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Welcome to my newest blog designed to help you implement the healthy lifestyle changes recommended in my blog, Yoga Diva Adventures. Each issue will include recipes as well as tips to help you take one step to improve your overall health & wellness. I've taken the best of wellness topics I had the pleasure to present at a yoga retreat while traveling to Asia and Australia and added practical tips to form healthy habits you can incorporate into your busy life.

This issue I present recipes from the Kitchen of Krishna Village Eco Yoga Retreat, located in the beautiful rainforest region of Mt. Warning Australia. Every day Krishna's Kitchen's chefs Shakti and Daniel create delicious, colorful and nutrient rich meals using mostly locally grown produce.

Are you ready to begin Healthy Habit #1?

The kitchen at Krishna Village, is staffed by volunteers from around the world who need no special skills or cooking experience to help the chefs prepare these wonderful, healthy meals. Enjoy!

Grocery List

(2-4 People)

Fresh Produce:

2 Heads of Cabbage (Red, Green, Chinese)

2 Large Carrots

2 Ears of Corn

1 Large Beet

1 Avocado

Arugula

A Variety of Vegetables for dipping (Zucchini, Broccoli...)

Watermelon

1 Lemon

Dates

Kitchen Staples:

A variety of spices: Cardamon, Curry, Thyme, Rosemary or buy a pre-mixed blend of spices, sea salt

Healthy Oils:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil

Dried Beans: Lentils, Mung Beans, Chick Peas, Red Beans, Black Beans..

Grains: Brown Rice, Amaranth, Quinoa(seed)

Variety of Raw Nuts & Seeds: Peanuts, Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, Cashews...

Vinegar -Apple Cider, Wine, Any variety

Other: Capers, Olives, Honey, Low Sodium Soy

Not all items are for this menu's recipes.

The Recipes

Cabbage Rolls

1. Prepare Wraps the night before Bring a pot of water with a dash of sea salt to a boil. Add cabbage leaves. Use outer leaf of one cabbage. One large leaf makes 2 wraps. Let Boil for 5 minutes or until leaves are malleable. Remove from heat. Drain & soak overnight in cold water with a teaspoon of vinegar

2. Prepare the Stuffing -Shred & boil remaining cabbage until tender. Once cabbage is slightly cooled, shred both carrots and add 1 carrot, 1 cup capers, sunflower seeds, dates, spices of choice & 4 cups pre-cooked brown rice. Use juice from capers to flavor the rice. Thoroughly mix all ingredients.

3. Stuff the Wraps -Cut leaves to desired size, roll mixture inside being sure to fold edges. Your cabbage rolls are now ready to be served!

TIP -Don't be afraid to experiment and add more vegetables or other ingredients. Cooking is an art form.

Carrot & Beet Slaw

1. Shred one beet, one cup of arugula, a carrot and red cabbage. Mix together with corn removed from ears & toasted sunflower seeds. Set aside.

Avocado Dressing

2. mix the juice of 1 lemon, 1 Avocado, 1/2 cup of water, a dash of sea salt, a tablespoon of honey (if desired) in a blender until thoroughly mixed.

3. Mix Avocado Dressing with Slaw right before you are ready to serve.

Purchase or make your hummus, cut your vegetables and water melon and you are ready to feast!

LUNCH IS SERVED!!!

Meal plans for your unique taste, complete with recipes & shopping list are available at BeautifulFitFree.com

Contact Us

Thoughts turn to Actions ....Eventually

Nine years ago if someone had told me that I would be blessed with the opportunity to share my passion for yoga and wellness nine thousand, nine hundred and nine miles away in Australia, I would have felt in my heart that it sounded great, but convinced myself that it would be foolish to leave a secure, well-paid position as a vice president at a commercial bank for a pipe dream. Fast forward, one financial market crash, nine planes, and one huge paradigm shift later and here I am at the lovely Krishna Village Eco Yoga Retreat located in the beautiful picturesque rain forest region of Mount Warning, Australia.

Journey to Unemployment

For the past two years I have been self-employed as a yoga instructor, personal trainer and nutrition coach, and employed full time as Corporate Wellness Coordinator for the best boutique health club in Baltimore, Red Brook Health & Wellness Center. I was living my pipe dream times two! Only a nut would leave a wonderful position and the clients she loves to fly around the world pursuing all things yoga with absolutely no stream of income. So that's exactly what this 53 year old nut did.

My ultimate dream is to help others live a balanced joyful life that starts with obtaining mental, physical and spiritual soundness & balance. For the past four months I’ve been traveling to Abu Dhabi, Cambodia, Thailand, India & Australia practicing & studying yoga, philosophy and religion. I also did volunteer work, visited century old temples, local villages and tourist attractions. In other words, I was unemployed...and loving it!

Welcome to the Village

My last stop on this journey is a karma yoga retreat at Krishna Village Eco Yoga Retreat and it looks like I truly saved the best for last! My current temporary home is 900 acres of Mother Nature’s best work! Every morning I give praise to God for allowing me to be surrounded by brilliant vegetation, a beautiful lake, lush fragrant fruit groves, well manicured floral gardens, healthy cows, and rescued horses all framed by surreal blue & white skies and turquoise & green mountains.

As a karma yoga volunteer, I am teaching yoga classes, giving courses on various wellness topics and learning to cook scrumptious, healthy, well-balanced meals created by Krishna Village’s Chefs, Shakti & Daniel.

You CAN Take it With You.

The goal of any retreat should be to learn healthy habits that you can later incorporate into your lifestyle. In this series, I will be sharing with you things that I traveled through several time zones to learn that can actually be done right at home. Each post will contain one new healthy lifestyle habit.

You already Know You Need To Eat More Whole Grains, Fruits & Vegetables

Adding just one vegan meal a week will help you get more fruits, vegetables and healthy grains- nutrient rich foods that help keep the body’s systems functioning properly. When your digestive, muscular, skeletal, immune, respiratory and nervous systems are functioning properly.

You will reap many benefits, including:

  • having great endurance

  • freedom from many illnesses

  • a glowing appearance

  • increased focus

  • greater clarity & decision making ability

  • maintaining a healthy weight

Are you ready to go? Follow my 2nd blog, Naturally Raw Beauty for recipes & helpful tips to get you started.

We are open for business! Visit my website to start your journey to wellness.

BeautifulFitFree.com by Lori Dee

THINKING OF VOLUNTOURING?

Voluntouring =traveling with the purpose of giving back while vacationing.

Think again if you are:

  • over 50

  • health-conscious

  • goal & detail oriented

  • peace loving

  • a vegetarian

  • a non-drinker

Here are some things I wish I’d considered before committing to 4 weeks of service in Thailand:

  1. Know Thyself I love sunrises, early morning movement, communing with God, serving others, interacting with positive people, organization & planning, beaches, yoga and striving for excellence (even when I fall short). I thought that volunteering with one of the many non-profit organizations whose mission is to provide a brighter future to children overseas by teaching them English would be a rewarding experience since I could:

  • Fill my very selfish need to feel useful & feel like I’m giving something back to this planet

  • See a new part of this planet that has loads of great beaches & yoga studios

2. Consider Age & Agency

Most large agencies subcontract their volunteers to local agencies whose names they don’t reveal until after you’ve paid in full. The agency I worked with gave little to no details in advance such as:

  • The number of hours you'll be working

  • The age and level of the students you’ll be working with

  • The number of students you’ll be working with

  • The number of other teachers & volunteers you’ll be partnered with in the classroom

  • Whether you’ll follow a curriculum set by the school or be able to create your own lesson plans

  • The type & exact location of accommodations you’ll be staying in

3. My Reality

Campus Life – If you haven’t lived in a dorm in over 30 years,you will probably choose not to stay in the accommodations included in the program fee, which I might add was not cheap,. The house I was assigned to could house up to 10 volunteers. Thankfully it was just me and two truly lovely 20 somethings. The house was only cleaned once every TWO weeks and it showed. There were holes in the kitchen screen, a filthy microwave, and an unacceptably small bathroom garbage can that required that you push in the lid.*

Location, Location, Location While I understand that the location was chosen because it was close to the school, they could not have chosen a worse location. The only store within walking distance was a 7-11. There were no shops or food stands that weren’t an expensive taxi ride** or dangerous walk*** away.

How many adults do you need to teach 35 children? Your answer is probably not 9. In each class of no more than 35 children, there was a team of at least 6 to 9 people including volunteers, teachers, interns and non-profit agency staff.

Who am I serving? On the beautiful tropical island of Koh Samui, Thailand tourism is the number one industry, followed by agriculture and fishing. Thai is a drastically different language than any of the Latin based languages with an unfamiliar sentence structure and sounds and tones that we do not use in English. The learning curve is steep and the level of English of most of the people of Thailand is minimal. Yet since the majority of communication is non-verbal, I never experienced any difficulty getting around and interacting with the very warm & friendly people on the island. One volunteer mentioned that helping teach children to speak English will give them access to work in the better resorts on the island. Again, whom do I serve?

4. Let me Entertain You

The non-profit staff was wonderful. Even though they aren’t a tour agency, they went out of their way to be helpful and ensure that we had an enjoyable experience. On several nights a week and on weekends, they planned visits to night markets and nightclubs. Some volunteer and staff enjoyed good times & hangovers that sometimes meant arriving late (or not at all) to volunteer assignments. BTW, the total hours worked per week was 9. No, that’s not a typo. I went out with the team on the first night. Please see #1

Move Towards the Light

On the positive side:

  • The first 2 days spent in Bangkok were great. We stayed in a nice basic, clean hotel in the heart of the vibrant walking street district and took a boat and walking tour of the city courtesy of the volunteer organization

  • The children we taught in Koh Samui were adorable, enthusiastic and very bright. They decorated each of us with stickers with hearts and flowers to show their appreciation

  • Thailand earns it’s nickname the land of smiles, you can’t help but smile at the weather, the warm and wonderful people, the beautiful beaches, the mountains, the flora and the vegetation.

  • Food, clothing and beach bungalows are incredibly inexpensive.

  • ​I found a few great vegetarian restaurants and one of the best yoga resorts on the planet, Vikasa Yoga Retreat. www.vikasayoga.com

This is Your Life (and it’s the only one you’ve got. )

You’ll notice that I did not mention the name of the volunteer organization because while yes, they could and should have done better, I have no desire to bad mouth or hurt any organization or the voluntour industry in general. My hope is that I can help someone make an informed decision if they do choose this method of giving back.

In truth, I began having second thoughts before my trip about whether or not the karma yoga/teaching assignment would fit into my goals which are: spiritual growth & enhancement of my skills as a professional yoga & wellness coach. So, I made the decision to cut my commitment from four weeks to one with no regrets. I’ve been experiencing the best of the islands of Koh Samui & Koh Phangan, which I’ll write about in detail in a separate blog. Sure, it’s costing me extra, but relatively less than other vacations. (Check out photos of my $30 per night hotel overlooking the sea.) The volunteer organizations gets the benefit of my program fee plus extra donations raised to be used towards improving government schools in the many communities they serve. I strive to live my life with passion and compassion in a way that's always pleasing my Creator, so that some day I will hear a thunderous voice saying ‘well done’. I hope to bring excellence in yoga and fitness to my friends and clients during my time on this big beautiful planet.

I look forward to sharing all that I learn as I continue my daily practice and travels over the next few months in Asia. Peace & Light! Lori Dee

Footnotes:

$30 per night in Lamai Beach,Koh Samui Thailand. A room with a view:

*The sewer system in Thailand does not allow flushing of ANY paper. Toilet tissue must be deposited in the trash. So in shared housing, a large step on to open lid can is a must.

**Unlike Bangkok, there is a shortage of inexpensive transportation on Koh Samui. Metered taxis don’t use the meter and you will need to pull out your bargaining skills to negotiate a somewhat reasonable rate. There is a cheaper shared open pick up style transportation called Songthaews, but they do not run on a schedule and tend to mostly stay in the tourist populated areas at night.

***Each year there are 100’s of injuries and fatalities on the roads of Koh Samui due to several factors including: a large number of intoxicated drivers, many areas with no shoulders or sidewalks and the seeming lack of traffic rules.

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