Vibrant Quinoa Salad

Vibrant Quinoa Salad


This is a tasty Summer/Spring salad; however, it’s great for during any warm weather spell or when you may need a mental pick-me-up. I love the the blend of fresh herbs, and the color and flavor brings simply makes me smile inside and out. Did you know that according to color psychology, the color green is considered beneficial to the mind and body? It also represents connection, connection to nature and connection to ourselves.

Combine the following chopped herbs in food processor with 1/3 cup or more olive oil. Add lemon or vinegar if desired.

  • 1 bunch cilantro
, packed
  • 1/2 cup parsley
, loose
  • 1/4 cup each dill, mint & tarragon

Mix with the following:

  • 2 cups (more/less as desired) cooked quinoa
  • small sautéed onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 to 1 serrano pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 3-4 green onions, sliced
  • generous handful of arugula, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste; I also added cumin
  • feta, optional

If you don’t like the taste of tarragon, you could skip it or experiment with another herb…basil, sorrel, lemon thyme.



Yoga Therapy can be a highly effective treatment for mental health disorders

This article from from Psychology Today discussing how Yoga Therapy can help mood disorders. It references a recent 2023 study of Yoga Therapy and it’s beneficial role in reducing the effects of functional dyspepsia and chronic stress for those in high-stress jobs.

“Yoga therapy can play a bidirectional role in the regulation of gut-brain axis, i.e., from top-down as well as bottom-up pathway. ”

Adults increasingly used complementary health approaches for pain over past 20 years

Researchers have found that the overall use of several complementary health approaches, and their use for pain management specifically, rose substantially over the last couple of decades, researchers found. Published by JAMA, they reported:

  • The overall use of CHAs increased from 19.2% in 2002 to 36.7% in 2022. Their use for pain increased from 42.3% to 49.2%.
  • Yoga saw the highest rise in overall use from 2002 to 2022 from 5% to 15.8%.
  • Meditation has the highest prevalence of any CHA in 2022, at 17.3%.
  • Researchers said the increases could be due to several factors, such as the need to replace potentially harmful opioids.

Yoga breathing and meditation-based program improves physician well-being, lowers burnout

Healthcare systems worldwide are recognizing the importance of addressing physician burnout to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of delivering quality health care. A randomized clinical trial  showed that those physicians who practiced Sudarshan Kriya Yoga reported significantly reduced stress, less depression and a decrease in insomnia, as well as a “significant improvement in professional fulfillment and significant  decreases in exhaustion, interpersonal disengagement and burnout.”

Spiced Carrot Soup with Pistachios and Rosemary

Spiced Carrot Soup with Pistachios and Rosemary


Great for a windy and rainy day, this comforting soup warms the body. Seasoned with harissa, a blend of pepper, caraway, coriander and cumin, enhance the flavor of the soup, while the pistachios and rosemary add a little texture and color.

  • 2 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • 2 lbs carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 4 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2-3 tsp harissa paste*
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs rosemary, chopped
  • ½ cup raw pistachios

Lightly sauté carrots in 1 Tbs of olive oil. Add water and stock and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add butter and harissa and blend well using an immersion blender or transfer to a blender. Add salt to taste. Return to low heat until ready to serve. In a separate pan, heat remaining olive oil on medium heat. Sauté rosemary until it sizzles, then add pistachios and cook until they just start to lightly brown. Remove from heat.  Top soup with pistachios and rosemary.

*Harissa Paste

You can buy harissa paste already made or make it yourself with red peppers or dried chiles. I use a dry (mild heat) blend that’s made with guajillo peppers, caraway, coriander, sweet and smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon and salt. If using a dry blend, whisk together 3 Tbs of the spice with 3 Tbs of olive oil, 1-2 minced garlic cloves and the juice of one lemon. Let sit for an hour before using and store in an airtight container. It keeps in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Serves 6-8.

Yoga improves quality of life, cardiovascular function in heart failure patients

Adults with HF on optimized guideline-directed medical therapy had improvements in quality of life measures and functional status after participating in a yoga therapy program for 1 year, researchers reported.

“This study proves that the addition of yoga therapy to standard medical management of heart failure leads to an improvement in left ventricular systolic function and quality of life in heart failure patients,” Singh said in the release. “Hence, yoga therapy may improve physical well-being and left ventricular function among heart failure patients on guideline-directed optimal medical therapy.”

Yoga-based intervention benefits patients with head and neck cancer

A yoga-based intervention provided beneficial supportive care among a cohort of patients undergoing radiotherapy for head and neck cancer and their caregivers, according to study results.

The findings — presented during ASCO Quality Care Symposium — specifically showed improvements in physical function and nutrition intake among those assigned the yoga-based intervention vs. those assigned usual care.

Yoga intervention significantly reduced stigma of epilepsy, improved quality of life

This randomized controlled trial aimed to investigate if yoga and psychoeducation were effective in reducing felt stigma (primary outcome), neuropsychiatric outcomes and seizure frequency, as compared to sham yoga and psychoeducation in persons with epilepsy.

“Yoga therapy significantly reduced the felt stigma of epilepsy along with improving anxiety and quality of life at 6 months…”

Wholesome Mushroom and Barley Soup

Wholesome Mushroom and Barley Soup


I’m back on my soups and stews trend, for they make great leftovers and freeze well. This satisfying soup is full of aromatics and flavor. It has hearty mushrooms, healthy vegetables and tender barley. I love the color and texture and the extra finish with black garlic salt. And, if you like and have white truffle oil on hand, try adding a couple drops to each bowl. This wholesome soup is simple and filling.

  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 10 oz shitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, cleaned, about ¾ of them sliced & ¼ chopped
  • 1 small to medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 8 oz white button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup diced tomatoes with juice
  • ¾ tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 tsp coriander, ground
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
  • 7-8 cups stock (vegetable, chicken or beef)
  • ¾ cup parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Black garlic salt for finishing (optional)

In a large pot, heat 2 Tbs oil. Sauté shitake and sliced cremini mushrooms until mushrooms soften, about 5-10 minutes. Remove mushrooms from pot and set aside.

In same pot, add remaining oil and sauté onion, celery and carrot until onion has softened, about 5-10 minutes. Add chopped cremini and white button mushrooms and sauté another 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, and then add tomatoes, ½ tsp salt, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika and barley. Stir for 2-3 minutes.

Add 7 cups of stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Then, cover and simmer on low heat until barley is tender and cooked through, about 45-50 minutes, adding more stock and adjusting spice amounts if needed. Once barley is tender, add the cooked shitake and cremini mushrooms. Stir and cook for an additional 5 minutes until mushrooms are warmed through. Remove from heat and combine in ½ cup of parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Finish individual bowls with small pinch of black garlic salt (and white truffle oil if you have it on hand.) Garnish bowls with parsley.

Serves 6-8. For leftovers, a splash of water may be necessary as barley continues to absorb liquid.

Pain Explained – How Chronic Pain Can Be Managed

This article includes different evidence-based approaches, including the type of team on which I work teaching exercise, yoga and meditation.

“Patients who believe in themselves and want to partner with their [interdisciplinary medical teams] very often do better [managing pain] than those seeking doctors who are going to cure them.”

Article from Brain & Health (August/September 2023) title Pain Explained

Zucchini and Leek Soup

Zucchini and Leek Soup


One of my clients recently made me zucchini soup, and I had never ate it before. Expecting it to have a thin consistency with little taste, it was slightly creamy and surprisingly delicious. Her secret to texture and taste – leeks. Knowing that cooked zucchini is easy to digest and is good when your having gut issues (which I was) I decided to try making a similar soup myself. Not bad, not bad…

  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 leeks, white and green parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 7 large zucchini, halved lengthwise then cut into 1-inch thick half moons
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp Allepo pepper or ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter or olive oil (optional)

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Sauté leeks and onions until they soften. Add zucchini, stock, salt, pepper and Allepo (or crushed red) pepper. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low-medium, cover and simmer for 40-50 minutes, or until zucchini is tender. Remove from heat, and butter or additional olive oil and blend using an immersion blender or transfer to a blender. Add salt, pepper and Allepo pepper to desired taste.

Serves 6-8.

Cucumber, Radish and Snap Pea Salad

Cucumber, Radish and Snap Pea Salad


This is a vibrant vegetable salad that’s full of texture and a great pairing with many proteins or cold noodle dishes. (Try with the Mint, Cilantro and Green Onion Soba Noodles.) It tastes great fresh. If eating as leftovers the next day, keep in mind that the next-day vegetables will taste pickled with the dressing combined. I like this salad with a bigger sour and astringent taste of vinegar. If you’re sensitive to vinegar, try adding half of the quantity first and adjust to taste.

  • ­­­­1 medium cucumber
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 1/3 lb snap peas
  • 1/8 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbs rice wine vinegar*
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Lightly toast sesame seeds on low to medium heat stovetop, tossing often, until golden. Set aside to cool.

Trim peas as needed. In a medium saucepan, cook peas in boiling salted water for 30 to 60 seconds. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop peas from cooking.

Peel and deseed cucumber. Halve cucumber and radishes and cut unto ¼-inch thick slices. Cut the larger peas in half.

Combine vinegars, salt and sugar in small bowl. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve.

Toss vegetables, vinegar mixture and sesame seeds in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.

*If using seasoned vinegar, the additional salt and sugar may not be needed.