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A few days ago, I was having a difficult afternoon. Without thinking, I found myself walking into the kitchen, scooping up a bunch of vegetables and herbs, and filling a large metal pot with water.
Sometimes the heart knows what the mind doesn't.
Cooking is one of the most robust and satisfying practices I know of. It may be because I grew up in a restaurant, but I have a feeling that it goes much deeper than that. When the outside world seems overwhelming, or you're just feeling a little off, sometimes you just have to get down to business with raw ingredients and work with spices and temperature to create something nutritious that can bring you into a much-needed connected state.
When we are in this mindset, we begin to see a deeper meaning in the process. In this enlightened place of movement, the seemingly mundane ingredients begin to reveal their subtle secrets.
At the heart of the sacred recipe below is one ingredient in particular that has a great story to tell: Lentil.
Known as Lens Culinaris, the lentil is one of the oldest food sources in human history. The vast majority of the ingredients we use today were grown after humans settled into agrarian societies and began planting and harvesting on a seasonal calendar. But there are some that were staples of our ancestors' foods long before that. I'm talking about staple foods that hunters and gatherers valued for their taste and nutrition. Everyday lentil, as simple as it might sound, is a member of that special group of ancient foods. Evidence shows that hunter gatherers in North Africa and nearby regions of Asia consumed forms of wild lentils more than 13,000 years ago.
And guess what? They are loaded with nutrition.
Dried lentils are 26% protein (one of the richest legumes in protein) and are a good source of potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, lysine, and folic acid. Plus, they have a ton of dietary fiber. It is no wonder that our distant ancestors considered them a main source of livelihood for plants.
When you're making the delicious soup below, keep in mind the very unusual story of each lentil that falls into the pot.
Tasty lentil soup
10 cups of water
5 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth if you prefer)
4 tablespoons of coconut oil or butter
3 stalks of celery
1 can of diced tomatoes
3 cups French lentils (dried)
1 yellow onion
1 bunch of Swiss chard
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons of raw honey
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Pour 10 cups of water and 5 cups of broth into a large saucepan over medium heat.
Celery and onion cubes.
Peel the pumpkin, cut it in half, remove the seeds and pulp, and dice.
Chop the chard into small strips.
Rinse the lentils and remove the stones.
Add the celery, onions, squash, chard, diced tomatoes, and lentils to the pot of water to heat.
Add the curry powder, thyme, salt, pepper, bay leaf, honey, and coconut oil.
Once the water begins to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot.
Cook for 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
Ready to serve!
A little secret to make this soup even more delicious and nutritious:
Add half a teaspoon of coconut oil and a pinch of ground red pepper to each bowl after it is poured.
About the Author:
Nick Polizzi has spent his career directing and editing documentaries on natural alternatives to conventional medicine. Nick's current role as director of the documentary "Sacred Science" and author of "Sacred Science: An Ancient Path of Healing for the Modern World" stems from a call to honor, preserve and protect the ancient knowledge and rituals of the indigenous peoples of the world.