Ok, so we’re on a slow cooker kick and this month’s easy vegan slow cooker recipe is a reflection of that. The squash curry I posted last month was delicious, but I find cutting up squash to be a lot of work (and I’m scared to lose a finger!). This month I’m sharing another curry in the slow cooker recipe, but it uses one of my favourite vegetables, sweet potato.
Sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) and vitamin C, both excellent immune system support nutrients. They are also a good source of B vitamins, potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, and dietary fibre. My friend who we shared this curry with was really happy that I added sweet potato, as people often mix up yams with sweet potato. They’re both delicious, but I think this easy vegan slow cooker recipe is better with sweet potatoes.
I also substituted the basmati rice that was called for with Lotus Foods Forbidden Rice, a black rice that’s rich in antioxidants and is considered a blood tonic in TCM.
Sadly, I forgot to add the spinach, though I did have it ready in my fridge. And we were so psyched to eat that I forgot to take a picture of the food for this blog until after we had already packaged it up for leftovers (that are now also eaten). So, here’s my not so stylized picture of what was a delicious meal!
Easy Vegan Slow Cooker Recipe
Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry & Coconut Rice
Warms you up from the inside!
- 1 teaspoon olive oil or coconut oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 15-ounce can chickpeas (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 cups canned or boxed chopped tomatoes
- 2 cups small cauliflower florets
- 3-5 carrots, sliced
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice (I used Lotus Foods Forbidden Rice, a black rice)
- 1 can light coconut milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Heat the oil in a pan
- Sauté onions, garlic, and fresh ginger for 7 minutes or until lightly browned
- Transfer onion/garlic/ginger mix to your slow cooker
- Add remaining ingredients, except for the spinach
- Heat on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours
- Before serving, stir in the spinach, and heat for 5 more minutes.
- Add the rice, coconut milk, water, and salt to a saucepan
- Bring to a boil and then cover
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes
- Turn off the heat and allow the rice to sit covered for 10 minutes
- Put rice ingredients in a rice cooker and let that do the job (that's what I did)
Adapted from Pop Sugar Fitness
Adapted from Pop Sugar Fitness
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
Did you know that the average person sighs about 12 times an hour, or about every 5 minutes? You likely don’t even notice that you’re doing it, unless someone points it out, perhaps asking if you’re okay. So, why do we sigh?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), frequent sighing is a sign of what we call “Liver Qi stagnation.” We sigh because we are trying to release bound up energy in the chest that might be caused by frustration, irritation, depression, resentment, anxiety, or other emotional tension.
Why do we sigh?
If you hear someone sigh, what do you think is going on for them?
It’s interesting that in a study done on the perception of sighing, experimenters found that participants given different scenarios of people sighing guessed that it was out of sadness. But, the participants themselves felt they sighed mostly out of frustration. 1
It seems there is a mental/emotional purpose for sighing. It can be a bit of a reset. 2 People given puzzles to solve sighed when they took a short break from a challenging problem, though they often hadn’t even noticed the sigh.
Sighing is also essential to proper lung function. It’s amazing that for every type of breath you take—regular breathing, deep conscious breath, sigh, yawn, cough, etc.—a different neuron is activated in your brain’s breathing centre.
In our lungs are tiny balloon-like sacs where oxygen enters and carbon dioxides leaves. These are called alveoli. These delicate little balloons sometimes collapse, rendering it hard for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide gases. When we sigh, we take in twice the amount of air as a normal breath, thus opening these collapsed alveoli. If we don’t sigh, our lungs will eventually fail. 3
So sigh away, it’s vital to your health!
However, if you notice the need to sigh more often and notice yourself feeling moodier (or maybe people are avoiding you!) and/or you are experiencing digestive issues or hormonal imbalance, then come in for acupuncture or herbs. While the sighing can help temporarily release some stress, unless it’s taken care of, it will continue to disrupt other aspects of your health.
Ate too much at Thanksgiving? Already digging into the Halloween candy? Not to suggest that you continue to overeat or eat junk, but don’t you wish there was something you could do to help improve your digestion? There is. Acupressure for better digestion is easy to learn and simple to do.
This is the first of a series of blogs I’m going to do on acupressure for simple health issues.
What is Acupressure?
First of all, let’s cover the basics about acupressure. It’s pressing on specific points on the body, stimulating the tissue underneath to treat health conditions or symptoms. You can use your fingertips, thumbs, or even something like a capped pen or Qtip. Choose something that is not going to pierce your skin. If you want that, then you’re looking for acupuncture and you’ll need to see a qualified professional like me!
Pressing on the points will elicit a sensation of a bit of tenderness or maybe even mild tingling or aching. If it’s painful or sharp, you’re pressing too hard–go easy on yourself! If you feel nothing, either you don’t quite have the correct point, you’re not pressing hard enough, or that point is not currently useful for you.
Press each point for 10-30 seconds, usually on both sides of the body, but one at a time.
Acupressure for Better Digestion
Stomach 36 (ST36)
If you’ve seen me in clinic, you’ve probably experienced this point, as it’s good for a wide range of health conditions. As you can see from the English name above, it’s the 36th point along the acupuncture Stomach channel. That’s a decent indicator that it’s a great acupressure point for improving digestion. Research has also found a connection between this point and digestive health. 1,2,3,4
ST36 is 4 fingerwidths below the bottom of your kneecap (patella), just to the outside (lateral side) of your shin bone (tibia).
Spleen 6 (SP6)
Another multi-use point, this one is also relatively easy to find, as it’s likely to feel tender when you press it. Actually, all the points should feel tender when you press them.
This point is 4 finger widths up from the tip of your medial ankle bone (malleolus), behind your shin bone (tibia).
Large Intestine 4 (LI4)
Often known for its ability to help relieve headaches, tooth pain, or other pain conditions of the head and face, it’s also helpful to treat pain in many places of the body. Additionally, as a point along the large intestine channel, you can use it for acupressure for better digestion, treating digestive pain and cramping, diarrhea, and constipation.
There are several ways to locate this point. One way is to squeeze your thumb close to the rest of your hand, and then locate the highest point in the muscle between the thumb and index finger. Press firmly and feel around until you find the spot that is tender.
Pericardium 6 (PC6)
This is one of the most widely researched and accepted points for use with both acupuncture and acupressure for better digestion, particularly for treating and preventing nausea, whether from pregnancy morning sickness, chemotherapy or other medication side effects, motion sickness, or illness. 1,2,3,4
You can either buy motion sickness bands, like those pictured below, or use your thumb or finger to apply pressure on this point.
Find this point on the inside of your forearm, 3 finger widths up from the crease of your wrist, between the two tendons that pop up when you flex your wrist or make a fist.
Beyond Acupressure for Better Digestion
This is simple advice for simple, acute (short-term) digestive issues. If you have chronic or serious digestive health problems, you don’t need to keep suffering! Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), including acupuncture, Chinese herbs, supplements, and food cures can be your solution. Ask me your digestive health questions.