Reflection #7

There is danger in becoming vegan! Danger! Once you become vegan, our perception of the world also changes! Although my road to veganism was “slow”, over the years, I left milk, then all dairy, including eggs, and eventually my beloved wheat! Now, I lost count how many years it has been since I am vegan and gluten free…maybe 15 years? 

I did start noticing a true allergic reaction to dairy and wheat. I start sneezing, congestions, headaches. Another reason to make people believe that I am little crazy… However, my body experiences all these, and I am profoundly grateful for that. Otherwise, I would be on my couch eating chocolate cake and ice cream! Yummm! 

I have learned to listen to what my body needs. Recently, I have started eating less and less. Ayurveda recommends eating with the intensity of the sun. Thus, a light breakfast, strong lunch, lighter dinner. I recently heard my guru talked about how the world is made perfectly, it is us that mess it up! So, opening our eyes to the harmony of nature, what it brings in its daily routine, its seasons; it is all part of being in harmony, practicing yog. As much as I pay attention, the deeper I am in communion with my body. Then I developed the listening to my subtle messages, my breath, my feelings, my digestive system talking! It has taken me a long time to be where I am physically and emotionally, even spiritually; some would say lifetimes! 

So, I am “forced” to cook creatively. Since I am from one of the richest lands in the world, I am honoring one of its products, a cereal, the famous Quinoa.  

We use quinoa for so many things. It can be used a cereal (popped like corn), cooked for a salad, or savory foods; even used as dessert! Nutritionally quinoa contains a low glycemic content, high fiber, and all the essential amino acids (complete protein). In other words, it is good stuff! 

This is one of the versions we use quinoa as a salad…it is an adaptation (loosely) of a Peruvian dished called CAUSA. 

A bowl of food on a plate

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QUINOA CAUSA: 

Reminder: not a strict measurement person here…to taste! 

Step one: mash potatoes 

  1. Take a few (red, white, etc. – remember Peru has over 3000 varieties) potatoes (4 medium) washed but NOT peeled. 
  2. Cut them in chunks or hole (takes too long!)  
  3. Start with cold water, salt (to taste), (and optional bay leaf) and boil until potatoes are soft to the fork. 
  4. Drain water (usually keep water for other dishes, soups, quinoa dosas – yummm, etc.) 
  5. While warm, mashed with a fork, and garlic, olive oil, pepper, cumin, (more salt?), until creamy and delicious. 
  6. Add fresh cubed tomatoes. 
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Step two: make guac 

  1. Macerate the onion, white mushroom chunks, (cayenne and black) pepper, cumin, salt, tofu chunks with 1 or 2 limes for a few minutes. 
  2. Then add the avocado. Mix it nicely (usually Jerry’s job) 
  3. Add cilantro, maybe green onion (chives). 
  4. Mix evenly. Taste it! 
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Step three: plate 

  1. Presentation is everything! 
  2. In a round (or fancier) container (no need to grease, but may want to use olive oil), place a slice of avocado first, mashed potatoes to 50%, and pack gently at the bottom.  
  3. Then add a thin layer of avocado mix.  
  4. Fill the rest with mashed potato mix. Squeeze all gently.  
  5. Turn over the plate, so it drops in the form of the container (see pic). 
  6. We added a little arugula, or baby spinach, or any other greens (spouts, nuts, etc.) 
A cup of coffee

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Step four: offer and eat! 

  1. Offer the food. Meaning, think that you are making the food not just for you, but for God Him/Her/Themselves, in front of you. We serve them a cute little plate we have. 
  2. Or simply, pause a second (I know ridiculously hard at this point!), and take a breath, and be very grateful. Nothing we have is by chance. This was also a gift, a little as it may seem. Once you are mindful of the food, then really be grateful They left something for you to eat – it is called prasad or grace.  
  3. Then, devour! 
Food on a plate

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Every act, every thought, every word can be spiritualized. It is not craziness; craziness is not thinking about the little beautiful things in life we get. Even our food becomes a reminder of how much we can be grateful. We receive so much…let’s lovingly stop to say thank you!