This wonderful warming and nutritious soup includes seasonal carrots and sweet potato. Ginger and curry spices possess significant anti-inflammatory properties, and kaffir lime and lemongrass are both digestive tonic plants. For a spicy variation on this soup, substitute the sweet curry powder with 1 teaspoon of red Thai curry paste. Dissolve the paste in a bit of hot water before adding to the soup.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small knob peeled fresh ginger root, chopped fine (about 1 tablespoon)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet curry powder
1 bay leaf
2 kaffir lime leaves or a 3-inch length of lemongrass sliced into matchsticks
1 1/2 pounds carrots, scrubbed and chopped
4 cups vegetable broth or filtered water
1 15-ounce can of coconut milk
Thai basil or cilantro leaves for garnish
1.) Warm olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, sweet potato and garlic, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2.) Add the ginger, coriander, curry spice, bay leaf, and kaffir leaves, and cook the mixture 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Heating the spices before adding liquid helps release their full flavor potential.
3.) Add the carrots and broth, along with an additional 2 cups of water and 2 large pinches of sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, until the carrots are very tender.
4.) Remove soup from heat and discard bay leaf and kaffir lime leaves. Puree soup with a vertical blender until creamy. Whisk in the coconut milk, and if necessary heat to serving temperature, taking care not to boil the soup. Adjust seasoning and serve garnished with the Thai basil or cilantro leaves.
Adapted from a Whole Foods Market Recipe
Serves 6 to 8
Total Time 50 minutes
Bake up a batch of this almond butter granola over the weekend and enjoy it throughout the week on top of yogurt, in a bowl with dairy or nut milk, or simply by the handful. This is not only a healthy and filling breakfast or snack option; it also makes your kitchen smell amazing while it bakes!
Makes eight 1/4 c. servings
4 tbsp. almond butter
4 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. chia seeds
2 c. oats
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.
2. Combine the almond butter and honey in a bowl and microwave until almond butter is slightly melted (about 30 seconds).
3. Add cinnamon and vanilla to the almond butter mixture.
4. Stir in the oats and chia seeds, completely coating the oats in the mixture.
5. Spread oats onto cookie sheet and bake for eight minutes before tossing oats and baking for another four minutes until granola is slightly brown. Let cool until granola is crunch and enjoy!
Summer is a time of rigorous activity in the Pacific Northwest. There are many opportunities for hiking, paddling, rock climbing, swimming as well as organized team sports and races. Exercise and movement of the body is great for your muscles, brain, cardiovascular system and much more. Sunshine can be a source of vitamin D and exercise in the fresh air can bring more oxygen to your blood.
With all this travel and fun and outdoor adventure, this can be the perfect time to schedule a massage. Massage therapy can increase circulation in the skin and muscles and can increase tonicity of those muscles you’ve been working so hard the last couple months. Massage therapy is generally recommend once a month to maintain health and wellbeing. Problem areas can be addressed with regular visits and your practitioner can stay up to date with chronic issues you may be having from performing your favorite activities.
Fall always arrives too soon! Give yourself (and your muscles) a midsummer break with a massage.
Muscle of the Month
By: EriK Cannard, LMT
Sternocleidomastoid is unquestionably my favorite muscle. Not only does it have a fantastic name, its unique position in the body means it has significant effects on our daily lives. Originating at the top of the breastbone and collarbone near the midline, it attaches just behind the ear making it a major muscle in the front of the neck and one of the strongest rotators of the head. People often see their own sternocleidomastoid in the mirror but don’t even realize they are looking at a muscle. If it’s visible, it’s probably working to stabilize or move your heavy head.
The fact that it “pops” away from the neck when in use makes it a very easy muscle to isolate and massage from all sides. I have found sternocleidomastoid in most people to be very receptive to gentle compression and kneading. It often takes very little effort to achieve a significant amount of relief and relaxation in this area.
A slumped posture when working at a computer, holding a phone with your shoulder, tense winter driving and excess stress all contribute to an overly tight sternocleidomastoid. Symptoms of this muscle tension can include stiff neck, jaw pain and headache. If someone comes to me complaining of a tension headache above or behind their eyes, I can guarantee we’ll be doing some work with sternocleidomastoid.
Spring Asparagus Risotto
By: Leah Scott
- 4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup shallots, chopped
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 oz dry white wine
- 3/4 lb thin asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed, cut 2-inches long
- 1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
- salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest for garnish
In a large saucepan, heat broth over medium-high heat. When it boils, reduce heat to a simmer and maintain over low heat, taste for salt and adjust as needed.
In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil and add the shallots; sauté 3-4 minute. Add the rice; mix well so the rice is coated throughout and saute until the rice is slightly translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed.
Add a ladleful of the simmering stock; stir and wait until it is absorbed before adding another ladleful stirring gently and almost constantly.
Continue this process until the rice is creamy, tender to the bite, but slightly firm in the center. Add the asparagus along with the last ladle of broth and continue cooking 5 minutes, total time should be about 25-30 minutes from the time you started. When all the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice, parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Serve immediately and top with fresh cracked pepper, lemon zest, and extra grated cheese if desired.
Makes over 4 cups.
Servings: 4 • Size: 1 generous cup as a main • Old Points: 5 pts • Points+: 7 pts
Calories: 255 • Fat: 4 g • Protein: 9 g • Carb: 43 g • Fiber: 2 g • Sugar: 0 g
Sodium: 630 mg
By: Colleen Bunker LAc
Spring is here all in the magnificent grandeur typical to Portland. Coming from the east coast, I’m am still in awe of the diversity and magnitude of the flowering trees and shrubs! Unfortunately for many of people, it’s the onslaught of seasonal allergies. Just as the weather begins to break and people want to get outside to enjoy the sun and beauty, symptoms such as sinus congestion, wheezing, running nose, itchy and burning eyes, headache and fatigue are suffered by as many as 45 million Americans.
Many people suffer year in and year out, relying on pharmaceutical medications or by simply trying to limit exposure to the offending pollens. None of these approaches are curative, not to mention the many negative side effects and risks involved with long-term use of antihistamines. Besides sleepiness, low libido, and increased appetite; infertility, anxiety, impaired thinking and depression have all been linked to standard allergy medications.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers another alternative. Acupuncture, combined with herbs, can relieve acute symptoms and at the same time begin to build a person’s Wei Qi (similar to the western immune system). In TCM, anytime the body exhibits symptoms, there is an underlying weakness or imbalance that needs to be addressed. When a person has recurrent allergies, the most common weaknesses are found in the Lung, Spleen and Kidney energies. A skilled TCM practitioner will initially choose acupuncture points and herbs to alleviate the acute symptoms, while gently supporting the whole body. The proper time to begin really focusing on the underlying system weaknesses is after the particular offending pollens have passed. At this time, support and advice will be given on diet and lifestyle habits, along with acupuncture and herbal medicine, to rebuild and support Wei Qi, overall balance and good health. With the commitment of the patient, particularly between allergies seasons, to receive regular treatment and to implement immune building lifestyle changes, seasonal allergies can be greatly alleviated and in many, many cases, healed completely.
By: Colleen Bunker Lac
Spring Soup with Poached Eggs
As spring approaches many of us are thinking about giving our bodies a little tune-up. For most people, simply eliminating all processed foods, sugar, alcohol and caffeine for a week or so allows for a gentle detox. For a deeper cleanse, you can also eliminate grains and dairy. Just by cleaning up your diet in this way, you give your digestive system, especially your liver, a much needed break and an opportunity to gently release accumulated toxins. Focusing on simple, whole foods and drinking lots of good water with lemon for 1-2 weeks is a good is way to prep your body for a more intensive detox with fewer dramatic side effects. Ideally, if you leave processed foods, sugar and trans-fats out of your diet year round, the need for a more intensive cleanse isn’t needed. I found the following recipe on a wonderful blog called The Ancestral Chef. It has only 3 ingredients and can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- 2 eggs
- 32 oz (1 quart) chicken broth
- 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
- salt to taste
Bring the chicken broth to a boil.
Turn down the heat and poach the 2 eggs in the broth for 5 minutes (for a slightly-runny egg).
Remove the eggs and place each into a bowl.
Add the chopped romaine lettuce into the broth and cook for a few minutes until slightly wilted.
Ladle the broth with the lettuce into the bowls.