Nourishing Food

Lentil Loaf with
Gravy and Pickled Onion Garnish

This loaf includes veggies, is flavorful, satiating, and nourishing without feeling heavy. It’s versatile, easy to make, and can be paired with sautéed leafy greens, rice, or crumbled like ground beef and used in tortillas.

The red pepper flakes or cayenne and pickled onions stimulate digestion for kapha constitution. Best to remove those spices for pitta constitution. The gravy is particularly suitable for vata constitution.

Lentil Loaf
serves 6


  • 1/2 cup dry green lentils, soaked in water for an hour before cooking. 
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1/2 large onion, about 1 cup
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans, almonds, or walnuts)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 egg OR 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon maple or rice syrup
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • After soaking the lentils, bring lentils and water to a simmer, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse under cool water, and set aside.
  • Lightly toast the nuts in a pan for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • Using the same pan, heat the ghee and add the spices  (salt, pepper, thyme, sage, and cayenne, if using) until the aroma lifts. Set aside.
  • Roughly chop the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic. In a food processor, add the chopped vegetables, spiced ghee, tamari sauce, nutritional yeast, parsley, syrup, and lemon juice or vinegar. Pulse a few times or until medium chopped. 
  • Add the nuts, oats, and pulse. Add the cooled lentils and the egg or flaxseed. Pulse until combined and sticks together but isn’t pulverized.
  • Line a bread-loaf pan with parchment paper. Shape the lentil mixture into a loaf in the pan. Brush with ghee. (The loaf can be made ahead of time and baked later.)
  • Bake covered with foil for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 25 minutes or until medium firm and lightly browned on top.
  • Let the loaf rest 10 minutes before cutting and serving. 

Sage Gravy Recipe


  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable or mushroom broth
  • 4 tablespoons ghee
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage.

Heat broth and ghee to a boil. Add flour and sage, whisking until the gravy is thickened and smooth. 

Pickled Onion Recipe 

Pickling breaks down food as a process to preserve and makes ‘raw’ food more easily digestible.

Prep Time: 10 mintutes


  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or additional white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt


  • Pack the onions into a 1-pint mason jar or similar heat-safe vessel. Place the jar in the sink, to catch any splashes of hot vinegar later.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the water, both vinegars, maple syrup and salt. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat, then carefully pour the mixture into the jar over the onions.
  • Use a butter knife or spoon to press the onions down into the vinegar and pop any air bubbles in the jar. Let the pickled onions cool to room temperature (about 20-30 minutes). They should be sufficiently pickled for serving or kept for later..
  • Cover and refrigerate for later. Pickled onions will keep for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Pickled Onion Recipe from Cookie and Kate ~

Asana Practice

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana ~ Bridge

In Bridge, the bones of your limbs support your spine in an energizing and uplifting backbend. Bridge strengthens the legs and hips, massages the spine, counteracts the effects of prolonged sitting, and opens the heart. With practice, the body/mind will simultaneously feel energized and at peace.

These instructions do not replace working with a teacher. If you have a chronic condition including back, neck, or joint pain and/or need more support, please contact me. Adjusting the asanas and practices to your needs and constitution is my specialty and one of the many benefits of working together in one-on-one sessions. 

Setting the foundation of the form:

  • Lie on your back, arms to your sides, shoulder distance apart, palms up. Begin with your arms shoulder distance apart and gradually advance to interlacing your hands.
  • Soften tension around your spine and abdomen. Then bend your knees and place the soles of your feet on the floor, hips distance apart and parallel. Your shin bones should create a straight line from knees to your feet.
  • If your knees splay out or turn in, readjust the placement of your feet or use a block to engage your inner thighs. This will stabilize your pelvis. 

Moving into the form:

  • On an exhalation, root down through your feet and isometrically draw your feet toward your shoulders. This will guide your pelvis to a neutral position using your hamstring muscles. Feel the natural tone the action of your feet brings to your lower abdomen and along the front of your spine. 
  • Keep your breath flowing to soften any tendency to force or apply excessive effort.
  • Before allowing your pelvis to float up position your shoulders (humerus bones) to support your weight. Draw one shoulder at a time toward your spine, without pulling your shoulder blades down. Maintain length in your side body.
  • Let your shoulder bones drop toward the floor, lift and broaden your chest without flattening your neck or locking your low back. 
  • Gaze down into your heart center, breathe, and sustain the action in your feet and legs, Lengthen through your front body.
  • Do not force to match the photo. Move slowly, align with your breath, and inhabit your body with sensitivity. Explore gradual micro- movements.

Coming Out of the Form:

  • Press down through your feet, legs, and arms. 
  • On an exhalation slowly lower your pelvis and spine, maintaining length in your side body.
  • Rest and feel your body’s response to the form.
  • Draw your legs into your chest as a counter-form.

Different active variations to explore:

  • Move your feet closer or further apart. Your shins should form a straight line from knees to feet.
  • Change the depth of your breath.
  • Bend your arms at the elbows to root down as you create more lift and broadening in the chest area.
  • Sense when you are forcing or experiencing tension in your low back, neck, throat, or face and modulate your form accordingly.


  • Back, neck, and shoulder/joint injuries or other chronic conditions.
Nourishing Food

Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables are one of my favorite autumn meal choices. They serve as a good transition from raw summer salads that aggravate vata dominant constitution during autumn, a vata dominant season. (Vata dosha is cold, dry, and light.) Warm temperature, hydrating oil, and the sweet taste of these vegetables, provide opposite qualities to that of Vata dosa. These warm, sweet, earthy qualities ease digestion for good nutrition, and provide stability and soothing qualities during the autumn season.

Roasted vegetables are varied and versatile! In addition to beets, and carrots, add winter squash and sweet potatoes too. They can be served over rice, grains such as millet or quinoa, and used in wraps with tahini, hummus, nut, goat/sheep, or dairy cheeses such as feta, or in a sandwich with sourdough bread. 

Roasted Vegetables
serves 6


  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups beets (assorted colors), peeled and cut in 3/4″ pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet potatoes*, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups delicata squash*, skin on, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup onion peeled and cut into 1/2″ wedges (substitute shallots, leeks, garlic)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

* For kapha dominant constitution use regular potatoes and summer squash.


Beets take longer to roast and will bleed. Make sure they are cut in smaller pieces and roast on a separate sheet pan, if bleeding is bothersome.

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Place the veggies in a bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs (see herb qualities below).
  • Place the veggies on a parchment lined sheet pan(s). Bake 30 minutes or until tender and caramelized.
Asana Practice

Balasana – Child’s Pose

Balasana is a quintessential asana to stabilize and soothe your whole being. The entire front of the body including the head is supported, providing spaciousness to the back of the lungs, and expansion of the back ribs. The gaze of the eyes and focus of attention is turned inward toward the mind’s source and childlike joy.

The deepening of the breath and slowing down of brain functions enhances the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for deepening our capacity to rest and digest. 

Practice Steps: 

  • Begin on all fours in Table on a stable and soft surface – use a blanket on your mat or mat on a rug. 
  • Allow your breath to flow as you exhale down into your hands and guide your hips and belly back.
  • By pressing down into your hands, elongate your spine, and tissues around your torso, before releasing your torso on or between your legs. 
  • Your body should feel comfortable and able to relax. If not, explore the variations below or engage help from a teacher.
  • Close your eyes and let your face relax. 
  • Allow your breath to dome your back body, widening your shoulders, back ribs, waistline, and sacral area.
  • Imagine and sense releasing tension from the midline of your back horizontally and down along the sides of your body from hips to crown.
  • Progressively lengthen your time in the asana from two to eight minutes, with ease.

VariationsIf you are not comfortable, experiment with variations:

  • Take your knees and/or hands wider.
  • Place a folded blanket or bolster support between your buttocks and heels.
  • Support your forehead with stacked hands or folded blanket. 
  • Raise and support your entire torso on a bolster, bolster angled with a block, or on the seat of a padded chair.


  • knee injuries
  • pregnancy

Need more support? Contact me. Adjusting the asanas and practices to your needs and constitution is one of the many benefits of working together in one-on-one sessions. 

Asana Practice

Asana – Side-Lying Restorative 

Side-Lying Restorative Asana enhances the capacity for movement of the intercostal muscles on the sides of your body and your diaphragm. These muscles lift the ribs during inhalation and draw the ribs down during exhalation. When these muscles are tight, movement of the rib cage and respiration are limited. By releasing tension breathing is enhanced.

Setting Up:

Lie over a stack of two or more single-fold blankets or bolster so your left waist is well-supported at the center. Neither your hips nor your shoulders should touch the floor. Make sure you are lying on your side, not rolled onto your front or back body. Stretch your legs in a scissored position, right leg over the left when on your left side.

When you are on your left side, you should feel a moderate sensation along the right side of your body. To add intensity, raise your arms overhead and let them rest on the floor or on a support. Let your head rest on your left arm. Balance the stretch of your arms by stretching your legs and rooting down through your feet. 

Being There: 
Stay for 30 seconds to several minutes, gradually increasing the time. Take natural, slow breaths, feeling the breath in the right (top) side. Open to the movement of the breath, to the release, and to the pleasant feeling that can come from this asana. This will also provide a release for the muscles of your hip, thigh, and stimulate the function of your liver. 

Coming Back:
When you feel ready, bend your knees, place your palms on the floor, press down, and slowly sit up. Turn and lie on your right side and repeat. On the right side in addition to the tissue release, you will stimulate the functions of the stomach and spleen. 

If you experience lower back discomfort, make sure you are not rolled toward your abdomen or back. Try moving the support, up, down, or lowering the support. If nothing relieves discomfort, skip the form for now. 

Do not practice this asana if you are more than three months pregnant, have a hiatal hernia, or during menstruation.

Photo and Instructions from Relax & Renew, Judith Lasater, Ph.D., P.T.

Awareness Practices

Walking Around, Open-Eyed Compassion Meditation

Walking around or open-eyed meditation can be done anywhere/anytime. It is a simple and playful way to return to your moment to moment experience. 

Compassion Practices from Sally Kempton: 

  • “Whenever you think of it, make a point of breathing in compassion and breathing compassion out into the environment. Notice the energy that is generated when you do this. Recognize that compassion is a natural energy in the universe. You don’t have to create or invent it.”
  • “When you feel stressed, anxious, worried, angry, or annoyed, or when you notice that you’re not at your best, ask yourself ‘What would compassion do at this moment?’ How does your behavior change?”
Nourishing Food

Lemon or Lime Infused Water


  • Filtered water for single or multiple servings
  • Lemon or lime*


  • Wash and slice lemon or lime into rounds.*
  • Place in individual glasses or a pitcher with filtered water.
  • Let sit for a few hours or overnight in a cool place or refrigerator.
  • Serve cold NOT iced, as extreme cold can inhibit digestion.

Taste and Nutrition in Ayurveda

*An important aspect of nutrition in Ayurveda are the elemental qualities of taste. Taste is energetic and different from flavor. And taste takes into consideration the action (virya)  and post-digestive effect (vipaka ) in the body. In Ayurveda wisdom we learn to use taste to nourish rather than aggravate the qualities or attributes of our particular constitution; the unique blueprint or combination of vata, pitta, kapha doshas. 

Sweet = Earth + Water 
Sour = Earth + Fire 
Salty = Water + Fire
Pungent = Air + Fire
Bitter = Air + Space
Astringent = Air + Earth


Vata dominateconstitution tends toward dry and cold qualities and is balanced by sweet, sour, and salty tastes.
Pitta dominateconstitution tends toward oily and hot qualities and is pacified by sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes. 
Kapha dominate constitution tends toward cold and sticky qualities and is pacified by pungent, bitter, and astringent.

Lemons are sour and heating and have a sour vipaka (post-digestive effect). They are sharp and stimulate salivation and digestive juices in the stomach. They calm vata dosha, detoxify pitta dosha but may aggravate pitta and kapha dosha. 

Limes are sour, slightly bitter and cooling but their vipaka (post-digestive effect) is sweet. Lime calms vata dosha, is fine for pitta dosha in moderation, and stimulates kapha dosha. Lime is useful with hot, spicy food to cool down its pitta provoking nature. Lime stimulates the secretion of digestive enzymes and is useful for indigestion. Lime should not be used when one has a cold, congestion and/or a cough. 

* Resource – Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing, Usha Lad & Dr. Vasant Lad
Nourishing Food

Parsley Pesto 

In April I began planting a pollinator garden on the roof of our townhome in Seattle. It includes culinary and medicinal herbs, flowers, and native plants and trees to attract Insects, caterpillars, butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and other birds. I have an abundance of parsley!

photo and recipe adapted from Elise Bauer,

Prep Time 15 minutes, Servings: 5, Yield: 1 1/4 cups


  • 1 cup shelled raw walnuts, about 3 1/2 ounces 
  • 2 cups chopped parsley, about 1 bunch
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese – for lactose intolerance or vegan use yellow nutritional yeast
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Roast the walnuts in an iron skillet until lightly browned. This adds flavor and aids digestion.
  • Pulse ingredients in food processor for a few seconds to combine.
  • Drizzle in the olive oil: While the food processor is running, drizzle in the oil enough to incorporate it and form a paste. 
  • Use the pesto immediately as a dip for veggies (snap peas are in season); as a spread for all types of wraps – wheat, spelt, almond; or on pasta – wheat, rice, veggie, chickpea.
  • Stays fresh chilled, for several days.

An excellent resource on pollinator gardens is Nature’s Best Hope by Douglas W. Tallamy:

Asana Practice

Vrksasana – Tree

Stand naturally. With focused attention down through the bones of your pelvis, legs and into your feet, yield to the earth. Breathe.

Adapt the form! If you struggle with balance, begin with your back at the wall for support and gradually move away. You will build strength, resilience, and access ease over time. 

Fan your toes and press down evenly through the balls of your foot and central point of your heel.

Keeping your breath flowing and attention on the sensations in your body, lift your other foot and actively press it against the inside of your opposite leg, not on any joint. Play with harmonizing your actions..

Move slowly and progressively. Adapt the form to your body. Your foot might be on the ground in ‘kick-stand’ fashion or between your ankle and knee. 

Explore the asana regularly and allow your arms to reach up toward the sky as a corresponding action to your connection to ground.

Feel the dynamic energy connecting you to earth, sky, and sun through the center of your body. This force of nature is simultaneously stimulating and soothing for body/mind – stability (sthira) and comfort, ease or flow (sukham).

Breathing Practices

Nadi Shodana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

Explore this practice gently. It’s best to refine your practice under the guidance of an accomplished teacher.


– Sit comfortably on the floor or on a chair with your spine in a gentle and upright position. If you are on a chair, have your feet flat on the floor.

-Close your right nostril with your right thumb and exhale through the left nostril.

– Pause and inhale naturally through your left nostril. Do not take deep breaths! Be gentle with your touch, skin to skin, and soften the force of your breath. It should be like silk. 

– After inhaling hold/pause your breath for just a moment with both nostrils sealed. 

– Repeat steps 1 to 3 but this time start by exhaling through your right nostril while you close the left with your ring and little finger. Inhale through the right nostril and hold/pause for just a moment.Return to closing the right nostril and continue for three rounds.

– Release your hand position and take 3 cycles of natural breathing to rest and assimilate.Return to alternate nostril breathing for 3 cycles and alternate with 3 cycles of natural breathing for 2 more rounds.