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Hello Everyone,

Welcome to The Quest, a newsletter intended to inspire and inform those interested in experiencing optimal well being in body, mind and spirit.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * November ~ 2002
In this issue of The Quest:

1. The Quest Quote
2. The Quest Q & A – Hunger
3. Basic Dahl recipe: The Chopra Center Cookbook
4. Top Soul Food Picks

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1. Quote:
 O God, help me to believe the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is!
— Macrina Wiederkehr quoted in A Grateful Heart edited by M. J. Ryan

Soul practice: identify one beautiful truth about yourself.

2. Question:
After a lifetime of dieting, I’ve just read your book and vowed to stop dieting once and for all, but as silly as this sounds, I don’t know when I’m hungry enough to warrant eating a meal, and I still overeat. Do you have any suggestions on how I can become more aware of how much to eat?
Georgette Williamson, Brownwood, Texas

One of the most negative aspects of dieting is that we lose touch with our natural hunger and satiety. Your question is far from silly; in fact it is one of the most common concerns discussed in my workshops. By giving up dieting, many of us feel that we are giving up control, which creates fear. “If I don’t control my eating, I may never stop,” was one honest admission from a recent email I received.

We must first honor our body and trust that if we listen to it, it will know how much food it needs in order to keep running efficiently. Quieting the mind’s chatter in order to actually listen to your body is just one of the benefits of developing a spiritual practice (ie: meditation, yoga, practicing non-judgment, etc.)

On the physical level, to determine your level of hunger ask, “Am I really hungry—or just bored, angry or sad?” If you are in fact hungry chose nutrient rich foods from a variety of food groups. If you are still unsure and ignore your hunger, your body will remind you to eat in a variety of ways—headache, mood swings, a growling stomach, low energy, and obsessing about food.

The second key is being able to know when you have had enough. Again, listen to your body. The goal is to feel content--not uncomfortably stuffed. Try experimenting over the next few weeks, perhaps by eating 5 or 6 smaller meals a day instead of 3 large meals, or eat a little slower so that your body has a chance to realize it’s full. Above all, make eating a pleasurable activity. Be mindful of the various tastes, smells, and textures of your food, sit down and refrain from multi-tasking (I still need to work on this one) By turning your attention inward, you will naturally become more aware of your body’s natural cues and it won’t be so confusing.

3. Basic Dahl Recipe
The Chopra Center Cookbook: Nourishing Body and Soul

Dahl is a very nutritious soup made of legumes and a simple masala curry paste that is easy to digest and low in fat. Eaten with rice, it provides a complete protein. Legume choices include: green lentils, brown lentils, French lentils, red lentils, yellow or green split peas, mug beans or split mug bean.

4 Servings
1 cup dry lentils (see list above) rinsed and stored
Vegetable stock or water
teaspoon ground cumin
1 pinch asafetida (hing)
1 pinch turmeric
1 2- to 3-inch kombu seaweed (found in Asian markets and health food stores)
Curry Paste

In a 4-quart soup pot, place the lentils in vegetable stock or water, enough to cover the lentils, plus 3 inches. Bring the lentils to a boil until the foam rises. At regular intervals, remove foam from top and discard. To help reduce gas and aid in digestion, and to add flavor, add the cumin, asafetida, turmeric, and kombu to the lentils as they cook. Continue to cook the lentils until they are tender, approximately 1 hour.

Add the Curry Paste to the cooked lentils and simmer together for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir until well heated. Serve with steamed basmati rice and steamed vegetables for a simple, delicious, and healthy meal

4. Share your Soul Food with the rest of us!

When the ‘daily grind’ is grinding you into the dirt, when bored, angry, lonely and sad have become your new four food groups, what are some small things that help you change your state of mind, even if it’s just a subtle shift in your flat mood?

Here are a couple of my top picks: Taking my black lab, Justice, to the beach and watching him get chased by all the tiny lap dogs. Phoning my girlfriend in Toronto just to share my lumpy mood with her. Submerging myself in the tub with only my eyes above the water, Operation Periscope.

What are some of your simple, soothing, satisfying soul savers? Leave your name and the city you live in, or request to be anonymous. Reply here.

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The Quest for Peace, Love & a 24-Inch Waist


Please submit your comments or questions to deborah@deborahlow.com I look forward to your feedback.