Category Archives: Raw

Day 5 & 6 – Night out and Raw Food Cooking Class

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Friday is our last practice day of the week before we have our 1 day break on Saturday. A number of us decided that it would be a good time for us to go out and explore the night life in Koh Samui, so after dinner we all bunched into Vadeem’s pick up truck/tuk tuk (since we ARE in Thailand after all). Since he was on his way out to collect some new arrivals to the studio who are staying for the weekend, we made plans to be dropped off at the Fisherman’s VIllage in Chaweng.

Yogi-in-training night out

Fisherman’s village, on a Friday night looks like Petaling Street on any given night. Hawkers selling hot food, home made ice cream, hand made jewelry and other curiosities line the street until the end where the beach is.   Jade, one of our yogi-in-training Vikasa family knew of a nice little place to go to at the end of the Fisherman’s stretch. It was a cozy little joint, with bean bags and low coffee tables placed right on the sand on the beach.

Our pretty art for the lantern

We saw some lanterns being lit up and set to fly into the sky in a bar nearby so Rodney somehow got the group one and we wrote our names on it before lighting it up and sending our intentions high up into the night sky

Vikasa TTC Sep 2012 lantern ready to be set free

The lantern certainly added a nice touch to the night as it gave us some symbolic way to show our appreciation of being here and on this training. And I don’t mean that in any fluffy, wishy washy that-was-a-nice-thing-to-say kind of way but rather in a way that we all seem to agree to. That we are all here for the same reasons, beyond things that are larger than just a series of coincidences.

Saturday morning, 7 of us arranged a raw cooking class with Ta, a woman who owns an organic cafe down near Lamai beach. We had heard of her from a fellow YIT who had attended a 7 day detox prior to the TTC and had had her own cooking class with Ta. As soon as we arrived, Ta greeted us at her lovely home that reminded me more of a modern version of a rumah kampung you would find these days in Malaysia. And what a warm woman she is. We were given two large bowls of raw almonds that were soaked overnight to peel and the 7 of us spent close to 90 minutes peeling it clean. We talked, and made jokes, and exchanged thoughts on what we feel of the course so far. I think this is what it must’ve feel like in the olden days when people get together to prepare and cook their food. Except in this case, it wasn’t so much ‘cooking’ but rather mixing together different ingredients to make really, really good food.

Raw Tom Yam

When we had arranged the class with Ta earlier in the week she had given us a list of items we could pick from that we wanted to learn to make. One of them was raw tom yam. Ta chopped open about 5 young coconut, for its juice and its flesh and put in the typical spices and herbs and vegetables you would normally have in a cooked tom yam. What is even more amazing is that Ta grows all her vegetables in her own garden. Aside from the nuts and other things which she can’t produce on her own like raw cacao powder, everything we made and ate today came straight from her garden. The raw tom yam tasted incredible. Despite my initial thoughts of not knowing what to expect as I have never eaten raw tom yam before, it tasted…AMAZEBALLS. Like real tom yam only 10 times better. The raw coconut flesh, the coconut water, the keffir lime leaves and bird’s eye chillies came together into what could possibly be THE best tom yam I have ever tasted in my entire life.

The next challenge is of course to replicate that when I get back home.

Towards the end of the day, we found ourselves at the north side of Chaweng to collect our laundry and do a little bit of shopping. I had told myself that there will be no shopping and whatever I needed I can get back in KL. But of course that never works. We sat down for coffee and juice after our little trip and found ourselves in really deep and engaging conversations, about the course and other things related to life. That is one of the things which I completely love about this course and the people on it. It’s like having easy, accessible deep conversation partners on tap. I had a big AHA moment today, like a lightbulb that has been turned on, thanks to Ryan (who is by the way, a life coach back in his ‘real’ life in Bali) and the 3 girls I was with.

My experience so far has been really personal and engaging. Both within the course and with the other fellow YITs which I feel I have come to love in less than a week. What a blessing it has been.

Day 3 – Let thy food be thy medicine

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It’s day 3 of Vikasa’s Teacher’s Training Course and I guess the intensity must be catching up with some of us. At the 2 hour break we have in between theory and evening practice, a lot of my fellow yogi-in-training (I am going to refer to them as YITs) passed on trips to Chaweng or Lamai for a power nap instead. I on the other hand got a much needed massage on my shoulders and back at the massage place from across the street. A 60min shoulder and back massage comes up to 300 bhat. Some of the YITs were saying you could get something similar for 180 bhat in the Chaweng but I figured with the cab fare to and fro it would’ve worked out the same.

In theory class we discussed about food. So many things came out of it, from Sattvic diet, to organic food to raw diet and fasting. It was useful to have a lot of us contributing our own knowledge to the class and others to bring up very important and valid questions.

I went around Vikasa during breaks to try to snap as many photos as possible before the sun got up too high. And these are what I got:

View from the shala

Chilling out by the pool during breaks

 

The first 2 teachers from the TTC lineup – Kosta, owner of Vikasa and George

The view from the top point of Vikasa before morning practice begins

 

Market of everything on a Sunday morning

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There is a farmers market that I have been passing by for a number of months since my parents moved houses. Farmers market (or Pasar Tani in Malay) takes place in almost every town around Malaysia. Each varying in sizes and usually held either on Thursday, Saturday or Sunday mornings depending on which town you happen to be in. My appreciation for fresh produce market happened during my undergraduate years in Melbourne when I would walk the neat aisle of South Melbourne Market and admire the vibrant fabolous colors of fresh vegetables and fruits, and when I moved into the heart of the city in my final year, Victoria Market became my weekly haunt for fresh ingredients. It was also here where I was introduced to organic produce and how it is different from all the others stalls selling similar items. Later on when I decided to complete my Masters degree in Brisbane, I began to understand the concept behind a ‘true’ farmers where you are buying directly from the farmer who grew those produce thus eliminating the price hike that usually happens when there is a middle-man involved in the process. One of Brisbane’s farmers market which I love and would happily wake up early in the morning and go through multiple-transfer and modes of public transportation for is the Farmers Market in West End. If you ever associated farmers market as the true hippie, make-love-not-war type of congregation minus the illegal substance, this would be it.

That, plus if you find a friendly, happy seller behind the stalls, you get to strike up amazing conversations on food and how those produce came about. Nothing like knowing exactly where your food comes from!

Back at home and every Sunday, the roads surrounding the Melawati Stadium in Shah Alam will be filled with cars notoriously parked on either side of the roads and families jay walking across towards the vast car park area around the stadium lined with rows and rows of blue-topped stalls. Don’t ask me why they don’t choose to just park their cars in the proper parking area (Ah Malaysians, we are such a creative bunch sometimes). Last night, I convinced my sister that we should at least have a look, because we happen to live so close by and it’s kind of pathetic if we keep experiencing these mad traffic not knowing what brings the crowd back here every single Sunday without fail.

So off we went, at the ungodly hour of 7:30 in the morning to beat the crowd and while the weather is still slightly cool. And boy, have we been missing out! Most of the stalls selling fresh produce were already up by then, so was the ones selling hot, cooked (and not always necessarily healthy) food for breakfast. The term ‘market of everything’ popped in my head as we zig-zagged our way from stalls to stalls.

From fresh colorful vegetables, fruits and herbs..

to hot kebabs …

to mountains of dried anchovies …

and even live fishes to add to your aquarium!

I hope these pretty little babies don't run out of oxygen anytime soon..

The photos obviously doesn’t do justice to the real thing itself like how the tiny fishes in the plastic bag were really colorful and pretty and all you can see from it are just.. numbered plastic bags with water. I was walking and trying to snap photos from my Blackberry while holding on to all the stuff we bought along the way. Next time around, we’ve decided we’ll bring one of those trolleys that you pull along from behind.

While we were there, I bought a whole bunch of fresh bok choys, kailan, and gotu kola or penny wort (pegaga). It makes me really happy to see fresh produce being sold, it reminds me there is still hope against the canned, preserved and pasteurized food industry that has become so convenient and mainstream these days. Now I’m tossing between wanting to make some green smoothie with a handful of each thrown into it, some fresh coconut flesh and bananas or just boiling some of the gotu kola to make a nice, cooling tea. What do you think?

First unofficial class begins today

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I had my first stint at teaching yoga this morning. It started because our usual weekend class at the studio was cancelled over the Christmas – New Year holidays which means 2 full weeks of no stretching, bending and self-pretzelling into positions that you won’t normally do on a daily basis. Z, my best friend of 14 years, who just got into yoga less than a month and didn’t want to see the momentum die down over the long holidays came over – bright and early at 8 am in the morning.

We unrolled our mats on the grassy patch near the pool area, pulling a blind eye to 2 men seated on the deck chairs and proceeded with our sun salutations for 10 minutes (yes, it was timed!). 1 hour and a half can really fly by in between correcting poses, and counting down 30 seconds each time. I think those few breathless ‘thank you for torturing me’ comments meant that I did a pretty good job for a first time (yet to be certified) yogi. That experience of teaching for me is far more humbling than having to admit that I have a lifelong fear of breaking my neck in any inverted poses.

Which brings me to the very reason why I decided to start this blog. Timely as it is (hey new year’s resolution!), it is also part of a deal I had agreed on in order to qualify for some discounts possibly because there is an inherent cheapskate in me that will always try to milk the cheapest deal I can find. More on this “deal” once things are confirmed – I am equally as excited to share! 🙂 I’ve also been intensifying my interest in healthy eating and raw food as of late, experimenting with a few green smoothies, salads, and juices much more than I ever did in the previous years. So this is one way for me to keep track of those odd bits of recipes.

Back to our eventful morning, we ended with a series of Bhastrika Pranayama. Back upstairs, Z watched on rather questioningly as I juiced some carrots, and put in whole leaves of bok choy, alfalfa, kale and a banana in the blender. And once I served her with the concoction of green smoothie, and fending off questions like “will it taste like banana?”, “are you sure I won’t taste the bok choy in there?”, “is it sweet? like you added honey right?” – I was met with a satisfied “i taste the banana!!” which I think means “I can drink this! Not bad!”

She made a comment at the end, which affirms my thoughts for a while “I think you should really do this, screw all these corporate sh*t, you should be doing this instead”. Maybe she is right. And with that, she has been signed on as my first unofficial student. Happy Holidays every one!