I cannot fathom the anger that drove the mob in Washington last week. My views, my feelings don’t matter here. What matters is how we go forward as a democracy, as a nation. After the rage of last week, going forward together, as president-elect Biden urges, may feel like a reach. So start by reaching for something soothing, a simple bowl of dal.
Sattvic Mung Dal
Dal, or split peas, are a cornerstone of ayurvedic cuisine. Ayurveda, India’s ancient healing modality, separates food and states of being into three categories. There’s sattvic — lightness and balance (spirit), rajasic — change and energy (life), and tamasic — heavy and dark (death). Guess which category meat falls under? The Surangama Sutra tells us that “if we eat the flesh of living creatures, we are destroying the seeds of compassion.”
Now more than ever, we need compassion or ahimsa. Often, we translate ahimsa as nonviolence, but it’s bigger — it’s universal love. That may seem like a big reach now, too. But a steady diet of anger isn’t good for you. It locks up your muscles and sends your blood pressure and heart rate skyward. It increases your risk of heart disease. It ups your cortisol levels — that’s the fight-or-flight hormone, which over time results in a fat gut and a slow brain. Anger can make you fat, stupid or dead.
A sattvic diet relies on fresh organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans. These foods energize and nourish the body without taxing it, providing the gateway to higher consciousness. You can fancy up a dal with all kinds of things — tomatoes, chilis, garlic, all the things I love. But today, let’s keep it simple. Let’s keep it sattvic.
Sattvic Mung Dal
- 2 cups split mung beans
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 4 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro chopped
- sea salt to taste
- Rinse mung beans and let drain.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped ginger, turmeric and coriander. Stir until the ginger softens and the spices darken and turn fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Add mung beans and water or broth.
- Stir and let mixture come to boil. Then cover and reduce heat to low for 30 minutes, until liquid is mostly absorbed and beans are tender.
- Add chopped cilantro and sea salt to taste.