Culture. Soul Food: Nourishing Winter Recipes Health coach and yoga teacher Chantal Soeter’s vivacious energy and passion is contagious. When you speak with her… By Kara Fujita Jovic Health coach and yoga teacher Chantal Soeter’s vivacious energy and passion is contagious. When you speak with her it’s clear that her love for yoga and nutrition constantly propels her forward, inspiring her students and clients to live a life that’s right for them. Her philosophy is that nourishing yourself – whether it’s through yoga or healthy eating – empowers you to become the best version of yourself and to truly come alive. As she says, “Yoga helped me to know myself and and it really changed my life. Yoga gives you a whole new relationship with your body, you’re more intuitive and able to read your body’s signals. If you know how to balance your body in terms of food then you feel really good, you have a healthy immune system and the energy just flows. It’s the same with yoga. Food has such a big impact but a lot of people are unaware of how it affects their bodies and the way they are in life.” Instead of preaching the latest fad diet or insisting on one school of thought, Chantal encourages her students and clients to find what works for them. “I don’t follow one methodology, I’m not a vegan or Paleo health coach, I really want to help people find out how they balance their bodies and find what foods work for them – because it’s so uniquely individual for each one of us. Sometimes I feel I really need some ginger or spice because it makes me feel good or when I’m really busy I eat foods like oatmeal in the morning or lentil soup with pumpkin. It helps me slow down cause I really need that. It’s all about balance and really knowing what that means to you,” says Chantal. It’s this down-to-earth approach to healthy eating that creates a shift in people’s lives because they aren’t trying to fit themselves into a certain prescription that may not work for their particular body type. It’s a very yogic approach to eating and to life. When asked what advice she would give people who feel they’re too busy to eat healthy, Chantal says, “I think taking care of yourself and listening to your body is really important. If you disrespect your body then you’re gonna basically break down. If I know I have a busy week ahead, I’ll make sure I have a lot of time for meditation or that my fridge is stocked full of healthy food that’s easy to prepare. This helps me to balance myself out more,” Chantal says. Like anything in life, attitude plays a huge role in how we experience the moments that make up our lives and become our lifestyle or way of living. It’s the stories we tell ourselves that get us stuck – whether it’s that we feel we can never live up to some impossible ideal and eat “perfectly” all the time or that we’re simply too tired to make healthy choices. “If you come home and say to yourself ‘I have to cook, I have to clean or take care of the kids’ – whatever it is – then you’re basically making it impossible to do the things you need to cause it becomes such a struggle. But if you have the attitude instead that you want to take care of yourself because you’re worth it and your kids are worth it and it will help you feel more balanced and healthy – well then, your motivation is intrinsically different than when you’re being guided by short term focus,” explains Chantal. Yoga lives beyond the mat. It’s in the choices we make to honor what’s right for us and to see the bigger picture in any given moment. It’s approaching life with the right attitude and intention, not about the perfect pose on Instagram. It’s about actively showing up to your own life each and everyday, realising that you have the power to change everything. A healthy mind, body and spirit is your gift to the world for it produces much more than one that is running on empty. Here are some of Chantal’s favourite recipes to help you shine bright this winter: Lemon Honey Ginger Turmeric Tea This spicy and super-charged Lemon Honey Ginger Turmeric Tea can help you to stop a cold in its tracks and to speed up your recovery. This is my go-to recipe when I feel a cold coming on. Common spices like ginger, pepper, cinnamon and turmeric have a warming effect on the body. They are literally able to knock out a cold. Ingredients (makes 4 cups) 1 liter of water 1 (organic) lemon, skin on, cut into thin slices 1 stalk of cinnamon, broken into two pieces 4 whole black pepper corns, lightly crushed 1 piece of (organic) turmeric, skin on, the size of a pinky finger, cut in half (and/or 1 tsp of dried turmeric powder) 1 piece of (organic) ginger, skin on, the size of a thumb, sliced (and/or 1 tsp of dried ginger powder) 1 tbsp of raw honey Instructions Bring water up to a boil in a small pan. When the water is boiling, add the lemon slices, ginger, pepper corns and turmeric. Lower heat and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve in a tea mug with your desired amount of honey. I like to add in a whole tablespoon. Red Lentil Coconut Soup This delicious Red Lentil Coconut Soup is winter comfort food at its best. It’s warming and nourishing and helps to ground and balance your body. Ingredients 2 cups red lentils 1 tbsp coconut oil 2 onions, finely chopped 2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely diced 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced 4 large carrots, peeled and cut in bite-size chunks 20 baby tomatoes, halved ½ teaspoon cinnamon 1 tsp of chili powder (or more if you like it spicy) 1 tbsp yellow curry powder 1 tsp coconut palm sugar 4 cups of (gluten-free) vegetable stock 250 ml coconut milk 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped 1 lemon, juice Himalaya salt to taste Instructions Rinse the lentils thoroughly and cook for 30 minutes in a large pot. Skim of the foam during cooking. You can also add the lentils at step 4 but I prefer to cook them separately so you can do get the foam that usually comes with cooking beans in the dish. In a large saucepan heat coconut oil and add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, followed by the carrots, ginger and garlic. Cook, while stirring, for another 2 minutes. Add the chili powder, yellow curry powder and cinnamon and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the baby tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes or until soft. Add stock, coconut milk, lentils and coconut sugar and cook for 20 more minutes. When ready, use a hand-held blender to create a smooth texture. Season with Himalaya salt an serve with a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice and fresh cilantro. — Kara Fujita Jovic believes in the power of the breath to center the soul…that love is a super power – for it always speaks the loudest…and that dancing in the kitchen while singing Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” may just infuse a meal with magical powers. When she’s not getting caffeinated on fresh air, sunshine or the sea, you can find her creating, exploring, writing and helping people find their own personal om.