Connecting Mindfulness to Practice

Below is an excerpt of my submitted article. Hope you like it xo

As a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist, the biggest lesson I have learned is that eating is not as simple as just fueling the body. We no longer eat solely out of hunger, but we use food for celebration, as a reward, to cope with sadness or fatigue, and everything in between.  The stressors in our life and the lack of time for self care make it challenging to nurture our minds and bodies in other ways.

 

Personally, yoga and pilates has been an important self-care strategy, although I initially started these practices for the physical benefits.  It was a slow journey that is still continuing, but I began to notice the benefits connecting mind and body can have on decision making and coping with stress.  It is now something I integrate into my work as a Dietitian and movement instructor, with the goal of  guiding clients through the challenges to realizing the benefits mindfulness can have towards long term change.

 

Mindfulness practice can take many forms. On the mat, I encourage students to notice how movements make them feel, and give them the freedom to adjust, in order to build this mind and body connection.  A major shift in my movement practice began when I found the value quieting the mind.  In a class, I often guide students during moments of stillness to notice thoughts that enter their mind, but rather than dwelling on them, work on letting them pass. In recent years, it clicked for me how important this exercise is to my nutrition clients as well. This activity in a yoga class has great value to relax the body and mind, but further more in a nutrition consult can help a client stop dwelling on a negative emotion or feeling that may fuel negative eating patterns. 

 

Integrating mindfulness into my nutrition practice also expands to tuning in to what my clients’ bodies are telling them, and learning to trust in their personal strengths. By taking pause, clients can start to listen to natural hunger signals as a cue to start and finish a meal.  Time to pause, as well as reflect on eating patterns, also allows clients to learn their associations with food (like loneliness, anxiety) that may lead them to eat when they aren't hungry.   Through building trust in this mind-body connection, clients can slowly heal a broken relationship with food. For some clients, yoga movements may be a catalyst towards mindfulness, but I work with many other clients who learn to tune in to their bodies without asana or formal meditation. First and foremost, it’s most important to learn the value of pause, and also of continued to practice. Mindfulness is a skill that, just like a muscle, you have to exercise regularly to strengthen.

Failure Sucks

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This isn't the usually type of post I write, I tend to keep this "blog" to the occassional recipe and resource upload - a way for me to compile my research and recipe exploring. But today, I am uploading a post a little bit more from the heart. 

So. Failure feels crappy. Sometimes you work hard, and you follow the instructions and it just doesn't pan out.  Even though you know logically that it will all be ok and that failure is a learning opportunity - the kick in the ego makes you want to curl up with some chocolate and peanut butter (and sometimes thats ok!).   

In my case, I was asked by a local magazine to write an article about integrating yoga and mindfulness with my nutrition practice.  This was something I was so excited to do for a few reasons. I have always wanted to write for magazines or blogs ("Yay, my big break!"), and someone was actually interested in the fact that I am both a mindful movement teacher and Dietitian. I also find its rare for magazines to reach out to a dietitian (and may instead seek out nutritionists with varied education background).  It took me many long nights, edits from friends and even a little crying to get a final copy out to the editor.  I found it challenging to align what she wanted, with what was true to me. 

After a few weeks, the editor informed me that they weren't able to fit the article in the upcoming issue and it would be delayed to a later one.  Then the email today to inform me it didn't  fit with the vision of the magazine - it sounded too "advertorial". 

Can't help but feel your heart drop a little when someone doesn't recognize your hard work. And ya, I wallowed in it for a bit. Chose to self care with a little pb + toast with chocolate. 

But, then I took a deep breathe and worked on perspective and reflection. This is new for me, I often like to be insanely critical and keep myself down.  Instead I let myself go beyond the letdown: "There can be other opportunities", "It's always great practice", "The writing didn't feel true to me" .  And so with reflection, there can be calm. 

Light and love xo. 

Lauren

PS:  I will repost the article here, might as well not go to waste :)

Sante Fe Slow Cooker Jackfruit

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  • 2 cans young jackfruit (in brine)
  • 4 tbso spicey bbq sauce
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp hot pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 can diced stewed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Few drops liquid smoke
  • 1/2 package tofu (crumbled), optional

Put all ingredients in a slow cooker and place on low for 4 hours, or high for 2.  Once it is done cooking, shred the jackfruit with 2 forks.  Want to have it in a taco?  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees (I did this in the toaster oven).  Taking a soft tortilla, and place in the oven over two rungs of the rack, allowing the ends of the tortilla to hang down.  Allow this to cook for about 8 minutes or until slightly browned. Enjoy!

Grilling Bean Burger

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  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax meal, 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp molasses
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (gluten free if needed)
  • 1/4 cup oats (gluten free if needed)

Mix water with flax and reserve in the fridge.  Put kidney beans in food processor and blend until chopped up, but still has some texture.  Place in a bowl with remaining ingredients, including flax egg, and mix well. Form into about 4 to 8 patties (depending on size desired) and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes a side.  Freeze if desired and re-cook in a non stick pan or on the bbq. 

Recipe Review: Vegan Keto Bagel (Meat Free Keto)

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These little bagels are oddly delicious, as you begin to mix u the ingredients, you don't think they are going to turn out (and they do seem a little greasy as you mix them). But I really enjoyed the creamy flavour and the dense, chewy texture.  They are also full of fibre so they are pretty satisfying.  Because the base of these bagels are tahini and flax, they do have a slightly earthy, savoury flavour - but I found them great topped with peanut butter, and as a bun for a sandwich. 

This recipe makes two servings, but I would recommend making an extra batch.  Keep in mind, these do take time to bake (about 40 minutes), so you may want to make them ahead of time but they store well in a well sealed container. 

You can find the recipe here: http://meatfreeketo.com/vegan-keto-bagel-thins/  Give it a try, enjoy!

Product review: Bean Curd Noodles

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For those following a plant based lifestyle, its nice to find some new and different protein options. When I found these noodles at an Asian grocery store, I thought they would be great to try!  The noodles come plain and "seasoned" though I find that both are pretty bland - similar texture and flavour to firm tofu. 

I started by stir frying these along with some veggies. Since these are a protein source, no need to add another protein alternative unless you want to.  I threw in a variety of spices, garlic, ginger as well as siracha.  

With the leftovers, I turned the noodle dish into a soup: making a miso broth with miso paste and hot water.