RECIPE: Surya Spa Dal

I got this recipe via Goop.  It is from an Ayurvedic Spa and is made for detox. This is so easy, and filling and perfect for when you want something nourishing and light. I make it often. It’s great for Kapha dosha (but because coconut is quite heavy and difficult to digest, people with Kapha constitutions should use it sparingly.) – CM

SERVES 4
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup organic yellow split mung bean dal or organic yellow split lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

1. Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add spices and cook for one minute, or until fragrant. Add cilantro, sauté another 30 seconds, then add lentils, water, and the ¼ teaspoon of salt.

2. Bring the mixture up to a boil, boil for five minutes, then turn heat to very low and cover with the lid, leaving it slightly ajar.

3. Simmer over very low heat for 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Season to taste with salt if desired.

Originally featured in The 2016 goop Detox

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When you reach Rock.Bottom.

Last year was one of the worst years I’ve had health-wise. I was basically sick with one thing or another all year, and things all came to a head when I was diagnosed with critical hypertension in July and put on blood pressure meds. Inside I was screaming THIS IS NOT ME!!! I am not the person on blood pressure meds in their 40’s!! It was very depressing but… the medication did make me feel better. Nonetheless,  I am determined to not take meds even though I have a pre-existing heart condition. I was very concerned about the extreme side-effects I experienced, even after I was put on different meds, and the fact my Dr. was very blasé about the fact he could “give me another medication to counteract the side-effects if necessary”. So my tactic has been to wait until my blood pressure stabilised over a longer period, then to wean myself off the meds and step up my yoga and exercise game, reduce my stress, and change my food game all whilst checking my blood pressure consistently (so no need to worry Mandytje 😉). On top of everything, I appear to have become more allergic to my fluffy bundle of joy, Roosje the Cat. But that situation is easily resolved by taking an allergy tab every day. Obviously, she’s not going anywhere ha!

I decided 2017, the year of my 50th birthday, I am going to commit completely to my health because the future looks short and depressing if I carry on like this. Last week I did a two-day Ayurveda course to refresh my knowledge and learned so much, I loved every minute of it! I am inconsistent about my Ayurvedic diet even though it’s the only thing that works for me.

Along with my course last week, I stumbled across a book called The Hot Belly Diet by Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar which appealed to me because it’s based on Ayurveda, and it’s about reigniting your digestive fire by following this diet for 30 days. So the ‘hot’ in the title is not the sexualised use of the word hot which is common now. The basic idea is to rekindle and maintain a balanced digestive fire (‘agni’) beginning with 3-day preparation phase to detoxify and give your digestive system a rest.

In Ayurveda we believe that the digestive system is the most important system in our bodies because it provides our body with the energy we need from birth to death. How well your agni functions determines the quality of your life. I will write more about agni in another post. But for the next 30 days I will be on this program to start feeling better because I do believe food is a medicine.

Here is a short summary of the plan:

  • A 24 hour castor oil cleanse before starting is optional. Do the oil cleanse the Sunday before you begin. Have your last meal on the Saturday night and don’t make it a heavy one.
  • Preparation days 1-3 are about breaking old patterns and not eating or drinking the things that lower your digestive fire. The goal is to lighten the burden on your digestive system.
  • Start day 1 on a Monday because the author thinks it’s easier to have your regular routine, rather than potential social distractions at the weekend (which is the case for me this week)
  • For the next 23-days, you mainly eat kitchari, a nourishing, easy to digest rice/dal  combination which I love anyway and always makes me feel great. Kitchari is the main dish for lunch (and dinner if you want), plus a non-creamy soup and steamed vegetables. Breakfast is a superfood smoothie, or oatmeal, or an egg-veggie scramble.
  • On the final 4-days you can start to reintroduce the other foods suitable for your dosha.

So this is what I’m going to be logging on here and am very interested to see what changes not only in weight, but in energy it will bring me. Will I still have energy to do yoga and go to the gym? Will I sleep well/better, will I stop getting skin rashes and bloating? Will my blood pressure be stable? I am positive I will answer yes to all the above!

Week 16 Meal Plan (15 – 21 Apr)

Monday
On waking Hot water with slice of lemon
Mid-morning (10-11) Stewed pears
Lunch (12-13) Jerusalem artichoke soup and leftover noodles dinner
Dinner (18:30-19:30) Risotto with turnip greens and rucola

Tuesday
On waking Hot water with slice of lemon
Mid-morning (10-11) Stewed pears
Lunch (12-13) Falafel from Maoz
Dinner (18:30-19:30) Ei­er­mie met tofu en spits­kool (AH)

Wednesday 
On waking Hot water
Before gym (6:15) Iron-Rich Breakfast Drink (p 257 Morningstar)
Mid-morning (10-11) Stewed apples
Lunch (12-13) Ei­er­mie met tofu en spits­kool (AH)
Dinner (20:15) Vegetarian Bolognese with greens

Thursday
On waking Hot water with slice of lemon
Before gym (6:15) Iron-Rich Breakfast Drink (p 257 Morningstar)
Mid-morning (10-11) Stewed apples
Lunch (12-13) Vegetarian Bolognese
Dinner (18:30-19:30) Indian-Spiced Kale & Chickpeas with  Roasted Cabbage Wedges

Friday
On waking Hot water
Before gym (6:15) Iron-Rich Breakfast Drink (p 257 Morningstar)
Mid-morning (10-11) Spiced Fruit Compote
Lunch (12-13) Indian-Spiced Kale & Chickpeas with  Roasted Cabbage Wedges
Dinner (18:30-19:30) Lentils with Chia Seeds Recipe

Saturday
On waking Hot water with slice of lemon
Breakfast (8:00) Masala Egg Scramble
Mid-morning (11:30) Apple
Lunch (12-13) Lentils with Chia Seeds Recipe
Dinner (18:30-19:30) Spiced Pancakes (Brown p 81)
Pudding: Mixed fruit salad in spiced yoghurt (Brown p 128)

Sunday (Detox Sunday)
On waking Hot water
Mid-morning (10-11) Ginger Smoothie (MS)
Lunch (12-13) Green Mung Bean Soup
Dinner (18:30-19:30) Green Mung Bean Soup

RECIPE: Paneer and vegetable skewers

I like paneer, and Anjum Anand’s recipes, so this looked interesting and healthy. I would add slightly more chilli powder next time. You can actually substitute other veggies too. -CM

Paneer is the main vegetarian protein eaten in India and it is a perfect foil for Indian flavours.

Ingredients

For the marinade
125ml/4½fl oz Greek-style yoghurt
small knob fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
salt, to taste
½ tsp chilli powder, or to taste
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp gram flour (also called chickpea flour)
1 tsp cumin powder
seeds of 6 green cardamom, ground

For the skewers
300g/10½oz paneer, cut into 2.5cm/1in cubes
1 large onion, cut into 2.5cm/1in cubes
1 green and 1 red capsicum pepper, cored and cut into 2.5cm/1in cubes
oil, for greasing
6 wooden skewers, soaked for an hour
2 tbsp butter, melted, for drizzling
chaat masala (a dried spice mixture available from Asian grocers), to sprinkle

Preparation method
For the marinade, mix together all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the paneer, onion and peppers. Cover with cling film and allow the paneer and vegetables to marinate for 30-40 minutes, or longer, in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and oil a baking sheet.

Thread the vegetables and paneer alternately onto the skewers. Bake in the oven for seven minutes, drizzle over the melted butter, turn and cook for another 5-7 minutes or until charred at the edges.

Sprinkle with chaat masala and serve. They are also great served with a green chutney.

via BBC – Food – Recipes : Paneer and vegetable skewers.

RECIPE: Cardamom Quinoa Porridge

This is an easy delicious breakfast. As it’s too cumbersome to take extra milk to work with me, I just eat it fairly dry or add a dash of boiling water. As nuts are heavy and thus Kapha increasing, I omit the almonds from the recipe. -CM

Serves 2

Ingredients
1/2 cup rinsed quinoa
1 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, divided
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 sliced pear, divided
4 Tbsp toasted sliced almonds, divided (omit for Kapha)

Directions
In a saucepan, bring quinoa, 3/4 cup almond milk, water, vanilla, salt, and cardamom to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until liquid is absorbed, 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and let rest five minutes, then fluff with a fork.

For each serving, top 1/2 cup quinoa with 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 sliced pear, and 2 Tbsp almonds.

Cook’s Note
Refrigerate cooked quinoa in an airtight container up to 3 days.

via Cardamom Quinoa Porridge | Whole Living.

Week 10 Meal Plan (11 – 17 Mar)

Monday
On waking Hot water
Mid-morning (10-11) Cardamom Quinoa Porridge 
Lunch (12-13) At work
Dinner (18:30-19:30) Aloo Gobi (p 175 Husain) with chapatis and ‘Jamies Great Vegetables’

Tuesday
On waking Hot water with slice of lemon
Mid-morning (10-11) Cardamom Quinoa Porridge
Lunch (12-13) Aloo Gobi (p 175 Husain) with chapatis and ‘Jamies Great Vegetables’
Dinner (18:30-19:30) Pease Pudding (93) with rice

Wednesday
On waking Hot water
Mid-morning (10-11) Cardamom Quinoa Porridge
Lunch (12-13) Pease Pudding (93) with rice
Dinner (20:15) Carrot and lentil soup with quinoa pilaf (p 80 Anand)

Thursday
On waking Hot water with slice of lemon
Before gym Iron-Rich Breakfast Drink (p 257 Morningstar)
Mid-morning (10-11) Cardamom Quinoa Porridge
Lunch (12-13) Carrot and lentil soup  (p 80 Anand)
Dinner (18:30-19:30) Stamppot with vege ‘meatballs’ (AH)

Friday
On waking Hot water
Before gym Iron-Rich Breakfast Drink (p 257 Morningstar)
Mid-morning (10-11) Spiced Fruit Compote
Lunch (12-13) Stamppot with vege ‘meatballs’ (AH)
Dinner (18:30-19:30) Roasted vegetables with brown rice and spinach

Saturday
On waking Hot water with slice of lemon
Breakfast (8:00) Scrambled eggs with kale
Mid-morning (11:30) Apple
Lunch (12-13) Pease Pudding (93) with rice
Dinner (18:30-19:30) Spiced Pancakes (p 81)
Pudding: Mixed fruit salad in spiced yoghurt (p 128)

Sunday (Detox Sunday)
On waking Hot water
Mid-morning (10-11) Ginger Smoothie (MS)
Lunch (12-13) Creamed artichoke soup (p 12)
Dinner (18:30-19:30) Creamed artichoke soup (p 12)

Wednesday 6 March

The Plan Wednesday
On waking Hot water
Before gym Iron-Rich Breakfast Drink (p 257 Morningstar)
Mid-morning (10-11) Stewed Apples and Pears and Kapha Tea
Lunch (12-13) Broccoli and ham risotto (Tesco)
Dinner (20:15) Carrot and lentil soup with quinoa pilaf (p 80 Anand)

The Reality
On waking Hot water
Mid-morning (10-11) Stewed Apples and Pears and Kapha Tea
Lunch (12-13) Broccoli and ham risotto (Tesco)
Dinner (20:15) Broccoli and ham risotto (Tesco)

Today was a nice day. The weather was warmish, work was relaxed, I went through my to-do list like nobody’s business and best of all, it was the day the cleaner comes and does all the ironing and cleaning 🙂

I didn’t make it to the gym again today, the bag was packed but I went to bed too late last night and so of course could not get up this morning. But I don’t feel too bad as I did go to yoga. Tonight’s practice was balances and for the life of me I could not do bakasana or crane pose. I am convinced it is almost impossible to do when you are overweight because I could literally feel all the fat in the way and I felt very insecure about carrying all my weight on my two wrists. The teacher said don’t think about it! Play! I know she’s right but I could not let go in my mind. If anyone’s has good tips for doing difficult poses I’d love to hear them (ahem Dearbhla!).

There was so much risotto left that there was no point cooking so we had more risotto again for dinner. I had two tiny biscuits at work and two sesame seed biscuits as I was hungry before yoga. I should have had a much bigger portion today at lunch. On the way home I bought a bag of rice snap things and a small soya yoghurt.

Still working on the going to bed by 10.30 thing. Unsuccessfully so far.

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