A Super Powerful Dinner: Salmon with Avocado Yogurt Sauce & Lentils with Goat Cheese

Lately I've been trying to cook/consume more power foods. A power food, also known as a superfood, is nutrient dense with vitamins, minerals and other health benefits, that promote maximum physical and mental health.  

Salmon contains a large amount of the omega 3 fatty acid, DHA, decreasing the risk of brain-related issues, including Depression, hostility and cognitive decline.  

A NHANES study, conducted from 2001 to 2008, found that people who regularly consume avocados have a lower body mass index, less belly fat and more HDL ("good") cholesterol than those who don't. 

Even though I am not a huge advocate of dairy, plain Greek yogurt is a staple in my diet. It is a great work-out recovery food thanks to it's content of amino acids. It also promotes brain and energy (metabolism) function due to it's B12 content. 

The Mediterranean diet staple, olive oil is widely known for its cardiovascular benefits and studies have shown is is associated with a decreased risk of Breast Cancer, Depression, Alzheimer's Disease and oxidative stress of the liver. 

Lentils are relatively low in calories, but high in protein, fiber and other nutrients. These legumes promote digestive health, stabilize blood sugar, and are also a good source of Magnesium and Folate, promoting heart health. 

Here is a simple dinner recipe that'll maximize your mind and body, not to mention your taste buds! 

Salmon with Avocado Yogurt Sauce

What You'll Need:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • a few pieces of cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • pepper, salt to taste
  • 1 large salmon fillet (enough for 2 people)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

What You'll Do:

1. Place avocado, yogurt, juice from 1/2 lime, garlic & cilantro into food processor and blend for about 1 minute. Put to the side. 

2. Place salmon on foil baking sheet, skin side down. Brush with olive oil, pepper, a little salt and squeeze the other 1/2 lime.

The fishmonger at Whole Foods might have given me more salmon than I asked for. 

The fishmonger at Whole Foods might have given me more salmon than I asked for. 

3. Heat oven 400 degrees. Cook salmon for 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness.

4. Serve topped with avocado yogurt sauce.


Warm Lentils with Goat Cheese

What You'll Need:

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic. minced
  • tarragon
  • pepper, salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 to 3 ounces of crumbled goat cheese

What You'll Do:

1. Put lentils, 3 cups water, garlic clove into medium pot. Add a few dashes of tarragon, along with pepper and salt. Bring lentils to boil, then simmer for about 25 minutes. Lentils should still have texture, not mushy.

2. Strain excess water from lentils in colander.

3. Place lentils back in pot. Add olive oil and stir in goat cheese until it is melted into lentils. Season with pepper, salt to taste. 

4. Add some crumbles of goat cheese on top.



A couple of my amazing bowls from the Kripalu dining hall. 

A couple of my amazing bowls from the Kripalu dining hall. 

I just spent a long weekend at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. I was happy to spend time with my good friend, Jen, practice some half-moon poses and sweat it out in the sauna; but most of all, as per usual, I was excited to check out the food. Luckily, the dining hall at Kripalu did not disappoint. 

Kripalu's menu is based on Ayurvedic principles. Ayurveda is the "science of life", with an emphasis on diet & lifestyle. The purpose is to eradicate sickness and achieve optimal health by balancing the three Doshas; Vata, Pitta, Kapha. Each Dosha possess certain characteristics and qualities. 

Vata qualities are dry, cold, light, mobile, clear, rough, subtle. The body type of Vata is slender with little muscle tone. They tend to feel cold and have very dry skin. Insomnia, indigestion and bloating are all common ailments of Vata. In order to warm the body, their diet should avoid raw fruits & vegetables, carbonated beverages and dry/crunchy foods. Instead, they should eat warm, cooked foods including cereal, soup and roasted vegetables. 

Pitta qualities are slightly oily, hot, intense, light, fluid, free flowing, foul smelling. Pitta body types are toned with a medium build. Often, very emotional, Pitta-types should focus on a diet that soothes and calms. Spices, alcohol, coffee and acidic foods should be avoided, while there should be an increase of sweet fruits and vegetables with a high water content, for their cooling properties.  

Kapha qualities are oily, cold, heavy, stable, viscid, smooth, soft. Kapha body types are large with broad-shoulders. Though they have good physical stamina, they are more likely to become obese compared to the other Dosha types. Kapha-types tend to have poor circulation and digestion. If you're a Kapha, you should reduce overall fat, salt and sugar intake, while focusing on a high fiber diet. 

Though, each person tends to encompass more qualities of one Dosha than the others, the goal is to achieve harmony within the three. This will allow us to live within the rhythms of nature. The main goal is to preserve your Agni, otherwise known as digestive power. 

Some of the "rules" seem like common sense, yet the Western-belief nutrition system doesn't always promote them. Though I have a strong science-based nutrition background, I have always found holistic views of nutrition fascinating and believe they should be incorporated into our diet plans and lives.

Diet Tips For All Doshas:

Wake With Water

In the morning, before coffee or breakfast, drink a glass of room-temperature water. A few years ago, an acupuncturist told me this, and I've continued with this ritual ever since.  I always encourage this with all of my clients and patients. It should be noted that cold water will work in opposition with digestion, so make sure water is relatively warm. This will promote digestion, regularity and obviously, adequate hydration.  


Everyone is always rushing from one place to another. Meals are often eaten quickly, just to get them over with. It is important to try to break this habit and take a few breaths before eating each meal. Chew each bite thoroughly, while focusing on the smell, flavor and texture. Eating should be an act, not a rush job. This is especially a challenge if you go many hours without eating, as you feel "starving", which is why we should remember to have snacks between meals in order to avoid the feeling where food needs to be shoveled in at record speed.

Eat Only When Hungry

This is such a basic idea, yet so difficult for many, myself included. We eat for many reasons, including emotions and lack thereof. It is important for us to be aware of what hunger feels like and what anxiety or sadness feels like. Once we distinguish the two, we can feed only what is necessary and treat the sentiments accordingly. 


Before you eat a meal, observe how you're feeling. If you notice you feel uncomfortable, eat to counteract whatever you are experiencing. For example, if you feel a dryness, have food that is moist. If you're feeling cold, have soup, or something warm. If you're feeling lightness or ungrounded, try to have a meal with a heavy quality. 

Cycle It 

For the most part, try to have a schedule around your eating by having meals at the same time each day. Nature is all about cycles and your digestive system should be, too! 

Lunch & The Sun

Lunch should be your largest meal of the day. The heat of the sun is strongest mid day, and so is your digestive power. Don't be afraid to dig in! I find that many people try to "save their calories for later" and end up splurging on dinner. In actuality, you should do the opposite. 


Certain spices, including ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, turmeric & black pepper, all aid in digestion. Try to add these to your cooking, especially if you experience bloating or cramping after meals.


I often like to end my meals with tea, as many promote a balance in the digestive system, including sausalito spice, ginger and peppermint.

As always, Happy Eating! Feel free to contact me to talk Doshas, diet and digestion.