Monthly Archives: January 2012

Does Ghee Make Me Fat

Hey Monica! I KNOW that ghee is one of your first recommendations to cure the sad balls (esp. for vatas) but I am AFRAID to eat ghee. I know it is clarified butter and that just says cholesterol and weight-gain for me. You said above that you won’t gain weight from ghee, etc. Why is that since it is butter? What about cholesterol? This post might be a bit late, like a vata in distress, I also just sent out my Christmas cards last week! (fyi, she wrote this on January 13th. Ha ha!)

GREAT question and thank you for bringing this up. Certainly you are not the only person who wants to know, “Does ghee make me fat?” Raise your hands if it has crossed your mind that eating ghee will make you gain weight. Ohhh…that’s what I THOUGHT! Look around the room, see? You’re not alone. Leave your hands up if you are a vata. Ah-HAH, just as I thought. See, vatas always ask the “Will it make me fat?!” question and the irony is that vatas are the dosha least likely to gain weight no matter what they eat. In fact, vatas need extra fats yet they are most paranoid about eating them.

Now, let me get to the answer of this question because I know you all have little vata ants in your pants. DOES GHEE MAKE YOU FAT? NO! GHEE DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT. Feel better? ;) Let me explain.

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GHEE FACTS:

Ghee is balancing for vata and pitta. Kaphas can have ghee in moderation. Vatas need the oil and agni stoke from ghee. Pittas need the agni stoke and the cooling effect ghee has. Kaphas need just a little ghee because they are already oily and cool.

Ghee is the only fat that actually increases agni (digestive fire/metabolism)! So imagine eating a super tasty fat that increases your ability to digest and assimilate foods as well as give a little boost in the metabolism department. Yum, magic!

Different than butter, ghee does not cling to our insides to make a cloggy mess. In fact, it very mildly pulls toxins out it goes through our bod.

Ghee “butters” the insides and helps us maintain regular digestion (per the question above).

Ghee melts when you touch it, even at room temperature and it seeps deep into our tissues to keep our bodies supple. Butter does not. You can even put ghee on a mild burn (cooling, remember) and you cannot with butter.

Ghee has a high smoke point and won’t burn in the pan, so you can sautee veggies or spices in it and add to your favorite dishes.

Ghee is a sattvic food;  foods that promote total harmony in the body-mind. Our minds get easy so instead of worrying if ghee makes us fat, we can simply enjoy it. On a larger scale, our focus in life turns to enjoyment rather than worry.

In Ayurveda, using ghee is said to lower cholesterol!

Butter does NONE of these things! They are different foods. Butter and ghee are not the same thing.

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But you might not still believe me. Well, let’s flashback to the 90’s. Remember when you were eating SnackWell’s cookies by the box because we were told we could eat any foods as long as we didn’t eat fat? And, remember how you didn’t lose any weight by not eating fat? Our bodies need fat—it’s essential to our vitality, intelligence, digestion, happiness (fat keeps us happy!), and strength. When we eat good amounts of fat, it tastes good going down, therefore we are satiated, and therefore, we eat less. We don’t need to gobble SnackWell’s by the boxfull because one baked apple with a touch of melted ghee, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom will leave our tummies and minds satisfied for hours.

Now, I’m not saying eat gobs o’ ghee, simply just substitute ghee for your butter or oil. Really! Just use it as you would any other fat, about 3-4 tblsp per day. Spread it on toast, drizzle on rice or pasta, bake it with apples or pears, use on your grilled cheese instead of butter, or put a tsp in your oatmeal to help you “go” in the morning.

Give it a try for a week and see if your sad little balls are remedied. You will not gain weight in a week, that I promise. In addition, be sure to stay hydrated too. Ghee + water are a vata girl’s best friend. Become friends with ghee, your body will thank you! Let me know if this helps! xo.

Want even MORE info? Dude, I wrote a book and it’s awesome. Check out In Your Elements, A Blooming Ayurvedic Guide to Creating Your Best Life.

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Bit of Wisdom {35}

Enjoy the Silence

Please read The Joy of Quiet New York Times article, then turn off your screens for the night. Enjoy quiet tranquility for the eyes, ears, heart and mind. Shhhhhhhh… (whispering) it’s good for us.

A date for your sweetie

If you’ve got a sweetie sweet tooth, try subbing a couple medjool dates instead of eating candies. Dates are super sweet and grounding. Good for vata and pitta. And! Since they come from nature, they are way better for our bods than candy. I promise your sweet tooth will be satisfied, sweetie. xoxo.

Dose of Prevention

One of Ayurveda’s finest foundations is teaching us about disease prevention. How awesome! If we don’t get sick in the first place, we will never feel like crud or need to take medicine. Brill! If we live according to who we are as individuals, mind the seasons and follow the daily routine, we should be in pretty good shape. Yes. But DUDE, what happens when we follow our diligent Ayurvedic plan and we get sick anyway?! Boo.

Despite us being good little Ayurvedees, we might get sick from time to time. Last night we found ourselves in the E.R. because my 6 month old had a barking cough accompanied by fast, shallow, wheezy breaths. She has croup! Rats. We were at the hospital from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. where she got steroid shots, baby tylenol and steam treatment (loved that).

I bring this up because it was hard for me, “Miss Ayurveda” to watch while my daughter was getting western treatment (except for the steam– Ayurveda smiles on steam). I felt uncomfortable, skeptical, pessimistic and definitely judgmental. I’m paranoid about every poke, prod, prick, pill, and potion they recommend. But then…I took a step back to remind myself western medicine, while not my preferred method of health care, definitely has its place. Last night we really, really needed it. The steroids helped open her throat so that she could breathe better, the tylenol helped reduce her fever and the steam calmed, cooled and moistened her tense, hot, and dry cough. Ayurvedic methods (that I’m aware of, anyway) could not have worked that fast and in this case we didn’t have time to wait.

So here’s what. If you are really working on managing your life through Ayurveda, remember there is a time and a place for Western and Eastern sciences to coexist. If you want to manage your sickies through a natural route do the best you can, but don’t feel like you have to suffer.

The best thing to do is use both sciences where they excel. Western medicine is good for emergencies and occasional, short-lived symptom management. Eastern medicine is good for disease prevention including, good nutrition, stress management, proper sleep, daily exercise and overall healthy habits for you as an individual. So, if you need to see a doc, ask him what the cause of your sickness might be. He will probably give you meds to ease the symptoms too, but then you’ll be armed with knowledge to prevent it next time. For example, we found out that croup was caused by low immunity (we did a lot of travel over the holidays which probably was taxing on her) and dry, hot air. Ah, hah! We had the heat on in our place and L.A. is definitely dryer than dry. So going forward, we’ll keep the heat lower and crank the humidifier.

Remember, if you get sick it doesn’t mean that yoga or Ayurveda or acupuncture isn’t working. Most likely you’re much less sick than those around you! Just get as much information from your healthcare professional as possible! You deserve to know what may have caused your issue. And if they can’t help you, find an Ayurvedic person near you so they can assess your habits and give you ideas for disease prevention. :)

 

Dosha-lutions!

NEW YEAR just started! Yahoo! Many people choose January 1 as the day to turn over a new leaf and rework their life habits. I don’t think that’s a bad plan. The only bad thing is punishing yourself or quitting all together if you get off kilter. If you made a resolution already, remember to have forgiveness and tenacity. Meaning, don’t beat yourself up for not adhering to perfection (psshhht…who’s perfect afterall) but at the same time, don’t throw your hands up and quit if it’s not easy. There is a fine line. Two steps forward, one step back is still one step forward. Right? Cool.

I put together some DOSHA-lutions that you might like if you are having trouble deciding what to work on. These are suggestions based on your dosha! So, more than a resolution, this is a dosha-lution which is based solely on what will benefit your life and body-mind. The goal is to build upon your dosha-lutions over time so you build yourself new habits and a better way of living healthy! Remember to pick just one thing to work on. Too many things just sets us up for failure, so choose one and give it a go!


Refuse to pay fees at the ATM. Vatas usually fly by the seat of their pants which can have them spending more for last minute conveniences like ATM fees. Refusing to pay fees at ATMs as a dosha-lution will help vatas plan ahead to make sure they have cash in hand and it will help them save money!

Automate your savings. Figure out how much money you need per pay check and set up an automatic transfer to savings, leaving only the amount that you need in your checking. This way, you can spend everything in your checking account (woohoo!) and you’ll never see what you’re saving. One day you will be pleasantly surprised to see how much is in there!

Put yourself second and listen. Vatas can bowl people over with their enthusiasm in sharing what’s happening in their lives. While their energy is usually infectious and positive, they tend to talk way more than they listen which can be a little overwhelming for other doshas. Why not put the focus on someone else first. Before gushing with your stories, ask theirs. Ask how they are and make it a point to listen so intently that you can recite the details the next day (or two) when you talk to them again. They will be flattered and touched that you care so much and your heart will feel awesome that you’ve touched their lives. Bonus for vata too because vatas LOVE to touch lives.

Card stash. Vatas are mega multi-taskers and while their heart is always in the right place, their brain might not be. Birthday cards, anniversaries, baby congrats, shower gifts, wedding cards,  thank yous, and other courteous correspondence might fall to the wayside because of their busying and dizzying schedules. Remember, vatas love to touch lives! So, get a stash of cute, blank cards, forever stamps, even keep some birthday cards. When you want to write a note to Granny, you’ll have everything you need without having to run around town like a nutter ;)

Eat 3 square meals. Not 8 tiny ones. I know you.

 


Leave work on time. Pittas will work and work and work and work and work until their little heads explode and then they get pissy (wouldn’t you if your head exploded?). So why get to that point? If you are supposed to work until 5, leave at 5:00. Stress is the number one killer, people. The work will be there tomorrow and you will still have a job because you ROCK at what you do and people love you. So go home and have a nice night.

Limit talk radio. I know you like to be informed of all things happening everywhere in the world all the time (especially when you can debate about it), but dude, the constant chatter and news will increase stress levels without you knowing it. In at least one direction on your daily commute, opt for the classical or electronica chill station instead.

Volunteer. Pittas can get locked tight in their minds about their personal and professional goals and sometimes they forget there is a world out there that needs assistance. Take a time out once a month and volunteer with something that resonates. Women’s shelters need visitors, animal rescue groups need dog walkers and bathers, psychiatric wards sometimes use therapy dogs (if you have a nice doggie, talk to your local ASPCA and they might be able to hook you up), kids need tutors, or flex those muscles and move some rice bags around at your local food bank. Pittas need to be reminded to live through their HEART to find compassion. Volunteering is a great way to do that. Backbends are good too ;)

Bed by 10. I know you get your second wind after 10pm, but please sleep. Your gray hair and/or receding hairline (pitta traits!) are tell tale signs that you think a LOT. Your brain needs rest and so does your bod. If you got more sleep, you would be more alert and efficient during the day so that you can leave on time (double dosha-lution whammy!!).


Light Dinner. Kaphas digestion is slow so they tend to put on weight easily. Having a light dinner will help keep their bodies and minds light. When dinner is too heavy it sits in our guts all night long, making it tough to wake up. If dinner is smaller and easily digested, you’ll wake up like a spring chicken!

Daily walk. Incorporating a 20 minute brisk walk each day before or after work will make kaphas feel light and happy. Just 20 minutes! If it’s tough, come home and immediately put on your walking pants and shoes – and out the door! Not enough exercise results in a slew of health problems including weight gain, lethargy and depression, especially in kaphas. One of the very best things kaphas can do is to move their bods regularly!

De-clutter. Come on kaphas, you don’t need to keep the lucky socks you had in college. Okay maybe keep those but toss out the four pairs of back up lucky socks you have ;) When kaphas clean and de-clutter they feel instantly light, fresh, and renewed. Choose small, frequent projects and begin to get rid of stuff you don’t use. One project might be a junk drawer. Next project might be under your bathroom sink. Just do one tiny thing a week. If you try to tackle too much, it will take an entire day and you will hate it. If you break it down into small 30 minute bits, you won’t think it’s a pain. Before you know it your dwelling will be sparkley clean and you’ll feel like clickin your heels!

Once a week, do something new. Kahpas love routine and rarely stray from it. In fact, it makes them downright uncomfortable to have to try something new. However, branching out is a great way to infuse light and energy into a stagnant kapha. So once a week, try something new to stay on your toes. Go to a new coffee shop, take a different walking route (double dosha-lutions whammy!!), go do a different Walgreens, taste something new, even stir your tea in the opposite direction. It could be anything! Just make sure you aren’t buying something new because that will lead to more stuff that you are already trying to de-clutter. ;)

If you have any suggestions for specific dosha-lutions, I would love to hear them! There are GOBS of ideas out there and the more we come up with, the juicer life gets! Yeehaw! xoxo.