This week we’re bringing you an article from our friend Emily Hightower. Emily was our amazing nutritionist, chef, and yoga instructor at this month’s Chasing Sunshine retreat in Aspen, Colorado and brought in all kinds of health and wellness knowledge along with her delicious foods! Check out her holistic twist on a classic meal below:
Chakra what? It’s pizza! So it can’t help but be delicious But there are many ingredients in conventional pizzas that don’t need to be there to make it so. When we make pizza chakra-style, we top it with a rainbow of colorful veggies that echo the colors in our energetic chakra system, reminding us of the connection between food and vitality. We kick out the usual sugar, wheat, and even the dairy if you need to. Don’t worry; it will be crispy or doughy if you like with infinite combinations of yum!
THE CRUST: I use Bella Gluten Free brand for pizza dough. It just works! If you’re not gluten free, you might still consider the digestive ease that comes from avoiding gluten. Wheat is hard on the most tolerant of tummies, and if you’re recovering from breast cancer, your gut health is paramount and deserves a break from gluten’s sticky, inflammatory effects. NOTE: follow directions for the Bella crust carefully because it isn’t tossed like wheat crust, its spread with a wet spatula into a greased pan or floured pizza stone. You can play with consistencies to get a focaccia-like rise or flat crispy crust. One package = two medium pizzas.
THE SAUCE: If you’re throwing a party, go for two kinds at least! These recipes are for two medium pizzas, or more if you like a thin spread sauce:
- A zesty pesto: 2 cups packed fresh basil, 2 garlic cloves, ¼ cup pine nuts and 2/3 cup olive oil and ¼ cup organic pecorino cheese in a food processor. For dairy free, add a ¼ cup more of pine nuts instead.
- For red sauce I use Pom Tomatoes brand in a carton to avoid the metals in the canned variety and the sugars in the pre-made jars. Just sauté up 1 clove diced garlic and ½ medium onion, add in 2 cartons of Pom and either blend it or go chunky.
- If that’s too much work, choose a good organic pasta sauce in a glass jar and shoot for the lowest sugar you can find.
THE CHAKRA TOPPINGS: Use your imagination. Our chakra system is a rainbow of energy wheels coursing throughout our bodies. Foods that are fresh, colorful and organic innervate our chakras and infuse our cells with the tools they need to thrive. Set up your toppings from root chakra to crown chakra as below for a beautiful, invigorating display. Slice them THINLY so they cook evenly and you can pile them high. Ideas…
- ROOT CHAKRA at the base of the spine is called the “Muladhara” and is red. Use deep red flavorful toppings like sundried tomatoes, red peppers, thin round sliced heirlooms. If eating meat, here lies your uncured pepperoni.
- SECOND CHAKRA below the navel is called the “Svadisthana” and is orange. Consider orange peppers sliced super thinly, carrots and even orange squashes sliced thinly.
- THIRD CHAKRA where the ribs meet is called the “Manipura” and is yellow. Yellow peppers, yellow squash, yellow carrots, even mango and pineapple are fitting pizza toppings!
- FOURTH CHAKRA lives in the heart area and is called the “Anahata”. It is green (not pink!) like the way green things in nature branch out to nourish the planet, and so the heart and lungs branch out to every cell. Green toppings abound! Go for broccoli, peppers of all variety desired, herbs of basil, oregano, even mint (think back to pineapple combo!)
- FIFTH CHAKRA is in the throat, called “Visuddha” and is blue. Not a lot of blue pizza toppings came to mind for me at first, but one recipient thought of blue potatoes: brilliant!
- SIXTH CHAKRA lives in the third eye, called the “Anja” and is violet. I used red onions sliced very thinly, olives and purple potatoes.
- SEVENTH CHAKRA is the white light that shines down from the crown of your head, and dissipates into the rainbow of the rest of the chakras through your system. White light contains all colors. Red, back at your root, is a simple vibration of one wave. Each color rising adds a wave of complexity. Here at the crown we celebrate pure light. Foods that fit here are garlic, mushrooms, sliced pear, and anything else you can think of…jicama? Go for it!
ORGANIC CHEESE melts it all together. Goat Cheese is a decadent, gourmet pizza finish that goes terrifically well with pear and pesto. Mozzarella can be from Buffalo milk or Goat’s milk to make digestion easier. Cheese from cow’s milk is fine if you’re tolerant, but make sure it is raw and organic, preferably grass-fed.
INSTRUCTIONS: Start with the people you’ll share this with. Then choose the amounts of crust and build portions and variety from there. If it’s a small family meal, you might skip a few chakras, or you might do what we do: cook a LOT and then you make one big mess that makes food for days to come! Store leftovers in glass containers or tinfoil for grab and go.Pre-make your crusts for at least ½ pizza per person so you have leftovers! Invite everyone to make their own pizzas or share. Sauce should be spread thinly avoiding puddles. Grab toppings based on which toppings are calling to you.
Each veggie color contains natural plant phenols that protect DNA, lipids and proteins. They play a key role in preventing and healing from cancer, and each color represents specific cellular support that you’ll crave based on your needs. This is true on an energetic level as well. Build trust in your inner guide by going for the first couple of colors you are drawn to without question. Then start to consider what would go with your initial choices. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect, it’s a practice and the only way to learn is to try!
BAKE your pizzas based on the crust instructions that you use. But if you want crisp on the outside and doughy in the middle, go HOT! Go for even 475° and check often. When the cheese is nice and brown, the crust will be crisp!
TAKE HOME MESSAGE: reclaim your kitchen and make healthy eating beautiful and fun! Kick out the offensive ingredients and cook your own way. What you experience while cranking tunes and cooking with others will be as healing as the nutrients in the chakra-colored vegetables, I promise.
Article By: Emily Hightower, Lead Guide, Ondalu
Emily is a holistic wellness guide who ignites healing from within. She’s a certified Nutritionist and Master Yoga Teacher with an avid outdoor guiding background. Emily uses nutrition, yoga, and outdoor adventure as a practical mechanism for tapping into the ancient healing wisdom of our bodies. Learn more about Emily & Ondalu here, http://www.ondalu.com