Intro to Vedic Cooking

This beautiful piece is located at the dhyana Center.

 

Last Saturday, I was fortunate to take a two-day course, titled Edible Ayurveda, with my brother at the Dhyana Center, which is located in downtown Sebastopol. My brother’s friend, DeAnna Batdorff, is the owner of the center. My brother and DeAnna have been good friends for about 20 years, which is around the same time he began studying Ayurveda. Seeing my brother with DeAnna warms my heart because he loves studying with her! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ“š

 

The Root Beer Float, a popular drink found at the dhyana Center’s Apothecary Bar. Finally, I got my hands on this drink!

 

 

The best of friends: DeAnna and my brother.

 

Our weekend actually started Friday, which was when my brother and I stopped by the dhyana Center to say hello to DeAnna. It also gave me the opportunity to meet Mary Sheila Gonnella, a certified nutrition consultant and Ayurvedic practitioner, who was also going to teach the course with DeAnna. Mary Sheila runs Occidental Nutrition.

 

Mary Sheila Gonnella, one of the instructors of Edible Ayurveda.

 

I had individual consultations with both DeAnna and Mary Sheila, and both made the same helpful suggestion: to spend more time on myself–including plenty of self-care. You see, four years ago, I stepped in and became a caregiver to three family members: my parents and older brother. They are all okay right now, but taking them to doctors appointments, running errands for them, going grocery shopping, etc., can get very taxing on me. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ I’m attempting to work through my challenges and what better way than with the help of DeAnna and Mary Sheila. I’d also like to give some credit to my brother, who ‘started the ball rolling’ a while ago when he suggested I seek some holistic assistance at the dhyana Center. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝโค๏ธ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Every student taking the course received this study guide.

 

The first day of class had a lot of great information. During the six-hour course, we learned about Balanced Nutrition, Elemental Theory–including Ether (Cold), Air (Dry), Fire/Water (Hot) and Water/Earth (Wet)–Mindful Eating, Micronutrients and Macronutrients, amongst other, interesting topics. The main idea of the course is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to maintain your doshas (body constitution).

 

 

Sprouted Chickpeas

 

On Sunday (the second day of class), the class met at the Ceres Community Project, a local business with a kitchen accommodating about 15 or more people. The Ceres Project is located in Sebastopol, but also has offices in Santa Rosa and San Rafael. They provide healthy meals for those who are challenged with cancerโ€”including meals for the person’s family too. The meals from Ceres are organic, fresh, sustainable and locally grown–whenever possible. DeAnna and Mary Sheila utilized Ceres’s kitchen to show us hands-on how to make some of the recipes (located in our guidebook) and how this food is beneficial to your health. ๐ŸŽ

 

 

Coconut for the Chutney that was made during Sunday’s class.

 

In between the time DeAnna and Mary Sheila were cooking, we all assisted in either grating and cutting up vegetables, adding spices to a specific dish, preparing the main dish or washing and drying dishes. It was heartwarming to see everyone come together for a common goal. And I know each student was looking forward to tasting the different items DeAnna and Sheila were putting together.

 

Before fermentation:: the Raspberry Shrub.

 

 

After fermentation: Behold, the Raspberry Shrub.

 

 

Just some of the ingredients used for the Chile Verde salsa rub for the chicken.

 

 

Chicken with Chile Verde salsa.

 

Hands down, the chicken with Chile Verde sauce was so delicious and very simple to make! I’m not a fan of super spicy food, so it surprised me that I couldn’t tell that the sauce had a few Serrano chilis in it.ย  ๐ŸŒถ๏ธ๐Ÿ—๐Ÿค”

 

I ๐Ÿ’š Kale!

 

Kale was used to make the stuffing that was placed inside and around the chicken. This was an awesome addition to the chicken, which I intend to repeat when I make this recipe at home.

 

The final product, which also included a tasty salad.

 

 

Someone really enjoyed his meal!

 

 

A probiotic dessert. It includes pistachios, raisins, kefir and nectarine chutney

 

For those who have very little experience in the kitchen, this course is user-friendlyโ€”and a must!

My purpose for taking the course was to learn about Ayurveda and the benefits it provides. I know that by incorporating some Ayurvedic practices into my life, it will help my overall health. โค๏ธ

For more information on the Edible Aryuveda course or on the center, visit the website at The dhyana Center or call (707) 823-8818.

Happy New Year, 2017

2016 was one heck of a year! :/ It entailed lots of learning and growing into a new role in my family with regards to my parents and brother. It has also meant making some sacrifices and encountering some challenges–professionally and personally. It’s been a very stressful year, one filled with sadness and happiness. I intend to remain optimistic that things will get better in the new year.

I’m intending that 2017 will be filled with new opportunities, experiences and meeting new people. I also pray for good health (especially for my family), many blessings, happiness, love, laughter and much more for everyone else–including myself and all of you. ๐ŸŽ‰ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐ŸŽŠ โค

Adios, 2015!

2015 was a year of learning new lessons and of going through some heartbreaks…well, at least for me and my family.

February and April consisted of my brother being hospitalized due to health complications. After a few months off from work to recuperate, he returned to work and is back to doing what he enjoys. I love my brother dearly and I only want to see him happy. My hope is that 2016 will provide him with more strength and faith because he has certainly endured a lot.

In June, my mother celebrated a milestone birthday, so my sister and one of my mother’s good friends threw her a surprise birthday party. Unfortunately, three weeks later, my mother was also hospitalized due to complications with her health. For the next three and a half months, she was provided with therapy at home. She still has some trouble with her speech (i.e. saying one word for another), but she’s back to following a regular routine; however, with less responsibilities. My mother is my best friend and I don’t know what I’d do without her. I want her to continue getting better and I have faith, and I’m praying that she will.

In October, my father was informed by his physician and by another health specialist that he has to take more precaution with his health. My father has always been dependent on my mother, so I believe what she has gone through (as well as what my brother went through) has been really difficult on him. I’m also praying that his health will improve and I know he, my mother and my brother will be at my graduation in May. ๐Ÿ˜€

Between attending school full-time and taking on a majority of the responsibilities my mother once had, it has been a chaotic couple of months. A big thank you to my sister for her help, as well as to my cousin and her family, to my Godmother and her husband, and to my mother’s closest friend, for always being there to lend me and my family a helping hand. ๐Ÿ™‚

My wishes for 2016: Happiness and prosperity for my family, but most importantly, I’m praying for each of my family member’s health to continue improving. I have faith that God will continue to watch over them. โ™ฅ

For my other family and friends: I wish you good health, happiness and prosperity.

As for myself: I want to see my family’s health improve, to finish my education, to find a career in my major/field, to travel and, who knows, maybe find the ๐Ÿ”‘ to my โ™ฅ. ๐Ÿ˜€