Tag Archives: gratitude

9 Buffet Tips That Can Be Applied To Life

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Even if the menu says ‘All you can eat‘, what you get out of the meal is largely up to you.  Much as is the case with life. Like the generous spread on offer at a lavish buffet, we are offered a wide variety of experiences.  And just as we can navigate the meal in different ways with varying consequences, so it is with life.  It has taken me a while to learn the ‘art of eating at buffets’ and I felt many things understood there are equally relevant to the way we move through life.  So here are 9 parallels one could draw between enjoying such meals and life:

  1.  Run a quick survey first:  Instead of loading up the plate from the start, an observant glance around the table will give a good idea of what is on offer.  While it may be tempting to think one can sample it all, going by the number of dishes put out on the average buffet these days, it would be wise to be more discerning.  Similarly, there are number of interests and experiences available out there, but realistically, we cannot sample them all.  Having a general sense of what you would definitely like towards the top of your list and what you can live without is a useful place to start.
  2. Decide what you don’t want:  The older ideas of sampling a spoonful of everything before deciding on the mains is now simply impractical.  You will either end up overeating or be too full to really dive deep into the flavors that appeal to you.  The body knows what it would like and what is good for it.  Those inclined can learn muscle testing to quickly and discretely discover what would work for them.  In life, mindfulness can just as easily guide us as to what would be appropriate for us.  The thoughtful pause is extremely useful in making conscious choice a way of being.
  3. All that glitters is not gold:  Attractive looking dishes may not make for the healthiest of food.  Artificial colors, additives and unhealthy ingredients can often look appealing but prove costly in the long run.  Which one of us has not had difficulty in resisting temptations in life?  But here too, short term indulgences can lead to expensive, long term consequences.  Sometimes the best things appear simple and you may miss their true merit if you go by appearance alone.  Weigh the pros and cons carefully.
  4. Don’t be afraid to explore: Bearing in mind the above, you can still experiment with the unfamiliar and unknown.  We tend to stick to old favorites, even checking the spread with an intention of finding what we liked the last time.  Be open to discovering something new.  If you never ask ‘What is good and new?‘, something fresh and wonderful may be under your nose, but you wouldn’t see it.  We often need to unlearn our old ideas in order to see radical shifts in our lives.
  5. Choose quality over quantity:  Anything in excess can prove detrimental to one’s health.  Selective portions of pleasing items can appease the taste buds and yet not be excessive.  We can practice the same discernment in life, displaying a wise moderation in our choice of activities and behaviors.
  6.  Make room for your favorites:  I have no qualms about having a sweet tooth.  So I ensure that I have a look at the desserts section at the very beginning and adjust my other intake accordingly.  I feel the same way about making room for sweetness in life.  There is no point in filling our hours with activities (or the lack of it) and depriving ourselves of whatever it is that really makes us come alive.
  7. Remember tastes differ:  One man’s meat is another man’s poison.  The beauty of having so much diversity on offer is that everyone is free to enjoy what suits them.  This is also true about diets, religion, philosophy, healing techniques and so on.  So live and let live.
  8. Value everything:  People seem to believe that the only way to get value for an expensive meal is to overeat.  Which implies that the only thing you are valuing is the quantity.  Whereas you are actually also availing of taste, ambiance, space, comfort, pampering and so on.  So don’t worry about stuffing yourself, but do make sure you appreciate the finer nuances of the dining experience.  Ever seen the modern day, typical tourist?  They seem so busy clicking pictures to take home ‘memories’ (or demonstrable evidence of their travels), that they forget to actually experience memorable moments.  Don’t pass through life blind to all the gifts it offers you.  The moment you widen the scope of what you value, you will find yourself appreciating each experience with a new depth and sincerity.
  9. Appreciate generously:  A lot of painstaking effort goes on behind the scenes, to make possible your heavenly dining experience.  If you like something in particular, do make it a point to pass on your compliments.  Look around you and notice how many people have contributed towards whatever joy you are experiencing today.  Have you thanked them for it?

What insights have you gained from your own buffet outings?  Do share your comments below.

 

Image Kind Courtesy: Marylou Falstreau (all rights reserved)

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Simple Living + Recipe Roasted Vegetables

A child of five could understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.” ~ Groucho Marx

Somewhere in our attempt at keeping up with the Jones, we seem to have lost our connection to the simple pleasures of life. Society and media encourage us towards more and more expensive, grandiose and pretentious tastes.  Whereas everyday gems are long forgotten, even dismissed for their ordinariness.  But that is the challenge that we humans face.

We tend to take our gifts for granted.  Unless they come wrapped in fancy trappings and are difficult to obtain, we seem to miss their intrinsic value.

What would it be like to actually appreciate the presence of the many unadorned gifts in your daily life?  The flowering of your terrace plant, the smile on your child’s lips, the appreciative glimmer in your partner’s eyes, the colorful sunset over a soothing sea? We starve ourselves of these daily blessings by failing to notice them. Instead, we are distracted by our impatient cravings for the rare designer label, the exotic vacation to far off lands, or more commonly, the validation of having provoked envy in others through the obtainment of such symbols of success.

Consider how your food preferences can remind you of all this.  Despite all the expensive restaurant meals, lavish parties, complicated recipes and exotic ingredients that you may have already sampled, your regular favorite is likely to be a basic, home cooked meal. Perhaps the jhunka-bhakar for the Maharashtrian, or the sambar-rice for the Tamilian. No matter which part of the world you come from, your own preferred fare will most likely be one of the simplest dishes of the region.  For example, one of the most popular pizzas in Italy is the original Margherita, which has only tomato, mozzarella, and basil.  Now, isn’t that food for thought?

So while I am not dissuading you from your ambitions and aspirations, what I am proposing is that you re-discover an appreciation for the day-to-day ordinariness around you.  You may be amazed at how much is going unnoticed.  If you need any help, as Groucho suggested, call for a child.

After all, they say God is in the details.  We just need to look.

This post was inspired by the extraordinary taste, nourishment and satisfaction provided by this uncomplicated dish… The slow cooking and light herbs proved ideal in bringing out the nuanced taste of each vegetable in generous deliciousness.

roasted vegetables

Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients
4 cups                        mixed vegetables (bite sized)- Cauliflower, 
                                     Potatoes, Mushrooms, Yellow Pepper, French Beans
3/4th cup                cherry tomatoes, halved
4                                  small red onions – cut into wedges
8-10 cloves             garlic,  finely chopped
4 leaves                    garlic chives
4 sprigs                     marjoram
4 tablespoons        olive oil
3                                   lime leaves, broken
Salt
Dried Herbs (mixed)
Optional:  Small amount of crumbled cheese(feta) and paprika
Method
  1. Coat onions in salt and oil, roast for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix rest of dressing, toss and coat vegetables.
  3. Add roasted onions on top.
  4. Cover dish with aluminium foil.
  5. Bake at 230 C for 40 minutes.
  6. Optional topping of crumbled feta and paprika

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Friends and food so go together…  One of my closest friends is one of the most awesome cooks I know.  As is his wife.  Their home reflects the generous, loving hospitality of the best of Punjabis.  You can rest assured that even the briefest visit to their home will leave you satiated and grateful.  Not only for the delicious food that they serve, but the loving attention with which it is prepared and the intense attention that is given to the finer nuances.  And more than anything else, the wholeheartedness with which the guest is made to feel pampered.

Years ago, this friend was famous for his beach barbecues.  He would marinate the foods from the day before and carry bricks and coals.  Then everyone would drive out to Marve beach and under moonlight, he would assemble the tandoor. Painstakingly preparing the tandoori delicacies for the entire party.  Amazing and touching.  Stuff the best of memories are made of.

For the last decade or so, I have come to count on his thoughtfulness.  Whenever he visits my place, we usually eat out.  He was most understanding about my disenchantment with cooking, knowing that I had grown weary with all the complications of cooking as a caregiver for those with dietary restrictions.

How we tend to lean on friends.  It has been only too convenient for me to maintain this arrangement. But now, with my relationship with cooking having healed – I was more than happy to cook a meal for him.  Spinach pancakes, a greek salad and an experimental sweet dish.  After having stopped use of  baking soda(high sodium) for twelve years, I finally prepared a cake again.  The Basboosa turned out to be interesting, though I used half the suggested syrup and served it with glazed strawberries.  Will probably use even less syrup next time!Basboosa

But my friend’s delighted appreciation of the food was welcome sweetness indeed.  Glad I have returned some of the happiness that has been served to me so often.

We easily fall into patterns in our relationships.  Sometimes they become a little skewed, and it is important to ensure that counting on someone does not lead to taking anyone for granted.

So while I delight in the way I am taken care of, there is also great joy in being there for my friends, in different ways.

It’s always nice to give back… from the heart.  And a delicious meal is always a good way!

 

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December 1, 2012 · 6:08 pm

The Magic Ingredient:You + Recipe Spinach Pancakes

Invest a small part of your self in the ingredients and experience the difference…

The growing interest in kitchen gardens and terrace farming is fueled by many factors.   I won’t discuss the more voiced concerns over pesticides,  genetically modified produce, hidden costs of packaging and transport, impact on the local environment, culture, etc… Instead, I invite you to notice some rather simple, less obvious benefits in growing at least some of your own ingredients.  Experiment with growing a few herbs, fruits or vegetables.  Other than their beauty and freshness, you may also benefit in other ways.

I am reminded of an instance at my sister’s house.  They had planted a few strawberry shrubs for the first time. When one small strawberry showed up, there was great excitement among adults and children alike.  Every day the kids would marvel at the small signs of growth and change.  When it was finally decided that the strawberry was to be ‘harvested’, they all gathered together in happy anticipation.  The single strawberry was cut into 6 pieces so that it could be tasted by all those present at that time!

This degree of awe and appreciation can only come by investing of yourself. Those small acts of watering the plant, noticing it change and simply gazing at the marvels of nature for a few minutes everyday – makes you a part of that plant.  Your energies are interlinked with it and when its used – its with a great deal of love, reverence and gratitude.  Even a few leaves of Kadipatta (curry leaves) will be broken off with thought and care. Because you would know firsthand, the amount of time and nurturing that it took for those few leaves to come into existence for your benefit.

Just try it for your self!

Spinach Pancakes

Ingredients

15-20 Spinach leaves, finely chopped after discarding stalks
10-12  Chives (fresh from the terrace garden!), finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Salt
Pepper
Paprika
2 Eggs
3/4th cup Milk
6 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons grated Cheese
Oil

(Makes 4 pancakes)

Method:

  1. Heat a little oil, add onions, chives, spinach, nutmeg, salt, pepper and cook till dry.
  2. Beat up the eggs, add milk and flour and whip the mixture again.
  3. Then add cheese and the cooked spinach mixture, whip together.
  4. Heat a little oil, pour in about 2 ladles of the mixture, sprinkle paprika.
  5. Cover for about 30 seconds.
  6. Flip around and cook the other side.

The mixture tends to set, cook and brown very quickly.
For those who don’t mind a little indulgence, serve with a pat of butter and a spoonful of Sundried Tomato Pesto on the side.

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Filed under Healing Foods, Meal Experience, Recipe

Healing Kitchen + Red Radish Apple Salad

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food
~ Hippocrates (often referred to as the father of Western Medicine)

My grandmother was extremely knowledgeable about food and herb remedies for a wide variety of diseases. At an early age, I was taught that almost  every herb, spice, fruit and vegetable could be a powerful, natural and effective remedy.  She was naturally attuned with plants and animals and told me that many of our rituals that required women to gather flowers and particular plants for ceremonies actually had hidden benefits of exposing them to oxygen rich, healing environments.  In hindsight, I feel faith held more power over the people than science and hence useful practices were garbed in religious rituals.  Today, with science being elevated to the status of an unquestioned God, these practices have been reduced to meaningless dictum, rarely understood or practiced with useful intent.

I am slowly building up a ‘kitchen’ and ‘healing’ garden and every time I pluck a leaf, I am reminded of my grandmother’s words…”Apologize to the plant for breaking off any piece of it and give it your sincere thanks.  They too have feelings and we must respect and honor their energies.  Because of them, we are able to partake of this nourishment.”  Her simple wisdom has been proven true by any number of scientific observations that have measured how plants respond to external stimuli, communicate with each other and the inter-connectedness of it all.   This simple conscious act of gratitude is in itself greatly healing, because it reminds us of our place in the world.  The world does not revolve around us; we are a part of a larger whole.

Rich in anti-oxidants, vitamin C and other micro-nutrients, this low calorie salad happens to contain ingredients that can help build immunity and combat cough, cold or flu symptoms.  It also has an interesting, delicious taste! Give it a try and let me know how you liked it…

By the way, honey and ginger are great for the throat, and Oranges (Vitamin C) or raw garlic (natural antibiotic) are very effective for colds.

Red Radish Apple Salad

Ingredients

8 small red radishes, thinly sliced
2 small red apples, cored, thinly sliced
2 cups chopped greens
Dressing:
1 tablespoon Mustard Oil Dressing
2 finely chopped chive stalks
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons Honey
Paprika
Salt

Method:

  1. Prepare dressing
  2. Coat radish and apple slices well in dressing
  3. Toss in the assorted greens

Enjoy!

This article is for informative purposes only is and is not intended as a substitute for medical advise.

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How are water crystals and EFT relevant to your meal? (EFT script)

“Thank you for the food we eat…”

 

For  those who are familiar with Masaru Emoto’s work, you would have seen the beautiful images he has captured of water crystals, after exposing the water to words like love and gratitude, or after prayer.  Quoting from his website: “The result was that we always observed beautiful crystals after giving good words, playing good music, and showing, playing, or offering pure prayer to water. On the other hand, we observed disfigured crystals in the opposite situation.

Given this dramatic demonstration of change in physical structure, due consideration should be given to the energy with which we cook and the practice of prayer/grace/thanks before our meals.  Just as we are 60% to 70% water ourselves, our food also has a high water content.  In today’s hectic world, we tend to eat in a rush, scattered and absent minded, or worse still, while watching television which may be bombarding you with more depressing news and horrors.  

Isn’t all this going to impact what nourishment we receive out of it?

I am most gladdened to know people who are conscious of such impacts.  The Aman Setu School at Pune is a school with a different approach than most.  One of the things that they do differently, is that they have incorporated mindfulness and Emotional Freedom Techniques into their  daily routine.  EFT works at a deep level, harmonizing energies as well as addressing the mind.  They have been using my ‘EFT for Juniors’ script on a regular basis with the children.  This school year, I was delighted to receive a request from the school for an EFT script to be tapped in before meals.  So I promptly sent them one and it is now being enjoyed twice a day at the school.

If you would like to learn more about EFT, please see my book: Emotional Freedom Techniques,  or download the free EFT Basic Recipe  to give this script a try.  While it is not advisable to practice any energy healing technique immediately after food, tapping this in just before your meal is very likely to change your experience for the better 🙂

 

Karate Chop left               As I sit down to eat
Karate Chop right             I am thankful for all those who made this                                                 treat
Eyebrow                             The sun that poured in all its strength
Side of the Eye                  The water that helped it grow
Under the Eye                   The earth that nurtured and cared
Under the Nose & Chin   And the fire that cooked it slow
Collarbone                         So many have worked from dawn to dusk
Under the Arm                 Birds and butterflies, cows and                                                                      earthworms, too!
Wrists                                The farmer, the shopkeepers, the driver,                                                    the talented cooks
Back of hands                   All their efforts have brought me this                                                         healthy meal
Top of head                      And I now gratefully enjoy this tasty feast

 

Do share your feedback here and if you like the idea, please share this post with others.  Thanks!

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