As it grows colder in our new home state of Virginia, the craving for warm, stewy, savory dishes grows, too. As the days become shorter and colder, we find ourselves staying inside a little more, and maybe subsequently, finding ourselves a little gloomy. A practice I’ve been trying to implement more regularly is sitting in the sun on the front porch, or in a window where the sun’s rays are beaming through, for fifteen minutes, everyday, when the sky is more clear. The morning has been a great time for this, as the sun is lower in the horizon, the front porch and living room is bathed in warm sunlight. Why Sunlight is So Good for You and Sunlight and Mental Health.
The other practice I’m trying to implement more of is using what we eat to keep us energized, sleeping well, and feeling happy.
This dish focuses on some big hitters in raising your mood:
Sweet potatoes – contain the antioxidant beta-carotene – reduces free-radical damange to brain cells, prevents oxidative stress to DNA (found in mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, OCD, schizophrenia), and carbohydrates that help in serotonin production.
Healthy fats for a healthy brain – Avocado oil, coconut cream, and cashew butter. Balancing Your Fat Intake Controls Depression
Spices to fight inflammation – turmeric, ginger, and cloves
lemon – vitamin C
Chickpeas – fiber for a healthy gut and a healthy gut-brain axis – microbiome
Ingredients for Two:
1/2 cup of rice, cook according to instrc
can of chickpeas
spoonful of cashew butter
yellow onion, chopped
sweet potato, cubed and diced
half a lemon, zested and squeezed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-1 Tsp Ginger (your preference)
1/2-1 Tsp Turmeric (your preference)
1 cup diced tomatoes
6 oz coconut cream
1 Tbs miso paste
1 Tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 Tsp ground cloves
salt and pepper
3 sprigs fresh cilantro
In a deep pan or large pot, heat avocado or coconut oil over medium. Cook sweet potatoes for 5 minutes, stirring every min or two. Add onion and aprx 1/8 Tsp salt and pepper, cooking and stirring for 3 min. Add garlic and spices, cooking for a min. Add chickpeas, cashew butter, lemon zest and juice, tomatoes, coconut cream, and miso paste, stirring until incorporated and blended. Simmer for 3 min. Add salt and pepper to your liking, aprx 1/8 Tsp. Top with chopped cilantro. Serve over rice.
Once you’ve plated your dish, look at it with appreciation, knowing that your body is about to feel good. Take in the smell of those spices with a hint of happy lemon. Take a bite and savor the warm flavors.
Enjoy your art and may you live well!