The Lotus Manifesto

Nourish Yourself From the Inside Out

Month: October, 2012

Traditional Meusli

Traditional Meusli

Try a bowl of traditional muesli as a breakfast, snack, or light dinner. One of the most nourishing comfort foods!

Bowl of Health

Traditional muesli is a nourishing cereal popularized in the early 1900s by a Swiss physician named Maximillian Bircher-Benner. He developed the dish to feed patients in his hospital to nurse them back to health.

Interestingly, the ingredients in muesli are very similar to the staples of a saatvic diet, which is said to be the most healthful diet for yoga practitioners because it is nourishing to the body while allowing the mind to maintain a peaceful state.

This dish has has many forms and can be varied according to one’s personal taste or health preferences. Generally it is prepared using rolled oats (which can be made gluten free) that have been soaked in water, milk, or juice, as well as nuts, seeds, grated or chopped fresh or dried fruits, and spices. The recipe below is just a suggestion. Try it out, or comment with your variation, s’il vous plait.

Ingredients:
2 cups gluten free oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts/pecans
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup golden raisins (or other dried fruit)
4 tbs. chia seeds

*Mix above ingredients in a jar. Makes almost four cups.

Method:
When ready to eat, mix 3/4 cup of above mix with:
1-2 tbs. flax meal
1/2-1 grated apple or 1/2-1 cup berries
1 cup fresh almond milk
pinch nutmeg
pinch cinnamon
*Mix together and allow to sit for a few minutes before eating.  Enjoy!

Health Benefits:

Rolled Oats: Due to their high fiber content, oats are known to help remove cholesterol from the digestive system that would otherwise end up in the bloodstream. Oats also help maintain cardiovascular health since they contain antioxidant compound called avenanthramides, which help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol. Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal also contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan, which has been shown to help immune funtion and to stabilize blood sugar. Oats are also high in manganese, selenium, and phosphorous. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Walnuts: Walnuts are powerful medicine. They are packed with valuable antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega fatty acids, manganese, and copper. Walnuts have been studied and proven to help decrease risk of certain cancers,  including prostate and breast. They also help prevent cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Pecans: Pecans contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, a variety of B vitamins and zinc. One ounce of pecans provides 10 percent of the recommended Daily Value for fiber. Pecans are also a source of monounsaturated or “good” fat and protein. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Sunflower Seeds: A handful of sunflower seeds will supply significant amounts of vitamin E (the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant, which is also an anti-inflamatory and cardiovascular health superstar), magnesium (which has been said to help reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and prevent migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke), and selenium (helpful for DNA and cellular repair). See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Raisins: Raisins are high in fiber witch can aid in relief of constipation. They a good source of iron (thus helping with anemia), arganine (which can enhance libido and aid with sexual weakness). They also contain calcium and boron, both of which are crucial for proper bone health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Chia Seeds: “Chia” is the Mayan word for strength. Once an important energy source for Mayans, Incas and other ancient cultures, they are now favored by athletes and birthing mothers for their strength and energy enhancing properties. They are a great source of omega-3 acids, calcium, protein, fiber and potassium. Plus they’re low in cholesterol and sodium. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Flax Seeds: Flax is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also high in lignans, fiber-like antioxidant compounds. They contain mucilage (gum), a water-soluble, gel-forming fiber that provides special support to the intestinal tract by helping improve the absorption of certain nutrients in the small intestine. Their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits can also be helpful in cancer prevention and the quelling of chronic inflammation. Flaxseeds are also high in manganese, magnesium, and vitamin B1. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Apple: Due to their water-soluble fiber (pectin) content, and their  mix of polyphenols (antioxidants), apples can help decrease our total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol. Also, the phytonutrients in apples can help regulate blood sugar. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Blueberries: Blueberries are touted as a “superfood” and it’s no wonder why. Particularly wild organic blueberries contain a variety of antioxidant nutrients which support the whole body. Recent studies suggest that blueberries are also likely beneficial for improvement of memory, and  help protect our nerve cells to help slow down the onset of other cognition issues frequently associated with aging. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Kitchari Kitcharee Kitchadee

This dish is as versatile as it is nourishing. Experiment with seasonal vegetables and various seasonings to tailor it to your dosha and taste preferences.

Kitchari is a deeply nourishing and cleansing porridge that has been a staple comfort food in India for thousands of years. Ayurvedic practitioners tout this magical dish as an ideal meal to help those in need of purification and healing. Kitchari is very easy to digest, and thus allows the body to devote its energy to healing and detoxifying. It is also thought to balance any dosha, or bodily constitution. Don’t know what your dosha is? Take this quiz and find out!

Traditionally, kitchari is made from mung dal and basmati rice, but this version uses quinoa and red lentils instead. It is equally as nutritious and delicious. This dish can be made as a meal any day of the week, but if you are more interested in partaking of a kitchari cleanse, talk to your local ayurvedic practitioner or see here for some ideas.

Ingredients

1 Cup quinoa (or basmati rice)

2 Cups red lentils (or split yellow mung dal split yellow)

7 Cups-ish water

2 Tbs. ghee

2 Tsp. cumin seeds or powder

2 Tsp. turmeric powder

2 Tsp. coriander powder

Pinch salt

Chopped fresh cilantro to taste

Seasonal, organic veggies such as butternut squash, sweet potato, cauliflower, greens, zucchini, etc.

Optional (and tougher to find) Ingredients

1 Pinch Asafoetida (Hing)

2 Tsp. fennel powder

3 Tsp. Mmustard seeds

Method

Heat large soup pot and melt in ghee.

Saute seeds and spices in the ghee for 1-2 minutes.

And quinoa and lentils and stir to mix.

Add water, bring to boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or so.

In the meantime, prepare your veggies, and be sure to cut them into smallish pieces.

Add veggies to the pot. Stir to mix, adding extra water if required. Bring back to boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until all ingredients are fully cooked.

Serve into a bowl and salt to taste, then garnish with chopped cilantro.

*NOTE: For a more filling meal, accompany with a ripe slice of avocado.

Roasted Fennel Bisque with Toasted Walnuts

The perfect antidote to a chilly fall day: a piping hot bowl of roasted fennel bisque with toasted walnuts and a hefty dose of fresh ground black pepper.

This recipe was adapted from http://www.epicurious.com

Ingredients:

2 Large bulbs fennel, quartered

1 Tbs. organic canola oil

1 Tbs. ghee

Sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

1/2 white or yellow onion

2 Cups potatoes, peeled and cubed

4 Cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock, if you prefer)

Healthy splash sherry vinegar

1 Cup half and half (or whole milk)

1 Cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped, divided

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss fennel with 1 tablespoon oil and sea salt. Roast fennel on a baking sheet until tender and golden brown, about 25-ish minutes.

While fennel is roasting, heat ghee in a stock pot over medium-low flame. Add onion, stirring to coat with ghee. Cover pot and cook the onions for about 5 minutes, until translucent and lightly browned. Add potatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer until the potatoes are fully cooked (20 minutes-ish).

Puree mixture until smooth. Add sherry mixture and the half and half to reach the desired texture of the soup.

Allow fennel to cool, then dice. Add to potato mixture, then return to simmer. Stir in 1/2 the walnuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle soup into warm bowls. Sprinkle with remaining walnuts and freshly ground black pepper.

*Variations: Would be very tasty with sauteéd mushrooms and/or dark chicken meat. Could even add a hint of truffle oil too.

Benefits:

Fennel: In addition to its abounding phytonutrients, fennel bulb is an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, folate, and potassium. It also has a unique licorice-like flavor and a ton of crisp crunch. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Ghee: A favorite among Ayurvedic practitioners, said to help cure ailments from tight muscles to memory loss. Ghee is essentially clarified butter that has been separated from the milk solids and saturated fats. I highly recommend replacing your regular butter with this. Read up on the health benefits and nutritional information.

Homemade Chicken Stock: Way more nourishing than it’s store bought counterpart. Great for digestion as well as your joints and connective tissue. Plus it’s easy to make. See here for more health benefits.

Local Raw Milk: This is a VERY touchy subject. So I will leave it to the professionals. See here if you’re interested in learning more about raw milk. Otherwise, good organic milk is a fine alternative.

Onion:  Like garlic, onions are high in sulfur (and while that might make us a little, ahem, stinky, this may be an important part of a our otherwise sulfur-deficient diets. They are a very good source of vitamins B6 and C, fiber, and manganese. They help protect our blood, bone, and connective tissue. See here for other health benefits and nutritional info. Please note: due to its rajastic nature, garlic and onions are NOT part of the traditional Saatvic diet.

Potatoes: Potatoes come in a bunch of varieties and are a good source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, copper, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber. When prepared properly (read: NOT french fries or potato chips) they can help protect against cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems and certain cancers. See here for additional health benefits and nutritional info.

Walnuts: Walnuts are powerful medicine. They are packed with valuable antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega fatty acids, manganese, and copper. Walnuts have been studied and proven to help decrease risk of certain cancers,  including prostate and breast. They also help prevent cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

 

5-Minute Coco Pepita Balls

These coco pepita balls are the bomb. ‘Nuff said.

Hungry for dessert? Have 5 minutes? Perfect. Throw a few ingredients in a blender or mini-food processor, and voilá: a MUCH lower maintenance version of “Chocolate Salty Balls.” Eat your heart out, South Park Chef!

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup pepita sunflower butter (or any other non-runny nut/seed butter)

2 Dates

1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 Tbs. Organic raw cacao powder, plus one more Tbs. for dusting

*NOTE: This recipe makes about 9-ish 1″ servings, but can be doubled or tripled very easily.

Method:

Put all ingredients in a mini-food processor (or blender or regular sized food processor) and pulse a few times.

Then blend all ingredients for a few more seconds at a time until well blended. You might need to take a spoon and scrape the sides a few times to get all the ingredients sufficiently mixed.

Using clean hands, roll the mixture into 1/2″-1″ balls and place onto a serving plate or a sheet of wax paper.

Place remaining cocoa powder in a mesh strainer (or any other kitchen tool with a fine mesh weave) and dust the balls with chocolate. (This is the PG version, get your mind out of the gutter!)

Eat immediately, or place them in the fridge to chill until ready to serve.

Health Benefits:

Cacao: Organic cacao is a legit superfood. It abounds with Vitamin A, C, and E, and a plethora of B vitamins, as well as, magnesium, copper, calcium, manganese, zinc, sulphur, iron, chromium, phosphorus, and Omega 6 fatty acids. It is also high in protein and fiber. Move over spinach! See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Dates: Dates are rich with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, and copper. They are also high in other antioxidants such as beta carotene and lutein, which help protect and nourish our cells. But they’re high in sugar, so a dab’ll do ya. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Pepitas (Hulled Pumpkin Seeds): These babies are packed with zinc and vitamin E, but are also excellent sources of manganese, tryptophan, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. They are also very high in protein. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Sunflower Seeds: A handful of sunflower seeds will supply significant amounts of vitamin E (the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant, which is also an anti-inflamatory and cardiovascular health superstar), magnesium (which has been said to help reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and prevent migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke), and selenium (helpful for DNA and cellular repair). See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Pepita Sun Butter

This high-protein blend of toasted pepitas and sunflower seeds goes with everything.

I am on a nut and seed butter kick. They’re just so darn yummy and can come in all sorts of flavor variations. Plus my husband likes them too, so we can hardly keep a jar around for more than a few days. But if allowed, these nut and seed butters can last in the fridge for up to a couple of weeks.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cups organic raw pepitas

1 1/2 Cups organic roasted and salted (or unsalted) sunflower seeds (or you can roast your own)

1 Tbs. organic canola or olive oil

1 Tbs. honey

*Only use a pinch of salt if using unsalted sunflower seeds

Method:

Vitamix: Pour all seeds into blender. Drizzle with oil, honey, and optional sprinkle of salt. Turn on low, then turn up to high. Blend and stir using tamper until creamy (1-2 minutes). WARNING: Don’t process longer than 2 minutes or you risk burning out your motor.

Blender: WARNING: Not all blenders are created equal. Not recommended unless you have a muy strong blender or are ready to face the consequences if you’re seeds are tougher than your blender.

Food Processor: Same as Vitamix instructions, but you will need to turn off food processor and scrape the sides with a spatula as the consistency goes from chopped to meal to a creamy buttery consistency.

Put the finished product in a glass jar and put in the refrigerator until ready to consume.

Health Benefits:

Pepitas (Hulled Pumpkin Seeds): These babies are packed with zinc and vitamin E, but are also excellent sources of manganese, tryptophan, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. They are also very high in protein. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Sunflower Seeds: A handful of sunflower seeds will supply significant amounts of vitamin E (the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant, which is also an anti-inflamatory and cardiovascular health superstar), magnesium (which has been said to help reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and prevent migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke), and selenium (helpful for DNA and cellular repair). See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Homemade Almond Cashew Butter

Homemade nut butters go with anything, but my favorite way to partake is with a freshly sliced honeycrisp apple.

I just learned a dangerous new skill: making nut and seed butters. They are generally less expensive to make at home, and you can control the ingredients so you don’t eat any less-than-healthy hidden ingredients (like preservatives and sugar). But they are very delicious, so beware, or you might accidentally eat the whole container-ful in one sitting…NOT that I’m speaking from experience or anything.

Serve this almond/cashew butter with apple slices, veggies, slathered on good bread, added to your favorite smoothie…get creative, the combinations are endless. Good fats abound, and these butters are also a good source of protein.

*Note: If you’re serving this with apple slices, try squeezing a little lemon juice and a sprinkle of sea salt to really make the flavors pop. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cups organic roasted (not salted) almonds

1 1/2 Cups organic roasted (not salted) cashews

1 Tbs. organic canola oil

1 Tbs. honey

Pinch salt

Method:

Vitamix: Pour all nuts into blender. Drizzle with oil, honey, and sprinkle of salt. Turn on low, then turn up to high. Blend and stir using tamper until creamy (1-2 minutes). WARNING: Don’t process longer than 2 minutes or you risk burning out your motor.

Blender: WARNING: Not all blenders are created equal. Not recommended unless you have a muy strong blender or are ready to face the consequences if you’re nuts are tougher than your blender…No, that is not supposed to be a metaphor for anything.

Food Processor: Same as Vitamix instructions, but you will need to turn off food processor and scrape the sides with a spatula as the consistency goes from chopped to meal to a creamy buttery consistency. See here for a beautiful photo tutorial.

Health Benefits:

Almonds: Almonds are a Supernut. High in monounsaturated fats (associated with reduced risk of heart disease), almonds contain high amounts of vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. They are also high in protein, which makes them an ideal snack. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Cashews: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, and approximately 75% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids. What’s more is that about 75% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is oleic acid, the same monounsaturated or “good fat” found in olive oil. This super nut is also packed with copper, manganese, magnesium, and tryptophan (the “feel good” amino acid”). See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.