Friday, May 27, 2011

Eat! #11 Ingredients Galore

Today I've been chatting about conscious eating with a wonderful teacher and soul brother Ben Briggs, senior pharmacist and owner of Lionville Natural Pharmacy and Health Food Store, a family owned and operated business providing professional pharmaceutical care to the Chester County PA community since 1979.

I've wondered what was different about Lionville Pharmacy since I moved into the area.  Everyone seems to know about it - and it's reputation as the "go-to" holistic place intrigued me.

You can tell right away that something is different here. First of all, Lionville is a compounding pharmacy.

Compounding combines an ageless art with the latest medical knowledge and state-of-the-art technology, allowing specially trained professionals to prepare customized medications to meet each patient’s specific needs.

Second it's a health food store.  Reminded me of Rising Tide, another of the originals started in NY back in the 70's carrying aisles of goods that represent food as healing.

Third it's a holistic health and healing arts center with practitioners of all sorts available to help guide you through your choices.

Ben spoke with me about the positive effects of families eating together, without the TV, in harmony with their meal and their digestion and what a positive effect that carries.

It got me thinking about the way we are naturally wired to know what our body needs when we really tune in and listen.  People ask me about calorie counting, adding or deleting specific foods from their diet, or "watching their weight" and I say "watch your relationship with nourishment and let it inform you what you need."  Your body wants to be in balance.  Your body wants health.  Your body wants energy in and energy expressed.  

Conscious eating means pay more attention to what's right in front of you. 

Some guidelines that seem simple but remain frequently disregarded:

Know when you are thirsty and DO take a drink!  Water is preferred.  This one choice can influence you in many positive ways. If you do not drink enough water or other fluids, you might experience signs of dehydration. You may feel lightheaded, dizzy or nauseated. If you do not drink any fluid to correct this situation, your body temperature will begin to rise, which can lead to heat stroke. 

According to the National Academy of Sciences in their recommendations for total water, the amount of fluid we need from beverages daily is 9 cups for females and 13 cups for males over the age of 19. That's right - DAILY!

Other things you can do:

  • DO recognize what hunger feels like. Eat when you are hungry.
  • DO eat little bits at regular intervals.
  • DO recognize when you are full. Stop.
  • DO respond to the need for salty, sweet, or pungant foods and choose healthy options.
  • DO love every bite.
  • DO appreciate and validate healthy choices.
  • DO respond to your body clock rather than the time clock.

Sage advise for the day:
Listen to what your body needs.

Today's recipe? Let's hear from you. What's on your plate?!

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Eat! #10 Yogini Style

What's up in our series on Conscious Eating: simplicity!

As a yogi who teaches all eight limbs of yoga, again and again I encourage folks to take your yoga practice ("yoking the powers of body mind and spirit") off the mat and into your life in deliberate and meaningful ways.  Conscious Eating is a perfect avenue for the embodiment of all those intentions you have to nourish yourself, engage with the world, and appreciate the simple pleasures of all that is good about food!

The natural grace and nourishing attitude of the yogi is a therapy for everyday living. To get more insight into the message why yoga is therapy, take a look at this short video posted by IAYT, one of the teaching and research organizations I belong to.  You'll get a better understanding of how the whole picture pulls together to give you the best preventive health care available.

How we relate to food is a big part of any yogi's practice.  "You are what you eat" said the sage to the student.  So why do any of us think that a diet that is devalued in nutrition doesn't matter? Time to help ourselves and the others in our lives to be more vibrant.

So with that, on to our conscious eating tips for the day!

My subject today is the humble side dish, and as always my style is to give you fabulous ideas to run with rather than recipes you must learn.

So why are sides humble? Do you hear mothers all over America calling their kids home for dinner with the lure of applesauce? Not really - but put enough interest and diversity out there and the shift from main meat to diverse sides is hidden a treasure.  Like time honored "tapas" or any multiple appetizer main meal, you can create more interest for yourself and your family by getting creative.

Main Meal

Some humble choices to remember! Mix, match and highlight the simple things...

Try using a large round tray with multiple small dishes filled with several of the following:
  • applesauce (yup) with cinnamon and toasted almonds
  • crunchy pickles
  • beans of all sorts, baked or crockpot
  • hard boiled eggs (deviled are delish)
  • sliced tomato, mozzarella and basil
  • chick peas and scallions vinaigrette
  • sliced cucumber with cracked black pepper
  • rice crackers or whole grain crackers or flatbread
  • fennel with EVOO + vinegar dipping sauce
  • stuffed baked potato
  • olives
  • celery with yogurt dip
  • mixed nuts
  • salad greens topped with whole grains, nuts, dried or fresh fruit, or cheeses
  • peanut butter or almond butter as a dip
  • cherries dipped in yogurt then in toasted coconut
  • skillet yam slices
  • avocados with salsa
  • tuna/tofu/egg/your favorite - salad
  • pears with goat cheese
  • cut fruit
You get the idea.

Easy access foods that are interesting in combination can make a meal out of "nothing."

I purposely kept it simple here to celebrate the idea that cooking and eating at home doesn't have to look like "three squares a day."

Use your own creativity, and most important, use what's in the fridge!


Most everything looks better, tastes better and is better with fresh herbs.  Use liberally and creatively.

The addition of toasted nuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and the like can make any salad more interesting to even the most jaded anti-salad eater.  Healthier too.

Fruit - cut up - will be polished off with more gusto than a bowl of apples any day.  Why is that??
Serve drizzled with honey or a lemon squeeze for special goodness.

My list here is just the tip of the humble iceberg.  What would you add?
Let us know!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Eat! #9 Buzz Juice

"If I'm trying to eat more consciously and want to add more of the good stuff into my daily bread, do I have to consume the entire produce aisle?"
Good question!

Just in time - after my own recipe in our last post for a green breakfast smoothie, I received an email  from my friends at MacroLife Naturals with more good ideas for simple pick me ups that pack a one-two punch and deliver the goods.  You can check their website for more info on the products.
Greetings Goddess Sister;
Love your blog- thank you greatly!
Here’s my newest  favorite….I call it buzz juice.  You can do with Greens or REDS but I like best with my macro greens.  

Buzz Juice
1 Scoop of Macro Greens® 
1000 mg Vitamin C powder             
1000 IU's liquid vitamin D-3           
(Capful of ACV - Apple Cider Vinegar)
Dash of stevia, or a little organic maple syrup
Fresh lemon juice
4-6 ounces of water or fresh juice
WHEN I’m in a rush I just add the Capful of ACV - Apple Cider Vinegar-  Very alkalizing.
 Reds Tea
Also on those days, when you just need something smoothing and comforting make up a hot cup of Miracle REDS®  Soothing Tea
8-oz Boiling Water add,
1-2 Cinnamon Stick cover and steep for 5 minutes. 
Once cooled to warm add 1 Scoop Miracle Reds®     

Enjoy the calm.  Sylvia Ortiz, founder

 Sage advise for the day

Whenever you create a new intention for greater health, and commit to acting on it in some way, you set a whole series of energetic responses in play.  Your choices need not be big ones as much as they need to be heartfelt ones, with clear intention for health, nourishment and enlivening.  In this way each small step activates the whole intention. You will be amazed at how far that intention will take you.

Bon appetit!

What's on your plate?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Eat! #8 Orange Smoothie

In a hurry? No breakfast again?? Feel a deli stop coming on??

How can you bring it home when life is in a hurry and you need to get out the door?

Many of us rely on oatmeal or natural cold cereals for breakfast - both good choices I believe from the standpoint of health, and definitely in alignment with knowing what's on your plate.  This is one of the missions of the Eat! series.  The further we are from the source of our food, the easier it is for fats, preservatives and foreign ingredients to make their way into that tasty treat you're eating without even seeing it coming.

My topic today is your first meal of the day (after latte of course - see previous post ;) and my own comes out of a blender most days.

Main Meal

Fruit Smoothie with Super Greens

You'll need a regular blender - nothing fancy or uber-powerful is required.

one cup or so of orange juice
one banana - I like mine frozen :) 
one scoop of your favorite greens mix
scoop of flax seed
additional fruit of choice

Blend till smooth and you like the texture.  Modulate with more or less of the fluid or ice.

Voila! Yummy healthy jump start to your day.


Fruits that go well with this banana - orange blend include berries (fresh or frozen) mango and pineapple.

Use a different juice altogether and invent what goes with it.

Some people add protein powder to shakes...others like to add yogurt.

Feel free to play with healthy alternatives, and with one press of the blender button you've got a great start to the day.

Sage tips:

Frozen bananas are great to have around.  You can eat them right out of the freezer - tastes like a frozen ice cream treat - and they are always ready to toss into your smoothie.

As for the greens, I like MacroLife Naturals Macro Greens.  In general, you don't need a blender to enjoy them, but I like the whole effect of my recipe. The greens taste delish all by themselves and I know the fantastic formulator Sylvia Ortiz.  I vouch for her integrity and awesome mission to help heal the American diet. Try them out - you won't be sorry!

Bon appetit!
What's on your plate?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Eat! #7 Boulder Latte

Even though I live on the East Coast, I love - really love - camping out west.  If I had my druthers, I think I might have moved to Boulder Colorado long ago.  (Some obvious clues that give me away include the tent, the hat, and the home-made latte I'm gripping in the midst of a camp-out. Tres chic!)

On the subject of chic, Boulder's own Elephant Journal online always offers me good reads, and I like to go for the funny stuff. I get enough of the serious yoga/buddha/mystic side of things on my own time, but Ele has it all...and the particular post I've linked you to below says plenty about our subject of food: Joe Yeoman discoursing about his change in eating habits.

Too funny!

And wise...  It's worth the read ... Enjoy!!

How Elephant Journal turned a leather jacket wearing Mustang driving corn-fed beef Iowa hick into another flower child of Boulder

Now onto the rest:

Main Meal

My hubby's recipe for livin' the good life: Soy-almond latte (and he serves me every morning in bed!! Yup...unless I'm in a tent of course...)

I am categorizing this as a main meal - first because it is my daily breakfast staple - and second, although it is liquid, the amount of soy and almond milk adds up to a hearty belly full.

You will need:

Cappuccino machine or milk steamer
vanilla soy
vanilla almond milk
English Breakfast tea
Roobios tea

To top it off:
dark chocolate to sprinkle over the top
a little sugar in the raw if you want a sweeter variation

Here's a video clip of the entire operation

Add-ins (or tag alongs in this case)

fiber bar
fresh fruit

Sage advise for the day

You know the part about getting served in bed? Sometimes I'm awash in challenge and responsibility, and that latte is the best part of my day.

Love the one you're with.  It really does mater.

What's on your plate??

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Eat! #6 On the Road

I've been on the road this week and I'm focusing on just a few conscious eating tips.

The first is water, water, water.

After that, remember to eat regularly. Don't wait for the big restaurant date. Overeating and ordering due to hunger rather than nourishment will ruin your healthy intentions.

Buy nuts, fruit, hummus, yogurt, rice crackers and tea and keep it on hand for between meals.

Add more veggies to your meals...same intention as at home.

Keep active - get out and on your feet.

Best advise? Use the "lucky space" whenever and wherever you can! What's lucky? Park FAR from your destination and walk. It's just a shift in consciosness but it has lifetime benefits for a more fit mindset. You can also get off a train or bus one stop early, and always use the stairs.

Keep your trip on track for healthy eating and even more physical activity than usual and you will come home truly refreshed.

Bon appetit!
What's on your plate?


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Eat! #5 In Praise of the One-Pot

Soups and stews and one-pots oh my...

So here's a pic of the sriracha sauce I've been talking about, and it's just one of many sources of heat.  For me just a couple of drops can make all the difference.  There are lots of chili type sauces in bottles and jars - and sometimes I just use dried chilies and throw them into the pot to change the personality of what might have been somewhat banal before.

So why change it up?

My mission today is global!

I'd like to see a place for all those leftovers that get thrown into the garbage in hundreds of thousands of households across the world.  It seems so negligent and unthinking that we can't do better than that, at least in our own homes.

I don't know if bringing an enlightened attitude to the nasty habit of food waste will help feed "the starving children in China" (clean your plates kids) but it will surely make a difference in the wasted time, effort and expense that so many people complain about with the rising cost of food.

Besides - I think it actually will help the starving children of everywhere when we become more conscious of our relationship with the cycles of food delivery period. 

Here's what to do whenever you look in the back of the fridge and think "what am I gonna do with that??"

Think soup.

Every soup or one-pot meal has it's own charm, so I'm just going to give you a few of my own basics, and I'm only touching the surface!  Cooked leftovers go in at the end.

What's good and good for you:
  • I can't sing the praises of the humble crock pot enough.
  • start with water or use any broth of your choice.  I like the organic broth that comes in boxes in the supermarket as a starter.  One box gets stretched into many times it's size in this household...
  • buy fresh herbs, cut them up and use liberally in any one-pot.
  • you can use any and all veggies, snippets of meat or tofu, every grain imaginable, legumes, beans, spices, and all your pre-made ingredients are fair game.  
  • the box of whatever you brought home from the restaurant last night that had that fabulous sauce on it is fair game.  Five bites of a favorite dish might not seem worth taking home, but once added to a soup concoction it can make all the difference.
  • freedom to explore = good use for almost every type of leftover in addition to a marked reduction in those throwaways from the back of the fridge.
  • put items that do not need more cooking in to the pot at the end or you will pulverize them especially pasta, rice, pre-cooked grains or dumplings...these all go in the pot at the end just to cook through.
  • don't eliminate unusual additions such as cooked potato or yesterdays yam.
  • feel free to add just one or two substantial ingredients from a previous dish skipping other items (like soggy bread etc. :)   
  • most everything is fair game.
Main Meal

Simple Soup

Here's where I went today, this soup as simple as it gets:

During passover when the markets were jammed with all things kosher, I picked up some jars of matzo balls - a comfort food from my childhood since I grew up in a Jewish neighborhood and was given matzo ball soup by a number of kindly neighbor mom's who seemed to lovingly dote on their children with it.

Into my crock pot went a box of organic chicken broth (use veggie as desired), all my fresh herbs on hand (rosemary, parsley, bay leaf, thyme) chopped carrot, peas, kernels from corn on the cob, celery, a small potato, and a few hot drops.  Cook.

Shredded cooked chicken cutlet can be added. So can tofu. Keep the whole thing on crock pot simmer till ready to serve.

Add the matzo balls in toward the end. 

I also added pre-cooked egg noodles. (Use soba noodles, angel hair pasta, orzo as well, cooked separately and reserved.)



I have found you can cook all beans and legumes "as is" after rinsing, no mater what the bag or recipe says about pre-soaking, but do get them going first.  Black beans, white beans, split peas, lentils - right into the broth or water! Cover and they will cook nicely.  Add herbs in the beginning - veggies according to hardness as you go - cooked foods near the end.

You have probably noticed I work with the philosophy that any and every meal can be enhanced by adding more of the stuff that is already nutritious on it's own.  If I can find space for a veggie in any meal for any reason at all, in it goes!  If you are not already a high-veggie type, this one conscious shift toward the creative use of veggies (whether typical in the dish or not) can be a dramatic benefit to your overall health.

Grated cheese over the top of soup is a time honored tradition. Most hard cheeses work. 

Crusty bread rounds out the meal.

Sage advise for the day

Mantra: repeat daily...

"What veggies do I have on can I add them to this meal..."

Bon appetit!
What's on your plate?


Friday, May 6, 2011

Eat! #4 Marney Soup

In time for Mothers Day.  May happiness be in the heart of Earth Mothers everywhere.  May we nourish and be nourished through our offerings.

This week my friend and colleague Chef Marney White offered one of her healthy (and awesomely easy) recipes for Mystic blog readers to enjoy, and I scooped it up!

This is Marney's lead in: 

"It’s got 5 ingredients, is high-fiber, high protein, and very low fat.  It’s also ready in about 45 minutes!  Freezes great, if you want to make a double batch and freeze ahead in 2-portion servings, as I have always done. Enjoy..."

The experience of sharing food is one of the most powerful communications we humans can indulge in.  How we create our meals is just one way of doing it. 

Thanks Marney! 
Main Meal
Pumpkin Red Lentil Soup
By Marney White, from her 1999 cookbook, “Healthy Body, Happy Life”

3 qts vegetable stock
1 lb. dried red lentils (which are actually orange in color)
1 16 oz can pumpkin puree
¼ c onion, chopped and pureed
¼ c celery, chopped and pureed
Salt & pepper to taste
2 Tbl olive oil
Warm a 6 qt stock pot, and add oil.  Add onion and celery and sauté. Add lentils, then vegetable stock.  Cook over medium heat until lentils have broken down and become soft.  If necessary, add up to a 4th quart vegetable stock until soup is at your ideal consistency. (It’s better when thicker.)  In the last 10 minutes of cooking, now on low heat, stir in the can of pumpkin puree and add salt and pepper to taste.
Add ins

Soups are amazingly versatile.  Do you have a cooked grain on hand? Using the soup as a "sauce" can make a substantial meal for a hungry appetite.  Legumes and grains go well together! Use your imagination...

Sage advise for the day
Healthy home cooking can be easy - let all thoughts of kitchen drudgery dissolve. 

Hearty soups = less pots and pans = easier still.

Make one pot meals a kitchen mainstay and you'll save all sorts of time and effort, plus you'll have many more reasons to stay close to hearth and home where your own good nourishment lives.

Bon appetit!

What's on your plate?
PS - visit Marney for more good things to eat - and check out the the desserts from this award winning chef. Awesome!  and

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Eat! #3 Tomatoes

This is the third in our Conscious Eating Series for the month of May, the time when Moms delight in the prerogatives of Mother's Day, and families get the nudge (or kick in the butt as the case may be!) to create opportunities to appreciate each other and home values. 

For me this includes more eating together - more picnics and outings - and more awareness of the relationship we have with the green Earth and new things growing. 

May reminds me of the blessing of all this.

All through my 20's I was fortunate enough to have a food mentor - Vincenza Scarcelli - who let me watch, and help, and simply absorb what she knew about food...and she knew plenty.  

Particularly memorable was the time we went out on the lawn (the LAWN mind you)  and picked dandelions, then went out back and scooped a net through the water of the Long Island Sound catching bunches of lowly minnows for what was to become a simple and delicious fried pattie of sorts made from stuff I thought I'd never even go near much less EAT! 

I was fortunate to have an authentic role model from the "old country" when the place I came from was Brooklyn.

I hope you've had a food mentor somewhere along the line - and if not, it's never too late to find one.  Food and love, once connected, can make a huge impression.  We all respond to that.

Use this blog to know you are loved through the connection to foods I offer you here.

For details on cooking exactly what's in this post, you may want to reference the first post in the series and review either the lentil stew or the chicken in simmer sauce, but if you don't need specifics and merely want a mind-bending recognition of gourmet simplicity from leftover goodness, then here it is raw and uncensored...

So imagine you're hungry for something fabulous.  Long, loping strands of pasta sounds good and you've got some tomatoes on hand, and bits of the dishes you cooked from the past couple of days.

ok, super. Here's what you do...we are going to make your leftovers (ingredients, remember??) look like a king's ransom in 10 minutes...

Main Meal
  1. cook up a box of linguine
  2. cut up two or three fresh tomatoes into chunks and put them into a saucepan.  Add 1 cup of lentil soup and 1/2 cup or more of the simmer sauce gravy from the chicken dish of the day before (shred and add some of the chicken too if you'd like).
  3. cook and blend everything together for 5 minutes or so until the tomatoes soften ever so slightly.
  4. pour over the linguine - and sprinkle liberally with some of that fine grated locatelli romano you bought the other day. Top with some pricey pignolis, or the more routine but still delightful toasted pumpkin seeds, and fresh basil if you have it.
  5. salt and pepper to taste, or add a dash more hot sauce (like sriracha) for some bite.

Toss a small amount of the greens from your salad in with the tomatoes when you start the sauce until just wilted.

Add peas right from the bag - run through a strainer under hot water for a minute. No cooking required, and peas go with everything. My brother told me that.

Sage advise for the day

A word on tomatoes - always get the best of the season.  Good looks does not always = best.  Some of the sweetest tomatoes are plain ugly.  Be brave and taste the bounty.

Farmers Markets rock :) 

In a fancy restaurant, this dish would be on the special menu due to all the prep time for the lentils to cook...and the simmer sauce to absorb the flavors from the chicken and fruit...and the presence of awesome freshness like vine ripened tomato and the fine grated cheese.

You can do it all yourself by being open minded and creative in pulling things together from leftovers you've already prepared.


What's on your plate??

Monday, May 2, 2011

Eat! #2 Dumplings

Next up in our series on Conscious Eating - quick and easy Dumplings.  Good and good for you!  Is there anyone out there that doesn't love fat juicy dumplings stuffed with all sorts of goodies? My Japanese friend Felly used to make them - from scratch. That was awesome.

Me? I go to the supermarket and stock up from the frozen section for a fraction of the cost of my restaurant favorites.  Shrimp, chicken, pork or veggie filled are common varieties.

My intention with this series is to highlight healthy, diverse, make at home meals..staying with and keeping our connection with real food.

Here's the part that makes it all worthwhile: 15 minutes for the whole meal. No kidding. Here's the deal...

Main Meal
  1. Use a large saucepan. Cut up a head of broccoli, place it in about 2 inches of salted water and cover till boiling.  Lower heat and add a can of water chestnuts and a bag of frozen dumplings right over the top.  Close the lid and steam about 5 more minutes tops. Drain and plate.
  2. Meanwhile put up some jasmine or basmati rice cooked according to directions.
  3. Make a dipping sauce: combine 2T soy sauce, 2T water, splash of rice vinegar, pinch of sugar and a few drops of seseme oil.  
  4. Serve with fresh chopped green lettuce and tomato salad, fresh lemon and EVOO.

Top dumplings with sesame seeds, scallions and/or strips of toasted nori seaweed.  (I used all three.)  Add ground pecans, walnuts or almonds to the salad.


Treat yourself to some ginger water - great for digestion and tastes delicious!  Just use a piece of fresh ginger root in a pitcher of cool water.  Either grate it and drink up - or strain if desired - or better yet freeze the ginger root in chunks.  When you take it out of the freezer it will defrost into a softer version of its former self and you can squeeze the juice right into your water.

Sage advise of the day

The investment you make in condiments that delight your tastebuds will repay itself many times over.  Sesame oil is one of those things. Use sparingly.

Bon appetit!

What's on your plate??