In an early post, I mentioned that food is huge in Ayurveda. Since then, I have ignored it, because I eat like the cornfed, beer and brats Midwesterner that I am.
I haven’t made kitchari in ages. We stock up on red meat every time we go to Costco. There is a bowl, nay, a bin, of candy at work that I don’t even have to stand up to access. And be assured, it gets accessed a lot. My go-to lunch is cottage cheese and tortilla chips. Sometimes I stop at Mickey D’s. My friend says that her friend says that for every McDonald’s visit, you shave a day off of your life.
Eating Well Takes Discipline
You may surmise that I am in NO position to tell anyone about diet choices. I cook, but it’s easy, cheese-y stuff. Recently, I saw a recipe for grilled cabbage, comparing it to grilled steak. Come on. I love cabbage, but steak, it ain’t.
I may not be killing it right now, but I AM reaching for healthier ways to eat and finding strategies for eating well so that I can keep feeling better and better (vortex!). Eating healthy food is an acquired taste, but once acquired, it starts to be yummy and satisfying. Bodies crave it and enjoy eating it. And we start to FEEL good.
The challenge for me is taking the time to do the work required. If someone would just cook me some cabbage, I would eat it up! Until I make my first million though, it’s on me and my husband to get food to the table. I try to think of it as a chop-wood-carry-water situation.
It’s rice, a potato, or pasta at our table. I come from hardy stock, and we use fillers. After acquiring an Insta-pot, I planned to go BEAN crazy – dry to cooked, Instantly! All that pot has cooked is pulled pork, once, for a gathering.
Easy, simple meals can vary widely in taste – the key is to use different grains, veges, and spices
Quick and easy go-to meals can be made by rotating vegetables out for variety. This way, a full meal can be made, in a similar manner, but tasting different because of ingredients (veggies, grains, spices). It’s like making pasta and red sauce with whatever vegetables are in the fridge. The next night you might make a dish with Indian spices and a different veggie combo. Get the veggies, then rotate through.
There are directions below for cooking a veggie dish and a bean dish. Add a grain (rice, millet, bulger, quinoa, etc.) as desired. It is one “recipe”, but actually serves as a recipe for many different combinations of ingredients. This way, many different “dishes” are available to you.
So you can pretty much make the same thing over and over, swapping out vegetables and grains. This lends to a nice variety for the palate while maintaining ease and convenience. The key is planning. I love to plan!
Vegetable Medley (the veggie dish):
Make your own dish using one type of vegetable from each category of veggies (below).
Bring 1 cup water to boil in a covered saute pan. Lower the heat and add 2 tsp olive oil (or like), 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2-1 tsp spice mix (below), 2 pinches pepper, 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger.
Simmer slowly, starting with the veges that need the longest cooking time (e.g., the cauliflower), and do the quick-cooking ones last (e.g. the spinach).
Veggies – use one from each category
- Cruciforous: cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, daikon
- Colorful: carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, beet, asparagus, okra, green beans
- Green: kale, spinach, chard, dandelion greens, mustard greens, fresh fenugreek
Example: cabbage, carrots, spinach
Protein: Go for some chicken and fish, if desired. Or make Paneer (a soft Indian cheese). The vegetable medleys are mostly sufficient with adding of one of these proteins at one meal per day.
Spice Mix for Veggies:
1 part Turmeric, 1 part Cumin, 6 parts coriander, 6 parts fennel – make a batch and store it.
Split Mung Dal (the bean dish)
This dish will go with the veggies above, and it makes a nice meal.
1/2 Cup split Mung Beans
2 Cups Water
1/2 tsp salt
Soak beans overnight. Wash beans, put in a saucepan. Add water and salt and bring to a boil. Once it boils, skim off the white foam.
Lower heat to simmer and cook until beans are cooked. Many recipes say it will take 10-15 min but I have found (and this may be because they weren’t “split”) it to take them longer on the stove-top.
I need to research the Instapot way. I bet you wouldn’t have to skim slimy foam.
Spice Mix for Dahl:
Melt 1 Tbsp Ghee in small saucepan
1/2 in Thai chili
4-5 Curry Leaves
1 tbsp fresh ginger (possibly less, it’s strong)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/8 tsp turmeric
Cook on Low, stirring for 1-2 min. Add to Dahl (beans).
It’s a privilege to have fresh fruits/vegetables, access to a car, a store that sells fresh stuff, and time to cook meals. So I loathe to squander it. But I do. Squander.
Cooking at home is usually healthier than restaurant food. Fall is an excellent time to make kitchari, and even do a mono-diet.
My casserole (left) pre- canned soup, cheese, breadcrumbs, melted butter, and (right), mmm.
So easy…everyone loves it…at least there is broccoli…
Making It Happen
- Shop for the week (yawn)
- Make a menu for the week (groan)
- Prep Veggies for the WEEK (moan)
- Have a rotation of easy recipes – no need to reinvent the wheel all the time – look at the veggie list above and get them, cut ’em, and make the same dishes with different veggie combinations.
- Add proteins in and legumes.
- Try one new recipe per month?
- Let other stuff go (like clutter) – make time for the food and the rest, and then you will have energy to tackle the clutter. Cleaning is endless. Take the time for rejuvenation.
- That said, if there is massive clutter, get rid it it. Move it out of your experience to clear up energetic space. Just don’t tackle it all at once. Slow and steady.
- Kids want to help. Get ’em involved.