Category Archives: Nutrition

Fresh, Fabulous Food: Asparagus

In the months of May and June, shoots of asparagus spears begin to peek through sandy and salty soil as asparagus season begins in Ontario.

It takes three years for the asparagus root, planted 8 inches below the ground, to be mature enough for cultivation. After this period, farmers begin cutting the spears in mid-to-late April until July.

“Asparagus is all underground,” says Ontario farmer Michelle Creighton. “When little pieces come up they can grow up to six inches if there has been rain or if it is sunny and warm.”

When the spears are ready, farmers follow the shoot and cut each piece individually below the soil on an angle. “You can’t just slash all the way across, because there are new growths below the soil and you never know where they are growing,” says Creighton.

After the season ends, farmers like Creighton will allow the shoots to grow into a tall flowering perennial that can grow up to six feet tall and produces bell-shaped flowers.

Michelle Creighton and her asparagus crop photo: Barbora Simek


“I believe people just have preferences,” says Creighton. “Because right now, when this Ontario asparagus is fresh, it’s all good, right down to the end of the stock. Sometimes in the winter when it comes from who-knows-where, you have to lose half the stock because it is woody. But local asparagus won’t be woody, it’s all tender right now.”

Selection Tips

  • Try to pick a bunch where the spears are all the same diameter, so that they will have the same cooking time
  • Look to see that the tips are tight, tips showing signs of flowering can indicate the asparagus is old
  • Look for bright and firm spears

Storing Method

  1. Wrap asparagus in a damp towel, place it in a ziplock bag and store it in the crisper of your fridge
  2. Place up-right in 1cm of water and store in the fridge


  • Wash spears to remove any sand that may have become caught in the tips
  • During winter months remove woody ends with a knife, find the woody ends by holding the each end of the spear in a your hands and slowly bend, the spear will break where the woody-ness begins
  • Some prefer to peel the skin off the bottom of spears

Michelle’s Favorite Asparagus Recipe:

Asparagus on Toast

Steam asparagus to your liking

Place the spears on open-faced toast

Sprinkle with shavings of Asiago cheese

Add a squeeze of lemon juice and pepper



Filed under Daily Feature, Nutrition

The Skinny on Kombucha

by Barbora Simek

At OMB, we’ve been drinking Kombucha for years finding it helps increase energy, and awareness and balance moods. We wanted to find out what the real deal was behind the drink that many Bikram Yoga practitioners are hooked on, and here is what we found…

The History…

No one really knows where Kombucha came from. Reports of the fermented drink go back thousands of years, the Chinese, Koreans, Japanese and Russians all created versions of Kombucha although no one has conclusively identified the roots of the drink.

A Kombucha 'SCOBY'

The process of making it….

It all starts with a beige rubbery pancake-like culture called ‘SCOBY’ (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts). The SCOBY is added to sweetened green or black tea and left to ferment for approximately two weeks. As the ‘SCOBY’ feeds on the sugar in the tea, it releases a cocktail of organic acids, enzymes and amino acids.

The end result…

After two weeks (or longer if you want a fizzy drink), the ‘SCOBY’ is removed, along with its ‘daughter’ (a smaller version that forms and can be grown into a Kombucha culture.) Flavors are added to create the drink you consume off your store shelves.

Does actually it work? Continue reading


Filed under Daily Feature, Nutrition

Hot Yoga, Hot Talk: Mary Jarvis on why you DONT need water in class

Last week, senior Bikram Yoga Teacher Mary Jarvis shared her “Dairy of a Yogini” full of wisdom about Bikram Yoga and discipline. Most of us were inspired, but others were hesitant to heed some of Mary’s techniques such as not drinking water in class. This week, Mary returned to quell some concerns and set the record straight. We hope you too will join the discussion!

February 5th, 2010

YogiJ wrote:

It is hazardous to one’s health not to take in liquids over a 90 minute Bikram class. It amazes me that anyone adheres to this ancient thought process. The body needs liquid to operate, and furthermore it needs more than just water. I love Bikram Yoga, but hopefully all Bikramites can get into the 21st century and realize that fluids are essential.

February 10th 2010

Mary Jarvis responds:

Dear Yogij,

No offense …but you are wrong…..
There is nothing hazardous about not drinking water in this class.

Mary Javis in full expression of Locust Pose. Photo: Global Yoga

There are five reasons why people drink water in class…..

1) They do not know any better……someone just said….”bring water to class”….

2) Lack of discipline and concentration and focus “in great relaxation at the same time” while practicing.

3)Boredom……they cannot maintain stillness “IN the posture” and “NOT in the posture”

4) It is EMOTIONAL….. They think they are going to DIE if they do not “Hydrate in Class”. You were probably already “dehydrated” before you came to class anyway…,wine,liquor,processed food,etc. It all is already stealing fluids from your body!

Let me tell you that, depending on what science book you read, if you drink 4-6 ounces of water in class, it will take 15 to 50 minutes for the body to absorb it. It sits in your stomach like a pastrami sandwich and you body must go into digestion to deal with it. Digestion takes a lot of energy that should be used for the yoga!

It took Lance Armstrong 2 days to recover from dehydration in the Alps in one of the Tour De France that he rode….and they had him hooked up to an IV of Fluids!

Don’t you notice how many people tank around triangle or cobra?

Their energy dropped right after the water guzzling!…Ha Ha Ha and then they will blame it on the HEAT in Class! So Silly!

5) Which is the biggest reason of all…..
….they do NOT know how to BREATHE! Yet…..

Yes everyone breathes…thank God it is the Automatic Nervous System that keeps us breathing!

Can you imagine if we had to consciously tell ourselves to breathe EVERY moment of our lives? Ha Ha Ha! I know I would be dead by now.
But, with our yoga, we have the opportunity to live in the present moment EVERY moment in class. We have the opportunity to “go beyond nature,” in every posture, every side, every set, every time, every class. And if we get really good at it, we can start to be and live that way outside in the real world!

When I take class, I breathe once in a posture. One slowwwwwwww inhale and one slowwwww exhale. I am not holding my breath. I am in great relaxation “IN the posture,” NOT in the posture -going into the posture -coming out of the posture. I am not trying to do the posture. I AM the posture!

I do not emotionally struggle with ANYTHING in class when I practice.

Even now at the time of this post, I am carrying extra weight on my body after suffering through a couple of difficult personal years. Let me tell you when I practice I am NOT suffering in my extra heavy body because of my great discipline of breath.

I feel neither heat nor cold in the yoga room. I do not have to “deal” with them. I do not know they exist when I practice. I am beyond the temperature of the room. I am suspended animation. I am the Present Moment.

I do not have to throw an emotional hissy-fit about the room temperature because it does not exist to me. It is NOT yoga.

If you want to race getting oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen into the body, I am game.

You with your water….me with my breath.

OOOOOPS I already won!

I just took a big inhale while you were reaching for your water.

You have a Middle Man of digestion and I have Pure Prana.

Oxygen carries Prana, Chi, Life Force, call it what you want. It is all I am looking for.

Please discern the difference between ‘House Rules” and “Yoga Rules”. House Rules keep new people in check, but do not think that it is fundamental to practicing yoga. Any kind of yoga for that matter! I just happen to be grateful for Bikram and this Yoga that I practice so I am talking about it.

Yessssss… a pregnant girl should have water nearby, an insulin diabetic, etc….I know the extreme exceptional cases.

I am almost 26 years practicing this yoga and no offense to anyone, seriously, but I know what I am talking about with this water thing.

This is not a debate. I know I am right.

If you disagree with me you probably fall into one of the five categories I have listed.

I have high hopes for you and your practice in the future.

You are on your way!

Stopping to drink water stops people from living in the present moment in yoga classes.
I do not think you are a worse student because you might drink water…

You just might be the only one moving around in a class at my school !

Ha Ha Ha!

Yoga J, Yes….for sure this is an ancient practice… ancient as the Earth.

I am okay with that.


Filed under About Bikram Yoga, Bikram Yoga Issues, Guest Blog, Mary Jarivs, Nutrition, Tips and Tricks

The Skinny on Coconut Water

Over the past few years coconut water has become to Bikram Yoga what cosmopolitans are to socialites. Whether you sip, chug or nurse your tetra-pak, here are the reasons why picking up some coconut water after class is always a good idea.

What is coconut water?

Before the meat in a coconut begins to grow (about 7 months), young coconuts are filled with water that has an extraordinary chemical composition that is naturally beneficial for the body. As coconuts age, they begin to produce oil and milk which are heavy in healthy saturated fats (these are not present in coconut water).

Contains 5 essential electrolytes:

  • calcium (40mg/330ml) 4% of your daily average
  • magnesium (25mg/330ml) 6% of your daily average
  • phosphorus (17mg/ 330ml) 2% of your daily average
  • sodium (60mg / 330ml) 2% of your daily average
  • potassium (670mg/ 330ml) 19% of your daily average and more than one banana (which has about 460mg of potassium) and 15 times the potassium of a regular sports drink

Other Goodies:

  • fat free
  • no added sugars
  • low in cholesterol
  • safe for children

Fun Facts

  • Is an isotonic beverage, which means it contains the same levels of electrolytes found in human blood
  • 330 ml (one small tetra-pak) of coconut water has the same short-term hydrating effects as drinking 1 liter of water and eating a banana
  • According to medical research, coconut water has been shown to effectively help in dissolving kidney stones
  • Coconut water can be taken intravenously into the blood stream to re-hydrate the body, and was used intravenously in WWII when IV supplies were low
  • Coconut water has saved countless lives in tropical and developing countries, as it is more effective than regular water at re-hydrating the body quickly and providing nutrients for the body to fight infection
  • In medical studies, women drinking coconut water have reported a boost in their sex life
  • Potassium and magnesium has been shown to reduce high blood pressure, the FDA has found that coconut water is so effective at reducing heart attack in heart disease patients that it allows for coconut water to carry the claim “may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.”
  • Is the highest natural source of cytokinins, a plant growth hormone that has been proven to have anti-aging effects in the body, benefiting the skin and reducing the risk of degenerative and age related diseases
  • hydrates the skin, nails and hair
  • excellent, natural hangover cure

Coconut Water Recipes from Zico:


1 cup mixed berries
1 ripe banana
1 scoop protein powder
1 pak of natural coconut water

Mix all ingredients together in a blender using fresh or frozen fruit. Yields approximately 16 oz. Enjoy!
3oz ZICO mango
2oz vodka
twist of lemon
+ 2oz gin
+ twist of lime

Add ingredients into a shaker filled with ice, Shake, strain and garnish into a chilled martini glass. Enjoy!
Find more recipes at

*Coconut water is available at most studios in the GTA for $3

**OMB wants to know where you get your coconut water (and for how much) for our upcoming Toronto Coconut Water Map! Comment and let us know!! **


Summary Article by Dr. Lita Lee based on the research of Dr. Bruce Fife

Macalalag, E.V., Jr. and Macalalag A.L. Bukolysis: young coconut water renoclysis for urinary stone dissolution Int Surg 1987:72(4):247

ONE Coconut Water, Zico Coconut Water, Vita Coco Coconut Water


Filed under Benefits, Nutrition, Tips and Tricks