Food La La: Carrot ginger soup and yoga
BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser
As a new vegan, I’ve been connecting with fellow vegans to learn from and trade recipes. I love hearing their stories, so I thought it would be interesting to feature some of them on my blog.
I interviewed yoga teacher Laura Mary Flynn, originally from Massachusetts, who came to Hawaii for graduate school and received her master’s degree in Public Health. She fell in love with Hawaii and decided to make it her home. She also fell in love with yoga and now teaches full-time at Power Yoga Hawaii in Kahala as well as private lessons.
“I teach power vinyasa flow,” she said. “Each breath in the practice is accounted for, every inhale and exhale has an intention. It is generally a sweaty practice, one where you really find a balance of strength and flexibility.”
I became acquainted with Flynn through her weekly yoga at the beach class at Magic Island. Beach yoga is awesome! Being out in nature adds to the relaxation and stress relief that yoga provides. The sunset view is always amazing, too.
Practicing yoga opened Flynn’s eyes to a different way of living. It taught her to live in the moment with an open heart and never take anything for granted.
“I became a yoga teacher three years ago because I was absolutely hooked and wanted to learn more and deepen my practice,” she said. “I became certified and through the process found I loved teaching and realized that I had a lot to share.
“I really found my voice, and fine-tuned my ability to speak my mind, and felt incredibly empowered to share my love with others in the form of yoga.”
Here’s the rest of our conversation:
HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER: What inspired you to become a vegan?
LAURA MARY FLYNN: I became a vegan eight years ago as a college student. I was primarily eating vegetarian at school simply because I was always deterred from handling raw meat and cooking it myself.
The tipping point for me was when I read a book one summer that discussed diet and how eating vegetarian or vegan benefits both your health and the environment. I went cold turkey literally and figuratively (in one day).
I’ve always been motivated to be my most vibrant self mentally and physically and for me eating vegan was key.
SA: Where are your favorite places to eat?
LF: I am an ambassador for Jugo Life Juice and I love their raw cold-pressed local and organic juices.
I love eating at Greens & Vines; their food is jaw droppingly yummy. When I am on the north shore, I love stopping at the Beat Box Café in Haleiwa.
I am a regular at Down to Earth’s deli, they offer all vegetarian food and groceries.
SA: What do you like about being vegan?
LF: I like that I feel fresh, clean, light, and energized from my diet. It truly feels like fuel to keep me going, and moving with lightness in my natural state.
I notice when I don’t eat well, I feel heavy, bogged down, and not myself. Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect. I definitely have my vice foods. And even though they might be vegan, doesn’t mean they are healthy.
I am a fan of eating what you want to eat. I happen to eat overall a pretty darn healthy diet.
SA: What are your biggest challenges as a vegan?
LF: My biggest challenges as a vegan…that’s a tough one. Currently, I really have none. I think in college as a two-sport athlete who was in need of a lot of calories and on the road for games every week with my whole team, packing and preparing in advance enough calories and yummy food was a challenge.
At the present, I have a really awesome situation where my boyfriend and most of my friends like vegetarian food or are vegetarian themselves, so I never run into the typical social issues of going out to eat. I am in a very health-conscious crowd in my yoga network, and life as a vegan here in Hawaii is a breeze.
Additionally, most places today offer vegan options, so eating out is no problem.
SA: Any advice or tips for people thinking about going vegan?
LF: Back when I started eating vegan, there was one vegan cookbook at my local bookstore; now there are about 20 varieties of both cookbooks and informative lifestyle books.
Don’t go in blind to the diet, learn what foods you should add in and then play around with recipes, see what you like and forget the rest. Enjoy!
FLYNN ALSO shared one of her favorite recipes, a creamy and tasty carrot ginger soup. Of course, I had to try it out so I made it for dinner a few days ago.
I love spicy soups — well, spicy everything! — so I added Hawaiian red chili peppers from my garden and lots of cayenne pepper. I also added some garlic to kick it up a notch. But you can add whatever seasonings you like based on your taste. The lemon and ginger really bring out the flavor of the soup.
» 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
» 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
» 1.5 pounds carrots, coarsely chopped
» 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and chopped
» 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
» Pink Himalayan Salt
» 5 cups vegetable broth, homemade or store-bought, or water
» Spices: cayenne or paprika/turmeric/chili powder
» 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
» 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the carrots, potato, ginger, and salt to taste. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the broth and spices to taste, and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until the veggies are soft (30-40 minutes).
3. Puree the soup mixture in the pot with an immersion blender or in a blender or food processor. This might require mixing in batches and adding additional broth to maintain desired consistency.
4. Pour mixture back to pot (if necessary), and reheat until hot. Stir in lemon to taste, adjusting seasonings as well if necessary. Pour soup into bowls and add desired garnish. Enjoy!