Sunday, 23 October 2011

Outreach Yoga Challenge - Day 13 Better than sex?

I volunteered all day at the ‘Feast of Flavour’ holistic food event which promoted whole foods, and looked at how FLAVOUR HEALS. What is Holistic Food? Its the food that hails from the past that research has now discovered has a purpose aside from being yummy. It involves an understanding that the unique flavours found in our fave foods like garlic, olive oil, blueberries, cinnamon or vanilla are the parts that heal and provide us with valuable phytonutrients. It’s the realisation that how we grow the food and prepare the food are key to maximising both the pwer of the phytonutrients and the flavours they represent. In other words, FLAVOUR HEALS.

The superfoods and delicious samples used in the event were; lentils; vanilla; umeboshi plums; Jerusalem artichoke, quinoa; squash; kombucha; coconut; salmon; cinnamon; walnuts and most importantly the stand I was in charge of; cacao. YES THAT MEANS CHOCOLATE! I was forced to stare at my stand all day with delicious dark chocolate samples, containing acai, and goji berries and a berry I’d not heard of before called ‘seabuckthorn’ which apparently in its liquid form it’s great for healing, especially used on your skin. Dish out samples and talk about the healing qualities.

When asked to represent this stand I thought I was being teased, really??? Chocolate is good for you??? It’s a superfood???  Really, I get to be around chocolate allllllll day??? My job as a holistic nutritionist is to understand foods, where they come from, why they are good for you, and just why is it that we all love chocolate so much?? It was also my job to tell everyone who visited my stand, all about all of this too. It was time to study Chocolate like I’d never studied it before, and it didn’t involve PMS either. I also had to restrain myself from eating all of the samples...

Cocao trees were cultivated over 3000yrs ago by Olmec, Mayan, Toltecs and the Aztecs! The Mayans made a bitter brew from the bean and used it as a luxury drink for kings and nobleman. They called it ‘The Food of the Gods!’ The Aztecs used the bean as a currency aswell as for food, these facts alone tell us how valuable the qualities of the cocoa bean are. The Spanish were the first to start Cocoa plantations, which then spread to Ecuador, Peru, Jamaica, Haiti and the cocao bean was so easy and cheap to cultivate. In 1580 the first chocolate processing plant was set up in Spain, and now chocolate is available all over the world.

We have different types of chocolate milk, white and dark chocolate. Dark Chocolate is the best for you, as it contains the least amount of sugar and the highest amount of cocoa solids, which is actually what the good stuff is that we are talking about. By itself the cocoa bean is bitter more than sweet to taste, a little like coffee almost. It does have some caffeine like substances contained in the bean so it’s a mild stimulant. Yeahhhhh thats why it tastes so good! More interestingly the bean has more antioxidants contained in it than blueberries! Along with vitamins and minerals, it’s stacked with zinc and magnesium, and also iron. They are brilliant for the immune system, containing so many antioxidants, and they are an anti-depressant YEAH WE KNOW THAT!!!

The phytonutrients present are cafestrol, caffetannic acid, stigmasterol, tannins, epicatechin, and avonoids. These are the nutrients that we call the superfoods of the plant, the WHOLE of the plant, the plants immune system, that’s why they are so beneficial to us. Science is still discovering....

So we’ve all heard the saying ‘Chocolate is as good as sex’ right?? Well its actually scientifically true! The Cocoa bean is said to have neurotransmitters and mood elevators contained within it, that are the similar chemical structure to the sex hormone we release when we want SEX! Everyone who left my stand, left with a smile, and a climax J

Some ways to incorporate the raw Cocoa bean into your diet would be to simply buy some organic from your local health food store, and add to a smoothie, or sprinkle on some ice cream, or in your yoghurt, or make the brew fit for Kings! Winter is coming and everyone loves a good quality hot chocolate, so get the pan warmed with some coconut milk and sprinkle in some cocoa, FEED YOUR SOUL WITH CHOCOLATE AND LOVE.

After many climaxes it was time to collect my free stash of squashes and a mega pumpkin (which is one of the worlds healthiest foods!) and head home on the bus with a smile that brought tears to my eyes. Heart of sadness. I feel it more everyday, immense joy that brings tears, it gets confusing, better eat some more of that chocolate I stashed.

Dusk is beautiful in Vancouver, and at the end of my block is the waterfront, gazing out to the City of Glass and the mountains across the ocean inlet. I take my heart of sadness and feel a great longing for ‘something’. That something finds my way to a Yin class, and receive the kindness my body needs in the form of deep long stretches and twists with breath in a dark candlelit room. Yin Yoga is a powerful practice which gently targets joints, ligaments and fascia within the body. Each posture is held for long periods of time to encourage the slow and safe opening of connective tissues, leaving the yogi with an overall feeling of lightness, spaciousness and peace.

The perfect antidote to stress and a great counterbalance to more active styles of yoga. All of tonight’s Yin class was done from the floor, lying down and seated positions. It was great practice to focus on the breath and escape my mind, after class I cycled home amongst the dark trees and remembered how grateful I was. For everything, what are you grateful for? Ask yourself this very question and remember to smile, and just for today keep reminding yourself.

Thanks for following the challenge, let me know if you're enjoying, and if you want something specific I'm happy to follow up! If you're feeling flush, you could also leave a couple bucks donation for Outreach which is an organisation that works with people suffering. I don't need to say much more than that really, I'd like to help end suffering, wouldn't you?

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