The many things I’ve learned over the last year of illness include:
- You have to be an advocate for your own health
- You know your body best
- Stay off Dr.Google and health forums, as you're a unique individual
- Never pass judgement on what other people eat, as they do what works for them, and it’s not affecting your life anyways, so chill
- Reducing stress takes work, and it's absolutely necessary, especially for type-A personalities, to learn to manage stress effectively
- A vegan diet is what works for my body, and allows me to manage my day-to-day comfortably
- You don’t need a handful of supplements every day to be healthy
- Sleep when you feel like you need to
- Yoga is restorative, walks are essential, and using your own body as a weight if you can't lift actual weights, is surprisingly effective
- Buddha bowls should be eaten many times per week, and no skimping on the dressing!
Clearly, no lesson has been more powerful than the buddha bowl lesson, so I’m celebrating my back-to-my-old-self, more balanced me, with this balancing buddha bowl. It’s full of all of my favourite goodies; a curry pecan dressing that's ultra luxurious, creamy, and a little bit spicayyyy; and delivers a hefty dose of happy-tummy probiotics from the fermented food ingredients.
I love to include fermented foods in my meals, because a) they taste nice, and b) they’re good for you! The fermented foods in this buddha bowl come in the form of these superfood ingredients:
Umeboshi Plum Vinegar: Umeboshi is made from fermented sour, sundried, unripe plums. The umeboshi plum vinegar is a by-product of the curing of the plums. This product is rich in probiotics, and is incredibly alkaline, making it a superior food for balancing pH.
Tempeh: A traditional Indonesian food created by splitting, cooking, and fermenting fresh soybeans. A friendly culture starter called, rhizopus oligosporus, is added to the soybeans. When this friendly bacteria grows, the cultures bind the soybeans together to create a tempeh “cake.” Tempeh is rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins. Due to the fermentation process, tempeh is very easy to digest, and neutralizes much of the phytic acid that unfermented soy contains. The texture is nutty and chewy, and it can be incorporated in a variety of dishes for a protein boost. I'm not picky about eating a 100% organic diet, but soy is something that I personally only purchase if organic/non-GMO, for a variety of reasons. I used Henry’s Tempeh in this recipe, a company from Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario.
Miso: A fermented soybean paste which can be made from soybeans, brown rice, or chickpeas. The flavours range from strong and pungent, to mild and sweet. Soybeans are a valuable source of nutrition, and when fermented, their health benefits are further increased. Miso is rich in a range of amino acids, along with being a powerful digestive aid, and detoxifier. As with any soy product, choose organic/non-GMO, if this is available to you.
I use these foods quite a bit in my everyday cooking. Fermented foods are a fabulous way to enhance the flavour, texture, and nutrition of your dishes with the power of probiotics. Probiotics are required for synthesizing a variety of vitamins (yes, your body actually makes certain vitamins -cool!); the absorption of iron, calcium, magnesium, and other valuable minerals; increasing nutrient absorption; improving the strength of the large intestine; boosting and supporting the immune system; helping to remove LDL “bad” cholesterol; and much more.
Along with probiotics, you need to make sure you're eating prebiotic foods to "feed" the good bacteria. The in-season superfood, asparagus, just happens to be a wonderful source of prebiotic fibre, making it a fantastic addition to this bowl. Other easily accessible sources of prebiotic fibre include, bananas and onions -preferably eaten separately.
I won't keep you waiting any longer. Here's to life lessons, balanced health, fermented foods, and buddha bowls!
Balancing Buddha Bowl with Curry Pecan Dressing
1 lb asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 pkg organic/non-GMO tempeh, cut into cubes
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into thick rounds
2 cups hot, cooked short-grain brown rice or hot, cooked quinoa, to serve
Roasted Edamame, to garnish, optional (see recipe below)
Curry Pecan Dressing (see recipe below)
1 cup shelled organic/non-GMO edamame, defrosted if frozen
¼ tsp each, sea salt, kelp granules, and curry powder
½ tsp avocado oil or olive oil
Curry Pecan Dressing
¾ cup water
¼ cup pecan halves
1 clove garlic (minced, if using food processor)
1 tbsp organic/non-GMO mellow white miso
2 tsp umeboshi plum vinegar or raw apple cider vinegar
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp flaxseed oil
½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp kelp granules, optional
To prepare dressing: Place all ingredients in a Blendtec, or other high-speed blender, or mini food processor, and puree until smooth. Set aside.
To prepare bowls: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place sweet potato rounds in a foil package, sealing edges. Roast for 2 hours+ (leave in the oven, until ready to plate, as they can keep cooking while roasting the remaining ingredients).
To prepare edamame: After 1½ hours, increase the oven temperature to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add edamame all ingredients to the sheet, toss to combine, and roast for 15 minutes. Toss and roast for an addition 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside, leaving oven on and parchment-lined tray out for rest of the steps.
Using the same parchment-lined sheet as above, place the asparagus on one half of the tray in a single layer, and the tempeh on the other side of the tray in a single layer. Roast for 15 minutes.
To assemble the bowls: Divide the hot brown rice, sweet potatoes, asparagus, and tempeh in 4 bowls (there may be extra). Drizzle with 3-4 tbsp curry pecan dressing each. Garnish with roasted edamame. Serve hot.
My Spring Detox Beet Soup recipe is over at MindBodyGreen today.
You can check that out here.