So much of our health is tied up in how we live our lives day to day. Our habits. Our postures. Our diets. Our ongoing stresses. The ways in which we hold onto things emotionally and physically. These days, I’m choosing to slow down in my life. It’s an attempt to change the course of my health - which has been going a little haywire lately due to overload - and to see if by doing that I can flourish in different areas. I can feel my creativity soaring and expanding, and I’m pretty sure it’s due to the new space and time I have given it. I’ve been spending a lot of time experimenting in the kitchen, thinking of ways I can enhance and grow my practice, thinking of new models and platforms I can work within to help people heal and thrive, and I’ve been really trying to practice what I preach in terms of living mindfully and listening to my body and my needs. It feels so good! Today I got to sit down with two of my wonderful friends & fellow moms-of-young-children, Kelly Colchin and Ana Koehler. I fed them a Medicine Kitchen meal and we talked about work, motherhood, art, and that dream of finding the perfect work/life balance.
I made some therapeutic foods for Kelly and Ana - a sprouted mung bean, black sesame, arugula & radish salad with some fresh ginger, walnuts, chile, sesame oil and lime juice (see the full recipe below!). A simple poached egg. A delicious almond milk tonic infused with ghee, herbs and spices. Some tulsi tea with honey and fresh mint leaves. Mung beans are a staple in Chinese and Ayurvedic cooking. They are cleansing to the gut and vascular system and have a cooling nature to them. They have long been considered one of the most important beans therapeutically as they detoxify the body as well as provide it with fluids (and protein). They are super versatile too - use them like this in a salad or cook them just like lentils in soups or with rice.
A “jing” tonic is made to fortify the human essence, build blood and vitality. Jing is considered the refined and physical essence that is the material basis of all life. This tonic is a mixture of almond milk, ghee, warming spices, he shou wu, dates, ginger. I simmer it for a few minutes on the stove then blend together before serving. It’s kind of like the tea drinker’s version of butter coffee! This is a great warm drink to have as a snack or in the evening to help calm the nerves and promote restful sleep as well. The almond milk and ghee and very grounding while the ginger and spices provide a nice pick-me-up. One of the things about motherhood that seems to be a universal experience is the sense of overwhelm and overload one can feel. You feel like your brain is doing 6 things at once, your focus and attention is constantly split between children and your own personal needs. The juggle and hustle of work and mothering can be exhausting. You can feel like you are lost in something of a haze at times. Or a hamster wheel. But we carry on! I think having things - foods, practices, rituals - that ground us are more important than ever in this phase of life.
I love working with & supporting moms throughout the motherhood experience. This is where I am and I enjoy the connection that is shared through this experience and it’s challenges. As I search for my own balance of work and life as a new-ish mother, taking pauses and not being afraid of change has been key for me. But I like to think this applies to everyone in their own life no matter the situation! Talking with friends and clients, I always notice how the people who really make strides in their life & health are not afraid to change it up and evolve as time goes on and as you encounter different demands and needs. It’s inspiring to watch this!
Feeding my friends was so rewarding to me today - not only to have some fun cooking and sharing the flavors of healing foods, but to connect in person over a couple hours with no interruptions, no distractions. The house was quiet & empty. All there was was conversation, sharing, listening, advice. I want to always remember that feeling nourished/nurtured doesn’t only come from food, but from your relationships, rhythms, and connection to the world. My friends remind me of this (as do my clients!) and I want to honor my time with them more.
Kelly Colchin is an art director and illustrator. You can see more of her vast talent at www.kellycolchin.com. Ana Koehler is a painter of women and post-partum doula. View her inspiring art at www.anakoehler.com.
SPROUTED MUNG BEAN SALAD WITH ARUGULA, BLACK SESAME & RADISH:
½ C mung bean rinsed, soaked for 8+ hours, and sprouted (6+ hours)
2 tsp black sesame seeds
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp minced or sliced fresh ginger
½ tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp sea salt
3 large handfuls baby arugula
½ C sliced radish
¼ C walnuts
Chopped fresh basil for topping
LIme wedges for topping
Saute sprouted mung beans, black sesame, ginger, chile, salt in sesame oil on medium heat for 5+ minutes until fragrant and the beans have softened up somewhat. Turn off heat and add in arugula and toss until just the bottom leaves start to wilt - transfer to plates quickly with a little of everything from the pan on each plate. Add sliced radish, walnuts, basil and a squeeze of lime to each salad. A poached egg is a nice addition for a full meal. :) (adapted from Divya Alter’s book What to Cook for How you Feel).