Throughout history people have believed in the power of food to ignite passion.
With a sprinkle of mystic chillies you can call forth the powerful sacred energy of the Mayan people.
Throughout history people have believed in the power of food to ignite passion.
With a sprinkle of mystic chillies you can call forth the powerful sacred energy of the Mayan people.
Every meal can be improved with a secret ingredient that has nothing to do with food! In this video, The Mystic Cookbook co-author Meadow Linn teaches you how to improve your dining experience by introducing your meal with an inner journey around the world. Simply delicious!
With most recipes I remember the thought process that led to their creation, this one, however, is a bit of a mystery. I don’t remember ever cooking with whole cumin seeds before, and then one day, I tossed them with potatoes, cauliflower, and coconut oil, and this delicious dish was born. Perhaps, Spirit guided me…
This is an especially handy recipe for a large group since the preparation is relatively quick and easy, and then you get to stick it in the oven and practically forget about it for an hour.
1 cauliflower, cut or broken into small bite-size pieces
1 lb. gold potatoes (6-8 smallish), chopped into 1 in. cubes (skin on)
1 lb. sweet potato (1 large or 2 small), peeled and chopped into • in. cubes
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 Tbsp. whole cumin seeds
1 tsp. sea salt
Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Line two baking sheet with parchment paper.
Chop the cauliflower and gold potatoes. Peel and chop the sweet potato. Combine the vegetables and divide evenly between the two baking sheets.
Unless it’s a very hot day, coconut oil is generally solid. I usually spoon it into a measuring cup and then pinch off bits to distribute among the vegetables. With clean hands, I massage the oil into the vegetables. Sprinkle the cumin seeds and salt over the vegetables, and mix (with hands).
Roast until the vegetables are caramelized on the outside and soft and delicious on the inside, about 1 hour. Halfway through, stir them with a metal spatula and rotate the sheets from top to bottom.
The following excerpt is taken from The Mystic Cookbook by Meadow and Denise Linn
The flavor and texture is reminiscent of butternut squash soup, but the curry, apples, and coconut milk add many layers of flavors. A self-proclaimed soup connoisseur once told me this was the best soup she’d ever had. It’s especially satisfying on a cold winter’s night.
1 Tbsp. coconut oil (or butter or olive oil)
1 cup onion, diced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, finely grated
1• tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. curry powder
2 lbs. carrots, peeled and chopped
1 13.5 oz. can of coconut milk (about 1 2/3 cup)
4 cups water, plus more if soup is too thick
lb. apples (approx. 1 large apple), peeled, cored and cut into chunks
In a large pot over medium-low, melt the coconut oil and sauté the onion and ginger with the salt and curry powder, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and chop the carrots and apple. When the onions are soft, add the carrots and apple and continue to sauté for a few more minutes. Add the coconut milk and water to the pot and increase the heat. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
When the carrots and apples are soft, after 20-30 minutes of simmering, purée the soup until smooth using either a blender or an immersion blender. If using a blender, only fill the canister halfway and purée in batches to prevent the hot soup from splattering. I also recommend removing the middle part of the blender lid and placing a clean dishtowel or paper towel over the hole while blending. This will allow the steam to escape.
If you find the soup is too, add warm water until you reach your desired consistency. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt and chopped cilantro. The tartness of the yogurt nicely balances the sweetness of the carrots and apples in the soup.
Please include the following in any reprint:
The following excerpt is taken from The Mystic Cookbook by Meadow and Denise Linn. It is published by Hay House and available from www.hayhouse.com.
Unfortunately there is no simple answer to this question. As a Nutritionist my first priority is to help people feed themselves the best quality food possible but in a world filled with petrochemicals, genetically modified organisms and pharmaceuticals, it is difficult to find food at the quality that nature intended. We do not live in a bubble and the food we eat is often subjected to a vast array of chemicals at every stage of production. I believe organic farming practices are crucial to the health and wellbeing of every living thing on this planet but the truth is, even organic food is being contaminated by toxins that are present in the air and water from neighboring conventional farms.
Another important factor that people need to recognize is the issue of soil quality. The concept that a carrot is a carrot is a carrot is simply nonsense. A plant cannot uptake a nutrient that is lacking in the soil it is grown in. Organic farmers know this and mitigate the loss of nutrients by ‘feeding’ the soil. The Trichoderma fungus for example helps to protect the plant from diseases. Just like adding probiotics to the human diet, an organic farm brimming with living soil, make all the difference in how the plants are able to uptake the nutrients in the soil.
Beyond the quality of the food, there are other factors that reduce the amount of nutrients we shuttle into the cells of our bodies. The old saying “You are what you eat” is a misnomer. We are, in fact, what we absorb. One of the greatest health issues facing the Western world today is the lack of nutrient absorption. Anytime you have an issue with your digestion system, be it indigestion, constipation or diarrhea, you are not capable of absorbing the nutrients you are feeding your body. Just because one cup of carrot has 20381.32 IU of Vitamin A, does not mean you have the optimal ability to convert beta carotene to the active vitamin A in your body.
So how do you get all the nutrients you need to feed your body optimally? Correcting your digestive issues is the most important step. This process can take years depending on the state of your body and in the mean time…
Enter the nutritional supplement…
Do you have a telephone? How about a computer, car, chair, refrigerator, stove or furnace? These are common forms of tools and technology that we all take for granted. Supplements are tools that can be used to help support your body by providing simplified nutrients that are either missing in your food or not being digested and absorbed.
Like all forms of modern technology the quality of a nutritional supplement varies depending on the manufacturer and their method of processing. I prefer to use products that are as close to whole food as possible. Over the years it has become apparent that we have not identified all of the nutrients and co-factors present in a whole food. We also do not know how each nutrient affects or is affected by another. For example we know that taking Vitamin C may be a good idea to help fight the common cold but this nutrient works far better when the bioflavonoid cofactors are present.
Nutritional supplements are not the only solution to a health concern but they can play an important part in process of healing from the effects of our nutritionally compromised lifestyles.
Water kefir (“keh-fear”) grains — also called sugar kefir, tibicos, tibi, Japanese water crystals — are similar to kefir grains, which are used in milk to make a fermented dairy drink.
Water kefir grains tend to be translucent, whereas milk kefir grains will be whiter, looking a little bit like cauliflower. Because water kefir grains tend to be used in a variety of liquids, they will sometimes appear different colours, depending on the colour of the liquid. So in this video I use dark molasses and coconut sugar, which turns them brown. If you use white sugar, which I don’t like to, because it’s been refined, they’ll turn white.
No two batches of water kefir drink or grains are exactly the same in their bacterial makeup. This also means that you may find some variance in taste between two batches that you make, even with the same grains.
Like kefir grains, water kefir grains are a mix of bacteria and yeasts, which feed on the sugar in many different sugary liquids to produce lactic acid, very small amounts of ethanol, and carbon dioxide, which carbonates the drink on the second stage fermentation, as I show in this video.
The main benefit of this process is that probiotics are produced in the final drink. These are beneficial to the human intestines, creating an environment that aids digestion.
Water kefir grains cannot be grown from scratch; they have to come from a donor. The good news is that you only need a very small amount to start growing them from that first batch.
Here are the instructions for growing kefir grains. The grains need a high amount of sugar to feed on.
FOR MAKING WATER KEFIR AND GROWING MORE GRAINS
Young coconut water doesn’t have enough sugar to actually make the kefir grains grow very fast, but it does have enough sugar to make the coconut water ferment into kefir.
When you team up growing the grains with the next instructions on how to make the actual kefir, you should be able to provide your daily kefir requirements on a ongoing basis.
FOR COCONUT KEFIR
SECOND STAGE FERMENTATION
If your kefir is already quite fizzy or you just like the taste of the kefir with the juice without actually fermenting for that second stage, then you can simply add the juice and put it straight in the refrigerator, which will slow the fermentation down.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
I like to keep this drink in a mason jar in the fridge and drink it throughout the day. It’ll need shaking every time before you drink it too, which is why the mason jar is so perfect. If you find the wheatgrass taste too overpowering, just start with 1/2 oz of it in the juice at first, then work up to it. Or when you drink this juice, do it as a shot, so it’s gone quickly!
I get asked about sprouting buckwheat quite a lot: how to do it, how long to soak and sprout it and whether to measure the buckwheat in a raw food recipe before or after it’s sprouted.
I’ve answered all those questions and given you the full, easy method in this video.
Teff, a very nutritious ancient African grain, is easy to digest and will leave you feeling satisfied for the whole morning. It is gluten-free and also very low on the allergy scale because it has rarely been used in Western diets.
Teff has a texture similar to poppy seeds and a nutty, grainy taste. It has a nutty flavor and is high in iron. Eating this delicious alternative to oatmeal is especially important during a woman’s monthly period when she loses iron and is more susceptible to anemia. Teff cooks in just 15 minutes and teff flour can be added to home baked recipes (pancakes, muffins, cookies, protein bars) for an extra nutritional punch.
Teff is a member of the genus ‘lovegrass’. Its name translates to ‘lost’ because of its tiny size, less than 1 mm diameter – even smaller that a poppy seed. (In the picture featured below, you can see a teff seed sitting on top of a sunflower seed.)
Reasons to add teff to your diet?
It’s high in calcium: Teff contains 123 mg per cooked cup.
It’s a source of vitamin C: Most grains contain very little.
It’s gluten-free: Another wonderful gluten free grain to choose from!
It’s high in ‘resistant starch’: This is a type of dietary fiber that helps to stabilize blood sugars, which is one of the most important step in weight management.
It’s a good source of protein: The entire grain is eaten, including the protein-packed bran and germ. Teff’s protein content (around 14%) is largely easily digested albumins (similar to a vegetable version of egg whites).
For more information, check out the Whole Grains Council’s website.
Teff Apple Breakfast Porridge
If you are unable to find teff in your local health food store, this recipe can also be made with quinoa.
1 cup (250 mL) whole grain teff
3 cups (750 mL) filtered water
2 tsp (10 mL) cinnamon
1/4tsp (1 mL) ground cloves
1 large apple, chopped
1/4tsp (1 mL) grey sea salt or pink rock salt
2 tbsp(30 mL) honey (or to taste)
1/2cup (125 mL) walnuts, sunflower or hemp seeds
to taste unsweetened almond milk (for serving)
1) Set a heavy 2 quart (2 L) saucepan over medium heat. Add the teff, stirring frequently for 3 to 6 minutes until the grains emit a mild, toasted aroma and begin to pop. (You will see little white dots of popped grain, but may not hear the popping.)
2) Take the pan off the heat and add the water and spices, standing back a bit to avoid spatters. Stir well to combine.
3) Turn the heat to low-medium, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent the grains from sticking to the bottom.
4) Add the chopped apple to the pot, along with the salt, honey, and nuts. Stir and heat for a few minutes more before serving.
5) Serve warm with a drizzle of almond milk and enjoy. Makes 3 to 4 servings.
Stage your own at-home apple festival – complete with all the fixings – and enjoy a fun afternoon of mostly healthy entertainment. Apples. Chocolate. Nuts. Caramel. It’s a delicious way to encourage your kids to establish positive relationships with healthy, sustainable food choices.
Eat a Lot of Apples
In our effort to maintain a mostly local diet, we eat a lot of apples. They come into season in the late summer and are readily available into the early winter.
Apples From the Farmer’s Market
Supermarkets tend to stock only a few varieties and many of these are cultivated for their color, durability and shelf life not for their flavor. In actuality, there are over 2500 varieties of apples that grow in North America alone, so there is an apple for even the most discerning palette, it’s just a matter of finding it. If you’re looking for specifics near you, the All About Apples directory is a good place to start. For our apple celebration, we hit the fall farmer’s market. I set the kids loose with the task of finding two of every kind of apple. The result was awesome. Red. Pink. Yellow. Green. Big. Small. Round. Oval. More heart shaped than anything. We’d been to the market every weekend this summer and often chosen a few apples to enjoy, but to really appreciate their diversity, we needed to turn our full attention to the unsung fruit.
The Apple Spread
Back at home, we sectioned 10 apples, each a different kind, and created a spread with an assortment of toppings. The most challenging part of this day was warding off the eager fingers who wanted to start the party early! For dipping: blueberry honey, chocolate hazelnut spread, ginger caramel sauce and vanilla yogurt. For topping: crushed almonds, unsweetened coconut and sparkles.
2500 Kinds of Apple
The apples were as diverse in flavour and texture as they were in shape andcolour. Some were tart, others sweet. Some had thick skins, other’s thin skins. A large green apple called the Mutsu surprised us all as emerging the family favorite. It’s crisp meat and sweet flavour won us over, especially with chocolate sauce and almonds! At the other end of the spectrum, we really liked a red apple called a Zabergall, which was equally crisp, but very tart. It paired perfectly with the blueberry honey. My son – whose never really been the apple fan in our family – really enjoyed a softer variety called Grimes Golden. Since I prefer crisp apples and I do the buying, I didn’t know! Neither of the kids cared much for the crab apples, but I’m looking forward to surprising them by turning them into the most delicious jelly they can imagine!
Apples Today, Sustainability Tomorrow
Beyond a fun afternoon full of mostly healthy entertainment, I believe whole heartedly that establishing these positive relationships with sustainable food choices will help our children to live their lives in a conscientious way. When we talk about local eating, we are sometimes confronted with a “how can you give up XY or Z?” attitude. It’s not about what we give up, it’s about what we gain. The apple festival was a resounding success. We had fun trying new foods that were grown close to home and discovered a few new family favorites. The kids were so excited about apples – they told all the neighbors about our apple plans and even ran into the street to deliver a slice to a friend. That can’t be beat!
Plans for More
Apples are still in season and we’ve got plans for more ways to eat and enjoy them. Apple pie, apple butter and apple sauce are all easy, fun kitchen activities that kids enjoy. Beyond these basics, I’m most excited about making our own apple chips! And of course, we’ve put away a few jugs of apple cider to make hot mulled cider for a special treat during the cold winter months.
I’m sure there are things you turn your nose up at: vegetables (lots of people), or kale (my kids), eggplant (Eva), tofu (many non-vegetarians), quinoa (crazy people), something.
But what I’ve learned is that tastes can change. In fact, we can change them on purpose:
And on and on, dozens of times I’ve changed my tastes.
So if taste in a food can be changed, why do people dislike the taste of certain foods? Because they’re not used to them. Once you’re used to a food, it can taste great … but when you’re not used to a food, it’s not so good.
Why do we dislike tastes that we’re not used to? Because we expect good food to be within a certain range of what we already like. Within our comfort zone. This is our expectation, and when food doesn’t meet this expectation, we dislike it. It’s not that food is inherently bad-tasting. For example, many people dislike bitter foods … but I love them. Umeboshi plums? Bitter beer? Dandelion greens? Love ‘em. Food tastes bad because we’re not comfortable with them; they don’t meet our expectations.
But what if we got rid of our expectations? What if we said, “Food doesn’t need to taste like anything. Let’s see what this tastes like.”
I heard tell of a wine expert who wanted to develop his palate, and so he would taste all kinds of things. Even dirt. Put dirt in his mouth, and see what it tastes like. Most people would be grossed out about it, but what if you just wanted to find out?
Be curious. Explore the taste of foods. Let go of expectations and prejudgements. You might find out some interesting things.
And by the way: this works with everything in life, not just food.
Looking to spice up your cooking with a serious brain booster? While many spices and herbs that flavor foods offer brain health benefits, few hold the promise of the active ingredient most curries – turmeric, the source of a special polyphenol called curcumin. We hope this Farmacy post will convince you to brighten your plate, expand your palette, and boost your brain health with a dash of turmeric. And we’ll even share one of Mother Nature’s top food synergies so you can maximize its brain health benefits.
Used for thousands of years in traditional South Asian cooking and traditional medicine, turmeric is a basic ingredient in curries. Also known as Indian Saffron, the spice gives these dishes their amber coloring and rich, earthy aroma…and provides you with a brain-boosting dose of curcumin. While used in India and China for centuries in various traditional remedies, it’s been garnering attention in the scientific and medical communities for its impact on mental health, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. In fact, over 4000 scientific publications have focused on curcumin in the last decade. One study of 1,010 participants found that even small amounts of dietary turmeric are clearly linked to lower rates of dementia.
According to studies of how curcumin works on a molecular level, there are three ways that that more curry is great for your brain.
Research in animal models indicates that the active chemical in turmeric, curcumin, can enhance the birth of new brain cells, a process called neurogenesis. The discovery that your brain can produce new cells has huge implications for your mental health. The production of these new neurons (brain cells) in the hippocampus and other brain areas is essential for optimal learning, memory and mood. In studies, curcumin enhanced neurogenesis by increasing the level of brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), a molecule at the forefront brain health today (and we’d argue food choices). BDNF not only encourages the birth of new brain cells, it also promotes connections to other brain cells and protects them from damage. Low BDNF is linked to serious brain illnesses such as major depression, OCD, schizophrenia, and dementia.
Secondly, curcumin is theorized to help fight illnesses like depression because it boosts the feel good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters are fundamental for good moods, clear thinking, a healthy sex drive, and sharp focus. Curcumin blocks the monoamine oxidase enzymes that naturally break down these neurotransmitters. Thus, it functions much like a class of antidepressant medications called MAO inhibitors, which are used to treat both clinical depression and Alzheimer’s disease. In animal models of depression, curcumin actually enhanced the antidepressant effect of medications like Prozac and Effexor.
Lastly, curcumin is a potent antioxidant and so it helps protect the brain by quelling inflammation. A buzzword in medicine these days, chronic excess inflammation is linked to medical issues such as heart disease and diabetes as well as brain disorders like depression and dementia. Recently, a large study of 73,131 people found levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of systemic inflammation, were significantly associated with depression and psychological stress. Curcumin has also been shown to reduce the formation of the plaques that are typical of Alzheimer’s disease.
Since this blog focuses on brain health, we haven’t even mentioned the many other potential health benefits of curcumin being investigated but they include fighting many types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, skin disorders, and enhancing liver function just to name a few. To say it simply, this golden spice is powerful medicine.
The only concern with curcumin has been is low “bioavailability” meaning the body does not absorb it well and excretes it quickly. Few things illustrate the power of real food as medicine like food synergies and it turns out that consuming curcumin with black pepper enhances the absorption and bioavailability by 2000 percent!
Closely resembling ginger root in its unprocessed form, turmeric is a member of the ginger family. It is readily available at local supermarkets as a fine yellow powder in the spice isle. Your local grocer should carry the spice for about $7 to $9 for an ounce or two, which is perfect for those beginning to experiment. You can also go all out and snag a pound for around $5 at local South Asian markets, an incredible deal for a brain booster. Another option is to use fresh turmeric. You can add thin slices to rice dishes or grate it, a nice addition to everthing from roasted vegetables to salad dressings.
While turmeric is largely known as a common component in curried dishes, cooking curry can be a daunting task. But you don’t have to spend hours by the stove to enjoy this spice at home. Turmeric is a surprisingly versatile spice and can be incorporated into many dishes.
Until next time, Eat to Build a Better Brain….with turmeric!
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 cup water (optional depending on how thick you like your shake)
1 cup frozen organic raspberries
Half an avocado
1 tsp organic vanilla extract or ground vanilla bean
2 scoops vanilla protein powder (whey or brown rice protein would work best)
Blend all ingredients together in a high speed blender. Enjoy!
Most of us have been taught to believe that good nutrition is simply a function of eating the right food and taking the right supplements. Of course, this is true, but there’s more to the equation. What we eat is only half the story of good nutrition. The other half of the story is who we are as eaters. That is, what we think, feel, believe our levels of stress, relaxation, pleasure, awareness, and the inner stories that we live out all have a real, powerful, and scientific effect on nutritional metabolism.
Recent advances in the mind-body sciences have been proving what ancient wisdom traditions have been saying for eons – that the mind and body exist on an exquisite continuum, and profoundly impact one another.
So the good news is simply this: you can powerfully change your health and your nutritional status without changing anything you eat, but by changing you the eater. In my 30 years as a nutritional psychologist, I’ve seen so many profound breakthroughs in clients and students around weight, overeating, and a long list of health conditions when they began to practice some of the simple principles of eating psychology. Consider some of these key “secrets” that I think everyone should know:
1. Stress can put weight on – relaxation can take it off.
It’s fascinating how stress, fear, anxiety, anger, judgment and even negative self-talk can literally create a physiologic stress response in the body. This means that we generate more cortisol and insulin, two hormones that have the unwanted effect of signaling the body to store weight, store fat, and stop building muscle. Strange as it may sound, we quite literally change our calorie burning capacity when we’re stressed. What’s more incredible though, is that as we learn to smile more, ease into life and breathe more deeply, the body enters a physiologic relaxation response. In this state, we actually create our optimal day-in, day-out calorie-burning metabolism. So, you could be following the best weight loss diet in the world, but if you’re an anxious mess, the power of your mind is limiting the weight loss of your body. Far too many people adopt stressful weight loss strategies – impossible to follow diets, overly intense exercise programs, tasteless food, extremely low calorie meal plans – all of which can create the kind of stress chemistry that ensures our weight will stay put. It’s time to relax into weight loss.
2. Happiness is the best digestive aid.
Can you recall what happens when you eat during anxiety or stress? Many people report such symptoms as heartburn, cramping, gas, and digestive upset. During stress, the body automatically shifts into the classic fight-or-flight response. This feature of the nervous system evolved over millions of years as a brilliant safety mechanism to support us during life-threatening events. In the moment the stress response is activated, something very interesting happens – the digestive system shuts down. It makes perfect sense that when you’re fending off an angry gorilla, you don’t need to waste energy digesting your breakfast. All the body’s metabolic energy is directed towards survival. So, you could be eating the healthiest food in the universe, but if you aren’t eating under the optimum state of digestion and assimilation – which happens to be relaxation – you literally and metabolically are not receiving the full nutritional value of your meal.
3. Overeating – it’s simpler than you think.
Most people think they overeat because they have a willpower problem. “If only I could control my appetite, then I would stop being such a willpower weakling and start losing weight.” Well, here’s the good news – you don’t have a willpower problem. The problem for a majority of overeaters is that they don’t actually “eat” when they eat. What I’m suggesting is that we aren’t always fully present to the meal, aware of its taste, eating it slowly, or simply feeling nourished by the food. When this happens, the brain, which requires taste and satisfaction, misses out on a key phase of the nutritional experience. The brain literally thinks it didn’t eat, or didn’t eat enough. And it simply screams back at us – “Hungry!” So, you can dramatically decrease your overeating by increasing your awareness and presence at every meal.
4. Slower eating means faster metabolism.
One of my favorite nutritional questions to ask a client or student is “Are you a fast eater, moderate eater, or slow eater?” If the answer is “fast”, then it’s time for an overhaul. That’s because the act of eating fast is considered a stressor by the body. Humans are simply not biologically wired for high speed eating. So when we do eat fast, the body once again enters the physiologic stress response, which results in decreased digestion, decreased nutrient assimilation, increased nutrient excretion, lowered calorie burning rate, and a bigger appetite. The bottom line is that you can literally empower your nutritional metabolism simply by slowing down. What’s fascinating is that for many fast eaters, slowing down is quite a challenge. But try this – don’t just eat slow – eat sensuously, feel nourished by your food, and take in all the sensations of your meal.
5. Make sure you have enough Vitamin P – Pleasure!
Far too many people are taught to believe that pleasure is something frivolous. Well, it’s actually required by our biology. All organisms on planet earth, be they lion, lizard, amoeba, or human are programmed at the most primitive level of the nervous system to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Well, if you’re eating and not paying attention, the brain will drive you to seek more pleasure via overeating. What’s worse, if you’re stressed while eating, the excess cortisol in your system actually de-sensitizes us to pleasure – so you’ll need to eat more food in order to get the pleasure we are seeking. The bottom line is this: If you want more pleasure from food, you don’t need to eat more of the ice cream. Simply breathe, relax, de-stress, enjoy, pay attention, and the body will naturally experience the pleasure it seeks. And the great news is, since pleasure catalyzes a relaxation response, it actually fuels digestion and assimilation
6. Emotional eating – it’s not the enemy.
At our core, we are emotional beings – rich, complex, juicy, unpredictable feeling-filled creatures. We love, we celebrate, we laugh, cry, we break down, we rise up… So how could we NOT be emotional eaters? We love food. We love our favorite restaurant. We love how food makes us feel good. Some of us love cooking for others. Some of us are passionate about nutrition. It’s time to get over it – if you’re human, you will bring emotionality to the table. Once we embrace the reality that we’re genetically hard-wired for emotional expression, we can relax a little more. Underneath the quest to eradicate emotional eating from one’s life is often found a hidden desire to eliminate uncomfortable feelings. We strive for an impossible to attain goal that constantly leaves us frustrated and in failure. Yes, this thing called emotional eating can be very painful. But it’s not the actual problem – it’s a symptom that’s pointing to something deeper. It’s an alert mechanism from body wisdom that’s calling us to check in, and follow the flow of emotions within us to see where our soul is calling for more awareness and insight.
7. Get rid of toxic nutritional beliefs.
Finally, many of us have absorbed toxic nutritional beliefs that are as harmful and debilitating as any of the toxins in our food. Here’s what I mean: it’s surprisingly common for people to believe that “food is the enemy”, or “food makes me fat”, or “fat in food will become fat on my body” or “my appetite is the enemy” or “as soon as I have the perfect body, then I’ll finally be happy.” Such beliefs may seem harmless, yet they can create a relationship with food and self that’s filled with tremendous suffering and pain. Think about it – if “food is the enemy”, then we are constantly in a fight or flight stress response whenever we eat, or even think about food. Such a powerful stressor can cause all the problems of stress-induced digestive shutdown, decreased calorie burning capacity, and an inner life that’s seldom at peace. The question is: Is your relationship with food nourishing, or punishing?
Hopefully, you’ve noticed that there’s way more to good nutrition than simply the food itself. We bring all of ourselves to the table – our hopes, fears, thoughts, feelings, dramas, and dreams. And the more we include a well rounded nutritional profile – Vitamin R – relaxation, Vitamin P – pleasure, Vitamin S – slow, and Vitamin L – Love – the more we can literally nourish ourselves on every level.
Which of these Secrets have you found to be the most useful?
When we start foraging for local plants, native and even invasive species alike, we find a wealth of nutrients not available in our best grocery stores. Let’s zone in on the Autumn Equinox and the wild berry season in the Tetons, as an example. People around here focus on huckleberries. Granted, they are probably the sweetest edible that grows wild in our woods.
I interpret preference for sweet taste as a first sign of disease. Most people when given a wild food with a mix of sweet, sour, bitter and astringent as “yucky”. How far we’ve come from being able to distinguish nutrients from taste. Service berries(Amelanchier alnifolia) are more complex in taste than huckleberries. Complexity in taste generally gives rise to a more complex nutrient portfolio as well as more of the 6 tastes that balance the production and refinement of your dhatus (bodily tissue).
Hop on your bike and head to your favorite berry picking patch. Pick the fullest, juiciest looking berries. Leave some for the birds and bears. Try not to eat all you have collected before returning home. Savor the berries the next morning on buckwheat granola, on millet oatmeal waffles, or in a backyard smoothie!
Serviceberry Elixir Recipe
1/4 cup serviceberries
(more if you have an abundance)
1 can coconut water
1 bottle perrier
juice from 1 lime
Backyard Dandelion Smoothie Recipe
1/4 cup serviceberries
dandelion greens (handful or s0)
fireweed or nettle – remove stems (since fireweed is a weed, it comes back!)
handful orach – like spinach (the easiest thing I have ever tried to grow in my not super successful high altitude shady garden)
1 Tbs. raw local honey
Service berries are super high in dietary fiber, and they gel smoothies right up. If you use a lot of service berries, add more water. Nutritionally, service berries are high in B2 (riboflavin) and biotin,and the essential minerals, iron and manganese. They are super high in polyphenol antioxidants. And you know antioxidants make everything cellular more pranically available.
Autumn Berries and Your Agni
I’m also finding wild currants in abundance. These are even more tart than service berries, but once you start eating/harvesting, you can’t stop. Both black and red currants are found throughout the Rockies. The astringent and sour properties of these Autumnal fruits tones our agni. During seasonal transitions (summer to fall) our agni decreases by 1/3. That is significant. When you eat wild plants, with their sour, bitter, and astringent tastes, your agni is refined, and the tissue of our body is created in alignment with natures’s rhythms. You’ll notice your local apples have more astringent taste than the mass propagated ones from the store.
If you keep eating sweet (wheat, meat, sugar, dairy, sweet fruits) and salty tastes in excess, you’re sure to get a little out -of-whack around the Equinox.
Plant Fruit Trees & Berry Bushes
Indy and I are off to the local nursery. I”m buying choke cherries, service berries, currants and other local fruit trees. I want my kid to eat local fruit that can grow in her yard, naturally. You’ll gain the plants immune system as your own and be resilient to allergens and seasonal flus. Create a new Autumn Equinox tradition of planting a local, wild fruit tree in your yard!
In the morning, my raw food breakfast is almost always either fresh fruit, a green smoothie, or–my favourite–raw oatmeal.
This recipe does take a bit of preparation because it should be soaked overnight, but, with only a few ingredients, it’s so easy! (PS: You can do it without soaking but it won’t be as smooth)
If you click on this photo you can see the high-resolution version, which shows you how smooth and creamy this oatmeal is.
All this without “cooking” anything.
Of course, like any good oatmeal, top this recipe with fruit or whatever suits your fancy. Raw oatmeal for two!
1 1/4 cup steel cut oats (or better yet, use oat groats)
1 1/2 cups water
1 chopped apple
1 tablespoon raisins
1. OPTIONAL TO SOFTEN: The night before, throw the water, raisins and then the steel cut oats into your blender. Let them sit overnight.
2. In the morning, start your blender (and if you didn’t soak the night before, throw the water, raisins and then the steel cut oats into your blender). While the water and oats are blending, chop the apple and then add it to the blender, too.
3. Continue blending until the oatmeal is a nice, smooth texture.
4. Eat! I love to top this oatmeal with more whole raisins and a sprinkle of cinnamon. This recipe for raw oatmeal makes for a very filling breakfast.
Kombucha has been brewed and enjoyed for over 2000 years all over the world. Many cultures have studied this amazing concoction and applied it to their health regiments, from Russia to China, and early Europe . During it’s brewing, it naturally carbonates and creates a refreshing and fizzy healthy drink! It also has some of these great health benefits:
Benefits of Kombucha
Basically, Kombucha is an all round natural healthy beverage full of amazing amino acids, probiotics and essential minerals. Probiotic literally means “for life”. Antibiotics kill ALL of the bacteria in your body, even the good stuff, but probiotics re-establish the natural ecology and order of the intestinal system. Probiotics are believed to boost immunity, mood enhancer, fight allergies, detoxify the body and rid the body of disease. The Kombucha benefits you experience may vary.
Kombucha Tea Recipe ~ 1 Gallon
1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil.
2. Turn water off , add tea bags ~ let steep for 10-20 minutes
3. Stir in 1 Cup organic Sugar
4. Let tea cool completely
5. After it cools, pour in brewing jar
6. Pour in starter liquid and SCOBY
7. Cover with cloth and secure with rubber band
8. Set in a dark place out of sunlight
9. Keep undisturbed for 7 days
After 7 days try your kombucha with a straw or spoon. If it tastes too bitter than it has brewed too long. If it is too sweet put cloth and rubberband back on and let sit for a few more days trying it every so often until it tastes to your liking.
Drink as desired. Put it in fridge right away or fill up smaller bottles almost to the top and store for second fermentation for more carbonation.
Flavor you Kombucha with organic frozen or fresh fruit, ginger, herbs such as lavender or rose
* If your Kombucha is too bitter, don’t throw it away! Use it for salad dressing in replacement or addition to vinegar.
Serves 1 – 2 people
For the broccoli
For the sauce
For the Parsnip “Rice”
For any addictive behavior, a good place to start the path of recovery is at the end of your fork. Beating an addiction and staying committed to sustained recovery depends on your optimal mental health, and science tells us that your mental health is powerfully affected by what you eat. A path to recovery from destructive addictions, including those to drugs, alcohol, compulsive eating or gambling, could start at your next meal.
In my work with patients, I have seen how the 12-step approach can be very effective. But I have also seen that without dietary change an individual attempting abstinence and recovery is needlessly more vulnerable to relapse. At the heart of the problem are a new set of dietary choices. Americans mainly eat highly-processed foods — food not designed by nature but in a lab. Their main ingredients are sugar, refined carbohydrates, and vegetable oils, and they are designed to taste great. When we eat these foods we light up the same pleasure-rewards areas in our brains that are activated by drugs like cocaine and heroin as well as by a variety of addictive behaviors. Ingesting dopamine-triggering foods, in other words, subjects your brain to the ups and downs, highs and lows, of any addictive substance or activity since you are stirring the same neurochemical pot (no pun intended).
Yet, that’s only the half of it. Many substance abusers hooked on drugs and alcohol suffer from serious nutritional deficiencies that magnify the effects of their addictive illness. Alcohol dependency, for example, can lead to thiamine deficiency, and increases the risk of deficiencies of vitamin B12, vitamin D, and magnesium — all nutrients needed for optimal brain function. Processed foods, in particular, have been stripped of much of their natural nutritional value, so they fail to supply the essential nutrients our bodies need in general and all the more so when substances further deplete our body’s stores. Nutritional deficiencies can result in you feeling rundown, foggy-brained, distractible and depressed. A diet of junk food combined with addictive tendencies is a combination that robs you of the neurochemical ingredients you need to function, and thus to bring your full capacities to recovery.
I had a patient I’ll call Pam. If you met her, you might presume she had everything to live for. She was, at 36, a junior executive who was married with two young children. Yet when Pam opened up as she sat on my couch during a session, she told me that her troubles at home and work had brought her, more than once, to put a butcher knife at her wrist and imagine ending her emotional pain forever.
For the previous 12 years, Pam drank wine — a bottle every night — and regularly smoked marijuana and took pain killers. Yet she denied — to herself, her family and to me — that substance abuse was a part of her problem. “I’m not an alcoholic,” she said with certainty. Because she was such a long way from even addressing her (conventional) addictions, I inquired about what else she was ingesting: “What did you eat for breakfast?”
That was when I discovered that Pam wasn’t just intoxicating her brain; she was starving it of nutrients. She skipped breakfast most days, or merely had a cup of coffee and juice. She put soy milk in her coffee because she thought that all dairy and meat products were unhealthy. She also avoided fat in all her foods because she believed fat would make her fat. She did not know that our brains rely on healthy fats for their functioning. Two fats, EPA and DHA, are known particularly for their mood-boosting qualities. By avoiding any fats, Pam was avoiding foods that would provide her brain with these naturally-necessary and therapeutic molecules.
I asked Pam to go to a local lab for some blood work. We talked about her making some dietary changes, especially the merits of nutrient-rich brain foods, such as eggs and fish. She admitted in a guilty whisper, “I’ve been craving a hamburger.” That wasn’t so surprising. Like a good number of other women of reproductive age, Pam’s blood was iron deficient, another way her body did not have what it needed to function well. With inadequate iron she felt listless; she lacked the energy to cope with her demanding job and a family as well.
With so many challenges standing in the way of recovering from addiction, the simplest first step is to stop depriving your brain of good and necessary food and nutrients. Recovery, in fact, depends in part on developing new chemical pathways by which the brain overcomes habitual behaviors. You owe it to your recovery to nourish the brain, to poise it for better learning, stable moods, and less intrusive cravings.
Here’s the good news. Eating to support recovery need not be a deprivation: It can be delicious. And when you feed your brain essential nutrients from their natural sources, you are taking better care of yourself, which is a fundamental step in rebuilding your brain and your self-esteem. A diet geared to stabilize mood and minimize cravings will be high in omega-3 fats from fatty fish, folates from leafy greens, vitamin B12 from eggs and meat, and the many brain-healthy nutrients amply found in colorful fruits and vegetables. Instead of the sugar (dopamine) rushes from eating simple carbohydrates, the sustained feeling of fullness from healthy foods can fortify you in your recovery.
When Pam changed her diet, her moods stabilized and her suicidal thoughts dissipated. The knife was for cutting meat, fish, and vegetables. A better-nourished brain and taking control of her eating habits were instrumental steps in her addressing her alcohol and drug problem. At this point she could now listen to the concerns of family members about her addiction. She started going to AA with a friend. She stuck with her diet and got in the habit of regular exercise instead of daily sugar or alcohol. Pam just celebrated her first year of sobriety, a recovery journey that began when she took her first bite of real food for breakfast.
This is a really tasty, quick and easy recipe that is packed full of flavours. I really love the way the slaw provides a creamy crunch, along with the marinated kebab veggies. Don’t let the simplicity of the way this looks deceive you — it’s a truly satisfying meal that I’m sure will impress anyone.