Radish and Snap Pea Salad

raddish and snap pea salad

This time of year our food should have qualities that increase lightness and freshness, bringing us out of our heavier winter bodies.  This salad is a great addition to the spring diet.

2 bunches radishes – save a few leaves if they look fresh enough for garnish on soup
2 lbs snap peas

1 Tbs honey
2 Tbs water
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp miso paste (white, yellow or use red for a stronger flavor)
1 lime
pinch each of salt and pepper

extra spring greens (optional) such as arugula, dandelion, escarole, watercress, or whatever looks yummy and fresh at your local food shop or farmers market!

chop the radishes in thin slices and chop the peas. In a jar or small bowl use a fork to whisk the honey, water, olive oil and lime together, adding the miso last. toss peas, radishes and salad together with dressing, adding greens in at the end to keep them tender. top with salt and pepper

serves about 4

The bitter and pungent taste of radish is cleansing and helps to reduce extra water and fats held in the tissues and the blood stream. Snap peas and bitter greens cool the blood also and aid in cleansing. Fresh raw veggies with crunch increase a sense of lightness in the body and mind.

In Ayurveda raw foods are more difficult to digest, so we have included in the dressing miso paste as a digestive / probiotic, where the honey (sweet) lime (sour) and salt all pacify Vata by increasing the water and fire elements in the body. Sufficient water is our saliva and digestive juices, enzymes needed for proper absorption of the qualities of the foods taken in; fire element is agni and black pepper and salt increase heat in the gut to stoke the digestive fire.

This way we can receive the full effect of food as medicine.

 raddish and snap pea salad, with greens

Fresh Sautéed Greens

Organic farm to table healthy eating concept on soil background.

Two bunches (approx 4-6 cups) of fresh, young Kale, Collard Greens, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Dandelion Greens, and Beet Greens stemmed, ribbed and cut into thin strips

1 -2 Tbsp Ghee (Clarified Butter) or Coconut Oil

1 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
2 tsp Mustard Seeds

1 tsp ground Turmeric
¼ cup fresh Cilantro, stems removed & chopped
½ -1 tsp Hing (asaeofetida)
1 tsp Salt

1/3 cup chopped Nuts (almonds, cashews or peanuts)

Steam greens for approximately 5 minutes. Heat ghee or coconut oil on medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds, stir and cook until the mustard seeds pop. Add turmeric, cilantro, hing and salt. Stir briefly to release aroma.

Add the greens and sauté for 2-3 minutes until flavors are blended.

Serve with chopped nuts on top

Susan’s Spicy Lentil Vegetable Dhal

A bowl of indian Tarka dahl (yellow lentil soup) with some raw dahls on a napkin

1 1/4 cup masoor dal (red lentils, yellow lentils or combination of yellow split peas and lentils)

1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup diced potatoes
½ cup sliced leeks
½ cup chopped tomatoes (optional)
1 cup chopped kale or spinach

3 1/2 cups water
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 tablespoons olive oil or ghee
1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon hing (asaoefetida)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala (use when incorporating tomatoes in recipe)
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

1/2 cup well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1-2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Soak lentils for 1-2 hours. Rinse clean under running water before cooking. Add lentils and other veggies to water and bring to a boil with turmeric in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then gently simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until falling apart, about 20-30 minutes.

When lentils are mostly cooked, heat oil or ghee in a small heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers.  In the shimmering ghee, cook mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek, hing, garam masala and red pepper flakes until mustard seeds begin to pop and/or turn gray and cumin seeds brown, about 1 minute. Stir spice mixture into lentils with coconut milk (optional), cilantro, lemon juice, and salt and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering for 15-20 minutes.

A perfectly balanced vegetarian meal when served with chapatis or rotis, and basmati rice.       (makes 5-6 servings)

East Indian Cauliflower, Spinach, Potato and Pea Recipe

photodune-10652190-cauliflower-and-potato-curry-l

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp oil – preferably Ghee, but olive or coconut oil will suffice

1 tsp cumin seeds
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 or 4 green chilies, slit and de-seeded

1/2 tsp asaofetida (hing)
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp salt or to taste
3 big, juicy tomatoes, cut in small pieces

1 tsp cumin seed powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp brown sugar

1 1/2 cups cauliflower, boiled
1 1/2 cups potatoes, boiled and cut into cubes
1/2 cup peas, boiled

1 big bunch of spinach, blanched and chopped
¼ cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped

In a medium sized wok, heat the oil over a medium flame. Drop in the cumin seeds, ginger and green chilies. Stir for a few seconds and sprinkle in asafetida, turmeric, and salt.  Add  tomatoes.  Stir in cumin seed powder, red chili powder and brown sugar.

Cook until the oil separates from the tomatoes, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cooked cauliflower, potatoes and peas and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in the spinach and chopped coriander and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the spices are properly incorporated into the vegetables.

Serve hot or at room temperature with the rice or bread of your choice.

Serves 4-6

Ayurvedic Relief for Muscles and Joints

Ouch!  In response to lifestyle, diet, and emotional pattern, our doshas; vata, pitta, and kapha, can easily move out of balance. These imbalances slow down agni, or digestive fire, resulting in the toxic by-product of inadequate digestion known as ama.

Vata, the main active dosha, brings ama into the colon.  From there, ama travels throughout the system, lodging in the bone tissue and joints, giving rise to the stiffness and pain characteristic of chronic joint disorders.

Ayurveda works through both diet and supplementation to remove ama from the joints and move it back to the colon, where the body can then eliminate it.  For this, we need to keep the colon clean and active.  Triphala is the most commonly used herb for cleansing the colon, or the combination of Triphala and Guggul.  Ayurveda recommends general techniques to increase the intensity of agni and burn up the toxins harming the body.  We begin with our food by adding more spices to the diet, such as turmeric, chilis, pepper, cardamom and cloves when cooking.  herbs in bulk cropHerbal extractions of Turmeric and Boswellia support a healthy inflammation response and ease of movement, while Ashwagandha helps balance all the doshas and reduce negative effects of stress in the body.

Various oils may be applied to the skin to help the body clear toxins, relieve pain and restore mobility.  Ayurveda has used two traditional oils in particular for thousands of years:  Maha Vishgarbha Oil and Maha Narayan Oil, both containing dozens of herbs in a sesame oil base. Massaging these oils into painful areas can improve flexibility, stiffness, muscle fatigue, circulation and ease pain. These oils when massaged into the skin can also assist in breaking up blockages. After oil application; warm heat, yoga, bath, and mild exercise can further relax and relieve the body.  Tattva’s Herbs Joint Care Oil, featuring Boswellia as a topical option, is also a potent and cooling application for both chronic and acute situations.

Boswellia Tree

You May Also Like to ReadHow to Enhance you Inner Strength using Ashwaganda?

Allergies and Ayurveda: A simple guide to the herbs of sweet relief

Greetings, fellow Seasonal Allergy Sufferers.  Now is the season when so many of us, from all walks of life, come together with our tissues and eye dropsturmeric roots in bag and cry; “mercy!”  As you well know, the Ayurvedic approach to alleviating seasonal allergies is deep and wide, encompassing every aspect of health including; diet, activity, mind/body techniques, pranayama, and finally, herbal supplementation.  Many explorations on these topics can be found with a quick google search, so for today, we will concern ourselves only with the last category; herbal supplementation.

While any dosha imbalance can exhibit allergic symptoms, the most common spring allergies of runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, and sluggish energy characterizes a classic Kapha imbalance.  Damp, heavy, cold, sluggish, and inflamed; the Kapha imbalance profile perfectly mirrors our unfortunate present condition.  To create movement, discharge toxins and cool the cascade of inflammation are the primary goals of an herbal approach to relief.

In Ayurveda, supporting digestive fire, or agni, is the cornerstone of all healing, and the lack of this fire, the foundation of all disease.  The corresponding and integral re-action to strong agni, is the efficient removal of toxins, or ama.  This dual approach to healing makes no exception for relieving seasonal allergies. The following herbal offerings, all work to increase agni and thus encourage removal of ama, creating dynamic movement in the Kapha stalemate of seasonal allergies.  Generally, we recommend one capsule, two times a day, but dosage of these tonic herbs can be gradually increased during acute situations. For long-term dosage adjustments, we recommend consulting your Health Care Professional.

Turmeric Curcumin and Ginger, two members of the Zingiberaceae family, increase digestive ami and reduce inflaturmeric cuppammation of the mucus membranes in the respiratory system. These aromatic, pungent and spicy roots inspire the digestive system to optimal operation. Traditional ginger and lemon tea, with the addition of Turmeric can be a nice alternative to swallowing pills. Our capsules can be opened and poured out into hot water, with lemon and honey, for a daily agni- increasing tea.  I recommend a non-dairy milk in times of excess mucus production, as unfermented dairy can further stagnate the Kapha imbalance.

Amla, while exhibiting the most concentrated amount of vitamin C found in the vegetable kingdom at more than 3000 mgs per fruit, supports a healthy inflammation response, the elimination of toxins, and strong regulation of nutrient absorption.

Triphala adds to the power of Amla (Amalaki), both Bibhitaki and Haritaki.  Bibhitaki promotes healthy mucus production, and haritaki tones the mucus membrane of the intestinal wall.   This potent yet gentle Trio, considered in India as the greatest and most versatile of all herbal formulations, works synergistically to promote internal cleansing of stagnate and excessive conditions, and aids in strong digestion and assimilation of food.

Chyawanprash also wields the steady power of Amla, as the first fruit in a list of nearly 50 rejuvenative herbs in a sweet jam of ghee and honey.  Considered rasayana, a Sanskrit word describing an elixir of life, Chyawanprash decreases both Kapha and Vata, while increasing Pitta.  This ancient rasayana treat balances the immune system, strengthens the respiratory system and supports healthy cleansing and elimination of toxins.

An important addition to the agni-increasing family of herbs is Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is most well-known for its adaptogenic support of the adrenal glands, so easily depleted by our busy lives and poor nutrition, and at this task, it does excel. However, of equal and less proclaimed value, is Ashwagandha’s unique ability to modulates, or balance, the immune system.  This action cannot be underestimated in the case of allergic reactions, which send this life saving system into inflammatory hyperdrive.

For a well-rounded herbal approach to seasonal suffering; Turmeric Curcumin, Ginger, Amla, Triphala, Chyawanprash, Ashwagandha and of course, don’t forget your Neti Pot!

Heavenly Energy Laddus

Toast the following ingredients:

1/2 c sesame seeds
1 c sunflower seeds
1 c shredded coconut

add and mix:
1 c puffed rice

Then add:
1/2 c Chyawanprash
1/2 c honey
1/2 c almond butter
6 dates chopped
1/2 c cacao powder
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp cardamom
1 tsp ginger
1 Tbsp Shatavari
1 Tbsp Ashwagandha
1/2 tsp sea salt

Combine all and roll into delightful balls! Yum…

Dryfruit-and-Nut-Laddu

Each of us deserves to feel alive.

When life gets tough, or mundane, or uninspiring, shifting our focus and allowing our perspective to expand and lift like a big balloon filled with hot, rising air that has no where to go but up and out can offer a break. Exploring all of the corners of our experience from these new and exalted angles presents us with glimpses into new corners of potential experience that we don’t habitually inhabit, but that are really just as easily inhabitable, so long as we give them a little attention and make them, too, feel important.hills-outside-darjeeling-Sara-blog

Consider living from this angle: What would life be like if we insisted on choosing the experience that brought life into our lives? What if we refused to dwell and to fritter and to obsess and to stick on those things that drain life away? If we could only gently and consistently bring ourselves back and re-shift and re-focus and re-group so that we encouraged the most aliveness, all the time, no matter what–whether we are reaching for (or skipping) breakfast, or choosing how to spend the hour right before bedtime, or making big life decisions–what might this be like?

I would like to propose that each of us deserves to feel alive. (Isn’t that why we are here?!) This doesn’t mean we feel joy always, or that we eat birthday cake for every meal from this moment forward, or that we never do anything we don’t want to do ever again. It is instead that we have every right and every responsibility to evaluate all of the corners of our lives and all of the big and the small things, the today and the tomorrow things, the now or the never things–all of the things that we do with our twenty-four daily hours, all of the environments, individuals, institutions, obligations, thought patterns, food patterns, addiction patterns, relational patterns that color our lives–and that we recognize that it is in our best interest to choose those things that bring us alive, and also to learn how to orient toward things so that we rise to life.

for Sara blog

Secondly, I would like to propose that each of us is equipped with a very special tool, that whether or not we even ask for its help, is there to tell us whether we are bringing ourselves alive. This is our human body.

Our minds are really skilled at tricking us into believing that particular small things aren’t actually that small, or that there is no way around them, and all sorts of other convincing arguments. Our bodies–every single one of them, I would argue–are quite unskilled in comparison. They have this endearing little quality about them that has them failing miserably when it comes to lying. They all fail in their own unique ways, but they fail nonetheless. They fail at upholding a false truth that everything is okay when we go on living the kind of life, or eating the kind of breakfast, or perpetuating the same old relationship dynamics, or spending the kind of time on the couch or in front of the mirror with the kind of thoughts going through our heads that do not bring us alive.

We can only go on so long choosing or resigning ourselves to or finding ways in which to numb and distract ourselves from the things and the people and the patterns that are too small for us before our bodies start to groan, or scream, or retreat, or go numb or do silly things like stop sleeping or insisting on subsisting on peanut M&Ms alone.

When it comes to making aliveness-affirming choices in our day-to-day and when it comes to huge things, our bodies are a good place to start. Taking quiet time to close our eyes and quiet our minds, and to feel what happens in our chests, or to our shoulders, or deep in our bellies when we hold this or that situation close is where the truth lives. Thoughts are too often confusing and contradictory and schizophrenic and exhausting and wordy, and maybe they don’t even have any feel to them any more, and they just make up a dried-out, worn-out story that’s been told for years and has no oomph anymore. Our bodies are where the juice and the meat and the realness is. This is our gauge for that which brings us alive.

With the sun’s big warmth still here, and as the slivers of light get shed from our days, nature calls upon us to combine the inspiration and the bounty of summer with the harvest, and the taking stock, and then the gradual cutting away and letting go of fall that we will see as the leaves begin to gently float down from the trees. Take time to harness this potent energy, combine it with the honest wisdom of your body, and take an inventory of pulsing, breathing, radiating aliveness in your life.

Written by Sara Bowes
of Sara Bowes Acupuncture
1804 NE MLK Blvd.
Portland, OR 97212

Photography by Susan Bowes and John Clotfelter