Conscious Eating

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Welcome to Conscious Eating. What follows will not be a new dietary ideology, super food, or miracle cleanse. Rather, we will explore a life long, lifestyle approach to food based on the Ayurvedic Paradigm of Health.

Before we dive into the main course, however, here’s a few observations on food and health throughout the ages. Even if you are unfamiliar with the quotes, you may recognize some the names:

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."

Hippocrates

"The first wealth is health."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Each patient carries his own doctor inside him."

Norman Cousins

"No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means."

Maimonides

“There is no magic bullet. You gotta eat healthy and live healthy to be healthy. End of story." Morgan Spurlock

“Eating comfort food isn't a reward — it's a punishment."

Drew Carey

The Principle of Conscious Eating is about far more than WHAT we eat. Ultimately, our goal is to choose foods that support and sustain life, longevity and good health. In addition, what we eat should prevent us from experiencing illnesses and alleviate their symptoms, should they occur.

Are your current habits around food, which include not only WHAT, but WHEN and HOW you eat, working well for you. Can you say, without hesitation, that the your food habits are leading to abundant physical mental and emotional health?”

The word Conscious comes from the Latin word, scīre, meaning, “to know” or “to understand,” Conscious eating requires observation and attentiveness. We take on the role of observers or Ayurvedic detectives. This means paying attention to what, how and when you eat as well as your digestive experience.

According to Ayurveda, it’s not a question of whether any particular food is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Rather, you learn to observe how YOUR body process what you eat. The answer falls, roughly, into two categories, positive and negative digestive experiences. During and after a positive digestive experience, you feel satisfied, grateful and full of energy. The negative kind leads to what is technically referred to as ‘unhappy tummy’. Here, you may experience any or all of the following: bloating, gas, burning feeling, belching, lethargy and sleepiness.

Pretty big difference, huh?

Ayurveda sees the digestive tract as the “Master system” of the body. Food builds the physical body, mind and emotions. Just as every person is unique, all foods are not the same. Thus, generic diets, food plans, or cleanses WILL NEVER work for everyone. At best, these can only be effective for SOME of the people SOME of the time. This brings us to a simple truth, the definition of Conscious Eating: Continually Creating and Refining a Sustainable Eating Plan that Works for YOU.

This is a rich and, at times, complex practice. However, I will attempt to provide some basic Ayurvedic Principles and Guidelines in this article and the series of articles to follow. Are you ready?

THE BIG PICTURE

Conscious Eating, ultimately, is about our relationship with ourselves, our diet, and our environment. This includes: where we get our food, how it’s grown, the manner in which it is prepared, the amount and timing of our meals, the people with whom we eat as well as our own behavioral and emotional patterns, that is, our beliefs and feelings about ourselves and whatever we eat.

To eat consciously, we need to work from the inside out. We begin by going beneath our habitual relationship with food and getting to know the energetics of food and digestion.
It is our own digestive experience that determines whether what we eat is supporting our body’s metabolic processes or disrupting them. We have both the power and responsibility to create wellness and vitality. First, we must learn to read the subtle signs our body sends us. This includes our emotional states, as our diet directly affects our mood.

Conscious eating is when the individuals intake of food is supportive to health, vitality and wellbeing. My goal is that this becomes a lifestyle, a sustainable way of eating and living. Its our day to day habits over a long period of time that becomes our normal. If our habits are conscious, and moderate most of the time, then we steer ourselves on the path of health, because we take responsibility for our actions. With personal responsibility comes empowerment, which in turn leads to better understanding and choices. Its an upward spiral.

The Principals

1. Your health is your most valuable currency
Your body mind is your most valuable asset. If your are healthy and happy, then you can pursue your life’s purpose. However, if you are tired, low energy or frequently sick, then most of your time is focused on thinking, identifying with and the treatment of your particular malady. Your good health is your most valuable currency, everything starts with you!!!! Seems to me that investing in my health is the highest priority. Physical health is dependent on what you eat. Start by investing your time and attention on the foods that make your body come alive with vibrancy. Conscious eating is one of the three pillars that support health, the other two being sleep and energy.

2. Your Body/mind has to digest everything that comes in

Every day you consume food and drink in response to hunger and other external cues with little thought to how, your body converts it. When your metabolic process is working efficiently, your body should utilize 70-80% of all food eaten. However, when digestion is insufficient, the body is not able to break down or use the food properly. Faulty digestion is the beginnings of your body’s dis-ease.

Conscious eating is designed to educate and help you make connections with your digestive process.

3. Take responsibility for your consumption of food. This means the types and amounts of food consumed and the timing of meals. Im sure you have noticed from observing your family and friends that we all have different relationships and need of food. How much or little we eat, the frequency of meals, the types of foods etc. An important key too good health is to eat the appropriate amount and types of foods that maintain great health for you. Your body uses everything you put into it. Over time symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy and sluggishness become the norm and the immune system suffers.

4. The Burp is a practical exercise to rediscover your individual digestive capacity. Ayurvedic medicine states, that we should eat until we are not hungry. This is very different to eating until you are full.
“The stomach should be 1/2 filled by solid foods,

1/4 by water and 1/4 should be kept free for the movement of air”
The stomach naturally gives a burp when its three quarters 3/4 full.
Many of us have trained our stomachs to stretch by overeating or eating too frequently and this natural capacity has been overridden.

5. Eat real food
My greatest contribution to my health is that I love to prepare and cook my food.
I enjoy going to the farmers markets, searching for recipes and creating great food made with love.....nothing better. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine said
‘the forces within us are the true healers and food is the true medicine’
Eat a varied diet and buy the highest quality food you can. Mix it up and try a few vegetarian meals every week. Minimize meat and fish consumption. Try not to eat anything that comes in a box. Avoid or reduce all processed food, white sugar and trans fats. Instead create a diet based on plants, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and fruits. Get to know the foods that grow in your area and whats in season. When you eat seasonal, fresh, locally grown food, you deepen your connection with nature and your environment. As a result your body becomes revitalized.

6. Use spices to enhance digestive and metabolic capacity
Ayurveda recognizes that the foundation of good health rests on a healthy functioning digestive tract. Herbs and spices are used to enhance and support correct functioning of digestion and metabolism. Here we are using spices as medicine to correct, improve and regulate digestive fire. Spices can be used either before a meal to ignite the fire and increase digestion or after to facilitate the processing or metabolism of food.

In the next article I will discuss the burp and the three types of metabolic processes.

It's All About Perspective

Ayurveda makes a bold statement…“ You, the individual, have to digest everything that comes in”.

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Our bodies are amazing. Think about it for a minute, Your digestive tract has the ability to break down that veggie burger, salad, chocolate, xmas cookie or whatever food you ingest into a liquid to feed your body. Our diet builds the physical body, mind, emotions and spirit.  All aspects of human functioning are intelligent, in constant communication and operates much like a vast network. 

Your mind also has to digest everything that comes in through your senses. They are the portals or entry points through which we take in experiences. The mind downloads all sensory input. It then assigns it meaning, reference and emotions based on your family, friends and societal conditioning.

In a way, what we let in determines our view of reality.  What are you letting in?  How are you building your picture of the world?   Who is in charge of your attention? Do you control where you put your attention or are you at the beck and call of social media? Is your world view determined by outside forces? Oh, and what about your emotional state? Are you happy, optimistic, mentally flexible? What are your relationships like? Are you able to have conversations, or do you have a fixed, rigid perspective?

Time to take responsibility for your life and outlook. The goal of Yoga and Ayurveda is to create a healthy vibrant focused mind and body. Great emphasis is placed on the individuals power to choose what we let in. 
Our choice of where we put our attention, shapes our mental and emotional health. Positive input creates a happier mind. 

The word responsibility contains the word “respond” when we respond in the same way to a situation, we will get the same results.  But, when we take a different approach, then we create something new. Our mind becomes more adaptable and plastic…we create new things and in the course of taking new action we become empowered.  

The goal becomes one of moderating what you let in and what you keep out. Corporations, governments and some bloggers, make lots of money by pushing an agenda that shapes your view of the world. When our attention is outwardly focused, external events create our reality. We look to the outside world to determine if we are thin enough, rich enough, young enough and so on…However, when we learn to turn attention inwards and focus the mind, we become creators.

Bottom line you need a little bit of both, attention in and out. The path of Yoga and Ayurveda is one of moderation, enquiry and a cultivation of positive emotions…As the old saying goes. “a life unexamined is a life not lived” or something like that. 

So what do you do? Here are three things that work for me:

1. Start your day with a nurturing practice. Do something for you.
My morning rituals include, sitting in my garden, drinking my morning cup of coffee, whilst mentally giving thanks for the blessings in my life. I meditate for 30 minutes and then take Ruby my pooch on her morning walk. Then I’m ready to enter the world by reading emails and social media. I have found that limiting myself to 20 minutes of news per day works for me.  How you start your day determines your outlook for the rest of the day…what can you do that makes you feel great?
Pick one thing and practice it regularly for 30 days. 

2.  Surround yourself with positive happy people
Happiness is infectious. People who exude the traits you love, rub off on you. I have the good fortune of sharing my life for 13 years with my husband, Robert, who has a light and happy heart. Thankfully it has rubbed off on me!!!! Cultivating a happy optimistic perspective, means that I always expect things to turn out well.  It’s a practice that I cherish. 

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3. Count your blessings and bring meaning into your life “Every cloud has a silver lining”…yeah but when I’m in the thick of my stuff, I just can’t see it.

Everything I have read, and immerse myself in, suggests that happy positive people lead healthy, creative, abundant lives. This is my life’s journey. Every day, I give thanks for all the wonderful things that I have in my life. I go through a mental list and have consciously cultivated a happy, optimistic outlook on life. The current science and thinking states that we are both the observers and creators of our world………ready!!!!!!


in gratitude
Eleni
If you want to learn more please visit our website www.bellymindinstitute.com  for upcoming Ayurveda workshops and trainings.

Books that inspire me:
Dr. Joe Dispenza
Breaking the habit of being yourself OR
You are the placebo 

Pam Grout
E2
E3
Thank and Grow Rich
Living Big

Food as Meditation

Food as Meditation

Jerry Seinfeld once said, ‘Thank god for relationships. Without them, all we
would ever talk about is food. These days, wherever we look, we find a new
blog, book or ideology proclaiming the health benefits of a new superfood,
supplement or diet, guaranteed to give you, among other things, effortless
weight loss, boundless energy, mental clarity and eternal youth. So, of
course, you give it a try, and, voila, it works….. well, for a few weeks,
anyway. Then, unable to sustain this radical new way of eating, your back to
your old habits until…. the next fad diet promising, well, you know the same
results as the last one.

We have bought into a reductionist, cookie-cutter mentality, believing that
we can all eat the same thing and get the same results. Ayurveda, the
planet’s first nature-based medical system teaches that, although some
things are right for some people sometimes, nothing, no foods, fads or diets
are always right for everyone. This observation is based on the premise
that, each and every one of us, is completely different and totally unique.

With respect to food, the only universal truth is that we all need to eat.
Period. Beyond that, we each have various likes, dislikes, preferences
aversions and what we regard as the perfect meal. Every day, however, we
are faced with the same problem…having to choose. This dilemma brings
us to the topic of this blog...Food As Meditation.

First, let me explain a few concepts. Meditation is a tool for clarifying our
values and creating a calm and focused mind. It is a simple, yet profound practice which, eventually, transforms our perception and, ultimately, changes our behavior.

Classically, meditation is a three stage process requiring the abilities to:
1.Choose 2. Focus and 3. Sustain.

Choose - this is the most difficult step in meditation, as in order to choose to
eat certain foods, I must forgo a whole bunch of other food choices. Choice
comes from the inside. It implies taking in information from the outside,
filtering it through your individual experience and applying the parts that are
appropriate to you depending on your goals. This considered choice implies
reflection and commitment which leads to the second aspect of:

Focus. When I choose freely and willingly the foods that work for me then I
am more likely stay with these choices for a long time because it feels good
and its the right thing for me. With this as my foundation I am more likely to
stay the course and

Sustain my eating plan. Why because I am the one choosing based on
what feels right for my body. This is the ultimate meditation, someone who
takes their cues and changes their behavior based on what feels truly right
for them!

The Medicine Chest

The Medicine Chest

The goal of the medicine chest is to introduce you to the wonderful world of herbs and their many uses. Herbs have traditionally been used as foods, supplements and to cure ailments. Their use can help support your health from a very basic level, just as foods do. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, you could walk into a drug store in the United States and find hundreds of herbal extracts for sale. Upwards of 90 percent of the population at that time knew how to use the medicinal plants growing in their backyards to treat common illnesses and injuries.

The Benefits of Sleep

The Benefits of Sleep

Sleep is one of the three pillars, that form the foundation of high level health. The other two, Proper Food, and Energy Expenditure will be discussed in further articles.

In this article, we will explore the benefits of sleep and how we can create routines to support ourselves in this area. Proper rest is essential for well being. The body utilizes sleep as an opportunity to heal and repair the damage done while we are awake.  The quantity, quality and regularity of sleep is important. Too much or too little sleep will negatively impact the quality of your daily energy.

Let’s face it most of us are sleep deprived due to the demands of modern living. Did you know that adults need 8 hours sleep nightly and that babies and teenagers need more? Inadequate sleep over a long period of time, reduces the body’s immune system and increases the inflammatory response. Oh, and let’s not forget, the constant fatigue and mental fog. The good news however, is that adequate sleep, about 8 hours nightly increases, IQ, reduces the inflammatory response, increases immunity, and makes you look and feel amazing.

In previous, articles, I said that each dosha comes with its own unique gifts and challenges. The goal of Ayurveda is to pacify and reduce the imbalances, bringing each of us closer to our healthy selves. This fundamental concept is profoundly empowering. What we do daily will either aggravate or reduce a condition.

Let’s look at how each dosha is affected.

Vata dosha tend to be light sleepers, who are sensitive to noise. They awaken easily, most often between the hours of 2-4am and have difficulty falling back to sleep. When they do its usually between 5-6am and then they tend to oversleep. They wake up tired and use coffee and energy drinks to keep them going throughout the day. Too little sleep increases the light, mobile qualities of Vata dosha. The effects can be, weaker tissues/body, an aggravated nervous system, and a lowered immunity.

Pitta types tend to be good sleepers unless they have too much on their minds and stay up late working on projects. They feel their most productive or get a second wind late into the evening and early morning. This tendency to stay up late causes them to burn out, becoming overly intense, grumpy, and possibly angry. When they do get to bed, they toss and turn, reviewing the things they haven’t done or need to do. This aggravates their already hot, light, mobile qualities.

Kapha dosha tends towards too much sleep. They have difficulty waking up and moving. If they didn’t need to get up early, they would likely sleep in until 9-10am. Upon waking, they may feel sluggish and reach for coffee to get going. Excess sleep increases their heavy, static qualities.

Creating routines conducive to sleep

  • Commit to a regular bedtime, meaning lights out between 10-11pm.
  • Wake early. Kapha by 6am. Vata and pitta by 7am.
  • Eat your dinner at least three hours before bedtime. The body does internal cleansing during sleep.
  • Disconnect from all electronic media (TV, computers, phone, iPad etc.) a few hours before bedtime.
  • Switch off the lights and burn some candles for a softer environment.
  • Burn essential oils like lavender or chamomile.
  • Drink a cup of chamomile tea or a cup of warm milk with 1/2 tsp of fresh nutmeg and honey.
  • Do Abhyanga followed by a warm bath. Pay special attention to oiling the feet and scalp.
  • Jump into bed with a good book.

Doesn’t that sound great? Sweet Dreams!

Ayurvedic Travel Tips 101

Ayurvedic Travel Tips 101

It's summer and most of us will take a trip. Travel whilst exciting, with its new places, people and things can be destabilizing and increase our Vata (the force of movement).

Go Have fun, but create some daily rituals that will give you stability and routine.

My travel tips:

1.Before you drive or fly indulge in a long oil massage or Abhyanga and let it soak in for at least 20-30 minutes.

2. Make sure to lubricate all openings in body, think, ears, nose, lips, belly button, and top of head. Oil is heavy and moist. It pacifies the nervous system and guards against the dryness of air travel.

3. Make sure to take a two-ounce bottle of oil on your carryon. Once the plane has taken off, oil your feet and wear socks. During a long flight reapply oil to face, ears, nose, top of head and feet

4. Your thermos (a girl’s best friend).  I usually bring some fresh shredded ginger in a plastic bag. Place the ginger in the thermos, give to the flight attendant to fill with hot water and sip throughout the flight. Ginger tea is warming and improves peripheral circulation.

5. Sleep: I use ‘Sleep Easy’ from Banyan Botanicals. I find 4-6 pills gives me 6 hours of deep sleep.

6. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. 

7. Try to take only warm food. 

8. Make sure you stretch. I go to the back of the plane and do my stretches a couple of times during a trip.

9. When you arrive at your destination, stick to the local time. In the evening before bed, do a long abhyanga and take 1 tsp triphala with warm water. The abhyanga will ground you and the triphala will ensure regular bowel movements.

Enjoy your travels! Love, Eleni

Double Chocolate Cookies

Double Chocolate Cookies

You can use unsweetened carob, or grain sweetened chocolate chips, or do what I did and chop a bar of 70% dark chocolate. You can make your own crushed sunflower seeds in a mortar and pestle or by in a food processor until it is the texture of sand - don't go too far or you'll end up with sunflower seed butter. Ground pepitas will also work in this recipe. And lastly, the coconut oil works beautifully here, just be sure to warm it a bit - enough that it is no longer solid, which makes it easier to incorporate into the bananas.

  • 2-3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm - so it isn't solid
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup ground sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the top third.

In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, sunflower seeds, cacao powder, shredded coconut, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.The dough is a bit looser than a standard cookie dough, don't worry about it. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 1 - 2 tablespoons in size, an inch apart, onto a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Bake for 13 - 15 minutes. Until golden on the bottoms.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Recipes from 101cookbooks.com

Mung Quinoa Power Bowl

Mung Quinoa Power Bowl

This is great at room temperature, or reheated. It's quick to combine when you're ready for lunch. 

  • 4 tablespoons clarified butter or olive oil
  • 1 head celery cut into ½ inch segments
  • fine grain sea salt
  • 1 large clove garlic, very thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • big handful of dill, chopped
  • 2 ½ cups cooked mung beans
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cups water, or as much as needed

Toppings: lots of chopped green olives, lots of cherry or roasted cherry tomatoes, quick pickled red onions, big dollops of salted dill yogurt, thick threads of olive oil

Heat the butter in a large pan over medium-high heat, stir in the celery along with a few large pinches of salt. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the celery softens, and then starts to brown and caramelize. Stir in the garlic, and cook for another minute.

Stir in the chili flakes, ginger, turmeric, and paprika. Cook, stirring constantly, for another minute or until the spices are fragrant. Stir in the dill, the mung beans, the quinoa, and then 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup of water - enough that the mixture is moist, not dry. For serving - toppings are key, at the very least add a dollop of lightly salted yogurt to each bowl. Even better if you have any or all of the following on hand - green olives, salted dill yogurt, roasted cherry tomatoes, quick pickled red onions or shallots. 

Recipes from 101cookbooks.com

Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad

Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad

Dressing:

  •     1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  •     1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
  •     2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  •     1 tablespoon honey
  •     1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  •     1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

 Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces carrots, shredded on a box grater or sliced whisper thin on a mandolin
  •  2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15- ounce can, drained and rinsed)
  •  2/3 cup / 100 g dried pluots, plums, or dates cut into chickpea-sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup / 30 g fresh mint, torn
  • For serving: lots of toasted almond slices, dried or fresh rose petals - all optional (but great additions!)

To make the dressing, first toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant and lightly browned, a minute or two. Let cool, and grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle.

In a bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, ground cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the carrots, chickpeas, dried pluots, mint, and almonds, and rose petals (if you're including those as well.) Gently toss until everything is evenly coated. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (You can toss this salad, minus the almonds, hours in advance. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.)

Serves 6.

Recipe from 101cookbooks.com

Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Coconut Red Lentil Soup Recipe

Vegans - you can easily make this vegan by using coconut or olive oil in place of the butter called for.

  •     1 cup / 7 oz / 200g yellow split peas (Mung dahl)
  •     1 cup 7 oz / 200g red split lentils (masoor dal)
  •     7 cups / 1.6 liters water
  •     1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  •     2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger
  •     2 tablespoons curry powder ( use kashya + turmeric)
  •     2 tablespoons butter or ghee
  •     8 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  •     1/3 cup / 1.5 oz / 45g golden raisins
  •     1/3 / 80 ml cup tomato paste
  •     1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  •     2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  •     one small handful cilantro, chopped
  •   cooked brown rice or farro, for serving (optional)

Give the split peas and lentils a good rinse - 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. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot and 1/4 of the ginger. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft.

In the meantime, in a small dry skillet or saucepan over low heat, toast the curry/Kashaya powder until it is quite fragrant.  Be careful though, you don't want to burn it, just toast it. Set aside. Place the butter in a pan over medium heat, add half of the green onions, the remaining ginger, and raisins. Saute for two minutes stirring constantly, then add the tomato paste and saute for another minute or two more.

Add the toasted curry powder to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt. 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, if you like. Or simmer longer for a thicker consistency. The thicker this soup got, the more I liked it.

Serves 6.    Prep time: 10 min - Cook time: 35 min

Recipe from 101cookbooks.com

 

Mineralizing Bone Tea

I believe that herbs are a girl's best friend. They are nature's super foods and vitamin pill in one. Dried herbs come with minimal processing which means your body can utilize and digest them effectively. In Ayurveda and Western herbalism, herbs are consumed in groups or formulas. That's because as a group, they enhance the potency of the formula and balance any unwanted aspect that an individual herb may have. You will notice that all the teas on this site have at least 4 herbs. The herbs in this formula are rich in minerals, calcium, silica and posses antioxidant qualities. They support the mineralization of bones and supply nutrients, vitamins, moisture and elasticity to the body.

The Herbs

  • Nettle leaf
  • Oat straw
  • Hibiscus Flower
  • Horse Tail

All have a long and safe history of use in both Ayurvedic and Western herbalism. If you have not drunk strong herbal teas before, you may find that they have a grassy flavor. Add some honey and this will make the tea taste great!

I have been drinking variations of this tea for two years now. My goal is to feed my body micronutrients in their natural form. I feel great, my skin feels supple and nourished, my bones are strong and flexible and my energy and vitality is of good quality and constant.

Directions:
When using fresh or dried herbs and teas, we use larger amounts. For this tea I use 2 Tablespoons of each herb to 40z of boiled water. Stir and let sit overnight. The next day, strain and sip throughout the day. You can reheat if you like.

Nettle leaf
A herbalists best friend. Nettle is nutrient dense plant and a wonderful tonic Many of nettles benefits are due to its high mineral content that are easily assimilated and provide a wealth of nutrients to the system. Its the best source of digestible plant iron magnesium, calcium, Vitamin A and high levels of chlorophyll. It contains potassium, phosphorous, manganese, silica, iodine, sulphur, sodium and is rich in Vitamin K content ( assists with bone formation). Its also a good source of carotene, Vitamin C and the B vitamins along with high levels of protein.

Oat straw
Many people are well aware of the benefits of oats and oatmeal. Oats help reduce blood cholesterol levels, remove body fat, soften skin(baths and facial masks) and provide an excellent source of healthy carbohydrates. However, not as many people are aware of the healing properties contained in oat straw. Calcium-rich oat straw (avena sativa), is the green oat grass and tops in the “milky” stage before the mature oat grains form a head. Western herbalism promotes oat straw for osteoporosis and osteopenia. Oat straw is also promoted as being a calming nervine herb, which can be used as a remedy for anxiety. The herb has been recently proven to aid in cognitive performance in the brain.

Hibiscus
Is a pleasant tasting herb that is rich in polyphenols. It possess anti oxidant actions and has demonstrated liver and heart protective actions along with anti obesity effects Hibiscus tea inhibits calcification. An important factor in building bone is getting calcium into the bone as opposed to creating calcification or hardness of the bones, arteries or kidneys. I love hibiscus and drink it as part of this mixture as well as making a cold water infusions ( 1oz herb to 2 quarts/liters of room temperature water. Allow herbs and water to sit overnight for 8-12 hours) Refrigerate and enjoy! It helps beat the summer heat and is a refreshing naturally cooling drink.

Horsetail
Horsetail has traditionally been used by many herbalists for its soothing diuretic properties It is also recommended for the treatment of urinary tract infections. Due to its high level of silica, it is used to support all the structures of the body that utilize silica. The structures that Horsetail nourishes are the bones, cartilage, hair, nails, skin and mucous membranes. All structures with collagen will be supported by this herb.
**** this herb should not be consumed long term by pregnant women due to its diuretic effects.
enjoy!!!!!!

Winter Tonic - Kashaya Tea

Winter Tonic / Kashaya Tea

A sweet and spicy herbal drink form South India prepared using aromatic spices based in Ayurveda.

Health Benefits

Kashaya can cure nagging colds, chest colds, loss of appetite, clear sinuses, and nausea. Its a wonderful substitute for caffeinated loaded drinks and it aids in weight loss.

  • Part 1 Making Kashaya Powder
  • 1 cup coriander seeds
  • 1/3 cup cumin seeds
  • 1/4 cup fennel seeds
  • 1-2 TBS black peppercorns
  • 1-2 tsp dry ginger ( optional)

Dry roast the herbs separately on a low flame till the heady aroma of the spices fills your home. Spread the roasted spices on a wide plate and let them cool to room temperature. Grind al the spices along with the ginger root to a fine powder and store in an air tight jar.

Part 2. Making Kashaya Drink

  • 1 heaped tsp Kashaya powder
  • 1/4 cup milk( add more or less based on your preference) I use coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2-1TBS Jaggery/molasses/coconut sugar. Adjust for taste
  • 1/2 tsp cinamon, a pinch of cardamom or turmeric powder( optional)

Take 1 cup water in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Once water has come to a boil, mix a heaped tsp of kashaya powder and sweetener to taste. Let it boil for 1 minute and mix in 1/4 cup milk along with cardamom, cinnamon/turmeric powder if using. Switch off flame and let rest for one minute for the flavors to infuse. Strain it through a fine sieve and drink whilst hot.

adapted from my Herbalist teachers notes. KP Singh Khalsa- Natural Healing Specialist www.kpkhalsa.com

Herb Profiles:

Coriander - Improves digestion, Rich in antioxidants, Normalizes blood sugar and cholesterol, fights infection. Use in combination with Fennel and cumin will strengthen digestion without aggravating pitta  

Safety profile: if have allergic reaction to cilantro then avoid coriander

Cumin - Great warming spice for all types, gas reducing, rich in flavonoidse, excellent source of iron and minerals,Stimulates and strengthens digestion, Regulates blood sugar helps to normalize cholesterol, demonstrated cancer fighting potential, prevents bone loss, kills bad bacteria (traditionally used to preserve food)

Safety profile: excellent safety profile

Fennel - Strengthens Digestion, reduces intestinal gas and cramping making it an effective pain reliever, reduces inflammation, kills toxins, powerful antioxidant, cancer fighter

Safety rating: excellent safety profile

Cinnamon - Great warming spice for irregular agni, Increases circulation, reduces intestinal spasms and gas,  lowers cholesterol and blood sugar, reduces inflammation, anti microbial

Safety Profile: safe in doses of 1 tsp daily

Cardamom - Cardamon is a relative of Ginger and Turmeric. It increases digestion, particularly heavy, hard to digest food, warming anti mucous herb, pain relieving, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory. Sprinkled in coffee will reduce acidity and mucous from milk

Safety Profile: No herb drug

Turmeric - Blood purifier, liver restorative, antimicrobial and anti bacterial, antioxidant,  anti inflammatory, anti cancer, Its nourishing to the heart. Helps with blood circulation and stops the formation of new plaque.Reduces existing plaque in the arteries.

It protects the liver by increase bile flow. It normalizes cholesterol and has been used in the treatment of diabetes. It strengthens digestion & helps to restore intestinal flora.

Turmeric Root

Turmeric Root

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family. This is one of my top 5 herbs that I use daily and prescribe widely to my students.

Every person should consume this herb as a food and supplement daily. It has so many wonderful benefits. Current studies have confirmed its cancer reducing, anti inflammatory effects, along with its use in thetreatment of benign tumors.

The Right Foods for You: An Ayurvedic Perspective

The Right Foods for You: An Ayurvedic Perspective

Ayurveda recognizes that a vast majority of diseases are caused and/or exacerbated by improper digestion and metabolism.  Despite the fact that food is life-sustaining, many of us see cooking and eating as a chore. We choose dining out over lovingly preparing nutritious meals at home. Our understanding and relationship with food has been reduced to comfort, calories, and convenience. 

The Three Humors or Life Forces Vata, Pitta, and Kapha

The Three Humors or Life Forces Vata, Pitta, and Kapha

Ayurveda is a complete system of wellness, based in the natural world.

The Ayurvedic view of the world and the human system is richly metaphorical and scientifically precise.

 

Ayurveda views all matter as composed of five basic states, often called elements. These are the building blocks of everything that exists, including ourselves.  Previously, in the article What is Ayurveda, I laid out the cosmology upon which Ayurveda is based. In short, this ontology views the material world as a duality comprised of both spirit and matter. The body, mind and emotions are seen as part of the material world, constantly changing and subject to different rates of change.

What is Ayurveda?

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda, (Eye-Your-Veda), Yoga’s sister science is a 5000-year-old holistic health system based in nature. Its primary tools are food, herbs, oils, cleansing, lifestyle, and education, each adapted to an individual’s unique constitution or body type.  Ayurveda is classified as a ‘complementary health approach’ by the National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health (NCCIH).

Ayurveda's Definition of Health

Ayurveda's Definition of Health

Sama dosah samagnis ca sama dhatu mala kriyah prasannamendriya manah vastha ityabhidhiyate. Sushruta Samhita 15.38

 One who is established in self, who has balanced doshas, balanced agni, properly formed dhatus, proper elimination of malas, well functioning bodily processes and whose mind, soul and senses are happy is called a healthy person. 

This quote from the Sushruta Samhita, one of the classical Ayurvedic texts summarizes the Ayurvedic model of health. The definition is both philosophical and functional in its understanding of the individual constitution.