How are you? How are you nourishing yourself during this busy holiday season? Our culture is so funny, and quite frankly counter-intuitive, isn’t it? At a time of year when the flowers and trees and animals are saying “go in, rest, be still,” our culture demands us to “go OUT! SPEND! BORROW! RUSH!” It’s no wonder so many of us get so tired (and a little cranky) around the holiday season!
So what are we going to do about it? I’ve got a couple things to share.
1. Breathe. Focus especially on your exhale. It is very beneficial this time of year to exhale through your mouth, with a sighing sound (“hhhaaaaaa”). Try it right now, three times, and see how you feel. (I won’t say I told you so!)
2. Get close to the earth. If you practice yoga, and you’re familiar with poses like Balasana (Child’s pose) and Supta Baddha Konasana (Supine Cobbler), enjoy them for 3-5 minutes each. Just laying on your back on the floor and doing simple spinal twists to each side, while exhaling through your mouth “hhhhaaa” will do you so much good. Or just lay on your belly, on the earth, with your arms stretched out, like you’re being held on your mama’s chest. aaahhhhhhhh.
3. You might not like this one, but try it and see. Do your best to avoid stimulants: SUGAR AND COFFEE! Try to avoid excesses, especially with ALCOHOL. Focus on warming foods: vegetable-heavy soups and stews, warming tea (chai, ginger, etc.). Try to keep a decent sleep schedule: going to bed around 10; getting 7-8 hours of sleep; avoiding computer, television, or cell phone interactions a half hour before going to sleep. It will help. I PROMISE!
4. Remember gratitude. At night, before you fall asleep, think of 5-10 things/people that you are thankful for. If it is in your practice to pray, say a prayer of gratitude before you fall asleep. This is a great thing to do with your kids!
5. NOURISH yourself! And how might you do that? I’m going to share a pile of yummy recipes (below) to inspire you! Taking care of your body is absolutely essential to your deeper well being. “Do you not know that your body is a temple…?” 1 Corinthians 6:19
Both of these recipes are from http://www.elanaspantry.com, and they are DE-LISH! Latkes, and other fried foods, are usually eaten around Hanukkah, in honor of the oil in the lamp that miraculously burned for 8 days to purify the temple, though there was only enough oil to burn for one. These latkes are SO simple, HEALTHY, and tasty. My kids enjoyed dipping them in sweet red chili sauce, as if they were egg rolls. The noodles are also a great protein-packed grounding delight. I used brown rice spaghetti noodles, since I wasn’t able to find the lentil noodles that Elana suggests.
This spinach cake requires an amazing, and in December in Minnesota slightly EXPENSIVE amount of spinach (1.5 lbs). However, what you spend in spinach will be paid back to you in serious healthy vitamin benefits and tasti-ness. A few suggestions: 1. I added some sauteed mushrooms that I needed to use up (they added texture and variety). 2. Kalamata olives are also great with this; serve them on the side, or chop them up and put them in it! 3. I used a 9×9 pyrex, since I didn’t have the size that Elana recommends. 4. Both times I’ve made this, I simply used the 6 leftover egg yolks from the coconut macaroon recipe (below), rather than the whole eggs that the recipe calls for. Turns out great. 5. It’s super tasty with a little grated smoked mozzarella on top… Also good for breakfast with a few scrambled eggs. ENJOY!
If you want a little healthy pick-me-up for the holidays, or a healthy snack to share with co-workers, friends and family, these GLUTEN FREE cookies are all great choices. The gingersnaps are crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. The recipe calls for palm sugar, which has a very low glycemic index, but is also a bit of a specialty item, so feel free to substitute organic raw cane sugar instead if you need to. The molasses cookies called for yacon, which I didn’t have, and haven’t found. I used blackstrap molasses and the cookies were VERY molasses-y… almost astringent. Next time I will probably try half maple syrup and half molasses. I’d love to hear how it goes for you, if you try other ingredients! Lastly, the macaroons are HEAVENLY! And SIMPLE! Make sure you beat the egg whites to VERY stiff peaks, or the batter deflates quickly. And be careful not to overbake. If your oven is warm from other baking, the first batch will likely only take 12-14 minutes, and you can decrease the cooking time a bit with each batch. Unless you have an awesome oven that holds a consistent temperature.
These bars are super chow. They are quick, healthy, and a GREAT treat to bring to a holiday get-together. All the boys in this house scarf them right up. They are great for breakfast, snack..whatever! I like to sprinkle the top with extra coconut before baking.
Well, my friends, I hope that you enjoy these recipes. Do your best to nourish yourself, so that you may nourish others, and the world. OM. AMEN. HALLELUJAH. Happy Holidays.