It is cold. And as a person that typically runs cold the whole year round, when the mercury drops, so does my love of smoothies. The thought of downing my icy cool delight just looses its appeal with snowflakes swirling outside my window.
Now while some may stay committed to their daily blended ritual, there is something to say about switching it up a little and opting for a breakfast that is a little warmer temperature wise.
I am kind of in love with cultures that embrace food as thy medicine; Ayurveda, the 5,000 year old system of natural healing is no exception. Literally translating into Ayur (life) Veda (science) this ancient practice promotes vitality through the wisdom of daily and seasonal diets, routines and behaviours. It keeps you balances by reminding you that health really is a combination of body, mind, and spirit – the true definition of holistic health!
Ayurveda ascribes to three governing energies (or doshas); Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Earth). While each of us has all all three, the proportions are unique and shape who we are, both in body and in mind. Vatas, like the wind, are thin, energetic, and changeable. Pittas, with their fiery nature, are intense, intelligent, and goal-oriented. Finally, strong, earthly Kaphas, are grounded and nurturing. In case you were wondering this sometimes flake with a slight temper has an almost even split of Vatta-Pitta. Want to know yours?
So what the heck does this have to do with it being cold outside and changing up your breakfast? Well, it seems these ancient medicinal practices also paid attention the seasons around them. Winter as you must know, is when Vata reigns supreme. Something that should come as a shock to no one who lives in a place where there is the reported “temperature” and then, what it actually “feels like”. When Vata is ruling it aggravates the Vata in all of us, whether it is your dominating dosha or not. To help balance this, we want to eat foods that are warming and moist, to combat the cool, dry air. Flavours that are sweet, sour or salty should be favoured, while those that are bitter, astringent or pungent should be avoided. Vegetables should be eaten cooked, not raw, and heavy fruits like oranges, bananas, avocado, plums and pineapples should be the wintertime go-to. Ghee (clarified butter) is the oil of choice, while Vata pacifying spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, salt, mustard seed, and black pepper should be used to make everything bright and flavourful (um, minus the salt and mustard seed doesn’t that sound like the recipe for mulled wine?)
Not buying all this ancient Indian mumbo-jumbo? Your call. But doesn’t a steamy bowl of quinoa, that wraps its arms around you with warm cinnamon-maple hug sound like a wonderful switch up to your frosty, cold smoothie?
Take that Vata.
- ½ cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup almond milk (or nut milk, coconut milk, or dairy of choice)
- 1 orange, zested + juice of ½ that orange
- 2 x cinnamon sticks
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- Maple syrup
- Dried fruit (I used cranberries)
- Nuts (I used pistachios)
- Add quinoa, almond milk, orange zest and juice, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and salt to a medium-sized pot.
- Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low until liquid is dissolved (about 15 minutes).
- Remove cinnamon sticks. Serve and top with maple syrup, nuts and fruit of choice.