Monthly Archives: January 2011

World’s BEST Oatmeal

Heaven on Earth!! Eeee! Okay in many places it’s the dead (or like I like to call “dread”) of winter. This hearty breakfast will leave you satisfied and sooo happy. If you are an oatmeal fan, you MUST make this oatmeal. Please trust me. I got the recipe from my Ayurvedic Vaidya (doc) and teacher, Arun Deva, and it’s AMAZING! I had a consultation with him last week and he added fabulous accessories to my otherwise routine oatmeal with ghee.

Get THIS! Here are the rules for the World’s BEST Oatmeal!
• Take 7 almonds and soak overnight in water. In the morning remove the peels (it’s easy). Peels are hard to digest so soaking and removing the peels is like giving our digestion a head start.
• Soak a small amount (10-15) of raisins overnight. Use organic raisins found in the produce dept. Soaking them adds moisture which eases digestion and eliminates raisin gassies. Skip Sunkist or Sunmaid brands, those have sulfur and other unnecessary crap added.
Use the raisin water to make your morning oatmeal (genius!). You can use slow oatmeal or if you are a fast American, use one packet of Trader Joe’s Organic Oatmeal.
Add the raisins and naked almonds to your oatmeal. Stir in brown sugar and ghee. OR use honey (but not honey + ghee). You can also add 1/2 banana, a handful of blueberries, 2 dates, or any combo of those! HEAVEN I say!

The key is to add a small amount of each thing, otherwise it’s just too big. Here we have a lovely balance of carbs, protein, and fats. We also have a good amount of iron, folic acid and anti-oxidants. Ayurvedically speaking this recipe will nourish ALL the dhatus (tissues): rasa (plasma), rakta (blood), mamsa (muscle), meda (fat), majja (bone marrow), and shukra (reproductive) and your body will hum along in harmony. Best for vatas and pittas, may be too heavy for kapha types.

AND if you choose to add ghee, guaranteed you will be a happy pooper. YAY!


Itchy Dry Itchy Dry

OMG is anyone else out there itchy!? Fortunately in the San Francisco Bay Area, we don’t have sub zero temperatures, snow storms or terribly gusty winds, but it’s still vata season. It’s been kinda chilly and it’s very dry here. Both are vata increasing and my legs are so itchy I think I might die. I’ve woken up in the night because of them and when I scratch it leaves red, dry marks. It’s just downright painfully itchy and I can take no more.

To make things worse, I have a space heater on at work most of the day, which is just adding dry, hot air to my skin. I bet it’s making it worse. SO! I have been on a mission to end the itchies and wanted to share some ideas with you, not only for itchies but for dry skin in general.

For Body! Oatmeal, milk & aromatherapy bath. Take instant oatmeal (when it comes to itch, I am impatient) flakes and put 1 cup into bathtub with warm water, 1 cup milk, and drops of calming aromatherapy (lavender, rose, geranium) and sit for at least 10 minutes. Hot water increases dryness AND you will end up with biggest bowl of oatmeal in the world!
If you don’t have a tub, you can use a bucket and just drizzle the oatey water on your legs. Also an option, when the oats get pastey, apply the paste to your legs and gently massage. Empty the oats into the toilet or garbage disposal cause if you dump them down the drain, you might clog it.
Epsom salts.
Listen to Grandma! Salts have wonderful healing properties (swimming in the ocean will cure almost any skin problem!). Using epsom salts in a bath also calm down the itch.
Lavender Salt Scrub. Speaking of salts, I have this in my shower constantly (I realize I ran out over the past 3 weeks…could be why the “legs”) and it’s the bomb!
Soothing Skin Balm
from Banyan Botanicals. This I could not live without! This balm has saved me many days at work and nights when I woke up from itchies. I’ve used almost the whole jar. It’s thick so it’s best used in a small area, but I’ve been putting all over my lower legs. The nice thing is that the herbs in here will begin to correct the root problem. I use it all the time!
Oils. You knew I was going to mention oil massage, didn’t you? Yippee if you did! Precede your shower by using oils Sesame oil is great in the winter for dry skin, but pittas beware. Sesame oil is warming and it might make your sensitive skin itch (mine does, at least on my legs). Almond oil is nourishing and lovely and so is safflower oil. Sesame (vata) is thickest, then almond (pitta), then safflower (kapha) is thinnest. Please buy these oils in the cooking section of your grocery store (they should be $4-$7) and make sure it says “cold-pressed” or “expeller-pressed.” You get a lot of good oils for little money and remember the rule, if you can’t eat it, it should not go on your skin.
We bought one today so that we get some moisture in the air! Even my husband is going around the corners of the room and itching his back on the walls like a desperate cat. :(

For Face!
Almond & Milk Scrub. I LOVE this combo! 1 tsp almond meal to 1/2 tsp milk powder and a pinch of sugar (I made a batch big enough to fit in a jelly jar). I got the recipe from Absolute Beauty by Pratima Raichur and about three times a week instead of using cleanser or soap in the morning. Mix with a little warm water to make a paste and massage on the face. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry.

Only Wash at Night. If you have dry skin on your face, only wash your face at night to remove make-up, sweat, and dirt. In the morning clean the crud out of your eyes, give a nice lukewarm rinse and then moisturize. Over-cleansing will lead to drier skin.

Banana or Avocado Mask. I heart using fruits on my face! This is a great exfoliant for winter because it also moisturizes. Use a ripe banana or avocado. Mash up and put on your face. Kick your feet up above your heart and chill for 15 minutes. Rinse off.

***Confession*** Today I broke down and bought some Aveeno Baby fragrance free lotion (with oatmeal!) for my wee legs. It’s totally not Ayurvedic. I didn’t see any sinful ingredients because there was no listing of ingredients at all – um, is that legal? However, I kinda just needed some reprieve. It seemed to work – for the time being. I picked the “baby” version because I figure their skin is also sensitive. Anyway, I had to let you know that while I try my darndest to live Ayurvedically, despite baths, soaks, balms, and bucketsfull of natural remedies, I broke down at Target. And no, I don’t think I can eat it, so I’m breaking my own rule. It was either that or Monica goes seriously mental. If anyone knows of a good natural lotion (that I can eat! hah), I’m all ears!!! XOXOXO

Tip: Omit Brown Rice

Something to note! Brown rice is actually pretty tough to digest – it takes a long time to get through the system. In Ayurveda, digestion is #1 importance! If you feel heavy, bloated, are not hungry, or are not pooping, switch to white rice, like basmati. You’ll probably feel a lot better.

Ayurvedic New Year’s Cleanse

Show of hands, who LOVES 2011 so far?! (my hand is up, high!) I think it’s super groovy and really believe there are fantastic things ahead for all of us! Feels good!

That said, maybe 2010 has left you feeling like you have residue from holiday parties, client lunches, junk foods sitting on the filing cabinets at work, and maybe too much champagne. I’ve received quite a few inquiries about cleanses and which ones are best to do. A lot of them I see marketed are raw veggie and fruit cleanses. But remember it’s still vata season and raw, cold things are not our agni’s (digestive fire) friend right now because it’s cold outside! In Ayurveda like increases like. And therefore, Cold + Cold = Coooooold (and throw a hefty “brrrr” in there for good measure). Cold/raw does not ignite or sustain a nice fire, which is what we want our digestion to do. We want a nice roaring fire in our bellies so that we can digest food properly. Again, we all live in different places on the earth and we all have different constitutions. Maybe you have a favorite cleanse that you do and that’s cool.

But if you don’t, I’d like to offer a very simple, cheap, effective, Ayurvedic new year’s cleanse:
The Ayurvedic cleanse is a mono-diet of kitchari (rice, mung beans, cooked veggies, and Ayurvedic spices), so basically that’s all you eat. You can have kitchari for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eat until you are satisfied. Do this for 3-5 days. In between meals if you are hungry, you can have fruit (not banana). For liquids have water (not iced or cold) or herbal teas (a little honey is okay, but no sugar). I promise you will not be hungry. Don’t do major exercise, just yoga and walking. Make sure to go to bed by 10 and get up by sunrise, latest.

The benefits of the Ayurvedic New Year’s cleanse:
• Digests ama (toxins)
• Gets digestive system back on track (i.e. nice poops! less constipation, bloating, and gas
• The food is sattvic (pure harmony) and it will clear your mind
• Brings a sense of calm, serenity and focus
• Nourishes all bodily tissues to eliminate toxins and rejuvenate them as well
• Reduces our sensation of taste (our tastebuds are often over sensitized by salts, sugars and fats) so that when you begin eating regular foods again, you will notice flavors much more. Therefore you will be satisfied with less AND you will notice just how much salt/sugar you were eating before!

Go here for the Kitchari Recipe
Go here for the Ghee Recipe (or you can buy ghee from Pure India Foods or Whole Foods if you are near one or check your local Indian grocery)

Let me know if you try it and if you like it! It’s lovely food, really. I like to do a mini-cleanse for about 3 days every 4 months or so. It resets my clock and  feels amazing for the body, mind and soul. Happy New Year my friends! 2011 is going to be a great one. Start it out with a clean slate because as we know all healing starts from the inside out! :)

YAY! Fun show, thank you!

YAY! Fun show, thank you!

Thank you to all of you who listened and called in to the first HeyMonicaB radio show tonight!! I will always post show notes and archives on the radio show page so you can catch up in case you miss it. This way too, when people call in with questions, I answer them on the show but can also follow up with articles I’ve already written on the topic so you can read at your leisure. It’s really helpful to go back and read about it! AND if I haven’t written anything on the topic yet, it gives me good reason to write a post about it! Cause this is all for YOU.

THANK YOU AGAIN! You guys feed my soul. Love, MonicaB