By Dean Taraborelli, Founder, The Sanctuary at Sedona, a shamanic healing center
Stress invades every aspect of our being, creating barriers to the transformational change that is at the core of shamanic work. The journey to empowered living – whether one is suffering from addiction, experiencing a difficult transition, or simply seeking more meaning in life – can only begin when body, mind, spirit, and soul are at peace. This takes on even more importance when we realize that the outside world mirrors our own state of being. From global economic woes to raging wars to natural disasters exacerbated by human practices, a glance at the news on any given day reveals a world in stress. To create peace in our world requires that we first create peace in ourselves.
This is a tall order for anyone, and none more so than those who arrive at our Sedona center in a state of crisis. Here, they learn to release the energies caused by their disempowering behaviors and chart a course to purposeful, peaceful living. While not all of us reach this critical jumping-off point, we can all benefit from more peace in our lives, and these five foods are a good place to start:
Chamomile Tea: Originating from the Nile River Valley of Egypt, golden chamomile has been used to promote calm and relieve anxiety since ancient times. When steeped, these fragrant blossoms smell of freshly cut apples and produce a rich cup of caffeine-free herbal tea with superior flavor.
Walnuts: Walnuts energize as they relieve stress, making a handful of raw walnuts the perfect pick-me-up on a busy day. Walnuts are among the richest sources of stress-relieving B-vitamins, zinc, and protein.
Chocolate: Chocolate – as long as it is dark and as high in cacao as possible – offers real peace-promoting benefits. Studies have shown that eating a small piece of a dark chocolate candy bar each day can lower levels of stress hormones – like cortisol, norephinephrine, and epinephrine – that cause a person to feel nervous and anxious. It also alters the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain that play a role in controlling mood.
Banana Fig Pudding: High in minerals and potassium, this calming, sweet treat makes a healthy, cleansing alternative to traditional dessert. In a blender or food processor, mix four ripe bananas, a handful of clean, soaked dried figs with the water they were soaked in, two tablespoons of ground flax, raw honey to taste, and a pinch of ground nutmeg. Blend all ingredients together until they reach the consistency of a creamy pudding, and serve chilled, topped with shredded coconut.
Miso Soup: A bowl of miso soup has exceptional soothing qualities, especially when you’re feeling under the weather. A traditional Japanese seasoning, miso paste is very high in B12 and a great source of lactobacillus acidophilus, a naturally occurring bacterium in the digestive system. High in probiotics and rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, miso protects against aging and radiation and alleviates digestive complaints. For a simple, practically instant miso soup, mix two tablespoons of miso paste with warm water, vegetable broth, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper to taste.
To gain the full benefits of any of these foods, be conscious, as you savor them, of all they have to offer you. Share them with others and you can raise the experience to a transformational level. The soul seeks community, and so a shared table not only feeds the body but the soul as well, inviting you to reflect, connect and relax together on your journey to more peaceful living.