Yoga, Breathing, Coding and Risotto

Dear all,

This morning, we all got up a few minutes earlier than usual (which is hardly a challenge given the fact that our kids wake up with the Australian sunrise at about 5am!) to start our day outside with a series of yoga sun salutations followed by some relaxing breathing exercises (great stress management technique!). Afterwards, we enjoyed bowls of activated cereal (if you are not sure what I mean by activated read this post ) with homemade soy yogurt, fresh fruits, and almond milk.

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And- of course- a slice of one of Burleigh Baker’s long fermented sourdough bread– toasted, with a bit of vegan butter and jam. What a wonderful morning!

I wish our children were taught yoga in school on a regular basis. It’s so important for their wellbeing. In fact, here are the subjects I think are absolutely essential for our lives nowadays and should be part of every school curriculum: 

  1. yoga
  2. meditation and stress management techniques
  3. nutrition and sustainability (finally getting rid of old myths like the benefit of dairy and the importance of animal protein and swapping them with the healthiest diet, which has been proven to be a plant-based diet))
  4. coding (computer programming)

Until these subjects are being introduced at schools (and I have still hope that eventually, they will find their way into our curriculums), it’s up to us to teach our children. That’s why we started with yoga and breathing this morning. We’ll do it about three times a week for about ten minutes, either in the morning or in the evening. Sometimes the kids like to spend a few minutes with a guided meditation for kids (a few minutes is enough usually but they can extend this time if they feel like it). There are plenty of wonderful resources online. On and off I stop them when we are out and about to remind them to listen to their breathing and the sounds from their surroundings, feel the wind/ the sun etc, and taste the salty air (depending on where you live). It’s really just about being mindful and feeling connected. These are very calming moments and only take a couple of minutes. Another very powerful tool is visualization– tell your kids (or try it on yourself) to imagine taking a lemon out of the fridge, smelling it, letting it fall onto the cutting board (hearing), scraping the skin with their fingernail (touching), cutting it in half and tasting it (tasting)- who wouldn’t be salivating like crazy at this point? This little experiment shows kids how powerful their imagination is. Now they can visualize themselves swimming, practicing an instrument, ballet etc in their minds. Professional athletes use this tool to prepare for their training and competitions. You can also visualize yourself being happy and smiling or simply lying in bed, breathing in a relaxed way. It’s amazing how well it works!

If you are interested in coding, I have found some sources online that have worked really well for our kids: lightbot (free app), swift (free app form apple) with free in-store workshops for kids, www.youthdigital.com (not cheap online tutorials, but incredibly good- look for coupons online!) and codeacademy.com (for older kids and adults).

In order to be happy, centered, lean and fit, you also have to eat the right foods. So yesterday’s dinner consisted of a fruity kale salad (one of our kids’ favorite salads) with oranges and pomegranate seeds (see recipe here http://plantbasedhappy.com/?p=8148)

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mushroom risotto as an entree and fresh seasonal fruits for dessert. 

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You might wonder why I used white arborio rice for the risotto instead of brown rice. When it comes to rice, you basically have two choices:

  • you activate brown rice. That means that you have to soak it with a bit of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice for at least 12 hours. Even better to keep the water you soaked the rice in for the next batch of rice, which will increase the amount of phytase (the enzyme that breaks up phytates- complexes of phytic acid bound to zinc, phosphorus, magnesium and iron). Rinse the rise well before cooking it. You will get all the important minerals and fiber. 
  • you use white rice. No need to activate it, because most of the phytates have been remove. White rice lacks nutrients including fiber. But at least it lets you absorb the nutrients form the food that you eat with the rice. The worst you can do is consume whole grains that have NOT BEEN ACTIVATED. Not only do they cause stress on your digestive system, they also interfere with the absorption of nutrients that you eat at the same time. 

Therefore, for yesterday’s risotto, we had white rice and lots of nutrients! Preparing foods properly might sound difficult at first, but as soon as you know a few basic facts is really easy. last but not least, here is the recipe for the risotto: http://plantbasedhappy.com/?p=8576

Cheers,

Ursula

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