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Food: The Ultimate Goal.

October 3, 2011
Dear Yogis

October is always my favourite month. I know we practice embracing each moment and being grateful for whatever life brings, but still, I can’t help favouring October. It used to be because of the Jacarandas in Pretoria, but now it’s on account of the delicious warm sunny days that start creeping in through the rainy ones in Cape Town. These things are magic for me. They remind me of how lucky I am. Not lucky for any specific reason, just lucky; lucky to be alive and in this world, lucky to have been exposed – and continue being exposed – to great teachers who have enriched my life through their teachings. They have varied greatly. Some were stern while others were gentle, but all of them compassionately prodded, (or more vehemently pushed), me towards the ultimate goal: freedom.

Freedom. Liberty. Independence. Autonomy. Emancipation. Release. We use and hear these words in many contexts, almost daily. We read about women being emancipated, prisoners being released, countries being granted independence, alternative societies being created to be free from capitalist, economic or other constraints, groups lobbying for the freedom of humans and animals alike. It’s a hot topic and a hotter debate, often creating disparity rather than parity and unity. Funny that. Perhaps this has to do with our conceptions of freedom, or misperceptions. And maybe it is time to reinvestigate our understanding, our thoughts and actions.

One of my teachers taught me a lesson I will never forget: if one person wins and another person fails, we all fail. I win only if and when everybody else wins too. If my freedom means someone else is shackled, I am still bound. This is not to say I can free anyone else. Everyone needs to free and heal themselves on their own ultimately, but it should never be at the expense of others – human or animal. We live on this planet together and sometimes, when we see clearly, we remember that we are all one, all made up of the same stuff. Our bodies, and our attachment to our bodies, often let us forget. We feel separate and look separate, and so assume that we are. This is what drives us to act selfishly – the fear that we are actually alone.

But this is the gift of October for me. Every year, after the winter and the initial spring fever, October shows me the connectedness of things. How seasons come and go, how we rely on the earth for our wellbeing, how we contribute, (or not), to the wellbeing of those around us and how they love and support us, or bring us down. And this in turn, always brings me to reconsider my actions and look at what I’m giving, rather than getting. And when I give, I find I become a little freer, a little less constrained by my fears, and I am allowed by this beautiful and benign universe to move a little closer to definitive freedom.

My wish for all of you in this month is to reconsider yourself, how you fit into the wholeness of things, to seek out what does not work in your life, have the courage to be challenged by it, and then changed by it, finding the grace that comes when you do.

Namaste`

Chantelle

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Recipes

The recipes this month are easy, fun to make and full of flavour. They combine wonderfully as an entrée and main course, and the tahini milk is a fabulous alternative to soy milk. It can be enjoyed as a drink on its own, with the meals this month, in cereals or as a base for smoothies.

Tomato Pesto “Shrooms”

Ingredients

  • 8 Shiitake mushrooms
  • Alfalfa sprouts

For the pesto:

  • 1 cup dried tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup flax seeds
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp organic herb mix
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1½ cups olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tamari

Method

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until relatively smooth, though the pesto will have some chunkiness to it. De-stem the mushrooms and turn them upside down. Now fill the mushrooms with a generous amount of filling and top with alfalfa sprouts. If you like warm mushrooms, you can heat these up in a dehydrator if you’d like the meal to be raw. Alternatively you could heat up the mushrooms in the oven at 180˚C for 20 minutes to ½ hour. I like the mushrooms as is. The pesto is very rich so the raw mushrooms round off the taste nicely for me. If you do place the mushrooms in either a dehydrator or in the oven, remember to top them with sprouts afterwards only.

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Pepper Corn Cold Soup

Ingredients

  • ½ cup almonds, soaked for about 4 hours
  • 4 ears of corn, cut off the cob
  • 2 large red bell peppers, chopped into chunks
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • ½ red chili, finely chopped
  • 3 tsp brown rice or soy miso
  • 250ml coconut milk
  • 40g -60g organic yeast flakes, (this adds saltiness to the meal and thickens the soup).

Method

Place all the ingredients except the organic yeast flakes in a blender and blend until smooth. Now place in a big bowl and add the organic yeast flakes, stirring it in. Serve with a slice of lemon.

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Tahini Milk

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 4 dried figs
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla powder
  • 2 tbsp honey or agave nectar

Method

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Best served chilled.

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ChantelleChantelle Roelofse teaches yoga in Muizenberg and co-owns a vegan restaurant, CLOSER, in the area as well. When she isn’t in an asana or thinking about food, she runs, plays piano and writes. She is interested in the philosophy of yoga and how we can incorporate it in modern living. Chantelle supports ethical living and veganism.chants_za@yahoo.com

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