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  • Betsi Iris

How To Make a Healing, Nourishing Buddha Bowl

Updated: Sep 16

published by MindBodyGreen


On a yoga retreat years ago I was introduced to the Buddha Bowl. A meal-sized bowl filled with pure vegan food and accompanied by a blessing or prayer. After loosing my beloved father to stomach cancer, I decided to make the Buddha Bowl a part of my daily routine. I felt this ritual would honor my father's life and my health...


I had no idea at age 12 when I became a vegetarian in a family of happy carnivores that a tragic timeline lay ahead. It wasn't easy to explain to my concerned father why I didn't like eating animals or why drinking milk made my stomach ache. As the oldest of five, my father often pleaded with me at the dinner table, “please be reasonable" he worried my little brothers may stop eating their meat too!


At 16 I lost my Dad’s mother and sister to cancer. And at 17 while friends basked in the freedom of college life, I spent my free time exploring nutrition and the mechanics of the body. I became a serious student of macrobiotics and after a decade branched out to include raw and vegan options. With every passing year I began to harness the power of vibrant health. I knew which foods made me stronger or what I needed to eat to re-balance in times of stress, illness or travel.


Several years after the birth of my first child I received a surprise visit from Dad who had flown to Boulder to see me. It wasn't a planned family visit like usual. I remember his soft blue eyes, glassy with emotion as he shared his horrible news: Dad had advanced gastric cancer. I was shocked and very sad, but he had "little time left" according to his doctors.


Determined to do all I could, I stayed with Dad for many months. I cooked him all his meals, mostly in a macrobiotic style. I taught him about prayer and meditation...it was a time for Dad to lean on me for a change. He ended up living for 3 more years, well past the six months the doctors predicted. There was lots of love around Dad during that time… family and friends got to say goodbye.


A pivotal moment for me was when my father, once the pillar of strength in our family said with stirring humility "Betsi, I'm sorry for the times I questioned your choices. In the past year I have come to realize you were right, choosing a healthy diet and lifestyle is best."


As we sit for our regular evening dinner, sometimes one of my kids will joke about Mom’s Buddha Bowl. But mostly, they've come to expect my big bowl usually filled with tons of raw kale, veggies, some beans and whole grains. This ritual connects me to Dad each evening and as I say a quiet prayer...I feel grateful for love, life and good health!


Create YOUR own Buddha Bowl:

1. Find a unique, large sized bowl which you can become accustomed to as a symbol of nourishment and gratitude (maybe some chopsticks to complete the mood?).

2. Use an abundance of raw organic greens and fill the majority of the bowl. My favorites are kale, arugula and watercress which are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.

3. Next, add in as many raw, steamed or roasted veggies as you like. Mixing textures and variations in taste can be an enjoyable creative process:

crunchy, sweet, bitter, juicy …

4. Now it’s time for protein — I like to keep it light in the evening so I add 25% protein/grains and the rest veggies. I choose pressure cooked beans or tempeh, and grains such as millet or sorghum. Other delicious proteins could be walnuts, hemp tofu, sesame seeds or ground flax seeds.


Dressing YOUR Buddha Bowl:

This final touch is the best part and can be as varied as a flower arrangement. Drizzle your favorite olive oil and vinegar, splash Braggs Coconut Aminos and lemon juice, add finely chopped garlic, scallions, olives, artichokes, nutritional yeast or cayenne pepper…

Discover what feels nourishing to your body, concentrate on tingling your taste buds!

And of course, remember to enjoy with gratitude...


Vegan, lectin-free, plant based, self-care, healing grief, rituals, creativity, making it all matter.





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