With autumn comes the inevitable approach of crisp nights and a foreseeable cold winter. The brisk weather encourages us to stay indoors and cozy up from the inside out, making this an especially introspective season.
As my deep-rooted samskaras [habitual tendencies] lead me to dread the weather reports until next spring, I use the power of pratipaksha bhavanam [finding a silver lining] by shifting my attention to all the things I love about keeping comfy indoors. This mans I am in the kitchen experimenting, cooking for friends and finding the healthiest, tastiest, easiest way to warm up and lift spirits.
I find that tasks within the prepping and cooking of food, like chopping veggies or measuring spices, is similar to the mindfulness we use in the asana practice. If we allow our minds to float away to vritti-ville, where thoughts reign, we’ll likely find ourselves struggling or falling out of – possibly injuring ourselves in – a pose or transition. Similar predicaments may arise if we’re not giving our attention to the chopping of the carrots – anyone ever had an experience where the knife slips from underneath your fingers? Not desirable.
On a physical aspect, an asana practice will warm us up from the inside. During sun salutations, we feel heat gradually build in the body. The same happens when we eat a warm, nourishing meal: our bones and bodies are soothed by cooked food and warming seasonal spices.
On a spiritual or metaphysical level, we are encouraged to practice yoga with an intention – often directed toward love and gratitude. By focusing our breath with movement and bringing our attention to someone or something we love, we find a deep sense of contentment and compassion as we flow from pose to pose. In the kitchen we can practice in the same way: when food is prepared through an intention of love and appreciation, you’ll be able to taste and feel it. Talk about warming up from the inside!
The soup below was inspired by Purely Elizabeth’s Purely Fall Magazine, based on other additional or alternative items I had on hand. Modify it to your taste and remember always make love the first ingredient.
This is how yoga defines my [culinary] experience. How does it define yours?
Spread the wealth, spread the health!
Spiced Carrot Soup
* Inspired by Purely Elizabeth’s recipe from their Purely Fall Magazine.
vegan or vegetarian, gluten-free, sugar-free, soy-free
makes 4-6 servings
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
sea salt to taste
1 lb carrots [ approximately 3-4 cups peeled & chopped ]
1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
2 cups low sodium veggie stock
1/2 can coconut milk
Warm ghee/coconut oil in large saucepan on medium heat.
Add chopped onion, garlic & spices (except sage). Stir until fragrant, 3-5 min.
Add carrots, sea salt, sage. Saute until soft, 5-8 min.
Add veggie stock & coconut milk. Bring to boil, then simmer for 25-35 min.
Use immersion blender to desired consistency or let cool & transfer in batches to blender .
Serve with 1/4 cup adzuki beans & fresh sorrel .
Swirl in 1 tbsp tahini to top for creaminess .
Serve with toasted Free Bread Inc. MOXY bread, if desired.