Malibu Beach Recovery Diet: The Lingering Effects of Winter
Enjoying the slower pace of the season
While we start seeing the signs of renewal in nature, with fresh greens making their way to the market, we are still grappling with the lingering effects of winter in our body. Of course, here in California, we are ever so lucky to have a very gentle experience with our dips in temperatures, but nonetheless, we do have this sort of sluggishness that will withdraw in the early days of April.
It is maybe a good thing that we do not have a constant energizer bunny in our system, prompting us to get on with our life in an amped-up tempo. We need the time to prepare ourselves, to nurture our body, to linger on for a few minutes in bed in the morning, and to give more time to our daily meditation and introspective states. This is what Nature intended and this is what makes sense in our yearly cycle.
It is a good time to indulge in slow-cooked meals and in gut-satisfying flavors at the same time. I can think of nothing better when the weather is snippy outside, than to come home to a good hot bowl of chili, or a bean and veggies soup, and to indulge in warm cobblers with the lingering scents of cinnamon and spice.
If you become familiar with the levels of activity that you demonstrate throughout the year, winter is a period where we feel awkward and underperforming, sometimes even depressed. This is because modern life demands from us consistent levels of activity and productivity throughout the year.
However, intuitively, we know that it is unrealistic to maintain this pace as it is also unfounded in the rest of our environment. Just as we respect a daily cycle of awakening – energizing – performance – slowing down – and finally rest, we must respect the same in our larger year-round cycles. With the restriction of light stimulation through shorter days, we get a chance to wind down and enjoy a more relaxed pace in the evening. That is if we do not interfere with it by adding-on electrical lights and television watching until the wee hours in the morning.
We need to give our bodies the rest that it needs to restore, replenish, regain its strength and prepare for the more industrious seasons ahead. Listen to your body’s energy and the rhythm that it craves. Turn off the light a little earlier, go for a nice long walk in the evening, and try to cook the dishes that your body craves. Enjoy deeper spices with curries, add a little vanilla and cinnamon in your yogurt or fruit salads, find that family recipe for the soup that you loved in your childhood, take the slow-cooker out of the garage and splurge on low-cost cuts of meat that will simmer to perfect tenderness. Gather your loved ones around the table and fill your house with smells of thyme and freshly baked bread.
As you enjoy a natural slower pace, you will also regain a sense of purpose for those hours spent doing things you love that had lost meaning over time. There is no better recipe for happiness.
To your health!
Healthy Beef Chili
Makes: 8 servings, about 1 1/3 cups each
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound lean (90% or leaner) ground beef (see Tip)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 2 cups water
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and shredded
- 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably petite diced
- 1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
- 2 scallions, sliced
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until starting to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add beef and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and cayenne; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in water and sweet potato. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a simmer, until the sweet potato is softened and beginning to break down, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add beans, crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes; return to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, until the sweet potato starts to melt into the chili, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Serve topped with cheese and scallions.
Mixed Berry Cobbler
Ingredients for Filling
- 6 cups mixed berries and stone fruits (any combination: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and nectarines, peaches, apricots, cut into slices)
- 3 Tbsp whole-wheat pastry flour
- 3 Tbsp palm sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
Ingredients for Topping
- 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- 3 Tbsp palm sugar
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 oz. unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Combine dry ingredients from filling together in a mixing bowl and stir through. Toss in fruit mixture. Dot with butter.
- Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut butter into 1 inch cubes. Cut into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add milk, palm sugar and egg to the flour mixture until just combined. Drop by tablespoon over fruit mixture.
- Place the dish on a baking sheet to catch any fruit juices from overflowing. Bake 35-45 minutes or until juices are bubbling and the crust is golden.
Vanilla Whipping Cream
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- vanilla extract
- Pour whipping cream into stainless steel mixing bowl and whisk by hand.
- Half way through, add vanilla extract. Continue beating until peaks form and watch closely to avoid curdling.
- Place in a small bowl and serve with cobbler.