3.  Follow the three R’s: respect for self, respect for others and responsibility for all your actions.
  4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
  6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
  7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  8. Spend some time alone every day.
  9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
  10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
  12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
  13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
  14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
  15. Be gentle with the earth.
  16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
  17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
  18.  Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
  19. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
  20. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
:-) Love to you all and happy Thursday!

10 Reasons Quinoa Rocks!

Okay, so quinoa has become a big obsession of mine.  Quinoa….quinoa, quinoa…….quinoa…  How I love thee.  Let me count the ways…….

(1) It’s a super healthy substitute to grains and noodles and tastes great!  There’s a misconception, that quinoa is a grain because it’s typically used in dishes where a grain, like rice or barley would be used.  But, it’s actually a seed related to chard and spinach.

(2) Quinoa is a plant-based complete protein which means it contains all 9 essential amino acids.  So it’s great for vegans or anyone looking to get more protein in their diet without eating meat.

(3) It’s gluten-free!  If you have Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, quinoa will be a good substitute to barley and other grains with gluten.

(4) Quinoa is cholesterol free, so it’s heart-healthy and better as a side-dish than, say, buttered noodles.

(5) It’s super easy to cook.  Cook quinoa like you would cook rice: 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water, bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes until water has evaporated, quinoa looks light and fluffy and substantially larger, and the white germ (the spiral tail) partially detaches.

(6) Quinoa is a great source of fiber (though it’s insoluble fiber so if you have colitis or something where insoluble fiber isn’t a friend of yours, quinoa may not be a good choice – this may be the only con to quinoa).

(7) It tastes great!  It’s slightly reminiscent of couscous, slightly nutty in flavor and slightly crunchy in texture.  I’m looking forward to using it in soups as a replacement to noodles or rice.

(8) Quinoa is versatile.  It can be eaten cold or hot for any meal and it’s great any which way.  Serve it hot with steamed vegetables, some garlic, olive oil and lemon, or cold, the same way with raw veggies.  You can also serve it hot with a curry sauce, which is amazingly yummy.  It can be served in salads, veggie burgers, even as breakfast, hot or cold.  Mix it up or even cook it with some milk (regular, almond, coconut…the choice is yours) add some fruit and enjoy!  It’s a great way to start the day and will keep you full and energized for a long time.

Quinoa with broccoli, kale and a coconut curry sauce.

(9) It’s a historic food.  Apparently, 5000 years ago, the Incas cultivated the crop and realized it’s potential to give strength to their warriors.  They called it the “mother seed.”  It was a staple in the Incan diet until the Spanish conquerors came and made it illegal to grow quinoa.  The conquerors destroyed the quinoa and forced native indians to grow wheat instead…for whatever reason.

(10) It’s high in manganese, magnesium and phosphorus which are major minerals needed in our diets.  Manganese helps in the metabolism of carbs, fats and proteins to produce energy.  Magnesium maintains the nerve and muscle cells and signals the muscles cells to contract and relax.  Phosphorus helps to generate energy from all cells in the body, is the main regulator of metabolism and is second to calcium in what makes up our bones and teeth.

As a side note, for your own health: in it’s original state, quinoa is covered in saponin.  Saponin is a natural protector of the seed with a bitter taste to ward off bugs and birds and is a protective coating against harmful sun rays.  Though, most quinoa sold in the U.S. has been pre-rinsed, removing the saponin, it can’t hurt to rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer.  You will notice any saponin by seeing a soapy consistency in the water and we all know what can happen if soap somehow gets ingested. ;-)

There you have it folks, 10 reasons quinoa rocks!  If you haven’t already tried it, I highly recommend it.  If you’re already on the bandwagon, keep it up!  Let’s all thank the Incas for cultivating such an awesome, well-rounded food.

As reference, check out this informative website for all healthy foods:
The World’s Healthiest Foods – Quinoa

Memorial Day Smoothie

Hi everyone!  Thank you all for your cold remedies last week!  They definitely helped with staving off the worst of it, but I’m pretty sure that I contracted some bad throat yuck (from Phillip even though he refuses to admit it ;-)).  As luck would have it, I couldn’t find a doctor who could see me at the last minute last week and today (Monday) is a holiday so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow.  Because of this I have been taking it as easy as possible, despite fun times with family for my sister-in-law’s wedding this weekend.  The wedding was beautiful and perfect.  My new brother-in-law and sister-in-law are a perfect match and I wish them the best that life has to offer.

Today is Memorial Day.  It is a day for us to remember and honor those who have bravely served our country.  My grandfather, Harold David Collins, served as a member of the U.S. Navy during World War II in the Pacific.  He would dive underneath his ship and repair damage the hull encountered during battle.  Here’s a picture I recently found, taken in 1944 of my grandfather (the man on the right) with some buddies at a restaurant in San Francisco before they shipped out.  I love this photo because they all look so happy and youthful and unaware (or at least pretending to be) of what was ahead of them.

Because I’m in a patriotic mood (I also wore my white shorts, red tank-top and blue flip flops today :-)) and excited to celebrate the unofficial kick-off to summer, I concocted this patriotic fruit smoothie: a cool treat on a hot summer day.

You will need:

  • Fresh strawberries
  • 1-2 tbsp. Greek yogurt
  • Fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or whichever kind of milk you prefer)
  • Ice

In the blender, blend all ingredients sans ice until smooth.  Add the ice and blend/crush ice until desired consistency is reached.  Pour the smoothie into your favorite glass and enjoy.

Thank you to everyone who nobly and heroically served the United States of America.  Happy summer everyone!  Cheers!

I Need Your Cold Remedies!

Hi everyone!  I hope you are all doing well. :-)

I need some help and advice from you all.  My throat is super sore and my tonsils are pretty inflamed.  It doesn’t look like tonsillitis or strep throat, just a lot of swollen stuff going on in there.  I’m sure my body is fighting some potent virus.  Phil was just sick with something at the beginning of the week.  I thought I would be immune to it.  After all, I’ve been taking good care of myself, getting good sleep, drinking fresh juice and smoothies; it just goes to show that we can still get sick if the germs are strong enough and catch our defenses at a low point.  Anyway, though, here’s the kicker: Phil’s sister (my sister-in-law) is getting married this weekend.  We leave tomorrow to be there and I don’t want to be miserable and sick the whole time.  So what do I do?  Anybody have some fantastic one or two-day remedy to kick this in the butt?

I have been gargling with salt water, and neti-potting.  I made a juice this morning with ginger and the ginger actually felt nice going down since it hit the spots that hurt the most.

Green Ginger Cold Remedy

  • 2 apples
  • 2 leaves of kale
  • A piece of ginger (mine was about the size of my pinky-toe)
  • Broccoli

I have heard that garlic is also a great remedy.  Though, I can’t fathom eating a clove of garlic on it’s own, I will probably make a salad later and chop a few cloves into the dressing.  I am about to make some tea with honey.

Please let me know if any of you have any amazing remedies?  They would be greatly appreciated.

Love to you all and happy Thursday! :)

Picture from http://www.prevention.com

Get Out Of Your Head

We have all experienced times in our yoga practice where we might physically be in tree pose, for example, but find ourselves mentally drifting and making a list of the errands we have to run after class and wishing there was a pen and paper around so as to not forget.  Or sometimes, if you’re like me, you find yourself thinking, maybe even stressing, about the pose your in, rather than letting your body do the work and just being present.  Yesterday morning, as I was practicing yoga, particularly when I was in Warrior II, I found myself thinking a lot about the sensations going on in my body: whether I was deep enough in the pose, which muscles I could feel working, wondering if my feet were properly aligned, I could go on, but I think you get the point.  Basically, I was stressing and fussing.

Once I became aware that my mind was completely garbled, a voice suddenly rang out from somewhere deep inside saying “get out of your head!”  Aha!  This was like a yoga kick in the butt for me; a wake-up call from my subconscious to stop thinking.  I paused for a moment to understand what just occurred and magically felt my mind go silent.  The silence and stillness in the room became beautifully apparent. Those magic words bubbled up from the inside and made a world of difference for the remainder of the morning’s practice.  I felt my face ease up, my body lightened, the tension in my neck disappeared, and there I was, suddenly feeling like I completely embodied the Warrior II position.  And, I began to smile. :-)  It was pretty cool.

It became my mantra for the day and it made me think that not only does this pertain to yoga, but to life in general.  When times are tough, it’s much easier think through a difficult situation if you take a deep breath and get out of your head, so you can stop stressing and act with clarity.  The next time you find yourself in a stressful, worrisome situation, rather than staying clenched and stressed, try to remember to get out of your own head.  Or maybe, if you pay attention, your subconscious will bubble up with a similar mantra.

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Love!

Happy Monday!

I hope everyone’s weekend was fantastic!  I actually felt like I had a weekend.  The anatomy final ended at 10:45 and I had the rest of the day to do whatever.  Phil and I did some grocery shopping, had a nice lunch, went to a barbecue on a beautiful rooftop patio with 360 views of Brooklyn.  Yesterday, we cleaned the apartment!  Yay!  It’s so nice to be clutter free.  I feel like I can breathe fully again.  Although, that might be part of the fact that I don’t have an anatomy final looming over me.

It’s funny, this morning I almost didn’t know what to do with myself.  I woke up at 6 with the anticipation to begin studying and happily realized that I don’t have to.  I slept for another hour, got up and practiced vinyasa for about 30 minutes.  Awesomeness! :-)

Now, it’s Monday, and Monday is my Strala Blog post day!  Here’s a peek of what I wrote over there:

Story has it that Elvis Presley’s favorite sandwich consisted of peanut butter, banana, and bacon.  I love PBB sandwiches, but I don’t understand the bacon.   His unique taste buds are the inspiration for a smoothie I made the other day, but I swapped the bacon for kale.  I know The King might say “Don’t Be Cruel” to the switch, but if he heard how I was introduced to kale he might come around….

To read the rest click on this link.

I hope you enjoy the Strala Blog post on a green, Elvis-inspired smoothie and I hope you all have a lovely day.  (Just as I wrote that there was lightening and a huge clap of thunder! :-))


One Lovely Blog Award!

The anatomy final is almost here and over (for this semester).  By the time you read this I will either be getting ready to take the final, taking the final, or already finished with it.  Any which way, I’m excited to have my Saturdays back and some normalcy.  It’ll be nice to be able to wake up,  go to the local farmers market, clean my apartment, run my errands.  You get the idea…all those things that got neglected this semester.  But first things first.  I want to express my deepest gratitude to Marie Wetmore for giving me the honor of the “One Lovely Blog Award” last week!  (I’m a little late on this, sorry!)  Marie is a life coach with fantastic blog posts, videos and podcasts covering a wide variety of topics from self confidence to meditation for handling stress.  I have been watching some of her videos and find them really inspiring.  And, as always, I want to also thank everyone for reading my blog and showing your support and sharing your feedback.  It’s really inspiring and helpful to hear from all of you.  Not to mention, it makes what I’m trying to accomplish a little easier each day.  Thanks everyone!

The rules of the “One Lovely Blog Award” are as follows:

  • Share who gave it to you and link back to their blog.
  • Write down seven random facts about yourself.
  • Give this award 15 other bloggers.
  • Let them know they’ve won.
  • Pop the award on your blog.

7 Random Facts about myself:

  1. Call me weird, but, I don’t like peanut butter and chocolate as a combo (separate :-), together :-()
  2. It’s very hard for me to sit still – that’s why I love yoga so much :-)
  3. I love to travel.
  4. Soups are my favorite food to cook.
  5. I am an animal lover.
  6. I am a history buff.
  7. My father narrowly escaped Hungary during the Revolution there in 1956.

From one lovely blogger to another:

  1. Alternativeeating
  2. A Charmed Yogi
  3. Chez Chloe
  4. thisdynamiclifeblog
  5. Self Blossoming
  6. Healthyfrenchie
  7. Dr. Tijana
  8. Yoga with Nadine
  9. Spinach and Yoga
  10. The Teacup Chronicles
  11. Mrs. Buena Vida
  12. Veggiezest
  13. storybookapothecary
  14. Femmegypsy
  15. Everywhereist

Healthy Habits – Guest Post on Healthyfrenchie

Hi everyone!  I’ve been busy studying for my Anatomy final.  Even though I really want to start writing when I get up in the morning, I have to dig out my anatomy notebook and flashcards to keep reviewing.  I hope you understand.

In the meantime, please check out my guest post at HealthyFrenchie on developing healthy habits.  She writes a great blog about how she overcame her eating disorders with determination and strength.  And she has a cute dog, Freddie! :-)

Thank you Helene for your support, and the opportunity to write for your terrific blog!