Grocery Gals

Today at the nutrition store I met a wonderful woman in the gluten free aisle. She was looking for crackers for her daughter (6 years old I believe) who has autism and celiac disease. She has her on a gluten free, casein free, soy free diet. (Same as me!)

She explained to me how holistic medicine helped save her daughter’s life.

The conversation I had with this woman was the highlight of my day. She explained to me the lengths she goes through to make sure her daughter is healthy and happy. From buying 100% organic products,hiding B vitamins in her food well enough to match the texture, to dicing everything she eats a specific way and prepping her meals at night to pack for school lunch the next day. This warmed my heart so much. ( and no, she is not a stay at home mom lol). She spoke of her daughter as a gift and was happy for the opportunity to help her through monitoring her diet. If she waited any later to take this approach, it would have started stunting her daughter’s growth. Even with the B vitamin supplementation, her daughter almost experienced liver failure. She stressed how important it was for her to stay updated with information regarding food allergies and autism. “It’s a growing process and I’m researching things everyday to make sure I don’t miss anything.”She was thankful and hopeful. This warmed my heart so much.

One day I hope to be a mother with the same care and consciousness.

This encounter led me to think about a brilliant kid I worked with named Cody (I was an assistant teacher at a Title 1 middle school almost two years ago).  He also has autism, but doesn’t have the same access to unprocessed, gut friendly foods; not because his mother isn’t amazing or trying her very best, but because of life circumstances and access to the same standard of healthcare.

I wish every child could have the medical attention necessary to look at their allergies,food intolerances/sensitivities and nutrient deficiencies so that they can function optimally.

(I send my love to him and his family in my prayers. He’s such a great kid, brilliant and kind, with an honest humor and a most memorable smile. )

Today I realized first hand what people mean when they say “there are no coincidences”. I say this because I am currently writing a paper on gluten and cognitive impairment. Many of the papers I’ve been reading and finding most interesting are the articles focused on celiac disease and autism.

I’ve had an interesting battle with my health since puberty, only to find out years later (after X-Rays, MRIs, CTs, ultrasounds and ridiculous amount of blood work) that my issue was gluten! (As well as vitamin deficiencies caused by prolonged gluten exposure).

The only treatment is a gluten-free diet. This has led me to a love affair with health and wellness. It’s truly been a blessing in disguise and I couldn’t be more thankful.

I have a feeling that after finals week I’m going to be posting more often about nutrition and food science. Yay!

Meditation and Your Brain

“Extensive practice involving sustained attention can lead to changes in brain structure. Here, we report evidence of structural differences in the lower brainstem of participants engaged in the long-term practice of meditation. Using magnetic resonance imaging, we observed higher gray matter density in lower brain stem regions of experienced meditators compared with age-matched nonmeditators. Our findings show that long-term practitioners of meditation have structural differences in brainstem regions concerned with cardiorespiratory control. This could account for some of the cardiorespiratory parasympathetic effects and traits, as well as the cognitive, emotional, and immunoreactive impact reported in several studies of different meditation practices.” – NeuroReport

(Long-term meditation is associated with increased gray matter density in the brain stem

Peter Vestergaard-Poulsena, Martijn van Beekc, Joshua Skewesa, Carsten R. Bjarkamb, Michael Stubberupd, Jes Bertelsend

and Andreas Roepstorff)

A little bit about the brain and mediation, skimming the surface.
I find this fascinating, yet not surprising at all.

There is a growing amount of research supporting that meditation can actually change the brain.

Change? What do you mean by that?

(I would write it all here, but that would take a while and I have some very necessary studying to do)

Below is a link to an interesting article from 1984 to start you off.

The Clinical Use of Mindfulness Meditation for the Self-Regulation of Chronic Pain

Practicing mindful meditation reduces stress on the entire body, effects brain wave patterns, effective in pain management  and even presents beneficial structural changes.

that’s super cool.

Infograph: Meditation and its Effects on Brainwaves
Infographic authored by Synchronicity Foundation for Modern Spirituality. To view the original post, Free Infographic: Meditation and its Effects on Brainwaves.
I love that I am taking my yoga teacher training in the midst of a Neuroscience grad program. I love what I’m learning and it is coming at what seems the perfect timing…24 years old.
I graduate from both programs on the same weekend, also a couple weeks before my 25th birthday.
I guess my gift to myself this year is doing something to help my development the best that I can before the “window of opportunity “closes (You know that window between 12-25 that people say is crucial, like if you don’t mature by then you’re going to be a weirdo for the rest of your life…right?)
Totally not true, but I used to have that fear.
The fear that I would miss out on the opportunity to become my best self.
I realize now how silly that was.
I’ve moved past that and I truly think I’m at a point where I’m enjoying the journey.
Meditation is helping me focus on the present, and in that place you have the power to always be your best self.
“And if at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again” – Aaliyah
(totally applicable to my attempt at teaching Sun Salutation today lol)
Tavia Rahki

Carla Lee’s 

Overall great taste and texture. I crumbled the burger into a taco meat substitute with sautéed red cabbage & baby bellas, sliced avocado, tomato, Annie’s papaya poppyseed dressing and the soft squeeze of a like slice.

Would I buy this product again?!

Yes!…butttt I’d rather make my own first and buy these for a clean fast meal fix.

Chocolate Chip Raisin Avocookies ( GF Vegan)

Had a blast making these vegan yummies.


2 cups of gluten free flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cacao powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 avocado

2 egg equivalent of egg replacer

1 cup of cane sugar

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup dark chocolate chips ( enjoy life brand)

1/2 cup of raisins

Preheat oven to 375.

– Mix dry ingredients first ( flour, baking soda, salt, cacao, cinnamon)

– in a separate bowl mix wet ingredients (avocado, sugar, egg replacement and vanilla)

– gradually add flour, then mix in the raisins and chocolate chips until it become a dough like consistency

– roll into medium size balls (in between the size of a ping pong ball and golf ball)

– bake 10-12 minutes and let cool for at least 5 minutes after removing from oven

– enjoy! (Would love to hear feedback!)

Tick Tock

feeling frustrations with time.
[the following is a note to myself]
wake up.
There are 24 hours in a day. Whatever that means to you is irrelevant.

If you want to be more productive, then consciously be aware of what you are doing in this very moment.
Like right now for instance….
You’re on your phone blogging about how you feel, right this instant; torn between studying and doing yoga….also going in and out of analyzing the time already spent earlier today, wondering how you could have made it a more productive day… (And this is where the real trouble comes in, wasting time thinking about how you waste time as a subconscious way to continue procrastinating) 
You really do overthink the simplest things sometimes.
Silly gyal.
Do a short yoga sesh, sit down, read your textbook and take notes. Go!
Alright then.
Let’s do it.

writing this to pull myself out of an “I don’t feel like doing anything because my mind is wandering, riding a nice wave of serious chill vibes”. Let’s see if it works 🙂

– Tavia Rahki

image from Buzzstrokes Watercolor Clocks (I want one, or I want to try making my own! Yay for a new DIY project!) 

Rolling Up

This refreshing meal took about 15 minutes to make and was oh so satisfying! Nom nom nom!

Rice pho noodles cooks  10 seconds in boiling water.

I chopped my filling ingredients while the water boiled.

Dip rice paper in water and lay flat on plate, place filling and roll the best you can, using the stretch of the wet rice paper to your advantage ! (You’ll get he hang of it…my first ones were pretty messy)

(I can’t have peanut sauce but if you can, go for it as a dip!)

Side note: just realize how much I love raw red cabbage 

Fine Tuning 

 Thank you to the creator of this amazing infographic. 

Happy Tuesday!