Diet & Nutrition: Meatless Mondays

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 9.05.27 PMI have to admit that I do not have the self discipline to give up meat in one go, however, my partner and I have been committed to eating less meat and balance out our diets. On Mondays we go 'meatless'; crafting meals that forego the heavy red meats and poultry and even fish we would normally have. In theory we learned more about the three doshas: Vata (space & air), Pitta (fire & water) and Kapha (water & earth). After taking a few online quizzes and asking others I believe I am Pitta and my partner is a mix of Kapha/Pitta. This week I wanted to prepare a meal that takes our doshas in account. An individual that is Pitta has a lot of heat, therefore s/he should opt for cooling foods such as cucumbers, sweet fruits, and melons. Also those who are Pitta should favor foods that are sweet, bitter and astringent. For those who are Kapha, s/he should favor foods that are light, dry, or warm. Kapha is cool and quite heavy and oily so foods with pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes are most beneficial for finding a balance. They should reduce foods with sweet, sour, and salty tastes. So for tonights menu we prepared the following: meatless mondays 1. Potato Leek Soup (Kapha) 2. Vegetarian burgers topped with goats cheese, tomato, lettuce, roasted mushrooms and peppers. * Guacamole is on the side, as Kapha should avoid avocados and oily substances. 3. Homemade french fries   Tips: 1. Potatoes leak - I'm a big fan of Jamie Oliver do check out his recipe here: 2. Veggie Burgers - I picked up a few patties at Cold Storage but you can also make them at home by yourself. Next time I'll try this quinoa recipe: Toppings can vary depending on your dosha. I purchased lettuce you can grow at home to top my burger and went for goats cheese, which is soft and unsalted. The guacamole was homemade. Take 1-2 ripened avocados, dice up some red onion and squeeze a 1:1 ratio of lime into the mix. Salt and pepper to taste. In Singapore I find that most avocados are not ripe, to speed up the process put your unripened avocados in a paper bag and leave unrefrigerated for 1-2 days. 3. French Fries - slice potatoes into thin rectangles (or to your preference) and heat the oil best suited for your dosha. I avoid sesame and corn oil. Use a metal strainer and lightly brown small batches of the potatoes. Once cooked place on a paper towel to drain excess oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Additionally my partner suffers from a weakened cardiac sphincter, a circular muscle that constricts a passage or closes. It is located between the esophagus and the stomach. The sphincter opens as food descends and enters the stomach. It also serves as a gate preventing acidic fluids from going up into the esophagus. When the sphincter does not work correctly individuals may suffer from acid reflux and ulcers. Eating additional spicy food seems to irritate and increase the symptoms in addition to more acidic foods. To understand more, I thought back to the lesson on pH and the digestive system. We learned that the human body is naturally more alkaline. In a pH scale we should be around 7.4 (range from 1 - 14, 1 being more acidic). Our diets should be 20% acidic and 80% alkaline. Foods that surprised me as being acidic in taste but alkaline once digested in the body are oranges and other citrus. This encouraged me to look into what other foods are considered more alkaline as I want to encourage my partner and myself to keep a balanced diet. Foods that are highly acidic are meats and alcohol. Acidic foods also included burgers, sodas, coffee all the 'good stuff'. For alkaline foods it seems that vegetables and fruits dominate the charts. So we've stocked our fridge so that 'healthier' items are more readily available and we can splurge when out to dinner with friends (because again, it is a balance). Cheers, Melissa Weekday Hatha/Ashtanga 200 Hour YTT September 2015