The chilly weather has me both drawn to the outdoors and to never again stepping foot outside. It’s just not in my constitution to be cold. Seriously, I took an online quiz and it confirmed my suspicions. It’s sort of my family’s thing. We are always cold and, when it’s actually cold outside, we barely function. So, I’m doing everything possible to keep myself warm from the inside out via hot soups and stews, spiced and herbal drinks and teas (warm and room temperature, but never cold) and gentle, warming breathing and movement practices and snuggling on the couch with a blanket, a book and my cat. Also, laughter and lots of it. We need all of the laughter we can get these days in general, but in addition to helping me forget about the pandemic and the frequent awfulness of the world, it also distracts me from being cold.

The most warm and comforting food I’ve eaten lately is kitchari, a centuries-old, one-pot mung bean (or lentil) stew (or soup, depending on how you make it) originating on the Asian subcontinent. It’s often used by yogis who practice Ayurveda (the sister science and lifestyle practice of yoga) as a digestive reset. I’ve been learning more about Ayurveda these days in the 300-hour yoga teacher training program I’m in and it is fascinating. After watching a kitchari cooking demo in the class, I had to try it. I used the Winter Kitchari with Ginger Chutney recipe by certified yoga instructor and Ayurvedic counselor Claire Ragozzino. (The link also includes some background on Ayurveda and Ragozzion’s suggestions for comfort and warmth during the colder months, so scroll down for the recipe if it’s TL;DR for you.)

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For my batch of kitchari, I added carrots and spinach for extra veggie goodness. The spice blend of fresh ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, salt and pepper, as well as finishing it with ghee, freshly squeezed lime juice, the ginger chutney and fresh cilantro is incredibly flavorful. I couldn’t find mung beans at Whole Foods, so I used lentils. That said, I’m sure the Golden City Asian market in Metairie or Hong Kong Market in Gretna probably has it. Whip up a pot of kitchari and your belly will be warm and full for days.

If you are into yoga, I created a Gentle Wake Up Yoga Class sequence. It’s designed as a morning practice to ease into the day, but you can do it anytime you want a little comfort and kindness. Which again, we really can’t get enough of as we dip our toe into 2022.

 

How are you staying warm and grounded these days? Email me at melanie@myneworleans.com.