Sunday, April 18, 2010

Diet and Body

I know that I have talked in length about my love for beans but I must also share my love for the Bean cousin, The Lentil.  My life has been very hectic recently, I have been feeling stressed and my energy levels have been a roller coaster of inconsistency.  While I am in a very happy place and feel as though I am finally putting most of my energy where I want it to be (FOOD!)  I often remind myself that my diet is one of most important places to take control of how my body may be reacting to the stress I put it under.   
In that I am a big advocate for Self Medicating Diets.  At the very least I believe that people should look toward their diets when they are dealing with mild discomfort and/or specific illness.  I am not saying to avoid doctors or to not take symptoms seriously, I am only suggesting that our diets are a key place in determining how we feel.  For instance, when I am feeling low and in need of energy I look to complex Carbohydrates like Oatmeal in the morning and other whole grains. And when my stomach aches I am often soothed by a mug or three of mint tea.  The more I get to know food the more I am impressed and not surprised by how powerful my diet is to my general condition.  My constant ache of food knowledge has recently led me to finding and reading Super Food Pocketbook by Michael Van Straten.  For any curious readers out there--I found this book to be an interesting and informative reference on many common foods.  Van Straten explores 100 foods alphabetically examining their nutritional properties and highlighting health benefits and medicinal uses.  Van Straten Also goes through Vitamins and Minerals explaining how the body absorbs them, why they are important and what foods contain them.  As a Foodie with a strong curiosity for Nutrition I would definitely recommend this little handbook. 

I am interested in sparking your curiosity and would like to challenge you to being more mindful of what you are eating, what your conditions are (stress? no stress?) and how you feel.  See if you are able to find more peace by being more aware of these things.

And in that vain I will share with you one of my favorite recipes.  Sran Style Dhal ripped right from the pages of my roommate Venice's Mother's handwritten cookbook. 

Sran Style Dhal
Serves 4 
- 1 cup red lentils (if you can find yellow lentils mix half and half)
- 1 onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbspn cumin seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1tsp salt
- 1-2 inches of ginger (I find that less is more)
- 1 tomato
- 1/2 tsp Graham Marsala
- 1 tsp coriander 
- 4 cups of water

1. In a frying pan: heat up a couple tbspn of oil, once heated well turn the heat down to low and fry the cumin seeds for about a minute.  Then add the onions and allow to cook for a minute or two.  Then add the garlic and allow to cook for another minute or two.  Finally add the ginger and allow all things to be cooked through until the onion is nice and limp. Turn off heat!
2. In a sauce pan add the lentils and the water (Ratio is 1:4::lentils:water) bring to boil and add turmeric, coriander, and salt ( Hold off on adding the Graham Marsala until the end).
3. bring down to simmer and add the Tharka Mixture (which is the onions/garlic/cumin seeds/ ginger)
4. Let simmer for a couple of minutes, you want to avoid soggy lentils! however if they do get soggy they still taste good and you will get better next time
5. At last add the cut up tomato and the Graham Marsala and allow to heat through.
6. Turn off heat and enjoy!

I find Lentils to be a great food when I am feeling stressed.  Dhal especially is energizing, filling and comforting.  


  1. Love your food and it will love you!


    thought you'd appreciate the concept of this food workers' co-op in your neck of the woods...

    love the blog, hope all is well!

    -mark byrnes