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  • Gregory Barnes

Staying well in cold weather

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

In the Southern Hemisphere, we’re entering 'cold and flu season’.

To minimise risk of viral infection:

  1. wash hands with soap and water after being out in public. If you’ve been handling soil, scrub under your finger nails too.

  2. avoid getting too close to infected people, especially those who are coughing and sneezing

  3. eat a wide range of colourful fruits and vegetables. Enjoy my Rainbow Dhal recipe below.

  4. protect your sleep time. Good quality sleep is paramount for a healthy functioning immune system, eg:

  • use dim, warm to reddish lights at night

  • avoid TV / music after 9pm

  • finish taking stimulants like caffeine, sugar and theobromine (chocolate) by lunchtime

  • stick to your usual pre-bed routine so your system can prepare for sleep each night

  • wear an eye mask and/or ear plugs if light and noise tend to wake you too early

  • take Celestial Seasonings’ Sleepy Time Tea (or similar) an hour before bed – limit to half a cup if the need to urinate wakes you

Rainbow Dhal Recipe

vegetarian, sugar, gluten, lactose and nightshade-free (vegan/grain-free option)

serves 4 to 6

delicious, complete protein meal

Rainbow Dhal is a great dish for Autumn and Winter. Root vegetables have much more vitality at this time of year, as they pull all their nutrients back into their rhizomes and tubers to get through the Winter. Enjoy the extra vitamins, minerals and beneficial phyto-chemicals (check out The Nutrition Rainbow). The stimulating spices in this dish help make us feel warm inside. They contain useful essential oils to combat cancer, inflammation, fatigue and a wide range of infections. Enjoy!



  • 1 tablespoon black or yellow mustard seeds (use fennel seeds if you’re prone to gas)

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds

  • 1 tablespoon ghee (vegans can use coconut oil)


  • 1 tablespoon ghee (vegans can use coconut oil)

  • 1 teaspoon asafoetida, aka Hing Wah ^

  • 2 stock cubes (I use salt-reduced veggie stock)

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger root

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped turmeric root

  • 1 cup red lentils or split yellow mung beans soaked overnight, or for at least 8 hours

  • 2 cups of assorted root vegetables (choose the most colourful)

  • 1 cup assorted green vegetables (eg: peas, green beans, zucchini, cabbage)

  • water

  • 400 ml coconut milk (optional)

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 cup of brown rice, or substitute with pseudo grains like multi-coloured quinoa, teff or buckwheat

  • 1 small bunch of fresh coriander or parsley leaves

  • unsweetened coconut yogurt

  • fresh lemon or lime juice

  • papadams


  1. the night before, soak the lentils or mung beans in a bowl, covered with water to about 2 cm. Place some sort of lid over this to keep out insects (a dinner plate or glad wrap)

  2. do the same with the rice or pseudo grains in their own bowl

  3. the next day, in a 4 litre pot, sauté asafoetida, chopped ginger and turmeric in ghee for 3 mins (stir continuously, careful not to burn)

  4. rinse and drain red lentils or mung beans and add to the pot. Sauté a further 5 mins (stir continuously, careful not to burn)

  5. add chopped vegetables and stock cubes

  6. add enough water to cover the mixture and bring to the boil. Stir regularly to avoid the contents sticking to the pot.

  7. reduce heat and simmer with the lid on for about 50 mins, or until the mung beans or lentils have broken down and the dhal has a thick consistency like porridge

  8. make the chonk by heating the extra ghee in a skillet until a single drop of water will ‘spat’, then add seeds. Sauté until the seeds start to ‘pop’. Transfer the chonk mixture into your main pot and stir well to combine

  9. add coconut milk and stir well to combine

  10. season to taste with salt and pepper

  11. allow dhal to cool to about 70ºC before eating

  12. While the dhal’s cooling, rinse and drain the rice or pseudo-grains and cook for the recommended length of time: brown rice about 40 mins, buckwheat, teff and quinoa about 20 mins

  13. place papadams on microwave oven plate. Cook on high for 1 min. Watch as they cook and remove from oven if any browning starts to occur

  14. place dhal servings in bowls

  15. add a generous dollop of coconut yoghurt, top with chopped coriander or parsley leaves, and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice

  16. enjoy eating this food while it’s warm

^ You can obtain most of these ingredients at your local Indian grocery store

* Soaking the lentils/beans and grains helps to remove harmful phyto-chemicals such as: enzyme inhibitors, which can flare up your joints over time

NB: Dhal has a lot of fibre in it, which is great for your intestinal health. However, sometimes when we introduce extra fibre into our diet the bacteria in the large intestine can produce excess gas as they break down the plant cellulose – until they get used to the new conditions. Fair warning!

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