Learn the keys to adding the most important ingredient of all to your meals: higher awareness. Diksha McCord shows a wide variety of ways to transform your cooking into a joyful experience that will uplift you as well as everyone who eats your meals. You’ll learn how to transform your kitchen into a sacred space, as well as increase your knowledge of vegetarian cooking and nutrition.

The Healing Kitchen is a multi-cultural culinary tour through the four seasons. You’ll receive expert guidance for matching your meals to each season for maximum nutrition, health, and vitality—and minimum effort.

The Healing Kitchen offers:
· More than 200 easy recipes—most are vegan (dairy-free and gluten-free)
· Tips for spiritualizing your cooking
· Healthy habits of eating that don’t compromise taste
· 8 Complete Meals for all seasons, plus special holiday meals
· Healthy and delicious smoothies, drinks, and herbal teas
· How to grow and use sprouts
· Basic recipes for grains, legumes, vegetables, sauces, and dressings
· How to make breads and gluten-free desserts
· How to make gourmet, healthy pizza
· A 9-day cleansing diet
· Special bonus: 4 free video classes for holiday meals with recipes (Thanksgiving, 
  Christmas, Easter, and Fourth of July)

This book is based on, and a companion work to, Diksha McCord’s popular online video series, Vegetarian Cooking for Health and Vitality. 

Diksha McCord

Diksha McCord (Blanche Agassy McCord) was the head chef at The Expanding Light Yoga and Meditation Retreat for seven years, where she now teaches vegetarian cooking classes. She also teaches meditation, yoga, and spiritual living classes. She grew up in Israel where she learned Kosher
cooking. She also lived in Japan for three years and was a research
student at Kyoto Art University. While living in Kyoto she studied
Temple cooking with a Buddhist monk. She has also studied Ayurvedic,
macrobiotic and Indian cooking from premier California chefs.

Diksha has been part of the Teaching staff at the Expanding Light Yoga and Meditation Retreat for over 11 years. She graduated from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Fine Arts and from Bezalel National Academy of The Arts.

Diksha is the author of Vegetarian Cooking for Starters: Simple Recipes & Techniques for Health & Vitality and Global
Kitchen: Vegetarian Favorites from The Expanding Light Yoga Retreat


Preface | Acknowledgments | Diksha’s Journey to Vegetarianism | Spiritual Background

Part 1: Introduction
How to Use This Book | Yoga and Food | Spiritual Qualities of Foods | Principles of a Vegetarian Diet | How to Spiritualize Your Cooking |  Healthy Habits of Eating

Part 2: Essentials for Vegetarian Cooking
Guidelines for Successful Cooking | Useful Kitchen Utensils | A Guide to Cooking Grains | A Guide to Cooking Legumes | A Guide to Steaming Vegetables

Part 3: Meals for All Seasons
Blessing the Food | Spring Meals | Summer Meals | Fall Meals | Winter Meals

Part 4: Specials
Healthy Smoothies | Healthy Drinks | Healthy Teas | Sprouts | Digestive Herbal Blends | Summer Salads | Gourmet Pizza | Yeasted Breads | Quick Breads | Turkish Baklava | Gluten-Free Desserts

Part 5: Basic Recipes
Breakfast Cereals | Grains | Legumes | Vegetables | Sauces | Dressings

Part 6: Appendices
Glossary | How to Make Ginger Juice | How to Make Ghee | Nine-Day Cleansing and Vitalizing Diet | Measures and Weights Conversion | Converting to Natural Ingredients (Substitutions) | Index | About the Author | About The Expanding Light | Further Resources


In 1993 I moved to Ananda Village, a spiritual community in Northern California. For the next seven years I served in the kitchen of The Expanding Light, Ananda’s yoga and meditation retreat facility.

During those years I developed a wide variety of meals that were light and nutritious, yet original and tasty. We wanted our retreat guests—vegetarians and non-vegetarians—to enjoy every meal and to feel satisfied by their vegetarian fare. We also wanted them to feel alert and energetic afterwards, so that their meals would enhance their practice of yoga and meditation.

Those years led to my first two cookbooks: Global Kitchen and Vegetarian Cooking for Starters.

Because there was much that I didn’t include in those cookbooks, in 2012 I led a team that created a yearlong, ninety-seven-episode, four-season, online cooking show. In these videos I show in detail how to prepare many different types of meals, with an eye toward eating appropriately for each season of the year. To learn more about the online series, visit http://www.expandinglight.org/online-learning/vegetarian-cooking/.

This book includes those recipes—the culmination of many years of testing and refining with the intent of delighting vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. This book is designed to help you:
• Explore the creative possibilities of a plant-based diet, rich in all the nutrients you need for a healthy life.
• Feel satisfied with healthful eating.
• Cook delicious food filled with vitality: meals that are light, easy to digest, low in fat, and that fill the body with energy and strength.
• Discover recipes simple and easy enough for everyday eating.
• Attune to higher consciousness as you cook, so that you share vibrations of love and joy through your meals.

Whether you want to become a vegetarian or would just like to incorporate more plant-based dishes into your diet, you will benefit from this cookbook. As you try these simple recipes, you will learn how to prepare tasty, nourishing dishes and easily create balanced, satisfying, and healthy meals.

How to Use This Book

This book includes six parts:
Part 1: The yogic approach to cooking and how to spiritualize your cooking. To gain the most from this book, read part 1 first.

Part 2: Guidelines for successful cooking, including the use of kitchen utensils, how to cook grains and legumes, and how to steam vegetables.

Part 3: Complete vegetarian meals. For each of the four seasons we’ve included eight complete meals, plus one or two special holiday meals.

Each meal includes all parts of a healthy vegetarian diet: vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates. In our online Vegetarian Cooking for Health and Vitality course, I demonstrate how to cook each meal.

Depending on your inclination, you can follow the book season by season, or experiment with different meals from different seasons. Cooking with a friend or family member will add fun and the motivation to continue. For variety, try recipes from part 4: Special Recipes and from part 5: Simple Individual Recipes. No matter how you use this book, you’ll benefit from it.

Part 4: Special recipes for smoothies, healthy drinks, original tea blends, salads, desserts, and breads. The specials are also demonstrated in videos in our online Vegetarian Cooking for Health and Vitality course.

Part 5: Simple individual recipes such as those for breakfast cereals, grains, legumes, vegetables, sauces, and dressings.

Part 6: In the glossary section, you will find information about uncommon foods. Throughout the book, these special foods will be marked with an asterisk (*) to let you know you can learn more about them in the glossary. In part 6 you will also learn how to make ginger juice and ghee, and how to prepare for and do a nine-day cleansing diet.