Detox Dal: Healing Lentil Soup

LentilSoup_1

I have been pulling together a new website, and prepping for a new course called Radiant You: Ageless Beauty and Balance (details coming), and all I’ve been wanting for lunch each day is this hearty Lentil soup ~ which is great because it is part of a One Day Detox we will be doing at the start of the Radiant You program, and it’s great to be able to speak to its power not only to detox, but also to seduce.

Detox Lentil Soup
Makes 2-4 servings

1 cup Lentils
1 cup Red Quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup Onion, chopped
1-2 clove Garlic (or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder), minced
1-2 teaspoons Ghee (alternatively: coconut, safflower or peanut oil)
1 scant teaspoon Garam Masala (or 1 pinch each: turmeric, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, cumin and/or clove)
1 Carrot, quartered and chopped
1 stalk Celery, cut into small pieces
1 cup Kale, stalks removed, leaves torn into small bits
2 cups Vegetable Broth (I like Pacific Foods Low Sodium)
Hingvastak, or Hing/Asafotida, optional
Coconut or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, or Tamari (gluten-free) to taste

Rinse lentils and drain. Melt ghee over medium heat. Sprinkle in spices and sauté one minute. Add onion and cook a few minutes until it softens. Stir in lentils until thoroughly coated. Add carrot, celery, kale and cook a moment. Turn heat to high and add vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat to low.

Cook 20-25 minutes. Stir in Hingvastak, optionally. Ladle the quinoa into bowls and pour the soup over. Season with Amino Acids or Tamari to taste.

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Even if you don’t join us for the One Day Detox, along with four weeks of Radiant You, I hope you will enjoy this wintery soup. Please let me know.

Namaste!

Beauty Brew

tataharperskincare

Ayurveda promotes Beauty from the Inside. This tisane, or herbal tea, from Tata Harper Skincare, is Pitta-reducing, hormone-balancing, and great for your skin.

Skin-Sational Tisane

2 tbs lemon balm
1 tbs lavender flowers
1 tbs peppermint
1 tbs chamomile flowers
1 tbs rose petals
1 tbs nettle
1 tbs alfalfa
1 tbs rose hips
2 tsp dandelion leaves
2 tsp raspberry leaves
1/2 tsp ginger root

Begin by combining all herbs in a medium-size bowl and stir to blend. You can store the tea in a tightly sealed tin, jar, plastic tub or bag away from light in a cool, dry place. It is best if used within 6 months.

To make a cup of this fabulous tea bring one cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon of tea. Cover and allow to steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain before drinking. Add honey, cream, or lemon if desired.

What do you do to feel beautiful?

Birthday Kale

Birthday Lunch
Yesterday was Bhava’s birthday. He chose True Food Kitchen for lunch. It’s a place we’d wanted to explore since it opened earlier this summer, but its location at Fashion Valley, San Diego’s largest Shopping Mall, put it just a bit outside our comfort zone. So we put on our Yoga and stretched….

And were so glad we did!

A gorgeous urn of lemon water greets you at the entrance
A decorative nod to grass-fed, ethical farming principles promised by the kitchen
The Bar
Fruits and vegetables are clearly the priority

Our adorable server was the picture of health and grounded contentment, and it turns out, has her own healthy food blog, Food At Peace, suggesting she walks the talk. After being outsiders for so long, it was affirming, connecting, refreshing to be amongst the like-minded, the TRUE/TH seekers, especially in the midst of such a “maya-polis” (Dr. Svoboda‘s term) as Fashion Valley!

The perfect server, Lauren Mahlberg

Bhava ordered “Andy’s Favorite ‘TLT,'” a sandwich combination of Tempeh, Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado and Vegenaise that is so good, it must silence objecting meat lovers.

Andy’s Favorite TLT

We always share our dishes, usually ordering one appetizer or salad and only one entree, because in American restaurants two entrees are just too big, and because “the starters” can really show a Kitchen’s artistry and commitment, or not.

Tuscan Kale Salad

So I ordered the Tuscan Kale Salad which is such a burst of flavor, it really is like eating metabolized, packaged-for-human-consumption, sunlight. It is so special it seems to have created enough of a buzz that Dr. Weil, the “Andy” whose favorite ‘TLT’ Bhava enjoyed, also the founding partner in this restaurant based on his Optimum Health principles, has posted a video of himself making it. I thought you’d love it so included the recipe here below.

Sautéed sweet potato from Bhava’s plate gave it the perfect Six Taste balance.

Because it was his birthday and a gift from the kitchen, we tried the flourless chocolate cake for dessert. It  is a delightful demonstration of how much better a dish can be when sourced from the True.

72% Cacao flourless chocolate cake
Tuscan Kale Salad
Serves 4-6
 
Ingredients
4-6 cups kale, loosely packed, sliced leaves of Italian black (Lacinato, “dinosaur,” cavolo nero) midribs removed
juice of 1 lemon
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, mashed
salt & pepper, to taste
hot red pepper flakes, to taste
2/3 cup grated Pecorino Toscano cheese, or other flavorful grating cheese such as Asiago or Parmesan
1/2 cup freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread (I toasted sesame seeds instead to make it gluten-free)
 *
Instructions
  1. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a generous pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes.
  2. Pour over kale in serving bowl and toss well.
  3. Add 2/3 of the cheese and toss again.
  4. Let kale sit for at least 5 minutes. Add bread crumbs, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.

Food as Medicine
Kale is among the most nutrient-dense commonly eaten vegetables. One cup provides 1,327 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, 192 percent of DV for vitamin A, and 88 percent for vitamin C.

My note
Kale is excellent for Pitta. Greens in general are cooling, detoxifying and disease-defying. Because summer is Pitta, Kale in all its glorious forms is a great food for the season. However, if you are Pitta yourself, reduce or even eliminate the garlic and hot pepper in this recipe. If you are Kapha, this is ideal as is. If you are Vata, serve it atop a bowl of hot brown rice, allowing the warmth to lightly steam and wilt the kale. 

This recipe is courtesy of Dr. Weil’s True Food Kitchen restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona and is posted here on his website.

The patio set off by the welcoming garden

Also want to let you know about my Autumn Ayurveda: Nutrition & Cooking Class coming up in September. Details here.

To your True Health. Namaste! 

Refreshing Red & Green Salad

Short, frequent travels have kept me on the road and on the go, but also deliciously on point, all the more present to life, nature, family, friends, love, beauty, creativity, art, and grateful for all those things that really, truly matter.

Big Luscious Union!

Just one of those many joys I am grateful for this season is Katariina, her husband Larry, their exuberant family, exotic life, inspiring friends and Big, Luscious Wedding in the Texas Hill Country over Memorial Day.

Exchanging Vows

Katariina is an inspiring artist with a winsome zest for color and a quirky take on life. Her aesthetic is celebratory, human, welcoming, almost chaotically full, yet balanced and heart-warming, above all. She helps you see the world in a way that makes you  love it all the more.

Beautiful Bridesmaids

Over the past year, I have enjoyed Katariina’s Gypsy Love Cafe, and felt like her Blog utterly leapt to life in her Big Texas Wedding with all its whimsy, eclectic beauty and bohemian joy.

Wild West Gentlemen Groomsmen

The Wedding was held at the Vista West Ranch in Dripping Springs, with the ceremony outdoors in a circle of Oaks. The reception was in the Barn, “rustic chic” and full of charm. Katariina spent the day decorating it with help from her friends, and a truckload of furniture, paintings, curtains, vases and knick-knacks brought from their home in Houston!

The Barn

In the photo above you can see the room on the top floor where they put me ~ a simple, delightful, little “room with a view” ~ a warm, safe, up near the night’s star-studded sky, isn’t it a wonderful world kind of view.

Reception

I fell in love with this Hill Country, where heat is thick, cicadas are loud, green valleys roll on and on, merging into blue hills, merging into purple sky, easing into sunset. It is a place of steady beauty, where stars quietly fill a night sky ~ quiet but throbbing with memory and light so strong, there is no need to shout.

Surrounded by Ancient Oaks

It is as if everything there has existed since before memory, ageless time carving each living thing into its truest potency, everything more fully defined, knowing itself and its purpose, even in silence undeniable presence. If it is color, it is vibrant. If it is a bug, it’s big. If it is an Oak, it is more elegant, deep, dappled than any. If it is night, stars are everywhere glowing like street-lamps, dripping honey and gold.

Katariina & Dianne

But Texas is Texas where meat and potatoes are the fare, and even with the enchantment of Hill Country, this body doesn’t run on red meat, and potatoes aren’t enough vegetable to keep the channels running free and clear.

Spring Salad with Fennel Frond

So, after three days of potato salad, I came home and fixed me up a salad. A “Refreshing Salad” that has enough of the sweet taste to be grounding and restoring after travel and flights, and enough bitter, astringent tastes to clean out a weekend of very off-routine fun.

Home-grown Red Lettuce and Oregano

This was late May, so it was an ideal late Spring Salad with its fiery radishes, strong bitters like radicchio and arugula, the cleansing lift of grapefruit, and light, digestible protein from the beans and peas. Even though it is now summer, it remains a great meal for the season, as raw foods are always cooling, and greens are like air-conditioning to an over-heated system.

Snap Peas, Fava Beans, Red Lettuce and Beets

It was designed to counter and balance all that Texas culture. Yet it has a beefy beauty all its own, packed with juicy life potency, every color and shape unique, each living thing intelligent and purposeful. What joy to return home to a meal of such living vibrancy ~ edible intelligence that, in the way that Texas Hill Country feels, has existed since time immemorial.

With Arugula & Sprouted Sunflower Seeds

Don’t let its complexity fool you. It is a delightful and easy salad to make! I buy the fava beans and beets from Melissa’s, so that is already prepared. It is wonderfully delicious with a simple lemon juice and EVOO dressing, or with an Avocado Dressing which I’ll be posting next.

The Avocado Dressing adds a creamy, sweet finish

I used red lettuce from our garden, but when collecting items from the market, I choose baby greens, which is what I wrote in the recipe below. I also prefer Sprouted Sunflower Seeds, not the whole green sprout but the seeds, soaked and just barely shooting a sprout. Please let me know what you think of it, and what you like to add to fit your tastes and needs.

Click for Print Version

Memories of East Texas are sweet. Thank you, Katariina and Larry. Wishing you a Big, Beefy, Luscious, Loving, Ageless, Infinite, Vibrant, Joyful, Bodacious Adventure together!

Setting Up
Decorating the Barn
Decorating the Altar
Awaiting the Circle of Friends
Finn

Hope you all enjoy the salad and have an awesome Summer!

Namaste ~ 

Spring Detox Smoothie

Energizing, Awakening, Detoxifying

At first look, this Breakfast Smoothie is a blush-colored beauty! But at first taste, it is a bit of a surprise: the kind of surprise that yanks you by the collar, drags you from bed, alerts all five senses, concentrates the mind, and shouts, “Wake up!”

When you go back to check, Really?, the second taste gives you a shudder. The kind of shudder that shakes off sleep, powers up the daylight, revs up your juices, sends that blush of beauty to your face, and stirs all the cells in your body to declare “Yes, I am Alive!”

After that, it is delicious.

If this is a helpful way to start your day, here is how to make it. I adapted it from Whole Living, who add fresh ginger ~ a pungent and, therefore, great for Spring, but too much for me. I replaced it with cinnamon ~ also pungent, but gentler ~ and added Honey. Otherwise, the grapefruit was overwhelming.

Gorgeous Ingredients

Spring Detox Smoothie

1/2 Grapefruit, peeled
1 cup Strawberries
1/2 Apple
1 t Honey
1 dash Cinnamon

Put the fruit in a VitaMix or powerful blender. Add 1 cup water and liquefy. Add honey and cinnamon. Blend another 10 seconds, and pour into glasses. Makes 2 servings.

from Whole Living

I served this to guests when they arrived at my recent Spring Detox Cooking Class at Casa De Luz because the grapefruit offers a light, bright, energizing way to  get more of the bitter taste in your diet, which in turn will give you a healthier, happier Spring.

Would you like a free lunch at Casa De Luz? It is our hip, new, North Park, Vegan, communal Eatery and they are giving a nourishing soup, salad and main course for free to one person who comments below about your love for Smoothies, Juicing or Casa De Luz. I’ll pick a name from the comments on Sunday, and announce it here. So please let us know what you do to stay healthy in Spring and come back to visit Sunday.

Namaste! 

4 Simple Steps to Detox

According to Ayurveda, Spring is the season to detox. How timely then that the world received the great gift of the movie Hungry For Change this Spring!

Without ever mentioning it by name, the movie outlines an Ayurvedic approach to health and wellness, specifically in terms of nourishing and detoxifying your body, and those good souls at Hungry for Change just sent out 4 simple Detox Tips from Dr. Alejandro Junger, a featured expert on  their documentary, that I want to pass along. It echoes themes and tips in our Spring Clean Challenge, also every bit as easy to incorporate.

Do you feel ready for a Detox? We are offering our Spring Clean Detox Challenge again because it was so much fun, so successful and so easy. It begins this Sunday, April 22nd, on Earth Day ~ a perfect day to commit to honoring your body temple with Mother Earth’s nourishing, sacred bounty. Check out the details here.


1. Drink More Water

Too often we misinterpret thirst for hunger. Our signal for thirst may cause us to eat as we mistake it for hunger pains. Reach for water first and make sure you are well hydrated before eating any meal throughout the day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.Where possible make sure to drink your water at least 30 minutes before eating as this will allow time for the water to properly penetrate the cells of your body and hydrate your stomach lining in preparation for proper digestion. I like to add lemon juice and apple cider vinegar to my water or green it up with barley grass powder, wheatgrass powder, spirulina or chlorella.

2. Add A Green Juice To Your Day 

Green juices are an amazing way to add life giving and detoxifying plant chlorophyll to your bloodstream.
*
Green Juice Recipe Ideas:
– Celery, lemon and pear (or apple)
– Celery, cucumber, lemon (leave the skin on) and pear (or apple)
– Celery, cucumber, kale, lemon and pear (or apple)
– Celery, cucumber, lemon, parsley and pear (or apple)
*
You can also stir in whatever green powders you have laying around to green them up even more! Try barley grass, wheatgrass, spirulina or chlorella powder.
*
My note: My favorite breakfast Smoothies are green and goddessy!

3. Add More Parsley and Cilantro (Coriander) To Your Diet 
Parsley and cilantro (called coriander outside the U.S.) are very powerful natural green plant foods for detoxing heavy metals out of your body.”
*
My note: These herbs are easy to grow in your home garden or on a kitchen windowsill and can be added to just about anything ~  juices, salads, soups and meals. One very delicious way to get your daily dose of Cilantro is to make this surprisingly fabulous Heavy Metal Detox Pesto Recipe

4. Breathe Deep Into Your Abdomen  

Deep breathing, where you fill your belly and expand your diaphragm downwards, is one of the most powerful exercise you can do to activate your lymph system which helps to detoxify your body. Think of your lymph system as your own personal garbage removal system. Practise 10 deep slow breaths counting 4 seconds in, 8 seconds hold and 8 seconds out. Breathe long slow and deep in a mindful state as often as possible.
*
Up to 70% of our body’s waste products are eliminated via our lungs and the rest through the urine, skin and feces. When the efficiency of our lungs is reduced due to poor breathing, less oxygen is available to our cells, and it slows down the flow of blood which carries wastes from the kidneys and lungs. Our lymphatic system which fights off viral and bacterial invaders is weakened along with a slower digestive process.
*
My note: Deep breathing also massages the organs of digestion and elimination, stimulating peristaltic action, and deeply cleaning the internal organs. It is an important part of our Spring Clean Detox Challenge. I encourage you to watch this 5 minute video to learn how and why. I also like this one.

This weekend, we have a number of ways to support you in feeling your best ~ Friday Night we celebrate YogaDance, Sunday morning we partner with Casa De Luz for a Spring Detox Cooking Class, Sunday afternoon we have our annual Yoga Detox Workshop and Sunday evening our second 21 Day Spring Clean Challenge begins. 


What about you? What is your favorite way to detox?  What tips have you learned that are most helpful to you? 

Spring Detox Challenge begins April 22nd

Isn’t it a joy awakening to Spring, sensing all of nature come alive ~ and feeling yourself one with that renewal? Our upcoming Spring Clean 21 Day Challenge captures that joy, because we are doing it now, as Spring unfolds, and we are doing it together.

If you know you are ready to blossom and begin, register here.

What is an Ayurvedic Detox program?

Ayurveda is powerful because it is an age-old, tried-and-tested health science that mastered the art of deep tissue cleanse that simultaneously nourishes, so you maintain energy, peace of mind and immune strength.

Your “Spring Clean” Ayurvedic Detox includes 21 days of guided, gentle, nourishing detoxification in three phases:

1) Preparing the Way ~ Week One prepares your body for detoxification, beginning the process gently by introducing Detox Tea, Ayurvedic Herbal Formula, certain natural foods and daily practices to open the channels of elimination safely.

2) Guided Detoxification ~ Week Two involves simple meals that offer a deep tissue cleanse while simultaneously nourishing the body so you don’t have to go hungry.

3) Integration ~ Completing a detoxification is as important as the detoxification itself. In Week Three, we will reintroduce every day foods, incorporating the best meals, digestive tonics, and practices to maintain that “clean” all Spring.

Why is this one special? 

Most detox programs focus on nutrition only, and often a rather focused aspect of nutrition. Some cleanses target the liver, others the lymph, etc. This program is holistic and wholesome, addressing the whole of you – your whole body, as well as your mind, your life, your spirit. The foods, meals, herbs, and tonics on this program are gentle, nourishing and tasty, so that your detoxification won’t leave you exhausted, depleted, or unable to function – because who needs that? Our purpose is to help you live your life as best and as fully as you can.

The program also includes therapeutic Yoga, Abhyanga, Pranayama, empowerment tools, informative emails, and, if you choose, a personal consultation to tailor your Cleanse to your specific mind-body type and circumstances.

Also, I have priced it very affordably, so everyone has an opportunity to feel their very best.

Beginning April 22nd 

When you register you will receive Materials to guide you and prepare you. Then on April 22nd you will receive, by email, the program overview with a schedule, a day-to-day plan, grocery list, recipes for meals, snacks, tonics, teas, and gentle detoxification exercise, along with a recording to guide you.

You will meet your fellow “Challengers” in a closed, private online group where you will receive support and encouragement, as well as tips, recipes and more inspiration to stay the course and turn to optimal wellness.

What do you need? 

1) An email address to receive the program.
2) A computer to listen to the recorded guidance and to join our online forum to engage with your support team.
3) A few minutes at the market to pick up the sumptuous items for your Det0x. A grocery list will be provided.

How does it work? 

Beginning April 22nd I will “drop” a recording into your email box with all the information you need. There will be two more recordings that will come to you via email weekly. You will also get regular email updates and encouragement. In addition, if you choose, you will have a 30 minute Ayurvedic Consultation with me during this period so that we can tailor this Cleanse to truly meet your needs.

You can do all of this in the comfort of your own home, on your own time, listening to the weekly recordings at your own leisure. All materials are all emailed to you at the beginning of each week.

We all know that success comes more easily when we join forces with friends and others who share the same goals. So you can also choose to join our online forum, where you will connect with your “support team” ~ the other participants who will help keep your motivation strong ~ share your progress and insights, ask questions, discuss your experience.

What’s the Schedule? 

Sunday, April 22nd, 8 am PST ~ You will receive a recorded call that introduces the principles and practicalites of the program, connects you to the group,  and reminds  you of your inner, infinite power that will help you sustain this commitment. All calls will be recorded and available for review in your own time.

Sunday, April 29th, 8 am PST ~ Second recorded call to prepare you for the second week, the core of our program. Q&A to be sure you know the how’s and wherefore’s and a powerful meditation to lock in your power of commitment.

Tuesday, May 6th, 8 am PST ~ Final recorded call on the detox dynamics of Spring, ensuring correct integration of every day Spring foods and congratulating you on your success!

Daily ~ Regular Emails with directions, tips and encouragement will accompany you on this program and you will be paired with support you can reach out to if you choose.

How do I join? 

There are four ways you can receive this program:

1) You can elect the Spring Clean Challenge and receive all of the above ~ recipes, meal plans, tonics, teas, program schedule,  day-to-day plan and detox exercises, phone calls, emails and group support; PLUS, a 30 minute phone Consultation to address your particular Ayurvedic needs and tailor the program accordingly; PLUS, a Care Package of the Core Detox Provisions, VALUED AT $100 (key ingredients are not easily found at local stores). We call this the Shiva Challenge. It gives the highest level of support and ease, and it is all available for only $247 (plus shipping). Participants at this Level also receive a $100 gift Certificate to our Mastery of Life Retreat in September. 

2) Or, You can elect the Spring Clean Challenge, PLUS, the Core Detox Care Package. We call this the Vishnu Challenge and it is only $197.

3) You can elect the Spring Clean Challenge, PLUS the Ayurvedic Consultation.We call this the Hanuman Challenge and it is only $147.

4) Or, you can select the Spring Clean Challenge with all of the above, including recorded calls, emails and group support. This is best for you if you know your Dosha, have studied some Ayurveda or work with a practitioner, and are a good self-motivator. This is the Ganesha Level and is only $97.

You are likely to find that this cleanse is good for your budget – you might even save money over the course of the three weeks as your foods are basic and you will be primarily eating at home. (I will give options for those occasions when eating out is necessary). Please note that unless you purchase the Provisions, you are responsible for the items on the grocery list. 

Ready to register? 

Please click here for registration.

What have others said about this program?

” Your 21 day cleanse has changed my life and my health and I want to thank you for all your guidance, love and support. You are truly an amazing spirit. My outlook on food has changed from a meat based diet to one that is now filled with nourishing healthy foods.  As much as I was counting the days left for the 21 day cleanse to end, I am now thinking about the next one.” ~ Rick

“Laura – I really enjoyed the detox program… More energy, less angst and frustration.. Improved and more discriminatory palate. Allergies reduced, and I lost 6 pounds in my first ten days. Would definitely recommend it to a friend. Thanks again for all of the guidance and support, your caring and concern for others comes through in person, over the phone, in recordings, in emails and blog postings!” ~ Marcelle

“It has been great. I always felt full, never hungry and no I feel lighter, clearer, better. By the second week, people were commenting on how good my skin looked. By the third, I had lost 7 pounds, an unexpected benefit.”  ~ Gail

“I loved the Spring Detox with you.  It was gentle, well guided, nicely documented and very inspirational for keeping up with the program well beyond those 21 days.  The meals were nutritious and tasty and even my picky eater hubby enjoyed them and lost a few inches around his belly.  So much wisdom shining through that information that you gave us. I would recommend your program to anybody in a heart-beat, in fact I believe anybody would profit from it.  My husband and I will definitely do it again.” ~ Nicole

“Really good, and really happy. I don’t want to return to my old ways. Excited, too, that I am down a dress size just in time for a big event.” ~ Pamela

“I’m a changed man… Thank you so much for being there, Laura. I learned a LOT of valuable information, and as a single guy, this makes food simple for me–without sacrificing taste. 🙂  I was looking for a bit of a lifestyle change, and there was so much in the program that was sensible, sustainable, and simple in this way of eating and taking care of the body.  I’ve adopted much of what I’ve learned as daily routine, and have changed my core diet to embrace this way of living. This… has brought me up to a new level of functioning in my life, increased my vibrancy, and opened my heart and mind to the true possibilities of life. Thank you again, Laura.  You are doing a great service.” – Boyd

“I am so impressed by this program. It is so holistic, so nourishing, so educational. I learned so much and truly feel that it has the capacity to change anyone’s life. Just amazing!” ~ Marcia

“Beautiful, beautiful. Thanks Laura for doing this. What a mothering soul you have!”

“Thank you for a wonderful call and bringing together such an extraordinary group for this Spring cleanse. I am excited to be a part of this community.” ~ Clea

“This was a wonderful healing cleanse. I liked that I didn’t have to starve as I had struggled with body image as a young woman and completely shut my body down at one point. So I never diet anymore and never weigh myself. I just like that it was filled with healthy food and I was really good on the kitchari days. I also stayed off of coffee for almost 3 weeks. Since then I’ve tried it but haven’t liked it as much. I esp. enjoyed the oil bath in the mornings. It felt like an I love my body the way it is offering!  Something new for me. Thanks, Laura.” ~ Dani

“Your Detox workshop was absolutely amazing and so relevant. I don’t say this lightly but you are truly the most amazing teacher I’ve had the pleasure of taking a class with. Thank you for your instruction, insight and pure spirit…Happy Spring!” ~ Amanda

“thank you for encouraging us to take on 21 blissful days… a couple of things i found interesting in the last 3 weeks were an increased ability to meditate and a sense of increased focus on tasks. i’m fortunate to live in a place where i can choose a healthy lifestyle, and really become attuned with these finer points of good living. your challenge was met with open arms. we both look forward to… live it in greater fullness. *thank you* for proposing this and being the inspiring teacher that you are!” ~ Scott

“Who knew that Ayurvedic cooking could result in such piquant dishes, perfectly balanced in taste and nutrition? Laura Plumb did, and thanks to her… I can now cook healthy and delicious meals!” ~ Anne-Marie
~
I invite you to join us and seize this season for your best health.
Registration here.
Namaste ~ 

Spring Clean: The 21 Day Challenge

According to Ayurveda, good health is dependent upon our capacity to fully metabolize the nutritional, emotional and sensory information that we ingest. When our digestive energies, known as Agni (fire), are robust, we create healthy tissues, eliminate waste products efficiently and produce a subtle essence called ojas. Ojas, which is like our inner sap, is the basis for clarity of perception, physical strength, and immunity. On the other hand, if our agnis are weakened, digestion is incomplete, creating an accumulation of toxic residue known as Ama.

When Ama accumulates, allergies, congestion, headaches, fatigue, chronic pain, low energy, brain fog, moodiness are some of the indications.  Have you ever felt this way?

Now is the time to feel better.

This is the time of year when it is most important to clear Ama from the system. As Spring begins, the warmer weather melts the winter freeze. The same thing is happening within you. After putting on your winter coat ~ adding warm layers, strengthening immunity, and tonifying to the bone ~ your system is now ready to lighten up. If this is done effectively, you have optimal health for Spring and Summer. If not, the system gets clogged, sluggish, rundown and worn out.

That is why Ayurveda places great importance on detoxification in early Spring. And that is why I am offering an easy, do it yourself, in the comfort of your own home, detox program called Spring Clean: The 21 Day Challenge to help you release winter’s accumulation and blossom into your best Spring yet.

What would your life look like if you had boundless energy, acrobatic mental acuity, inspiring creativity, radiant skin, that youthful glow that describes fantastic health in mind and body?

Ayurveda is said to be the oldest, most comprehensive system of medicine in the world, which means it has had thousands of years and thousands of patients for trial and error. As such it has evolved time-tested, effective protocols for cleansing, repairing and restoring the body to its best function.

What is an Ayurvedic Detox program?

Your “Spring Clean” includes 21 days of guided, gentle, nourishing detoxification in three phases:

1) Preparing the Way ~ Week One prepares your body for detoxification, beginning the process gently by introducing Detox Tea, Ayurvedic Herbal Formula, certain natural foods and daily practices to open the channels of elimination safely.

2) Guided Detoxification ~ Week Two involves simple meals that offer a deep tissue cleanse while simultaneously nourishing the body so you don’t have to go hungry.

3) Integration ~ Completing a Detoxification is as important as the detoxification itself. In Week Three, we will reintroduce every day foods, incorporating the best meals, digestive tonics, and practices to maintain that “clean” all Spring.

Begins again April 22nd.  Registration here.  

What do you need? 

1) Email to receive the program.

2) A phone to engage with your support team (missed calls will be recorded and can be listened to at any time).

3) A grocery list will be supplied.

What have others said?

“I am so impressed by this program. It is so holistic, so nourishing, so educational. I learned so much and truly feel that it has the capacity to change anyone’s life. Just amazing!” ~ Marcia Kimpton

“This has been so wonderful. It has really worked well for me.  I’ve lost weight, my skin looks better, reduced the fine lines, and I’ve enjoyed the group. I feel so well supported. There’s a wealth of information. It’s all been so helpful. Namaste!” ~ Nancy Marks

I’m a changed man… Thank you so much for being there, Laura. I learned a LOT of valuable information, and as a single guy, this makes food simple for me–without sacrificing taste. 🙂  I look forward to my next yoga class with you.  Hugs to Bhava for his great gifts to the world, also. I love you guys. ~ Boyd Martin

“I feel lighter, clearer, better. By the second week, people were commenting on how good my skin looked. By the third, I had lost 7 pounds, an unexpected benefit.  It has been easy. I always felt full and nourished. Definitely recommend it!” – Gail

“Your Detox Workshop was absolutely amazing and so relevant. I don’t say this lightly but you are truly the most amazing teacher I’ve had the pleasure of taking a class with. Thank you for your instruction, insight and pure spirit…Happy Spring!” ~ Amanda DeWitt

“thank you for encouraging us to take on 21 blissful days… a couple of things i found interesting in the last 3 weeks were an increased ability to meditate and a sense of increased focus on tasks. i’m fortunate to live in a place where i can choose a healthy lifestyle, and really become attuned with these finer points of good living. your challenge was met with open arms. we both look forward to… live it in greater fullness. *thank you* for proposing this and being the inspiring teacher that you are!” ~ Scott Davis

“Who knew that Ayurvedic cooking could result in such piquant dishes, perfectly balanced in taste and nutrition? Laura Plumb did, and thanks to her… I can now cook healthy and delicious meals!” ~ Anne-Marie Welsh
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You can imagine great health. I invite you to join us and seize the season. Make it yours. Let it be your best Spring yet. 

Further details, prices and registration here.
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Thank you & Namaste! 

4 Ways to Manage Peri-Menopause with Food

Flaxseeds

Heard of perimenopausal rage? So many women have been asking me lately for help with this issue that when I saw this article from Kate Geagan, author of Go Green: Get Lean, I had to repost it. Her suggestions are not only helpful for Hot Mamas, they are important health habits for all.

4 Ways to Manage Perimenopause through Diet

Kate Geagan, MS RD
Kate Geagan

by Kate Geagan, MS, RD

I remember when my mother hit menopause, she started sporting a button that said, “I’m out of estrogen and I have a gun.” She was, needless to say, joking, but our entire family tiptoed on eggshells until the button came off. While women across the globe know that “The Change” lies somewhere in their future, replete with varying degrees of physical and emotional shifts, most women are shocked to learn that there’s actually another stage many of us hit before then: perimenopause.

If menopause is defined by a single event (a woman’s last period), perimenopause is a bit less “pinpoint -able” as it refers instead to the time before menopause (anywhere from 2 to 10 years) during which the ovaries begin reducing hormone production. The result is fluctuating levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which can set off emotional changes ranging from mild to mentally unhinged. This latter symptom in particular, which Dr. Oz recently talked about as “perimenopausal rage,” is described by many women as a propensity toward unexpected, heightened anger or a vulnerability to more volatile emotional outbursts, even when the moment before you were cool as a cucumber.

While your health-care provider is your best ally to help you manage your hormones, here are a few dietary strategies that may help keep you from feeling the need to reach for a button of your own.

Eliminate Key “Hot Spot” Triggers

Think of Hippocrate’s advice: “First, do no harm.” Sugar, caffeine and alcohol are three compounds in the diet that can exaggerate any hormonal symptoms, igniting a cocktail of emotions when stress is added.  If your blood sugar is sky high after a donut, or your body’s “fight or flight” stress response is over-activated from a mega-jolt of caffeine, you may be creating a perfect storm for that emotional rollercoaster. And while alcohol may seem to settle your nerves in the moment, overdoing it can have lingering effects on your edginess the next day. Eliminate these three things in your diet and you can often see a difference almost immediately.

Omega-3-rich Foods

Happy brain chemistry is dependent on getting adequate amounts of omega-3s in the diet, as research has linked adequate omega-3s in the diet with better moods and lower rates of depression. The brain particularly loves DHA, a key omega-3 fat in the brain which comprises 50% by weight of some brain cells. Enjoy at least two servings of fatty fish each week like salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, barramundi or bluefish weekly to naturally include some of nature’s richest sources of omega-3s. Snack on one ounce of walnuts, which packs a day’s worth of omega-3s in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. Or drizzle two tablespoons of ground flaxseed or one tablespoon cold pressed flax oil on your morning bowl of oatmeal for an added boost. If you absolutely don’t like fish, consider taking a USP certified fish oil supplement (the USP certification will ensure good manufacturing practices). Of course, be sure to check with your health-care provider before adding any new supplements to your regimen.

Load Up on Legumes

Beans and lentils are superfoods which offer several benefits to women going through either perimenopause or menopause. Why? The combo of high fiber and protein help to keep blood sugar stable longer after meals and snacks, providing a nice buffer against those “mood swings within minutes” that many perimenopausal women describe. They also score high points for being low in calories, which helps women in their 40s and 50s maintain a healthy body weight during what is typically a time of creeping weight gain (metabolism can slow as women lose lean muscle mass if they are not involved in strength training). Legumes are also rich in B-complex vitamins, including folate and B6, which serve as cofactors for enzymes involved with estrogen metabolism. Aim to include at least one cup per day (a half-cup provides about 7 grams of protein): Enjoy a cup of pasta fagioli or lentil soup with a green salad for lunch, simmer a pot of three-bean chili this weekend, or savor French, green or red lentils (they’re tinier and more delicate) as your next side dish along grilled fish or chicken.

Think About Adding Some Soy

Should you start stocking up on soy products to help you stay cool as things heat up? Possibly, depending on your personal family history. Some evidence suggests that soy might help thanks to the phytoestrogens that soybeans contain. Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring plant compounds that can mimic the body’s own estrogen by binding to certain estrogen receptors, potentially helping your body ease through the loss of your own source of estrogen. Though they are about 1000 times weaker than regular estrogen, there is some evidence to suggests that including 2-3 servings of soy food daily may help reduce the severity of hot flashes, protect against bone loss and heart disease, and reduce your risk of breast cancer (a half-cup of roasted soy nuts or edamame as a snack, or a half-cup of tofu in your stir fry all count as one serving). For that, it may be worth a try to see if you start feeling better after a month or two of adding soy to your diet. However, there have also been some studies which have found no added benefit, and adding soy may be contraindicated if you have a personal or family history of estrogen-sensitive cancers like breast cancer, so be sure to talk with your doctor first.

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If you are going through “The Change,” I hope this helps you. If this would help someone you know, please forward it. Women are the preservers of life. Anything we do to support any woman anywhere, creates a better world for all.

Namaste!

Food Therapy: Healing Kichari

Healing Touch

This past weekend we taught the first of three Intensives in our long-awaited ~ at least long-awaited by us ~ 100-hour Vedic Yoga Therapy Training. I say “long-awaited” because Yoga-as-therapy is what we do. Both my husband and I enjoy a deeply passionate life thanks to Yoga. But more than that, we survived because of Yoga. So you’d think a “Yoga Survivors” training of sorts is where we’d begin.

Garden Practice

We have had the intention of doing this from the very start. Ten years on, we are just getting to it now. But that’s okay. Because along the way, healing continues to occur. So much so that by this weekend, teaching was natural and spontaneous. It flowed. Amazing people showed up. Amazing things happened. There were flashes of insight, deep connections, rippling waves of relief and release. We laughed. We cried. We touched, moved, breathed, and we were touched, moved and inspired by our students and their courage.

Soul Brothers

Something happens that could never have been planned and it becomes a whole lot larger than the sum of its parts. We feel ourselves more as witness than teacher, aware of the unfolding of a perfection we cannot name, willing players in service to a healing force invisible but, at times like these, immensely tangible.

It is quiet work, and very deeply rewarding.

Twisting into Bliss

So what do you eat on a weekend devoted to the Healing Arts when you work from 7 am to 5pm and have a house full of students?

Why, Kichari, of course.

Kichari with Oregano Flowers

Kichari is the most healing of foods, not to mention whole-body delicious. It is warm, rich, hearty and grounding: delightfully balancing in Fall. It is so healing, in fact, that it becomes Ayurveda’s Autumn Fast for those wanting a seasonal Detox.

I simply cannot say enough about it: Kichari is cleansing. Kichari is tonifying. Kichari is nurturing. Kichari is gentle to sensitive tummies. Kichari is loving, warm assurance on cold, rainy days like today. Kichari is a family favorite. Kichari is so important to Ayurveda that it is featured all over this Blog. Kichari might even be called the star of Food: A Love Story.

Yum!

This past Sunday, I made it first by melting ghee and sautéing a spoonful of Autumn Masala, a spice mixture from my “Dancing Plums” collection which is basically ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, ajwan, and sesame seed.  Towards the end, I grated one carrot and half a zucchini, tossing them into the pot for the last ten minutes of cooking. Just before serving, I went to the garden and cut a few stalks of oregano, placing them, flowers and all, on top of the kichari once ladled into bowls.

I put it all together in ten minutes before everyone arrived, and kept it warm in our slow cooker. But it can be made any morning before work and kept until lunchtime in a thermos. You can even cook it in a thermos. Just toss in the ingredients, add boiling water, stir and seal. Let it stew at least four hours and by lunchtime you will have a home-cooked, healthy, hot meal.

Nourishing, Wholesome Delight

Again, there are a number of recipes for Kichari here on this Blog. You will find two on the Basics page, another one here and a great video demonstration, by the totally adorable Kate Lumsden making Kichari in her kitchen.

In Ayurveda there is a saying, “Food is sensory. Digestion is Divine.” Both a sumptuous symphony of sensory delights and divinely digestible, this healing dish is a sacred blessing.

Vedic Healers in Training

To all healers everywhere and all who are healing, I send Love and a great, big Thank You!  

Namaste ~ 

Summer is for Juicing

Breakfast

We started a “Juice Reboot” this week, inspired by the upbeat documentary with the downbeat name, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  My husband, who gets an idea and then award-winningly executes it before anyone can say, “What a force of nature!,” bought a Jack LaLanne Power Juicer almost before the film was over.

Health pioneer Jack LaLanne was passionate about juicing. He felt it directly fed your “River of Life” ~ cleansing, purifying, and nourishing your bloodstream to fertilize the body with abundant nutrients. I love his website where there is much information on the value of juicing, along with recipes. But I love it mainly for his signature sign-off: “You are the most important person on this earth, be kind to that person!”

Lunch
Lunch

The Juicer comes with a booklet full of recipes, but you can really add any fruit or vegetable. We add  all our favorites and enjoying making it up as we go along ~ careful, though, not to mix fruits and vegetables, unless it is apples and pears which go with everything. We toss in a bit of lemon or lime juice, too, with ginger, cardamom, fennel or coriander to aid digestion and get five out of the six tastes (no salt), making the juice not only delicious but sweetly satisfying.

Juice fasts are raw, and the action on the body is cooling. With that, and the tastes being predominantly astringent, bitter and sweet, a raw juice fast is ideal for summer.

Juicing Green
Dinner

It is amazing how much cleansing the body needs, even when your lifestyle is healthy, and, mostly, pure. We are on Day Four now, and as promised, “over the hump.” We’ve moved through the headaches, brain fog and fatigue ~ frankly, with a certain ease. We knew those were signs of purification, and a reminder that it is now August, the timeless month, when all intelligent people throw off their watches and ease into the eternal flow.  

On top of that, our Mastery of Life Yoga Teacher Training student Megan Herzing happened to write us earlier this week without knowing it was the first day of our Juicing. Her email opened with a quote from her friend Adam, “Fasting is a way of letting your body know that your soul is in charge.” It was all the reminder we needed.

~

Raspberry Mango Coconut Lassi, from Cardamom Kitchen

We will have a Sumptuous Banquet of Elegantly Sweet, Deliciously Cooling Summer Smoothies and Rockin’ Raw Juices this Sunday at our Ayurvedic Nutrition & Summer Cooking Class, including a recipe from Cardamom Kitchen for Raspberry Mango Coconut Lassi, modified to use dates instead of sugar.

There are just a couple of places left. I invite you to join us. Just email me if you want to come.

Namaste!

Summer Beans & Greens

Mint

I find it peaceful to write and so was relieved to finally have the time to write on Ayurveda & the Summer Season and get it published to my Blog. It is full of tips for maintaining balance in what is turning it out to be an especially hot season. You can find it here on the Seasons page.

Meanwhile, I had a great lunch yesterday that I also want to share, by way of a little explanation:

In both Spring and Summer I focus on beans and greens. The difference is that in the Spring meals are hot and spicy, whereas in Summer we enjoy cooling vegetables and fresh seasonings that aid digestion without heating the body ~ things like mint, cilantro, dill and fennel.

Cilantro

So, with a few tweaks, this recipe for Tofu with Snap Peas from Whole Living magazine (more and more a great resource for vegetarian meals) is ideal for summer. I simply replaced the red pepper with fresh, chopped mint from the garden, sprinkled the whole dish with the juice of one lime and garnished with a copious dose of chopped cilantro. I also replaced the sugar with maple syrup.

~

Cilantro is so incredibly cleansing, balancing and cooling that we add it to almost everything in our home. We are fortunate because we were just given a generous handful of cilantro seeds, aka Coriander, for our garden. We use a lot of coriander in our cooking, grinding the seeds from whole, so we are familiar with these beautiful balloon-shaped gems. Still, holding this gift in my hands, I couldn’t help but marvel at the intelligence, the deliciousness, the potency and the medicine within.

Coriander Seeds

We have a perfect spot for them – a place where we were growing sunflowers, until someone thought they were weeds and yanked the newborns right out. It was the next day before I noticed they were gone. I cried on the spot. It was as if something had been ripped out of me and tossed away. Considered useless, ugly, a waste.

Preparing to Plant

Silly, I know, but I had nurtured the sunflower plants from seeds, soaking them first, transferring them to the ground, watching over and cultivating them carefully, protecting them from our neighborhood’s stalking ravens, researching their power to purify soil, and then writing a whole blog about it…

The Sunflower Seeds, before their demise

But Coriander seeds blossoming into Cilantro will fill the gaping emptiness and restore our garden to whole. And then one day, before summer is over, we’ll be able to make Tofu and Snap Peas with our own home-grown Cilantro.

Our Food Garden

Nature’s exquisite cycle of renewal is the reminder I need today, that we, too, are nature and our powers of regeneration are every bit as great.

Hope you are enjoying your summer.

Namaste ~ 

An Apple Today


A client recently mentioned that she wants to do another cleanse. Grew up on junk food was the reason she gave. Makes sense, I thought. Every now and then a deep clearing of the digestive tract is good practice, especially since many of us eat more than we need and often not as well as we wish.

For this, I have just the thing: an Intestinal Cleanse adapted from Jeremy Safron’s delightful little book, The Raw Truth. But, first, I am concerned about something. Does our present culture encourage a certain yo-yo approach to eating? Binges, extreme fasts, indulge, detox..?

The best way we take care of ourselves is by sustaining good habits with regularity and consistency. Healthy, whole food not only nourishes us, but also detoxifies and cleanses our bodies. Digestive enzymes, soluble and insoluble fiber, protein, good flora, vitamins and minerals are all in vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes. All these bits and pieces that scientists try to pry out of food or synthesize in a lab, and that superstores sell as the next sexy thing, are already in nature’s pure whole food.

Before I commit to a cleanse I like to ask myself ~ Is an Intestinal Cleanse a healthy way to love myself? Is it needed? Is now the time to do it? Or, am I using it as a subtle form of punishment? A quiet act of self-flagellation?

Because women do use food, and diets, to hurt themselves. I certainly have ~ and would not want, in any way whatsoever, to encourage this.

Still, there are times when an intestinal cleanse is a good idea. Ayurveda suggests we do it annually each Spring. For such times, this apple-based drink is sweet and easy.

Click for Print Version

One final warning ~ Psyllium is habit-forming and should not be taken daily. It dries out the colon, increasing your need for it and creating a vicious cycle.  Therefore, use it only when necessary and repeat this kind of intestinal cleanse once every three months at the most.

For safe bowel regularity, try Triphala. It works by strengthening the colon, optimizing its function, and is not drying so can be taken daily. Still, it is always best to seek the advice of an Ayurvedic Practitioner.


The wisdom in your body knows what to do with the intelligence in nature’s food.  Trying to outsmart the body with one cleanse or dietary regime after another doesn’t work. Over-fussing with digestion, elimination and metabolism turns the body-wisdom off.

So eat what appeals to your body-wisdom. Eat when you are hungry. Eat warm foods in the morning and evening. Make lunch your biggest meal when the fire to digest is naturally ablaze. Eat what’s in season and align yourself with the beauty of nature, time, the earth’s spin, the cosmic churn. This will, in turn, create peace, harmony, abundance and ease in your life.

Food is more than just what you put in your mouth. It is the relationship you have with yourself, with life, with the world.

What kind of relationship do you want to have?

I invite you to make it sacred.

Namaste!

Spring Clean | Cilantro Detox Pesto

Imagine sunflowers floating on rafts on a pond. Then imagine that there are many ponds ~ sunflower rafts as far as your eye can see.

Then imagine these sunflowers are growing on rafts in ponds that surround the Chernobyl nuclear site in the Ukraine. Odd? Beautiful? Gesture of Peace?

If you attended my Spring Ayurveda Nutrition & Cooking Class, you’ll know about Mother Nature’s remarkable ability to cleanse, purify, renew and restore her own earth body ~ and our human bodies, too. My last post, “21 Day Challenge,” was dedicated to those gifts of the Earth that emerge in Springtime to naturally and very efficiently help us detoxify body and mind.

A field of blooming sunflowers in the Ukraine

But as talk these days turns to Japan’s nuclear problems and the prevailing westerlies carrying waste on the wind and  radioactivity with the rain, I think even more about this self-regulating, self-restorative, self-renewing intelligence of nature, and specifically about something my brother-in-law, Daniel Goldfarb, a soil restoration expert, told us recently about sunflowers.

In Chernobyl, floating rafts of sunflowers are being used to clean up water contaminated as a result of the 1986 disaster at their Nuclear Plant. Sunflowers remove up to 95% of the radioactivity below ground by pulling contaminants out of the water and up into their root system. This technique, known as phytoremediation, got its roots, so to speak, there in Chernobyl, where the sunflowers outperformed all expectations.

Sunflower Seeds & Soil

So, as an experiment, I sprouted sunflower seeds, tossed them liberally onto our garden, watered, mulched and waited.

In the meantime, we are eating copious amounts of sunflower seeds and sprouts ourselves, because, I wondered, if they remove radioactive toxins from the body of the earth, could they do the same for our human bodies?

I began researching this, looking at the western and the Ayurvedic literature, and along the way came across this recipe for a Sunflower Seed & Cilantro Pesto that harnesses not only sunflower power, but also cilantro for its super scour muscularity in eviscerating heavy metals and toxic waste.

Surprisingly, for something so green, so clean, so good for you ~ this is outrageously delicious.

Cilantro Pesto

In making this “Pesto” myself, I wanted to increase the fire element since greens and nuts can be hard to digest. To that end, I added ginger, asafoetida and a dash of cayenne.

I also wanted to be sure that the organs of elimination were well lubricated so toxins would definitely be removed and not just swished around the body, exchanging places and causing more damage. The original recipe had plenty of flaxseed oil to help with that but, unless you are Vegan, I suggest adding a spoonful of ghee because it both enkindles the digestive fire AND is mighty efficient at loosening toxins and carrying them away.

With Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and Sunflower Sprouts

If you tried it at my house last week, you tried a batch with three times too much flaxseed oil. Ech!  Try making this yourself with the correct proportions, as below. Or, come back over and I will make you a fresh batch. I want everyone to have some. It is Spring’s divine joy in every bite, so healing and so promising!

This is how I make it now ~

PLEASE NOTE: I now add 1 teaspoon chlorella to this recipe, because cilantro can mobilize more toxins then it can carry out of the body, and Chlorella is a potent intestinal toxin-absorbing agent necessary for efficient elimination.

Double Click for Print Version

The original recipe is a more scientifically named Coriander Chelation Pesto, and comes from the sweet souls at Essential Oils for Healing. This is how they describe its benefits ~

Delicious Chelation Pesto Recipe Removes Heavy Metals and Fallout Radiation from your Body

The main ingredient, Cilantro (aka: fresh coriander/Chinese parsley), is probably the most powerful natural chelating agent around. Besides being a renown culinary herb in Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mexican cuisines, Cilantro has a long 7000 year history as a medicinal herb. Both the fresh greenery & seeds are also resources of powerfully healing essential oils. Cilantro contains chemical compounds that bind to the heavy metals, loosening them from the tissues, blood and organs. Cilantro’s chemical compounds then aid transport of these harmful substances out of the body through channels of elimination.

This recipe combines cilantro with other ingredients that have a synergistic effect. They cleanse the tissues by increasing the urinary excretion of mercury, lead and aluminum. 

This great recipe is not only easy-to-make, but delicious on toast, baked potatoes and pasta.

Two teaspoons of this pesto daily for three weeks is purportedly enough to substantially clear these toxic metals from the body. It is recommended to repeat this cleanse as a preventative measure at least once a year for three weeks.


I like it generously spread on raw Flaxseed Crackers, which you can make at home.  Eat, Taste, Heal has a great recipe, only I find it easier to pick up a box of Savory FlackersLet me know what you think.  

To your Good Health ~ Namaste!


Spring: Season of Fiery Spice & Wild Greens

Spring is a time for healing and growth, bringing life to its fullest blossom while sloughing off accumulations that weigh and slow us down. This, therefore, is the prime season for detoxification, when we want to do what nature is doing: melt the freeze of winter and prepare for the liberation of Summer.

The key to healthy detoxification is Agni! Agni is the Sanskrit word for fire. It is generally used to describe our digestive fire, which resides in our solar plexus. Agni’s job is to help us digest and assimilate the nutrients in our food, and to support the cleansing organs, including the skin, liver, and kidneys, to move the waste out of our body.  Agni is like a little potbelly stove at the center of our “house” (or body). Our digestion, as well as our immunity, vitality, and clarity of mind, depend on it.

You can strengthen your Agni in four simple ways: aerobic exercise, a targeted Hatha Yoga practice, healthy whole foods, and detoxifying herbs.

To stoke your digestive fire, sip ginger tea with your meals and add zesty warming spices that help to break down foods and eliminate waste. In the Spring, Ayurvedic spices such as ginger, garlic, cinnamon, clove, basil, oregano, pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, asafetida (hing), fenugreek and chilies offer flavor, aroma, healing wisdom and most of all, fire to your foods.

Hot peppers “melt” Winter’s “freeze.”

What to Eat

Edible wild greens of Late Winter and early Spring are especially detoxifying. Bitter and pungent tasting, they include dandelion greens, purslane, ramps, sorrel, lamb’s quarters, chickweed, chicory, garlic mustard, shepherd’s purse, escarole, fiddleheads, wild prickly lettuce, mache, nettles, frisee, sour grass, and onion grass. Sample some of these Spring greens, freshly picked and still moist, and you might be surprised by its peppery, pungent blast.

Green Vegetables: Loaded with fiber, leafy greens like mustard greens, spinach and kale act like industrial scrub brushes to aide your body in its housecleaning and repair.

Dark leafy greens: Full of chlorophyll, a detox agent, chlorophyll will help release toxins from your body, while stimulating cellular intelligence and improving your energy.

Beans: Packed with protein, a side of legumes, like dhal or hummus, add savory satisfaction as a substitute for the heavier, harder to digest, and often pesticide-laden meat, fish and eggs.

Good quality fats (including avocados, extra virgin olive oil, ghee and coconut): Enjoyed in moderation high quality fats are stored in the body as energy, not fat, and help you lose weight in the long run. Remember, it is not fat, but sugar that makes us fat.

Zesty warming spices: Strengthen digestive fire with the help of pungent spices that help to break down foods, and eliminate waste. In the Spring, Ayurvedic spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, black pepper, cayenne, ginger, asafetida (hing), cloves and fenugreek offer flavor, aroma, digestive muscle and purification.

Farmer’s Market Sprouted Beans & Sunflower Greens
What’s in Season

Artichokes, asparagus, avocadoes, beets, broccoli, grapefruit, kumquats, meyer lemons, blood oranges, tangelos, mandarins, grapefruit, carrots, chard, dates, fava beans, fennel, green garlic, kale, leeks, lettuces, mustard greens, new potatoes, nettles, English peas, Snap peas, pea shoots, pea tendrils, radicchio, radishes, rapini, spring onions, shallot shoots, sorrel, bean sprouts, strawberries, watercress.

~

For delicious Spring detoxification, try this Cilantro Pesto.
For a more detailed Spring Clean Regime, how about joining our Spring Clean 21 Day Challenge?

~
Namaste!

The 21 Day Challenge


We had our annual Spring Detox Workshop on Sunday, the day of the Spring Equinox, which is always a joyful way to begin the season. It is like a celebration of emergence ~ from the darkness of winter, from the deep interior, from the cave of the heart ~ into a world of light, to a communal dance in a human garden of blossoming radiance.

After circulating, stretching, compressing and twisting the body for two hours we settled into a deep restorative Yoga Nidra to extend the detoxification to mind and heart. By the end, thirty of us committed to keeping our minds pure by keeping the television off, and to keeping the heart alive by spending more time in nature.


We also committed to the annual Spring Detox 21 Day Challenge, which I have posted here. It is a simple plan for eating clean, natural, seasonal foods that help the body eliminate winter’s accumulation. We love company so if you would like to join us, please do. Just click the “Like” button below, or email me to let us know you are in.

Lately, with all the health-store, take-home boxes of Detox, many people tell me they are following a plan they bought. While I am sure that is helpful, I want to remind you that it can be easier. Spring is the time for internal cleansing. Nature knows that, and so provides at this time all the foods that best support detoxification. If you eat the harvest from your own, your neighbor’s, or your local farmer’s garden, you will naturally have a comfortable, nourishing cleanse.

Radishes and Ranunculi at the Farmer’s Market

It is hard to make money off that simple, potent truth, so it is not advertised. But liberating ourselves from commercially driven habits makes this Detox all the more empowering, and helps cleanse the mind and our beliefs, which is the beginning point for all true, enduring health.

So, let your food be your medicine. Allow nature to take care of you. After all, you are nature. Eating according to nature’s seasonal bounty stimulates the natural intelligence in you to adapt, heal, nourish, cleanse, revitalize and really come alive in this season of joy.

The 21 Day Challenge

Before you begin ~ it is always best to consult with an Ayurvedic professional to tailor your diet to your particular constitution. If you have a chronic illness, are very thin, or feel depleted, please consult your health-care professional before beginning any cleanse.

Ginger Tea

Drink warm water with fresh squeezed lemon juice first thing in the morning and throughout the day to increase cellular detoxification.

Eat fresh nourishing foods, including whole grains, beans and vegetables lightly cooked with small amounts of healthy oils such as olive oil, safflower oil, or ghee.

To stoke your digestive fire, sip ginger tea with your meals and spice your food with warm pungent herbs such as ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, basil, oregano, pepper, and chilies.

Check out your local Farmer’s Market to see what is in season now. This is a great time to explore the immense variety of Spring vegetables and learn  delicious ways they can be prepared.

While at the Market, load up on everything green as Spring Greens are the most detoxifying of foods. Greens are bitter, astringent and, those that ripen in Spring are often fiery, pungent. They are easy and quick to cook and colorfully complement a bowl of beans for a slimming, yet strengthening, protein-packed, power lunch.

Sprouted Beans & Sunflower Greens at the Farmer’s Market yesterday

Include grains with your meals but lighten up with cereals like barley, millet (as in couscous), buckwheat groats, rye and quinoa. Barley is an excellent cleanser of the digestive system and urinary tract. Buckwheat is considered a “light grain,” but is actually a fruit, with more protein than any of the other “grains.”

A piece of fruit, warmed or at room temperature, makes a great snack. The citrus fruits now in season have enough sour taste to stoke the metabolic fires, while their bitter peel are loaded with anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory zest. You can grate the rind and whisk it into salad dressings or sprinkle over cooked greens.

Be sure to eat fruit on its own – one type at a time, an hour away from meals. Otherwise it ferments in the gut, jamming digestion and increasing the toxic load. On the other hand, cooked fruit, such as a Spiced Citrus Compote that marries the fruits of Spring, is easy on digestion, and even stimulates elimination in the morning. Cooking fresh fruit into your grains for breakfast, with a dash of cinnamon or cardamom, is a powerful, and delicious, way to start the day.

Spiced Citrus Compote with White Cardamom

Avoid meat, sugar, fried, processed, canned, frozen and microwaved foods. Reduce your intake of dairy products and heavy grains such as wheat, oats, rice. These foods decrease the metabolic fire, slow digestion and clog the circulatory channels.

Herbs

Aloe Juice: Aloe encourages elimination so drink half a glass first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. It is a great Spring tonic for its deep tissue cleanse, liver support and cellular rejuvenation.

Tulsi’s Spring Blossom

Tulsi: For congestion, heaviness, brain fog and the like, drink a cup of warm Tulsi Tea every day. I love Organic India not only for the quality of their teas, but also for the integrity and charitable nature of the company.

Dandelion: For liver detoxification drink Detox Tea in the evenings.  I love this tea for its copious amounts of dandelion root and other bitter herbs that somehow still tastes sweet, not to mention comforting.

Triphala: Triphala reduces Ama in the body restoring balance and optimal physiology. Because it strengthens the colon it is often used to encourage regularity. Take 2 tablets in the evening before bed. If there is Ama, Triphala can give detox reactions, in which case, reduce to one tablet only for a week and then resume the two daily.

21 Day Challenge Meal Suggestions

These are just ideas, not a fixed menu. Be playful. Work with what you find at the market. Get creative with color, texture, tastes and spices. Dance in the kitchen. Love your food. It tastes better that way.

Breakfast

Blooming Buckwheat

A porridge made of a light grain such as quinoa, buckwheat or barley. I love Bob’s Red Mill for warm breakfast cereals. This recipe on their website for Barley Hash looks great and has all the perfect ingredients for a Spring season start to the day.

Home-made Chapati with wheat and barley flour, topped with honey and cinnamon.

1/2 cup of granola with warm milk.

Lunch

A Feast of Seasonal Greens, like asparagus, artichokes, mustard greens, avocado, and sprouts of every kind, with seasonal color like radishes.

A gorgeous medley of steamed, stewed or sautéed vegetables with tofu or paneer and a light grain such as quinoa.

A plate of Beans and Greens, such as Pinto Beans with Kale.

Udon: Buckwheat Noodles with Vegetables & Miso

Dinner

Barley Soup, Miso Soup, Green Vegetable Soup, Lentil and Spinach Soup, Whole Bean Chile, Kichari

Snacks

Puffed rice, rice cakes with honey and cinnamon, collard greens rolled with hummus & red pepper, a piece of fresh fruit, sprouted bread toasted with honey and cinnamon, a  small handful of seeds (sunflower or pumpkin), popcorn.

Evening: “Detox” or Tulsi Tea.

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While Spring Cleaning, focus on what is positive in your life. Raise yourself up, feed your mind, elevate your spirit with inspiring activities, and allow yourself to enjoy the changes. Don’t forget you have amazing power.  Allow yourself to rise up and blossom this Springtime. Radiate your Beauty. Let yourself shine!

My next “Ayurvedic Nutrition and Cooking Class,” on April 3rd, is devoted to Detoxification. You will find all the information here ~ Spring Detox: A Class on Ayurvedic Nutrition & Cooking