The heart is the home base of everything. It is a source for the love- giving and receiving. Its energetic counterpart is the fourth chakra, the heart chakra (Anahata), all located at chest center partner to the heart and lungs. If there is a block or imbalance with the heart chakra, physical issues with the heart and lungs occur: hypertension, respiratory ailments, or upper back and shoulder pain, emotional insensitivity, depression, sadness, resentment, or dependency on outside stimuli may be a temptation to cope (drugs, alcohol, food, etc). When in balance, openly giving, receiving, and feeling love flourish. Compassion grows. Holding space for others can occur, without taking on their experience. Letting go of living in the past is released: sadness, resentment. We can live in the present- forgive, move forward from a place of emotional empowerment.
The Heart Chakra is the link between the first three chakras: 1st- Root (safety, security); 2nd- Sacral (creativity, sexuality); 3rd- Solar Plexus (personal power, identity); and the three higher chakras: 5th- Throat (expression); 6th- Third Eye (intuition); and the 7th- Crown, (relationship to spirit).
Heart health is vital for our physical well being. Without proper spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health, everything becomes imbalances. Nutrition in specific plays a vital role. Chakras 1-3 are fueled by protein, fats, and carbohydrates. The heart thrives on macronutrients, especially those found in green vegetables. The vibrational energy from greens nourishes our growth, expansiveness, and ability to open in all directions. Parsley in particular, has the very high concentration of chlorophyl- a potent disease fighter. I eat it to reap the benefits of blood purification, blood vessel health, and antioxidant. It is an ingredient I incorporate into everything from smoothies, salads, soups, sauces, and of course, as a garnish that I love to eat. Something to consider next time you prepare a plate is that foods that share colors with the chakras, carry energy that activates or balances them. When I learned this, I looked at my meals in a whole new light.
Here are some ideas for green vegetables good for the heart. I’ve also included green fruits and herbs as they deliver heart goodness as well. Choose non-gmo and organic for your heart and for mother earth:
avocados, green apples, grapes, pears, kiwi, arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, collards, dandelion greens, green onions, kale, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, peas, peppers, snap peas, spinach, sprouts, watercress, and zucchini.
Below is a recipe that I make as my homage to mine and your heart. A little over two years ago, my dad had a massive heart attack, caused by stress and lifestyle choices. His heart was severely damaged. We were told that it would be a tough road ahead and survival after the incident was not in his favor. It has been everything but easy for my family and in specific, my dad. From the time it has happened, he has made huge choices that get credit for surviving. I dedicate this to my Pops and from my heart to yours. The recipe is vegan, dairy, and gluten-free, but the ingredients can easily be customized to include parmesean cheese and whole wheat pasta instead of nutritional yeast and rice pasta or soba noodles. I hope you enjoy this. Salud!
GREEN WITH LOVE KALE PARSLEY PESTO & PASTA
Kale, 1 bunch (curly, lacinato, yogi’s choice), destemmed & prepped into smaller pieces.
Flat Leaf Parsley leaves, 1 bunch
Raw Walnuts, 1 cup
Garlic Cloves- 4
Nutritional Yeast, 1 cup
2 Lemons, juiced
Olive Oil, 1- 1.5 cups
Salt, 1/2 tsp
Pepper, 1 tsp
Red Pepper flakes, good pinch (optional)
Rice noodle pasta, or Soba Noodles
Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil, drained & chopped
Broccoli crowns + stems, 2 Cups, chopped
Lg Carrots, 2 (peeled)
Olives (yogis choice), rough chopped
Pasta water or chicken broth, 1/4 Cup
Blendtec, Vitamix, Food processor, or strong blender*
Small size prep bowl (for carrots)
1) In a blender, add in this order: kale, parsley, walnuts, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice about a 1/2 cup of the olive oil, salt, pepper, and optional red pepper flakes. Pulse this together a few times to break down all the roughage.
2) Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of blender jar [while the blender is off].
3) Add in the remainder of the olive oil. I use the ‘Sauces’ setting on my Blendtec. Allow Blendtec to run its course. For regular blenders, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to find the equivalent.
4) Pour into mason jar. Enjoy right away or store in the fridge. It will keep for some time. Each time you use some from the jar, pour olive oil on top to prevent the pesto from turning brown from exposure to air. You will need about 1 cup of pesto for the pasta recipe.
1) Prepare pasta according to package instructions.
2) While pasta is cooking, shave carrots with a vegetable peeler into a prep bowl and set aside.
3) Drain and rinse pasta. Reserve some of the water used to cook pasta.
4) In the pot used to prepare pasta, add in a olive oil or coconut oil. Add in broccoli and lightly heat through for a few minutes. Cook longer if you prefer it not so raw.
Remove the broccoli from the heat to your bowl of carrots you have set aside.
Remove the pot off the hot burner you just cooked on.
5) Add the pasta, carrots, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives to the pasta. Add the reserved pasta water or broth to the pasta to help pull apart the pesto. Toss gently with a tongs until the pesto has become saucy and the veggies are dispersed evenly. Serve and eat right away!
Tip: I almost always add in extra greens to this dish. I usually take about a cup of chopped greens: arugula (fav!) or spinach and fold that into my personal plate of of pasta.
I measure my pasta portion according to an ayurvedic eating tip I learned from my friend, Melina Meza. Take your hands to prayer (anjali mudra or palm to palm), then open your hands and make a bowl shape. This is the portion I use as a guideline. I don’t include the additional greens I added, only because they are so small in terms of volume, but so nutritionally potent.
Isabelle is the owner and editor for yoga website, My Yoga Scene. She also teaches yoga full time- weekly classes, workshops, teacher trainings, and yoga retreats. She is an Ambassador for Asha Patel Designs, KiraGrace, and Alumni Ambassador for lululemon athletica. She spends her free time experimenting in the kitchen, with her friends, family, hubby, and fur-children, and traveling. More info here: isabellecasey.com