How does this sound to you: a guilt-free, amazingly healthy, decadent and gorgeous dessert that’s karmically good for your body, mind and soul? Why not add super simple to make, as well… Too good to be true? Nope!
Pie in the Sky
Makes 1 7-8-inch pie
The spectacular Victoria Moran has just the thing… the tag line of her new book, The Good Karma Diet, is ‘Eat gently, feel amazing, age in slow motion.’ I think her photo there proves the aging in slow motion!
Her new book (she’s written 11 others) is a wonderfully grounding and enlightening collection of recipes and thoughts to lift your karmic standing and benefit not just yourself but also animals and the universal energy. I could go on… this is my kinda view on life and energy and happiness – but I asked Victoria some questions, so I’m going to let her words take it from here.
1. What is karma, and what does it mean to you?
You asked that so perfectly, because its meaning can be complex and theological, but what it means in my life, and in this book, is quite a bit simpler. The concept of karma – that what you do, for good or ill, comes back to you — originates in the ancient Vedas of India. It’s central to the teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, where it gets combined with reincarnation, providing a very long-running drama through which all this karma can play out. But it’s in Western teachings, too – the idea of “reaping what you sow” comes up several times in the New Testament.
It’s pretty obvious to me that our actions – and words and thoughts, for that matter – have repercussions. One fundamental example is that the way we treat our bodies tends to result in our feeling good (or not). Half of The Good Karma Diet premise is simply this: Eat the foods that are kind to your body and, chances are, your body will be kind to you. But there’s another very important aspect to this: kindness to others. I see being vegan as a great rallying cry to the universe, that we stand with those who suffer and dedicate ourselves to ending that suffering.
Now, when I’m having a fabulous meal at a great vegan restaurant, I’m not thinking about rallying cries – but that’s one of the things that’s so cool about being vegan. You can go on with your life, enjoy your food, have fun, have relationships, shoot for your dreams – all of that – and still save lives and lessen someone’s pain. Most vegans I know, myself included, believe that this choice, in some inexplicable way that certainly looks and acts like karma, gives us better lives. We’re not in it for the perks and we’d do it if there were no perks, but it is really interesting that making this choice seems to have blessings attached.
2. Which foods are karmically good for us?
Another great question! In my way of seeing things, choosing vegan over non-vegan always has the karmic advantage. Most of the time, the vegan choice is going to be healthier, too, so it’s a win/win: good nutrition and no animals harmed. Occasionally, it’s not like that. I call this the ‘airport exception’ when I’ll eat something nutritionally marginal because the only vegan option is peanut butter cups at Starbucks or, heaven forbid, an order of fries. Now, a healthy-eating non-vegan in that same airport might find a turkey sandwich on whole-wheat, or a piece of salmon at a food court cafe. Was their meal better for their bodies than those fries were for mine? Maybe. But in a holistic sense, a karmic sense – nobody died for my peanut butter cup – I’m at peace with my choice.
In regular life when we have a variety of choices, I think that the seriously good-karma foods are the freshest and most colorful. I tell people that their plate and shopping cart ought to look like a Christmas tree: mostly green, with splashes of other bright colors. When we think about eating in this way — focusing on everyday superfoods such as leafy greens, sprouts, berries, sweet potatoes, quinoa, walnuts, flax and hempseeds, red beans and black beans, sea vegetables, and antioxidant spices like turmeric, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves – we’re giving each one of our trillions of cells what it needs to function brilliantly.
I’m also a huge fan of fresh juice, green juice in particular. When I juice, it’s as if I’m giving my body an instant infusion of vitality and rejuvenation. Juices, smoothies (green and otherwise), big salads, fresh fruits, unprocessed foods of all kinds, an ample amount of them raw, nourish people in remarkable ways. In my four decades of observing the vegetarian world, it’s the men and women who consume a lot of these foods who seem to do the best and age the best. I want what they’re having.
3. The cover shows some vibrantly beautiful fruit. What is your favorite fruit?
You know, there was a time in my early thirties when I barely touched fruit. That was the era in which the influence of a very popular book, Fit for Life, based on ‘food combining’ told us that fruit should be consumed only by itself, and that breakfast ought to be a substantial serving of fruit, period. But I was a binge-eater in my early life. That put my pancreas on notice. I’m not someone who can eat several pieces of fruit with no fat or protein or more complex carbs to slow down the metabolism of the naturally occurring sugar. I figured if I had to eat fruit alone, I just wouldn’t eat it. The loss was, of course, mine. Fruit is a wonderful food, and I eat it today with joy – and with nuts and oats and or other foods.
Okay, my favorite: persimmons. They’re sweet, and the consistency of custard. Since they’re a winter fruit, they’re even more of a treat when there are no local peaches or berries or melons to be had. And since you don’t eat persimmons until they’re ripe enough to look well past their prime, you can often get them on sale. All this and a bargain too. . . .
Pie in the Sky
Makes 1 7-8-inch pie Excerpted from The Good Karma Diet: Eat Gently, Feel Amazing, Age in Slow Motion by Victoria Moran, with the permission of Tarcher/Penguin, a division of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2015. Photo and recipe by Doris Fin, CCHP, AADP.
- 1 cup pitted dates (if too dry, soak in warm water 20 minutes and drain)
- 1 cup raw hazelnuts, pecans, or walnuts, soaked 4-6 hours, rinsed and drained
*Optional: Replace 1/2 cup nuts with 1/2 cup unsulphured, unsweetened, dry shredded coconut
- 2 medium ripe avocados
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup maple syrup or 1/2 cup pitted dates
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked 4 hours, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.)
- 2 cups seasonal fruit slices (apples, peaches, pears, plums, cherries, etc.)
- Combine dates and nuts (and coconut if using) in a food processor until a ball forms. Nuts should be chunky.
- Cover a 7 or 8-inch pie dish with plastic wrap and press the date-nut mixture evenly into the pan. Refrigerate while preparing the filling.
- Pure the avocados, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sweetener in a food processor until creamy. Add the cashews and continue to blend until creamy.
- Pour or scoop the filling mixture into the prepared crust. Wiggle and whack the dish on the countertop to spread the filling evenly.
- Freeze for 4 hours or overnight. Remove plastic wrap and place on a serving dish before decorating.
- Before serving, decorate with toppings, piling the fruit high.
- This delicacy thaws quickly, so it can be served frozen, half-frozen, or completely thawed as a custard pie.