Monday, January 23, 2017

A Fork in the Road
by Tracey Garcia, CSOY Director of Teacher Trainings

I've never had visions of my name in future generations’ history books, but I still try to instigate changes for the good in my own way, however small. For instance, I have a darling set of To-Go Ware utensils that I carry around and use rather than creating unnecessary waste by using plastic utensils. Sure, I get the side-eye from confused fellow diners, but I quietly create my own little environmental sustainability revolution each time I use them. That's how I roll, small changes for the betterment of all.



During lunch on Friday, my trusty and well-used bamboo fork broke. I had stabbed an unruly (and apparently armored?) piece of lettuce and my fork split right down the fault line between two of the tines. When I arrived home, I despondently showed my husband my demised fork. He’s the cynicism to my optimism, but even so, he said appropriately appeasing words in response and I left my broken fork on the kitchen counter to consider what to do later.

Saturday morning, fork long forgotten, my favorite adventurous girlfriend and I headed out to the Sister March in our hometown, conservative Colorado Springs. A reported 7000 men, women and children peacefully stood together in the name of equality and human rights! It was one of the most memorable and exhilarating moments of my life – a bit more emotional than the activism I engage in with my private plastic utensil revolution. Maybe I actually would be part of history that would be told for years to come, as one of millions who marched for equality and human goodness on this day! I excitedly posted pictures on my Facebook page and rode on a high of sisterhood, community and unity for the rest of the day. 


But on Sunday, the harsh slap of reality knocked the wind out of my sails. Suddenly, some women I love, admire and consider friends felt the need to speak out against the historic March on Washington and Sister Marches across the country and those of us who marched.  My friends and I were called "whiners", "snowflakes", "libtards", "crybabies" "baby killers" and much worse. The Facebook picture of my friend and I posing in front of a cardboard sign calling for kindness resulted in my being blocked by at least one friend. I was too tender to investigate who else might have deemed me unworthy for Facebook friendship. However, I was a glutton for punishment and kept watching dissenting news reports and reading angry messages, letting each one give me what felt like a well-deserved wound for thinking that I could have possibly created change in the world. I found myself taking masochistic delight in making myself pay for my naiveté. 

Head hanging low, I went to the kitchen to make myself a medicinal cup of tea. My gaze forlornly slid across the counter to my broken bamboo fork. I had forgotten all about it, but seeing it again was like the confetti popper in my pity party. I picked it up to reassess the damage. I could see the fracture, but it was no longer hanging loose. Upon deeper examination, I realized that it had been repaired. I asked my husband if he had fixed my fork? He told me that he had, although he wasn’t sure if it would hold up and you could still see where it had broken.

In that moment I realized fractures are inevitable. We might never be the same. We could break again. And someone might quietly, selflessly offer the mending you need to rise and march again. 

Another meal will be had, side-eyes and all. My fork and I will be ready for the unruly lettuce leaf the next time. It, like my heart, is stronger where it once broke standing for equality and the human kindness I believe in.



Tracey is our lead Teacher Trainer in Colorado Springs, CO and the Director of Teacher Training for the Colorado School of Yoga. Learn more about her and where she teaches locally at www.traceygarciayoga.com







Monday, January 9, 2017

Nourishing New Year + Yogi Bowl with Cashew Cilantro Dressing
By Jo Schaalman and Jules Peláez, Co-Founders of The Conscious Cleanse


We're now a week in - how's it going?! It’s estimated that over 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8% actually achieve their goals. With the odds stacked up against us, why do we keep doing this to ourselves?!

We’ve never been into the whole New Year’s resolution thing. Don’t get us wrong; the idea is lovely in theory—just like strict diet plans should work, in theory. Almost no one keeps a resolution or can stay on a strict diet plan forever. That’s no surprise. We all know resolutions don’t stick. So why do we choose to set ourselves up, at the beginning of every year, for failure?

New Year’s resolutions are usually made with the best of intentions. Most of us want to improve our lives, feel better in our bodies, connect more to our loved ones, and so on. But unless we create a plan to put our resolutions into daily practice, they become little more than a wish list.

At the Conscious Cleanse we like to focus on doing small things that, in the long run, add up to big change if practiced consistently over a period of time.

So we’d like to suggest a paradigm shift for 2017. Instead of focusing on resolutions and lofty goals, consider one thing that you can do every single day to nourish yourself.  
  • Take a hot Epsom salt bath before dinner
  • Do 10 minutes of yoga before you shower
  • Drink a green smoothie as a snack 
  • Meditate for 5 minutes upon waking 
  • Go for a walk outside at lunchtime 

One of our favorite ways to nourish our bodies on a daily basis is by adding more veggies into our diet. Sounds simple enough, right? We have lots of tricks up our sleeves for how we do this, but today we’re sharing just one of our more popular recipes.

The Yogi Bowl with Cashew Cilantro Dressing


One-bowl meals, or Buddha Bowls, are an awesome way to incorporate a large variety of veggies into your daily routine. We’re giving this one a new spin by calling it a Yogi Bowl, because after you eat all of this goodness you will feel the same yoga bliss that you would after a juicy yoga class.
Loaded with carrots, bok choy, snow peas, mushrooms, and avocado, feel free to change up the roster to use up what you have floating around in your refrigerator.

Our Cashew Cilantro Dressing is one of our favorite go-to vegan, non-dairy, “creams.” It’s made by soaking cashews overnight, adding cilantro, lime, and some spices before giving it a whirl in the blender until creamy and smooth.  It adds a nice pop to the bowl and is completely plant-based.

How are you planning to nourish yourself in the new year? We’d love to hear from you, so please leave us a comment below or let’s connect on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

With lots of yogi nectar,

Jo and Jules

Yogi Bowl with Cashew Cilantro Dressing

Serving: 3 bowls

Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup black forbidden rice (found in the rice section of your local Whole Foods)
  • 3 carrots, chopped into 1” pieces
  • 2 cups snow peas
  • 2 small heads baby bok choy, chopped into 1-2” pieces
  • 1 TB. coconut oil
  • 2 cups crimini or shitake mushrooms, cut in half
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  • ½ avocado, peeled and sliced thinly + 2 TB. for dressing
  • ¾ cup cashews, raw, soaked in 2 cups water overnight, drained
  • Juice of 1 large lime, fresh
  • 2 cloves garlic, large
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ½ cup water

Instructions:
In a medium saucepan, bring water, salt, and forbidden rice to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 25 minutes or until water has evaporated and rice is soft. Turn heat off and let stand covered for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put ½ cup of water into a pot with a steaming basket and bring to a boil. Place carrots and snow peas in steamer basket, cover and steam for 5-7 minutes. Finish by steaming the bok choy for 2 minutes the same way.

In a skillet on medium heat add coconut oil and wait until melted and glossy. Add mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes or until seared on each side. Season with sea salt to taste.
To make the Cashew Cilantro Dressing place the 2 tablespoons of avocado, soaked and drained cashews, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, garlic powder, sea salt, and water in a blender. Puree the mixture until smooth. Add more water as needed to get things moving in the blender and to get your preferred consistency.

To assemble the bowl place 1 cup forbidden rice on the bottom of a large bowl. Arrange the carrots, bok choy, snow peas, and mushrooms as you see fit over the rice. Place a few slices of avocado on top and the sesame seeds to garnish. Pour over a few tablespoons of the Cashew Cilantro Dressing. Enjoy!