Grounding down with root vegetables and Mother Earth

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Let’s talk about grounding.

What’s that, you ask? I can explain!

Grounding, or earthing, is a practice that has a long history in Ayurvedic and traditional philosophies. The basic idea is that returning to the Earth and using natural elements can help us to restore balance in the body. Grounding is seen in the chakra system of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Chakras are energy centres of the body that correspond to seven points along the nervous system. When the chakras are open (unblocked), Qi, or vital life force, flows freely between them, uniting the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies of the person.

The first chakra sits at the base of the spine and is called the root chakra. Its functions are survival, grounding, and stability. It relates to our basic bodily and spiritual needs being met. When it is out of balance or blocked, we may feel unsafe, rejected, mistrustful of others, and tend towards addictive behaviours. Physical symptoms can include poor immune function, weight loss or gain, and colon issues. It’s important to balance this chakra first because when the root is unstable, all other chakras are affected. So how can you nourish your root chakra?

  • Surround yourself with red, the colour associated with the first chakra
  • Eat protein-rich foods and root vegetables (beets, radishes, turnips, parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, turmeric, ginger, garlic, onions)
  • Burn sandalwood or cedar incense
  • The root chakra’s element is earth so spend plenty of time in nature
  • Repeat the healing affirmation “I am safe and protected”

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For my skeptical left-brained friends, there is a scientific basis to this as well. When we come in contact with the ground, the negative charge of the Earth stabilizes our body’s electrical field. Earthing has been shown to reduce stress and pain, improve immunity, regulate body rhythms such as cortisol hormone secretion, neutralize free radicals involved in inflammation and chronic diseases, and reduce the effect of electromagnetic frequencies on the body. This amazing FREE therapy only requires direct contact with electrons on the Earth’s surface. Here are a few ways you can get grounded:

  • Meditate sitting in the grass of your backyard
  • Walk barefoot on the beach
  • Get gardening and get those hands in the soil
  • Take a nap in the park
  • Walk, dance, or stand outside, barefoot, for ten minutes a day

I have been incorporating many grounding foods and practices into my routine lately. It helps me to feel more centred and stable. I made this lentil and root vegetable salad for my family’s Thanksgiving picnic. It’s loaded with foods that are balancing to the root chakra: onion, garlic, protein-rich lentils and nuts, as well as seasonal root vegetables. It makes for a satisfying lunch or dinner salad and can be served warm or made ahead of time, like I chose to do.

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Keeping with Thanksgiving tradition, we spent the day having lunch and hiking in Quebec’s beautiful Gatineau Park. I love getting out in nature, enjoying the deep colours of the foliage and the fresh air. You just can’t beat the happiness that comes from feeling grounded and connected to Earth.

Rosemary-roasted root vegetable salad (Dressing recipe follows)

Serves 4-5 as a meal

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 3 medium beets
  • 6-8 medium heirloom carrots
  • One big handful of asparagus
  • 5 tbsp. cooking oil, divided
  • Few pinches of Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary – leaves removed from stalk and finely diced
  • 5 heaped tbsp. of mixed nuts and seeds (pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, pecans)
  • 1 cup green lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced or put through a garlic press

Pre-heat your oven to 325°F.

Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds, then cut it into strips. Wash and prep your veggies. I decided to add some (not seasonal) asparagus for a bit of green in the salad, and if you do so, make sure to snap the tough part at the bottom of the stalks off.

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Divide 4 tbsp. of oil on two baking sheets or roasting pans. Arrange the squash on one and the other veggies on the second. Sprinkle the salt and rosemary over everything. Place in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway. If you include asparagus, it cooks quickly and can be removed after about 5 minutes. The squash is ready when a fork pierces it easily. The beets and carrots should let a fork through but be firmer towards the center. Take them out and let them cool.

While the veggies are roasting, finely dice your onion. Place a small pot on medium heat and warm the remaining tbsp. of cooking oil. Add the diced onion and sauté until soft, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Add the lentils and water. Turn up the heat until it reaches a boil, and then reduce to a slow boil. Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for doneness – they should be a touch al dente when you take them off the heat, as they will continue to cook before they cool. Press the clove of garlic into the lentils and stir to combine.

In a small pan, toast your nuts and seeds over medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Stir and keep an eye on them as they burn quickly! They are ready when they have a light golden-brown colour and are giving off a toasty aroma.

When the veggies are cool enough to handle, chop them into smaller pieces. Scoop or cut the squash from its skin, and dice it.

Combine the lentils, chopped vegetables, and nuts in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over top and toss everything to coat.

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Dreamy Creamy Tahini Dressing

  • Juice from one lemon
  • 3 tbsp. tahini (sesame butter)
  • 4 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tbsp. water
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • Few cranks of black pepper

Add all ingredients to a small jar or container, put on the lid, and shake until creamy and well combined.

What’s your favourite way to get grounded? Please share it below : )

Yours in good health,

Karolina

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