Sweet treat on a Sattvic Diet – Easy Vegan Chocolate Brownie Recipe

Going on a yogic/Sattvic diet can be difficult for some people especially if you have a sweet tooth like me! Sattvic diet does not only mean plant-based foods but also food that are rich in Prana (energy). Pranic foods are foods that are whole and unprocessed such as fresh fruits and vegetables and also freshly prepared. It requires avoiding canned and processed food, and foods prepared with chemical fertilizers or sprays. Foods that also prepared with more love and care will add to their Sattvic quality. It is said that a Sattvic diet helps our minds to achieve clarity and calmness and was initially created for the development of higher concentration and consciousness.

Since the start of YTT, I have been more mindful of my diet. While I have not completely gone on a yogic diet, I have largely shifted my diet to a 70% yogic diet and incorporated more fresh food in my daily meals. This is a huge change for me as I’m someone who loves a sweet treat daily – be it chocolate or doughnuts and I always look forward to having these treats! Since being more mindful of my diet, I’ve went to do some research to see how I can still have my sweet treats in a “healthier” and fresher form to make this a more sustainable diet for myself.

Here’s one of the best recipes I’ve tried so far which incorporates pranic foods:

Easy 3 Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Brownies:

Ingredients

  • 3 large overripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of raw crunchy almond butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Oil a 20cm x 20cm baking pan with coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas until smooth. 
  3. Slowly dd the almond butter and mix with the bananas until smooth. 
  4. Stir in the cocoa powder to the mixture until the mixture is smooth. 
  5. Pour the mixture into the baking pan and bake it for 20-25 minutes until it has set.
  6. Once taken out from the oven, let the brownies completely cool down before cutting it.

Hope you guys enjoy the “naughty” treat like I did! 🙂  

Smoothies for Yoga

It could be before an inversion class, or a morning Ashtanga class, or even before learning Uddiyana Bandha.
There will be a time when we may not want to have a full proper meal because it will weigh us down but we still need that sustenance which will last us through the whole session.
Smoothies could be the perfect solution for that.
Below are few easy steps to start preparing your smoothies:
  • Pick your base
For fruits dominant smoothies – milk and yogurt are great bases. They are tasty and creamy.
But those who prefer non dairy, other alternatives such as oat / almond / soy / coconut milks are just as good.
For green dominant smoothies – coconut water and lemon juice
Coconut water is a natural electrolyte while lemon juice adds that fresh and sour kick to counter the vegetal flavours. This is good especially for those trying green smoothies for the first time.
Coconut water based smoothies  are perfect for hot yoga class as our bodies will need more hydration.
  • Pick your fruits and vegetable
This is easily the best, most fun part of making the smoothies.
Berries and tropical fruits such as papayas, pineapples and mangoes are great. Alternatively, a visit to the local market will tell us what is in season and when in season, these fruits tend to be sweeter.
Put those fruits in the freezer before going into the blender for added textures.
For green smoothies, besides the common green such as spinach, kale and bakchoy, we can also add green apples, pears and kiwi for balance without changing that amazing green theme from the final product.
  • Pick your carbs / protein / seasonal add ons
Apart from the fruits and vegetables, always prepare bananas, avocados, or coconut meat ready – adding them in will make the smoothies even creamier.
If you want a more filling smoothie to prepare you for that never ending sun salutations, you can add more carbs from pumpkins, carrots, beets, dragonfruits and oats.
But if you’re going for a more intense class like power yoga or core yoga, you may want to add protein sources in such as peanut butter, cacao or even protein powder.
If you’re feeling hot, add more cooling ingredients such as cucumber, watermelon and fresh mint.
On the other hand, if you’re feeling cold, add more warming ingredients such as ginger, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and turmeric.
You can also add your usual morning pick me ups such as coffee and mocha into the smoothies for either that sense of familiarity or additional caffeine kick.
  • Pick your superfood and toppings
As the last step, you may want to add those superfood in to boost your nutrients intake.
Black sesame, goji berry, maca powder, green tea powder, chia seed, flaxseed, spirulina and medjool dates are great add ons for any smoothies.
Once blended, you may also add toppings like almond shavings, cacao nibs, honey, vanilla beans or even something similar to bubble teas such as grass jelly and coffee jelly.
Happy experimenting!

A Protein Rich Breakfast Recipe for YTT

If you’re in the midst of Yoga Teacher Training or have already completed it, you’ll probably know that eating a protein rich breakfast will provide the stamina for hours of san salutations, vinyasas and inversions. Throughout YTT with Tirisula Yoga, I have experimented with a range of breakfasts. Master Sree advised that we should eat no sooner than 2 hours before morning practise.

During the first week, I would make a fruit smoothie with berries, peanut butter, seeds and coconut milk. During the second week, I attempted boiled eggs and bacon. I found that the smoothie was easy to consume early in the morning, however, it did not sustain my muscle strength during the 3-hour morning practise. During side planks, my arms would start to give way. The eggs and bacon contained more protein but I experienced nausea during during poses that engaged the core.

During week three, my partner suggested making a protein-rich Caramel Cookie Dough Slice. WHAT A GAME CHANGER! I was able to hold arm balancing for longer periods and managed a headstand without a wall (with assistance).

While this might not be the most traditional of breakfasts, it is filled with protein and healthy fats. I can eat a small square of it and feel ready tackle advanced poses without. I’ve not experienced any nausea during physical practise.

COOKIE DOUGH BASE:
1 ½ Cups Almond Meal
3 Tbsp Coconut Flour
2 scoops Vanilla Noway Protein Powder
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
1 Tbsp monkfruit/stevia
1 Tbsp Vanilla Essence
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
Dash of almond milk until a dough consistency is reached
Sugar-free choc chips

CARAMEL FILLING:
1 ½ Cups dates soaked and blended with date water
3 Tbsp peanut butter
3 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp coconut oil

CHOC TOP:
Dark chocolate of choice
To make your cookie dough base, mix together all the dry ingredients (except the choc chips) in a bowl.
In a separate bowl or mug melt together the coconut oil, peanut butter, vanilla essence and sweetener. Stir until well combined.
Add mixture to your dry ingredients and slowly add in the almond milk until you have a dough-like consistency.
Make sure the mixture has cooled down and add in ½ of your choc chips – if it’s too warm they will melt.
Press mixture into a silicon tray and place in the freezer to set while you make the caramel.
For the caramel – melt together the peanut butter, maple syrup and coconut oil and stir well till a caramel consistency is reached. Mix in the blended dates.
Pour the caramel over the cookie dough base and place back in the freezer to set.
Once hardened melt your chocolate and pour over the top.
Let the chocolate set before slicing up.
Enjoy!

Simple Breakfast Idea

Smoothie Bowl

Changing our diet to a 100% sattvic one may seem tough and almost impossible, especially when we are living in a country with many tempting food choices.

However, that shouldn’t stop us from trying a have healthier diet overall.
Here is my go-to quick and simple breakfast idea:-

INGREDIENTS

SMOOTHIE BASE

1. 1 cup frozen berries

2. 1 small banana (best frozen to get that creamy texture)

3. 1/2 cup milk of your choice (dairy free soy/almond/oat mylk if preferred)

 

TOPPINGS

1. Fruit of your choice (I’ve used apples/pears/blueberries but really, anything works 🙂 )

2. Chia seeds

3. Oats / Granola

*this recipe is very versatile and can’t go wrong, so it’s really up to your creativity and what is available at your home, I hope you’re able to find some inspiration through this post and happy experimenting! 😀

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy bananas

There are so many types of fruit in the world and since we moved to Singapore we have discovered some fruits we had never seen or eaten before. My son is a little fussy with fruits , funny enough banana is one of his favorite fruits. He eats banana everyday especially at breakfast.

I often buy bananas in bulk because I know they will anyway, either be eaten as a fruit or used in a recipe we like. And if we ever have too many bananas we just peel and freeze them in zip-loc bags. Then we take one or two out as needed.

As my son loves banana as much as he loves ice-cream there is this healthy recipe we do quite a lot especially on hot days which is Banana cinnamon Ice Cream.

I am always happy to treat my son with one of his favorite ice cream, above all this recipe can be made at home both quickly and easily. My son is always keen to participate.

Ingredients for 2 people, max 3
• 2 or 3 peeled frozen bananas
• 200 ml of almond milk
• 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon ground

Preparation of this healthy recipe :
1. Chop two or 3 frozen bananas into thirds and add to a blender with the other ingredients.

2. Starting on low speed, blend the mixture until it is smooth and creamy. Taste to determine if you want/need to add more of any add ins and blend again for few seconds.

3. Eat right away if you cannot wait (like my son) or put it in the freezer for later.

A delicious and easy to make recipe, very refreshing, a nice way to beat the heat. You will feel hydrated and nourished.

You can also experiment this ice cream with adding in other ingredients like a tablespoon of honey, some blueberries/raspberries or my French version of it …with Nutella.

This Banana ice-cream is much healthier than commercial ice-creams, no additives, no artificial flavors. Bananas are fat-free and cholesterol-free, they are one of the best foods that help with digestion because the carbohydrates they contain are easily broken down. This yummy treat is perfect for your mood and for the entire family.

Nutrition Facts
Bananas are generally considered healthy for most of people. They are a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and various antioxidants.

Eating bananas have numerous benefits so don’t forget to grab one and put it in your bag for your post-yoga snack.

Food for thought

The nutrition is directly linked to the performance of asanas and our lifestyle in general. The yogi diet is based on Ayurvedic teachings. Some products are strictly forbidden by them, others are consumed in small quantities and in a certain period of time, and third yogis eat constantly. Three types of food in yoga According to Ayurveda, even the best and cleanest foods are not always healthy. So, there is food that should be consumed only in winter or summer. Some foods should be eaten in the morning, because they excite and give energy, others in the evening, as they calm and set you up for a long sleep. Yoga  divides all food into three types:

       Sattva, which means “purity.” This includes all fresh vegetarian food. Mostly seeds and sprouted grains, fruits, wheat, butter, milk and honey.

      Rajas is a food that excites the body. It is better not to use products from this category or to reduce their amount in the diet to a minimum. This includes citrus fruits, tea and coffee, as well as spices, fish, seafood, eggs, alcohol, soda, garlic and onions.

     Tamas is a rough and heavy meal. It is difficult to absorb by the body. It does more harm than good. Relaxes, after eating it makes you want to sleep. These are root vegetables, red meat (beef and pork), all canned foods, mushrooms, food with a heavy taste (roach, etc.). This includes frozen food and one that has been stored for some time. These are also considered dishes that are reheated, alcohol and food that has been cooked in a restaurant or store.

 Doing yoga, you will feel what products you will not need. Changes in the body will occur harmoniously and in accordance with the needs of your body. The gradual process of rebuilding the habits of the body is very important.

Many (and not only in yoga) make the same mistake: they abruptly begin to change their diet (completely abandon meat, fish, eggs, switch to the most sophisticated diets, such as raw food diet, etc.). With this development of events, in a few months you will face a series of ailments, such as colds, exacerbation of all previously existing sores, and digestive upset. And then it could be worse. Naturally, there can be no question of doing yoga.

Beware of this mistake!

  • never abruptly change your lifestyle, especially in nutrition, non-compliance with this rule leads to big trouble;
  • a complete rejection of meat food does not always bring positive results. If you abandoned the meat, you need to replace it with another animal protein: milk and dairy products, eggs, fish;
  • in your diet should always be present in large quantities vegetables and fruits;
  • food should always be fresh and harmoniously selected.

It must be remembered that the body will never tolerate abuse of itself both in the diet and in the mode of activity. And with the right approach to yoga, you become as independent as possible from environmental conditions, feeling great in any situation, with any set of food products.

 

Pitta Pacifying Smoothie

Pitta Pacifying Smoothie

After discovering that I belong to the Pitta Dosha, I realized that my dosha is out of balance. I decided to incorporate some changes to my diet to clean up the excess Pitta in my body before the symptoms manifest.

This Pitta pacifying smoothie is perfect to put out the “fire” in me. To bring balance Pitta bodies, cold, sweet and bitter food is the best and I added turmeric powder for anti-inflammatory properties.

Pitta Smoothie

2 Karela

1 Red Apple

1 Pear

½ teaspoon of turmeric powder (1 gram)

Coconut juice

Some Ice

Apple seeds, once broken down, they contain cyanide which is very poisonous to our body. So remember to de-seed them before blending. Enjoy!

Smoothies make mi-so happy

Smoothies make mi-so happy. 

I love smoothies — healthy or unhealthy, I love them all. I always have frozen berries, avocadoes, bananas, mangoes, ice cream, etc. in my freezer waiting to be blended into a delicious smoothie. Sometimes I make healthy choices by making a protein or fruit smoothie or I go to the extreme by making an ice cream milk shake. The healthy choices are usually made in the morning and the unhealthy choices in the evening.

Since we have yoga training in the morning, I’ve been going to classes with an empty stomach because I have no idea if I’ll have to do kapalabhati or asanas. And most of the time when I have cycling classes in the evening, I come home by 9pm devastatingly hungry that I feel like the calories are burning from my bone marrow. I want to eat a meal, but if I eat solid food, I might torture myself the next morning. Therefore, the go-to solution was to have a smoothie.

Since we’ve learnt about the three gunas (sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic). I’ve tried making a delicious smoothie with a sattvic effect that also satisfies my evening sugar cravings. Recipe below!

 

The Mi-So Sattvic Smoothie

INGREDIENTS:

  • Coconut Milk – one and a half (1 1/2) cup
  • Water – half (1/2) cup
  • Avocado – half (1/2)
  • Banana – half (1/2)
  • Baby Spinach – one (1) handful
  • Dates – two (2) pitted
  • Turmeric Powder – two (2) pinches
  • Cinnamon Powder – one (1) pinch

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Just put them altogether in a blender and blend till smooth.

 

Namaste & Enjoy

– – Miso

The Yogic Diet: Cranberry Banana Bread

The Yogic Diet

Food has such a powerful impact – affecting our physical appearance, physiological processes and emotions. With such a diverse variety of food items to choose from, making small changes in what we eat and observing the effects these have on our body help us to decide which foods best nourish our bodies and minds.

The Yogic Diet comprises 3 main gunas (categories): Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. Sattvic foods are seen as pure, wholesome foods that increase energy and prana (life force) within us. These leave us feeling calm, refreshed and alert, and are generally primary sources of energy so are largely plant-based. Sattvic foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, nuts and oils, whole grains, legumes, honey and mild spices that have not been processed.

Rajasic foods are said to be stimulating, such as spices, caffeine, tobacco, processed sugar, onions and garlic. They make one overly alert and thus difficult to find calm.

On the other hand, Tamasic foods make one feel dull, sluggish and perhaps even lazy. These include alcohol, meat, fish and mushrooms, as well as foods that have been frozen, fermented, reheated, fried, stale or laden with preservatives. Unfortunately, this is the kind of food the large majority of the population consumes in this day and age, be it due to convenience such as microwave meals or taste preference, it not only provides insufficient prana to the body, but also inadequate fuel for the mind. From a nutritional perspective, some of these food items may not necessarily be harmful to health – for example frozen vegetables or meat still retain majority of their nutrients, but the process of freezing has depleted its prana. 

Besides that, the manner of preparation and the way it is eaten can also determine the guna. Food that is prepared with love and awareness is Sattvic, while overeating or scoffing down your food is said to be Tamasic, even if the food itself is Sattvic. Thus, we would ideally have wholesome foods prepared with love and care, eaten in a mindful and relaxed manner.

The effects of food on our body can perhaps best be seen in meditation. During mediation, the 2 main issues are an over-active mind, brought about by ingesting excessive Rajasic food, and conversely, falling asleep due to too much Tamasic food. Thus, Sattvic foods are best for attaining the balance between the 2 to quiet the mind whilst maintaining alertness to explore our thoughts.

Cranberry Banana Bread topped with chia seeds and butterfly pea flowers 

Ayurvedic Doshas

Ayurveda translates to complete knowledge about life. It focuses on balance of the interplay between the body, mind and spirit, where imbalances lead to illness. There are 3 main doshas (changeable body types) –Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each body type is associated with the 5 different elements – Vata goes with air and space/ether, Pitta goes with fire and Kapha goes with water and earth. Your dosha is determined by 3 main criteria: physical appearance, physiological processes and your behaviours or mindset. By doing an online quiz, we found out our doshas, where most people have 1 or 2 dominating doshas. Besides that, we learnt about the health conditions each dosha is more susceptible to, and how to alter our diet to prevent this. I have summarised some characteristics of each dosha below:

Properties Vata Pitta Kapha
Element Air, Space/Ether Fire Water, Earth
Stature Thin Medium Large bones
Skin type Dry skin Oily skin Good skin
Metabolic rate High Medium, warm temperature Low, but strong immune system
Mental characteristics Quick learner, spontaneous and likes change Opinionated, intense focus, usually a leader Easygoing, friendly, slow learner but retains information well, likes routine
Weaknesses Poor at managing finances, fickle Domineering, poor anger management Frugal
Medical conditions susceptible to Constipation, restless sleep, arthritis, depression, anxiety Inflammation, hypertension, coronary heart disease Metabolic syndrome: Obesity, type II diabetes, high cholesterol

Let food by thy medicine

In Ayurveda, diet plays an important role in affecting our physiological processes, acting as both a preventative and therapeutic measure. There are 6 main Ayurvedic tastes – sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent, which are also associated with the elements as shown in the table below:

Ayurvedic tastes Elements Dosha suitable for
Sweet Earth, Water Vata, Pitta
Salty Water, Fire Vata
Sour Earth, Fire Vata
Pungent Fire, Air Kapha
Astringent Air, Earth Pitta, Kapha
Bitter Air, Space/Ether Pitta, Kapha

Pitta-Pacifying Food 

Most of the class is Pitta dosha, so I made a pitta-pacifying cranberry banana bread to celebrate the end of our first week of YTT200. Since Pitta is associated with the fire element, Pitta-pacifying foods consist of those that are cooling, hydrating and subtle. These help to balance moisture, achieve optimum temperature and neutralise any excess acidity in the body. As such, Pitta should increase intake of sweet, astringent and bitter foods and decrease that of salty, sour or pungent. As a general guideline, hot, spicy and fried food should be avoided, as well as fermented foods such as sour cream or alcohol. A more comprehensive recommendation of foods that Pitta should consume is shown in the table below:

Pitta Pacifying Food Chart
Pitta pacifying food, source: https://www.theayurvedaexperience.com/blog/pitta-diet/

Cranberry Banana Bread Recipe 

As we practice asanas for 2h a day, we need to replenish the glycogen we’ve consumed, as well as provide our brain with the much-needed fuel for the afternoon of theory. Since our brain’s main metabolic energy is glucose, which we derive mainly from carbohydrates, I thought banana bread would be a generally sattvic snack to fuel us through YTT (which is also gluten-free). It has elements of Pitta-pacifying ingredients such as sweet overripe bananas, oat flour and cretan honey, astringent cranberry raisins and a small amount of cinnamon that contributes to the bitter taste. I’ve also topped it with chia seeds which absorb water to keep us hydrated and is rich in fibre to aid digestion. Besides that, butterfly pea flowers have anti-oxidant, anti-depressant properties that reduce stress and hypertension, and is beneficial for hair and skin.

 

Cranberry Banana Bread ingredients

Ingredients

  • 3 medium bananas
  • 2 cups oat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cretan honey
  • 3 eggs
  • Cranberry raisins
  • Chia seeds
  • Butterfly pea flowers

Method 

  • Preheat the oven to 180°
  • Add the dry ingredients into a bowl
  • Mash the bananas and add them into the bowl
  • Add the wet ingredients and mix well
  • Fold in cranberry raisins
  • Grease baking tin (I like to use the inside of the banana peel, it works pretty well!)
  • Pour the mixture into the baking tin and top with chia seeds and butterfly pea flowers
  • Bake for 25min, then leave in for another 5min with oven off
  • Enjoy!

And there you have it, a quick easy pitta-pacifying snack fix. Would love if you gave the recipe a try, let me know what you think!

Kyla x

Pitta: cooling the fire

One of the many benefits of YTT has been moving the focus of our time away from a purely Asana based practice and to explore new areas. I find myself finding and spending more time with myself in quiet thought. Less Television and more Lotus!

One of these new areas that I have been introduced to is the ancient concept of Ayurvedic medicine and diet. As we went through the characteristics of the three ‘Dosha’ I recognised myself immediately.

FIRE

Focused; competitive; aggressive. But as all three can be advantageous in many circumstances, how to control the fire inside, how to dampen the Pitta. All I can say was this dampening, this control, was mighty concerning. Gone were so many favourites: pungent spices, alcohol, coffee. Was I about to be stuck with a lifetime of plain rice and water?

I have found the concepts of Ayurvedic medicine and diet interesting. Although I still enjoy the odd Butter Chicken (I especially recommend ‘Mustard’, 32 Race Course Road, their prawn vindaloo is to die for) and the odd bottle of Volnay, I have made a concerted effort to improve my diet on many levels.

And so I will leave you with a quick and easy drinks recipe to calm the Pitta characteristics.

GINGER BASIL LIMEADE

1 Lime (Whole)

1 small handful of (chopped) Basil

2 teaspoons of sugar

2 tablespoons of grated, fresh Ginger

Grate the lime skin to produce 2-3 teaspoons of lime zest. Juice the lime and add the lime juice and zest, grated ginger, sugar, most of the basil to 250ml of water in a blender. Blend smooth.

Add 750ml of cold water and stir before serving over ice. Add any remaining basil as garnish.

(Serves 6). Cool.

Namaste! Alex.