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Oatmeal Cake

Need something with a bit of comfort? This cake is delightful. Made with or without the decadent frosting, it will be a favorite for sure!

Makes 1-9x13 inch cake

Liquid

1 cup water

¾ cup coconut oil

1 cup oats

 

¾ cup applesauce

¾ cup sweetener of choice ( I used coconut sugar)

3 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

 

Dry

2 cups flour (all-purpose, gluten free mix, oat flour, or ½ cup coconut and 1 ½ cup almond flour)

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

dash of  nutmeg

¾ cup raisins

 

Icing (optional)

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

pinch of salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven 350º. Coat 9x13-inch baking pan with coconut oil.

Mix water and coconut oil in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and pour in oats. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. In a bowl mix together applesauce, sweetener of choice, eggs and vanilla. Then add the contents of the saucepan and stir all together until well combined (1- minute).

In a separate bowl mix all dry ingredients together and then add them to the liquid oat mix. Stir well until all flour clumps are dissolved and you have an even looking batter. Remember if it is a little lumpy it is probably the oatmeal. Pour into your prepared dish and bake until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 25-35 minutes (depending on type of oven).

Icing, melt butter in small skillet over medium heat. Cook butter until brown flakes appear floating or in the bottom of skillet, 7-10 minutes. Pour over a filter, into a bowl in order to separate the brown specks from the golden butter.

Beat in powdered sugar, cinnamon and salt until well mixed. Then add milk and vanilla until smooth. Spread icing on warm cake and sprinkle with crushed walnuts or pecans. This icing is really sweet so I only used half of it. But the butter flavor pairs so niclely with this cake. I suggest if this is for a dinner party or dessert, use the frosting! If this cake is for a mid day snack, it will be just perfect plain or with a smear of cream cheese.

Inspired by Vegetariantoday.com, February 2017. 

 

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The Importance of Staging a Cleanse

Four Stages to an Ayurvedic Cleanse 

In the West we tend to dedicate 3-7 days to a cleanse. We stop everything cold turkey, do a drastic cleanse that leaves us feeling ravenous, angry and irritated (and sometimes bloated and constipated), and then we reward ourselves for sticking to it with some wine, a large dinner and dessert, which leaves us feeling awful and mad at ourselves and questioning all torture we just put ourselves through.

This is one way you can fight through a cleanse, or you can follow a more successful and full body balancing system that Ayurveda recommends. What is key to an ayurvedic cleanse is that you never let your body go into panic mode by starving it. When your body thinks it is going to starve it starts to slow down metabolism and hold onto weight. And anything you do eat, your body will hold onto it due to scarcity.

With the Ayurveda way we slowly wean ourselves from sugars, carbs, fried foods and alcohol so our body naturally starts to cleanse on its own, assisting the process the entire time. We give the body the right ratio of carbs, protein, fat, minerals and vitamins. This allows for the body to burn through fat, releasing fat soluble toxins, shedding unneeded pounds and doing it all in a relaxed state. We also slowly add foods back in after the active cleansing time so that we don't overload our digestive fire and creating toxic buildup right away, undoing all our work. This type of a cleanse also extends the period of clean and nourishing eating for 1-3 months so that we really support our bodies in order to become healthier and stronger. 

PHASES:

  1. Preparation Phase - slowly start to decrease the amount of sugar, white flour, fatty foods, fast foods and alcohol that is in your diet.
  2. Active Phase - choosing how much you want to do during your active cleanse and sticking with it for 3-10 days. Herbal supplements from Maharishi Ayurveda can enhance the effects of your cleanse and allow you to deeply clean and reset. Watch this video to know what, how and why we eat kitchari (mono diet) during this phase.
  3. Reintroduction Phase - take 3-5 days to slowly add one food group back into your diet at a time. This allows for stronger digestion and a chance to see if any food group is not agreeing with you. 
  4. Rejuvenation Phase - for the next month or so focus on filling your body with really healthy foods. We just cleaned our bodies, what do you wish to fill it back up with? 

With a cleanse you can make it as simple or intricate as you wish. Just keep with these 4 phases and choose a daily routine that will support you best. If what you can commit to during the active cleanse is eat a mono diet for 3-5 days, that alone will serve you well and do great things for your digestion and health. Set yourself up for success and enjoy the ride! 

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A Fall Ritual Can Bring Health All Winter Long

 

Summer is winding down as we move into September. There is a lingering of heat in the air in most states, yet leaves and foliage are starting to turn color and things are drying out due to the long standing summer heat. What is happening in nature is also happening to us. The key to riding the wave of change is to act intuitively and intelligently so that you can stay balanced and healthy.

Summer time is pitta (fire/heat) accumulation of heat in the body can cause:
hay fever
skin rashes
diarrhea
headaches
acid reflux
seasonal allergies


We usually are more tiered in the summer as the heat tends to zap some of our strength and we usually crave lighter, cooler and more raw type foods and drinks to counter-act the fire quality of summer. These habits are great for calming this fire within our bodies but can create in an accumulation of vata (air/wind) as we move into fall. This is because all the habits are cooling to the body, which increases the cool, dry, rough qualities of vata.

When we have too much vata qualities in the body come winter time we may see an increase in ailments like:
dryness
constipation
low back ache
colds
forgetfulness
dry sinuses and sinus issues


In-between these seasons we want to respectively pay attention to both pitta and vata. A great way to do this is by bringing more seasonal specific foods into our diet and adopting a routine that will help balance these two dosas. Specifically, purging excess heat from the body while still keeping things soothing and moisturizing to alleviate dryness. 

Daily Schedule

  • Rise before 6am
  • Dry rub your body with Gharshana gloves or a luffa to move lymph and allow heat to escape through the skin (Instructions: Before bathing and while still dry, vigorously massage your whole body towards your heart. It is best to use long strokes on the limbs and circles or half moons on the joints and belly. avoid rubbing over the heart. Use gentle pressure on your face and neck).
  • Engage in exercise for at leaste 30 minutes
  • Perform Nasya - Oil inside nasal passages - to help lubricate the sinuses and calm the mind. To find nausea oil click here. Or you can pour organic sesame oil into a sterilized dropper bottle and place 3-5 drops in each nostril, daily.
  • Eat three meals a day around the same time each day 
  • Start incorporating cooked foods and broths into your diet
  • Before bed massage body (or just feet and head if you don't have a lot of energy or time) with Sesame based oil to help calm the nervous system and address deep seated dryness due to excess vata. Some oils I love are: Daily massage oilSleep easy oilAshwagandha oil.
  • Drink Turmeric and Ashwagandha milk before bedtime (milk of choice with a dab of coconut oil or ghee, dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, black pepper, 1/2 tsp Turmeric and 1/2 tsp ashwaganda. Bring to a simmer, stir. Pour into cup. Add maple syrup or honey to sweeten if needed)
  • Take 2 capsules of Organic Digest Tone before bed. This helps nourish the digestive tract for better absorption of nutrients as well as removes toxic buildup from the intestines and colon.
  • Go to bed early (10am)


Eat more:

  • Apples help to cleanse your digestive system and pull heat form your body. Dr. Douillard recommends 2-4 apples a day. Stewed apples are also very ojas building which means they contribute to our immunity, vitality and overall health. 
  • Pears are good for energy and balancing the hormones and it is balancing for all three doshas. Pears are great stewed or baked, or sliced and sautéed in ghee and sweet spices.
  • Pomegranates are great fall fruit sebaceous they act as anti-heating agent for the blood. The are great for flushing the lymph as well as a wonderful food that is high in antioxidants. 
  • Watermelon is mostly made up of water, so this is a cooling fruit in the fall that can help with hydration and removing heat. 
  • Fresh Figs - Are high in iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium and K2. They are also a great source of fiber and are alkaline producing. 
  • Turmeric - helps with inflammation and is a great way to keep cold and flu at bay
  • Ashwaganda - as soon as it starts to get cool, add this lovely herb to your nightly milk. This herb is great for your immunity, overall strength and correcting excess dryness. Kids can take it safely as well to help with back to school colds. 
  • For afternoon snack, flavor a cup of warm milk with 2 teaspoons of Organic Rose Petal Spread.
  • Use Organic Cooling (Pitta) Spice Mix to season your food at lunch
  • Use Organic Calming (Vata) Spice Mix to season your food at dinner
  • Eat lighter meals, specifically at dinner time and avoid red meats and animal protein during this transition (August - October).


References
Vasant D. Lad - The Complete Book Of Ayurvedic Home Remedies
Maharishi Ayurveda, mapi.com - Focus on Fall Health
Dr. John Douillard, lifespa.com - Summer/Fall Superfoods
Dr. John Douillard, lifespan.com - Fall Tips: How to Stay Healthy This Autumn

 

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Strengthening Men's Health

Welcome to exploring men's health. I found it really interesting to look into this topic because from a woman's perspective, I don't know how it is to be a man, but I know there is a lot of pressure to be the provider, to be the husband, to be the father, to be the strong pillar in the family or community, to play many different rolls, which can be stressful, and in my opinion, unfair. I want to offer support in all that you men do and offer encouragement when it comes to taking care of yourself.  Below I have gone through a few different health issues that many men seem to face in order to give you an ayurvedic perspective and help you navigate what may be going on in your body. 

Prostate Issues: Men's health sometimes gets overshadowed in the early years of life but can blow up once the age of 50 is reached (which is vata time of life). This is when 50% of men experience some kind of prostate issue. And at the age of 80 that percentage skyrockets to about 90%. In Ayurveda we want to look at preventative measures in order to hopefully avoid prostate issues and benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH. 

The prostate is called a glad but it is actually an organ (Ayurveda looks at the prostate as a pitta organ) and this organ sits just below the bladder and surrounds the upper channel of the urethra. This channel is the male reproductive channel as well as the urinary channel. The prostate functions as a pump during sexual intercourse and helps with ejaculation as well as secretes a thin, milky substance contained in semen that protects and nourishes the sperm and lubricates the urethra. When it becomes inflamed and enlarged  it starts to cut off flow from the bladder through the urethra. This can cause feelings of not being able to empty the bladder completely, feeling like the bladder is constantly full, dripping urine directly after going to the bathroom, excessive urination at night, a weak urine stream, stopping and starting while urinating and difficulty in starting to urinate. These are all inconvenient, irritating and sometimes painful experiences that can lead to larger issues like damage to the kidneys and bladder over time. Because of the residue urine that is not able to escape, bacteria may begin to grow and chronic bladder or urinary tract infections may occur. If these symptoms are happening it is time to talk with your doctor. 

Contributing Factors:  stress, not enough sleep, holding urine too long- which concentrates the urine and causes irritation to the prostate, not drinking enough water, sitting for too long, watching too much tv at night, not eating 3 good meals a day, eating too spicy of foods, not enough exercise, taking too many over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants which can tighten the muscles that control urine flow making it difficult to go to the bathroom. Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, which can alter urine and irritate the prostate as well. 

Preventative Measures: 

   Eat cooling foods - stay away from spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine (or atleast decrease the amount you consume)

   Exercise regularly

   Decrease stress

   Drink enough water daily to keep regular urine flowing

   Drink fennel and cumin tea (recipe below) 

   Cook with turmeric - helps with inflammation

   Get proper rest/sleep

   Get your PSA levels checked if you think here may be an issue

   Herbal Remedies: Prosta-Clear HP or Prostate Protection or if you need extra help for the flow and purity of the urine, you could take Organic Genitrac.

Impotence - The inability to achieve or maintain an erection. This can be damaging to self esteem and a relationship so understanding the reasons this may  be happening is important. Impotence is a lack of blood to the penis and is often due to high cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes, and obesity (even 20-30 pounds overweight can cause impotence). You may want to look at your hormone levels and see if there is a decrease in testosterone levels. Also, deep seated grief, fear or childhood issues may be a root cause. 

Herbs for Impotence - Ashwagandha, bala, vidari, atma gupta, goksura, shilajit, pippali and spices like bay leaves and cardamom. A great full herbal remedy would be Vital man, if there is emotions involved add Worry free. If you need extra help in maintaining the reproductive organs and enhancing semen production, take Rejuvenation for Men, one tablet twice a day before food. If you are someone who needs more nourishment and feeling weak and fatigued then drink the men's vitality drink (recipe below) on a regular basis. 

High Cholesterol - During digestion triglycerides are broken down into fatty acids and glycerol. The liver is a major player in breaking down cholesterol and releasing it into the blood stream or by removing cholesterol from the blood and converting it into bile and bile salts. If there is low liver function then triglycerides and fatty molecules may not be put to use properly and may end up accumulating in the adipose tissue resulting in obesity. A major factor in the reason for build up in adipose tissue is ingesting foods that have hard to break down fats like saturated fats found in meat, butter, hard cheese and palm oils. The worst types of fat, are the trans fats, or hydrogenated vegetable oils, that are found in almost all packaged, processed and fast foods. You also want to stay away from rancid or overheated fats which are most polyunsaturated vegetable oils like corn, sunflower, safflower, sesame. They are processed with chemicals or heat, and their nutritional value is destroyed. The big issue with these fats is that they end up creating free radicals, contributing to cholesterol in the body. Even when using cold-pressed oils when frying and cooking, the high heat turns these good oils into free radicals, creating more cholesterol int he body. 

Causes of High Cholesterol:

   Low digestive fire - don't digest your meals after about 4 hours, don't feel hungry 3 times a day

   Low metabolism

   Hypothyroidism

   Lack or exercise

   Sedentary lifestyle or job

   Too much fat in diet

   Too much saturated fats or hydrogenated oils found in packaged and processed foods

   Kapha body type

   Diabetes

Management for High Cholesterol

   Drink copper water - fill a copper cup with water at night and drink it in the morning

   Drink hot water with honey when you wake up - add raw honey once water is drinking temperature

   Follow a cholesterol free diet

   Cook with onion and garlic

   Meditate daily to deal with stress

   Practice yoga

   Herbal recommendations: Cholesterol Protection, Liver Balance, BP Balance If you need to work on your digestive tract I highly recommended using Organic Digest Tone along with a combination of the earlier herbs in order to help flush out current toxins and help with digestion, absorption, assimilation, proper function of the digestive tract and better circulation. 


References
Vasant D. Lad - Ayurvedic Perspectives on Selected Pathologies
Maharishi Ayurveda - A Powerful Approach to Prostate Health
Dr. John Douillard - Men's Health


Men’s Vitality Drink
10 raw almonds
1 cup warm water
a pinch of saffron
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of turmeric

1 date

Soak the 10 almonds overnight and peel the skin off in the next morning. Add to the water, together with the other ingredients and blend well in a blender.  Drink after sex and every morning to increase vitality.


Men's Daily Tea
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 cups water

Place water in a pot and bring water to a simmer. Turn off heat add seeds, cover and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Best to sit overnight if possible. Drink at room temperature through out the day. This tea is good for prostate health.


Men's Cleansing Tea
2 quarts water
1/2 tsp tulsi
1/3 tsp fennel
1/4 tsp coriander seed
6 pumpkin seeds or 6 fresh cucumber seeds

Boil two quarts of water and put the water in a thermos flask. Add the rest of the ingredients. Keep drinking this water throughout the day, but stop drinking it after 7:00 p.m. Stay away from fluids at night if you have a prostate problem, as a full bladder at night can cause pressure on the prostate and disturb your sleep with the need to get up frequently to urinate.

This tea should flush out toxins, dissolve ama in the blood tissue and help purify the urine.

Thank you men, for all that you do and sharing your masculine energy with us woman so that we can all support each other ! 

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Children's Health Through Digestion

Digestive health is important to the overall health of a child because it can tell us how healthy our child's gut biome is, which will reflect in their immunity, emotions and overall health. When a child has multiple tummy aches and digestive issues it can lead to skin rashes, allergies, asthma, colds and flus. So instead of treating the skin rash topically or giving your child over the counter allergy medication, look at his/her digestive system and see if you can start there so that there is lasting healing instead of temporary relief.

Ayurveda looks at the life span of a human and breaks it up into vata, pitta and kapha times. Kapha being the first 18 years of our life,  which has characteristics of  spring, filled with mucus, heaviness, building and lubrication. It is the time of growth and immunity development.

Because of Kapha time you see globs of mucus coming out of nostrils of children everywhere when they are young. But there is also mucus happening internally in the gut as well. When the sinuses are making way too much mucus, most likely the digestive tract lining is doing the same and if the child is really dry, that probably means their digestive system is also dry. When a child has too much mucus in their gut their digestive system slows down. And they don't have the proper digestive enzymes and acids to help break it down. This creates malnourishment due to the compromise of absorption and assimilation of nutrients. If the child is too dry this can lead to hypersensitivity to things like food dyes, spicy foods, allergens and hard to digest foods like corn, soy, nuts etc.

An easy way to look at your child's digestive health is to ask them to stick out their tongue. If you see that they have a thick whitish coating on their tongue, this can indicate that there is a lot of mucus happening internally. Stagnant mucus is a breeding ground for germs, which can lead to constant colds and and the flu.

What should be done at this point is treatment to strengthen the upper digestive system by breaking up the heavy mucus. This can be done by an herb mix called Trikatu, which is a combination of Black pepper, pippali and ginger. This spice mix helps to break apart mucus and aid in digestion and clearing or mucus. Trikatu can be ordered here for capsules or here for powder form. Mix equal parts raw honey and Trikatu and make a paste. Have your child take 1/2 teaspoon of mix before each meal. Or give 1-2 capsules 2 times a day before food. This can also be taken by any kid if they are eating a late meal or something a bit heavier than normal. If your child constantly is creating too much mucus also look at their diet and start to eliminate irritants like sugar, dairy, carbs, ice-cream, pizza, mac and cheese, yogurt and puddings. Cooking with spices like black pepper, ginger, hing, fennel, cumin, black mustard seeds and fenugreek is a good idea and will help improve digestion and decrease mucus. 

A tongue that is rough and dry and cracked looking is probably a good indication that the mucus membranes are dry and they are more susceptible to allergies as well as constipation. A lack of mucus will allow pathogens and germs to enter the body more easily and effect the child's health. A child who is dry and showing signs of dryness in their skin, having troubles going to the bathroom and sensitive to external allergens could use some support for the intestines, and increase the lubrication of the intestinal walls while encouraging natural peristalsis. For this the herb Triphala is used. A child can take 1-2 tablets after dinner or mix equal parts of triphala powder with honey to make a paste and have your child eat 1 teaspoon after every meal. They may also enjoy a castor oil cookie (recipe below), as a way to get the bowels moving. 
*If stools become loose for a day or two back off and lower the dose of triphala or castor oil. 

If the tongue is bright red or purplish then this is indication of inflammation and excess heat in the body possibly due to too much acidity and or sugar in the diet. Later in life this constant inflammation can cause colitis, acid reflux, high cholesterol and many other diseases ending in -itis. To cool down your child making fennel/coriander/cumin tea can help balance this overheated digestive system. Add 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds to 1 quart water and boil for 5-10 minutes. Have them drink this tea warm or at room temp throughout the day. A small amount with meals is beneficial. If you need to sweeten it for them to drink it choose organic maple syrup or raw turbinado sugar. Cooking with more turmeric is also a good idea and will help with the inflammation. 

Remember, stress can also cause disruption in your child's tummy, so having a talk with your kiddo and observing their behavior might also allow you better insight into what may be the cause for your child's stomach pains. 

If you would like to read more about this and dive deeper into the understanding of your child's health I suggest getting the book: Perfect Health for Kids by John Douillard. It is a wonderful book filled with recipes and herbal remedies for each child type.

Much love & health to you and your little ones!

 

Castor Oil Cookies

1/4 cup whole wheat four
water
1 teaspoon castor oil
2 teaspoons sweetener of choice (NOT honey)

Preheat oven to 375º

Pour flour into mixing bowl. Add just enough water to make light and moist dough. Be careful not to overtax the water and flour. Add oil and sweetener. Mix until all combined. 

Make into 2 balls and flatten them with a fork, like you were making peanut butter cookies. Bake for 8-12 minutes. 

Child should eat 1-2 cookies per day to help with regular elimination. 

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Sweet Potato Brownies


1 medium sweet potato (2 1/2 cups, cooked)
½ cup coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon coconut nectar/sugar (optional)
1-2 tablespoons of nut butter (I like cashew butter in this recipe) optional
2 eggs
2 ½ tablespoons coconut flour
½ cup raw cacao
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
3 oz 85% crushed up dark chocolate bar (optional)


Preheat oven to 375º
Grease a 9X9 pan
Chop and steam sweet potato until tender (10-15 minutes).
Strain the water and throw 2 1/2 cups into food processor.
Add coconut oil, vanilla and coconut nectar (along with nut butter if desired).
Mix for 1-2 minutes until mixture looks like pudding.
Take of container and place in refrigerator for about 10 minutes in order to cool mixture. In the mean time in another bowl, mix together coconut flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Take out mix in refrigerator and put container back on processor. Add eggs and mix again. Then add dry ingredients and mix until a thicker batter occurs. Pulse in dark chocolate pieces (if you choose). 

Pour into pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. Let cool, cut into squares and enjoy on their own or with a dollop of fresh whipping cream.
This recipe is gluten free, processed sugar free and high in fiber, antioxidants, Vitamin A, protein, potassium and magnesium. 

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Women's Monthly Report Card & What It Can Tell Us

 

When we are stressed we produce a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol pumps through our system, creating the fight or flight response. When we keep ourselves in this stressed out state and our cortisol levels stay high, our hormones are disrupted and we start to see various effects with our reproductive system such as amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menorhegea, infertility, PMS, skin issues, fatigue, hot flashes, thyroid disorders sleep problems, etc. 

What is happening when we allow ourselves to live in a constant state of stress is that we are basically living on credit. We keep borrowing from other systems in the body (i.e. reproductive system, nervous system, skeletal system etc.) in order to stay at this high stress level for an extended period of time. And since many of us don't do anything to actually pay back our debt, things start to physically break down and scream for help. 

This constant stressful state is usually due the idea that we constantly need to prove ourselves in order to feel worthy and/or important. It is this feeling of being "less than" that we keep trying to fill with external achievements. And we keep running ourselves further and further into the ground because there is nothing outside ourselves that will truly fill that hole. Only true acceptance from within will. Knowing that not matter what your tittle is, no matter what you are doing or NOT doing, no matter where you live or what car you drive, you are enough, you are a blessing to this earth, you are important.

For women, we get hammered by society that we should do everything and be everything all while smiling, multitasking, being a "yes" gal and winning awards. Our reproductive systems are becoming so out of whack as we all stand in the dust wondering why we were cursed with PMS, bloating, painful cramping, adult acne, heavy bleeding, infertility, miscarriage, the list goes on..... as it is due to some unknown factor. But we DO know. And here are some things we can start to do about these issues. 

What to do: Slow it down! Stop! Push Pause! Start looking at what you really want to be doing, what makes you happy and start creating your life to incorporate more and more of these things that fill you up instead of strip you of time and energy. The world will not stop when you do this, walls will not come crashing down. Life will go on, and for what it is worth, life will most likely get a heck of a lot better! 

If you experience excess bleeding: This is categorized as menorrhagia and is usually due to excess pitta, meaning too much heat and inflammation. Too much physical activity, excess jogging, jumping or weight lifting can cause excess bleeding. With menorrhagia we need to watch out for iron deficiency leading to anemia.  Here are a few options you could try:

  • 1 tablespoon aloe gel 2x a day before food
  • Drink 4oz pomegranate juice daily on an empty stomach 
  • Mix rose petal jam into 1/2 - 1 cup of milk of choice for a cooling and calming effect at night
  • Drink CCF tea (cumin, coriander, fennel) 1 tablespoon of each spice to 2 quarts of water 
  • Drink hibiscus tea, which helps pull heat from the body, specifically the liver, which is correlated with blood and pitta
  • Eat iron rich foods like raisins, currents, spinach, kale, molasses, beets, pumpkin 
  • Cook with turmeric, this helps with internal inflammation
  • Take 500mg primrose capsule at bedtime
  • Rub coconut oil on your belly nightly
  • Take 1/2 tsp bhumyamalaki with pomegranate juice or aloe gel before bed. This is a mild laxative, a good source or iron and an anti-inflammatory. Do not take during menstruation.
  • Back off of intense exercise


If you experience painful cramping: known as dysmenorrhea, which occurs shortly after the onset of menstruation. There are three main reasons for why this could be happening: 1) narrowing of the blood vessels and cervix due to vata imbalance causing constriction, while causing pain, 2) endometriosis which is due to pitta imbalance and inflammation of the uterine wall causing heat and pain, 3) excess tissue growth causing fibroid tumor(s) due to excess kapha.
For vata type, diet can be a huge factor. You may be eating too many raw, cold, dry foods like raw vegetables, beans, chickpeas, legumes, crackers, popcorn, etc. Other factors may be unresolved fear or anxiety, too much traveling, constant strenuous exercise, and too much chocolate, which can all effect vata. Constipation, gas and bloating before menstruation is a good sign that vata is playing a big roll.

  • Eat warm, oily, nourishing foods, stay away from animal protein, dairy and sugars and eat really light foods like vegetables, fruits and broth based soups. 
  • Bring in yoga, breath work (like nadi shodana and anuloma viloma to help with anxiety and nervousness) and walking to change out harsh exercise
  • Use a castor oil pack on your belly for 20-30 minutes daily followed by a hot bath  
  • Abyangha (full body massage) daily with sesame oil before shower or before bed

For Pitta type, factors may be too much working, high stress, too much self inflicted criticism, high tension, lack of spontaneity, tendency towards judgement of others and self. There might be hot flashes, excess irritability and anger, soreness in the body and headaches around menstruation. These are usually signs of a pitta imbalance. 

  • Baking soda baths - 1/3 - 1/2 cup baking soda in s warm bath (not too hot)
  • 1 week before bleeding drink 1 tablespoon aloe gel with 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
  • Abyangha daily with coconut oil
  • After menstruation take 1/2 tsp Bhumyamalaki every night before bed to help as a purgation of heat from the body. 

For kapha type, diet may be a huge factor by eating too many heavy, sweet building foods that just exaggerates the feelings of heaviness, depression and stagnation. Not moving enough will also contribute to poor circulation and low energy.

  • Ginger bath - 1/2 cup ginger in a hot bath, this will help with circulation
  • Follow a kapha diet - eating mostly pungent, bitter and astringent foods like vegetables, beans, legumes, and eliminating carbs, sugars, animal protein and fried foods, which contribute to excess building of tissues in the body. 
  • Make sure you are doing physical activity daily, first thing in the morning for 30-60 minutes
  • Sprinkle kapha churna on food to help with digestion
  • Use ginger, black pepper, cayenne, turmeric when cooking foods


If you experience missed/irregular periods: This is clinically called amenorrhea, which is the lack of a period or skipped period for one or more months (outside of being pregnant or breastfeeding or menopause). The most popular reasons for this to happen is due to malnutrition, over exercising, high stress, eating disorders, obesity, PCOS or thyroid dysfunctions (hyperthyroidism).

  • Back off strenuous activities. Replace these things with yoga, thai chi, Qi gong, or walking.
  • Start to make sure you are eating 3 meals a day that are made of fresh, organic, non GMO, whole foods that are mostly cooked.
  • Make sure you are getting enough fat in your diet. Eat at least 1 tsp full fat with each meal. You can cook with ghee or coconut oil. You can add flax oil, hemp oil or olive oil to your foods after cooking. Add fish oil or flax oil every day in order to replenish omega-3's.
  • Eat iron rich foods like papaya, pomegranate,mango, pumpkin, pineapple, currants, raisins, soaked almonds.
  • At night make an Ojas Drink that will nourish your reproductive organs: 1 cup milk of choice, 2-3 dates, 1/4 - 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 2 pinches cardamon, 1 tablespoon shredded coconut, 5-8 soaked and peeled almonds, 1 tsp ashwagandha and 1/2 tsp bala (if you are very depleted and weak, add a dash of ginger powder if using bala). If you are hesitant about the herbs, the rest of the drink will still be very helpful. Mix everything into a pot and simmer for a few minutes, add to blender, blend for 1 minute or until well blended and frothy. Sprinkle with nutmeg and enjoy. Drink every night for 4 weeks. 


If you are struggling with infertility or miscarages: 

  • Look at your stress levels. Lower them
  • Start to find time for yourself every day
  • Take time to go for a walk with a friend
  • Meditate - start with 5 minutes every morning 
  • Take up yoga 
  • If you drink alcohol, slowly start to ween yourself off
  • Practice abhyanga daily
  • Drink an Ojas Drink (recipe above) 1-2 times a day. To the recipe above add 1 tsp ghee and honey and 1 tsp of ashwagandha and shatavari to the drink. These herbs are very important and will help with balancing your hormone levels and nourish your reproductive organs. Caution: if you have had cancer or it runs in your immediate family, do not take shitavari, instead replace with guduchi.
  • Eat 3 nourishing meals a day
  • Eat more vegetables and less meat
  • Make sure you are getting good fats like Omega 3's, coconut oil, ghee and olive oil daily
  • Forgive yourself
  • Let go of whatever you are ready to release


No matter where you are in your symptoms, our bleeding time is meant for inner reflection and spiritual insight. So the first 3 days should be a time of slowing down, going within and not expelling too much energy. What this means is to take 3 days off from your physical activity, just this alone could do wonders for you. Try it for 3-6 months in a row and feel the difference. The three days of missed exercise per month will not have any negative impact on your body no matter what your mind tries to tell you. 

References:

  • Lad, V. (1999). The complete book of Ayurvedic home remedies.
  • Lad, V. (2012). Ayurvedic perspectives on selected pathologies
  • Svoboda, R. (1999). Ayurveda for women: A guide to vitality and health
  • Welch, C. (2011). Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life

* These are only suggestions. This post is not diagnosing or treating any disease. 


Much love & health to you my fellow goddesses!

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Spring Clean Your Mind & Body

Spring is here. Nature is working it's magic as it transforms and awakens from the winter months. Trees are blooming, grass is covering the yards and birds are back singing their tunes of joy and excitement. We are provided with fresh greens, sprouts and a few berries at this time, allowing for a lighter diet that focuses on bitter and astringent tastes. These foods and their tastes have their own intelligence; focusing on cleansing, repairing, and toning the internal organs in order to leave the body lighter and brighter as the weather becomes warmer.


In the spring time we are looking at kapha time because of the earth and water elements that dominate this time. Which usually shows up in our own bodies as the heaviness from the winter foods start to melt. With this can come spring allergies, digestive disruptions, skin issues and sinus and lung congestion. We cleanse in order to clean out the channels of the body so that nutrients, waste and energy can all flow freely and optimally. 

What to do: Once you decide to start, take 3-5 days to start to cut back on sugars, starches, dairy, animal protein and alcohol. This allows for a gradual switch in order to not stress the body. After this time period start to focus on a fat free (or low fat) diet for the next 5-7 days. Eat fresh vegetables that are slightly cooked along with fresh fruits and grains like millet, buckwheat and corn, as these are drying and will help lighten the mucus in the body. Instead of animal protein cook beans and legumes, which have a drying quality as well. Cook with light oil like sunflower or coconut oil. Eat three meals a day. Eat a large enough breakfast and lunch to carry you through to the next meal. Eat a light dinner. Try not to snack. If you get really hungry snack on fruit or vegetables. If you starve yourself you will only hold on to weight or gain weight. If you are satisfied and provide proper energy, your body will melt fat and come into a steady weight for your constitution. 

Drink: plenty of water, cooling teas with cumin, fennel and coriander, peppermint, ginger and/or rose. Water with fresh lime juice, a pinch of salt and 1 tsp raw sugar or maple syrup is great for rehydration. Stay away from ice water. 

Along with aligning your diet with the seasons, aligning the body and mind is also a good idea. Add morning meditation every day for 5-10 minutes. If you are a long time meditator add a second time to meditate, either late afternoon or before you go to bed. This will help the mind to become more clear and focus on creating and expanding, which are qualities of spring. Make sure you are moving your body to help urge the release of toxins and ama (food stuff left over in the body). Yoga, walking, jogging, biking, hiking or swimming are good activities. Don't put too much stress on the body, just enough to get a light sweat going and to get your heart rate slightly elevated for at least 30 minutes. 

Elimination: take some sort of herb during this time that will help cleanse and nourish the intestines and colon in order to make sure you expel the toxic waste from the winter. Options I suggest are Organic Digest Tone or Elim-Tox or Elim-Tox-O (more for pitta person). These are all non-habit forming. Take for 1-3 months. If you like discounts use staraya10 for 10% off your order :) 

Afterwards: slowly add back foods one at a time (give 24 hours per food group). Do this mindfully to test yourself for food sensitivities. Try to focus on seasonal foods in order to get a full range of vitamins and minerals. Spring and summer foods that are in season will create lighter fair for your digestion and keep you energized as you are active and play in the sun! 

Enjoy the summer with family and loved ones with a balanced body, mind and heart.

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Ginger - Medicinal Uses

Ginger is becoming very popular these days and the tea isles are brimming with ginger tea claiming to help digestion, bloating and even the common cold. I am happy to say that the hype about this root is true and that if you have not incorporated this herb into your diet, now is as good of time as any!

 

Ginger is a medicinal plant that has many positive effects on the body. Here are a few ways that you can start to incorporate it into your daily life.

  • Drinking ginger tea after a meal can help with digestion.
  • Chew the root to help sooth a sore throat.
  • Breath in ginger essential oils when you feel a headache coming on. 
  • Apply the fresh root as a rouge, as it stimulates circulation.
  • Grate ginger root into stews, sauces, oatmeal, and teas in order to help with the digestive process. When added to the cooking process of beans, mung beans or lentils it will help with flatulence (add turmeric and black pepper as well as grated or powdered ginger to help with bloating that may come from these foods). 
  • Bake with ground ginger root for a warming spice. Great for cold weather foods to help the body feel warm and help with circulation.
  • Ginger is great for nausea, so bring some with you when you travel if you are one who gets motion sickness easily.
  • Ginger helps with spasms or cramps, so those of you who have painful cramps during your menstrual cycle should try to consume ginger at least 1-2 times a day, 2 weeks leading up to your period. 
  • Eating ginger before a meal can help with metabolism as well as digestion. Slice a coin size piece of ginger off the root, squeeze some fresh lemon juice and add a dash of salt to the ginger and chew mindfully before meal. Once you swallow you will feel your stomach start to warm up, this is your digestive fire burning at a higher level so that it can metabolize what you are about to feed it.
  • Ginger essential oil will help relieve and clear out a head cold. Breath in a combination of 3 drops of each: basil, eucalyptus and ginger essential oils. Add these to a pot of steaming hot water and cover your head with a towel as you bend over the pot and breath deeply.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO BREATH IN TOO HOT OF STEAM. Wait for the water to cool slightly so that you can breath in the steam comfortably.
IMPORTANT: Ginger is heating and for some, may cause stomach distress. If you experience diarrhea or stomach pain after using ginger for a few days, back off. Not all herbs work for every-body, so it is important to make note and use your best judgement. There is always an alternative, although trying powdered ginger over fresh is also a good experiment, as fresh vs dry ginger is used differently by the body and might make a difference for those people who cannot handle fresh ginger. 

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Food Combining

Ayurveda views food as having a certain taste (rasa), energy: hot or cold (virya), and post digestive effect (vipak). These three qualities in food and herbs can determine a lot on how the body digests the substance and how compatible it is in combination with other things. A prolonged eating habit with incompatible foods can stress out the digestive system creating many complications in the body including toxic buildup, allergies, congestion and irregular bowels.

Many of the combinations below are a staple for most Americans, for ex: eggs and cheese, seafood chowder, banana splits, banana and yogurt smoothies, yogurt and fruit, cheeseburgers, beans and cheese etc. No wonder there are so many people with stomach issues.

Click here for a great reference table that outlines the foods that you do NOT want to eat together. Watch yourself closely and see how many of these combination you eat in a day and slowly start to make some changes. Your gut health depends on it.  

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Healthy Travel

It is that time of the year! Most of us will hustle and bustle to the next town, city, state or even country. Traveling is exciting but can also leave us feeling light headed, ungrounded, frazzled and even sick. Traveling can be very taxing on the system but with a few Ayurveda based tips, you will feel better, keep the travel sickness away and enjoy your destination.

 

Alaska Root Wellness

 

1) Sip warm water throughout the entire trip. Travel with a thermos. Any time you can, fill it with hot water.  Bring some lemon and lime pieces with you if you need a little flavor (but don't drink lemon/lime water the entire time, too much citric acid is hard on the enamel of your teeth).  Flying (and driving) is very dehydrating and dehydration makes you more susceptible to headaches, dry nose, jet-lag  and  catching a cold/flu.

2) Stay away from: sugar/candy, cold foods and ice cream, soft drinks, and dry snack foods like chips, peanuts and crackers. All these things have either dry, light or cold qualities and the sugar creates a breeding ground for germs. You need more grounding and rich foods when you fly so find some oatmeal, soup or a hot sandwich. Better yet, bring some of your own food to snack on like home made muffins with almond butter, veggie and fruits slices, steamed greens with ghee etc. By eating these warm, heavier, nourishing food you will feel more grounded and settled. Stay away from fast food!

3) When you land at your final destination, drink a cup of warm milk (almond or organic whole milk preferred. If organic milk is not available opt for skim, as antibiotics and growth hormones are fat-soluble meaning; conventional whole milk will have more of the chemicals in the full fat). Add a dash of cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, turmeric and a teaspoon of Ashwagandha powder. Ashwagandha is very grounding, calming, nourishing and building to your nervous system, which has been depleted and rattled from traveling. You can purchase the powder here. Make up the spice mix before you leave home and carry it with you so you have it right away. If you can't have the warm milk right away, drink it before you go to bed that evening.

4) Get outside as soon as possible and take a 10 minute walk. Fresh air and sunshine will help to settle your nerves and system and help the body come back into its element.

5) Get in the time zone ASAP. Try not to take a nap, go to bed when night time comes, that way you can wake up around the same time as everyone else and get into the grove quicker.

 

All tips apply for car and plane travel.

 

Safe and Happy Travels

&

Happy Holidays!

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Spice Bites

My friend Hanni at www.hanniyoga.com posted a recipe for a Homemade Tumeric Snap Almond Milk. I could not wait to try it. Once I was able to make it I decided that the spiced almond pulp that was leftover after straining the liquid was so yummy smelling that I had to put it to use right away. So I created these spice bites that are absolutely scrumptious. They lasted less than 24 hours in my house! 

1 cup spices almond pulp

2 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut

2 vanilla beans (scrapped) or 2 tsp vanilla extract

3 TBL maple syrup or honey

4 TBL coconut oil

1 TBL hot water

Place all ingredients in a food processor. Mix until a dough has formed. Place contents in a bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Take out of fridge and pack dough into 2 inch round bites and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 200 degrees for about an hour until slightly dry on the outside. Let cool. Eat slowly and enjoy all the flavors! 

Options:

Vata people - Can add 2 dates to food processor before mixing. After baking, roll dehydrated spice Bite in melted chocolate, stick in freezer for 15 minutes, pull out for your own healthy version of a cake pop. 

Kapha people - use honey instead of maple syrup.

Pitta people - as is.

A Grounding and Nourishing Treat for all Doshas

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Navigating Breakfast

 

Breakfast is an important meal, but not all of us are actually hungry in the morning. Many people, articles and nutritionists have told us that we have to eat in the morning because of all sorts of reasons: kick starts metabolism, gives us more energy, keeps us from eating more later in the day, etc., and for some of us this may be true, but not for all. So if you are TRULY not hungry in the morning have a cup of herbal teas and some fresh fruit and call it good (not being hungry in the morning may mean your body needs extra time to process through the food from the night before, and therefore more food is not necessary). Eating when you are not hungry can put out your digestive fire, and in Ayurveda terms, that means digestion slows, metabolism slows and your food turns into sludge in the body. So eating at a consistent time is important. But also eating when you are hungry and not eating when you are not hungry, can help you to keep your fire burning bright and strong. 

If you are hungry at breakfast, do not ignore it, it means you have a strong fire and you need some nourishment, so have a decent sized breakfast, nothing too light but not too heavy either. Make sure it is warm. Kitchari, oatmeal, eggs with veggies, steamed vegetables or freshly made muffins can be a perfect choice. Here is a recipe for those of you who need a little something in the morning. Eat well!

Gluten Free, Vegan, Morning Glory Muffins

1 ¼ cup buckwheat flour

¼ tapioca flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon powdered ginger

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

3 mashed bananas or 6 pitted dates (soak in 2 tablespoons hot water then mash)  

½ cup coconut oil or ghee or sunflower oil

2-4 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

½ cup raisins

½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

3 grated carrots

½ cup hemp hearts

Optional ingredients

            Chocolate chips

            Coco nibs

            Candied ginger pieces

            Crushed pineapple

            1 egg

 

Preheat oven to 345 degrees. Grease muffin pan. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. Mash bananas and add vanilla. Mix in raisins, coconut, carrots, hemp hearts and any other optional ingredients. Combine with flour mixture and scoop into muffin pan. Bake 20-25 minutes. These are wonderful breakfast treats with a little nut butter and ghee, or a wonderful afternoon snack with tea for a little pick me up. 

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Kitchari

Kitchari with organic vegetables

Kitchari with organic vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1⁄2 cup mung dal
  • 2 tbsp ghee (if you don't have ghee, use butter)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/8 tsp hing (asafoetida) - optional
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 – 2 cups chopped vegetables (optional)

Preparation:

Wash rice and mung dal and soak overnight. Drain soak water.

In a medium saucepan warm the ghee. Add the spices, except for the fresh ginger, and sauté for one to two minutes. Add rice and mung beans and sauté for another couple of minutes. Then add 6 cups of water and your grated ginger and bring to a boil. Once the kitchari has come to a boil reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until it is tender (approx. 30-45 minutes). If you are adding vegetables to your kitchari, add the longer cooking vegetables such as carrots and beets halfway through the cooking. Add the vegetables that cook faster such as leafy greens near the end. Add more water if needed. Typically, kitchari is the consistency of a vegetable stew as opposed to a broth. Garnish with fresh cilantro and add salt to taste (optional).

Makes 4 servings

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