Archive | June, 2012

Superior Catholic Finger, redux

6 Jun

I’m sitting at my doctor’s office waiting to find out if I need to go to the hospital to get IV antibiotics for this crazy raging infection in my right index finger. It just popped up over night out of nowhere…typing wronghanded is weird, but calming. No yoga for me for 3 days in a row. Hate it! In the future, I will not take for granted the gift of being able to step on the mat and practice. Looking forward to the moment when I can…
In the meantime, deep breathing, lots of rest and acceptance of this very shitty moment…not going to even front like it’s enjoyable. I accept that it sucks! And I’m very grateful I have access to antibiotics and medical care. Very, very grateful…

UPDATE:

Well, I just got out of the hospital a few days ago. They admitted me Wednesday and I was discharged late Friday night. Had to have IV antibiotics (AKA Napalm) because I had a crazy MRSA infection in the finger I had surgery on in 2011. I would post a picture, but it’s just too damn gross even for me, Morbid Medical Girl.  Apparently, the surgeon left a suture inside my finger by accident. My body formed a granuloma around it and is trying to push it out of my body and it got badly infected during this process. Typing one-handed and feeling very, very frustrated. Not feeling well at all–the antibiotics are kicking my ass. No Ashtanga practice or any exercise at all for a week now. Pretty much bed bound. Trying to accept it all and not let it get me down. It’s hard not to be super-reactive right now about this. I am a control freak and the worst patient EVER.  I screamed at one of the nurses because they wouldn’t give me coffee–had to have it smuggled in by my friends! I know I wasn’t *that* mad about the coffee, I was just mad about the whole damn clusterfuck that is my right index finger. Made amends to the nurse right away, but man, I was cranky. At least I am well enough to blog about it and laugh at myself a little. And at least my finger and hand are still attached to my body–the infection was starting to spread up my arm!

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Spam Haikus

5 Jun

Blogging is so freakin’ weird. Where do all of these spam comments come from? And why? Why the strange chains of words? I could stare at them for hours, puzzled. Are computers talking to me, or is the hand of a human behind this somehow? I think I’ve had way too much coffee today. I think I might be on cup number 7. Damn you, Sunflower Market Hazelnut Creme/Vanilla Latte! You are way too cheap and too easy to drink. For your reading pleasure (or maybe displeasure), haikus comprised entirely of random, nonsensical words from my spam comments.

Spam Haiku 1: Ode to Microbiology

Spiteful threatened Staph

Methlicillin resistant

Enumerated

Spam Haiku 2: Class Action Drive-By Shooting

Defies pellet gun

Scopalamine dangers grow

Brain damage law firm

Spam Haiku 3: You’re Fired

Life’s ugly truth tests

Donald Trump’s delusion song

Republican scheme

A Dozen Engine 2 Compliant Condiments

3 Jun

This is another one that goes out to my friends who are curious about the whole plant-based cooking thing!

Have you ever been over to a single guy’s house and seen the “only-thing-in-the-fridge-is-ketchup-and-hot-sauce” phenomenon? Never underestimate the power of condiments—they can make or break a meal! Condiments are necessary companions on my plant-based cooking journey. These are a few of my favorites; some require preparation and some you can buy at your local health food store or Whole Foods Market.

1. Vegi Delite Zing  Salad Sauerkraut: a mysteriously good topping for a number of different dishes. The sourness offsets saltiness or sweetness. Plus, it’s a beautiful color and it’s great for your GI tract.

2. Organicville Sauces: agave sweetened, oil-free and really good. I love the Original BBQ and the Teriyaki. Making your own sauces is always preferable, but not always feasible when you are crunched for time or just starting out.

3. Cock Sauce, er, Sriracha. You know you love it.Yeah, it may not be the “healthiest” thing, but sometimes it just makes a huge plate of greens and millet so much more palatable.

4. Annie’s Horseradish Mustard: transforms even the most meh sandwich into pure awesomeness.

5. Whole Foods Market HSH Dressings: I especially like the Tangerine and Balsamic Fig. Kind of severely sweet sometimes, but I really like combining them with nut-based salad dressings to dampen them down a little bit.

6. Food For Lover’s Vegan Queso and Nacho Mom’s Vegan Queso: the Universal Solvents. Nacho Mom’s does make a gluten-free option as well if you have problems with wheat and/or gluten. I’ve also written about these guys in my post on vegan cheese.

7. Fat Free Vegan Kitchen’s  Oil-Free Vegan Ranch Dressing: I lived in Texas. I LOVE ranch dressing. Admittedly, the Follow Your Heart High Omega 3 Vegan Ranch is made of awesome, but what’s a non-oil eating E2’r to do? Make your own, son! Fat Free Vegan Kitchen has a wealth of excellent recipes—I definitely recommend checking it out ASAP. This is definitely one of my faves–recipe in the link that follows:

http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2012/01/hidden-cashew-ranch-dressing-plus-tips-for-eating-salads-when-you-really-dont-want-to.html

8. Happy Herbivore’s Vegan No Oil Mayo, cuz Fat Free Nasoya tastes like depressing snot (Sorry Nasoya, I love you guys!). The recipe is not posted on her website, but you should just bite the damn bullet already and get the cookbook. DO IT! Here’s a link to one of the recipes that is my all time favorite in her book—Mock Tuna Salad! Even my hard core omnivorous, very fussy boss and President of my company likes this stuff. He was shocked that it was vegan:

Happy Herbivore’s Mock Tuna…you know you want it!

http://happyherbivore.com/recipe/mock-tuna-salad/

9. Engine 2’s Basic Salad Dressing: This is a little too sour for me sometimes, but it is extremely tasty—almost like a vegan honey mustard. Also good for dipping things into, like tofu, seitan or vegan chicken fingers. I can’t seem to find a recipe online, strangely. It’s definitely in the book, tho.

10. Mango Salsa: makes everything a par-tay, baby! I could be biased by my Cuban hardwiring, but mangos are so f’ing delicious.

11. Agave Nectar: I see lots of controversy about this lately alllll over the internet. All I know is that it tastes good and doesn’t trigger massive sugar cravings for me. I can have it in small amounts in raw desserts and baked treats and not act like a crackhead afterwards. Also doesn’t make me sleepy, which is an indicator that it is not fucking up my blood sugar which gets a big thumbs up from me and my PCOS. To each their own.

12. Vegan Worcestershire Sauce: works so well in a variety of applications. There are several vegan kinds on the market—I usually use good ole’ Annie’s. It’s  all about the umami, baby!

Semi-Ayurvedic Saturday: Dosas, Dahl, and Shahid Kapoor

3 Jun

First of all, Anjum Anand is fricking HOT. Like scorching, middle of the Las Vegas Summer hot. Damn. Nigella’s got nothin’ on Anjum. That’s honestly the reason I picked up this book! I know, I’m sin verguenza. I can hear my abuela’s disapproving voice right now!

Anjum’s Eat Right For Your Body Type has nothing to do with the Blood Type Diet (I plead the Fifth on that one) and everything to do with a layman-friendly version of Ayurveda. I enjoyed the pithy explanations, the sections on detox and weight loss and the aesthetics of the book itself. Warning to my veg readers: I do believe this contains some recipes that use meat and dairy, which I of course just ignored. But I am eating a yummy veganized bowl of her Mung Bean detox soup RIGHT NOW:

Adapted from Anjum’s book, here’s an adjusted, vegan-and-Kapha-friendly version of her Mung Bean Detox Soup:

  • 1/2 cup green Mung Beans
  • 4 cups water or veggie broth
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Soak the Mung beans for a minimum of 4 hours in enough water to cover them up. If you can soak them overnight, it’s only better for your digestion. If beans tend to make you, um, vata-d out, soak them with a piece of kombu seaweed or some sorrel (both reduce gassiness). Discard the water after you’re done soaking and rinse the beans well. Bring the water or broth and beans to a boil, then reduce heat and cook them for about 35 minutes on a low simmer.

Assemble your spices if you want to make this Ayurvedically by simmering the spices in some oil (see explanation below). If you E2’rs out there want to avoid oil, you can add the spices by themselves into the soup at the very end. Usually about 5-10 minutes before the soup is done seems to work well.

For Kapha dosha:

On very, very low heat simmer the following for about two to five minutes. Since we are not using Ghee, which has a really high smoke point, you have to be careful. You can get away with five if you use coconut  (higher smoke point), but straight EB will burn so be careful. Once you’ve simmered it, add it to the soup and cook the soup for another 5-10 minutes before serving (that’s a total of 40-45 minutes cooking time).  This is one of the few times I would suggest sticking to the amounts suggested for the spices exactly. It’s really easy to make this taste terrible if you overpower one spice with another.

  • 1 tbs Earth Balance (my vegan answer to Ghee!), or coconut oil, or Earth Balance coconut spread
  • 1/4 tsp Hing
  • 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala powder

If you’d like, you can add some finely chopped up veggies to this like cauliflower, chopped green beans, kale or any other Kapha-friendly veggies. I suggest steaming them lightly and then adding them to the oil and spice blend.

Once you’ve simmered the oil blend and/or veggies for the allotted time it, add it to the soup and cook the soup for another 5-10 minutes before serving.  Top it off with 2 rounded tablespoons of minced, fresh cilantro and add 1/2 tsp. salt (optional—I need it, but not E2 compliant).

I also finally got my hands on some Trader Joe’s Masala Dosas. It was like finding the Holy Grail. I had to go to three Trader Joe’s here in Vegas before I found them, but they were totally worth it> Not E2 compliant and probably not good for me Ayurvedically, but Frankly, I don’t give a f@ck. It’s not like I’m eating a bag of Cheetos:

As promised, the cooking oil method explanation–obviously since I am a vegan I don’t eat ghee, but many Yogis do:

“According to ayurveda, the best way to cook vegetables is to sauté them in ghee with spices. By first sautéing the spices in ghee the volatile oils of the spices are drawn out into the Ghee. These spices have therapeutic value. Turmeric, for example, has been found to be an antioxidant, and other spices such as cumin and coriander help with digestion and assimilation. The spices cook into the vegetables and act as carriers, transferring nutrition from the vegetables into the bloodstream as we consume them. They also make the food taste aromatic and delicious.

First gently fry the spices in the ghee, taking care not to burn them. Add the chopped raw vegetables to the spice mixture and stir so that all the spices are mixed with the vegetables. Add a couple of spoonfuls of water to prevent sticking. Cover and cook on low heat until the vegetables are well cooked. Not mushy, but just “fork friendly”. Add salt to taste at the end and some fresh cilantro leaves for garnish.

Ghee is considered a beneficial oil in ayurveda. According to traditional ayurvedic texts, it is a rasayana, good for overall well-being and longevity. Modern research shows that it is an antioxidant and contains beta-carotene. Since the milk solids have been removed, ghee does not spoil easily like vegetable oils do. If you are on a weight loss program, limit your intake of ghee or oil to judicious amounts.” From the Maharishi Ayurveda website, http://www.mapi.com/ayurveda_health_care/newsletters/ayurvedic_cooking.html 

The mapi.com website has lots of easy to understand information about Ayurveda, and they sell some great products like Kapha, Pitta and Vata tea as well as Raja’s Cup. I used to be able to get all of that at my local Whole Foods when I lived in Florida, but I haven’t seen any of it in retail stores since I moved to Vegas, which makes me sad.

And to close my post with some more hotness (and because this delicious food is best eaten with a great movie), I give you my absolute favorite Bollywood leading man—also a Pisces and a vegetarian. My dream man, Shahid Kapoor:

Off I go to work my way through the rest of his movie back catalogue!

What Are Your Priorities?

2 Jun

A friend at work asked me if I was interested in walking a half-marathon in LA to benefit the ASPCA. My immediate response was, “Hells yeah!”.  I’m always looking for any excuse to:  a. do more intense exercise (bad Maria),  b.  help animals, c. go to LA or d. socialize excessively. That’s how I roll.

The next thing I thought was, “Hmm, there’s a lot of places to do Ashtanga in LA…”. And then the thought that came a little later: “Wait a second, what if this marathon training screws up or interrupts my Ashtanga practice somehow? What if I get injured because of it? I don’t want to commit to anything that takes away from yoga and meditation”. Whoa, whoa, say what?! I can’t believe I just thought that! Yoga has never been so at the forefront of my mind and at the top of my priorities as it has been since I started the Ashtanga “Experiment” in March. Meditation has always been there since I got sober, but now it has kind of merged into my yoga practice in a new way. Hmmm, I just remembered that getting sober was also an “Experiment” and now it is almost 5 years later…! Recovery and my daily Ashtanga deal are the two things that I organize my days around now.

I’ve been chewing on this for about a week now and I think that it would, at this stage of the game, make practice a lot harder in terms of the increased physical demands I’d be placing on my beat up, 42-year-old body. I also think it would totally spin me out and make me crazier. It will put me right back into the gym, AKA my exercise bulimia comfort zone.

What are my priorities? Not beating myself up, that’s for sure. Ashtanga is like a 6 day a week, out-patient rehab program, but sweatier. I want to pay attention to my breath, what is happening in my body and what happens when I am meditating after my practice. That’s taking up a lot of time right now and I think I need it much more than I need to walk a half marathon.

With that being said, I think I will put on some Judas Priest and go clean my little yoga room right now! It’s seva for the Slayer Shala time…

Sin City Yoga

2 Jun

Last night I tried a Yoga 1 Vinyasa class with Angelica Govaert at Sin City Yoga, a new study that just opened up about a month ago here in Las Vegas. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been struggling with sheer *terror* about going to a studio yoga class, especially anything Vinyasa/Power/Ashtanga based. The last Baptiste Power yoga class I went to almost killed me!

The studio is right off of Rancho and Alta in a little house. The studio space itself is small and cozy and sort of set off toward the back of the property. There’s a nice garden next to it. I immediately liked it and felt eager to go inside, which is rare for me when it comes to yoga. I’ve been sitting on a two month unlimited pass to Bikram Summerlin since Thanksgiving or so and every time I think about using it, I want to puke.

The good news: I didn’t die. I faced my fear AND I even wore form fitting yoga clothing that I can actually practice comfortably in (not Lululemon, though—don’t get it twisted, OK?). This is a huge deal for me, as I am extremely self-conscious and weird about my body still after all of the weight loss. I am always convinced that I will be the fattest and stiffest person in the room and I work myself up into a frenzy of anxiety about it.

Sometimes being in my body feels like I am driving a rental car with all sorts of gee gaws and gadgets that I don’t know how to operate. I am used to hiding underneath lots and lots of clothing. I had a moment when I saw myself in the mirror and almost had a panic attack. I still see a 320 pound or 275 pound person in the mirror. I will continue to stay the fuck away from that mirror until I am a little more settled down in my practice and not in such a weird place about inhabiting my body. Yeah, that should be, um, never…!

The even better news: the class was excellent. I could pretty much “do” all of the asanas and there was lots of hip opening going on, which I desperately need. I liked Angelica’s teaching style and she is very approachable and warm. She told me before class started that she was from Florida, and also that she studies Ashtanga but does not teach it. She said she really has a lot of respect for the lineage and structure, and she feels that if you are going to teach Ashtanga you need to go to Mysore and do the whole deal. She got to study once with Jois right before he died, which I was excited by. Angelica gave me some great adjustments and was very encouraging. I am going back on Saturday for another level 1 class.

Interestingly, she reminded me of my very first yoga teacher, Michelle—also from Florida. I have a good feeling about this.

Update: I ran into Angelica randomly on my lunch break  in Whole Foods today, which I took as a positive sign from the powers that be. She gave me a big hug and was SO nice. I am excited to have a teacher again!

Sin City Yoga website: http://www.sincityyoga.com/

info@sincityyoga.com

702-900-8244

515 Rose Street, Las Vegas, NV 89106– just East of the intersection of Rancho and Alta. Close to the 95 and not too far from The Strip.

Heavy Metal Yoga Playlist #4: Hopelessly Stoned

1 Jun

 

 

When I feel like I wish I was in an, um, altered state, I put on this playlist for practice. All of the Stoner Witch vibes, and none of the munchies, law-breaking, paranoia or (to paraphrase RichardFreeman) “loss of my edge” . One hour, thirty minutes that feels like ETERNITY:

Black Sabbath, “Into the Void” (live, with Ozzy!)

Fu Manchu, “Hell on Wheels”

Unida, “Wet Pussycat”

Kyuss, “Son of a Bitch”

Melvins, “Queen”

Orange Goblin, “Scorpionica”

Monster Magnet, “Dopes to Infinity”

Electric Wizard, “Vinum Sabbathi”

Nebula, “Atomic Ritual”

Bongzilla, “Hash Dealer”

Sleep, “Aquarian”

Dozer, “Big Sky Theory”

Weedeater, “God Luck and Good Speed”

Spiritual Beggars, “Euphoria”

Acid King, “Queen of Sickness”

Sheavy, “Set Phasers to Stun”

Slo Burn, “Muzeli”

Blue Cheer, “Come and Get It”

ooohbabyilikeitraw

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