The following recipe and passage is written by my beautiful friend Maria from @thehealingroot_
We have done a little recipe swop and cant wait to share!
Maria is a fellow South African foodie that runs a Blog and Social Media page that is full of Health and Wellness . Give her a follow on Instagram(@thehealingroot_) and head to her blog for all her wonderful recipes. Mia is also a qualified Yoga instructor, she has trained to be a Plant-based chef in Austin Texas and she specializes in the ancient healing modalities of Ayurveda and macrobiotics!
I am very excited for the two of us to do a lot more work together!
Hello everyone - I hope you have had a nourishing & connected weekend. Especially after the very hectic week last week. Things in the world right now are intense: to say the very least. Between COVID-19 & the Black Lives Matter Movement, things are a lot right now. And rightfully so, I believe it is truly a powerful & INCREDIBLY important movement but never the less - we are using energy resources that we haven’t yet had to use. Whether it is doing internal work like looking at your own internal biases, perspectives & opinions and challenging them in a very tangible & real way OR fighting a fight you’ve been fighting all your life: where ever you are in this journey right now never before have we had to use our energies in this way: exacerbated by the variable circumstances of lockdown, peaked emotional traumas, collective consciousness shifts, internal emotional shifts, difficulty with close relationships, struggles with employment & every single thing in between.
So, having said this, I want to just remind you (in case you needed reminding) that YES we need to listen, learn & continue expanding our perspectives. YES we need to normalize and INVITE change in. YES, we need to do the inner & the outer work right now: on a very grassroots level to begin changing things in a systemic and impactful way. BUT, we also still need to take care of ourselves in the process. And this will look different on any given day. Some days it will mean taking a break from social media & a break from consuming the information that is continuously coming in through social media, some days it will mean spending more time in nature, or having a call with a loved one, or doing a good yoga class or meditating & journaling, some days it will be all of the above & I personally, HIGHLY recommend doing a mixture of all of the above MOST, if not every day so that every day you are filling your tank in one way or another. I believe that in times like these, managing your energy outputs & inputs mindfully & carefully is the key to staying balanced & functional. That means you have to be hyper-aware about how things effect your energy: what is draining your energy right now? What gives you energy? What fulfills & nourishes you? What is filling your emotional/physical/mental tank right now? Whatever it is, make sure that you are prioritizing that, too. And if doing it for your own wellbeing isn’t enough of a reason right now, considering the magnitude of the global demands and movements happening right now demanding your energy & attention, then do it for the movement. Do it so that you can show up with more presence, so that you can show up as the fullest, strongest, most awake, alive & VITAL version of yourself. This is how you will make a sustainable impact. And in order for you to do that, you need to fill your tank.
I have heard from multiple people that this immensely charged time has resulted in a build-up of anxiety, depression and stress (understandably so). The result is highly varied: how these stressors and strains manifest in people's lives differs from person to person. Some common manifestations are:
Not nourishing yourself with good, wholesome food
Not feeling up to moving your body in healing & nurturing ways
Physical and mental symptoms
Feeling more of a strong desire to isolate or partake in self-destructive or unsupportive behaviors (to name just a few)
So, this recipe is an invitation to SOFTEN. It is an invitation to come back home to yourself. To take time away to sit with & process the changes, the challenges & the difficulties of these last few weeks. It is an invitation to take an hour this evening to put away social media, to move out of the role of consuming information and bombarding the senses. It is an invitation to COME HOME to your firm seat of stillness & presence. Take yourself into the kitchen, put your apron on & get cooking a delicious & soul-soothing meal. Then, when it is cooked, sit yourself (and your loved ones) down, light some candles, play some calming, joyous music (I recommend Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong or Frank Sinatra) and treat yourself to a loving meal.
This meal is really delicious. It is really calming to the nervous system, it is comforting, but it is still nutrient-dense & hearty. Not to mention packed with delicious plant-based proteins!
As we move into the colder Winter months, it is vital to start considering the changes we need to make with regards to our diet. We need to mirror the changes in the seasons on an individual scale: meaning we have to adapt & change our routines, daily rhythms & habits to stay in sync with the seasonal shifts & cycles in order to optimize our wellbeing on all levels. At certain times of the year, there is an increase in certain enzymes that help us to break down carbohydrates (colder months) and in certain times of the year, there is less of these enzymes (spring & summer where we need less carbohydrates due to a decrease in this enzyme as the body prepares to shed energy & eat a higher fat). This is an example of how our physiological, & biological internal clocks are already aligned with the seasonal, external shifts - mirroring nature. The famous Ayurvedic saying of “so in the macrocosm, so in the microcosm” comes to mind. The larger external shifts are mirrored on suble levels. This is even seen in how emotionally & energetically our inner world mirrors that of the seasons. Think about how during Winter months (months that innately have more yin, calming, soothing, inward moving energy) our nature changes from being more extroverted, to being more willing & able to turn inward, to bunker down, to “hibernate”. And how in Summer, we are ready to roar & play which mirrors the heating, yang, outward moving energy associated with the warmer months.
So, as we move into the colder months we need to start incorporating more warming foods. There are foods that are innately warming - meaning that whether you eat them physically warmed up/cooked or cold they are warming - things like ginger, tomato, chili, or coffee. And then there are foods that are innately cooling like cucumber, cilantro, mint & watermelon. But, besides the innate energetic quality of certain foods, you can also add an additional energy quality through actively heating or cooling a food item. So, a physically hot carrot & ginger soup is doubly warming (because the ginger is innately warming, but now that it is also physically heated through cooking it & serving it warm) thus, it creates a dual-heating quality to our mind-body). Or, if you make a cucumber sorbet or a coconut ice-cream there is dual-cooling quality to the food (because coconut is cooling and then serving it in an iced form makes it double-cooling).
So as we move into colder months, we need to start incorporating more warming foods to create balance & harmony. According to Ayurveda, the ancient medical healing system of ancient India, opposing energies create balance. So, when it is hot outside, we want to create an internally “cool” environment by eating things that are hydrating & cooling like watermelon & cucumber. Conversely, when it is cold outside, you want to eat things that are warming (both innately & actively warming): things like soups, stews & bowls of oatmeal. You get the picture!
Here are examples of some warming foods: chili, coffee, mustard, peppers, tomato, eggplant, potato, ginger, cinnamon, soy sauce, stews, soups, curries & the like.
Examples of cooling foods: fresh fruit, salads, cucumber, green vegetables like peas, zucchini, broccoli, garlic & avocado.
So, all of this to demonstrate that this is a particularly warming bowl of goodness. Not only is the pasta itself made using delicious legume-based pasta made by Happy Earth People, which is warming & nourishing. But the use of eggplant, tomato, chili, and beans in the sauce itself makes this very heating to the mind-body. AND it is served hot, adding the additional external heating quality.
AND, without further a due … the recipe!! This recipe serves about 4-6 people (depending on how hungry you are!).
1 packet of chickpea Happy Earth People Pasta
1 large white onion
4 garlic cloves
1 tin tomato, I used a chopped onion & tomato mix
2 small tins (70g each) of tomato paste
2 large carrots, grated
1 medium eggplant, diced into small cubes (about 1.5 cups in total after being chopped)
1 cup of chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup of mixed beans (I used a mix of Borlotti & Red Kidney Beans)
1 cup of chopped green beans
3 cups of raw baby spinach
1/2 cup of pitted black olives
1 tablespoon of honey or sugar
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or 1 heaped teaspoon of dried
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1/2-1 tsp ground cumin
To serve (optional): vegan Violife Parmesan, avocado & extra fresh greens
In a pot, place your olive oil. Bring it to heat & then add in the onion. Sautee until translucent & then add in the garlic, chili flakes & cumin. You might need to add a bit of water to deglaze the pan and prevent the onion mix from burning. After about 2 minutes, add in the grated carrot, rosemary & tomato paste. Mix well.
Add in the tinned tomato & using that same tin, add water to fill it halfway up. Slosh it around so that you catch any remaining tomato bits in the tin & add to the pot. Add your sugar/honey if you are using some.
Now add in the chopped eggplant, the beans, the mushrooms and olives and let it cook away for a good twenty minutes. It should reduce & get nice and thick & “stew-y” looking. Once ready, take off the heat, add in the chopped green beans & baby spinach, stir & cover with a lid.
Let it sit covered and the steam will cook the beans & spinach. While it is sitting, cook the chickpea pasta for 6-7 minutes in boiling water (according to the packet instructions) and then combine the pasta sauce with the pasta & distribute between bowls.
Top with freshly grated vegan parmesan & some fresh herb of choice and a side of avocado! TUCK IN & ENJOY!
Note: this is a really delicious recipe that you don’t need to reserve only for pasta! I make a big batch of this on the weekend and keep it in a jar in the fridge and use it in a variety of different dishes & ways: like adding onto sandwiches, making a lasagne, adding to buddha bowls, adding to wraps and such. It can turn any bland meal into something really flavorful, really quick.