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Cooking for the Chakras: 7 Recipes for Physical + Spiritual Health

Skinny Chef Jennifer Iserloh shares 7 recipes from her new Superfood Alchemy workshop that benefit each chakra physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Skinny Chef Jennifer Iserloh shares a recipe to balance each chakra physically, mentally, and spiritually from her new Superfood Alchemy workshop.

You’ve tried cooking and eating for your dosha, but how about for your chakras? The following 7 recipes work on a physical level with the organs and gland systems located at each of the energy centers within the subtle body, and reinforce the mental and spiritual lessons of each one.

Note: In all of these recipes, I use both superfoods and alchemy, the ancient spiritual science of transformation. Each “alchemical operation” benefits each chakra on a physical, mental, and spiritual level.

Root Chakra

Jennifer Iserloh's mulled wine.

Mulled Black Pepper-Hibiscus Wine

Alchemical Operation: Calcination (heat)

Fire reminds us of a time when man was more wild and living in a more primal way (the very nature of the Root Chakra). In alchemy, calcination is associated with the fire of thoughts, especially “burning up” negative thoughts of the past and old grudges (which are also stored in the root chakra).

Smoky, earthy black pepper is the ideal spice to allow you to tap into the feeling of calcination. Harness the power of fire to transform negative thinking as you prepare this mulled black pepper-hibiscus wine. When the fire brings the mixture to a boil, burning off some of the alcohol content, imagine that old ways of thinking and negative thoughts about yourself are going up in flames.

Recipe: Mulled Black Pepper-Hibiscus Wine

Serves 2

1 cup red wine
1 ½ cup water
1 hibiscus tea bag
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
3 green cardamom pods
8 black peppercorns, cracked

Place the red wine, water, tea bag, honey, cardamom pods, and peppercorns in a small saucepan over high heat. Cook 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture comes to a roiling boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer 2 to 3 minutes more to allow some of the alcohol to burn off.

Per serving (1 cup with honey): 132 calories, 0 g protein, 9 g sugars, 11 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g fiber, 8 mg sodium

See also 6 Ayurvedic Flavors for Satisfying Salads

Sacral Chakra

Jennifer Iserloh's beet root carpaccio.

Cardamom-Crusted Beet Root Carpaccio

Alchemical Operation: Dissolution

Water is associated with the Sacral Chakra, which is linked to creativity and sexuality. In the following recipe, as you boil the beets with cardamom, cinnamon sticks, and salt, note the ability of water to flow and change, morph and move, and swell and shrink, much like emotions. The lesson: since emotions, like water, can be hard to control, it’s best to let them flow. Cardamom also benefits the Sacral Chakra since it helps move and soothe the flow of your digestion, most of which happens at the level of the Sacral Chakra.

Recipe: Cardamom-Crusted Beet Root Carpaccio

Serves 4

1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
Pinch of salt
1 pound beets, peeled and halved
3 black or 6 green cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen or fresh cubed mango
1 cup 100% pure pumpkin puree
½ teaspoon ground green cardamom

Prepare the pickled onions. Toss the onions, apple cider vinegar, and the pinch of salt in a small air-tight container. Transfer to the fridge and rest at least one day. Place the beets in a large stockpot along with the cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook 25 to 30 minutes until the beets are tender crisp. Drain and set aside to cool. Place the mango in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the pumpkin and pulse until smooth and creamy. Divide between four plates. Thinly slice the beets, using a vegetable slicer or Japanese mandolin. Arrange the beets on top of the mango pumpkin puree. Top with the pickled onions and ground green cardamom and serve immediately.

Per serving (1 1/2 cups): 110 calories, 3 g protein, g sugars, 25 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 5 g fiber, 391 mg sodium

See also Tantra Yoga’s Key to Vitality: The 7 Chakras

Navel Chakra

Jennifer Iserloh's carrot ginger soup.

Turmeric Orange Carrot Soup

Alchemical operation: Separation (air)

Sluggish digestion occurs at the level of the Navel Chakra, which is associated with self-esteem and confidence. Using “air” in the kitchen, by sifting, pureeing, and blending, changes the texture of foods, making them lighter and easier to eat and digest.

As you blend this soup, notice how the final dish becomes more refined in both taste and texture. Think also of “sifting” through bad habits and behaviors to find your true self by setting ego aside, unblocking your Navel Chakra and tapping into your personal power.

Recipe: Turmeric Orange Carrot Soup

Serves 4

2 tablespoons sesame or coconut oil
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon minced ginger
½ teaspoon ground turmeric or 1 teaspoon freshly grated turmeric root
32 ounces vegetable broth
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves removed or 1 orange sectioned

Heat a large stockpot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the carrots, parsnips, onion, and ginger. Sprinkle with the turmeric and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the carrots and parsnips start to brown. Add the broth and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then cover. Reduce immediately to a simmer and cook 4 to 5 minutes more until the carrots become tender. Cool 5 minutes before blending until smooth. Garnish with rosemary or orange sections and serve immediately.

Per serving (2 cups): 367 calories, 7 g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 21 g sugars, 14 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 g fiber, 783 mg sodium

See also Is Souping the New Juicing? Plus, 8 Recipes to Try

Heart Chakra

Jennifer Iserloh's basil spinach pesto.

Basil-Spinach Pesto with Gluten-Free Pasta

Alchemical operation: Conjunction

The Heart Chakra is associated with love, of course, and self-care is a huge part of learning to love yourself (and having more energy to love/give to others). It starts with healthy eating, which means including plenty of detox-friendly greens and herbs in your daily meals. Basil is particularly heart-healthy, since its compounds can soothe blood vessels and promote better circulation. While preparing the following recipe, think about how you can bring your spiritual practice in conjunction with soulful activities that also nourish the body, beyond cooking to other parts of your life.

Recipe: Basil-Spinach Pesto with Gluten-Free Pasta

Serves 6

2 cups fresh basil leaves
5 ounces baby spinach leaves
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Parmesan
2 tablespoons walnuts
½ teaspoon salt

Place the basil and spinach in a food processor and roughly chop. Add the olive oil, Parmesan, walnuts, and salt, and pulse until a creamy mixture forms. Toss with your favorite pasta and serve immediately or brush over your favorite protein like chicken or shrimp and grill.

Per serving (1/4 cups): 160 calories, 2 g protein, g sugars, 1 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, .5 g fiber, 236 mg sodium

See also Heart Chakra Tune-Up Practice

Throat Chakra

Jennifer Iserloh's Lemon Parmesan Artichokes.

Lemon Parmesan Artichokes

Alchemical Operation: Fermentation

Fermentation in alchemy centers around the idea of breaking something down to create something totally new and more robust. The process of fermentation can radically transform ingredients in color, smell, texture, and especially complexity of flavor. This is akin to your own transformation as you work on your personal and spiritual journey. There are two fermented foods, Parmesan and capers, highlighted in this recipe, as well as Brazil nuts, which are a boon for the thyroid, the powerful gland found at the level of the Throat Chakra, where you learn to express yourself and speak your truth.

Recipe: Lemon Parmesan Artichokes

Serves 4

Cooking spray
2 9-ounce packages of frozen artichokes, defrosted
2 lemons, thinly sliced and seeded
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup grated Parmesan
¼ cup capers, drained, well rinsed
¼ cup Brazil nuts

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Spread out the artichokes and set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the lemons and cook 4–5 minutes, turning often until the lemons start to soften and brown. Scatter the lemons over the artichokes. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the artichokes. Bake 10–15 minutes until the Parmesan starts to brown and becomes crisp. Sprinkle with capers. Using a microplane or other fine grater, grate the Brazil nuts over the artichokes and serve.

Per serving(1 1/2 cups): 302 calories, 16 g protein, 4g sugars, 33 g carbohydrates, 15 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 12 g fiber, 503 mg sodium

See also Throat Chakra Tune-Up Practice

Third-Eye Chakra

Jennifer Iserloh's chocolate truffles.

Chocolate-Spiced Truffles

Alchemical Operation: Distillation (heating and cooling)

Clear thinking, vision, and great wisdom are the lessons of the Third-Eye Chakra. This wisdom comes from meditative work and taking care of your brain health, which isn’t always on people’s radar. Chocolate (the dark, bitter kind) is a superfood for your brain and ideal for this chakra.

The following recipe involves what alchemists refer to as distillation. This operation, or getting to the spirit or essence inside physical matter, develops our sixth sense, or intuition, and helps us realize that we are spiritual beings capable of deep insight that goes beyond everyday life.

Recipe: Chocolate-Spiced Truffles

Makes 32 truffles

1 cup almonds
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
2 tablespoons goji berries
½ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate with 70% cocoa, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Place almonds in a food processor and finely chop. Bring cream, cinnamon, clove, and coriander to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add the chocolate. Let sit 2–3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Stir in the almonds, cacoa nibs, and goji berries. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate uncovered until the mixture is firm, about 1 hour. Spoon mounds (1 heaping teaspoon each) of chocolate mixture onto a large plate sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Return to refrigerator for 15 minutes. Roll the mounds into even, smooth balls. Place cocoa powder on a plate. Roll the balls in cocoa and transfer to a small tray. Chill until set, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately or store, refrigerated, in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

Per serving (2 truffles): 146 calories, 3 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 13 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 10 mg cholesterol, 4 g sugars, 2 g fiber, 3 mg sodium.

See also Hone Your Intuition: 12 Poses to Activate Your Third-Eye Chakra

Crown Chakra

Jennifer Iserloh's lemon berry trifle.

Chamomile Berry Trifle

Alchemical Operation: Coagulation

The Crown Chakra is the last chakra on the seven-chakra ladder between the body/ego and the infinite spirit. Through deep meditation, the body, emotions, and thoughts are set aside to experience pure creative energy in the form of high vibrations descending down through the Crown Chakra. Alchemists believe that special healing plants contain some of these same high-level vibrations. In modern medicine, we are just starting to discover that these same plants, such as chamomile, lavender, turmeric, and many others, have serious potential for physical healing as well, since they contain powerful healing compounds. As you cook the lemon curd in the below recipe, notice how the proteins in the eggs thicken and coagulate to form a rich, pudding-like texture. On a spiritual level, coagulation happens when spirituality integrates into your personality and becomes a real part of your being.

Recipe: Chamomile Berry Trifle

Serves 6

2 large lemons, zested and juiced
1/3 cup honey or ¼ cup Stevia
6 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons grass-fed butter, cut into bits
3 cups plain 2% Greek yogurt
½ cup strongly brewed and chilled chamomile tea
2 drops lemon essential oil
4 cups assorted berries, stemmed

Whisk lemon juice, zest, honey, and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick and clings to the whisk, about 6 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk yogurt and chamomile tea together; cover. Whisk in the lemon essential oil. Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour along with the yogurt mixture. Layer half the curd in the bottom of a glass bowl. Add a quarter of the berries then top with 1 cup of the yogurt. Repeat with curd, berries, and yogurt. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour before serving.

Per serving (1 cup): 258 calories, 10 g protein, 22 g sugars, 26 g carbohydrates, 13 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 1 g fiber, 33 mg sodium

See also Crown Chakra Tune-Up Practice