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Meatless Monday: Red Lentil, Yam and Ginger FALL SOUP

meatlessmondayyyEating seasonally is best for the body and the planet (and Lord knows, she needs some love right about now). Michael Pollen, longtime advocate for local, slow, seasonal food, is also a huge proponent of cooking at home primarily because we as consumers make better health choices by planning in advance and home-cooking is proven to be better for the environment.

That all being said, FALL IS MY FAVORITE FOOD SEASON. Most every season I participate in a yogi seasonal cleanse with one of my fabulous teachers. She is trained in Ayurveda, the sister science to Yoga, the Dharma Yoga diet and raw food cuisine – she has combined these principles to create a compassionate and updated diet that will bring radiant health to the body and mind. I have learned SO MUCH from these cleanses; it’s unreal. What we choose to eat is loaded – politically, emotionally, socially – so we all must do our best to make personal upgrades. Another message that has seeped into my heart-mind: we all deserve the best ingredients to support the best health possible. This notion is especially potent when coupled with mindful buying, paying attention to labels, fair trade products, etc. I think it’s also important to note (I can’t write this blog post with this left unsaid), you can eat well within your price range! Make a few updates at a time – for example, smoothies for breakfast – using fruits and vegetables, even if you can’t afford the organic variety (check out the dirty dozen list to help you decide what to buy conventional or organic).

Okay, so what’s on the menu for fall? During this windy, dry season, it’s good to bring balance and grounding with nourishing soups and stews, seasonal root vegetables and squashes, and as always, LOTS of greens. I want to share a recipe that was shared with me via the cleanse group. This soup is perfect in every way (especially with the fresh ginger and turmeric root) and sooooo easy/inexpensive.  Check it::

1 cup red lentils

5 small garnet yams, peeled and chopped

2 Tbsp fresh turmeric, grated or finely diced (if you don’t have fresh, 1-2 tsp powder will do it)

4 Tbsp ginger, grated or finely diced

1 Tbsp coconut oil

6 cups vegetable broth

¼ cup coconut milk

1 tsp salt

Black pepper to taste

Garnish with A TON of chopped cilantro

Add coconut oil to soup pot at medium heat. Get the pan nice and hot, then add grated turmeric, ginger and lentils. Saute for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and then add yams. Toss until coated and slightly caramelized. Add stock and bring to gentle boil, then simmer until yams and lentils are soft. Turn off the heat and add coconut milk and cilantro. (When I made this soup, I also added chopped kale for extra greeeeens).

A tip from a friend: when you reheat this soup, add a ton more fresh cilantro!!!

Meatless Mondays: Hemp Seeds 5 Ways!

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Hemp seeds are a staple in my diet. Why, you ask? Because they are a delicious, nutrient-dense, affordable superfood packed with protein (which I need a good amount of as I am a breastfeeding vegan diva). They are nutty, earthy and magnesium-rich – which is important because, from what I’ve heard, most of us are magnesium deficient (magnesium is a mineral that is responsible for a ton of chemical reactions in the body, for relaxation, and for best of all, facilitating regular bowel movement). I’d like to present you with 5 ways to incorporate hemp seeds in your diet. Check it out –

  1. You’ve probably already guessed … SMOOTHIES! Here’s a few recipes I make regularly (I learned this one on a women’s retreat from some lovely ladies):
    orange juice
    1 banana
    1/4 avocado
    bunch of spinach
    hemp seeds (as much as you’d like – 3 TBSP is the serving size)
  2. Hemp seeds also pair well with cacao, which is also an amazing superfood that happens to be chocolate. Sweetened with banana and dates, this is a winner:almond milk
    1 banana (try freezing your bananas to make your smoothies taste like ice cream 😉
    1 TBSP cacao
    a few dates
    hemp seeds
    you can also add a dash of cinnamon and/or a splash of vanilla
  3. Energy bite balls:These actually taste like no bake cookies, so you can’t go wrong. Here’s the link from Further Food.
  4. One of my favorite easy lunch/dinner go-to’s is kale salad with hemp seeds:Thinly slice kale (think ribbons!), massage with dressing (see below), add hemp seeds, avocado, shredded carrots (obviously you can make this your own by mixing up the toppings. I like to add chickpeas or vegan fake chicken for a heartier meal).
    Easy Tahini Dressing
    1/3 cup tahini
    1/2-1 TBSP maple syrup
    pinch of salt
    warm water to thin
  5. Adding hemp seeds to your morning oatmeal (or your raw oats soaked overnight) is another easy favorite. Super charge your oatmeal with goji berries (soak for 10ish minutes in water or almond milk first), banana, coconut flakes and hemp seeds. Or go for more earthy tones with a nut butter, apples, hemp seeds and walnuts.