While we endure the cold winter months with Covid present in our lives, the little things we can do to bring warmth into home and heart may brighten our days.
Stress can do a real number on ourselves, not only psychologically but physiologically as well. There are practices we can add to our lives and daily routines to help ease the stress. Taking time to pause and breathe deeply is scientifically proven to calm the nerves by increasing our oxygen intake, slowing heart rate, reducing blood pressure, and giving our brain a chance to communicate to our bodies that “everything is okay.”
But we can also incorporate foods that chemically alter the hormones that are produced in our bodies. Stress causes our bodies to increase certain hormones, that when not kept in check or reduced to normal levels, an avalanche of symptoms begin to accumulate in the form of inflammation. Chronic Inflammation creates a host of problems, from our brain to our gut, then every part of our being.
Harvard Medical School: Understanding Acute and Chronic Inflammation
Nature Medicine: Chronic Inflammation in the Etiology of Disease
NIH: Inflammation Theory and LiveScience: Inflammation and Diet
We now know through extensive research that inflammation results in a staggering number of diseases.
half a pound of grass fed, pasture-raised beef (optional – if not using beef, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, 2 Tbs ground flax, 2 Tbs tomato paste, and 1/2 cup water or veggie broth)
2 cans lentils
1/2 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots or 1 cup, chopped
red onion, sliced
apple cider vinegar with “the mother”
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup whole fat plain yogurt (can use dairy or plant-based ~ when using plant-based, I use Kitehill Greek Almond yogurt)
2 solid bunches of fresh parsley, chopped (approximately 1/2 cup)
4 whole wheat naans
salt and pepper
I start out mixing the onion slices with the apple cider vinegar, 2 Tsp maple syrup, and a dash of salt and pepper. I stir this around while I’m chopping and cooking, every 3-4 minutes. I sauté the beef over medium heat with carrots and celery in virgin cold-pressed coconut oil, adding a dash of salt and pepper. If using walnuts instead of meat, do the same. Once the veggies turn opaque and the beef is browned, I add the mushrooms and spice and cook until the mushrooms darken and release their juices. I then add the lentils and 2 Tbs harissa spice, stirring to incorporate and letting warm through 2-3 minutes. If not using meat, this is when I would also add the tomato paste, flax, and liquid. Once bubbly, turn the heat down to low. Mix your yogurt with 2 Tsp garlic powder and 1 Tsp dill. Start toasting or warming your naan. Chop your parsley and apricots if you haven’t already done so and add them to the skillet or pot. Add more salt and pepper to your liking and turn off heat. Top your warm naan with meaty medley, cool yogurt, and tangy pickled onion.
Spicy meat and veggies combine with this cool and tangy yogurt sauce, sour and sweet red onion, while apricots add enough bursts of sweet alongside tart to hit the flavors that light up our senses. 💛 There are many benefits to this dish that not only pack flavor but bring to the body healing components necessary for function and thriving.
Apricots : high in folic acid
Parsley : antioxidant, antibacterial, high vitamin K & A supporting bone density and eye health
shiitake mushrooms : vital amino acids, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral, vitamin D
lentils : high fiber and protein, iron and folate, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective
Celery, Carrots, Red Onion
So whatever you’re surviving out there, I hope you’re able to pause and make something you can appreciate. From the plate on your table to the people that join you at meal time, may you enjoy your art and live well!