I am living in Costa Rica doing a work-work-exchange, and in addition to teaching yoga it has magically become my role to supply the team with healthy elixirs and foods, ideally those that can be harvested off the land.
This allows me to learn the deepest parts of living the pura vida life, the most holistic and organic approach to life I've ever experienced. It is a bit more work to produce the food than I am used to obviously, but with a totally different life-style it doesn't feel time-consuming. So instead of working to make money for organic foods, I am just working to find them and get them into their most ideal edible form!
It's so beautiful and I feel so connected to the Earth through knowing exactly where the 80-90% majority of my foods come from. It can be tedious, or meditative depending how you look at it. But this to me is an ideal of how humans should live that everyone should at least experience. It is ironic to me that basic survival skills (city OR wildlife) are not taught in school and I am basically learning how to be more and more self-sufficient, not relying on produce that is increasingly GMO, non-organic, expensive, BUT JUST FINDING IT ON THE GROUND. Lol. And coming from the desert this is a pretty big deal.
Coconut can be made into lots of things. Obviously the young green ones are good for a very sweet and electrolyte-rich water. The more mature brown ones still give some water but not as much, as that water fed the growing coconut meat. The coconut meat can be used for cooking, or you can grate it off and squeeze to make coconut milk, and that coconut milk refrigerated will eventually separate into coconut oil if you don't drink it up in time!
I've learned all these processes here at Dolphin Quest Costa Rica. For the coconut water, all you need to do is pop a hole or slit to drink the water out of, or chop off one end. The mylk is a LONG process that brings me so much appreciation for store-bought coconut mylk, even though the flavor of store bought cannot even come close to matching up to this. When you've put your blood, sweat and tears into making something delicious and then you're able to sweeten your cup or Costa Rican coffee with it the next morning - that is Heaven.
Green coconuts are for drinking - we had to hit these down with a big stick, and they kept falling into the crevass so the dogs would have to get them for us. The dogs like to eat coconut but also LOVE playing with them, using as a chew toy for teething, and can even husk the brown ones for you! after drinking the water of the green coco, there is a bit of meat you can eat too.
But to make a coconut mylk, you start by husking one of the big mature brown coconuts. Here there is a wedge-shaped piece of wood stuck in the ground that is used for husking off the thick outer shell.
Once you get down to the smaller round coconut like you'd buy in stores, it takes the perfectly exacted swing of the back side of a machete, around the base of the coco to get it cut in half. You get electrolytes and fuel for the work to come in the form of a small cup of coconut water!
From here the real fun (and the part I can actually do by myself) starts. There is an old, serated kitchen knife nailed to a big block of wood that I use to scrape the meat off of the coconut (haven't cooked with the meat yet as there are so many things to do with a liter of the mylk which takes a few hours for me right now, but I want to throw that into a stir fry soon).
For 6-7 cocos this grating process takes me about like 2 hours, but I am new and distracted easily so hopefully that gets faster. It comes out as juicy grated coconut which you then squeeze through a cloth to separate the milk and then you have leftover dried coconut. That part takes another hour at least and then I just sift the milk through a strainer to get the yummy, thick, sweet and nutty raw coconut milk!
So far, I've used the milk to made a coconut curry rice with black beans and brown rice, loads of ginger, red pepper, coconut mylk, pepper, yellow curry paste and katuk (the local spinach). So bomb. They also made a coconut-mylk stew, we put it on our oatmeal and in THE BEST COCO-MILK LATTE I'VE EVER HAD, and smoothies and shakes etc. It's a crucial ingredient in the noni smoothies! If you let it settle in the fridge for about 2 days, it starts to separate form 2 layers, one of them being coconut oil!
Then, we use the shells as bowls, candle holders, seed starters, etc! You can also roast mature coco's whole and THEN de-shell them for a delicious roasted coconut dinner, or take the raw meat off to make yogurt, or take the dried leftover coconut from the milk grating process to make coconut flour, granola or protein bars/cookies. ☺
AMAZING benefits of coconut milk that are so important in a tropical diet!
❤ Health: 50 percent of the fat in coconuts is lauric acid, which has antibacterial and antiviral activities. Lauric acid is a protective fatty acid linked with improved cholesterol levels and heart health. Minerals found in coconut milk are useful for lowering blood pressure and keeping blood vessels flexible & free from plaque buildup.
Getting shredded 💪: Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) fatty acids found in coconut milk help enhance physical performance. Following exercise, coconut provides electrolytes like magnesium and potassium that help repair broken down tissue and grow back even stronger.
Stay woke, energized and hydrated 🌴: Coconut milk contains the types of MCTs that are easily used by your brain for energy. The brain is actually primarily made up of fat and relies on a steady stream of it to function. It is hydrating and helps the digestive organs function properly, which helps metabolize fat and remove waste from the body.
Poop more 💩: A well-hydrated digestive tract is important for preventing or treating constipation. Coconut milk nourishes the digestive lining, improving gut health and preventing conditions like IBS.
Manage Blood Sugar & Control Diabetes 💉: The fat content of coconut milk slows the rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream, better controlling insulin levels and preventing a “sugar high” or worse, conditions like diabetes. Coconut milk’s MCTs are also a preferred source of energy for the body rather than sugar, so it's a great dessert replacement.
Prevents Joint Inflammation and Arthritis 👋: MCTs can help lower inflammation, which is associated with painful conditions like arthritis and general joint or muscle aches and pains. Coco milk in place of refined sugar especially is helpful for people with arthritis because sugar is a pro-inflammatory.
Prevents Ulcers: When rats with ulcers were given coconut milk, they experienced a reduction in the size of ulcers of about 56%. 💖
If you're not living in a place where you can just go pick up coconuts off the ground 😂 but you are excited about all the yummy benefits of drinking this magic elixir, please use the following guide to purchase a coconut milk from the store!
Look for coconut milk (ideally organic) that’s been “cold pressured,” which indicates it’s only been lightly heated and processed to remove certain bacteria but hasn’t been exposed to high heat that can deplete vitamins and minerals. Skip any coconut milk (or water) that’s flavored with juices, sweeteners, colors or other ingredients.
The primary ingredient should be 100 percent coconut milk and maybe coconut water. Some companies also add guar gum, which is a natural product used to stabilize the texture.
If you buy canned coconut milk, avoid cans made with the chemical called BPA. BPA is found in some aluminum cans and has the potential to cause certain health problems when it leashes into foods (especially foods high in acid or fat, like coconut milk).
When making a decision, ANY decision: whatever makes you feel most beautiful - like a beautiful PERSON --- DO THAT. So whether practicing yoga makes you feel beautiful or if giving vinyasa the middle finger today makes you feel like a beautiful badass.... if going to the gym makes you feel beautiful, if savouring a delicious cupcake once in a while makes you feel beautiful & mischievious, if giving a homeless man money even though he might spend it on drugs makes you feel beautiful, if stopping to help someone or listen to someone makes you feel beautiful, if actually saying NO to something makes you feel beautiful.....if actually saying YES FULLY makes you feel beautiful...what I'm saying is if it makes you truly feeel more beautiful in your heart YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK. Listen to your heart, what makes you shine, what makes you feel amazing and you will be on the right track and have all the reasons to smile, enjoy life and you will NATURALLY align with your unique purpose!
I discovered this magical pose (mermaid, a heart-opener) in Bali during a HEART OPENING yoga session -- the teacher had said if you avoid backbends a lot that means you have probably closed your heart at some point in your life, and you don't want to expose that part of you and don't want to feel vulnerable. I thought uh huh yeah ok.....but then after backbend after backbend and a theme around vulnerability = wholeheartedness, showing up fully in life and ultimately more success and more of getting what you want----I had a full on BEAUTIFUL BREAKDOWN. Like I cried, but I also actually felt like I had a fucking fever, headache, chest ache and had to go home for the day. Could it actually be the "physical" breakdown of imagined walls around my heart, or was it just a hot day, or something I ate? All I know is how I took it, and fuck.....I decided to be more aware of opening my heart.....and fuck....I sort of regretted that shit (up until recently <3).
It's not easy living here with an open heart, unless you surround yourself with like-minded/like-hearted people ALL THE TIME..... and I am SO GRATEFUL to say I hardly know anyone who is otherwise. Or maybe I just see people so clearly now!
And so even when I regretted opening my heart....I realized it made me feel way more beautiful to be more open, even if it meant dealing with being sad sometimes. And so feeling beautiful is a very personal, in the moment thing. It's NOT ABSOLUTELY NOT about the number on the scale (although making the healthier choice is USUALLY 99% of the time what makes you feel more beautiful & so the inner work translates to outer work so this is why ANYONE can be beautiful when they are truly taking care of themselves this is where the logical side of the inner work mirrors/parallels the outer appearance comes into play).
....or even the way you look in the mirror...if you don't FEEL beautiful you won't even SEE that...you will ALWAYS find something wrong with you externally if you're not taking care of the bigger part of WHO YOU ARE INSIDE....we are meant to never be still, constantly meant to be growing learning and evolving....otherwise we just search for or create the next problem, find something to be wrong. SoOOooo embrace whatever "problem" you are facing, it is there for your growth and to make you better, or to teach you the other side of things so you can appreciate the greatness of its' opposite. Shutting out ANYTHING leads to shutting out the bad AND THE GOOD, the bad and the other side of that.... you gotta go THROUGH it <3 <3 <3
Bomb Lentil Tacos
A Highly Customizable
Q & A with your Health Coach
Question of the week: What plant-based sources of protein are easiest to add to my diet?
I'll let you experiment with this highly customizable recipe which will help you try many filling protein and fiber rich foods. As promised, here is my scrumptious lentil taco "recipe" for a successful plant-based diet.
Wraps - Flat Out Wraps from Smith's (ask for them they are on an island)
or wraps of your choice from Trader Joe's
Pre-cooked lentils from Trader Joe's (on the salad wall)
Taco Seasoning (available in packets at Trader Joe's)
Tropical Salsa from Trader Joe's (for sweetness) if you like spicy try the Cowboy Caviar, pictured.
Any additional vegetables/toppings - peppers, lettuce etc
You can also substitute cooked black beans, or even portobello mushrooms or jackfruit for the lentils just season accordingly!
Warm the lentils in a pan with coconut oil, add the taco seasoning to taste. Add all toppings to the wrap, roll it up and enjoy!
Welcome to Q&A with your Holistic Health Coach Sara! Please submit your questions to me here.
Question: What foods can I eat that will help increase my metabolism, helping me to lean out so you can really see the results of all my efforts at the gym?
Answer: Remember that if you are eating seasonally, summer is the perfect time to eat lighter, hydrating foods which provide us with lots of water content. Unlike the winter when your body needs heavier, cooked and warm foods, and healthy fats to insulate the body in the cold -- summer is an ideal time to do a cleanse. Animals who come out of hibernation after a literal winter constipation, cleanse and energize their systems by eating lots of berries and sprouts in the spring. Humans also need a lot of fiber from foods like these to draw out toxins from years of the "anything goes" diet. Sprouts are baby foods; they carry condensed nutritional content because everything they will develop into is contained in a small bite - so eating a handful of sprouts is nutritionally equivalent to eating a pound of broccoli!
I'm sure you know about the liver-detoxing benefits of water with lemon, but did you know an apple and a bottle of water (ideally alkaline!) is the simplest mini-cleanse you can do - from literally anywhere! Because apples are high in pectin, a type of fiber that binds to cholesterol and heavy metals in the body, they help eliminate toxic build up and to cleanse the intestines. Much of the stubborn weight we hold onto is backed up in the intestines, which also causes you to keep craving the same unhealthy foods you'll be detoxing from.
This is why any form of detox is so powerful! It will lighten you - mind, body and soul. Once you detox your system, everything you eat is digested more efficiently, giving a similar effect to increasing your metabolism (also try cayenne pepper, ginger and cinnamon for seasonings to spike your metabolism and add calorie-less flavor).
I can't possibly list all the foods that help you detox and increase your metabolism, so I will feature a different food and its how-to's each week. Look out for my lentil taco recipe next week- they're to die for, and are full of fiber AND protein to support your workout regimen!
Books that are rocking my world right now:
Tools Of Titans by Tim Ferriss
The Sophia Code Kaia Ra
Unshakeable by Tony Robbins
Creating On Purpose by Anondea Judith
The Surrender Experiment by Michael A. Singer
In all different ways. I love somewhat interactive books that make you apply direct action. Otherwise they can be a distraction taking you from creating into just consuming info - in a world of info over when. It's very important to apply what you learn and create your own understanding and offerings. Use reading to curate yourself. Also since there is so much content to quote for my programs, I've had to create a better organizational system than just writing all over the pages!
It is insanely handy to have searchable notebooks in Evernote for every topic imaginable to have on hand when coaching a client. At first this is just information - I need to refer back to how someone else explained it, then after a few times applying it to real life situations that info becomes integrated knowledge and eventually applied wisdom!
Creating Consciously sounds simple but it's blowing my mind how much I have already used out of that book. I don't even remember buying it but I knew I needed to have it. Sometimes I think I get the best "clues" and signs from books. And choosing books is a sort of random yet divine process in that the ones I bought on a whim are the most important and life changing. Or sometimes they will sit and have no application to my life for years before they are all the sudden necessary. Sometimes I can just see the title of something and know I need to read it. Receiving it as a gift or discovering it from someone who was meant to cross my path are clear signals too.
And most of my books that I have selected through intuitive process or have been shown to me, I can pick them up and read the paragraph I need to see at that moment. It's like a way of conversing with God. Reading has become such a divine process.
Book reviews and take-aways coming soon <3
Summary post from #SevenDays7Chakras yoga challenge I did on Instagram last week!
Begin to learn more about the basics of each chakra here <3
Day 1: Root Chakra 💖
Pose: Malasana (Yoga Squat)
Theme: Grounding, Earth, Strong Foundation (healthy diet, happy home etc)
Root Chakra represents alignment with a strong foundation, so you are freed up from worry and fear, to feel comfortable being the best version of yourself. Root to rise! As the lowest chakra this can be the base you build upward from, or this can represent a need to ground your ideas into reality.
To me balance in this chakra is being so grounded you feel at home wherever you are. Ironically for me the challenge lies in being able to stay still for long enough to flourish and grow 💖
Day 2: Sacral Chakra
Pose: Dragonfly (Hip Opening) - added a light twist. Can be done with arms straight or hands on a block also.
Theme: Flow, Movement, Creativity
Most of our bodies are accustomed to running on carbohydrates, and sugar (both convert to glucose that is used for energy. Ketosis happens when you use fat as a fuel source (thus producing ketones) instead of glucose. The liver breaks down the fat, and releases ketones into the blood to be used by the brain and other organs to produce energy. It's considered a new way of eating based on the premise that most people default to using only carbohydrates for fuel. Glucose is also the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that will always be chosen whenever it is present. To switch from that default mode, you have to extremely limit carbohydrates and sugar to as little as 20% of the diet, forcing your body to use fat for fuel instead. So this process is like the switch.
Our bodies are not meant to be static!! This is why it hurts to stand or sit for too long. I will admit it is beneficial when you have a partner in crime. The flight attendant smiles and says to us, "is she always like this?" We're like... which one, and yes.
Here you will see some stretches you may or may not opt to do on the plane - choice is yours, just ideas! And then, Imani performing her upper body stretches like a pro dancer lol.
Simple, easy recipe for thai style meal prep!
Cooking should be fun and free so if you're looking for a basic starter guide to cooking, follow these general directions and this will give you a formula to follow, then you can make your own variations with different veggies, sauces and proteins.