FOOD | HEALTH | SPIRITUALITY

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one of the world’s leading Ayurvedic masters, Vaidya Smita Naram.


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Seven-Minute Sides: Smoky Greens

A pot of fresh greens is so quick and easy to make! It’s the perfect side dish to a cool summer soup, a quinoa salad, or some Southern black-eyed peas. Greens are always ideal when your priority is easy cooking with a dash of healthy and delicious.

I was inspired to make this dish when one of my husband’s patients brought us a large bag of beet greens right out of her garden, but you can also use a bunch of kale or chard, though kale will take an extra 10 minutes to cook. I suggest  6 to 10 large leaves per person, at least, since they will reduce to a small serving after cooking.

You can use any type of seasoning, but a good artisan salt like Salish Alderwood Smoked Salt transforms an ordinary dish into gourmet food. If you crave a little heat, add some fresh ginger. If

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SAFE & EASY WEIGHT LOSS WITH AYURVEDA

“I lost 31 pounds over the past year, and I’m feeling terrific!” says Debby W., a Raleigh resident who first started seeing Dr. Tom Mitchell for a pinched nerve and later for chronic pain. After these issues were successfully resolved, Debby was open to meeting with Vaidya Smita Naram for a broader health assessment  during her first visit to Raleigh in March 2016. Vaidya Naram is a world-renowned pulse master and Ayurvedic physician.

“I was absolutely amazed at what Vaidya Naram told me in that first meeting,” Debby says. “She was right on the money identifying the existing conditions that I know I have just from taking my pulse, but she astounded me with other unexpected recommendations. She suggested that I was prediabetic and needed to eliminate gluten, dairy and sugar from my diet. Dr. Mitchell followed up with comprehensive blood testing to get a complete picture. It turns out that I am indeed prediabetic. However, with nutritional counseling and supplementation from Vaidya Naram and Dr. Mitchell, I have already seen a normalization of my plasma glucose levels and my cholesterol. WooHoo!

“I lost 14 pounds during the first six weeks when I began following the dietary recommendations and taking some Ayurvedic supplements,” Debby continues, “but I do not feel deprived at all!”

Debby is not a vegetarian, but she started eating more fresh fruit and vegetables along with lean meat and fish for protein. She happily reports that giving up the foods that contributed to chronic pain and becoming prediabetic has been well worth the effort.

“People are always saying, ‘Don’t you miss eating gluten, dairy and sugar?’ and my answer is ‘no!’ I’m completely satisfied with my meals. I snack on fruit, nuts and almond butter—which is absolutely delicious. I have so much more energy and a positive outlook for my health in the future.  Growing older does not equate to lethargy and weight gain. We have a choice!”

If you’d like to experience a consultation with Dr. Mitchell and Vaidya Smita Naram, call 919-785-2200 and begin your safe weight-loss program. Vaidya Naram is in Raleigh for a pulse assessment clinic Saturday and Sunday, March 4 and 5.  Prior to Raleigh, she will be in clinics in Manhattan, Edison, N.J., and Syracuse, NY. If you wish to schedule an appointment in New York, go to http://ayushakti.eu/ayushaktiusa.com/index.html.

Looking for ways to add more vegetables to your diet? You’ll find many easy and delicious vegetarian dishes right here at the Sacred & Delicious blog—all gluten and dairy-free, and rarely any sugar!

Always keeping your best health in mind!

 

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Creamy Broccoli Soup for a Vegetarian Valentine’s Day

If you’re still pondering what to make on Valentine’s Day to balance the chocolate you’re planning to devour, consider this creamy broccoli and sweet potato soup recipe that I created just for you, dear readers! This recipe was born of a desire to take broccoli soup to an unexpected place after finding nothing but broccoli-cheese soup on restaurant menus for decades! And it fits nicely into the niche of hearty soups that can serve as a one-dish meal for busy cooks, with red lentils serving as a protein base.

I use fresh almond milk made in our Vitamix to make it “creamy,” but, of course, you can use

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Healthy Comfort Food

If  you love sweet potatoes, I have good news for you, along with an easy and oh-so-delicious Southern-style recipe!

In case you’ve been following my blog and wonder why I cook with so many sweet potatoes, here’s one reason why: according to Ayurveda, sweet potatoes are one of the best foods for grounding vata — that light, airy, buzzing energy that you feel when life is moving just a little too fast.

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Share a Link in the Fight Against Hunger


Happy
2017, dear readers!

As we step into another Sacred & Delicious year together, I invite you to join me in a resolution to help those who aren’t sure where they will find  their next meal.

Today I’m sharing links to several charities that focus on fighting hunger. I encourage you to post links here to your favorite charities as well. I’m interested in organizations that have a good reputation for feeding others or teaching skills that help people to feed themselves. If you’re already a leader in giving, please lead us to other charities that you know are making a difference.

I think it’s a pretty safe bet that anyone reading food blogs has plenty to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every day. We have so much to eat, it can be easy to forget that in 2015 more than 42 million Americans lived in food insecure households, according to Feeding America. This number includes 29.1 million adults and 13.1 million children. And that’s just the hunger picture in the USA.

You may be surprised, as I was, to find North Carolina listed among twelve states that exhibited statistically significantly higher household food-insecurity rates than the U.S. national average 2013-2015 (13.7%). The USDA defines food insecurity as a state in which “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.” There is poverty in every state, but in these twelve, more people are going to bed hungry at night.

  1. Mississippi 20.8 %
  2. Arkansas 19.2 %
  3. Louisiana 18.4 %
  4. Alabama 17.6 %
  5. Kentucky 17.6 %
  6. Ohio 16.1 %
  7. Oregon 16.1 %
  8. North Carolina 15.9 %
  9. Maine 15.8 %
  10. Oklahoma 15.5 %
  11. Texas 15.4 %
  12. Tennessee 15.1

So here are a few links:

FEEDING AMERICA

ACTION AGAINST HUNGER

FOOD FOR THE POOR

FOOD BANK OF CENTRAL & EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA

THE HUNGER PROJECT

MEALS ON WHEELS

UNICEF

As you make your resolutions for the New Year, I hope you’ll consider joining in the fight against hunger in 2017. Each of us can offer our blessings in many ways: we can volunteer at a local food bank or food kitchen. We can donate food and funds. And we can offer our blessings to those who are struggling: May everyone, everywhere have enough food to eat.  This is my prayer. And the world’s leading organizations that fight hunger say this is a goal within reach. With our help.

Make it so!

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A Gluten-Free Vegetarian Guide to Thanksgiving

If you want to plan an intensely flavorful vegetarian menu for Thanksgiving, look no further! Today I’m sharing a recipe for Gluten-Free Millet Dressing. I’ll also point you to my sumptuous versions of traditional American holiday side dishes, which will fill your family with joy and gratitude!

Why millet?  Millet is a good source of vegetarian protein. One cup of cooked millet offers 6 grams of vegetarian, gluten-free protein, which equals the protein in one egg. It’s also filling, grounding and easy to make.

Now for the rest of the menu. My famous Holiday Sweet Potatoes, topped with a pound and a half of pecans, are the eagerly awaited crown jewel of our holiday table. For a dash of freshness and color I offer this cranberry salad, a squeaky clean, upscale version of the canned stuff that used to be served when we were growing up!

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Seven-Minute Sides: Mild Curry Leaf Chutney

Photo by Roger Winstead

 

This curry leaf and cilantro chutney recipe comes from Vaidya Smita Naram.  She whipped up this lovely sauce in our Vitamix in about 5 minutes while recently staying in our home.  My husband, Tom, and I happily poured it over mung bean “burgers” I had made for dinner.  A few days later I prepared another cup of the chutney, which we used to top off savory chickpea pancakes that Dr. Smita showed me how to make a half-hour before we drove her to the airport for her flight home to Mumbai, India.

Chutneys are relishes or sauces that are staples in Indian cuisine. They are also used in Ayurvedic cooking when freshly made. There are innumerable kinds of chutneys — some chunky, others that are more like a paste, and liquid sauces.  Chutneys have a reputation for being amazingly hot to the tongue because most Indian cooks spike their chutneys with chilies. Not so with this recipe!  Authentic Ayurvedic cuisine avoids the use of chilies except for people who are predominantly kapha types. Nonetheless, this chutney is guaranteed to add a bolt of flavor to any dish along with potent healing power.

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Savory Chickpea Pancakes with Curry Leaf Chutney

Photo by Roger Winstead

When my husband and I recently hosted Vaidya Smita Naram in our home, she taught me to make a classic yet simple and intensely delicious Ayurvedic dish: chickpea pancakes with curry leaf chutney.

Dr. Naram is a world-renowned pulse master and Ayurvedic physician, a pharmaceutical herbalist and nutritionist — and she also happens to be a marvelous cook. She has a successful restaurant in her panchakarma clinic in Malad, India (outside Mumbai), so I couldn’t have been more excited about spending some time in the kitchen with her. And we did have fun! Not a meal went by that one or the other of us wasn’t saying “wow!” I was thrilled that she loved my American approach to Ayurvedic cooking, and I loved learning to make this traditional dish that I’m sharing with you today.

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What Is Pulse Assessment and Why Is It Important?

If you suffer from any kind of chronic pain or illness, it’s invaluable to understand what kind of energetic imbalances may be at the root of your health problems.  A skilled Ayurvedic practitioner can “read” your pulse and get an instant picture of your doshas, a Sanksrit word that refers to the energetic organizing principles of all life. When the practitioner takes your pulse, he is feeling the state of balance or imbalance in the doshas.

When you meet a pulse master, he or she will greet you and then place their fingers on your wrist for a few or several seconds. Then the practitioner will

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Warm Up with Winter Soups and Diverse Spices

Baby, it’s cold outside for Southerners — and it’s the perfect time for cooking something hot and hearty like a flavorful Italian bean soup with greens and sun-dried tomatoes. Twenty-eight degrees and freezing rain pelted the Raleigh/Durham area and much of the East Coast Friday, and it’s snowing again today as I write. No complaints here, though. Grateful for our good fortune to still have power, I have taken pleasure in creating an updated version of a familiar bean soup.

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