Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Beyond Brats! Mac & Cheeze! Mug Cake! & More!

The Doghouzz — the hot dog bar across from Crosstown Concourse — has changed their vegan option to the Beyond Brat! Before, they were offering a braised carrot dog. It was really good, but a lot of vegans were requesting a plant meat dog, so they switched to Beyond over carrots. Owner Steve Murphy did tell me that they will continue to offer the carrot dog on special. I stopped in last week and grabbed a Chicago-style Beyond Brat to go with a side of their amazing Pinto Beans. PERFECTION!

I'll be wrapping up my summer daily meal themes in mid-October, so there are only a few Macaroni Mondays left! Last Macaroni Monday, I made the Mac & Cash from the Engine 2 Cookbook. This oil-free baked mac dish is made with cashew cheese, whole wheat pasta, LOTS of collards, and broccoli. Loved sneaking in all those green veggies in my mac & cheeze. I do think this recipe should have been named Mac & Greens though. 

I was craving chocolate one afternoon last week, and I had all the ingredients to make the Chocolate Lava Mug Cake from the No Meat Athlete Cookbook. This is made without oil and the flour is whole wheat, so it's kinda healthy, but it does have chocolate chips (I used Lilly's stevia sweetened ones) and sugar. I made some PB2 sauce to drizzle on top.

I've been doing some chakra work, so as I move through each one, I'm making the corresponding chakra soup from the Eat Feel Fresh cookbook. Last week, I made the Svadhisthana Bisque for the sacral chakra. This creamy orange soup is made with sweet potato, coconut milk, and turmeric. Topped with pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds. Very tasty!

And here's a quick Saturday night dinner! I threw some BBQ Tofu on the grill and served it atop steamed kale and quinoa. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Cheeseburger Pizza! Fall Bagel Sammy! & More!

Last Sunday (Slice Sunday, y'all!), I made a quick gluten-free Cheeseburger Pizza. I had some gluten-free almond crust pizza dough mix that had been in the pantry forever, so I used that for the crust. And I topped it with fry sauce (mayo mixed with ketchup & mustard), Beyond burger crumbles cooked with some onion, Violife cheddar, and fresh tomatoes and then baked in the oven. After baking, I added pickles, ketchup, and mustard. This was REALLY good. The almond crust was cracker-like, so it was more like pizza cracker. But tasty!

Speaking of pizza, I tried the Morningstar Farms Pizza Bites a couple Sundays ago. These are really yummy! They remind of the pizza rolls from my childhood. I dipped them in ranch because why not? Also, I ate the whole bag in one sitting. I tried to just have the ones pictured on this plate, but I was still hungry, so I ate them all. 

I made some Sweet Potato Toasts for breakfast (from Eat Feel Fresh) a few days last week. This is the variation for pitta dosha types (I'm vata-pitta), and it has mashed black beans, coconut bacon bits, and cilantro.

I found the new Gardein canned soups at Kroger! I picked up a vegan Beef & Vegetable can and enjoyed that for lunch one day last week with a salad and some challah bread. It's really good. Reminds me of Campbell's beef & veggie, which I liked back in the day.

And finally, here is the most wonderful Bagel Sandwich from LuLu's. I ordered a poppyseed bagel to go, and I told Don to just work his magic with spreads and toppings. So he combined their homemade cashew cheese with some smoked pear slices. Perfection! I enjoyed it with a Sweet Potato Latte (with oatmilk) from Dr. Bean's (which is located next to LuLu's in Puck Food Hall).

Monday, September 28, 2020

Race Recap: 1st Annual Fortitude 25K

Y'all, I ran a real race a couple weekends ago! With real people! Most of the big city road races were cancelled from mid-March on through the rest of the year, thanks to COVID. But with things opening back up, some smaller trail races are going on as planned. And I'm so happy that I got to take part in one on Saturday, September 19! 

The Fortitude 25K/50K was formerly known as the Nesbit Trails Classic, and formerly known as the Stanky Creek 50K before that. I've signed up to run the Stanky 50K a couple years in a row, but both times, I ended up with stress fractures in my foot while training. One of those years, I volunteered at the race (with my fracture boot on), and I had a blast! Last year, my fracture healed in time for the race, but I wasn't ready for that distance, so I bumped down to the half-marathon instead. This year, the race has been taken over by an awesome Memphis runner named Peter, and he's simplified the race to only include two distances — 25K and 50K. Since it's his first year race-directing, this race was considered the first annual Fortitude Trail Race (even though the race has been around in other forms for years). 

I would have loved to aim for the 50K again, but I assumed the race would be cancelled like everything else, so I didn't even make plans to sign up. Then, in early August, I got an email from Ultra-Signup that said the race was going on as planned, and there was a waitlist for the 25K. A 25K is about 15 miles, which is a normal weekend long run for me, so jumping into a 25K wasn't a big deal, distance-wise. So I added my name to the waitlist, not really expecting to make it in. But lo and behold, that happened, and I was out there running on the 19th!

The 25K runners did a 7.5-mile loop through the Stanky Creek trails two times, and the 50K runners ran that same loop four times. They had a staggered start, so the 50K folks started at 7 am, and the 25K runners began at 7:30 am. And we were all required to wear masks and distance at the starting area.

Once the race got going though, you could remove your mask and spread out on the trail. I very quickly ended up in the back (my favorite place!) and enjoyed my leisurely run through the woods. For most of race, I was completely alone, only getting passed by another runners every 2-3 miles or so. These small races make social distancing really easy!

Stanky is a tough course! Lots of hills, rocks, roots, technical terrain. I never expect to make good time out there, and I didn't this time either. But that's okay! Let's just put it this way — it look me almost an hour longer to run 15 miles than it would on the roads. There was lots of hiking involved and plenty of slow and steady running.

The aid stations (there were two) had individually wrapped snacks (chips, pickle packs, Oreos, pretzels, etc.) to stay COVID-safe. Normally at ultras, there's a big ole chip bowl, and everybody puts their grubby, sweaty, trail-strained hands in. But things have changed with COVID, and that's one change that's probably for the better. The only aid station snack I took was a pickle juice shot halfway through, but I packed my own water and Plant Bites (whole food, plant-based running nutrition) in my Nathan hydration vest.

All in all, I had a GREAT RACE! And Peter did an excellent job directing this first annual event during some wild and crazy times.

After the event, we went to my friend Jennifer and Simon's socially distanced backyard BBQ! We each brought our own food to grill (Lightlife brats for me and Paul), and Jen made some of her awesome spinach-artichoke dip and French onion dip. Plus, not pictured, the world's best almond cake. A perfect post-run feast! I was so hungry that I had two plates. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Bianca's Smoothie System!

Hi y'all! This post features Complement Protein, a clean vegan protein powder made without fillers or sweeteners. I love the stuff so much that they made me a Complement Ambassador, meaning I'll make a little money if you decide to purchase some from my affiliate link. This is not a sponsored post, but I did receive a free bag of Complement Protein. 

I've been enjoying protein smoothies after my runs for years. I've tried switching to other post-run protein treats, but I always go back to the smoothie. Now that I'm trying to eat seasonally, I'm thinking about moving toward protein muffins and protein oats in the cooler months, but here in South, it stays pretty warm through most of October. So it's still smoothie time! At least for a few more weeks!

I thought I'd be fun to share with y'all my tried-and-true Smoothie System. I used to follow recipes or the No Meat Athlete Smoothie Formula, but over time, I developed my own blueprint for what goes in every smoothie. The fruit, nuts, and seeds can vary, but I always include Complement Protein, which is vegan, unsweetened, made with whole food protein sources, and free of heavy metals.

I drew the fun little chart above. I'm no artist (I googled "how to draw a Mason jar!!), but it gets the point across. I used to rely on flavored vegan protein powders, and while flavors like "cookies and cream" or "mixed berry" were fun, they were also made with artificial ingredients. Yuck. Now I make my own flavors by adding things like cocoa powder, vanilla, matcha, powdered peanut butter, etc. Here's a smoothie with strawberries and cocoa powder, plus Complement, banana, spinach, sesame seed, sunflower seed, spinach, cashew milk, and walnuts.

And here's one a frozen triple berry blend, banana, sunflower butter, spinach, sesame seed, sunflower seed, and Complement.

And this has all the same ingredients as the one above but I swapped mango for the berries. I also added ashwanganda to this one because I love it's stress-balancing effects.

I typically enjoy my smoothie right after my run, around 7:30 am, and thanks to the protein powder, I don't get hungry again until 11ish when I have a morning snack (sometimes, I make it to noon!). I've noticed when I make a smoothie without any protein, I'm hungry an hour later.

If you're looking for a new protein powder, I highly recommend Complement Protein! I switched to Complement about a year ago, and it's the first powder I've tried that doesn't taste chalky. It's also made with a combination of REAL food protein sources, like almond, chia, pumpkin seed, watermelon seed, and yellow pea protein. No rice protein or hemp protein. Each scoop has 15 grams of protein, and it comes in a compostable bag. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Autumn Equinox Eats!

Yesterday (Sept 22) was the first day of fall! I have mixed feelings about fall. I don't like cold weather, and fall means winter is coming. But I DO like pumpkin-everything, my birthday (October 16!), Halloween/Samhain, soups and stews, and Thanksgiving. So okay, okay. I guess I like fall. I really just hate winter. I need to stop thinking of fall as a prelude to winter and learn to love it for all the good things it offers.

Like squash! Last night, I made a little Mabon/Autumn Equinox feast from Llewellyn's Sabbats Almanac. Most of the recipes in that book are vegetarian and easily veganizable. This Stuffed Sundried Tomato Polenta Acorn Squash recipe was vegetarian, so I only had to sub out the dairy parm for vegan parm. I didn't have any Follow Your Heart shreds on-hand though, so I used nutritional yeast and Parma instead.

The squash is stuffed with a yummy polenta that's got sundried tomato pesto mixed in. For the pesto, you use tomatoes, olive oil, sunflower seeds, and nooch. No basil or anything green. It's a fun twist on pesto! I served this with crusty white bread from the farmers market (Paul picked it up, and I can't remember the bakers' name, but it wasn't LuLu's!) and some sauteed garlic kale.

I did a little ceremony to welcome the new season and blessed some daffodil bulbs that Paul and I will plant this weekend. And then I followed that with cakes and ale! For my ale, I had a Crosstown Brewing Co. Crosstoberfest beer, and I made the Crispy Apple Pie Wraps from the Sabbats Almanac as the "cake."

The wraps were so simple and pretty wholesome. You chop an apple and season with cinnamon and cardamom, plus a little agave. Heat that on the stovetop and then add to a whole wheat tortilla and wrap up burrito-style. Then you brush it with coconut oil and air-fry for 6-8 minutes. I sprinkled a little powdered sugar on top to make it feel more decadent. 

Happy Fall, y'all!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Stuffed Squash! Tacos! Stir-Fry!

I went a little non-traditional for Macaroni Monday last week and made a non-pasta dish. It's that time of year when winter squashes are everywhere, so I made the Loaded Spaghetti Squash from the No Meat Athlete Cookbook. This spaghetti squash is stuffed with chickpeas, spinach, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, and sundried tomatoes. It's topped with homemade cashew cheese. Very fancy! I had most of the ingredients on-hand anyway, so even though it's one of those recipes with lots of ingredients, it didn't cost too much to make.

For Taco Tuesday last week, I stopped into Evelyn & Olive to get their Black Bean Tofu Tacos to go. These are a long-time fave, and it's been awhile since I've had them. The tacos are stuffed with black beans and sauteed tofu, kiwi salsa, and slaw. Served with sides of Jamaican rice & peas and tomato-cucumber salad. The rice and peas are SO GOOD. I could really eat an entire meal of just that! When you order these tacos to go, they package the fillings separately so they don't get soggy. Then you build your own tacos at home!

I was running low on groceries last Wednesday when Wok Wednesday rolled around, but I had some frozen tofu and a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies. Dinner and quick and easy! I love what freezing does for the texture of tofu.

Here's a Slice Sunday pizza! I used the last of my personal-sized pizza crusts from Sprouts and topped with some jarred pesto, kalamata olives, and cashew cheese (leftover from the squash). 

By the way, my weekly meal themes will be changing soon! I've decided to keep themes going, but I'm swapping them out with new fall meal ideas. I'll probably do the current Macaroni, Taco, Wok, Takeout, Freestyle, Sizzle (grilling), and Slice (pizza) days through next week, but October usually brings cooler weather here so expect soups, stews, bowls, and casseroles soon. 

And finally, here is some tasty Challah Bread with Cashew Cheese. The bread is from LuLu's, and the cashew cheese was leftover from that squash. This was a yummy mid-week breakfast one day last week.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Recipe: Svadhisthana Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tacos

I'm currently doing a chakra balancing program, spending a few weeks on each chakra with meditations, themed foods, and yoga postures. I'm on the sacral chakra now, and I'm spending some extra time on it because I've been lacking in creativity for awhile now. I've just been on a sort of creative hiatus, but I'm feeling my muse coming back! One of my favorite ways to create is through recipe development, so I've decided to start making some of my own recipes again. 

Last week, I was feeling inspired, and I had some sweet potatoes on-hand. They're excellent for balancing the sacral chakra due to their orange color (the color associated with this chakra) and the fact that they're root veggies (good for grounding in the lower chakras). So I whipped up some Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos for dinner! I called these Svadhisthana Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tacos because svadhisthana is the Sanskrit name for this sacral chakra. The recipe is below!

Svadhisthana Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos

Yields 2-4 servings

6-8 corn tortillas, depending on size
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, cubed
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup salsa
1 tsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
Salt & black pepper to taste
Sliced avocado, for serving

For the corn salsa:
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp red onion, diced
1/4 cup orange bell pepper, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 400. Toss sweet potato cubes with spices and oil. Bake 30 minutes or until fork tender.

In a saucepan, combine black beans with salsa, chili powder, nutritional yeast, and salt/pepper. Heat on medium until heated through, about 5-7 minutes.

For the salsa, combine all ingredients in a bowl. 
To assemble, scoop some of the black bean mixture into one tortilla, and top with avocado and corn salsa.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Acai Coconut & Berry Protein Bowl!

I'm a long-time fan of No Meat Athlete (the podcast, the website, the cookbooks, all of it), so when NMA launched Complement —their vegan supplement company — a few years back, I signed up right away! I subscribe to Complement Plus (daily supplement pills with B12, DHA/EPA, vitamin D, zinc, iodine, vitamin K2, selenium, and magnesium) and Complement Protein (an unflavored protein powder that's free of heavy metals and fillers). I'm such a big fan that I was recently asked to become a Complement Ambassador! Each month, I'll be posting new recipes using Complement Protein, and I'll also be sharing an occasional post about Complement Plus supplements. 

Tonight, I want to focus on the protein powder and share a link one of my Complement recipes that was recently published on the Complement website. I made this Acai Coconut & Berry Protein Bowl for breakfast one day last week, and it was both gorgeous and delicious. You can find the recipe here!

The base has bananas, berries, acai powder, and Complement Protein (of course!), and it's topped with chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, walnuts, coconut macaroons, and roasted pumpkin seed butter. The recipe is super-versatile, so you can really use whatever toppings you want!

I'd like to talk just a little about why I love Complement Protein. For YEARS before this new protein powder was developed, I'd been rotating through other vegan protein powder brands. I had some favorites for sure, but none really checked all the boxes for me. My biggest complaint was that so many powders were stevia-sweetened and left a weird after-taste in my mouth. But I wasn't crazy about the ones that were sweetened with real sugar either. Who wants real sugar in their health drink?

Complement Protein is unflavored and unsweetened, so you can add it to any smoothie without altering the flavor. It doesn't taste chalky or protein powder-y (you know what I'm talking about!). It's also made with a combination of REAL food protein sources, like almond, chia, pumpkin seed, watermelon seed, and yellow pea protein. No rice protein or hemp protein. 

Each scoop has 15 grams of protein, which is really just perfect for my needs. Some powders have up to 30 grams per serving, and I feel like that's just too much, considering that I'm getting plenty of protein from other whole food sources (and let's be honest — Beyond Burgers) throughout the day.

It comes in a compostable bag that you can literally bury in your backyard (so no plastic tubs!) and it's free of heavy metals. You wouldn't think heavy metals would be something you'd need to worry about in a protein powder, but you'd be wrong. Check out this list of common vegan protein powders with high levels of heavy metals.

If you're interested in Complement Plus or Complement Protein, use this link, and I'll make a couple bucks from your order! I'm so excited to be helping spread the message about whole food, plant-based nutrition and supplementation. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Bluff City Vegan Eats: Bala's Bistro

I recently learned that Bala's Bistro — a little African/American restaurant out by the airport — had a vegan menu! I finally got a chance to try it last week, and it was awesome. They have both African dishes and American dishes (and lots of meat), but they offer meatless options from both cuisines. There's a vegan chipotle burger and a vegan kimchi wrap, as well as vegan saka saka (braised cassava leaf) and vegan fataya (a vegetable hand pie).

But the Curry Rout Vegetable Stew was calling my name! I love anything with a coconut curry sauce.

This hearty stew has beets, sweet and white potatoes, carrots, and parsnips, and it's bursting with flavor. All the vegan items come with a side, and you can choose between three kinds of rice (African jollof rice, jasmine rice, or fried rice), plantains, or the veggie special of the day. I went with jasmine rice because it seemed like the best fit for the stew.

That was a tough choice though! It's hard for me to say no to plantains when they're on a menu. I'll definitely be back to try the saka saka with some plantains. You can even get the vegan burger with plantains instead of fries (always a win!).

The stew was delicious. The vegetables were perfectly cooked — soft but not mushy. And the coconut curry sauce was thick and creamy. They sent me home with enough for two meals, so I was excited to have the leftovers for lunch later in the weekend.

Bala's Bistro is located at 2160 East Raines Road. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Family Dinner! Challah Bread! Sweet & Sour Tofu!

Last Friday, I took the day off work to go visit my parents in Arkansas. I'd spent the previous two weeks quarantining, so I'd be safe to go hang with them. Everything takes so much more thought and planning with COVID! My parents prepped a big ole lunch for us. Or dinner, as my dad would call it. In Arkansas, lunch is called "dinner," and the meal most people know as dinner is called "supper." They created this as a sort of tribute dinner to my Granny (using many of her recipes). Granny passed last November, but she was an awesome cook!

We had Granny's Rotel Black-eyed Peas, which she served every year on New Year's Day. And we also had Granny's Shoepeg Corn (with vegan cream cheese and peppers), plus Mashed Potatoes, Vegan Chicken & Dumplins (my fave!!!), and Hoe Cakes (from my cookbook, Cookin' Crunk). 

For dessert, my mom made this beautiful Banana Split Pie (graham crust, banana, pineapple, coconut whipped cream, pecans, cherries, and Granny's recipe for chocolate sauce). Mmmmmm.

On Saturday morning, I picked up some Vegan Challah Bread from LuLu's at the CY Farmers Market. This is SO GOOD. I sliced it up and froze most of it to enjoy throughout the week.

Here's a bowl of Sweet & Sour Tofu that I made for Wok Wednesday last week. It's from a cookbook called Eating the Alkaline Way that I pulled off my shelf in my effort to work through all my cookbooks. The sauce has fresh tomatoes (from my garden), plus lots of bell pepper, edamame, and carrots. Topped with roasted cashews.

And finally, here's a not-so-pretty pic of my a Grain/Green/Bean Bowl for Monday's lunch. Quinoa, white beans, roasted beets, cauliflower, and broccoli, topped with my go-to bowl sauce (tahini, nooch, sriracha, garlic). 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Kruelty Free Chicken! Pasta! Pizza! & More!

Last Sunday, Imagine Vegan Cafe ran a KFC special, but KFC stands for "Kruelty Free Chicken"! I couldn't resist this awesome vegan Sunday supper, so I stopped in for takeout fried vegan chicken and all the fixings. The meal came with two vegan drumsticks, mashed potatoes & gravy, corn on the cob, coleslaw, and mac & cheese. I attempted to re-plate it all for this pic, but the mashed potatoes didn't re-plate so well. But every bite was SO, SO AMAZING. I was sad when this meal was over. And yes, I ate it all.

Here's a recent Macaroni Monday dish! I made the Pasta with Pesto, Green Beans, and Potatoes from the original No Meat Athlete book (not the cookbook, but the nutrition book that has a few recipes). This is something I often eat before big races, but this was just a regular old Monday night.

Here's a Taco Tuesday quesadilla with mashed sweet potato, black beans, and sauteed kale. Just using up some stuff from the pantry and fridge. I found the little mashed avocado cups on clearance at Kroger, and they've been a great stand-in when I run out of avocado.

Here's a Wok Wednesday meal I threw together. I made some lemongrass tofu in the air fryer and stir-fried it with some green beans and bell pepper picked up from the farmers market. I'm trying to eat a little more seasonally when I can!

And finally, here's a meal from Slice Sunday! Pizza Night! I used one of the pre-made crusts I bought at Sprouts and topped with marinara, green olives, fresh tomatoes, kale, and lots of Parma!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Bluff City Vegan Eats: Parish Grocery

Opening a restaurant during a pandemic might sound like a crazy idea, but that's exactly what Parish Grocery in Memphis did! I live just a few blocks from this new Cajun/Creole restaurant, which is situated smack in the center of the Evergreen neighborhood (in the old Atomic Tiki space). When they opened, I didn't have high hopes for vegan options, as vegan items don't tend feature prominently on Cajun/Creole menus. But a few weeks after opening this past spring, Parish announced they were adding a vegan Fried Green Tomato Po'Boy to the menu!

Woo hoo! I tried to order it right away, but on the day I called, they had already sold out of the sandwich for the day. So I finally had a chance to try again last week. This sandwich is on the menu as a Fried Green Tomato BLT (with actual bacon), but the menu indicates instructions to "make it vegan" by requesting no bacon, add vegan mayo. 

It's really great! You can't go wrong with fluffy/crusty po'boy bread and fried veggies. This reminded me of my favorite French Fry Po'Boy from Verti Marte in New Orleans. 

On the side, you can get vegan black-eyed pea salad or Zapp's chips. I'm sure the black-eyed pea salad is tasty, but it's hard for me to resist Zapp's Voodoo Chips. Zapp's are a NOLA tradition, and the Voodoo flavor is a combination of ALL the other chip flavors (BBQ, salt & vinegar, and jalapeno mixed together!!!).

I also noticed that they have a vegetarian muffuletta on the menu, which would be vegan if you left off the Swiss. Muffulettas are awesome because olive salad is the greatest thing in the world. I'll definitely be trying that one soon!

Besides food, Parish Grocery is also the closest place to my house that serves sno-cones (known as Sno Balls in New Orleans). Tiger's Blood or Tutti Frutti? I can never decide!

Parish Grocery is located at 1545 Overton Park Avenue. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Vegan Chalking Night & Avocado Toast!

Last Friday was Worldwide Vegan Chalking Night, and some vegans in town organized a chalking event downtown on the Bluff Walk. I rode my bike down there and left a few vegan messages on the ground!

Unrelated, but I've been on an Avocado Toast kick lately. I picked up some whole wheat sourdough from LuLu's last weekend, and it made for some really great avo toast with hummus. I used the Sweet Potato Turmeric Hummus from Eat Feel Fresh. 

I also made some avo toast with pan-fried tofu and fresh tomato from my front yard garden!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

How to Do an At-Home Panchakarma

I typically spend Labor Day grilling out and drinking beers, giving summer a proper send-off. But this year, I decided to flip the script and focus on a little self-care on my day off work. Since I've gotten into Ayurveda, I've really been wanting to try an at-home panchakarma (basically, an Ayurvedic spa day!). People pay lots of money to go to retreat centers for in-person panchakarmas, but you can do a scaled-down version at home for the cost of some mung beans and sesame oil!

The goal of a pachakarma is to cleanse your body inside and out. You eat easy-to-digest kitchari all day, and spend your time in meditation, doing yoga, reading, and doing oil massages. Sounds pretty great, huh? It was! Here's a rundown of how I spent my day.

I woke with the sunrise. I set my alarm for 6:34 am (actual sunrise time here), but my eyes popped open a few minutes before. I stretched, brushed my teeth, tongue-scraped with a copper scraper, splashed my face with water, and did an oil pull with sesame oil. The type of oil you use depends on your dosha, but vatas should use warming sesame oil. 

Next, I added ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and coriander to a cup black tea and enjoyed that while I meditated and did my morning journaling and oracle cards. I actually do that ritual every morning, but I'm usually drinking coffee instead of black tea. I think you're supposed to avoid caffeine altogether during your panchakarma, but I'm not that advanced. Next, I went on a light, easy 3-mile jog (not a PK thing, just something I needed to do for my training) and did some yoga stretches. Then it was time for my first bowl of Healing Tridoshic Kitchari!

This recipe is from Sahara Rose's Idiot's Guide to Ayurveda. In fact, all the recommendations I followed for an at-home panchakarma are from that book. She has a great chapter on PKs! My breakfast bowl is a simple kitchari of yellow mung beans and basmati rice with cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, and ginger.

After breakfast, I did a sesame oil massage (abhyanga) and an oil hair mask before a hot shower. I dressed in yoga clothes, and didn't even put on any makeup because I wasn't going anywhere or doing any Zoom meetings.

I made some strawberry herbal tea and sat outside to read. I tried to mix light reading with some educational reading throughout the day. Tea was a major theme. Here are a few of the teas I enjoyed throughout the day. Before each meal, I had Agni Tea (ginger, agave, pink salt) to stimulate digestion, and after each meal, I had CCF Tea (cumin, coriander, fennel) to help with digestion. I also had some Organic India Tulsi Sleep Tea before bed.

But backing up a bit: Before lunch, I did Yoga with Adriene's Yoga Wash video. It's a detox flow, and while I was trying to avoid screens all day, I made an exception for this one! It was great! Lunch was more kitchari, but this time, I added sweet potato, carrot, green peas, and kidney beans. I found this great site with recommendations for kitchari add-ins based on the season. You're supposed to do a panchakarma every season to reset, so I'll use this chart again as we enter Kapha season in the winter.

After lunch, I did a scalp massage with some scented scalp treatment, and then Maynard and I set off for an hour-long nature walk. We walked from my house down the V&E Greenline. Poor Maynard (my dog!) isn't used to walking more than 20-30 minutes at a time, and he was pooped when we got home!

Next, I did some sacral chakra work. I've been working on this chakra balancing program, and I'm focusing on my sacral chakra now. That involved some guided meditation on a CD, some artwork time (drawing a representation of my sacral chakra), and some yoga. For this yoga session, I developed my own class with sacral opening postures. It was fun to get creative on the mat!

Dinner was more kitchari! My dinner bowl looked the same as my breakfast bowl, so I'll spare you a picture. After dinner, Maynard and I went on a shorter walk, and then I made some caffeine-free Golden Milk Chai from Eat Feel Fresh. I enjoyed my chai while doing an herbal facial steam with my head over this bowl of herbs and flower petals.

It's recommended to get to bed by sunset, but that was 7:20 pm here, which seemed a little early for me. So I ran a bath and chilled in the tub with a bath bomb, face mask, my chai, and a book. After my bath, I did another sesame oil body massage, used my neti pot, did nasal irrigation with nasya oil, and took some triphala herbs for digestion. Then I headed to bed! Such a perfect day! I'll definitely be doing this again in the winter.