Health & WellnessSustainability

Freedom from Pain in the Holiday Season

Japa K. Khalsa, DOM

As we move into the holiday season and go more deeply into the coolness of winter, it’s a great time for internal reflection and gentle cleansing. Culturally, the season is a time to purchase gifts, fuel the economy and… gain weight. But in New Mexico, in part because of our connection to the First Nationswith 23 tribes and 19 puebloswe can orient ourselves towards truthful living that values the Earth, our bodies and the collective. Allowing ourselves simple pleasures of life through cleansing, preparation of healing foods and careful attention to self-care makes holiday time a valuable opportunity to nourish and tend to internal reserves. Instead of participating in the madness of the holiday rush, take time to eat super healing foods that pamper you and keep you connected to our good Earth.

And…. who wouldn’t want to go to the next holiday gathering with glowing skin, loads of energy and a delicious dish with all green vegetables on a festive red platter?

Maybe you’re one of those lucky folks that has a greenhouse and can grow kale in the wintertime. Either way, there is a shopping list below and some recipes to try.

Here is a simple cleanse for you to experiment with for three to 10 days. It’s very easy to understand because you focus solely on allgreen foods! Yes, allgreen veggies, green beans and green fruits in delicious combinations. This is an easy-to-do diet that reduces inflammation systemically so that you hopefully have less pain, less fatigue, and more energy.

The AllGreens Wintertime Anti-Inflammatory Diet

If you can try it just for three to five days you will see a difference, but if you really want to see a change, try it with the supervision of your health care provider for six weeks. The more greens you eat, the more you will enjoy doing it because you will start feeling so alive. If you like coffee, try switching to green tea or cardamom tea for a few days to reduce acids in the body. If you like pasta, try switching to mung bean pasta from the health food store.  

The greens diet is a simple way to rebuild the body. It will quickly alkalinize the body, help your digestion, clear your skin and support the health of the liver. For however long you decide to try this, eat only green foods. That means salads, steamed greens, avocados, sprouts, green olives, and mung beans. Stir-fry thinly sliced cruciferous veggies like cabbage and broccoli; add a little cumin and tamari for flavor. Try a green taco; roll up guacamole in romaine lettuce and sprinkle chopped green olives on top. If you want something sweet, try green fruits like apples, limes and green grapes, unless you are doing this diet to correct acne or blood sugar issues. Hot tea (preferably green) or warm veggie broths should be taken throughout the days on the plan. If you feel that you need more protein, you can eat a handful of nuts and a portion of cooked grains, but don’t overdo it! Eating too many nuts and grains may result in a stomach ache and disrupt digestion. When you shift off the greens diet, add fruits, then grains, and last incorporate an animal product like dairy.

Here is a website with many extra ideas and recipes for this feel great food plan:

Shopping List and Recipe Ideas:

Avocados, guacamole, pesto, basil garlic dipping sauce (roast a garlic bulb, blend with basil, salt, olive oil)

Asparagus, celery, broccoli, bok choy, brussel sprouts, parsnip, collard soup with a little apple cider vinegar

Artichokes, sprouts and sprouted mung beans

Vegetable pie with hemp seed and sprouted mung bean crust baked with layers of green veggies

Green Tacos: Romaine lettuce filled with delicious guacamole

Broth with different greens; green onions, leeks, mung beans, edamame, sautéed greens

Green soup with lime tahini sauce seeds (see below for recipe)

Snacks: Fresh green peas, kale chips, guacamole, figs, pears, cucumbers, green juices, hemp, flax, sunflower, sesame seeds, watermelon seeds

Fruit snacks: Green apples, green grapes, kiwis, limes, honeydew melon

From the book Foods for Health & Healing, Pg. 76–77 (Based on the teachings of Yogi Bhajan). For more information;

Serve any of these dishes on red plates, and your food is looking festive for the holidays!

Green Veggie Creamy Soup

Green Veggie Creamy Soup

Chop coarsely: 3 zucchinis, 8 celery stalks, 1 head of parsley, steam for 10 minutes. Blend until smooth with veggie stock or water. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with lime tahini sauce.

Lime Tahini Sauce

Blend all ingredients together to make a tangy sauce:

Juice of 1 lime

4 Tbsp tahini

2 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic

1 tsp maple syrup

1 tsp tamari

Sprouted Mung Bean Pancakes

Sprouted Mung Beans Pancakes

1 cup mung beans soaked overnight, rinsed

Salt, pepper

Blend mung beans thoroughly, add salt and pepper to taste and a splash of tamari,1 Tbsp. of oil, salt and pepper…add water until pancake batter consistency

If it gets too thin, add a bit of Gluten Free flour mix to even it out

Pour a pancakesized dollop onto a very hot, oiled griddle to fry

Before flipping over, sprinkle chopped green onions or chopped cilantro for flavor on top

Dash of cumin on the griddle also tastes great

Flip over after a few minutes.

Serve hot with creamy lime tahini sauce and chopped spinach

One More Tip for Sore Joints

So you’ve done the greens diet plan, but somehow you still have a few aches and pains. Here is an easy pain relief protocol that may have some actual healing benefits for your ligaments and tendons. It uses either ice or heat to soothe the area, depending on the type of injury and your personal preference. Rubefacient oils act to distract the body from the pain, but the oil is also believed to have a penetrating effect on the painful area as well. One night when you are relaxing at home with your wood stove going, take some time for yourself to help a sore spot.

Slather the joint with Sore Muscle Oil from Soothing Touch, a locally owned company that manufactures in Santa Fe.

Sore Muscle Oil

Then stick your joint into a bucket of cold water and ice or stick ice packs on the joint. Keep it iced for 20 minutes, take it out of the ice for 20 minutes, then slather more oil on it and repeat. According to yogic philosophy, the ice and cold helps drive the plants in the oil into the joint and helps it heal. Be careful to avoid getting the oil in your eyes. Wash your hands after applying.

Muscle pain for chronic or inflamed muscles

Rub the sore or painful area with Sore Muscle Oil and put a heating pad on the area.

The heat and oil will relax the muscles and support proper alignment of the area.

By Japa K. Khalsa, DOM

Japa K. Khalsa, DOM, is co-author of Enlightened Bodies; Exploring Physical and Subtle Human Anatomy. She travels and teaches as an International Kundalini Yoga Teacher Trainer and inspirational speaker and teaches yoga in Santa Fe on Mondays at the Railyard. Email:

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