Hello yogis, foodies, and health explorers!
Last Saturday was the 2nd Kitchen Evolution workshop at Lifethyme. This time, we focused mostly on fall-friendly produce and talked a lot about ayurvedic vata guidelines. Each participant got a 20 page recipe book of vata-pacifying breakfasts, lunches, dinners and desserts. Jason, Lifethyme manager surprised us with a whole grain fennel, swiss chard, and provolone cheese Stromboli that he made just for our group (talk about special treatment!). Besides that Lifethyme chef treated us to a brunch of a spicy red lentil daal (check out recipe below), Ipie (a vegetable multi-layered quinoa pie), turmeric and garlic roasted sweet potatoes. For dessert we got an assortment of vegan (dairy, eggs free) desserts and kiwi berries grown in Pennsylvania. Our vegan desserts included a soft fig bar, a gluten free almond and cranberry cookies, and a chocolate, coconut, pecan Magic bars (these ones had to be reserved in advance as they never last for more than 8 hours in the store).
We covered a lot of very important and easy to implement ways of improving digestion, preventing dry skin, and grounding with food. Here are some highlights:
- Vatas benefit most from homogeneously prepared foods, as in one-bowl soups or stews or salad meals with plenty of healthy oils, where ingredients are all raw or, better still, all cooked together. Vatas should avoid foods with bitter, pungent or astringent tastes. Vatas should also avoid foods that are light, dry, or cold in quality.
- Liquid form of eating such as soups and smoothies is one of the easiest ways to create nutrient-rich but easy-to-digest meals. Liquid form makes digestion and assimilation easier allowing the body to expending less energy and therefore provides a bigger net energy gain.
- The more nutrient rich foods are present in the diet, the less cravings. Your body does not have to eat as much of nutrient-rich foods as if it were fed “average” foods. As a direct result, not as much needs to be eaten and therefore digested. This is a huge net energy gain, to be spent as you please. If the body is left to decide it will likely choose improved immune function and quickened restoration of cells damaged by stress—essential “anti-aging” activities.
- Creating a grocery shopping list has many benefits. Among them saving money as you are less likely to give in to marketing and buy stuff that you don’t need, an opportunity to try new recipes since you will be able to plan ahead and get all the necessary ingredients, better chance of sticking to your diet plan if you have fresh nutritious items in your kitchen and saving $$$ on take outs.
Daal soup was one of everyone’s favorites at brunch. So here is a Vata-pacifying Daal recipe that you can try at home:
Red Lentil and Squash Soup
Inspired by Nigel Slater‘s “Dal and Pumpkin Soup”, it’s the perfectly soothing, aromatic lunch for a chilly day.
2 Tbsp olive oil or ghee
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp each: turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, garam masala
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups red lentils, washed
1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
(or substitute with canned pureed pumpkin, unsweetened)
5 cups stock or broth
(if using plain water instead, season the soup with 1 tsp sea salt)
garnishes (see below)
In a large pot, heat the oil or ghee and stir in onion, garlic and ginger. Let cook over medium-high til softened and just light browned. Add spices and bay leaf, stirring in. Add lentils, squash and stock and stir over high heat til boiling. Spoon off any froth that rises to the surface. Lower heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
When squash is soft and lentils are fully cooked (about 20-25 minutes), remove bay leaf and puree the soup til silky smooth, or leave as-is (I pureed just a bit). Serve into soup bowls. Top with a dollop of plain yogurt, some sliced onions fried with garlic, fresh chopped cilantro, or stir in fresh baby spinach leaves — or just keep it simple! Serves 4.
Enjoy! And don’t miss our next Kitchen Evolution that will be happening before Christmas!
Happy healthy Saturday to you all!
- Can You Buy Health? (spinachandyoga.com)
- Kitchen Evolution: Grocery Shopping Tour and Brunch (spinachandyoga.com)
- Warm Quinoa Salad with Edamame (spinachandyoga.com)
- Pumpkin Chia Pudding (spinachandyoga.com)
- A Baked Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away (spinachandyoga.com)