I am a huge food-nerd. I read cookbooks cover-to-cover like novels, and if I have downtime where I'm sitting in front of the computer, I'm probably reading food blogs. (Or feminist / political tirades, but that's a story for another day.)
Anyway, yesterday I found an amazing concept that I can't believe I never thought of before: home-made cup of noodles!
Put a few tablespoons of sauce base in the bottom of a jar. Add shredded vegetables and some kind of noodle that doesn't need much cooking - I like kelp noodles a lot, they taste a little like rice noodles (pretty neutral) but don't clump together as much. When you're ready to eat, fill the jar with boiling water and let sit for a few minutes... instant soup, only without 400 grams of sodium and MSG, and whatever else is in instant ramen packets. Genius!
For the past few days, I've been using kelp noodles, finely sliced shiitake mushrooms, and grated zucchini and fennel. I also got some spinach, but haven't used it yet. You could also use things like broccoli or cauliflower, I'd recommend pre-steaming them so they're slightly soft. I'd also recommend pre-cooking any greens you plan to add, otherwise they'll be too fluffy and take up the whole jar.
Here are some soup-base ideas. Use these ratios as a starting point and adjust to your own taste.
half tablespoon miso
1-2 inches grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon mirin
1 teaspoon rice vinegar (or to taste, I use more)
1/8 cup chicken or vegetable stock
Put all the sauce ingredients in a small pot and cook until the miso is dissolved and ginger is fragrant. Add some sambal olek or sriracha if desired. Pour into the bottom of your jar and add veggies and noodles.
Thai curry broth:
1/8 cup chicken stock
1-2 inches grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, crushed or finely chopped
half teaspoon red curry paste
1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
1/8 cup coconut milk (full fat, unsweetened)
Cook the ginger and garlic in the chicken stock until fragrant. Add the curry paste and soy sauce and cook until curry paste is fully dissolved. Remove from the heat, add the coconut milk, and put in the bottom of the jar. Add the veggies and noodles, add some cilantro leaves and a slice of lime to garnish.
I'll post more "instant soup jar" recipes as I make them. Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments!
(This is part 3 of a 5-week series. Here are Part 1 and Part 2.)
This week was a little more difficult for me, I skipped a couple of days. I find the second or third week of a new thing the most difficult, because the excitement of starting something new starts to wear off, but the habit is not yet formed. This is a critical week for keeping your practice going, and it’s easy to give up here. If you make it through 5 weeks and then stop, your body will expect you to practice. If your body expects it and you don’t do it, you’ll miss it, and you’ll at least want to continue, but if you give up in week 2 or 3 you won’t miss it and the new habit won’t stick.
For week 3, you should be building on your sun salutations. If you just did sun salutations during week 2, then use the flows from last week to increase your practice. If you’ve been doing more, that’s great! Keep going! Even if you’re only doing 15 or 20 minutes, try to build a flow that arcs through warm up, standing poses, stretches and floor poses.
For the next 2 weeks, we’ll focus on building sequences. You can use the mini-flows from last week as a framework if you need to. If you find yourself standing awkwardly on your mat in the middle of a practice, unsure where to go next, that’s normal. I still do that sometimes. The trick is to keep breathing and not start wandering around or give up. Stand in mountain pose, do a long downward dog, or rest in child’s pose and focus on your breath. The next pose will come to you, or not, but don’t let the flow just trail off into nothing, at least keep breathing.
If you feel like you always end up getting stuck in the middle, write down your sequence in advance. I’m not going to give you specific sequences this week because I think it’s important for your practice to come from you (that’s why it’s a home practice and not an online class), but I’ll give you a few building blocks to use.
For the warm up, I usually just do sun salutations and maybe a few cat-cows. Some people like to start with a gentler warm up, which could include arm/shoulder/neck rotations, cat-cows, forward folds, and seated spine flexion and extension, and then build up to sun salutations.
The standing poses are the heart of a flow, and this is probably where you should concentrate if you’re writing your flow in advance. Try to group them in a logical way, for example if your feet are hip-width apart (as in warrior one, high lunge / crescent pose, pyramid pose), flow into another pose that has similar alignment. Going from warrior 1 to triangle is awkward because the alignment is different so the transition is not easily linked to the breath. If you get stuck, use the breath as a guide. You should always move with your breath, and you should get from one pose to the next in one breath cycle. If you’re going from warrior 1 to triangle, use a transition pose like downward dog or mountain to “reset” your alignment.
Here are some good groupings:
..Warrior 1, warrior 3, standing split, crescent lunge, pyramid, reverse triangle
..Warrior 2, side angle, reverse warrior, triangle, half moon, wide-leg forward fold, humble warrior
..Standing forward fold, chair, warrior 3, squat, toe balance, standing split
..Mountain, tree, dancer, big toe hold, squat, crow, warrior 1, high or low lunge, pyramid
..Downward dog, warrior 1, high or low lunge, pigeon, scorpion dog, wild thing, child’s pose
You may notice in the mini-flows from last week that I wasn’t very creative with my transition from standing to seated. I pretty much always do a long squat as a transition because it’s so good for opening the hips, but there are many other transitions you can use. Downward dog into child’s pose, plank into lying prone (to prepare for locust, for example), downward dog into hands and knees, pigeon into cow-face pose... lots of options.
I find the transition between standing poses more important than the transition between standing and floor stretching, because that’s where slow, steady breathing is the most difficult to maintain.
So, homework for this week: focus on standing flows, move with your breath, and don’t give up!
Email me or comment if you have questions.
This might be an embarrassing way to start a blog post, but I have a body odor problem. I was a smelly teenager, then I was pretty normal for a while, and lately I smell again. I don't smell all the time, luckily I don't sweat that easily, but it's bad enough that I'm self-conscious about it.
Unfortunately, deodorant is one of the most toxic toiletry products out there. For the past few years I've been using an aluminum-free "healthy alternative" deodorant, which is completely pointless because not only does it not stop me from smelling bad, it actually may even make me smell worse. Sometimes non-toxic products just don't work as well as the toxic ones, and they're more expensive. What to do?
A few months ago, I started making some of my own products, and I'm so happy with them. I make my own moisturizer (here's a recipe) and hair conditioner (1:2 apple cider vinegar and water), but homemade deodorant still seemed gross. There was definitely some "social de-conditioning" that needed to happen before I could stop buying deodorant. If you are the type of person who can use normal products and otherwise have your beauty-routine shit together, homemade deodorant may seem even weirder to you than it does to my makeup-less hippie self. It may also seem more difficult for men, or women who don't shave their armpits, because you have to apply it like lotion, with your hands. I thought it would be oily or sticky, but it isn't, and I swear I smell way better than I have in years. I'm a total convert. Try it for a week and see what you think, you may never go back.
Here's the recipe I used:
½ cup organic coconut oil
¼ cup baking soda
¼ cup arrowroot flour (you can get it in bulk at New Seasons, it's with the spices)
10 drops essential oil (I used lavender and sandalwood, but it just smells like coconut oil so maybe I didn't use enough essential oil?)
Mix everything in a food processor, adding more coconut oil if needed to make a paste. I've heard that baking soda can be harsh for sensitive skin, you can replace some or all of the baking soda with cornstarch or more arrowroot flour if needed.
To use it, just scoop up a quarter teaspoon or so, rub it between your hands to melt the coconut oil, and apply like a lotion. I was worried about getting oil or baking soda stains on my clothing, but it absorbs quickly and so far I haven't had any problems. I've been using it for about 3 weeks now.
If you try it, let me know what you think in the comments!