The Center for Mind-Body Medicine

Mindfulness at the Office: Our Secret Efficiency Factor

Mindfulness at the Office

Every meeting at The Center for Mind-Body Medicine starts with a minute or so of Soft Belly Meditation, which is deep breathing with the simple mantra, “soft….belly”.

Most interns and guests look a little wide-eyed at the first meeting here when the meditation is announced. Perhaps they’re thinking “What have I gotten myself into?” or “Who are these people?!” I know I did, when I started working here. But after attending meetings at other companies and meetups, where you launch into business without the benefit of a meditation, I definitely notice a difference.

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So Easy It's Crazy: Sunshine Tomato Soup

The other evening, I made myself a cup of delicious raw tomato soup in about 30 seconds. To replicate this soup, it will be necessary to have on hand:

One huge, truly ripe, exquisitely delicious, organic tomato (I used a sunshine yellow heirloom.)
A splash of very good, extra virgin olive oil
A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger root

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Self Care Reminders from the Third Grade

Around two weeks before the start of any school vacation, the Counseling office experiences a cyclical peak of drop-in students. An influx of mostly third graders appear at my door with tears streaming down their cheeks, runny noses, and words that are difficult to decipher between hiccup-like breaths and broken syllables.  They are usually accompanied by a friend who guarantees their safe passage to my office then departs, with the I’ve-been-there-too look and a silent nod saying it’s going to be okay.

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Unthinkable

April 17, 2012Jo CooperSelf-Care0

Both my home & office laptops developed crippling problems within one week. Well, hello, Universe!

My office computer recovered. But I found myself in an Apple store, after a discouraging meeting with the tech at the Genius Bar, having a serious discussion with a young saleswoman about purchasing a new mac. I happened to mention that I had started experimenting with unplugging for long stretches of time– leaving my cell phone behind, limiting my computer time… She stopped what she was doing and stared at me, stunned. “I could never do that!” she said earnestly– her eyes repeatedly returning to mine, questioning, fascinated.

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Make Magic Mineral Broth!

A reminder for those of you who know about it, and an epiphany for those of you who don’t: Magic Mineral Broth!

Food As Medicine Executive Chef & faculty member Rebecca Katz, MA, first published the recipe for this potent potion in her cookbook One Bite at a Time: Nourishing Recipes for Cancer Survivors and Their Friends– and has since generously offered it on her website rebeccakatz.com.  She calls it her “Rosetta stone of soup”.

This time of year, with colds and flu swirling about, I feel naked without it.  And that’s a simple problem to fix– a trip to the farm market or grocery store for a sack full of everything on the list, a few minutes to wash and chop, and several hours of cozy reading time while the broth simmers and the kitchen fills with a healthy, rich aroma– and you’re good to go.  One recipe makes quite a lot of broth– see photo of results in the slide show– most of which I freeze for those moments when you need a mineral-rich broth to pick you right up.  My kind of health insurance :)

Thank you, Rebecca!

Liquid sunshine: 7 days of green smoothies

I admit it: I’m hooked on green smoothies.  But if you have to have a vice, hey.

For me (and everyone’s different, which is pretty wonderful), green smoothies are the perfect start to a day. They taste like liquid sunshine, and make me feel strong and energized all morning.

Here are a week’s worth of photos and recipes to get you started.  You’ll note the occasional profusion of jars– a sign that my whole family is hopping on board this smoothie thing.  My oldest son (he who does not like vegetables) is up to one quart a day.  And if you are getting the idea they are delicious, you are absolutely correct.

Recipes below.  A couple of basics:  vary your greens, so you don’t O.D. on too much oxalic acid in spinach, for instance.  All plants have protective devices– too much is too much.  Rotate with kale, parsley, romaine lettuce, chard, and so on.  Too thick?  Add more water.  Or, you can add coconut water, like our faculty member Derek Neal did in our previous post (see ‘smoothies’).  For convenience and cost savings, organic frozen fruit is a great option.  Freeze bananas that are getting too soft, to add to future smoothies.  Add ripe avocados for delectable smoothness. You get the idea.

1.  Kale & Cantaloupe (Monday)
1/2 organic cantaloupe, kale (ribs removed), water
2.  Pinneapple & Spinach (Tuesday)
1/2 fresh pineapple, spinach, handful of parsley, water
3.  Peach Raspberry (Wednesday)
Frozen peaches, 1/4 pint raspberries, banana. small head of lettuce  & some mint leaves for zin
4.  Blueberry Fig (Thursday)
4 Brown Turkey figs, 1/4 pint blueberries, banana, lacinato (aka dino) kale (ribs removed), water
5.  Alex’s Minty Mango (Friday)
Frozen or fresh mango, spinach, mint leaves, water
6.  Parsley Passion (Saturday)
1/2 bunch parsley, 1/2 cucumber, peeled, 1 apple, 1/2 ripe banana, 1 cup water
7.  Strawberry Nectarine (Sunday)
Nectarine, handful of strawberries, banana, frozen pineapple, lacinato kale

More resources:  I highly recommend Victoria Boutenko’s books Green for Life and The Green Smoothie Revolution along with her family’s terrific blog (see ‘favorite sites’) for zillions of recipes, how to introduce smoothies to babies and children, and more.

Enjoy!

By Popular Demand: Shredded Carrot & Beet Salad

This was one of the most popular dishes at Food As Medicine 2010– perhaps because it’s such a glorious eye-full?

In her book The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, from whence this recipe cometh, Rebecca Katz says, “…I set out to create the most colorful salad I could, using purple beets, orange carrots, and fresh mint.  If I’d had a vegetable crisper instead of a box of crayons as a kid, this salad would have been the result.”

And not only beautiful, but brimming with antioxidants.  We all know we’re supposed to be tracking those down and including them in our diets like crazy, right?  Turns out, as Rebecca says, “Generally speaking, the right way to go is to cast a wide net instead of focusing on a single antioxidant.”

This is one stunning combo.  As you see, the Capital Hilton kitchen did the colors side-by-side, and they are equally gorgeous tossed, with the green flecks of mint dancing amidst the shredded orange and burgundy.  A great choice if you are looking for that wow factor for a healthy lunch or dinner dish.  And beets and carrots are in season, in local farm markets (at least in the mid-Atlantic region), right now.

Photographs of Food As Medicine 2010 by Erin Goldstein


Shredded Carrot and Beet Salad


Serves 4
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup peeled and shredded carrot
1 cup peeled and shredded red beet
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Whisk the orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, ginger, and salt together
until thoroughly combined. Put the carrots in a mixing bowl, drizzle
with half of the dressing, and toss until evenly coated. Place the carrots
on one side of a shallow serving bowl. Put the beets in the mixing
bowl, drizzle with the remaining dressing, and toss until evenly
coated. Place the beets in the serving bowl next to the carrots for a
beautiful contrast of red and orange. Top with the chopped mint before
serving.

From Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, Celestial Arts, 2009.

Rebecca is a core faculty member and our Executive Chef for Food As Medicine, and designs all our food for the program.  OMG.  Eating like this for 4 days is SUCH a treat!

Thank you for sharing, Rebecca!

Beat the Heat: A Rainbow Salad

With temperatures over 100 degrees and code orange air alerts (“unhealthy for sensitive groups”) here in Washington, DC, who feels like cooking?  Or for that matter, eating?

My solution last evening:  a rainbow salad.  Everything organic, nearly everything purchased at our local farm market the evening before.  Nothing much to it:  two kinds of lettuce, blueberries, strawberries, pine nuts roasted with just a little ground coriander (my son Arran who is a chef teaches me these haute cuisine tricks), sliced carrots, and a little finely sliced peppermint, tossed with a tad of high quality olive oil and fresh lemon juice.  Ta-da!  As quick as it sounds and as delicious as it looks.

Summer Harvest

Summer’s harvest is rolling in!  See the riches we plundered at the Farm Market on Saturday, including the first corn of the season (white), and little orange ‘Sundrop’ tomatoes, organic strawberries, black raspberries, and small plums (well, everything we purchased is organic), and mountains of greens (kale, chard, dandelion, arugula, baby spinach, Boston lettuce), herbs (peppermint, parsley)…  This rainbow cornucopia inspired our first summer feast:  steamed corn (several of us thought it so rich and succulent it didn’t require butter or any other spread), green beans with a spritz of lemon and a pinch of fleur de sel, quinoa salad (details below), soft boiled fresh farm eggs and sliced plums with black raspberries.

A simple recipe for the quinoa salad:  Start with 2 cups of quinoa, well and repeatedly washed to remove the bitter saponins and cook on stove top or in rice cooker with 4 cups water.  Meanwhile, prepare the following:  toast 1/2 cup pine nuts in a heavy pan over a flame– shaking to keep from browning too much, and adding a pinch of coriander.  Chop a handful each of washed mint leaves and washed parsley.  Saute a few cloves of garlic, minced, in olive oil.  When the quinoa has finished cooking, squeeze in juice from half a lemon and drizzle in some olive oil.  Stir in all the other ingredients, along with 1/2 cup of dried cranberries.  I made this up as I went along, and it’s really nice– very subtle.  It was particularly delicious slightly warm, but Alex enjoyed a taste cold at the office on Monday.

It’s such fun to experiment this time of year, with a glorious palette of possibilities!

ps– I’ll have a wonderful slide show and some other goodies from Food As Medicine shortly.

A Real Find: Brazilian Collard Greens

Ooooh, I love the internet!  Once home with my fresh collard greens from the farm market, I felt inclined to try something new.  A  google search turned up an appealing and speedy recipe for Brazilian collard greens– not the oxymoron you might think, for greens that are famous for slow, slow cookin’.

The whole process is revealed in this brief video, featuring then-executive food editor of Gourmet magazine Kemp Minife.  The most time consuming thing is slicing the rolled up leaves into fine ribbons.  Chop some fresh garlic, then the cooking takes literally 3 minutes.  You wind up with yum yum yum delicious, brilliant green, garlicky, toothsome greens that even a teenager will like.  Seriously!  Taste-tested in my own kitchen, and not a smidgen of leftovers.  This is a keeper.

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