Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Post Holiday Revival

We hear about cleanses all the time but we rarely seek out if it is right for us or not. We are a nation who constantly wants to scrape, clean, cleanse and diet.....but we are also a nation that is worn out, depleted and running on reserves. If we keep scraping and don't do anything to build, we will dip into our reserves (ojas in ayurveda terms) and will slowly deplete our life force energy. So, I offer you a nourishing cleanse after the holiday in order to recover from the larger quantities of food eaten and the extra cocktail that was too yummy to pass up. Don't feel guilty of what happened this holiday, hold fond memories of the wonderful gathering of friends, family and food and then get back on your horse and slowly detox and come back to your healthy eating patterns.

7 Tips For a 7 Day Gentle Cleanse

1) Wake up and drink a glass of hot water with lemon, then drink another glass of warm water on its own. Stay standing until the urge to go to the bathroom is strong so that you know the intestines are working to let go of the waste accumulated over night. If this does not work right away, keep at it for a few days, this will help you get on a healthy elimination schedule.
2) Breakfast: if you are not hungry just have a bowl of fresh fruit and/or some herbal tea. If you are hungry have a small bowl of oatmeal (no sugar) or a bowl of steamed veggies and quinoa. Add ghee!
3) Stick with three meals per day. Try not to snack. Eat Kitchari for at least 2 of your meals. Fresh fruit or light soup can make up the third meal. Click here for kitchari recipe. If you don't have the desire or time to make Kitchari (which takes no more than 20 minutes in your kitchen) then just have steamed veggies and quinoa or white rice on hand to warm up whenever you are ready for your meal. White rice is easier to digest then brown rice so it is better for this type of cleanse. I use quinoa for protein, but if you need, add an egg to your lunch for extra protein.
4) Don't eat past 7pm.
5) Eliminate all sugar, animal protein and deep fried foods from diet.
6) Allow yourself to rest and get a full nights sleep. Rest is very important in order to help the body detox and rejuvenate. To help with sleep rub organic, pure sesame oil or almond oil on your temples and feet before bed. A hot bath in the evening can also help yourself wined down. No TV or computer at least 2 hours before bed, allows your mind to start to calm down from the day.
7) Make sure to move just enough, but not too much. We don't want to deplete the body, but we want to keep the blood pumping and our heart active. Opt for 30 minutes of walking, yoga, outdoor bike ride or skiing. Get outside for fresh air!

Follow these simple 7 steps for just 7 days and I am sure you will feel great starting off 2014! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Travel Tips

It is that time of the year! Most of us will hustle and bustle to the next town, city, state or even country. Traveling is exciting but can also leave us feeling light headed, ungrounded, frazzled and even sick. Traveling can be very taxing on the system but with a few Ayurveda based tips, you will feel better, keep the travel sickness away and enjoy your destination.

1) Sip warm water throughout the entire trip. Travel with a thermos. Any time you can, fill it with hot water.  Bring some lemon and lime pieces with you if you need a little flavor (but don't drink lemon/lime water the entire time, too much citric acid is hard on the enamel of your teeth).  Flying (and driving) is very dehydrating and dehydration makes you more susceptible to headaches, dry nose, jet-lag  and  catching a cold/flu.
2) Stay away from: sugar/candy, cold foods and icecream, soft drinks, and dry snack foods like chips, peanuts and crackers. All these things have either dry, light or cold qualities and the sugar creates a breeding ground for germs. You need more grounding and rich foods when you fly. So find some oatmeal, soup or a a hot sandwich. Better yet, bring some of your own food to snack on like home made muffins with almond butter, veggie and fruits slices, steamed greens with ghee etc. By eating these warm, heavier, nourishing food you will feel more grounded and settled. Stay away from fast food!
3) When you land at your final destination, drink a cup of warm milk (almond or organic whole milk preferred) with a dash of cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, turmeric and a teaspoon of Ashwagandha powder. Ashwagandha is very grounding, calming, nourishing and building to your nervous system, which has been depleted and rattled from flying or driving. You can purchase capsules or powder here. Make up the spice mix before you leave home and carry it with you so you have it right away. If you can't have the warm milk right away, drink it before you go to bed that evening.
4) Get outside as soon as possible and take a 10 minute walk. Fresh air and sunshine will help to settle your nerves and system and help the body come back into its element.
5) Get in the time zone ASAP. Try not to take a nap, go to bed when night time comes, that way you can wake up around the same time as everyone else and get into the grove quicker.

All tips apply for car and plane travel.

Safe and happy travels and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Drink Your Immune Booster - Turmeric Tea

Turmeric Tea - An Immune Booster/Helper
Any time you start to feel a scratchy throat or signs that you might be getting sick, make this tea and relax while you help boost your immune system. It is a great idea to drink this during busy travel times too. 

1 cup hot water (DO NOT Boil)
1-2 tsp turmeric
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp unpasteurized honey (raw)
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (optional)
1 - 2 teaspoons unpasteurized apple cider vinegar or 1/2 fresh lemon, juiced

Mix everything BUT the water together in your favorite drinking mug. Then pour in the hot water and mix together. Drink while hot.

-Pasteurized honey actually creates mucous so you do not want to use pasteurized honey in your diet.
-Do not boil the water, boiling water and honey, when they come in contact, creates a toxin. So make sure that the water is just under a simmer. 
-Turmeric is an immune helper, has anti-inflammatory properties, has antioxidants and works directly on the back of the throat.
- Raw honey helps to sooth the throat while drying up mucous.
-During cold season keep sugar consumption down because it causes mucous. 

Turmeric Drink for Kids (or Adults)
1/2 cup hot water (DO NOT Boil)
1-2 tsp turmeric
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger  or  1/8 - 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
3-4 whole cloves
2-3 cardamon pods
1/2 teaspoon Funnugreek seeds (optional, helps turmeric and ginger to do its job, has synergy with these spices)
1/2 cup almond, coconut or cows milk
1/2 - 1 tsp unpasteurized honey or maple syrup 

Place spices and water into a pot, bring to a simmer, and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Add milk and bring to a simmer again. Strain contents by using a wire strainer or cheese cloth, into a favorite drinking mug. Add honey or maple syrup. This is medicinal but also very enjoyable. A chai sort of drink for those days when you need something soothing. Kids will like the creaminess of the tea and it should help with their fold or flu. 

-Fennugreek seeds can be found in Indian grocery stores. But if you do not have them then this tea will still work to help with immunity. 
- When making the drink for a child, start on the lower quantities for the spices and then work your way up, making sure that it is not to spicy for them.You can always dilute it with more milk. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Turkey Day Digestive Tips

I thought that some of you may want a few tips so that you don't go to bed the night of Thanksgiving, with an aching full belly and feeling the effects of a food coma. Follow these simple steps and feel better about the day, and the days following!

1) Try to eat your meal late lunch or early evening time when the digestive fire is still at its highest. Meaning that it will able to digest and burn through the food at a better rate, then later in the evening when it is preparing for sleep.
2) Cut ginger into dime size rounds and sprinkle each piece with salt and drizzle with fresh lemon juice. Eat 1-2 pieces before the meal. Ginger helps stoke the digestive fire and gets it ready for optimal digestion.
3) Scope out the food scene and just dish up your plate once. After you eat, don't regret what you put into your body, most likely the food was prepared with so much love that you will be smiling. Just enjoy!
4) Sip 6 oz warm to hot ginger tea or water with your meal.
5) Enjoy a small helping of dessert and (if you are a wine drinker) have an 6oz glass of red wine at this point of the meal as an digestive aid.
6) After the meal, lay on your left side for 10 minutes, helping the stomach to digest the food and empty into the small intestines. After that get up and move around, go for a walk, get the body moving.
7) Before you go to bed have  a cup of warm fennel or ginger tea.
8) Upon waking the following morning, drink a cup of hot water with 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon juice.
9) Reflect on your thanksgiving day and bring to mind 3 things that you were thankful for experiencing!
10) Breakfast should be very light, i.e. juice, broth or a small bowl of fruit.

You should feel fresh, joyful and energized. Most importantly, enjoy those around you and be thankful. Open your heart to the friendships that are around you and take the time to EXPERIENCE the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Make it a Great Day

"Have a great day"...... we hear and say this phrase a lot. Sometimes it has become an automatic greeting or a place holder to an awkward silence. However, my dear friend sent me a message the other day, correcting herself in this common phrase. She wrote, "actually, I meant to say, make it a great day. That way no one else or something else can dictate your day. It is all up to you."
 I sat with this for a few minutes and let this message reach down into my core. She was so right. There are so many times when I allow others to affect the way my day progresses and the way I feel. I get caught up in other peoples emotions, or get upset if something may not go the way I had wanted it to. And then I let other things go by me without much notice. Missing many valuable, happy, profound, subtle, lessons I am sure. Only because I am so caught up with what someone did or did not do or how something did or did not play out.
I want to offer you the idea of making your day the way you want it to and not to let yourself get distracted by others. Sure, be gentle, be kind and be supportive, honor what others may be feeling or projecting. But don't let it alter your mood. Don't let it alter the way you envisioned your day. Hold space and then move forward, reminding yourself that other peoples emotions have nothing to do with you and that what you continue to give out into this world, will keep coming full circle (karma). Meaning, the more positive, happy, joyful feelings you put forward, the more great things and people will keep being placed in your life.
So go on, move forward, make it GREAT!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Buckwheat - A Powerful Seed

Why Buckwheat is Good For You
 (and a buckwheat granola recipe)

Buckwheat, an amazing seed. Not a grain actually, and it is gluten free. People with gluten allergies or celiac disease can eat buckwheat. So don't let the name fool you! You can sprout it and dehydrate it or cook it up like a grain. In this recipe we will look at how to sprout buckwheat. But first lets talk benefits!

What makes buckwheat such a great seed is that it has a unique amino acid profile (it contains all eight essential amino acids) that gives the power to boost the protein value of beans and cereal grains eaten the same day. It is also a cholesterol - lowering food, it has the ability to reduce and stabilize blood sugar levels following meals, it is very low on the glycemic scale and it reduces hypertension. It is even said to be one of the most "complete sources of protein on the planet' according to www.naturalnews.com. And I can't leave out that it is is high in lecithin, which neutralizes toxins and purifies the lymphatic system, helping out the liver. And with high iron it is a good blood purifier. There is much more too, like it is good for the brain and contains all of the B vitamins.....I could go on but wanted to at least give you a reason for why you should incorporate this seed into your diet more.

Sprouting the buckwheat allows for the seed to come alive again so that your body can absorb the live enzymes and vital nutrients. Sprouting also cleanses the colon and alkalizes the body.

Take one cup (non roasted) buckwheat and pour into a bowl. Cover with water for 15 minutes. If it gets a little gelatinous do not worry. Buckwheat does that when exposed to water.
Transfer drained buckwheat into a sprouting container, a colander (or a bottle that you use cheese cloth and a rubber band for the opening). Let sprout for 2-4 days, depending on the temperature in your house. Less if hot, more if cool.
Rinse the seeds 2 times per day with cool water and drain the water each time. Make sure that whatever you have the seeds in they can properly drain and get air. If you are using a colander just place a thick damp cloth over the top and elevate the colander. You will see the sprouts within a day or 2. Let them get about 1/4 - 1/2 inch long.

Spread buckwheat on a baking sheet and place in oven at lowest setting with the door propped open, for 4-8 hours. You know it is done when the seeds are light and "pop" in your mouth when you chew them. They should not turn brown or burn. Or place in your dehydrator for 6-8 hours.

Buckwheat Granola Recipe:
Preheat oven to lowest setting (I used 170 F)
Pour sprouted and dehydrated seeds into a bowl
      1/4 cup raisins, crushed almonds, sunflower seeds and any other nuts or dried fruit that you like
      2-3 Tablespoons sweetener like raw organic honey or grade A organic maple syrup
      1-2 teaspoons liquified coconut oil
      1 -2 tablespoons of ground flax seed
      1 teaspoon cinnamon
      Optional: add 1 teaspoon vanilla, hemp seeds, coco nibs or raw organic coco powder,  organic, non-sweetened shredded coconut (experiment with whatever you like)

Mix all together. Spray cooking sheet with coconut oil. Spread the mix evenly out on the sheet. Place in oven on middle rack, bake for about 4 hours or until dried completely. Remember, while baking, leave the door cracked open for air flow.
Let cool and scoop out into an air-tight container. Store in a cool dry place.
Serve in yogurt, with warm or cold milk or eat by the handful as a healthy snack.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Weave Your Roots for Strength

Weave Your Roots for Strength

I recently went out to Utah to watch my sister give a presentation at her graduation, as well as receive a few awards and her  Bachelors of Science in Dental Hygiene. So proud! The main speaker that evening, Dr. Joseph Mirci, spoke about trees and their roots and how some trees have shallower roots than others and how that translates to people that become the patients of these new graduates. He also stated that the Red Wood Forest has some of the largest trees in the world, yet red wood trees have some of the most shallow roots.  What holds the trees up in tough times and in hurricane force winds, is the fact that the root systems grow together. They actually hold on to each other and create a web underground that helps them endure whatever nature has in store for them.
I thought about this for awhile. What does my web look like, what roots me, how do I ground myself? What do I need to weave in more of to strengthen my web?  I realized that the answer to these things are what I hold dear to my heart, that don't cause me stress, that create a feeling of lightness, yet sturdiness. Things that push me to grow, but don't drain me of my energy, people that fill me up and help me become a better person. All these things are my support. And all these things will look different to each individual. It is all unique and personal.
Something else happened that actually brought me to Utah and allowed me to see my sister graduate.  My Sister got a bad abscess in her mouth and had a dangerous infection that was leaking into her blood stream. I hopped on a plane to be with her and I felt so lucky that I was able to. I know we sometimes let money, or time, or other mundane commitments keep us from our loved ones. But being there to help bring my sister back to health, was worth so much more than anything I would have done back home. It added another root to my underground web. It filled me up in a way that was special. It allowed me to be there for someone who I love with all my heart (I would have done it for any of my family members)!
Sometimes we get caught up in our projected timelines, sometimes we think to rigidly and firmly, sometimes we miss out on opportunities because we don't think they are practical. I want to pass on the realization that sometimes these opportunities fill up our tanks so that we can be better, be happy, and shine brighter, because these times are what strengthen our root systems so that we can withstand life!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sync Up With Your Body's Internal Clock

Ayurveda looks at diet, lifestyle, seasons and time, to help heal the body, mind and spirit. One main way of healing ourselves in this day and age is to de-stress, reduce anxiety and use the hours of the day to our advantage.

Looking at the day and dividing it into 3 sections (6-10am/pm, 10-2pm/am 2-6pm/am), can help support the body in what it naturally is programmed to do.
  • ·      6am – 10am this is the best time for working out to overcome the heaviness of sleep and to re-set the metabolism. Your brain power is strong.
  • ·      10am – 2pm your digestive fire is the strongest, between 11 and 1pm so this is the best time to eat your largest meal of the day, lunch! A 15 -20 minute rest after lunch helps the body focus on digestion and assimilation.
  • ·      2pm – 6pm, this is second wind time, where your brain power is able to sustain before winding down for the evening.
  • ·      6pm – 10pm your start to get heavy and your body starts to slow down. It is time for a light dinner (between 5-7pm) and then you should start tapering off your activity. Bed time between 9-10pm.
  • ·      10pm – 2am your body is in deep sleep and is detoxifying and resetting for the next day.
  • ·      2am – 6am – movement starts to happen between 4am – 6am you should wake in order to make the most of your brain stimulation. It is the “magical” time of the day, great for meditation and yoga.
   See what happens if you get up a little earlier in order to start your day with meditation. It may just set you off to a great start! Or try getting to bed a little earlier and see if that effects your energy level the next day.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sweet Tip For The Day

Sometimes sweet cravings strike and you can not control the urge. So I have been playing around with simple, easy, good for you and fully flavorable treats.

The perfect combination:
walnut half
1/2 of date
1 piece of dark, organic chocolate
Stack, eat and savor. It tastes amazingly like a cookie/smoore!!!!!

Hint: Make 2 so you use up a whole date and share it or eat both pieces. This is a treat that when indulged in in moderation, should have no guilt attached. These three ingredients are full of great omega 3 oils,  antioxidants, potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Navigating Breakfast

Navigating Breakfast

Breakfast is an important meal, but not all of us actually are hungry in the morning. Many people, articles and nutritionists have told us that we have to eat in the morning because of all sorts of reasons: kick starts metabolism, gives us more energy, keeps us from eating more later in the day, etc., and for some of us this may be true, but not for all. So if you are TRULY not hungry in the morning have a cup of herbal teas and some fruit and call it good (not being hungry in the morning may mean your body needs extra time to process through the food from the night before, and therefore more food is not necessary). Eating when you are not hungry can put out your digestive fire, and in Ayurveda terms, that means digestion slows, metabolism slows and your food turns into sludge in the body. So eating at a consistent time is important. But also eating when you are hungry and not eating when you are not hungry, can help you to keep your fire burning bright and strong. 

If you are hungry at breakfast, do not ignore it, it means you have a strong fire and you need some nourishment, so have a decent sized breakfast, nothing too light but not too heavy either. Make sure it is warm. Kitchari, oatmeal, eggs with veggies, steamed vegetables or freshly made muffins can be a perfect choice. 

Gluten free, Vegan, Morning Glory Muffins
1 ¼ cup buckwheat flour
¼ tapioca flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 mashed bananas
½ cup olive oil or your favorite cooking oil
2-4 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
½ cup raisins
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 grated carrots
½ cup hemp hearts
Optional ingredients
            Chocolate chips
            Coco nibs
            Candied ginger pieces
            Crushed pineapple
            1 egg

Preheat oven to 345 degrees. Grease muffin pan. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. Mash bananas and add vanilla. Mix in raisins, coconut, carrots, hemp hearts and any other optional ingredients. Combine with flour mixture and scoop into muffin pan. Bake 20-25 minutes. These are wonderful breakfast treats with a little nut butter and ghee, or a wonderful afternoon snack with tea for a little pick me up. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Spices - what they can do for your body


What they can do for you

Cooking and making teas with certain spices can be flavorful, but they can also be used as a medicinal way of cooking. Here are a few spices that I recommend you start incorporating into your diet for flavor and health reasons.
In Ayurveda every food, spice and herb plays a roll on the 3 doshas that you are made up of, which is vata, pitta and kapha. Below is general information about the spices and also what doshas they effect and how. If you are not sure what dosha type you are take a quick quiz here: http://lifespa.com/health-quizzes/body-type-quiz/

NOTE: cooking with these spices will be beneficial to anyone, but notice the amount in which you are cooking with them, if some heat up your stomach too much, then counter balance them with cooling spices and herbs like fennel, cilantro, coriander and cardamom. If you need more digestive help, use black pepper, ginger, turmeric and mustard.

Turmeric: (decreases kapha, vata and pitta)
Light and dry herb that is bitter, pungent and astringent in taste. Its post digestive effect is heating. It is good for cleansing the blood, decongestant, anti - inflammatory, anti- carcinogenic, blood purifier and helps to improve blood circulation and acts as a natural antibiotic.
This herb can be used fresh or in powder form and is great in rice, mung beans, stir-fry and roasted veggies. Using it every day will increase its benefits.

Fennel: (decreases kapha and vata)
This herb is light, moist and sharp. It is sweet, bitter and astringent in taste and has a cooling post digestive effect. It is great when used for abdominal pain, flatulence, indigestion and colic. Fennel tea can be made by simply seeping fennel seeds in hot water for 5 minutes and then drinking the water and chewing the seeds. It is great for upset stomachs and indigestion.

Cumin: (decreases kapha and vata, increases pitta)
This light and dry herb has a heating post digestive effect and tastes more pungent. It improves the digestive fire, reduces gas, helps to purify blood can be used as a diuretic and can be anti-inflammatory. Chew the seeds to help with stomatitis or mouth sores. Easting a few seeds before or with a meal helps with digestion and absorption of food. Woman, If you have a tendency to have cramps while menstruation, dry roast a couple of tablespoons of these seeds and then chew on a pinch or two every hour or so throughout the days of your heaviest flow. The anti-inflammatory property can help alleviate painful cramping.

Cinnamon: (decreases kapha and vata, increases pitta)
This spice is light, sharp and dry and has a heating post digestive effect. It is a pungent taste and can be good on fruit and vegetables. Cinnamon improves your digestive fire, stimulates the liver, is a cardiotonic and a diuretic. Cinnamon helps to even out blood sugar levels so adding it to hot water mid day can help you avoid those sugar cravings.

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this blog are based upon the opinion of Staraya McKinstry. They are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, and they are not intended as medical advice.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Go Nuts.....

Nuts are very grounding, nourishing and heavy. They are loaded with good oils and fats for our body and can be a perfect snack and are great for making nut butters. Vata and Pitta Dosha favor nuts in the diet because of the grounding effect that nuts have on the body. Kapha dosha types should avoid almost all nuts and seeds because these people need lighter foods in order to keep their body and minds clear and mobile.
Remember, nuts with fruit or vegetables is not recommended because the rate of digestion is different for the 2 food groups and create toxic build up.

So, if you are a vata or pitta person and want an idea on how to eat your nuts, here is a quick recipe I mixed up...in about 5 minutes flat.

2/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup shelled pistachios
1/3 cup roasted cashews
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-3 tablespoons raw honey (depending on sweetness desired)

Mix in Vitamix or food processor and spread on anything you desire!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Food Combining - what works and what may leave you toxic

Food combining adds a whole other layer on how to eat healthy. And I know we all have enough to think about in a day, but this can be really important when looking at cleaning out or creating toxin in the body.
The other day I made an apple crisp and a strawberry mint crisp. I have to say, they were both delicious. And my favorite dessert of all time is whipping cream. Real, organic, fresh/raw (when possible), whipping cream. And I love the combination of crisp and whipping cream. More please!
But I notice that after each night of eating this combination, I had really bad bloating and my stomach was off the next day. I was in denial that it could have been the combination of foods I ate because I didn't want to give it up......but in Ayurveda dairy and fruit is a toxic combination that can lead to fermentation in the stomach. Yep, I will confirm it. I ate the crisp, for a third day, by itself and had no problems. Looking back this combination had always upset my stomach, but I loved the flavors so much I never thought of it being something that was not working for me.

When looking at food combining, here are a few more to be aware of:

  • Eggs and Dairy
  • Seafood and dairy
  • Nuts/seeds and vegetables
  • Honey and boiling water
  • Equal parts of honey and ghee
  • Citrus and dairy
  • Fruit and dairy
  • Fruit with any other foods
The combinations of these foods will leave toxins in the body, creating sluggishness, and digestive issues. Some happen because the foods digest at different rates, creating sludge because the body can't move everything along at the same time. Meaning some food sits and ferments, waiting for the other food to finish digesting. Honey, for example, just becomes a toxin when it is boiled so make sure the water is warm/hot but not boiling, when mixing. Hint: if you have to add nuts or seeds to a vegetable dish, make sure you soak the nuts over night first, this will make them easier to digest.  

Some of these may be a disappointment to you. (I am a sucker for a cheesy omelet) But just be aware. Notice if you combine these foods, how you feel. If you do ok then allow yourself the pleasure every once in awhile. Good digestion or not, if you do combine some of these foods, just try to make sure the rest of the food you eat for the following meal is light and easily digestible so that you allow your body to clean the toxins out so that they do not accumulate. 

Rememeber: Ayurveda says "80% & 20%" meaning 80% of the time try to eat clean, healthy, with good spices and good combinations of flavors and types of food. The other 20%, enjoy without any guilt and many thanks. And after you enjoy, eat light and clean and reset. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thai Coconut Curry Soup With Kelp Noodles

Thai Coconut Curry Soup With Kelp Noodles 

This is a fantastic dinner that is great for a summer evening. I found out about kelp noodles not too long ago and find these to be really fun. It gives a dish body and a slight texture, without making it heavy or starchy. Top this soup with avocado and cilantro mint chutney and you will be happy camper! This recipe was inspired by The Spunky Coconut 
Eat Well.


Kelp noodles.
Prep kelp noodles by soaking in HOT water with juice from a half squeezed lemon. Let sit 20 minutes.  

1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 medium yellow onion
1 inch grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 chopped carrot
1 can coconut milk
1 cup water or vegetable broth

4-5 large kale leaves
1 avocado
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup chopped mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large pot at medium temp. Add crushed garlic, chopped onion and grated ginger, make sure not to burn. Add curry paste, sriracha, tomato paste, turmeric and carrot. Allow 2-3 minutes to sauté. Add mushrooms, mix until mushrooms are coated with spices and then mix in coconut milk, liquid of choice and kelp noodles. Bring to a simmer and drop in chopped kale and bean sprouts. Simmer 3-5 more minutes. Serve in bowls, top with avocado and cilantro mint chutney.

Cilantro Mint Chutney

Makes 1½ cups.
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
¼ cup mint, chopped
3 shoots green onion
¼ teaspoon jalapeno or more (to taste)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt
Make sure to rinse your cilantro well before chopping. Then combine everything in a food processor and pulse to combine. That’s all there is to it! Taken from http://kripalu.org/article/770/ where there are a ton more recipes. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Garden Pesto Quiche

Not just any old quiche!

Want a flavorful, vegetarian (meat lovers can mix in chorizo, bacon or prosciutto if they would like), gluten free, nutritious breakfast, lunch or dinner that packs a flavorful punch? Here you go.
I imagined this one day while driving home and once I got into my kitchen, this is what I came up with.
I really love all the fresh flavors. In Ayurveda it is said that if you have the 6 tastes in each meal: Sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent, than you will be the most satisfied and less likely to crave between meals. You will also have a more nutritious and healthy meal.  This recipe has all but sour, although you could make up a cilantro-lime and mint chutney and you would be all set!


1 1/4 cup mixed amaranth flour, coconut flour and almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
A few dashes of red pepper flakes, dried oregano, fennel seeds, salt & pepper
1 egg
Warm water

For the crust: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients into a bowl. Add egg and stir. Add just enough warm water to make dough sticky enough to pat out. Pour dough in pan and press into the bottom and up sides. Bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes just to give it a head start. Pull crust from oven. OPTION: smear a layer of pesto on the crust before you pour in beet mix.

3-4 beets shredded
3-5 carrots shredded
1-2 leeks sliced thinly
3-4 tablespoons of coconut flour
1 egg
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup shredded parmesan or white cheddar or Romano or make a blend of whatever you already have in your fridge.

For the filling: Mix all the ingredients BUT the cheese. This mix should not be soupy, but somewhat sticky, like you could make a pancake out of it.

Assemble: Pour the shredded mixture into the crust. Top with shredded cheese. Then in a separate bowl mix 4 tablespoons of milk and 4 eggs together and pour over the vegetable mix. NOTE: Ayurveda says that dairy and eggs create toxins in the body when mixed together in the same meal. But I know it is a hard taste combination to break. So be a wear and maybe skip the cheese on your eggs occasionally. As a replacement for the cheese in this quiche try sprinkling some nutritional yeast flakes over the vegetables instead. Or go without. It will still taste fantastic.  

Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes or until the eggs get puffy and are cooked all the way through. Pull from the oven, top with shredded swiss chard or kale and bake for about 3-5 more minutes until chard/kale is wilted. Eat warm and enjoy!

This takes about 30 -45 minutes of prep time.

Spring Cleaning - The Many Ways

I am sure you have heard about all the cleanses that you can do around spring time. But are you ready? Does the cleanse sound right for you? Do you have a week to dedicate to your cleanse?
In America we tend to think that we should be on a constant cleanse. That juicing is the only way to clean the body and that if you feel lightheaded and grouchy, the cleanse is working. But that is the way we as Americans think, the more the better. Not so much in Ayurveda. Cleansing is a big deal and can help release toxic buildup from the body, but it also strips the body and provides little to no nourishment, so cleanses are done only a few times a year at the change of the season, not every other month. 

Kichari: A safe way to cleanse is going on a mono diet of kichari (recipe below), a very safe, healing and nourishing recipe that can be eaten for all three meals of the day for 3-5 days. This will allow your body to take a break from heavy, sugary, protein heavy, processed foods and will allow it to clean as well as nourish. This is a recipe that can be used if you have splurged on vacation or over the weekend and need to kick your week off right. Make kitchery and eat it for your three meals for one day, giving your system a gentle cleaning and re-boot. 

Vegetables: You can also opt for a vegetable only day ....or 3. Allowing your body to just eat fresh vegetables good fat like olive oil, coconut oil, ghee or avocado. No nuts, dairy, starches, sugars, meat or protein other than oils. This type of eating can give your body the fiber and vitamins and minerals it needs for a few days, while scraping out the sludge that may have accumulated in the intestines. It also gives your liver a break by giving your body simpler foods that are easily digestible and that can be easily assimilated. Note: if you absolutely have to be more active, add a hard boiled or poached egg to either your lunch or dinner. 

Juice: For those of you who want to do a juice cleanse, it's ok but while doing it notice how you feel and don't  kid yourself. If you feel awful, then maybe juicing is not the right cleanse for you, try something else. If you want to go ahead, don't juice for more than 3 days and try to stay clear of most fruit juices. They pack in the sugars and defeat the purpose. If you make the juice at home, add back some of the pulp for fiber so that you can make sure to keep your bowels moving. 

In any cleanse, making sure that you are having regular bowl movements, once to twice per day, is very important. Stool carries away the the toxins from the body. I also recommend taking a hot bath or sauna to open the pours and allow your body to sweat, which also releases toxins. Drink lots of water, room temperature or hot. Lemon or lime added will give an extra boost to the cleaning properties of the water and hot water in the morning with lemon will get the 'system' moving. 

Before you start a cleanse, make sure you check with your health provider first. And limit the amount of activity you do for the days that you are on the cleanse. Be gentle to yourself. Your body will be working hard to clean itself so it is important to support it by reserving your energy and resting.

Kichari Recipe (my favorite coming from www.lifespa.com)
This recipe makes enough to last you for 3 or 4 meals. You can play with the mixture of spices. Many people prefer this recipe when the spices are doubled (or even tripled).

  • 1 cup Split Yellow Moong Beans* (see for ‘weak digestion’ below)
  • ¼ – ½ cup White Basmati Rice
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Ginger Root
  • 1 tsp each Black Mustard Seeds, and Cumin and Turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp each Coriander powder, and fennel and fenugreek seeds
  • 3 Cloves
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 7-10 cup Water
  • ½ tsp Salt (rock salt is best) or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos.
  • 1 small handful Fresh Chopped Cilantro Leaves
  • You can add any fresh vegetables to this recipe to switch it up. Stay away from starchy ones like sweet and regular potatoes.
It’s important to get SPLIT MOONG DAL beans because they are easy to digest and due to their cleansing qualities, they pull toxins from the body. They are available at Asian or Indian grocery stores or through LifeSpa. Different spellings include “mung” and/or “dahl.” Please note that you do not want the whole moong dal beans, which are green, or yellow split peas.
  1. Wash split yellow mung beans (dal) and rice together until water runs clear.
  2. Heat a large pot on medium heat and then add all the spices (except the bay leaves) and dry roast for a few minutes. This dry-roasting will enhance the flavor.
  3. Add dal and rice and stir again.
  4. Add water and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
  5. Boil for 10 minutes.
  6. Turn heat to low, cover pot and continue to cook until dal and rice become soft (about 30-40 minutes).
  7. The cilantro leaves can be added just before serving.
  8. Add salt or Bragg’s to taste.
* For weak digestion, gas or bloating: Before starting to prepare the kicharee, first par boil the split moong dal (cover with water and bring to boil), drain, and rinse. Repeat 2-3 times. OR, soak beans overnight and then drain. Cook as directed.

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this blog are based upon the opinion of Staraya McKinstry. They are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, and they are not intended as medical advice.