Monthly Archives: September 2010

Bit of Wisdom {29}

Instead of thinking “What can I get out of this?” what if we started thinking, “How can I improve or help this.” Our egos want me me meee! Maybe we can tell Mr./Ms. ego to be quiet for a sec while we lend a helping hand with grace, expecting nothing back.

The Kind Book

Dude!! Has anyone read, The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone? I just got it last week and I am LOVING it!! To be honest, I was a little skeptical (pitta) at first because I wasn’t sure how substantial it would be. I thought it might be a lot of fluffy air about nothing or that it would severely in try to sway us to veganism. SO wrong I was!

She is a former meat eater and dairy lover. And basically, she has been vegan for years and the book explains how and why a vegan (if the word “vegan” just turned you off, stay with me here) diet is “kind” to our body-minds and the planet. What I like about the book is that she is not overly preachy, but she does go into detail as to why a plant & grain based diet is good for the body-mind. I also like that she does not try to push anyone to change to be vegan, she simply gives facts and guidance. She actually gives a LOT of great facts about our food and where it comes from, which EVERYone should know! Her writing style feels like you are talking to your girlfriend (she even talks about farts), which makes all of this really easy to grasp and it also feels like it’s coming from an authentic place.

If you are questioning your nutrition and/or what kind of foods are good for you, this is a great educator and a fun read. She must have studied Eastern health modalities of some sort because she is RIGHT on parallel with Ayurvedic nutrition philosophies. What is not in her book, which is uniquely Ayurvedic, is that depending on your dosha(s), the types of food you eat will vary per person.

She has a blog, The Kind Life ,which has more recipes and life-guiding goodies. Below is my favorite excerpt from the book so far (oh yeah, there are loads of tasty recipes too!).

I’m here to remind you that eating is the most important thing you do. It determines how you look, how you feel, and even how you behave. Every meal drives your day in one direction or another. Food is the foundation of your life.

What if I’m TWO doshas?!

I get this question all the time, “I’m two doshas! How do I know which one to follow?”

(If you’re like, “Wait! What’s a dosha?” – Here is some help)

First, don’t panic! It’s aalll good. Many of us are more than one dosha and sometimes we are two doshas in equal parts. I’ll use myself as an example. I am an equal split of pitta/vata. I have a vata mind; creative, scattered, multi-tasking, inventive. I have a pitta body; medium build, straight slightly oily hair, sharp tongue. I have vata digestion: bloatey, tending toward constipation. I have the typical pitta “I want it my way” desire for control. They play together to make me who I am. Because I know a lot about the doshas, I can pick out where they live in my body and balance them that way. For example because of my weak/variable digestion, I know that I have to follow mainly vata guidelines for food.

So what does one do when they are a combo of both doshas but the tools that balance them are sorta opposites? There are a few things you can do, but first you REALLY understand what each dosha needs to stay balanced.

In a tiny nutshell
vatas need: grounding, moisture/oil, heaviness, heat, and stability
pittas need: soothing, cooling, a bit more dryness, sweetness, and serenity
kaphas need: movement, heat, dryness, invigoration, and spices

Great so what do you do when you are a pitta/vata and one is telling you to stay warm and the other is telling you to stay cool? Or what to do when you are a kapha/pitta and you are supposed to eat hot spices to jumpstart digestion, but hot spices aggravate pitta? THIS is where Ayurveda gets a little complicated and becomes a WHOLE science. This is where the combination of YOU comes in (and probably a good practitioner ;).

There are several ways to manage two doshas but for you to keep it simple, stay in balance with the seasons. Please see the seasonal chart for a happy visual aid. Seasons are the larger nature and we are smaller, so we are governed by them. If you are a pitta/kapha and it is summer, monitor and balance your pitta by having cooling, astringent foods like veggies. Don’t exercise in the hot sun or drink too much booze (heating). But also, mind your kapha by not having “sugars” as your sweet foods (kapha increasing), rather choose fresh fruits to balance both doshas.

I hope I am not making your head spin. Really it will all make sense once you start to know yourself. I know that salads (vata increasing) make be bloatey (vata problem) during fall and winter (vata season). I also know that I might get heartburn (pitta problem) during summer (pitta season) if I have a glass of red wine with spicy food (both pitta increasing).

So my suggestion is, read up about vata, pitta and kapha. If you have questions, ask them and I will do my best to answer. Once you know the three, you will begin to see where each one shows up in your body-mind and you can make food, exercise and lifestyle decisions accordingly. It will take time as your discoveries unravel, so don’t be anxious, just start to notice your patterns. You will begin to notice how certain foods affect you and maybe how stress affects you at different times.

Take this as the start of getting to know yourself. Hooray for two doshas! It’s fun to watch them play together and flip each other over as the seasons go by. Use this new knowledge to your advantage so you can keep yourself healthy. xo!

Questions!?!???! ;)

The struggle to surrender

I’ve been sitting here all night trying to come up with a brilliant Ayurvedic…something, to write about. I’ve gone through old notes and looked through my books, only to get distracted. And then I think, “Shoot! I have to write something on my blog for tonight!” And I’ve spent an hour and a half in my little “writer’s block” struggle rather than grabbing a good book and reading just to relax.

So. What if I stop struggling? Ah! Lovely. Suddenly I find I have something to write about :)

When we can’t get ahead or achieve the results we are looking for, maybe it’s time to just surrender. Sometimes I forget about that lovely tool, surrender, because it’s just so easy. When there is no relaxation, there is no rest. Yet the only time we get stronger is by resting! So often we push and push and push only to find ourselves exhausted and going in circles. Only once we stop can something else come in and change our perspective to help solve our problem. So before I hit the sack, I’ll leave you with this:

Relax! There is more strength in surrender than there is in forging ahead.

Plated Portions!

Hohkay! Did you know that how you build your plate of food should be based on your dosha(s)? You may have (You win! Again, someday maybe I will give out fabulous prizes. For now, just enjoy that you won). Since Ayurveda focuses on the individual, it only makes sense that the way we serve ourselves should be based on our individual make up.

For example, if we are mostly vata (air and space), we will need more grounding, sticky, and warm foods to ground us. If we are mostly pitta (fire and water), we will naturally have great metabolism and digestion so we have the fire to digest proteins and even raw veggies (although most veggies according to Ayurveda should be cooked). Same as, if we are kapha (water and earth), we will need lighter, spicier, and warm foods to balance the heaviness of kapha.

To make it easy to understand, I’ve made a little graphic below.

**Proteins don’t necessarily mean meat! Protein could be lentils (vatas no lentils, they will gas you up), nuts, cheese, etc. I just drew a fish because…it’s late and I’m tired. oxoxo**

As you can see, the vata plate has more grounding foods (carbs), plenty of healthy fat (ghee), some cooked veggies, a little protein and a little spice to aid their variable digestion. Vatas need warmth and stability so the fats and carbies will help keep their body strong and their mind/emotions stable. Vatas need protein for strength, but it can be tough to digest, therefore the spice will help increase digestive fire.

The pitta plate is pretty even all around, but there is little or no spice used. Pittas tend to be spicy enough as is ;) Pittas need a balance of veggies and carbs because both cool their fire. The protein gives their agni a job to do for a while. Otherwise, their fire will quickly use up the veggies and carbs and they’ll be hungry again in a short time.

The kapha plate is loaded with warm veggies, with a kick of spice. It has a small amount of protein and carbs because kaphas are already heavy and sturdy. The cooked veggies are both light and very easy to digest which will keep kaphas feeling light and energized. The spice will help give their digestion/metabolism a nice boost that it needs. Proteins can be hard to digest so keep them small or stay with vegetarian dishes. Kaphas should limit fat in their diet.

Hopefully this visual helps! It’s all about knowing who you are and what you need, so forget the “food pyramid” and build your plate according to who you are! Your body will THANK you for giving it exactly what it calls for and you will begin to feel amazing! xo!

Music to My Ears

Tip: Clear Burps

HERE’s a lovely thought: When you have clear/clean burps, it means you have fully digested your last meal and your body is ready to eat! A fine example: It’s 6:00 pm (dinner time) and you are still burping up Indian food you had for lunch (burp talk is just never pretty). That means the food is still in your system and it’s not ready to tackle dinner on top of it. Take note, have some ginger tea and skip dinner. Chances are you’re probably not hungry anyway. Give your digestion a chance to catch up because mal-functioning agni (digestive fire) is the root cause of 90% of all diseases. Tra-laaaa!

GOOD morning!

On Tuesday, a friend of mine posted on her facebook, “Enjoyed listening to Michael Bublé, cruised through the Sept issue, and a savored a killer cup of coffee before work this morning. All mornings should be like this!” I wrote a comment and said, “Why can’t they be?!? :) :) MAKE them all like that!! Awesome!”

Right? Why can’t each day be a mini celebration? Why do we have to wait until the weekend to do nice, peaceful, nourishing things for ourselves? Why not cushion our morning a little bit or spend an evening doing something we love. Our body doesn’t know the difference so why can’t our mind do a little foolin…a little pretending that it might be a weekend.

Imagine scenario A: Alarm goes off, hit snooze 7 times, then because we’ve hit it for an hour, the alarm turns itself off. We slightly oversleep and then scurry to the shower, shave quickly, brush teeth, blowdry hair on highest setting, and get dressed. Quickly slap on mascara (don’t blink or you’ll have to spend 5 seconds cleaning it off your brow bone and we don’t have time!), maybe blush, and the lip gloss can wait for the car ride. Shuffle to the kitchen, maybe grab something for breakfast (no lunch, there’s no time) but it’s probably faster to scrounge for food on the way or grab an over-priced muffin and coffee at Whole Foods (that’s what I used to do anyway). Get to work 15 minutes late and start jammin on emails.

Imagine scenario B: When the alarm goes off, get up (we just bought ourselves 30-45 min). Walk the dogs (only if you have them). Or, make a pot of coffee or tea. While that’s brewing, light a candle and turn on your favorite Pandora station. Optional: if you have dry skin, apply (strokes toward the heart) almond oil on your arms, legs, chest, butt and back, and put your robe on. Then sit to read a magazine or a book, or write in a journal while you sip your beverage (sounds luxurious to me!). Or you could sit and just breathe, for 5-10 minutes with your eyes closed. Or scrap all that and do yoga, with lovely candle of course. Then shower, teeth, hair, make up and get dressed. Go to the kitchen and pop your english muffin in the toaster. While that’s cooking grab a to-go mug for your coffee or tea and get our lunch out of the fridge (you prepared it last night). Sit and eat your english muffin. Grab your mug and lunch and head out. Get to work on time, set your mug down, and start jammin on emails.

Which sounds better to you? Doesn’t scenario B almost sound like a weekend!? Why not have more than just 2 mornings like that, because there are 5 more days to take advantage of ;)

This is an example of what my mornings used to be (A) and what I changed them to (B). I mean, I still hit snooze, (just not as bad) but I’ve just given myself more time to enjoy the morning. It’s a nice start to every day. Our perception governs our mood, emotions, and body. Let’s give our perception a little lift, a little positivity and a little luxury. There’s no sense in intentionally starting the day with chaos, so let’s learn to give the new day a little more time and a nice warm welcome.