Much gratitude to Jasmine for sharing her recipe for our fall holiday cooking!
1 medium sugar pie pumpkin
2 TBS oil or vegan butter
2 yellow onions, roughly chopped
2 shallots, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp poultry seasoning, or 1⁄2 tsp dried/ground sage
2 vegan bouillon cubes, vegan “chicken” style or vegetable 4 cups boiling water
1⁄2 cup cashews
Extra water as needed
Preheat oven to 350.
Cut the pumpkin in half and fully scoop out the seeds, reserving for another use if desired. Place both halves, cut side down, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour.
In a soup pot, saute onions and shallots in oil or vegan butter over medium-low flame. Sprinkle with salt, and cook about 7 minutes, or until translucent and soft, just beginning to brown. Add garlic and poultry seasoning, mixing well to combine, continue to cook for 2 minutes.
When pumpkin is done, carefully remove the skin (it should come away easily). Scoop out soft flesh and add to pot with onions.
In a separate bowl or measuring cup, mix bouillon cubes with boiling water and make sure they have fully disintegrated. Add to pot, along with the cashews. Cover pot with lid, and simmer on low for 15 minutes.
If possible, transfer entire contents of pot to blender, and blend on high. If need be, blend in 2 batches, then combine. Check consistency, adding more water, a little at a time, if too thick.
Connect with Jasmine on her You-Tube Channel:
How many times have you felt butterflies in your stomach or worry in your gut? How about anxiety bringing you to a point of constipation or inability to control your bowels? The premise of holistic healing practices is the interconnectedness of the body, mind and soul, as yoga in itself means the practice of “union” of the various aspects of your being. What we choose to feed ourselves in every way, like the environments we constantly live in, the choices we make daily, the foods we nourish our cells with, the roles we play in our relationships, our perceptions of our selves, what we read or watch and more affect our ability to feel grounded and move with ease in this world.
Digging into a Colon Hydrotherapist’s perspective on digestion as a holistic experience, I interviewed a long-time friend and trusted wellness professional, Monisha Garner:
1. How important is digestion to overall wellness?
Our digestive system is a very simple system of releasing and absorbing. Without an effective working colon life becomes a little more difficult and disease will not be too far behind. During the 8th week of pregnancy is when our digestive system starts to form, and around the 13th week it is fully functional. It is directly connected to our nervous system, so what you hold on to emotionally, physically and spiritually is mirrored in your colon as constipation, diarrhea, inflammation, etc. If regular bowel movements are not present, the body’s amazing technology will try to reuse the waste that continues to sit and ferment in the colon, creating gas, distention, bad breath, body aches and more. The problem is that the body cannot reuse trash, so in turn, the person will start to feel sluggish, have a poor complexion and begin facing other health challenges. The colon is the cornerstone of entire wellness.
2. If you had to narrow down three important tips to optimizing your digestion of food, what would they be?
I would definitely say to eat foods from each color of the rainbow (omitting any foods white or brown in color), add plant based fiber to your daily intake of food and sip warm water with lemon, aloe vera juice and chlorophyll daily.
3. How does the way we digest life’s experience affect our overall wellness? What would you say is the most essential ingredient or life tool in being able to digest life with grace?
I absolutely love this question because most people don’t feel that their digestive upset stems from emotional imbalances. However, it’s a direct result. Our colon is directly tied to our nervous system. So large amounts of stress, long-term stress, unnecessary stress, lack of sleep, consuming large amounts of caffeine, sugar, prescription medications, yelling and arguing create the perfect breeding ground for disease to manifest within our body. Holding onto or forcing the occurrence of events that no longer serve us affects imbalances within our colon. Not speaking your truth and asking for what you need create imbalances within your colon.
The tool that I use for myself to move through this amazing planet with grace is to give MYSELF grace. I give myself time and do not overload myself. I talk to myself in a loving manner and speak to and from my heart space as often as I can. Change is an inside job. It starts with you first. Treat yourself with ease and gentleness, your body will respond with the same, and so will others.
This insightful interview with Monisha provides a peek into an important topic we’ll be diving into at our upcoming Digestive Wellness Workshop, Nourish, on November 4: How do you digest life with grace? We’ll address digestive well being through various angles using yoga, meditation, nutritional cooking, eating mindfully, community discussion and wisdom and practical tools from Paola Cardona, yoga teacher and long-time friend, who holistically healed herself through Stage 3B Colon Cancer.
As holistic medicine bases its work on the interconnectedness of your various realms of being, Yoga further rides on the premise that all beings on this planet are interconnected. Thus, an individual’s wellness and wisdom can ripple empowering healing onto others. Anita Moorjani, inspiring author of “Dying to Be Me,” wrote about her spontaneous remission from Stage 4 Lymphoma and redefines “remission” as “remembering your mission” in this world, and through self-love, share unconditional love with others.
Monisha Garner is an Advanced and Clinical Colon Hydrotherapist, Holistic Health Practitioner and Owner of Moya Body Care. She specializes in digestive wellness, herbs and natural living. She is dedicated to empowering others to find their unique journey towards health and wellness through detoxification and cleansing. She embraces practical techniques and tools that the average person can easily infuse into their daily routine. Connect with Monisha at: www.moyabodycare.com
The fall and winter holidays, with its many social gatherings around food, can often spin us off our healthy habits into a whirlwind of consuming. As a young child, Halloween habitually marked my upsurge of dis-ease into the winter, starting with sore throats into flu and so on. Only as an adult moved to heal my body holistically did I see the link between my health disturbances and the conditions I created, which were not just the colder weather, as I was made to believe, but how I treated my entire being—mainly through digestion of food and life. Curious to learn more, I delved into much personal research on the topic of digestion, changed many of my lifestyle habits to improve my well being, and much later, felt compelled to collaborate with various wellness experts on the topic to spread awareness and empowerment through information that inspires positive choices, hoping to make a timely impact just before the eating momentum of the holidays.
As a preview to our upcoming third year of Digestive Wellness pre-holidays workshop on November 4, 2017, I've decided to interview two experts in the field of holistic wellness. Part 1 of this article is an interview with Ayurveda Practitioner Isabel Castro (Stay tuned here for the next interview):
1.) How important is digestion to overall wellness?
Digestion is the foundation of health. It sets the stage for creating health in the body or opening it up to disease. When properly functioning, digestion allows your body to absorb nutrients, eliminate toxins and build ojas, a form of life energy, our reserve or backup battery when in stress mode. If digestion is not functioning properly, our body is imbalanced, causing the burden to overflow into other systems of the body. Ama is anything not digested that stays in the body and is not processed and eliminated. This can also be indigestion in the mind, leaving the mind clouded, cyclically drawing us to things that will keep us out of balance. Thus, our digestive system can either be in a proactive or reactive mode in keeping us healthy.
2.) If you had to narrow down three important tips to optimizing your digestion of food, what would they be?
First is the Goldilocks Principle: eat a balanced meal that is not too small or too large, not too heavy or light in quality and not too hot or cold, so that it doesn’t leave you feeling overstuffed, still hungry, on fire from excessive spice or any extreme. Secondly, eat in a relaxed atmosphere. Even if your surroundings seem chaotic, breathe consciously as you eat and put the fork down between bites to relax your nervous system and allow blood to flow to the center of your body for effective digestion. Lastly, value space by not filling your plate with so much, literally and figuratively. Leave room in your day for rest and processing events, rather than over-busying yourself. Give yourself 3-4 hours between meals so your body knows when it’s time to break down food and when it’s not. Give your digestive organs room to move things around, rather than jam-packing things into your system.
3) How does the way we digest life’s experience affect our overall wellness? What would you say is the most essential ingredient or life tool in being able to digest life with grace?
It’s all connected. If you’re constantly taking things in by having a busy schedule or constantly snacking, you allow no time to release what needs to move through you. Start the day relaxed to enable your evacuation first thing in the morning from the previous day. If you don’t give yourself a chance to process what the takeaway is—whether in nutrients or life events, you’re just constantly consuming. Take time to process. Find balance and remember the yogic virtue of ahimsa, or nonviolence toward self.
Optimizing our digestion of whatever we take in, be it food or life, through various angles—physically, mentally and even spiritually—is a gateway to creating radiant wellness. Stay tuned here for our next interview on Digestive Wellness.
Join us on November 4 for Nourish, a Digestive Wellness integration of yoga, meditation, nutritional cooking, community discussion and a personal talk by my dear friend and yoga teacher, Paola Cardona, about her journey of surviving and thriving past Stage 3B Colon Cancer, sharing her healthy lifestyle tools.
Isabel Castro is an Ayurveda Practitioner based in Bellingham, WA. She was drawn to Ayurveda after years of trying a multitude of treatments for her eczema and realizing its direct correlation to digestion. Through Ayurveda, she effectively treated her skin condition and discovered other benefits, like improved clarity, focus and calm—experiencing a balancing integration of mind and body wellness. Connect with Isabel at www.LivingBalanceAyurveda.com.
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Michelle truly lives out what she teaches. She is so much more than a yoga teacher - I learned this when I went on her exquisitely curated trip that she organized to Costa Rica this past June 2018...Hopefully like me, you'll be delighted by her effervescent love of movement, nature, and all people!
Michelle clearly stands out with her beautiful and bright energy. I love how her practice and teaching encompass body, mind and spirit. She not only teaches yoga but lives and exudes it.
Michelle not only teaches 'yoga', she embodies it fully with her heart and soul...
Michelle is by far one of the best instructors I've ever had, period. Patient, clear in her explanations and demos, and so encouraging...
My first yoga class was with Michelle years ago. You can have the best (yoga pose) sequence and not teach from your heart. With Michelle, I also feel her passion when I'm in her class. I can see she loves what she does, and she inspired me to want to teach yoga, too.
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I'm so grateful to have met Michelle! Her kind energy opened up my interest in pursuing yoga and meditation. She is such an incredibly light and soul. She starts with grounding ourselves through mindfulness and breathing exercise. She brings the most authentic energy to the class by sharing the history and understanding behind poses, names, and techniques. I truly appreciate her work and impact on my well-being!
I’ve had dozens of instructors over the years, but Michelle is far and away the best yoga mentor I’ve ever practiced with. She epitomizes grace during these difficult times. Michelle has saved my sanity and my back while working from home, keeping me grounded with her sharing of yogic teachings and meditation techniques. Her repertoire of physical asanas is encyclopedic, and I’ve loved learning new poses and stretching my boundaries. Jump in, all. You’ve got this!
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