Chickpea and Red Lentil Dal

“You are what you eat.” You’ve hear that before, right? Haven’t we all!  Unfortunately, this phrase is often used when referring to junk food – all those things we “shouldn’t eat.” When I hear this phrase in my head it always sounds like a nagging Grandmother with a smokers cough and New Jersey accent. This is certainly not my grandmother! But, I digress.

What if we turn “know it all Nanny” into “positive Paula” who’s cheering us on in our endeavor to eat better? Ok, just bear with me here.

Instead of using the phrase to punish ourselves into feeling guilt and regret when we dive into the bag of chocolate chip cookies (I swear I’m not speaking from experience here! 🙂 we use it as a way to encourage ourselves to displace our midday snack of Chex Mix with a handful of cashews and a banana. When you make the extra effort to order the salad instead of the fries with your lunch you say to yourself “that’s right! I am what I eat! Nutrient dense greens, lycopene loaded tomatoes, mineral rich nuts and some lemon with vitamin C.”

In all seriousness, we really ARE what we eat. Think about it for a minute. Our skin, hair, blood, organs and tissues are all made up of protein sources. Our immune system needs vitamins A, C, E, selenium and zinc from fresh fruits and veggies to nourish the soldiers that fight 24/7 to keep us healthy. Our brains need lots of fats from omega rich sources like fish, grass fed meats and butter, nuts and seeds in order to send messages to the rest of our bodies. Unfortunately, much of what we eat is missing these important nutrients and our bodies are starving for vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, healthy fats and quality protein.

What building blocks do you want your body to build you from?

Once we saturate our bodies with nutrient dense foods it’s incredible how much more energy and focus we have, lightness we feel and easy it is to continue to feed ourselves the best food possible.

Starting January 17th I’ll be running the Get Clean in 2014 Cleanse at Yoga at SimplyWell. If you are ready to shed some winter weight, feel vibrant and learn simple strategies for incorporating more whole foods you’ve GOT to join us! You can learn more about the cleanse HERE and reserve your spot. It’s 14-days of fantastic food, great support and loads of fun. I promise!

Want a taste of what kind of food you’ll be eating on the cleanse?

I’m sharing one of my FAVORITE cold weather dishes with you today. Not only is this dish incredibly warming and comforting – it comes together quickly, freezes beautifully and re-heats like a charm.

This is a vegetarian, protein powered dish that will leave you satisfied. The lentils and chickpeas are rich in fiber and iron (think happy arteries and healthy blood!) and the coconut oil is loaded in lauric acid. Lauric acid is found in abundance in human breast milk (the most nutrient-dense food) and converts to monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin has been shown useful in supporting our immune systems and fighting viruses and diseases. Now that’s what I want to build my body from!

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Chickpea and Red Lentil Dal 

Ingredients

2 small onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped (let sit 5-10 minutes before cooking)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
pinch of cayenne
1 cup dried red lentils
4 cups of water
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 can of chickpeas
½ cup full fat coconut milk
Handful of cilantro or parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent. Add the garlic, curry powder and cayenne and cook for about one minute more, stirring so everything is well combined.
  2. Add the lentils to the pot followed by the water. Stir and raise the temperature to medium-high, bring the soup to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes. Add the cooked rice, chickpeas and coconut milk and continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the parsley shortly before serving. Enjoy!

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