It’s been a while since I’ve posted my last recipe. This is my first blog post since moving back to Montreal! And although the move is temporary, it’s been so sweet to be home. These past few months have been hectic and filled with many changes. As always.
In January, I had the opportunity of visiting Panama twice. My parents are slowly transitioning into snowbirds and are testing out different spots in Central America. They rented a place down there for a month and did some exploring. Selling their home, discussions on where to move and watching House Hunters International day-in-day-out seem to have become their routine. It’s endearing to watch them, actually. Seeing them so animated and excited discussing their future endeavours. Most of us recoil at the thought of an unknown future, though. The ‘unknown’ can be anxiety-producing and that’s understandable. It brings us comfort knowing our timeline and having a loose draft of the events we plan and hope to take place. I’ve recently read Pema Chödrön’s book ‘Comfortable with Uncertainty’ and it’s been a joy to read. Written conversationally with bouts of humour, she delivers new ways of thinking so effortlessly and it has been quite transformational for me.The book title pretty much speaks for itself, but it’s more than that. There’re meditation tips, refreshing outlooks on our surroundings and inspiring proposals for our interpersonal relationships. I read this book while down in Panama and it’s been sitting on my bedside table ever since. The book is composed of 108 short chapters, maybe a page our two, which makes it an easy read for those on the go. I’ve been writing lately; jotting down ideas and keeping a gratitude journal. This book pairs perfectly with those activities as the brief chapters plant a seed, which I mull over for a few days. This then leads to more journaling. The future being one of those seeds.
Right out of the gates Pema unmasks the root of all suffering and the habitual actions / reactions we unconsciously exhibit. She writes:
…we can never know what will happen to us next. We can control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe. This not-knowing is part of the adventure. It’s also what makes us afraid.
I can totally relate to this excerpt. Not knowing is scary. Not knowing what’s going to happen today or tomorrow, what we’re going to do with our life, where we’re going to end up, how old our parents will live to be, who we’ll end up with, if we’ll end up with our current love, will I or will I not have kids, will I get that job, will I get that apartment, will I travel, etc.
We can spend all day spinning around these questions and, if spent too much time on them, they can drive us bonkers. Because, at the end of the day, we’ll never have those answers. And that’s terrifying. It’s terrifying to think of life without our parents, it’s terrifying to think of life without our current love, it’s crippling to imagine a life without monetary security, losing your job, your friends, your house. So we plan. Planning gives us the illusion of a stability. Security. A concrete, foreseeable future brings us comfort.
When in fact, embedded in all that illusory comfort sits an opportunity for deep dissatisfaction, devastating sadness and paralyzing fears that can be made realities. The expression, ‘Life gets in the way‘ is backwards, if you ask me. Instead, I think WE get in the way of life. Our plans and immoveable expectations are what get in the way of our lives. When things don’t pan out the way we expected, we experience sadness, anger, fear and great upset. This anger that life is somehow destroying our plans is the root to our suffering. It’s our white-knuckled grip and expectations in our lives that drive our happiness into the ground.
Our mind is always seeking safety zones. We’re in this zone of safety and that’s what we consider life, getting it all together, security. Death is losing that. We fear losing our illusion of security – that’s what makes us anxious. We fear being confused and not knowing which way to turn. We want to know what’s happening. The mind is always seeking safety zones, and these zones of safety are continually falling apart. Then we scramble to get another zone of safety back together again. We spend all our energy and waste our lives trying to recreate these zones of safety, which are always falling apart.
What we do know for certain is that we are bound to feel discomfort. It’s all part of the human experience. But we don’t enjoy that and our first line of defence is to plan. This technique eases us into the day-to-day uncertainties and that knowing ‘we have a plan’ and that ‘everything is going to work out’ relieves those anxieties. That last part about it all working out is true, though, but not in the way we might think.
Things will work out the way they’re supposed to, which is the most cliché one-liner out there. Yet, it’s also the truest. I’ve come to learn that the hard way (time and time again). We will end up with whom we’re meant to be with. We’ll have the career, house and lifestyle we’re meant to have. We’ll wander the corners of the earth we’re meant to wander and experience the experiences that will continue to lead us down our unknown path. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t some freebee where you can sit at home all day watching reruns of ‘Suits’ and you’ll end up with the job of your dreams in a swanky apartment. No. We need to work for the things we want. But within the realm of working and obtaining our hearts desires, we must loosen our grip, our hold on those desires as things will bend and shift and we should remain flexible with those changes.
There’s a great Chinese proverb that states “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” I came across this proverb while moving through a painful transition in my life. I was the queen of building walls and digging my soles into the ground, resisting change and gripping onto the plans I had set. Brick after brick, sealed with cement, I sat on my wall, immoveable and resistant to change. I realized it was my stubbornness that was causing such a heaviness in my heart. Don’t get me wrong, I still am faced with upsets when events don’t unravel as I had hoped, but in the back on my mind is this book and proverb. I try to actively approach these situations with a flexibility and fluidity.
As I sit here writing this (while watching a massive 30cm+ snowstorm blow about outside), I can’t help but think that nature never places expectations. It is fluid. From gas to liquid to solid, weather can teach us of the inevitable changes of life. The wind is always shifting, changing, no two waves will ever be the same, and the sun from today will grow the plants of tomorrow, thus, they, too, will never being the same. Yet, we resist. We resist our aging bodies, we resist our changing minds, we resist the energetic changes within our interpersonal relationships. Pema writes, “…the cause of suffering is clinging to our narrow view, which is to say, we are addicted to ME.” Like the ever changing weather, we, too, are a part of this cosmic energy. By learning to bend and sway with life, we can diminish our suffering and excite our curiosity.
If we learn to sit still like a mountain in a hurricane, unprotected from the truth and vividness and the immediacy of simply being part of life, then we are not this separate being who has to have things turn out our way. When we stop resisting and let the weather simply flow through us, we can live our lives completely. It’s up to us.
These Spicy Almond Tempeh Wraps have been making a weekly appearance in this house. Mostly because it’s such an easy dish to whip up. In the instructions below, I recommend letting the tempeh marinate for an hour or two but it’s not really needed if you’re in a rush. Just pop it in the oven and you’re good to go!
These wraps, or any wrap for that matter, are one of my favourite meals. They’re crunchy, refreshing, colourful, and the tempeh / almond sauce is nothing short of addicting. You don’t have to use lettuce wraps, either. Whole grain wraps, baguette, bagels – they all work!
Women with issues surrounding their thyroid should limit their soy intake. I speak more about the thyroid and how to care for it in this post, but in short, soy contains goitrogens. These guys are found in the brassicaceae family (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. when consumed raw) and soy products. Goitrogens compete with the uptake of iodine in the body, a mineral crucial for the production of thyroid hormone production.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located right under your Adam’s apple. It’s responsible for the body’s metabolic rate, weight management, body temperature, heart rate, fertility, digestion, bone maintenance and our brain’s development. It produces hormones that affect every single cell in our body. In other words, it’s vital we care for our thyroid.Spicy Almond Tempeh Wraps2017-03-15 06:31:22Serves 4Vegan, Gluten-FreeWrite a reviewPrep Time40 minCook Time20 minTotal Time1 hrPrep Time40 minCook Time20 minTotal Time1 hrFor the tempeh marinade
- 1 pkg organic tempeh
- 2 tbsp almond butter (crunchy/smooth)
- 2 tbsp gluten-free tamari
- 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 2-3 garlic cloves, grated/chopped finely
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 1/2 tsp red peper flakes
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp sesame seedsFor the wraps
- organic collard greens / romaine lettuce, washed (remove stems from collard greens)
- bell peppers, julienned
- cucumber, julienned
- avocado, sliced finely
- sesame seeds
- hemp seeds
- alfala sproutsFor the spicy almond drizzle
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2-3/4 cup almond butter
- 1-2 red chilies, minced (sub for 1 tsp sriracha or to desired heat)
- 2 limes, juiced
- 2 tbsp soy-sauce
- 1 tsp ginger, grated
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 3-4 tbsp waterInstructions
- Remove tempeh from package, rinse and slice in half. Place in bread pan. Combine all marinade ingredients (except the sesame seeds) and blend using an immersion blender. Pour over tempeh. Cover with tin foil and let sit for 1-2 hours in the fridge.
- Slice all veggie toppings and set aside.
- Combine all spicy almond sauce ingredients together and blend until smooth. Place in fridge.
- Heat oven to 350C.
- Bake tempeh for 10 minutes with the tinfoil on. Remove from oven and slice tempeh into 1/2 - 1" cubes. Sprinkle sesame seeds over top. Place back in oven and bake for another 10 minutes without the tin foil.Notes
- Store tempeh in an airtight container. It will keep fresh up to 5 days.Reaching for Greens http://www.reachingforgreens.com/