Today I spent a long fun afternoon at the International Center at the University of Virginia helping lead a class on “Conscious Cooking of Healthy Vegetarian Food” with my friends in the Bhakti Yoga Club. We showed how to make a number of delicious dishes and at the end of the event we shared an epic feast!
Before we prepared our dishes, my FY explained to the students about the idea of prasad or blessed food. He talked about how the mood in which we cook our food effects the vibration of the food itself! Food prepared with love, devotion and attention is filled with that positive, light-bringing energy and that in turn, nourishes us all the more! We explained how it’s possible to do elaborate rituals and pujas for offering food but also how one can very simply, symbolically “offer” one’s food just by chanting a few prayers or thinking positive thoughts over the dish before consuming it.
In our house, we offer most of our food to the deities of our home altar in a simple puja, but sometimes I just chant “SAT NAM” (Truth is my Name – the Bij mantra of Kundalini Yoga) over the pot or bowl. Oftentimes I hold my hands over the prepared food and offer Reiki and think simply the words of “LOVE” and “GRATITUDE” as these are the words that Dr. Emoto discovered have the most beautiful and purifying effect on the crystalline structures of water molecules.
Blessing one’s food or saying “Grace” before eating is done across the world. Different cultures have different ways of ritualizing and spiritualizing the simple and necessary act of consuming food. It’s a beautiful and profound way to bring a more conscious and devotional energy into one’s daily life. I find that conscious cooking leads to more conscious eating as well. This is so important in these days of high-stress and busyness when most people scarf down their food without giving it more than a second’s thought!
Cooking food with consciousness and devotion and then consuming this food with reverence and gratitude is so much more satisfying to the senses and to the soul.
Today I offered one of my favorite (and ever-changing recipes) that I like to call SUPER KALE SALAD!
This raw food preparation is highly nutritious and dense with minerals, vitamins and healthy fats! Whenever I make a variation of this salad it disappears instantly – people love it! I feel so awesomely nourished when I eat raw kale and this is by far the most flavorful way I’ve discovered to prepare it.
1 bunch of organic curly kale (de-stalk and ripped into small bite-sized pieces)
1 ripe avocado (cubes)
1/2 of pomegranate
1/2 english cucumber – cut in small cubes (no need to peel unless you use a regular cucumber with a hard skin)
1/4 jicama (peel and cut in small chunks)
1 stalk of celery (cut in tiny slivers)
1/2 cup of sesame seeds (can use other nuts or seeds if you prefer)
heaping spoonful of celtic sea salt
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon – juiced
2 teaspoons raw honey
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Feel free to alter the ingredients or ratios! I never make it the same twice!
Kale: De-stalk and then rip the kale in tiny pieces. Then sprinkle sea salt over the leaves and massage the salt into the kale to wilt it. Take a few minutes to rub the kale, this breaks down the cellulose in the leaves and makes it much easier to chew and extra tasty!
Pomegranate: Cut the pomegranate in quarters and then pop them in a bowl full of water. Then begin to break apart the quarters of pomegranate to remove the seeds. All the white fibers and skins will float to the top so you can scoop these up with your hand, toss them out and then have just the seeds left over! Easy!
Dressing: Make it in a jar and make extra! Shake the jar like crazy to mix it and then you can keep it in the fridge for the next time you make a salad. Use raw and local honey for extra goodness, especially around allergy season because the local honey is very helpful to prevent/alleviate allergy symptoms.
Mix it all up well and let it sit for 10 minutes or so to let all the flavors blend and make friends with one another!
Happy conscious cooking and happy conscious eating! Yay!