Off the Mat

I have this tendency to overdo things. I overdo things to the point that they get so overdone I stop doing them altogether. The last 8 weeks of this semester got a little nutty- I took on 6 more hours per week of teaching than I had expected to, and it’s totally backfired on me. While I certainly enjoy the income, I’ve managed to strain or pull or sprain or possibly tear a tendon in my proximal hamstring *the part of your hamstring that connects to your hip structure, you know kind of up in the bottom part of your butt). I thought at first I’d ignore it, long story short that didn’t work out well and I started having horrible sciatic pain. My chiropractor more or less put me on bed rest for a week. Well really he just told me no stretching it or working it, which for me is as bad as bed rest. I haven’t run, lifted, yoga’d, barely even broken a sweat since Wednesday morning (I snuck in my Pilates class before i saw the back cracker!) Besides me throwing a pity party for myself, I do have a point.

I can’t very well just cancel classes for a week or so, and thus I’ve learned to teach off my mat. In my BodySculpt class, or in interval training, it’s no biggie to instruct and not participate. Yoga is a different story. I’m used to participating with my classes. And let’s face it, most of us are pretty visual learners, especially when it’s something we’re doing with our bodies, contorting them into bends and twists and stretches all while concentrating on our breath. So this has been quite the learning experience not only for me but for my students as well. They are used to being able to look up and see where I am and what I’m doing at any given time. Now they have to learn to listen a little closer. To really focus on if I told them to move their left foot or their right, and if I said to place it on top of or behind the left or right arm. I do feel like even though it’s been difficult, this has made me a better instructor. I’ve had to think of different ways of cuing my students and I’ve also had more of a chance to walk around the room and make adjustments. I think has let me get to know my students a little better. I always take the time to make adjustments in class, but now I have the time to make even minor ones for people, which in yoga minor adjustments make a huge difference. 

I’m not entirely sure how much of a difference it’s making in my hamstring. It still hurts. Less sciatic pain, but still some. I see my chiropractor again tomorrow so hopefully we’ll get some major improvement. Until then, I’ll still be off my mat, and learning.

Namaste.

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Coco-Choco Coffee

Like Coffee? Mmmhmmm.

Like Chocolate? Mmhmmm.

Like Coconut? Mmhmm.

Put it all together and you’ve got Coco-Choco Coffee.

 This happened by complete happenstance. I bought some cacao nibs the other day because I apparently had no idea what cacao nibs are, except I had this notion they were like chocolate chips but not as sweet. Turns out that’s sort of the idea, except they aren’t sweet at all. They’re quite the opposite of sweet, in fact. So they sat in my shelf where I store my coffee beans and grinder and all that good stuff.

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Just sat there, poor cacao nibs being neglected, until one morning they fell out of the cabinet as I pulled my coffee bean grinder down. The Universe obviously thought these lonely cacao nibs needed to be put to use. 

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Staring at these little bitter chocolate pieces, I suddenly remembered reading somewhere about pressed chocolate. Basically the same idea as French-pressing coffee, you grind cacao nibs and use the cacao powder instead. This isn’t the same as pressing cocoa powder. Why? There is a difference between the two! According to equalexchange.coop:

“Cacao” is the bean that comes from the cacao tree, which is known by the scientific name of Theobroma cacao. Cacao pods – large football-shaped fruits – grow off the trunk and limbs of the cacao tree, and cacao beans are found inside the pods. 

The beans are harvested, fermented and dried. They are then cleaned and roasted, after which point the products are often referred to as “cocoa.” In other words, “cocoa” is what the bean is called after it has been processed.

Aha! So cacao powder is less processed than cocoa powder. Perfect. I’ll bet you can guess what I did next. 

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Yup. Put a bunch of cacao nibs in with my coffee beans. Ground it all up together and threw it into the French press. The rest I made exactly the way I would regular coffee, except since I was getting all fancy anyway I put a few drops of vanilla extract in the french press before I added the boiling water. 

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Yes I have a lime green French press. Don’t judge.

So even before this magnificent blend came to my brain, I’ve been a fan of coconut milk in my coffee. the full-fat, thick, rich, delicious coconut milk in the can. I prefer Native Forrest (no BPA in their can-liners) but Thai Kitchen is a close second (they don’t have BPA free can liners, but they are also organic and have no additives). Don’t mess around with buying light coconut milk. Your body needs good sources of fat, and what better source than a coconut!? Image

Mmmmm. Coco-Choco Coffee.