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3 Healing Slow Cooker Recipes to Rebalance and Detox

Use your slow cooker to load up on antioxidant- and nutrient-rich meals from chef and holistic health coach Jennifer Iserloh.

I find cooking to be a soulful, meaningful practice, but that doesn’t mean I always want to spend hours in the kitchen just to enjoy a wholesome meal. Using a slow cooker is one of the best ways to enjoy more delicious, healthy foods with minimal effort. I love to pop ingredients into my slow cooker and then go run an errand or spend an hour on my yoga mat, knowing that I’ll return to an amazing, nutrient-dense meal.

One of the first dishes that I made in a slow cooker with my Granny when I was a kid was stuffed cabbage. We had plans to go shopping and couldn’t stay home to watch a pot bubbling on the stove. I still love this family recipe, as well as slow-cooker classics like chili or stew, but I’ve since expanded my repertoire to include creative meal ideas with unexpected ingredients like fruit or green tea. For my new book, I wanted to give people a fresh, inspired way to think about their slow cookers.

These meals are not only flavorful and antioxidant rich, but they are also adaptogenic, meaning they use ingredients from a special class of plants that are considered immune-modulating. Adaptogens also encourage homeostasis, or internal balance, in your body. The more I learn about adaptogens found in mushrooms, goji berries, and a whole suite of other foods, the more I want to cook with them in creative, tasty ways.

Use the recipes on these pages to preserve the nutrients in whole foods (a slow-cooker specialty), load up on medicinal ingredients, and help bring your body back into balance. For best results, put the ingredients into your slow cooker and then spend some time on your meditation cushion or yoga
mat before you eat.

See also Elena Brower’s Go-To Recipe for Nourishing Comfort Food

From The Healing Slow Cooker: Lower Stress, Improve Gut Health, Decrease Inflammation by Jennifer Iserloh

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“What It’s Like to Be a Vegan AF Yoga Teacher—& Latin”

Yoga teacher Rina Jakubowicz shares her experience making lifestyle choices not understood by her community and offers some tips for owning them.

I’m a Latin woman. I am vegan. And teaching yoga is my full-time career and lifestyle. I’m an anomaly to my culture, yet I fully embrace it—I am uniquely me!

How I’ve Explained Yoga Culture to My Latin Community

It was challenging to convince my family and community that choosing yoga as a lifestyle and full-time profession was a smart move; both financially and spiritually. But once they saw my professionalism, success, and self-sufficiency they started to take it seriously too. 

Generally, Hispanics love their church, and it’s their spiritual place of God. So it’s not surprising that I had a few confrontations with people who made claims that yoga was satan’s work. I didn’t try to convince them otherwise. All I said was that yoga wasn’t a religion and that it was good for their bodies. I never try to change people’s minds about yoga especially when they are passionate about their beliefs—right or wrong. 

My immediate family and friends aren’t religious, though. I never went to church and personally always had a hard time believing in God. When I first started yoga, my mat became my spiritual place and through the years, I learned that my place of God is not a place at all but lies within me.

I absolutely love being Hispanic. I love our culture with its music, dancing, passion, and of course, its focus on family. One part I don’t love is the food—mostly because it’s so animal-driven. Between the Cuban “Caja China” and the Argentinian asados, I’m all meated-out. Growing up it felt as if food wasn’t food without having some animal involved. The main phrase thrown around was “eso es lo que se come” meaning “that’s what we eat.” No one paused to think about what and why they were eating it.

See also 10 Myths About Yogis

Why I Decided to Become a Vegan

I was vegetarian for seven years before I became a vegan in 2013. I saw how my decision to eat meat and dairy supported a brutal act of violence toward animals and my conscience couldn’t live with that anymore. I had to admit that my habits were fully selfish (a 3-second enjoyment of taste on my tongue) and able to be changed if I had the will to change them. It was an ethical and empowering decision for me.

A great side effect to becoming vegan was that I lost some weight and my body feels healthier. I have more energy and better digestion—a win-win situation.

See also 21-Day Vegan Challenge

The Challenges I’ve Faced as a Misunderstood Vegan 

My culturally untraditional choices have made it difficult for my family and friends to understand me. And although many accept me for who I am, lack of education on veganism has created some funny challenges along the way.

Like the first time my husband (also vegan) and I ate at my parent’s house after I made the switch, my mom placed a full block of plain tofu on a plate in the center of the table. I asked her, “What is this?” “Tofu!” she said proudly, thinking tofu was eaten like cheese—as is, instead of with spices and sauces. We all had a nice laugh.

When I go to restaurants with my family, the conversation quickly turns to, “So what are you going to eat Rina?” I usually tell them not to worry, that I’ll figure it out. Unfortunately, they do worry and stress about it. I only get stressed that they are stressed for no reason! Because going out to dinner with them has a whole new flavor now, I have to make sure that we can bond on other matters besides our food choices.

And then there are holidays. My dad’s side of the family is Argentinean and Jewish and for traditional holidays we go to my aunt’s house for dinner. I was asked to call her in advance and explain what I could eat. I gave her some pointers but something got lost in translation and I was stuck with just potatoes because the vegetables were made with butter. After a few similar experiences visiting family and friends, I learned to make sure I eat prior to any dinner engagements.

Traveling, as a vegan is also hard, especially when I visit Central and South America where the choices are limited. My favorite comment when I say I don’t eat meat is, “So how about some fish?” I laugh and explain I don’t eat anything that has eyes or comes from something that has eyes. They usually have the follow up question of “but why would you do that to yourself?” Therefore, I tend to travel with snacks and vegan alternatives. I’m happy to see more vegan restaurants popping up in these areas, though.

These lifestyle decisions have kept me going on my path to self-realization. My conviction keeps me focused. I embrace my strong Hispanic cultural roots, as well as my roots as a compassionate, conscious being. I merge the two by teaching Spanish yoga classes and teacher trainings in Latin communities in order to show that we can connect on deeper grounds and share a bond that can go beyond what’s on our plates. 

See also Q&A with Bilingual Yoga Teacher Rina Jakubowicz

4 Tips for Owning Your Veganism

1. Eat and let eat.

Owning your veganism means you don’t need to make anyone else own it. Your action is enough. Don’t preach it to others. If they ask you questions, only give minimal information and let them explore more on their own. Just suggest a few movies to watch and they will see why you became vegan (Cowspiracy, Earthlings, Vegucated, etc.). Vegans have a bad rep already from angry vegans imposing their “superior” beliefs on nonvegans. Those vegans are not acting vegan at all because they are violent toward humans who happen to eat differently from them. Us, happy and friendly vegans need to show that not all vegans are crazy, opinionated, annoying eaters. Otherwise, we won’t be invited to meals anymore. As yogis, we live and let live—and eat and let eat. If you can adopt this philosophy, you’ll show your growth and people might be more intrigued by veganism through your example.

2. Plan ahead.

Check menus prior to going to restaurants with nonvegans in order to see what you can eat. As you already know, your choices will be slim but make the best of it. Call the restaurant in advance and ask if there’s a special vegan menu or options you hadn’t considered from the menu. That way when the waiter comes to you, you’re ready and don’t create an ordeal about it. In my experience, this is the moment the family goes, “Oh! What are you going to eat?” and add their own opinionated comments. This way, you beat ’em to the punch—nonviolently of course. If the restaurant doesn’t have anything you can eat, eat prior to going to the restaurant and engage in great conversation in order to stay connected.

See also 3 Buddha Bowl Recipes You’ll Be Posting to Instagram (They’re THAT Good)

3. Don’t break.

If you must break your veganism, do it consciously and only for good reason. Don’t let peer or family pressure sway you. The desire to break because I want to eat something tasty is no longer part of my vocabulary. Some legit reasons might include travel, health, and sometimes ignorance of the actual ingredients. Become informed and stick with your truth! 

4. Be informed.

Understand all the more hidden angles of being vegan like clothing, bedding, honey, car seats, palm oil, etc. Once you become aware of something being nonvegan, rise up, drop it, and find a vegan alternative. Nowadays, there are so many more options for us vegans. Let’s keep being part of the cure and not the cause!

See also Q+A: I’m Interested in Adopting a Vegan Diet. Where Do I Begin?

About Our Expert
Rina Jakubowicz is a world-renowned international bilingual yoga teacher of teachers, Reiki practitioner, motivational speaker, and author. Learn more at rinayoga.com and on Instagram @rinayoga

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Noah Mazé’s Favorite Holiday Recipe: Cream Scones with Lemon Curd

Yoga teacher Noah Mazé offers his favorite scone recipe to share with loved ones over the holiday.

Yoga teacher Noah Mazé, founder of Yogamazé yoga school in Los Angeles, shares his favorite scone recipe. Make a whole batch to share with loved ones over the holidays, or bake a few to enjoy now, and freeze the dough for later.

“I love these scones along with a cup of tea or coffee for brunch,” Mazé says. “They have a crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture, and the lemon curd adds just the right blend of sweet and tart flavors. The curd tastes best when chilled for a few hours, so I recommend making it a day prior to baking the scones.”

Cream Scones with Lemon Curd Recipe

Makes 24

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 eggs, divided
  • 2½ sticks cold butter (10 oz), divided
  • 1¼ cups sugar, divided
  • ½ cup lemon juice and 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1 pint heavy cream (I use heavy whipping cream)
  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a bowl, whisk 3 eggs.
  2. In a heatproof mixing bowl, add 1 stick butter, 1 cup sugar, lemon juice, and zest. Gently simmer water in a double boiler or a saucepan. Place bowl over water (not touching water); stir until butter melts. Add whisked eggs slowly to mixture, whisking until curd is creamy and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 8–10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for an hour, stirring occasionally. Pour into a jar and refrigerate until ready to use. Serve lemon curd cold to accompany warm scones.
  3. Heat oven to 425°.
  4. In another bowl, combine flour, remaining ¼ cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cube remaining 1½ sticks butter and add to bowl. Use a pastry blender to cut butter into dry ingredients until butter is the size of peas. Stir in currants. Add cream and cut it in with the pastry blender, then knead dough gently until it all holds together (do not overmix). Spread dough out onto a clean counter, press it all together, and divide into three balls. Shape each ball into a disc, about 1.5 inches thick. In a second bowl, whisk remaining egg. Brush each disc with egg and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Cut each disc into eight triangular pieces (like you would cut a pie).
  5. Bake on an ungreased, double-bottomed cookie sheet until springy to the touch and lightly browned on the bottom, 18–20 minutes (or freeze dough for up to 6 months). Place scones on wire racks to cool, 5 minutes. The scones are best when eaten fresh, but can keep for 2 days at room temperature.

NUTRITIONAL INFO 307 calories per serving, 18 g fat (11 g saturated), 33 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein, 180 mg sodium

See also Elena Brower’s Go-To Recipe for Nourishing Comfort Food

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The Yogi’s Guide to (Getting Closer to) a Zero-Waste Kitchen

Still throwing away food despite your best intentions? Chefs and dietitians share their tips to help you get closer to a zero-waste kitchen and bring new life to those leftovers, food scraps, and stems.

There ought to be a specific word to describe the feeling of throwing out perfectly good food that still has prana, or life force—you know, the leftover rice from Indian takeout, the broccoli stalks your kid won’t eat, those egg yolks when the recipe only called for whites. It’s a combination of regret, guilt, and ultimately surrender, because really, what are you going to do with a handful of veggie stems?

“We’ve gotten used to using only the ‘best’ parts of our produce and meat, and tossing the ugly parts,” says New York City chef Eddie McNamara, author of the vegetarian cookbook Toss Your Own Salad. We’re also up against modern food production and marketing methods, which have moved us unconsciously toward overbuying and wasting, and away from the wise methods our grandmothers used for stretching a pantry—and a dollar. In fact, up to 40 percent of food in the US gets thrown away, and food waste is the single largest type of trash going into municipal landfills, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile, 49 million US households struggle with food insecurity. The dissonance that comes from wasting sustenance is tragic.

The good news: Implementing a few simple strategies at home can help you eat more consciously and make good (and tasty) use of things that would otherwise end up in the trash or compost. “Food is precious, whether it’s been raised, grown, or foraged—and part of living consciously is using all of it,” says yogi chef Louisa Shafia, co-founder of Magpie Cookshop, a line of eco-friendly kitchen products. “There’s a feeling of deep satisfaction when you find a way to make stray ingredients or leftovers into something delicious and nourishing. It’s a way of practicing ahimsa, or non-harming, toward the earth.” Read on for easy ways to preserve food and transform your scraps into delicious meals.

See also 4 Steps to Start Composting + Reducing Waste

9 Ways to Give Leftovers a New

Got any of these things hanging around? Whip up a new dish with a few strategic additions.

4 Waste-Wise Choices to Make at the Store

1. Use the bulk aisles and salad bar to your advantage

Be sure to read your recipes before you shop and make a detailed list to remove the guesswork, says Sara Haas, RDN, a culinary dietitian in Chicago. For example, if a stew or soup recipe calls for a small amount of seeds or grains, such as sunflower seeds or barley, use the bulk section to measure out only what’s needed instead of just buying large bags. Or, if you need five olives for a recipe and no one in your household devours them, don’t buy an entire jar! A handful from the salad bar will do the trick, says Amy Gorin, RDN, a dietitian in Jersey City, New Jersey.

2. Shop small

Try to buy only for the week ahead, says chef Eddie McNamara, which may mean eschewing a larger portion that is on sale. Just because you can get 10 bottles of salad dressing for the price of five doesn’t mean you should. Odds are low that you’ll use it all before the expiration date.  

3. Buy pulses for your pantry

Keep lentils, chickpeas, and dry peas on hand to jazz up your leftovers. And try stashing a jar of minced garlic in the fridge to add flavor to those legumes in a flash (it also cuts down on food waste—how often have you bought a head of garlic and just used one or two cloves?).

4. Give ugly a chance

Sellers typically toss “irregular” produce that’s perfectly fine but doesn’t look ideal, assuming buyers want picture-perfect items. Thankfully, some stores now have a special section for ugly fruits and veggies that taste the same as the pretty stuff and cost less too, says chef Josh Tomson, executive chef at The Lodge at Woodloch in Hawley, Pennsylvania.

See also 5 Tips to Reduce Food Waste

3 Waste-Wise Things You Can Do at Home

1. Prep veggies for the freezer

Late-summer bumper crops like tomatoes and bell peppers best retain flavor when they are roasted before they are frozen. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast at 400° until skin is charred, 30 minutes; then freeze. Zucchini keeps well when it’s sliced into rounds, blanched in salty boiling water for 2 minutes, and then shocked in ice water and dried before freezing. Green beans, snap peas, and wax beans do well when frozen raw; just remove the ends, snap in half, and freeze. 

2. Save scraps for soups

Freeze parts of food that are typically trimmed and tossed, like mushroom stems or eggplant tops, in a zip-top freezer bag, says Gorin. When you’ve collected quite a bit, make a vegetable broth: simmer veggie scraps in a pot of water for 2 hours; remove and strain the liquid. If you’re not going to enjoy it right away, freeze the extra broth in ice cube trays, then pop the cubes into small freezer bags for storage.

3. Grow your own herbs

Create a little herb garden in a sunny windowsill for recipes that require only a sprig of favorites like basil or thyme, says New York City chef Gabe Kennedy, winner of ABC’s The Taste. It’s gorgeous, fragrant, and allows you to trim only what you need. 

See also Gardening 101: Plant Your Own Gourmet Garden

4 Recipes That Transform Scraps Into Supper

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3 Delicious Dips to Serve Vegetarian, Pescatarian, or Vegan Guests

Assemble an appetizer platter with creative dips and crudités that go way beyond ranch and carrot sticks.

Vegetarian Green Goddess Tzatziki Dip

Serves 3

Greek yogurt replaces sour cream in this classic Greek dip (delivering nearly triple the protein) while fresh herbs lend bright flavor without added calories. The result: a light and tangy dip that’s surprisingly satiating.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Persian cucumber, peeled
and shredded

¼ tsp salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tbsp fresh dill, minced

1 tbsp fresh mint, minced

1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced,
plus 1/8 tsp for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a colander, toss cucumber with salt, and let sit, 15 minutes. Gently squeeze cucumber with your hands to remove excess water. In a bowl, combine cucumber, garlic, yogurt, dill, mint, and parsley; stir to combine. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, or cover and store in the fridge
for up to 5 days.

Pair with radishes, baby carrots, pear, green apple, endive, snap peas, cucumber, napa cabbage, or plantain chips

NUTRITIONAL INFO 86 calories per serving, 4 g fat (3 g saturated), 6 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 7 g protein, 237 mg sodium

See also Indian Spinach Dip

Pescatarian Smoky Red Pepper Dip

Serves 3

Chipotle peppers and anchovies add umami flavor for heartiness with a hint of comfort in this savory spin on romesco sauce.

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup almonds

1 cup roasted red bell peppers, drained

2 chipotle chilies in adobo, plus 1 tbsp adobo

1 tbsp anchovy paste (or 4 anchovy fillets)

1 tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp grated Parmesan, optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

Pulse almonds in a food processor until finely chopped. Add bell peppers, chilies, adobo, anchovy paste, smoked paprika, and Worcestershire sauce, and process until smooth. Add olive oil slowly and in batches, pulsing until blended. Serve immediately, garnished with Parmesan (if desired), or cover and chill for up to a week.

Pair with assorted roasted vegetables (rainbow carrots, fennel bulbs, turnips, rutabaga, fingerling potatoes, broccolini, asparagus, cauliflower), sweet potato fries, or tortilla chips

NUTRITIONAL INFO 229 calories per serving, 20 g fat
(2 g saturated), 8 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 7 g protein, 461 mg sodium

See also Fava Bean Dip

Vegan Creamy Cashew-Turmeric Dip

Serves 3

Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radicals and disease. Adding black pepper and olive oil boosts curcumin’s bioavailability by as much as 2,000 percent.

INGREDIENTS:

¾ cup raw cashews

3 garlic cloves

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1½ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided

¼ tsp salt

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

2 tsp olive oil, divided

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a bowl, cover cashews with water and let
soak at least 2 hours. Drain and rinse thoroughly.
In a food processor, pulse garlic until chopped.
Add cashews, nutritional yeast, turmeric, ¼ tsp black pepper, salt, lemon juice, 1 tsp oil, and 3 tbsp water, and process until very smooth (add more water or oil if needed). Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with remaining ¼ tsp black pepper and 1 tsp oil.

Pair with cauliflower, broccoli, bell pepper, jicama, purple carrots, raw fennel, blanched green beans, veggie chips, pita chips, or whole-grain crackers

NUTRITIONAL INFO  234 calories per serving, 19 g fat (3 g saturated), 14 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 7 g protein, 280 mg sodium

See also Vegan Challenge Recipe: Corn Grits with Greens and Sesame Seeds

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