Dr Hyman wants you to be Pegan. Here’s why.

Sometimes I invite a guest blogger to write for my blog, and once in a while I interview someone for a post. But one thing I’ve never done is reblog. I do share  – all over social media. I share like crazy. I love to celebrate any individual’s wisdom, creativity, and commitment to health ~ and to support conscious community wherever possible. I’ve just never picked up an entire article and shared it here on my blog. 

Until now. Here’s why: When people ask me how I eat, Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, what? My answer has long been, “Ayurvedically.” By that I mean, responding to our changing needs according to age, season, circumstance, on a case by case basis. Overall, though, my focus is: no sugar, no processed, high protein, high fiber, healthy fats, whole food, plant based. 

Along comes Dr. Hyman with a name for it – and in turn an entire community of people who also eat this way. Overnight, I went from being a loner to a belonger and I want to share that affirmation, and science, with you.  

Why I am a Pegan – or Paleo-Vegan – and Why You Should Be Too!
by Dr. Mark Hyman

As a doctor, it is my job to figure out the best way to keep my patients healthy. We now know that food is medicine, perhaps the most powerful drug on the planet with the power to cause or cure most disease.  If food is more than just calories, if food is information that controls every aspect of our biology and health, then I better know what to advise people to prevent, treat and even reverse chronic disease.

So the fundamental question of our time, given that the cost of chronic disease caused mostly by what we eat will cost our global economy $47 trillion over the next 20 years and cause over 50 million preventable deaths a year is this:

What should I eat to feel good, lose weight and get and stay healthy?

On the one hand, Lebron James is eating Paleo and the number one tennis player in the world cut out gluten and dairy and went from not winning at all to winning everything in just one year.  But on the other hand, Rick Rockhold completed five Iron Man marathons in seven days on a vegan diet.

The Problem with Nutrition Research

Looking at the research it is easy to get confused. Vegan diet studies show they help with weight loss, reverse diabetes and lower cholesterol.  Paleo diets seem to do the same thing. So should you be shunning animal foods and eating only beans, grains and veggies or should you eat meat and fat without guilt and give up all grains and beans?

Essentially, each camp adheres to their diet with near religious fervor. And each can point to studies validating their point of view.  We call this cherry picking.  After reading dozens of studies on vegan and paleo diets, even I could get confused. But I don’t because I read BETWEEN the lines not just the headlines. I read the methods and analyze the actual data to learn what the studies actually demonstrate.

The problem with nutrition research is that most of it relies on large studies of populations and their dietary patterns obtained mostly through dietary questionnaires or 24-hour dietary recall.  The first study linking saturated fats to heart disease by Ancel Keys1 (and on which 50 years of dietary policy to eat low fat was based) looked at about 30 men from Crete and their previous day’s diet and linked that to the fact they had fewer heart attacks than people from countries that ate more saturated fat. Skimpy evidence at best!  In fact, most of the “evidence” that fat in general and saturated fat in particular is bad for us is being rigorously challenged by better and more specific research.

These type of studies are further complicated because it is very hard to tease out the factors that matter. For example, when Asians move from Asia to the US, they eat more meat and have more heart disease and cancer, but they also consume far more sugar.  So it is the meat or is it the sugar?  Hard to know.   These types of population studies also cannot prove cause and effect, only show correlation. Yet, the media and consumers take it as gospel. We thought dietary cholesterol was bad3 and were told to avoid egg yolks4 at all costs. Turns out they are good for you and have no impact on cholesterol.

Many experimental studies on vegan or paleo diets, which should give more direct evidence of cause and effect often have only small numbers of people in the study, making it hard to draw firm conclusions.  Even worse is that the diets they use for comparison (the control group) are not ideal alternative diets. Comparing a vegan diet of chips and Coke, bagels and pasta to a paleo diet of healthy veggies and grass fed meat won’t be very helpful, nor would comparing a paleo diet of feedlot meat, bologna and no fresh veggies to a whole foods, low glycemic vegan diet.

Also, eating a low fat versus a high fat vegan diet has very different health benefits5. The Eco-Atkins or high fat, high protein, low carb, low glycemic vegan diet performs better for weight loss and cholesterol lowering than a low fat vegan diet that avoids nuts, seeds and avocados.

RD Laing said that “scientists can’t see the way they see, with their way of seeing.”

Why You Should be a Pegan! 

So what’s an eater to do?

I vote for being a Pegan or Paleo-Vegan, which is what I have chosen for myself and recommend for most of my patients. Keep in mind that most of us need to personalize the approach depending on our health conditions, preferences and needs.

What is a Pegan?  Well since I just made it up, I guess it’s up to me to define.

Let’s focus first on what is in common between paleo and vegan (healthy vegan), because there is more that intelligent eating has in common than there are differences. They both focus on real, whole, fresh food that is sustainably raised.

Here are the characteristics of a healthy diet everyone agrees on:

  1. Very low glycemic load – low in sugar, flour and refined carbohydrates of all kinds.
  2. High in vegetables and fruits. The deeper the colors, the more variety, the better. This provides a high phytonutrient content protective against most diseases. (Although the paleo camp recommends lower glycemic fruit such as berries.)
  3. Low in pesticides, antibiotics and hormones and probably no or low GMO foods.
  4. No chemicals, additives, preservatives, dyes, MSG, artificial sweeteners and other “Franken Chemicals” that you would never have in your pantry.
  5. Higher in good quality fats – omega 3 fats for all. And most camps advise good quality fats from olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocados. Although some, such as Drs. Esselstyn and Ornish still advise very low fat diets for heart disease reversal.
  6. Adequate protein for appetite control and muscle synthesis, especially in the elderly.
  7. Ideally organic, local and fresh foods should be the majority of your diet.
  8. If animal products are consumed they should be sustainably raised or grass fed.
  9. If you are eating fish you should choose low mercury6 and low toxin containing fish such as sardines, herring and anchovies or other small fish and avoid tuna, swordfish and Chilean sea bass because of the high mercury load.

Now comes the areas of more controversy

Read the entirety of his article here.

~

The thing I love the most about Ayurveda is that it respects individual differences, which is why I always want to hear from you. What do you find is the best way of eating for your optimal health and enjoyment? What nourishes you?

~

Thanks to Shannon Jones for the photo of radishes from our Ayurveda Cooking Class 2014

How to Make a Dosa

I am really excited about this. Today I’ve done something I never thought I would. I have to share it because now I know you can do it, too.

It started about a month ago at Bhakti Fest, where we always have lunch at the Dosa Dosa food truck because they make the world’s best Kichari. They also make the world’s most divine Dosas, and I asked them to show you how. Thankfully, they agreed.

Wah and his father Matamandir, the creative dynamos at Dosa Dosa, were gracious to allow us to interrupt their hot and busy service of feeding hungry Yogis and Kirtan Wallahs. But since we didn’t get their top-secret recipe, I thought I’d do a little research and post some links to go with the video.

Wah-DosaDosa

I never intended, myself, to make a Dosa. Never. In some unconscious place inside of me, surely I thought, you have to be Indian to make a Dosa. You have to be South Indian, for that matter. You even have to be a South Indian grandmother who spent her life practicing Ayurveda’s everyday ways, or her granddaughter well-trained by such a wisdom-keeper.

While editing the video, my husband commented that no one is going to do this at home – no one has that griddle or those instruments, he said – we should just direct readers to Dosa Dosa‘s 5 new food trucks in San Francisco.

How to Make a Dosa

Yes, but I don’t do that on this blog. I don’t set you up, elicit mouth-watering expectations, promote the promise of truth, beauty, love on a plate, only to let you down, hungering for an external, elusive, distant deliciousness, when all of that is already inside of youyou are already delicious. Within you is the power to create untold treasures of beauty and delight, and this realm of your own possibility is as close as your kitchen, as quick as you can roast a sweet potato!

At least I had to offer you a dish. Something you can make that would be enough exotic goodness for you to taste the truth that real food is love, and love’s food is bhakti

coconut cilantro chutney

SweetPotatoMasala

The Potato Pea Masala that fills the Dosa, giving its full name Masala Dosa, seemed like something those of us not schooled since birth in Dosa tradition would be able to master. We could enjoy it with Naan, I reasoned. Which we could buy at the local Indian market… Or we could mix and match cultures, roll it into a tortilla, and call it a Mexican Masala!

I never intended, even as I experimented with my own version of a Masala, ever that I would make a Dosa. We’d just have to make a trip to San Francisco for that, and look forward to having Dosas again at ShaktiFest in May.

how-to-make-a-dosa1

With experimentation, one thing led to another and, spurred on by the challenge of being told “no one will do it…” the next thing you know, I made a Dosa! Now I am making Dosas for breakfast, Dosas for lunch, Dosas for dinner, Dosas for anyone, any time, all the time. I love Dosas!

The photos above and below are my first and second attempts. I am learning as I go, inspired by this Dosa recipe, which looks fastidious because she takes you through step by step, but is actually very easy. You just mix together rice and lentil flour (look for besan, also called gram, at Indian or Asian markets), let it sit overnight, stir in a pinch of salt in the morning, and pour it on the skillet. In no time you will have your very own Dosa, on which you can sprinkle cinnamon for a high protein breakfast and any time snack, or fill with the Masala for a hearty, healthy meal.

Sweet Potato Masala Dosa

I swapped sweet potato for the filling, making it healthier, and added fenugreek powder to the Dosa batter. I wanted to add fresh peas, but it is not the season so I slow cooked split peas and added that instead. It lended an earthy taste which balances beautifully with the fresh crunch of the coconut chutney.

To make this user-friendly it’s all written it out below, but certainly follow the links if you want to see more examples of how-to. Be sure that you read through before you start. You want to blend the Dosa flours the day before so they can ferment overnight, and you want your Masala and Chutney ready to fill the Dosas which cook up quick, and are best enjoyed piping hot.

chutney dosa

If you are short on time or access to ingredients, the graciously talented Puja over at IndiaPhile has a Dosa recipe using semolina, which can be substituted with a good gf flour. Her Coconut Chutney is the inspiration for this one, and she has a couple of short, helpful videos showing you how to pour the Dosa batter for success.

SWEET POTATO MASALA
Serves 4

1 sweet potato
1/4 c peas, cooked
1 T ghee 5-6 cashews
1/2 onion, diced
1/8 t mustard seeds
1/4 t cumin seeds
1 t curry powder
1/2 piece thai chile (these are very small, so not too spicy), chopped
1/4 t ginger, grated
1 pinch turmeric
1 pinch asafoetida (or hingvastak; alternative: coriander powder)
1 T cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Preheat your oven to 475F. Puncture a few fork holes in your sweet potato and bake for 45 minutes, or until a fork inserts easily through the center. When it is done, allow it to cool, then cube into small bites.

Melt the ghee on in a medium flame. Brown the cashews and set aside. In the same pan, with the same oil, add the mustard seeds and cook about 1 minute util the pop. You have to listen closely. Stir in the cumin, curry and onions. Sauté until the onions are golden and soft. Mix in the chili, ginger, turmeric and asafoetida (or coriander). Add the sweet potato. Mash it a bit with the back of a spatula, or large wooden spoon. Stir in the peas and cashews and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro leaves, turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.

COCONUT CHUTNEY

3/4 c coconut flakes
1/4 c cilantro leaves
1 clove garlic
1/2 thai chile (with seeds for heat, without for a mild version)
1/2 t curry powder
1 t freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup water Optional: dash of pink salt, or to taste

Put everything into an electric blender and mix until it becomes a creamy consistency. Add more water if needed. Taste and season accordingly.

DOSA
Serves: 4-8

1 1/2 c rice flour
¾ cup dal/besan/gram flour
2 1/2 c water
1 scant t fenugreek powder pinch pink salt
2-3 T ghee

Stir the flours together in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and mix well. Be sure to smooth out any lumps. The consistency will be thick but very watery. Cover and allow to ferment at room temperature overnight for 10 hours or more. Once the batter is fermented, stir in the fenugreek powder and salt and mix well.

Melt 1 T ghee in a large skillet or iron griddle over medium heat. While the ghee heats up, whisk the batter one more time so it is well mixed and quickly ladle it up. Pour into your skillet in a circular motion. When one side of dosa is browned, gently slide your spatula around the edges of the Dosa to loosen it. Flip it and cook the other side. Spoon the Masala filling into the middle, add a spoonful of the coconut chutney and a dollop of yogurt optionally. Fold the Dosa and serve hot.

The leftover Dosa batter can be refrigerated and used within 4-5 days.

skillet sp masala

My first attempt fell apart. I learned not to swirl the pan. On the second attempt, when it started to break apart I filled the cracks with drops of batter. It worked. Another lesson. Be brave. It’s as wonderful in pieces as it is whole. Aren’t we all?

Once you try it, you’ll know why so many Bhakti lovers line up for buttery Kichari and crispy Dosas.

how-to-make-a-dosa

When Dosa Dosa founder Matamandir asked me about my blog and I told him that it’s Ayurvedically inspired with the emphasis on inspired because more than anything I hope to share the nourishing bounty of mother’s love through food, you know how he responded?

“Yes. Never be pedantic. It’s not about following rules. Just cook with love. Then your food will be nourishing and healing. Above all, cook with love. You will taste the difference.”

Above all, cook with love… 

Dosa Dosa is opening 5 food trucks in San Francisco, giving us all another excuse for a road trip. You can find them and their locations here: WebsiteFacebookTwitter.

wah at dosa dosa food truck

I thank Morgan Willis and Miles Demars-Rote of Wellness Gangsters for filming! With immense gratitude to all – Wah, Matamandir, Miles, Anna, Morgan, Bhava, and everyone at Bhakti Fest! 
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I leave you with a taste of Bhakti ~

Do you love Dosas? Do you have tips for us make them better? Please share so we can all learn and grow and continue to be delighted and healed by earth’s love and heaven’s manna.

Above all, do it with love.

Namaste! 

Persian Cucumber Salad

persian cucumber saladSummer is finishing up with a fury here in San Diego, so I made a big heat-reducing salad to go with Friday’s picnic of Thai noodles and curry.  Inspiration came from Stephanie Weaver, of Recipe Renovator, who invited me for lunch last week and served, along with a colorful grated beet salad, a fresh green salad of zucchini, snap beans and cilantro. It was refreshing, and a delicious reminder of how lucky I am to have food blogger friends!

I hope you won’t be put off by the extra ingredients in this. It makes for a complete meal in itself, and once your potatoes are cooked, comes together rather quickly. Take your time, though, preparing the vegetables. Small, bite-sized pieces are the key to elegance and forkability.

potato

The value of slowing down to prepare your meals cannot be overstated. It becomes its own kind of meditation, a  hearth-loving version of Chop wood, carry water…  We might even call it, Chop food, boil water? 

Enjoy.

Persian Cucumber Salad
Serves 6-8 

10-12 purple majesty and fingerling potatoes (substitute with sweet potato for paleo)
2 quarts water
1 T rock salt (pink or grey salt)
4 medium sized persian cucumbers
2 large handfuls fresh green beans, ends removed
1 hefty handful arugula
1/2 head of romaine lettuce
1 bunch spring onions
1 cup cooked red quinoa
1 bunch dill
1 copious handful cilantro
4-5 leaves basil
1 lime
1 t apple cider vinegar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

In a large pot, combine salt, water, and potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the pot and drain. Let it sit in your colander for 5 minutes. Refrigerate.

Chop the rest of the vegetables into small bite-sized pieces, except the arugula which can be tossed in as is. Layer into a large salad bowl and stir in the quinoa. Once your potatoes are cool, slice, quarter, and add them to your salad. Juice the lime and sprinkle with the apple cider vinegar over your salad. Lightly toss. Finely chop the herbs and add. Finally, drizzle in your olive oil and gently fluff. Taste and adjust your oil-vinegar-lime balance. Season with salt and pepper.

summer salad
Made it again, sans quinoa, for our Yoga Teacher Training Graduation Celebration Sunday.

This is such good medicine that I’ll be featuring it in our upcoming Autumn Cleanse, which I want to offer you as a giveaway. Just comment below to be included, and we will randomly choose one person on Friday, in time for our free Introductory Call this Saturday.

Thanks to Vegenista Devi Melissa Martin for asking if the recipe is on my blog, inspring me to post it. Congratulations to Kelli and Bridget who will receive the Happy Belly and Hot Belly books offered in last week’s post

Namaste!

P.S.  Congratulations to Jenny Melford who receives the Autumn Cleanse! Thank you friends.

Nadya’s Happy Belly Kale + Book

lacinato kale

Ah… it feels good to turn the corner on summer and find welcome moments to settle into these quiet, waning days. As I take time to be with today’s present and consider tomorrow’s possibility, I thought I’d share with you a bit of what’s stirring.

  1. My Autumn Ayurvedic Cleanse. Time for a reset? The Autumn Equinox is a perfect time to align with nature and restore for balance, wellness and peace. Learn more and register here.

  2. Our upcoming Yoga Therapy Training. This is perhaps my favorite of our Deep Yoga Trainings, because it is so intimate, connected, and empowering. The best part of all is cooking a healing lunch together on our final day.

  3. Bhakti Fest: Music, Yoga, Ayurvedis – it’s a bliss fest. I love visiting friends at Organic India + Bhakti Chai + Imlak’eshThe OM Collection + Ancient Organics whose Rose Lassi impressed me so much last year I blogged about it here. We just got back, and I have a great post for you for next week.

  4. Dr. Suhas’ new book The Hot Belly Diet: A 30-Day Ayurvedic Plan to Reset Your Metabolism, Lose Weight and Restore your Body’s Natural Balance to Heal Itself. I have a copy for one of my readers. Will it be you? I hope so. Suhas is an original! Details below.

  5. Nadya Andreeva’s book, Happy Belly: A Woman’s Guide to Feeling Vibrant, Light and Balanced: Nadya is a blossoming Ayurvedi, whose book Happy Belly is a resource for women to improve digestive health, prevent bloating and eliminate discomfort.

Nadya has generously offered us the recipe for her Happy Belly Kale Salad, as well as a free copy of her book for one lucky winner. Keep reading: details are also below.

kale salad

On her blog, Nadya celebrates the power of kale with a post, “What you don’t know about kale but should!” Writes Nadya, “I used to consider kale hard to digest for my belly but once I learned how to make it properly it is one of my favorite things. It’s a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals and tastes great in various dishes!”

This is a delicious salad, and for those of you who like me, found this summer to be especially hot, you might find this helps your interior self cool down and flow with ease into balance.

Nadya’s Happy Belly Kale Salad
by Nadya Andreeva, author of The Happy Belly
Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 4 handfuls of kale
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or sunflower seeds
  • 1 diced and sauteed onion
  • 1 large grated carrot
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • a handful of goji berries (optional)

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tamari (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons water, or until the desired consistency is reached

Method

Add all the ingredients for the dressing except the water to a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Stir until combined before adding a tablespoon of water at a time until you get the right consistency.  Remember you still want it to maintain a fairly thick consistency to keep the salad nice and creamy.  I recommend adding roughly 2 tablespoons. Add the kale to a mixing bowl removing any large stalks and pour the dressing over.  Then using your hands (by far the best way to break down the kale) rub the dressing into it, squeezing it so it breaks down and becomes easier to eat. Massaging kale helps to break it down and make it easier to digest.

Chop the avocado into bite size pieces and add to the salad along with sauteed onions, cooked quinoa, goji berries, pine nuts or sunflower seeds, and grated carrot.  Toss the whole thing and enjoy!

My note: This is more delicious than you can imagine, and only took ten minutes to pull together. I did pour hot water on the gojis and let them soak 5 minutes before draining and tossing in. As for quantity – I’d say it serves closer to 3-4. 

kale quinoa salad

What makes your belly hot or happy? Let us know below, and we will put your name in the hat to win a signed copy of Dr. Suhas’s Hot Belly or Nadya’s Happy Belly. Let me know which you prefer.

~

Thank you Nadya. Thank you Suhas. Thank you dear friends. Namaste! 

Power Foods: The Father’s Day 10

We spent Father’s day at the Hilltop Center for Spiritual Living because my husband was giving a talk on the power of fatherhood to save a life, his in particular.

father's day
my husband bhava with our wonderful friend steve gold

The morning began with a question to the children, “What is your father like?”

“My Dad is strong.” “My Dad makes me feel safe.” “My father is helpful.” “My father helps me solve problems.” “My father works hard so that we can have a home, and food, and go to school…” “My father is fun. He loves to play and tell jokes.”

Finally, after a long pause, the youngest child quietly said, “My father gives me lots of kisses.”

the golds
anne-emilie and steve gold sang of life and its magnificence

When I think of fathers, I think of Prana, Tejas, and Ojas, the vital essences that give life, light and love to all existence, and which any good father naturally seeks to develop in his children.

Prana, Tejas and Ojas give energy, radiance, and strength, respectively, to mind and body. These vital essences are the positive forces corresponding to the doshas Vata, Pitta, Kapha as the bio-energies that lead to imbalance. In other words, if Vata is an imbalance of air and space, then Prana is the power that the air element gives us to breathe, think, and move freely.  If Pitta is the dosha of fire, then Tejas is the positive force of fire that gives us light to see clearly, to move with direction, to act decisively, to digest food as well as information and experiences, to metabolize and to transform. Finally, if you think of Kapha as the dosha of water and earth, then Ojas is the vital essence that gives structure, steadiness, comfort, nourishment and ease.

When cultivated, these positive forces give what Eknath Easwaran called “the splendour of the personality that expresses itself in love, courage, creativity, and a melting tenderness that draws all hearts.”

SatChitAnanda_DeepYoga

Prana, Tejas, Ojas, huh?

Prana is Energy

Prana is the energy that exudes from the animating intelligence within and underlying all that is alive. It is an intelligent energy that enlivens. In food, it is the energy that knows how to grow the plant, knows how to attract pollinators, knows how to evolve to expand its own kind, knows how to create, generate, regenerate, and populate. This intelligence corresponds to an intelligence within us that meets when we eat, so that what we eat becomes, by the intelligence of nature, exactly what we need for our bodies and minds to grow and be vibrant. When we eat fresh foods, still moist, plump and radiant from the harvest, we eat this intelligent energy. We eat Prana.

Fathers need to have a lot of prana to play with their children.

Tejas is Radiance

Tejas is the power of light to shine from your skin and eyes when you are healthy. It is the glow of health, the color of fruits and vegetables, the sun that is steady, steadfast, reliable, purposeful. Tejas gives warmth, courage and lustre.

Fathers need to have a lot of Tejas to reason, to be helpful, to problem-solve, to be brave, to protect, to lead.

Ojas is Strength

Ojas gives vigor, peace, patience, contentment, a steady mind in a strong body, well-lubricated joints, a healthy immune system, and longevity. Ojas is kisses.

Fathers need to have a lot of Ojas to hold and to hug, to carry their children, and to be that rock we rely on.

Father, Food and the Vital Essences

Loving your father forever means taking good care of him, and carrying on his tradition of playing, helping, protecting, and showering kisses. Here are ten vital essence boosting foods to take good care of dad – and you, his beloved child.

While we can’t make any promises, science is demonstrating what our own experience tells us: these power foods are anti-aging, immune-boosting, disease-eradicating, and delicious, so enjoy them abundantly!

9 Power Foods for Dad and You

1. Spinach

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spinach sauté

Everyone knows that spinach is good for you – full of iron, vitamins, and dietary fiber – but did you know that spinach is high in protein, with anti-inflammatory actions? That it helps with blood sugar, blood pressure, and bone health? That it can lower the risks of asthma?

Be sure to cook your spinach at least 1 minute to disarm the oxalic acids that can increase Pitta, feeding inflammation, arthritis, and gout.

Recipes for Spinach

2. Wild Salmon

salmon + gf pasta
salmon + gf pasta

My Ayurvedic mentor insists that the number #1 superfood for anyone over 40 is wild caught salmon. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends eating wild salmon twice a week, writing that it is a “good source of protein, and unlike fatty meat products, it is not high in saturated fat.”

It is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which benefit healthy people and those with, or at risk of, cardiovascular disease. Again, according to the AHA, “Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of arrhythmias… reduce triglyceride levels, slow the growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque and lowers blood pressure.”

Farming salmon reduces the amount of heart, brain and joint healthy omegas, while accumulating cancer causing PCBs and dioxin, not to mention it is unkind to the fish and toxic to the environment. So, please, at least when it comes to salmon – always go wild!

3. Sweet Potatoes

sweet potato
baked sweet potato

High in the fiber necessary for proper elimination and detoxification, sweet potatoes are also rich in the antioxidant Vitamin A (beta carotene), making it a powerful anti-aging food that has also been proven to reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Sweet potatoes are an easy, hearty snack or meal.  Just pop them in the oven for an hour, and they come out creamy.

Recipes for Sweet Potato & Yams

4. Beans

beans2
white bean salad

Beans are good for you in so many ways, but no one tells the story better than the Mohr-Fry cousins who grow 29 varieties of organic beans in northern California. I hope you will take a few minutes to watch this excellent video about what it takes to farm beans. It was made by our friend Adrian, producer of the Growing California Video Series, who attests to the authenticity of these devoted farmers. #loveyourlocalfarmer!

Recipes for Beans

5. Yogurt

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rose lassi

Gut health = Immune Health. We all need to improve our inner environment with the right living foods. To that end, yogurt should be a daily habit. Try making it yourself – that way you can experiment with coconut, almond, rice and other delicious, non-dairy sources.

Whether your yogurt is from a cow, goat, grain or nut, always choose organic and make it plain. Fruit yogurt sold in stores has a lot of added sugar – and, according to Ayurveda, is a very bad combination, subverting your good efforts by sabotaging gut health.

Yogurt Recipes

6. Grapefruit

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pink grapefruit

My father loved grapefruits. I am always amazed at how naturally he was drawn to the healthiest of foods, and grateful for his example. Grapefruit has the bitter taste that is so lacking and yet so essential in our diet. Bitter is purifying, detoxifying, making it a weight loss powerhouse. It curbs hunger, protects the heart, and studies are now demonstrating it has anti-cancer actions (of course, it is Kapha-reducing!)

Not to mention that grapefruit and its citrus family are high in vitamin c, fiber, and other essential nutrients. Look for the deep red ones for the highest levels of antioxidants. I find them milder, sweeter and juicier, too.

Toss grapefruit segments into your salads for a bite of juicy tang. It’s especially good with watercress, endive, radicchio, avocado and beets.

Recipes with Grapefruit

7. Apples 

Apples

An apple a day still keeps the doctor away – because not only are they full of dietary fiber and essential vitamins and minerals, apples help clean the liver, the key organ that accumulates pitta. When you have high pitta, you are prone to all kinds of inflammatory disease. Keep your liver healthy and you reduce pitta, resorting your vital tejas, which shows through clear eyes and lustrous skin.

Think pink, when it comes to the liver, not aggravated fiery red, and remember Michael Pollan’s advice, “When it comes to snacks, ask yourself if you are hungry enough for an apple, and if the answer is yes, then eat an apple.”

Recipes for Apples

8. Seeds

.
multi-seed crackers

Rather than nuts, snack on seeds. Ayurveda considers seeds to be lighter, more astringent than nuts and therefore more clarifying, cleansing, detoxifying, while providing all the energy and intelligence of the plant it is to become. Also excellent sources of protein, essentials fats, dietary fiber, as well as selenium,  zinc, and iron.

Raw, soaked, blended, toasted, lightly salted, seeds can be enjoyed in all varieties of ways. You can add hemp seeds to anything you might have for breakfast. Sprinkle them over yogurt, oatmeal, fruit, toast, eggs, or add them to a morning smoothie. Flax seeds can be ground and stirred into soups, salads, hot cereals, or a warm evening tonic. We toast up pumpkin seeds to add crunch to our soups and stews. Pureed into a pesto, sunflower seeds are the perfect texture. Or, toss together a few of your favorite seeds, add raisins, chopped dates, goji berries, dried cherries, and you have a great snack to keep your energy up and the weight down.

Recipes with Seeds

9. Garlic

Honey Garlic
with honey, garlic is a potent medicine

Dr. Marc Zimmerman, an orthopedic surgeon steeped in the traditions of natural medicine and nutrition, knows that ancient Yogis eschewed garlic. “However,”  he says, “the world we live in now is so different, so full of toxins, so compromising to the immune system. I just don’t see how we can avoid the health benefits of garlic in this day and age.” While it may be controversial as a Yogi and an Ayurvedi, garlic is undoubtedly a powerhouse when it comes to disrupting illness and disease.

Cooking makes garlic less pungent, less what we call tamasic, while retaining all these benefits:

Garlic and its allium family vegetables have important anti-cancer properties, with a high intake of garlic (roughly translated as taken daily) has been found to lower risk of virtually all cancer types, except prostate and breast cancer.

Garlic has cardiovascular benefits, having been shown clearly to lower blood triglycerides and total cholesterol, Equally impressive about garlic is its ability to lower blood pressure.

Garlic has been shown to protect from inflammatory and oxidative stress, while its antibacterial and antiviral properties are perhaps its most legendary feature. This allium vegetable and its constituents have been studied not only for their benefits in controlling infection by bacteria and viruses, but also infection from other microbes including yeasts/fungi and worms.

Recipes that include fresh Garlic

10. Cilantro

cilantro pesto
cilantro pesto

Some people say that it tests like soap. That’s because the brain recognizes a molecule in cilantro that is not the same, but is similar to a molecule in soap. And this is a helpful way to think of the benefits of cilantro ~ a high powered, industrial-strength  detergent for your tissues. Cilantro has been shown to help rid the worst kind of toxins, those heavy metals that accumulate from environmental pollution.

If you think cilantro tastes like soap, add small amounts to your favorite foods at first. Once your brain has a few samples to go by, it will create a new “file” for cilantro, one that associates with good tastes and a clean, lively feeling. Your brain will be glad to comply, given that it too will benefit from less toxins, and soon you will be loving cilantro like the rest of us!

Recipes with Cilantro

~

When the ingredients are whole, pure and minimal, you boost your prana, tejas and ojas with meals that are satisfying. Health, then, feels like a joyful indulgence – a true celebration of life, light and love!

fathers day
fathers day

I hope you all had a Happy Father’s Day, and that you continue to keep your father, or his memory, strong.
Keep yourself strong, too, so his Prana, Tejas, Ojas can shine through you.

~

If you would like to experience last Sunday’s magic, the magnificence of Bhava and Steve singing and teaching together, please join us in October for our weekend Mastery of Joy Retreat in the mountains near Idylwild.

All life, light and love to you!
Namaste! 

Comfort Food : Curried Spinach Nibbles

spinach-souffle It has been one of the great, quiet privileges of my life to be at the bedside of friends and family as they pass. This week, going back and forth from teaching a mastery intensive on breath to a dark hospice room where our beloved was taking her last breaths, gave a profound opportunity to consider her life and all that she has meant to us, while considering the breath itself: What is it to breathe? What causes the breath? What is it that departs as the breath gently winds down? spinachsouffle In these moments, time slows completely, opening space to simply watch. It becomes a contemplation, watching her breathing in, breathing out, so ephemeral, so eternal… Even as that breath lengthens, softens, stalls, sputters, there is a sacred power. An intelligence. A knowing. Something unthreading. Something setting free. Continue reading “Comfort Food : Curried Spinach Nibbles”

Super Seed Crackers

#homemade crackers

After meeting Mimi Kirk last summer, I was inspired to try making flaxseed crackers. I don’t have a dehydrator though, so after hours and hours of trying to jerry-rig an alternative, I gave up and turned on the oven. What turned out was a surprise.

great

#flaxseed crackers

When I’ve shared these, friends have raved. Family asks for more. My husband, who has more self-restraint than anyone I know, gobbles them up. The recipe is now part of our Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse, but so many others have asked for it, I felt I needed to share it here. Something about the roasting of the seeds makes these oily, crispy, salty in the most magical way. They are great with everything ~ dipshummus, soups, salads, and can be scored into large pieces for a flatbread, or a crunchy pizza with your favorite toppings. But they are so good on their own that, in our house at least, they’re usually gone before anything can be added.

#crackers

#seed crackers with dill

Ayurvedic doctor, chef, educator and molecular biologist Dr. Jay Apte once told us, “For good skin, eat the edible skin of your fruits and vegetables. For energy, eat seeds.” Seeds pack the energy, and the intelligence, of the plant to come.

“It always amazes me to look at the little, wrinkled brown seeds and think of the rainbows in ’em,” said Captain Jim. “When I ponder on them seeds I don’t find it nowise hard to believe that we’ve got souls that’ll live in other worlds. You couldn’t hardly believe there was life in them tiny things, some no bigger than grains of dust, let alone colour and scent, if you hadn’t seen the miracle, could you?”
~
 L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

#fenugreek

I love seeds. I love that you can soak and snack, or soak and sprout, or soak and grow. In fact, we almost always have something soaking, especially in Spring time. Last week I forgot about the fenugreek seeds I was soaking to eat as sprouts, so I tossed them, waterlogged and mushy, in the garden where their green shoots have already pushed up through the earth.

I love seeds so much I want to share them with you, so please let us know how you like these crackers, and be sure to comment if you want me to send you some seeds. I’ll pick three winners and mail you a packet of the seeds you need to make this recipe.

Super Seed Crackers

Makes
about 40 crackers

Ingredients

1/4 c sunflower seeds
1/4 c sesame seeds
1/4 c pumpkin seeds
1/4 c flax seeds
1/2 c chia seeds
1 1/2 c water
1/4 c dulse
2-3 T sun-dried tomatoes, pureed or very finely chopped, optional
1 T tamari
1 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
olive oil
himalayan pink salt
handful of fresh dill, roughly chopped
optional: red pepper flakes

Instructions
Begin by soaking: Let the sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds soak together in a bowl with 1 cup of water for 6-8 hours. The flax and chia can soak together in 1/2 cup of water and only need 20 minutes.

Once soaked, set your oven to 275F. Rinse your seeds and pat dry. Add them to a medium size mixing bowl together with the dulse, sun-dried tomatoes, tamari, lemon juice, garlic, onion powder, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt.

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit a standard baking tray. Pour the seed mixture onto the tray. Take off your rings, oil your hands with olive oil and, using your hands, spread the mixture out to the edges of the baking tray. It should be uniformly thin, about an 1/8 of an inch, without any tears or holes. Lightly sprinkle with olive oil. Score the crackers, tracing squares or rectangles with a sharp knife.

Place the tray in the middle of the oven and bake one hour, or until it is golden around the edges. Pull it out of the oven, carefully turn it over, peeling off the parchment paper (which you can re-place on the baking sheet or discard at this point) and place it back on the baking tray bottom side up. Drizzle this side very lightly with olive oil and dust with salt. Put it back in the oven for another hour. Once this side is golden, turn the oven off. Leave it in the oven until the oven cools, an hour or two, or even overnight. Be sure it is dappled with a golden hue or it will need to cook a bit longer. Sometimes, after the hour of baking each side, I’ll turn the oven up to 350 F, turning the oven off as soon as it reaches that temperature. It gives it that final bit of roasting that really brings the flavors out.

Once it is done and you pull it out of the oven, let it rest and cool before breaking into crackers. Optionally, chop a handful of fresh dill and toss over the crackers while still warm.

#superseed #crackers

I wish you delight in all things this Spring – especially in the love of Mother Nature who gives so much: beauty, bounty, delicious nourishing food. Namaste! 

 ~

Post Script: Congratulations to Kathleen, Stephanie and Linda who will be receiving packs of super seeds! Thank you all for your comments and your commitment to life!

Cannellini Hummus: A Spring Detox Staple

#hummus
We are just finishing up our 21 Day Spring Clean Challenge, and I thought you, along with some of my fellow “Cleansers,” might like a simple way to stay the course. This hummus is so easy and quick to prepare, yet makes a nourishing, hearty meal, even while detoxifying. In fact, it was my family’s lunch today served up with arugula, radicchio, zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes for dipping, along with gluten-free “superseed” crackers and olives. They loved it, never knowing they  were eating “Cleanse” foods. I hope you like it, too.

cannelini hummus poster 2

Cannellini Hummus

1.5 cups organic cannellini beans, cooked
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 T vegan mayonnaise (make your own)
1 t dijon mustard
1 t tahini
3 hearty shakes of aleppo pepper
pink salt to taste
1 t lemon juice, optional 

Put everything in your electric blender and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add a spoonful of fresh lemon juice if you think it needs more salt. Serve with fresh vegetables.

#cannelini hummus
Why change it up and make Hummus with Cannellini? What’s wrong with good old-fashioned Garbanzo?

It’s true, garbanzo beans do make delicious hummus. But, they can be difficult to digest. In many cases (think Vata)  they cause gas, bloating, abdominal discomfort, even constipation. Any Cleanse, to be successful, should strengthen, and not confuse digestion. Mung beans, cooked in Kichari, are the ideal bean for that. In our 21 Day Cleanse, Kichari is a central component. Now that we are almost complete, though, this hummus is a nice variation on the theme.

If you want a simple cleanse you can do anytime, try making up some kichari with lightly steamed vegetables and feast on that for a day, or two, or three… You’ll find many recipes for kichari around my blog ~ here, and at the bottom of the “Basics” page here, for example.

I wish you extraordinary health and wellness so that you are able, in the most vibrant way possible, to taste all the joy, intelligence and love Mother Nature has to offer you.

Thank you for visiting this site, and for being so dedicated to life, light and love! Jai Ma!

What about you? Are you welcoming Spring with a bit of a clean-up, clean-out? What is your favorite way to invite in Spring, and enjoy the season’s energy of renewal?

 

Namaste!

 

 

 

Ginger Brew

#india Since returning from India, it’s all I want. rishi In fact, I think it’s the reason none of us got sick. #dipa 16 people. No one got sick. #deepyoga One wore herself down, needed a day of rest, but that’s not the same as getting sick. Not India sick. #Ganges Ginger Lemon Honey Tea. Mother Nature’s gold. We drank it every day. And now it is all I want. #IYF2014 Since coming home, though, I’m replacing hot water with sparkling. I don’t know why. It’s just what I crave. It seems to help with the jet lag. It also helps with fatigue, ache-y bones, travel sickness, nausea. It is so vata-reducing this drink, it takes straight aim at any imbalances that result from irregularity, hyper mobility, or dryness – all of which describe a trip across the world. monkey So here’s what I’m doing now. It’s a little like the Lemony Ginger Tonic I posted a few years back, but this one is easier to make, and a lot more fun to drink. First, because it is not a cold remedy, so you don’t make it when you are sick but when you are happy, alive with deep, rich memories. Second, it is so fizzy, it will make you dance. It’s elegant enough to serve as a “virgin” cocktail, while its color and sparkle make it a great wake-up spritz for breakfast or brunch. #Lemon #Ginger #Brew Ginger Lemon Honey Sparkle 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled 1 lemon, juiced 1-2 very generous spoons of raw honey sparkling water Optional: 2 slices of pink grapefruit, peeled, for extra detox zing Put the ginger, lemon juice (and grapefruit optionally) with a bit of water in your high speed blender, and mix on high to really macerate the ginger. Add the honey and blend some more. This time you can mix on low but mix it long enough to really integrate the textures. Fill three-quarters of a glass with sparkling water. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the ginger-lemon-honey blend. Enjoy while it is still fizzy. #gingerbrew Let me know what you think. It is also great for a Spring detox, and can be used as a cold remedy – but then you’d want to heat it up instead, with non-fizzy water. That’s how we had it in India. Every day. And – did I mention? – no one got sick. ginger lemon sparkle

To your best health. May you enjoy of all of Mother Nature’s true gifts.

~

Thanks to Jamie Rollins for photos 4 and 6. More photos from our adventure are here.

Thank you for reading and committing yourself to good health. Every individual is an integral part of the whole and thus makes an important contribution to our integrated wholeness.

Namaste!  

Miracles of Green

#spinach #greens
Spring is the season of green, when Mother Earth knows it’s time to internally cleanse and so offers us an abundance of purifying greens in all textures and flavors. There are mustard greens, garlic greens, savoy greens, fenugreek, chicory, sorrel, spinach, chard, kale, water cress, purslane, every kind of brassica, and opportunities to forage for wild edibles right in your own local canyons and forests where you might find medicinals such as leeks, nettles and dandelions.

Sour, pungent, astringent and bitter, in varying degrees, are the tastes of Spring. Pungent greens increase digestion and circulation, aiding the body in warming up and “melting off” the cold freeze, or stagnation, of winter. Sour also aids digestion, elimination and circulation. Astringent dries and tones. Bitter is perhaps the least popular, but most important of Spring’s tastes. Made up of the elements of air and apace, foods with the bitter taste help the body detoxify, purify, lighten up, loosen up and open up the inner channels for optimal flow. Bitter tasting herbs help you eliminate waste, fight colds, reduce allergies and lose weight.

Traditional cultures instinctively knew the benefits of Spring’s bitter-tasting bounty, cultivating wonderful, easy, nourishing, home-cooked savory pies and tartes out of a variety of these free, foraged greens. From France, Italy, Greece, and my own back yard, here are 7 delicious ways to go green this Spring ~

#Gourmed_spinach pie
Photo: Gourmed.com

1. Spinach and Greens Pie (Vegan)

2. Spicy Mustard Green Pesto (Vegan)

3. Spinach, Nettles and Dandelion Tart from Provence (Vegetarian)

4. Nettle Spiral Pie (Vegan)

5. Gourmed’s Original Spanakopita (Vegetarian)

6. Sign up for my annual Spring Cleanse, an easy, at-home, three-week, guided course to nourish your body to release toxins, old material, and stagnation, to restore youthful vitality, mental clarity and luminous radiance.

#dandelion
Photo: Traditional Medicinals

7. Drink Dandelion Tea. You can make it yourself with the roots and shoots of the plant harvested from any organic lawn or garden. To make it easy though, you could try Traditional Medicinals‘ newly launched dandelion teas which they sent to me to try, and which they will send to one of you as a free gift. 

“Dandelion has become increasingly popular recently for its ability to support the body’s natural detoxification process,” says the company literature. “With the trend only growing, Traditional Medicinals herbalists formulated two new dandelion teas that will be hitting store shelves this spring – EveryDay Detox Dandelion and Dandelion Leaf & Root.
  • EveryDay Detox Dandelion* – inspired by a classic European herbal formula, is a blend of dandelion, licorice, fennel, and peppermint help stimulate the liver while providing support to the kidneys.
  • Dandelion Leaf & Root* – From roots to shoots, this enjoyably mild and sweet tea includes supports kidney function and healthy digestion.”
I love licorice, fennel and peppermint in tea, so I loved the first tea. I did not find any of the ascribed sweet in the second. “Leaf & Root” tastes pretty bitter to me. Then again, bitter is good. It’s the taste of detoxification, after all ~ and the taste that quickly cuts sugar cravings.
Rather than drink it as a tea, I brewed a strong half cup of the Dandelion Leaf & Root and added it to a sautée of spinach and kale, pictured below. With ginger, cardamom, a dash each of cinnamon and nutmeg, a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice and the dandelion infusion, these greens are a potent, and deliciously, detoxifying agent. Just home from India, it’s my daily nourishment.
#kale
Want to try some dandelion tea? Please let us know in the comment section below. There is a limited supply, so we’ll pick names (blindly and randomly, of course!) by week’s end and let you know. If you comment anonymously, it’s fine. But please know we won’t be able to contact you, and won’t have your shipping address to send you your teas.
*
Meanwhile, I invite you to try Traditional Medicinals’ Plant Personality Quiz. It’s fun, remarkably accurate, and another reminder that nature is a mirror, a beautiful biosphere, and that you are an integral part of it.
*
To your pure, whole being ~ May it be alive in a most vibrant (human) vehicle this Spring, with the energy, clarity, and wakefulness needed in order to know the beauty, magnificence and star-bedazzled interconnnectedness of all that is. Namaste!
Related:

Smooth Move Tonic

Not too long ago, my Ayurvedic mentor/doctor had me add a little something to my evening routine, and it has made all the difference.

#cleanyourcolon

It was all about, well, a delicate subject… proper elimination. The formula he gave me came in tablets from India, which would be hard for anyone to replicate at home. Fortunately, in her Ayurvedic Fat Fighters series on Doctor Oz, another western doctor with Ayurvedic expertise, Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary, touts something she calls a “Triphala Treat,” which offers similar benefits.

#triphalatreat

Dr. Kulreet’s Triphala Treat is just 1 t ground flax seed, 1 t psyllium husks, 1/2 t triphala powder.  If you stir this into almond milk warmed with cardamom, and a little honey if needed, you will have a sweet natural laxative tonic that is also rejuvenative, detoxifying, dosha-balancing, and sleep-inducing. In fact, the Charaka Samhita, one of the great treatises on Ayurveda, states, “One who fully knows how to use Triphala can rectify any imbalance.”

You can purchase Triphala powder from many healthy food stores where it is usually  sold in tablet form, which can be ground into powder. I prefer Banyan Botanicals, because their products pass the highest standards for integrity, safety, sustainability. Plus, Banyan sells Ayurvedic herbs in powder form, according to tradition.

Smooth Move Tonic

This tonic is to be enjoyed in the evening as a “bedtime treat.” In fact, if you are already making this Deep Sleep Tonic in the evening, just add the Triphala Treat directly to your blender and keep it running for a minute or two to will gently warm your tonic, without having to heat it on the stove. It saves a lot on cleanup.

The tonic is generally tri-doshic, but Pitta seems to find it most helpful. Pitta is heat with water. Hot water rises and evaporates. The earth element pulls that heat down, and in the case of this recipe, down and out. Addressing the third stage of digestion ~ elimination, it’s a tonic that helps you wake up feeling lighter, balanced, regular, free.

#coloncleanse
I’d love to do an informal survey to find out how beneficial this is on a broad scale, so if you try it and like the results, let us know with a simple “yes” in the comment section below. If you know your dosha, add that too. Knowledge is power. Together we can make our lives, and in that the world, a healthier place for all.

Thank you!

Chocolate Pasta

#chocolate pastaIn a recent class we taught on Ayurveda for families, we made a “chocolate butter” (as in peanut or almond butter) demonstrating one of many examples of healthy snacks for children. With some of that chocolate butter remaining, Valentine’s Day approaching, and the inspiration of children still in my heart, I thought I’d get playful and try out the chocolate butter as a sauce for pasta.

#Valentine's Day Pasta

Thus emerged this Chocolate Pasta, a delight both easy and quick to make. I think it took all of ten minutes.

The sauce is made with cacao, so has all the health benefits of dark chocolate. If you are making this for adults, use cacao nibs. It gives an accent of bitter that really works. But if you are making this for children, cacao powder will better integrate the flavors.

#chocolate pasta

You could serve this as a side, or add your choice of protein and make it a one dish meal. I added fresh green peas as my protein, mixing them in at the very end so they would hold their fresh aliveness.

chocolate #pasta

#chocolatepasta

Once served, you can dress it up however you like. I added chives, but chopped spring onion would be great for that burst of pungency. I also like toasted or roasted sunflower seeds, but you could garnish with toasted pecans, walnuts, almonds, or pepitas. It needs that nutty bite. Best of all, I sprinkled cacao nibs over each serving. It ‘s more than a theme note, its gives the pasta a rich contrast in color, texture and taste.

VDay Chocolate Pasta

I think it worked, but would love to know what you think.

Chocolate Pasta
Serves 3-4

2 quarts water
1 cube veg broth
1 T sesame oil
1 fistful soba noodles
1-2 cups seasonal greens, shredded
1/2 t ginger powder
1/4 t garlic powder
1/8 t red pepper (the slightly milder aleppo is my preference)
gf tamari
toasted or roasted sunflower seeds
sesame seeds
chives or spring onions, chopped
red pepper flakes, optional

Chocolate Sauce
2 T Almond Butter
3 T raw cacao (powder or nibs)
1 small pear, cored and chopped
1 T Raw Honey (or 2 Medjool Dates)
pinch pink salt
pinch cinnamon
pinch cardamom

Start with the chocolate sauce. Put all the ingredients together in an electric blender and mix until well integrated and smooth. If you are using cacao nibs rather than powder be sure to mix until the nibs break down, but don’t worry if some remain solid. It will give a nice texture to the sauce when added to the pasta.

Meanwhile, boil 2 quarts of water in a saucepan. Chop up your greens and set aside. When the water comes to a boil, add the cube of vegetable broth. Stir until it dissolves, then spoon in the sesame oil. Stir in the ginger and garlic powders and red pepper. Add the soba noodles and your greens. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Gently spoon in the chocolate sauce, stirring lightly so you don’t break the pasta. Season with tamari. Taste, and a pinch of pink salt, if needed.

Chocolate Pasta VDay

Since there are at least six good reasons to celebrate with chocolate, for dessert we have many choices ~ there is this amazing Chocolate Pâté, this extraordinary Flourless Chocolate Cake, or this Chocolate Pudding, all to remind us to celebrate love not just today, but every day.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Poetry & Potatoes


#devilled eggs

“When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For the time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”
~ Wendell Berry, The Peace of Wild Things

#vegan deviled eggs

“The life of rocks, ice, mountains, snow, oceans, islands, albatross, sooty gulls, whales, seals, crabs, limpets, and guanaco once flowed up into the bodies of these people, and out came whale prayers, condor chants, crab feasts, and guanaco songs. Life went where there was food. Villages were portable. Food occurred in places of great beauty, and the feedback from living directly fueled their movements, dances, thoughts, and lives.

Everything spoke: birds, ghosts, animals, oceans, bogs, rocks, humans, trees, and rivers; everything made a sound, and when they passed one another, a third sound occurred. That’s why weather, glaciers, and each passing season were so noisy. Song and dance, sex and gratitude were the season-sensitive ceremonies that linked the human psyche to the larger, wild, weather-ridden world.

When did we begin thinking that weather was something to be rescued from? Why did we trade in our ceremonial lives for the workplace? Is this a natural progression, or a hiccup in human civilization that we’ll soon renounce?

I eat at a rustic bar with other travelers. It’s late when night comes, maybe 10:30. In the darkness, Perito Moreno is still calving and moving, grabbing snowflakes, stirring weather, spitting out ice water, and it makes me smile.”
~ Gretel Erlich, excerpted from her book The Future of Ice: A Journey into Cold

#deviled potatoes

“Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.”
~ Seamus Heaney, Digging

Deviled Eggs

Lindsay Nixon’s Deviled Eggs
From her new book, Happy Herbivore Light and Lean
Makes 12

6 small red potatoes
¼ c hummus (plain)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
pinch black salt
hot sauce (optional)
paprika, or smoked paprika (garnish)

Boil potatoes until fork-tender, then let cool completely. Meanwhile, mix hummus, Dijon, garlic powder, and onion powder together, plus a pinch of black salt, stirring to combine. (Add hot sauce here if you prefer a spicy deviled egg.) Taste, adding more Dijon or black salt to taste, then set aside. Once potatoes cool, slice in half long-ways and use a little spoon or melon baller to scoop out a small circle of the potato flesh (this is your “egg”). Spoon hummus mixture into the hole and garnish with paprika.

Chef’s Note: Black salt is also called kala namak. Not to be confused with Hawaiian black lava salt.

Per “egg”

Calories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Fat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0.6g
Carbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.4g
Fiber. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18g
Sugars. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.9g
Protein. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1g
WW Points. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0

Our prize: Lindsay Nixon's new recipe book
Our prize: Lindsay Nixon’s new recipe book

Do you enjoy food poetry? There are gorgeous photos and beautiful recipes over here at Aloha, a new healthy food support for busy people.

Food, poetry, beauty – it’s all love really, isn’t it?

Namaste!

Holiday Home Made

#footscrub

I am not much of a holiday shopper. I hope that doesn’t sound humbug. I just don’t think the shopping mall has much to do with the spirit of the season, and I’d rather walk on the beach with friends, or travel to the mountains with my family, or share a meal with loved ones. I prefer the gift of time… the gift of togetherness… the gift of nature…. gifts of love.

foot scrub

Home-made presents give the gift of all of the above – your time, your caring heart, nature’s beauty and love. Here are six last-minute ideas you can make in quick time, with ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard – all in the comfort and peace of your own home. After all, this is still the season when we should be doing less, turning in, and staying warm!

#peppermint #footscrub

1. Soothing Foot Scrub: With magnesium to calm, cinnamon to warm, and peppermint for that holiday tingle.
2. Radiant Skin Facial Moisturizer: With rose at the heart of these delicious ingredients, Ayurvedic skin care is Edible Beauty.
3. Cookies: Delicious Cardamom or darling Gingerbread.
4. Dessert Bread: Liscia’s Cardamom Banana or Drisana’s Primal Coconut.
5. Chocolate Pâté: Wrap in a red, silk ribbon for extra richness. Keep refrigerated until gifting.
6. Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Bark: A colorful, healthful recipe demonstrated in this charming, short video from Melissa Clark of the NYT.

chocolate-pate

Thank you for joining me on this culinary journey of Nature’s love. I wish you days of light, seasons of joy, generous gifts of peace ~

Namaste!

Related Posts

Summer’s Garden Soup

Vegetable Puree

Two weeks ago I posted summer ideas for breakfast, and last week, it was a fresh summer salad for lunch. So it seems in the natural order of things to offer you now a bit of dinner inspiration for summer.

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I love the intelligence of Mother Nature! Every season she offers us foods to balance her changes. In summer now, she bountifully provides cool foods to counter her hot weather: Cucumbers, Melons, Summer Squash, and herbs such as Dill, Mint, Cilantro.

Yesterday morning I went out to our little food garden and gathered up some of those fresh summer vegetables, blending them all together last night to make this exquisite little soup.

Garden Soup

The beauty of this is that there is no cooking required. Reminiscent of the old-fashioned elegance of chilled soups such as Gazpacho and Vichyssoise, yet updated with inspiration from the thoroughly modern practice of Juicing, this dinner is easy to make, easy to serve, easy to digest. It is also: good for your liver, pitta-pacifying, emotionally balancing, peacefully purifying, and, did I say cooling? 

Summer’s Garden Soup
Serves 2

1  Cucumber
1/2 Zucchini
2-3 Tomatillos
1 handful Cherry Tomatoes
1 small Avocado
1 few leaves of whatever green you have on hand: Kale, Arugula, Sorrel, Mizuna, etc.
1 handful Cilantro
1 sprig Dill
1 leaf Mint
1 Lime, juiced
1/4 – 1/3 c. Water
Pinch of Sea or Pink Salt, to taste

Put everything in your blender and mix until the consistency is smooth. Serve in bowls, garnished with slices of cherry tomatoes and dill, and sprinkle with lime juice. Eat slowly so you can taste all the flavors. It is complex, subtle, and delicious!

Options
Vata: Drizzle Olive Oil, stir in Yogurt, and/or add chopped Almonds to your soup bowl.
Pitta: Perfect! Could add toasted sunflower seeds for a satisfying, sweet crunch.
Kapha: Add 1 clove garlic and/or a tiny piece of fresh green pepper (serrano, jalapeno) when blending.

Summer Garden Soup

What do you like to make in the summer to chill, refresh and renew?

Wishing you a beautiful summer.
Thank you, dear friends.
Namaste!

Vegan Artichoke Dip

#Artichoke #healthydips

At our recent Ayurvedic Nutrition & Cooking Class (“The Amazing Basics”), we whipped up this Spinach Artichoke Dip to snack on while we prepared a fabulous whole food feast.

It started like this:

Photo: Katariina Fagering, Gypsy Soul Cafe
Photo: Katariina Fagering, Gypsy Love Cafe
Ayurvedic Cooking: Vedawise.com
Photo: Katariina Fagering, Gypsy Love Cafe

VedaWse Cooking Class

It was an intuitive, spontaneous creation, so there wasn’t a recipe for it in the Class Handouts. Turns out, though, it was one of the highlights of the day, and requests for the recipe having been coming in, so I wanted to share it with you here.

arti

It’s an easy recipe if you use artichokes from a jar, as we did that day. Of course, that is a real cheat, a high offense to Ayurvedic principles that insist on “fresh, fresh, fresh!” So the next time I made it with artichokes from a friend’s garden, which is amazing. To think you are eating a flower.

healthy healing artichoke dip

If you want to make this from a garden-fresh artichoke, Mark Bittman shows you how to prepare it. Once prepped, let your hearts sit for an hour in a marinade of equal parts lemon juice and raw apple cider vinegar, 1 clove garlic minced, and a dash of pink salt.

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Healthy Spinach Artichoke Dip
Click here for print version

1 c. Cashews, soaked (4 hours)
1 c. Marinated Artichoke Hearts
2-3 T Marinade
1 handful blanched Spinach
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Lemon, juiced
1 t Gluten-free Tamari
1 t Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Red Pepper Flakes or Cayenne Powder, to Taste
Optional: 1 t Nutritional Yeast for a cheesy flavor and a bit of Vitamin B12
Options: Fresh Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Himalayan Salt, fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Cook your spinach for 1 minute, then quickly put it into a bowl of ice water.

Fresh Spinach

IMG_8358

Drain the cashews, rinse well, and mix together with the garlic, artichokes and marinade in your blender.  Squeeze the spinach dry, and add it to the mixture with the lemon and tamari. Process until it is a creamy consistency. Drizzle in the EVOO. Optionally, sprinkle in the nutritional yeast. Pulse three times for 1-2 seconds each.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Artichoke Dip

Spoon into a serving bowl and garnish with red pepper. Serve with carrots, broccoli, spring onion, red, or orange pepper slices, and gluten-free crackers. Your heart, your liver, your kidneys, your friends, and your family will love you ~ because food, when it is natural, fresh, seasonal, and balanced with all six tastes, is always a love story!

#Artichoke #partydips

~
A big thank you to all our Chefs for creating a sumptuous meal that day. Your commitment to food’s loving nourishment is epic!

ayu class 2