Raw Food Cooking Class Review + Preparing for a Busy Fall Season

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a Raw foods “cooking” class. A small group of us met at a local kitchen to learn some techniques and recipe ideas from Dante, the owner of Sanctuary Kitchen.IMG_1820

I can not tell you enough, how much I enjoyed and learned from this class. Dante is very knowledgeable, interesting, and makes the class very fun and laid-back. He is an English teacher here in Okinawa, but originally from San Francisco. Whether you are vegan, a raw foodie, or just a foodie you will LOVE the experience of fresh, local ingredient-cooking with a group of friends.

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Dante imparts tons of local and nutritional knowledge throughout the class. Each month he features a menu of 3 recipes (raw, vegan, or macrobiotic), and hosts a class. He speaks fluent Japanese, so he offers a Japanese cooking class once a month too. His classes book up VERY quickly. If you “like” his facebook page, Santuary Kitchen you will get the notifications for the monthly class sign ups. In our case we missed the monthly class, so we took a  private group class. His prices are very reasonable, we paid $30 a person for the private 3 hour group lesson. I believe pricing for monthly classes is regularly between $20-$25. I am bummed I missed the sign up for this month. Dante will be teaching how to make 2 kinds of sushi and matcha & chocolate muffins. Yum:) Seriously check out his page, and if you are local sign up for a class or book a private. You will not be disappointed. I plan to do many more classes, and learn new techniques for food prepping from Dante.

Raw Pad Thai. Made with spiralized veggies.
Raw Pad Thai. Made with spiralized veggies.
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Dragon fruit smoothie bowl
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Chocolate Chia seed pudding.

I am now 9 weeks out from testing for the ACE Health Coach exam. EEEEK!!

Just when I felt like I was getting back to the blog, it is time for another hiatus.:( This one will be self-imposed. I have got to buckle down, put blinders on, and devote all of my spare minutes to studying. The test is November 6. I feel like it will be here in no time at all. I really want to pass the test on my first attempt, and would like to avoid retesting. The material is tough, but I am loving the challenge and the content. There is quite a bit of psychology covered, as well as nutrition, sports nutrition, and the obesity crisis. All of it fascinating. I actually love how challenging the material is, as I will be that much more proud to earn the distinction of ACE Health Coach.11922964_10207293675402275_3203277250928197165_o I am so excited to eventually work with clients, pairing my yoga+fitness+wellness lifestyle, to inspire and change others lives for the better. The ACE Health Coach program is currently the only one that is NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies) accredited. That is the same body that accredit certifications for pharmacists, nurse practitioners, registered dietitians and many other health professions. A degree in a related field, or PT or a Yoga Alliance cert is a prerequisite to sit for the test. It also just happens to be the only health coach program that a test is offered at the Education Center on base out here in Japan. When we move back to the states I hope to explore opportunities working at wellness centers and/or hospitals, in addition to working with private clients. The “paisleyolive” will grow right along with me, and continue as a recipe and wellness resource.

Other happenings…

We celebrated our 3 year anniversary with pancakes and a beach day this past weekend. It was a perfect day.

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Unfortunately our princess woke up so sick the next day. She’s had a terrible bug all week. No fun:( Bless her heart.

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Stephen and I are registered for the Chubu Trim, a local half marathon in November. Working hard to train for that. Will be my first half postpartum. Woohoo!!

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Meanwhile, my early bird  workout partner and I have made it through week 4 of Kayla’s Bikini Body Workout. We are both seeing results and enjoying the workouts. I am taking progress pics, and will share those on the blog, with a review at the end of the 12 week program. I am continuing to teach yoga regularly at the base gyms 3 days a week now. I adore my students and my practice has evolved so much with teaching.

In the next few months as I am studying and training for the half, I will try to squeak out a post or 2, but follow me on instagram and FB, Yoga By Laurie to see what I’m up to, or creating in the kitchen. I plan to still keep up with posting on social media.

Really hoping to at least get some of my pumpkin and Fall recipes out in a post, fingers crossed I will have a moment soon. Until the craziness of the next few months passes, think of me trucking along with my studies and miles. Already can’t wait to let  you know how it all goes. I’ll leave you with this beautiful Fall quote, from a childhood classic. (Huge fan of Ann of Green Gables as a little girl:). SO, SO ready for one of my favorite seasons.:)

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Eternal Sunshine “T-Tox”: 6 FREE Recipes

This is a MUST read, if you are interested in weight loss, detoxifying your liver, minimizing bodily inflammation, preventing cancer and a host of other diseases. ADD Turmeric to your diet. In this post I am going to lay out exactly how to do it, and keep it very simple. This is a piece I have been wanting to write now for several months, but had to get it just right, so that you too can be as passionate as I am about adding this golden goodness to your diet.

A little history…

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) and several other species of the curcuma genus grow wild in the forests of Southern Asia including India, Indonesia, Indochina, nearby Asian countries, and some Pacific Islands including Hawaii. All of these areas have traditional culinary and medicinal uses going back to pre-history.

In the Indian Ayurveda system of herbal medicine, turmeric is known as strengthening and warming to the whole body. Traditional uses in India include to improve digestion, to improve intestinal flora, to eliminate worms, to relieve gas, to cleanse and strengthen the liver and gallbladder, to normalize menstruation, for relief of arthritis and swelling, as a blood purifier, to warm and promote proper metabolism correcting both excesses and deficiencies, for local application on sprains, burns, cuts, bruises, insect bites and itches, for soothing action in cough and asthma, as antibacterial and anti-fungus, and in any condition of weakness or debility.

Turmeric is eaten as a food both raw and cooked throughout Asia. While turmeric root looks much like ginger root, it is less fibrous and is more chewable, crunchy, and succulent. The fresh root (not the powder) has a somewhat sweet and nutty favor mixed with its bitter flavor. As a result, it is not unpleasant to eat and not difficult to chew. (herbal legacy.com)

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So I’m sure you are thinking, ok awesome, but I don’t have time to prep 1 more thing in my day. Fret no more, the addition of turmeric can be done super easily. I like to think of regularly ingesting turmeric as like a 24/7 detox, but without following a detox plan… i.e. “T-toxing.”

Of course, within reason. I am not suggesting that eating a large pizza and then drinking turmeric tea will counter balance the effects of a poor diet. One detoxes to rid the body of toxins that accumulate not only from food but also from the environment, and stress. Toxins hangout in the bloodstream, liver, gallbladder, and nasal passages, among other places in the body. So adding turmeric into an already clean diet is a beautiful thing. Or taking this step as your first toward cleaning up your diet, you will not be disappointed. I’ve noticed my skin is much healthier, I feel much healthier overall, and I love the almost instant anti-inflammatory effects I feel when consuming turmeric. Still not convinced… check out, 5 more reasons you should be eating turmeric.

Living in Asia I have become more aware of turmeric, and curious about it’s benefits. In my recipes use either the powder form or the whole root, it doesn’t matter. The last time I was back home I actually saw whole turmeric root at in the produce aisle at Publix.

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“Ukon” the Japanese word for turmeric. Used as an extract for the skin as well. I add a few drops to my face cream.
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The tiny McCormack jar on the left is the kind of turmeric I’m familiar with seeing in the states. Next to the large bag and jar they sell here in Japan, makes me laugh because most of the time everything from the states is SUPERSIZED, apparently not turmeric. though:).

Infused Turmeric Water

(this is by far my favorite way to include turmeric into my diet)

  • 6 cups of water (separated)
  • fresh ginger root (I never measure, just roughly chop until I have a small handful)
  • ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup more/or less honey
  • 1-2 TBS turmeric powder or turmeric root

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You will need a cheesecloth, or reusable herb or tea bag. Put the turmeric powder into the teabag. Add the tea bag, chopped ginger, black pepper, and 2 of the cups of water to a saucepan. Bring everything a boil, turn down to simmer for 10 minutes. Let everything seep for at least an hour, or even overnight. Remove the teabag, and strain out the ginger, and pepper. Add the turmeric water to a jar or carafe, mix in 4 cups of fresh water, and the honey. I drink 2-3 of these jugs a week.

***To make “Golden Milk,” follow the above directions but use milk instead of water, and consume as a hot beverage.
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A warm cup of spicy golden milk, is perfect on a cool evening just before bed.
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Aside from drinking the infused turmeric water, I love afternoon cup of turmeric tea. My favorite herbal turmeric tea, is made by The Spice & Tea Exchange, with blends of ginger lemon grass too.
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Brew a cup of chai tea and add a TSP of turmeric and a pinch of pumpkin spice. Make it a latte with a little sweet cream. SO yummy!

Pineapple/Orange/Ginger/Carrot Turmeric Smoothie or Juice

I love the flavor of pineapple with turmeric.

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 small orange
  • thumb sized piece of ginger
  • 1 carrot peeled and chopped in half
  • 1-2 TSP of turmeric powder or blend in a thumb size piece of fresh turmeric

Add everything to the blender or juicer and enjoy. If juicing, add in the powdered turmeric at the end and stir.

Roasted Veggie and Pineapple Turmeric Soup

  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • kabocha squash chunks (frozen) or 1 large sweet potato
  • pineapple (optional)
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 large slices of fresh pineapple
  • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 1 TBS of grated ginger
  • 2 TSP Turmeric
  • 1 TSP Cayenne
  • 1 TSP curry powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1-4 cups water (you can decide desired consistency)

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Heat the oven to 425 F. Lay all of the veggies out on a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. I can easily get lots of kabocha squash in Japan, and sweet potato is impossible. So I went with the squash, as I often do when recipes call for sweet potato. This was my first time using frozen packages of the squash and it roasted perfectly. This squash is very tough to cut so the frozen bags are nice as they are already chopped in chunks for you. Roast the veggies for 30-40 minutes, checking and turning at the halfway point.

Remove the veggies and let them cool. Heat the ginger with a little oil in a stockpot, and add in the coconut milk. Continue stirring the milk, as you add in the spices. Keep the heat on low, as you wait for the veggies to cool. When they are cool enough to handle toss them in a blender or food processor and puree. Add the veggie puree to the coconut milk and spices. Heat through and add in as much or as little water into the soup as you would like. Stir in the cilantro and serve.

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Why Not Waffles

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With 2 Super Typhoons churning in the waters just off the coast of our tiny island, magic was in the air this weekend. I read how very rare it is for 2 super typhoons to actually occur at the same time, and thought this is going to be a magical unicorn kind of weekend. Next thought, hooray… a perfect opportunity to break in my new waffle iron, and crank out some of the recipes I’ve been dying to give a test run.

Typhoons+ waffle happiness, lemonade out of lemons, right?:)

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Putting an “X” through it…. the preferred way of saying “NO” in Japan.

The weekend actually began with a Saturday morning run across the street from our house, and down to the beach to check out the typhoon welcoming committee.

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When the local Japanese start packing up, you can be sure it is not a false alarm. They are very accustom to these type of storms, so when they consider a storm prediction serious enough to take down equipment, and board up signs and store fronts, it’s going to be the real deal.

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The storm was still two days out, and even now as I sit typing the winds are just starting to kick up, expecting the storm to peak later this afternoon. On Saturday, the pre-typhoon waves proved too enticing for the surfers to miss. And with the storm still a few days from making landfall, in theory, “safe” enough for the surfers to get out and enjoy riding the waves. Olive and I played it safest of all, and opted to stay on land, admiring them from our run, and a few yoga poses.

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As we headed back home to hunker down with waffles, we grabbed a quick coffee (for me) and a caramel shake (for Olive), from Zhyvago Coffee.

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Zhyvago is another new coffee cafe, and the Okinawan cafes are a HUGE weakness for me. The cafes in Okinawa are one of our absolute favorite things about living here. That is another post, for another day though.

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Back at home, and “typhooned in” for the weekend with Olive and a husband gone for work, what’s a girl to do??… naturally put 5 waffle recipes to the test. Oh SO excited to share these unique and mostly healthy variations.

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First of all, because I was making like a million waffles, my purpose was to test drive the flavor combinations, I opted for the following healthy mixes as the base for my batter in most of the waffles. 1) Nature’s Path, Organic: Flax Plus, Multigrain 2) Bruce’s Sweet Potato You could of course go even healthier with your own homemade batter.

1. Sweet Potato, White Cheddar & Sundried Tomato Waffle

Ahhhhhh this was SO yummy! Waffle perfection right out the gate. I followed the directions on the mix and grated in some white cheddar, 2 TBS of sun-dried tomato bruschetta (the sundried tomatoes have oil, so I omitted the extra oil per the package directions). I seasoned with some red pepper flakes, and garlic & onion powder. If I had jalapeños I would have made a white cheddar and jalapeno waffle too. Did I mention we live on an island? lol…and no peppers are to be had right now:(.

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The sweet potato, white cheddar & sun-dried tomato would make a great savory wrap, or let it get stale and make croutons. Watching your carbs, just eat 1 quadrant and top with an egg.

2. Cherry and Hibiscus Tea Waffle

A sweet and slightly tart waffle. Perfect eaten plain or with a little maple syrup. I had Olive in mind for this one. There is no caffeine in herbal hibiscus tea and I thought cherries or raspberries would enhance that sweet & sour flavor. I used the multigrain mix and subbed brewed tea for the water, added in a handful of chopped cherries, and a 1/2 TSP of vanilla. I think a chai tea waffle would be amazing to try too, maybe with some chopped walnuts. Next time.:)

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3. Chocolate Waffle with Almond Butter/Banana Yogurt Sauce

This could be great with either of the mixes. I used the multigrain, and simply added in 1/4 cup cocoa, and 1-2 TBS maple syrup. It was yummy just like this, but if you want to enhance this waffle and take it to the next level, try adding in a mashed banana, or chocolate chips, or chopped cocoa roasted almonds (Emerald brand). Add the sauce on top of the waffle, and any other toppings, mini chocolate chips or slice banana.

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  • 2 TBS almond butter
  • Yo baby banana yogurt 2TBS-1/4 cup (to desired thickness/taste)
  • 1-2 TBS kefir or milk, to thin the sauce
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Chocolate Waffle with Almond butter & banana yogurt sauce

4. Falafel Waffle

Seriously waffled falafel…such a good idea. You could probably use any falafel recipe.

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I used the following: 1 can mashed chickpeas (mash with a fork)/1 egg/1 TSP baking powder/1TBS oil/1 cup dried bread crumbs/2 TSP cumin/1 TSP lemon juice/and the following spices I didn’t really measure… but to taste, powdered garlic, powdered onion, dried parsley, cayenne pepper, and coriander.

I ordinarily use fresh onion, garlic, and parsley when I make falafel, or really any dish, but the waffle train had to keep chugging. I cranked these out with just dried herbs and I did use fresh lemon. The result was outstanding. Honestly, they are a side dish or thrown on top of a salad. If you’re short on time, don’t worry about sprinkling in some onion & garlic powder, and dried parsley instead of chopping fresh. I also used prepared breadcrumbs for the same reason. I prefer to pulse toasted Ezekiel bread for my bread crumbs. I loved the falafel like this, super simple.

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Perfect for a topping off a Greek salad, or super yummy plain.

5. Lemon Coconut Poppyseed Waffle

While the whole waffle experimenting was a lot of fun, my first and last waffle ended up being my very favorites of the bunch. The falafel is close though too. I happen to LOVE anything lemon flavored, and the addition of coconut only makes it better. I adapted this one from Made To Be a Momma.

To my multigrain mix I added 3 TSP poppy seeds/1.5 TBS Coconut oil/zest of 2 lemons/4 TBS fresh lemon juice/1 TSP coconut extract/and 3 TBS maple syrup.

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My little waffle taster:)

Any waffle making secrets you want to share? Please do:)

Back From a Blog Break+ a New Matcha Recipe

Oh hey, here I am:)… And with SO much to share. I have been missing the blog BADLY, lots of new and happy tidbits to share. So lets begin.

Finally, I got my big break teaching yoga at some of the base gyms. Thus the long hiatus from the blog. I’ve been teaching 3-5 times a week since the end of July. Absolutely LOVE this gig. It is challenging, rewarding, gratifying, fulfilling, pushes me to be a better teacher and a better student… basically everything a job should be. It offers lots of flexibility, pun intended:). I’ve taken a big bite out of this career pursuit, and decided to go EVEN bigger by adding health coach to my resume in the Fall. I am currently studying for, and testing (NOV. 2015) the ACE Health Coach exam, and so excited to earn this credential. The distinction of health coach will be a wonderful bridge between yoga, the blog, and my passion for wellness. I will also be getting certified as a group fitness instructor, early October. In the future I would love to offer  hybrid type classes: blending yoga, plyometrics, and various body weight movements. It would be such an incredible full body workout, but get ready to SWEAT. I can hardly wait:).

We are finally situated into our new home, after moving across town to another base. We love our neighbors and new location, Seriously, the government moved us for free across the street from a Starbucks, the best running route on island, and the beach… karma? I don’t know, but we can’t stop pinching ourselves.

Our precious Olive Kate turned one at the end of July. We had a blast throwing her an Alice and Wonderland themed party in our new house.

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We have a few trips in the works for the next few months. Hong Kong for Thanksgiving, and Bali in December. In between moving, party planning, teaching, working out, studying, and travel planning we squeeezed in some local fun too.

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Hello Kitty in Wonderland, funhouse.

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Mother Coffee, a new favorite coffee spot and cafe.

As I focus more and more on my own practice, and as Olive grows, gone are the days of running on hours on end. Sigh, yes that is fun for me, lol.

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I will always be a runner, but I am not nearly as focused on running as I once was. I try to get in a run when I can (1-3 times a week), but with the stroller it is a completley different workout.

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Workouts more like this, these days… More bang for your buck. 270 stairs, up & down 4xs!! Sore for a week straight.

I do alot more walking when I take the stroller. Which is fine, but I definitely miss my daily 5-10 mile runs. In addition to my yoga practice I have a new workout routine and faithful workout partner. We are tackling Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body 12 week program. I will write more on how that is going as we progress through the weeks.

I’ll leave you with a quick recipe share. Treats for my yoga students, because I love them so much:). The green super tea is making my day yet again. #matchalove

Matcha Energy Truffles with Okinawa Sea Salt     (adapted from beach body)

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  • 1/2 cup almonds or cashews
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 TBS matcha powder (extra for rolling)
  • 1 TSP vanilla extract
  • 3 TSP maple syrup or honey (to taste)
  • a pinch of sea salt

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, blend until smooth. With the palms of your hand, roll into bite size balls. Sprinkle or roll with extra matcha. Store in the fridge.

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Green is the New Black

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Yes, I’m writing about matcha again…

Ice cream in the summertime hardly needs an explanation. So in the midst of unpacking from a move, new yoga teaching jobs, and with a hundred other things I should be doing I played in the kitchen instead… naturally.

Wanting to make good on that ice cream craving I set out to concoct some “nice-cream.” For the nice cream base I used 4-5 frozen bananas, a TSP of vanilla extract, and a can of coconut milk.

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With my new spirulina (from Organic Burst) in hand, I had a vision of something green and minty. I reached for the matcha next, because blue-green algae isn’t bright enough right? Oh and because I just LOVE matcha anything, give me a reason to use it.:)

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Now only by adding in some chocolate could make this any more perfect. I didn’t have any fresh mint on hand, so I decided to add the extract to the chocolate drizzle, as oppose to the nice-cream base. I wanted the base to take on more of the matcha flavor. And just like that I had a super simple, SUPER food, delicious, and energizing creation. It gave me the motivation I needed to unpack a few more boxes before calling it a night.

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Matcha & Spirulina Mint “Nice Cream” with Chocolate Drizzle

Nice Cream Ingredients

  • 4-5 frozen bananas
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 TSP vanilla extract
  • 3-4 TSP matcha powder
  • 1 TSP spirulina powder (optional)
  • a few squirts of honey, to taste

The Chocolate Drizzle

  • 2 TBS Cocoa Powder
  • 1 TBS coconut oil (melted)
  • 3 TBS honey
  • 1/2 TSP mint extract (or add and blend in fresh mint to the ice cream base)

Directions:

Add all of the nice cream ingredients into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Seperately, in a Pyrex dish or glass bowl combine the chocolate drizzle ingredients.

I used a small stoneware dish as the container for my nice cream (but a bread pan works nicely too). Layer the nice cream and the chocolate drizzle into your container. Cover and freeze.

Dancing in the Rain, Tokyo Trip for the 4th

1017346_10201381588403795_1311109001_nMy goodness, I didn’t think we were ever going to dry off. It rained, and rained, and rained every single day in Tokyo lol. It truly didn’t spoil our time one bit. We came prepared with rain jackets and umbrellas. I was even able to pair sight seeing with working out on a few days. Here are some of the highlights from our trip.

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Friday:

  • Harajuku, just a quick glimpse of this fun neighborhood. We were there in the daytime so we didn’t see any of the “harajuku girls.”
  • Kiddyland a toy store with 4 floors, not to be missed!
  • Ice Monster, shaved ice mountains with fruit. We only passed by this popular spot. There was a line out the door in the rain. I love these ice mountain desserts that are so popular in Asia. Made me nostalgic for last summer’s Taipei trip.
  • Mejii Shrine A gorgeous walk to this iconic Tokyo tourist spot. Tall trees create a tunnel-like walkway, and the shrine is bordered by Yoyogi Park.
  • Depachika (aka basement food emporium) in the Isetan Dept. Store Seeking refuge from the rain, we wandered in here for hours sampling the food items. IMG_0413I love these basement food emporiums, that display food in glass cases like jewelry counters. Here is an article on the top depachikas in Tokyo.

Saturday:

  • Imperial Palace Perimeter I had a cab drop Olive & I (and the stroller) at this gorgeous spot for a run on Saturday morning. We did the perimeter twice for 6 miles, and then at 9:00AM the gardens opened and we did another 2 miles inside the gardens.
  • Palace Gardens East These grounds are open to the public from 9AM. Stunning gardens and a Koi fish pond.

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  • Tokyo Toy Museum If you are traveling with children or babies do not miss this museum. It is incredible. There are 3 floors of hands on activities. Most everything is made of wooden toys…. wooden ball pits, there is a wooden treehouse, and a room for infants only. Museum workers are also interacting with the children as they play. Olive loved it here.

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  • Hello Kitty Store in Shinjuku There are many Hello Kitty shops in Tokyo. The claim to fame of this one is having the largest Hello Kitty monument. Photo op, obviously.

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Sunday:

  • LegoLand Awesome place for kids to run around and create. LegoLand, Tokyo. I loved seeing the Lego version of Tokyo and a Lego sumo match display too.

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  • Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku Made famous on Anthony Bourdain’s Tokyo show. This is really a show, and not so much a restaurant at all. It is kind of an explosion of Japanese pop culture. Not quite sure how to describe it. I will attempt… so there are lots of tech-y lights & screens, and flashy outfits, singing, and then the giant pandas and robots come out and fight. It is fascinating and something different/very unusual. I think older kids would love it. It is a little loud for babies and young kids. They serve a bento box, but I do not recommend eating here. We went for sushi afterwards.

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Monday:

  • Hot Yoga in Shibuya I met up with my friend and fellow yogi (we did our teacher training together), Maya.

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She took me to a practice at Natural Breath Studio. This was a beautiful studio in the busy neighborhood of Shibuya. I had fun taking a class that was in ALL Japanese. The language of yoga is definitely universal.

  • Ayurveda Lunch Spot After class, Maya and I headed up the street to Ayurda, an ayurvedic cafe. It was so fun ordering based on our doshas. The food was yummy too.

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Tuesday:

  • Tsujuki Fish Market We didn’t make it to the famous 4AM tuna auction, but we found the market to be bustling and thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless. IMG_0620

As we walked we sampled the street food: grilled squid skewers, fish cakes, sweet mochi, raw oysters.
There was also shopping to be had. We finally found the perfect Japanese kitchen knife, handmade. I got some flavored green tea, and a beautiful pottery dish.

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Tokyo is just a quick 2.5 hour flight for us. I hope we will have another opportunity to visit before we leave Japan. It is the perfect weekend get-away.

The Un-Breakfast, Exploring the MidMorning Meal

My witching hour is between 5-6AM. I relish the still and quiet of the morning time. My morning ritual, for years now consists of a glass of water and then heaven is found in 1-2 cups of coffee. Lately I have been enjoying my coffee from my yoga mat. I’m a busy multitasking mom:). IMG_0164 Those minutes alone are precious in the mornings. I have set a goal to begin my days with 10 rounds of surya namaskar, aka sun salutations. The combo of coffee and sun salutations are fulfilling, and an exquisite way to awaken. Even on the days when I don’t feel like moving my body at all, something magical happens on that mat. I can truly feel my fascia melting away as my body becomes more and more limber, and ready for the day. It is the perfect primer to my pratice or morning run.

Oddly enough, early riser I am, breakfast eater I am not. I know this conjurs strong emotions from “the breakfast is the most important meal of the day” camp, but just hear me out. I just do not ever wake up and feel like anything more than my coffee. Most likely due to so many years now of getting up for morning runs, and puting off eating anything until after I had logged my miles. FYI there is growing research that suggests breakfast is not all it is hyped up to be. Just do a google search of “breakfast not as important as you think.” Artcles from Forbes to Mercola pop up. I say it is personal. As an adult you know when it feels right for your body to break that night time fast.

I opt for a midmorning meal around 10:30 or 11:00. I get on “kicks” where I eat the same thing every day for a period of time. Right now I’m in my acai phase.

Acai (pronounced ah-sai-ee) bowls are 1 of my most favorite snacks/meals. I’ve been playing around with different combos and the “cherry bomb” acai bowl is my favorite creation yet. Super excited to share this simple blender recipe.

If you are not familiar with acai, they are the dark purple berries of the acai palm trees, which are mostly grown in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest. The acai berry is full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. You can read more about the health benefits of acai here. Now an acai bowl is like a thick smoothie in a bowl topped with any assortment of oats, nuts, fruit, or seeds. The most challenging part of making the bowl is getting the texture right. You want it thick almost like soft serve ice cream consistency. I tried many different combos working to get the bowl just right, and out of all my attempts this was the best taste and texture. The cherries and banana add enough sweetness, that no honey is even necessary. Acai is not particularly sweet on its own. IMG_0716

Cherry Bomb Acai Bowl

Bowl Ingredients:

  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2-1 cup frozen pitted cherries
  • 1 pack frozen acai***
  • 1-2 TBS kefir or plain yogurt (start with 1 TBS)

***Sidenote: Most grocery stores in the states sell the frozen acai packs. Here in Okinawa I buy them at SanA and Kaldi Coffee. Toppings (some of my faves):

  • sliced banana
  • berries
  • chia or flax seeds
  • shredded coconut
  • dried fruit
  • oats, muesli, or granola
  • cacao powder or nibs

1) Add the first 3 ingredients to the blender or food processor. FullSizeRender You will want to use a sturdy blender. We have a vita mix, and that works like a charm. Throw everything in and start blending it. I use the stick that comes with the vitamix to push everything along.

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2) When it looks broken down as much as can be slowly add in 1 TBS of kefir or yogurt. If it is still way to thick add in the next TBS. When it is the consistency or a little thicker than soft serve ice cream pour the mixture into a bowl.

3) Top your bowl with whatever you like. I always slice the other half of the banana and then the possibilities are endless. I also like to pour a little more kefir on top of mine too.

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This came in my June Buddhi Box. I used it as a topping to my acai bowl. Eaten plain, with a little water and kefir it is a delicious cereal bowl all on it’s own. I loved this Vigilant Eats cereal so much I ordered more. It is another fast, super filling, healthy mid day meal option for me. They come in a variety of Superfood, gluten free, low glycemic flavors. Check them out here.

On the days that I eat one of these acai bowls I am full right up until dinner time. I might have another light snack like a piece of fruit or an egg, but seriously it is that filling.

What is your favorite way to make an acai bowl?