Not your regular bowl of Porridge (vegan)

For many years more than I care to remember my regular staple start to the day is a bowl of Porridge. Porridge has it critics with the majority of the accusations suggesting it’s a boring and bland way to start the day!

In my experience Porridge is a blank canvas and has an almost infinite amount of possible creations, which means yes indeed it can be boring and bland, however it also means it can be a creative work of art bursting with flavour, texture and sometimes even colour as well as being a great source of nourishment.

With all that said here’s my Vegan Porridge Recipe and as always Tinker away and add or take away ingredients as you see fit.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 – bowl of Porridge Oats (I go for the jumbo oats)
  • Filtered water (tap water is ok, but check your local water supply to see what chemical concoction has been conjured up)
  • 1 handful of Cashew Nuts,
  • 1 tsp of Cacao Nibs
  • 1 tbsp of desiccated Coconut,
  • A sprinkle of Raisins or currants,
  • 1 tbsp Cacao Powder
  • 1 tsp Carob Powder
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Sugar
  • 1 tbsp black strap Molasses
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon 
  • 1 Banana 

Method:

I always fill my bowl half full with oats and then fill the bowl up with water and pour the two into a pan, this makes for a stodgy sticky bowl of porridge, which is not to some people’s liking so add more water if your a runny porridge kinda of person.

From there throw everything into the pan and stir as you heat the porridge, once your texture and heat desire has been met pour into your bowl, chop your banana and add on top.

Sit down and with a spoon in hand enjoy your self an  hearty oaty delicious start to the day. 

Enjoy

Matt

The Yoga Health Coach

Green Smoothies – ‘to be or not to be’?

Recently I received an e-mail detailing the negative experience of drinking Green Smoothies daily, the greens in question are spinach and kale the regular guys who find themselves thrown into the smoothie mix, the term negative experience is open to interpretation and I intend to leave it that way! The interesting topic is what is healthy? Now everyone believes a green smoothie to be a healthy drink and this person certainly did in the beginning, however that is not the case now.

For me Green Smoothies are awesome I love them just the other day I had a green smoothie, well actually it was closer to brown, which had the following ingredients:

  • Wild Rocket (from our garden)
  • Wild Dandelion Leaves (from our garden)
  • Organic Black Kale Leaves
  • Frozen mixed berries
  • 2 Banana’s
  • 4 dates (pitted)
  • 2 star anise seeds
  • 1 Cardamon Pod

I have to say it tasted earthy and that’s the key here, green smoothies are an earthy experience, if we quickly look at the Chinese five elements practice then green smoothies are the element of earth. This is a bit out there and requires an open mind, now I am born an air sign and absolutely love the earthy taste of bitter greens; it balances my elements, if, however I was already an earth sign and Kapha dominant as a dosha from Ayurveda then I am not going to need the earthy greens that a fiery pitta air sign does (forgive the use of Dosha – mind, body constitutions from ayurveda, the intention is not to confuse, but to merely show that through astrology, ancient healing/medicine systems of China and India, we learn that we are all very unique).

With this uniqueness we are going to become very aware that one dress does not fit all sizes and that one mans rubbish is another mans treasure. This person has done well to recognise that Green Smoothies do not work as a healthy tool and has moved on and learnt a lot from that experience.

Smoothies and Juices alike have come under fire for various reasons including; plastics leaching into the drink, electrical heating at fast speeds disrupts the structure of the food stuff, any refinement is de-naturing and most smoothies/juices break food combining rules.

Truth is there and there is also truth in the fact that the soil is mineral depleted and the need for more fruits and vegetables in our diet is ever more important and that smoothies/juices are a viable option for curing this problem.

The problem lies in the simple fact that we have moved so far from nature that we do not fully understand our own nature, we jump on board too easily with the latest craze never checking in to see if its right for us and when I say checking in I am referring to your gut, we say it all the time – ‘I had a gut instinct about that’, ‘I should trust my gut’. There in lies your answers (your answers) trust yourself.

Fads and great advice will be given all the time and contradictory research and evidence will come flying out of the wood work to disprove it as soon as it has gained a following, with that in mind trust yourself each and every time, if you drink a green smoothie and you feel great then there’s your answer and if you get the opposite experience then there’s your answer and its the right answer for you, is it the right answer for everyone? I do not need to answer that for it is obvious.

When we get talking about smoothies and juices the topic of raw food comes up and again; ‘to be or not to be’? again for fear of repetition – you’re the boss, for me raw, wild foraged and seasonal food is the ultimate ideal nourishment and maybe beyond that living of breath like breatharians for they have mastered the flow and balance of the universal energies (again your mind might be having spasms at the thought of that one, but fear not you can still eat your food and be right :).

In summary if what your eating and drinking is making you the best, most authentic, happy, vibrant and healthy version of you that you can be keep doing that, if you need to change then change, only you can master you, others can have insight, but ultimately this round is yours for the taking.

To you all in great health

Matt

The Yoga Health Coach

Barefoot – Set your feet free.

It was reading the work of Clint Ober that inspired myself and my wife to experiment going barefoot and has encouraged us to raise our son Ulysses and when she is old enough our Daughter Ostara barefoot, to let there little feet connect with the earth and develop a full range of motion.

Clint was a retired billionaire maybe millionaire either way he was financially secure. One day he was sitting down watching the world go by when for some reason he cannot explain; his attention was drawn to the shoes, trainers/sneakers and other footwear that people were wearing and found it funny and curious, his curiosity encouraged him to remove his shoes.

After removing his shoes he noticed his connection with the earth he noticed that he felt better and then he asked himself a question – what would I feel like if I could spend more time of the day connected to the earth than disconnected? From this question he went on to create the Earthing brand, which provides grounding sheets and products that essentially bring you closer to the earths vibration more of the time.

Clint’s work explores how reconnecting back to the Earth reduces inflammation, stress, anxiety, improves sleep and encourages the body to self heal, there were a lot of other benefits, but the one that stood out for me was self heal.

Through going barefoot and earthing through the night Clint found you could heal a whole range of conditions, I was interested by this and from the moment Ulysses could find his feet we had him barefoot and whilst he does love to wear his wellies and has a pair of trainers you will find him climbing trees and running along a pebbled beach barefoot, when I first observed Ulysses running along the pebbled beach and digesting Clints work I knew I only had one thing left to do!

I winced at the thought of it and as my sleeping feet tried to communicate with the uneven attack of the pebbles below I knew this was going to be a painful journey; no one likes being woken up and my feet were no exception, they had become very accustomed to the sheltered life of a whole array of footwear, I did not understand to what detriment this was though until I took my shoes off. I have found also that through self healing the teacher is generally pain and so I took this discomfort as a positive sign, but also as a sign to be patient and nurture myself through this transition, Ulysses was running along the beach with no discomfort, how come I felt pain? That simple observation helped me to acknowledge the power of self healing potential in going barefoot.

Now I have practiced Yoga for many years and we even attempt to knead our fingers through our toes to encourage them to open up in yoga practice, however it was Clint’s insight that was key! he observed that just 20 or so minutes a day earthing (going barefoot) was a huge imbalance when you consider there are 24 hours in a day, the benefits would only be recognised through regular practice, which is similar of course to yoga and any practice.

To increase my practice time I purchased a pair of Vibrams, which are barefoot trainers and wear them as often as possible, I go to the sea most mornings braving the pebbles barefoot and I also climb barefoot.

Since increasing my barefoot time to a daily practice I have found my feet have finally begun to wake up and it is through this waking up that it was confirmed to me that most of us live with sleepy feet, which is probably why they ache and are stiff, they have been cushioned for far too long.

The thing is when you walk or climb or whatever your doing if you do it barefoot you have to pay greater attention too or you could say be more mindful of where and how you are moving; at first this actually increases the levels of tension and stress no different to any new practice, however when you get into it the freedom you have to move is unbelivable because the whole of the foot is moving, your ankle wakes up and your knees and your hips, in fact the whole of you wakes up to a whole new potential of movement.

Now this takes time it doesn’t happen overnight and yes it comes with a portion of pain and discomfort, let me tell you the pebbles in Brighton on a cold December morning are unforgiving, technically they are unforgiving all year round I have discovered, however they are particularly unforgiving in the winter, but worth the pain plus as time has passed the pain has lessened and the body has almost fully adapted, I will not be racing my son just yet, but I am getting there.

I mentioned I am excited about barefoot practicing as a self healing tool and I want to re-iterate that, as with all my recommendations don’t take what I say as a truth get out there and try it for yourself, feel the sand between your toes, feel the mud beneath your feet, climb a tree and feel how much more grip you have, plus doing all this is fun (ok not so much fun on those cold December mornings), but its summer time now.

Your feet will not be use to going barefoot so do take your time, wear flat shoes as often as possible (I do wear boots, this is not a complete removal of all footwear, I would happily place my feet in my snowboard boots to go snowboarding). Understand that the more often you go barefoot your body will begin a process of adaptation and change (back to your original design), this change can feel uncomfortable, but if you persevere you will reap the rewards.

Have fun with it, be curious and remember you were not born with shoes on or clothes for that matter (we will visit that at a later date), I encourage you then with this simple knowledge that if you were not born with it you may not need it as much as you think you do!

Feel free to share any barefoot adventures you go on, I hear that you can do barefoot marathons for the runners out there! Wim Hoff completed a barefoot marathon across the arctic!!!!

to you all in great health

Matt

The Yoga Health Coach