Co-authors and yogis, Kristen and Liz share with us their yoga practice in the kitchen...
LIVE / liv / - to celebrate life
YUM / yəm / - to describe as delicious
(also a mantra/sound to open the heart center)
RYB: Who are the creative forces behind Live Yum? Tell us a bit about your story/individual + collective strengths:
LY: Us! We are yoga student and teacher, friends, and neighbors. I, Kristen, developed my regular yoga practice with Liz at River Yoga, where Liz has taught for nearly 20 years. We developed the idea to create this book in my kitchen. We were cooking a delicious meal after a yoga practice and Liz casually proposed that we write a book about our yoga and food experiences. I immediately took that on as a real mission. We had half of the book written within a few months and also a publishing deal. I would say my strengths are a passion for cooking, yoga, and writing and also a drive to take action. Liz and I share a real love for the creative process and desire to continually learn and explore. I, Liz, have explored yoga for many years, and wanted to share the exquisite depth of the yoga practice, and how the gifts on the mat might simply transcend into our daily routines. With a love of fine art, I wanted to create a visually beautiful “work of art” through imagery in nature and from nature. Kristen, our playful wordsmith, was able to weave together the subtle if not magical connections between our practices on the mat and in our kitchens, helping to create our story.
RYB: What are your main motives for creating a health food cookbook?
LY: To us, the book is more about how the lessons from our mat inspire healthy practices for mind, body, soul, which include our cooking and eating practices. The lessons we’ve learned from the mat—gratitude, patience, exploration, nourishment, non-harming—are lessons we celebrate in the kitchen. It’s about creating healthy food that nurtures a healthy body, a healthy community and, ultimately, a healthy planet.
RYB: Where are the recipes in Live Yum coming from?
LY: I, Liz, have been a vegetarian since my late teens and have raised my children as vegetarians. Some of the recipes I brought to the table are inspired by those favorite meals I’ve served to my family and friends over the years. And, I, Kristen did not grow up as a vegetarian, but have always celebrated the culinary process. I grew up dining out a lot with my family. So, some of the flavors and ideas that I brought to the table have been inspired by cooking styles, textures, flavor combinations, and spices that I have had before, but they’ve been modified for a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle and also a home cook. And, together, we’ve really been able to hone our recipe flavors to hopefully delight our readers.
RYB: How do you integrate holistic health into this cookbook?
LY: We both agree that listening to common sense and mindfulness are key components to long lasting health and wellness. We speak in the book frequently about listening to our inherent wisdom and the student and teacher within. Again, we believe the lessons that we develop on our mats help to organically lead us to better health and wellness in our everyday lives. Each recipe introduction highlights lessons of health and wellness for lasting wellbeing.
RYB: What are the benefits of cooking vs. buying food out?
LY: When you cook at home, you know what is in your food and you know you made it with, or have had the opportunity to make it with, love. Cooking at home also provides the opportunity to use local, organic, and all-natural ingredients whenever possible and to modify flavors to your individual tastes. It also is a great outlet for creativity and playfulness. That being said, it’s also great to dine out. There’s so much inspiration that may be gleaned from expert chefs and foods from different cultures. Also, thankfully, more and more chefs and restaurants now are explaining on the menus where their ingredients come from and why that’s important to them.
RYB: What is unique to Live Yum vs. any other cookbook?
LY: For the Love of Food and Yoga is first and foremost a celebration of mindfulness and exploration. When you take a lesson from your mat, such as embracing gratitude, into the kitchen, you create a space for more enjoyment and creativity in the cooking process and eating experience. You learn to celebrate everything from shopping to cleaning up. And, you bring lessons of wellness into the kitchen that are far from fads. The lessons from the mat that we bring into the kitchen are ‘non-diets’ that will forever work.
RYB: What are you top 3 recommendations for people who want to create healthier lifestyle shifts at home?
- Listen to common sense and your inner teacher.
- Pay attention to your breath.
- Celebrate the process… There are always opportunities to season your meals with laughter and bless your messes.
RYB: Dreams/visions for the beautiful foundation you have created through Live Yum?
LY: Part of the process that has been so rewarding is making connections with like-minded people in the food and yoga realms. We’d love to continuing building these friendships and enjoying the creative process. We’re passionate about developing more recipes that nourish the mind, body, and soul, and also continuing to discover how people around the world explore ‘food as medicine’ and the ancient philosophies and traditions of yoga. After that, we’re not quite sure what will come next and that’s exciting!