While the energetics may feel different, these transitions in our day are equally powerful times to reflect on the meaning of rest. Our days, for the most part, are characterized by busyness, but all too often that state of mind carries over into the night. Whether it’s staying up too late working or scrolling, or struggling to fall or stay asleep, the dark part of our day is often not as restful as it could be, making our waking lives seem like a dream—or nightmare. There are many ways to improve one’s quality of sleep, but from an Ayurvedic perspective it all comes down to our eating habits. Namely, eating too late at night, or eating foods that aggravate the vata dosha (salads and raw foods; dry, crunchy snacks; cruciferous and leafy vegetables; caffeine) can set us up for a fitful night of sleep. When we wake up in the morning, we might not have an appropriate appetite for breakfast, which then initiates a snowball effect of delayed eating and insufficient energy to go about our day. Leaving a few hours of space between your last meal and bed is a healthy habit to get into if sleep is an issue for you. But we can also support sleep through the foods we choose to eat at the seams of the day—and this Vegan Pear Bread Pudding fits the bill as an excellent dessert-slash-breakfast food that has the potential to soothe the mind for sleep even as it supports circulation and digestion to keep you feeling alert and strong while you’re awake. One of the superstar spices of this warm, not-too-sweet, and comforting pudding is nutmeg. It’s name in Sanskrit, the language of Ayurveda, means “intoxicating fruit,” which you’ll find accurate if you ever took a whiff of this floral, citrusy spice. Just a pinch packs a big punch for supporting the nervous system, drawing the vata dosha that can wreak havoc on a good night’s sleep down from the head, as well as alleviating restless legs and other pain. At the same time, it’s a gentle support for cramping and spasms in the digestive tract, can clear mucus from the lungs, and is an aphrodisiac (which in Ayurveda means supportive of reproductive tissue, not just arousing). Nutmeg, along with other spices like cardamom and saffron, are among a special group of herbs that support a trifecta of bodily functions per Ayurveda—the circulation of lymph, prana, and the mind, and support the creation of high-quality ojas. Combined with cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, nutmeg adds brightening flavor, aroma, and potent herbal medicine to this simple, delicious (and simply delicious!) meal to end, or start, your day. Enjoy it on a holiday, or any day, and be prepared to taste, and feel, the magic at the seams of your day. Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 45 minutes Serves: 6-8 2 tablespoons ground flax meal 1 cup almond milk 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 tablespoons coconut oil, solid 1 1⁄2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger 1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves 3 Barlett (or red) pears, chopped 1⁄2 cup raisins 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped 1 cup rolled oats 2 tablespoons coconut sugar 4 cups bread (roughly 1⁄2 loaf), cubed Jennifer Kurdyla is an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, yoga teacher, and writer. Plant-based since 2008, she learned to love food by experimenting with vegan and Ayurvedic cooking in her tiny New York kitchens. She is the co-author of Root & Nourish: An Herbal Cookbook for Women's Wellness (Tiller Press), and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Read more about her wellness services and educational resources at https://jenniferkurdyla.com/ and on Instagram @jenniferkurdyla.
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