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.
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.
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.
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.
1-2 tablespoons water, or until the desired consistency is reached
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.
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!
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.”
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.”
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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? 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”→
Your love was like moonlight turning harsh things to beauty, so that little wry souls reflecting each other obliquely as in cracked mirrors . . . beheld in your luminous spirit their own reflection, transfigured as in a shining stream, and loved you for what they are not.
You are less an image in my mind than a luster I see you in gleams pale as star-light on a gray wall . . . evanescent as the reflection of a white swan shimmering in broken water.
Getting Close Victoria Redel
Because my mother loved pocketbooks I come alive at the opening click or close of a metal clasp.
And sometimes, unexpectedly, a faux crocodile handle makes me weep.
Breathy clearing of throat, a smooth arm, heels on pavement, she lingers, sound tattoos.
I go to the thrift store to feel for bobby pins caught in the pocket seam of a camel hair coat.
I hinge a satin handbag in the crease of my arm. I buy a little change purse with its curled and fitted snap.
My mother bought this for me. This was my mother’s.
I buy and then I buy and then, another day, I buy something else.
In Paris she had a dog, Bijou, and when they fled Paris in 1942 they left the dog behind.
When my mother died on February 9, 1983, she left me.
Now, thirty years later and I am exactly her age.
I tell my husband I will probably die by the end of today and all day he says, Are you getting close, Sweetheart? And late in the afternoon, he asks if he should buy enough filet of sole for two.
From a blue velvet clutch I take out a mirror and behold my lips in the small rectangle.
Put on something nice.
Let him splurge and take you out for dinner, my mother whispers on the glass.
What I Learned From My Mother by Julia Kasdorf
I learned from my mother how to love
the living, to have plenty of vases on hand
in case you have to rush to the hospital
with peonies cut from the lawn, black ants
still stuck to the buds. I learned to save jars
large enough to hold fruit salad for a whole
grieving household, to cube home-canned pears
and peaches, to slice through maroon grape skins
and flick out the sexual seeds with a knife point.
I learned to attend viewings even if I didn’t know
the deceased, to press the moist hands
of the living, to look in their eyes and offer
sympathy, as though I understood loss even then.
I learned that whatever we say means nothing,
what anyone will remember is that we came.
I learned to believe I had the power to ease
awful pains materially like an angel.
Like a doctor, I learned to create
from another’s suffering my own usefulness, and once
you know how to do this, you can never refuse.
To every house you enter, you must offer
healing: a chocolate cake you baked yourself,
the blessing of your voice, your chaste touch.
Rosy Raw Brownies Recipe Ayurvedically adapted from Julie Morris, who has a video demonstrating it here.
Makes 1 dozen
Ingredients 1 cup walnuts
1 cup medjool dates, pitted (about 8)
1/2 cup raw cacao
1 teaspoon rose water
pinch pink salt
dash cardamom Optional: 1 T cacao nibs, rose petals (dried or fresh), cinnamon
Using an electric blender, grind your walnuts to a powder. Add the dates one at a time, blending well before adding the next. Mix in the cacao, then the rose water, finally the spices.
The mixture should be moist. If you pick it up between two fingers and it easily falls apart, add another bit of rose water. Be careful of two things: you don’t want to over-water, and you don’t want to over-blend or the oils are released and it becomes more like fudge than brownie.
Spread the mixture into a small baking pan. Press down with the back of a spoon or a spatula. Press evenly and firmly so the brownie will set. Optionally, you can press cacao nibs gently into the top, dust with cinnamon, or sprinkle with rose petals. The nibs give it a burst of bitter crunch, and the rose petals make it as beautiful as your Mom.
Mother’s Day David Young
—for my children
I see her doing something simple, paying bills, or leafing through a magazine or book, and wish that I could say, and she could hear,
that now I start to understand her love for all of us, the fullness of it.
It burns there in the past, beyond my reach, a modest lamp.
To mothers everywhere, thank you for the gripping power and delicate tending of your unflinching devotion. Your love makes the world go round.
In 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last year over the Thanksgiving holiday we wandered up to Door County, Wisconsin to visit our friend, the unique and immensely talented Hans Christian. On exotic, multi-stringed instruments, Hans plays a music that transports you to sacred heights.
He played a number of these instruments on my husband Bhava’s most recent album Songs of My Soul, which he also produced. So we went up last Thanksgiving to visit, see his studio, and listen to a few of Bhava’s tracks as they were being engineered. This is a cut from that album, over images from my husband’s memoir Warrior Pose.
It turns out that Hans is also a great cook. And while we didn’t get to try it while we were there, he talked us through his favorite Thanksgiving recipe. This is my reconstruct from the barest of notes. I hope it does it justice. It certainly is hearty and delicious – already a tradition in our home.
Hans’ Thanksgiving Nut Loaf Serves 8
4 cups Brown Basmati Rice, cooked 2 cups Walnuts, chopped 2-3 cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded 1 cup Celery, chopped (feel free to add more and be generous with the celery) 2 tablespoons Caraway seeds
4 Eggs 2 tablespoons Tamari 1 tablespoon Ghee (or Coconut Oil), just barely melted 1/2 teaspoon Pink Salt Fresh-cracked Pepper Dusting of Red Pepper Flakes, or Cayenne, or my favorite, Aleppo
Set your oven to 400 degrees. Line a loaf pan (8.5 x 4.5) with parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment, oil the bottom and sides with ghee, or coconut oil.
Put 1 tablespoon cheese to the side. In a large bowl, mix together the rice, walnuts, all the rest of the cheese, celery and caraway seeds. Whisk the eggs together and stir into the rice mixture to completely cover. Add the tamari, ghee/oil, salt, and peppers, this time just lightly mixing to spread the seasonings through.
Spoon the mixture into the loaf pan. Use your clean hands, or a spatula, to press down and push it into the corners. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
Set the loaf pan in your oven, and cook for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Served with a sauce like Barbara’s “Best Ever Vegan Gravy” will round out the Thanksgiving flavors. But the true test of Thanksgiving perfection? Friday leftovers! This makes an incredible sandwich by lightly reheating the slices and placing between two pieces of toasted bread generously smeared with a Curried Aioli ~ 2 T Mayo, 1 clove garlic, 1 t lemon juice, and a few shakes of your favorite curry powder stirred together well. Pile on the greens and your feast of thanksgiving just got portable!
Bhava’s CD turned out beautifully. For divine music and meals, friends and family, beauty and the quiet solace of nature and places like Door County ~ we are grateful.
Last week we returned from a Holistic Health Cruise where a variety of presenters discussed a diversity of topics. But when asked, all seemed to agree on one thing: With all the popular diets these days, Paleo, Vegan, Atkins, South Beach, Raw, one’s head could really spin. So what do they all have in common? Avoid processed, refined, packaged, and focus on organic, seasonal, whole, “you could have gathered it yourself” foods. Once again, we return to Ayurveda, where individual differences are appreciated and the only absolute is to source from nature.
So, along comes the divine Drisana Carey with this Primal Pumpkin Bread that had us all begging for the recipe. Before I could even ask, she was generous enough to drop the book containing the recipe at my doorstep.
It is called “primal” because the recipe aligns with the principles of Mark Sisson’s Primal Diet, a mature approach to eating like our ancestors, yet thoughtfully considering the stresses and environmental toxins of our modern lifestyles. On his website, where he touts the immense health benefits of pumpkin, Sisson offers an alternative recipe for Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie which actually looks like a great improvement on the usual in terms of both health and taste.
Speaking of Thanksgiving, this Primal Pumpkin Bread, with all its protein and clean energy, would be a great meal to begin the holiday. After all, it is so real, so whole, so natural, so delicious, you could say it’s the very taste of thanks-giving!
It would also make a great holiday dessert ~ with all the potassium, magnesium, healthy fats and antioxidants to help balance the season’s excesses.
The creamy frosting makes it especially moist, creamy and teasingly wonderful. You could make it Vegan like the one topping these Lemon Cupcakes, or replace it with something like this Vegan Cinnamon Frosting. And while I love baking up pumpkins, you can also make it quick and easy with a box of pumpkin puree.
Primal Pumpkin Coconut Cake
1/4 cup ghee or coconut oil, melted
6 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup maple syrup (Drisana substitutes half the maple syrup for molasses “to add iron and potassium”)
1/2 cup cooked pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon clove powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 apple, chopped
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup pecans
3/4 cup dark chocoloate chips
Melt the ghee/coconut oil in a small saucepan and set aside. Grease a bread pan, or muffin tins. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Crack the eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer or into a large mixing bowl. Beat with your mixer or wire whisk. Add in vanilla, maple syrup, pumpkin, and mix until thoroughly combined. Sift coconut flour, ghee or oil, spices, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add the dry mixture to the pumpkin mixture and beat, or whisk, until there are no lumps. Stir in the coconut flakes, chopped apple, pecans and chocolate chips. Pour the batter into your baking dish or muffin tins. Bake for about 30 minutes for bread, or 15 minutes for muffins – in any case it is done when a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove it form the oven and turn onto a wire rack to cool, then generously cover with the Cream Cheese Frosting.
Honey Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup organic whipped cream cheese (Tofutti for Vegans, or make it yourself)
2 tablespoons cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Beat cream cheese, honey and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy. Spread on cooled cake.
Drisana brought this delicious cake over to join in celebrating Haunani, who is having a baby in December. Remember Haunani from this post? She is a divine, light-filled, love-drenched soul. We are grateful for her presence in our lives and wish her, husband Tad and their soon-to-emerge baby, perfect health, every happiness, infinite love. We are also grateful to Drisana and Mark Sisson for this gluten-free, nutrient-rich, potent pumpkin pleasure.
What are you grateful for this holiday harvest season?
After reading David Perlmutter’s book, Grain Brain, we are going gluten-free. For me, that is not difficult. Wheat has been off the menu for a while now. But there are those in the house who feel that life is just not complete without a chocolate chip cookie after school.
In an effort to prove that life can be effortless, delicious and complete without wheat, I am on a search for the world’s best GF Chocolate Chip Cookie. Along the way, I’ve found these delicious looking treats ~
Now that summer is here, some of you have been asking what to eat for breakfast. I am not sure things need to change as much as we like them to here in our everything-at-your-fingertips world. A bowl of porridge is, after all, a very good meal, and good enough for most of the world.
But for those of you feeling underwhelmed or overheated by your morning choices, here’s some inspiration from foodies around the blog world. All of these recipes are Pitta-balancing, meaning they reduce internal heat. They are listed in order of best to… well, least best – but too utterly gorgeous to pass up.
These last recipes are “least best” because they include either sugar, or cooked honey, or wheat, which we best avoid. But substitutes can be made: coconut sugar or maple syrup for the first two, a gluten-free, almond meal, or coconut flour for wheat. (NB: Traditional Ayurveda will say that wheat is a grain and grains are good for Pitta. But it is usually dear Pitta who has wheat intolerance, allergies, or sensitivity.)
We should begin the way we mean to go on, and that most definitely applies to breakfast. So, I hope these recipes inspire, delight, beautify, energize and set you off on a summer day exactly as summer should be lived – with grace, ease and joy.
For Pitta folks and summer lovers, breakfast can seem fussy. After all, who wants to be in the kitchen when you could be at the beach? These Grain-free Blueberry Muffins, also from The Wholesome Home, pack up tidy for a carefree breakfast picnic under the sun.
Anything from Helene Dujardin at Tartelette is good as well as gorgeous. These Gluten-free Blueberry Waffles could be made with almond meal or coconut flour instead of potato flour for an even healthier Sunday start.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
A big thank you to all our Chefs for creating a sumptuous meal that day. Your commitment to food’s loving nourishment is epic!
I have a client who loves Quinoa and spinach for breakfast. It sounds good to me, especially with a light touch of cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric and ghee or coconut oil. She adds a splash of GF Tamari. Some days I might add raisins, too.
I like Rice Pudding for breakfast and would definitely add raisins to that. Rice pudding is also a happy home for cooked dates, apples, bananas, blueberries, cranberries, cherries, almonds, pistachios, sesame seeds, and coconut flakes. I think of rice that way: a happy home for most things.
But what I’ve been having for breakfast lately I’ll say with a whisper, for fear that some of my Ayurveda friends would not approve (“Hot hot, hot,” they repeat, like the Nanny to Eloise).
It’s a wake-me-up-with-a-smile plate of sunny mango slathered with earthy almond butter, and a few bite size pieces of grape juice-sweetened ginger. I’m going Paleo, my friends….
Or at least I am enjoying how strikingly the latest craze, the Paleo Diet is such a briliant modern repackaging of the ancient wisdom we call Ayurveda: Eat what you can get your hands on ~ your own hands if you were left out in a jungle, or forest, or open savannah long enough to have to find your own food. In other words, eat food. Real food. Food of every shape, color and size. A wide variety, but mostly plants. Your body will take care of the rest.
I am not really going Paleo, of course, although I do appreciate its dynamic approach to reducing junk and focusing on high quality. I even like its focus on protein, although its emphasis on animal flesh isn’t for me.
Our 15 year old offers a history lesson: animals weren’t always easy to kill. Many were dangerous and just as likely to kill you. Paleolithic people had to hunt long and hard for their meaty animals, and when they did bring one home after their equivalent of a long day at the office, it was split amongst a tribe of say 10-20 people.
Yes, those were the days when he-men were devoted to the public good: sharing dinner with friends, stoking the communal fires, stewarding and safeguarding the community at large, carrying the heavy load for the womenfolk, teaching the children and contributing to the health and care of all.
I digress. It is easy to get lost in this Paleo wonderland.
So, our Paleo comrades probably did not eat bacon at every meal even if our modern-day Paleo friends would like to. In fact, one scientist suggests that our paleolithic ancestors were far more likely to subsist on tubers and termites!
For us, the simple everyday rule to healthy eating is this: whole food, plant based. The focus on unprocessed is where we celebrate our shared similarities!
Anyway, if you are a Neanderthal, or a HIT (High Intensity Trainer), and you want to really go Paleo, how about making up these quick buckwheat cakes? Topped with a cage-free, organic egg, pesto, a bit of cheddar, or honey and yogurt (non-dairy, of course), it makes a hearty meal for any caveman.
Less fluffy than pancakes, and thicker than crepes, these “cakes” are delicious with Almond Butter, Yogurt and Honey, Maple Syrup, pesto and melted cheese. Really, anything that needs a base. They might even be wonderful drizzled with chocolate. Let your creativity play and let us know what you discover.
1/2 cup Almond Milk
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Buckwheat Flour
1/3 cup Almond Flour/Meal
3 tablespoons melted ghee, or your favorite high heat Oil
Place the milk, eggs and salt in a blender or a bowl. Blend, or whip with a fork to mix thoroughly. Add the flours, then add the oil, and mix well.
Place a 7 to 8-inch pan over medium heat. Brush with ghee or oil. When the pan is hot, remove from the heat and ladle in about 3 tablespoons batter. Tilt or swirl the pan to distribute the batter evenly, and return to the heat. Cook until you can easily loosen the edges with a spatula. Turn and cook on the other side for 1 minute. Turn onto a plate. Continue until all of the batter is used.
Yield: About 5-6 pancakes
For me, my Almond butter slathered Mangos keeps me happy, daydreaming about the days when were were all swinging through the forest happily gathering mangoes, bananas, and all variety of exotic fruit, as if it were an Eden of delight made just for us. Meanwhile, I give thanks to a modern world where every kind of delicious fruit is just a short walk away, and a modern belly that has had the intelligence to adapt, so I’m not stuck eating tubers and termites!
How do you keep mornings inspired? What do you eat for breakfast? What do you do to maintain strength and energy? I am curious and would love to hear about your creativity and routines.
That is, some might call it cheating… just please know that if you are in a hurry, or tired at the end of the day, there is a quick way of doing this which will get you the same elegant meal in almost no time.
As for me, over the Thanksgiving weekend I came up with a new motto ~ Move like a swan, slow and easy. It is a pace I try to remember when dashing to and fro. “Celebrate your Kapha,” I remind myself.
Slowing down has wonderful implications in every area of life, perhaps nowhere more sweetly than in the kitchen ~ especially when there are children volunteering to help.
So, if you have an adorable niece or a couple of kitchen loving children, and you are not in any great hurry, I invite you to consider making these curried pumpkin dumplings from scratch. You might make it a dedication to the slow food movement : preparing, tasting, digesting, and enjoying each moment together – adagio, as the Italians who started the movement might say.
Because we wanted them gluten-free, a good idea for everyone these days, we wrapped the pumpkin purée in rice paper. The result is a bit like a dumpling, with a great texture and taste, and kid-friendly fun to make.
But as I said, you can do this in about ten minutes if that is what serves you best. Just purchase pumpkin ravioli pre-packaged, but freshly made, of course. Cook according to directions, and serve with the bok choy, persimmon and truffle sauce. It will be every bit as good… especially if you savor slowly!
Curried Pumpkin Ravioli with Bok Choy, Persimmon & Truffle Oil Serves 4
1 lb pumpkin purée: make it yourself, or choose a pure purée like Pacific Food’s 3 tablespoon ghee, or Earth Balance Spread if you are Vegan
3-4 shallots, very finely chopped
2 teaspoons curry spice
1 teaspoon clove
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3-4 tablespoons finely grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, optional
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 head bok choy, torn into pieces
1 persimmon, chopped
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
truffle oil, keep it real
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted salt and pepper
Melt 1 tablespoon ghee in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add shallots, curry, clove and nutmeg, and sauté until shallots are translucent. Fold in the pumpkin purée and mix well. Warm thoroughly, turn off heat, and stir in 1 tablespoon cheese if you are using.
Prepare a large baking tray with a thin film of olive oil. Wet your rice paper one at a time, according to package directions. Shake off excess water and lay on a large plate. Place one spoonful of curried pumpkin on the rice paper 1.5 inches from the bottom edge. Fold this edge over the purée to cover it completely. Fold in the sides, and roll up. You should end up with one side transparent and the other side covered with many layers of rice paper. If there are too many rice paper folds it will get chewy. In that case you can cut the ends off with scissors.
Place each finished roll on your lightly oiled tray. Once you have rolled up all the curried pumpkin purée, cover the tray very lightly with a damp towel and set aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons ghee. Sauté coriander seeds one minute on medium low heat. Stir in garam masala. Allow it to fizzle for a few seconds then add the leeks and cook until they soften. Stir in the garlic, bok choy, persimmon. Turn up the heat and sprinkle generously with balsamic vinegar. Toss and cook a few minutes, until it gives off a sweet aroma. Turn off the heat. Place the pumpkin ravioli dumplings on top of this bok choy mixture and cover to warm the pumpkin filling.
Divide and transfer gently to your plates. Drizzle with truffle oil, and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Serve with the remaining parmesan cheese in a small bowl on the side, for those who are not Vegan.
I served it on a bed of spinach and followed it with a simple arugula salad.
I hope you enjoy this. Let me know, along with whatever wonderful twists and tastes you add, and who you choose to share with you this slow food moment.
Above all, I’d love to hear : what makes you feel nourished with gratitude?
I wish you a golden blessings and everything to be grateful for!
Want to keep it simple and traditional? Here is an alternative – a beautifully illustrated, hand-made pumpkin ravioli from Amanda Marshall. If you try it, send a photo and let me know what you think.