Pumpkin is like a mother: embracing, enhancing, enveloping. Whatever you give to pumpkin she highlights, holds, affirms.
Have you ever noticed, for instance, the way pumpkin embraces ginger, softens into cinnamon, rises up for nutmeg. She is tasteful with clove, grounding for cayenne, elegantly delightful with the green herbs of basil, sage, tarragon and thyme.
It is the added sugar, wheat and heavy creams that weigh down dear pumpkin, diminishing its power to lift you up. Fortunately, pumpkin is so forgiving that forgoing sugar, grain and dairy does not have to mean forgoing flavor.
How like a mother ~ forgiving and so giving!
Personally, I think food tastes better when you can actually taste each ingredient. So it was a delight yesterday when the boys followed each bite with a chant of “Mmmm, this is so good!” But I was certain after our house painter swallowed it down with eyes of delight, gently offering me his plate afterwards with a serious, “Best I ever had, Señora.”
If it is good for someone who doesn’t owe me a compliment and isn’t used to our food ways, then I think it must be good for all. I know it is good to all, so when you serve up this pie for the holidays you can be sure you are loving your loved ones as mother nature loves you. And that is lot to be thankful for.
For this, I roasted two small pumpkins at 475F for about an hour, or until a knife ran through the middle with ease. But Pacific makes a good organic purée in a box you could use if you have less time, or want to make it in a jiff.
Healthy Pumpkin Pie
2 c Hazelnuts, toasted
4 medjool Dates
hefty pinch pink Salt
1/2 t Vanilla
Pulse all the ingredients in your electric blender until you have a chunky pulp. Press into a pie pan, spread evenly and refrigerate.
Pie Filling 1 c Cashews, soaked 2-4 hours
2 medium Pumpkins (or 4 cups Pumpkin purée)
1 T Coconut Oil
1 t Cinnamon
1/2 t Nutmeg
1/4 t Ginger
1/4 t Clove
1/2 t pink Salt
optional: generous splash Cardamom
2 T Chia Seeds (more if you like it firmer)
Optional: 1-2 T Raw Honey
Set your oven to 475F. Pierce your pumpkins and bake 30 minutes or until a knife cuts through easily.
Allow to cool. Slice open and remove the seeds. Peel the pulp from the skin and place in your electric blender. Add dates and purée. Drain the cashews and add along with the coconut oil and spices to your purée. Blend thoroughly. Taste and adjust your seasonings. I like lots of cinnamon and nutmeg so might have added more. Add honey according to your taste.
Add Chia Seeds, pulse lightly, just enough to mix in the seeds. Pour into the crust, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, dress it up with a shower of cinnamon, a border of hazelnuts, a maze of honey, or a waltz of raspberries. Serve with a dollop of honey or maple syrup infused yogurt.
I didn’t know Bhava when he had the cancer. We met one year after his recovery. When we met, I fell head over heels, swoosh, in love.
Every day since, that love is affirmed, strengthened, deepened. I am grateful for a decade now of oceanic bliss, and a vibrant aliveness that grows and expands, even with another birthday just celebrated and time flowing by.
It could be said that this entire site is something of a paean to that love, exemplifying one aspect of a shared life: the foods we love, and the way we love them. Everything that shows up here was made first, lovingly, for him, and sometimes by him, or with him.
So I thought, in honor of his book, his recent birthday, his vibrant aliveness, and the healing that is in Mother Nature’s foods, I’d write a little about our food habits and what we do, as often as we can, to keep the cancer far, far away. It’s a good practice for all of us. I invite you to share it with anyone who could use the guidance and Bhava’s inspiration.
8 Healthy Food Habits to Keep Cancer Away
1. Eat Fresh
You want high energy? Eat high energy foods. Eat foods that “eat the sun,” foods that are locally grown, recently picked, farm to table, lightly cooked or raw.
Bhava and I eat something raw daily. How much depends on the season. But in every season, the food you eat should be as alive as possible. Simply put, make it fresh.
2. Eat Organic
If you have cancer, EVERYTHING YOU EAT has to be organic. No toxins. No microwave. No exceptions.
3. Eat Vegetables
If Mother Earth loves you and food is her way of showing you, vegetables are her super heroes. They have the power to save you, even from your worst habits!
Did you know, as an example, that apart from being startlingly beautiful, artichokes have three unique cancer-dissolving molecules? Try adding a handful of artichoke hearts to your meals, or enjoy this vegan spinach artichoke dip for a healthy snack.
We eat vegetables of every color, shape and size every day, and we eat them chopped, juiced, blended, raw, steamed, lightly sautéed, or baked. We are not shy when it comes to vegetables, nor should you be. Be bold. Try every kind, every which way. Let it be an adventure. Ask your local grower for tips on preparing vegetables you are not familiar with. Allow a relationship to blossom.
4. Eat Brassicas
There is a saying that “Cancer hates cabbage.” In fact, cancer hates the entire cabbage family, calledthe Brassicas, whose kin include broccoli, cauliflower, collards, kale, bok choy, brussels sprouts, mustard greens, and watercress.
Numerous scientific studies are finding that Brassicas help fight cancer due to their relatively high content of glucosinolates, which have shown anticarcinogenic properties. In our house, our daily cornucopia of vegetables will always include broccoli, cauliflower, kale or collards. We also enjoy watercress and mustard greens in the Spring.
5. Eat (Blue) Green
Power up your vegetable nutrition by treating yourself to a daily dose of algae. My favorite is spirulina, a fresh water, blue-green algae similar in makeup to the sea vegetables of Japanese cuisine: dulse, kelp, nori, kombu, arame, wakame, and chlorella.
We make a morning fresh pressed Juice or Smoothie four to five days a week, always with a heaping spoonful of spirulina, sometimes with chlorella too, or with the VitaMineralGreens blend of land and sea greens because they give us sample jars every time we go to BhaktiFest, and because it is true quality.
Detoxifying, rejuvenating, immune supporting and liver loving, blue green algaes are a must. Be sure to source well : clean, non-toxic, organically cultivated.
6. Eat Berries
The antioxidants in berries help fight cancers. Bhava has blueberries and strawberries with every breakfast, and I always toss a handful into our Smoothies. Lately, my favorite berry for a Smoothie is the Himalayan Goji. For a sweet treat, add blueberries, raspberries and Goji berries to a Fig Smoothie.
7. Eat Turmeric
Oh Turmeric, how do I love thee? Let me count thy ways….
I believe so fervently in turmeric that once, a few years ago, when there was a false suspicion that Bhava’s cancer had returned, a voice inside me silently shouted, “But that’s impossible. Not with all the turmeric he takes!” Turns out that voice was right.
Again, don’t be shy. Add it to everything ~ smoothies, sautés, home-made ghee, almond milk. If you are overly generous, its astringent aftertaste will overpower. But with measure, it goes with anything.
8. Eat, Don’t Eat
Occasional Fasting is good for you. It gives your digestive system a rest, promoting proper metabolism, deep tissue cleanse and proper elimination. It’s a bit like tidying up your room weekly, or taking the garbage out. Once in a while, we just need to do it. My husband called this his Organic Chemotherapy: Regular 24-hour fasts were central to his healing.
Start by skipping dinner on Mondays. Once you feel comfortable with that, consider skipping breakfast on Tuesday. By lunchtime you will have completed a 24-hour fast. Or, simply reduce your portions. Eat less. Give your body a chance to catch up, a pause to heal.
I like to focus on the positive. When you choose to eat as nature intended, you enjoy rich flavors, colors, aromas, textures, and an aliveness that excites. But since we are talking about cancer, a life-threatening disease, it is important not to mince words. Here is what not to eat: red meat, pork and poultry, dairy, sugar, processed foods. We know they feed cancer. Best to avoid altogether.
Forever? Maybe not. But until you are recovered, absolutely. A whole food, plant-based diet is essential if you want to reverse chronic disease.
If you need convincing, read the science… Or dive into Warrior Pose, my husband’s true story of overcoming the worst odds: a broken back, a broken spirit, and suddenly “terminal” cancer. I have three copies of this highly acclaimed book to giveaway. Just comment below and you will be added to the drawing. We draw randomly and anonymously, and will pick names from the proverbial hat on Tuesday. Please leave an email address or a way to contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be made public. We love and respect you too much for that.
Wishing you golden health, vibrant aliveness, deep love, and the
clarity to remember: You matter. Live accordingly.
Congratulation to Warrior Pose book winners Chris, Emma and Anne. We wish all of you could have won, but it is available at Amazon for a bit less than retail, and at libraries across the country.