One of my favorite
things about living in Istanbul is the amazing variety of produce found at the
local markets. Unlike America, where farmer's markets tend to be more expensive,
Istanbul street markets are a location where you can score vegetables fresh from
the surrounding villages for a fraction of the price. Last week, I bought all
that I could carry home with me for about 7 USD. Pretty amazing! Well one the
favorite things I scored this week were some amazing purple carrots! They are a
beautiful deep purple on the outside and fade into a tie died looking purple
white on the inside. To show off their splendor I chose to whip up a “Crazy
Carrot Salad” for lunch.
The main thing I like about carrots is their subtle sweetness, even
when raw. Raw carrots are a great low calorie way to get some crunch into your
diet. Carrots are a particularly good swap for my blood sugars, instead of
crackers and chips, with snacks like Hummus. So, to my sugar conscious friends
out there, happy guilt free crunching… in purple, white OR orange!
The Buddhist Myth of Mu Lien
In ancient Buddhist myth, the remarkable depth
of color of the purple carrot comes from the blood of Buddha Mu Lien’s fingers.
While alive, Mu Lien’s mother ate and killed with no regard to the life she
was consuming. She was then sent to the underworld after her death. While his
mother was indulgent, Mu Lien was a pious young man who was a
devout worshiper of God. He eventually became a Buddha and used his power
to enter the underworld to rescue his mother.
Unfortunately, the moment she came to the surface, she
quickly pulled some white carrots from the earth and devoured them. Mu
Lien, afraid that his mother would be condemned to damnation for the rest of
eternity, cut off his own finger and placed it into the earth. The blood from his finger seeped into the surrounding carrots and
hence, purple carrots were created.
Ancient Carrot Salad
2 orange carrots
4oz of Goat Cheese
Fresh Middle Eastern Orange Dressing
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 Lemon
3 or 4 TBS of Tahini
Cayenne pepper to taste [optional]
1. Cut the cucumbers lengthwise into long thing slices
2. First peel the carrots and discard the skins. Continue peeling the carrots into long strips [looks like spaghetti]. Be sure to keep the purple and orange separated.
3. Assemble the salad by first putting down the cucumber slices and then layering the orange carrot strips and the purple carrot strips. Sprinkle with fresh goat cheese.
4. Dressing = Mix all ingredients together and serve on the side of the salad.
Lentils are a vitality powerhouse, full of healthy fiber and
satisfying protein. I love these gems when I am trying to stay satiated
while keeping my meat intake down. I have found ways of eating them for every
meal of the day. Lentils for breakfast are actually one of my favorite ways to
eat them. Their earthy flavor mingles wonderfully with cinnamon and cardamom
for a gentle sweetness that is both satisfying and nutritious.
One of the best things about lentils is their low glycemic
index, especially when compared to rice and wheat. These little guys, slowly
release their energy into your body keeping you full and satisfied far longer
than a big bowl of white flour pasta. Lentils also win out on being a great
source of vegetarian protein. I love eating vegan and vegetarian meals and try
to keep most of my meals in this realm. I do this mostly for the environment,
rather than health considering I feel pretty great both vegetarian and with a
bit of meat in my diet. So if you’re trying to go green, forget the electric
car, instead try choosing lentils over meat and fish a few times a week.
Diabetics…. Lentils will rock your socks off! I find they get absorbed super slowly so I never get blood sugar spikes. = I notice
that because they release slowly, I tend to give myself two shots, one before I
eat and one about thirty minutes later. See what works for you.
Lentils have served as an essential food for survival since
the Neolithic peoples of the Middle East. There are references to Lentils in
the Bible, as well as, Egyptian and Celtic Mythology. In general lentils were linked quite
closely to the moon and to the underworld.
Middle East , Central Asia
protection, moon, resurrection, death, the underworld.
Celtic All Soul’s Day
In Modernity All Souls Day is a Catholic celebration of the
dead. Although currently celebrated by Catholics all around the world, All
Souls Day has roots in ancient Celtic tradition. The Celtic people believed
that All Souls Day was the day when the dead returned to the earth and these
zombies came hungry. And hungry…means HANGRY [ahem..hungry and angry together].
Thus to avoid the Hangriness of the dead, the Celtic people
believed it necessary to feed them. In the Celtic tradition [as in Egypyian mythology]
lentils were symbols of death and of the world that exists below. This is
likely due to the fact that when legumes died and were again buried
underground; they would soon bear new offerings of sustenance. Thus, it seemed
only fitting to offer the souls of the underworld a food source that also
There are so many ways to cook up and use lentils, it was
quite hard for me to decide which lentil dish to post. But in the end I decided
on a delicious and simple Lentil Hummus, A great snack to keep in the fridge
and easily made into a healthy and affordable lunch with a bunch of sliced up
vegetables. Enjoy your dipping!
Lucious Lazy Lentil Hummus
1 cup of Lentils [cooked]
1/4 cup of Tahini
Juice of 1 or 2 Lemons
salt to taste
garlic [ optonal]
Olive oil [optiona]
Parsley for decoration.
1.Cook Lentils according to the directions on the
2.Once cooked, allow to cool.
3.Once cool, add tahini, lemon, salt and optional
4.With an immersion blender blend together
serving now, serve in a bowl and decorate with tomatoes and a lemon.
Citations = Text:
Nectar and Ambrosia by Tamra Andrews