Stretching it just a bit

>> Friday, January 15, 2010

I always thought the goode 'ole medieval rack would be a great stretching tool... that is, up until the point it rips your limbs out of your sockets of course. Before that moment of horror, it probably feels really good right? Eh, maybe that's a bit too morbid for y'all, even on a Friday.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about stretching, in all its forms. Though I've always had a love of yoga, I never sought to do it regularly (even when I was working at a studio!). Now that I'm running a lot in training for the triathlon, my body seems to crave stretching. I find myself waking up and getting into a great uttanasana first thing in the morning. I'm certainly not there yet, but I look forward to the day when I'm motivated and excited to get up earlier and squeeze in a few vinyasa before work. Will I ever be a "yogi"? Probably not. Will I get a yoga certification? Only when I decide to make it more of an important factor in my life. Not there yet, but stretching for it feels really good.

I also stretch my food choices every day as well. I eat a mostly vegan diet, which is often seen as quite a restricting. I opt for optimism and take it as stretching my food horizons, discovering new fruits, veggies, grains, legumes, and cooking methods.

A quick Google search will reveal a wealth of cultures whose eats are mainly plant based. With ease, they can be converted to vegan foods as long as your willing to fool around in the kitchen. A love of cooking and experimentation is necessary to your own culinary discovery and diversity.

Being from Hawai'i, my kitchen preferences lean towards asian flavors. Japanese cuisine is probably my unofficial forte. Being foodie minded and living in Los Angeles, which is an amazing amalgamation of cultures, has branched me out into Indian, Ethiopian, Latin, and Indonesian flavors. I may not be able to properly say all the names of the spices, and am sometimes the only non-ethnic person in a very ethnic market, but I've had more delicious food in the past 5 years than in my entire life.
Speaking of ethnic markets, those have also helped me to stretch my dollars. With a trip back home to visit my family in the forefront of my brain, I had to cut back on everything else, including groceries. Enter in the ethnic market: where even the most exotic spices are affordable as opposed to the inflated prices for the same items at specialty/gourmet stores(Whole *cough* Foods).

In terms of groceries one also has to think of ethnics AND ethics. Waking up earlier on Sundays in order to get down to the local farmer's market may not sound like a good way to spend one's weekend, but wait... actually it does ('cept the waking up early part I guess). Not only can you check out the offical organic certificates, you can also talk to your local farmers and find out exactly where your produce is coming from. By talking with vendors, you'll be able to find out exactly how far that carrot has to travel to get to your tummy and hopefully work towards conserving fossil fuels.
I've found that many farmers and farm workers are actually the ones selling at markets too. With the large usage of immigrant agriculture workers in Los Angeles, the treatment of those humans is also important. One can't sugar-coat the fact that farmwork is innately hard, and that just because they've come to my local farmers market doesn't mean that they're treated like kings, but putting faces to names and food makes the act of purchasing items a lot more real. I love to seek out people from the smaller family-style farms in hopes of reducing the human exploitation factor.

There's more stretching to be written out, about the mind and horizons. However, I need a bit to mull those over so I'll sequester them in draft form for now.

(New camera this upcoming friday, and the search still continues to get the pics off the old memory card. I have so much to show you and 3 new recipes!!!)


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