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Sweet Delish! It’s so Good it Will Fool You!

When one of us HYL co-founder sisters likes something she lets everyone know about it, and I mean everyone!  On the latest retreat to Tulum, I fell in love with the chia pudding parfait at Nomade Hotel.  It was so good that it felt like a decadent treat, when really it was loaded with health! From the chia seeds that have protein, fiber, omega3-s to the berries and fruit loaded with vitamins, to the superfood antioxidant rich cacoa this thing was packed with goodness.

I was determined to try this at home and now am eager to share this super easy to make treat with you.

Inspired by:

chia pudding nomade

All you need for the base pudding is 3 ingredients! How easy is that?

  • ¼ cup Black Chia Seeds plus a bit about 2 tablespoons
  •  a little less than ¼ cup Cacoa Powder (not to be confused with Cocoa or Coco powder) Raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans, which keeps the living enzymes alive!
  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla coconut or almond milk
  • Pinch of salt

Stir this all up in a bowl and refrigerate overnight. By morning you have amazing pudding richness. The chia seeds expand and soak up the liquid and chocolate.  Now warning! This concoction is bitter.  It will look and smell amazing, but it will not be sweet.   Add a little maple syrup (from the tap peeps- no fake maple!) for your desired sweetness.

You can spice it up too: maybe add a pinch of cinnamon or vanilla to the base before refrigerating.

I topped off my bowl of chia deliciousness with a little coconut flakes, a dollop of thick Sophia’s Greek Yogurt made of goat and sheep milk, seriously the best Greek style yogurt ever, serious foodies agree  that I bought at Savenor’s on Charles Street in Beacon Hill, and some strawberries and a little blueberry jam.   Let me tell you, one bite transported me back to sitting on the beach of Tulum day dreaming away.

Eat this anytime of day! I have found it makes a perfect snack or dessert or the perfect thing to eat right after posting a blog!

Vyda’s at home version:

chia at home

Surviving Family Holidays – Yogi Style – by Aida Bielkus

“Niyamas” is a yogi code for living.  Here is the Cliff Notes version of three of these principles – Samtosha, Tapas and Saucha –  which can be used during the holidays to ease stress.   Samtosha is the ability to find satisfaction and happiness even in the difficulties of life.  In other words it is not about believing in an external peace but really feeling an internal true peace and not letting external struggles affect you.  Tapas means to burn up negativity and create energy.  The holidays are a great time to look at burning off old habits that are no longer serving you and start new ones that you are passionate for and help heal you and your family.  Saucha is maintaining cleanliness within the body, practicing good hygiene, and consuming balanced food that cleanse body, and purify both the body and mind.

Here are applications of these philosophical precepts during modern-day family holidays.

1. Release the desire for your family members to change or be anything different than they are.

Practice Samtosha which is roughly translated as ‘contentment’. Feel content and grateful with what is.  This does not mean that you do not care. However let go of thinking that you can change someone else – the only person that you can change on this planet is yourself.  By changing yourself then you change your world, not the other way around.  You can change the way you hold on to the need for control.  You can change the way you react to your environment. You can change your own inner dialogue.  You can care for yourself deeply and take full responsibility for your own healing.

Let’s take “Uncle Charlie” for example.  You have gotten into wars of words with him in the past leaving you angry and bitter.  Before coming to Thanksgiving, sit down with yourself and acknowledge all of the ways you wish “Uncle Charlie” was different. Recognize that he is who he is because of all of the things that he has experienced in his lifetime.  Let go of your desire for him to change.  Accept him for exactly who he is. At the Thanksgiving table when he says something offensive know that this is coming from his stuff, do not try to change him.  Respond with a neutral, ‘okay. I hear what you are saying’ mentality.  When you accept him, you will feel the change you are looking for from inside of yourself.

2. A Family that Moves Together Stays Connected.

Create some Tapas, build enthusiasm and joy for life by creating energy through moving.  Sitting around the table for too long can begin to make everyone feel tired and grumpy.  Begin by emailing everyone ahead of time to bring their sneakers.  You will get Nay Sayers! Ignore them and carry on.  Organize the “family walk” after dinner.  Look at it as staging a campaign and even if you get only one other person to walk with you, you have made a mark.  Come prepared with a suggestion of a local trail or destination walk to get everyone out of the house to get some fresh air.  Sure, maybe your Grandmother with stay home but try to rally as many walkers as possible.  A great time to walk is between dinner and dessert.  For those sports’ fans in the group make sure you have a way to put the big game on pause or record it.

If the weather is not cooperating suggest a short game that involves moving like Charades!  Another easy fun game that gets everyone standing is the “Hands in Knot” game… everyone stands up in a circle and puts their hands into the center and grabs two hands that are not their own, without letting go the circle has to untangle and open up into a circle.  This gets everyone working together, acting like kids again and laughing.

3.  Balance yourself by cleaning house (your body) before and after the holiday.

Shaucha means to live purely.  During a holiday that is not always so easy, however bring in cleansing practices to balance the mind, body and spirit.  Drink lemon water before, during and after the holidays to help flush the body of unusual foods/drinks you may be consuming. Sweating is the body’s natural way of letting go of toxins so sweat before and after the holidays in yoga, or any other form of exercise or even sitting in a sauna or warm bath. Great yoga poses to rinse out toxins are Supine Twists, Chair Twists, High Lunge Twist, or simple stand -stretch up- stretch back- into Mini back bend.  Inhalation and exhalation a great way to oxygenate the body, even some basic stomach crunches can achieve this if you do them for long enough. Think of ways to get breathing, sweating, even if that means vacuuming at a turbo speed before the holiday! Also think about tidying your space by donating unwanted items or finally ridding your hard drive of unnecessary files. Doing, and feeling better, does not have to be complicated even when getting a big Turkey, Tree or Candles through that front door may be!

Feels good to brag about Bragg! Review by HYL Sister: Aida

The Bragg family have been on the forefront  of  live food and health since 1912. They have many wonderful quality products like dressings, olive oils, drinks and more.  The two particular products that have been a staple in my home forever are Bragg Liquid Aminos and Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. The Aminos I use in place of salt and soy sauce and the apple cider vinegar I use everywhere… from putting it in my bath to salads!

The Bragg Aminos are deliciously tasty they are dark brown and can be easily sprayed on as a seasoning or used in cooking.  It is also great to add into home-made dressings. My son sprays it on pasta, rice, or proteins for a tasty kick.  Though there is sodium, it is not MSG. Gluten free and made from certified NON-GMO soy beans it is the basis of a protein, containing 16 amino acids.

The apple cider vinegar is made from organic apples and is not pasteurized thus it contains the “mother”.  The “mother” is a mucky thick substance at the bottom of the bottle.  Don’t worry when you see this, it is not a bad batch! It is actually healthy to consume.  This apple cider vinegar taste far exceeds the Heinz vinegar you commonly get.  That stuff actually bites the taste buds and leaves your mouth dry. The Bragg’s Vinegar is softer and full of real apple flavor.

The health benefits of apple cider vinegar and amino acids have long been known.  These days when we are all cutting out processed foods, unhealthy fats and salt it is great to have these products to ramp up the taste of whatever you are eating; after all, flavor is the variety and zest of life.


No to Kefir, hello to Kevita / Review by HYL Sister: Siga

The label on a bottle of Kevita sparkling probiotic beverage calls it a “superdrink.” It also says it gives you “delicious vitality”™, and even love. Strong claims for 450 ml bottle of reverse osmosis water laced with four strains of living probiotics.

My flavor in favor is the pale, gently perfumed Coconut (you can see the sediment from the fruit speckling the bottom of the glass, so swirl before you chug). Not too sweet, it’s lightly effervescent (far subtler than kombucha), with a tropical hit of coconut water. The yogurt tones of the probiotics give it an almost creamy texture, which may satisfy the cravings of those with a dairy allergy. All the ingredients are organic, non-GMO, and vegan; the Coconut variety is also only 5 calories per serving. The only negative is that you’ll drink it too fast the first time you try it. Learn to savor the moment.

The health benefits of probiotics are well-known, and a full dose of Kevita leaves your stomach feeling like it’s had an hour of insightful personal Health Yoga Life coaching. Your whole digestive system experiences a happy glow. So it’s delicious and vital. And the love? What better way to give your stomach, actually your whole body, some love than treating it to a bottle of good health?! Superdrink, indeed.


Ah-mazing Grass! Review by HYL Sister: Zara

Chocolate in its foundational form per se, is seemingly not so bad for us. Instead, it is all the additives (oils, dehydrated milk solids, salt, or even hydrogenated fats-double gross!) which turn cocoa into various chocolate snacks that are bad for us.

Normally when I need a chocolate fix I reach for a sliver of extra dark, at least 85% chocolate, or even better some raw chocolate. And it normally makes me feel happy to skip dessert. But then there are the times when all I want is a thick, chocolate milkshake to bring me back to the days of sitting on a chair when my feet still didn’t reach the floor – enjoying a glass of Ovaltine with grandma. But now that I am tall enough to reach the cupboards I have found a brilliant thing to stock them with… Amazing Grass Green Superfood. Chocolate plus a whole lot more!

For someone who can’t (or for those who choose not to) tolerate dairy, it is the creamy, frothy answer to a brilliantly healthy ‘milkshake’.  Packed with super greens, detox and digestive enzymes I call it my SuperShake! When pressed for time, I like the fact I can take in some micro-nutrients quickly to feel more balanced. Plus, I can’t always get my hands on wheat/barley grass or the load of other goodies in this powder.

Anyone who owns a Vitamixer,  or ‘juices’ with other equipment, knows the importance of a fresh cup of green stuff; but getting two pounds of kale, parsley, apples and spirulina into an 8 oz glass, and getting it to taste tolerable, frankly takes a bit of time. Amazing Grass products are the answer for when you don’t have time to buy, wash, blitz and clean.

Your diet doesn’t have to suffer on the days when you have one arm through your jacket, a toothbrush precariously in your mouth, and the directions of where you were meant to be 10 minutes ago evaporate. An empty water bottle, some soy, oat or whatever milk you like, a scoop of this green-chocolaty goodness and you’re off! Energizing and light I love it between meals when I feel a bit peckish but don’t want too many calories, like before yoga class or a shiatsu. The best is that the taste is smooth because it mixes up really easily. It makes me feel hydrated, nourished, and very simply: great!

The Amazing Grass team seem to also understand it is the times when we are not near our Vitamixer that we need a substitute, as they make these convenient sachets, which I swear by when travelling.

Evidently there are heaps of other flavours. Evidently some people don’t like chocolate. Yeah…um…loss for words.

Amazing Grass

‘Life Alive’ in Cambridge / Review by HYL Sister: Aida

LIFE Alive in Cambridge offers healthful, fresh vegan/vegetarian fair and a welcoming colorful atmosphere.  As soon as you walk into Life Alive your senses open up!  The air is filled with freshness – it actually feels oxygenated.  Your nose fills with aromas of herbs, greens, spices, ginger, carrots, beets, grains all mixed together – it is an intoxicating mix that begins to draw you in.  Your belly begins to rumble, ready for a treat. The café is known for its bowls, wraps and freshly blended/squeezed drinks.

THIS place is the real deal.  Sometimes, when I have eaten at vegetarian restaurants it feels like they are playing “dress-up”, like playing veggie; Life Alive is not playing around.  They have researched every item they serve and see food as a therapeutic healing life-giving part of life! Love that.  Everything is chopped and blended on the spot so the food truly tastes garden-fresh every time.  Having worked in restaurants I know how tricky consistency can be (especially working with fresh, healthy foods) and Life Alive has never failed.  Nearly a 24/7 operation as it is open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner…impressive!  Lots of folks run in quickly and are served fast for take-out. I do this on occasion between yoga classes, but I really enjoy hanging out there too.  The staff is knowledgeable and friendly and I like going down to the basement, extremely cozy it is a great place to sit with a friend or two to get into some fun ‘goss’.  Our conversations tend to be uplifting there because of the joyful atmosphere Life Alive creates.

I really love the “Adventurer Bowl”.  It combines corn, beets, broccoli, dark greens, cheddar, tofu, sprouted legumes, and tamari almonds over quinoa and brown rice. This amazing mixture is topped off by a delicious sesame ginger sauce.  A large bowl is under ten dollars, decent value for the quality and diversity of items.  And your eyes will feast too because it all looks like a piece of colorful, modern art all splashed together… you can’t wait to dig in!  Every bite is like a flavor explosion on your taste buds.  You might think the crunch would overwhelm, yet it does not, and the consistency is perfect.  After eating this meal I feel alive! I am satiated, balanced and can allow my day to unfold with an extra little bounce in my step.

SO whether you are in search of a great place to run in for a wheat grass juice, needing to get your morning energy with locally made granola and a vibrant smoothie, hungry for real, whole foods full of nutrients and nourishing power, or up for enjoying a great glass of wine while listening to some live music, Life Alive has got your fix!