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Healthier Options

My trip to LA is winding to a close. I’d love to post a couple of healthy new recipes I tried this week, but I haven’t been cooking (unless you consider slicing apple and dipping it in natural peanut butter cooking). Instead, I’ve been eating out more than I intended. But I guess I have re-learned one lesson on this road trip: it never hurts to ask. The other day I was ordering an Ahi tuna burger from one of my favorite spots – a roadside seafood shack. I was sure they didn’t have wheat buns – I looked everywhere for the small print in the menu indicating customers had that choice and couldn’t find it. But when I asked, turns out they could serve their burgers on wheat. And the breakfast place this morning – though the menu doesn’t specify, you can request fruit on the side instead of home fries. Of course options like that aren’t always available. The Chinese place I stopped by the other night didn’t have brown rice as an option – only white. But I’m going to keep asking, cuz you just never know.

Secret Ingredient

Does anyone know the secret ingredient that goes into making the perfect Smoothie? I can’t figure it out. My blender and I have been bonding lately as I try out different recipes. In addition to ice and some frozen strawberries and blueberries, I try:

Smoothies with frozen banana.

Smoothies with frozen banana and whey protein powder.

Smoothies without either.

Smoothies with honey. Smoothies with Stevia. Smoothies with an egg. Smoothies with soy milk.

No matter what I do, they simply don’t taste as good as the kind I buy. It’s not that they taste bad, but after a few sips I kinda forget about them. When I find the abandoned half-empty glass later on, I feel like I’ve wasted food. One does not forget about a really good Smoothie.

At first I thought maybe it was because when I buy Smoothies they’re probably full of sugar and ice cream or something. But no, I thoroughly enjoyed the Smoothies I drank every afternoon at a yoga retreat in Mexico last February – everything that kitchen prepared was of the healthy, no-sugar variety. I fondly recall sitting under a shade tree at the beach in the afternoons (after a morning of working out) and looking forward to seeing the resort’s chef saunter over with his latest concoction. Wait a sec…the secret ingredient I’m missing? I think it might be the beach. That is, after all, the only place I really ever drink Smoothies. There’s something about the white sand and the turquoise waters and reading a good book that makes a Smoothie taste so perfectly good.

I live far, far away from the beach.

Well, shoot.Š

A Place to Start

I have yoga homework.

My teacher wants me to practice Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle pose) every single day. Then she wants me to lean back into Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle pose).

It’s supposed to help me relax.

The good news about Bound Angle pose is and Reclining Bound Angle pose is that I can do them anywhere – watching TV, before bed at night, as an afternoon break in my home office.

I told her how I’ve tried to establish a home practice in the past before and wound up intimidated and overwhelmed.

“Sometimes just showing up on your mat at home and pretending to practice is a practice,” she said.

Sounds like a good place to start.

Yoga Class in the Car

On my way to yoga class, I’m not sure which way to go. The road splits, and my instinct says left but Mapquest says right. I ignore my gut and follow the computer’s instructions.

Oops.

Turing around in the greater Washington DC area is nearly impossible. One road leads to a twisted mass of other roads and within 10 minutes I’ve crossed three borders, hitting Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia. There are cars everywhere. Jammed along the freeway. Weaving in front of me as they merge. And my mind races with them.

In my head I’m caught up in the emotional turmoil of living in a new city. I want to move back to our original home in California where I know the streets like the back of my hand and can walk to yoga class. The clock is inching forward. By the time I figure out where I am it’s too late. I’ve missed the class.

I’m waiting at a stop sign when a woman in a minivan bumps the rear of my car.

Argh!” I yell (okay technically I yell a cuss word, but this is a G-rated blog).

As I pull over into a parking lot my instinct says stop and breathe. This time I listen. Just because I’m not in yoga class doesn’t mean I can’t practice yoga. I have my body, mind, and soul right here in the car with me — I don’t need a mat, a blanket, or the wood floor of a studio.

In inhale deeply and lengthen my spine. I meditate on my breath and seek inner stillness. By the time I step out of the car I feel a hundred times better. The woman in the minivan is apologetic and wants to make sure I’m okay and my car’s okay.

There is only a small scrape on the back bumper.

“Don’t worry about it,” I say. “This car is 10 years old.”

We wave goodbye to each other and drive our separate ways. On the way home I continue to practice my breathing. My blue mat is still rolled up on the passenger’s seat. And the roads are still packed with cars and noisy construction and confusing twisting turns. But inside, I’m slowly finding silence.

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