The most violent weapon on earth is the table fork.
-Mahatma Gandhi

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Raw Soul Restaurant in Harlem: Rockin' Parting Recipies.


This is a little video of some food from the "Raw Soul" restaurant in Harlem, New York.  I always meant to make it there, but since it's a little bit of a trek from my "Lower East Side" Vegan Utopia, I never completed the journey.  Just found out that it is closing, but they are going to be selling their food to a greater audience now.  So sad about the closing, but perhaps with packaging their food, it may have a greater audience.  They did leave some "Farewell Gifts".  Here are links to "Raw Soul".  Lots of their recipes, e-books, in PDF form as a parting gift.  Fasting to desserts.  Something for everyone.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jivamukti with Jessica, Live Music Yoga Fridays with Jessica Stickler.

    I was so blessed to be able to attend a Friday night Jivamukti Class, fully equipped with live music and an incredible ambiance, with Jessica Stickler.  The first thing I do after New York trips are booked, is to go to the Jivamukti Yoga calendar and see what classes I can make.  Their location is steps from Union Square and their practice rooms are like churches.  Beautiful floors, high ceilings, colorful walls, lighting, windows, lots of wood, adorned with altars and photos of past and present gurus and spiritual teachers.  A lot of people start doing Jivamukti and then flirt with veganism.  I went the other direction.  I started Jivamukti because it aligned with my veganism and it is integral to the practice.  They also incorporate Nada Yoga (Sound Yoga, think hip and varied music), Chanting (a room vibrating from Sanskrit Mantras belted out by all walks of life), Dharma Talks demonstrating principles from the Bhagavad Gita and Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, Pranayama (breath control), and an invigorating asana practice.  This is not your Iyengar Yoga.  The emphasis is not on the perfect alignment or that you do asanas first, pranayama in later stages.  It's not Bikram or Ashtanga.  You don't do the same class over and over again until you complete it and move to the next level.  Jivamukti is "Yoga Church".  You get all elements of yoga in one class.  

    It's clear that their philosophy is to merge with "The Divine".  Whenever I first enter Jivamukti, as a midwesterner, I am always a little overwhelmed with the "hipness" of it's clientele.  Of course it's in the middle of the city and you have dancers, actors, hard core yogis, and the movers & shakers of the world.  But once you enter their practice area, and 5 minutes into class, that is all forgotten.  There isn't a lot of "fluff" in their practice.  The teachers tend to get to the nuts & bolts of yoga, the cessation of chitter chatter in your mind, very quickly.  It's a no BS arena.  Your "Prana" pants or "LuluLemon" designer yoga gear means nothing here.  Although half of the people in the room have perfect bodies, the Jivamukti peeps emphasize that the body is just a "coat" to be worn.  You wear it, you rid yourself of it when it is no longer useful.  It is a covering on your bones and has no bearing on your inner life.  So don't get too attached to that thing!!  Which is a really PERFECT teaching in the middle of New York City, land of runway models and fashion galore.

Listen to this group!  Try to make out the lyrics.  They are SILLY! and really fun.  Jessica collaborated with fellow Jiva Teachers, Matthew Lombardo and Christian Montegut.  The guys provided the musical groove and Jessica provided the mental/physical one.

    I had no idea what to expect for the Friday night class with live music.  It looks like Jessica Stickler does live music classes on most Friday nights, always with different music groups.  Jessica is a beautiful gal, incredibly radiant, and with a "lightness" to her that is really refreshing.  I overheard her telling someone before the class that she had never worked with this musical group (fellow Jiva teachers Matthew Lombardo and Christian Montegut) before and was a little nervous as she was doing this on the spot.  But she was so excited about it and embraced the opportunity.  She created a really inclusive, comfortable space and worked with the musicians beautifully.  The musicians were great, creating a casual, fun vibe and they did some funny improvisations also.  During a few difficult poses we hear these repetitions of "This is so Hard.  And I Paid for this??".  Over and over!!  This made the class laugh, while trying to hold some pose in which  I think we were all "suffering" a bit. 

 The room was dimly lit and the light coming through the window was magnificent.  Jessica sat at the front of the room, in front of the Altar.  Cars honking outside.  So much noise, commotion, hurriedness outside on the street, yet so much inner calm in this place.  This class had a lot of different types of people in in (not like an afternoon class I had taken there, which was very small, and most of the students could do free handstands!!!!) and it was very clearly about "the experience" and not about doing Downward Dog 50 times in a row.  I was in bliss for the entire 90 minutes.  You have to be careful leaving this place because you are totally zenned out and then you go onto the streets of Broadway and have to focus on not getting struck by a car crossing the street!  Jessica's class will put you in another place, one you won't be in any hurry to leave.  Jivamukti rounds up different musicans each week for this rockin' class.  If you are in New York, or just visiting, you have to look up Jivamukti's schedule and give it a try! And of course take a tea or vegan lunch at the attached "Jivamuktea" cafe.  And if you don't live close, then subscribe to Jivamukti with Jessica on itunes (FREE) and do your yoga at home and prepare your own little vegan brunch afterwards!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Gokul Delmar Loop: Kosher Korma and Vegan Indian Nights in St. Louis

Vegetarian and Vegan Indian Food.  6101 Delmar.
Delmar Loop, St. Louis, MO (there is a second location at Page Ave.)

Gokul.  Vegan & Vegetarian Indian Eats.
Delmar. KOSHER-Vaad Hoeir. 
Open 7 days a week 11:00 am to 9:00 pm
6101 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO. 63112

Gokul Indian Restaurant finally has started their Vegan (and Kosher) Monday nights at their Delmar Loop Location.  I wrote about our first trip to the new Delmar Gokul a fews weeks ago.  While they have a veggie buffet every single day, the 2nd and 4th Mondays they pull out all the stops and make EVERYTHING vegan!  So you can get your fill of Korma, Saag Sin Paneer, Rice Pudding, Naan, and all the other dishes that generally aren't suitable for vegans.  They are also ALL KOSHER.  We went the first Vegan Monday and the owner was still experimenting with the ingredients for a few items, substituting soymilk for coconut milk that week because he was still searching for a Kosher Coconut milk that produced his desired results.  The Page Location is not certified Kosher, so he can use his "preferred" brand at that location.  He expects his full menu will be ready soon as well, as just a few of those items he is also still working out all of the details to meet the Kosher Credentials.  Everything was delicious and they make a great addition to the Loop which sorely lacks any type of Indian Cuisine.  It's in a great location and they are open 7 days a week (just like their Page location).  However, if you are want the whole "Bollywood" experience complete with deities & Indian Music, then you might prefer the Page Location.  The "eats" at Delmar are the same, it's just a little "less Indian" in it's decor.  But they just opened so who knows??  Maybe they will be hosting Kirtanas in a few months!

Vegan Korma
Gokul, Delmar Loop
Saint Louis


Channa Masala
Yellow Daal

Vegan Korma

"Potato Chips"

"Potato Chips"

Vegan Korma


Dal Makhani

Chana Masala
Vegan Buffet
Gokul, St. Louis

Lemons, Tomtatoes with Spices.

Cilantro Chutney

Tamarind Chutney



Vegan Saag (Spinach)

Yellow Dal

Vegan Buffet
Delmar Gokul

Indian Vegan Buffet.

Vegan Buffets started March 14, 2011.
Delmar Gokul has Vegan Buffet the 2nd and 4th Monday Evenings Each Month.

This night some of the entrees were Chana Masala, Vegan Saag, Dal Makhani, and Yellow Dal.
All Vegan & Ghee Free.

Potatoes with Peppers.

Main Dining Area.

"Cream of Wheat" adorned with cashews.

Vegan Naan Bread.

Second Dining Area.

Second Dining Area.

Second Dining Area.

Gokul.  Delmar "East Loop"

Gokul Menu-Click the Menus to enlarge them so you can read about their tasty treats!

Gokul 100% Vegetarian (The Loop) on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pura Vegan. Raw, Vegan. Cosmic Foods Soon Hit Debaliviere Neighborhood.

Click to 720p for HD.
 To see hours and opening date go to the Pura Vegan Website

Raw Vegan Fruit Cobbler
Pura Vegan to debut April 2011
307 Belt, Saint Louis, MO. 

"Sun Pasta" Zucchini Pasta with SunDried Tomato Marinara.

Gluten Free Goodness.

Supergreens Elixir.
Dandelion, Kale, Spinach, Chard, Banana.

6 Layer Raw Vegan Burger.
Pura Vegan

6 Layer Raw Vegan Burger.
Walnuts, Veggies, Herbs.

Raw Vegan Fruit Cobbler.

Raw Vegan Fruit Cobbler
Pura Vegan
307 Belt, Saint Louis, MO.
     I have been totally blessed to have had some of the best vegan eats in the last month, and among them was Pura Vegan's Lucisous Live Food.  Although I will eat any vegan food that is healthy and gluten-free, I prefer uncooked, raw foods.  And I got some of the best raw food I have yet tried, at a sneak peek gathering at Pura Vegan, located at 307 Belt in the Debaliviere neighborhood of St.  Louis.  The Vegan & Veggie Support Group (founded by "No-Diet" Natalie, an up and coming veggie nutritional goddess) organized a gathering at Pura Vegan this March, and I was lucky enough to be one of the first 30 to RSVP, as the spots filled up quickly!  Pura Vegan is in a hip neighborhood close to the Loop, The Central West End, and just steps away from Forest Park.  Think Running groups in the morning, and post run "Magic Mushroom Coffee" and Green Elixirs!  This place is great!!  The owners, A.J. & Leah,  aren't the breatharian, zero fat zealous raw foodists types.  They are a hip young couple living in the real world.  While Pura Vegan is serious about it's healthy eats, they aren't "stuffy",  pretentious, over over-priced like a lot of raw food joints.  There isn't that uber anorexic, supplement promoting, exclusivity vibe here.  Just great eats, healthy raw sweet treats, and fun owners who "take themselves lightly".  Making raw food fun! They also offer all sorts of vegan & raw food preparation classes, for those of you who would like to be a raw food flirt at home!  (**See also more of PuraVegan now that it's opened!)

Pura Vegan Counter.

A.J.'s Special Cosmic Coffee Blend.

  While you can get greens & sprouts, this place is offering much more! Dehydrated Crackers concocted from goodies like Flax, Seeds, and Nuts, Nut Cheezes, Elixirs packing in pounds of nutrition in one glass, and Cosmic Desserts that have "Cashew" cremes (AMAZING!!), cacao, and Cheezecakes.  You will walk out of this place both full and nourished and you won't have that guilt an hour later, "Why did I eat so much food?  Ick, I shouldn't have eaten SO much of that greasy, floury food!".  Nope, you will be planning your next visit to Pura Vegan because you are blissed out on Raw Cacao Balls!  The Veggie group was great......comprised of Vegans, Veggie Flirts, Runners, Rawbies, and friends of all of the above.  Some of my favorite conversation excerpts included "clogged chakras" and "but wouldn't everyone want to be a primary?".  Super fun peeps.

 I don't know whether it was the Contact High from being around so many other high raw peeps, the Cosmic Coffee Blend that owner A.J. created, or the "Power of the Prana", but it was impossible not to soak up the energy of all the life energy permeating the cafe that afternoon.  Pura Vegan will hopefully make their debut in about a month so maybe the end of April.  They are ready to go, but just waiting for "red tape" stuff from the city to give the "Green Light" to start sharing their "Life Food" with the world.  You must make a trip!  (Read PuraVegan Opens with their menu & some more pictures from their opening)

PuraVegan on Urbanspoon