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Archive for July, 2009

Choosing Good Food

choices

As we get deeper and deeper into our inquiry of what Eating for Evolution means, I sometimes find myself swimming in philosophy and opinions, “facts” and trends, desire and fear. It’s this tug of war that usually ends in frustration or confusion.

Drop it

If I just let all of that “be as it is,” rather than latching onto one particular thought, there is a space that opens up. A space that can  fill with genuine curiosity… the awe of “finding out.” Finding out just what this food or meal does in my body, in my Being.

Common sense, and good choice

I have found that if I stick with natural and simple options, my common sense is keen and there is flow that it is intuitive. Check it out: Go to a farmers market, walk around and see what you gravitate towards. Keep an open mind and let your sensory capacities guide you. Are you drawn towards those plump, fresh raspberries (see recipe below), or the pungent onions and fragrant fennel? If you are surrounded by wholesome options, it makes it much easier to make good choices. Compare this to standing in a grocery store isle filled with boxes and cans: It’s a little overwhelming and sometimes, I think disorienting. I end up relying on what I have heard on the TV or other ads about this “food product” and ultimately trust is undermined; trust in my own ability to be able to make good food choices.

The power of discrimination

An inherent part of being human is learning how to exercise appropriate discrimination and discernment.  It is often assumed that since we are bombarded with so much information, and so many “choices” that we be exercising discernment all the time.  I don’t think this holds true.  I notice that discernment takes conscious intention. If that is missing then what really is happening is a sequence of relatively unconscious reactions… But not all relatively unconscious choices are created equal. As I mentioned above, if I stick with natural and simple options, instincts can take over, and this is a good thing. If I surround myself with unnatural and confusing surroundings, I start to operate out of my “mediated” conditioning (more on the effects of “mediation” later).

Stick with the good stuff

So where does this leave us… stick with the good stuff! Go for quality verses quantity and keep it simple and fresh. It’s hard to go wrong when you follow those guidelines.

Gluten-Free Maple Raspberry Scones

Check out this recipe by Ali Segersten, author of Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook

Gluten-Free Maple Raspberry SconesRscones1
If you would like to use dairy products in this recipe you may. Simply replace the shortening with cold, unsalted butter and the hemp milk or coconut milk with heavy cream. This recipe needs a higher fat milk. Rice milk or almond milk won’t work as well and will yield a “cakey”scone. Be sure your raspberries are fresh or partially thawed. Other lovely additions to this recipe are fresh blackberries or black raspberries. With the added moisture from the berries I have made them into “drop” scones, a method that is much easier and quicker to prepare.

1 ½ cups brown rice flour or sorghum flour (I used 1 cup brown rice flour + 1/2 cup sorghum flour)
½ cup tapioca flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup organic palm shortening
⅓ cup maple syrup
½ cup + 2 tablespoons cold non-dairy milk (unsweetened hemp milk or coconut milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 heaping cup fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the flours, baking powder, xanthan gum, and sea salt into a medium mixing bowl and whisk together well. Cut in the shortening with your fingers or a pastry cutter until coarse crumbs are formed.

In a separate small bowl whisk together the syrup, milk, and vanilla. Add this to the dry ingredients and quickly mix together with a fork or wooden spoon until the dough thickens. Fold in the raspberries, being very careful not to over mix.

Drop by the large spoonful onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 15 to 17 minutes, depending on the size of your scone.

Yield: About 8 scones

Notes: I don’t use agave nectar or honey in this recipe because of the higher temperature needed to bake scones. The high fructose content of these two sweeteners will cause the scones to brown very quickly.

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“Hi. You’ll do.”

DenverI spent the fourth of July in a bar in the heart of downtown Denver.  As I sat between my hubby, long lost friend (a random find, thanks to the internet…) and a few strangers, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the scene that swarmed about me. It had been a long time since I’d participated in the Denver night life. I watched people my own age and younger milling around. Flirting. Drinking. Dancing. “Living it up.” I couldn’t help but feel completely out of place. While this was no longer my idea of a good time, I surprisingly found myself craving the “free spiritedness” of those around me. I wondered what it would be like to flirt with a stranger, more than that I wanted to do it. I wanted to abandon my responsibilities, to check my role and obligation of being a wife at the door and behave like all the other 20 some-things in the bar.

I let my mind saturate with daydreams, taking me far from the stool I sat in, milling in and out of the crowd. That is until I saw him-reality dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, holding a pitcher of beer. With no honeys in site this guy was surrounded only by his drunken buddies. It wasn’t that this guy was terribly ugly, I’m sure for the right girl he is quite the eye candy. The problem was his casual wear: A plain t-shirt with the words “Hi. You’ll do” boldly printed across his chest.

Not only was this guys shirt incredibly insulting to all women (or men, perhaps he’s gay?) what was most heart-wrenching was realizing that this mentality isn’t limited to just this guy, it represents all of us. It represents our culture. It reveals the level of development and awareness that we are at as a whole. I felt as though I had just had a bucket of cold water dumped on my head, waking me from the peaceful ignorance I had been in and plugged into the reality of my peers, which for some reason was radically different from the reality of my day-to-day life.

While there are many morals to this story, there were a few points that strike me most right now. One being that change for the lone sake of the individual isn’t enough. Why? Because when we approach change with only our benefit at heart we automatically create an illusion of separation between us and “them.” This illusion blinds us to the truth, limiting the impact an individual’s personal change could have. When we are rooted in selfishness we are rooted in ignorance- a position to life that is inherently contracting. If we are really interested in transformation, if our eyes and hearts are set on creating tangible change, it can only be done when our motivation to do so stretches beyond the limits of the personal benefit and into the realm of the greater good. If we’re only interested in change for our personal benefit, we’ll never really be able to affect culture, because, as I experienced, we’ll get lost in the clouds of our own development and lose track of where the Whole is. If we want to be effective change agents we have to know not only where we stand personally on the developmental path, but where the whole is as well… because development can’t occur from anywhere other than where we’re at.

As well, I was struck by our lack of discrimination; our acceptance of “whatever” penetrates all the way down to our very roots, forming the foundation society is built upon. It’s as though freedom is mistaken to be the absence of responsibility, commitment and discernment. But as far as I have experienced true freedom is only found in the presence of all three.

So what’s this got to do with food? Everything. Nothing. I don’t know. Perhaps you’ll just take this in as “food for thought,” or perhaps this blog will ignite a deeper, more “wholesome” passion inside you- influencing everything you do, including the bites you take.

-Amber

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Alex Grey

Alex Grey

How far from perfect are we willing to move?  How far from this moment are we willing to wander?  What is it that we are seeking?  Will we ever find it, and if not, is it worth risking everything we have in order to search for it?  

Questions like these have been slipping past my minds barricade, stealing the focus of my attention the past few weeks.  It all started at a meditation retreat I attended the beginning of June, where 20 others or so and I came together to explore meditation in an evolutionary context.  While the entire experience was completely fascinating, one of the biggest gems I derived from it was realizing how far from perfect I wander.   I shared with the group my experience of being in complete bliss.  I was paying complete attention and yet had no relationship to my thoughts or feelings. That is until the thought that “I must not be doing it right” breezed in.  It immediately caught my attention and as it did so I moved from the perfect state of bliss in search of what was “right.”  It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I realized this wandering from “perfect,” didn’t only happen on the cushion, but off as well.  I’ve found that I often stray from where I am in search of something more- some ideal that somewhere along the way I picked up and came to believe was either true, real or best.

Recently I took a trip back to my original home town and one thing that struck me most was the observation that everyone is seeking something.  That everyone seems to be somehow “incomplete” without this one magical “missing” element.  “If only I lived here…” “if only I looked like this….”  “If only it weren’t for this…” fill in the blank with whatever you want, there wasn’t one person that seemed to be completely complete just the way they were and “where” they are at in life, myself included.  I found myself wondering about the relationship between development and striving to be higher and closer to “perfection” and recognizing that we are already complete and whole right now.  It’s like change is inevitable but development is entirely optional, and in my opinion, it is the highest value to be held.  However, how can we be anything but whole, perfect and complete right now?  While I am still working this one over in my contemplation my thoughts on it now are that the relationship between these two are that they are one and the same.   Paradoxical I know.

Perhaps the more important question isn’t about the relationship between the two, but the context and motivation in which the developmental striving arises from.  Here me out:  What if the motivation to move from the place we are standing right now is to further develop and mature our morals?  Compare that to the desire to be more “fulfilled” by something.  To at least temporarily, satisfy our own existential tension’s craving by “feeding” it with something.  

So, what’s food got to do with it?  Another observation I’ve made of myself and others is that it seems to be a tendency for us human creatures to soothe our existential tensions, to lighten our own shadow of uneasiness, with food and drink (whether it be decreasing or increasing).  The trouble is, of course that it doesn’t work.  If anything it provides a temporary relief that we mistake as an indication of being on the right track, therefore we continue the behavior turning it into a consuming habit. And as we all know, habits are hard to break, particularly when they involve our biochemistry.   So, in context of food, the question how far are you willing to step away from perfect?  Is answered by the choices we make with food, the motivation we have when eating and the desire craving to have filled.  Next time you take your bite, ask yourself this:  what part of me is really hungry?  You might be surprised to find out what the answer is.

– Amber

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GF RevolutionFor months now I’ve been working on a “secret” project. It’s the next phase in my work as a holistic practitioner and an entrepreneur trying to transform the health of our society.

It brings together everything I’ve learned over the years about developing a healthy and vibrant body by choosing the right foods…especially for those living a gluten-free life…plus a new philosophy about who we are and why we’re here. The project officially launches later this month (more on that in a future). In the meantime, though, I’ve prepared 7 free videos that I know you’ll love. The videos chronicle “A Perfect Day in the Life of a Gluten-Free Evolutionary.”

What does that mean? This link explains it all: http://www.eatingforevolution.com

Clicking on the link above is the only way to get the 7 videos and priority notification for our launch… I’ve worked really hard on them and hope you enjoy their recipes and information! Let me know what you think after you sign up!

Warmly,

Tiffany

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Cookie

As I cruised the aisles of a local natural food co-op this afternoon I found myself topping off my cart with a good ole favorite, a freshly baked, gluten free, chocolate chip cookie.  As I moseyed across the sunny parking, lot munching on my sweet treat, it occurred to me that I hadn’t consciously intended to purchase a cookie.  In fact, the only thing I had in mind to buy was mustard powder, but my receipt of $28.13 just doesn’t reflect that intention.  As I thought about it more, I realized that what it really came down to was the belief that no matter what I purchase from this store, it is a better and healthier option that contributes more or less to my wellbeing… including the chocolate chip cookie, I mean after all it is gluten free :)!  

This made me realize that despite my beliefs that I am a conscious eater, I am actually more asleep at the cart than I thought and many of the purchases I make aren’t actually decisions I’ve made on my own, with my own health/body in mind.  Rather they are culturally conditioned, image-satisfying, belief-reinforcing selections that fuel more of the same unconscious choices.
 
This isn’t to say we need to rally against the man, throw our fists in the air and curse culture.  It’s to say that we need to break the vicious cycle, grow up and start making our own conscious choices, which means we need to be more aware of what the driving motivation behind our food choices (and of course all of our other choices) is.   

As I sit here re-reading this last sentence I can’t help but feel the weight of responsibility, a tug of obligation, and deep reverence for those who have walked the path before me.  It has not always been the case that in many, if not most, of the cities across our great nation  one had the option to eat fresh, local and organic foods, or that one could choose a more natural option over a highly processed food.  We didn’t get here on our own.  Without those before us who passionately strived to become more knowledgeable eaters, giving us these options and bringing us the information we now have about food, we wouldn’t be able to take the next step.  Now it is up to us, to forge forward and continue to shape reality through our conscious choices.  It’s time we all start taking more conscious bites.

More on how to take conscious bites coming very soon!

– Amber

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