I was craving a nourishing meal like this all week. Specifically, I was daydreaming about lentils and tomatoes. So this delicious and wholesome bolognese was born! This meal is all about warmth and comfort, and you’ll really feel that the whole way through. The aroma in the air while it’s cooking, the loaded taste, and warmth in your belly, will make you feel SO GOOD.
- 1 tbsp coconut oil or EVOO
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp red chilli pepper flakes
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup each basil, oregano, and parsley, fresh and chopped
- 1 cup lentils, washed
- 2 cups water
Heat oil over medium heat, then add in the bay leaf and pepper flakes. After about 30 seconds, add your carrots and red peppers. Cook that up for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, fresh herbs, lentils, and water. Bring everything to a boil, then cover with a lid and lower the temperature to low/medium. Keep the lid on as it cooks! Let it do its thing for about 25 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. You can add more water if you notice the lentils aren’t cooked after that time. Serve on quinoa, millet, brown rice, or whatever else you’re feeling! Garnish with fresh parsley and basil.
The Difference Between Cravings and Insight
I was really craving this meal all week. Cravings can actually be an indication that your body is looking for something more. Now, there’s a difference between the kind of craving you get for something that you know might not be that great for you (let’s say, a second serving of chocolate cake), and between something that is going to contribute to your health. There’s also a difference between the kind of craving that’s giving you this valuable information, and what comes from out of suppression and restriction. The reasons for our cravings are varied, and include shifts in hormones and emotions, diet crazies (the kind of cravings that come from restricting yourself), and malnutrition. Your body knows what it needs, and can communicate that to your mind (and belly).
I love the chart found here to help you identify what your body might be asking for when you start to crave a certain food. Working to develop this kind of awareness also helps you to notice patterns in your food consumption, as well as in your lifestyle. Notice certain cravings creeping in at a certain time of the month, or when you’re super stressed out? Keep note of these things in a food journal.
Healing Your Relationship with Food
When I was craving these specific foods, I could feel it in my body. I would salivate just thinking about it, and could almost feel how nourishing it would be for my body. It’s taken me YEARS to develop the interoception to be able to look within and really feel into the needs of my body. Years ago, when I was dealing with pretty bad hypoglycaemia, I was in a pretty much constant state of craving. The hanger was EXTRAORDINARY. I was also dealing with an eating disorder at the time, and stuck in cycles of restriction and low self-worth. So my mind was fixated on food. It was clinging even just to the thought of food. What would be my next meal? How much could I eat? I would bargain with myself. Eat less now, and more later. Work out more now, eat more later. All the while, messing with my blood sugar, my gut health, and mental wellness.
Flash forward to today, and I regularly practice intermittent fasting without any problems, control my emotions (mostly) around food, and have a keen awareness of what my body does (and doesn’t) need. This has taken years of developing my mind, my presence, healing my body, and managing my relationship to food. Through yoga and meditation, and holistic nutrition, I’ve developed skills to eat intuitively and maintain compassion and awareness to create nourishing wellness in my life. When we heal our relationship to food by connecting with it in a meaningful and healthful way, we shift our relationship to ourselves and the world around us. We truly create a reciprocal relationship with what we eat.
At the end of the day, I think what most of us truly crave is connection, safety, and balance. Our relationship with food is one of the most intimate relationships we have in our life. It has the potential to nourish and heal us, as well as make us miserable. In the yogic tradition, we take information and energy from food that sustains our spiritual practice. This awareness allows you to make choices that are going to fuel you in a very soulful way. When we honour the cycle from which our food came, we can start to see the intimate relationship that we’re a part of. We aren’t separate from Mother Earth or nature. We ARE nature. Healing your relationship with food means coming back into that flow, and recognizing the nourishing potential available through every bite, every breath.