Yesterday, I taught a vegetarian cooking class at my house. The idea was to encourage food lovers to embrace their inner veggie enthusiast! Vegetarian food is sometimes considered boring, but with the right combination of ingredients, spices and colors, a vegetarian meal can look incredibly festive.
A plant-based diet not only provides a large dose of antioxidants, which lower the risk for heart diseases, diabetes, and some cancers; but it also reduces your carbon footprint. (Meat production accounts for 20% of man-made greenhouse gases each year.)
Without having to fully convert into a vegetarian, I believe we can make a difference by modifying our habits to incorporate perhaps one meal or one day weekly of plant-based foods.
In yogic nutrition, we consider food at an energetic level, three levels that is. Tamasic, such as the sleepy feeling when we wake up or after a big holiday meal. Rajastic, the sugar rush or caffeine high that may fill you up with excitement but leave you restless. From high to low, our eating habits take us on an energetic rollercoster. But right in between is Sattvic, the calm and peaceful state of body and mind we experience after a yoga class, or a well balanced meal of whole grains, legumes, and vegetables.
We are what we eat, but we also eat what we are.
Excerpt from yesterday’s class: Roasted Almond Goji Cilantro Quinoa
Ingredients (Serves 4 as a side dish)
1 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons whole raw almonds
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 green onion chopped
1 tbsp goji berries (or raisins)
Salt (or Braggs) and pepper to taste
- Place the quinoa in a sauce pan with 1 1/2 cups of water. Stir, bring to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid, and turn the heat down to simmer for 15-20min (or until all the water has been absorbed by the grain)
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet or in toaster oven, toast the almonds over medium heat until lightly golden, about 3 minutes; remove from heat. Let cool then chop them.
- When the quinoa is ready, add the almonds, oil, green onion, goji, and cilantro. Season the mixture with salt and fluff with a fork.