Healthy Recipes for Conscious Cooking this Summer, Joanne Faulkner
“The rhythm of life is a powerful beat, puts a tingle in your fingers and a tingle in your feet.” And what is the rhythm of life? It’s the constant change that is the in and out of breathing and the steady pulsing of the heart. It’s never static, it makes a beat, creates a rhythm.
Sometimes, in times of constant change and turmoil, we can feel unsteady and ungrounded as though the wave of change may overwhelm us and take us over. However, Shiatsu and the food we eat can help to ground the consciousness in the heart so that even though all around us may be loosing their heads, we will still have ours, secure in its home, the healthy heart.
The first step to start housing the heart is to build the blood. Leafy greens, full of chlorophyll, are great at improving the quality of blood. They are packed full of calcium and magnesium, and eating them raw in the following salad will ensure that none of the water soluble vitamins and minerals like the calcium and magnesium are lost through cooking.
Blood Building Salad
Watercress contains extremely high levels of Vitamin C and – as well as boosting the immune system – provides vital antioxidants, essential for removing any waste or toxins from the blood. The salad can be quite bitter, so the orange and red onions should sweeten the flavour, although, curiously, the flavour for the high summer and the heart is bitterness. It is as without the unavoidable pain and sadness of life the joyous expansion of the heart cannot fully be experienced.
200g Watercress or Baby Spinach leaves or a mix of both
1 small red Onion
Wash and drain the green leaves; shred them by hand into small mouth size bites. Peel and cut the orange into chunks; tip these along with the juice onto the leaves. Cut the pomegranate in half and – using a fork – scrape out the red fleshy seeds. Ensure that none of the pomegranate pith falls into the salad as this is really too bitter. Chop the red onion in half after peeling off the outside layers, then thinly slice into half moons; these should come apart when tossing all the ingredients of the salad together.
This salad is great at cooling and nourishing the blood. Bulgur wheat is made from wheat berries that have been boiled, dried and cracked. Wheat, with its bitter flavour, benefits the heart, but over use, refinement and genetic modification, can cause allergic reactions. However, as a grain, it absorbs a wider range of vitamins and minerals from the soil than any other grain and is brilliant at nurturing the heart mind of the body. So, try organic bulgur wheat or spelt flour.
Parsley is the other main ingredient in this salad. Make sure you use the flat leaf variety. Its main influence is on the kidneys, as it has a mild diuretic effect, but all organs in Chinese medicine serve the heart, so building healthy fluids in the body by aiding the kidneys is no bad thing. It also contains calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron and several times the vitamin C of citrus fruits. So, energetically, this will soothe the nerves, build the blood and strengthen the heart.
250g Bulgur Wheat
1 tablespoon Miso paste, mixed with 1 litre of boiling water to make a stock
1 large bag (100g approx.) flat leaf Parsley
2 bunches Scallions
Juice of 1 Lemon
50ml Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Place the bulgur wheat into a saucepan and pour over the hot stock. Bring the liquid back to the boil, cover with a lid and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Keep checking it to make sure it doesn’t run out of liquid, and – after 5 minutes – take it off the heat and leave it to sit in the remaining liquid for a further 15 minutes. The bulgur should have absorbed the liquid and be soft in texture with a slight bite. Leave this to cool, and begin to chop the parsley very small. The scallions and tomatoes are also chopped into bite size pieces, and cucumber can be added, but I find it goes soggy if the salad is kept in the fridge for over 12 hours. Juice the lemon and stir with the olive oil, scallions, tomatoes and parsley into the bulgur wheat. I like plenty of ground pepper and salt in my salad, but really add to taste. This salad is great by itself and will serve 4-5 people, but it’s also delicious served with fish because of the lemon tang and fresh parsley.
Summer Cooler Tea
2-3 Rosehip tea bags
Couple of large sprigs of mint
1-2 tablespoons of Apple Juice Concentrate or Honey
Place all ingredients in a large cafetiere and pour over 1 litre of recently boiled water. Leave it steep for at least five minutes. Give it a stir and it’s ready to serve. Fresh rosehips really would be the best here as they are packed with Vitamin C. However, they can be difficult to find, so I often substitute the tea bags. This tea is absolutely delicious hot but I love to make a big jug of it and let it cool, serving it over ice in the garden with a few calendula petals sprinkled through. Roll on sunshine.
Joanne, together with Uta Kaiser from Yogatouch, will be running a residential workshop from June 8th – 10th, “Building a home for your heart,” which will use food, meditation, acupressure meridians and yoga practice to bring peace, stability and health to your heart. For more information on this and Calcium and Magnesium in food and the body, visit www.joannefaulkner.org or contact Joanne on 0866070432.