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Don’t panic. Be smart. Stay vigilant. 

Dear Ones,

If you’re walking around with a pervasive feeling of concern or fear about COVID-19, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to review the tips I’m sharing today for protecting your health and the health of your loved ones. I haven’t seen many of these recommendations promoted by the media, government officials, and the dozens of blogs now streaming into my inbox.

Please understand, I am not hitting the panic button. Although there is legitimate cause for concern about the coronavirus, there are many ways to boost your immune system—including the way you manage your food and your use of effective botanical medicines.

Do follow all the CDC guidelines and stay current with their updates. Following these disciplines is the smart thing to do, and the simple act of doing so will help you stay centered. You can’t be too vigilant about washing hands thoroughly and often. Be intelligent about social distancing. Beyond this, we all need to eat, and since that’s my passion, let me add my two cents about how to stay safe when it comes to food.

Food Tips for the Pandemic …

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A Chocolate Lover’s Confession

Dear Readers,

I have a confession. I’d never read about the horrible working conditions of cacao farmers who provide cacao beans as a commodity crop to the largest industrial chocolate manufacturers. Until today.

This essay is not meant to be a downer just before Valentine’s Day, when so many of us revel in all things chocolate! I am, however, sharing my personal wake-up call, and I was inspired to save you some time searching for the best chocolates that are guilt-free.

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Five Holiday Self-Care Tips for People with Special Dietary Needs

As someone who is gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian, have you ever been invited to a festive occasion where the table was laden with food—yet you went home hungry because there was nothing you could eat?

I have!

With this in mind, I am now giving you permission to speak up about your special dietary needs—something that can be especially challenging to do during the holidays.

This is the opposite of the “good manners” I learned from my mother, who bade me always to eat whatever was put before me. Despite my traditional upbringing, I’ve come to understand that those of us who have made dietary choices for reasons of health or ethics should not have to wait for our host to intuit or inquire about our needs. We received an invitation to dinner because our good company was being sought and, since we are clearly loved, we should feel free to speak up!

Here are some practical tips to help you avoid suffering and sustain vibrant health during the holidays, while you enjoy yourself … deliciously:

1. Start by making a commitment to yourself. Be fastidious about avoiding foods that make you sick. If you’re gluten intolerant, dairy intolerant, allergic to nuts, or fill-in-the-blank intolerant, quietly eating what’s before you is not worth the price you’ll pay. Case in point: I was 100 percent gluten-free for three years when, dining out with some friends, I decided to eat eggplant parmesan served over spaghetti. The eggplant had been dredged in wheat flour, and I also ate a few bites of the pasta. Guess what? I had indigestion and a recurrence of joint pain for the next six weeks. That’s six weeks! My advice: if you want to splurge, make sure it’s something that won’t do you in—like, maybe, a gluten-free dessert!

2. Bring up your special dietary needs to your host. Few people outside the special needs group are aware of the short- and long-term consequences of eating foods that trigger an inflammatory response. You don’t need to feel embarrassed or hide your requirements that protect your health. It’s really OK when you respond to an invitation to let your host know you will get sick if you eat certain foods. I’ve had to do this time and again, going to out-of-town weddings, bar mitzvahs, and every kind of potluck, or I would have needed to leave the event to get food. My hosts have always responded graciously.

3. Be a generous potluck participant. When you RSVP and ask for special consideration, also offer to take a couple of delectable dishes for everyone to enjoy. That way, you’ll ensure you don’t go away hungry. You’ll also showcase some of your favorite foods, which could expand others’ food horizons. They may even become more supportive of your needs at the next event. This has been my happy experience.

4. Host the holiday dinner yourself—if not this year, then next. In this way you can state your intention about the food parameters and model polite inclusion: “We’d love to have you join us for a joyful holiday potluck, and we’d be so grateful if you would avoid cooking with the following foods. Please let us know if you have additional dietary needs.” Cook an entrée and a couple of sides that showcase some of your favorite holiday dishes. Let the meal send the message that food can easily be delicious and healthy!

5. If you can bear it, be flexible! Some years my husband and I host a Thanksgiving meal with a long-standing dinner group. While my husband and I don’t eat turkey, I’m not offended that my friends bring a cooked bird to the house. I make some tofu for Tom and me and my now-famous holiday sides. I was an omnivore for much of my life, and I’m not trying to impose my current food choices on anyone. Over time, however, it’s clear that I’ve influenced my close friends, who now think about us when cooking! They’re also eating more vegetarian and vegan meals themselves. It goes to show that being tolerant and accepting is much more influential than condemning others’ choices.

Wishing you vibrant health and delicious memories this holiday season!

 

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Resolution 2019: Seek Balance

Ayurveda teaches that all of nature, including our bodies, is always in search of balance. When our physical doshas are out of balance, they invite various forms of illness and disease into our bodies. Whenever our lifestyle is out of balance for too long—all work and no play, or vice-versa—we can easily spiral downward into fatigue, burnout, anxiety, and depression. For all these reasons I’m proclaiming my resolution right here and now with each of you as my witnesses:

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Seven Ways to Stay Cool this Summer!

With temperatures already in the upper 90s and above across the southern half of the country, we can expect a long, hot summer. Fortunately, Ayurveda has some excellent tips to help keep your body, mind, and emotions in balance—even in scorching heat!

According to Ayurveda, pitta—the dynamic principle of heat—is necessary to maintain life, but during the summer when our bodies can easily become overheated, pitta gets out of balance. Too much heat can trigger a host of physical problems, including acne, headaches, and hyperacidity. If you wake up at three or four in the morning and can’t fall back to sleep for an hour or longer, Ayurveda says it’s a sign of excess heat in the body.

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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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Welcome to Sacred & Delicious!

First things first:  Welcome! Welcome to you and welcome to Sacred & Delicious: Food • Health • Spirituality.

Food. Health. Spirituality. These are my passions, and they come together in my life like ingredients being mixed in any good recipe—interdependent and interconnected. I find that life loses its luster without delicious food, good health and time every day—even just a few minutes—for the body and spirit to rest and rejuvenate. 

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Chocolate and the Sweetness of Life

When my husband and I married, almost twenty-one years ago, we exchanged pieces of chocolate as part of our wedding ceremony. The event was conducted by my mentor and friend, Diana Vela. At the point when Tom and I fed each other chocolate, Diana spoke these words on our behalf:

“I, Tom, share with you the sweetness of my soul, and may we share in the light and food of life together. I, Lisa, share with you the sweetness of my soul, and may we share in the light and food of life together.”

Although I had always loved chocolate, its sweetness took on a new layer of meaning for me in that sacred moment!

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V P K: AYURVEDA FOR BEGINNERS IN THREE WORDS

You can transform your health by learning just three fundamental principles of Ayurveda, the medical and wellness system of India that’s been around for more than 5,000 years. This is what I did for myself (with some professional support). Ayurveda is a vast and complex science, and I do write about these principles in some depth in my upcoming book, Sacred & Delicious, but I’d like to share the three most basic concepts right here so you’ll have a better understanding of the recipes on my Sacred & Delicious blog. I’ll start at the beginning.

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