Earth Health Equals Your Health
I know I preach this time and time again, but learning to live in tune with the rhythms of Mother Nature is essential for good health and vitality. She is the force that sustains us and provides everything we need to feel healthy, alive and vibrant. I will make my case yet again.
First, eating only what can be found in nature is the best diet you'll ever adopt. I'm not suggesting you have to go out and slaughter the cow or gather the eggs and the berries from your backyard. However, the more you eat foods that have one ingredient in them (i.e. – blueberries, spinach, olive oil, etc.) or make your own meal with these fresh ingredients and spices, the healthier you will be whether that includes losing weight or simply having more energy. In other words, work what your momma gave you.
You've heard it time and time again – stay away from the middle aisles of the grocery store – a cesspool of packaged items full of sugar and allergen containing ingredients – and roam the outer edges full of fresh fruit and veggies. If you think not only in terms of the implications on your own health but also the planet's, you may think twice about picking up 5 cartons of cereal when you can buy a huge bag of bulk oats (and probably some flaxseed and honey to go with it!) for less. All that packaging is a huge waste of resources – paper, water, electricity, etc.
Again, I'm not suggesting we turn the clocks back before we had convenience food. I'll be the first to admit I have a box of protein bars and gluten free crackers in my pantry. But these are not the staples of my diet. We can all make the small choices that have a huge impact on our health and our planet's.
Second. I've discussed the concept of Ayurveda here before. In fact, it was the very first article I wrote for the Bowflex Insider almost 4 years ago! Wow. In a nutshell, we are made up of the same five elements that are found here on our planet – earth, fire, water, air and ether (gas). We do not live in nature – we ARE nature. So your cravings for stews and hot cocoa and warm drinks in the winter make sense. As does your propensity towards cooling green drinks once the temperatures begin to rise. Spring is nature's time to renew, cleanse away the sloth of the colder months and essentially lighten up. So if you haven't already adopted some sort of internal Spring cleaning program by now, today, in honor of our own planet's renewal, would be a great day to start.
A typical Ayurvedic cleanse consists of small meals of a simple stew called kitchari.
Try eating only kitchari for breakfast, lunch and dinner for about a week to ten days. It provides all the macro nutrients you need as well as tri-doshic balancing herbs and spices.
More than ever, we need to take great care of ourselves and care for the one who gave and sustains our life. This Earth Day, contemplate all the ways Mother Earth supports you and how you might take care of Her – and you.
Simple Kitchari Recipe:
- 2 tbsps. ghee (clarified butter)
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. coriander
- 1 tsp. fennel
- 1/2 tsp. cardamom
- 1/2 tsp. mustard
- 2 tsps. turmeric
- 1 inch freshly grated ginger
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 1 cup carrots chopped
- 1/2 cup onion chopped
- 1/2 cup basmati rice
- 1/2 cup dry split moong dal beans (split yellow)
- 4 cups low sodium veggie broth
- Seasonal veggies as desired (kale, sweet potato, etc.)
- Olive oil as needed
- Water as needed
- Salt to taste
Rinse and drain rice and beans. Melt ghee in a large pot over medium heat, add in all spices, and sauté for about a minute. Add in celery, carrot, and onion (or any extra heartier veggies like sweet potato) and sauté for another minute. Add in beans and rice and sauté again for another minute or two. If it seems like the spices, veggies, rice and beans are 'dry' feel free to add a bit of olive oil. Add broth and bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 12 minutes. Add kale just before finishing. If the beans need more cooking or you like a more 'brothy' soup-like consistency, add more water or broth. Salt to taste. You can serve with a dollop of unflavored yogurt on top or garnish with cilantro.