Celebrating Life on the Day of the Dead

Blessed New Year/Day of the Dead to all my Pagan-oriented friends! It’s been a solid half year since I last posted – shameful! Silence and inaction, over a long period of time, are a kind of death too; we’re only truly alive when we connect, share, express; otherwise we are just dormant seeds, waiting to come to life.

Yesterday I was chatting with my sister-in-law about hormonal shifts. This is something most women have experience with, and I’ve had an extensive history of trying to find some balance (in pretty much all ways, literal and figurative), especially with my hormonal cycles. I highly recommend several tools for your arsenal, if this struggle feels like a battle for you at all:

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northrup (http://www.amazon.com/Womens-Bodies-Wisdom-Revised-Emotional/dp/0553386735/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1320155788&sr=1-1) is a big doorstopper of a book that helped me to accept many aspects of my ever-changing body and I believe had a profound influence on my being able to finally conceive my second daughter. There are in-depth sections for each phase of a woman’s life cycle and down-to-earth ways to deal with the challenges of each phase.

This book http://www.amazon.com/Herbal-Healing-Women-Rosemary-Gladstar/dp/0671767674/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_2 has been the second important key in my journey towards balance and wellness. Rosemary Gladstar is the founder of the Traditional Medicinals herbal tea company, and this book is a very usable, practical guide to using herbs for optimal health at any phase of a woman’s life cycle. At a mere $10 (about €8.50) it’s an invaluable resource in your quest for better understanding and knowledge of optimal wellness.

The other key factor in wholeistic health for me has to be FOOD/nourishment. I am fortunate that I don’t have to work a 9-5 job, so I choose to spend the time to prepare wholesome, lovely breakfasts & lunches for myself nearly every day. I realize that many of my sisters (and brothers) do not have this “luxury” or often the knowledge necessary to “indulge” in this way, so one of my goals is to help people to achieve this balance in small, manageable steps. To that end, I close this post with a structures/recipe for a fantastically tasty and nutritious lunch which can serve as nourishment for 2 days and is super easy to prepare and take along on whatever path you follow each day. More recipes to follow in coming days. I hope you’ll find them enjoyable and fulfilling.

Note: I don’t really do measurments when I cook, unless I’m following a recipe from someone else or making a cake or other ingredient sensitive forumula. I use as much of any ingredient as seems tasteful to me or practical (what do I have on hand, how many people/servings do I want to make?). If you are aware that your stomach can only hold about 2 small handfuls of food maximally/comfortably it will help guide you as to the overall quantities to use. I give guidelines/suggestions for my “recipes”; I hope you’ll be inspired and also prompted to adjust to your own tastes/needs or re-create using this as a sort of template.
Edamame, Carrot, Sugar Snap & Black Bean Salad
This concoction was my desperate attempt to recreate a Green Giant Healthy Weight mix from the frozen food sector, which I had while visiting my sister 2 years ago. I loved the combination so much that I decided to recreate it from fresh ingredients, and of course with a few of my own twists 😉 My version is not only better because there is no microwave involved (microwaving changes the structure of the food and I recommend avoiding it as often as possible), but because it adds in healing super foods such as shiitakes and sesame or hemp seeds and it can be as organic as you can afford/want it to be, for a fraction of the cost of buying ready-made food.
-Edamame (fresh soybeans in the shell – available widely in oriental markets and now in most supermarkets too – I use frozen)
-Organic baby or small carrots
-Fresh or frozen Sugar Snap peas
-Shiitake mushrooms (you can use any type of mushroom that you want, but I love shiitakes and they have a positive effect on hormones)
-Black or Aduki/Azuki benas (I used canned organic ones but if you’re adventurous and have extra time then cook your own from dried, by all means!)
-Fresh or powdered garlic
-Olive oil/real butter (I use a mix of the two)
-Dash of tamari or soy sauce
-Herbal sea salt
-Sesame seeds, lightly toasted AND/OR hemp or chia seeds
Optional additions: Broccoli (sauteéd); salad greens like arugula, red lettuce or raddiccio; fresh sprouts (lentil, alfalfa, mung, broccoli, fenugriek); sauteéd shallots, leeks or red onion; cooked whole grain such as kamut, quinoa, amaranth or brown rice

Cook the edamame in simmering salted water for about 5 minutes, just until they are thawed but still a bit crisp/crunchy. While the edamame is cooking, heat the olive oil and/or butter (about 2-4 Tablespoons) and garlic (put through a garlic press or chopped super fine) in a small frying/sauté pan. Add the baby carrots (cut in half if you want them to cook faster), sauté for 1-2 minutes, then add sugar snaps and shiitakes. I’ve been known to add shallots to this mixture as well. Add herbal salt and garlic powder if you aren’t using fresh and Sauté another 2 minutes or so, carrots & sugar snaps should still be tender crisp.
Now throw it all together in a bowl: veggies, edamame (taken out of the shell) and beans. Season further to taste and sprinkle whatever type of seeds you are using over (a good handful – they’re full of protein, minerals and good fats).
Optional: I often add fresh sprouts, sauteed broccoli, arugula or salad greens to this mixture. Be creative and imagine what would taste yummy for you. This dish is delicious, loaded with esential vitamins and minerals, and contains lots of the “good fats” our organs and bodies need to function properly. Although I limit my soy intake severely (it’s an estrogen-promoting food and can have a very negative effect on your digestive and reproductive systems), edamame is an unprocessed food and reasonably high in protein so I think it’s OK to use them in this dish. Using garlic will stimulate your immune system. Fresh greens like arugula or sprouts will also provide loads of iron and other minerals plus cleansing action on your body. This dish is easy on the digestion too, just don’t go overboard on the beans!

You can make this dish in 10 minutes if you use canned beans and it keeps in the fridge for 3 days (though I would add something fresh the 2nd or 3rd day like sprouts or salad greens), and it travels well in a salad container. I eat it warm the first day and then at room temperature the day(s) after. One other addition I thought of recently is to add some kind of cooked whole grain like amaranth or quinoa, which would make it a more hearty, autumn/winter dish. Or you could have a warm piece of grainy bread with it.
Feedback/Your adaptations welcome!

~ by suzanlemont on November 1, 2011.

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