Holiday Recipes

The Holidays are upon us once again. It is so easy to get swept away in the madness, and lose track of time. To help make things easier I am providing a list of websites I regularly visit for recipe ideas. This season why not give yourself and your loved ones the gift of nutrients during this busy time?  Not only will you be replenishing all your systems, but you will be helping the earth, environment and not to mention all the furry friends. Try a Vegan Holiday Season this year, instead of a food coma it will be a food bliss. :)

Robin Robertson’s Global Vegan Kitchen
Oh She Glows
Main Street Vegan
Vega Blog
Vegan Coach
Oh My Veggies
The Flaming Vegan

A few to get you started. I hope you and your loved ones have a relaxing Thanksgiving.

Thank you for your continued support!

ventura boardwalkVacant beach in Ventura caught during the Holiday Season last year.


Oh, My Aching Back

Life happens. You bend over to play with your little one, or to just tie your shoe, and all of a sudden your back seizes up on you. Or maybe, once in a while your low back just grabs at you, and sends out warning signals that it needs a little attention.

I have been there. Through over a decade of driving a heavy clutch I would feel hints of discomfort in my low back, especially during long drives. However, no symptoms really stayed on my radar during that time. Until about two years ago, after one clutch too many, I felt my disc bulge and a very angry nerve down the back of my leg right there on the freeway stuck in traffic. I could barely walk when I finally arrived home. You can read more here.  I can also tell you, with a little knowledge, patience and help from your friendly physical therapist you can heal. Currently, my Yoga practice and life movements are full again.

lumbar spine2This post is not to help with diagnosing yourself, it is always important to have a Health Care Provider do this. And, in certain circumstances surgery may be required. However, when healing  it is helpful to be armed with knowledge about the condition. So today I will talk a little about the discs of the spine.

In between each vertebrae (the bones) of the spine there are discs and nerves. The discs are smallest in cervical (neck) region, and largest in lumbar (low back). It is the ratio of vertebrae size to disc size that allows for appropriate mobility with ease. The cervical region has the largest ratio and largest mobility, then lumbar and then thoracic (mid back).

The discs help to maintain space in between each vertebrae, as well as space in the Intervetebral Foraminas for the spinal nerves to travel through.The outside of the disc is comprised of the Annulus Fibrosus. Inside is the gel like Nucleus Pulposus. Unfortunately the discs’ periphery is the only part to receive direct blood supply, the center receives through diffusion. There is no nerve supply to the disc, but the surrounding structures; ligament, vertebrae, nerve root, facet and even the muscles do have nerve innervation and will let you know if there is an injury.

The movement of a disc can be compared to a balloon filled loosely with gel. If you push down on one end the gel with be forced to the other. This is natural and healthy movement for the disc which happens during our everyday motions. Movement keeps the discs hydrated, and our spines mobile. However, injuries to the discs can happen from repetitive movements with poor bio mechanics, tight muscles, unawareness of body positions, or asymmetries in the body, for example.

When an injury to a disc occurs there are four things which my happen:

1. Protrusion: there is no rupture of the annulus fibrosus but the disc will bulge, typically in the posterior direction.

2. Prolaspe: the outermost fibers contain the middle portion of the disc as it bulges toward the the outer rim, further than in a protrusion.

3. Extrusion: the annulus fibrosus leaks out into the epidural space

4. Sequestrated disc: part of the annulus fibrosus and nucleus pulposus leak all the way out of the disc and remain there outside of the disc.

Depending on what happened to your disc, and the severity, you may feel different symptoms in different positions or even activities involving pressure such as laughing.

Having a disc bulge however, does not have to be a life sentence for low back pain. I can tell you this personally. There are many things a physical therapist can do to help alleviate pain from the disc, nerve, facets, ligaments and muscles.

For example, stretching the hamstrings, working on posture in standing and sitting positions, and traction. In our clinic we are able to create a lot of ways to unload the spine and create traction with the yoga wall, as well as, open the leg and hip muscles through safe Yoga poses.

supta padagustrasana tractionOne of my favorite Asanas to help discs heal by lengthening the hamstrings with a little traction.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at
or visit Embody’s website.


Vegan Tabbouleh

Our summer has been somewhat traditional. Time at the beach; catching some rays, waves and sunsets.

beacons summer14 Although for me the wave catching these days has been some what minimal. All in time I suppose.

The summer has also been filled with unpacking boxes, and landscape planning. A little exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Hopefully next year at this time our recipes will be filled with nutrients from our yard.

And, somewhat non traditional, this summer I spent a good deal of time inside Yoga studios assisting my Boss and Mentor from Embody in Workshops and Trainings throughout San Diego.

Healthy Back collage  With all that, time has flown.

Slowly we are beginning to welcome friends into our new home. Menu planning has been on the easy and simpler side. Which is how this Vegan Tabbouleh evolved. Only a little stove time is required, the rest is just chopping and mixing. The recipe is uncomplicated and versatile enough allowing you to chat with friends while throwing this together. The sauce and foundation is taken from the Tabbouleh we made awhile back. The Vegan transition consisted of swapping the shrimp and cheese for Tempeh. And, because I had them on hand I folded in mushrooms and cabbage at the end, which could be substituted with whatever you in the fridge.

Vegan Tabbouleh

vegan tabbouleh2  For sauce and foundational ingredients see previous Tabbouleh post.

New additions:

1 package Trader Joe’s Tempeh
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
1/4 cup Vegetable Broth
4 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Miso Paste
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
4 Cups Shredded Cabbage (optional)
12 Ounces mushrooms  (optional)

Follow directions from previous post
While Bulgar is cooking mix together Nutritional Yeast, Vegetable broth, Soy Sauce, Miso Paste, and Apple cider Vinegar.
Crumble Tempeh into large bowl, and pour Miso paste sauce over tempeh. Stir until well combined. Set aside.
Then mix second Lemon, Olive oil sauce (see post).
When Bulgar is finished pour into large mixing bowl. Add in marinated Tempeh, stir. Then pour Lemon Sauce over mixture.
Last fold in Cabbage, mushrooms or whatever Vegetables desired. Allow mixture to set for a few minutes. The cabbage will soften from the warm Bulgar. If the warm temperatures are lingering in your neck of the woods, after Vegetables soften you can place the bowl in the fridge for an hour or two before serving to cool the temperature.

vegan tabbouleh3





Hello! It’s been awhile. Summer is in full swing, and for us it’s included buying our first house and a move. Not to mention continuing Physical Therapy and Yoga trainings, which always seems to be my happy place!

I have always had a connection with trainings, information and books. In fact during the moving process the heaviest and bulkiest items to move were all our books. As I was packing them all, I wondered if books could serve as a Talisman. I have been coming to realize for me, this is true. There are two books especially that take me back to the time when I was first introduced to Yoga, Physical Therapy, and the Mind and Healing connection as I was working back from multiple surgeries.

The first is Getting Well Again by Carl Simonton MD, a truly innovative book for it’s time confronting the Mind/Physical connection and healing, especially with Cancer. The second is Quantum Healing by Deepak Chopra MD, one of his earlier books and I think the first I read by him. Both opened my mind to the potential of healing, way past the boundaries and restrictions I set upon myself.

As I looked at the covers they are a reminder of how much I went through back then, and what a different and amazing space I am in now. Rochester handstand hollow backJust like these old cobblestone structures in Rochester, NY. Such beautiful buildings serve to remind  a more modernized town how much it has truly changed through the years.

In the process of purging and releasing of what we do not need now, physical and emotional, sometimes its helpful to have a  physical object reminding us to appreciate all that we have worked through, and calling attention to what we are truly capable of overcoming.

I will be back soon with more Physical Therapy, Yoga information, and recipes. In the meantime search out your talisman and enjoy your summer!

endless encinitas summer

Creamy Chocolate Nut Butter

It’s been awhile since I have posted.Time has escaped from me recently. In reality time is an illusion, because when you are truly present it is hard to tell if 5 seconds or 5 minutes have passed by. Apparently in my case it has been a few weeks, and for good reasons; time with family, time outdoors, and time indoors at Yoga and Physical Therapy trainings. It’s been a good past few months.

moonlight beach sunset

I will make up my lack of posts with the simple, quick and easy Nut Butter recipe. As I navigate through the Vegan world, in most ways the transition has been so effortless. However, one area that can get tricky is baked goods or chocolate cravings. Dark chocolate is a good substitute, however there are those days when you desire just a little more. This recipe fits the bill, plus  you will digest a healthy dosage of nutrition from the almonds and cashews.

Creamy Chocolate Nut Butter

chocolate nut butter2
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup raw almonds
3/4 cup chocolate almond milk
2 Tsp Grade B Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp Cocoa
5 drops liquid Stevia
1/4 Tsp Sea Salt

1. Soak cashews and almonds for at least 3-4 hours.
2. Throw all ingredients into your Vitamix or Food Processor.
3. Blend it up until you reach the consistency you desire.
4. Enjoy with some bananas, over a bagel, or just by itself.

Chips are Vegan by Chocolate Dream

chocolate nut butter 4Hope to see some of you May 3, for the Low Back Workshop at Prana.

swirly camel