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Yoga Cookies

Yoga Cookies

These are probably the cookies you’d imagine every stereotypical crunchy granola tree-hugging hippy yoga teacher to be munching on. Well, you’re not wrong! They are packed with just about every nut and seed imaginable, they’re gluten-free and vegan, and I can personally vouch that yogi’s do, in fact, love them.  This yoga teacher knows her way around a good cookie, and rest assured that this is a delicious one that will have you chanting yummmmm (which kind of sounds like Om, right?).

 

In all seriousness, I decided to name them yoga cookies because I brought them to the instructor practice at Higher Health Yoga today to share with my yoga teacher family. They have waaaay too many ingredients in them to try to create a cookie name without it being 10 words long, so I thought I’d name them after what inspired me bake and share them. A recipe name with a story behind it is always better, don’t you agree? There are certain recipes I always associate with certain people or memories, or family recipes that have a great story attached to them that gets told every time the recipe is shared or cooked.

 

Few things are better than ending a great yoga class with a homemade cookie – and that’s exactly what we did today after our practice! But if you’re not a yogi then not to worry, you can still bake and enjoy these cookies. They are like a trail-mix granola bar, but in soft, chewy cookie form. Perfect for snacks when you’re on the go, for packing into lunch boxes, or for enjoying with a cup of tea. Maybe you can share them with some special people in your life and create your own name for them!

 

Yoga Cookies

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon ground flax + 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup oat flour (make your own by grinding rolled oats into a find powder in a food processor)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal/almond flour
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cashews
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup dark or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Whisk together the ground flax and water in a small dish and set aside for 5-10 minutes until it becomes a thick jelly. This is called a "flax egg" and is a common egg replacement in vegan baking.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oat flour, rolled oats, almond meal, chopped cashews, brown sugar, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, sea salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut butter, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and the flax/water mixture until combined.

  5. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
  6. Roll out balls of dough and place them onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. The cookies will crumble easily until they have cooled, so handle them gently.
  8. Store the cookies in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Why Dieting is NOT Mindful Eating

Why Dieting is NOT Mindful Eating

Some people may equate food rules, clean eating, or healthy eating with mindful eating, because inevitably you’re spending a lot of time and energy in selecting and preparing foods that you put into your body. You care about what you eat, where it comes from, and how it’s made. But what if I told you that this can be one of the most mind-LESS ways of eating? So much of the “healthy eating” mentality is manipulated by the food industry, diet culture, media, and under the influence of what worked for someone else. It is not necessarily influenced by our own personal relationships with our bodies, or our own individual food experiences and preferences. Much of the time, this obsession with healthy eating can make us question and doubt our own bodies, and feel guilty or shameful for our choices. It can cause a fearful and restrictive attitude towards food, instead of one that is rooted in a positive relationship with our bodies and eating for pleasure and enjoyment.

 

Mindful eating isn’t about being more focused on what you are eating or the quantity you are eating. It’s not about what we eat, but how we eat it. Eating mindfully is simply being fully present during the experience of eating, and observing the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that arise without reaction or judgement. Deepening your awareness of the food you choose to put into your body, how your food is being produced, and what goes into the food that you eat might be byproducts of tuning into your body and to the experience of eating with your full awareness, but they are not the goals of mindful eating.

 

The point that I’d like to drive home is that dieting is the furthest thing from mindful eating. Any type of diet or eating plan encourages you to distrust your body and to let someone or something else control your eating habits. Diets encourage you to surrender your own intuition around food and eating over to something external. It allows something else to control what, when, and how much you eat, rather than you being in tune with your own hunger and fullness cues, your body’s cravings, how certain foods make you feel, and your own personal experience with food. Mindful eating is being present with the experience and pleasure of eating, it’s not about obsessing over portion sizes, calorie counts, fat grams, restriction, or weight loss.

 

I’m sure we can all agree that we want our eating to support the health of our bodies in a way that keeps us alive and energized. But I want to take that a step further and encourage the idea that our eating must support our health in a holistic sense. Food is not just fuel and nutrients, but also a source of enjoyment and fun, socialization, celebration, and an expression of our cultures. We each have a totally unique experience of food! Food is not something you need to fear or that you should be worried about hurting you. But the untamed critical mental thoughts about food and our bodies, and judgmental reactions to certain types of foods, that diet culture promotes? Now those are what will hurt you, cause you immense amount of suffering and stress, and wear down your health.

 

“When the joy goes out of eating, nutrition suffers.” – Ellyn Satter

 

Joyful eating means you are regularly eating foods that you enjoy, foods that make you feel good. Mindful eating is a practice that cultivates a positive relationship with food and your body. Rather than the reactive and controlling mentality of dieting, you’re just bringing awareness to your experience in the moment. Through mindfulness we are able to observe our automatic or conditioned responses and cultivate the possibility of freedom from the reactive, habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and acting. Mindful eating is the practice of releasing all those judgments, relaxing around food, and going with the flow of life. Mindful eating is not taking anything too seriously. It is approaching food and the sensations of eating with compassionate curiosity as opposed to judgment or criticism.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Mindful Eating, and incorporating Mindful Eating practices into your life, I’m teaching a Mindful Eating Workshop at Higher Health Yoga & Wellness on Sunday April, 23rd from 2-4pm. I’d love to see you there if you’re in Fort McMurray that weekend (register online here)!

 

Coconut Tofu Curry

Coconut Tofu Curry

Curries are my go-to weeknight meal! They are what I turn to when I want a meal that is full of flavour, allows me to make use of ingredients I have on hand without needing to follow a strict recipe, and makes great leftovers for work lunches the next day (and they always taste better the next day). Curries are incredibly versatile and easy to adjust to your tastes, or to the veggies and spices you have in your kitchen. Sometimes I’ll whip up a more Thai-inspired curry, with the balanced and fresh flavours of coconut milk, green or red curry pastes, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, fresh cilantro and basil, and lots of vegetables. Other times, I’ll gravitate towards Indian curries, with the pungent and bold flavours of mustard seeds, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, chili, and hearty mixes of lentils, chickpeas, and rice.

 

This is a coconut curry that I feel is a marriage of a few different types of curries. It was a quick weeknight meal that I made after working late, and remembered to write down the ingredients as I went for once. I don’t usually measure anything and just go by look and taste, especially when it comes to curries, but I knew I wanted to share this one with you because I make variations of it so frequently! It is very simple and accessible recipe to make, and doesn’t require you to have an expansive spice cabinet. It’s an especially great “starter” curry recipe for picky children or adults who are just learning to love different flavours from around the world.

 

I absolutely love tofu, for both its texture and taste, but I realize not everyone shares my love for soybean curd. If tofu isn’t your thing, then feel free to substitute chicken breast or chicken thighs. If you’re on the fence about tofu, then I urge you to give it a try in this recipe before writing it off entirely, especially when you try it the next day after its had a chance to soak up all the flavours from the curry.

 

One of my essential pantry items that I always keep stocked up on are cans or Tetra-pack’s of full-fat coconut milk. And please do buy the full-fat stuff! Fat is important for both flavour purposes and nutrition purposes. Not to mention you’re literally wasting your money on “light” coconut milk. It’s just the regular coconut milk that has been watered down! So, even if you can’t bring yourself to enjoy the delicious full fat milk, then at least buy the full-fat can and water it down yourself so you’ll get more value for your dollar.

 

I feel like a delicious and flavourful meal is always at your fingertips if you have some coconut milk, a few different spices, some vegetables, and rice. Hopefully this curry will convince you of that as well!

 

Coconut Tofu Curry

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 -6 people
Author Brooke McMillan

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 white onions, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or pressed
  • 3 inch piece fresh ginger root, grated
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed, finely minced
  • 2 Tablespoons yellow curry powder
  • 2 Tablespoons dried basil leaves
  • 2 350g packages extra firm tofu, pressed and diced into 1” cubes
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 13.5 oz. cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce or soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon cold water
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch
  • Basmati or Jasmine rice, for serving
  • Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Slice each tofu slab in half lengthwise and fold a clean dish towel around the slabs. Place a heavy pot or heavy books on top and allow the excess moisture to drain from the tofu for 20-30 minutes. Cut the pressed tofu into cubes.
  2. If you’re using brown rice, then start cooking it now, either on the stovetop or in a rice cooker. If you’re using white rice, then don’t start it until you start the coconut curry is simmering for 20 minutes.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they are softened and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add in the garlic, ginger, jalapeno pepper and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the curry powder and dried basil and let cook for about 30 seconds, until the spices are fragrant. Add in the tofu cubes and stir to coat in the spices, then pour in the coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a low boil then simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

  6. Add in the broccoli, cover the pot with a lid, and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the broccoli is bright green and tender. Whisk together the sea salt, lemon juice, fish sauce/soy sauce, water, and cornstarch in a small bowl, then add it into the pot and cook for another 1-2 minutes, just until the coconut milk thickens slightly. Add additional lime juice or salt to taste.

  7. Serve the curry over cooked Basmati or Jasmine rice with lots of freshly chopped cilantro over top.