“The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful…”
This line generates a feeling of warmth within me… not just that it connects me to my own inner fire, or Agni as it’s known in Yoga. Tuning in to our own inner Agni can connect us to feelings of internal physical warmth, we might also refer to it as ‘the fire in the belly’ or our passion for life… it could also relate to our metabolism and the way in which our digestive fire transforms our food in to fuel.
Fire is transformational by nature. Turning matter in to gas and ash. Untamed, fire can be a destructive force at one end of the spectrum (Think ‘burn out’ in the metaphorical sense) or a damp smouldering smoky non starter at the other end (a lack of passion or a ‘non starter’).
Keeping our Agni burning just bright enough is the work of our yoga practice, and I don’t just mean Asana, I mean our true connection with ourselves. The mind and body working in union. The mind listening to the intuitive voice of the body, interpreting it’s voice and nourishing it, daily with food, movement, mental awareness and rest. As opposed to overruling that intuition and doing what is ‘expected’ of us, or following a set of rules which have worked for someone else, in the hope they will also work for us.
It takes time to tune in to our deepest needs. It took the shock of a cancer diagnosis to wake me up from a semi-toxic slumber. But it’s taking the discipline of daily rituals and practices in order to sustain this connection. Listening to my body and resting when really I want to be clearing up the laundry / dishwasher /kids bedrooms / replying to emails or whatever else distracts me from myself. Equally understanding how and when I need to eat. It genuinely takes time to cultivate a little hunger, and then to tune in to what kind of hunger I’m experiencing, whether it’s thirst, or warmth, something fresh and light or something dense and sweet and then preparing it for myself.
Food can be deeply satisfying when eaten this way. It doesn’t just fill a hole, or sustain a little energy – it has the power to warm the heart and soul, a deeper form of nourishment. It has the power to sooth a tetchy mood and ultimately to sustain those feelings and energy until the next meal, this is when the fire can be delightful. Food eaten without this connection though, can ultimately fuel the body in the opposite way, too much sugar, too much caffeine and processed food – what is it we are fuelling? Usually a superficial energy hit, until the next crash, metaphorically speaking it’s stoking the fire quickly and burning out quickly which doesn’t generate any sustainable warmth or energy. It doesn’t provide us with the opportunity to truly nourish ourselves, body, mind and soul, and ultimately that is the only way we can sustain true vitality and well-being.
So this recipe truly stoked my inner fire the other morning. It felt like central heating first thing, not only that it generated an internal warmth which kept me feeling cosy in the cold. The figs and sweet spices really indulge the warmth factor and the quinoa provides a higher source of protein (being a seed, not a grain) than other porridge grains.
Tune in to your own intuition here. Notice whether this recipe makes you salivate or repels you. Think about what you might change about it to make you salivate (in the context of whole food choices of course!). Maybe it makes you want to eat a salad instinctively! Perhaps your body is already running warm and you need to cool down? Whatever you do, take the time to tune in and Eat Intuitively. And if the food doesn’t work… scroll down for a frank Sinatra hit!
Ingredients to serve 1:
2 Tbsp Quinoa
1 Cup Almond Milk
1 Cinnamon Stick
5 Crushed Cardamoms
1 Star Anise
1/2 tsp Turmeric
2 Fresh Figs (Quartered)
1 Tbsp Pistachios.
- Add the ingredients to a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for around 15 minutes or until the quinoa is soft and cooked through.