Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Morning Yoga...In Bed

If you are or ever were an athlete, chances are you have tight hamstrings. And if you sit for most of the day, chances are your hamstrings have only gotten tighter.

Tight hamstrings definitely plague me. And when I wake up in the morning, I am always amazed at how challenging it is to do a forward fold. 

Our bodies were definitely not meant to go from 0 to 60 without warming up the engine first. 

That's where your bed comes in. Or mine, for that matter.

This is a photo of my bed:

And this is a photo of where I usually practice yoga in my home:

At 5:15 AM, when my alarm goes off, which one do you think looks more inviting? Comfy, warm bed...or hard, cold floor...Hmmmmm, tough decision! ;-)

I was recently introduced to a new memory foam mattress company that makes mattresses that are not only good for sleeping but also for yoga. They're called Casper Mattresses and I really like what they're all about. Especially since most of us don't sleep very well or enough, wake abruptly to our alarms going off, snooze several times, and reluctantly get out of bed.

The reality is, we should be a little kinder to our bodies and ease into rising. A little self-love can go a long way.

The next time you wake up in the morning, try this sequence. It's short because we all have to get a move on our day...but it's sweet because it feels good to stretch your body body and get the bloody flowing.

Once you've woken up but while you're still lying down, give yourself a Full Body Stretch. This should feel good (a lot of us do it instinctively already after we wake). Stretch your fingers out and your toes and everything in between. 

Spread your arms out wide like a "T" and prepare for a gentle Spinal Twist. Bring your knees to your chest and then drop them to one side, twisting your torso and head to the opposite side. Do this on both sides and then return to a Full Body Stretch

Bring your knees to your chest and grab a hold of your toes for a little Happy Baby rolling from side to side, massaging your spine. 

Extend your legs up a straight as they can go (you can also put them up the wall or up the headboard) and point and flex your toes and roll your ankles. This will prepare your joints and your fascia tissues at the bottom of your feet for the impact of the floor. 

Roll yourself over onto your belly and do one easy Cobra pose, opening your heart. 

Transfer onto your hands and knees for 3–4 Cat/Cow poses. 

Rest back into Child's Pose and take 3-4 deep breaths. Set your intention for the morning or perhaps the whole day. 

Rise from your bed. Take one more standing Full Body Stretch and then gently go down into a Forward Fold. Hold your hands on each elbow and act like a Rag Doll, gently shaking your head forward and back and side to side. Rise gently. Take another DEEP BREATH and go take on your day! 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

My Favorite Gluten-Free Fall Vegetarian Dinners

I'm often asked about gluten-free vegetarian recipes and wanted to share a few fall favorites—a week's worth, in fact! I tend to make lots of warm dishes in the fall and winter. According to Ayurveda, the 5,000 year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in India, our bodies need different things as the seasons shift—and each body operates differently. Now that I'm in the midst of my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, I'm coming to understand my body's own needs. And in the winter, soups are definitely just what the natural healing doctor ordered! I am the gal with cold hands and cold feet. In July. The girl who loves big chunky sweaters and curling up by the wood stove with a big mug of tea to survive winter. Sometimes, I seriously scratch my head and wonder why I live in New England...

Below are a week's worth of warm, delicious vegetarian dishes—all packed with healthy vegetables and grains, all great for chilly autumn weather.


-The Gluten-Free Yogi

Monday: Veggie Burgers with Salad
This recipe makes LOTS of burgers... so you could have burgers a few nights in a row and vary up the salads you serve them with or you could freeze the extra burgers for another week when you're more in a jam. 

Tuesday: Roasted Carrot, Arugula & Quinoa Salad

Wednesday: Thai Curry

Thursday: Kale Salad, Eggs & Pesto

Friday: Baked Sweet Potato
If you bake extra sweet potatoes, you can use them for the soup the next night. 

Saturday: Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro Almond Pestohttp://www.glutenfreeyogi.com/2013/11/gluten-free-sweet-potato-soup-with.html

Sunday: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Borscht
If you're only cooking for 2, you should have leftovers for Monday night!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies with Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Full disclaimer: this recipe is a gluten-free adaptation of a recipe I found on Justin's website. However, I upped the ante and added a few more peanut butter cups because why the heck not?

I made these for my cousin's baby shower last weekend and they were the first dessert to disappear. If you like peanut butter and dark chocolate, these are definitely for you.

Also, because this recipe has quite a bit of sugar (as most cookie recipes do), I swapped out some of the brown sugar for coconut sugar. To read more about this sweetener, click here.

These cookies are decadent and de-li-cious.


- The Gluten-Free Yogi

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies with Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

(Makes approximately 18 medium cookies)


1 full jar of Justin's Classic Peanut Butter
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar, unpacked
3/4 Cup Coconut Sugar
1/2 Cup King Arthur's Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
1.5 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Himalayan Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Large Organic Eggs
5 packages of Justin's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (10 cups total)


Preheat the oven to 350℉. Put the peanut butter cups in your freezer until ready to use.

Beat (with a hand mixer or stand-in mixer) together the peanut butter & sugars in a large bowl. Add in the flour, baking soda, salt, and vanilla, and beat until combined. Then, beat in the eggs one at a time until it forms a crumbly dough, set aside.

Roughly chop then fold in the peanut butter cups into the dough. (You can also break them apart with your hands if you want larger chunks).
Using your hands (which should be clean!), form small cookies and place them on parchment paper on a baking sheets with at least 3-4 inches between each cookie. Flatten the balls slightly with your palm.
Bake for 16-18 minutes or until edges are golden brown. The cookies may seem underdone but they will continue to cook when cooling.

Let cool on the baking sheet for a minute or two then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack to continue cooling. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Pecan Pie

Every year, I make my husband and my father (who both have mid-October birthdays) a homemade dessert. Usually I get super funky requests like "oatmeal chocolate peanut butter pie" or "mocha rice pudding" and I take it on as a new culinary endeavor with the added challenge of making them gluten-free, dairy-free, and as refined sugar-free as possible.

This year, the request was shockingly simple:

Pecan Pie. 

And yet... I'd never made pecan pie before, and I haven't had it since going gluten-free because I always assumed it was laden with butter.

Turns out, virgin coconut oil is an amazing substitute for butter in this recipe. And the filling is amazingly flavorful with maple syrup instead of plain ole sugar. 

I liked to use Breads from Anna Pie Crust Mix for this recipe because it has a fabulous flavor and texture. I seriously don't know how they do it but their gluten-free products are some of the best I've tried. (Note: you have to order them online). 

This pecan pie is seriously out of this world. It was described by everyone at my dinner table as "the best pecan pie they've ever had." Quite the declaration but, I have to say, it was pretty damn delicious. 

I highly recommend adding this to your Thanksgiving menu this year—or making it for that special someone in your life the next time they request a homemade dessert. ;-)

Be well,

The Gluten-Free Yogi

Pie Crust
1 package Pie Crust Mix (from Breads from Anna)
1/4 cup organic almond or coconut milk
3/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 375ยบ F. Place the Pie Crust Mix in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients, blend until well combined. Dough will be slightly oily. Press the dough into a 10 in. baking dish then place in the freezer for approximately 10–20 minutes. Remove from freezer and bake for 10–12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside on a cooling rack.

Pie Filling
2 cups pure organic maple syrup, preferably Grade B
3 large local farm fresh eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup coconut sugar or firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups organic raw pecan halves or pieces

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the maple syrup to a boil and boil for 8–10 minutes to reduce. Remove from the heat and pour into a heatproof measuring pitcher. The syrup should be reduced to 1 1/2 cups. If necessary, return the syrup to the saucepan and continue to boil until sufficiently reduced. Let cool to room temperature before proceeding.

In a bowl, stir together the eggs, coconut sugar, reduced maple syrup, sea salt, coconut oil and vanilla extract until well mixed. Add the pecans and stir well. Pour into the partially baked pie crust, making sure the pecans are evenly distributed.

Bake the pie until the center is set and firm to the touch, approximately 35–40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour; remove pan sides. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with a dollop of your favorite dairy-free ice cream. Enjoy!