Tag Archives: NYC

Restaurant Style Tahini that Goes With Everything

Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 2.41.15 AMTahini is a wonder-food. A thick paste made up of ground sesame seeds, tahini is high in calcium, and B vitamins. Tahini assists in healthy cell regeneration as well as enhancing the immune system and healthy nervous system functioning. The best part is that tahini is very easy to digest so all of the goodness it offers is absorbed by your body and available to your cells within a 1/2 an hour of consuming it.

Parsley is a highly underrated vegetable. Often resigned to being a garnish, parsley belongs on the center stage. This humble little leaf has been used in herbal medicine for centuries. It is high in vitamins (including Vitamins K and A) and minerals (including iron and potassium). Parsley is low in calories but packs a huge nutritional punch.

I use green tahini on everything. I especially love it on cauliflower, or to dip pretty much anything in. Yesterday I even poured it on some leftover brown rice noodles and it was delicious!

Green Tahini

Makes  1 1/2 cups



Put the tahini, water, and parsley in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.

Add salt to taste.

Add honey if it is still too bitter. I find that when I use store bought parsley I tend to use a little honey. My home-grown variety, or one from a farmer’s market, tends to be slightly sweeter so does not require the honey.

Add a little lemon if you choose to. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t. Either way it is yummy.

Have a delicious recipe you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments below! 

Originally posted on my website: Tapp’s Tips

The Disappearance of This New York Icon Made Me a Little Sad

metmuseumI was so sad–quite disproportionately sad–when I read that after forty-two years, the Metropolitan Museum has decided to discontinue the use of its medal admissions tags. The price of the tin got too high.

I’ve always loved those metal admission buttons; I loved their changing colors, the nice feeling of bending the tin in my fingers, the feeling of satisfaction I got when I put the button in the special receptacle on the way out of the museum.

And now they’re gone! An icon of New York City–finished.

My mother is visiting from Kansas City, and she visited the museum. So when I saw her wearing the newfangled admissions sticker, I told her, “It’s just not the same.”

The end of the buttons is a good reminder: appreciate the little things while they last, because even things that seem as though they’d never change, will change. Feel grateful for those tiny pleasures that are so easy to take for granted.

I’m reminded of Robert Frost’s poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay“:

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day,

Nothing gold can stay.

Not even a gold Poupon Metropolitan Museum button.

* * *

If you want to read more along these lines, read the last chapter of Happier at Home–one of the best things I’ve ever written, if I do say so myself.

If you’re reading this post through the daily email, click  here to join the conversation. And if you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up here.

Of everything I’ve ever written, this one-minute video, The Years Are Short, resonates most with people.

Life After Foster Care: Yoga, College and the Path Forward

As of 2011, roughly 423,000 children in the United States were living in foster care homes. Today the numbers are much the same. Nearly 20% enter foster care due to physical abuse; 65% leave without a place to live; and less than 3% end up going to college.

Anthony, from the latest episode of URBAN YOGIS on The Chopra Well, is an exception to the trend. He grew up in and out of foster care, back and forth between his mother and various temporary homes. As he explains in the episode, his mother never fed him or provided him with basic life needs, let alone the more intangible necessities of love, comfort, and security. He was never with her long before being sent to another foster home, making for a fairly unstable childhood.

With the help of his final foster family, as well his own drive and will to survive, Anthony emerged from his youth with a clear vision for the future. He’s proud of the life he has created for himself — living independently in a supportive housing unit, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science, and aspiring to get a Ph.D. in Mathematics. Anthony didn’t just survive his childhood; and he isn’t just “getting by” now. He has discovered his passion and ambition. He has embarked on a difficult and rewarding path, made all the more remarkable by his challenging childhood. Through his weekly yoga practice, Anthony further refines this path by learning to pay attention to his moods, focus his mind, and discover strength in every subtle movement and breath.

How does a young person emerge from such a difficult childhood and thrive in adulthood? What facilitates this resilience and ambition? It could be that some experience along the way provided just enough of a glimmer of hope – a supportive social worker, a beautiful song, a loving foster family, an inspiring lesson from history. In Anthony’s case, a large part of his success comes from the opportunity to live alone and get acquainted with his own strength and competence. Yoga has played a large role, as well. As his instructor, Eddie Stern, says, yoga allows us to slow down and focus on our movement and breath. Through this, we come to see that we are individuals with minds and bodies and souls of our own. We aren’t just witnesses of a world going on around us, but rather conscious agents of our own life story. Past, present and future aside, Anthony is his own man. And there is great pride in that.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well for more URBAN YOGIS every Monday!

Meditate with Deepak Chopra and friends

Thank you to everyone who joined us on Monday for our live Google + Hangout. And thank you to the thousands who have tuned in to our channel, since, to watch the recorded conversation. This landmark, virtual event brought together Deepak Chopra, Gotham and Mallika Chopra, author Paulo Coelho, journalist Lisa Ling, former president of Mexico Vicente Fox, actress Fran Drescher, social media guru Eric Handler, Ashtanga yogi Eddie Stern, and Life Camp founder Erica Ford with a group of New York City teenagers  in a conversation on meditation, personal growth, and world challenges.

It is a rare treat to find great minds from such diverse fields together in one venue. Leave it to the Chopras and their extraordinary community of influencers, leaders, and thinkers to bring such a unique discussion to the homes and computer screens of thousands around the world.

As Deepak says, technology is benign. It’s what we do with it that counts. With their new premium YouTube channel, The Chopra Well, Deepak, Mallika, and Gotham are making the most of the technological resources available to them. For many longtime Deepak fans and wellness seekers, YouTube may seem an unlikely forum in which to explore personal transformation and global change. But The Chopra Well defies all concerns in this vein – starting with Monday’s live event.

Witness a rich, hour-long conversation between brilliant thinkers, leaders, and artists. Witness a frank and casual discussion on the challenges of social media and the necessity of personal growth for global transformation. Experience a guided meditation, led by Deepak, and begin to imagine the world you want to live in. And continue doing all this and more as you tune in to The Chopra Well for the latest shows, humor, and thought-provoking wisdom.

It is no secret that one of Deepak’s greatest passions is meditation, which was the inspiration for one of the channel’s first daily shows, The Meditator. Viewers are encouraged to join the meditators as they sit, breath, and visualize their life purposes. Locations change every day to add flair and lightheartedness to a practice that daunts many. To dive deeper into meditation, The Chopra Center offers a 21-Day Meditation Challenge – participation is free, and the rewards are priceless.

You have options. If personal growth and self-care are on your agenda, resources abound. If meditation is on your list, then look no further. Below we have transcribed the meditation Deepak led during Monday’s hangout. Read through the meditation, do it once, do it twice, then sign up for the 21-Day Meditation Challenge and visit The Chopra Well every day for a slice of peace.

Here is Fran Drescher meditating alongside Deepak, Mallika, Lisa Ling, Eric Handler, Eddie Stern, Erica Ford, and a group of New York City teenagers.

Do the meditation yourself!

Guided Meditation by Deepak Chopra

You can keep your eyes open or close them.

Put your awareness in the area of your heart.

Ask yourself one question: What kind of world do I want to live in? See what comes up.

What kind of world do I want to live in?

Ask yourself: How can I make that happen? What is my role in helping create that world?

And now, keeping your awareness in your heart, experience gratitude for all the wonderful things that you have in your life right now that would make you feel grateful.

The experience of gratitude opens us to what can only be called “abundance consciousness,” the source of our own being. The fact that we exist, what a wonderful mystery. What are we going to do with that mystery?

Now for a moment close your eyes. Whisper to your heart: peace, harmony, laughter, love.

Peace… harmony… laughter… love.

Gotham Chopra: The Chopras meet President Obama + Decoding Deepak Trailer (video)

On a plane right now flying back to the left coast from NYC after attending a fundraiser yesterday evening and getting the chance to meet and have a picture taken with President Obama. My dad was one of the hosts at a colorful downtown fundraiser that raised several millions dollars for the President’s re-election campaign. In exchange for my dad’s patriotic pledge, the family – kids and grandkids – got to skip most of the lines and get a few minutes with Mr. Obama. The highlight for me was my son trash talking the President – a noted Chicago Bulls fan – by saying “Go Celtics!”

Not missing a beat, President Obama smiled and playfully chided: “I’ve heard the rumors there’s brainwashing going on in the Chopra household, but wasn’t aware that it was that bad…” Now that’s a story I’ll file away for keepsake.

But truth be told, that file is pretty full. Through the years, very often directly or indirectly on account of who my father is, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many illustrious folks – from Presidents (Clinton before Obama) to prophets (His Holiness probably the most noted) to athletes, celebrities, billionaires and many more. I have more amazing anecdotes than I can count involving legendary icons like Michael Jacksons, Madonna, and many many more.

And yet, occasionally I wonder how much of a privilege it all really is. Don’t worry: I’m wary of going down that cliched boohoo path and asking you to feel sorry for how great my life really is. I fully realize how amazing I’ve had it and how fortunate I am to be able to now pass it on to my own son. But where I get confused some times – more times than not if I really thing about it – is what it really is. What is this strange life I lead? Of spiritualists, sages, scientists, and celebrities that cluster around my father all searching for something – namely purpose, meaning, and significance. Amidst this nebulous cloud of celebrity and success that constantly surrounds us is much bigger question of identity: who we are, why we’re here, what it’s all about.

At times in my life, I’ve felt closer to some of the answers of these questions. Like a lot of people, when I had my first child, I felt a wave of meaning and purpose wash over me. It was blissful and every so often when I’m just hanging out with my now 4 year old, I get that same feeling of total satisfaction again. But…it’s fleeting, because just as often I lay awake at night wondering whether I am really doing what I was meant to do in this world, struggling with why it is I so often feel a nagging dissatisfaction with life in general. And then, when I read the news, watch documentaries about wars in foreign lands, horrible human rights violations, torture, and incredible social injustice, I become even more confused about this strange life I lead.

What is the real value of so much access to the planet’s elite, so much insight into the deeper mechanics of the Universe if it all doesn’t add up to something transformative and profound? Something that can make a real difference to the millions of people suffering around the world every single day? What if it just creates an even more confused contradiction, a larger sense of emptiness and insignificance?

The fascinating thing is that after spending a year or so on the road traveling around the world with my dad and documenting his life, I started to discover that he too struggles with a lot of these same questions. In moments of candor and vulnerability, he confessed confusion about who he is, what he thinks he”s here for, and how much he’s really doing. So, amidst this life of occasional presidential portraits and endless powerful moments, to know my father – the great guru that the world comes to for answers to all their questions – is himself often asking the same questions I am, that we all are, how should that make me feel? How should that make you feel?

My answer: I have no idea.

I am happy to share an exclusive peek at  my new film, Decoding Deepak, with Intent readers below. The film will premiere at SXSW next week.

Tonight in New York City, a Celebration, a Feast, and a Reason to Tweet.

Tonight, in New York City, Gay Men’s Health Crisis will celebrate with Savor; one of the top events of the year, but this year’s event is going to be one for the ages and reason for all of us to celebrate with them. If you can’t make the event we have a really special way for you to get involved on Twitter (hint: keep reading).

First, GMHC is celebrating thirty years of serving those in New York City who are living with HIV/AIDS; providing critical services and support to literally tens of thousands of New Yorkers over the decades. That is reason enough for all of us to pause on an early Spring Monday and say thank you to this remarkable group.

Next, tonight’s event promises to be the best Savor ever and yes, there are still some tickets available should you be looking for a great night out. Hosted by celebrity-chef Ted Allen of The Food Network’s Chopped and featuring some remarkable chefs such as Peter Hoffman of Savoy, Stephen Lewandoski of Tribeca Grill, Francois Payard of Francois Payard Bakery and Carmen Quagliata of Union Square Cafe, over 500 guests are expected to descend on Gotham Hall tonight and enjoy a remarkable feast for a very good cause.

At tonight’s event, for the first time GMHC will honor the inspiring work of Joan Tisch with the inaugural Judith Peabody Humanitarian Award. This award tonight honors not one but two of the most distinguished activists and philanthropists that have enriched GMHC over the past thirty years and all the men and women GMHC has served.

At last, but not least, especially for everyone who is not in New York City and can’t make the event, here’s a great reason to follow GMHC on Twitter. GMHC’s partner Kimpton Hotels is giving away a two-night stay if you follow GMHC and re-tweet about the event. All the details are here. But here are the highlights.


How to Enter:

In order to become eligible for the Kimpton Hotel 2 night giveaway, you must be at least 18 years of age. There is NO purchase necessary in order to become eligible for this give-away.



Follow GMHC on Twitter (twitter.com/GMHC_online) and re-tweet the original message to become eligible:


RT @GMHC_online 2 honor Joan Tisch @ SAVOR #celebrateGMHC. Follow us & RT 4 chance to win 2 nights @Kimpton hotel http://bit.ly/foFQKO


Deadline for the give-away is Friday, March 11

United States of Islamophobia?

Almost everybody has heard about the protests against the mosque and Islamic center planned to be built about two blocks from ground zero in Manhattan. But most people are still unaware that these anti-Muslim political campaigns are spreading throughout our beloved country as a new wave of Islamophobia hits.
Debate over the Islamic center has become ridiculously absurd. An ad objecting to the mosque depicts a plane flying toward the World Trade Center’s towers as they burn on the left, with a rendering of the center on the right, and is set to run in New York buses.

Far away from New York, some right-wing Republican political candidates in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, have denounced plans for a large Muslim center proposed near a subdivision and hundreds of angry protesters have subsequently turned out for a march and a county meeting on the matter.

A few months back, members of a tea party group in Temecula, California, took barking dogs and anti-Muslim picket signs to Friday prayers at a neighborhood mosque that is seeking to build a new worship center on a vacant lot nearby. A few Christian ministers in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, led a noisy fight against a Muslim group that sought permission to open a mosque in a former health-food store bought by a Muslim doctor.

More recently, American Muslim leaders in Bridgeport, Connecticut, eventually had to ask police and elected officials for security so they could worship in peace after an angry mob protested outside a mosque.
About a dozen members of a Texas-based group self-righteously calling itself "Operation Save America" confronted other peaceful American worshippers at the Masjid An-Noor mosque a few weeks ago; yelling what mosque members described as "hate-filled slogans" against Muslims.

Simply put, Islamophobia has become ridiculously out of hand. For those who argue that mosques are somehow inherently breeding grounds for extremism, a two-year joint study by Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and the University of North Carolina concluded that American "mosques are actually a deterrent to the spread of militant Islam and terrorism."

The professors in the joint study further highlighted that "many mosque leaders had put significant effort into countering extremism by building youth programs, sponsoring anti-violence forums and scrutinizing teachers and texts."

Let us go back to the Manhattan mosque dispute for a moment.

Certain vocal right-wing national critics of the project — a coalition that includes Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and members of the tea party movement — have assailed it as an unnecessary provocation. Palin has infamously asked people to "refudiate" (sic) the mosque project. Some protesters, including right-wing televangelist Pat Robertson, have pledged to organize legal efforts to block its construction…


Photo: CC Flickr//Johnnie Utah

Yoga At The Great Lawn: The World’s Largest Yoga Class (Pictures & Video)


At 4:45 p.m. on June 22, 2010, Central Park’s Great Lawn is meditating on the evening ahead. Mostly, it’s quiet, even with sound-checks happening onstage and hundreds of volunteers convening at scheduled rendezvous points across the massive swath of green. The event’s featured yoga teacher, Elena Brower, needs to keep speaking so that the audio/visual team can adjust her mic. She talks to those around her, giving occasional shout-outs to nearby friends. She discusses logistics with a member of the event staff, “I won’t be doing the OMs. I’m going to introduce Dharma Mittra, and he’s going to do the OMs.” Then, she experiments with the verbiage of how she’ll announce Mittra, a yoga pioneer who’s been teaching in New York City since 1966. Even in rehearsal mode, she’s succinct, gracious, and real.


Photo: Sound-check with Elena Brower, Wah!, and others.

But, she’s a little nervous too. Understandably so. She’s preparing to teach the world’s largest yoga class, with more than 12,000 yogis registered to attend. To keep herself anchored and appease the guys in the sound booth, she continues her banter. She begins to recite amantra—om namah shivaya—saying it repeatedly with various inflections and at different volumes. She’s not chanting but, rather, substituting the sacred syllables for standard sound-check lingo. She could say “testing 1-2-3” or recite her ABCs, but one gets the impression that Brower doesn’t care much for throwaway words.

The cavalry of yoga assistants arrives at the Great Lawn.
It’s clear that things are going well as the event nears. By 5:30 p.m., the weather is cooling down (ominously so, we would soon discover). Volunteers, staff, sponsors, security, and media all seem to be coordinating nicely. I’m roaming between my posts as a member of the media, for OmGal.com, and an assistant teacher. I bounce happily from the press tent where I am offered interviews with a “celebrity yoga guru” per an earlier press release from her people (I have never heard of her) and obliged by Dharma Mittra for an impromptu photo, to the lawn to watch thousands of yogis take their places, unroll their mats, and prepare to make history. I tell Mittra he is free to sit or stand as he pleases for the photo, so the septuagenarian jokingly gives me a muscle-flexing move (a la the Governator). It’s so unexpected for a man of his stature that I’m not quick enough to capture it with my humble digital camera. My brain captures it indefinitely. Below, he strikes a more traditional pose.

Sri Dharma Mittra

All around me, thousands of others are capturing the experience in their own ways. Some are dancing to the musical performances, while others limber up with a few asanas. Many take photos and talk with their friends—some they’ve just met while standing in line for the event. One woman wears a multi-color leopard-print body blanket of sorts and paints people’s faces, including my friend Daisy.

Yup, there’s a person in there.

Daisy, who gave Om Gal a plug on NBC (I didn’t even pay her).
Reggie Watts, who’s equal parts musician, beat-boxer, comedian, and emcee, adds a party atmosphere, partially because he thinks he’s been asked to host the MTV Video Music Awards.

Buddy Wakefield, a slam poetry champion admits to being a little overwhelmed by the size of his audience. Presumably, he’s used to smaller venues (aren’t we all?), and now, he’s shining on stage beneath a news helicopter and before an audience that makes him feel “like Bon Jovi,” New Jersey’s chosen son. Wakefield dedicates one poem to “anyone’s who’s in it—the sticky tar pit of it,” which jars me from being a yoga teacher/blogger/media gal bouncing to and fro, to being an anonymous yogi among thousands, thinking to myself, “Yeah, who doesn’t know that sticky tar pit?”

This feeling of being swallowed by a beautiful and powerful collective rises up again, when, under the threat of thunderstorms, Elena Brower welcomes Dharma Mittra to the stage around 7:15 p.m. to chant the OMs as planned. “Speak loudly, and do one OM because that’s all we have," I overhear her kindly say to him from my perch below the stage. At the sound of this one unified OM, rising up from the lawn, toward the steamy, gray, ready-to-open sky, I can’t jot another note or snap another photo. I shrink down to the grass, amidst the real camera crews and journalists, join my hands in prayer, and, through a quivering chin and vibrating chest, I OM with everyone else.
It doesn’t matter than Brower makes it through only a few sun salutations before Mother Nature closes the curtain on the night’s yoga history making. It doesn’t matter that 13,000 people scurried home sheltering themselves from the downpour with their newly gifted yoga mats. It’s irrelevant that I went to dinner in pajamas because my clothes were drenched. And, nobody cares all that much about whether a world record stands or not.
It matters only that it can be done: a collective realization among a mass of modern yogis that no experience, event, song, sun salutation, mantra, or moment is ever a throwaway, and it takes far more than a thunder shower to dampen the yogi spirit.
To see more pictures of the event, visit facebook.com/omgalblog.

Massage Therapy Supports your Immune System

Regular therapeutic massage sessions offer significant benefits beyond the instant relaxation we enjoy. People who experience high levels of stress are likely to get sick more than others. Mix stress with lack of sleep and poor diet, and our body’s ability to naturally defend itself against bacteria and infection is seriously reduced.

Stress management is a key factor for anyone striving to reach a balanced lifestyle. Massage therapy has been proven to be one of the most effective ways for achieving stress relief. Research studies show massage therapy in fact boosts the body’s immune system, which can become compromised from prolonged periods of stress.

Jitka Frajbisova, LMT




New Mommies Need Exercise Tips?

For new mommies 🙂 I was in Los Angeles filming a TV Guide Fashion Team segment with Daphne Brogdon. Daphne is so funny but for new mothers who want to lose weight and stay healthy, watch this clip.


If the video doesn’t work, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRdCHTY7XHs.

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