The Lotus Manifesto

Nourish Yourself From the Inside Out

Category: Meals

Oregano Grass-fed Beef Stuffed Squid

Don't be afraid to taste new things! This dish was a major hit at our last dinner party. Even the squeamish came back for seconds!

Don’t be afraid to taste new things! This dish was a major hit at our last dinner party. Even the squeamish came back for seconds!

My husband and I discovered chorizo-stuffed squid in NYC recently and realized that pasture-fed beef would be a delicious replacement for the chorizo. They’re slippery little devils, so beware you don’t fling a squid across the kitchen.

In any case, if you can find tube squid (the kind sans tentacles, which you can stuff), you can fill them with anything. A great replacement for cannelloni noodles if you’re on the gluten/grain-free bandwagon. Please let me know what kinds of goodies you stuff them with. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

One package “tube” squid

1-2 lbs. local organic grass fed beef

½ 1b. tomatoes

1 onion, chopped

1-2 cloves chopped or pressed garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

1 drop oregano essential oil

Method:

Rinse squid and allow them to marinate in juice of ½ lemon and 1 drop lemon essential oil. Set aside.

Sauté onions and garlic until brown, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and beef. Sauté until medium cooked. Salt and pepper to taste and allow to cool.

Add 1 drop oregano essential oil and mix thoroughly.

Stuff the squid until they are almost full (the meat will expand when it cooks).

Heat pan with olive oil on medium heat. Sear the stuffed squid until brown on one side. (About 1-2 minutes)

Flip and do the same on the other.

Serve and enjoy!

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTerra because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTerra Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per dish. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting meal!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

Spicy Sweet Potato Lemongrass Bisque

Try drizzling the bisque with coconut milk to create individualized designs on the soup's surface. This heart happened by accident, so I had to share. :)

Try drizzling the bisque with coconut milk to create individualized designs on the soup’s surface. This heart happened by accident, so I had to share.

Inspired by food.com

The temperatures have been delving well into the negative digits where I live, so on days and nights like that the only way to get warm is from the inside out. And thus, this bisque was born. Sweet potatoes pack a nutritional wallop as they contain more beta carotene than most of their orange-hued counterparts. They’re also rich in vitamins A, B6, and C, as well as the mineral manganese, which promotes healthy bone structure and metabolism, absorption of calcium, proper functioning of thyroid and sex hormones, regulation of blood sugar levels, and the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. Think thin!

This soup is warm, sweet, and spicy, and has that unmistakable aromatic flavor of lemongrass. Lemongrass essential oil is known for its antibacterial, anticancer, antidepressant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory effects, and is great for the digestive system.

Sweet potato and lemongrass essential oil are a powerful duo which fight back against internal inflammation while promoting healthy tissue regeneration, so grab a spoon and enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 inches piece gingerroot, peeled and minced

1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and minced

4 garlic cloves, minced (I just smash it with the broad side of a knife or use a garlic press)

3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices

6 cups vegetable broth (this makes a thick soup, use 7 cups if you like it thinner)

2 stalks lemongrass, outer dry leaves removed and bulb-like base crushed (again, the broad side of a knife works wonderfully here)

7 ounces coconut milk

salt & freshly ground black pepper

1-2 drops lemongrass essential oil

Method:

In large, heavy soup pot, heat the oil medium-hot and sauté the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the ginger, jalapeno, and garlic and sauté 2 minutes-ish more.

Add the sweet potatoes and broth. It should be just enough broth to cover the sweet potatoes.

Tie the lemongrass stalks together with string and put the bulb/base ends into the soup.

Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until the potatoes break apart, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Discard the lemongrass stalks. Puree the soup (using an immersion blender or in batches in your blender) and return to pot.

*Optional for Fussy Diners: Strain the soup through a fine sieve (I omitted this step).

Stir in the coconut milk and 1-2 drops lemongrass essential oil. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with a drizzle of coconut milk for pretty. Serve and enjoy!

 

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTerra because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTerra Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per batch. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting meal!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

Kale Chorizo Ensalada

Spice up your life, and otherwise boring greens, with some local chorizo sausage!

Spice up your life, and otherwise boring greens, with some local chorizo sausage.

Apparently kale is über trendy in New York City right now…must be because it’s in season! I had three amazing varieties of kale salad: warm, cold, with meat and without, and decided to try it in the test kitchen with some chorizo sausage. My husband, the brilliant chef that he is, suggested some minced, dried Turkish apricots and pecorino cheese to smooth out the flavors. The result was, well, gone in a few minutes.

That good.

If you’re not into meat or cheese, try sautéing the kale with some shallots, red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts. There are infinite ways to make kale a superstar. Let me know what you come up with. In the meantime, enjoy!

Ingredients:

1.5 Bunches kale, de-stemmed and finely chopped or sliced chifonade style

1 Cup chorizo sausage

2 Shallots, thinly sliced

Olive oil for sautéing

½ Cup dried Turkish apricots, minced

Juice of ½ an orange

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 Cup sliced or grated Pecorino Romano, or another hard-ish cheese for garnish

Paprika for garnish

Method:

Sauté onions and chorizo over medium heat

Once onions and meat are lightly browned, add the apricots

Sauté until tender (2 minutes)

Squeeze orange juice, 2 tbs. olive oil, and a dash of salt to chopped kale, and mix thoroughly

Add the kale to the pan, and gently stir in until wilted and well-combined with meat mixture (2-3 minutes)

Divide between serving bowls (2-4)

Garnish with paprika and freshly sliced or grated pecorino cheese

Naked Butternut Squash Bisque

This simple squash soup is like a velvety warm hug in a bowl.

Ingredients

1 Medium to large butternut squash

1 Small potato (this is what makes it so creamy and smooth!)

3-4 Cups organic vegetable broth

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil for roasting

Salt and pepper to taste

*Optional: 1-inch piece ginger root, peeled

*Optional: dried powdered nutmeg, or fresh or dried sage, or creme fraiche for garnish

*Note: can be made with just about any type of winter squash such as kabocha, acorn, etc.

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Carefully cut the squash and potato in half and drizzle and toss with 2 tablespoons oil, sea salt, and pepper.

Place in a roasting pan (with the optional ginger) and cover with foil. Roast them under foil for 30 minutes, then toss and continue to roast them uncovered until tender and golden brown, for 20-ish more minutes.

When cooked, allow to cool slightly and peel off and discard the skins. Place all the ingredients into a blender and puree mixture until smooth.

*Note: Start with 3 cups of broth, and add more broth until you’ve reached the desired consistency.

Pour into a soup pot and bring to a nice simmer until steaming hot.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, serve and enjoy!

Benefits:

Butternut Squash: This nutrient rich beauty is low in fat and high in fiber which makes ideal for any heart-healthy menu. Butternut squash is also an excellent source of potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and folate. It’s rich orange hue tells that it is also packed with an important carotenoid, beta-carotene. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Ginger: Ginger is very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress such as gas, bloating, motion sickness, and morning sickness. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

Harvest Arugula Salad

Toss this season’s bounty in a bowl with some olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a smidge of honey, and you’ve got yourself a hearty meal!

Hungry and pressed for time? Lucky for us, many cooler weather crops taste fabulous together. When in a pinch for a quick meal, I just chop up whatever we have in the larder and end up with a very tasty and filling salad. Don’t be afraid of the fat in this salad. It’s all the “good” kind, so as long as you’re getting a little bit of movement into your day, it shouldn’t add any girth to your midsection. And research shows that fat-soluble vitamins (such as beta carotene, vitamin D, and vitamin E, among others) require small amounts of healthy fat to optimally absorb into the body. So eat up and enjoy!

What’s your favorite autumnal harvest salad combo?

Ingredients:

1-2 cups fresh arugula (can sub spinach or greens if you’d rather have a less spicy salad), lightly chopped

1/2-1 small honeycrisp apple (no really, finding a local honeycrisp is worth it), chopped

1 small handful raw, sprouted, and/or toasted pecans, chopped

1/2-1 small avocado, diced

1-2 Tbs. olive oil

Juice of half a lemon or 1 Tsp. apple cider vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

a teeny squirt of honey

*Optional: A little crumble of local goat cheese goes a long way!

Method:

Whisk together dressing ingredients (oil, juice or vinegar, salt, pepper, honey) in the bottom of your large salad bowl.

Place the rest of the ingredients in the bowl and toss well. (*Note: For optional goat cheese, crumble over the top before serving)

Serve and enjoy! Serves 1-2

Health Benefits:

Apples:  My, what balanced phytonutrients you have, oh beloved apple. Apples contain a wide array of polyphenols which help regulate our blood sugar. They’re also a great source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants, and fiber. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Arugula: Arugula is a rich source of folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and B-complexes (such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, which are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions). This is a low-cal lettuce leaf that packs a nutritional wallop, so don’t be afraid to ask for a second helping! See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Avocado: Avocado is an excellent source of healthy fats, fiber, folate, vitamins K, C, and B, and potassium. It also contains a wide spectrum of inflammation-fighting nutrients. Avocado also helps increase our intake of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene—when eaten with romaine lettuce, spinach, and carrots. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Lime: Limes are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. 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.

Soul Warming Green Chile Stew

Introducing the lifeblood of every Native New Mexican I know: Green Chile Stew. Yummm…

Ingredients: (use as many local/organic as you can lay your hands on)

1 tablespoon olive oil or ghee

1 pound-ish lean, local, grass fed ground beef (or at least lean organic)

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2-3 teaspoons dried oregano

2 pounds roasted New Mexico chiles

2 medium potatoes, roughly peeled and cubed

3-4 roma tomatoes, chopped

1 32-ounce box vegetable broth

1-2 drops oregano essential oil

salt and pepper to taste

*optional: garnish with a wedge of lime, a handful of chopped cilantro and a fresh corn or flour tortilla

Method:

Heat the olive oil/ghee in a Dutch oven or heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, cumin and oregano. Cook until aromatic and lightly browned. Add beef, mix together, and cook until meat is lightly browned.

Pour in the vegetable broth and reduce the heat to low. Add the potatoes and tomatoes to the stew and simmer for about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.

*Note: Great to eat when finished cooking but amazing the day after.

Note: If roasted chiles are not available you can roast them yourself. Roast chiles on grill till they are black on all sides, then place in a paper bag and allow to cool. (This will make them easier to peel.) Rub the blackened peel off and rinse clean, then cut in half lengthwise, seed and chop.

Health Benefits:

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.

Grass Fed Beef: Research has shown that meat, eggs, and dairy products from pastured animals are much better for your health than their mega-farmed counterparts. They offer more “good” fats, and fewer “bad” fats, are richer in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals such as vitamins E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Plus they don’t contain the added hormones and antibiotics generally found in the factory farmed variety. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Garlic: Garlic has long been touted as a health promoting food. It is 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. Garlic is also rich with manganese and is a very good source of vitamins B6 and C, as well as selenium. This “stinky rose” also protects our blood vessels from inflammatory and oxidative stress, but its other health benefits abound. See here for nutritional info. Please note: due to its rajastic nature, garlic and onions are NOT part of the traditional Saatvic diet.

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.

Cumin: Cumin is a great source of iron and play an important role in our digestion. Cumin seeds may also have anti-carcinogenic properties, and thusly would help prevent cancer. See here for additional health benefits and nutritional information.

Dried Oregano/Oregano Essential Oil: In essential oil form, oregano is a powerful antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antioxidant, anti-parasitic, antiseptic, anti-viral and disinfectant. See here for more health benefits and properties, and if you are interested in purchasing oregano, or any other doTerra essential oils, please click here.

Green Chile:  Aside from being one of the most delicious foods on the planet, green chile is rich in fiber, contains no fat, cholesterol, or sodium. Meanwhile, it is packed with Vitamins A and C (essential for bone, tooth, mucosal, and eye health). See here for additional health benefits and nutritional info.

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.

Tomato: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of manganese and vitamin E. Multiple studies have shown that tomatoes are wonderful for heart health. See here for more health benefits of tomatoes. Heirloom varieties of any flora and fauna are dear to my heart. I’ll write more about this later. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Serve it up with cilantro, lime, and a tortilla and you’re all set!

Best Chicken Salad I Ever Ate…

This batch fed a roundup of hungry ladies at a baby shower brunch, served with buttery croissants. Yum.

…Meanwhile the meat/no meat debate continues…

Ah, the endless debate: If you are a true yogi, can you eat meat? That is for you to decide. But I will say this: the concept of “ahimsa,” or unconditional love for all beings (as defined by Nischala Joy Devi in her heart-centered translation of the Yoga Sutras) must be applied to oneself too. Yes, it makes my being writhe to think of animals being abused and “dispatched” for human consumption. But if your body is in need of certain sustenance that only animal flesh can provide, and you prepare and eat it with love and gratitude in your heart, then I personally think it is ok in moderation. Granted, there are likely yogis, vegetarians, and vegans who would vehemently disagree. And that’s ok.

My best advice is to listen to your own body and soul’s inherent wisdom. But if you decide to go for it, try this recipe. The extra time it takes to shred the chicken meat is totally worth the effort. It’s nutritious and delicious, and can be made in large enough batches to feed the masses…as long as they’re not vegetarian. (In which case make any of the other recipes on this site.)

Ingredients:

4 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken (about 1 3/4 pound)

*Note: 1) If you use breasts and thighs it tastes even better! 2) If you shred the chicken rather than cut it, it tastes even better-er! 3) Make sure chicken is completely cooled before mixing with other ingredients to make it taste the better-iest!

*Note: This is a GREAT way to use up leftover chicken and/or turkey meat.

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled

1 cup chopped fennel (can sub celery if you don’t have/like fennel)

3 sprigs finely chopped green onion

2 cups halved seedless purple grapes

1/4 cup mayonnaise (can use homemade Paleo-nnaise if that’s your bag, baby)

½ cup Greek yogurt (can use all Greek yogurt if you don’t like mayo)

2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh mint or 3-4 Tbs. dried

Hefty dash tabasco sauce

Hefty drizzle honey (1 Tsp.-ish)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl until combined well. Can be served immediately, but is even yummier if allowed to sit for a few hours or even overnight.

Can be served solo, in sandwich or wrap form. This chicken salad is heavenly on a fresh croissant, but is also tasty when served in lettuce wraps or radicchio leaves if you’re doing the grain-free thing.

Health Benefits:

Chicken: If you’re looking for a good source of protein that’s also low in fat try an organic chicken breast. The thighs have a richer (read: fattier) flavor, but both are great sources of tryptophan, selenium, and vitamins B3 and B6. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

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.

Grapes: Grapes are packed with vitamin C and manganese and contain a variety of antioxidant phytonutrients such as beta-carotene and resveratrol (think red wine!). These tasty little jewels are thought to help support the cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, and nervous systems. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt is a thicker, creamier version of “regular” yogurt that boasts high protein, healthy bacteria which support healthy gut flora, and is a good source of calcium. It’s a versatile addition to your diet and can replace higher fat dairy products. See here for more about the nutritional info and health benefits of yogurt.

Pecans: Pecans protect your brain, heart, and body. They’re high in vitamin E, oleic acid, vitamin B1, thiamin, magnesium, protein, and an array of other vitamins and minerals. They are also great sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (read: good fats), and are very low in saturated fat. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.