Sweet Potato and Brown Rice Patties - Art of Living Retreat Center

Grounding Nourishment: Sweet Potato & Brown Rice Patties

By Diana Bellofatto
January 21, 2019

Sweet Potato and Brown Rice Patties - Art of Living Retreat Center


This is the time of year where we dig our heels in and stay grounded, or allow the winter winds and cold air to pull us up, up, and away!


If you are ready to dig your heels in, then this is the recipe for you. The warm, moist, heavier qualities of sweet potato, brown rice, nuts, and spices are great for grounding and nourishing us in the midst of the freezing February weather.


As their name suggests, sweet potatoes are sweet in nature, with the ability to pacify winter’s vata (cold, light, dry, rough) tendencies. They are a good source of fiber and offer the benefits of beta carotene and vitamin A. As a root vegetable, they are grounding and their sweetness pairs nicely with the toasted nuts, grains, and spices in this recipe.


Loaded with protein and fiber, nuts and brown rice are also acidic in nature. Their acidic nature serves to heat the body and keep us warm in winter. In this case, acidity is beneficial!

These unctuous patties are sure to please.


Sweet Potato & Brown Rice Patties

  • 1 large sweet potato, baked, peeled, and mashed
  • 1 cup brown rice, soaked overnight in water, drained, and rinsed
  • About 3 tbsp ghee for sautéing vegetables, and then sautéing or baking the patties
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 large or 2 small stalks of celery, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground fennel
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp mineral salt
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped toasted pecans or hazelnuts
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder (you may need to add more as you go, depending on how the food cooperates in binding)


1. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the ghee, and add the ginger, carrot, and celery. Sauté until soft.

2. Stir in the cumin, coriander, fennel, cardamom, and mineral salt.

3. Add the vegetable broth, bring it to a boil, and then stir in the rice.

4. Simmer on low to medium heat until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft.

5. Remove the rice from the stove, and add the nuts, parsley, turmeric, and arrowroot powder, and stir.

6. Add the sweet potato and combine well. You may need to add water as you go to get the desired consistency to form the patties.

7. Form the patties and bake on a baking pan coated with some ghee, or sauté with ghee in a skillet.


Makes about 8 patties.

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: Ayurveda , Ayurvedic Recipes , organic food , Recipes , vata , winter
Agni Aid Spice Mix - the Art of Living Retreat Center

Agni Aid Spice Mix for Igniting Your Digestive Fire

By Diana Bellofatto
January 1, 2019

Agni Aid Spice Mix - the Art of Living Retreat Center

The importance of agni

Agni is of paramount importance to maintaining a healthy body, mind, and spirit. When you think of digestion, do you only think of food as being something that is digested? Did you know that we also digest what we see, hear, smell, and touch?


Well balanced agni is important so that we can assimilate all of the information that comes in through the tanmatras (the 5 sense perceptions of sight, sound, smell, touch, taste) and have proper discernment. Having proper discernment allows us to have the ability to make healthy choices and decisions in life.


Start the new year off with these wise words and an agni supportive spice mix:


The agni which digests food (jathara agni) is regarded as the master of all agnis because increase and decrease of other agnis depend on the digestive fire. Hence one should maintain it carefully by taking properly the wholesome food and drinks, because on its maintenance depends the maintenance of lifespan and strength.



But what avail the largest gifts of Heaven,

When drooping health and spirits go amiss?

How tasteless then whatever can be given!

Health is the vital principle of bliss.



Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.



Heaven is largely a matter of digestion, and is mostly a matter of mind.



Increase of ojas (one’s life sap that is strong when agni is healthy) makes for contentment, nourishment of the body and increase of strength.



Agni Aid Spice Mix

  • 3 tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp ground coriander
  • 3 tbsp ground fennel
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp mineral salt
  • 1 tsp granulated sweetener, such as unbleached cane sugar, date sugar, or coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp ground long pepper (pippali) or ground black pepper


1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and then transfer to a spice jar.


You can add Agni Aid into your food as you cook, or sprinkle it over food that has already been cooked. You can even carry it with you to a restaurant, and take a teaspoon of it with warm water before a meal to aid in digestion!

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: agni , Ayurveda , Ayurvedic Recipes , diet , digestion , food , organic food , winter
Ayurveda Farro Bowl

Farro, Mushroom, & Walnut Bowl

By Diana Bellofatto
October 24, 2018

Ayurveda Farro Bowl

Featuring farro for winter warmth

As we head into winter (Vata season), the elements of air and space become more abundant. Vata’s qualities are cold, light, dry, rough, mobile, and erratic. Applying the opposite qualities offers support for staying in balance throughout the winter season. Therefore, you may find yourself in need of heavier, more warming, and grounding foods.


If meat is not on your menu, “old world” or “ancient” grains, such as farro, are a good staple to have in your pantry. Farro is known for its high fiber, zinc, B vitamins, iron, and impressive amount of protein.


Soaking grains before cooking them is always important to re-hydrate the grain from its dry state. This reduces gas/bloating and improves the nutritional bio-availability by removing anti-nutrients that inhibit optimal digestion and assimilation of nutrients.


In Ayurveda, there are three qualities (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas) known as the gunas. The tamasic quality tends toward inertia, darkness, and heaviness. Mushrooms possess tamasic qualities because they grow in the dark, with an inward and downward flow of energy. Medicinally speaking, mushrooms stimulate immunity, are nervine and grounding to alleviate anxiety and promote sound sleep, as well as bolster bone/joint health. This is a huge bonus at a time of year where many of us may suffer from insomnia, aching bones/joints, and colds or flus. “Boning” up on these foods now will help thwart imbalances later on in the season as we insulate and arm ourselves just prior to the height of winter.


The walnut takes credit for being known to build stamina. Shaped like a brain, it is also a tonic for the brain and ojas (think strength, immunity, life sap) enhancer. With a slightly bitter taste and crunchiness, it pairs well with farro and mushrooms for a nicely varied flavor and texture profile.


Farro, mushroom, & walnut bowl

  • 1 cup farro, soaked for 8 hours and rinsed
  • 1.5 cups thinly sliced cremini or button mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
  • Himalayan pink salt & black pepper to taste
  • Ghee for sautéing
  • 2 cups vegetable broth


1. In a medium-sized pot, sauté the onions until translucent.

2. Add the mushrooms and sauté until their water evaporates and they become more firm and slightly brown.

3. Add the farro, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil.

4. Turn down to simmer and cook for about 30 minutes with the lid on, until the water has evaporated.

5. Remove from heat, transfer to serving bowl, and garnish with walnuts.

Serves 4. 


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: Ayurveda , Ayurvedic diet , Ayurvedic Recipes , diet , farro , gourmet food , organic food , Recipes , weight-loss
Cleansing with Ayurveda - the Art of Living Retreat Center

Wellness, Naturally: Cleansing with Ayurveda

By Kim Rossi
July 30, 2018

Cleansing with Ayurveda - the Art of Living Retreat Center

I first dipped my toes into Ayurveda as an extension of my yoga and meditation practice. I was looking for a complete experience of vitality, optimal health and well-being, and lots of energy. My first intention was to go into Ayurveda School for my own personal vitality, but as it turns out, I fell in love with sharing it with others, too.


Building a strong container

With Ayurveda, we have this container around us, or as I like to call it, our capacity. Without a strong container, the ways in which we take care of our health–exercise, meditation, yoga, and a healthy diet–just flow in for a bit of a boost and then flow right back out again, without much long-term benefit.


Without a strong container, we can do everything right and still find ourselves off-balance. We can rise with the sun, go for a walk, drink our lemon water, scrape our tongues, have a meditation session and perform asanas, but can get in our car and encounter traffic and still become completely disrupted and aggravated.


What Ayurveda does is strengthen our container. It extends our capacity, our radiance, and our potential, so that external factors don’t hit us as hard. Of course, we’ll always encounter inconveniences, but in the long run, they won’t throw you off and ruin the rest of your day.


Beginning your journey

Ayurveda is incredibly simple, and unlike so many other systems of health, it doesn’t demand perfection from you. You can incorporate Ayurvedic principles and practices four out of seven days of the week. We don’t want to be feverish and do everything every day! That’s not sustainable. Incorporating Ayurveda is as simple as finding a few practices that really resonate with you, and then building upon it as you continue your journey.


The basics of Ayurveda

The essential first step of Ayurveda is finding your dosha, or constitution, and beginning to incorporate the recommended diet habits associated with that dosha. Our diet is the foundation of our Prana, or our life force energy, and so much of imbalance, disease, and physical and mental unwellness stems from poor digestion. Start with three meals a day.Fine tune and tweak these meals to be more pacifying to your dosha, and you’re already off to a great start.


The second step I’d recommend is looking at your sleep habits. Make your bedroom a sanctuary–no computers, TVs, or cell phones; a comfortable mattress; curtains that close and create a nice dark room. Get a good night’s sleep and rise with the sun, and you’ll have more energy throughout the day. Just by incorporating these two basic things, you’re practicing Ayurveda.


Ayurvedic cleanses

Ayurveda recommends a seasonal cleanse every spring and fall, because wisdom dictates that it takes six months for disease to accumulate. During winter, we store toxins in our fat. When it starts to warm up, these toxins are released. That’s why so many people are more vulnerable to sickness in the springtime! A spring cleanse flushes these toxins out and bolsters our health. In the summer, we accumulate heat in the blood, which can also manifest in disease. We dispel that heat when autumn moves in, and a fall cleanse can help support your body in that process.


Each cleanse eliminates these toxins in a very gentle, nurturing, and highly effective way. We’re resetting our digestive fire, which is thrown out of balance from stress and a low-quality diet. Cleansing also gives you an opportunity to reset your relationship with food in your habits and behaviours. It’s gentle, nurturing, and nourishing to mind, body, and soul.


Ayurveda and weight loss

I do a lot of Ayurvedic consultations with predominantly women, and one of the major focuses for this group seems to be finding and maintaining an ideal weight. The media goes wild promoting the latest weight-loss fads, but many of these fads are counterproductive to our digestive system. Extreme diets actually diminish the digestive system’s capability to support and maintain an ideal weight. While we may lose weight quickly in the present, we’re destroying our body’s ability to maintain a long-term healthy weight.


Weight loss is actually pretty simple. We bring our weight into balance by eating the right foods at the right times and in the right quantities, and by doing the right amount of exercise.


There are, of course, some constitutions where eating lightly serves you, and other constitutions where a gentle diet of kichiri once a week to reset the digestive system is satisfying and nurturing. But that’s the wonderful thing about Ayurveda–your ideal health is always dependant on your individual needs and constitution.


Rewire your relationship to food

Ayurveda resets your relationship with food. Most of us deal with a lot of stress, and we tend to deal with it in two different ways. Either we skip meals and have no interest in eating, or we overeat out of a desire for comfort and groundedness.


Both of these cases are detrimental to the digestive fire. Ayurveda helps you learn how to manage stress and your relationship with food, to rewire it so that you perceive food for what it is: nourishment.


We are honored to hold space for you to begin your journey to health, happiness, and balance with Ayurveda. The Art of Living Retreat center offers personalized consultations, retreats, and treatments – check out our catalog or call 800-392-6870 to find the right program for you.


Kimberly Rossi, director of Shankara Ayurveda Spa, has been studying, practicing, and teaching Yoga, Meditation, and Ayurveda classes and workshops for seventeen years. Kim is a Kripalu Ayurveda Counselor. A certified yoga teacher and Ayurvedic practitioner, Kim believes these paths assist us in being the very best version of our self.


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: Ayurveda , Cleansing , diet , doshas , mindfulness , organic food , Panchakarma , weight-loss
Ayurvedic Recipes: Beet Kale Salad

Ayurvedic Recipes: Beet & Kale Salad

By Diana Bellofatto
May 28, 2018

Ayurvedic Recipes: Beet Kale Salad

‘Beet’ the heat and build your blood

Ayurveda tells us that we begin to accumulate heat in the body just prior to the summer, so we want to stay ahead of the game by paying attention to the qualities of foods that can help us maintain balance.


Beets are nourishing for the liver. Cooked beets cool and cleanse the blood, strengthen the eyesight, and improve anemia, therefore increasing stamina by bringing more oxygen to the blood cells.


Kale is cooling as well. The fiber in kale prompts healthy elimination, while the bitter taste of kale and beets stimulate the flow of bile. This helps keep the gallbladder and liver from becoming congested. As the bile flows, it flushes toxins from the body and encourages healthy lymphatic flow, which detoxifies the body and fortifies immunity.


This recipe is proof that eating Ayurvedically does not require time-consuming cooking methods or obscure ingredients. The ease with which this salad can be prepared is very supportive to our modern lifestyles.


Beet & kale salad

  • 1/2 cup grated carrots, steamed until soft
  • 1 1/2 cups grated beets, steamed until soft
  • 1 head of kale, chopped, with spines removed and discarded, steamed until soft
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted or raw
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup flax seed oil
  • mineral salt to taste
  • large handful of chopped cilantro


1. Toss all ingredients together, and voilà, you’re done! You can’t ‘beet’ this for a fast, fresh salad that you can enjoy at home or take on a picnic.

Serves 4


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: Ayurveda , Ayurvedic diet , Ayurvedic Recipes , beet , healthy diet , healthy eating , kale , organic food , salad , summer

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