Saturday, November 22, 2008

Developing Compassion For Yourself

The biggest issue everyone struggles with, is not so much how to eat healthy, as how we relate to food and self care. We tend to label all foods as being good or bad, and then we judge ourselves and others according to how we eat. This is a set up for pain, especially when we remember every diet rule we have ever learned. This is a game we CANNOT win.

Instead of hating yourself or feeling superior, is it possible to simply observe yourself, without judging? In meditation we call this "dropping the storyline" and make an effort to notice the complex feelings that are occurring underneath it all. As Albert Einstein said, can you give up "trying to solve a problem with the same mind that created it?"

If you would like to learn more about this practice, I recommend you check out books by author and Zen Buddhist teacher Cheri Huber. My favorite book is "There's Nothing Wrong With You, Going Beyond Self Hate", which is written in hand script and includes drawings. If you prefer a more formal approach, try "How to Get Where You Are To Where You Want To Be". She has written numerous books, but most focus on compassionate self observation.

I will be giving lectures titled Mindful Eating on this topic in upcoming months around the San Francisco Bay Area. For announcements, sign up for my newsletter at www.eatbetterfeelbetter on the upper right hand corner.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Scones Recipe!

I have received several requests for this recipe since we made them in our class!

Here it is for your viewing pleasure, just in time for Thanks giving. Please note that you can convert most baked good recipes that use baking soda/powder to be gluten free if you use a gluten free flour (amaranth, brown rice, teff, buckwheat or any combination of these) and add the water/flax mixture, which will hold your bread together, in place of the gluten.

Experiment with this recipe! Add other kinds of dried fruit or nuts, or make them savory by removing the spices, agave nectar and prunes, increase the salt and add savory herbs such as oregano, thyme and/or paprika. If you are really feeling crazy, add some crumbled goat cheese or fresh corn.

Walnut Prune Scones

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
3 tablespoons flaxseed
1/2 cup water
3 cups brown rice flour
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder (Hains brand is gluten and aluminum free)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup of prunes
1/3 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup of oil (Almond, olive, macadamia or melt coconut oil or butter)
1/3 cup of agave nectar
2/3 cup of nut milk or water
1 teaspoon of vanilla
zest of one lemon

Grind flax seeds until fine
Combine flax with water or nut milk, stir with a wisk and let sit. It will become thick and gooey with time
In a separate container combine rice flour, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda (which you might want to sift to break down any lumps.) Mix to distribute ingredients evenly.
Chop nuts and prunes into dime sized pieces, and add along with the lemon zest to the dry ingredients, mixing with your hands so the prunes and nuts are completely coated.
Add agave nectar, oil, 2/3 cup of nut milk and vanilla to the flax and liquid mixture, and stir until smooth.
Pour wet ingredients into the dry, stirring just enough so that everything is mixed together.
Coat a 1/3 measuring cup with oil, and lightly pack with batter. On two medium un-oiled stainless steel cookie sheets, fling the measuring cup of batter onto the sheet, so that the batter falls onto the sheet in a cup shaped pile.
Bake the scones for 10 minutes. Turn the sheet 180 degrees and switch racks if you use more than one to ensure all scones are baked evenly. Cook another 6-10 minutes, depending on when they smell and look done.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nutmilk and scones

Being someone who generally avoids milk and wheat, yesterday was pretty exciting when my dear friend Lauren, owner of Nutmoo ( came over and taught us how to make vegan gluten free prune walnut scones and walnut milk. Here are the scones!

The other wonderful thing about this class was that I didn't have to teach it. I love to teach, but it's nice to be a student for a change, and Lauren is so much fun to watch. Now I need to find someone else who will do all my promo for when I teach! Here's Lauren working her special mixing techniques for us!

For the record, homemade nut milk is so much yummier than the store bought stuff, contains no stabilizers or preservatives, and costs a fraction of the price. Plus you can use any kind of nut or seed.
Here's how to make the nut milk magic happen!

Nut Milk

4 ounces of nuts
Filtered water to cover the nuts
3 cups additional water
Pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon of agave nectar or sweeten to taste

Soak the nuts and refrigerate overnight
Pour off the water
Combine nuts and 3 cups of water in a blender and allow to blend on high between 5-10 minutes depending how powerful your blender is. The mixture is ready when it becomes very opaque and the ground nuts will be very fine. Increasing the ratio of nuts to water will make a richer milk. Strain the mixture with an nut milk straining bag (available online.) This bag can be used numerous times.
Add salt and agave nectar, and stir thoroughly.