Crescent City Ayurveda
|Posted by [email protected] on July 30, 2018 at 4:45 PM||comments ()|
We have been honing our okra recipe, and the final version was so good it inspired a hilarious and wonderful video review by Aria's mother in the style of Tabitha Brown! It has the perfect blending of Creole and Indian spices to create a unique flavor. The best part is the okra is not slimy, but finds a perfect balance between a healthy crunch and a delicious smother. We made our okra masala with fresh okra from the farmers' market. Look how beautiful they are raw! You can also see a shot of the finished product. All our class participants had a good time, ate well, and learned a lot about Ayurveda. We hope to see you at the next one!
Here is a link to the recipe:
|Posted by [email protected] on March 16, 2018 at 3:10 PM||comments ()|
This Friday's delicious and healthy fish recipe is Dijon Pecan Baked Salmon (recipe).
To make the recipe more local, we used Steen's cane syrop in place of maple, and of course added a dash of our own love seasoning to the sauce. What I loved about this recipe was the crunchiness of the pecans, and how that balanced the softness of the fish. Plus, with a sauce made from butter, cane syrop, and dijon mustard, it's pretty much cheating it's so good!
Before I started these Fish Fridays for Lent this year, I hadn't cooked fish much, since I mostly cook vegetarian food. I've actually been surprised by how easy most of these recipes are! You just need to make your sauce, cover the fish in it and put it in the pan, and then bake it in the oven for about 15 minutes. Not only that, but they are really good! We thought we were making a sacrifice by giving up fried seafood, but by doing so, it encouraged us to try new baked fish recipes at home instead of going out for fried fish. I'm very grateful to my partner, Aria, for coming up with this idea and encouraging me to do it!
Salmon is one of the most healthy fish, primariy because of its high content of omega-3 fatty acids. It's also a great source of high-quality protein, B vitamins, potassium, and selenium. The red color of salmon comes from Astaxanthin, a member of the carotenoid family of antioxidants, the same family as the carotines that give carrots their orange color. Salmon may prevent against heart disease, aid in weight control, fight inflammation, and even protect brain health (see this page by Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE). It's amazing that a food, especially a fish, can provide all of those health benefits because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. To maximize these benefits, it's best to have wild salmon, and we were lucky enough to find wild salmon on sale at Whole Foods. But even studies conducted with farmed salmon have shown that it increases the omega-3 fatty acid level in the blood.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, this recipe is best for vata dosha. Salmon is good for vata because it is a saltwater fish and is rich in healthy oils. Plus, the dijon mustard brings warmth which aids digestion, helping you get the maximum benefit out of the salmon. The pecans also add even more protein, nourishment, and healthy oil, all of which are great for vata.
If you try any of these recipes and enjoy them, please post a comment here or on our FaceBook page. And if you would like to schedule a consultation to learn about how you can apply Ayurveda in your own life, please send me an email at [email protected]
Have a wonderful weekend!
|Posted by [email protected] on March 12, 2018 at 12:55 AM||comments ()|
- The recipe calls for swai, but we used local sheepshead. Flounder or scallops could also work well as substitutes. These are all flaky but with a firm texture and a mild flavor, so another local fish with this characteristics would also work.
- She used pecan oil in place of olive oil, since it is a local Louisiana product.
- Powdered ginger in place of minced fresh ginger, as it is easier to digest for people with sensitive digestion
- Italian seasoning, onion powder, and garlic powder for additional seasoning (note that powdered onion and garlic are better for people on a low FODMAP diet)
- White cooking wine for extra gourmet flavor
- Grated parmesan cheese at the end of cooking (optional)
|Posted by [email protected] on March 4, 2018 at 7:05 PM||comments ()|
Today, Aria and I planted a pot-based vegetable and herb garden in my back yard. In the big planter, we have three types of bell peppers and two types of tomatoes, and in the pots, we have rosemary, lemongrass, green onions, sage, oregano, two types of mint, and three types of basil (yes, I went a little crazy on the basil).
Herbs and spices are particularly important in Ayurveda, because they support the digestive fire, which we call agni. According to Ayurveda, food should never be bland, but always well-spiced and seasoned (but not necesarily hot). For someone like myself with a more pitta nature, it's best to use more cooling or neutral spices. All of the spices listed above are good choices for pitta, since none are hot. Mint in particular is one of the best herbs for digestion that is also cooling. Basil is also a greatly revered herb in Ayurveda - primarily tulsi or "holy basil" for medicinal use, but other types of basil are still good for culinary use.
Eating fresh, local, organic vegetables and herbs is a cornerstone of healthy eating in Ayurveda. Hippocrates is famous for saying "let your food be your medicine," and this quote by the founder of Greek medicine also sums up one of the most important principles of Ayurveda.
Cooking your own food is one of the best ways to take excellent care of your body, but growing your own food takes it one step further. I've been wanting to do this for years, and now that I have my own house and have settled in, I'm really excited to have finally created this garden. It may be humble, but just taking this first step is huge. If you have limited space like I do, planter- or pot-based gardens are a great and very easy way to create your own garden. So go to the hardware store and get yourself a planter and some herbs, and get your home garden started this spring!
PS The title of this blog post is a reference to my favorite Beach Boys song - Vegetables. Listen to some good music while you plant!
|Posted by [email protected] on March 2, 2018 at 4:20 PM||comments ()|
To me, nothing says "Lent in New Orleans" more than fried catfish. Churches around town do fish fries as a way to help people eat fish on Friday and raise money. Two weeks ago, Aria and I checked out the fish fry at St. Gabriel's in Pontchartrain Park, but we have decided to give up fried food for the remainder of Lent. This week we chose a healthier alternative, oven "fried" catfish (https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/oven-fried-catfish-recipe-1940865). It was delicious with a little ketchup and tartar sauce, and satisfied our fried fish craving, but was much lighter than actual fried catfish.
The prep for the fish is a little different than if you were going to fry it, and instead of frying it in oil, you bake it in the oven, but the taste is similar. We simplified the recipe in the link by using Zatarain's fish fry, but ideally, you could make your own organic fish fry. To make the recipe lighter, we substituted pecan oil for butter for the drizzle on the fish. Since Aria is on a low FODMAP diet (good for IBS, IBD, and gastroparesis), we used Lactaid lactose-free milk.
Since catfish is a freshwater fish, it is a better choice for pitta and kapha due to the lower salt content. The spicy cornmeal fish fry is also good for kapha, as it is drying and heating. By baking it rather than frying, the amount of oil used is greatly reduced, which is also beneficial for both pitta and kapha. As for condiments, tartar sauce would be better for pitta, because it is cooling and soothing-but it is too heavy for kapha. Ketchup would be a better choice for kapha, but is not recommended for pitta because of the sour quality of the vinegar and the heating quality of the tomato.
For a side, cooked vegetables such as green peas or green beans are best because they are easier to digest. However, for pitta's with strong digestion, a salad would also be a good choice as it is cooling.
Check back next Friday for our next fish recipe which will be good for kaphas!
|Posted by [email protected] on February 23, 2018 at 1:20 PM||comments ()|
Today is the second Friday of Lent, and it is of course traditional to eat fish then. From an Ayurvedic perspective, fish has the tastes of sweet and salty. Freshwater fish is sweet without being salty. This means that saltwater fish it is best for the Vata dosha, since the sweet and salty tastes reduce Vata. Examples of saltwater fish include salmon, tuna, snapper, swordfish, grouper, cod, and hake.
Since salt increases the Pitta and Kapha doshas, freshwater fish is best for them. That doesn't mean all saltwater fish has to be avoided by Pitta and Kapha, since fish is generally healthy for just about everyone; however, Pittas and Kaphas should be careful about how much salt is used. Examples of freshwater fish that are good to eat include catfish, trout, bluegill, crappie, bass, freshwater drum, and walleye.
Fish is also a good source of healthy fats, in particular omega-3 fatty acids, which are also especially good for Vata. Some fish that are the best choices for omega-3's are trout, albacore tuna, and salmon.
Of course, Ayurveda always recommends that food be well-seasoned (but not firey spicey), and fish is no exception. Last week, I made a recipe for baked fish that used garam masala, turmeric, and paprika to season the fish (https://indianhealthyrecipes.com/baked-fish-indian-style/). I used a beautiful filet of local black drum from Whole Foods, and it came out absolutely delicious. I followed the recipe and used semolina for the crust. Aria suggested you could also use bread crumbs for a more traditionally Creole style, and place butter (or better yet ghee) on top of the fish to make it even more delicious. This recipe is best for Vata, because black drum is a saltwater fish and the garam masala includes warm spices that are great for Vata. In upcoming posts, we will look at fish recipes for Pitta and Kapha.
|Posted by [email protected] on February 14, 2018 at 9:45 PM||comments ()|
Today marks the beginning of Lent, which in New Orleans is a great day to recommit to healthy lifestyle for the duration of the season. For me, it's a day to commit to embodying Ayurvedic lifestyle practices, and to my practice as an Ayurvedic consultant.
In this spirit, I would like to announce a new special: for the duration of Lent, all individual consultations will be only $40. This is my lowest price, so if you have been thinking about starting a sequence of visits, now is the best time to do it. If you are a past or current client and you have friends who you think would be interested, please let them know about the opportunity.
Consultations bring together all aspects of Ayurvedic practice, such as self-care, culinary medicine, and overall wellness. Take this marvelous opportunity to embrace reflection that could lead to a beneficial life change for you. If you've been to one of my public talks or our recent cooking class, individualized consultations are the way to take Ayurveda to the next level by applying it to your lifestyle with weekly support from a practitioner. I look forward to you joining me!
|Posted by [email protected] on January 27, 2018 at 3:35 PM||comments ()|
Our Curry with Soul event this week was a great success, with over 20 people in attendance. I gave an introduction to the Ayurvedic approach to using food as healing, and Aria Mason gave a cooking demonstration of a dish she developed as a hybrid of the classic dish Shrimp Creole and a Goan style shrimp curry, with the addition of mirliton, a local vegetable that is in season during the winter months. There was plenty of curry for all and it was delicious. If you would like to prepare the dish yourself, this is the recipe.
|Posted by [email protected] on August 30, 2017 at 10:05 AM||comments ()|
On this blog, I will be sharing some of the Ayurvedic practices that I do for myself, and which anyone interested in having a more balanced lifestyle can do to promote wellness.
This weekend I made some "ginger brew," a strong decoction of ginger. Traditionally, ginger tea would be drunk hot, often with lemon and honey. Since it's summer in New Orleans and so hot, I've been trying an alternate method, adding a splash of this concentrated ginger tea to a glass of water with a squeeze of lime juice.
To make the ginger brew, I chopped a large piece of ginger into thin strips, and placed it in a small pot of water. I brought the water to a boil, and then let it simmer with the cover ajar for an hour, or until about half of the water had boiled off. Then I store it in a glass bottle in the fridge. You may want to add honey to it before refrigerating while it is still hot.
In Ayurveda, ginger is considered best for the vata and kapha doshas, because of its heating quality. It also is used to build the digestive fire, known as agni. In other words, ginger is a great digestive aid, which stimulates appetite and prevents gas and bloating (i.e. vata) or heaviness and lethargy (i.e. kapha) after eating. It is also famous for its anti-nausea (i.e. kapha) properties. However, please note that ginger would be contraindicated in cases of burning indigestion (i.e. pitta) because of its heating quality. It is also traditionally used for arthritic joint pain, especially due to vata-type arthritis.
For more on the health benefits of ginger, check out this link at the Chopra Center:
To set up a consultation with me to identify your Ayurvedic constitutional type and develop an individualized plan to improve your digestion, email me at [email protected]
In good health,