Mediterranean Summer Salad

from Ayurveda, Today, Volume 24, Number 1 – Serves 2, generously, or 4 as a side
This summer salad has a number of steps but the results are well worth it!
Some items can be prepared ahead of time. Perfect for an evening on the patio.

Doshic Notes: Vata :: enjoy • Pitta :: enjoy • Kapha :: eat in moderation

3 – 4 cups leafy greens of your choice
Avocado dressing
1 cup lentil-zucchini mix
1 cup couscous
1 cup beets
6 Tbs. soft goat cheese
Fresh ground black pepper
Cilantro, fresh, chopped fine

Toss the greens with the avocado dressing and arrange on serving plate or bowl. Then layer the lentils,
couscous, and beets (see recipes below) on top of the dressed greens. Drop the goat cheese by tablespoons
around the platter. Grind a bit of pepper on top and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
Lentil-Veggie Marinade:
Simmer together for 20 minutes: 1 cup water, 1/4 cup French lentils, and 1 pinch of hing. While this is cooking,
mix 1/4 cup fennel, chopped, and 2 Tbs. dill with a pinch of salt and pepper, 1 Tbs. rice vinegar, and
2 tsp. olive oil. Lightly sauté 1/2 cup zucchini in chopped shallots, sunflower oil, and rice vinegar. Cool the
lentils and zucchini then mix all ingredients together and let marinate in refrigerator overnight or for 4 hours.

Sauté 1/2 cup Israeli (pearl) couscous with 2 tsp. sunflower oil for 2 – 3 minutes. Add 3/4 cup water or
broth, bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer 10 – 15 minutes. Toss together with 2 Tbs. chopped parsley,
juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Can use warm or prepare ahead and refrigerate.

Cooking the Beets:
Take one medium to large-sized red or golden beet and cut into quarters. Peel the tough outer layer away.
Steam the quarters in a covered pan with a steamer basket and 1 inch of water for 20 minutes, until done.
Allow to cool, chop into 1/2 inch pieces, and store in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the salad.

1 small ripe avocado
1 Tbs. lime juice
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the avocado in half, working around the pit. Twist apart and remove the pit with a knife. Scoop out the
flesh with a teaspoon and put it in a blender or small food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and
blend until smooth and well mixed then season with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Cook the lentils, beets, and couscous the day before or in the morning of the day you plan to serve the
salad. The cooked ingredients need at least 4 hours to marinate and/or chill in the refrigerator. A filling yet
cooling meal as the sun sets, you can substitute roasted pine nuts for the goat cheese as a vegan option.
You can substitute other summer vegetables for the zucchini such as green beans, yellow squash, red bell
peppers, corn, etc. If you already have some cooked, just add them to the lentil marinade.
While beets have a pungent vipak (post-digestive effect), they also have a sweet rasa (taste) and cooling
virya (energy). Their heavy quality helps to add needed moisture to the digestive tract.
The heavy effects of the cheese, beets, and couscous serve to counteract the light and rough qualities of
leafy greens and the rough quality of the lentils. The overall effect of this salad is balancing in the summertime
when the sweet, cooling qualities of the foods are desirable.

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A Simple Six Ingredient Salad

By Laura Plumb

Arugula, 1 hefty handful
Microgreens (kale, cilantro, radish sprouts), 2 handfuls
Fresh Garden Peas, 1 handful of fresh pods
Cherry Tomatoes, 1 handful
Spring Onion, 1-2 bulbs
Sunflower Seeds, 1-2 handfuls
Creamy Curried Lemony Dill Dressing:
Tofu, 1/2 a block (about a cup)
Garlic, 1 clove (more if you are Kapha)
Lemon, juiced
Dill, 1/2 to 1 scant teaspoon
Curry powder, 1/4 teaspoon (more if you like spice)
Olive Oil, about 1 teaspoon
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to taste

Rinse and pat dry your greens. Add to a salad bowl. Pinch your pea pods to open them, then loosen each
pea with your finger to release them into your salad bowl. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half, and the spring
onion into thin rounds. Add the tomatoes and onions to your salad.
Put the tofu and garlic into a small electric blender and blend until the tofu is creamy and the garlic is completely
mashed. Cut your lemon in half and squeeze in the juice. Add the dill and curry powder and mix well.
Drizzle in the olive oil and just lightly pulse a few times. Crack the pepper in and just light stir with a spatula.
Taste and adjust lemon, spices, and add, maybe, a pinch of salt. Use the spatula to pour the dressing over
the salad. The consistency will be thick, but once tossed, the greens, tomatoes, and peas will add their
moisture to give it a beautiful balance between creamy and crunchy, soft and snappy, soothing and fresh.
Garnish with a generous helping of sunflower seeds, and a sprig of fresh rosemary.
Because we are Spring Cleansing, I also tossed into the salad a handful of fresh cilantro. I love treating mint,
cilantro, and parsley as if they are more than a garnish, but leaves with their own rightful place in the salad.
Salads are usually eaten after the main meal in Ayurveda, much like in Italy and France. We’ve been enjoying
it following a bowl of kichari, lentils or spring saag. I hope you enjoy it with whatever gives you the most
Spring in your heart.

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Thai Stir-Fry

Preparation time: 30 minutes
SATTVIC, – Vata, 0 Pitta, – Kapha

Pain Basmati Rice (Note: If you would like to be true Thai custom, the rice you use would be long-grained
Thai jasmine rice)
As it is cooking, wash and chop the vegetables:
½ lb. fresh asparagus, in 1-inch pieces
1 c. Chinese cabbage thin-sliced
1 medium bunch fresh spinach well-washed and chopped
1 c. fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed, then minced
½ c. cucumber, peeled and julienne sliced
3 Tbsp. fresh ginger root, peeled and very thin-slice (less if you like)
2 cloves garlic, minced
When rice looks like it is close to being done, begin the stir-fry:

In a large skillet, warm:
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
With the temperature high, add the garlic and the ginger and stir. About one minute later, stir in asparagus,
Chinese cabbage and spinach. Stir until the spinach begins to wilt a bit.

Pour in:
¾ c. coconut milk
and stir well. When the spinach is cooked, take the stir-fry off the heat and stir in the cilantro and cucumber.
Serve hot over rice.

Serves 3-4
Recipe from “Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners” by Amedea Morningstar

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March Recipe:

This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and great to balance the Pitta and Vata doshas.
It will be featured in Chef Johnny’s forthcoming book, Vegetable Soup for the Spirit.

3 medium zucchini, sliced on the slicer part of a grater or wafer thin
1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons Chef Johnny’s Pitta Seasoning
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt is optional

Heat the oil very hot, but without smoking, in a pan.Add the sesame seeds, stir for 1 minute then add the
sliced zucchini.Add pitta seasoning and lemon juice.Cook on a high heat and stir briefly until just tender.
Put the lid on the pan.
Serve immediately.

Makes 4-5 serving

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February Recipe:

This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and great for Vata and Pitta doshas. It will
be featured in Chef Johnny’s forthcoming book, Vegetable Soup for the Spirit.

2 white young organic coconuts 1 cup goji berries
juice from 6-7 blood or navel oranges 2 tablespoons coconut butter
1 date 2 teaspoons molasses
12 finely chopped mint leaves

1 teaspoon cardamom, ground 1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground 1 teaspoon clove powder
Crunchy Topping Masala Mix:
1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped leek
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons of fresh ginger
juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon Chef Johnny’s Vata or Pitta Seasoning
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or basil or parsley or marjoram or mix
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste

Take out the coconut meat and cut into 4 pieces. Steam for 7 minutes. Warm orange juice in the pan and
add all ingredients except mint.
Gently cook and stir until it thickens about 15 minutes. Should be thick, like syrup. Blend everything in a
blender or magic bullet except for coconut meat, add mint leaves and stir.
Directions for Masala Mix Topping:
In a saucepan, heat the oil and add ginger, then leak and sesame seeds. Stir and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
Add the spices and keep stirring for another 5 minutes until crunchy and golden.Turn off the heat and add
lemon and herbs.
Serve coconut pieces on kitchari, rice, or mashed parsnip. Pour sauce over coconut pieces and sprinkle
with finely chopped parsley.

Makes 4 servings

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January Recipe

This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and great for Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas.

It was originally published in the book “Eat Taste Heal.”

1 cup white basmati rice, rinsed thoroughly
⅓ cup split mung dahl (split hulled mung beans), rinsed thoroughly, and soaked for 6 hrs
3 cups filtered water
1 zucchini chopped
1 small sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoons organic sunflower or olive oil
3 tablespoons hulled pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
2 tablespoons Bragg’s amino acids (optional)
½ cup organic coconut milk, preferably fresh
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh cilantro, for garnish

Put the rinsed rice, mung dahl, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat.Reduce the heat
to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add to the pan even layers of zucchini and sweet potato on top of the
rice mixture. Cover the pan again and cook until the rice mixture has absorbed all the water, about 20
Meanwhile, in a sauté pan, heat the oil over low heat.Add the pumpkin seeds and scallions and cook,
stirring, until the seeds turn light brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in the vata seasoning or the mild curry
powder and then the Bragg’s until thoroughly combined. Stir in the coconut milk, lemon juice, and maple
syrup and cook for 10 minutes. Add the scallion mixture to the rice and stir to blend well. Season to taste
with salt and pepper.
Cover with lid and bake in a hot oven about 400°F for 15-20 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with lemon
and chopped cilantro for garnish, and serve hot.

Makes 2-3 servings

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Leadership & Growth Matters-Honor Matters

You cannot grow a plant by dipping it into the dirt once a year. It takes an ongoing connection to build a root system.” – Dr. Henry Cloud


The best way that I have found over the years to enhance my empathy for others is to do my own work. What do I mean by this? I mean doing the difficult work of getting into understanding your own feelings, needs, and desires. I have hired professionals often to help me work through this. It is tough and uncomfortable and I find the more I am able to observe and evaluate myself I enhance my empathy with others which is the most basic human relational ability in which to create a connection.


When we do this type of work it grows our leadership skills improve from one of frustration and angst in our choice of language to one of calm and empathic. You might think that this has a minor impact, however, a simple elementary change of language choice can produce a positive and widespread change in how we connect with others.


What kind of emotional tone do you want to have in your relationships?

What creates the tone, either positive or negative, and what can you do to make it better?

How is your balance between creating a positive connection with others and having your needs met going?


Build a support system around yourself today that allows for: the removal of toxic relationships and behaviors, that builds a deep connection with others, support others in getting in control of what they can control and help others to think optimistically and root out pessimistic belief systems. When you grow and get better everybody around you benefits!

What word would you use to describe your mother and father? Maybe love, safety, comfort, home or hurt, pain, regret, missed an opportunity. Maybe even the response of “I can’t talk about it!” No matter where you are on that spectrum, it’s your family, and though every family is different, every person matters. Honoring our parents depends on where you are in the family structure. When we appreciate the influence of our parents and significance of our parents, and we share their legacy, we honor them.


Lately, I’ve been doing my own work on the cultural aspects of my family. Being the third generation of immigrant families (on both sides) I’ve been looking at how the country of origin and moving countries affected my parents parenting style.  Did the style work for me as a child? How is my inner child belief system working for me now as an adult? I’ve made lists of how I am like my parents and how I am not like my parents. Doing this exercise has been extremely helpful in healing my relationships.


As we move into the holiday season and family emotions are running high. Have you sat still for a moment and pondered how you’d like to show up to your family? What your part is in the family dynamic? As adults, it is our job to learn what our parents could not teach us as a child.


How are you honoring the family relationships in your life?


Life is full of betrayal, storms, upheavals things that are out of our control, every person is different, our perceptions of life are different. You Matter, We All Matter! We are all unique as our fingerprint is. We are whole and as we transform ourselves, we support others in transforming too. Transformed individuals transform communities. I believe this happens one person at a time!

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Conflict Matters

Successful relationships handle conflict well. Currently, our political arena is giving us a front-row seat into the tension-packed experience of conflict. Everyone has an opinion on how things should be handled. No one is removed from the process, even if they’d like to be. What is easy to notice is the inability of most people to see someone else’s perspective. The old saying “try to walk a mile in their shoes” seems to be thrown completely out the window in the political realm as battle lines are drawn and “enemies” are identified. We hurt, insult, create labels, hate and sever relationships. Is there a better way to handle conflict? Marshall Rosenburg says “The objective of Nonviolent Communication is to establish a relationship based on honesty and empathy. When others trust that our primary commitment is to the quality of the relationship and that we expect this process to fulfill everyone’s needs, then they can trust that our requests are true requests and not camouflaged demands.

While it is not my intention to dive into the craziness of politics, the way many people handle conflict within political discussion does help us realize how we can better handle conflict within our personal lives. How we handle conflict is a key indicator of success and compatibility which is definitely important in our relationships with others in our lives. Imagine if for a moment you improved your conflict resolution skills how would your relationships grow and improve?

Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music” – John Milton

It is okay to feel anger and to process anger. When we are speaking the truth/Satya to someone if we are doing it in a non-harming/ahimsa manner, truth and anger cannot belong in the same sentence.  This is why we apply self-empathy, take a breath and then chose how to respond. We have communication choices. Focus on self-empathy, start with your “Self” become aware of your feelings and needs first to gain clarity. Words matter it makes up our emotional DNA that helps develop our thinking and thought patterns. It is when you can sit down next to the person and discuss a conflict that you are ready to communicate when you want to be across the table listen more than you speak.


Yoga Sutra 1.30Vyadhi Styana Samsaya Pramada Alasya Avirati Bhrantidarsana Alabdhabhumikatva Anavasthitatvani Cittaviksepah Te Antarayah” From that comes Realization of the individual self and the obstacles are removed. This is often translated as a disease; mental inaction; doubt; carelessness; laziness; inability to withdraw, compose and rest; hallucination; inability to reach, grasp or comprehend the goal; and inability to remain grounded are the obstacles these are distractions to the mind. We are all overscheduled, overworked, thinking about too much. However, this is all by our own choice and under these obstacles, it gets worse. By examining opposites, beliefs, and self-inquiry is an excellent starting point.


For me Geshe Michael Roach and Christie McNally said it best “How we view the world- our worldview- is, in the end, the only thing that decides whether we suffer or find real happiness. It’s extremely important to realize that an entire civilization can be caught up for many years in a mistaken view of the world. For thousands of years, sensible people believed that the world was flat. The courageous, democracy-minded founders of the United States kept human beings as slaves and believed that they were animals, not people. Our culture today has its own massively mistaken ideas of the world, and these cause all hunger, poverty, sickness, and war in the world. If our people’s view of the world is causing pain to others and ourselves, then we must look for a better one, one that works. If it doesn’t work, we cannot simply continue to follow whatever we learned as children, whether it came from parents or schools, churches or governments. True yoga is the search for the worldview that actively works to bring people happiness.

We need to integrate our experiences and have the courage to be ourselves and to allow this individuality even if it scares us because belonging matters. “The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear whole or acceptable, but our wholeness even our wholeheartedness actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the fails.” – Brene Brown During conflict we need to listen there is a reason we have two ears and one mouth. Listening is much more important than talking and yet it is much easier to talk rather than listen. We want to be heard and more importantly, we want to be right. When in the midst of conflict we are thinking about our response more than we are actually listening to what the other person is saying and this is not our best way to start a conflict resolution.  The first step is to listen for identify the root of the problem (content, pattern or relationship rooted)


Here are some questions to ponder:

  1. How was conflict handled in the home in which you grew up?
  2. When you were growing up, what were sources of conflict between you and your family of origin?
  3. In what areas of your life do you tend to value your own perspective over the members of your immediate support system?
  4. Often times, the way our parents handled conflict growing up carries over and impacts the way we handle conflict as adults. Is this true in your life and in what ways?
  5. What areas do you need to be more mindful of your own responses where conflict resolution is concerned?

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Every Season of Life Matters

I’ve lived in four season climate my entire life. Sometimes the seasons seem a bit confused. But the reality is they come and go in varying degrees. Some people feel because of this variation that seasons don’t matter. This sentiment should not carry over into our lives, and yet it seems to.

We go through seasons in our lives. Great seasons and terrible seasons, chaotic seasons and calm seasons. No matter the season the expected and unexpected matter, and it matters that we understand that. Embracing the season may not be easy, but it is important all the time. Our circumstances are not a life sentence, and we need to embrace the idea that our circumstances are opportunities. How do we overcome the tension of difficult seasons and welcome opportunities for influence? First is the awareness that all seasons are important, these things can happen.

Nature’s seasons teach us about ourselves. In winter we go inward and do our internal work, reflection, hibernation, and planning brings self-reflection. Then spring comes and offers a chance for renew, learning, opportunity and progressive thinking, an opportunity for learning. The summer arrives while we steep and marinate in our new growth, rewards, celebration and fulfillment, happiness. Finally, fall comes, and we shed what no longer serves us, for survival, mistakes and problems, pain.

In summer you’ll find yourself undertaking these activities: Networking, traveling, leisure, accomplishing goals, taking risks, proactive action, expanding your comfort zone, thinking optimistically. In summer you may be experiencing these emotions: excitement, passion, euphoria, courage, confidence. The evolution of summer requires real plans, preparation, solid choices and decisions, prolonged self-reflection, capitalizing on the right opportunities.

What impact has the summers had on your life?
What have summers taught you about yourself and others?
How have summers transformed your personality?

In autumn you’ll find yourself undertaking these activities: avoiding responsibility, contracting your comfort zone, hesitating, thinking unrealistically, ineffectively and pessimistically. In summer you may be experiencing these emotions: anger, anxiety, frustration, stress, disappointment and overwhelm. The evolution of autumn requires certain factors that come into play that naturally enable us to transition through this phase like ineffective decision-making, failure to capitalize on opportunities, ignorance, mistakes stemming from ineffective thinking and mistakes originating from limiting habits of behavior.

What impact have autumns had on my life?
What have autumns taught me about myself and others?
How has autumn so transformed my personality?

In winter you’ll find yourself undertaking these activities: time for finding inner peace and solitude, time for bonding with family, friends and loved ones, time for journaling thoughts and feelings, time for thinking critically, realistically, problematically and thoughtfully about life. In winter you may be experiencing these emotions: guilt, fear, relief, grief, hope. The evolution of winter includes these factors of lack of emotional intelligence, reactive behavior to losses and uncontrolled circumstances, ineffective choices, habits, and thoughts.

What impact has the winters had on my life?
What have winters taught me about myself, life and others?
How have winters transformed my personality?

In spring you’ll find yourself undertaking these activities: developing new skills, habits, and social contacts; altering personal mindset; expanding knowledge, options, and opportunities; setting goals; thinking strategically, tactically and insightfully. In spring you may be experiencing these emotions: love, trust, joy, gratitude, appreciation. The evolution of spring of enhanced self-belief, increased self-confidence, solid reflection time that enables you to clarify what you want most in life are factors that come into play that naturally allow us to transition to this phase of life.

What impact have the springs had on my life?
What have springs taught me about myself, life and others?
How have springs transformed my personality?

The seasons of life are always changing as a result of the choices and decisions that we make on a daily basis. The life seasons transition naturally from one phase to another because of they are simply a reflection of our human nature. Our seasons of life are temporary just as nature’s seasons are. The joy you feel during summer will not last forever, the length of time it takes us to process through each season is simply a reflection of our state-of-mind a reflection of our ability to adapt to the conditions and circumstances we find ourselves in. The seasons of life are there to teach us lessons about ourselves and our lives. They are there to help us grow emotionally, physically and socially. When we succeed we celebrate. When we fail, we complain and blame, and eventually find our way into contemplation of who we are, what we want and how we would like to show up in the world. All of this shapes our character, paints the canvas of our life as we evolve. We naturally create and transition between the four seasons of life as a result of our responses and reactions to people, events, and circumstances. How we respond to our environment will directly influence what we get back from our environment whether they are problems or opportunities.

Yoga Therapy helps you build tools that allow you to flow through these seasons. It teaches you how to support, love and forgive as you go through these seasons of life. So you can ride the waves of life seasons with grace.

Which season are you currently transitioning though at this very moment?
How have the seasons shaped your character?
Have the seasons strengthened your character?
How have seasons of life enriched your experience of life?

The seasons of life don’t necessarily cycle from summer to autumn to winter to spring and then start over again. They transition any-which-way depending on the emotional choices and decisions we make on a daily basis.

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Home Run Life-Rounding 3rd Base on the Way for a Home Run!

If Winning isn’t everything, then why do they keep score?” – Vince Lombardi

As we round the corner at third base, the focus shifts to growing results. Every play of the game thus far has included growth. At home plate, it was growth in our spiritual relationship. First base was growth in our character. As you arrive at the third base, it is time to shift the eyes on growing and winning results.

This feels so natural for us, right? After all, we know that improving results at work means promotions, more money, and more respect. Winning results with our health might look like lost pounds, reduced pain, increased strength, more energy and so on. We are results driven world and time are of the essence. We hustle at work, home, and school. We think about goals and efficiency in a way that will take us to the next level.

Have you ever assumed you had it all planned out only for the universe to send you a curve ball? Remember how down straighten you were. What about looking back and thinking I would never have imagined it would end up like this. Sometimes we get in a hurry! We easily become impatient if the outcome isn’t instant. Maybe you feel a calling to do something the opportunities haven’t arrived yet. You desire to restore relationships and things seem to be worse. Despite your best efforts and hard work things just aren’t working out in life. It is time for a reality check: Will you give up on the process or grow up into a productive person? I admit I thought if I worked hard and was a respectable citizen thing would be to harvest, harvest, harvest. When to my surprise I’ve learned that life is plow, plant, harvest, plow, plant, no crop, plow, plant, harvest.

Have you ever felt this impatience with your health? It starts with a little fatigue, a twinge here, a pinch here, hmmm I can not tie my shoes and so on. You may even start to skimp on your self-care. Before you know it, you are down the rabbit hole, and you are stuck with now results of growth in sight. We can get on the path to productivity and results again you have to be committed to real growth that’s not wrapped up in worldly measurements or super-fast timing. We need growth that results in growing the self-care support system.

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my tree.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Home Plate – Connection with Spirit
First Base– Character Winning Within Self
Second Base– Community Winning with Others
Third Base: Competence Winning with Results

Are you living the home run life?
Everything starts and ends with our connection to self and our desire to grow.
How are you living these days? The empty life, the unfulfilled life, the frustrating life, the fulfilling life
What is it going to take to move from home plate to first base? Effort and Commitment to Connection, Character, Community, and Competence.

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