The holidays are here again and this means more time in the kitchen and around the table. For some, this is a favorite time of year. For others, it brings a pit of anxiety in the stomach thinking about travel, relatives, those awkward social situations and that food you might not really want to eat…I feel you! This year, rather than just a recipe guide, I wanted to create an offering that helps you overcome the stress of holiday cooking and eating. With everyday Ayurvedic tips and tools for planning a balanced menu, my hope is the holiday season this year becomes one that celebrates life and nourishes you – body and mind.
This special Ayurvedic Holiday Cooking Guide includes a one-hour recorded webinar on Ayurvedic principles of eating and meal planning + a beautifully designed recipe book with 25 seasonal vegetarian recipes to design a balanced holiday menu. Inside you’ll learn about the essentials of Ayurveda, the six tastes, how to balance building vs. cleansing ingredients in a meal, and practical tools in the kitchen and around the table for increasing your digestive fire so you leave the experience feeling nourished and content. Peek inside and grab the guide here! Upon purchase, you’ll receive an automatic download so you can start planning and cooking your holiday feasts ahead this winter.
As you head off to the prepare for the big day, I invite you to try some of the practices in the kitchen and around the table that have helped me plan and prepare a fabulous feast…
- Select quality ingredients for your menu. Look for local, organically grown, whole foods that look vibrant and alive. By opting for fresh versus canned or frozen, you’re preparing meals that bring you life-force and leave you feeling nourished instead of depleted.
- Keep your kitchen a sanctuary and cook with an attitude of love. Play music, dance, laugh, chant mantras…enjoy each step of the way and leave the drama out of the house! This joyfulness is the special secret sauce that makes any meal taste like magic.
- Stick to your daily routine. Wake up in time to take care of yourself (do your dinacharya practice) and keep a normal eating schedule so your blood sugars stay balanced and the desire to overeat at dinner is curbed.
- Sip digestive teas throughout the day – like CCF or ginger tea – to keep your digestive fire burning strong. Skip the ice water and any other cold beverages that slow your Agni down.
- Prepare “Ginger Appetizers” before meal (recipe in the Holiday Cooking Guide!)
- Sit down for dinner by 6pm
- When together around the table, practice presence with your food. Eat slowly, chew fully, observe each taste on your tongue, and how it makes you feel. Enjoy the experience rather than rushing through it!
- Embrace gratitude – for the hands that grew it and prepared it – it makes each bite that much richer.
- Go for a light walk after the meal to aid digestion
- Take a rest to finish digesting. Lay on your left side to support digestion and rest the nervous system after the meal.
- Get to bed by 10pm
If you’re not cooking but heading to someone else’s home instead, these simple tips still apply wherever you go. Bring a dish that you enjoy and a thermos of hot tea to sip around the meal. Encourage your friends and family to go for a brief walk around the block after dessert. And keep the conversation light and pleasant. Ram Dass famously said, “If you think you’re enlightened, try spending time with your family for a week!“. If you feel triggered, give this simple breathing practice a try to regain your peace. So from food to breath, I hope this empowers you with tools to feel good and nourished this season…
CRISPY PAN-ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
4 cups (about 1lb) Brussels sprouts, trimmed & halved
2 cups shiitake mushroom caps, sliced thinly
½ cup hazelnuts, loosely chopped
4 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
pink salt, to taste
fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400F. Combine all ingredients in a cast-iron skillet (a baking sheet or pan works as well). Toss with olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. Bake for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. When tender and crispy, remove from oven and serve hot.
Makes 4 servings