Friday, August 31, 2012

18 days til....Vermont and

Even my daugther is getting excited asking to do camels before bed. Does it get any better folks?!!. If you are the last one to drag your feet in doing something wonderful for your self. Get off the couch and call us today. We would love to have you for this amazing retreat: lizcotterevents@gmail.com
September 19-23 2013, Fall Foliage, Green Mountains, Bikram yoga, great food, etc etc.... need I say more!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

BETTER BUTTER...


This post is lovingly dedicated to MYSELF, yes that is right, I have a real love affair with butter...coconut butter, whipped vegetable butter - when I was pregnant I wanted butter on anything and everything - all kinds of butter ;) ....and doesn't everyone from time to time....

BUT we all need to be aware that it is one of the most concentrated forms of animal fat and when you even think about that - a n i m a l  f a t... wow, puts a new perspective on things. SO!

Along with the most amazing forms of alternative and healthy butters such as coconut ( which we talked about yesterday) here is another simple, vegan, POWER FOOD,  alternative spread to butter! Now obviously beans will never be butter, nor can you cook with them like butter ( use coconut butter for that), or bake with them like butter, but you can whir them up with a few other ingredients to make something worthy of your most discriminating cracker.

Better Beans
Butter beans, also referred to as lima beans, are a total super food. They are loaded with protein (much like other legumes), and when eaten in combination with whole grains and whole grain products they provide the protein comparable to that found in meat or dairy foods without the high calorie content
or saturated fat. And when you eat butter beans instead of animal products, you also experience the health benefits of dietary fiber, which lowers cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, prevents constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. Just one cup of lima beans will give you 65.8% of the daily value for fiber.

This recipe is incredibly versatile, so I have just laid out a basic version for you to experiment with. Because this is essentially a bean dip, you can add as many flavours as you like – try roasted garlic, fresh herbs, spices, chilies, steamed vegetables, other oils (flax, for example would be a great choice!)…the list goes on as far as your imagination.
I chose to put in a few pinches of turmeric because it turns the dip a slightly yellow colour, just for kicks! It does not add any flavour, but as a bonus turmeric’s anti-bacterial properties help to retard food spoilage, for a longer life in the fridge. Pretty neat, eh?
You can use canned butter beans if it's all you have available, but
the flavour is far superior when you cook them yourself.

Better Butter
Ingredients:
1 cup dried butter beans ( or 1 16oz can)
3-4 Tbsp. cold-pressed
, extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic
sea salt to taste
a couple pinches of turmeric (optional)

Directions: * skip to # 4 if you are using canned beans1. Soak beans for 8 hours (or overnight) in pure water. Drain, rinse well and place in pot with enough water to cover them by a few inches.
2. Bring to a boil, lower to simmer and cook for 45 minutes, or until tender.
3. Drain and rinse. Allow to cool.

4. Place cooled beans and other ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Done!
5. Refrigerate leftovers. Keeps for about a week.

YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD, TOO SICK, TOO...

TO START ALL OVER AGAIN....
Some of you met Chris at our last yoga retreat in Vermont. He was tipping the scales then at 350 down from 696! and he was such an inspiration, to all of us, that if you put your mind to something you can accomplish anything.
He came to class, he did what he could, and he received ALL the benefits that that cute skinny yogi beside him did! That's it. Nothing more complicated than that. Ask him - the hardest part is just showing up. Once you are there - regarless of your body type, your flexibility level, your mind set on any given day - IT JUST WORKS...... and regardless of how challenging the class was to him, or anyone else in the room, you always feel great after. Chris feels better and better everyday he keeps going. Taking charge of his health, his life and well, by coming to the retreat HE IS HAVING FUN DOING IT!
 
Some of you have called and asked - I haven't practiced in a while will I be ok? I am not a professional - can I still come? I am not a teacher - are 'normal' yogis welcome? AND THE ANSWER IS A RESOUNDING YES!
 
Bikram retreats are for anyone and everyone and by all means you don't have to be anyone but yourself to feel great and have a good time!
 
Join us today - we have just a few spaces left for our September adventure....Puerto Rico registration open soon!
SEE YOU IN CLASS!
 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Best Raw Pesto - E-ver...

Every year we plant basil and every year the plants do so well that we can't use it up fast enough. What to do? Basil pesto, of course! Here is a simple recipe. Note that pesto is always made to taste, based on the ingredients at hand. So adjust the ingredients to your taste. Most pesto recipes call for Parmesan cheese, but check out our raw and vegan options below. Most basil pesto recipes call for pine nuts but you can easily substitute walnuts or go 1/2 and 1/2 - see what you like, and more importantly what you have on the shelf when you get inspired.

If you want to freeze the pesto you make - go for it. There is no dairy in this recipe so it saves well... that is, if you have any left!

Line an ice cube tray with plastic wrap, and fill each pocket with the pesto. Freeze and then remove from the ice tray and store in a freezer bag.

Prep time JUST 10 MINUTES

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • * sometimes I add a little vegan cheese [Daiya is my favorite brand - made from 100% pea protein] if I have it in my fridge but this is not necessary to get the right flavor
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts or combo
  • 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Special equipment needed: A food processor

Method

1 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the nutritional yeast and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Serve with zucchini pasta, kelp noodles, or over crackers;  spread it on top of a heirloom tomato slice, dilute it for salad dressing or well it is pretty good on pretty much anything you can find.

YUM!!.

Yield: Makes 1 cup - so I ususally double the recipe ;)
The benefits of Raw coconut oil are endless:
- It's high in Lauric Acid (and other lipids) which converts into Monolaurin in the body (the only other source of Monolaurin is found in breast milk). Because of this Coconut oil is said to have significant benefits in fighting viruses such as influenza.

- It contains medium-chain triglycerides which aid the body in fighting bacteria.

- It contains Vitamin's E and K so is great for your skin. I use it as moisturizer!

- It helps with weight loss by taking stress off your organs and speeding up metabolism, thereby helping to burn excess fat. It's also great for the thyroid and enzyme systems.

Amazing stuff really. Try substituting other oils in your cooking with coconut oil - it is the most stable of all oils when heated!

Ann Hathaway's secret weapon...


Of course it is ....BIKRAM YOGA

Come to a Bikram Retreat and recharge your practice! remember how great this yoga is for you, and how great it makes you feel and how awesome you will look in your cat suit!



Monday, August 27, 2012

Yoga Guru Bikram Choudhury Launches ‘Bikram Balance’


Bikram Choudhury, founder of Bikram Yoga, recently launched a new product, “Bikram Balance.” According to Choudhury, “For the first time, I am very pleased to offer my yoga students and all yoga enthusiasts, a scientifically-backed whole food nutritional powder to naturally restore electrolytes, improve performance and enhance muscle development.”
India-West recently interviewed Choudhry about his latest product.

Following are excerpts of the interview:http://indiawest.com/news/5982-yoga-guru-bikram-choudhury-launches-bikram-balance.html

"SWEAT SEXY" - Hot Yoga Suit

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Every day is another chance to practice Bikram Yoga...

So, yesterday morning a rare thing happened, no kids, no obligations, no expected phone calls, a chance to practice Bikram yoga - uninterrupted 90 minutes of bliss... and as I drove home, through the green mountains, my mind light and relieved - so grateful for my morning, I just had to agree - yes, every day is an opportunity (and a necessity)  to practice Bikram yoga.

We often think of yoga as a practice of the body, to get physically healthy, strong, thin, svelte... This morning although that was true, the mental clarity and healing of the mind is what I noticed the most - as with every class, although the postures are the same your practice is ever changing, your class never boring.  

A lecture long ago that I heard Bikram give rang true to what I wanted to share... The five aspects of the mind.  Yet another reminder of the power of the yoga, why we need to get to class, and take advantage of this amazing practice. BIKRAM YOGA ROCKS........and so do you! read on -


 

Five Aspects of the Mind

Hatha yoga, this thousands of years old practice, has been called “the yoga of willpower.” Just doing it strengthens our will, an attribute of mind. When we have the positive experience of being able to do more than we expected, our confidence and self-esteem get a boost, fostering a more positive mind. We begin including positive thoughts about ourselves, and allow negative self-talk to fade away. Our practice strengthens our mind.
 
According to Bikram, the mind has five aspects which as they develop, bring equanimity to the mind. These are: Faith, Self-control, Determination, Concentration, and Patience. Each of these five develop by practicing Bikram’s Yoga. When we’re forced to do something that is against our own nature, our soul is unhappy, there is no peace. When the soul is unhappy, pain begins to trouble the body as well. Rather than change your ways to conform with the world, you must eventually find a way to express your truth from your heart regardless of the world.


Faith

The roots of Vedanta philosophy ask us to believe in ourselves and believe in God. Karma yoga, the yoga of action, is knowing your gift and using it. No one can force you to do what's not for you. In the Bhagvad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna, "It is better to follow your own calling imperfectly than follow anthers perfectly. If death should come while following your own path, this is surely better than living with the fear and anguish of following a false path." (3:35) When we're forced to do something that is against our own nature, our soul is unhappy, there is no peace. When the soul is unhappy, pain begins to trouble the body as well. Rather than change your ways to conform with the world, you must eventually find a way to express your truth from your heart regardless of the world.

What makes your soul happy? What is your goal? Since the rest of the world doesn't care what your soul wants, it is up to you to find out. If you are struggling with these issues, engage in hatha yoga practice ( or come to one of our retreats!) , and in the context of your practice--asana, meditation--you will soon find the Faith--your foundation or roots--to go in any direction in your life. As Bikram says, "If you believe it, it will work better. If you don't believe it, it will happen anyway. The longer something takes to work, the longer it lasts." Bikram yoga is not about the perfection of a  posture, it is a practice of the postures, a practice....
 

Self Control

When we are lacking in self-control, materialistic attachments,  will divert your attention from your path. Yoga practice, by developing a sound body, helps us develop a sound mind which is more conducive to positive thoughts. When we have positive thoughts, we are more likely to be grateful, generous, and loyal. According to Bikram, loyalty and gratitude are two of the most important inner attitudes to have. They help us keep our priorities straight--helping us to be supremely sensitive to others.

What is the connection between Bikram yoga and our emotions? When we have receive messages from our environment, they are conveyed through the nervous system via biochemical reactions to all our cells. When we have no self-control, we will be at the mercy of our biochemistry--good news stimulates "be happy" and bad news stimulates "be depressed" reactions. However, through asana practice, we begin to develop self-control, and whether the news is good or bad, a kind of stability is established in our biochemistry that enables us to not overreact to external events. We become able to "keep our cool," and keeping things in perspective, we can develop an effective, appropriate response.



Determination

Bikram's talk about determination emphasizes "stick with it." First, you have to know what your goal or destination is. Then you have to keep working towards your goal until you achieve it, without giving up. Yes, there will be bad or difficult times. Life is like waves in the ocean--up and down. If you wait long enough, the good comes. It's a matter of finding skillful means to deal with the challenges.

If you lose your self respect, you're losing yourself. Bikram recommends: never make yourself cheap or expendable. Don't go "to the basement." Don't invite negative people into your life. Ask yourself, "Who am I? Why have I come to this earth as a human being?" and stay concentrated on the activity that arises from your questions.
 

Concentration

Concentration is an important precursor to meditation. It is difficult for many of us to sit still, it is even more difficult to keep our mind on just one thing for even 10-12 seconds. Without hatha yoga, we normally use only 3-5% of our bodies. With hatha yoga, we re energize, revitalize and reorganize the body and become able to use 100% of the body.

The ancients created hatha yoga to prepare the body to sit still so the mind could be still. They modeled the postures after animals, and endowed the postures with supernatural powers. For example, the cobra posture was modeled after the animal with the strongest spine in the world, therefore in performing the posture, you develop a strong spine. The camel posture creates space in the throat so that like a camel, you don't need as much water. The tortoise posture brings the body close and compact so the heart doesn't have to pump as hard as normal, which relaxes the heart. In fact, if you breathe like a tortoise--2 minutes for each inhale, 2 minutes for each exhale, the tortoise endows you with long life. (Work your way up to this.)

The word "Ha Tha" conveys balance of opposites: Sun and Moon, right and left, male and female, warm and cool. Without the sun, there is no prana or life force. Without the moon to cool, there is too much energy and the object burns up. Once body/mind is in balance, it becomes easier to sit still, concentrate and enter meditation. These capabilities develop out of hatha yoga practice, particularly Bikram's series, in which concentration is aroused from deep within your most internal self to perform the postures.
 

Patience

Determination and patience go hand in hand. Once you set your mind on your goal, and work with determination towards it, you need patience to ride the waves of life. With the fruits of hatha yoga practice--a good body and a good mind--you have the tools to reach your soul. In a Bikram yoga class, your patience is developed, because you can't possibly accomplish the postures in one session. You develop a sense that effort over time brings the results that are truly satisfying and nourishing to the soul. When you please your soul, it releases more of itself to you. Then you become able to serve your Self and God and accomplish what you were created to do in this lifetime.


Friday, August 24, 2012


Waiting all week for this one ....the best Tomato..

BEST BLOODY MARY E-V-ER....

So I am takin a traveler with me to work tonight.. see the mason jar....

  But if you are done with work, by all means add a little .... to put a skip in your step or save this number for Sunday morning. HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!


Bloody Mary Mix Ingredients
32 oz  FRESH HEIRLOOM tomato juice
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz fresh lime juice
4 tsp hot sauce
2 heaping tbsp prepared horseradish
2 heaping tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 heaping tsp celery salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika

Celery stalks, lemon and lime wedges!
 

Preparation

  1. Rub the juicy side of a lime on the outer edge of a tall glass then roll the glass lip in the celery salt.
  2. Add ice  to the above bloody mary mix and give a stir, little shake and shimmy to mix and chill...
  3. Present this to yourself with a long stalk of celery or a wedge of lime. 
  4.  HAPPY FRIDAY!




BIKRAM RETREAT - LOCAL LIVES!


FRIDAY - and that little tomato is going right into a...


a what ?? Stay tuned and find out what awesome little number we are whipping up for your 5:00 bell....it's tall and spicy and...


but before we let the Friday tomato out of the bag...enjoy our last day of tomato trivia learning just how great this little red guy is for you:


Tomato Nutrition Facts: What Nutrients Are in Tomatoes?

Find out top tomato nutrition facts and the nutrient content in tomatoes.

Tomato Nutrition Facts: #1

Tomatoes have good amounts of some basic necessary nutrients.
One medium sized-tomato provides over a third of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, and nearly a third of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A.
Tomatoes are also a great source of fiber, carbohydrate, potassium and iron.

Tomato Nutrition Facts: #2

Tomatoes have low amounts of potentially unhealthy nutrients. Too much fat and sodium can exacerbate many health issues for millions. Tomatoes are low in each of these nutrients.

Tomato Nutrition Facts: #3

Tomatoes have high amounts of special nutrients. Tomatoes are an outstanding source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Quick and fun nutrition facts


  • Tomatoes are diet-friendly: A tomato is more than 90 % water and is very low in sodium. It’s a diuretic that helps eliminate toxins while you’re on a diet.
  • Tomatoes are heart-healthy: A tomato has 0 grams of cholesterol and contains extremely small amounts of fat.
  • Tomatoes are nutrient-rich: A tomato’s vitamin C content increases as the fruit ripens. Vine-ripened tomatoes contain nearly twice the vitamin C and beta-carotene as their green-picked counterparts.

Tomato Nutrient Analysis

Serving size: this information presents nutrient amounts for 1 cup fresh, chopped tomato (approximately 1/3 pound or 1 average size tomato)
Approximate serving size equivalents:
8-10 cherry tomatoes
2-3 small tomatoes
1/8 cup tomato paste
8 ounces canned tomatoes (1 cup)
½ cup tomato juice

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ready for lunch?


Ok - so we've been going heavy on the tomatoes as of late so I thought I would tap into my dear friend's inspiration and share with you a little tomato infused treat you can enjoy with some raw crackers, a salad or simply cut up veggies... we talked raw crackers last week and this morning I just put in 16 trays in preparation for our September retreat. These crackers, a little cashew cheese encrusted with sun dried tomatoes & black olives - pair that with a tomato vinn and a crispy romaine salad you are set for a great afternoon - Read on crouton! and Enjoy!!! We are on the downward slide to the weekend Yea.......

** now you can get all fancy and make this into the log as pictured above. Or you can simply mix the items on the outside of the cheese log into your cashew cheese and enjoy. That is what ususally happens to me because it is just so darn good to begin with I can't wait. Either way you are in for a treat!

Cheese Log:
2 C   cashew cheese
1/2C chopped, drained olive oil-packed sundried tomatoes
1/2C chopped, pitted, kalamata olives
2T     fresh basil
1C     Olive Oil

Cashew Cheese
1.5C   cashews soaked (10-12 hrs)
1/2t    sea salt + to taste
2T       nutritional yeast
1t        garlic pow
1T       onion pow
1T       onion flakes
1T       Lemon juice
1C       filtered water - add slowly to desired consistency

* In a high speed blender or champion juicer process the cashews until smooth adding lemon juice and water slowly. You want the cheese to be thick and may need to work it around with a spatula depending on your equipment. Once processed place cheese in a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients.Chill. * or stir in log inredients ( minus the olive oil)  and eat immedatly ;)

To make the cheese log - Once chilled and your cheese has set, in a shallow pan, combine the sundried tomatoes, olives and basil. roll the log in the mixture and place the cheese log in the shallow pan. Pour olive oil over the mixture and refrigerate for up to 8 hrs. so it has a chance to firm up prior to slicing.

TOMATO  Vinaigrette
for your salad and cheese log!
~14 grape tomatoes quartered ( varied colors if you can find them in your fridge)
2T pitted and sliced olives
2T Olive oil
2t  Red wine vin
sea salt and pepper to taste!

*combine everything in a bowl and toss to mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper. I like to throw this in my blender for a quick pulse - and of course garnish your cheese and salad (greens of choice but I love this with Romaine!) with more tomatoes!

And the Tomato rolls on - Happy Hump Day Tomat-o Trivia!

Heaviest tomato. The heaviest tomato on record weighed in at 3.51 kg (7 pounds 12 ounces). A “delicious” variety, it was grown grown by Gordon Graham of Edmond, Oklahoma in 1986. Gordon sliced the tomato to make sandwiches for 21 family members.

Largest plant. The largest tomato plant (a “Sungold” variety), recorded in 2000, reached 19.8 meters (65 feet) in length and was grown by Nutriculture Ltd. of Mawdesley, Lancashire, UK.

 

Biggest tomato tree. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest tomato tree grows at Walt Disney World Resort’s experimental greenhouse and yields a harvest of more than 32,000 tomatoes and weighs 1,151.84 pounds (522 kg). The plant was discovered in Beijing, China, by Yong Huang, Epcot's manager of agricultural science, who took its seeds and grew them in the experimental greenhouse. Today, the plant produces thousands of golf ball-sized tomatoes that are served at Walt Disney World's restaurants, and can be seen by tourists riding the "Living With the Land" boat ride at the Epcot Center.

 

Official veggie and official fruit. The tomato serves as both the official state vegetable and the official state fruit of Arkansas, in honor of the South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato, sometimes known as “Bradley Pink.”

 

Official state beverage. Tomato juice is the official state beverage of Ohio.

Under consideration:. A proposal to the NJ State Assembly in 2008 requested that the tomato be adopted as the state’s official state vegetable, but to date the bid has not been passed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

....And we don't host our hot yoga retreats to add days to our life but to add more LIFE  to all of your days!!
 

Tomato Tuesday... I was thinking salad dressing but went soup instead ---

Heirloom Tomato Soup 

with Olives and Shaved Fennel

Serves 4

Soup
  • 2 large, red heirloom tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 1/2 jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped, peeled cucumber
  • 1.5 teaspoons sherry wine vinegar
  • Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Garnish
  • 1 3-inch-long baby fennel, thinly shaved on a mandoline
  • 12 olives, pitted and quartered
  • 1/4 cup peeled, seeded, and diced red tomato
  • 2 teaspoons brine from olives
  • 2 teaspoons sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Sprouts or micro greens 
  •  

  • To make the soup: In a high-speed blender, combine the tomatoes, chile, cucumber, and vinegar and process until smooth. Pass the purée through a fine-mesh sieve ( like cheese cloth or a nut bag) and season to taste with salt and pepper

    Assembly—
    Ladle one-fourth of the soup into each bowl. Garnish with the fennel, olives, and tomato.

    (optional) Drizzle the olive brine, vinegar, and olive oil around the soup. Sprinkle with sprouts, avocado slices - go nuts!

     

Mind on the thighs ladies ...MIND ON THE THIGHS..


Heard the one about the apple, the pear, and weight-gain patterns? Apples get rotund round the waist; pears gain around the hips and droop. Well.... regardless of your body type - did you know that you can change that with a regular Bikram Yoga practice? Did you know not only can you gain mental clarity, peace of mind, but a rockin body too? YA YOU CAN!... Today we are going to  practice with the mind on the thighs to burn calories and cellulite. We're talkin Rockette legs ladies! SUMMER IS NOT OVER YET :)

Opportunities abound in a Bikram Class to shape up those lookers. In the first breathing pose, pull your thigh muscles up and feel them contract as you warm up. Dimples on the front of the knees, strong, solid - you are rooted.  Maintain the grip as long as possible. 

In the first chair, Awkward, slide the thighs backwards once they parallel the ground. This approaches the proper form of aligning knees above ankles, but it also melts cellulite by bearing more body weight.

The third part of Awkward is a jackpot of thigh-toning. You can feel the burn up into the hip and around toward your butt. The line of force you are exerting is the very line you want to see. Imagine the energy transforming to matter. 

In eagle, sit, sit, sit - like you are going to sit in a super cozy chair... Wrap tightly! Feel that cellulite dissolving off your outer thighs? Yes it is1



In triangle, my favorite and THE MASTER POSE works everything - but I love it for the THIGHS! Make sure you step wide enough, sit down all the way, plant your feet firmly into the ground and feel your inner, outter - the whole thigh firm up, contract it till you feel a cramp - make it  bullet proof for those quick 20 seconds - THIS IS THE BEST! engage the thighs. 


In camel, hug your tailbone with your butt and hips to mobilize the thighs. The longer you hold camel, the more work. Feel your hamstrings toning your quads lengthening. And exit slowly, slowly, slowly.

A benefit of all of these tips is to improve the stability of the posture and better your practice. But today I’m not talking yoga. I’m talking calories, vanity, and coconut-cracking quads but BONUS the benefits of the yoga come right along with that! 

ENJOY...whatever gets you into class is great - but just get to class. Today for me it was MIND IN THE THIGHS... 

The only bad class you will ever have, is the one you don't show up for. BIKRAM YOGA is for all ages, ability levels, anyone who wants to feel great - AND SO ARE BIKRAM RETREATS! Join us today for one of our upcoming adventures! lizcotterevents@gmail.com for more info! 

TOMATO TUESDAY.... fun facts and more

Today's tomato facts:  
What's in a NAME...
 
How it all began. Tomatoes are thought to originate in Peru. The name comes from the Aztec “xitomatl,” which means “plump thing with a navel”.

Love and paradise. When the tomato was introduced to Europe in the 1500s, The French called it “the apple of love.” The Germans called it “the apple of paradise.”

For the wolves? The scientific term for the common tomato is lycopersicon lycopersicum, which mean “wolf peach.”

“Tomato” in other languages
English: tomato
French: tomate
Dutch: tomaat
German: Tomate
Danish: tomat
Spanish: tomate
Italian: pomodoro

Stay tuned for today's' tomato recipe...... 

Monday, August 20, 2012

TOMATOES FOR lunch?? Try this dip


TOMATO TRIVIA.....Did you know there are around 7500 tomato varieties grown for various purposes. Heirloom tomatoes are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among home gardeners and organic producers, since they tend to produce more interesting and flavorful crops. YUM... 

Did you also know: Tomatoes, which are actually a fruit and not a vegetable, are loaded with all kinds of health benefits for the body. They are in fact, a highly versatile health product and due to their equally versatile preparation options, there's really no reason to neglect the tomato as part of a healthy diet.


One of the most well known tomato eating benefit is its' Lycopene content. Lycopene is a vital anti-oxidant that helps in the fight against cancerous cell formation as well as other kinds of health complications and diseases.!



So,where today I may be well over my 540 milliliters... while the gettin is good I am going to get my grub on. SO - WHERE TO  START you ask!? I started with a knife and a tomato and here is what I got..an awesome lunch to begin with!!  If you are not as lucky as I am to have these beauties right outside your door it is fun to get a mixture of different, tasty, local (if possible) tomatoes in all different shapes, sizes and colors. Second, the flavor is brought out by salting the tomatoes, so don't skip this bit, but do use RAW SEA SALT... Some people get worried about putting this much salt on their food, but the bulk of it will drip off, leaving you with really beautiful, intensely flavored tomatoes. Yum. You can EASILY stop there  with your awesome tomatoes, salt and pepper - or what I did today was whip up a little dip..See below, enjoy and have a great start to your week!

Cannellini Bean & Basil Hummus 

  • 2 (15-ounce) can cannellini (white) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or less - add slowly so you achieve the texture you want
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1T of fresh chopped parsley
  • Fresh Basil to taste ( optional - but with the tomatoes SO GOOD!)
  • Raw crackers, cucumbers, tomatoes or any veggies you can find!

Directions

Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, and parsley in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. YUM YUM YUM!






Sunday, August 19, 2012

Holy Tomatoes..........


That's right folks, these little beauties are at the peak of season and our garden is overflowing!!!So what better? A week of tomato trivia...ideas about what to do with them, how to eat & prepare them ..  and wow will you love your tomatoes after this! Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I thought this post by guest blogger Marina Chetner was interresting - read on- what do you think?

Yoga as an Olympic Sport?

"We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible." ~ Vince Lombardi

YogaWorks’ Facebook page recently posted this: “The great debate: are you FOR or AGAINST yoga as an Olympic Sport?”

A question that has been making the rounds and stimulating a heavily one sided argument against the notion, I dare to approach it rhetorically and ask: “Why are we so afraid of sharing yoga? Your practice is your practice – if one sees yoga as a sport, why are so many others opposed to encouraging this point of view?”

Yoga as an Olympic sport is an interesting topic for me. While it was easy for me to vote ‘for’ it by posting a link to a MindBodyGreen article I wrote about this topic back in June, I found many of the comments on the YogaWorks’ page to be reactive. The majority were of the anti- party and gave reasons that included: yoga as an Olympic sport would go against the philosophy of yoga, yoga is a lifestyle, and yoga is not gymnastics. A couple even referred to the long running regional, national and global Asana championships as Bikram Yoga competitions.

Joseph Encinia, 2011 International Asana Yoga Champion says, “Promoting yoga as a sport will get more people involved… We’re changing the nature of sport, and making sport something that is: more uplifting, that’s about the individual, and that promotes health.”

An extension of my previous article, I’d like to draw on my observations from the YogaWorks conversation, and continue the discussion.

BASIS OF THE DEBATE

For those who practice yoga, we understand it as a very personal practice. A thread that unites the mind, with the body, and spirit, its benefits are numerous and include greater awareness, renewed vitality, and increased levels of focus.

A practice that has existed in India for 5,000 years and engrained into its culture, yoga has influenced Western lifestyles for over 40 years. Hatha Yoga was created in 15th century and is the most popular form of yoga in the Western world. On the flip side, while yoga competitions originated in India some 2000 years ago with the aim to demonstrate the practice’s life enhancing benefits and encourage others to take up the practice through Asana (postures) and Pranayama (breath), the Western world resists such a display.

PHILOSOPHIES of YOGA & OLYMPICS, ALIGNED

Yoga Sutras

One of the oldest holistic health systems, yoga’s aim is to yoke the physical, mental, and spiritual states. The Yoga school of Hindu philosophy draws upon Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras as its foundational text. Made up of 196 verses, it outlines the techniques for achieving concentration through application of a yoga practice. At the heart of the text, Patanjali describes how Yoga constitutes 8 limbs:

Yamas - morals; Niyamas - observances; Asanas - postures, Pranayama -breathing, Pratyahara - control of senses, Dharana - inner awareness, Dhyana - devotion, Samadhi - union with Divine.

While all these 8 limbs are individual and personal, asana is the most exercised, and most exhibitive, limb. Hand in hand with pranayama, postures are a way to showcase control, grace, and ease in movement. Through concentration, will, and mindfulness, asanas display the sport of yoga.

Modern Olympics Movement

In parallel, albeit in the late 19th C, Pierre de Coubertin promoted the Modern Olympics Game Movement. He saw it as a way to draw together sport, culture, and education, with aim of creating a harmonious balance with body, will, and mind.

In much the same vein as the Yoga Sutras, Coubertin’s philosophy of the Olympics is based upon a universal set of values:

Respect – fair play; knowing one’s own limits; and taking care of one’s health and the environment. (Yamas and Niyamas)

Excellence – how to give the best of oneself, on the field of play or in life; taking part; and progressing according to one’s own objectives. (Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara)

Friendship – how, through sport, to understand each other despite any differences. (Yamas and Niyamas)

For a sport to make it to the Olympic Games, it must be competitive. Observing the limb Pratyahara - which means control of senses, and detaching from external sources - yoga encourages healthy competition; a means of intrinsic empowerment through the constant will to better one’s self.

The Games are a way to unite and encourage the world through admirable sportsmanship. Yoga should be given the chance to educate and inspire the world too.

YOGA and GYMNASTICS

It is true that yoga and gymnastics are two completely different sports. Whereas gymnastics focuses on momentum, yoga concentrates on holding a pose for a period of time while cultivating the breath.

Raj Bhavsar, gymnastics bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, defines two huge differences between the sports: in yoga, one is grounded; in gymnastics, athletes must perform mid air skills, and participate on 6 different apparatus. He says, “Yoga belongs up there as a sport. I understand how there could be a correlation between the two given the balance, flexibility, and strength required, but all sports rely on that. I attended a yoga competition over a year ago - seeing the physique of the athletes and watching them perform routines under pressure are what pushed me over the edge that this is a sport 100%. The essence of sport is a dedication to training, showing up to perform, combined with a certain level of mental readiness: I checklisted these three things with yoga.”

In response to the finite career of a gymnast versus the lifelong pursuit of yoga, Bhavsar goes on to say, “For me, yoga is like your morning orange juice. Older athletes are limited in how much they can compete. But with yoga, the more you do, the healthier you become. Yoga is timeless. Anyone can do it, and that’s what’s so beautiful about it.”

USAYOGA and INTERNATIONAL YOGA FEDERATION

In order for yoga to qualify as an Olympic Sport, 75 countries are required to be voted in by the Olympic committee. Currently, over 20 countries run competitions. The group behind running regional and national competitions in America is USAYoga, a non profit organization founded by Rajashree Choudhury, a former yoga champion in India. USA Yoga was formed with the goal of joining with similar organizations in other countries to form an international yoga federation and to qualify Yoga Asana as an Olympic Sport.

USA Yoga is developing educational programs, rules and regulations so that the necessary competitive skills can be understood and mastered by competitors, coaches, judges, administrators and yoga studio operators. Successful competitors will need to achieve mastery of physical strength, stamina, balance, flexibility, breath and concentration…These competitions are open to competitors from any yoga school or style and all are encouraged to participate. To borrow an ancient phrase, ‘the paths are many, the sport is one.’”

Federations have been set up around the world including Yoga Sports Association Australia (YSAA), Canadian Yoga Federation (CANYoga), and Chilean Sports Federation of Yoga.

The International Yoga Sports Federation (IYSF, iysf.org) seeks to be the international governing body; this past June it presented its 9th Annual International Yoga Asana Championship in the US. The 2012 female winner, Gloria Suen from Singapore, trained for months and was coached to deliver a 3 minute presentation of 7 Hatha Yoga Asanas.

“Winning the international championship was a great honor. However, the gold medal was really icing on the cake. I began practicing yoga about 4.5 years ago, and participating in the yoga championship has provided me a goal and platform for changing my body, my postures, and my mind. During my tour this year, I hope to inspire more people to take part in the championship. I started doing yoga at age 31, and just turned 36. It's never too late to start!”

I couldn’t have written a more inspiring testimonial than that.


So what do YOU think?

Get comfortable being uncomfortable...

Chris Davis just finished running through a tough hour and a half circuit workout. His warm-up over 5.5 mile walk here, cool down 5.5 mil...and to finish it off a BIKRAM YOGA CLASS. Chris was at the June yoga retreat and he will be at the September one too. GO CHRIS! Starting at 700lbs... this is a true story of starting each day with the attitude to simply do your best, let the yoga do the rest. "without yoga in my life I never could have achieved any of this"....

Monday, August 13, 2012





The inspiration for this sinfully healthy dessert actually came from the film “
Go Further” - Woody Harrelson’s documentary about his Sustainable Organic Living Tour in 2003, where one of his friends makes a raw chocolate avocado pie. After many delicious attempts at making my own, I came up with this very quick and easy recipe that anyone can make, and everyone will eat.

The Skinny on Fat
The most awesome aspect of this dessert (besides how incredible it tastes) is the fact that it supplies your body with some of the best fats on the planet. I realize that fats have gotten a bad rap over the years, but there are so many kinds of fats and knowing which ones are harmful and which ones are healing is crucial to good health and happy eating!

The main ingredient in this dessert is the lovely avocado. Avocados are loaded with monounsaturated fats - a good kind of fat also found in olive oil, that boasts all sorts of health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease, and even offering protection against certain cancers like colon cancer and breast cancer. Avocados are also a very concentrated dietary source of the carotenoid lutein, a phytochemical that protects the eyes against macular degeneration and cataracts. They also contain significant amounts of vitamin K, essential for normal blood clotting; calcium to maintain strong bones; folate to combat against Alzheimer’s disease; and vitamin C to boost the immune system. Not bad for a handful of smooth green goodness.
And if that wasn’t enough to fill you up, we’ve got polyunsaturated fats (think those oh-so-elusive Omega 3’s!) from all of the beautiful walnuts. Omega 3 fats are essential, meaning that our bodies cannot produce them and we need to get them from our diet. And why are they so important? Oh, only because they reduce cholesterol, lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, boost the immune system, control viral infections, improve brain function, and relieve symptoms of inflammatory condition such as arthritis. Whatevs. No big deal.




Criminal Choco Mousse Tarts

Maple Walnut Crust
Ingredients:
1 ½ cups organic walnuts or macadamia nuts
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
a pinch fine sea salt

2t ground flax meal
2t coconut butter

Choco Avocado Mousse
Ingredients:
4 ripe avocados
10 very soft dates (soak if necessary in just enough water to cover)
4 Tbsp. raw agave nectar
2 Tbsp. high-quality raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder if you don’t have the other)

Directions:1. Place walnuts in a food processor and pulse until chunky. Add the maple syrup and sea salt and pulse until the mixture is combined. (You can create a smoother crust by blending longer if you like, but in my experience leaving some chunks is a good idea to add contrast against the smooth chocolate pudding).


2. Get out a muffin pan. Scoop out a couple tablespoons of the walnut mixture at a time and press into the bottom of a muffin cup. Press firmly so that the walnut mixture is compact and holds together. You should be able to fill about 8 cups with the walnut crust. Refrigerate.

3. Finely chop the soaked dates and puree in vita mix with soak water and agave using a spatula to keep mixture moving.

4. Cut open all the avocados and scoop them out into a clean food processor. Blend. Add the other ingredients and blend to incorporate.

5. Remove walnut crusts by running a knife around the perimeter to loosen, then lift out. If the crust breaks or becomes dented, simply press it back together once it’s out the mold.

6. Spoon a large dollop of avocado mouse on top of the crust base or pipe it in via a large pastry bag. Garnish with whatever fruit you have on hand (fresh berries, banana, dates, pomegranate, pineapple…). Serve to very lucky people ;)

Notes: You can change things up by making a whole tart – simply press the walnut mixture into a tart shell, spoon the avocado pudding on top and slice. If you choose to make a whole tart I typically add a bit of coconut butter to the avo pudding so that the tart will set up in the larger pie shell prior to cutting.
If you have any extra filling, just keep it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days and eat it like pudding. It’s great for breakfast!

Honestly though....this is the kind of dessert that makes you question why on earth you’d ever reach for something full of empty calories, harmful fats, and tons of refined sugar. It really is one of the most delicious and easy to make treats I eat and well of course it is chocolate so how much better can it get?!

Which items must you buy organic?

 Here is a cute and easy illustration to let you know which veggies/fruits are the most important to purchase.

 They don't call them the dirty dozen for nothing! Spread the word!

Check out my latest yoga clothing obsession!

Friday, August 10, 2012

.....AND SMILE AND FEEL GREAT.
That is what Bikram Retreats are all about! Come join us in September for a vacation of a life time in Vermont's most amazing season - Fall Foliage. We can't wait to have you and literally can not wait to be there ourselves.

Warmly,

Liz and Lynn

***for registration & info... or download one here on our 'retreat page'. Just let us know when you do so we are sure to save you a space!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

When you can imagine yourself doing it eventually you will.

What are we whipping up now for September retreat? - an awesome alternatvie to bread..


Ah the cracker, the crunchy loaf of bread, the little crutons in your salad - LOVE it all right? but after why why why does this amazing delight always make us feel tired, heavy, bloated stomach - Uff - bread belly.....well, when I first started to introduce more raw foods to my diet I can tell you,  I was coming of a healthy eurpean tour and diet program consisting of mainly ( all) bread, cheese and wine - lots of bread!

I had no problem ransitioning with the veggies, the salads, the raw ideas for desserts, but man was I DYING for anything that resembled bread - a cracker that wasn't some primitave brick of seeds...if you know what I mean. I like it light, crisp - So, options exhausted,  I went into the kitchen and didn't come out til I found a solution.

Flax seeds
 Flax being the base of this outstanding little number. light, flaky and FULL of good things for you I finally found something to put my avocado and tomato sandwiches on!!

One of my favorite little seeds and now one of my favorite crackers of all time - THE EVERYTHING CRACKER is back, better than ever - with none of those nasty side effects but full of GREAT side effects... read on about the power of the flax, enjoy the photos of these everything crackers I am whipping up for our SEPTEMBER RETREAT...(Not signed up yet?? there is still space - sign up today!lizcotterevents@gmail.com) and stay tuned for the recipe and method to creating the goodness!







Health Benefits of Flax Seed

Flax Fights Cholesterol

The consumption of flaxseed is associated with a reduction in total cholesterol, including the LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. Study after study has shown a positive response to eating ground flax seed daily. Eating low fat foods, increasing your exercise, limiting the salt, sugar and eating flax seed daily are a few ways that you can win the battle against high cholesterol.

Flax Fights Diabetes

Nutritionists are instructing their diabetic patients to eat flax daily. It has been discovered that the omega-3 fat and high fiber in flax may play a role in the fight against diabetes. In a study conducted by the University of Toronto, participants who ate flaxseed bread had blood sugar levels 28% lower an hour after eating than their counterparts who ate bread made with wheat flour!

Flax Fights Cancer

Flaxseed is high in lignans, up to 800 times the amount as in any tested plant food. Lignans (a phytoestrogen) have been called by H. Adlercreutz (in his article “Phytoestrogens: Epidemiology and a Possible Role in Cancer Protection”), natural cancer-protective compounds. Flax seed is also high in alpha linolenic acid (ALA) which has been found to be promising as a cancer fighting agent. The American National Cancer Institute has singled out flaxseed as one of six foods that deserve special study. Flax seed's high fiber aspect is also beneficial in the fight against colon cancer. Epidemiological studies note that diet plays a major role in the incidence of colon cancer. Research has shown that increasing the amount of fiber in your diet reduces your colon-cancer risk. Flax seed, high in fiber, lignans, alpha linolenic acid, is a key player in the fight against cancer, particularly breast and colon cancer.

Flax Fights Constipation

Flax is high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. One ounce of flax provides 32% of the USDA’s reference daily intake of fiber. Flax promotes regular bowel movements because it is high in insoluble fiber. Flaxseed's all natural fiber helps to absorb water, thereby softening the stool and allowing it to pass through the colon quickly. When adding fiber to your diet, it is important to make sure that you are drinking at least eight glasses of water daily. Without enough liquids, fiber can actually cause constipation! In the fight against constipation exercise, eat fruits and vegetables, drink eight glasses of water daily and add two to four tablespoons of flax to your daily regime!

Flax Fights Inflammation

Flax is high in Omega 3 essential fatty acids. That’s good news for people who suffer from inflammatory disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis. Health experts, such as former Surgeon General C. Evertt Koop, recommend eating foods high in Omega 3’s for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. It is the inflammation within the joints that cause so much of the pain associated with arthritis. The January 1996 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that the participants in a study that took flax oil daily reduced inflammatory responses by as much as 30%.

Flax Fights Menopausal Symptoms

Hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, moodiness…ah, the joys of menopause. Can flax really help? Yes it can! Flax, like soy, is a phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens are estrogen-like substances that are found in plants. Flax is the richest known plant source of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens act as a natural hormone therapy and help to stabilize hormonal levels. This stabilization of hormonal levels helps to lesson the symptoms of menopause.

Flax fights Heart Disease

Heart disease, the number one killer in America, has claimed the lives of too many of our family and friends. Years of a sedentary lifestyle, super size meals and processed foods has finally caught up with us. Can flax help? Yes it can. Numerous studies have been done on the effect of flax on heart disease, yielding many positive findings. Flax has been found to help reduce total cholesterol, LDL levels (the bad cholesterol), triglycerides. Flax helps to reduce clotting time and thereby reduces the chance for heart attacks and strokes. Regular intake of flax protects against arrhythmias and helps keep the arteries clear and pliable!

Flax and the Immune System

Across the table, your co-worker sneezes, no tissue in sight, you feel a light spray hit your face and shudder. Standing in a crowded elevator, in a busy mall, or in an airplane, you sometimes feel like you can’t escape getting at least one or two colds each year…or can you? Research has found that eating flax daily favorably affects immunity, the body’s ability to defend itself successfully against bacteria and viruses. Two components of flax, lignans and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), have been found to affect immune cells and compounds that control immune reaction.

Flax fights “The Blues”

It’s that tired feeling that a good night's rest won’t shake… that listless down in the dumps feeling that you just can’t get rid of. We call it “the blues”, otherwise known as atypical depression, the most common form of depression. Preliminary research suggests that eating a diet rich in flax could slash your risk of ever feeling “down in the dumps”. Follow up studies show that just 2-3 tablespoons of flax daily can help up to 2/3rds of severely depressed women bounce back within eight weeks. Flax, says Udo Erasmus, PhD, has a mood boosting ingredient: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that is essential for the proper function of brain cells, yet up to 85% of women aren’t getting enough of it. Early research conducted by Dr. Martha Clare Morris of Chicago’s Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center notes that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids is believed to be important for brain development. She stated that some participants in the study saw a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s from eating a diet high in Omege-3 fatty acids(Flax is the richest source of Omega 3’s in the plant kingdom). More research is needed in the area of flax and its relation to depression and brain function, however preliminary research is very promising.

Comparison of Dietary FatsFlax FlowersHow can Flax help you?

  1. Flax is very high in lignans, which have anti-tumor properties—lignans act as antioxidants that could mirror the results of Tamoxifen, the anti-cancer drug for breast cancer.
  2. Flax is a natural food that has been consumed for thousands of years by many civilizations with noticeable health benefits and no artificial drug side effects.
  3. Omega 3’s—flax is recognized as the richest source of essential fatty acids (EFAs) such as alphalinolenic acid (ALA and Omega-3 fatty acids).

  1. Lignans—flax contains high levels of lignans, which are natural compounds that help prevent many types of cancer, such as breast, colon and prostate cancer.
  2. Fiber—as a whole grain, flax contains high levels of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which has been recognized by the National Cancer Institute as an essential part of your diet for the prevention of many cancers.
  3. Your body cannot make the essential fatty acids, Linoleic (Omega-6) or Linolenic (Omega-3), from other elements; instead, they must be consumed as part of your daily diet. Research has indicated that we consume too much Omega-6’s and not enough Omega-3’s, but flaxseed contains these essential fatty acids in perfect balance.
  4. In proper balance, omega-3’s and omega-6’s work to form the membranes of every cell in your body, play a vital role in the active tissues of your brain, and control the way cholesterol works in your system.