Mindfulness Via Yoga

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Purple Corn Bread !

IMG_0917Purple, Cakelike, Gluten-free, Organic and lots of fun to make and to eat.

Note to commenters: I cannot find the original recipe but I added butter to this recipe.

Easter colors were not even on my mind when I spied this Organic Purple Corn Meal at the Lemon Street Market, where all things gluten-free nest among the “regular” food.    http://www.lemonstreetmarket.com

I know the folks at Spiral Path Farm http://www.spiralpathfarm.com    located up the river from us in Perry County. Spiral Path has always gone the extra mile to farm with nature always in mind and their products are especially high quality. The milling of this interesting variety of corn meal is so well done. It makes corn meal look and act like cake flour. But look at some of the reasons they may have considered when they set out to grow this interesting variety of corn.

Purple corn meal got its start way back in the Incan Empire in Peru. (I’ve been to Peru and know there is something powerful and mysterious about these Incan people. Let’s just guess that their prowess may have been supported by their diet, supporting them as they create monuments of huge scope way up top on the hills of the Andes.)

In today’s nomenclature, this is a Superfood that surpasses even Blueberries when it comes to supplying anthrocyanins – the source of antioxidents that are known for anti-inflammatory properties and connective tissue regeneration.  What better food could we turn to when we want to cool down the Fire of Pitta dosha, keeper of healthy skin. Before I share a recipe or two with you, let’s look at just two reasons why this food is a balancing “medicine” for doshas. Summer – Pitta’s high season – is just around the corner after Easter comes and goes- and healthy skin in summer is always a challenge. Meanwhile,  cool, moist springtime is still with us (Kapha time) , so it’s a good time to acknowledge that Kapha governs the connective tissue between brain cells, where past memories are stored.

It could take a lifetime to understand the intricacy of details that make up the nutritional values converted by doshas. So let’s get busy and do some baking in time to serve cakelike Purple Corn Bread with our pink and yellow Easter eggs.

This recipe uses a lot of fat, here in the form of organic butter. This promotes sweetness and so it calms and soothes Vata and Pitta. Kapha may be aggravated by any high-fat recipe so give your Kapha friends only small portions of sweet, dense food like this bread because they will adore it!

Purple Corn Bread

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients:  1 cup purple corn meal, 3/4 cup rice flour (You can substitute all-purpose flour if you don’t mind the gluten in it), 1 Tablespoon sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients:  2 large eggs, lightly beaten, 3-4 tablespoons melted butter, and 1 1/2 cup buttermilk.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and fold together until they are no dry spots showing.  This batter will be lumpy.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake about 20 to 25 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.

You might experiment with a seasonal theme of powdered sugar lightly sifted over the top of the finished bread. With the finely sifted rice and corn flours this dish is delicate enough to act like a cake!

Please put in your comments if you try this recipe or these flours in other dishes.


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In A Stew About Your Dosha?

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Rice and Dal and a Curry and fresh Fenugreek are just a few balancing ingredients for a basic Kichadi.

Although the first line of defense against an unbalanced and troublemaking dosha excess is changing lifestyle, that may take a long time to change :  other people’s influence, your job, your living quarters. Food is medicine however and it works so quickly.

People who struggle to understand the complexity of prakruti (doshas combination at conception / fixed) and vkruti ( doshas combination during stages of life, the seasons, life events) look to food as medicine. And the simplest of all Ayurveda foods is the infamous Kichadi.

Kichadi is perhaps as misunderstood as is curry. Curry, as we know, is not one spice. It is a combination of spices and with Ayurvedic understanding the ratio of cumin, coriander, peppers, and many, many other spices is a highly individualized process. More about curry in another blog.  For now, here is a recipe of Kichadi courtesy of Maya Tiwari, who famously cured herself of a profound cancer with profound changes of her lifestyle (fashion model in large city to simple life in an ashram) and her study of food as medicine.

Kichadi means only a combination of a grain and a bean.  Commonly used are rice and mung dal.  This very simple food is a wonderful base for a cleansing.  Use it for a spring fast, a quick meal ( I just had some for breakfast), or part of a cleansing routine.

Most important, join us on Sunday March 29, from 1 to 4 p.m, in a large private kitchen where we will cook in a small group and talk about individual balancing of doshas. I will bring lot of spices – dry and fresh. This class is limited to few enough people for highly individualized understanding of food, tastes, likes, dislikes, and questions.  Register by calling me at 717 576-2099 or email to roberta.strickler@yahoo.com. Cost is $30 and bring a container for a sample to take home and your journal. And your questions. And your apron. And…….see you there !

Brown Rice Kichadi.

Serves 2.

Good for V, VP, VK, P, PV, PK

Wash until water runs clear:  Soak mung in 2 cups water for 2 hours; drain.

1 cup brown basati or short-grain brown rie

1/2 cup whole mung dhal

In a large pot heat 1 Tablespoon ghee and sauté 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 2 tsp cumin seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon ginger for a few minutes.  Add rice and beans. Saute over low heat for 3 minutes.

Add 8 cups of boiling water ( less water is okay; it will make a thicker stew), a pinch of turmeric and a pinch of sea salt.

Cover and simmer gently for 1 hour over low heat, stirring occasionally. Serve warm.

We will use this basic recipe during our cooking class. If you like, make a set of it and bring your cooking questions with you. You can buy all of these ingredients at Lemon Street Market and get advice on herbs to be added at Radiance.


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Do you know your dosha?

You might write it as  dosa and you might say dosha. Either will do. The sound of the s – in this case of Sanskrit – is a ch sound. So say it as you like it. But do try to know your dosha: how it is truly your basic nature and how it weaves in and out of the situations in your life. That could be the food  you have eaten, your emotional – even hormonal – state, the climate in which you live – or where you are forced to reside.  Your age-appropriate style of householder, explorer,or wise elder, even those nice situations affect the status of your dosha package.Square in Solefino October 2012 157

The three doshas are these:  Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. We use the Sanskrit words because they describe these meanings that are not so clearly defined in other languages.

Altogether they represent three fundamental,  psychological and physiological principles of the body. Their ratio determines your individual constitution and that combination was determined at the time of your conception. When your dosha ratio is in normal balance you would recognize your own true nature, the feeling of comfort with yourself and your surroundings.

LIfe,of course, can be fickle. Stresses of all kinds affect our psychology and our physiology. And the doshas themselves might be easily disturbed: depleted, aggravated, increased; they are moveable. In food or behaviour, in lifestyle, this tendency underlies the principle of Like Follows Like.  I like chocolate or coffee or lying in the hot sun in the sand. But when I am undiscipled about my longings, the more i get of it, the more I want of it, and so a pleasant experience becomes negative because that undisciplined longing will throw my doshas ratio way out of balance.

Too often, too far out of balance and the state of imbalanced doshas can create disease.

But knowing your doshas profile, applying principles of balance with nature, this Dosha Balance creates harmony, a life of balance and joy.

Beware the pop culture to dismiss your behaviour by applying a dosha word to an action: Oh She is SO Vata !  Let’s hope that every one of us has at least a bit of Vata in our constitution. For without Vata, there is no mobility, no change.  Without creative Vata, fiery Pitta becomes intense and is not able to do its work as the Transformer.  Kapha gets stuck in its very steady groundedness and like the earthbound turtle, goes nowhere fast.

Come to one of my workshops and explore your dosha profile and be alert to all the ways we can catch imbalance before it becomes disorder and dis-ease.  See the post on Ayurveda Basics here.


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Ayurveda Explained: Here and Now

Italy&France October 2012 357Here (below) are the details for a set of very informal gatherings being staged soon in Lancaster. Ayurveda is an India-originated, Sister-to-Yoga, Science of Healthy Living and the Prevention of Dis-ease. This is a highly individualized system. You are helped to learn your own true nature and then given access to common tools that you can use to balance your life, your body, and to quiet your mind.

What seems to work best is this: Take the Basic Workshop in Fundamentals where you can probe your own highly individualized natural constitution. (It is fixed for you. But it will vary by the Season of your Life or the Season of the Year in Nature.) Once you understand how to monitor this changeable feast, you can find innumerable ways to get back in balance. Or even better – Catch the warning signals of pending imbalance and right yourself.

After your initial understanding of the basic fundamentals of Ayurveda – a life in balance -we get together in a living room, a kitchen, around a table for food planning, and we share questions, experiences, to broaden our understanding.

In an ongoing set of programs, I am partnering with natural food grocers, aromatherapy experts, herbalists, yogi studios: it continues to unfold.  Natural-minded folks in the Lancaster Community join me to provide expertise or a dedicated venue for study of the large variety of threads (sutras) of Ayurveda study:  Food. Cleansing practices. Therapeutic level oils. Meditation. Yoga for your Constitution. And more meditation: Mindfulness.

Please watch this space for the growing calendar of specialized get togethers and become one of my Ayurvedic pioneers in balance with nature.

I appreciate your Comments on this site and hope you will sign up to get notification of new posts and new events.  Here’s a sample of the topics we have scheduled in the past.

Ayurveda Foods in the Kitchen.    Making Kichardi

Around the Table: Menu Planning and Food Sleuthing at Lemon Street Market,  a walkable Lancaster city neighborhood grocery store.
We talk about meal planning in their back room table, surrounded by dozens of kinds of rice, grain, flour, vegetables, sweeteners, and everything natural and organic in this city marketplace devoted to organic ways. Sort through all the balancing qualities of foods and how to prepare them. I emphasize learning how to make one meal that the whole family can enjoy so this becomes a lifetime path to mindful eating and not an exercise in cooking to “suit a diet that no one else in my family will eat.” 2016 schedule to be determined.

Basics of Ayurveda:  Saturday afternoon, April 2, 2016, in the York studio of Evolution Power Yoga. Watch this space for signup and registration details.  This can be a review for folks who have some idea of their dosa and want to probe deeper into understanding. It is also a primer for those people who know nothing and want to begin. Call Roberta at 717 576-2099 or email mindoveryoga@yahoo.com for more details.

.Heritage Wheat July 2009 012Heritage Grains and their qualities. Hosted by a Lancaster County Amish farmer.

Meditation Workshops . Mindfulness and meditation techniques explained and experienced. Spring 2016 events to be announced soon. Get in touch to schedule this workshop at your space, perhaps even with a small group of friends – alternative to a raucous party ! Its the trend.