All Posts for November 2014

Healthy Reading: Part Two – Sex and the Seasoned Woman by Gail Sheehy

Friday, November 28th, 2014

Healthy Reading- Part Two

The Cryptoquote in the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Nov. 4th puzzle page had this quote by Sir Francis Bacon that seems perfect for this posting, especially the last phrase:

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.

Gail Sheehy’s Sex and the Seasoned Woman is the perfect book for our “Second Adulthood” that Sheehy discusses at length is this wonderful journey for the second half of our lives. With the focus mostly on women she interviewed, Sheehy combines her research skills and interview skills to provide us with both enjoyable and educational information on living passionately after 50. In fact, the subtitle reads, Pursuing the Passionate Life, and by this the author goes beyond sexual passion and includes passion for pursuing (delayed) dreams.

The titles of the six parts of the book will give you clues to the wide canvas on which we can paint the second half of life: And Now What? The Romantic Renaissance, Learning to be Alone with Your New Self, The Boldness to Dream, Soul Seeking, Graduating to Grand Love. Because the author herself has lived through many of the topics, when she interviews older men and women, there is a resonance that I can feel in her words. (You may first want to read Sheehjy’s autobiography, Daring My Passages, William Morrow, 2014 to see what I mean. As a divorcee with a young child, she carved out a writing career and was single for many years. She remarried her mentor and went on to take care of him before he died from cancer. She is definitely a seasoned woman.)

This book is so packed with relevant information for women over 50 that I have a difficult time being neutral in this review because much of what she writes about affects me directly and sounds like what I have experienced. I kept thinking, “Maybe I’m not so crazy, after all to think that I could restart my passion for writing and remarrying at the age of 65.” Gail Sheehy’s book makes me feel that I am right on target with many of the women in her book.

Here a few quotes that I hope will give you a better understanding of how valuable Ms. Sheehy’s work is:

“Today’s women in their mid-forties, fifties, and sixties are at the peak of their lives.”

“The great transition in the passage to Second Adulthood for Women is to move from pleasing to mastery.”

“The increased life span alone, of course, does not promise a rich Second Adulthood. The added years are merely a blank slate; it’s what we write on them that makes a difference.” (p. 20)

I highly recommend your reading this book if you have doubts about your choices n the second half of your life. The author’s ideas, concepts, and conclusions all seem to make sense. And because there is a wide range of responses from the women (and men) she interviews, you are able to see how many choices we really do have after 50.

One article I read some time ago but still remember the first line— “Fifty is only a warm-up” seems to be Gail Sheehy’s mantra, because Sex and the Seasoned Woman will help you make choices about what you want to do after the warm-up. What I learned is that the playing field of life is wide open if you open your eyes and heart to life’s possibilities.

As Anais Nin said, “We don’t see things as they are—we see them as we are.” Sheehy helps us see ourselves in a different light, so that we can see our world after 50 in a more positive way than we thought possible. Sheehy also invites you to join the conversation on the Seasoned Women’s Network at www.gailsheehy.com.

This 355-page book is published by Random House and costs $25.95.


My Kitchari for Thanksgiving & Beyond

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Some time ago I posted a recipe for Kitchari given to me by my former Ayurvedic practitioner. It wasn’t much different from the other Kitchari recipes I found on the Internet. However, since receiving the recipe from Vishnu I have developed my own versions. And when I went to Kripalu Yoga Center last fall, I found that it was available every day for every meal, because the basic yellow split mung beans were combined with a grain of the day and you had the choice of making it sweet or savory.

Since I will be away for Thanksgiving near Berkeley, CA, I hope to purchase some of these beans in one of the Indian food shops and make it for dinner to be served with turkey and other traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Because I have developed my own Kitchari, I am posting it under my “Nobody Eats Like Me category.” It’s a great winter dish and I hope you will experiment with your own spices, veggies, and sweeter combinations that can be geared to your own tastes.

 

Kitchari still being “stewed.” I cook it until almost all the liquid is absorbed.
(See photo at end of another version with all water absorbed.)

 

Basic Ingredients

1 T. ghee (clarified butter), butter or olive oil
½ cup yellow split mung beans (moong dahl), soaked at least 4-5 hours or overnight
¼ cup rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, barley, etc. soaked 3-4 hours or overnight (While soaking grains isn’t as important as soaking the beans, soaking hastens the cooking process.)
¼-1/2 tsp each mustard, coriander, cumin seeds; turmeric powder
1-2 garlic cloves
3/4” of fresh ginger
(If fresh or seeds are unavailable substitute ground, and use ¼ tsp.)
salt & pepper to taste unless your soup stock has these spices in it.
3-4 cups water or vegetable soup stock

Optional Veggies

I often cook my veggies separately but you can also add them to the beans & grains (see below)

Cruciferous– cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli
Root– potatoes, Beets, squash, (daikon) radish, carrots, onions or leeks
Leafy– Spinach, kale, chard, arugula, cress
Miscellaneous– Celery, peas (snow, English, snap), mushrooms, peppers, green beans

Directions

  1. In a large (10”), shallow saucepan or fry pan with a 1-2” lip, heat oil or butter and sauté mustard, coriander, cumin, turmeric, garlic and ginger for 1-2 minutes. 
  1. Add soaked and drained mung beans and drained grain of choice and stir until they are well blended with the spices.
  2. Add 2 cups of water or stock and allow to simmer while cutting other veggies. If using longer to cook veggies such as Brussels sprouts (cut in half), squash or potatoes (diced), carrots (sliced), you can add them as soon as you add the first 2 cups of water or stock. 
  3. Add another (3rd) cup of water or stock as the water is absorbed by the stew. For a firmer bean and grain dish, 3 cups should be enough, but for a softer texture, you will need 4 cups. This is where your own taste buds rule.
  4. When all the water is absorbed, shut off the heat and cover for about 5 minutes before serving. This is a complete meal. If you know your Ayurvedic body type, you can add other spices and veggies that match your dietary profile.

This makes about 2 ½-3 cups of stew, so it can serve 2 people as main dish or 4 as a side dish of about ½ cup per serving.  If you use non-gluten grains, then this dish will be totally gluten free. It is also vegan, because no dairy is used. I make my soup stock from veggies, but if you are not a vegetarian, feel free to use chicken or beef stock.

I can make it almost every day in the winter to satisfy my desire for something warm and hearty that matches my body type and food tastes. If you Google Kitchari you will find a number of recipes and even information on how you can have a modified fast with kitchari. Spices and beans can be found at an Indian food shop.

Personal Note: Before I wrote my third cookbook, The Whole Foods Experience (Amazon), my son complained that I never make a recipe exactly the same each time I cooked it.  So when my book came out, I signed it:” Now you can make a recipe over and over again exactly the same.” With Kitchari, there are so many variations that I have yet to make it exactly the same each time I cook it. My son would not be happy with that, but I am!

 

Here is a finished kitchari with water absorbed. I sauteed the spices in ghee and added the soaked yellow split mung beans, added stock, then added the rice I had cooked separately while the mung beans were cooking. The white part of the bok choy and leeks I added first and the leaves of the bok choy at the end. I also put a dollop of my pesto on top.

 

HAPPY  THANKSGIVING!

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