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Nourishing Food

Lemon or Lime Infused Water

INGREDIENTS:

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

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • 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

Basics:

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, www.simplyrecipes.com

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  • 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: https://www.workman.com/products/natures-best-hope/hardback

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.
 

Instructions:

– 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. 
Awareness Practices

Walking Meditation

Although nature offers support in developing the skill of inhabiting your body, walking meditation is beneficial whether you’re in your living room, in an urban green space, on the beach, or in the woods. You can practice 5 minutes or longer. The focus is not the environment or how long you practice but the opportunity to experience inhabiting and relaxing your body while standing still or moving. 

– Stand in a relaxed and steady upright posture such as Tadasana (Mountain). Rest your hands one on top of the other, cradling your navel. Allow your breath to be natural. Attune to the waves of inhalation and exhalation as well as the restful pauses at the top of the inhalation and bottom of the exhalation, like the tides of the ocean. You might visualize the tides moving in and out. This might be sufficient to settle your body, or you could continue on. 

– Then tune into your feet. Feel that you are inside your feet. Feel that there is no separation between you and the ground.

– Feel that you are inside your whole body. Find the space outside your body. Experience that the space inside and outside your body is the same continuous space.

– Bring your focus down to the earth. Experience that the space that pervades you also pervades the earth.

– Bring your focus up to the sky. Experience that the space that pervades you also pervades the sky. 

– Allow your breath to flow naturally, soften your gaze forward and down, hands gently cradling your navel, and tune into your feet again. Maintaining a slow pace, take a step forward with your right foot. Place your foot on the ground sequentially, heel, ball of foot, then toes, as your left heel, ball, then toes, lift for your next step. 

– Continue walking in a linear pattern, like on a trail, or in a circle around a room or on a labyrinth, noticing when your focus leaves your feet. Practice gently bringing your focus back to your feet and the rhythm of your breath. 

– Finish standing for several cycles of breath in a relaxed and steady upright posture. Notice how your body feels.

Nourishing Food

Edible Flowers

Edible Flower

Culinary use of flowers dates back thousands of years in many indigenous cultures. Edible flowers are a simple way to add color, taste, and essence to a salad. According to Ayurveda, herbs and flowers not only adorn a salad but add nourishment. Through their particular ‘taste’ or energetic qualities, they have the capacity to uplift mood, soothe the nerves, enhance sleep, reduce inflammation, and balance the doshas. 

Have fun growing them in your garden! Choose high quality or organic if possible. If you are collecting from another source make sure they have not been sprayed with pesticides or fertilizers. When picking, have respect and gratitude for the plant. Always leave some in place for the insects, birds, and animals, and for nature to regenerate. 

TYPES OF EDIBLE FLOWERS:

  • Borage is a cooling and cleansing herb, soothing the throat, chest, skin, and eyes. It enhances resilience, gives renewed buoyancy in adversity, and is useful when feeling low after illness.
  • Calendula reduces inflammation, soothes the skin, eyes, and promotes tissue repair.
  • Chamomile is a wonderful relaxant for the nervous and digestive systems. It also relaxes the smooth muscles throughout the body. As a remedy of the sun, chamomile soothes anger and tension.
  • Lavender has a mildly pungent taste and slightly cooling influence. It is soothing and can calm an agitated mind without creating undue dullness. Lavender can balance the emotions, relieve anxiety and depression, and reduce stress.
  • Nasturtium is pungent taste and aids digestion. It has high vitamin C content and is a powerful anti-microbial. 
  • Roses have an uplifting and restoring effect on the nervous system and for the heart.They relieve insomnia, lift depression and anxiety. The petals have a cooling effect and bring down excess heat in the body. Petals or hips strengthen the lungs and re-establish the healthy bacterial population of the intestine. 

RESOURCES:

McIntyre, Anne. Flower Remedies for Healing.
Hoffmann, David. The New Holistic Herbal.
Ladd, Vasant & Frawley, David. The Yoga of Herbs.
Simon, David & Chopra, Deepak. The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook.

Nourishing Food

Kitcheri 

Kitcheri Kitcheri is a seasoned mixture of rice and mung dal that gives strength and vitality. It’s particularly helpful at the junctures of seasons when digestion can be slow or there is increased gas or inflammation. In Ayurveda it is used as a mono-diet, generally preferred over fasting. It is an excellent protein combination, is easy to digest, and is nourishing for all the tissues of the body. This recipe is suitable for all constitutions but is especially good for vata dominant constitution.

Kitcheri Recipe
Serves 6.

INGREDIENTS:1 cup basmati rice*1/2 cup yellow split mung dal3 tablespoons ghee1 teaspoon black mustard seeds1 teaspoon cumin seeds2 pinches hing1/2 teaspoon turmeric1/2 teaspoon salt4 cups water INSTRUCTIONS:

Wash the mung dal and rice well. Let the mung dal soak between 30 minutes – 2 hours. It helps with digestibility.

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the ghee and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and hing. Stir a moment until the seeds pop. 

Add the rice, mung dal, turmeric and salt and stir until well blended with the spices. 

Add the water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

Turn down the heat to low and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook until tender, about 20-25 minutes. 

*Basmati Rice translates as the ‘queen of fragrance’. It is easy to digest and regarded in Ayurveda as a cleansing and healing food for all body types.

Cumin 
is a digestive, pungent with bitter taste. It aids absorption and eliminates gas. 

Ghee stimulates digestive juices yet is cooling. Though made from butter, it does not increase cholesterol. It helps to improve assimilation, memory, and lubricates the connective tissue. It remains stable under high temperatures.

Hing (Asafoetida)  promotes digestion and circulation. It’s smelly, of the earth, and in turn enhances stamina. It promotes deeper assimilation of nutrients in the small intestine. It is a good substitute for garlic and onions.

Mustard Seed is heating and penetrating. It is a good digestive and helpful for the lungs.

Turmeric is a blood cleanser. It encourages intestinal flora, reduces inflammation, stiffness, and nourishes the joints..

Recipe from Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing, Usha Lad & Dr. Vasant Lad
Nourishing Food, Uncategorized

Nettle Recipes ~ Pesto, Coconut Sweet Potato Soup with Nettles & Nettle Tea

It’s easy to switch out spinach or basil for stinging nettles. Early spring is the best time to pick and use nettles. They are intended to be used this time of year only. Any new substance should be introduced gradually to your body. Those new to nettles should start with small amounts. 

Stinging Nettles are a powerful source of protein, magnesium, potassium and iron, helpful for anemia and skin conditions, beneficial for the kidneys, and as a general blood tonic.

Nettles are easy to identify. The dark green leaves are rough with coarse teeth. The leaf tip is pointed and its base is heart-shaped. 

Find a secluded source as free of toxins as possible. Wear long sleeves and gloves for protection. Tender leaves are best. Use leaves up to 3″ wide.

‘Stinging’ nettles are given this name for good reason. If you touch any part of the plant, you will be stung. The sting is mildly painful and can last for hours. Use a scissors or garden clippers to cut the top two bracts of leaves, leaving the rest of the plant to regenerate. Set a pot or bag alongside the plant and clip directly into the container. Once they are cooked or brewed in a tea, they lose their sting. 

Nettle Pesto

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups nettle leaves 
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts, cashews, walnuts, or almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan or Asiago cheese or yellow yeast  flakes if vegan

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Put a pot of water on. When it’s boiling, dump the fresh nettles in for just one minute.
  2. Strain well and get as much water out as possible. Add nettles to a blender or food processor.
  3. Add garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice and cheese or yellow yeast flakes.
  4. Pulse until smooth and creamy and salt/pepper to taste. Serve on whole grain or GF pasta, soft tortillas, over rice or as a dip for roasted veggies.

Coconut Sweet Potato Soup with Nettles
Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2″ fresh ginger root
  • 1/4 whole lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 lb. stinging nettles (blanched for 3 minutes, drained, patted dry, and chopped finely)
  • 2 cups diced sweet potatoes
  • 3 cups water or vegetable broth

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Express lime juice into a medium sauce pot.
  2. Grate ginger with a cheese grater.
  3. Add all ingredients except nettles to the pot.
  4. Bring to a boil then simmer on low heat until potatoes are tender.
  5. Puree with a hand blender.
  6. Add nettles and parboil for 3 minutes. 
  7. Serve.

Nettle Tea

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup fresh stinging nettle leaves
  • 2 cups water

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place nettle leaves in a small sauce pan.  Add water to your nettle leaves and heat to a near boil. You can make the tea stronger by steeping longer or weaker by adding more water. Once the water is near boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for a couple minutes. Pour through a small strainer and the tea is ready to drink. 1-2 cups/day is sufficient.

Nourishing Food

Sautéed Baby Greens with
Ginger & Garlic-

This recipe is ideal for Spring and is quick, easy, and nourishing for all constitutions.

Green leafy vegetables, legumes, and herbs such as ginger, cumin, fennel, and coriander, offer bitter, pungent and astringent tastes that aide in digestion. To offer heat and power to your digestive fire, favor warm drinks and warm, dry, light, stimulating foods in small proportions.  

Sautéed Baby Greens with Ginger & Garlic Recipe
Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS:2 teaspoons olive or sesame oil1 lb. mixed baby greens (young tender leaves of spinach, radicchio, curly endive, Swiss chard, kale)2 teaspoons grated ginger root* (peel if not organic)1 teaspoon minced garlicpinch of salt and black peppera squeeze of lemon or lime juice 1-2 Tablespoons toasted pumpkin or sesame seeds  INSTRUCTIONS:

Use a medium sautée pan on medium heat. Add the oil, ginger and garlic and sautée for a few minutes, just to bring out the flavor. Add greens all at once. Toss the greens with the seasonings with tongs or two wooden spoons until tender, 2-3 minutes, not raw but not overcooked.

Serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice, and a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin or sesame seeds. 
 *Ginger is an overall body tonic, energizing and sattvic, unlike chilis. It increases circulation, stimulates digestive fire (Agni), and is an anti-inflammatory.  
Nourishing Food

Poached Pears –
Simple, Nourishing, Satiating

Nourishment can be a factor in shifting the body to a relaxed state. Choosing warm rather than cold fruit can enhance digestion, feelings of satiation and contentment and contribute to restoring a stable internal environment for optimal functioning.  

Poached Pears Recipe
(We served this regularly for breakfast at The Yoga Lodge.)
Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 firm, ripe pears
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cinnamon sticks or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • ghee

INSTRUCTIONS:

Peel and halve pears. Core and place the pears cut-side-up in a shallow baking dish. I like to use one that has a glass cover, but that’s not essential. 

Mix together maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon rind, water, cinnamon, cardamom, and pour over the pears, adding more liquid if necessary. 

Place a dollop of ghee in the hollow of each pear and sprinkle with a bit more cinnamon and cardamom. Cover (with glass or foil) and bake in a 325 degrees oven for about 1 hour or until soft.