delicious homemade coconut yogurt

we do lots of fermenting in our house.  the standard american diet is desperate for fermented foods.  fermented foods help our digestive system thrive which in turn boosts our immune system and even elevates our mood and brain capacity.  making your own fermented products is cost effective and quite simple.  beyond that, it's actually more beneficial to make your own fermented foods rather than buying for two reasons.  one is that commercial fermented products are often not fermented for very long, which means they have less beneficial bacteria.  secondly, when you ferment in your own environment, you are adding your own natural microbes to the fermented foods, in turn making it even stronger for your own immunity.

i love making coconut yogurt at home.  it's so simple and so delicious.  i often add coconut yogurt to savory dishes such as a dollop in soups or as a base for a tzatziki.  coconut yogurt is tasty mixed with fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, maple syrup or honey.  the possibilities are truly endless.

for my recipe i use the "let's do organic" coconut cream.  i like this coconut cream because it's measured out into the perfect quantity of coconut butter and it's super easy to just open the package and put it in the vitamix, you can use any coconut cream you prefer.  i also add a tablespoon of gelatin into my coconut yogurt so that it is firm.  without the gelatin (or another thickener) the yogurt will have more of a consistency of kefir or milk, however you will still have a delicious fermented food!  if you do use the gelatin, i recommend mixing your tablespoon of gelatin with a little water first to keep the consistency smooth.  i also use maple syrup in my recipe instead of honey or sugar.  this is all about personal preference.  one note. . .if you wish to flavor your yogurt, do this after fermenting, not during the process.

a few other things to consider. . .i use a yogurt maker.  i make yogurt about every ten days and to me it was worth it for the $35 investment.  some people make yogurt in a dehydrator or an oven.  experiment and see what works for you.  also, the amount of water you use can vary depending on how rich and creamy you want the yogurt.  i usually make about 40 oz of yogurt with every batch.

coconut yogurt recipe
1.  take one package of "let's do organic" coconut cream and empty contents into your vitamix or high speed blender.

2.  add about 12 oz of hot water to vitamix and begin to blend coconut cream into milk.  bring water level up to approximately 38 oz of water (this will include your coconut cream).  blend the coconut cream totally, making sure it's smooth.

3.  add 1 tbsp of sweetener of your choice, 1 tbsp of gelatin and 2 tbsp of previous batch of coconut yogurt or entire contents of your package of yogurt starter culture into vitamix.  blend again.

4.  pour your mixture into your yogurt maker and set for 15 hours or desired fermentation time.

5.  once fermentation is complete put lids on your jars and shake really well.  let set in fridge. . .the yogurt will firm up in about 12 hours.



Prenatal Yoga and Meditation

Every Wednesday from 10:30-12:00 at the Asheville Yoga Donation Studio I offer a prenatal yoga and meditation class.  These classes are grounded in the technology of Kundalini yoga with a strong focus on alignment.  They offer expecting mothers a safe and sacred space to prepare for labor, a conscious birth and motherhood through yoga and meditation.  This class welcomes women at all stages of their pregnancy, including women who wish to conceive.  We will weave a community of heart centered connection and support.  Learn more at the conscious canopy.

The entire month of February is dedicated to expanding the heart center through releasing old emotions and beliefs.  We will bring in strength and radiance~~ come join a community of like minded women in this process!

The Law of Love
Love gives you power to merge,
from finite to infinity.
Love gives you power to trust,
from nothing to everything.

Love gives you power, the powerful prayer
between you and your creator.
Love gives you vastness,
as vast as there can be.

Love gives you the hold, the experience,
and the touch with your own infinity,
as beautiful, bountiful and blissful as there can be.
--Yogi Bhajan


Prenatal yoga offers a way to celebrate the sacred cycle of creation while developing a community of women who are on the same journey at the same time.

Prenatal yoga adapts to the woman's changing body to assist with common discomforts such as swelling of the extremities, nausea, back pain, sciatica, heartburn, hormonal balances and general tiredness.  The physical practice of yoga will tone the body, increasing flexibility and endurance to aid in the process of labor and recovery, while meditation and relaxation will prepare you for the stages of labor and the journey of motherhood.

Preparing for motherhood is the hardest and most important job on the planet, for you are imprinting a child's consciousness.  The meditations we practice in class will assist you in balancing the shadow side of being a mother, allowing space for deep spiritual growth.  We all contain the creator and the destroyer energy and we as mothers must learn how to work with both energies.  We must learn to harness the destroyer energy and use it for productive and loving means, otherwise it can literally destroy those whom we love the most.

"Woman is the molder.  You are the molder of time, space, and of man:  the man of tomorrow, the child; the man of today, the husband; and the men of yesterday; the ancestors.  The entire society, in theory and reality, is based on the spirit of woman."  --Yogi Bhajan

Come join our circle of women for Prenatal Yoga and Meditation Wednesdays from 10:30-12:00 at Asheville Yoga Donation Studio, 239 S. Liberty St.  Women who wish to conceive are welcomed and encouraged to attend!


When speaking about motherhood and children, Yogi Bhajan taught that a mother and baby share an aura while the baby is developing within the womb.  Once the baby is born and the umbilical cord is cut, the auras begin to separate.  However the newborn still needs the mother's aura for the first 40 days to serve as strength and protection.  From then until the child reaches the age of three the mother and child are distinctly bonded.  The next three years the child develops a strong bond with the father.  And from then on, the child becomes more integrated with the world at large.  

My daughter turned three a couple of weeks ago, and it's amazing to note how much has already shifted.  I see her growing into her own self in a deeper way, and I do truly feel that on some level she has detached from me.  However, I know we will always share a strong special bond.  Another teaching Yogi Bhajan shared is that as long as a mother prays for her child, that child will be protected on some level.  Some believe that every child is connected with their mother through a cord of light through the navel.  

Something else has also shifted.  I have come to a new place as a woman, to feel my personal power in a new way and a desire to share my gifts with the outer world.  Being a pregnant mother is such a sweet and special time.  So much energy goes to creating life, and if you are sensitive enough, you can feel the radiance involved in growing a baby in your womb.  It is truly magical.  

You are beautiful.  
You are manifesting the Divine Creative Power of the Adi Shakti.
Honor yourself:  care for yourself.
You are the Divine Mother in your most beautiful creativity.
Honor yourself:  laugh and rejoice!
You have surrendered your body to give life to your child.
Honor yourself:  be grateful.
There is no greater sacrifice and no greater honor. 
You turn your own blood into milk to nourish your child.  
Honor yourself:  care for yourself, body mind and spirit
"Self-containment is the art of prosperity.  It is the highest spiritual strength.  There is nothing to match it."
--Yogi Bhajan

Having a newborn also carries it's own unique radiance!  The time of holding a baby so small and vulnerable and delicate is deeply sacred.  And in all honesty every single step of the journey is sacred, even those days, weeks and months that feel downright intense and overwhelming, where your body feels like it's no longer yours and you are so tired, you don't even remember what deep sleep is.  

Within our culture, there is an expectation that a postpartum mother will "bounce" back after nine months, maybe a year.  And some do. . .however, some of us need more time.  Two years, maybe even three years.  And the reality is, there is no back, only forward.  Your entire physiology shifts as you become a mother.  Some women actually grow longer and taller, or into a new shoe size.  Your cells and DNA changes.  Your priorities change.  And quite often your social circles shift.  Your familial relationships change.  And your relationship with your partner is forever changed.    

We as women need to honor this process in a gentle and loving way.  There is much beauty to embrace during this metamorphosis, but that doesn't mean that every step of the way feels beautiful.

In honor of my daughter's third birthday, I have made an agreement with myself to share my gifts with the world once more.  I will be actively blogging again, teaching yoga regularly, and facilitating Birthing from Within Childbirth workshops.  I invite you to join me on this journey.  Follow my blog and share it with your friends.  If you live in the Asheville area come to my prenatal yoga classes, my mama & baby yoga classes or my other kundalini yoga classes, or sign up for a workshop.  

Cheers to life and all that is~~

"The purest thing in the world is the heart of the mother. . .it can move the universe.  It can cause an effect beyond limitation."  
--Yogi Bhajan


my girl is two!

i can't believe i haven't posted in over a year.  well, yeah, actually i can.  2012 was one hell of a year.  i thought i was in the trenches at the end of 2011, but i really was just on the banks.  anyways, there is so much to say about what has transpired, and i have lots of things to share with you. . .like what i've learned about food and herbs and being a mother and breathing. . .

in the meantime, i'd like to take a moment to honor the birth of my daughter.  not only do i wish to honor her beautiful presence in this world, i wish to honor the possibility that more and more women will birth with love and peace and joy and that we can live in a world where birth is beautiful and sacred.


the family bed

a recent ad campaign was launched in milwaukee to discourage parents from co sleeping with their babies.  this is a hot topic, especially in our american culture and largely misunderstood.  this ad campaign exemplifies how misunderstood the ancient practice of bed sharing is.  actor mayim bialik, who is most known as blossom and now appears regularly on the big bang theory wrote a beautiful article outlining why her and her husband share their bed with their children.  the cool thing about mayim, is that she is more than an actor, she has a phd in neuroscience, and has a forthcoming book about attachment parenting.

mayim's article touches on all of the important points of bed sharing, why it's natural and why humans have been doing it since the beginning of time.  what blows me away about this ad campaign is that the photos break all of the guidelines of safe co sleeping. 

firstly, you should only sleep with a baby on a firm mattress.  no pillow top mattress, and no bulky sheets.  the bedding should be minimal, as well as the pillows.  the pillows should be firm.  and you should never put a baby on a pillow to sleep!  neither of these babies are on their backs nor is either parent in bed with them.

yes, unfortunately, some babies have died from co sleeping.  this is a sad event, and no one wants this to happen.  however with deeper investigation into these scenarios, usually one of the parents is obese, or intoxicated, or the baby and parent are on the couch or some other unsafe surface. 

i have shared my bed with my baby since birth.  we have a very firm mattress.  when she was a newborn, i would dress her in warm clothing, usually swaddled and place her a little higher than my body, so the covers would not go over her.  i would keep the covers around my torso and dress warm on top.  we had firm pillows on the edges of the bed.  as she grew and became stronger, i was less worried about covers, and now her and i share covers, although i am very careful and aware of her body while sleeping.  once she started rolling and scooting, we took the bed off of the frame and placed the mattress on the floor. 

the best thing about bed sharing with your baby is that when you breastfeed, you don't have to get out of bed or go anywhere.  you simply roll to one side and nurse your baby back to sleep.  when my little one was first born, there were lots of frequent night wakings and diaper changes, so the routine was a bit more involved.  by the time she was a few months old, she woke less, and had less elimination.  the best part about sharing your bed with your baby is that you always know how your baby is doing. 

in the beginning of my baby's life, nothing assured me more than laying next to her and watching her breath at night.  it's a totally natural fear to be concerned about your baby's breath as a new mother.  if i had her in a crib, the thought of getting in and out of bed every time i wanted to check on her, would have made me mad!  i was already tired from the frequent night wakings, and i would have been absolutely exhausted from constantly checking on her. 

there is a ton of research on SIDS and you can find research arguing for and against co sleeping.  however, an important point to note, is that SIDS is often related to chemicals and fire retardants and lack of air circulation in the room.  most cribs are covered in toxic materials and the mattress itself is sprayed with fire retardants.  even organic mattresses are sprayed, so one must really do research to find completely chemical free bedding.  many parents with the greatest intentions are bathing, diapering, clothing, swaddling and bedding their babe's with chemicals.  these chemicals are deadly.

so when it comes to your babies health there is so much to consider.  the important thing is to go within and trust your heart.  forget about fear mongering ad campaigns and what society tells you what you should do.  each parent is the only one who truly knows how to provide for their baby.  and if you do feel inclined, sleep with your baby, and enjoy it!

for more information on safe co-sleeping, visit dr sears guidelines


in the trenches

i wish i could be positively positive all of the time.  yet, it's just not authentic.  it's almost november here in maine, and i am becoming wildly aware that grandmother winter is setting into our bones for the next six months.  yes, six months of winter.  mind you, i am just recovering from our move from los angeles this past june.  in los angeles, our strongest winter entailed 40 degrees and lots of rain.  we were spoiled with our year round farmer's markets and trips to malibu even in january.  yes, the smog was smothering and the helicopters were fierce, as was the traffic, however the elements were not sharp, shivering and windy cold.

the reality is i am already spending my days moving wood from here to there, this pile to that, just to stay warm.  i sometimes spend a couple of hours juggling baby care and sweet pumpkin's needs with getting the wood stove going in the morning.  and then there is the complete insanity when the fire alarm goes off from too much smoke and i have to run to grab the baby ear muffs and bat the alarm while the lady screams "fire" into my ear drums, observing my daughter's tears rolling down her face as she begs for my arms.  it's cruel and crazy in some ways.

and my sweetie has officially reached the age of not wanting to sit in any of her seats which include her high chair, car seat and stroller, nor does she want to lie on her back for a diaper change.  i am wrestling her in and out of clothing, keeping her dry and clean and warm.  i am wondering how we will ever make it outside with snow falling and bitter winds. 

this life isn't glamorous.  however i have decided that if i do officially survive this winter, i can do anything.  i have done lots of things in life that i am proud of, and i do consider myself a champion of my fears, so i know that this too can be faced.  and i know i am not the first mama burning wood to stay warm, practicing attachment parenting and ec, breastfeeding and bed sharing, all while living out in total solitude.  there have been many before me.  however, what i need more than ever is to know some of those mentors, or to at the very least sit in a circle of other mamas and find my strength within the collective.

i leave you with this article.  while searching for a picture for this post i found this article, which is related to my tale.  you see, if we mothers were paid for the work we did, our lives would function with much more fluidity. even when we find ourselves in the trenches, we would rest assured that our physical needs are being met.