How to Cultivate More Happiness and Joy

Good morning.  Happy New Year and here it is Vegan (Feast) Thursday again.

  I am in the middle of a good read in this month’s Yoga Magazine….about a 21 day vegan challenge.   Yoga and a plant-based diet go together like…peanut butter and jelly—or lettuce and tomatoes.  “Ahimsa,” meaning non-harming, is the first of the five yamas (guides to enlightenment).  While not all yogis and yoga enthusiasts refrain from eating animals and their by-products, a plant-based diet IS a great way of practicing ahimsa or “do no harm.”  Doing no harm to ourselves, others and our universe certainly includes animals!

One of the things I have been making lately is what I like to call my chakra salad.  We know that their are foods that help balance our 7 chakras and when we put them together in a bowl, we get one very, very colorful and inviting salad.  Each chakra has it’s own color and to keep it easy, the foods associated with balancing that chakra are the same colors.

English: Illustration of the main 7 Chakras, a...

English: Illustration of the main 7 Chakras, as taught by contemporary Reiki masters. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our root chakra is red so think of foods like radishes, beets and red onions.  The sacral chakra is orange so consider orange peppers, or shredded carrots.  For the solar plexus we want to add something yellow; corn or some yellow squash works.  Moving up to the heart chakra we can opt for any of the leafy greens, lettuce being the most obvious, but kale and spinach are also great.  For the throat chakra, which is blue, I like to throw in a handful of blueberries.  Blue is a tough color–if you can think of anything else, please let me know!  Those blueberries have to cover the third eye chakra which is also blue.  Finally, for the radiant crown chakra think shredded purple cabbage.  This covers all the chakras, but I also like to add calamata olives and avocado when available as these add great taste, texture and some much needed healthy fat to the mix.  Finally, if I am looking for a little protein I will add rinsed and drained chick peas.  I always dress my salad with fresh squeezed lemon, a small amount of balsamic vinegar and just enough olive oil.  Turns out, what’s great for balancing our chakras, (and we can all use some balance in our lives!) is also great for everything that ails us without doing any harm.  The big bonus is the rainbow of colors make it so pretty!  Play around with the ingredients.  Be creative and let me know what you come up with!

Whether you are a yoga guru or have never done a single yoga posture in your life, consider a meal or two today that are void of any animals.  As Sharon Gannon, co-founder of the Jivamukti Yoga school and the Jivamuki vegan cafe in NYC, as well as the author of the cookbook Simple Recipes for Joy says “Veganism is NOT about restriction–it’s a way of eating and living that can create more happiness and joy.”

Wishing you more happiness and joy and a wonderful a day! Namaste






Breakfast for Dinner and Your Daily Reminder to Vote for Charlotte!!!

Yesterday was Vegan (Feast) Thursday, and Mitch and I were both in the mood for our favorite dinner—breakfast!  I don’t ever have much in the house by Thursday night and I after eating super clean all week I am usually in the mood for something a little more decadent.  I took an inventory of what food I did have and opted to make vegan french toast.  All I did was mash up a couple of ripe bananas and added about a half a cup of almond milk to make a thick batter.  To this  I sprinkled in some ground flax seed and ground cinnamon.  I let it sit for a few minutes before dipping (drenching) my bread in it.  After cooking on each side until browned, I plated it dripping some almond butter over the top along with some fresh maple syrup.  It was breakfast, not JUST for dinner, but for dessert as well, so even though it was a bit over the top for me, I was satisfied for the rest of the night.  YUMMMMO

Whenever I eat a high carb dinner, I feel real good about getting out on the street and running, so I will do that this morning.  In fact, since it’s one of the last Fridays of my summer schedule, I plan to run and swim before going to teach this morning.

This quote came in my quote of the day yesterday and I thought it was worth sharing.  If you aren’t feeling as good as you would like to, you might want to consider this.  There is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment after you have put in the effort!

All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.

— Calvin Coolidge

Before I log out and sit for day 5 of the meditation challenge, I have to say that I am overwhelmed with the generosity of spirit regarding the SilverSneakers challenge and all of you that have voted and continued to vote each day.  Thank you so much for sharing your status and asking others to vote as well.  I no longer recognize the names of the friends of the friends of the friends who have shared my status in asking others to vote.  This morning Charlotte is only about 20 votes behind the first place holder, Grace, and I feel together we can move this amazing woman into the first place spot.  If she wins there will be a party in her honor and I am sure her face will be on a lot of promotional material.  Additionally there will be some equipment gifted to the gym for us but above all, Charlotte will be recognized.  She has done so much fundraising and volunteering in her life and this recognition would be a great way to give back to her for all she has given to the world.  Plus I just love her………….

silversneakers photo--charlotte

Mango Monday and More

 Hoping you all had a wonderful holiday weekend and it wasn’t too difficult returning to reality, today.  We had some quality beach time, our first 4th of July in 14 years without the bigredguy trying to find a place to hide, good food (lots of mangoes) and much rest and relaxation.  It was nice to see our kids celebrating the holiday with their other families out west and out in western Florida, where Nicole went for her final dress fitting with her parents.  Emotions are running high for all of us as the big day is now less than 4 weeks away!!!!

 I did want to share the simple mango salsa/salad I made this weekend.  With mangoes in abundance this is the time to make this.


Crispy corn tortillas with black bean & mango ...

C (Photo credit: Amy Groark)

 1 mango cut and diced into cubes

 2 ears of cooked corn (ours were grilled and leftover from the night before)  You could use a can of corn if you had to

 1 can black beans rinsed and drained

   juice of a lime (or 2)

 chopped cilantro


Mix all ingredients and refrigerate.

Delicious as a side dish, or on chips– or good all by itself!

Great to bring to a picnic as it has no dairy to worry about spoiling :)


Our home land phone line was out for the holiday weekend and then some.  There were some really nice aspects of that.  Today AT&T came out to fix it, so our internet was off for a good part of the day.  No landline, no internet.  Still between Mitch and I that left 3 cell phones and a landline in Mitch’s office.  It’s really kind of crazy when you think about it.  I know that we never want to go backwards in life.  Technology has in many ways plunged us forward and I can appreciate that, but I admit to often wishing we were all a little less plugged in.  We have our main house phone working again, and are back on line, but of all the things I saw as I caught back up on what I “missed” I loved this and had to share.  Thanks, Andrew.  And thanks to all that make me forget to look at my phone.   You are all way more important.  I will try to be the kind of person that makes you forget to look at yours……….Namaste


Weekend Wrap Up

Q.  What’s the NUMBER ONE question vegans are asked?

A. “Where do you get your protein from?”

I believe, after about 5 or so years of getting my nutrition from foods other than animals, that I get enough of most all my nutrients, pretty easily.  The past few weeks, I have been revisiting some bean salads that I make on Sunday and have for most of the week.  There truly is NO recipe for this.  Since I always keep canned beans in the house, I just open a few different kinds, rinse them well and throw them in a big bowl with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I generally use a combination of northern beans, garbanzos, black beans and whatever else I might have handy.  I usually add some diced red onions and a little salt and pepper. Yesterday, I added some diced hot and sweet peppers out of a jar.  It can be eaten right away, but gets better as it sits in the fridge.  It can be eaten alone or thrown on top of a garden salad.  While just 1/2 cup of beans are a nice bang of protein (about 8 grams) the even better part is that same half cup gives you about 8 grams of fiber!!  Where else can you find that much fiber in small serving?  It helps keep your digestive system healthy, and definitely helps keep you full, a big bonus if you are looking to lose some weight.  Since canned beans are so inexpensive you can whip up a salad like this for about 5 bucks and it will make enough for many servings!  If I happen to have a ripe mango, I like to dice it up and throw it on top of this salad for some sweetness.  Be creative and let me know what you come up with.

If you are still in the ab challenge….100/150/58/90seconds  and tomorrow we rest.  PHEW!

I will be at the gym for my 2 regularly scheduled classes and will be subbing for Ellen at 10.  She will be back to work tomorrow.  What a beautiful job her family did memorializing Ellen’s dad.  I will keep in mind the quote that the oldest grandchild, Justin, opened and closed his speech with and pass it on to you: