We’ve come to that time of year where we’re no longer in the dead of winter, but not yet in the bloom of spring. We’re at the crux of transition. The ice is melting in some parts of the world. The days are once again getting longer, the leaves are returning to the trees, & the flowers are beginning to bloom. Here in San Diego we were hit with a pretty large rainstorm this past weekend, & it seemed as if the roses in my garden opened overnight. This is the first rose to fully bloom. So beautiful!
In Ayurveda these signs indicate the passage from "Vata" season (which governs fall & early winter), into "Kapha" season (which governs late winter & spring. As we embark on this seasonal transition, it’s a wonderful time to adjust our diet & lifestyle patterns to ensure we stay well & in harmony with our environment. Therefore, it is time for us to begin shifting towards more “kapha dosha pacifying practices” that will keep us warm, dynamic, & joyful.
For today’s wellness post, I am sharing the wisdom of yoga teacher & Ayurvedic consultant, Kate Schwabacher, on how to make a smooth & mindful transition.
In Ayurveda, ‘Ritu Sandhi’ is the Seasonal Juncture (which in southern California we begin to experience in late February/early March): the time between winter and spring. In this juncture we start to transition our habits from winter palliation to spring awakening!
Here are a couple points to keep in mind for the month of February:
~ Savor the last of winter’s hearty produce for soon it’ll be spring’s naturally cleansing fare of sprouts & greens. So this month enjoy the last of the foods you’ll be saying so long to next month: Avocados, Pumpkins, Winter Squash, Tomatoes, Bananas, Dates, Figs, Oranges, & Nuts & Seeds.
~ If you’re prone to springtime ailments like allergies, water retention & lethargy start to avoid the most aggravating foods for spring: dairy, red meat, nuts, sweeteners (other than honey) & excessively salty foods.
~ Start to integrate more spring in your step as the sun starts to come up earlier! Wake up early (before sunrise) & start your day with some vigorous exercise to clear your mind & refresh your body for the day ahead!
~ Try something new! While routine is great for calming the nervous system in the winter, routine can bog us down in the spring. Try a new yoga or exercise class, cooking a new recipe, hiking up a mountain for a new view on the world, or making a new friend. Get out & see what this beautiful world has to offer!
As Kate mentioned, we are going to start seeing a change in the produce offered at the farmers’ markets & in our CSA boxes, so it is time to make the most out of the last of winter’s bounty. It is this time of year that an abundance of beets come flowing my way, & I challenge myself to come up with new ways to enjoy them. As I’ve been making a habit of preparing a seasonal kitchari each week inspired by my CSA delivery, I decided to once again, add beets to the mix, but this time, rather than roasting them separately & adding them in to the final dish, I cooked the beets along with the bean & rice mixture to create a beautiful jeweled dish! For an extra boost of nutrition, I utilized the beet greens as well, which are delicate, surprisingly sweet & mild, & very nutritious, as they are high in vitamins & minerals: A, C, K and fiber, iron and potassium. For this recipe I also used a spilt mung dahl & a prepared kitchari spice mix that I purchased through Banyan Botanicals. I really liked the texture of the spilt mung, versus the whole variety that I had cooked with previously, & the kitchari spice blend was lovely. To make life easier, you can purchase an entire "Kitchari Kit" here - complete with rice, mung dahl, kitchari spice & a recipe. How convenient!
- 1 cup brown basmati rice
- 1⁄2 cup split mung dal
- 3 teaspoons kitchari spice mix
- 2 tablespoons ghee, or coconut oil
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups chopped beets, peeled & cut into small dice
- 1 bunch beet greens, thoroughly washed & chopped
- Wash rice & mung dal & soak overnight. Drain soak water.
- In a medium saucepan warm the ghee or coconut oil. Add the kitchari spice mixture & sauté for one to two minutes. Add rice & mung beans & sauté for another couple of minutes.
- Add 6 cups of water & bring to a boil. Once the kitchari has come to a boil reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover & cook until it is tender (approx. 30-45 minutes). Add the beets halfway through cooking, & add the greens in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
- Add Himalayan salt to taste & garnish with fresh cilantro & shredded coconut.
While enjoyed this variation of “ruby red” kitchari, I’ve definitely have had my fill of beet this season, & tubers & root veggies too. I am really craving lighter vegetables & raw greens. I cannot wait to make spring kitchari with basil, asparagus & peas! Keep your eyes peeled for that.
What winter produce will you miss? What are you most excited for in spring? Bring on the new season! I am ready.
(***this post contains affiliate links)
We’ve all been told a thousand times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but many of us still find ourselves skipping it, as we rush in the mornings to get out of bed, ready for work, & out the door. Not a good idea at all! Raise your hand if you need a little help in the healthy breakfast, but short on time department.
If it’s raised, you’re in luck, as today my dear friend Chef Katie Gluck, of Katie’s Healing Kitchen is here to share her tips & a recipe for a delicious & nutritious “make-head” breakfast that can be thrown together instantly & effortlessly, even on the busiest days. Take it way Katie!
Winter Wellness … What does that mean to me?
Between managing work, family & friends, along with day to day life, it can be difficult to stay healthy. Exercise, meditation & smart eating choices can fall at the bottom of the to do list. And when time finally frees up in a hectic schedule, motivation can lack in starting (or restarting) healthy habits. I know the feeling.
Well I’ve discovered a way to stop stressing about eating healthy. It’s as simple as this: take a few hours a week to prep a few items. I designate one day a week to prep sauces, grains, lentils, pre-cut veggies & make a few other staples that make meal time a snap!
One of my favorite ways to start the day is with an acai bowl topped with a super simple nutritious granola that can be made ahead of time. Just the thought of this breakfast makes me roll out of bed in no time. I make the granola at the beginning of the week and keep it in tupperware on the counter. I double the acai smoothie mixture & stash it in a glass jar in the fridge. I simply pour the desired amount of acai in a bowl and top it with a handful of granola, chia seeds & plenty of fresh organic berries. In less that 2 minutes I have a healthy breakfast that keeps me satisfied until lunch.
We all get busy & our health can go on the back burner. But I’ve found that by taking an hour or two a week to prep quick & healthy meals, everything in life seems to go smoother.
I’m not going to lie, I’m not a perfect health guru. Some mornings I sleep through yoga, have cupcakes for dinner & I’ve never really gotten the hang of this mediation thing… but I do the best that I can under busy circumstances & try not to stress about the days when I fall short.
- 1/3 cup dates, packed
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 cup oats
- 1 cup quinoa flakes
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1/3 cup hemp seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup dried fruit (goji berries, raisins, dried cranberries)
- Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a high speed blender combine wet ingredients & blend until smooth (adding coconut oil last).
- In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients (except dried fruit). Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients. Stir to combine.
- Evenly spread mixture onto baking sheets.
- Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, taking trays out & stirring every 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven & place in a large bowl, add dried fruit & enjoy!
*Keeps up to ONE week in a sealed container
"Antioxidant Acai Bowl"
- 1 sambazon acai pack
- 1 banana, frozen
- 1 cup non dairy milk
- 1 stevia packet
- handful of greens (spinach, kale, etc…)
- optional Garnishes: granola, sliced fruit, hemp seeds, goji berries
- Blend all ingredients until smooth.
- Garnish with desired toppings.
I can confirm & attest that this is one yummy & healthy breakfast, as Katie taught & served this at her Brunch Class last weekend! It is definitely a recipe to add into the regular rotation. You can learn more about Katie, sign up for her newsletter, & see her upcoming class schedule at katieshealingkitchen.com.
Enjoy & eat your breakfast!
Last week, when highlighting the “re-integration” phase of my Ayurvedic cleanse, I shared a photo of a soba noodle dish I prepared as my final cleanse dinner. A soba stir fry was recommended, but I took the opportunity to use some of the produce from my organic delivery, & created a dish of my own. The result? This bowl full of buckwheat noodles, baby broccoli, & cabbage.
Soba bowls are high on the list of my favorite things. I love them chilled & tossed with tamari, rice vinegar, fresh ginger, garlic & sesame seeds, or made into a more hearty meal with the addition of vegetables. Any variation of broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, snow peas, & tofu seem to be the typical & most favorable accoutrements. Even tahini & roasted cauliflower are wonderful with soba (note to self…make & blog!). The great thing about soba noodles is that, even though they are made from “buckwheat,” they don’t contain wheat, so they are perfect for those who wish to avoid gluten. Be careful & read the labels though, as wheat gluten can sometimes be added in as a trace ingredient. My preferred brand is Eden Foods whose noodles are 100% buckwheat, which I purchase from my local co-op. They’re a bit pricy, but I love them so much that I don’t mind forking over a little extra change.
This bowl was a welcome change after all that soup & kitchari, even though I enjoyed everything I ate on the cleanse. It was nice to “reintegrate” & step back into the normal routine with a meal like this.
"Soba Bowl with Broccolini & Cabbage"
- 8 ounces soba noodles (I prefer Eden Foods)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 bunch broccolini, stems separated from florets & sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp. minced ginger
- 1/2 head savoy cabbage, shredded
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions
- 1 Tbsp. tamari
- 1-2 teaspoons of mirin
- 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1-2 tsp. sesame oil
- drizzle of sriracha
- cilantro & sesame seeds for garnish
- Cook the soba noodles in salted boiling water for about 8-12 minutes, they should be tender but still al dente.
- When soba noodles are finished cooking, rinse under cold water, drain well & transfer to a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat the olive oil. Add broccolini & cook, stirring occasionally until tender. Add garlic, ginger, cabbage, half the scallions & tamari & cook for another few minutes. Add the mirin to deglaze the pan & cook until everything is soft. Remove from heat & set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- Add veggies to the bowl of soba noodles & toss with the rest of the scallions, & the rice vinegar & sesame oil. Top with a generous drizzle of sriracha, & garnish with chopped cilantro & sesame seeds.
Mmmmm….this is the perfect meal for lunch or dinner. I always keep soba noodles on hand for when the craving strikes. In fact, I’ve worked up quite the craving just writing this post. I think I’ll be making this recipe from The PPK for dinner tonight!
Go get your soba on!