Creamy Raw Zucchini Soup with Crushed Pistachios

If you have a garden, just about now you’re under siege by the mighty zucchini! They can be prolific to say the least. One of the many challenges of the home gardener is figuring out yet another recipe in which to use them. I stumbled across this dish last year and have made it several times. It’s refreshing, easy and delicious!

One of the many things I love about this soup is the use of turmeric. This amazing herb has many important health benefits. It may be most well known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Although it takes larger quantities for the effect to be noticeable any amount you can consume will be beneficial. This recipe is a great place to use it.  Since turmeric is mild this green soup easily disguises the flavor so more can be added without overwhelming the taste buds. It’s also known for fighting cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, kills cancer cells in a petri dish and shrinks tumors in animal studies.  Finding ways to get this antioxidant into your diet may also reduce cholesterol.  With so many possible benefits it’s a great health tip to add this herb to your spice rack and find new ways to use it.

Ayurvedic medicine has a long history of using turmeric. It’s considered a heating spice and offers the taste qualities of bitter and astringent.  It’s generally balancing for all doshas but could aggravate pitta and vata in excess.  It supports digestion, purifies the blood and boosts the immune system.

Posted in Ayurveda, Recipes

Kicking it up a notch

There are so many benefits to drinking water! Since the cells that make up our body are mostly water it’s important to keep hydrated. Water is involved in many functions such as temperature regulation, digestion, elimination and lubrication of the joints. Dehydration symptoms include tiredness, headache and constipation. Water helps us feel full which can aid in weight loss and maintenance.  With all these great reasons to drink water why is it so difficult? Well, it can be boring! Many people don’t enjoy the taste of plain water which has led to a proliferation of flavored water on the market. While the convenience factor is high, flavored water often contains other ingredients that might not be as good for us as plain water. An old standby is adding fresh lemon but sometimes it’s fun to get even more creative.

I recently saw a bottle of cucumber, lemon, rosemary flavored water. The unusual combination piqued my interest. I’ve been a fan of cucumber lemon water ever since having it at a spa years ago. Of course I had to try this version, but like most commercial products of this type it was too sweet.  Having dinner guests this past weekend offered the perfect excuse make my own! I usually just add cucumber and lemon to my pitcher and squeeze them a bit by hand (if you don’t have a juicer this works perfectly well).  This time I juiced one cucumber, one lemon and muddled the rosemary to release the flavor. Then I filled the pitcher the rest of the way with water. Voila! My own refreshing water without any sweeteners or chemicals. Get creative with your water and let me know if you discover any must try combinations.

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Cucumber Honeydew Soup

Summer is the perfect time for cold, refreshing soup!  When I needed a dish to bring to the yoga community potluck at Balance Yoga tonight, this is the first dish I wanted to make.  It’s been such a hot summer that even thinking about cooked soup makes me sweat.  As a general rule in Ayurveda you don’t drink cold beverages or eat really cold foods since they tend to dampen agni (the digestive fire).  However Ayurveda also says to eat with the seasons and when it’s hot outside a cool dish can be just what you need.  If you’re eating according to your Ayurvedic constitution, dieting or eating seasonally, this soup is a great choice.  Served cold to room temperature, it’s great for all doshas in hot weather (unless of course you have trouble digesting greek yogurt, cucumbers or honeydew). Vatas might enjoy a little sunflower or olive oil drizzled on top, pittas might benefit from the cooling effect of an extra scoop of yogurt and kapha could take the lightness of this dish a step further by adding some diced cucumber and honeydew as garnish.  It’s ridiculously easy to make and tastes cool and refreshing.  Play with the spices and proportions of the ingredients to make your perfect version.  Enjoy!

Cucumber Honeydew Soup

1 large seedless cucumber (or remove seeds)
1/2 honey dew melon (about 2-3 cups chopped)
5 oz container of plain greek yogurt (plus extra for garnish if desired)
3 teaspoons turmeric (or to taste)
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
2 teaspoons white pepper (or to taste)
2 leaves basil
1 leaf sage
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Adjust portions to taste.  Serve chilled, at least 4 hours.

Posted in Ayurveda, Recipes