Monthly Archives: May 2012

Thank You, Headache

My sweet coworker told me today she woke up with a terrible headache. My gut response was, “Well, did you eat any junky foods lately?” She said she did. She also said she didn’t drink enough water yesterday. Well, that’ll do it! I told her to eat some nice fruits and veggies and to start drinking lots of water. I also joked that she’s getting to be oldie moldy (she’s like, 26) and her body can’t take the junkie foods any more ;)

In all seriousness, I told her to thank her headache because it’s a sign that the body is not happy. “Thank you, headache, for the signal. As I look back on the past day or so, I now realize I didn’t fill my body with good stuff! I will listen to you now and next time will make better choices. Thanks for the wisdom to keep myself healthy!” And that my friends, is how we learn Ayurvedically.

Rather than just wishing the headache away, learn from it. Yes, take an ibuprofen if you want but take the time to look backwards and change your habits going forward. In our modern-ness, we are so concerned on quick-fixing the pain (or the heartburn, or the constipation, or the common cold, the list goes on) that we completely MISS the opportunity to improve our lives!! These minor pains in the tukus are not really minor at all. Well, they might start out that way, but these are signals that the body is not functioning properly! Let me say that again, “…that the body is not functioning properly!” That’s kind of a big deal. Our bodies are smart and give us information all the time. We have to be a good partner to receive and honor it’s requests.

(I could stop this post here, but I’m on my soap box so I’ll continue. Plus I want to –*clunk* *clunk* *clunk*– get this into your head and the heads of those you love.)

It’s no longer okay to say, “I’ll have to pack my Pepcid because I’m going to have spaghetti with meatballs, red wine, and garlic bread for dinner at the restaurant and I know I’ll get heartburn.” Dude that is soooo old school, soooo pre-2012. We know now that need to STOP eating those foods in the first place! Taking some medicines once in a while isn’t terrible, but many people take them so they can unknowingly carry on undisturbed, with habits that do not serve them. Gah! No more! Our bodies and lives are more important than that!! Next time you feel ill or imbalanced look behind you. What did you eat? How did you sleep? Did you drink enough water? Did you eat according to your constitution? What season is it? Questions like these will bring introspection and let your wisdom shine through (jumping off the box).

When has your wisdom shone through for you–like, when did you have an “aha” moment about a habit that was no longer serving you? How did you feel after you made the right choice? I’m curious! Ok I’ll go first: Eating meat makes me moody, judgmental, impatient and angry. A vegetarian fare keeps my mind clear and happy. Your turn!

Pitta Season

 

Pitta Season! Ahhh, a 3-day weekend, what could be better (as you shout “a 4-day weekend!”)!? Memorial Day is often spent picnicking with family, bbq’ing with friends and enjoying the warmer weather that we know is just going to get better in the few months ahead. Fruits are looking better and fresher in the produce department as berries and stone fruits start making their appearance for the season.

We might feel energized, uplifted, as we enjoy the smells of cut grass, blooming flowers (jasmine are my favorite!), and fresh air. And of course we bust out our sunglasses and sun hats to protect our eyes and heads from the sun. Memorial Day usually marks the day that water and amusement parks open for the summer too because schools let out soon. And because we are spending so much time outside, we also apply gobs of sunscreen.

Now, if you take all these pieces and you use your Ayurvedic smarts, you will realize it’s all for good reason. Because it’s the start of pitta season! :) I know, you’re probably thinking, “Already!?” YEPPER! It has crept up on us and here we are right on top of summer. Take a moment to think about it. The fresh fruits that are in season are cooling and are the fruits that balance pitta the best (berries, stone fruits, melons). Walking on cool grass is good for pitta’s sensitive eyes–and so are the sunglasses. Sun hats protect our heads from overheating (overeheated pitta-heads will get cranky and headaches from the heat). As we enjoy more time outside the giant fire ball in the sky (pitta in nature) could burn our skin (governed by pitta) so we need to apply sunscreen. Blooming flowers and full trees are pleasing to the eyes (again governed by pitta) making us feel more at ease and less stressed (a common pitta problem). And then, the water parks! Pittas love the water because it’s instantly cooling for them.

Golly this makes so much sense, doesn’t it? Do you feel better now because you remember why you are suddenly feeling a shift?! Yesss. And friends, if you have not checked out Seasonal Bloom Pitta, there are loads of tips and lifestyle recommendations for summer.

So, what was your favorite pitta-balancing thing you did this 3-day weekend (besides wish it was 4)? We would all love to know what works for you! xoxo!

 

Ayurveda and Cheese!

I have a question about combining dairy… you mention milk should be had alone. And yogurt is not ayurvedic at all. What about Ayurveda and cheese? Please don’t tell me it shouldn’t be combined with anything either. As a vegetarian, cheese is a major component of finding food at restaurants. Pasta, quesadillas, on sandwiches…

Great question and thanks for bringing this up! I know there are lots of you who are vegetarians eating cheese as a main staple of their diet, so let’s talk more about this. In Ayurveda, cheese is considered a “sour” food. Remember, Ayurveda’s six tastes? The sour taste balances vata while increasing pitta and kapha. In addition to having a sour taste, the qualities of cheese are heavy, dense, and wet, so vatas can have it without any issue. That said, there are lots of different kinds of cheeses and some are more sour than others. The following information is from Dr. Lad’s Ayurvedic Cooking for Self Healing book. Here is the scoop on cheese for the doshas:

Vatas: Yes for cheese! Hard cheese in moderation.
Pittas: Yes for soft cheeses, cottage cheese, goat’s cheese. No’s on hard cheese or very aged cheeses (cause the older they are the more sour they get)
Kaphas: Yes for goat’s and cottage cheese. No’s on hard and soft cheese.

Now, kaphas and pittas, don’t be sad. Just have less cheese if you are eating a lot of it now and honestly, nobody should be having gobs of cheese everyday. It’s heavy, building (puts on weight), wet, and dense so too much of it is not going to keep our warm bodies flowing. And no matter what, it is most important to eat food in moderation. Moderation! It’s so simple that it’s worth emphasizing. Moderation! Eating incompatible foods sometimes is not going to kill you (that little sentence does not give you license to toss this cheese advice out the window). Neither is a Cadbury Egg. But if you frequently eat foods that do not jive, your digestion will not be happy. If your agni is nice and strong, you will have an easier time digesting many foods, even incompatible ones.

Now that I’ve gone off on the completely wrong tangent, to answer this sweet question, “Does the cheese really need to stand alone?” No. Yay! You can have cheese with lots of other foods like veggie sandwiches, quesadillas, and pastas. Just don’t mix cheese with eggs (sorry little omelette, just add veggies instead), fish, berries, hot drinks, or yogurt (which you’re not having anyway. ha!). So tell us, if you are a lover of cheese and vegetarian, how do you balance your meals without over-cheesing?

 

 

Agni-Stoking Foods

Heya! Following up on that non-ayurvedic breakfast, I thought you might find it useful if I shared some agni-stoking foods. These are important to keep in your daily Ayurvedic bag of tricks and incorporate into your meals each day. Ayurveda goes pretty nuts with the agni-promoting therapies, foods, spices, herbs, etc., and the reason is, if agni doesn’t function properly, neither do we. I’ll say it again: malfunctioning agni is the root cause of most disease!

*clunk* *clunk* *clunk* <—That was me. Pounding the agni information into your head (note: not an Ayurvedic therapy).

Put your Ayurvedic thinking cap on when cooking and sneak these foods and spices into your meals to make sure you give agni a nice boost. Do it daily! Don’t just eat cheese sammiches. And without further adieu, AGNI-STOKING FOODS:

ghee. And no, ghee does not make you fat
– garlic
– black pepper
– ginger: tea, indian lemonade,
– cinnamon
– nutmeg
– a piece of fruit on an empty stomach, 1 hour before a meal (not banana)
– grapefruit, lemon, lime
– cumin
– red pepper flakes
pickles
salt: also retains water, good for vata. Not good for pitta and kapha
lassi

How you could incorporate these agni-stoking foods and spices into the meals you make at home? Don’t be shy–I’ll start it off. PICKLE ON A STICK! Ok that was too easy. I’ll say, sprinkling cinnamon into your morning tea or coffee. Your turn!

 

Ayurvedically Smart

A few days back, I posted that I was excited for Dr. Oz’s show on Ayurveda. Here is one of the recipes given after the show: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/6-flavor-slimming-breakfast-sundae

Since you guys are Ayurvedically smart, what might be wrong with this meal? Tell me in the comments…stop reading now and pick out what’s wrong with this breakfast based on what you know about Ayurveda. See if you can pick out what’s wrong before reading the answers below. It’s like Highlights Magazine (remember those?), a wee puzzle, if you will.

{pause so you can think and post comments}

Okay, got your answers? Compare with the list below and see how you did.

What is wrong with the breakfast:
a) Yogurt + Fruit = wrong food combination
b) Yogurt is not Ayurvedic unless it’s turned into a lassi (and, not a mango or fruit lassi. That may be Indian, but it’s not Ayurvedic)
c) Cold breakfast puts out agni (digestive fire) rather than kindling it, especially during kapha time of day
d) Too many various seeds and nuts for breakfast! They are really heavy and hard to digest for any dosha.

Breakfast should always be warm because our bodies are warm and we want to stoke our digestive fire. Remember, malfunctioning agni is the #1 root cause of most diseases! We need to keep agni happy and strong.

Here are some examples of better breakfast choices:
a) Vatas can have oatmeal with ghee, cream of wheat OR an english muffin with ghee and a sprinkle of caradmom and/or cinnamon. Vatas need warm, grounding and easy-to-digest breakfasts.
b) Pittas can have oatmeal with ghee and almonds OR an english muffin with protein. When it’s hot out, they can have cereal with milk. Pittas need grounding breakfasts that have a bit more girth to them because their digestive fire is typically stronger.
c) Kaphas can have baked apples or pears with cinnamon. Or toast with cinnamon OR black pepper or lemon pepper w/garlic (savory!) with a touch of ghee. Kaphas might not be hungry for breakfast and if so, they should skip it and sip ginger tea to stoke their fire. Kaphas need warm, light, dry breakfasts with yummy spices to keep them satisfied with smaller amounts of food.
d) Fresh fruit is an option for any dosha during pitta season (summer), but have the fruit by itself

All this said, I am not doggin’ on Dr. Oz. Bless, bless, bless him for bringing the attention to Ayurveda on such a mainstream level. YES! That’s what we need. However, because millions of people watch the show, millions of people will make this breakfast thinking that it’s Ayurvedic (cause they don’t know! This stuff is new to them and probably Dr. Oz too!). So let’s say they try it. A breakfast like this might cause constipation (vata), diarrhea (pitta), heart burn (pitta), acid taste in the mouth (pitta), a tummy ache (any dosha), weight gain (kapha), maybe lethargy. And if that happens know what they will say? “I tried Ayurveda once and Ayurveda doesn’t work.” Good gravy, that’s counter intuitive to everything I’m trying to do on HeyMonicaB! Ayurveda DOES work – I promise with all my soul! But we need proper teachers out there.

Know what? You’re already Ayurvedically smart—you know more about Ayurveda than most people. How about THAT!? That’s right, straighten up and hold your head high! And because you are knowledgeable and smart, have the power to make decisions appropriate for yourself. You also have the power to share correct information with those you love. You have the knowledge to be able to tell authentic Ayurveda from marketed Ayurveda (yes? right?). So friends, if you have questions about Ayurvedic advice you see any where else, send it to me. If I don’t know the answer, I will find the answer for you and share on my site. We deserve authentic information so that we can live happier, healthier lives. xoxo!

 

Bit of Wisdom {40}

Know a good energy switcher-upper? Instead of thinking what you can get, think about what you can GIVE. Give purely, from the heart ♥

Weight Loss with Ayurveda on Dr. Oz

Hey hey!  This Friday on The Dr. Oz show, “Ancient Ayurvedic Secrets to Lose Weight.

YAY! Word is getting out about Ayurveda’s benefits – woo! Let’s hope this is authentic Ayurveda…

Hug a Kapha

Feeling down? Maybe ungrounded? Hug a kapha. Yep, just go grab a kapha and hug them. I’m serious! They are instant grounding and comfort :)