Archive for the ‘Eating for health’ Category

Mindfulness and vegetarian way

April 10th, 2016
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PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

The Bodhi Tree Dharma Center welcomed guests to a Buddha lunch meditation.

The Bodhi Tree Dharma Center in Liliha hosted a Buddha Lunch to welcome spring on March 6.

About 30 participated in the eating meditation, one of the most pleasurable of meditations. The vegetarian lunch meditations typically take place once a month, from noon to 1 p.m., by $10 donation.

The first half of the meal is enjoyed in silence as a matter of learning mindfulness, focusing on the food alone, and appreciating nature, the elements and human hands that make such a meal possible.

A soup of tofu, tomatoes and other vegetables.

The word we were given for the meditation was "savor." It was a reminder that if we were to stop and really think about what we eat, we would not suffer from as much of the diet-based afflictions as we do, and we not be worried about dieting because we would make choices that nourish, not sicken, us.

Mai Frascarelli, who created the center in March 2009 as a way of thanking a community that allowed her, a Vietnam War refugee who came here with nothing, to become successful. She oversees the meal preparation, said she offers the lunches to promote vegetarianism as a cruelty-free way to live. By hosting the lunches, she hopes she can show people that vegetarian food can be delicious and satisfying.

"Every little bit helps," she said. "Even if you eat vegetarian one day a month, it's better than no days at all."

She said that she is a vegetarian because she loves animals, and those that are raised as food are "unhappy from the day they are born 'til the day they die.

"When they're unhappy, they produce toxins that are not good for you, and your body becomes a graveyard for these animals."

Never thought about it that way. I am not that strong-willed. I do love a good fried chicken and pork is my downfall. But, I can eat less of these things and more of what is good for me in any given week. On days I am not "working," I do favor nothing more than yogurt, hummus and crudité to give my body a break.
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The Bodhi Tree Dharma Center is at 654-A N. Judd St. Call (808) 537-1171.

Salad of rice vermicelli, tofu and greens.

Another dish of tofu, vegetarian proteins and vegetables.

It was interesting to me, because the message of savoring the moment reiterated philosophies of the Zen tea masters at the Urasenke tea room in Waikiki, which I recently visited.

While there, I picked up one of their newsletters and read a piece by tea master Sen Soshitsu XVI, who wrote about being bothered by the sound of the "click, click, click" of a cell phone camera during a sacred tea ceremony. That struck home because I have been guilty of doing the same, in the name of news.

He wrote: "I thought this was quite regrettable. Maybe, as a way of enjoying memories it is fun to look back time and again at photos you have taken. A kenchashiki, however, is a sacred situation. ... and then there is the matter of the failed philosophy of ichigo ichie, the failed understanding that every event in life is something singular and unrepeatable. To conscientiously see these events with your eyes and print them in your heart is the way of tea.

At chanoyu practice sessions, as well, it is fine to jot down notes about the tea procedure after the lesson if, for instance, it is one of the 'oral transmission' shikaden or okuden temae for which there are no textbooks. But, if you feel safe just because you recorded the information and you do not try to attach it into your heart, all you have accomplished is to get your notebook to remember it. Even if you make videos or take photographs using handy electronic devices, those sorts of things are temporal. I would like for you to give your practice sessions your whole physical attention moment by moment and for you to always be of the mind to intently learn."

This was something I had to think about because I take photos and videos often as a matter of "capturing" news.

But, as I have told people many times before, in the process of recording, fashion shows, for instance, I never actually "see" the show. What I am looking at is the flow and distance of models as they fill the camera or video screen. I don't really get to enjoy the moment because I am working. It is only in the replay that I am fully able to appreciate the designers work. Just as when I review a restaurant, I'm not really enjoying it as much as my friends because I have to think and remember what I am experiencing with each bite.

Yet, because I have done this work for so long and captured so many moments, that I am very aware of how much is lost to faulty memory and I am glad to have captured such moments to jog my memory.

But as sensei said, there is a time and place for electronic devices and if you are trying to meditate and appreciate the moment you should be there 100 percent.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food column is in print on Wednesdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Jamba Juice introduces Whole Food Nutrition smoothies

January 13th, 2014
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Jamba Complete Nutrition Smoothies Photo

Jamba Juice photo

On the heels of my juice cleanse, Jamba Juice is celebrating the new year with the unveiling of its new Whole Food Nutrition™ smoothies.

Whole Food Nutrition smoothies are made with whole food ingredients including kale, carrots, chia seeds and Greek yogurt. With 10 to 14 grams of protein, these smoothies were created to provide balanced nutrition and serve as a convenient breakfast, lunch or snack on-the-go, and are available in three flavors:

Kale-ribbean Breeze: A tasty blend of mangos, kale, passion-mango juice, Greek yogurt and chia seeds, delivering protein and fiber, Omega-3s and a full serving of kale.

PB Chocolate Love: A blend of chocolate, peanut butter, bananas and 2% milk for protein and fiber, plus a full serving of whole grains.

Carrot Orange Fusion: A blend of fresh orange juice, whole carrots, Greek yogurt, soymilk, mangos, bananas and chia seeds that works as a good source of protein, fiber and Omega-3s, with a full serving of veggies.

Detox epilogue: A slow comeback

December 31st, 2013
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On my first morning back from Blue Tree Cafe's juice cleanse, I have the last juice, the tomato and celery Virgin Mary that I had hoarded from yesterday, and a fistful of raw unsalted almonds. I believe the total calories is about 350.Nadine Kam photos

At Blue Tree Cafe, one of the mottos about their juice cleanse is that “It will change your life.”

I do feel great, lighter and energized though I was correct in that the 1,500 calories a day would not result in weight loss for a petite person.

Time will tell how much this will change my diet. I’m not one to be concerned with diet in the first place. Obviously, I eat for a living so don’t shy from trying new things. But, while on the cleanse I did become aware of how much social dining I do, and how that leads to extraneous meals when I want to hang out with friends, when we all eat—not because we’re hungry, but because we want to hang out and talk.

In having to resist foods, I think anyone who initiates a juice cleanse will realize how little food the human body requires, and how much most people overeat on a regular basis. For the most part, eating today is more a sensory than survival instinct. It takes very little food to stay alive.

At this point, a bowl of ramen would be too much for me. I would only be able to manage a few spoonfuls of broth and a few noodles.

I’m not naturally a snacker. I don’t keep much food at home because I simply don’t crave it. Yet, I know now that I do a lot of mindless eating, picking up on cookies or candy in the office, not because I’m hungry or even want them, but because they’re simply sitting within arm’s reach. In the process of not eating, I’m surprised by how much I can resist.

Unlike many people I know, I don’t crave bread, pasta, pastries, candy or cookies. My downfall would be fat, seafood, meat, french fries or anything potato. If I could curb those appetites, cut back on extraneous and mindless eating, and make a more concentrated effort to get enough fruit and veggies, that would go a long way in reducing my junk food intake and living more healthfully. So, that’s the plan for 2014 and beyond.

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Lunch: An ear of corn and three celery sticks, about 130 calories.

Through the juice cleanse, I craved solid food and longed for the end when I could eat again, but yesterday I realized I couldn't just jump back into normalcy, which would surely lead to heartburn as the stomach amps up the digestion process.

What to eat? After the accomplishment of a cleanse, you don't want to return to old habits right away and put toxins back into your body.

Because I was too full to finish my juices over two days, I managed to carry a Virgin Mary over, and drink that for breakfast. I thought about making oatmeal, but was too lazy, so just grabbed a fistful of almonds.

The night before, I had gone shopping and because I craved fat, wanted to buy an avocado for lunch today, but they were all too green. I spotted corn and thought it would be easy to boil that and bring for lunch, to ease my way back to carbs. The fiber is a continuation of the detox process, though nutritionally, a sweet potato or yam would have been a healthier choice.

I have carrots at home. I buy celery, onions, kale and chicken to go into chicken soup later today, to ease back into protein.

I chop the veggies ahead so I can start the soup when I come home from work. Can't wait to have a taste of chicken, though it will be about 1-1/2 ounces per helping. I plan to have two servings, spaced out over a few hours.

The great thing is that, having started and ended when I did,  I just have to maintain healthy thoughts for 2014. The hardest work has been done.

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Celery, onions and carrots, chopped and ready to be made into soup.

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The finished chicken-kale soup. I end the day at about 800 calories. Between lunch and dinner I ate five holiday dry-roasted macadamia nuts and a banana.

Detox Day 5: Potluck No. 2

December 30th, 2013
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On Day 5 of my Blue Tree Cafe juice cleanse, I walk into another potluck situation. Aware of my own food weaknesses, it's interesting to see the choices others make.Nadine Kam photo

Last day, hurrah! I can’t wait to start eating tomorrow, but then I’m struck by the thought that I need a comeback plan. I remember vaguely that on the first season of TV’s “Survivor,” the castaways ended their restrictive diets with a big juicy burger, and promptly threw up. Their bodies could no longer handle the grease and fat.

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Opposing forces. Fried chicken vs. kabocha and purple sweet potato. Every potluck has this dynamic of good and evil that forces us to choose.

I think I might ease into it tomorrow by having an avocado for lunch and making chicken soup with kale and squash for dinner. I need to go grocery shopping after work.

In the meantime, I start the morning at 7:30 a.m. with yesterday’s unfinished “Carotene Cure,” and head to Blue Tree Cafe to pick up my last day’s ration of cleansing juices. Because I had this one juice “banked,” I may bank another overnight to ease my way back to real food tomorrow. (more…)

Detox Day 4: Succumbing to temptation

December 30th, 2013
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I look so happy with my first bite of food in four days. More importantly, my skin looks good from consuming so much liquified fruit and veggies. Candice Kraughto photo

Today is the day of brunch with visiting friends. I pick up blueberry scones, blueberry and almond danishes and some savory buns at Liliha Bakery before heading out to Cookspace.

The table is set with mostly carbs and sweets. The boys are making french toast and on the table are various breads, fruit-topped panna cotta, white chocolate bark with cranberries and nuts, macarons, and, looking very tempting, mini muffin pan frittatas. OMG! I have a lot of willpower when it comes to carbs and sweets. Other people always tell me how much they crave bread, pasta or chocolate, but I could live without any of that. Instead I find fatty, savory foods irresistible.

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My food vs. box of Liliha Bakery sweets and savories.

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Felled by mini frittatas.

Melanie Kosaka's frittatas are studded with mushrooms and bacon, two more favorite ingredients. I'm thinking, well,  if I can have a little to-go, they could keep two days, right?

We sit down to eat, 13 people with their plates. Me with my "Honey Badger" and "Very Verde." Today's Honey Badger seems to have more cayenne than the last one, so I'm wondering if the spice will upset my stomach without food in it. Meanwhile, everyone is exclaiming how good the frittatas are and asking for the recipe. I give in to the frittata. I think I could have put this off another two days if not for the distress of the cayenne.

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Yum, tako! I would have liked to eat a piece of this too.

They're telling me I'm a sadist or masochist by attempting a cleanse during the social season. I still think the timing has been good. I'm lucky to be sitting next to someone whose diet over the past eight months has been very restrictive. She eats a small tangerine and one piece of sake-marinated tako, also tempting. It smells so wonderful. She's a little freaked after drinking a bit of fruit smoothie that she learns has some cream in it because she's not supposed to have any dairy products.

The smoothie bar had been set up, partially, to accommodate the two of us.

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Some of the ingredients at the smoothie bar.

Realization 6: The act of trying to eat more healthfully  does have an impact on the people around you because it gets them to think about what they're eating, and consider what they could tolerate, drop or curtail in their own lives.

I start to think one little piece of frittata won't hurt me. What is one little piece of egg after more than 300 ounces of fruits and vegetables and 4,500 calories over the last three days.  A friend offers a piece of the frittata on her plate and I eat about 2 inches worth. I use the My Fitness Pal app to figure that's about 42 calories.

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Temptations abound.

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Cooking at Cookspace Hawaii.

I look so happy everyone takes my picture. It was worth every nibble. If this is the only bit of food I've had in four days, I think that's pretty good and reflects a healthful attitude toward food. I think anything is OK in moderation, and in the bigger picture, I'm starting to realize how much social and mindless eating adds up. I often eat things for the sake of the motor  pleasure, even when I know it's not going to be worth the calories. Now I know how much I can resist, and going forward want to focus only on what I really do want to eat.

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Fruit-topped panna cotta.

Because I had such a late start on my meals, at noon, or maybe that small bit of frittata was more filling than I thought, at midnight I realize I'm not really hungry and cannot finish all the drinks. I skip the Carotene Cure in favor of the almond milk. Maybe I'll have the Cure tomorrow morning, and carry over one drink on New Year's eve as a meal replacement to ease me back into the world of solid food.