I made this up for dinner the other night & it was fast and tasty.  

Himself was pretty happy with it too!

To make zucchini spaghetti and noodles, it’s easier if you have a SPIROOLI contraption, I bought mine HERE, but I’m pretty sure Julie sells them too in Earth To Table, Bondi Junction, if you’re local and wanted one today!

For this meal, I was making it up as I went along, so the measurements are approximate – don’t be afraid to try more or less of something, I don’t think you can muck it up really!  And you can always stick to olive or coconut oil if you didn’t like butter in it … whatevs babes!

So for a serving for two I used:

INGREDIENTS:

2 -3 zucchinis approx.  (Organic or skins well washed)

300g baby spinach

3 garlic cloves

A handful of chives chopped

70g butter & a few glugs of olive oil

1 large fillet of flathead (or whatever fish you like)

16 shelled, deveined prawns (tails on)

Salt, Pepper & a swish of apple cider vinegar

1/2 a large lemon (or 1 small one) sliced in quarters

A handful of toasted pinenuts nuts.

METHOD:

Put your pinenuts on a dry pan over a medium heat, and toss at intervals until browned and crunchy.  MIND THEY DONT BURN!

Get your spirooli out and make your zucchini spaghetti.

Chop up the fish fillet roughly to same size as the prawns & sprinkle with sea salt & black pepper.

Heat half the butter and a glug of olive oil in a large fry pan (or a wok would work too).

Crush a couple of garlic cloves into the fat. Inhale the aroma, and tell yourself how amazing you are!

Throw in your prawns & fish, chives, another garlic clove crushed, and take care not to overcook, approx 2 mins each side for seafood would be plenty.

Squeeze one quarter of the lemon over the seafood for a juicy sizzle.

Add the spinach, and then the gradually the zucchini spaghetti, using a tongs, so you can mix it well through the sauce, trying to coat all of the spaghetti in the garlic butter, adding more butter and oil gradually when needed.  The zucchini spaghetti is just warmed but no need to cook it through.

Squeeze another lemon quarter over the top, tong through one more time and toss your toasted pinenuts over the top to serve.

Enjoy! IMG_7068

Listening To My Body

This week, I posted about having laryngitis.

I believe my laryngitis is my body telling me something.  That I am doing too much.  I haven’t been listening to my body very well.

At first I thought it meant that I was TALKING too much.

But while I can get a little verbal diarrhoea at times, I also spend long spells alone and in silence, and am quite comfortable with not speaking.

Over the past month, I have had a bit of a run in with my body, first feeling a little run down, then I damaged my shoulder somehow – so that it was completely dropped on one side, and as soon as that started to fix up, I contracted laryngitis.

Stress-comic-by-Randy-Glasbergen

I searched for answers, took a step back and had a look at myself.  My head thought ‘I am not doing too much?’  Theoretically I don’t need to be doing much.  But if I wrote down all the things I do in a day, and the effort and intensity with which I do them, and the amount of time I spend on some things that largely go unnoticed, or at least it seems that way to me, I can see that I am being ineffectual and not gaining the most out of my privileged position in life.

It’s like I set myself up theoretically and practically so I can not be in the rat race, not lived a stressed out life, no I didn’t want to be like everyone else, running around like a mad thing!  I would have time to live a more mindful, yogic life … and then I somehow seemed to have stuffed all this other ‘little’ but hugely time consuming ‘stuff’ in around the edges of everything. 

IT

WAS 

STRESSING 

ME

OUT!

So I am mindfully and ‘yogically’ cutting back.

It’s not like I need to look for magic.  I have the most magical, and magnificent life.  I just need space to FEEL it!  Mmmmm … I’m ready!

And it starts here.

computer tech  meditation cartoon

With Lilapud.  I’ve decided that I’ve been trying to say too much each week.  I didn’t read the other signs from my body. Laryngitis didn’t worsen when I spent time talking with family, friends and loved ones.  It worsened as I struggled to make time for Lilapud.

Since I’ve started writing this blog, I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time gathering information and learning the WordPress process as I go along.  It’s been hugely exciting, but now I’m just going to take it down a notch.  

Less is enough.  Enough for me to write, and enough for you to read.

Yippee!!  I feel free already!!

See you in real life!

 

Love Lila, xo

cartoon

 

Oil Pulling For Better Health

Last week, I suffered my first ever experience of Laryngitis.

Suffered is not the most appropriate word.  I didn’t mind being quiet at all.  In a way it was actually a relief to not have to speak!

And I found it interesting how people responded to and interacted with me.  Some seemed to think that using a raised voice to speak to me was suddenly appropriate, others went quiet themselves and gestured to me as if they themselves had lost their voice, some slowed down and used other senses rather than just words to understand me, and others just continued on as normal.

Overall, I was most impresed with my dog’s response.

She just got me!  She would look at me, her eyes sweeping my face and body, searching for a gesture from me, she desperately wanted to know what I wanted from her, which task to perform. The only thing for which she needed to hear my voice, was her dining command “OK”.  Until I say this, she will not eat the food in her dish!  So that was a bit tricky, but still we managed!

Apart from losing my voice, I didn’t have too many other nasty sufferings.  I had a sore throat, but I’ve had worse, and I hadn’t much energy, I could feel my body was trying to stave off something more damaging, and for this I was grateful with my lot.  I took some time off work and just tried to listen to my body and rest. (This was harder than I thought it would be, but that’s another blogpost!).

So my mum was giving me motherly advice on how to convalesce, and one of the things she was adamant I do, was OIL PULLING.
I didn’t actually know what oil pulling was, exactly. So I finally got round to looking into it a bit more and here is what I found.

MY NEW FAVOURITE CURE ALL?!

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic ritual.

Traditionally, cold-pressed sesame or sunflower oils are used.

Although some use unrefined/virgin sesame /sunflower or virgin coconut oil as an alternative.

It involves taking a tablespoon of oil into the mouth, and swishing it around in there for at least 20 minutes, first thing in the morning before eating.

After the oil swishing there is another very important step – swishing with salty warm water.  This is very important, as it works to expel any lingering toxins left in the mouth on any oil that remains.  SO DON’T SKIP THIS BIT!

It all sounds a bit gross and time-consuming, but I found it’s not so much, and sooooo worth it! As I had started my research early that morning – and I got so excited about how much positive anecdotal evidence for the myriad benefits this practice brings – I was in a good state to jump up and get swishing myself, and so I did!

There are many videos and articles on oil-pulling you can find on the net …

I thought I would share my experience of how it’s working for me.

Wealth1

First let me tell you with what they say this practice can help.

FIRST AND FOREMOST, it is an excellent remedy for most oral & dental ailments, as well as giving your teeth a really good clean and shine!

But here is a list of the most common conditions people have reported that respond to oil pulling, and I estimate that I know at least one person, suffering from one or more of these conditions, which is why I’m posting about this! :

Acne, Allergies, Arthritis, Asthma, Back and Neck Pain, Bad Breath, Bronchitis, Chronic Fatigue, Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Constipation, Dental Cavities, Dermatitis, Diabetes, Eczema, Hemorrhoids, Hypertension, InsomniaMigraine Headaches, Mucous Congestion, Peptic Ulcers, PMS, Periodontal Disease, Bleeding Gums, Sinusitis, Tooth Abscess

I think that it’s worth bearing in mind that there are many ailments and diseases that can be directly related to oral health and may respond to oil pulling therapy, so I feel it’s worth a trial period no matter what your ailment!

Do you remember the olden days, when a visit to the doctor meant us sticking out our tongue and saying ‘aaahhh’ so doc could have a look in our mouths?  Both modern and Chinese medicine, and also ancient Indian healing systems acknowledge the importance of the mouth and the tongue as indicators of well-being or ill-health, as the case may be.

So to give you a rough explanation of how it works:

The process of oil pulling attracts bacteria, toxins and parasites that live in the mouth or lymph system.  It also pulls congestion and mucous up from your throat and it loosens up your sinuses.  When mixed with the saliva in the mouth, this bad stuff binds with the oil SO IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO SWALLOW IT!

There is no shortage of information out there on oil pulling.  A lot of anecdotal evidence and a little science.  Dr. Karach M.D. has a site devoted to what he thinks is all we need to know about oil pulling, which I found realistic, and from which I am gathering most of the information for my experiment.  Click HERE for Dr. Karach ‘s science behind oil pulling

HOW I DO MY OIL PULLING

Today was my 7th day oil pulling.

I am using coconut oil, just because I have it to hand and because I have found that others using it have had positive results.  Also I think it might be easier to stomach, so to speak, than sesame oil, but I do intend to try sesame oil sometime.

I started off using 1 tablespoon of solid coconut oil.  This is way too much – even for my big mouth!  I think 1 teaspoon of solid coconut oil or 1 tablespoon of liquid oil will do the job and is where I’m up to now.  It took me a couple of days to get the right amount, so experiment yourself ’til you find your own level.  The first time I did it, my facial muscles felt tired, which shouldn’t happen, and I even let some escape forth involuntarily, so I advise carrying a tissue for the first few times in case of accidents!  This happened simply because I had too much oil in my mouth, and hasn’t happened me since day 2.

Swish it all around your mouth for at least 20 minutes.  Pull and push it through your teeth, and try to get it moving around all parts of the mouth.  Don’t stop swishing.  But remember, there is no need to use a lot of force here, it shouldn’t hurt in any way, so refrain from adding tension or stress to the muscles/body and try to keep relaxed as you can be.

Here is one part of the day that I do encourage a bit of multi-tasking!  I would advise you to avoid focusing only on the activity in the mouth for this 20 minutes.  It just gets all a bit too much!  On my first day I was doing this and I ended up gagging a couple of times, I let some slip forward out of my mouth, and I also let some slip backwards and swallowed a teeny bit!  Now this was partly due to me having too much volume in there in the first place, and I think your first couple of times, of course your going to focus on it a bit, but after day 2, I advise getting some stuff done while oil pulling!  I read some emails, watched videos, etc, and now I have my shower, put on my make-up, feed the dog, prepare my lunch for work etc etc … that way it needn’t be a time-consuming experience!

One other tip I would share, is avoid tilting your head backwards as this may induce gagging and swallowing!  If anything I would keep a slight tilt forward, but remember, no need for tension.

DO NOT SWALLOW THE OIL.  As I said, I did swallow a little bit of oil on my first day, nothing bad happened.  But as the oil soon contains the bacteria and toxins the practice is working to expel, you must spit it all out.  Don’t freak out if you swallow a bit in the the experimental stage, it will work its way out the other way through the digestive system, and as Dr. Karach says “Nothing is to be done” (love this – so yogi!!)

Some sources say not to spit it down the sink when done, as it may clog your sink/drains?  However, I am not sure about that. They suggest spitting into the bin or the toilet (wouldn’t it do the same thing in the toilet drain?).  Anyway, after 20 minutes of swishing, that which was once oil, jettisons as a watery milky like substance, and isn’t really oil anymore.  You’ll have to come to your own conclusion on that one.

WARM SALTY WATER RINSE

Then I rinse with warm-hot salty water and really swish it around – think about what you’re doing – you’re trying to reach any remaining oily residue in the mouth to cut through the toxins therein.  If you omit this step, you are going to be swallowing down the bacteria you have just spent 20 mins gathering into your mouth, see?

After the warm salty water rinse, I then brush my teeth and finally use my tongue scraper to finish off the treatment.

Tip: Seems a bit obvious but I am always conservative – do make sure you are not allergic to the oil you are using! 

Click HERE for a little video from Dr. Karach’s site on how to do oil pulling, I found this helpful!

My Experience So Far (the boring details – feel free to skip!)

I have shared most of my experiences so far.  I would like to add these:

On day 1 after oil pulling, I immediately felt fresher in myself, not just in my mouth.  Yes, my teeth were sparkling clean and rubbing my tongue over my teeth before brushing told me so!  But my head felt clear and de-fogged.  The sore throat I had from laryngitis eased, and I felt energised.  This really excited me!

On day 2, after oil pulling I felt better again, and thought my laryngitis had gone.  I started to speak again, only to find that night, that my glands were swollen, my throat was sore and there was some kind of a lump inside my throat, the back of my neck and all around it ached and I felt exhausted.

I woke up on day 3 (a Saturday) feeling a little better … oil pulled … felt a lot better …went for breakfast and a gentle walk … and tried really hard not to speak.  When I got home, I felt worse than I had since contracting the infection – so bad I thought I was going to have to take the next week off work!

I was pretty upset, as I had a big family function to attend that day, and a friend’s dinner party that night.  I didn’t know how I was going to get through it all.  So I lay down for 90 minutes in a restorative yoga pose – a version of supta savasana (I lay with a big bolster under my knees, and cushions supporting my back so that I was on an incline with my head higher than my heart). I slept a little.  I went out to the first function, and tried really hard not to speak for fear of worsening.  In the end, I caught myself talking quite a bit, it was just too hard, and dammit – I was enjoying myself!

I came home, rested again in the same way for an hour, and went out to the dinner party.  Not only was I talking, but I ended up shouting over music, thinking for sure, I am rightly mucked up now for tomorrow and the rest of the week.  That night I slept on the couch in the same position as earlier.

I woke up better than ever.  Sorry for the lengthy details, but I thought it was important to document it.  I think what was happening was, the toxins were working their way out and I had to feel worse before I felt better.

And did it cure my laryngitis?  Well, I don’t know.  I still have a little huskiness in my voice, and I’m still feeling tired like I might have something viral, but my sinuses are clear, I have no congestion in nose, throat or chest, and no headaches or neck aches and my glands haven’t felt sore since Friday night, AND I have slept like a baby so …. I believe this has been a really positive experience, and I intend to keep it up as part of my daily routine!

Have You Tired Oil Pulling?  Or Will You Try It?  
Please Share Your Experiences Here With Us In The Comment Boxes Below?

 

THANKS MUM!

 

Love Lila, xo

 

Yoga For Mental Health Research

Yoga - Untangling Anxiety & Depression

Yoga – Untangling Anxiety & Depression

I’ve posted about his before here.  Do you know someone who suffers from anxiety or depression, it’s pretty common out there these days.

Yoga is the antidote.

Please forward this poster to anyone you think may benefit from taking part in this research?  Just letting you know that FREE private yoga lessons for eligible participants are available at Vaucluse now as well as Cammeray.  Please follow the instructions in the poster below for more information, and good luck!

 

Yoga For Mental Health Research

We See What We Believe

You See What You Believe

You often hear “seeing is believing” .. but is that really the case?

One of my Yoga teachers, Judith Hanson Lasater says, we see what we believe, not believe what we see.  I see this.  And I also believe it!

I always read a line from Judith’s teaching in my yoga class from her wonderful book A Year of Living Your Yoga.  In it, you’ll find these brief, powerful insights which reflect the author’s knowledge of classic yoga philosophy and years of experience. Humorous, inspiring, and surprisingly down-to-earth, they guide seekers both on and off the yoga mat.  Sometimes I read a line and it resonates deeply.  This was one of them … we see what we believe, not believe what we see …

What DO you believe?  This insight highlights for me, the importance of yoga and meditation, being able to stand back and observe ourselves, our thoughts, from a distance.  With more perspective and objectivity and less learned behaviour and emotional attachment.

Anyway, I then came across this article in Ulterior Motives … and thought I’d share it with you …

Your causal beliefs about the world influence what you see.
The world can be chaotic.  Cars whiz by on the road. People walk past you.  There may be birds and planes flying overhead. Despite all of this potential confusion, you manage to make sense of most of what is happening around you.  The ability to comprehend the world reflects an interaction between the things you see around you and your beliefs about the world.

An interesting question is the degree to which your beliefs influence what you are seeing in the moment.  This question was explored by Christos Bechlivanidis and David Lagnado in a fascinating paper in the August, 2013 issue of Psychological Science.

They created a simple computer-based environment in which basic shapes (like squares and rectangles) could move and influence each other.  By playing with the environment for a while, participants could learn how the various objects worked.  For example, when a green square collided with a barrier, it caused the red rectangle to become a star.  The blue square would only allow stars, but not other shapes to enter its borders.  So, in order to get the red rectangle inside the blue square, the green square had to collide with the barrier first.

In one study, some participants were given a series of exercises in this computer environment so that they learned how the objects acted.  Eventually, they learned how to get the red rectangle inside the blue square.  A second group got no training.

Afterward, participants saw a video of the objects moving in the world.  In this video, the red rectangle entered the blue square about 100 milliseconds before the green square hit the platform.  The red rectangle turned into a star after the green square hit the platform.  All of this happened in the same spatial position, so that participants could see all of the objects without having to move their eyes.

The participants then described the order of events in the test video and gave information about why the events happened in that order.  Those who received no training generally saw the events happen in the order in which they happened in the video.  They recognized that the red rectangle turned into a square before the green square hit the platform and that the rectangle became a star after it entered the blue square.  When asked, they said that this was the order they saw the events.

The participants who received training were much more prone to describe the events in the order that fit with their training.  They reported that the green square hit the platform before the rectangle turned into a star, and that the rectangle turned into a star before it entered the blue square.  They were also likely to say that this ordering happened, because that reflects the way the environment works.

At one level, it should not be surprising that we have to use a lot of conceptual knowledge to help us make sense of what happens in the world.  Causal relationships do not often change that quickly, and so it is valuable (most of the time) for our beliefs to influence our interpretation of what we see.

However, this influence of belief on behavior can be a problem in situations like eyewitness testimony.  It is well known that the reports of eyewitnesses are not that reliable.  If people perceive events in a way that is consistent with how they believe that the world works, then their reports of the order of events in a complex situation may be wrong.   Because groups of people are likely to share causal beliefs, even entire groups may see events in the wrong order, so having multiple witnesses who provide corroborating testimony about the order of events does not necessarily mean that the events happened in that order.

Published on August 23, 2013 by Art Markman, Ph.D. in Ulterior Motives.  This article can be read in full at Ulterior Motives HERE

SO WHAT IS TRUTH?

Over the past few years I have become unsure about what I believe anymore, and maybe more to the point WHOM I believe.  This may read as a negative thing …. but in fact it’s just the opposite.  It opens up many more possibilities actually.  It means being open to more than one interpretation of an event or a story or whatever.  I believe this has expanded my consciousness in a way that helps me, not inhibits me.

This science, just compounds for me the results of what I am learning from studying yoga.  Practising and being mindful of all eight limbs of yoga has helped me to see what I believe instead of believing what I see.

The next big questions is:

WHAT DO YOU CHOOSE TO SEE ?

Seamus Heaney

Irish poet and playwright Seamus Heaney died in hospital, after a short illness last Friday on August 30th 2013, at the age of 74.

I thought it might be nice to remember him here.

Seamus was awarded numerous prizes over the years and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995.

He was honorary fellow at Trinity College Dublin and last year was bestowed with the Seamus Heaney Professorship in Irish Writing at the University, which he described as a great honour.  Among the academic posts he held, were professorships at Harvard and Oxford Universities.

He was born to a farming family at Mossbawn, near Bellaghy in Co. Derry, on 13 April 1939.  His upbringing often played out in the poetry he wrote in later years.

He later studied at Queens University Belfast, before making his home in Dublin, with periods of teaching in the United States.

His poetry first came to public attention in the mid 1960’s with his first major collection, Death Of A Naturalist, published in 1966.  As The Troubles in Northern Ireland took hold later that decade, his experiences were seen through the darkened mood of his work.

The writer is survived by his wife Marie, and children Christopher, Michael and Catherine Ann.

Blackberry Picking

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.
Seamus Heaney

Yayoi Kusama

According to those-in-the-know, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is arguably Japan’s most famous living artist.

Her originality, innovation and powerful desire to communicate have propelled her through a career that has spanned six decades.

And I’m a massive fan!

Over the years, Kusama has explored painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, collage, film and video, performance and installation, as well as product design. Oooh and what about those ‘Happenings‘!  She is really out there and I love her work!  From the late 1950s to the early 1970s Kusama lived in New York and was at the forefront of many artistic innovations there.

Yayoi Kusama and Louis Vuitton Collaboration

Yayoi Kusama and Louis Vuitton Collaboration

She became the first Japanese woman to receive the Praemium Imperiale, one of Japan’s most prestigious prizes for internationally recognized artists. Now 84 years young, she is considered Japan’s foremost modernist.

She returned to Japan in her forties, where she rebuilt her career, waiting years for the international recognition she has only recently achieved. She continues to work, making art, and continuing to extend the range of her large-scale, dazzling installations as she relentlessly hand-paints extensive series of minutely detailed figurative fantasy paintings.  

Major retrospectives of her work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum (NYC), and the Tate Modern (London), and even here in Australia at the Queensland Art Gallery.

In 2008, one of her works was sold for $5.1 million in Christies New York, a record for a living female artist.

Three of her most widely imitated works are the soft sculpture (now credited to Oldenburg); the mirror room (credited to Lucas Samaras); and the repeat image (credited to Warhol). An important voice of the avant-garde, she has been acknowledged as a precursor of Pop Art, Minimalism and Feminist Art.

Venus - Yayoi Kusama

Venus – Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama has spoken about her difficult childhood, “My mother was a shrewd businesswoman… but she was extremely violent,” she relates. “She hated to see me painting, so she destroyed the canvases I was working on. She beat me and kicked me on the derrière every day, irritated that I was always painting. She forced me to help the employees even when I had to study for my term exam. I was so exhausted that I felt very insecure at times.”

It didnt help that her siblings were also against her painting, telling her to be a collector rather than a painter. “I went to Kyoto simply to flee from my mother’s violence,” she said. “Because she was so vehemently against my becoming an artist, I became emotionally unstable and suffered a nervous breakdown. It was around this time, or in my later teens, that I began to receive psychiatric treatment.”

I came across Yayoi Kusama, when I saw her delightful work in a book.  Kusama is quoted as saying “I am the modern Alice in Wonderland”.

I just had to have that book in my shop!
Here are some pictures of her stunning and fantastical illustrations from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a hard-backed, dazzling version of the book, available to buy here at Pure-Li Marketplace.
from Alice

from Alice … by Yayoi Kusama

 

from Alice

from Alice … by Yayoi Kusama

According to the book publishers, since childhood, Kusama has been afflicted with a condition that makes her see spots, which means she sees the world in a surreal, almost hallucinogenic way that sits very well with the Wonderland of Alice. She is fascinated by childhood and the way adults have the ability, at their most creative, to see things the way children do, a central concern of the Alice books.

The classic book is colour illustrated with a clothbound jacket, and produced to very high specification. Kusama’s images are interspersed throughout the text. It is produced in collaboration with the Kusama Studio, Tokyo and Gagosian Gallery.

from Alice

from Alice … by Yayoi Kusama

from Alice

from Alice … by Yayoi Kusama

from Alice

from Alice … by Yayoi Kusama

HATE POLKA DOTS?

Oh come on … wouldn’t you just love some of the Princess’s polka dots around your home?!

Hope you’ve enjoyed learning about Yayoi!

Love Liloi, xo

Date Paste Recipe

I like to keep a little date paste in my fridge for use as a natural sweetener.

I’m frequently experimenting with recipes and find it useful to have some dates already blended, which essentially is what date paste is.

No need to use processed sugar anymore!

Dates may be natural, but they are super high in fructose, so if you’re trying to go fructose-free I would avoid them and use stevia, dextrose, rice malt syrup or some other natural sweetener instead.  (I do not recommend agave syrup since it is a highly processed sap that is almost all fructose. It is one of the more seriously mis-marketed foods in the ‘natural food universe’).

I avoided dates for a long time, but have slowly started to introduce them to my food, with zero negative effects!

My feelings are, a little bit every now and then won’t hurt, and I like that they are a natural, whole food.

While they are high in fructose sugar, they have a low glycaemic index figure and so don’t send your blood sugar soaring.  They also have quite an impressive list of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are required for normal growth, development and overall well-being.

HERE’S an interesting little video on dates!

Some people add equal or almost equal parts water to the dates when making paste or ‘honey’, as some call it, but I like to just add a splash – enough to allow them to move in the blender, otherwise you’re just diluting the flavour.

Also, DOUBLE CHECK that all your DATES ACTUALLY ARE PITTED!

You don’t want to test the warranty of your blender!

With regards to the soaking of dates, I have made batches in the past where I haven’t soaked them, usually adding a little more water yields me a better consistency.

However, I think it’s best to soak them for just a few minutes in warm – hot water, that should be enough to soften them up so they blend smoothly.

I also think rinsing them is a good idea.  Perhaps because I like cleaning stuff, perhaps because they remind me of cockroaches … who knows?!

I just use as many dates as I think I’ll use in 2-3 weeks, as that’s about how long my paste lasts for!  So I’m not giving exact measurements for you to use – go by your nose!

But don’t forget!  You’ll need enough to make the blender’s blades whizz!

My Very Precise Date Paste Recipe :

Ingredients:

3 – 4  handfuls of pitted, possibly organic dates, rinsed, then soaked.

1 teaspoon vanilla powder (or to taste / this is optional!)

A sprinkle of cinnamon (or to taste / this is optional!)

Approx 1-2 tablespoons of water – enough to get the blades moving but not so much you dilute the flavour!

Barely A Pinch of celtic sea salt.

Method:

After you’ve rinsed and soaked the dates, drain them and transfer to your blender.

Add the salt, and spices if using them.

Switch it on and blend until you get a smooth consistency, scraping down the edges if you need to, in order for it to come together nicely.

Transfer the paste to a container ( I like glass jars!), seal and refrigerate until you need it!

Mine lasts for weeks, probably 2 – 3 weeks is a good guideline (just check for bad odour/mould if you’re concerned, but mine lasts for weeks!)

 

Possible Uses:

In cake bases, smoothies, cake fillings, curries, jams, chutneys, caramel sauce …. basically anything you need to sweeten!

Why I Love Chia

Lila's Chi-awe Balls!!

Above: Lila’s Chi-Awe Balls!

Take a look at this piece I found on Chia Seeds, from The Permaculture Research Institute, by Isabell Shipard, and see why I love chia!

“Chia (Salvia rhyacophila) is a hardy annual herb 1-1.5m high, that belongs to the Salvia family, with it’s name coming from the Latin ‘salare’ which means to save, referring to its curative properties. Blue flowers spike to 10cm long, set on terminal stems, and fill out to a seed head (that is similar in appearance to a wheat seed head) with pin-head sized, brown, shiny seeds. Plants adapt to a wide range of soils, climates and minimal rainfall. In the plant’s native habitat of South-west America, it has been highly valued as a staple food for hundreds of years. In Mexico, it was used as money and to pay taxes. A small handful of seeds and plenty of water supplied energy and sustenance, for a man traveling for 24 hours, and it is said that an Indian can exist on it for many days if necessary.

Several USA universities have researched the endurance properties of chia and found that a tablespoon of seed could sustain a person for 24 hours, with hard labour. Richard Lucas, in his book, ‘Common and uncommon uses of herbs for healthy living’, encourages anyone to try it, and discover its unique ability to provide the go power to get through a busy day with a hop, skip and a jump. The seeds have valuable medicinal properties and nutritional content, with essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and 30% protein. In USA it is grown as a commercial crop and seed is available in Health Food Shops.

The Chia Plant

The Chia Plant

The calcium content of chia seed is 5 times that of milk. Enzymes in chia act as catalysts to aid the digestion of food. Chia seeds contain the trace mineral strontium, which acts as a catalyst in the assimilation of protein and production of energy.  Researchers say that strontium has strengthening benefits to cartilage, teeth and bones.

The seeds contain one of the highest known sources of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA), as linolenic acid (LNA) 30-60%, and linoleic acid (LA) 30%. EFA’s carry a slightly negative charge and spread out as a thin layer over surfaces and do not form aggregations; this makes cell membranes soft, fluid and flexible, allowing nutrients to flow in and wastes out.

Researcher, Linus Pauling, found that energy charged by EFA’s produced measurable, bioelectrical currents. These currents make possible the vast number of chemical reactions in the body, which are important in nerve, muscle and membrane function. EFA’s absorb sunlight and attract oxygen. A bounteous supply of oxygen, carried with the blood to the cells, is vital for vitality, pain relief and healing. The oxygen is able to be held by the action of EFA, at the cell membranes, making a barrier against viruses and bacteria. EFA’s are important in immune function and metabolic reactions in the body resulting in fat burn, food absorption, mental health and the process of oxidation and growth. They can substantially shorten the time required for recovery of fatigued muscles after exercise or physical work. EFA’s are the highest source of energy in nutrition and govern many life processes in the body. When EFA’s are deficient, a diversity of health problems may follow. Due to high refining and processing of many natural foods, EFA’s may be low or non-existent, therefore, we need to look at what we can grow to give us these essentials, daily. Chia seeds provide a rich source of EFA’s, and many other seeds that we can use for sprouting are also a good source. The mucilaginous properties of the seeds have a swelling action, similar to guar or psyllium as a bulking agent and fibre source, and are valuable for cleansing and soothing the colon. Chia acts like a sponge, absorbing toxins, lubricating the colon and strengthening the peristaltic action. Considering the high incidence of bowel cancer, diverticulitis, colitis, chronic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome in our country, we need to share the knowledge of this healing plant with our fellow Australians.

Smoothie with chia in garden

Lila’s Smoothie With Chia

Chia seeds come to the rescue when the tummy is upset and will not tolerate other foods; or to fortify the body against the exhaustive effects of extreme summer temperatures. The seed helps to quench the thirst, if added to a glass of water, a very practical benefit in our hot summers. It is an appetite satisfier and, therefore, useful to dieters. Chia is valued for calming the nerves and said to strengthen the memory: use 1 teasp. chia seed to 1 cup of boiling water, steep 5-10 minutes, take 2-3 cups a day. Chia leaves (fresh or dried) steeped in boiling water, make a therapeutic tea. Use the tea as a blood cleanser and tonic, also for fevers, pain relief, arthritis, respiratory problems, mouth ulcers, diabetes, diarrhoea, gargle for inflamed throats, to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels and to strengthen the nervous system. Try the tea sweetened with honey and a few drops of lemon juice added. Women who suffer with hot flushes may find relief by drinking chia leaf tea regularly. A recent TV program highlighted the benefit of chia tea, made with a few, freshly chopped leaves, for anyone feeling lethargic or lacking energy. Chia contains several very strong antioxidants that help to remove toxins from the body, which then give a feeling of improved health. As the seeds are able to absorb more than 7 times their weight, in water, and form a thick gel, this causes a slow release of carbohydrate; facilitating an equally slow conversion of carbohydrates, into glucose (blood sugar), for energy. The outer layer of the seeds are rich in mucilloid soluble fibre and, when mixed with water or stomach juices, a gel forms that creates a physical barrier between the carbohydrate foods eaten and the digestive enzymes that break them down. This means that the carbohydrates are digested slower and at a more uniform rate. There is no insulin surge needed to lower the blood sugar level after eating chia. The chia gel is able to hold moisture, which also retains electrolyte balance. Chia sprouts can come to the rescue for digestive problems, particularly when ‘windy’. Passing gas may be relieved by slowly chewing 1-2 tablesp. of chia sprouts, making sure that plenty of saliva is mixed with them. Together with the nutrients, chlorophyll, and enzymes from the saliva, the combination can act to relieve and prevent flatulence.

My Quinoa Porridge with Chia

Lila’s Quinoa Porridge with Chia

Chia seeds have a nutty flavour and can be sprinkled over meals, or seeds can be soaked in a little water (for several hours or overnight, to start the seed germination process) giving better assimilation when eaten. Soaking is also beneficial, since vitamin C will start to be manufactured. When seeds are sprouted, the vitamin content multiplies considerably and they can add a spicy, warm flavour to meals. Sprinkle soaked or sprouted seeds over breakfast cereal or tossed salads.

Try chia as a refreshing breakfast drink. Mix 1 teasp. seeds (rich in soluble fibre), in a glass of orange juice and let the seed soak for 10 minutes, before drinking. The drink will give a feeling of satisfaction and fullness for a number of hours. It has been found that chia can help to regulate sugar metabolism. Research has found that enzymes in chia act as a catalyst to aid the digestion of food. As chia has a low glycemic content, it is an ideal food to add to our daily diet. For a refreshing chia beverage, soak 1 teasp. chia seed in 1 cup of hot water and 1/2 teasp. apple-cider vinegar, 1 teasp. honey and a pinch of cinnamon powder. Add seed to cooked or baked goods. A small amount of seeds added, when making bread, will make bread lighter, with less leavening needed, as well as improving the keeping qualities. Many foods are said to be more flavoursome with chia added – bitter foods become more palatable. Sharp cheese, at maturity, will taste more like cottage cheese. Chia is useful for enriching baby foods, infant formulas, health foods, energy bars, snacks, breakfast cereals, etc. As oxidation of chia seed is minimal to non-existent, it holds excellent potential within the food industry compared to other alpha-linolenic fatty acid sources, such as linseed, which exhibits rapid decomposition due to lack of antioxidants.

My Chia Coconut Pudding

Lila’s Chia Coconut Pudding

Chia does not need artificial antioxidant stabilisers and stores well, without deterioration.

And when the garden yields a super crop, feed the seed heads to the hens. Research in South America, with commercial egg production, found that laying hens eagerly devoured chia when up to 30% of seed was added to their food. This also resulted in the production of eggs with a ratio of saturated to polyunsaturated fats, half that found in normal eggs, a real benefit to consumers, eggs with a heart-friendly profile!”

I use chia pretty much every day, by adding it to my yoghurt and fruit in the morning.  I also use it in baking by adding it to muffins, I use it as a thickening agent in mousses and pies, in cereal, porridge and puddings and my lemon and chia macaroons. Sometimes just sprinkle it over salad for added crunch. I don’t subscribe to drinking fruit juice, so I don’t add it to that, but I do always add it to a smoothie when making one.

My Lemon & Chia Coconut Macaroons

Lila’s Lemon & Chia Coconut Macaroons

Marrying it to my morning yoghurt is the easiest way for me to make sure I get some daily! I don’t think it really has any taste or flavour to speak of at all.  Which makes it so superbly versatile!

I have this thing where I like to buy food from it’s native region where possible, believing it contains more of it’s original health properties/nutrients as they exist in the native soil, so I always check the packet before buying.  Mine usually come from Bolivia or Mexico.

HAVE YOU DISCOVERED CHIA YET?  HAVE YOU NOTICED IF IT’S HELPED YOU?!

Welcome To Lilapud

Hi!  So you’ve landed at Lilapud … nice of you to drop by!  From here you can click around to find something that you like …  Each week or so, I add three new posts to this blog under Lifestyle, Anecdotal and Antidotal.  Every now and then I add a new product to the Marketplace.

If you look at the clickable tabs across the top right of this page, you’ll see that Lilapud is compiled of a few different sections:

Pure-Li Lifestyle:

Spinach, Feta & Sun-Dried Tomato Muffins
Spinach, Feta & Sun-Dried Tomato Muffins

Click Pure-Li Lifestyle to find posts with recipes I’ve made & like, lifestyle choice articles, what’s happening around town, shopping recommendations and stuff like that.

Pure-Li Anecdotal:

Druid's A Whistle In The Dark 2013 Dublin
Gavin Drea Plays Des, In Druid’s A Whistle In TheDark

Here is where I share a story I’ve heard, an subject/article/movie/podcast that interests me or some information I’ve come across that I thought was worth sharing!

Pure-Li Yoga:

View From Pure-Li Yoga
View From Pure-Li Yoga

In here you’ll find out details regarding my yoga practice and where you can come along to join in.

Pure-Li Antidotal:

Restorative Yoga: Supta Balasana & an inspirational videoRestorative Yoga: Supta Balasana & an inspirational video

This is where I usually post something either funny, musical, related to yoga … designed to make you laugh, reflect creatively, feel good, and/or release some tension.

Pure-Li Marketplace:

Lilapud Vintage Sari Quilts & CushionsLilapud Vintage Sari Quilts & Cushions

A little jumble sale of things that I love. Hand-made & hand-stitched quilts and cushions, Swarovski Jewellery made by me, hand-made 100% pure and very potent lavender oil & soap, organic dye 100% cotton hand-stitched scarves/wraps, beautiful books for children, yoga & conscious living inspired books.  Perfect place to buy a thoughtful gift or treat yourself to something different, meaningful, hand-made.