Menu Planning {+ Recipe}: A Nourishing and Tasty Lunch Idea

Menu Planning {+ Recipe}: A Nourishing and Tasty Lunch Idea

As most of you probably know already, I have practiced the art of cooking and eating through Macrobiotics, and Ayurveda, to heal myself with food.

Ayurveda literally translates to mean, "the study of life", and is derived from the Indian / Yogic culture, while Macrobiotics translates to mean, "The Big Picture of Life", which is derived from Chinese Medicine, and actually initially derived from Ayurveda.

Ayurveda came first, as did Yoga, when the first inhabitants of the world were learning how to take care of themselves, but once the sages expanded outward towards Asia, new methods of preventing disease were discovered.

LifeStyle Lessons: Leftover Lunches

grain saladLast week I talked about healthy Breakfast options and today I'm talking about lunch! Both meals are always the easiest for me to whip up; dinner takes a little more thought and preparation. It's so worth it though because you're left with easy, healthy leftover lunch options! A little rough draft of menu planning is all you need to be in charge of your health through cooking for yourself. I was first introduced to Macrobiotic Counselor, Warren Kramer, while waiting in the bathroom line at Cafe Gratitude, Los Angeles. There was a flyer on the wall that said: "Cooking for One and the Creative Use of Leftovers". Exactly what I was looking for at the time. His class totally inspired me to learn the art of cooking basic healthy meals, and ultimately led me to healing myself with food. Check out the highlights from his class.

I have now fallen into an easy flow in the kitchen after practicing cooking and planning my meals. Here are my go - to Lunch Options:

healthy lunch prep

Turn dinners into left-overs with:

Grains Salads: A mix of left over grains, blanched or raw chopped veggies, sprouts/bean, nuts/seeds, avocado and greens, dressed and tossed with lemon and flax or olive oil or home-made dressing/sauce (or Amy's brand dressings).* Try my fave Tahini dressing from Alicia's book The Kind Diet:  tahini, lemon juice, tamari, garlic and water blended in a blender til light and creamy.

Stir Fry: Saute veggies then mix in brown rice or gluen free noodles with a little water and tamari – cook through til liquid is absorbed.

millet squares

Millet/Polenta Squares: Store leftovers in a baking dish so it sets. Then cut into squares and either pan fry or serve cold with large salad.

Open face sandwich/wrap: use sourdough rye (French meadows brand) or Ezekiel Sprouted Grain bread, or gluten free wraps (warmed up on a stove to make pliable) or just wrap in nori paper or collard green ~ any veggies/sprouts inside for a quick and easy lunch.

Tabouli from Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Kitchen: use quinoa or bulghar wheat and add hemp seeds, parsley, mint, diced onion and tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and tamari mixed together and served atop spinach/greens

kale saladKale Salad: In a large bowl, place sliced kale, chopped avocado, lemon juice and flax oil and massage with hands til wilted and creamed. Toss in sprouts and sliced almonds, and serve wrapped in a nori roll or served along side your millet square

tempeh sushi roll

tempeh vegetable sushi roll

tempeh vegetable sushi roll

Get fancy and roll your own sushi!

Vegetable/Tempeh Sushi Roll: leftover sweet brown rice, flattened on nori roll, then loaded with shredded carrots, sliced cukes, scallions, avocados and pan fried tempeh slices. Roll up with wet hands and cut into bite size pieces. Perfection!

Have fun and enjoy your health!



Love yourself First <3

Patricia's Heart at the BeachTaking care of yourself is a full time job, but if you can't take care of yourself first, you can't take care of others! These past few years, I've really dived head first into the constant, sometimes chaotic routine of giving to myself first. Putting all the attention on your self may seem overwhelming at first ~ It sure did to me! I was in over my head with trying to keep up with myself not too long ago. I barely had time to work! But once you dive in and give it a go, you'll naturally fall into a groove, I promise!

You'll start to notice things that don't work for you anymore.  It seemed crazy for me to think I needed to give up my job schedule and living logistics at first, but once I gave myself some space to care for myself, 'everything started to fall into place', as my step father always says. Things naturally start shifting in your life as you evolve. What ever doesn't work for you, will just leave your life, and new ways of being will open up! I used to love going out partying, and now I'm finding that I don't enjoy drinking or staying out late much at all anymore. Sounds boring, I know, but I love my new lifestyle!

We have a physical, emotional and spiritual body within each of us, so we need to attend to all three entities.

In our physical bodies, to stay healthy, we must keep our immune system strong by way of keeping our digestive track clean. We do this by the foods we eat, and not just what we eat, but why, how, where, and when we eat as well, via our own hands, which are an extension of our heart. Cooking for ourselves is the best way to put loving kindness into our being. You can go to a restaurant and order a super healthy meal, but who is preparing your food? What type of energy are they pouring into it? That's why it's recommended to only eat out to 3 meals per week, according to Ayurveda and Macrobiotics philosophies and practices.

Keeping our gut healthy requires proper elimination, and mild cleansing/detoxing techniques! Our skin is our biggest organ, so pimples and rashes may live here if the digestive system isn't operating optimally. You can aid in the elimination process by giving yourself a hot body scrub and/or dry brushing, and/or an Abyhanga self love massage daily, to keep the lymphatic and circulatory systems moving and pushing out toxins though the skin.

Tongue scraping and oil pulling help as well. As soon as you get up, before brushing your teeth or drinking anything, scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper to remove all the toxins that have built up while your body was sleeping/cleansing. See Ancient Art of Cleansing post. Then, swish a tablespoon of sesame oil in your mouth for 10-15 minutes to pull out toxins and to eliminate bad breath, and to enhance the health of your teeth and gums.

Proper sleep, relaxation and movement also keep the immune system strong but really assist in balancing the nervous system and keeping your emotional body calm. Waking with the laws of nature as the sun rises, and eating breakfast by 9/10, lunch by 1/2, and dinner by 6, followed by sleep time by 10, will keep you aligned with the rhythm of nature, so that your body can be in harmony with the sun and properly digest and assimilate all that you've taken in throughout the day.

A daily walk / exercise of some sort in nature to fill your body with the prana from the trees, coupled with yoga practices and meditation will calm the nervous system and restore your body's natural ability to heal itself, keeping your own chi/prana/life force moving fluidly. Whenever the chi stops and becomes stagnant, is when problems may arise.

Your electromagnetic field/aura is your spiritual body that needs to be catered to as well. By practicing yoga and long deep breathing or other yogic pranyama exercises, you balance your nervous system, but you also strengthen your heart which cleans your auric field. You radiate at 9ft in each direction as a being, so it's just as important, if not more so to pay attention to this spiritual body rather than just your physical body. Your physical body houses your spiritual body, so one does not work without the other. Everything starts in the spiritual body and manifests itself in the physical, so go to the root for all healing and raise your vibration to receive only good things in your life!

Schedule yourself first, it's worth it! It also helps to have a friend who is going through the same evolution in life as a support system. It's a lifelong journey, so take each day at a time. Remember, it takes 40 days of doing something consistently to remove a pattern, another 40 days to neutralize the pattern, and 40 more days to replace the pattern with a new one.

Fall in love with yourself and have fun doing it!

Sat Nam.


Find your sweet spot

one size does not fit all, now does it? this is why 'diet's' are not suited for everyone, certain supplements aren't necessary for everybody, not everybody needs the same amount of sleep, should eat meat, shouldn't, etc. etc. etc... it's hard to keep up with all the information we have in regards to health and wellness, and that's why it's so important to listen to yourself and become your own doctor, your own teacher, your own guide.

for me, i listen when my body tells me its story. anytime i have a frustrating physical symptom, i become proactive and let myself be guided to healing. macrobiotics has been a very influential approach to my health path. i can't say enough about how it cleared up a lot of debris, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally too.

i believe that freedom comes from structure.

to feel vibrant, we need to have a plan in place. if we don't have the proper foods on hand, we're likely to grab something not ideal, to satisfy our hunger, or craving. if we stay up all night on the computer, or watching t.v., we're depleting our energy source--same goes for if we don't get outside everyday and move. without a proper structure to our day, we will become distant from our intuitive, mindful capacity to be the best version of ourselves.

BUT, once we master the art of structure, we can play a little!

it's not healthy to become too rigid or narrow minded in our lives. when we do that, we block the flow of creation.

macrobiotics is known to be a healing diet, but it also literally translates to the meaning, 'the big picture of life'. naturally, there is an ebb and flow and a yin and yang to the philosophy.

but you have to ask yourself, 'what works for you'?

for a year, i was a hard core macro, but once i found balance within my structure, i started to see what parts of the diet didn't work for me, and i've since tweaked my approach to eating.

i relate this to my kundalini/naam yoga practice. my love for this practice has kept me from trying other styles of yoga, until recently! i'd always been very resistant to vinyasa flow classes because they're uncomfortable--all the more reason to try it!

there's a fine line between structure and rigidity, exploration and resistance.

my macro world has now been reshaped by the ayurvedic world, and my love for naam and kundalini has new meaning for me now in the vinyasa world. everything is connected, and evolves in its own time.

i'm finding that 'sweet spot' in life, just as you find in a yoga pose, where the foundation and alignment of your health and body can now find it's ultimate place in the world.

ayurvedic practices focus on the three different doshas--a sanskrit term for the biological energies found in the human mind and body--our unique blueprint. it's a more individualized approach, unlike the broader spectrum of macrobiotics. macrobiotics helped me to establish the structure i needed, to then understand through ayurveda, what could support me in other ways.

through discipline and structure, you move into a soft, supple, flourishing being, open to new experiences, open to the flow of life, and a vehicle of moving energy.

to start finding your 'sweet spot', first develop some proper structure. eventually, your energy will flow in and out of you efficiently, allowing your intuition to ultimately guide you.

embark on establishing a peaceful, fulfilling life, by taking what worked for me and will always serve me, from the basic structure in macrobiotics:

sit down and eat at regular meal times throughout the day.

breakfast should be between 6-8.

lunch between 12-2

dinner between 5-7.

take a walk every day for a minimum of 30 minutes.

surround yourself with green plants--in your bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.

keep the air in your home circulating, by opening windows.

limit electronic use as much as possible. television time is usually no more than an hour a day. it zaps your energy.

get to bed by 10. going to sleep with the world, helps your body reset and recharge properly, keeping you vibrant by reducing kidney stress.

my kundalini/naam practice has ignited my inspiration, my creativity, peace and fulfillment by keeping me anchored in love. it's a beautiful fusion with macrobiotics because it connects us to the laws of the universe.

it is a MUST to meditate for a minimum of 11 minutes per day. pray, sit in silence, go within, follow your breathing, open your heart and surrender what does not serve you.

if you follow this structure, you will find your 'sweet spot' in the world and be more peaceful, and happier than you could ever dream imaginable.

in health and happiness,


Satisfy your sweet tooth the right way.

i dream of belgian waffles. each individual square slathered in earth balance vegan butter swimming in a little pool of maple syrup! does it get much better than that?? well, yes if you get really indulgent and add whipped cream or berries on top! or for that matter, you can choose to have ice cream on top at some restaurants. orrrr the latest crazy combo craze of fried chicken and waffles.

clearly, these little fluffy, crispy, sweet, doughy treats are the perfect vehicle for shoveling whatever you'd like into your mouth!

the weekends are for relaxing and treating yourself, are they not?

all the dedication and discipline i exert into my healthy lifestyle still deserves a satisfying treat every now and then! which is why i LOVED my santa monica vegan restaurants...sadly i have not found a restaurant here on cape cod that can accommodate my out of the ordinary 'fun' meals.

i used to look forward to Real Food Daily's waffle option on their sunday brunch menu, so i've decided to re-create it in my own kitchen! luckily, my dear friend and macrobiotic cooking instructor, karen garvey daisa in L.A. put together a series of recipes that she knew i'd enjoy! she knows i love my 'fun' food but i can't get too crazy because as alicia silverstone points out in her book, "balance begets balance, and crazy begets crazy".

words of wisdom to life by, i'll say. i have witnessed myself, a time or two, in a deep binge of sugar and flour, thinking oh my gosh, she's out of control, and there's no stopping her! its as if i were having an out of body experience...dramatic i know, but humorous to observe!

sugar, flour and alcohol make you 'high' and lead to cravings of more and more stimulating food.

this is that delicate balance of yin and yang that we talk about in macrobiotics. to bring yourself back to a grounded state of clear, conscious choices, sit down to a cup of kukicha tea or a whole grain meal with will be back to reality in no time.

but whoa, watch out for those 'benders'.

my point is, that if you can't get some play into your diet, you will give up on your healthy intentions, because variety is the spice of life, am i right?

needless to say, this morning's task to satisfy some cravings was a success!

i whipped up some quinoa flour, corn meal, rolled oats, almond milk, brown rice syrup, flax seeds, baking soda, baking powder, and water in a blender.

i heated up a skillet with coconut oil and pan fried my little macro batter into pancakes (the next best thing to waffles). they were a little runny, so it took a few tries to get a perfect looking pancake.

i admit, i had one perfect one in a stack of 6...the last one ended up in little blobs as i tried to get fancy and flip the pan without using the spatula...

it landed all down my clothes and onto my bare feet, but ya know what, sometimes i'm a little gross and i saved those little suckers and put them on the plate, justifying the 3 second rule...

the mess in the kitchen and the not so pretty looking pancakes tasted scrumpdidliumptious!!!

i spread on my vegan butter and maple syrup and got my fix! of course it was accompanied by a side of steamed kale and kukicha tea.

what do you salivate for on sundays??