iron-booster unbrownie

After tracking my nutrients for a couple months now the trends are unmistakable (if one can believe the USRDA… a big “if”, I realize) — not enough potassium or iron in my diet. Today I gave myself a new creative task to invent a palatable treat-like thing that would boost my iron.
iron-boosters This is what I came up with — entirely edible and possibly even really tasty if you’re willing to boost the fat a bit.

A few notes to temper expectations:
This recipe is sweetened only with roasted bananas and molasses. If you’d like more of a treat, add some sugar.
There is no chemical leavening (only eggs), not that I’m against baking powder or anything, I just like a dense baked good. This is closer to a bread pudding than a cakey brownie. They’re even better after a day in the fridge if you ask me.

So here it is…

preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put 2 bananas (skins on!) on a baking sheet and place in oven until black and giving up liquid (about 15 minutes). Remove to cool and lower temp to 325.

the wet stuff:
in a medium bowl mix
the 2 bananas squeezed from skins and their juice,
2 eggs,
2 T molasses (44 grams),
1 T coconut oil (15 g) — I use extra virgin organic. Increase this to 3 or 4 tablespoons if you don’t care about fat, i.e. if you’re making this for a kid! Mmmmm…. fat.

mix the wet stuff together with…
1/2 cup of unprocessed (Miller’s) bran (25g) and let sit.

In a separate small bowl, mix together:
4 T organic cocoa powder (21 g)
2 T coffee substitute (5g). This is optional to give a richer dark chocolate flavor so I’d skip this if you’re making it for kids.
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (35 g)
1/4 buckwheat flour (35g)
1/4 tsp salt

wisk together the dry stuff to break up any lumps and then stir into wet.

Pour into a small glass pyrex pan (I use a 6×8) and bake at 325 for about 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out of center clean.

I tend to make small batches but this should double fine. This makes 8 servings with following nutritional info per serving. It’s not an enormous amount of iron but it is 10% of my USRDA (I’m a 46 yo woman. Not sure what it is for kids)

Calories: 111 kcal <---- BONUS! Carbohydrates: 19.3g Fat: 3.3g Saturated Fat: 2.4g Cholesterol: 29mg Sugar: 7.2g Calcium: 57mg Iron: 1.9mg Potassium: 329 mcg

embodied scrum – a paper

I wrote this paper for school. My adviser liked it, despite not being familiar with either scrum or complex adaptive systems.

In a talk delivered at Google, one of the early collaborators responsible for the development of the scrum process, Jeff Sutherland described the basics of scrum, and some tips for creating hyper-performing scrum teams. Sutherland states that the most important thing a scrum master can do to increase the performance of a team is to learn the principles of complex adaptive systems. The basic principles underlying complex system are straight forward, and though they are easy to grasp, it’s not always apparent to see how they are relevant to the social and professional interactions of daily life. When applied to a professional team with goals and deadlines, the principles of complex systems run counter to much of what we believe to be true about how things get done. Most of us come to believe that organization and management generally work best when controlled from the top down. We have a strong perception that, in both individuals and groups, there is a central planner that holds the vision and makes it happen according to some plan. The interesting thing about this perception is that it persists despite the ubiquity of evidence to the contrary. In this paper I’ll provide a basic introduction to complex adaptive systems, providing examples of the ways in which bottom-up organization seems to work to well. I’ll also describe the ways in which we ourselves are embodied complex systems, and suggest some tools that you, as a scrum master, can introduce to take advantage of this fact, and make your team happier, more cohesive, and higher-functioning.

Read the rest of the paper…

your body helps you solve problems

new research on embodied cognition
“The results are interesting both because body motion can affect higher order thought, the complex thinking needed to solve complicated problems, and because this effect occurs even when someone else is directing the movements of the person trying to solve the problem.”

full article

the body has a mind of its own

Science writer Sandra Blakeslee spoke at the Zen Brain gathering of meditators and scientists hosted at Upaya Zen Center in January 2009. She’s a fast talker and frankly, I don’t remember too much of what she had to say other than that she reminded me of Bud Craig’s work on the insula & awareness and Antonio D’amasio’s somatic marker hypothesis, theories I was familiar with as a result of attending the Emotion & Cognition Symposium at U of Wisc in Spring 2008.

I was surprised to see a copy on the shelf at my not-so-well-stocked local library recently and grabbed it along with the books I’d come for. Wide awake at 3 a.m. last night I picked it up and was treated to a most unexpected explosion of my mental phase space (I might be addicted to these explosions).

This book is a revelation. The ways in which she clearly articulates the disproportionate allocation of neuronal territory to pretty much everything in our experience (all of which builds up from our motor and sensory maps) has changed the way I look at everything from emotional intelligence, to my sucky cello playing, to teaching yoga (I’m only marginally better at that). I can’t recommend this book enough.

The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) Everything Better

our first body sensing practice

The following is a bit of a departure from our usual yoga nidra podcasts but you could easily think of it as moving yoga nidra. The movement is very gentle, and in fact, is so slow that someone watching might not even be aware that it is a movement practice. Though I teach this practice to my local yoga nidra students I’ve never recorded or distributed a practice. Since this is the first time we’ve put one of these out it would be great to get your feedback. The practice, like many of the yoga nidra practices, runs about 30 minutes so to make it downloadable in a reasonable time the audio quality is pretty bad. If there is enough interest in it I would be open to making practices available on cd.

Here it is… enjoy,

click to play -> Body Sensing Practice

about the body pages

Moving meditation practices like yoga are beginning to feel almost mainstream in the west (yeah!!) but there are many more mindfulness practices that incorporate movement including tai chi, qi gong, tandava (tantric dance), walking meditation, labyrinth walking, and more. We will be expanding this section with articles and information on styles of moving meditation in the coming months.

But the body pages aren’t devoted just to moving meditation – our own favorite, yoga nidra, fits into this category when it focuses us on our senses. We’re sure there are many more as well. If you have one we don’t know about and care to contribute and article please drop us a note at info [at] contemplatethis [dot] org.