What better way to start the new year with a post by a person who’s images have the ability to take you to a different place and recipes will leave you drooling! Today I present to you Pure Vegetarian by Lakshmi. With her flawless writing, dreamy photographs, yogi lifestyle and a pure heart I promise you will love her because Indian Simmer loves Pure Vegetarian by Lakshmi!
When Prerna kindly asked me to write a guest post, I hesitated. I’m on a break from blogging for good reasons. One of them is that I saturated myself with sugar during the autumn while baking and making sweets more than necessary. By December I reached my limit of tolerance and took time to adjust and reform my diet. As I’m writing now, I’m sipping delicious green smoothie made of broccoli, spinach, avocado, sunflower seeds and simple spices. I’m going raw.
Don’t worry; it is a temporary phase of detox to balance the metabolism! It is perfect. It gives such clarity and vitality. My digestive system is relaxed and satisfied. I’m mentally alert, focused and enthusiastic. For a long time I haven’t felt physically so content. Combined with regular exercise in the fresh winter air, life couldn’t be better! Welcome New Year!
Tell us about yourself and what you would say is your food philosophy?Cooking and relationship with food have interested me since childhood. I grew up eating home cooked meals by my mother. She is an austere person and our breakfasts, lunches and dinners reflected the mood. There was enough to eat – and it was tasty – but there was an underlining reverence that kept the act of eating on a serious side. We never indulged.
As a teenager I turned vegetarian for ethical reasons. I ate raw vegan food for many years. When I came in contact with the Vedic culture and philosophy of India, cooking, serving and eating revealed a sacred dimension unparallel to anything I had been aware of. Preparing food became one of the most important spiritual practices and an integral part of the yoga process to me. It is an easy, concrete way to approach divine through consciousness.
As a bhakti-yogi I am a servant of Krishna. Krishna is a Sanskrit name for God introduced in the ancient yoga literature. It means “all attractive”. Everything belongs to God and is godly by nature. It is a paradigm 100% opposite to materialism that is rooted in the idea of me, the living entity, possessing and controlling everything. In the Western tradition God, at best, is providing for our needs: “…please forgive our sins and give us our daily bread”. In the Eastern tradition, man is the one who owns nothing and whatever is given under his care or has any value to him, he offers back to God. It is the way to sanctify life by cultivating virtues like selflessness and humility. And it is the path and perfection of yoga, connecting with God with love and devotion.
Yoga-lifestyle is different from the secular way of living in regards of the state of mind. Externally it looks the same. There are many vegetarians in the world and we may share the same recipes, but the thoughts, feelings and motivations that drive us while cooking produce different results. In our line of discipline, we want to connect the cow who gives the milk and the plant that bears the berry, fruit or vegetable also to God. It is done via mantra, a prayer, uttered with sincerity. Whatever is accepted by God, we enjoy as prashad, mercy. It is a blissful reciprocation.
What led you to starting a food blog?
Cooking makes me happy. It is an intimate dialogue with Krishna. It is a meditation and allows me to be who I am in the deepest sense of understanding.
I bought a camera and started to photograph what I cooked in order to share my gratitude and happiness with others. It was a surprise there are people who like the pictures. Having had posted on Flickr for a year, I felt a need for a dining room in the Cyberspace where I could better serve visitors.
Attached to Flickr and other social media there is lot of extra package: psychological hang-ups, egos and ambitions that border unhealthy traits of interaction at times. I have a constant inner-conflict of how much I want to be part of and contribute to that. A blog is naturally more peaceful venue to meet and get to know people because I can set the content and mood to correspond the values that nourish me, and hopefully others, too.
What would you say “Pure Vegetarian By Lakshmi” is all about and please share a recipe that best describes your blog?
I’ve been blogging for a short time, six months to be exact. I’m not able to define what Pure Vegetarian By Lakshmi is about better than a work in progress. It is a partial documentation and by-product of a simple, meaningful life that I live. I live to live; not to blog. Whatever I do, I aspire to be physically, mentally, intellectually and spiritually present and do it as well as I can, because every moment spent in hankering, lamenting or dreaming of something else, better or more is a moment lost. Self-satisfaction and gratitude in all circumstances open unexpected opportunities even in situations that seem doomed and insignificant. Therefore I don’t go out of my way to look for exotic ingredients or fancy recipes, but utilise whatever there is at hand.
For today’s recipe here at Indian Simmer I made raw pastry as a sweet treat. When you stay away from sugar long enough, taste buds will celebrate the natural sweetness of fresh and dried fruits! Sophisticated beauty may not be the foremost character of these sweets, but they are oozing peppiness and energy. After eating them, you feel empowered and light, as opposite to dull and heavy caused by regular sugar.
Because I had leftover filling, I made a refreshing smoothie by adding rice milk to it. What a wonderful lunch!
Raw Pastry (makes about 6-8)
2,5 dl (250 ml = 1 Cup) whole almonds (with skins)
1 dl (100 ml = 0,4 Cup) walnuts
200 g dry dates, pitted
4 tablespoons carob powder
Juice and zest of one small orange
For handling the dough:
1 dl (100 ml = 0,4 Cup) hazelnut powder
1 large, juicy orange
Mix the pastry ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Sprinkle the pastry dough with hazelnut powder for easier handling.
Line small pastry forms with the dough.
Make sweet balls from the leftover dough, rolled in carob powder.
Mix the filling ingredients in a blender.
Fill the pastries.
Mix the leftover filling with enough rice milk to get a running consistency of your liking.