This entry is part of 4 in the series Meal Plan Monday

A nutrient-packed, savory Indian curry Ayurvedic Red Lentil Soup from the PeaceMeals recipe box along with an interview from the PeaceMeals founder, Cath. Today’s printable meal plan is below the recipe.

I’m mixing things up a bit today and doing an interview with my friend Cath who is the Founder and Director of the PeaceMeals program. (If you’ve been reading for a while you may remember my Sweet Potato Medallions guest post with Elizabeth at Elizabeth Lives. Cath and Elizabeth are sisters. Their whole family is incredible and near and dear to my heart.)

Cath and her husband recently stayed with us for a few weeks while they were waiting for the lease to start at their new home. During one of our many shared meals, she told me about her PeaceMeals dream. It’s an amazing program, and I immediately asked her if she would let me do an interview so I could share her program with y’all. She even sent me this delicious recipe for Ayurvedic Red Lentil Soup to go along with it. (And because I know you’re all wondering the same thing I was – Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India.)

Here’s our interview:

Me: Tell me a bit about yourself. What do you enjoy?

Cath: Hi! My name is Cath. I’m originally from Wisconsin, but have bounced around locations quite a bit.  In the past, I have worked and done research on conflict resolution, human rights, and recovery from trauma. However, I recently left the professional world to go back to school to pursue my true passion: gathering people into supportive communities and nourishing them around the dinner table.

Me: Tell me about PeaceMeals. What’s your elevator pitch?

Cath: PeaceMeals is a program which helps people learn to nourish themselves – in every sense of the word. Particularly after tough experiences of grief or stress, PeaceMeals gathers individuals in the kitchen and around the dinner table to build authentic communities of support and to educate on targeted nutrition.

Me: What inspired you to start PeaceMeals?

Cath: The idea for PeaceMeals first came from my work with survivors of conflict in Senegal. I saw how people related to each other and former antagonists became brothers around shared tables. I have seen this again and again throughout the world and the US: beyond the high-level political meetings, interpersonal peace is formed when we humanize “the other” and really get real with each other. This is where neighbors are made because food is the universal equalizer: we all have to eat! In contrast, I have learned through personal experience that interior peace happens when we take care of our bodies, for example with the proper nutrients and mindful eating.

I was inspired to start PeaceMeals so that I could help facilitate peace between people and within people. I feel that God has called me to be a healer – not in a hippie, mystical sort of way – but in a real, practical way, as a convener of broken people. And we’re all a little broken, right?

Me: What’s the most rewarding thing about hosting a PeaceMeal?

Cath: I love that moment, just as the meal is winding down, when I look around and see people lean back in their chairs with contented sighs and smiles. You know what I mean? Good food, good discussion, good friendships formed. It’s a rare and beautiful form of peace.

Me: How do participants react to a PeaceMeal?

Cath: Most of them react pretty positively, having learned new recipes and self-care techniques and made new friendships (or solidified old ones!). I have had some individuals think that this was some sort of diet program or political agenda, which it most certainly is not.

Me: What makes a PeaceMeal different from a dinner party?

Cath: At “typical” dinner parties, usually the host runs around like a chicken with their head cut off, trying to plan and prep every detail. Well, I do the planning and pick the most appropriate dishes for the group. But the whole group cooks the dinner together, sets the table, and helps clean up. We are each others’ hosts AND honored guests.

It’s a relaxed and meal, but it does have purpose. If needed, I will guide discussion with questions or information on targeted nutrition, but most of the time the groups have no problem getting into really meaningful conversations. At a PeaceMeal, guests walk away with a few unique things:

1. Better friendships that they can call upon when they need support

2. Recipes and reference guides that give ideas on what to eat when they are feeling blue, anxious, or fatigued, etc.

3. Skills for mindful eating

4. Leftovers! (if there are any…)

Me: You told me you moved here to go to culinary school. What will your culinary school program help you do?

Cath: Through my previous education and work, I have learned “therapeutic skills” like dialogue, active listening, group support, mindful eating, and hospitality. However, I realized I was missing some essential pieces, namely formal culinary training and nutrition education. I could only guide guests as far as I could do independent research. I have gone back to culinary school in order to be a better teacher and to expand my repertoire of nutrition education (and recipes!)

Me: What are you hoping to do with your new culinary education after you finish?

Cath: After I finish, I am hoping to work in the field of nutrition and cooking education, particularly for individuals who have been through tough experiences, such as grief, trauma, conflict, or ongoing stress. I want to facilitate healing through food in some way. Ideally, this would be through PeaceMeals, in whatever form it may take in the future.

Also, I want to nourish myself, my family, and my friends. I have had a lot of lovely dinners I need to pay forward!

Me: What’s your favorite recipe to make?

Cath: Oh gosh. That’s like asking a painter which painting is their favorite. I really like this soup recipe, as it warms you heart and soul (and belly.) But I have to say, I love experimenting with baking, especially gluten free and recipes with more natural and good-for-you types of sweeteners. I love it when people say “There’s no sugar in this?!?”

I also make a mean batch of granola…

Me: What’s a big “out there” dream you have for PeaceMeals?

Cath: Ideally, I would like to see PeaceMeals as an established nonprofit, helping survivors of trauma, as a true ministry. The BIG dream, however, would be for my husband and I to live in a house that we now affectionately call “The Refuge”, where people can come and live for a while when they need to recharge and reset. Not like a hotel or retreat center or halfway house. Rather, a big, welcoming space with a therapeutic garden, cooking space, and a big farm table to hold PeaceMeals. Somewhere by water. I pray regularly that God would provide that space for us to steward someday.

Me: How can people get involved to help make PeaceMeals happen?

Good question! I have actually just launched a fundraising campaign to help defray the costs of going to culinary school and building PeaceMeals. Quitting my stable job and moving across the country was a huge risk, and not cheap. But I believe these kinds of steps of faith are necessary at critical times in order to fulfill your calling and allow God to shine.

I appreciate all the support I can get! Be it prayer and/or a contribution to my indiegogo life campaign (which you can find here), every little bit counts! Feel free to spread the word via your own social medias!  Please note that PeaceMeals is NOT a registered nonprofit or business, so donations are not tax deductible. I have high hopes, but as yet, this is an informal project.

Here’s a video telling more about her campaign. This red lentil soup makes a few different appearances. See if you can spot them all!

Here’s the recipe. I love that she lists out all the benefits for you! So many good things going on in this soup. You can also check out the PeaceMeals blog here, or find her on Facebook.

Ayurvedic Red Lentil Soup

2015-01-25 00:14:25

Serves 6

A nutrient-packed, savory Indian Curry Soup from the PeaceMeals recipe box.

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Prep Time

15 min

Cook Time

45 min

Total Time

1 hr

Prep Time

15 min

Cook Time

45 min

Total Time

1 hr


1 cup yellow split peas

1 cup red split lentils (masoor dal)

7 cups water

2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger

2 tablespoons curry powder

1 tsp. turmeric

8 green onions, thinly sliced

1/3 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 14-ounce can coconut milk

2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt

One small handful cilantro, chopped

Chopped figs (optional)

cooked brown rice or naan bread, for serving (optional)


Rinse the split peas and lentils until they no longer put off murky water. Place them in an extra-large soup pot, cover with the water, and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and add 1 tbsp ginger. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the split peas are soft.

In a bowl, mix the onions, the remaining ginger, raisins, tomato paste, turmeric, curry, and salt.

Add this mixture to the simmering soup along with the carrots and coconut milk.

Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so. The texture should thicken up, but you can play around with the consistency if you like by adding more water, a bit at a time. Or simmer longer for a thicker consistency.

Ladle into bowls and sprinkle generously with cilantro, chopped figs, and the remaining green onions.

Serve with brown rice or naan bread.


This soup will give you the energy you need to deal with the fatigue and stress of the daily grind. Split peas and lentils are a good vegetarian source of protein, which supplies long-term energy, instead of a spike and crash.

Split peas contain Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5), which is known as the most potent anti-stress vitamin. This is useful for when you’re in the thick of exams or work projects.

The peas also contain lecithin, which promotes energy and immunity. This is useful especially during the cold winter months when our bodies are more susceptible to viruses.

Coconut milk and Lentils contain choline, which strengthens brain cells and helps transmit messages, helping us feel sharper, less mentally fatigued.

Ginger has numerous health benefits. According to Dr. George Mateljan, “ginger can not only be warming on a cold day, but can help promote healthy sweating, which is often helpful during colds and flus…German researchers have recently found that sweat contains a potent germ-fighting agent [dermicidin] that may help fight off infections.” It has also long been used to treat gastrointestinal distress, so if you feel the first signs of flu coming on, whip up a pot of this soup!

Turmeric, raisins, and dried figs have a high concentration of iron, which is essential for combatting anemia and boosting energy through healthy blood flow.

Tomato paste has concentrated Vitamin C, which boosts immunity, and Malic Acid, which is essential for proper sugar metabolism and energy production.

This soup is filling, without weighing you down. Split peas, lentils, carrots, and brown rice are packed with fiber, which can flush out our digestive system and reduce sluggishness. Split peas in particular provide a good amount of soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol, prevent digestive disorders, and balance blood sugar.

By Cath from PeaceMeals

Sustaining the Powers http://www.sustainingthepowers.com/

(I’ve heard that you get several more recipes if you donate to her campaign. I know I’m planning to!)

Meal Plan Monday 1/26-2/1:

Click Here for the (Now Mobile-Friendly) Weekly Shopping List Printable!

This meal plan is designed to feed approximately 4 adults at each meal or two adults with lunches left over. Feel free to double or add to it as needed.  **You’ll need to open it with the free Adobe Reader App (Android or iOS) to be able to use the check boxes, so install that first if you don’t have it already.**

Monday: Ayurvedic Red Lentil Soup (see recipe above) (gluten-free, vegan) – This soup is a super-nutritious meal packed with unique Indian flavors.

Tuesday: Taco Wrap Deluxe from Emily Bites (gluten-free if using GF tortillas, vegetarian if using vegetarian taco “meat”)- These taco wraps are a lightened up version of Taco Bell’s Crunch Wrap Supreme. Crunch Wrap Supremes are totally my guilty pleasure, so I love that I don’t have to feel bad about them!

Wednesday: Crock-Pot Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs by I Wash You Dry (gluten-free if using GF meatballs, vegetarian/vegan if using vegan “meatballs”) - You may remember this recipe from Crocktober. It’s become a favorite in our house for an easy, filling, healthy meal.

Thursday: Asparagus-Spinach Pesto Pasta with Blackened Shrimp by Gimme Some Oven (gluten-free if using GF pasta, vegetarian/vegan if you leave out the shrimp) – The pesto in this dish is full of asparagus and spinach. It’s a healthy version of comfort food.

Friday: Pizza Night! Chicken Tzatziki Pizza by Foodie Crush (gluten-free if using GF pita, vegetarian if you leave out the chicken) – These awesome pizzas are baked on pita bread and have my favorite toppings: kalamata olives, feta, chicken, artichoke hearts, and sun dried tomatoes.

Saturday: Date Night – Eat Out.

Sunday: Y.O.Y.O. (You’re on your own.)

Have a great week!

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The post An Interview with Cath From PeaceMeals: Ayurvedic Red Lentil Soup + Meal Plan Monday #4 appeared first on Sustaining the Powers.

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