Breakfast bowl

I typically recommend to most of my patients that they eat a high protein, high-fat breakfast, which is better suited to providing them with a stable energy source throughout the day. Most of the time these range from foods like eggs and vegetables, to fish or meat, but sometimes these foods are too heavy or warming. This recipe is a nice alternative to my typical recommendations, and is ideally suited to the summer months when the fire element tends to become over-balanced, requiring foods that are less heating in nature.

1 cup whole grain, e.g. brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat (fermented, p. 142)
2 cups water
¼ tsp. salt
1 quarter chopped, medium cucumber
2 handfuls of sprouts, e.g. alfalfa, broccoli, onion
1 finely grated carrot
2 handfuls chopped leafy greens, e.g. arugula, romaine, radicchio
2 tbsp. tahini
1 tsp. tamari
hemp hearts (hulled hemp seeds), as a garnish

Add fermented grain, water and salt to a medium pot, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook the grain for the required amount of time. Chop all the vegetable ingredients and place into a bowl. When it’s done add the hot, freshly cooked grain over top of the raw vegetables. Mix up the tahini and tamari in a measuring cup, and pour over top of the grains, mixing well. The hot grains help cook the raw vegetables, making them more digestible. Garnish with hemp hearts to boost protein and fat content. Serves two.

Mexican Chicken Stew

Mexican cuisine is a unique blend of flavors that mixes Old World herbs such as garlic, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and lime, with distinctly Central American representatives such as chili, cacao, epazote, and annatto seed (achiote). With its reliance upon soupy stews and legume dishes, Mexican cuisine is in many ways similar to Indian cuisine, relying on a highly flavored mixture of spices and herbs called a mole that resembles the masala spice mixtures used in India.

This recipe calls for the chipotle pepper, which derives its unique flavor from carefully smoking the chili over different types of wood including mesquite, hickory, oak and other hardwoods. Although ripe jalapeño peppers are typically used, a variety of other peppers can be dried and smoked for this purpose including the relatively mild pasilla pepper, the hotter morita and serrano peppers, and the catecholamine-pumping habañero. Smoking the chili peppers reduces the intensity of heat by about 20-30%, and adds an earthy, smoky flavor that is distinct to Mexican cuisine. If you can’t get chipotle, you can try making your own chili powder by dry roasting cayenne pepper with other herbs such as paprika, and smaller amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and black pepper. Chili peppers are excellent to enhance digestion, eliminate congestion (kapha) and promote good circulation, but are contraindicated in excess heat (pitta) and dryness (vata).

This recipe also calls for epazote, a relative of lambsquarters and a frequent weed of Mexican gardens. It has an aromatic flavor reminiscent of gasoline or paint thinner, but when cooked yields more of a citrusy herb flavor. It is used to enhance the digestion of legumes, and is excellent to prevent and rid the body of parasites, which are more common in warmer climates like Mexico.

1 whole chicken
2 onions, chopped
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
6 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 head garlic, minced
2 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. dried basil
1-2 tsp. dried epazote
1 tsp. cumin seed
2-3 dried bay leaves
2-5 chipotle dried peppers, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
cilantro, as garnish
goat feta, as garnish

In a pressure cooker at medium heat, sauté onions and celery, and add in garlic, oregano, paprika, basil, epazote, cumin seed, chipotle peppers, salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent and add in tomatoes. Move all the vegetables to the side of the pot and place the whole chicken in the center. Add in 2-3 cups of chicken stock and the bay leaves. Cover pressure cooker, bring to a boil and then cook under highest pressure for 60-80 minutes. This can also be cooked in a Dutch oven for approximately 2-3 hours at 350˚F/180˚C. Before serving, use a spoon to break the chicken into small pieces and remove the large bones. Serve with freshly made tortillas and/or rice, and garnish with crumbled goat feta and chopped cilantro.

Braised Persian Lamb Shanks

Persian lamb shanks are the quintessential comfort food of Iran and Persian cuisine, a popular time-honored dish that is cooked in every home. Given where Iran is located in western Asia, it might be expected that Persian cuisine is a hybrid of both Indian and European flavors, using Indian herbs such as black cumin and ginger along with more conventionally European herbs such as parsley and dill. The combination is a fragrant admixture of delicate aromas that is uniquely Persian and totally delicious. To boost the medicinal quality add in a few slices of dang gui and peony root, two important Chinese herbs to nourish the blood to treat infertility. The dang gui in particular has a strong celery flavor that complements this dish nicely.

Lamb shanks are the forelimbs of the lamb, rich in sinewy tendons and muscle, and like many tough or stringy meats, needs to be braised with moist heat. In medicinal terms, lamb shanks are good for building up the sinewy muscles and bones, and are a particularly good food for balancing vata.

4 lamb shanks
2 – 4 cups of stock
4 stalks of finely chopped celery
1 finely chopped onion
½ head of finely chopped garlic
2-3 tbsp. butter, olive oil or ghee
1 tsp. black cumin
1 tbsp. of dried leek leaf
1 tbsp. of dried parsley leaf
1 tbsp. of dried dill leaf
1 tbsp. of dried mint leaf
1 tsp. of sea salt
fresh-cracked black pepper, as garnish
fresh cilantro, as garnish

On medium-low heat, lightly brown the lamb shanks in butter or ghee, and then set aside. Add a little more fat to the pot and add in onion, garlic, celery, cumin, leek, parsley, dill and mint. Stir-fry until onions are translucent, and then add the lamb shanks, stock and salt. If you are using a pressure cooker, use only two cups of stock, whereas if you are making it in a heavy cast iron pot use four cups of stock, and cook covered at low heat for 3-4 hours. Garnish with fresh cracked black pepper and cilantro. Serves four or more people.