Can you overeat healthy food???

Well, yes.you can apparently.

I can attest to that.

Personal experience.

While I was convinced that you can only binge on sugary -carb-loaded whatever ( I bet you don’t even need to use your imagination…everybody has a week spot for something food concerned) –

Well- turns out calories are calories, and, much like finances, if you put in more then you take out- you gain. (………..)

If you are one of those lucky bast%&#$ that his or her goal is to gain weight- well then.

I got nothing to say to you. I mean, really. nada.

I also ain’t got nothing to say to you if you have a perfect relationship with your body and with food.

You never overeat, you can eat 2 chips and be “full” (yea right) and the worst – you occasionally skip a meal just because you “forgot to eat”.

Not deliberately and mindfully wrestled with your weak willpower and intermittent fasted-no- you simply forgot.

what can I say. do people like that even exist?

The rest of us are struggling to shake off childhood eating habits, fears, emotional eating, stress binging, you simply love to eat, you appreciate the taste of certain foods, and you feel secure and content when you are full. etc.

and many other issues too.

The point is- apparently, just because you are eating vegan protein-dense nutritional organic healthy foods- does not mean you can eat as much as you want and not gain weight.

Unless of course, you are an elite athlete and train 14 times a week lifting weights , running like the wind or swimming like a dolphin. ( they do swim fast, don’t they?in the case they are known slow swimmers, then think of another underwater fast swimmer).

Come to think of it- maybe these athletes can’t eat whatever they want either, I have no idea.

The thing is, I started practicing intermittent fasting, and many times I find myself overeating after fasting.

I am aware this is not the best case scenario, not even remotely, but this is the truth .so.

Overeating is not recomended in my opinion not only from the caloric intake point of view but first and foremost because if makes you feel uneasy.

Bloating, heavyness, fatigue, you name it- I’ve experienced it.

I’ve been trying to make all kinds of adjustments, such as snacks and mindful eating, and I think that the key , at least in my case, is acceptance.

I need to accept my emotional eating , and when I will totally understand that this is part of me , and has been a part of my life since adolescence, then, and only then, maybe I will be able to workout the best way to get along with my eating habits.

The cooliflower.

Rise up- it’s fall!

Even (former) cynics like me can’t avoid that sense of joy creeping when its fall time.

Fall here is very short, a month at best, so I try to enjoy every second of it.

Being me, enjoying most definitely means food.

My daughter texted me the other day asking for a recipe for acorn squash.

Wow.The feeling that I had done something right raising that child.overwhelming.

“Simply scrub it thoroughly, half it, drizzle some olive oil and bake till tender”.

“.And please take a picture for the blog “.

“Mom, it turned out great, I put some brown sugar on top before baking “.

( I definitely did something right with her).

“about the picture..I had to start eating it looked so good so no “just got out of the oven ” photo.

Oatmeal!!!

Healthy, easy, super filling, full of fiber, comforting with no downsides.amazing.

My easy version:

6 tbsp oats

1 cup boiling water

90 seconds microwave

stir

drizzle soy milk

add 2 tbsp date spread ( home made)

1 tbsp chia seeds

2 tbsp ground flax seeds

1 tbsp hemp seeds

stir

cinnamon

Enjoy.

Soup!!!

this is a Thai sweet potato coconut milk soul my neighbor brought.

And this is a vegetable soup I made, and added some dried mushrooms for a simple twist.

Add anything you like to a basic veggie soup:

bulgur

whole rice

pasta

mushrooms

whatever.

Enjoy the fall fruit!!

fall grapes.here as a simple snack – with sprouted mung beans , walnuts and a drizzle of tahini.

honestly- the tahini wasn’t absolutely necessary.

Pears.

classic fall fruit.

this here is an asian pear.

full of vitamins.

add some almonds and get a nutritious yummy snack.

Get out your slow cookers!!

Don’t have one?get one.this is a cheap useful device.I am almost positive that if you ask around your family , someone will admit that he or she can give you the spair one that has been lying around.

Bake beens in the slow cooker.

Presoak them.

Then pre boil them till almost tender.

Then transfer to the slow cooker , add olive oil, condiments of choice, and let cook for 6-7 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.

Enjoy!

The cooliflower.

Early retirement cleaning projects, naturally….

I knew this was coming.

It was inevitable.

Major cleaning assignments, that up until my early retirement were classified as : “when I have the time”.

Well, I never really had the time.

I mean I had the time to clean, but not to tackle those nasty hidden spots nobody sees unless you make a point of talking about them.

I never made a point f taking about them.

Why would I?

Nothing interesting there to talk about.

So why am I bothering now?

So that all of you saving pennies towards early retirement , know what’s coming.

Sure- you can ignore all those strange cleaning projects, bit-

I will have you know that people around you have a tendency to let you feel like you are not a respectable citizen if you are not productive.

Since I have no intention of going back to work- not even part-time, not even sitting on a board of something or another boring thing-

I get the look from people. 

“So, what do you do all day??”

“Mmmmm…..I workout??”

“And then?”

“Then I eat”

“And then?”

“Then I rest. and read. and eat. again.”

“Seriously??”

“Emmm…yep”

So every once in a while I pull a long-forgotten cleaning project from hell and tackle it, so I can answer confidently”:

“Oh, today? I cleaned the thing!”

And that’s that.

So- what were the projects?

#1: Cleaning behind the desk in my adolescent son’s room.

I know you cant believe me, but I have evidence to show I did get into my son’s room and did move his desk, yes the one the computer is on and cleaned there.

This is the before-

yes, disgusting.

 

 

And this is the after.

#2: Painting the same adolescent’s ceiling.

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hen I succeeded entering the said adolescent’s room, and moved the desk, I happened to look up in despair, and that’s when I saw his ceiling was covered in what looked like suspicious mold or whatever.

I’m not absolutely sure what it was, but it wasn’t pretty, and it didn’t look very healthy, so my partner and I repainted the ceiling with anti-mold paint.

#3: Of course- the kitchen sink had to get clogged. 

I mean- why not?

Just because I am extra careful not to clog it with coffee remnants and oily stuff? just because I clean it only with natural sprays? (vinegar+baking soda+dish soap)?

It clogged anyway, so my partner took out his secret weapon-

You open the sewer and insert this device and start manually turning it (elbow grease at your service) until you unclog the very thing that clogged the system.

Mind you the secret weapon came out only after trying- and failing- the traditional -“opening the plastic cup under the sink and cleaning the disgusting gunk in it” .

The end result:

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#4: Cleaning behind the microwave!

I didn’t know it could get this dirty.

I mean, why would it??

My green clean all-purpose cleaner- baking soda+dish soap+ warm water and some vinegar, scrubbing-and voila.

#5: Then I had to clean the inside of the microwave, obviously.

I mean- who leaves a job half done??

arrrgggggggggggggg….

Take the glass tray out.

Discover that it has a tendency to let sticky stuff stick to it.

Scrub it .

Take a glass of water, squeeze half a lemon- better use a mature (old, I mean old) lemon, (why bother wasting a fresh beautiful one? mature ones are just as good for cleaning purposes), and start the microwave -30 seconds should do it.

wipe the dirt off the whole microwave interior, and place the glass plate back.

Amazing.

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#6: clean the ice inside the deep freezer. 

img_20191015_1535044373493794707818872.jpgI do wish I took a “before” picture” so you could appreciate the glorious work I had done to get the tons of ice out of this.

No- it doesn’t have an anti freeze thing -that’s the way it is. it has been doing a great job for the past decade and we are not about to replace it just because we need to struggle like animals every few months.

We can do it.

I mean-

I am retired-

Right?

enjoy- the cooliflower.

My struggles with intermittent fasting.

I have been practicing intermittent fasting since January, and I think it’s time to share my opinion on this oh so controversial subject.

I remind you I am no doctor/dietitian/anything of the sort.

Just me. early retired me, plenty of time and enthusiasm, a genuine interest in healthy nutrition, preferably vegan (for me) but not only ( for the rest of the household. I seem to care about them, a lot.)

So I read. actual books. and on-line too. I use my brain to asses what works for me and didn’t-doesn’t-won’t.

Let’s get to the point- shall we?

My previous post on intermittent fasting is linked here: So- intermittent fasting??

I re-read the post so I won’t repeat myself, and found it interesting that some issues remained an issue- some evolved as an issue- and then some new issues emerged…

#1 Issue: Hunger…..

Naturally, when your body is used to eating 3 meals a day ( + snacking in between) the sudden change does not go without saying.

there was- and still is- some saying here…

Some days I don’t feel any hunger, on the contrary, I feel great, but there are days I am actually hungry. I mean really hungry.

There is a huge difference between my actual hunger( quite rare- maybe once in a week-10 days) and my psychological hunger (not so rare…a few days a week….)
So what do I do?
Sometimes I just eat and actually don’t feel so great afterward, since my body has adapted to fasting between 15:45 to 08:45 (I am aware you might think it strange to mention those 15 minutes before – but trust me- when you are hungry- those 15 minutes between 08:45 and 9 am seem like eternity. )
sometimes I drink a cup of herbal tea, and sometimes I make myself a cup of apple cider vinegar drink– 2 tbsp ACV in a glass of hot water. yes- it’s “allowed” during fasting, and actually has many nutritional benefits.

Issue #2: I love eating.

That’s not the main problem I have with intermittent fasting, though I was absolutely sure that it would be.

The reason it’s not such a huge problem, I that I do everything I can to eat in between my fasting hours.
But- The thing is- though I manage to eat enough food- I find that whereas before IF I just ate the food I like with minimum planning ahead- now I need to carefully plan each day ahead, so I can make sure I eat enough protein and fruit -to sustain me through the next fast.

This means fewer carbs, no baked goods, pasta maybe 0nce a week, and salads are reduced to snack time because I am afraid that if I eat salad and some beans for lunch- by evening I will be hungry again. so instead of a large salad for lunch -I have a choice of legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas, soy beans+ quinoa-bulgur- brown rice.

The obsessive planning ahead is a bit tiring, lucky for me I am retired, because I haven’t the faintest idea what working people do.

I am fully aware of the possibility that the hunger fears I have maybe totally false, and there are people out there managing to sustain themselves only on large salads and some protein shake.

While that may very well be the case for other people- it’s not the case with me.

As I said I love eating, I respect my body, and I totally respect my body’s need for fueling after workouts to keep going at the great pace it is going.

I am no spring chicken, and I cannot risk inflicting any severe damage to my body so as to lose a few pounds or simply out of ignorance.

In order to build strength- I need to build muscle. in order to build muscle- my body needs fuel- the right kind of fuel- in the right amount.

My research taught me that for my weight (132 pounds) I need to eat 54 grams of protein a day, so my main concern is supplying protein and vitamins to my body, the rest will wait.

Issue #3: synchronizing post-work-out meals and fasting.

I am a type-A organized person, (mainly because of fears of letting go, sadly not because I am such a perfect person.If you think about it, it’s probably yet another imperfection in a long and tiring line of imperfections), and as a type-A organized person, I try very hard to schedule my post work out “eating windows”.

*An “eating window” is a controversial concept stating that after a serious (high intensity) workout- such as spin class, running and such, your body needs to refuel in an eating window not wider than 60 minutes, in order to replenish glycogen restores in our bodies, and help mend the muscle tears our exercise has inflicted .

Meaning- that if you are exercising in a gym or outdoors- and there is a ride back, your food needs to be either prepared and waiting for you in that time window, or be taken with you to be eaten right after the exercise.

I am not absolutely sure this theory is completely valid, since I keep reading that “the body is smarter than us, it can manage different foods together, and knows when it needs to be refueled”- and all of a sudden there is a semi-scientific eating window that isn’t necessarily connected to what our body is telling us, since there may be times that people are simply not hungry after a workout- but find themselves thinking “oh I must eat otherwise my eating window will be shut!”.

*By the way, don’t get me wrong- I am not complaining that I need to eat when I am not hungry. this is not the case. I am usually hungry, most definitely after my workouts, that start at 05:30-06:00 AM, when my last meal is at around 15:45 PM.

The thing is, on days I go swimming at the gym, I usually add core class+pilates -or yoga.

This means that I swim fasted for 2 km (70 minutes-between 5:45- 6:55am) , then I shower and continue to my classes -until 9 am. by the time I get home it’s 9:45.

By then I am famished, ready to eat anyone.

This means that all the ingredients for my post-workout smoothy need to be ready, so I can whip it up the minute I get home.
And please don’t let anybody stand in my way.

The smoothy is hardly enough to satisfy me after all those hours +that intense workout- so I make myself oatmeal porridge as well.

*the smoothy includes 2 frozen bananas, 15 grams of protein powder, (Vega salted caramel, yummy!) cold water, 1/4 cup of soy milk, 2 tbsp of chia seeds (pre-mixed with water), 2 tbsp of flax seeds, and 1 tbsp of hemp seeds.

img_20190925_081408121447966464086666.jpg

for the oats- I put 1/2 cup of oats, 1 cup of hot water- in the microwave for 90 seconds, then mix in 2 tbsp of my date spread, a little soy milk, 1 tbsp emp seeds and some cinnamon. voila.

But-

between swimming and my classes, I can get hungry.

The thing is I don’t have a pre-workout snack- because of the fasting, and this is a bit too much exercise for me in a fasted state.

A morning run is fine, so is the swimming- but the classes can be sometimes- a bit too much.

What I started doing lately- and does help (a little) is I bring a small glass container with my 2 tbsp of ACV and mix in hot water from my double duty bottle.

img_20190919_1342305542078558083494792.jpg

I drink the ACV beverage in the gym after swimming (and showering) and before classes, and it can keep me going till the end of the classes in good condition.

The ACV has many benefits- I linked an article – ACV benefits.

The potassium in the ACV is supposed to boost your energy levels ( plus help with leg cramps if you have them at night) . but the articles warn not to overdo it on ACV-so don’t.

To conclude –

I feel that intermittent fasting is good for me, but I still have my struggles. I don’t mind missing dinners and not going out to eat because I don’t do that anyway ( introvert, told you), so all in all- I think I will keep doing my IF -with necessary modifications if needed.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

Cheap thrills: 3 easy money-saving hacks for free!!

I believe it’s time for another fun round of ” how to save $$$ so retirement won’t take that long”.

#1: Diy healthy +frugal sugar substitute: your very own organic raw Medjool date spread!

My partner got his blood work results and was reluctant to share, so I figured it was not the greatest results you could get.

After some convincing, he told me the results shoed high cholesterol, and high blood sugar, to the level that us indicative of prediabetes.

My MIL is diabetic, and this is a serious indicator of other health issues too, such as heart disease, so even he was suddenly concerned.

I wasn’t surprised since up until that moment my partner’s approach to food (and Life) was the classic YOLO approach:

“I’ll eat what I want and do whatever I want to do with my time and my money since “you only live once”.”

He loves pizza, and so I learned to make homemade pizzas in hopes that at least I can eliminate the additives and who knows what ingredients they put in store-bought frozen pizzas.

But that didn’t help at all, because now he had all the pizza he wanted close by, fresh and seemingly “healthy”, since it was homemade…

He also loves bread and baked goods, so every weekend:

I let him be, (after failing at the nagging option…he is no one to nag to), and the test results were finally the wake-up call he (and I) needed to get him back on track.

*He is blessed with a lean figure, though the pizzas and buns were starting to show off as belly fat.as is common when you pass the “50” gate.

So he simply cut gluten and sugar off his diet and hasn’t stopped since the beginning of August.

I, naturally, was on board, and introduced the world of legumes and oatmeal to him.and yogurt.

I used to buy organic date syrup, and drizzle it freely on desserts, thinking it’s not proper sugar, it’s date sugar.

But then I researched a bit and discovered that throughout the process of making date syrup, many of the date nutrients are squeezed out, and you are left with mainly the sugary carbs that make it taste so good…though it is not as bad as regular white sugar, for sure.

Read here why: (remember my disclaimer)

https://www.healwithfood.org/nutrition-facts/date-syrup-calories.php

So I took their offer and made my own date spread.

It takes about 3 minutes of “work”, and the result is healthier ( all the fiber and nutrients of the dated are still there no worries), no added preservatives, you know exactly what kind of dates your spread is made of, you can buy the dates in bulk , on sale, and make it even a cheaper option, plus, it isn’t so concentrated, so it’s not as sweet as the store-bought solan or syrup, so it allows you to go easy on everybody’s sweet tooth and habits, should you have the strange desire to do so.

The process is simple: pit 15 organic Medjool dates. Soak in warm water for 15 minutes. The water should just about cover the dates. Don’t discard the water, they go along with the dates!

Place dates +date soaking water in the blender : (my Vitamix is my dear dear friend, truly. but for this, I use my Braun hand mixer, easier to clean. Unless I am about to make a smoothly right afterward, in that case, I use the Vitamix and do not bother to clean the date mess, since dates are a welcomed addition to every proper smoothy worldwide). blend for 30 seconds on high. EST voila.

I use this spread as a substitute for sugar in everything. On yogurt, with raw tahini as a sweet spread, in pancakes, cookies, cakes, even when I need to balance a tomato sauce’s acidity – I add 1/2 a tsp of the date spread instead of the usual sugar.

My partner hasn’t done more blood tests since, so I hav3no idea if his blood sugar is balanced yet, but he lost all the belly fat And says he feels much lighter now – and his runNing has improved.

#2: squeeze it like you mean it:

Ok come on you already know this one, it’s a basic 101 frugal tip. Squeeze your toothpaste before throwing. But I am here to tell you that even when you lose hope, and you are certain you squeezed the life out of it, it can miraculously give you 2 more weeks of paste! I was amazed when this happened to me and immediately thought:” well this is something to write about!”. And took a picture to prove my point.

#3: Why bother buying fancy microfiber towels? Simply declutter your closet!

I am aware people out there are making millions from fancy cleaning products, but not on my budget.

If we are being honest, 99% of the wiping we do with the super absorbent fancy microfibers is simple dirt that can b3 absorbed with recycled paper towels too.

By the way, I am not absolutely sure it isn’t more environmental and frugal to use recycled paper towels, the white ones that can be thrown to the compost afterward (so long as it wasn’t used to absorb toxic or oily stuff of course).

which one is better??

Anyway, since autumn winds are blowing and all that, it’s time to check the closet and make sure your clothes are in good shape and form and fit you and your current fashion style.

Check that they don’t need mending -if they do= take a needle and thread and simply mend them. it is possible- img_20190828_1307121037662940218476493.jpg

and the clothes that do not fall into those categories- well- if they are in good shape- give away or donate, and if not- cut them into cloths. and fold them nicely so you can grab one whenever you need a quick wipe.

img_20191001_1036086212382978005980462.jpgSure- it’s not the most absorbent material on earth, for sure not as absorbent as specifically manufactured microfibers- but again- how many times do you really need a heavy-duty absorbent cloth? I am sure you have a few of these at home from the last new year’s resolution to clean more efficiently. ( I know I do..)

told you- easy +frugal.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

Design your personal trail mix! frugal, healthy, easy recipe!!

I don’t eat airplane food.

I mean I haven’t tried business class food , not to mention first class cuisine, so I can only make bold and harsh statements concerning tourist class , but I’m pretty sure most people travel like me, with the common crowd, and if you happen to be priviledged – well then, enjoy, and do share the experience in the comments.

The thing is, although vegans enjoy the priviledge of getting their food first ( people around you are sure you are some kind of a celeb +you can get to sleep earlier then everyone), I am never certain about the food the airlines- every airline by the way- provide.

sometimes I’m not sure about the cleanliness of the food, sometimes I’m not sure how long it waited before being served to me, and sometimes, I’m not even sure it’s vegan…

Also, while traveling, I do everything I can to refrain from relying on airport food- for frugal reasons .naturally, plus the same concerns mentioned above.

This is why I decided to get my hands on some trail mix before my flight to India recently.

The thing is, I am frugal + having the time to compare and make wise choices, made me think of making my own trail mix from “scratch”.

That was one of the easiest things ever, which made me think why wouldn’t people do that all the time???

I mean : its easy, no cooking or baking involved, its by far cheaper than store bought, (less then half the price!!) it allows you to mix in only things you personally like, as opposed to compromising on some of the ingredients, it is most definitely fresher, cleaner, and healthier- since no additives are in, and no strange named ingredients such as chocolate liquor (?).

I compared the prices on Iherb, since they deliver internationally, and the average price for 100 grams of packed trailmix is around 4.5 bucks.

a typical bag contains almonds, cashews, raisins, cheries, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, and chocolate nibs.

that is nice, but many times additives are there too, to help preserve the mix for a longer time.

I checked the price of the ingredients seperately:again, on Iherb;

almonds- raw organic: 10$ per 500 grams.

Cashews: 15$per 500 grams.

Raisins- 6$ per 500 grams.

sunflower seeds: per 500 grams.

cherries; 13$ per 300 grams.

cacao nibs: 12$per 500 grams

pumpkin seeds: 6.5$ per 500 grams.

total of 3300 grams.

Now Let’s, for the sake of argument, say that the store bought trail mix is made so that all ingredients, expensive as cheap,are represented equally, though we all know that may not be exactly true- mang times , to cut on costs, the cheaper ingredients are represented more dominantly than the higher priced ones.

3300 grams for a total of 64.5$, is 1.95$ for 100 grams.

This is a whopping 60% discount off the price of the packed trail mix (4.5$) and it has more of a variety , plus instead of chocolate, it has healthy super food raw cacao nibs.rich in antioxidants and other good nutritional ingredients.

I recently started emcorporating goji berries too, plus I always put peanuts a well.

peanuts are a great source of protein, plus they add some welcomed saltiness to the mix.

I buy peanuts in bulk, whole , unpeeled, and it takes me a few minutes to peel them. the reason I don’t bother to buy peeled ones is that they are so much Fresher this way, and maybe cheaper too, though I didn’t check.

You can design your own personal customed tailored to your personal taste trail mix, and put only the specific ingredients you fancy at the specific date you plan on eating it, by storing the ingredients seperately and combining each time the specific mix.

I keep my trail mix in the freezer, and enjoy it every day as a snack, while traveling as a substitute for airplane food ( along with fruit- apples or bananas) and as topping for my smoothies.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

5 tips that made my trip to India so great!h

So last week I told you about the present I gave myself for my 51st birthday:

2-week Intensive yoga course in India-full and honest review!

Now I believe it is time for me to share the best tips I used, that made my first trip to India, alone, not possible-but a meaningful and unforgettable trip. (plus- frugal, naturally).

I have no fear of sharing these tips- although I am by no means an expert on this subject-  (this was my first trip to India), because I firmly believe that people doing something for the first time have a huge advantage when it comes to giving this kind of tips- they still remember all the novice struggles and hardships, and can relate to all the FAQ with all the empathy in the world. I mean- I had the same questions just a few weeks ago- so.

Tip #1: take it slow. 

I cannot bear those “Europe In 5 days”/ “around the world in 80 days” kind of trips anymore. (my apologies to Jules Verne, I liked that book).

I will not go anywhere just to mark off a spot on a to-do list made of “famous must-see monuments in…..”).

As usual- this is my private opinion, no pressure here- do whatever you want.

I am aware that traveling for many hours and spending a lot of money may give you the impression that you have to check all the “best places to see” from a  google list.

But personally, since turning 45, I suddenly realized that touristic famous crowded monuments don’t do it for me. I am an introvert and find it difficult to enjoy myself in places like that.

Sure- I can take a selfie there (no. I can’t actually, I did it maybe once in my whole lifetime- the results are better not discussed). but to really have a meaningful moment? no. way.

Don’t get me wrong- I did all those things before it dawned on me that I actually don’t enjoy it. I went shopping for days in foreign malls (great sales! don’t miss the *** in ***!)  until I realized that this was a totally ridiculous thing to do- especially in the name of “saving money”.

The money, time and energy spent on going abroad, was by far not worth the “great sale” that made me spend valuable time in malls.

Plus- I found out that for me- as an introvert- the pressure of the shopping experience in malls is the worst way for me to make shopping decisions.

I am a much better shopper when I buy (or decide not to buy) online. then I can apply the “wait 24 hours at least before making a purchasing rule, check out other sellers, and make a calm decision without anyone hovering over me.”

So I simply travel to one place, carefully and thoughtfully picked, and stay there. the desire is to get to know the place and the people living there-culture, language, food, (mostly food).

I am fully aware I am “missing out” on some world heritage statues and museums.

And at the age of 51, I am, finally, ok with it.

I walk around without my phone, take pictures only on the last few days, and only the kind of pictures that will remind me of the experience, not of the specific relic.

img_20190914_083457617144107995937208.jpg

This is the breakfast (yes, breakfast) we had at the ashram a few times, the rest of the days it was couscous with potatoes, and noodles with potatoes, but no pictures because- as I said I wasn’t carrying my phone.

Tip#2: take it slow means get a lot of rest!

Yes, I am aware of the need to hurry and “enjoy yourself” “you can sleep at home” “go out and have fun!!!” attitude.

And I do not share it.

At all.

I acknowledge my need to rest so my body can function at it’s best, and my mind can be peaceful and quiet.

Perhaps this is a matter of age. perhaps it’s a matter of being an introvert.

Perhaps it’s just me.

I don’t care.

I  have no FOMO- (fear of missing out) -I am totally aware I am for sure missing out on so many things that there is n point in even trying to keep up, and I have no intention of doing so in the first place.

The best adventures I have had lately happened during meditations, alone, eyes closed.

for the past year, I have been working tremendously hard on trying to get together with myself, for the first time in 50 years of existence.

And I have been to the greatest museums and saw wonderful places, and nature is the best thing ever, and yet-

The wonders of the mind are something completely different as Monty python said.

So I rest well, during my trips abroad too. go to sleep at 20:00, rest at lunchtime, don’t get wasted or drink alcohol, a total geek-yes.

I don’t care what it’s called and if anyone has something to say about it.

Do whatever you want-I’ll do whatever I want.

All I can tell you is that I was the only one in the intensive yoga course that didn’t get sick during the course, and one of the few that came to each and every class and never skipped an asana.

But I can’t say I took a ride on the back of someone’s motorcycle, not knowing the person and without a helmet-because, I wouldn’t compromise my health and safety for a free ride,

I can’t tell you I dipped -head included- in the Ganga water- because I had no desire to do so once understanding the local traditions concerning the sacred Ganga,

I can’t tell you I made lifelong friends and shared my life story with anyone during the course,

And there are probably many other things people do- and I didn’t.

And this is fine, I respect them for doing what they like, and I respect my body’s need to rest- just as much.

#3: bring a double duty water bottle!

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Do yourself a big favor and get one of these bottles- not the brand- the kind- that keeps cold water cold for 24 hours, and hot water hot for 12 hours.

No free drinking in India -under no circumstances are you to drink from a stand in the street- that includes anything including ice cubes of course- and no washing your mouth or rinsing your toothbrush in the sink.

I bought an electric water heater on Amazon and it worked great until my roommate decided to try and start it without water. in case you were wondering- it wasn’t a success.

This is the water heater : I get nothing for writing this; just sharing tips here. By the way I have no idea how long it would have held up if it weren’t for my roommate’s decision to test it on dry, so just look for something you like.

So I was glad I had the water bottle and every evening I begged the kitchen workers to boil me some water and put in my bottle. it held ok -hot not boiling hot- until my coffee at 4 am in the morning. yes, I brought black coffee from home. and a mug too.

all I can say is that trips make you appreciate your home even more…..

#4: travel light!

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This is the same gear I used for my month in Guatemala, and what worked great for a month- worked even better for 2 weeks.

How to “travelight” :a month in Guatemala with only a standard carry-on duffel bag??

I can tell you that the Indira Gandhi airport in New Delhi is huge and for me, it was very confusing: I had to get from terminal 1 (domestic flight from Dehradun to Delhi) to terminal 3- international flight back home- and despite the 2-hour gap-I was pretty close to missing my flight.

If it wasn’t for me being early- and getting a front seat on the domestic flight- therefore getting on the first bus to the terminal- and catching the shuttle to terminal 3 immediately -then checking in with hand luggage only- I would probably have slept at the airport instead of in my bed that night.

By the way- the shuttle between the terminals is free- provided you show your previous ticket at the booth, but on the way back I had no time to spare so I paid 25 rupees- that’s about 30 cents, so. giving you the whole information here.

#5: polish your double wringing technique!

In order to travel light- you need to do your laundry. almost every day. sure- you can look for a laundry -but it is so much easier to simply bring light clothes and wash them in the sink with a local soap.

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This way I got my clothes clean and dry the next day, and didn’t carry too much stuff with me. just remember to wring the clothes from both sides simultaneously- aka double wringing. otherwise it will take ages to dry- India enjoys sudden rain showers in September…

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

 

2-week Intensive yoga course in India-full and honest review!

On September 7th I celebrated my 51st birthday, and since for the past year I decided that there is no better time to make dreams come true than the present moment, I went, by myself, to Rishikesh, India, to an ashram called Parmarth Niketan, to participate in a 2 week intensive yoga+meditation course .

I returned a week ago, and I am more than ready to share the details with you- just in case you decide this is something that might suit you as well.

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India has been a dream of mine for many years, but stories and some movies I saw, that emphasized the poverty and harsh conditions kept me away from going. I was afraid of not being able to withstand the extreme situations I heard of and decided this was probably not for me.

But after my trip to Guatemala, something changed.

I understood that I could take more than I thought I could, and maybe if I planned right- this could be an interesting experience.

Here are links to my Guatemala trip:

Volunteering with Ninos De Guatemala -the whole truth.

Vegan and frugal in Guatemala-my month in antigua (and a side note on traveling alone).נ

So I booked a flight to India on Air India, a connecting flight on Indigo, and booked my 2-week yoga course at Parmarth.

Parmarth is a Hindi ashram that holds world-known meditation sessions and ceremonies.

the most known ceremony takes place every evening on the Ganga banks at sunset and is a ceremony dedicated to praising and thanking the gods and the sun for warming, lighting and nourishing us. the ceremony is called Aarti, and people from all around the world come to participate.

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India in September is hot, quite humid, occasional showers storm, and the streets, at least in Rishikesh are loud and dirty. and magnificent.

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yes these are monkeys wandering about in the street. in packs. and cows, wandering about as well.

The monkeys are very fond of bananas by the way so when you go get some from the carts in the street, quickly hide them in your backpack or the monkeys will have a go at your snack…

sanitation, at least in Rishikesh Is something to be cautious of- meaning bring your personal water bottle and fill it only with clean water -that includes the water you brush your teeth in, and the water you wash your toothbrush with as well…

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This is my water bottle- aka -best friend in those 2 weeks- I drank cold water from it and used it to store boiled water they gave me in the ashram kitchen to make my coffee at 04 am in the morning when I woke up to go to listen to the chanting.(kirtan).

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This is the ashram, truly a magical place, and I do believe it has a kind of a spiritual vibe in it- I can tell you that as soon as I sat to meditate- I would get into it- maybe it was due to the fact that I had no day to day issues to deal with and was surrounded by spiritual talk- all I know is that it was really easy to relax and get into a meditative mode there.

The place is by no means fancy- or even a 3 stars hotel.

The beds were hard as rocks, the rooms plain and simple- and we cleaned it ourselves -my assigned British roommate and me, and food was simple too.

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No air-conditions by the way.

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This was breakfast- most days it was couscous or noodles with potatoes.

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And this was lunch. rice with vegetables and chapati. very tasty.

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This is the yoga hall, and the course was by all means intensive.

In the morning, at 06:30 to 08 am- morning yoga class, including pranayama- breathing techniques, and some asanas, then breakfast and rest – and we adjourned at 10:30 to 13:00 for nother yoga class- this time asanas- in hatha yoga.

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I feel that I truly progressed in my yoga practice, though it wasn’t easy for me to keep up with the rest of the group.

one was a qualified yoga teacher and the rest have been doing yoga for many years- while I embarked on my yoga journey only about 2 years ago.

But I didn’t let that- or the fact that I was the oldest in the group- by far – keep me from progressing and learning, and since I am an introvert and aware of my body’s need to rest well after working out, I didn’t wander about in the streets of Rishikesh like the rest of the group and when everybody else got sick -I kept going to all the classes and getting my practice .

The yoga practice was demanding ; I believe in a level between intermediate and advanced- but adjustments were given all throughout the practice so that both levels could enjoy the class.

*just saying -I paid full price and got no discount- this is my honest review and not to worry- there were some things that bothered me there- like the noise people made until late hours at night, the state of the room when I first came in, the fact that I had to practically beg for hot water for my coffee in the morning- but these are small things, that didn’t prevent me from having a wonderful time- though this was by no means a vacation or a retreat.

If you want to try a taste of India in a relatively safe environment and get your yoga practice to the next level- check this place on line- maybe ypu will find this to be as interesting as I did.

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Namaste -the cooliflower.

10 Lunch Ideas: vegan -healthy-protein packed- simple- tasty.

So I was thinking about food today.

Ok-

I think about food all.the.time.

And since I highly appreciate easy nutritious yummy food, that happens to be vegan, I scrolled back and gathered some of my favorites.

enjoy!

1.mung beans sprouts+red rice+ tomato and cucumbers+ spicy chickpeas.oh and a few walnuts.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match almost any ingredient: meaning hot with cold, fruits with vegetables, sprouts with nuts, any kind of grains- rice, quinoa, whatever.

Ok try and make the grains whole, and protein-packed as possible, so quinoa is a great choice, plus it has a kind of bland indistinguishable taste that can easily mix with absolutely anything.

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Here is a reminder of how to easily sprout on your basic kitchen table:

How (and why) I sprout my own sprouts

*This is lunch in the process:

 

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#2: stuff red peppers with a mixture of whole grains and add a tomato sauce.

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#3: Can’t beat the pasta:

to pack the protein too- add cooked lentils, cooked beans, chickpeas, nooch, tomato sauce, coconut cream curry sauce, olive oil, lunch is ready!

#4: chickpea flour omelet! 

Yes, we can. the basic ratio is 1:1 (cup chickpea flour to water). add nooch, ground pepper, get all kinds of veggies or grains or legumes in the pan ( I suggest before pouring the chickpea batter-like frittata) and enjoy life. if you really miss omelets- add turmeric- it gets that yellowish color.

#5: No shame in eating some salad! add cooked quinoa for the added protein. 

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#6: cook those sprouts. with onion and some garlic, salt, and pepper, and you have a protein-packed quick meal, to use leftover sprouts.
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#7: rice noodles in tomato- tofu sauce!

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#8: baked sweet potatoes and apples. yes, apples. they combine well no worries, 

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#9: Buckwheat. it’s an acquired taste. but super healthy so if you like it- you nailed it. try cooking it with onions and garlic and some vegetable oil, maybe add some sweet potatoes for good measure. and yet- it is an acquired taste.

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#10. basic 101 bean stew. always saves the day. comfort food in the essence.

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Enjoy- the cooliflower.

Are potatoes good for you??? +great baked potatoes tip!

Who doesn’t like potatoes??

they can be boiled, pureed, baked, fried, french fried, cut into Mc Donald’s chips, and more.

And yet-

I kind of stopped buying and making them, thinking they are basically starchy-no fiber- high in carbohydrates only- no vitamins food.

But then…

My son got me researching protein-packed food, so I learned some pretty amazing stuff.

  • need I really remind you again that I am an early retired criminal lawyer, not a health certified anything, just a health and nutrition enthusiast, that has now plenty of free time and some strong will to learn as much as I can about healthy nutritious food-plus I am a super generous human being who shares whatever I find with you.

Oh- and The thing is- I believe fancy expensive super complicated food is for rich fancy people, not for me.
95% of my food staples are bought through my online supermarket, using all kinds of coupons, I never eat out or order in, and I do my very best to cook as much as I can from scratch and simplify the process while at it.
*I strongly believe that if more people knew how to prepare simple nutritious meals at home- then they would understand how beneficial the vegan diet is- since it checks on all requirements: healthy, nutritious, basic, simple, tasty, and even super frugal!!

Back to the potatoes.

So apparently there are contradicting opinions online as to the health and nutrition benefits of these beautiful easy to make frugal household staples.

The facts:

Here is a link that sums up the important and FAQ: potato info

And to make it extra clear:

the pros:

A baked potato is quite filling and supplies you with 3 grams of protein ( nice amount), and quite a lot of potassium and vitamin C. the total calories from 1 baked potato- 110, is definitely not high, especially for the value you get.

The frugal point is not forgotten- potatoes are a cheap staple and -if stored in a dark -relatively cool place, can keep for at least a few weeks, though please don’t make my mistake -if your house starts smelling like there is a problem with your gas stove- go check your potato stack.

one rotten potato can really deprive you of the joy of life.

the cons:

the nutrition facts are valid for a baked potato. “naked”.

meaning- not slathered in butter-cheese- whatever, not fried in deep oil or pureed Joel Robuchon style.

Watch here if you are interested in what that means.

Robuchon mashed potatoes

If you are very anxious to know and can’t wait to watch the clip- it basically means putting a lot of butter to join the potatoes.

this makes a super tasty puree but the nutrition facts alter. a bit.

Also- if you are watching your carbohydrate intake- the potato is rich in carbs, 26 grams, so do your math and decide if you are in or out.

If you are in- here is my pro tip for cutting at least half of the added olive oil needed to prepare nicely baked potatoes-

like these:

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.

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these sweet potatoes weren’t prepared using the pro tip, because the tip is difficult to apply on sweet potatoes, and the result was double the amount of olive oil. yet super tasty baked potatoes. ( you will be surprised to hear that actually sweet potatoes contain less protein than regular white potatoes. (only 2 grams for 1 serving).

So what is the pro tip? I can’t stand the suspense!

The tip is to first boil the potatoes until they are quite soft- though not totally soft- definitely not breaking apart(!!) and then transfer them to a baking tray- drizzle a little oil and coarse salt , perhaps rosemary if you got some- and bake for 20 minutes- while the oven is working anyway. (frugal. told you). by the way, don’t peel them. quite a lot of the fiber and vitamins are in the potato skin, so why bother?

first, boil, then bake

This way- the potatoes turn out crispy yet tender, yummy yet healthy, nutritious yet fast to make.

win-win-win.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.