This past weekend in honor of the Jewish tradition of Passover I got together with some good friends to eat and celebrate. My Judaism has always been less of a religious experience for me and more of a cultural one, and Passover is no different. On Passover Jews far and wide get together to retell and keep alive the story of our exodus out of Egypt and our freedom from slavery. As I sat at the dinner table yesterday, re-counting the events that took place centuries ago, what kept coming up for me was that an organized group of individuals took a stand for themselves and what they believed in, which led to their eventual freedom. I began to think to myself what do I take a stand for in my own life?
When I think about the question, “what do I take a stand for?,” the first thing that comes into my mind is taking a stand for body love and acceptance. To stand in it for myself and for all the women and men who are disgusted and disconnected from their bodies. I am extremely passionate about this issue because I too have been in a place of body disgust and dis-connect. Coming up in the next few weeks will be a 9 year anniversary for me. It will be the anniversary of my finally taking a stand for myself and getting treatment for an eating disorder, Anorexia Nervosa, that took over me in my first year of college. 9 years ago I can remember very distinctly that I had no concept of taking a stand for myself or holding space for myself, I really had no sense of self. Yet in all the darkness a glimpse of the light came through and I knew I could not continue to live this way anymore…I needed help. It was in that moment that I surrendered and checked myself into an eating disorder treatment program. I was there for 4 months and while my journey does not end there, it was definitely the first of many stepping stones into taking a stand for myself and my recovery.
Sitting here 9 years later, even though at the time I could not see a way out, I am so grateful I stayed and am still staying on the path of healing and growth. It is definitely an ongoing journey but I am very happy with where I am in my life ;).
In light of my theme of standing in and standing for something, I chose to pair the traditional Yogi Tadasana, standing mountain pose, and a Vegan Kugel. Tadasana is a pose the yogi’s refer to as standing in your true north. My interpretation of tadasana is standing in your essence; the center and truth of you. Tadasana is a perfect pose to actually begin to experience and embody what it is you stand for. The recipe pairing is a spinach kugel, a traditional Jewish dish that you can find at most Jewish holidays. I had so much fun re-inventing the traditional kugel recipe and making it tantalizing to the taste buds. The kugel combines ingredients that are grounding and nourishing to your body and further facilitates a sense of being present and powerful in your own body.
This week as you stand in your tadasana and eat some yummy kugel start to play around with the idea of what it is you stand for in your life. Then begin to take the first steps into embodying this idea; and keep remembering that no matter how small, no act goes unnoticed. You do matter ;)!
Standing in it with you,
Standing in Your Power Vegan Kugel:
(inspired by Veganomicon: The ultimate vegan cookbook)
-3 cups of uncooked rombi or broken lasagna noodles ( I used 1 full package of brown rice lasagna noodles)
-1 1/2-2 cups of fresh chopped spinach
-1 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs (I got creative and kept it gluten free by using 1 full box of Mary’s Secret Crackers, original flavor, and made a meal/breadcrumb mixture out of them).
-1 small onion chopped (about 1 cup)
-12 ounces of extra-firm silken tofu
-1 cup of vegetable broth
-2 tablespoons of olive oil
-2 tablespoons of lemon juice
-1 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
-1 tablespoons of any herb blend (I used herbs de provence)
-3/4 teaspoon of sea salt
-1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
Preparation and Cooking:
-Boil a pot of water and cook the noodles according to the package directions. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
-Meanwhile take the box of Mary’s Secret Crackers and put in the food processor. Blend until you have a breadcrumb/meal type of a mixture. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
-Add the vegetable broth, oil, and tofu to the food processor and puree until smooth.
-Add the tofu mixture and spinach to the mixing bowl. By this time, your pasta should be done, so drain it and run it under cold water.
-Add the pasta along with the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix very well. Don’t hesitate to get a little dirty and use your hands :).
-Coat a 9×13 inch glass casserole dish with cooking spray or olive oil. Press the kugel into the casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
-Eat and Enjoy!
-Note this dish was very easy to prepare and tasty oh so yummy!