Sophia’s Sandwich Wraps

Guest post by Emma Frattasio, with photographs by Nayana Peterhans

photo credit: Nayana Peterhans
photo credit: Nayana Peterhans

Though we often notice the five elements (space, air, fire, earth & water)  in our surroundings, we seldom acknowledge their presence in our beings and the food we eat.  The Ayurvedic Doshas (Pitta, Kapha, Vata) that constitute us, largely reflect this notion. Certain Doshas or elements are more prevalent in us depending on the type of day;  luckily we can use food to help balance any of their manifestations. Often times the Doshas that pertain to us transcend physical and mental barriers. For example, Pitta, or fire people, tend to be  powerful by nature with corresponding muscular builds. Warm, sunny days like today can lead to imbalances in our fiery counterparts which increases the need for foods with cooling properties or high quantities of water (Kapha).

nature walk 2
photo credit: Nayana Peterhans

Here at Sophia Camp (a feminine leadership program), as an introduction to self discovery, we have learned about the Doshas/ five elements and how they act in nature, our phenotypes and our personalities. Today, at the Point Loma Native Plant Garden, we explored the local ecosystem and noticed the recurring theme of Pitta in San Diego wildlife. We studied the different botanicals and learned how native peoples exploited the various elements in their environment to survive southern California’s desert climate.

While we detected characteristics of fire, we subsequently experienced rising temperatures within ourselves. Thankfully, we picnicked on a refreshing lunch of cabbage wraps, cucumber salad and coconut water to neutralize the augmented heat. This approach can easily be used in life: in cases of extremism we must always remember to take a deep breath and come back to our balance.

summer wrap

Sophia’s Summer Wraps

Ingredients:

1) Napa Cabbage
2) Carrots
3) Zucchini
4) Sprouts
5) Avocado
6) Provolone Cheese
7)  Mayo (we used Vegenaise)

Instructions:
Shred the carrots and the zucchini. Lay out the cabbage leaves. Place a piece of cheese on each leaf. Spread a dollop of mayo. Layer on a slice of avocado. Spoon the carrots and zucchini over that. Top with a pinch of sprouts. Carefully roll the leaf folding from the top to the bottom, be sure to roll tightly then close with a toothpick.

Editor’s Note: Collard Greens make a better wrap than Napa cabbage, as it shapes and holds better. Napa cabbage is best used as a sup rather than trying to make it like a burrito. 

sophia camp

Thank you Emma and Nayana for a great post. More than that, thank you for bringing your brilliance to our Sophia Camp this summer! We are better now because you you are in our lives. You have truly touched our hearts.  Namaste! 

Dog Days of Summer Fig Smoothie

Carolyn sent over a basket of figs yesterday. She has a huge fig tree out behind her house, so the basket she sent over was correspondingly large. My first thought was, “Goodness, such beauty!” My second was, “Carolyn is so divine!” Third thought? “We will never get through that many figs.”

#Figs

So I tossed a few handfuls in the blender and made a Fig Smoothie. Like Carolyn, divine!

Version 1: Figs were the only fruit
Version 1

On my first go, the only fruit was figs. But it needed a bit of the sour and maybe astringent taste to help round out the flavors, so I added a plum and some blueberries. Once it all came together, it caught my breath. The colors, that dapple of deep purple dancing with sparkles of gold, make it as beautiful as it is nourishing.

#Figs #Healthy Smoothies
Version 2

Cardamom Fig Smoothie

Figs, 2 handfuls
Blueberries, 1 handful
Plum, 1
Lime, Juice and a bit of zest
Water, 1/2 c
1/2 t Vanilla Extract
Cardamom, dash or two
Medjool Date, 1-2

Option 1: Replace plain water with coconut water or coconut milk.
Option 2: If you don’t have dates, add a teaspoon of maple syrup.

Put everything in the blender and mix on high-speed a little longer than usual to be sure everything is well macerated.

Enjoy!

#figsmoothie

Thanks to Carolyn for this inspiration and bounty!

~

While we are mentioning Carolyn, her good friend and my favorite Gluten-free Recipe Renovator, Stephanie Weaver, is running a fun and fabulous Blog Hop as a way of connecting, raising awareness and generating funding to publish her book, Golden Angels: Lessons in Love and Lesson from Buddy Girl and Daisy May. Here is her Kickstarter page. I have had a read and love this book. It is an important healing tool for anyone who has suffered from loss and grieving. I hope you will take a minute to have a look.

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Be sure to check out the many contributors, too, who have offered great and gorgeous recipes to help Stephanie in her campaign ~ Dog Days of Summer Blog Hop.

Namaste!

Avocado Dressing

Green Goddess-y Goodness

Last week I promised you an Avocado Dressing that goes especially well with  refreshing salads loaded with purifying bitters like arugula, radicchio, spinach and radishes. This dressing provides prefect harmony thanks to what I call the Mary Poppins Principle, which holds that sweet balances bitter, as every good Nanny knows. “Just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down… “

Avocado is not exactly the sugar Mary Poppins was referring to, but it is considered sweet according to Ayurveda. Its qualities are heavy, wet, cold and it is strengthening, tonifying, nourishing. In summer, when days heat up, Avocado has the cooling, hydrating affect your body seeks. Plus, it lovingly embraces those important bitters in your salad, tricking your body into wholeheartedly accepting these medicinal roots and shoots.

Summer’s Green Dressing

This dressing is inspired by the outrageously talented cooks at the Zen Mountain Center, near Idyllwild, where we lead a Yoga Retreat every September. Last year, their Avocado Dressing was a favorite. I’ve pared it down to make it simpler and offer both versions below.

Zen Dressing
2 Cups Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 Cup Cilantro
1/2 Cup Cashew
1/4 Pumpkin Seeds
1 Lemons squeezed
1/4 Cup Honey
1 Avocado
~
My version:

Green Dressing
1 Avocado
1 Lemon, juiced
1 Clove Garlic
1 Handful Raw Sesame Seeds
1 T Dijon Mustard
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Put everything in the Cuisinart and blend until it is smooth, adding enough olive oil to bring it to the desired consistency. Mine are rough measurements. Please adjust to your own taste.

Avocado “Soufflé” dresses the Greens

“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.
You find the fun and, Snap!, the job’s a game.
And every task you undertake, becomes a piece of cake,
a lark, a spree, it is very clear to see….”
~ Robert Sherman, Mary Poppins, 1964

Namaste!

Late Summer Salsa

From Jenny’s Garden

Tomorrow Bhava and I will be teaching at the Karma Yoga for a Cause Fundraiser to benefit Shakti Rising. It is such an honor to be invited to present our teachings on Yoga and the Divine Feminine and to Chant the Body Sacred at this event. Shakti’s recovery programs help so many women hurt by trauma and abuse learn to restore their spirit, reclaim their power, remember the light within, and become leaders of emerging women-centered services and societies that benefit all.

All people everywhere ~ men, women, adults, children ~ benefit when women learn to love themselves. And to love one another, too, so today I am sending out love to Jenny Barrett, the creator and Maha Shakti Power Generator behind this event.

The “Shakti Butterfly”

Last Sunday we met up with Jenny and other friends at the San Diego Botanic Gardens to see where we would be teaching and  run through the day’s program. As we were leaving, Jenny gave us each a few vegetables picked that morning from her home garden. I received a small tomato, a long green pepper and the cutest little orange pepper that looked like a baby bell but bit like a sharp-toothed hoary dragon!

Of course, I went home and made Salsa which was especially handy as I had kichari preparing in the Slow Cooker, something I like to wrap with a teaspoon of yogurt and a few arugula leaves in flour tortillas to make burritos for the children.

It was fun to forage for the ingredients for this Salsa, using only what was on hand, and eating with the season by preparing foods that had been (mostly) picked that day. It was also simple to make.

First, I picked and shredded Cilantro from our garden…

Chopped an apple from the Japanese farmer who sells crunchy Fujis at our local Market…

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Sliced and diced a cucumber brought to us from Suzie’s Farm….

Minced the peppers, removing their seeds…

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Then I ran for a fire extinguisher as this was the hottest little pepper north of the Tijuana River!

Finally, I cut up the tomato and stirred it all together in a bowl with a squeeze of lime, a pinch of Himalayan salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

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Thanks to the surprisingly potent pungency of the baby orange pepper, this Salsa was exceptionally spicy, so I renamed it “Salsa Chutney.”  Like a chutney, it compliments almost any dish, but only a small amount is needed.

It is the peppery pungency of Salsa that helps digest beans and rice, and any heavy meal that might include meat, fish, grains, dairy. Heat, including the heating action of a pungent taste, draws circulation to the abdomen which increases the digestive power.

Refreshing ingredients like apple, cucumber, and cilantro balance the heat of the peppers, keeping blood, muscle, bone, neurological and immune tissue cool, strong and intact.

In late Summer, we need to release the heat that has accumulated in our tissues over the three months of warm weather, because too much heat applied to anything will burn, deplete and ultimately destroy. For that reason, Mother Nature, in her loving wisdom, gives us apples, plums, gooseberries, grapes, nectarines, sweet melons, sweetcorn, zucchini, celeriac, green beans, green leafy vegetables and other cooling foods to restore balance.

It is really important to pay attention now and eat seasonally. Autumn sees nature wither and die back, bringing with it challenges to our health, so it is crucial to be here now, so to speak, with your meals. Late September’s Harvest is the key to readying you now for a healthy Autumn.

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Late Summer Salsa Chutney Recipe

1 small Tomato
1/2 Cucumber
1 Pepper of your choice: bell, jalapeño, serrano…
1 Apple
1 bunch Cilantro
1 Lime
Olive Oil
Himalayan Salt

Chop the vegetables and apple into small bit-size pieces. Stir together in a bowl. Season with lime juice, salt, even a bit of Sambal if your peppers are not as hot as Jenny’s. Drizzle with oil and serve.

CookingwithSorrel.com

Karma Yoga for a Cause will be catered by Sorrel and Fall Weiss whose gorgeous, natural foods are captured and celebrated on their website, cookingwithsorrel.com.

And so with extraordinary teachers, inspiring events, friends from all over and the beguiling sisters Sorrel and Fally catering, we know we are all going to be very well nourished! I hope you can join us.

Even if you can’t, wherever you are, I wish you a beautiful late Summer Sunday.

In honor of the love present everywhere in nature and in support of the love blazing in your heart ~ Namaste!

Summer

SUMMER

Have you ever wondered why it is hotter in August than June when the sun was closer  and the days were longest?

There is a simple principle in Ayurveda that states: “Heat accumulates.”

Wherever there is fire, and water or matter close enough to absorb its energy, heat will accumulate. Summertime is nature’s most poetic expression of that dynamic. After the Summer Equinox, when the sun gets as close to our part of the world as it will get in any given year, its fiery rays are absorbed by the earth and our oceans, holding its warmth, and continuing to accumulate heat incrementally over the course of these dog days.

It’s the same dynamic that makes the day warmest mid-afternoon despite the sun being strongest at noon when it is most directly above. The dynamic plays out everywhere in nature, and wherever it appears it is called, in Ayurveda, Pitta.

Because Pitta, or excess heat, burns, causing depletion and deterioration, Ayurveda intelligently suggests that we calm and cool ourselves in the summer.  The best way we can do this is to decelerate. This is certainly the time, as age-old tradition has it, for holidays and shorter work weeks. It is the season, too, to really stop and smell the roses. Not only will that help you slow to nature’s pace, but roses, as well as lavender, jasmine, sunflower and most summer flowers, are cooling to mind and body.

Summer in the Kitchen

At the end of a hot day who wants to cook?

Trust your own feelings and eat raw, or light, or outdoors, or even all three! Look for foods that are tonifying, refreshing and cooling. Focus on the sweet, astringent and bitter tastes, like cucumbers, summer squash, peas, avocado, corn, leafy greens and green beans, to balance Pitta.

Great meals for summer include beans (sweet and astringent) and greens (astringent and bitter), like this Tofu with Snap Peas and Scallions from Whole Living, that is ideal except for the red pepper flakes (good for Spring), which you can replace with fresh chopped mint. Try squeezing half a lime over the final and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro for more summer flavor.

Due to the tendency to sweat this season, nature provides foods high in mineral content to replace elecrolytes, regulate body temperature and maintain energy. Cucumbers, Potatoes, Bananas, Almonds are all rich in minerals, especially potassium ~ good for balancing that extra dash of Himalayan salt that will satisfy cravings this time of year.

A few particulars to help you keep cool all summer ~

Lime ~ The health benefits of lime make a long list. Not only are they a delicious thirst-quencher with more Vitamin C than a lemon and twice the amount of juice, but adding lime to your water increases the absorbability of nutrients by up to five times. The citric acid in lime revs up the digestive fires, while its heavy mineral content creates an alkaline reaction in the system which can relieve heat-related issues such as inflammation, peptic ulcer, dehydration headache and skin eruptions.

Mint ~ This pretty little leaf reminds me of Rilke’s Ninth Duino Elegy“Why, if this interval of being can be spent serenely in the form of a laurel, slightly darker than all other green, with tiny waves on the edges of every leaf (like the smile of a breeze)…” Every bit as poetically inspiring as laurel, Mint is an excellent herb for Pitta as it dilates and cools. Sprinkle on meals, infuse in drinking water, blend into tonics and smoothies, or simply chew on the leaves for breath-refreshing relief on a summer day.

Fennel  ~ One of the great spices for Pitta, fennel aids digestion without increasing “heat” in the body. Add to foods anytime you cook, and chew on its seeds after a meal to boost metabolism.

Cilantro ~ A Tridoshic wonder in that it balances all mind-body types, Cilantro is especially wonderful for Pitta. You might try my Summer’s Garden Soup, a cool soup for dinner based on cilantro, cucumbers and avocado. Try to get some Cilantro every day.

Coconut Water ~ In our summer kitchen, we have come to absolutely rely on coconut water for sweet, soothing relief. Ayurveda considers that sweat and blood are similar. Therefore, while sweating is beneficial for regulating body temperature, we need to immediately replace the lost nutrients. Coconut water is nature’s closest substitute to blood plasma, and therefore quickly absorbed for high-speed restoration. It is, simply, genius.

Himalayan Salt ~ With some 88 vital minerals, Himalayan salt, also called rock salt, restores much of what we lose when we sweat. Its potassium load balances its sodium so that, when taken in moderation, it can be a safe alternative to table salt.

A word of caution ~ Alcohol is heating, and therefore can be dehydrating.  Avoid red wine, whiskey, brandy and rum as they are especially heating.

And one final note ~ A dab of sandalwood on the middle of your forehead is cooling, as are mineral baths at room temperature, and coconut oil massaged into the scalp and onto the feet before bedtime. If you have children who are challenged in falling asleep at night, make them a cup of warm milk boiled with nutmeg before going to bed. Once in bed, place an ice pack at the top of their head and gently rub their feet while whispering sweet lullabies. Your voice is cool comfort to a child. Of course, a child who falls asleep easily is cool comfort and an Ayurvedic blessing for the parents! 

WHAT’S IN SEASON

In Summer, nature’s edible delights are tonifying, balancing and refreshing. Mostly sweet and astringent, tastes that cool body and mind, this season’s harvest includes Avocado, Bell peppers, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Green Beans, Heirloom Tomatoes, Zucchini, Leafy Greens like Romaine, Napa Cabbage, Bok Choy and Red Lettuce; also Blackberries, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Grapes, Honeydew Melon, Mangoes, Nectarines, Peaches, Plums, Raspberries, Strawberries, Watermelon and Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Lavender, Lemon Verbena, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary.

In July, a small family box from our local CSA Suzie’s Farm contained:
Cucumber,  Romanian Sweet Pepper, Lettuce, Summer Squash, Beans, Basil, Tomato, Leeks, Radish. And with so much summer squash on hand, those intelligent folks at Suzie’s posted a great recipe for Summer Squash Soup on their blog.

There are more great ideas for maintaining balance all summer from the wise ones at Blue Lotus Ayurveda. However, if you are feeling severely overheated or depleted, please seek a personal Ayurvedic consultation, or medical advice. Over-heating can be serious.

By keeping your cool, you can really enjoy your summer, which is after all, designed for your enjoyment. Let us know how we can support your cool. 

We wish you a blissful season.