Part of the reason I started this blog was to discover the type of eating that makes me feel healthy, plain and simple. Apart from being diagnosed with lactose intolerance at the age of five, I’ve always had a fairly sensitive stomach. And despite having a full spectrum of medical testing, coupled with visits to gastroenterologists, dietitians, and nutritionists, I was never able to really pinpoint the physical source of my health issues.
However, through my yoga teacher training, I’ve been given an incredibly opportunity to turn inward and reflect upon the health problems throughout my life. When in my life did I feel healthy? What foods did I eat that made me feel good? My yoga teacher training, in terms of solving my health issues, has been incredibly unique in that it encourages reflection upon the “mind-body connection”, instead of just focusing on the physical aspect of health. Ayurvedic teachings hold that the mind and body are two intertwined and interconnected entities that, when in synergy, contribute to our overall health and wellness. The western view of medicine has always been more segregated.
Now, no one in the ayurveda camp is saying that you should meditate to fix your broken leg instead of going to the doctor to get it fixed. However, ayurvedic teaching is much more focused on preventative medicine, whereas western practices are very “treat it as it comes” centric. Indeed, western philosophy is only beginning to discover some of the knowledge that has been part of ayurvedic teachings for millennia. It seems like every week there’s a new study linking stress to disease, or discussing the effects our mental state has on our physical well-being.
But I digress. How this relates to my health story is that growing up, I just accepted for a fact that my digestive issues were purely physical. Only recently have I started to realize how what I eat affects my mind, and in turn my mind affects how I digest it.
I’ve found through much experimentation that a whole-foods, plant based diet works best for me. I know that the foods I am eating are healthy, which in turn helps me better experience my own state of wellness. I know that might sound weird, but if I eat junk food, I know what I’ve just eaten is unhealthy… and that thought itself makes me feel sick. Does that makes sense?
But like I wrote about in this post, this is only my definition of wellness. Nearly everyone I’ve met can eat junk food, no problem, and feel fine. And while I’m definitely jealous of everyone else and their food-tolerance abilities (!!!), I’m so relieved that I’m finally starting to figure out what works for me.
This recipe here is a variation of a soup I make whenever I have an upset stomach. It’s full of healing spices and vegetables, and made with soft red lentils for easier digestion. I sautéed the vegetables in coconut oil before, also to make them softer and easier to digest. It’s so comforting and healing, and I always feel better after I have some of this soup.
Healing Lentil Soup w/ Turmeric + Summer Vegetables
- 3-4 Cloves Garlic minced
- Handful of Kale finely chopped
- Small Knob of Coconut Oil
- 1 Cup Green Beans finely chopped
- Handful of Fresh Basil
- 3-4 Scallions
- 4 Cups Vegetable Stock
- 2 Cups Water
- 1 Cup Red Lentils
- 1 Tsp Turmeric
- Pinch of Salt + Pepper
- Freshly chopped cilantro for topping optional
Sauté the minced garlic and kale in a small knob of coconut oil in a large saucepan or pasta pot on medium heat until garlic is just browned.
Bring pan to low heat and add all other veggies - green beans, fresh basil, and scallions - and sauté for about a minute.
Pour vegetable stock and water over veggies and stir well.
Add lentils, turmeric, and salt and pepper and stir.
Let soup simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
To serve, top with freshly chopped cilantro and a drizzle of olive oil.
Recipe NotesRed lentils were used in this soup due to their soft consistency when cooked. If a sturdier lentil is more your thing, I would recommend using black or green lentils instead!
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