I Won’t Meditate

meditate

I won’t meditate. How can a yoga teacher trained over 20 years ago, long before yoga was the ubiquitous activity it is today say something as blasphemous as this?

Yes, that’s me. The yoga teacher and anti-meditator. Makes no sense, does it? Why not mediate? Especially when the benefits of meditation have been scientifically proven through research, and when my medical doctor in fact recommends it.

When I say, “I won’t meditate,” what I’m actually saying is that I won’t confine myself to the rigid ideas that so many of us, including myself, have when it comes to meditation. What do you think of when you hear the word “meditate”? I know what pops into my head –sitting alone in a room in total stillness, on an ugly cushion with my back so straight my spine aches just imagining it, trying to be calm, when a zillion thoughts are swirling through my middle aged, neurotic, Jewish mind.

That’s why I’ve given up on the word “meditation.” While many would argue that I do actually meditate, I had to let go of the m-word along with all of my preconceived notions about it, so that I could truly engage in a mindful practice and open myself to the healing benefits of contemplative self-observation.

What do I call this practice? Listening. What does it entail for me?  Here’s a brief description.

  1. Location –Inside or outside; both are fine.
  2. Position –Sometimes I like to lie down, other times sit, or stand.
  3. Motion –Gentle stillness, rolling around the floor, or quiet walking outside all work equally well.
  4. Sound –Silence is peaceful and most often a welcome preference, though singing or chanting mantra are beautiful alternatives that I enjoy on rare occasions.
  5. Awareness –In this process that I prefer to call “listening,” rather than “meditation,” I am simply stay present with myself and whatever is.

Many of you may be wondering, what does she actually do?! Well, my non-mediation of choice is gentle stretching. I like to lie down on the ground (I’ve usually been on my feet most of the day cooking, cleaning, and taking pictures for this website) and I want to recharge my adrenals (lying down helps with this).

During this practice I watch my thoughts float through my head like clouds in the sky. Sometimes this actually happens. At other times, my thoughts are less like clouds and more like children shouting for attention. It can get really loud in my head. Thankfully, hanging out with this cacophony for a few of minutes calms down the veritable storm of ideas, feelings and sensations that run through me. When I slow down and listen, I can hear what’s going on inside. Listening to myself, and being heard allows my mind to come into neutral, and that is when I begin to sink into my body and feel the bliss of true relaxation.

There’s a look into my daily relaxation practice! What do you do each day to nurture your body, mind and spirit?

10 Great Snack Recipes for Picky Eaters

snacks

A movie star recently contacted me to ask what to feed her picky two year old. And that’s how this list of 10 Great Snack Recipes for Picky Eaters was born.

In order to compile this list of healthy, gluten-free snack recipes, I combed through the hundreds of grain-free recipes on Elana’s Pantry. It was like a walk down memory lane, recalling all of the great snacks that my boys liked to eat when they were wee little ones. They still love all of the gluten-free snack recipes below, and now they’re teenagers! I guess that just shows how timeless and classic these snacks are –or, how constantly hungry my children and their friends are day-in-and-day-out.

Here are some nutritious snack ideas for the whole family.

Book Review: The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook

The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook

Every week I receive loads of Paleo cookbooks in the mail asking for a review; I wrote my own called Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry which we use in my house on a daily basis. So forgive me if I’m a little jaded when it comes to Paleo cookbooks.

However, I received a Paleo cookbook recently that I am absolutely loving and can highly recommend. It’s called the The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook by wunderkind Joshua Weissman.

Full of uber-healthy recipes and phenomenal photos, this book is bound to please. In fact, I like it so much that I gave a copy to my best friend Deb, and she too is enjoying it immensely. We are both completely dazzled by this Paleo cookbook.

Sunbutter Brownies

Sunbutter Brownies recipe paleo

Given the number of requests lately that I’ve had for gluten-free recipes that are also nut-free, I decided to create a quick and easy brownie recipe made out of sunflower butter. What is sunflower butter? It is similar to almond butter, however it is made of ground sunflower seeds. These Sunbutter Brownies are a cinch to make and a chocolatey delight.

Salmon Wasabi Burgers

Wasabi Salmon Burgers paleo dinner recipe

Salmon Wasabi Burgers are perfect if you adore spicy food, and enjoy the pungent, hot taste of wasabi and ginger. I make these spicy burgers with wild caught salmon and just a few other healthy ingredients, and serve them sans buns. When I do need a bun, I use lettuce or other greens as a serving vehicle for my burger recipes, and find that crispy Romaine lettuce works especially well. Boston, or bibb lettuce also works superbly for this purpose.

I serve these Salmon Wasabi Burgers with my Asian Cole Slaw recipe, the flavor combination is absolutely fabulous, and this is how I depicted these fish burgers in the photo above!