Even a brief introduction to meditation can ease pain

New research has found that a 30-minute introduction to mindfulness can significantly reduce negative emotions and ease physical pain — even for those who have never practiced the technique before. Article from Medical News Today  (February 2020) referencing published results from Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience journal.

Meditation Can Down-Regulate Pain

Cauliflower and Cashew Soup

Cauliflower and Cashew Soup

Mains & Sides Recipe

This vibrant, warm and sweet soup reminds me of the Autumn season, but I’d happily feast on it all winter though spring. It’s easy to make and really yummy. In my recipe I used some of Elemental Alchemy’s Spiced Golden Milk, which contains turmeric, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg and more. You can also substitute it for more turmeric to start and add a dash of any of those flavors you enjoy.

  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp Spiced Golden Milk or 1 additional tsp turmeric
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • Juice from ½ lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cilantro

In a large pot, heat olive oil and sauté onions until they start to slightly soften. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add cauliflower, cashews and salt, stir and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then stir in 2 ½ tsp or a combination of turmeric and Spiced Golden Milk. Cook an additional minute. Add stock. Once mixture boils, bring to a simmer and cook until cauliflower and nuts soften, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and blend soup well with an immersion blend or transfer to a blender. Add lime and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro.

Serves 6-8

Fennel and Leek Soup

Fennel and Leek Soup

Mains & Sides Recipe

This is great for a warm day is soothing on the belly. It’s light and cooling, with a nice touch of sweet, pungent and bitter qualities. Fresh herbs would work perfectly – for the flavor I wanted I only had dry herbs on hand. Also, if you enjoy the flavor of fennel, I suggest adding ½ teaspoon or more of crushed fennel to stock.

  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb with stalks, coarsely chopped, stalk ends and fronds set aside
  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and cleaned
  • 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped and divided
  • 1 small red potato, diced
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp dried fennel, crushed
  • 3 pinches dried summer savory
  • 3 small pinches dried rosemary
  • ½ cup parsley, coarsely chopped, and more for garnish
  • ½ raw pumpkin seeds
  • ½ tsp Aleppo pepper (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, sauté leeks they start to soften. Meanwhile, in another pot, heat stock, water, fennel ends and fronds, 1/3 of celery and chopped parsley on medium heat.

To leeks, add fennel, fennel stalks and remaining celery. Cook until fennel starts to soften, approximately 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Add potato and a generous pinch of salt. Stir then add all the contents from the pot with the stock. Add the summer savory and rosemary and bring to a boil. Once it boils, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 25 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, lightly toast the pumpkin seeds in a skillet for 1 or two minutes. Immediately remove and pulverize in a food processor. Add a ladle of liquid from the soup to saturate the pumpkin seeds and set aside.

Remove large pot from heat and add the pumpkin seed mixture. Blend soup well with an immersion blend or transfer to a blender. Add Aleppo pepper if using and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley.

Serves 6-8.

Long-term meditation practitioners have a faster psychophysiological recovery from stress, study finds

“Stress is responsible for a variety of negative health outcomes, and takes a toll on quality of life and well-being. Thus, research on behavioral approaches that can help to attenuate the stress response is of utmost importance,” Article from PsyPost referencing research published in Psychoneuroendocrinology (April 2019)

Link to Article

Fresh Vegetable Quinoa Soup

Fresh Vegetable Quinoa Soup

Mains & Sides Recipe

For this soup I used lots of summer/early autumn vegetables. Substituting the zucchini and corn with butternut squash and turnips and using canned tomatoes in lieu of tasty summer tomatoes would be an easy transition for a warming late autumn or winter soup. This soup is well balanced with flavor and texture and is quite fulfilling in the belly.

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 medium red potatoes, diced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 ¼ cup corn kernels (2 cobs)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped, and more for garnish

In a large pot, sauté onions, carrots and peppers until onions become slightly translucent. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for about 1 minute. Add Mexican oregano and tomatoes, cooking for about 5 minutes, then add the potatoes, stock and water and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa then reduce to a simmer. Cook for approximately 10-15 minutes and stir occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste, and possibly more smoked paprika. Stir in cilantro before serving and garnish individual portions as desired. Although not listed as an ingredient, a splash of lime adds a nice brightness.

Serves 6-8.

Sautéed Okra with Red Onion and Red Bell Pepper

Sautéed Okra with Red Onion and Red Bell Pepper

Mains & Sides Recipe

Okra is sweet, cooking and astringent, making it a good balancer for the three doshas. It also said to be full of nutrients and have many health benefits. It’s generally in season July through September, although in California okra season extends through November. The cooked onion and red bell pepper are natural flavor matchmakers with the okra, although the red bell and paprika should be used in moderation for high pitta. Another option: try green bell pepper for a milder flavor or a yellow bell pepper for more sweetness. I made this as a side dish for my husband’s fine Southern cooking, but it can be paired with Indian, Moroccan, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean cuisines. Simply adjust the spices and oils as desired.

  • 1 Tbs sunflower oil or ghee
  • 1 lb okra, washed and dried; tips and ends cut off, cut into ¼-inch circles
  • ½ large red onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp salt

Heat oil in pan on medium heat. Add cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to pop, add onion, bell pepper and salt. Sauté until onions become slightly translucent, stirring occasionally. Add okra, cover and simmer until okra becomes tender, approximately 15 minutes. Stir mixture often to avoid burning.

Serves 4-6.

“In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.” Herbert Simon