Monthly Archives: March 2010

MonicaB’s Lassi Recipe

Yeah! I’ve got my coworker hooked on lassi. She discovered it because she had the flu a couple weeks ago and we helped repair her digestion with lassi. Like magic!

Lassi is a yogurt drink made especially to enhance digestion. Please note that while made from yogurt, lassi is not yogurt. In fact, they have completely opposite qualities. Yogurt as we know, is a channel clogger. I know you might not believe me, you might even be mad at me for saying that, but according to Ayurveda it’s the truth. The marketing people at yogurt companies might sell us stories about probiotics and acidopholopohous or whatever it is, but I stand by my belief that yogurt clogs.

If you have any problems with allergies, slow metabolism, cloudy mind, lethargy, tendency toward being cold, sinus problems and/or chest congestion, try stopping the yogurt. Just try it for a week and see how you feel. You can always go back to yogurt if you want but my guess is that you will feel better. Ok, I digress.

BUT! We’re not talking about yogurt, we are talking about lassi (I wish I could put a pink tutu on that word because I love it so much. hmm…idea for a graphic! Love it when that happens)!! Beautiful, channel opening lassi!! Lassi is made from yogurt, but it’s properties are changed by adding water, herbs and spices and then churning it. Churning adds heat which changes the yogurt from cold, gloppy, goo-glue into a fluid substance that is channel opening and great for aiding digestion. It’s easy to accumulate ama with yogurt, but lassi doesn’t clog so you stay ama free. It’s also great for indigestion and hyper acidity as it’s cooling. Great for pitta types who like yogurt – yogurt imbalances and lassi balances (like a ballerina!).

A very magic secret about lassi is that it’s THEE  cure for hemorhoids! Have one after dinner or for a snack daily and your hemorhoids will go away. Not kidding.

I think you will find that lassi’s are quite delish and there are many recipes for them (just google). Below is my recipe that I use (pitta-vata type). Sometimes I even skip dinner and just have a lassi because it makes a nice light meal to aid digesting food from the day.

Monica B’s Lassi Recipe
1 part plain, full fat yogurt – 1/3 cup is good to start
2 (vata, pitta) or 3 (kapha) parts water
ginger powder, cardamom, honey, all to taste
Use a whisk or hand blender and CHURN!! For about 2 minutes. It will get liquidy and a little frothy. Pour into a cup and you can sprinkle extra cardamom on the top if you want. MM!

Tip: Safflower oil great for skin

Hey!! Safflower is a GREAT oil to use in place of body lotion (a la chemicals) for spring and summer. It’s natural, lightweight, non-heating and makes skin sooooo smooth. I LOVE it! Also apply at night around the eyes to reduce crows feet. xo!

Kapha’s #1 Food

Hello Honey! ;) Did you know that honey is kapha’s #1 food?! It’s true.

Honey might seem sweet, sticky, and heavy. But! It has a special quality (kinda magical) in which it digests hot, sharp, and drying. Great for heating up spring colds and clearing out kapha. That’s why honey is great for colds, mucus in the chest or snotty sinus problems. Oh and use the raw, unpasteurized stuff so that you get honey in it’s purest, most medicinal form. Go get em, honey. Mmmwaah!

Kapha Graces us with Spring

 

Ok folks, vata has left the building and it’s time to make way for the graceful entry of kapha season, spring! March 21st officially marks the start of spring when nature starts to wake up and become alive again. If we live in a climate with harsh winter we might feel REALLY refreshed when the snow melts and we see tulips or crocus poking out of the ground. Our first glimpse of grass might feel like heaven (I used to live in Wisconsin and I know their winter pain :). Rain nourishes all that was sleeping all winter. And after the rain is the sweet reward of buds on trees, flower beds, and the fresh smell of cut grass. And if you notice…peoples’ moods start to improve. Right!? Don’t forget that the weather makes a huge difference on us because weather (nature) governs our beings.

Kapha is the energy of lubrication and structure which nourishes our bodies just as it does in nature. Contrary to vata energy that is dry, light, cold, mobile and rough, the nature of kapha is wet, heavy, cold, static and smooth. It is a heavy energy responsible for creation and renewal. Unfortunately kapha season also brings spring colds, allergies, asthma, to certain people. If these things affect you, that’s a good clue that you have some kapha in you. The heavy, wet, sticky energy of kapha will grab onto particles in the air and “hold” them, which might cause excess mucus in the chest or nasal passages.

Here are some tips to stay healthy and balanced in spring, especially if you are a kapha person. If you’re not sure, take the dosha quiz!

Like increases like. To stay balanced in spring, we want to incorporate all things opposite of the wet, heavy, cold, static and smooth qualities of kapha. Eating foods that are dry, light, warm/spicy, liquid and fiberous will help kapha move so that it doesn’t get stuck in places! Ginger is great

Lighten up. Since kapha energy is heavy, this is a great time for lightening our load. Choose lighter foods, incorporate daily exercise (to keep bodies light), or donate clothes we no longer wear. Keeping light is key for kapha.

Clean it out. It’s not weird at all that we feel AWESOME when we’ve done some spring cleaning. It’s because nature wants us to! And that’s not just for the house either. Consider doing a spring cleanse for your bod as it will remove toxins due to sluggish winter digestion. Fasting is a form of cleansing and kapha types should fast by skipping dinner one night a week. Their metabolism tends to be sluggish and fasting will help their digestion catch up!

Neti Pot. The neti pot is the magic cure for all kapha allergies and sinus problems. I swear it works and have had numerous clients sing it’s praises. If you are snotted up or have pollen floating around in there, rinse it out! ;)

Light and Small Food. Because kapha is naturally heavy, it easily gets weighed down. Having small meals will be key. Really pay attention to your hunger so as no to overeat. Overeating is the quickest way to imbalance kapha.

No Yogurt. Yogurt has identical qualities to kapha and it’s a channel clogger which can make allergies, colds, asthma much worse.

Aromatherapy. Bergamot, citrus, lavender, basil.

So the basic rules are, if you are a kapha-type person stay light, dry, and warm. And keep moving! Enjoy the graceful, peaceful and refreshing entry into spring!!

Health Freedom Expo, Long Beach

Hey, folks in the LA area!

There is a cool Health Freedom Expo in Long Beach coming up on March 26th & 27th. Unfortunately I will be out of town that weekend but if you are interested in going, I have been given access to free tickets. NOW who’s your favorite Ayurvedic chick!? Just kidding. These tickets were generously given to us by the fabulous folks from The Business Muse. Thank you thank you Business Muse!!!

The Difference between Traditional Medicine and Ayurveda

This might be my favorite thing to teach! When I was in the middle of my own healing, I used a blend of acupuncture, therapy, western nutrition, and exercise to find my balance. I found that western nutrition recommendations really failed me, which was a huge let down at the time! So, I went on a search for something more and something that worked better for me. I wanted a deeper healing and deeper answers, as I dug for the roots of, “But what about meeeee!? None of this shizz makes me feel good!”

On the quest to find answers and healing for myself, I found Ayurveda, randomly online. And boy howdy did I find it!! Like a *whomp* on the head and a *flourish* in the heart, there was no stopping me from learning, applying and teaching it — in an instant.

One of the first things we learned in school waaay back in 2007 (ha!), was the difference between traditional medicine and ayurveda. They are like black and white! I remember feeling so refreshed by that at the time. It was like, “Ahhhh…there you are, healing!’ Ayurveda just made so much more sense to me in realizing the mind, body, spirit are all involved and in connecting to nature. It was intuitive to me — I felt like I was home.

Ayurveda takes time and definitely requires a willingness to try something new. If our old habits (and prescriptions) had worked, we wouldn’t be on the search to try something else.

The philosophies of Traditional Medicine and Ayurveda are very different and therefore so is the approach, the practices, and the treatments. Without adding a layer of confusion as to how deep Ayurveda goes, I’ve created a simple chart on how they differ. I’m not saying one is good or bad because both have their place. However, as you are learning, definitely keep them in different buckets because they don’t overlap much.

If you are new to Ayurveda, start here.
And you can take the dosha test here.

In my ideal world, we will use both sciences where they excel — Ayurveda used for prevention and Traditional Medicine for emergencies. If we work on healthy diet & lifestyle habits as individuals, we can avoid most chronic problems that build up over time because of bad choices or bad habits. This would leave more room for the M.D.’s to respond to emergencies as they happen, rather than super-quick-fixing (pharmaceuticals!) health problems that we should be owning like proper diet, good sleep, exercise daily, and promoting habits for a healthy mind. Wouldn’t that blend would be amazing!?! Let’s get to work and begin to create that for ourselves. It starts with us!!

Bit of Wisdom {23}

Choosing the path of self-healing (no matter what form) is choosing the path of self-LOVE! Once you start to truly love yourself, you will heal. Cross my heart.

The Flu Caught Me

Rats. After escaping India with out ONE digestion problem and despite knowing general tips on how to avoid the flu, I got it this weekend. The Flu. I got it at 3:30 am on Saturday and thought it was food poisoning, but then came the aches and a slight fever. I’ve never had food poisoning but was pretty sure it didn’t come with aches and fever. Then I found out that two coworkers had it too. Double rats.

In Ayurveda we say that when the body is trying to rid something either thru-est thine butt or thru-est thine mouth (IF ya know what I mean) we have to let it take its course. Here’s why. If we stop something like diarrhea, the body can’t get rid the problem, so it’s never good to take a diarrhea stopper. However! If there is a point where the diarrhea turns to water, then we have to stop it because then the person is just losing fluids. Make sense?

Allow me to be gross for a minute (if I haven’t already). I assumed the same was true for throwing up. And I got to the point where it was SO painful and there was nothing left but water and bile, so I knew I had to stop it. <<gross part done!>>

SO! Here is what I did! I managed to slooowly creep downstairs to make myself a lassi. You know it? Lassi is a digestive buttermilk (hang on, I’ll explain) drink made with spices depending on the person. Lassi opens all the channels, aids digestion, coats the stomach, calms pitta (bile!) and vata, and for some reason my intuition told me to make one. Here’s how I made it:

1/3 c plain full fat yogurt
1/2 tsp ginger (helps all digestive problems)
1/4 cardamom (calms vata & pitta)
brown sugar to taste

Combine in a bowl and then churn for 2 minutes! You can either use a whisk or put it in a blender. Or if you have one of those wooden mallot things that you can spin (I found mine in India), you can use that. This will add the heat element to the yogurt and water and make it frothy. The heat element is what changes the properties in the yogurt. Yogurt by itself is a channel blocker, but lassi is a channel opener!!

The resuls?! I didn’t throw up any more! It was instantly cooling, soothing and my cramps stopped. My stomach felt a million times better. That said, the rest of me still felt like garbage but at least the trips to the bathroom had stopped. After that I just tried to sleep and I took one ibuprofen (yes I did! I am human and I was in pain!) to stop the aches. When I’m more advanced in my studies maybe I’ll come up with something that stops aches, but for now I’ll just be happy that lassi works!! The good news is that this nasty lil flu only lasts 24 hours, so if you get it rest, rest, rest. Be well my friends.

Sit n’ Eat

Hey hey! A while back I was counseling a dear coworker of mine who was a bride-to-be. Like many brides she wanted to trim up through diet and exercise, so one of the things I suggested she do is STOP walking around with food in her hand. It’s true right?! Whether at work, a social gathering, or even while cooking our own dinner (I’m guilty!), we might mindlessly snitch foods, walk around and yap.

The problem is, this totally disconnects us from the process of digestion. Digestion starts in the mouth and when we don’t pay attention to it, we a) don’t enjoy what we are eating and b) don’t remember that we ate. If we don’t enjoy our food, we won’t feel satisfied nor will food digest properly because the mouth (first stage of digestion!) relies on taste for digestion. On top of that if we don’t remember what we ate we are VERY likely to overeat.

The best thing we can do is keep our mind in our food. Cause dude remember, mind rules our body and when our mind is not connected to our actions, it’s almost like it didn’t happen! Crazy. The downfall is that calories DO happen whether you remember them or not ;)

So here’s my MonicaB Challenge: For the month of March avoid eating while standing up or walking around. Yeah? Can you do it?

The goal is to feel REAL hunger and practice mindful eating rather than just mindless snackin’!

xo

Bit of Wisdom {22}

Anything can become poison, anything can become nectar. It depends on how much you take and where your mind is when you take it. – from one of MonicaB’s fabulous Ayurveda books but she forgot the author…