Monthly Archives: August 2010

Bringing your Ayurvedic Lunch

 

Show of hands, who gets in a mad scramble at lunch time to grab something to scarf down before their next meeting? 1, 2, 3, 4…wow, LOTS of you! ;) Who is so rushed in the morning that they don’t have time to pack a good lunch? Who has empty cupboards and complains that there is “nothing in the house?” Who’s sick of spending…$10-$12+ per day on lunch that is not as healthy as you would like OR is not as tasty as something you could have made yourself?

Ah! This is where it gets fun. Friends!! You have FULL control over what you eat for lunch!! Yes you do! It just takes a little planning. By bringing lunch, you would have more time to eat (because you’re not running around trying to find food), you would feel good about eating healthier and saving money, AND you will have time to enjoy relaxing before you jet to your next meeting. You can pack your lunch at night so that you just have to grab it. Really! It’s not that hard, you just have to make it priority and you will LOVE how easy it becomes.

This lunch thang is a big challenge for almost all of my clients. It’s very hard for most hard-working people to make lunch a priority because we have so many other things on our plates (pun!). But bringing your own yummy lunch will ease stress, enhance your efficiency, settle your mind, help with weight loss and save you dough. Plus, you will be eating fresher foods that have not been processed which will do wonders for the body-mind. Try it for 1 week. My guess is that you’ll feel SO GOOD that you will want to make that decision over and over. It will be one of the most healthy things you can do for yourself, I promise.

The trick for an Ayurvedic lunch is to make sure it’s not freezing cold and avoid using the microwave if possible. Those are the biggest hurdles I’ve discovered ya’ll have with this. Most foods can be kept room temperature and they will not rot/spoil in a matter of 4 hours — it’s just the truth — so don’t feel like everything has to go in the fridge. When I take my lunch to work, I leave it on a shelf at my desk. That way I don’t need to nuke the crap out of it because it’s cold. I usually eat it room temp or add a little hot water from the water cooler to warm it up (depending what it is).

Where to start when to bringing your Ayurvedic lunch:

• Make a dish in a crock pot or rice cooker at night so it’s ready in the morning.  Bring any kind of one-pot meal in a thermos or some other “keeps things warm” container. Foods you could make are soup, rice/veggies, pasta, barley/veggie, veggie curries, fried rice, or do a google search and find endless possibilities.

• I like to make a “kitchari burrito” — it is room temp (no micro!) but they are tasty and don’t get soggy!

• Make this awesome 10-minute kitchari and bring in a thermos!

• Make roasted veggies or steamed veggies the night before and bring in a container with pasta and a drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper.

• Bring pieces to assemble a good lunch, like tomatoes, avocado, fresh mozzarella cheese slice, and basil. I’ll bring a tortilla and make a wrap!

• Pesto and hummus are fun accessories. Basil can be used with pasta (sprinkle some pine nuts & sundried tomatoes – mm!) or spread on a wrap. Hummus can be used to dip steamed/cooled veggies or used as a spread on some naan.

• Use a little hot water from the water-cooler and add to warm up soup or soften and warm up a rice dish.

• I keep oatmeal, raisins and almonds at my desk if I get into trouble. Yes, it’s an oatmeal packet, but better than starving or rushing. I use the hot water to “cook” it and let it sit til it absorbs. Decorate with raisins and almonds and…not too shabby!

• Don’t skip lunch if you didn’t bring it. If you need to duck out and get food, make sure it’s prepared fresh by happy people and is warm-ish. Don’t carry any guilt or judgement around about it, just make a conscious choice to do better tomorrow. Yeah?

And you know what?! You are smart. I bet you have lunch ideas to share with us too. Send them in the comments below so we can all see and have better lunchies. There will be a “part 2” to this which includes lunch ideas for kiddos! Stay tuned. XO!

Thunder-shows

Ahh, who doesn’t love a great thunderstorm!? Like, a really good, healthy (not dangerous) one. You know, when the sky turns totally black (or green) and opens up while rain pours down to water the grass and plants. It delights our 5 senses as thunder booms in our ears and lightning puts on a show for our eyes. Then there’s the cooling, wet touch of rain on our skin or maybe our tongues. Our feet are vehicles that cool our entire being by walking in grass and dancing in puddles. And when it’s over, nothing beats the smell of a recent thunderstorm.

Well no wonder we love thunderstorms!! They touch every one of our senses! In Ayurveda, we use those 5 senses are the vehicles to all healing. We perform massage (touch), aromatherapy (smell), give nutrition guidance (taste), play mantras or soothing music (hear), and provide nice surroundings (sight). That’s why you feel so nice when you go to a spa or Ayurvedic center – because they pay delicate attention to our five senses, which heals you.

So next time a thunderstorm blows by, take time to enjoy it. My grandpa and I used to sit on the swing on the front porch while nature put on its little show. We just took it all in. While summer is still here, I invite you to do the same and if anyone asks you why you’re dancing in the puddles just say, “it’s good for my doshas!” and they will leave you alone :D

When Sh*t Happens

In the article Wish It Away, I mention how we can use our mind as an energy shifter to heal ourselves and others. In response, I received a comment from a lovely gal who wanted to hear the other side of things…like, what do we do when bad stuff just happens? An excerpt from her comment:

I do have a minor quibble with this post–I really wish it had included a ‘but sometimes bad stuff just happens and it’s not our fault’ caveat….Sometimes we can control it, sometimes we can’t. And helping people handle stuff when all good intentions still don’t help the bad stuff go away is really important.

Her comment is very valid and true. Like, what do we do when our parents divorce or a loved one dies? Not only what do we do, but why did it happen in the first place…because it’s not my fault! Correct, it’s not your fault. And in all honesty, the why’s cannot really be answered…at least in the moment it happens. Years down the road we might be able to look backwards what our lives have turned into and it might make more sense. We might even find that it’s a blessing that the sh*t happened.

In short, when sh*t happens, there is nothing we can do except find faith. Find faith that we will be okay. Faith that it happened for SOME reason which will make its way to us later. The truth is that when sh*t happens, we grow, we learn, and we change.

Ayurveda would say that when something traumatic happens, it’s part of our (and their) karmic path for our own evolution and/or for someone else’s. Allow me to share a personal story so that you can see how it unfolds. Maybe it will help you see things like this in your own life.

My grandma died when I was 11, which left a crater-sized hole in my heart. She was my caretaker because my mom (single) was working her hiney off. Grade school, high school, college and most of my 20’s I seemed outwardly happy, but inwardly I was pretty pissed. It would show up in me having a quick fuse, bouts of depression, and worst of all, a heart that had kinda shut down.

All of that sh*t pushed me to move from Milwaukee to San Francisco and there, I finally found me again. At 31, I had the courage to go to therapy, acupuncture,  life coaching, and a nutritionist. One day when I was depressed as hell, I wanted to disappear to go do yoga in India (so weird cause I knew nothing about India). So I googled it and from there I found a retreat that was “Ayurvedic.” Not knowing what that was, I googled “Ayurveda” and once I found a description, I cried and cried and cried. My heart broke open. Everything I had always believed in was right before my eyes…and I never knew it existed. Four days later I was in school for Ayurveda and 3 years later I’m spreading the word in hopes to heal millions.

THAT is one small example of how one trauma (cause I had more! and I’m sure you do too!) can turn a life around. The traumas and the sh*t are all lessons. The key is to keep FAITH and open your heart to what comes next. Of course there is a grieving period…although in my experience I don’t know that grief goes away, but I’ve learned to accept it. And I can smile at it now. And I can thank it. It’s there, but I’ve made friends with it.

A dear friend of mine, her dad passed away and when we were talking about grief, I shared my outlook on it. And she responded, “I get it, so, it’s like boobs. One day you look down and say, ‘Oh okay, I have boobs now’ and that’s it.” And I said, “Yeah…kinda like boobs.”

Sweet friends. Bless you and your traumas. They are not your fault if they happen, but they are part of your path. They are necessary, for whatever reason. You might not get instantaneous clarity and it could even take 20 years. But be patient and have faith. LIVE this life the very best you can, as positively as you can, with your best intentions. You cannot always avoid sh*t, but you can learn from it and even make friends with it if you choose.

Namasté dear friends.

Intro To Ayurveda Video!!

Peeps!!
Below is a link to an AWESOME introductory video on Ayurveda!! It was created by my friend and fellow Ayurvedee, Diana Bayless and a special appearance made by your truly :)

Introduction to Ayurveda by Diana Bayless

Challenge: Small Dinner

Did you try the mindful munching challenge? How did it go? I have another one for you if you would like to add on! That’s what these challenges are all about. They are not something you can cross off a list, as much as they are small habits you can build on. And before you know it, you’ll have new habits and better health!

This week’s challenge is to have a small dinner. If you normally have dinner as your biggest meal, try making lunch bigger and eat 1/2 what you normally would at dinner.

Why it’s important: Dinners that are too large can cause weight gain, cloudiness of mind, depression, general lethargy, ama, and will make it harder to get up in the morning! Instead of feeling fresh, light, and ready to go, the heavy food from the night before might still be hanging around our digestive system. Once the sun goes down, so does our digestive fire (agni) and we just don’t have the power to tackle a big meal. Over time, this can cause loads of imbalances.

So, try it!! Have a small dinner about 1/2 the size you would normally. If you already eat dinner as your smallest meal, good job and keep it up! Let me know how it goes – we’ll want to cheer you on!

Tip: Health isn’t Instant

There is no “finish line” when it comes to health, so the good news is that you can stop trying to “achieve health.” Health should be habitual. If you maintain fast foods & sedentary lifestyle, you’ll see the effects. If you maintain fresh foods & a little exercise, you’ll see that too. We didn’t become imbalanced overnight, nor will we fix it overnight. Be mindful about foods, sleep, poop, and stress. Disregard fancy marketing for juices, bars, shakes, etc., because they won’t help you. It’s just marketing. Use your wisdom and make health a habit! Let me know if you need help. XOXO!

Heated Topic


Thanks for the questions Magdalena!! I am happy to answer. In Ayurvedic cooking, it is recommended that veggies are cooked. Cooking veggies aids agni in digesting food because the food has the “fire” element (heat, cooking, grill, whatever) is already introduced before it hits our stomach. If we eat raw veggies, they are cold, rough, and hard which means it takes a really strong fire to digest them properly. So in general, any sort of heating your food will help you digest better.

There is a little Ayurvedic science involved in the cooking methods but when you remember that the 5 great elements (space, air, fire, water, earth) govern everything, it will make your life easier.

If you boil veggies, there is heat (fire), but what other element is there? Anyone? “WATER!” Yes hooray. Prize goes to the lady in the purple shirt. Therefore, boiling veggies is better for folks who need more moisture. Vatas are the most dry of the three doshas so a little extra water will help keep their digestion happy (don’t forget to drizzle ghee on the veggies for more lube!).

If you grill veggies, fire is the main element and there is also air involved. This will be a great method for kaphas or sluggish digestion because the fire in the grill will heat and stoke our fire within.

If you roast veggies, it will depend if you roast them dry, which is good for kapha and pitta. Or you can roast them in oil or ghee which is good for vata.

Frying is…hot oil! Which dosha needs something warming and oily? “VATA” Wow! The lady in the purple shirt is cleaning house. Vatas can actually have fried food in the winter when it’s freezing and dry outside. As long as the oil is fresh and we don’t eat too many fried foods, vata will feel comfortable and “buttered” after a little friedness.

Always remember that the 5 elements make up every wee piece of matter and energy. Just five tiny things! When in doubt, see if you can pick out what elements are involved. From there use your knowledge and choose the opposites to balance. Hopefully I didn’t confuse you too much. Slowly absorbing this information is key to really applying it. With enough practice you can be like the lady in the purple shirt…and you could win…A NEW CAR! Just kidding. I live across the street from where they film The Price Is Right. Not kidding. Aaaaannnd, scene.

Wish It Away

I have a cool story to share.
Two weeks ago my dear friend and I were chatting on the phone and she told me that six weeks prior, her 31 year-old sister collapsed from a thyroid condition. The docs said the thyroid had gone wack (paraphrasing) and so they removed it. After that they did a scan of some sort (MRI if I remember correctly) and they found a mass over her sister’s heart. A HUGE mass the size of a piece of toast, they said.

As my friend was telling me the story she started crying. I could hear the desperation in her voice and I felt SO sad for her and her sister. They had been worrying about this for six weeks, thinking that her sis would have to have open heart surgery to remove the mass. My friend said, “Monnie, I just want it to GO AWAY! I want that thing gone!” To which I responded, “Then tell it to go away. You can do that. Just tell it to leave.” I counseled her on the power of healing thoughts and said, “If you want that thing gone then, peacefully yet sternly, tell it it’s not welcome here and that it needs to leave.”

We talked loads more and I gave her some tools (below) on how to visualize healing her sister. At the end of our conversation, she had stopped crying. She sounded grounded and confident. She said she felt empowered and lighter and agreed to try the visualization that night.

Now, I kid you not (she reads this blog, maybe she’ll respond), the very next day I got a text message from her. It said, “Monica…my sister was misdiagnosed!!! She is going to be fine!!! No surgery!!!!” I freaked out!!! OMG, Holy Crud! It works THAT fast?!?! No WAY!!

And I think she did it. I think she wished it away. My friend said that after talked that night, she envisioned a jackhammer, hammering away pieces of the mass. And when she took her dogs out in the morning, she saw doves, which she thought was weird because there aren’t doves where she lives.

My friends, this kind of healing is REAL. We have the capacity to heal ourselves in ANY way we choose. Our minds are large and powerful. If we open our hearts and believe in an all-encompassing universe where all energy is connected, we can heal each other. Sending someone a healing thought is immensely powerful, but the trick is to REALLY feel it. With passion, peace, and confidence. One of my favorite Ayurvedic sayings is, “When faith is there, the mind is powerful enough to make the ‘medicine’ work.”

HERE ARE THE TOOLS:
The first step: see it. Visualize the thing, like REALLY picture it. Is it squishy? Sandy? Fluffy? Rocky? What did it look like? In my personal healing, I had “coffee grounds.”
The second step: thank it. During hard times we learn lessons, which cannot go without gratitude and a spiritual hug. As hard as it is, give thanks because these lessons are how we gain our wisdom.
The third step: tell it to leave. Might go something like, “Hey thing, thanks for the lessons. I get it and I have learned XYZ (then list everything you have learned and be sincere). You taught me a lot and while I am grateful, I don’t need you any more. You are no longer welcome here and you need to leave.”
The fourth step: get rid of it.
Clean it out!! Maybe it gets sucked away by a vacuum. Maybe it dissolves. Maybe it melts. All sorts of things can happen and it will differ per person. Just clean it up.

You can do this visualization daily. One important thing to remember, always make sure it is done with peace. Negative emotions like anger or desperation can have opposite effects. So stay peaceful, stern, and confident. No doubts.

Try it out – it can work on anything. If you are anxious, make the anxiety float into the clouds. If you are angry, tame the fire with a slow exhale. I’ve even done this with weird neighbors (I always wish them a better apartment/house/job)…and before you know it, they move! Anything goes! Have fun. It would be fun to TELL US what you do! You don’t have to tell us why or exactly what it is, but I would love to know what you see and how you clean it out.

I just did a little thing: I sent fuzzy pink loving light to all your hearts. I saw a big map with many pink dots. You all lit up like E.T’s finger. Let me know if I made anything cool happened ;) Namasté, sweet friends out there. MMwwaaaah!