It was the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi in our neck of the woods, and we enjoyed making special dishes (offerings) for our favourite deity – Ganesha. For some of you who may not know about Ganesh Chaturthi, it’s a 10-day festival celebrated among Hindus who like to bring home (or celebrate publicly) an idol of this elephant-headed God, who’s also considered Vighna-Harta (the remover of obstacles) and Buddhi Pradaayaka (the one who grants wisdom/intelligence).
We’ve celebrated this festival every year with much enthusiasm, but this year felt different. The enthusiasm was there without a doubt, but there was a heightened sense of sincerity and inward connection while we did the whole puja and how we went about the whole day. I can’t precisely say why I felt so. I could sense that within me, could read from my hubby – Avie’s – disposition, and also in how the girls went about their day.
Now, when I think back, I see that I did not put excessive thinking into what I’m going to offer to Ganesha as ‘prasad’ (offering of sweets/desserts etc). I felt like making a wholesome meal for our family and felt it natural that Ganesha would partake in the feast.
I saw Ganesha as a special and loving visitor to our home and I didn’t see why He would not enjoy the whole meal and only just the sweet things – as is the tradition.
So, this is what Ganesha was offered.
On this plate, there’s the super healthy millets as compared to starchy rice that fills you up to the brim. There’re sprouted moong beans, pumpkin curry in minimal oil and spices but special seasonings, the yellow moong dal (lentil) that’s not as acidic as pigeon peas (arhar/toor dal) or bengal gram (chana dal).
Some quick notes about the preparation:
- foxtail millet rice (soaked for a few hours and cooked on low flame – without pressure cooker)
- moong dal with tempering of onion, tomato, garlic and yellow bell-pepper (the game changer)
- pumpkin curry with Rajasthani herbs and flavourings (tempering of fennel (saunf)+fenugreek (methi seeds)+kala jeera (onion seeds/nigella)+cumin seeds (jeera)+curry leaves and a dash of palm jaggery
- red amaranthus sauteed in garlic and coconut oil
- and, something to relish on for the tusker with a massive sweet tooth –
a delectable vegan cake with cashew+chocolate frosting! This was baked by Pari. It was ultimate indulgence – but totally guilt-free! What with palm sugar instead of white refined, cashew milk instead of regular butter or cream, organic whole wheat flour and unsweetened cocoa.
The vegan chocolate cake (quick recipe above). Indulgence without guilt!
Pari’s neighbourhood friends loving the cake made by her. This was the ‘prasad’ of the day offered to Ganesha and other guests :-)
Our contemplative Buddha gives company to Ganesha while He indulges on our vegan platter!
Pumpkin curry – steamed and then tempered in minimal coconut oil with some unique seasonings – fennel, fenugreek, onion seeds/nigella, cumin seeds, curry patta + a dash of palm jaggery. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
That platter is quite an alkalizing offer, eh? Good for the pot-bellied Lord who must have been satiated with all the ‘laddus’ and ‘modaks’ from a million different Indian homes! A break from the acidic burps.
And, there’s no milk-based dish or dessert on this plate.
A vegan platter for Ganesha. That sounds cool to me!
May be some of you feel irked by this, do you? Do you think going Vegan is stretching it too far, it’s not practical, not fulfilling for the body in terms of nutrient requirements etc. etc. Tell me what you feel like, okay? No hard feelings!
Because, this is who we are now. This feels close to heart, close to logic and closer to our spirituality. Vegan-ism is about compassion for all beings. The super duper bonus is it’s great for our own health. yes, a plant-based diet is alkalizing, healing and energizing. It’s not deficient in any way whatsoever. Eating fresh raw vegetables and fruits and sprouts have the potential to cure any ailment on this earth. Even cancer. But more than that, it keeps you disease free.
Come to think of it, it’s actually no surprise that what’s good for the planet, for other beings, is also good for us humans. One day, I might write about the disastrous effects of animal agriculture on this planet, but will share just one thought with you right now – the cost of raising live-stock for all that meat and dairy is unthinkably harmful. It’s more harmful than the ill effects of all transportation and industries put together. You don’t believe me? I can understand, I wouldn’t have either. Until I dug up and did hours and days of reading up, watching documentaries and more.
One such movie that will make you sit up and listen and then think is this –
And, no, it’s not about just saving the cows. It’s about saving our planet.
Watch it here. Watch it now. You won’t regret this 1.5 hours spent.
So, I tell you what, now I know why today felt different – calmer, more sincere than any other Ganesh Puja. It’s because I felt we’re finally getting an understanding of the workings of our individual bodies. More and more it feels like I can reverse my health problems (anemia, thyroid, menstrual irregularities etc), I can be living to my potential – my body can match my spirit. I feel peace knowing that I can handle any health problem that may come my way. I have the understanding. That’s the key. This life – this only life that we have, how beautiful will it feel when you nurture and nourish it with intention and wisdom.
If you want more context about our unschooling, vegan lives and food choices, you may read these previous articles – written in the past one month.
- A New Chapter in Our Unschooling Journey: Our Health and the Food We Eat
(I mention here about an alakaling diet vs acid-causing one)
- Why No Cow Milk for Us: Unraveling the Truth One Disease at a Time!
(How cow milk is the number one mucus forming food and what diseases thrive due to that)
- How To Make Coconut Milk – An Exquisite Dairy-Free Alternative
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