Tag Archives: Health

Zen Mystery | Spiritual Center, Tea Room, and Boutique

18 January

zen mystery spiritual center in Dania Beach

When I met Denis in 2001, he was going to school for a Bachelor in Liberal Arts. I laughed thinking, what is that? who studies Liberal Arts? Of course, that was me back then. I used to think that if someone was going to pay for college, they should major in either engineering, law, or medicine; anything else was a waste of money and time. So I asked him what Liberal Arts entail and what kind of job he would have. He replied that he wanted to open a spiritual school where he and other people could teach spirituality and an integral program similar to that of Ken Wilber’s.

When we started dating and things got serious, I worried for him because finding a job with that degree was going to be difficult and opening a business seemed horribly scary to me. I had always said that I didn’t want people to depend on me to earn a living, I had rather let someone else worry about my paycheck. So a business, to me what not an option. He went back to school and got a master’s degree in Educational Technology, and I was very proud of him and his new career.

Over the years though, as I worked on my spiritual journey, and opened my mind to trust the Universe, I realized that I liked Denis’ idea of a school. I didn’t like to call it a school, I called it a Center, an Integral Lifestyle Center.

Visualizing Zen Mystery

For a few year I dreamed about it, visualized it, and even made a vision board with everything I pictured having there. I had even picked the building where it was going to be. And two years ago, as a trial, Denis and I opened a consulting business in online marketing which is another area we were experts at. Inbound Den opened in August 2011 to help conscious businesses promote their companies online.

Last year, Denis quit his corporate job to work full time on Inbound Den. That gave us the opportunity to feel comfortable in owning and running a business.

Taking a Leap

I’m a big fan of Marie Forleo, Kris Carr, and Mastin Kipp, and I had been dying to go to RHH Live because I was ready to take the leap into our Spiritual Center. But the price, the time, everything wasn’t working out for me to go to NYC and learn how to run a business. Sad about this one day, I opened my email and saw a message from Omega Institute about a workshop on how to start your own business and taught by Stephan Rechtschaffen, founder of Omega and former CEO.  The price was right, the time was right, the topic was exactly what I needed, and who better than Stephan to learn from? WOW. I book that baby right away and went without a doubt.

I had told myself that I was going there just to take notes for Denis so that he could make his dream of a school come true. But the reality was, that I was the one that needed the hand holding. And boy, what a great place to shed the fears away! Omega in Rhinebeck was the perfect space to do just that. I learned a lot from Stephan and my classmates that weekend and was so inspired each minute I was there that I just couldn’t contain myself. I was ready to give birth to our baby: Zen Mystery.

Zen Mystery, Spiritual Center, Tea Room, and Boutique

We found the perfect place four our center. As of today, we are working very hard to open our doors in February 2013 and share with you all Denis’ vision that has been cooking in his heart from over a decade. We will be offering meditation classes, yoga, tai chi, dance, and more. In the tea room we will have vegan pastries and snacks like sandwiches, soups, and salads. In the boutique, we will have some clothing, accessories and other products that are aligned with the Integral Lifestyle. We also want to make the classroom available to anyone in the community that needs space for workshops or classes since it’s difficult to find a central location with plenty of parking.

You can go to our facebook page for Zen Mystery to stay tuned for updates on the opening day and what will be offered there.

We hope to see you soon in Zen Mystery in downtown Dania Beach!

The Alkaline Diet

10 October
Alkaline Raw Vegan Pizza

Alkaline Raw Vegan Pizza

The Alkaline Diet is pretty simple to follow: eat and do things that are highly alkaline. That’s it! So as long as you remember what is acidic and what is alkaline, you’re good to go. Whether is raw or cooked, the most important thing is that you stay highly alkaline, say 80% alkaline and 20% or less acidic. But there are some important things to keep in mind too that most diet either frown upon or don’t take into account that are critical to the Alkaline Diet.

Elements in the Alkaline Diet

There are four elements that one must follow in the Alkaline Diet: Healthy Oils, Chlorophyll, Salt, and Water. I’ll discuss each element below.

Oils

These is always a point of disagreement in a lot of diets and lifestyles. Most people think of oils as the oil they use to fry french fries at McDonalds or any fast food place.  But our bodies, and specially our brains need oils… Healthy Oils! We find this is an area where most people are not educated in, and we get a lot of questions about it. We need omegas (3, 6, and 9) to function well and regenerate brain cells. Because of combining the vegan diet and the Alkaline diet, we only take vegan oils that offer a good healthy amount of omegas. Most people think vegan oils with omegas don’t exist, they believe they have to get them from fish. You can if that’s what you want. For spiritual reasons, I don’t consumer animals. So I choose vegan oils such as Hemp Seed Oil (2 to 1 ratio), Flax Seed Oil (3 to 1 ratio), and Chia Seed Oil. Omega 5 oils are Avocado, Coconut (which helps to absorb omega 3 oils), and Pomegranate Seed Oil.

Chlorophyll = Greens

Green Juice Cold Pressed

Green Juice Cold Pressed

Most people and people eating the SAD don’t get enough servings of healthy greens (Chlorophyll). These include plant foods (Kale, Lettuce, Chard, etc), vegetables juices, and green powders (Alkavision or Dr. Brocs). Even vegans may not be getting enough alkaline vegetables or green juices.

Salt

Another topic that is very tabu in the health community is Salt. Most people think we Alkalarians mean the disgusting Morton salt most people have in their kitchens or some may imagine we refer to the “healthier” version: sea salt. Just two days ago someone told me that they don’t eat salt because it shrinks their organs! Again, if a person is eating the SAD, they eat a lot of sodium from processed foods and drink non-hydrating liquids, well yes, salt will not be healthy for them. For those of us in the Alkaline diet, salt is critical. The best salts are Real Salt from Utah and Red Alaea Salt (Hawaiian Salt). These Hawaiian salts can be found in different types. Another type of salts that are crucial in the getting healthy are Magnesium and potassium salts which are key minerals for the body and the nervous system.

Water

I’m not talking about drinking 8 cups a day, I’m referring to the quality of the water and the pH of the water. Pure alkaline IONIZED water with a high pH such as 9.5 and an ORP of 150mV. That’s the kind of water! Your body will thank you for it. In fact, if you are planning in making one change today, this is the most critical in my view. Start by getting an ionizer and if you can afford it, a nano filter too. If you are not able to afford purchasing these two, you can buy bottled water with high pH like Essentia water. Don’t trust what it says in the bottles of the water you buy, do your research. Right now, Essentia is the only brand left in the market that you can trust.

 

The Alkaline diet is not just a fad diet, is a new LIFESTYLE! And not just for those with illness or disease but for anyone who wants to improve their quality of life. So let’s summarize this, to start the Alkaline diet:

Even one change you make today will start improving your health!

Steamed Alkaline Food Recipe

05 October

I’ve been posting pictures of my steamed alkaline food on instagram and many have asked for recipes. I started steaming alkaline vegetables a few months ago because towards the end of last year I had been eating a lot of acidic foods and even though they were raw, it was acidic.

Steamed Alkaline Food Recipe

Steaming Alkaline Vegetables

The idea with eating steamed food was to reset my taste buds and help my body become more alkaline again. Denis and I just a conversation about how when we discovered the Alkaline principle that we stayed pretty alkaline until we went to our first raw food festivals in Sedona in 2008 ans we were told cashews, chocolate, mushrooms, and agave were good for you.

We knew better but didn’t listen.

Alkaline Food Recipe

The recipe for steaming alkaline food is simple. I take my list of alkaline food and throw any combination of these in the steamer. I don’t steam avocados or seeds or fruits. Everything else I steam and then add oils when the food is done ans on my plate.

Since it’s fall, I’m using a lot of fall organic local veggies and whatever else I see at Josh’s that fits the “highly alkaline” requirements. Here is one of my favorite combinations:

1 handful of Brussel Sprouts

1 handful cauliflower

1/4 cup of sprouted beans (including peas)

1/4 rep pepper

Garlic (as much as you like)

2 large collard leaves

2 large chard leaves

Kale, spinach, and other greens

Real Salt, cumin, and other spices

Hemp oil to taste

 

I use all my ingredients fresh from Josh’s Organic Garden, so I only have to steam them for less than 10 minutes. I don’t buy anything frozen because it’s not considered raw. My steamer has a timer, so I add all veggies but the greens and spices and oil and set the timer for 10 to 12 minutes.

When there is about 2 minutes left, I add the greens and cover until the steamer rings and shuts off.  I add hemp oil to all my meals that are cooked so I can get all the benefits from the hemp oil and not complain about the taste. A major reason I steam some food is to reset my taste bud and to learn to eat oils I did not like when I was only eating raw.

Serve warm with seasonings.This is enough food for me for dinner or sometimes I have leftovers for the next day. Do not microwave or warm up again! Anything good left in the food will be dead if you microwave it.

Steamed Alkaline Food Recipe

You can change the ingredients with any of the vegetables on the Alkaline list and add other seasoning or spices or even hot peppers and the seasons change and other veggies become available. Below is a picture of garbanzo sprouts, broccoli, and peas as as different mix.

Steamed garbanzo sprouts with veggies

 

10 Acidic Foods to Avoid

02 October

I have talked about alkaline foods but many of you have asked what are acidic foods that can be eliminated from your diet for anyone, not just those with disease or transitioning to the alkaline lifestyle.

Acidic Foods

What are Acidic Foods?

In the Alkaline lifestyle, foods that are not alkaline are considered acidic and are below 7 in the pH scale. These are the foods that cause disease and allergic reactions to the body yielding an unhealthy environment for disease to grow and bacteria to thrive. These foods have been linked to cancer and heart disease.

Acidic Foods to Avoid

Here is a list of the top ten most acidic foods that should be avoided at all times:

  • Dairy products
  • Meat and shellfish
  • All forms of sugar (including fruits)
  • Vinegar
  • Mushrooms and algae
  • Peanut and peanut oil
  • Corn
  • Fermented foods (including soy sauce and miso)
  • Eggs
  • Alcohol

Anyone who wants to improve their general health can start avoiding these gradually and adding more alkaline foods to their diet to see results. From loosing weight to improving heart disease, these changes to your lifestyle will make a difference. Many doctors are starting to recommend a vegan lifestyle for heart disease patients. But it’s important to understand that a vegan diet can also be acidic or unhealthy. I was a raw vegan junk food eater and a vegan junk food years ago too. Before the decision to be a vegan became an energy/spiritual path reason, I would not mind eating french fries at a fast food joint, or eating a mushroom burger with fake cheese and drinking a sake bottle. I could still be a vegan, but the choices I was making were not healthy and highly acidic.

The same can be said about eating a raw vegan diet. There are those that eat 30 bananas a day believing that’s healthy because it’s fruit that fell from a tree. The truth is that tropical fruit is acidic and creates a terrible environment for the body. You might as well eat a steak!

Making healthy choices can be difficult but making small steps can be beneficial to your health.

Acidic Foods cheese and wine

Photo of steak, bacon, and eggs by missvancamp

Photo of wine and cheese by wendyness

The Spiritual Vegan Diet

21 August

Ahimsa The Spiritual Vegan Diet

Last year at Bhakti Fest, one of the MCs talked about a lifestyle challenge he entered as a way to improve his health. As he started the new vegan raw diet, he realized that his new diet is part of what Ahimsa in the yoga world means: Non-violence towards animals. I connected to that because being a vegan for me now is more of a choice-of-energy that enters my body than non-cruelty towards animals. But I knew Ahimsa meant much more beyond food. I was inspired by this topic and wrote about it on my post for MentalBlox.com. Here is a copy of the post:

 

Ahimsa | The Non-Violent Spiritual Diet

If you are a student of Yoga, whether it’s the asana practice only or all the other parts of yoga, you have heard the term Ahimsa. It means non-violence and avoiding harming ourselves and others including animals. Many yogis and yoginis are vegetarian or vegan, because, a true practitioner of yoga will take a vow of non-violence. Eating animals is part of Ahimsa because of the suffering and the violence animals are submitted before they died to become food on a plate. Vegetarism is a start, but Ahimsa is much more beyond being a vegetarian.

You Are What You Eat

I chose to become a vegan many years ago, at the beginning for health reasons, but now I choose to stay vegan for energy reasons. I don’t want the energy of another being in my body; I feel it affects my spiritual path, especially if the animal was hurt and tortured during the dying process to become food for humans. I’m fortunate to be allergic to eggs and dairy and therefore I’m not able to eat those either. Many of my friends have been able to get deeper once they adjust their diets to the principal of Ahimsa. And it’s no surprise that many religions avoid eating certain animals because they might not be as “pure” as others or because some animals are sacred and cannot be consumed.

Walking The Walk

When I started learning more about yoga, deepening my practice thru my teacher training, I became more aware of the term Ahimsa and why it was important in order to advance in my spiritual path. I felt great I was a vegan and thought that was all to it. Ahimsa doesn’t just refer to food and the killing of animals for food. It refers to everything in our lives, not having harmful thoughts about ourselves or others and other violent actions that lead to negative emotions like anger, frustration, fear, rage, and anxiety. So I had to stop wishing people on the road traffic tickets for bad driving, getting angry at my cat for spitting hairballs on my white couch, or killing roaches that come in to my house after a rainy day.

But the most difficult part has been not wounding and hurting me with my thoughts. Every time we judge ourselves and say mean things, we hurt our souls and self-esteem. I know it sounds corny but it’s true. Saying “I’m fat and ugly, nothing fits me”, or “I have a horrible hair day”, or “I’m so stupid”. Even not saying it out loud but thinking it, we are hurting ourselves. And if you have children or siblings that look up to you, they are learning from you to say those things about themselves too.

The Process

It may take a while for us to get used to being more loving towards ourselves and others. I started moving to the middle lane when I see a car coming fast behind me on the left lane, so instead of wishing them a ticket, I let them pass me. I stop telling myself how “fat I feel” when clothes don’t fit or calling myself “stupid” for closing a drawer on my fingers. One might be clumsy at times but it doesn’t mean we have to call ourselves a name or attach a negative feeling to that. Love your clumsy curvy self and the roaches or other animals that share this earth with us. That is the first step to Ahimsa.

Are there other ways you have come to realized Ahimsa applies in your life? Share with us!

Moody Mornings | Self Awareness in your Spiritual Path

20 August

Since I have memory, I remember not liking mornings. Specially when I was in school and had to wake up at the crack of dawn to get on a bus and be at school bright and early for prayer, etc. Even in college I had to get up early because of the kids and now because of work. In 2010, I decided I was going to stop saying I wasn’t a morning person and instead decided to try to wake up early and do things, fun things. I also decided to find what makes me wake up in a bad mood.

The Why

So I started asking myself: Why do people wake up in a good mood every morning? Is that the rule for everyone? Am I the only human that wakes up in an awful mood and ready to “kill someone and destroy the world”? When did I become this way? Was I always so angry in the morning? I found out a few of my friends don’t like morning either, but they don’t wake up angry. Denis didn’t used to like to wake up early and most days doesn’t get enough sleep, but his mood is best in the morning.

I went through many theories in my head and testing each to see what affects me and makes me wake up angry. It doesn’t happen every morning, some are less than others. I’ve been lucky to wake up in a good mood a few times. Last year I counted three mornings when I woke up happy. Earlier this year, every morning I woke up angry and more angry as the days went until I dealt with a huge issue that was starting me up in the face for a few years now.

The Solution

I know in my case, the anger comes from a horrible childhood and what happened to me during the night that makes me wake up angry. But if I dealt with all these issues why is the anger still there? It turns out we hold anger in our liver. I’ve been learning a lot about where we hold emotions. The Liver holds anger, fear, frustration, and jealousy; emotions I’m very familiar with. As I read more and educated myself on the Liver, I realized a lot of little things I’ve physically shown for many years were in fact symptoms of Liver Qi Stagnation.

Acupuncture for Liver Qi

I recently started acupuncture and Chinese Medicine treatment for the liver and the anger. It has worked well and many symptoms have left. I don’t get angry much often or in the way I used to before: ready to explode. I’m also being treated for stress and mood swings, which is awesome because that’s always been an issue for me.

Doing the Homework

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine alone are not the cure. Meditation, acceptance, forgiveness, and awareness is what helps to not have that moody morning. There is no pill to cure our issues, we MUST show up and do the work everyday! It’s hard, I KNOW! I hate doing the work, but I want to stay healthy, I have to do my spiritual work to stay balanced.

What are some of the emotions you are holding on to? Share with us and tell us what type of spiritual work you do to release them.

 

Zen and Diet: Can Food Assist You on Your Spiritual Path?

22 July

denis sunduki

Denis and his friends started this project last week. It’s a documentary on whether a person with a strong spiritual practice can take their practice to a higher level with the introduction of a healthy diet. Here is some information on the current project as described by Denis below.

Outline for the Documentary

  • Carlos Londono as Director/Star, Frank Padron as Director of Photography, Denis Soukhanov as Producer/Expert
  • Daily spiritual practice should include: meditation, yoga, satsang, kirtan
  • Weekly recorded conversations
  • Expert Interviews
  • Daily Video Journal
  • Diet is based on pH Miracle by Robert Young

Phase 1: Yogic Diet (30 days)

  • End of First Week: coffee replaced with green tea
  • Whole Food Vegetarian Diet
  •  “Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible, before being consumed. Whole foods typically do not contain added ingredients, such as salt, carbohydrates, or fat.” – Wikipedia
  • Organic when possible
  • Avoid stimulants (coffee, alcohol, drugs)
  • Multi-vitamin whole foods supplement
  • “In the Ayurvedic tradition, foods that are considered sattvic include most vegetables, ghee (clarified butter), fruits, legumes, and whole grains.” – Yoga Journal
  • Learning Ahimsa
  • Fasting on Ekadashi days (11th lunar day, twice a month)

Phase 2: Beyond Ahimsa – Vegan Diet (30 days)

  • All of the above
  • Avoid all animal products (no dairy, no honey, no eggs)
  • At least one big salad a day
  • Learning about pH of the foods
  • Multi-vitamin whole foods supplement

Phase 3: Alkaline Diet  (30 days)

  • First week (Green Juice fast)
  • 80/20 pH balanced
  •  80/20 Raw Vegan
  • Green Juices and Green Smoothies for breakfast
  • Multi-vitamin whole foods supplement

 

3 Farmers Markets in South Florida

26 September

One of the most important parts of planning your vacation or traveling is to know where to find food and restaurants. Some people plan ahead, specially if they have specific requests for food or if they love food traveling as much as I do. As a raw vegan and eco-activist, I always plan ahead my food stops before I head out in to my destination. One of my favorites sites to help me plan is Happycow.net where I can find all the local vegetarian and vegan places to eat and shop. As a full time South Florida resident, there are several places here for my fellow vegetarians/vegans to eat and shop. So here is a list of my favorite South Florida places to shop for healthy food:

Josh’s Organic Garden & Juice Bar – Hollywood

Josh’s is probably one of the best, if not THE best, farmers market in the country. Most of the produce is organically grown locally and in Pennsylvania and treated with the utmost care. You can hear Josh scream and see him run every Sunday as he tries to keep the veggies and fruits in the best condition possible. Josh’s greens in the winter beat any store in the county. Once you eat his greens, you cannot accept anything less.

The juice bar is out of this world too! Even though you may feel the prices are high, other supermarkets charge way more for less. Josh’s Juice bar uses their own greens, veggies, and fruits right from the market to make the juices and smoothies. Nothing is processed or pasteurized.

Josh’s Organic Garden is open on Sundays from 9:30 to 5:31 pm and it’s located on Hollywood Beach’s Boardwalk on Harrison street. The Juice Bar is open Sundays 9:30am to 5:31pm, Monday to Thursday 7pm to 9pm.

 

Glaser Farms – Coconut Grove

The actual farm is located way south in Homestead, but on Saturdays Stan and Tracy bring the farm to Coconut Grove from 11am to 7pm. Located just west of the main Coco Walk center on Grand avenue, Glaser Farmer’s Market is a great place to hang out and enjoy delicious organic, vegetarian, raw food including ice cream and pies! Other vendors set up tents around the market making locals and visitors feel at home.

 

Marando Farms – Fort Lauderdale

Fairly new, Marando Farms offers great prices for mostly non-organic produce. Some are locally grown from other farmers and some from their own farm. They also offer eggs from their own chickens and sometimes you can see the chickens running around. Great for the kids! They recently open another “wing” for high quality pet foods, so now you can get your food and your pet’s food in the same place!

Marando Farms is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10am to 5pm; Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm; Closed on Wednesdays.

 

Other places for Organic Produce

Other places in South Florida where you can find great prices for organic produce include Green Wave Cafe in Plantation, a raw vegan restaurant. On Mondays Green Wave opens for their “Organic Market” from 8am to 2pm.

Thrive Restaurant in Miami Beach and LifeFood Gourmet in Coral Way also have Farmer’s Market days. You can visit their sites to see more information on when they offer organic produce for sale.

 

 

 

Before and Way Before

26 June

Many friends have been asking me to post pictures of Denis and I when we first began our journey in the health food path. But first, here is one of my favorite clips from the Sopranos that kinda reminds me of the pictures you will see below. I call these pictures, the pictures of when we were over weight: the Sopranos… you’ll see why.

Denis lost a total of 93 Lbs

I lost over 50 lbs.

 

Most of the weight loss came after we switched to raw vegan, but the first weight we lost was after we switched from red meat to only poultry and fish. After a few years on just fish, we lost more weight again.

I do have to confess that being only raw vegan, can also add weight. I’ve been able to keep my weight stable for 2 years and continue to stay on that weight. I have also been able to build muscle on just raw by adding vegan protein. However, the minute I stop exercising to build muscle and didn’t change my way of eating, my weight changed.

Each person is different as I always say, so we all must find what works for us.

Arugula Dandelion Dip

14 June

On the way back from the market Saturday, we were having a discussion in the car about creamy sweet dishes vs. creamy salty dishes. We all agreed we liked both. And that brought a memory of spinach dip. So I went to Josh’s Market Sunday but wasn’t able to find spinach to make it. Instead, I decided to change the recipe and get dandelions and arugula, which I very often don’t buy because I’m not a fan of them even though I know they are good for you.

Here is what you’ll need:

Arugula (abut a handful or two)
Red and Green Dandelions (about a handful)
6 leaves of basil
6 shitake mushrooms cut (as big as wanted)
4 mini sweet peppers (red and orange) chopped
4 green scallions chopped
6 stalks of broccolini chopped

For the sauce:
1/2 cup of cashews
1 TBS unpasteurized white miso paste
1 Tea spoon olive oil
1 Tea spoon sesame oil
Italian seasoning to taste
Salt to taste
water (as needed)

I like to start with the sauce so that I can let the veggies soak the flavor, so blend all the ingredients from the sauce until smooth. In a mixing bowl, add the mushrooms, peppers, broccolini and scallions and mix with some salt and oil.

Take the dandelion, basil and arugula in the food processor and pulse until obtaining the desired consistency for the dip. Ensure that the leaves do not become liquid but chopped enough for the dip. Mix in with the vegetables and pour the sauce and mix well. I let it sit there for a few minutes to soak the flavors. You can also add garlic to the sauce before mixing.

Serve with other veggies or raw crackers.