My Handcrafted Natural Energy Drink!

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The life of a yoga teacher can be more physically demanding than people realize. For example, I practice Ashtanga 5-6 times a week and teach up to 15 yoga classes a week. Yet, in spite of my best efforts to eat balanced nutritional meals and drink lots of water, I have shown alarming physiological signs of nutritional depletion. I stopped into Co-Opportunity, my local, organic market and health food store, and had a chat with Ken Ohashi, (Assistant Wellness Manager). He said that my grueling practice and teaching schedule was draining my body of essential minerals and nutrients and suggested a few natural food sources for supplementation to help with rehydration and replenish the electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals that are lost through excessive perspiration.

I told him about the concoction I was already drinking in the morning–coconut water, lemon, lime, water, chia seeds and a scoop of collagen with Vitamin C. He said that blend was okay but I could use something more potent. He recommended: Himalayan Pink Salt, Organic Unsulphured Black Strap Molasses, and Apple Cider Vinegar.  Furthermore, he said, I was most likely stressing my adrenal glands and the physical symptoms I described were signs of excess cortisol production. He then also recommended an herbal blend formula to help support the adrenal glands (with Holy Basil, Siberian Rhodiolia, Ashwaganda Root, Wild Oats Milky Seed, Schisandra Berry).

I purchased all the ingredients and immediately went home to make my first batch. In addition, I decided to do a little research on the food sources he recommended and was surprised to find out how powerfully sustentative they were and concluded that, yes, my body was indeed short on many key nutrients.

After sipping on this homemade concoction for about a week, I decided an ingredient was missing so I added Spirulina, which made the brew just right! I’ve been consuming this handcrafted energy drink for a couple of weeks and I’m feeling much better. I’m also noticing some positive changes: sustained energy throughout the afternoon; calmness and mental clarity; feeling less tired when waking up in the morning, and some of the physiological symptoms seem to be dramatically reversing. This homemade beverage is better than many of the energy drinks on the market, which are loaded with chemicals, sugar or artificial sweeteners, caffeine, and artificial coloring. My homemade superfood elixir is also substantially less expensive, costing just pennies for the many ounces I’m drinking per week!

HAND CRAFTED ENERGY DRINK

I make this blend to drink in the afternoon, either after my practice or when teaching back –to- back classes. It’s actually very pleasant tasting and has a subtle richness almost like chocolate and just as satisfying. In fact, I’m craving less sugar in general. I drink this instead of consuming a typical sweet snack in the late afternoon (chocolate, popcorn, trail mix) all of which have more calories.

Put the following ingredients into a 20oz container:

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1 rock (pellet) of coarse Himalayan Pink Salt

1 tbsp of Organic Unsulphured Black Strap Molasses

1 tbsp. of Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tsp. of Spirulina

Natural Spring or Filtered Water

Put all the ingredients in a sealed container and let sit until the salt is dissolved.  Shake and drink. When you are left with about 1oz of residue at the bottom of your container, refill with water and drink the rest. Enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF FOUR SUPERFOODS

Himalayan Pink Salt: Apparently, there are 84 trace minerals in pink salt including, potassium, magnesium, calcium, sulphate, and sodium chloride. Among its many benefits when ingested, pink salt can help with hydration, muscle cramps, replacing key minerals lost during perspiration. Although the benefits of Himalayan Pink Salt are debated in some sources, I’m willing to try this for a while to see the results.

Organic Unsulphured Black Strap Molasses: I vaguely remember black strap molasses from my childhood. My mother would give us a spoonful now and then saying it was high in iron, explaining that she was given this a supplement when she was a child. This dense, dark syrup is the residue of boiled down sugar cane, and is high in iron, as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, selenium, chromium, B-vitamins and protein. Black Strap Molasses is an overall health tonic with many vitamins and minerals that are antioxidants that help the body with energy and cell-production, as well as, calm the nervous system.

Although 1 tbsp. provides a multitude of nutrients, it also has 13 grams of sugar—(please consider this if following dietary restrictions). I’ve been too active to experience weight gain from the sugar in this drink. Furthermore, since I’m extending my recipe out over two 20 ounce containers, I’m essentially diluting 13 grams of sugar in 40 ounces of water.

 Apple Cider Vinegar:  Apple cider vinegar is rich in minerals, like potassium, sodium, chloride, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium, and trace minerals, like, copper, fluorine, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, and E, bioflavonoids, and pectin. I prefer to use “Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar” which has a significant amount of “mother” the beneficial enzymes and bacteria that settle at the bottom of the bottle.

Spirulina:  Spirulina has significant amounts of Vitamin A, calcium, niacin, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and iron. It also has essential amino acids (protein) and antioxidant health benefits, which have been proven to aid in the body’s recovery from excessive exercise.

RESOURCES

Himalayan Pink Salt

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/02/19/the-amazing-benefits-of-himalayan-pink-salt/

Blackstrap Molasses:

http://www.processedfreeamerica.org/resources/health-news/287-the-many-benefits

http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/15-health-benefits-of-blackstrap-molasses.html

Apple Cider Vinegar

http://www.md-health.com/Health-Benefits-Of-Apple-Cider-Vinegar.html

Spirulina

http://www.livescience.com/48853-spirulina-supplement-facts.html

Keiko & Kenichi Visit Los Angeles

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In July 2013 my YogaPlus colleagues from Tokyo, Kenichi Nemoto and Keiko Tanaka, made their first trip to Los Angeles to visit various Yogaworks studios. Kenichi (Ken) a student in my first TT in Tokyo (2012), is now a very popular teacher at Yogaplus. Tall, talented, and a former professional vocalist who notably performed in a touring company of “Phantom of the Opera.” Keiko Tanaka, whom passionately oversaw the expansion of the Yogaworks trainings at YP, was the quintessential programming director.

They were encouraged to come to LA and experience the thriving yoga community here and spent a glorious week filled with an intensive program of classes at a number of Yogaworks studios in Santa Monica (Montana Ave. & Main St.), South Bay, Westwood and Hollywood; and mandatory sightseeing.

Keiko and Ken were able to practice with so many popular Yogaworks teachers, including: Vinnie Marino, Mia Togo, David Lynch, Birgitte Kirsten, Chad Hamrin, and Alexandria Crow. At the Montana Avenue studio they took Lisa Walford’s Iyengar class and had a special meeting with her afterwards. They dropped into David Kim’s class at Westwood, and my class at Southbay. In addition, the two made a special visit to Gurrmukh at Golden Bridge Yoga in Hollywood; Exhale, Sacred Movement in Venice; and Yoga Loft in Manhattan Beach for a kid’s yoga class with Grenville Henwood, who has developed “Groovy Kids Yoga” trainings that are taught internationally. Both Chad Hamrin and Grenville Henwood would carry out successful trainings and workshops at YP.  Finally, a special treat for Ken was to be featured in one of David Kim’s class segments on “My Yogaworks.com.

Food became a secondary focus, although Californian fare isn’t as stellar as Japanese cuisine, there are plenty of popular spots in L.A. On our fist evening together we had dinner at Annipurna, a popular vegetarian restaurant in Culver City. Pumpkin Pie at Urth Cafe became one of our favorite treats–their salads were second best. Ken also insisted that we try Unami Burger—Unami is the “fifth flavor”–which often is the secret undistinguishable essence in a dish that makes it delectable.  Additionally, Ken and Keiko had their fair share of ubiquitous Mexican food, claiming they ate more tacos and burritos than they could stand, but we insisted they try Wahoo Fish Tacos. We were able to squeeze in our last lunch of wholesome sandwiches at Fundamental.

For more fun, Ken and Keiko toured the city from Hollywood to Venice Beach. One evening we drove up and down the mountainous Malibu Canyon Road and then headed north on Pacific Coast Highway towards Pt. Dume, where we spent a fantastic evening hiking the bluffs, then viewed a spectacular sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

In all, Keiko said that she was impressed by robust yoga culture in Los Angeles, which is diverse in many ways: people of all ages and backgrounds practicing yoga; lots of men, not just women taking classes (which tends to be the case in Japan). They were both very surprised to the large audience of yogis attending filled classes here at each studio, literally back to back. I told them that yoga is part of the mainstream environment  in Los Angeles, with so many choices of styles at dozens of studios, and of course great teachers, it makes it impossible to not to pick up your mat and participate. Once people see the benefits of consistent practice, they keep going. Furthermore, the studios become a social outlet and mini-communities are formed.

I was delighted that Ken and Keiko were able to visit Los Angeles and gain insight on how they could positively influence the yoga program at their studio in Tokyo, recognize the growing potential of partnerships, and the abundant opportunity for collaborations.