Finding balance this winter with author of 'The Yoga Kitchen' Kimberly Parsons
Winter is when all life force burrows deep in the bosom of the earth and it can certainly be a trying time both mentally and physically. The days are darker, shorter and not to mention colder. Our bodies naturally want to hibernate, we feel the need to sleep and eat more. Inevitably, finding balance can be a little more trying during this time (it’s so temping to stay inside and hide from those grey skies) but being proactive about your health and wellbeing is an important goal during this time. Ensure you take time to replenish, so that when spring comes, the gathering energy will burst forth with new growth and you and your body can enjoy those active, sunshine filled months of Spring and Summer.
Author, holistic chef and naturopath, Kimberly Parsons shows us how to find balance this winter by tuning into the dormant season and aligning ourselves with the magic of Mother Nature and the chakra energy system. Her recipe book titled ‘The Yoga Kitchen’ follows the 7 energy centres within our energetic body known as the chakras. This invisible energy is vital life force, which keeps us vibrant, healthy, and alive. Each of the seven chakras, has an important part to play in our overall balance and have long been the traditional method for yogis to understand the anatomy of the subtle body.
The season, winter is associated with the sacral chakra, svadhisthana. A balanced second chakra leads to feelings of wellness, abundance, pleasure, and joy. When this chakra is out of balance, Kimberly explains a person may experience emotional instability, fear of change, sexual dysfunction, depression, or addictions.
You can open this chakra with creative expression and by honouring your body. This creativity can be expressed as procreation but the second chakra energy is certainly not limited to bringing family into this world. When we cook, bake, or garden, we are creating. We create when we find a new solution to an old problem. Any time we take raw materials, physical or mental, and transform them into something new, we are using our creative energy.
Kimberly shares one of her recipes from the ‘flow’ chapter of her recipe book below. This chapter contains all the recipes she recommends eating to strengthen your sacral chakra. The ingredients used in this chapter have all been selected to ensure nothing obstructs the flow of energy to the reproductive and digestive organs, which are the body systems associated with the sacral chakra. Balance can be achieved through simple cooking techniques, such as soaking grains and using fermented foods, which replenish our healthy gut bacteria. These flow processes and ingredients result in the nutrients being absorbed more efficiently into our system.
Some of the raw ingredients Mother Nature provides us with during the winter months are some of the best for getting creative in the kitchen. So why not try out some of these foods to balance your sacral chakra but also nourish your body and find alignment with Mother Nature.
Grain: Barley, buckwheat, black rice Vegetables: Beetroot, burdock, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, celery, celeriac, chicory, kale, leeks, parsnips, white cabbage, swede, turnips, pumpkin, jerusalem artichoke, carrots. Beans and Pulses: Adzuki, black beans, black lentils. Fruits: Apples, clementine’s, Satsuma’s, tangerines, passion fruit, cranberries, pomegranate, pineapple, pears, black grapes, blood oranges. Nuts: Chestnuts, black sesame seeds, walnuts. Condiments and Seasonings: Tamari, miso, sauerkraut.
2 aubergines (eggplants)
1 tablespoon olive oil sea salt
For the miso satay
80g (3oz/1⁄2 cup) raw cashews
1 tablespoon white miso paste
1 tablespoon tahini paste
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or coconut nectar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2.5cm (1in) piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1⁄4 teaspoon ground coriander
3–4 tablespoons coconut milk (optional), plus 1 tablespoon if needed
toasted black and white sesame seeds, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 200°C fan/425°F/ Gas 7. Cut each aubergine in half lengthways. Score across the flesh diagonally one way and then the other to form a diamond pattern (this allows the steam to escape). Drizzle lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with a little sea salt and roast in the oven for 25 minutes until the flesh starts to soften.
While the aubergines are roasting, make the miso satay. Combine all the ingredients with a pinch of salt in a high-speed blender or food processor and process until smooth and thick. Add a little more of the coconut milk, to reach the consistency you desire.
Remove the aubergines from the oven, and spread a layer of the satay sauce over the top of each one. Return to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the aubergines have become quite gooey. For the last few minutes, turn the oven to its grill (broiler) setting and lightly grill (broil) the top to brown a little. Remove from the grill and allow to cool slightly. Sprinkle a few sesame seeds on each aubergine half and serve.
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