OK, so I know it’s the new year and I imagine the blogosphere is filled with conversations about habits to break, how to make this year the best year of our lives, and the perfect diet to melt off the holiday pounds. And my guess is that a certain word, which I have vowed to […]
Enjoy Kripalu Recipes and culinary adventures.
Grains have a wealth of benefits to offer, from fiber to plant proteins to phytonutrients and B vitamins. There is a caveat, however. You can only reap these benefits if you’re eating whole grains.
When grains are refined (a process in which the outer bran and inner germ are removed), they can be made into a wide variety of cheap foods that will last almost indefinitely, but deliver few nutrients. Refined grains act more like sugar in the body, which may make them easy to overeat. But as you make the switch to whole grains—and become more attuned to what real foods taste like—you can savor the fullness of a whole grain right down to the flavor of its germ. Your body, and your taste buds, will thank you.
You may have heard a lot about gluten lately, the protein responsible for the wonderful chewy texture of breads and other baked goods. It’s true that many people are sensitive to gluten, which has helped spark a deep exploration of gluten-free grains like millet and amaranth, and alternative sources for flour, like coconuts and garbanzo beans. But for the majority of us who digest gluten well, wheat, rye, and other whole grains with gluten remain a wonderfully healthful choice.
With a bit of inspiration and a willingness to get creative, it’s easy to tune into the allure of whole and gluten-free grains, and discover the ones you love best.
Food is life. It not only provides nutrients for our bodies, but it can also bestow love and vitality—prana—to our entire being. The holiday season is a perfect opportunity to offer our love to friends, family, and community by infusing the food we make and share with gratitude and good wishes (and to make Kripalu’s Pumpkin-Chocolate Pie!)
In many families, when we gather at the table we begin by saying grace, an expression of gratitude for the life our food provides, and a blessing that honors our guests. The practice of saying grace not only gives voice to our appreciation, but also offers us the chance to harmonize with others and with the food we eat. Pausing before we eat to experience our food through the senses supports digestion. This cephalic (meaning “in the head”) digestion actually triggers the flow of digestive juices and prepares the body to receive food.
This is the time to feast on the bountiful array of fall-harvested vegetables-squash and potatoes, pumpkins and beets, carrots, parsnips, apples, and pomegranates. In the recipe below, dates add a surprising sweetness to roasted vegetables, a cold-weather favorite. Try experimenting with the squash recipe—it works wonderfully with a variety of squashes, including butternut, buttercup, kabocha, and delicata. These are both great go-to recipes for holiday dinners.
Did you know that your brain is a reflection of the nutrients it receives from the biochemical information (food) you feed it? Your brain needs nourishment and whether you are upbeat or feeling blue is strongly influenced by how your “second brain” (your digestive tract) digests and absorbs the “information” you are eating. Thus, your mood is a mirror not only of what you eat but also how you digest!
Here are five quick nutrition tips to boost your mood and lift your spirit:
1. Nourish your “mood-cell membranes” with healthy fats such as avocado, wild fatty fish (sardines, wild salmon, or black cod), nuts, seeds, olives, coconut, and smart oils like extra-virgin olive oil.
2. “B-happy” by including whole foods such as beans, dark, leafy green vegetables, and whole grains rich in B-vitamins in your diet.
“Dearest Chef Morgan,” the letter began.
“We can handle this one of two ways: You can surrender the recipe for the Mushroom Nut Burger, or I can circulate a petition asking for same. I imagine it would take me about 10 minutes to get 200 signatures. Let me know if you need more. I suppose there is a third option. I can hazard some guesses, and have a bunch of unhappy experiments in my own kitchen. I could do that, and will, if you are unable or unwilling to meet my request. “
The letter concluded: “Please advise! I will be here until Friday and will ask at every meal if my ship has come in.”
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a morning person, there’s still much to love about those first few moments after you roll out of bed: In their stillness you can get ready to step into the day by organizing your thoughts, assessing your needs, and—when it comes to breakfast—nourishing your whole self.
As we’re all unique individuals and our bodies call for different things, there isn’t a formula for a breakfast that suits everyone. Instead, starting the day off right means understanding your body and digestion, and choosing what works for you. This tuning in is at the heart of what we teach at Kripalu, which can help point the way toward a breakfast that’s balanced with you in mind:
1. Heed your hunger. Not everyone can eat like a lumberjack first thing in the morning, so prepare the right-size meal for your body type. From the Ayurvedic perspective, for instance, those with more delicate constitutions (vata types) should have a warming but light meal, like simple hot cereal, while hardier folks who wake up hungry (pitta types) can handle things like eggs, nuts and seeds, and fruit.
2. Fresh is best. We all know the best breakfast comes from our own kitchens—so look for whole foods (grains, fruits, and vegetables) that you can easily prepare for yourself each morning to optimize their freshness. Meat, eggs, and dairy may also have their place on the breakfast table, but only if they arrive fresh from a trusted local source.
3. Stay on schedule. Get into the habit of having your breakfast at a regular time. The body tends to get attuned to things, and if you eat at 6:00 am one day and 10:00 am the next, that can throw off your digestive rhythms. (But you don’t need to eat the same thing every day. In fact, Ayurveda encourages eating seasonally, which ensures an ever-changing lineup of fruits and vegetables.)
4. Savor every bite. Ayurveda teaches that being in tune with your meal—from selecting and preparing it to quietly sitting with it and appreciating it—feeds far more than just your body. Breakfast is an ideal time to explore this practice, and discover that the more you create consciousness around what you’re putting into your body, the stronger and healthier your whole body-mind-spirit complex becomes.