Category Archives: Recipes

Hello Dahl-ey

 

Hi. Do you have the song in your head now? ;) Still love me. HEY so here’s what. I get so many questions about mung dahl because there seems to be a lot of confusion on what they are exactly. I’m with ya. When I first started learning Ayurveda, I didn’t know what a mung (or moong) dahl (or dal) was either. So, let me help you!

Not long ago I was in my local Indian “sweets & spices” store. And while waiting for them to make my lunch, I like to shop and see what kind of Indian goodies jump out at me. On this fun day, I saw mung dahl (the right kind) and next to it, I saw mung dahl (not the right kind) and I thought, “Ah-HAH! I’m totally going to take a picture cause this stuff is confusing as all heck.” And then I decided to take a photo of the other kinds of little yellow beans that might be mistaken for mung dahl too. YAY!!

In Ayurveda, we make kitchari as a nice meal and it’s even used as a cleanse. One of the most crucial ingredients in kitchari is mung dahl. It’s a complete protein and it’s a sattvic food which means that it’s totally pure for the mind and body. So, I’ve been asked, “Can I substitute yellow split peas for mung dahl?” and, “I got the green ones. Are they okay?” and “I got these yellow split beans, chana dahl, are those the same?” Not to mention, it’s spelled different ways too, like: {mung, moong} and {dahl, daal, dal}. All those spellings mean mung dahl and that’s what you want.

So let me clear the air. Simply put, none of those other dahls, beans, or peas have the same qualities as mung dahl does. Therefore, your kitchari will not behave the way that it should and therefore it won’t do the “job” on the body-mind that kitchari should. Those dahls will not hurt you of course, but they won’t have the effect on you that kitchari should.

Have a look below and hopefully you’ll be clear as day!

(above) The green mung beans are whole, so they are tougher to digest and can aggravate vata. Once the whole green beans are shelled and split, you get mung dahl which is what we want! So these two mungs are the same, but they are in different forms. You want the yellow ones, not the green.

(above) HOHkay. Look how confusing this can be! All these pretty little yellow lentils look the same, but only one is mung dahl. Notice how much smaller the beans are than the other two and they are much smaller than yellow split peas.

SO! Does this help?! Gosh I hope so. It’s not easy being an American and trying to seek out this Indian-esque stuff on our own. That said, they probably don’t have mung dahl at your regular grocery store. I believe Whole Foods has it, Trader Joe’s does not. Any Indian grocery will have them and if you find them online somewhere, tell me and I’ll post the links.

Carry on good people. Carry on and enjoy the body-mind cleansing effects of a happy and correct kitchari. Yay. xo

World’s BEST Oatmeal

Heaven on Earth!! Eeee! Okay in many places it’s the dead (or like I like to call “dread”) of winter. This hearty breakfast will leave you satisfied and sooo happy. If you are an oatmeal fan, you MUST make this oatmeal. Please trust me. I got the recipe from my Ayurvedic Vaidya (doc) and teacher, Arun Deva, and it’s AMAZING! I had a consultation with him last week and he added fabulous accessories to my otherwise routine oatmeal with ghee.

Get THIS! Here are the rules for the World’s BEST Oatmeal!
• Take 7 almonds and soak overnight in water. In the morning remove the peels (it’s easy). Peels are hard to digest so soaking and removing the peels is like giving our digestion a head start.
• Soak a small amount (10-15) of raisins overnight. Use organic raisins found in the produce dept. Soaking them adds moisture which eases digestion and eliminates raisin gassies. Skip Sunkist or Sunmaid brands, those have sulfur and other unnecessary crap added.
Use the raisin water to make your morning oatmeal (genius!). You can use slow oatmeal or if you are a fast American, use one packet of Trader Joe’s Organic Oatmeal.
Add the raisins and naked almonds to your oatmeal. Stir in brown sugar and ghee. OR use honey (but not honey + ghee). You can also add 1/2 banana, a handful of blueberries, 2 dates, or any combo of those! HEAVEN I say!

The key is to add a small amount of each thing, otherwise it’s just too big. Here we have a lovely balance of carbs, protein, and fats. We also have a good amount of iron, folic acid and anti-oxidants. Ayurvedically speaking this recipe will nourish ALL the dhatus (tissues): rasa (plasma), rakta (blood), mamsa (muscle), meda (fat), majja (bone marrow), and shukra (reproductive) and your body will hum along in harmony. Best for vatas and pittas, may be too heavy for kapha types.

AND if you choose to add ghee, guaranteed you will be a happy pooper. YAY!

 

Holiday Mocktails!

Recently a loyal reader of mine had a question about drinking alcohol because she’s menopausal. She noticed she was getting terrible night sweats when she would have beer or a glass of wine. Yes, it was because of the heat in alcohol and her moving from pitta stage (heat escaping) to vata stage of life. I recommended several recipes of non-alcoholic beverages for her so she could still participate in festive toasts without having to have a boring glass of water.

I thought you all might like to have a non-alcoholic creative approach to cocktails as this holiday approaches. Or as I like to call them, “mocktails!” Here’s the thing, we are all going to parties and events where there is a lot food and boozin going on. The bottom line is that you can and should limit how much you take in (we all know this, it’s no big news) to stay balanced.

That said, I like to enjoy a glass or two of wine myself, but I use my trick so that I stay mindful and don’t over do it.

The Best Trick:
Start the evening off with one or two mocktail or sparkling waters before your first glass of wine or cocktail. This way, if you are thirsty you drink something decent and avoid slugging down the boozey drink. And, this way everyone else will be on their 2nd drink, but you’ll just be having your first. You can savor it and enjoy. And! You can feel good about honoring your modern Ayurvedic self without feeling like you’re missing out.

Please note, this won’t work if you choose the wine or cocktail first, following with a mocktail. Why? Because your good decision-making has been altered by the alcohol and you likely ignore your good judgment and carry on with more boozies. If you want to succeed, have the non-alcoholic drinks first. Trust me!

Below is what I wrote to my sweet reader about making her own mocktails at home AND about ordering them when she’s out on the town.

Have any variety of these handy:
Apple cider, cranberry, orange, grapefruit, and/or pomegranate (pricey but perfect for holiday AND it’s red!! So fun!) juice. And have seltzer and/or ginger ale.

To make at home – you’ll have to experiment, but that’s part of the fun!
1. Warm apple cider. Heat in a pot with cinnamon sticks & a few cloves. Strain & enjoy. You can also add honey if needed. Garnish w/one cinnamon stick.
2. Cranberry w/splash of orange juice and top with seltzer. Have with or w/out ice. Garnish with an orange slice or float 3 little crannies in the glass.
3. Pomegranate juice, dash of orange juice. Optional fizz: Top with seltzer
4. Pomegranate or cranberry juice mixed w/ginger ale
5. Grapefruit juice, splash of cran, & selzer. Dip a lemon wedge in sugar for garnish :)
6. You can always have sparkling cider (delish!) or non-alcoholic beer/champagne (never tried it…)
7. MY FAVORITE: Cranberry juice with seltzer and a lime. mm!!

Ginger ale will give fizz and sweetness. Seltzer just adds fizz. Orange juice ads sweetness, pineapple juice is also good for that, very sweet. Pomegranate and cranberries are astringent, soaks up and cools down heat.

If you still want to experiment with alcohol
1. 1/2 glass light pilsner beer and add 1/2 orange juice – I love this combo
2. 1/2 sweet white wine (like a riesling) and 1/2 seltzer – a refreshing “white wine spritzer”

Make the bartender your best friend. At a bar or restaurant, they have most of these juices and can make you whatever you want. Or! Make it fun and challenge them to come up with a non-alcoholic concoction that you love. You’ll get more ideas that way too! Embrace it :)

Remember, more than the alcohol, these events are all about celebration. And no substance can take that part away from you. Put your concoctions in fun glasses (wine, high ball, tumbler, mug, flutes) with cool straws, garnish, or wine charms. Dress is up and don’t be afraid to celebrate!!! That’s what life is all about.

A Cup of My Chai

Look! I made chai spice mixes in a cute mug! After my quest (albeit whiny) for spectacularly spiced chai, I decided to make some myself. In addition, a while back I wrote a post about having a good morning and my friend Hollie said, “That graphic makes me happy. You should put it on a mug. I would buy it.” LOVE that Hollie o’ mine. Great idea! So while I was making chai recipes, I modified the mug and then added ten inspirational goodies on the back. I mean, why not have healthy, happy reminders right in front of our eyes each day?!

After that, I thought it would make a nice gift to put my chai mix in it. And hence, the little chai mug was born! I quite like it. It’s way happy.

If you need a last minute gift for holiday, I still have some left! It comes with 4 chai spice mixes, 16 servings total. You add water and your choice of milk (happy cow or coconut). Here is the link: http://www.etsy.com/listing/62205507/good-morning-mug-wtea-chai-spices

And if you don’t care for chai, you can just get the mug and put root beer in it instead: http://www.etsy.com/listing/64422741/good-morning-mug-with-10-happy

Happy Shopping!!! xoxo

The Kind Book

Dude!! Has anyone read, The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone? I just got it last week and I am LOVING it!! To be honest, I was a little skeptical (pitta) at first because I wasn’t sure how substantial it would be. I thought it might be a lot of fluffy air about nothing or that it would severely in try to sway us to veganism. SO wrong I was!

She is a former meat eater and dairy lover. And basically, she has been vegan for years and the book explains how and why a vegan (if the word “vegan” just turned you off, stay with me here) diet is “kind” to our body-minds and the planet. What I like about the book is that she is not overly preachy, but she does go into detail as to why a plant & grain based diet is good for the body-mind. I also like that she does not try to push anyone to change to be vegan, she simply gives facts and guidance. She actually gives a LOT of great facts about our food and where it comes from, which EVERYone should know! Her writing style feels like you are talking to your girlfriend (she even talks about farts), which makes all of this really easy to grasp and it also feels like it’s coming from an authentic place.

If you are questioning your nutrition and/or what kind of foods are good for you, this is a great educator and a fun read. She must have studied Eastern health modalities of some sort because she is RIGHT on parallel with Ayurvedic nutrition philosophies. What is not in her book, which is uniquely Ayurvedic, is that depending on your dosha(s), the types of food you eat will vary per person.

She has a blog, The Kind Life ,which has more recipes and life-guiding goodies. Below is my favorite excerpt from the book so far (oh yeah, there are loads of tasty recipes too!).

I’m here to remind you that eating is the most important thing you do. It determines how you look, how you feel, and even how you behave. Every meal drives your day in one direction or another. Food is the foundation of your life.

Scrappy yet Healthy Summer Pizza

Lately my fiancé and I have been hooked on making our own pizzas with leftover scraps (that sounds bad, but you know what I mean) from the fridge. They are SUPER easy, healthy, and way better than any pizza I’ve had in LA. Sorry LA, your pizzas have yet to impress me. I’ll be kind and blame the water! We use any veggies we’ve got laying around and any cheese we have hanging out in the fridge. Most of the time we wing it with what we have in the house and it always turns out amazing.

Bonuses about making your own pizza:
A!) Use any veggies from the farmers market! If you have left over veggies that you need to use, slap them on the pizza. Healthy and balancing! When we buy from farmers markets, we ensure that we’re getting the freshest seasonal produce and our bodies LOVE it.
B!) Use the bbq so you don’t heat up your home. That’s what we do and the pizza has a nice “brick oven” flavor to it…only it’s not. It’s bbq. So maybe I could just say it has a nice “bbq” flavor…
C!) It takes LESS time to whip up your own than it does to call the pizza dude. It tastes better, it’s healthier and it’s cheaper!
D!) Divvy up the pizza as necessary so everyone has their favorite ingredients on their portion.
E!) Never underestimate the joy of yummy leftovers.

Lookey. Here are some pics of one I made recently. One side has red sauce, spinach, red peppers and a little shredded mozzarella. The other side has pesto as the sauce, fresh mozzarella blobs, and grape tomatoes.

Here’s how to make it. Keep in mind, I am the laziest “cook” in the world. Lazy. Pants.

Oven instructions
1. Get some pizza dough from the grocery store (Trader Joe’s has whole wheat and herb doughs in addition to plain!). You will probably need to let it sit for 20 minutes before smooshing it flat. You can take a walk or do yoga while it sits :D
2. Smoosh the dough flat onto a floured cookie sheet or round pizza pan.
3. Add sauces (homemade pesto, olive oil, ghee, or red sauce), a little cheese (a little goes a long way, keep it healthy and don’t “over cheese”), and veggies galore!
4. Stick in the oven 10-12 min. DONE!

BBQ instructions
1. Smoosh dough on a well floured cookie sheet (to shape it) and flip the pan so that the dough lands flour-side down onto the grill. It will lose it’s shape, you may need to restretch a little. It cooks quickly, so wait like 1 minute and check the bottom. When the bottom looks toasted, remove and bring inside (the top will be a little raw).
2. ****Most important part**** Flip it over so that the grilled side is facing up and the undercooked side is on the bottom. Add your sauces and toppings.
3. Place back on the grill so that the bottom can cook. Wait til cheese bubbles in the middle and DONE!

You can also add pepper flakes, garlic flakes or make a garlic oil with olive oil and garlic in a pan. The sky is the limit. My personal favorite is: Carmelized onion, dates, and a little bleu cheese on an olive oil crust. HEAVEN!!

Have fun and use what you have. That’s what life is all about afterall. You don’t have to go to the ends of the earth to make something great. Often what you already have is greater than anything else you can find out there :) xoxo!

Customize Your Cup O’Joe

Woohoo! An Ayurvedic posting on coffee! Yesssss. Who knew such a happy thing existed?! When advising my clients, I don’t usually make them rid their coffee. Why? Because depending on the person’s dosha, coffee might not be that terrible of a thing for them.

Authentic Ayurveda says that we should not have coffee, not because of the coffee but because of the caffeine. Caffeine constricts flow, it makes you pee (diuretic to be fancy), it can make you manic/anxious, and it’s addicting. Yes, we all know that. And there is a Starbucks on every corner! THIS is why I write a little post about coffee. I know you. I know you’re going to have your coffee regardless of what myself or Ayurveda say. So! I’ll work with ya a little bit and give you the best coffee -making combinations for each dosha, to keep you balanced and happy.

Coffee’s Ayurvedic Qualities
Coffee has a bitter (cold, dry, & light qualities) taste, which is imbalancing for vata, but balancing for pitta and kapha. The bitter taste is a blood purifier (blood ruled by pitta), detoxifies the body, liver tonic (liver ruled by pitta), depletes tissues (kaphas tend to have excess tissues), especially reproductive tissues. In simple terms, bitter increases vata because it will increase the cold, dry & light qualities. Vatas need to stay warm, unctuous, and heavy, so too much coffee will be their worst enemy. The manic, scattered, jittery folks that drink coffee are most likely high vata. On the flip side coffee will cool pitta, while it dries and uplifts kapha! See the beauty of how this works?

Customize Your Cup O’ Joe!
VATA COFFEE: Vatas need lots of warm milk in your coffee to balance the bitter qualities. Start with at least 1/2 mug of warm milk and add brown sugar, stir, then add the coffee. If the coffee is strong, add warm water (use the office water cooler/heater!) to your milk and then a splash of coffee. Coffee should amount to no more than 1/2 mug. This way you get a taste of the coffee, but overall this is a nourishing, calming drink for vata without sending anxieties through the roof. As a MEGA-BONUS, vatas can add ghee to their coffee. Their coffee should always be hot.

PITTA COFFEE: Pittas can also make vata coffee because pittas will benefit from the sweet taste from milk and sugar. Pittas can handle a slightly darker coffee with a little less milk. They won’t get as anxious as vata with stronger coffee because pittas are more sturdy. Pittas are sort of in the middle. The people who are angry or crabby before their morning coffee are likely pitta people, because they need the bitter taste in coffee to “cool” them down. Pittas can also have an iced coffee during summer. Also…as a MEGA-BONUS, pittas can add ghee to their coffee too!

KAPHA COFFEE (how fun is that to say): Kaphas will actually feel uplifted from drinking coffee, rather than manic like vata. Kaphas need a little kick in the pants because they don’t like to move. They can enjoy a stronger coffee, but it should be pretty dark with less milk. Milk and sugar are NOT friends for kapha. The heaviness and sweet taste will have them craving sweets all day long. If kaphas need a sweetner, they can use honey (drying, scraping, heating)! Mind you, kaphas would love to tip the sugar shaker and hold for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5+ seconds until their drink tastes like candy. But if kaphas use the bitter taste in coffee to their advantage, they can get the energy they need without the sugar crash.

SPICE COUNTER!
Pinch of cardamom – reduces the effects of caffeine, warming, digestive. Good for vata & kapha
Cinnamon – super spice! Tri-doshic (heating, no for pitta in summer)
Brown Sugar – saweeeeet. Good for vata & pitta
Honey – sweet, but qualities are drying, heating, and scraping. Good for kapha.
Nutmeg – aphrodisiac, heating. Good for vata & kapha

 

Kapha Balancing Spice Mix

kapha spice mix

 

Hey! One of you inquired about a kapha balancing spice mix to help clear excess kapha. Indeed I have one!

For those of you who want more information, here is a thorough article from Maharishi Ayurveda with their perspective. Note: remember in Ayurveda we do not treat “cholesterol” because a) it’s a medical term and that’s a no-no b) we treat the person, not the disease c) Ayurveda looks at the whole diet and lifestyle. I can help with b) and c).

If you want the short version, here is my summary of the article: Basically cholesterol (which Monica B did not say) is a kapha imbalance. Remembering that kapha is lubrication and structure (it sticks and holds things together), in the case of cholesterol, kapha has created an increased “collection.”

This “collection” reflects too much meda dhatu (fat tissue), which is also caused by a kapha increase. Why does kapha increase in the first place? Could be several reasons (mental, emotional, stress factors), but the main reason is likely low agni (digestive fire). Malfunctioning agni is responsible for 90% of all disease, which means if we don’t digest our food properly, we’ll eventually get some kind of imbalance. The key is to digest, assimilate, and eliminate foods properly (golden rule!) and you won’t get sick.

It’s also important to follow a kapha balancing diet and lifestyle if you have high cholesterol. Split lentils, mung dahl, garbanzo beans (hummus!) are good. All veggies are a big YES! Greens like kale, spinach, collard greens. All would be great sauteéd in a little ghee and add the spice mix below. Fruits like apples, pears, prunes and figs are also helpful for cholesterol because they help clean the bowels. Proper pooping is very important because it is directly connected to healthy agni. So pay attention :)

Avoid salts, cheeses, red meats, heavy breads, potatoes, goopy oil foods, fried foods, and yogurt. And as always, the fresher the food, the better.

Also, don’t forget about exercise! Kaphas don’t like to move much, but it’s exactly what they need. They need to get their sweat on at least 20-30 minutes daily. For kaphas who are lazy, try kapalbhati pranayam :)

Below is a recipe of spices that all have kapha reducing qualities. Together they will heat, dry and move excess kapha out. Sprinkle on toast in the morning. You can sauteé with cooked veggies and stir frys or sprinkle on rice or pasta (rice and pastas should be the smallest portion on the plate for kapha, veggies should be more).

Kapha Balancing Spice Mix
You can make a nice sized batch and keep in a lidded jar. Sprinkle on foods like rice, barley soup, veggies, savory toast or english muffin. Use to also sauteé vegetables or make an “Indian-ey” fried rice. Share with loved ones!!

3 parts ground turmeric
6 parts ground cumin
6 parts ground coriander
6 parts ground fennel
2 parts ground fenugreek
1 part dried powdered ginger
1 part ground black pepper

Warm Saffron Cocktail

If you are a vata or pitta type, you might have a tendency to get stressed (who doesn’t, right?) and perhaps worries of the future can creep in to cause some anxiety. When a client of mine was feeling anxious, ungrounded, wound up, and stressed, I told her to “wrap herself in a fuzzy blanket” with this little cocktail below.

Any time you feel like you have nothing to hold on to or that you are about to come unhitched, give it a try. This tiny drink is also great if you have a feeling of “emptiness” in your heart. It soothes both vata/pitta doshas and the ingredients are sattvic, which means that they are pure harmony for your entire being. And, it’s quite yummy!!

Small glass of warm milk
Add one strand of saffron
Can sweeten with brown or rock sugar if desired

Saffron is pricey. If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, you can get a wee tiny (I mean wee tiny, it’s super small. You may have to ask for it) for about $6. But don’t be sad, it will last you a good while. Hopefully by the time the jar is finished, you won’t need to make them any more :)

MonicaB’s Lassi Recipe

Yeah! I’ve got my coworker hooked on lassi. She discovered it because she had the flu a couple weeks ago and we helped repair her digestion with lassi. Like magic!

Lassi is a yogurt drink made especially to enhance digestion. Please note that while made from yogurt, lassi is not yogurt. In fact, they have completely opposite qualities. Yogurt as we know, is a channel clogger. I know you might not believe me, you might even be mad at me for saying that, but according to Ayurveda it’s the truth. The marketing people at yogurt companies might sell us stories about probiotics and acidopholopohous or whatever it is, but I stand by my belief that yogurt clogs.

If you have any problems with allergies, slow metabolism, cloudy mind, lethargy, tendency toward being cold, sinus problems and/or chest congestion, try stopping the yogurt. Just try it for a week and see how you feel. You can always go back to yogurt if you want but my guess is that you will feel better. Ok, I digress.

BUT! We’re not talking about yogurt, we are talking about lassi (I wish I could put a pink tutu on that word because I love it so much. hmm…idea for a graphic! Love it when that happens)!! Beautiful, channel opening lassi!! Lassi is made from yogurt, but it’s properties are changed by adding water, herbs and spices and then churning it. Churning adds heat which changes the yogurt from cold, gloppy, goo-glue into a fluid substance that is channel opening and great for aiding digestion. It’s easy to accumulate ama with yogurt, but lassi doesn’t clog so you stay ama free. It’s also great for indigestion and hyper acidity as it’s cooling. Great for pitta types who like yogurt – yogurt imbalances and lassi balances (like a ballerina!).

A very magic secret about lassi is that it’s THEE  cure for hemorhoids! Have one after dinner or for a snack daily and your hemorhoids will go away. Not kidding.

I think you will find that lassi’s are quite delish and there are many recipes for them (just google). Below is my recipe that I use (pitta-vata type). Sometimes I even skip dinner and just have a lassi because it makes a nice light meal to aid digesting food from the day.

Monica B’s Lassi Recipe
1 part plain, full fat yogurt – 1/3 cup is good to start
2 (vata, pitta) or 3 (kapha) parts water
ginger powder, cardamom, honey, all to taste
Use a whisk or hand blender and CHURN!! For about 2 minutes. It will get liquidy and a little frothy. Pour into a cup and you can sprinkle extra cardamom on the top if you want. MM!

Cinnamon Oatmeal with Almonds & Milk

YAY! I love The Joyful Belly! They have great Ayurvedic recipes and you can create an entire menu just for YOU! All their recipes break out according to your constitution (vata, pitta, kapha), so their meal plans are totally individual. Just like Ayurveda! AND it’s free to sign up. How ’bout them apples!?

Their recipe of the month is Cinnamon Oatmeal with Almonds & Milk. MM! Oatmeal is perfect to balance the vata energy of winter. It’s warm, grounding, heavy and sweet. It’s also sattvic which helps fight droopy winter feelings of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Remember to enjoy a small breakfast* because we want to stoke our agni (digestive fire) for the day. If we put too much food on agni, it will get put out. And if we ignore our hunger, agni will get smaller because it has nothing to burn.

Enjoy the oatmeal and be sure to check The Joyful Belly often for new recipes. They are great folks there and will also answer any questions you may have. Happy Oateys!

*If you at a large dinner and you are not hungry in the morning, don’t eat. You may not have digested dinner from the night before! Let your body catch up and drink ginger tea instead.

Magic (and Organic) Ghee!

I would love to introduce you to Pure Indian Foods. If you ever have doubt or are in a quandary about how to make or where to buy ghee, look no further. I am so NOT a product gal, but I highly recommend this organic ghee over anything you can buy anywhere else. It’s the best I’ve ever had!!

Ok and, I lied a little. It’s not exactly magic ghee but it come as close to magic as you can get. First, THIS ghee is made from free range grass-fed cows. All they eat is grass as nature intended. Second, the ghee has been made for 5 generations by hand. And THIRD, the ghee is made only on waxing or full moon days, which are considered to be auspicious in the vedic astrology system. See I told you. Darn near magic!

And you should TASTE it!! Whoa nelly. SO good.

For those of you thinking, “What is ghee and why is it good for me?” Here you go

Also here is a great page on the Pure Indian Foods website with loads of great information on ghee and its health benefits.

In addition, below are some great tips from the folks at Pure Indian Foods (I borrowed this from their site) about how you can use ghee. Enjoy!!

How to use Ghee?

  • Use it in place of regular butter in your cooking. Ghee is great for sautéing since it doesn’t smoke or burn as easily as the ordinary butter.
  • Put ghee on your popcorn or spread it on your toast or bagel. You can keep some ghee in the refrigerator to be used on toast for spreading if the ghee at room temperature is liquidy.
  • There is nothing better on hot rice than ghee.
  • Add some ghee to hot oatmeal just before serving.
  • Add ghee as a flavoring in soups and salad dressings.
  • Drizzle ghee over fresh steamed veggies.
  • Brush a layer of ghee on corn-on-the-cob.
  • Use ghee to stir fry your greens such as kale and chard.
  • Make popcorns with ghee (melt the ghee, add salt and popcorn and pop).
  • Smear ghee on top of fresh hot Indian flat bread (Roti).
  • Use it in your casein-free, lactose free bread recipe.
  • Cakes and cookies made with ghee keep fresh longer.
  • Use ghee to make your flour tortillas. It will make them delicious.
  • Ghee is great for sautéing onions or making caramelized onions.
  • Mix ghee in porridge and mashed potatoes. Pour ghee into the hollow of a freshly baked potato.
  • Sauté mushrooms with salt, wine and ghee until mushrooms suck up all the liquid and then later release it.
  • Ghee is the secret to make a perfect Hollandaise Sauce, where it is a very good substitute for butter and much easier to work with.
  • Use ghee to make Bolognese Sauce.
  • Coat your pan with ghee before you cook the scrambled eggs to prevent sticking.
  • Make a French-style omelet, which is firm and does not brown, by using ghee instead of butter.
  • Ghee is a delicious accompaniment to fish, lobster or crab.
  • Mix ghee with nut butters to make a rich dip for apples or other fruit.
  • Mix ghee with Celtic sea salt and some chives to make a spread for pita bread.
  • Stir-fry chopped garlic in ghee and pour over fresh hot bread.
  • Sauté a batch of garlic in ghee to use for hummus.
  • Make a gluten-free dessert by mixing ghee (2 tsp), carob powder (1 tsp) and agave nectar (2-3 drops) well. Put this mixture on rice cake.
  • Since ghee is shelf-stable, you can carry it with you while traveling, camping or backpacking.
  • Use it as a skin lotion or massage oil. It keeps skin and joints supple.
  • You can also eat it straight out of the jar ☺

Cooling Watermelon Mint Shake


In the heat of summer, check out this cooling shake made simply from two happy summer ingredients, watermelon and mint! Both are so naturally cooling and sweet that you won’t need to add anything else. Perfect to keep pittas happy when they are crankypants because it’s too hot ;)

Watermelon and Mint Shake

2-3 cups of seeded watermelon (make sure it’s seeded! don’t use seedless)
4-5 fresh mint leaves
Blend together and serve!
Garnish with mint leaf

MM! Try it out and let me know what you think.

Tri-Doshic Easy Pesto!

Ok right off the bat, I am not a cook. However somehow, lately I am coming up with some really tasty recipes that I just hack together. One of my clients says she loves my “hack recipes.” Cool! A most recent hack recipe I am hooked on is making pesto from scratch. Hooked I say! I keep it in a jar in the fridge and then using for all sorts of stuff. Hooray for cheap, healthy, and fresh eats!

Tridoshic easy pesto!


Fresh Basil is tri-doshic which means it balances vata, pitta and kapha.
Depending on the ingredients you add, you can gear the mixture toward your own dosha(s) to enhance optimal digestion and overall balance. It’s super easy. There are no rules or recipe so you can be creative, but here’s what I do:

  • Get a bunch of fresh basil. Trader Joe’s has it for like 2 bucks a carton. We always use 2 cartons.
  • 3 Cloves of garlic. Vata and kapha can have more garlic, pitta should have less
  • Olive oil. Vata should have a fairly oily based pesto, pitta can have some oil, kapha should have less so that their pesto is more paste-ey.
  • Salt. Vata yes, pitta and kapha less salt
  • Black pepper. Yes for all, pitta be mindful of too much
  • Optional: Pine Nuts, Almonds, Fresh Parmesean.

Now for the fun part! Put the basil and oil into a food processor and grind it up. If it’s too sticky, add more oil. Add minced garlic, grind again. Then add salt and pepper…try it on a little piece of bread! Add more oil or salt and pepper…try it again! Get it til you like it and then you can store it in a little jar in the fridge. If adding the nuts and/or parmesean, add it only when you are going to eat it right away – don’t store it.

You can use it on plain pasta or with veggies, fresh bread, toasted cheese sandwiches, chicken & rice, mozarella & tomato sandwiches, add to homemade pizza, and basically anything that could use a spread! It’s sooo yummy and so simple. You can always add more oil depending on the dish. If you come up with something clever, do share! I would love to hear what you’re doing with tri-doshic pesto!

Kitchari Recipe

Woohoooo!! After a long time searching, I finally got a great kitchari recipe from one of my fellow Ayurvedic students. You might hear it pronounced as kitch-a-dee or kitch-a-ree.

I love kitchari is because it’s wonderfully easy to digest, it’s a great source of protein because of the mung dal and it’s a complete food. It’s excellent for detoxification and de-aging of cells and it’s used particularly when fasting or doing a cleanse like panchakarma (five actions, cleanse). Kitchari nourishes all the tissues of the body, so it is a favorite of mine when I am feeling a bit “off”.  A few days of kitchari and my digestion and mind return to their normal state – it feels so good! Like true nourishment.

Okay so! Here is a recipe I concocted (kitchari is a hodge-podge…there’s lots you can do ) tonight:

1/2 cup mung dal/mung dahl, split yellow lentils (NOT the whole green ones)
1 cup basmati rice
3 cups water (if you want it more moist/soupy, use 4 cups water)
3 tablespoons of ghee1 inch piece of fresh ginger (root), peeled, chopped up well
1 tsp ajwan seeds (caraway)
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds

3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp tumeric
Optional veggies, pick 2: 1 cup chopped fresh green beans, carrots, peas, cauliflower

Ok! First, wash the mung dal and the rice really well. Wash & strain, wash & strain. Then heat the water til it boils. Throw in the mung dal & rice. Cover. Turn heat down to low. While that’s going, crush the three seeds (ajwan, fennel & cumin). In another pan, heat the ghee on medium and add the ginger, seeds, tumeric, cinnamon sticks – it should smell really good! If you are adding veggies, add them to the spices once the spices are roasted.

When the water is no longer covering the mung dal & rice…but you still know there is 1/2 water in the pot, add the spices and veggies. Stir. Cover. Turn on low heat and  cook until all water is absorbed. Tadaaaa! Serve with ghee and you can add a little salt. mm!

Kitchari has many many variations. If you have high pitta, you can swap out ajwan for 2 tblsp. unsweetened coconut. You can also swap cumin for 1 small handfull of chopped cilantro leaves.

Or for more Ayurvedic cooking, try this book by Dr. Lad.

Vata Balancing Tea

This vata balancing tea is great for aiding digestion and to help ground the body and mind. Pacifying vata is important especially during vata season because vata is the quickest dosha to go out of balance.

4 cups of water
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 pods of cardamom
1 tbsp of sucanat or rice syrup (optional)

Heat water in a pot. Crush fennel and coriander seeds and cardamom pods slightly. Add to the water and boil for 3 minutes. If you use the sucanat or rice syrup, add and boil for 2 more minutes. Strain and serve.
*You can use brown sugar to sweeten afterwards if you don’t add the sucanat or rice syrup

The Best Ayurvedic Appetizer

The Best Ayurvedic Appetizer!

Any clue as to what it might be? I have a magic Ayurvedic potion to share! Well, it’s not really a potion, but it is pretty awesome.

To keep agni strong, a little something called Indian lemonade is great to make before meals. It’s not quite lemonade as us Americans know it. It is much smaller in quantity and it is used as a medicine to aid in digestion.

The ginger and salt are heating to the body which “stokes” our internal fire (agni). That way, when we put food in our stomach, it will be digested thoroughly and give proper nutrition to the tissues. It’s like a metabolic boost! In addition it cleanses our tongue so we properly taste the food. Taste is extremely important because we eat less when we are satiated.

Below is a recipe for this Indian Lemonade. It’s the best ayurvedic appetizer to prepare your body for digestion and you won’t even be full before your dinner arrives ;)

Ginger and Lemon. Indian Lemonade

Indian Lemonade

Make it into a paste and store in a small container in the fridge. Before lunch and dinner, eat about as much as your pinky finger nail. Share some with your feasting comrades. If you are high pitta, eat less.

Freshly squeezed lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
Freshly grated ginger 1″ piece
Rock salt 1/4 tsp
*for pitta constitutions, can add some sugar

Yogurt in Ayurveda

Yogurt in Ayurveda? Not really so much. I receive some hefty resistance when I ask people to eliminate yogurt as part of their diet. So lemme explain!

There is a lot of advertising about yogurt and acidophilus as healthy bacteria/probiotics, good for the “waistline,” etc., but truth be told, yogurt is a channel clogger. It is exactly like jumping into a very cold pool of mud, where you can’t move and can’t get out. Your body is made of flowing, warm, thin fluids, subtle veins, arteries, and blobby warm, soft organs. Yogurt is cold, gooey, heavy, and thick and it will coat whatever is in its way. Yogurt’s clogging qualities can cause health problems (especially in kapha, because it has the same qualities as kapha) like chest congestion, sinus problems, allergies, and edema (swelling). If you already have these problems, lay off the yogurt and see if you feel better.

If you are a yogurt lover, here are some tips:

• Don’t eat it in the morning when agni is at its lowest – you’ll put out your tiny fire with the cold goo.
• Have it at lunch (infrequently) when agni is strongest. You can add honey or rock sugar.
• Never combine yogurt and fruit. I know, I know…the parfaits, Pinkberry and Jamba Juice. They’re yummy, but I would not promote them. Sorry.

The good news is that you can turn yogurt into buttermilk or lassi and our agnis LOVE it. Buttermilk is a channel opener and a great digestive. The difference is in the heat and friction that is added when you churn yogurt into buttermilk. It changes the substance completely. You can sip it during a meal and/or end a meal with buttermilk.

A simple recipe for buttermilk:

2-3 parts water (kapha use 3 parts so that it’s more liquid. vata & pitta 2 parts)
1 part yogurt
Optional: add honey or rock sugar
Churn or whisk the mixture for 2-3 minutes until it’s room temp

Ghee Recipe

What is Ghee? Ghee is clarified butter and the purest, most sattvic oil. When making ghee, you boil off the sugar, water and salts that are in the butter, leaving only the oil – pure fat.

Why is it good for me? Ghee an excellent aid for digestion since it increases agni (psst! It’s the only oil that does!). It is oleating and calming for vata. It is soothing and cooling for pitta. It is also ok for kapha in moderation because it helps increase digestive fire. Ghee improves memory and lubricates the connective tissues. It helps the body absorb nutrients and helps “butter” the body’s insides to keep everything running smoothly. People who have ama or a white tongue, should not take ghee.

You can use it internally or externally. Be forewarned if you use it externally you will smell like butter. Although ghee on our feet makes for a great massage! Our bodies LOVE ghee. Make your own if you can or get some from Pure Indian Foods (tell them I sent you!).

Don’t refrigerate. Ghee has a high smoke point, so you can use it for cooking and stir-frying. You can even make ghee candles which are great for tired, irritated pitta eyes.

Keep your ghee clean. That means don’t go spreading ghee on your toast and then dip the crumby knife back in the ghee. Spoon out a separate amount and use. No double dipping!

Ghee Recipe
1 lb. unsalted butter

Melt in small sauce pan on medium heat.
It will start to bubble & crackle – do not stir. (Some junk will fall to the bottom, and other junk will float to the top. You want the stuff in the middle)
Once the butter is melted, turn down the heat until the butter just boils and continue to cook at this heat. Should take about 15 minutes for 1lb.

Keep an eye on ghee, it can burn. If it smells like buttery popcorn, you’re doing great. If it smells like toasted nuts and turns a little brown, you’ve burnt it.

Once the ghee has stopped making noise and is clear all the way to the bottom of the pan (swipe away the foam with a spoon to look), set aside until it is just warm and drain through a thin sieve. If you just have a spoon, then spoon off the top (toss it) and then spoon out the clear/yellow oil in the middle into a glass jar. Leave the junk on the bottom.