My Body AND Me? (and Curry Cashew Burgers!)

There is a huge disconnect in our culture between the mind and the body. Very few of us recognize that the body is a part of who we are. We don’t think “my body IS me.” Rather, we think “my body AND me,” with “me” being the mind.

If we don’t like our bodies, what we are really saying is that we don’t like ourselves. This disconnect started when we were young. We weren’t told that our feelings were okay and normal, and that feelings are actually experienced as physical sensations within the body. And so we retreated to the safe refuge of our minds at an early age. Combine this lack of framework for understanding our physical selves with the “quick fix” advil pain-relief society we grew up and live in, and no wonder we don’t know how to live as one in our bodies.

I remember when eating was the only way I knew how to calm the sheer panic being experienced in my body. It literally felt like a giant wave was building in size and gaining momentum, ready to crash down upon me at any moment. I really didn’t know how to be present for this – it was terrifying! I had no frame of reference to understand that what I was actually experiencing was a feeling trying desperately to get my attention so it could be felt, healed, and released.

Similarly, when I had issues with my thyroid, I remember framing my language as though my thyroid had taken on a life of its own, an independent entity, and I was simply a witness along for the ride. “My thyroid is going too fast and I’m working to balance it” I would tell friends. But a quick look at my life would suggest that what I really should have been saying was “I am going too fast and I need to find balance in my life.”

We are one and the same. We are not separate from our bodies. When we detach and try to silence our bodies, we abuse them. We overeat when we aren’t connected to sensations of hunger and fullness. We find ways to numb because we don’t know how to experience emotions that are expressed through uncomfortable physical sensations in the body. I heard a wonderful quote recently at a talk given by Guru Dev Singh that speaks to this detached relationship between the mind and the body: “Pain is okay. It is YOU that is not okay [with pain].”

Be aware of your language and how you self-identify. Is your body YOU, or is it a separate entity? Then, start to listen to what the body is trying to tell you. You’ll realize it is actually on your team! When we listen, we discover that our bodies are a source of valuable information, and a wise guide to healing and wholeness.

How are some of the ways you can be more present in your body? Pausing throughout a meal to check in with how full you feel? Long deep breathing? Yoga? Stretching? Find a way that feels right and try it! And then try these lentil cashew burgers – they’re delicious!

Curry Cashew Burger Extravaganza

The original recipe for these came from eatingwell.com –  I’ve tweaked it a bit to be a tad less complicated and higher in protein. These patties won’t be seeing a BBQ grill, but they still make a tasty summer dinner in a pita with veggies and a cool coconut raita served on top.  Bon apps!

2 medium sized carrots, grated

1 ½ cups red lentils cooked and cooled

½ a red onion

3 cloves garlic

2 tbsp curry paste (or try making your own using 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp curry powder and 1 tsp salt)

½ cup raw, unsalted cashews

½ cup bread crumbs (I make my own using sprouted grain bread and always have some on-hand in the fridge.

Get out the old food processor; it’ll make these a cynch! Whiz the onion and garlic until finely minced. Add carrots (or grate them in using the grater blade – love those food processors!), lentils and curry paste. Whir until ingredients are well-blended. Add the cashews and pulse 3-4 times to gently chop the cashews (you still want them chunky).

Empty mixture into a bowl and mix in 1/3 cup of the bread crumbs. Heat some olive or grapeseed oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Using your hands, form the mixture into patties, then coat both sides with remaining bread crumbs by gently pressing each side of the patty on a plate of the crumbs. Place on the hot pan and cook for 5-7 minutes until brown and crispy. Gently flip burgers and cook on the other side for another 3 minutes. Remove and serve!

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Soft Places (and Power Snacks)

Sometimes those people, places and things that we rely on in our lives, that we hold as solid and use to help us steady ourselves, sometimes they give way.

We look for a soft place to land only to fall flat on our butts on hard ground. This last week, a couple of my ‘soft places’ became hard, cold, painful even. But here’s where the beautiful part comes in. Sometimes those soft places can show up unexpectedly or be found in a place where we never before thought to look. As much as falling hard on our butts can make us want to pull back and shutdown, we still need to keep showing up.

If we don’t show up, we might miss the kind smile of a stranger, the gentle reassurance from a colleague (thanks KO), or a hug offered up when least expected.

Keep feeling. Allocate some time to it. Give that to yourself. But keep SHOWING UP. Through the pain of the last week, there has been tremendous beauty. Just when we feel like we are quite alone in the world, it is then we are shown that we never truly are. It might not be in the way we are used to being shown, but a soft place is still a soft place.

So in the name of feeling very “raw,” here’s a fantastic recipe, shared by a very Undiva friend of mine, sure to nourish in times when cooking feels like the last thing we want to do. AND, they’re soft!

Power Snacks

1 cup all natural peanut butter

1 cup agave nectar

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup brown rice crisps (like Rice Krispies, but made with brown rice. They can be found in the organic or all-natural section of your grocery store)
1/2 cup dried fruit of your choice.

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup coconut

In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter and agave nectar until smooth. Add all other ingredients, and stir until everything is evenly coated. Roll into 2 inch balls, and place into a muffin cup. Let air dry for a few hours. Makes about 20.

Beet and Yam Kale Salad with Spicy Tahini Dressing

So I’ve been dabbling in “kale” lately…that’s right, kale. The dark green, hefty, looking leafy stalks found in the lettuce section. Kale doesn’t just look like it’s good for you, it actually FEELS like it’s good for you with every bite! Having just picked up some yams and beets as well, I decided to combine my favourite veggies into a one-bowl phenomenon. Here is what transpired:

1 medium sized yam, chopped and roasted with olive oil
2 medium sized beets, chopped and roasted with olive oil
1/2 a bunch of kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
A handful of dried goji berries (or cranberries would do)
A handful of baby carrots

For the dressing:
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp miso
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
pinch of cayenne pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp of rice vinegar
1 small clove of minced/grated garlic
–whisk above together in a bowl, add water until desire consistency is reached and dressing is smooth.

Place Kale in a bowl, drizzle with dressing. Then place the rest of the ingredients on top and drizzle with more dressing. Stir and enjoy!

This salad (that I’m eating right now!) feels like such a treat! Should make enough for one big bowlful with lots of dressing to spare.

Enjoy my friends!