Monthly Archives: February 2009

Bits of Wisdom {9}

I’m Goin’ Hungry

I don’t know why, and correct me if I’m wrong but…are people afraid to get hungry? I think of the recent trend of eating 5 or 6 small meals a day…nibbles here and there…and hearing people say, “I eat all day and I’m ever hungry!” Ok, but is that a good thing?

Hunger is our body’s way of telling us it’s digested everything we put in it last meal and that it needs more fuel. But what happens if we never let the stomach get empty? What if we just keep piling food on top of food that’s not yet digested? If you said, “Ama!” you are correct and deserve a fabulous prize when HeyMonicaB starts giving out prizes (tumbleweeds roll by).

Think of a washing machine. We don’t keep adding clothes to the washing machine without taking out the first load, do we? Imagine what would happen if we did…we’d get overflowing moldy clothes! Same as with our food. Overflowing, undigested, rotten stuff that gets clogged and steals away in our precious tissues…causing imbalance and disease.

So allow yourself to get hungry! It’s really important. It’s the only way to know if you should eat or not! How simple is that?! Not only that, but do NOT eat unless you feel hungry. You might still be digesting whatever you gave it last, so let it go through it’s process. And, if you are never hungry it’s a good indicator that you have built up ama in your system and that you need to clean it out.

Don’t eat if you are not hungry. Your body will tell you when it needs food, so embrace and honor the stomach rumblings.

Kitchari Recipe

Woohoooo!! After a long time searching, I finally got a great kitchari recipe from one of my fellow Ayurvedic students. You might hear it pronounced as kitch-a-dee or kitch-a-ree.

I love kitchari is because it’s wonderfully easy to digest, it’s a great source of protein because of the mung dal and it’s a complete food. It’s excellent for detoxification and de-aging of cells and it’s used particularly when fasting or doing a cleanse like panchakarma (five actions, cleanse). Kitchari nourishes all the tissues of the body, so it is a favorite of mine when I am feeling a bit “off”.  A few days of kitchari and my digestion and mind return to their normal state – it feels so good! Like true nourishment.

Okay so! Here is a recipe I concocted (kitchari is a hodge-podge…there’s lots you can do ) tonight:

1/2 cup mung dal/mung dahl, split yellow lentils (NOT the whole green ones)
1 cup basmati rice
3 cups water (if you want it more moist/soupy, use 4 cups water)
3 tablespoons of ghee1 inch piece of fresh ginger (root), peeled, chopped up well
1 tsp ajwan seeds (caraway)
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds

3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp tumeric
Optional veggies, pick 2: 1 cup chopped fresh green beans, carrots, peas, cauliflower

Ok! First, wash the mung dal and the rice really well. Wash & strain, wash & strain. Then heat the water til it boils. Throw in the mung dal & rice. Cover. Turn heat down to low. While that’s going, crush the three seeds (ajwan, fennel & cumin). In another pan, heat the ghee on medium and add the ginger, seeds, tumeric, cinnamon sticks – it should smell really good! If you are adding veggies, add them to the spices once the spices are roasted.

When the water is no longer covering the mung dal & rice…but you still know there is 1/2 water in the pot, add the spices and veggies. Stir. Cover. Turn on low heat and  cook until all water is absorbed. Tadaaaa! Serve with ghee and you can add a little salt. mm!

Kitchari has many many variations. If you have high pitta, you can swap out ajwan for 2 tblsp. unsweetened coconut. You can also swap cumin for 1 small handfull of chopped cilantro leaves.

Or for more Ayurvedic cooking, try this book by Dr. Lad.

What is Ama?

Back to Balance?

Ok. I cannot help but see the effects of what’s going on in our economy (I’m sorry if this seems a bit angry, but Ayurveda says, “do not resist your urges”). I work in creative staffing and damn if I don’t see several people a day that who are absolutely talented and skilled in everyway and are yet…not working.

I can complain that it’s hard for me and frustrating for me not to have jobs to place them in – it’s THEM I’m concerned about. Two people come to mind. Rego and Leanne. Bless your hearts. I had tears tonight abut you both. I am thinking of you and busting A$$ to get you in the door. Like I said, I am angry today.

My sweet boyfriend mentioned something today though about balance…and how our generation has never really endured a situation/depression like this. In my irritated (yet calm) state I said, “What’s your point?” He explained about the depression and then WWII and then boomers with Vietnam, and then 70s gas crisis…anyway, us generation Xers (and Yers) have never had something so detrimental to our lives than this. And holy crap, I see it and feel it EVERY day.

But then as I started anayzing…it’s really about balance, isn’t it? Everything is, right? So, in many cases we were paid extra-great amounts of money for our jobs. Somewhere there has to be a life lesson…because it seemed way to easy for a while, maybe? Now, I’m all about right intention and manifesting your highest dreams without obstacle…BUT!!! I also know that without falling to a certain level, our eyes do not open. I know without something to smack us in the head to wake us up, we will remain on the level of the shallow and somewhat spiritless.

Anyone who has gone through a personal crisis, has seeked the counseling of a professional, or has collapsed completely knows what I mean. You can only appreciate that what is now, when you have fallen to a certain level. I know first hand. I have fallen far…not in the job area, but personally…and it put me RIGHT on my path!!! THANKS for the fall…I needed it. Yeah. So does that need to happen to all of us so that we band together for support and cheerleading, rather than competing?

So, I am writing with hope and promise that this country will figure out the “lesson” for now. Maybe we will end up more compassionate, more willing to help, less ego-driven, less greed, and more passion to make this a better place – for ALL of us. Let’s hope. And let’s our sights on it. WE create what’s ahead. Let’s do a great job.

I got a new Pet Shop Boys song for ya. It’s about getting out of a rut and it’s a bit tongue and cheek about needing more. I sent this to my friend (I love you my sweet friend!!) for his birthday. Download and have faith, find what’s REAL. Bypass all the crap and dig deep. Now is our time (and I hope I don’t get sued for posting Pet Shop Boys link). Keep the faith. XOXOX!

Bits of Wisdom {8}

Give more hugs!

Hugs don’t cost anything and a hug can change yours or someone else’s entire mood for the day. You directly connect to someone else’s heart energy. So give them freely and often, to open your heart and those hearts around you.

Migraine | Opens doors to heaven

Oh my. There are few things worse than a migraine. If you have had them, you know they are excruciatingly painful. And really, your body is incapacitating you on purpose because it cannot handle any more. I was at a seminar taught by Dr. Lad in October; this is what I have in my notes:

Our mind stress patterns (possibly caused by bad habits) that cause a disturbance so big, we can’t ignore it. Not only that, but it’s so painful and unbearable that we discover we must change our ways. And with that, we change our minds. We make better choices and create better habits. And we become well. Dr. Lad said that many spiritual people have had migraine headaches because it put them right on their life path. No if’s, and’s or but’s. When our body speaks that loudly, we have no choice but to listen.

Flu & Cold

Flu & Cold. Keep warm, fast, rest

My boyfriend is sick. People at work are sick. It’s all no good. There are a bizillion reasons why we might get sick (there are 80 causes for a fever in Ayurveda!) so I am not going to pretend that I know how to fix any of it. But! Some things that might be simple and helpful, I can share.

For fever and aches.
Keep warm. Warm shower or warm bath. Electric blankets or heating pads are good too.
Fast. Sip warm water and don’t eat any food until you perk up. Our bodies are trying to rid toxins (which is what’s making us sick) or excess dosha build up, so it’s up to us to help out. The warm water will help open channels and prepare toxins for elimination. If we eat food it will make ridding the toxins more difficult because the body will have an additional task. Not only that but our agni isn’t strong either, so the food won’t digest properly anyway…causing more toxins…and you get my drift.

Rest. We know this.

For congestion and snotty stuff.
Keep warm. Dry heat is best. Not too much steam (the snot is already sticky, steam will make it more sticky). Drink warm liquids (water, tea with honey)
Liquid, spicy soups. Sharp, warm liquid will cut through the excess goo (kapha imbalance) and open channels
Eucalyptus aromatherapy. It will open the sinuses. Or massage eucalyptus oil on the chest
Drink Congestion Tea.
Rest. We know this.

The Five Senses | 4 | Taste

Tasty!! Taste is the 4th sense. For some background before delving into the 4th sense, see the overview. You may also want to check out hear, see, and touch.

Ah, so taste! Why is it important? Digestion starts in the mouth with the saliva and teeth, so what we taste has a direct effect on our digestion. When we taste something sweet more moisture is brought to the mouth whereas if we taste something astringent it may make us pucker. And so? Proper digestion is of A #1 importance in Ayurveda – because if it’s off it creates ama, which is responsible for 90% of all disease.

When we can’t taste, we are likely to eat less, right? But just because we eat less, doesn’t mean we are digesting it properly…cause our mind is like “yuck, bleh.” On the flip side, when food is overly flavorful or too salty we may go back for seconds even if we are not hungry- because it’s soooo tasty. Over eating causes ama and weak agni and we know it’s just not a good thing.

The goal is to find a middle ground. Enhancing meals with spices (without salt) will add flavors that work with the body and help us feel satiated with a smaller amount. The taste will satisfy us without over enhancing our ego (like salt does), which increases the desire for more more more. However, when taste is too bland, our body is not “inspired” and then our mouth doesn’t water. And then digestion is stunted from the get go! That’s no good either.

Best is to spice foods without using too much salt and we will stay on track for the most part. If we bring our attention to the sense of taste, we will begin to understand how important it really is. It drives our digestion and is responsible for making sure the entire body has been nourished. More details to come on the 6 tastes in Ayurveda and how they balance (or throw off balance) the doshas…

Tip: Dry Winter Skin

Winter skin can have many of us itching and scratching. I recommend putting the lotion aside and giving oils a try. If you are high vata (naturally dry all the time), use sesame oil. If you are a pitta, use almond or coconut oil or ghee (but you’ll smell like buttery goodness). Kaphas are naturally oily and cool but if they have a problem with dryness in the winter, sunflower oil would be best because it is not too heavy.

Oils are natural and will do a fine fine job of absorbing in quickly to your skin. Plus, it’s natural!! No perfumes or alcohols to get in the way, so your body receives all the nourishment it needs. Speaking of nourishment, remember your skin is an organ. And everything you put on it, gets absorbed and digested by the body. Rule of thumb, if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin!

The ideal thing is to use oil in the morning routine. Best is to warm the oil in a container in boiling water. Then massage the body head to toe and let the oil soak in for 10-15 minutes. Then shower it off.

However! Most of us don’t allow extra time for sitting around with oil on ourselves in the mornings. If you do, great. If not, apply the oil at night instead. You will sleep like a baby!

You don’t have to go on a wild goose chase for these oils either. You can find them at your grocery store (I get mine at Whole Foods). Get the cold pressed/expeller oils. Apply daily and your skin will be smooth as butta in no time!