Monthly Archives: July 2013

WOW, kitchari cleanses work

wow1 Hi Monica! Just to say I’ve tried the kitchari cleanse and loved it! Actually I’ve only done it for 3 days – the taste was lovely (my parents were jealous of my food), but I just couldn’t keep eating the same thing for a longer time (vata!) I’ve done it from Thursday to Saturday. Today I went to see my Ayurvedic Practitioner and guess what? She examined me and said I had no ama :) Hehehe Thank you Monica! Wish you all the best! Xx

Pitta-Kapha, Post Baby

question_masthead

Hi Monica!
I have two doshas, pitta & kapha. Lately I have been feeling extremely unmotivated and apathetic. I’m having trouble getting anything done or even feeling like doing anything. How do I achieve more balance? I had a baby 10 months ago and often wonder how pregnancy affects your doshas. Thank you!

Awww…I’m sorry to hear that you are not feeling up to par! Are you getting enough sleep 8+ hours a night (Is that a crazy question since you have a 10 month old?)? And are you drinking enough water (lots!!)? Pregnancy does all kinds of things, but in general it’s highly vata aggravating (probably why you are not feeling like yourself) because of all the downward/outward motion that goes into childbirth, the space that is left over, and the movement of all the organs back to their original locations. Follow a vata-balancing diet and lifestyle, get as much sleep as you can, and drink a ton of water. Make sure to get in some daily exercise, even if it’s 20 minutes of powerwalking babe in the stroller. And take 10 minutes to BREATHE, in and out slowly from your belly. :) Hope you start to feel better soon! xo!

Hot Mama!

hot_mama

HEAT WAVE!! A show of hands, who is on the east coast or in the midwest in the midst of this summer humid heatwave? Pitta galore! Holy moly.

Two days ago my mom sent me a txt message, “Something bit me in the eye lid. Getting the swelling down.” Photo below shows a big cucumber slice on her eye. HA! I love how it’s the butt-end. Because she knows cucumbers are cooling, it was a good Ayurvedic college try! ;)

Mom_Eye

The next day she wrote and told me that her eye was still swollen and that she was headed to the eye doctor. Bummer. After her visit, she said the doctor didn’t know what was wrong (this is when my ears perk up because if doctors don’t know…Ayurveda usually does!) but gave her antibiotics for 10 days. Then my brain started putting pieces together. Eyes are governed by pitta which is heat and there is a heatwave where she lives. Hmmm. I asked if she had eaten anything with ginger in it or anything else spicy. She said she did have ginger and that she put hot pepper flakes on her pizza the night before. Ah-hah! Ginger and pepper flakes are both heating. Then I told her I would not be surprised if she had a rash or hives on her legs (heat does that too). She said she DID have hives! Ah-HAH, Ah-HAH!! {Ayurvedic happy dance!} Then she tells me that she was outside that day horsing around in the back yard doing yard work (Mom, you know better than to do that in the heat…) too. So, that added more heat.

Now, let’s Ayurvedically put this together: My mom is a pitta/kapha (more pitta) + 90 degree heat + ginger and pepper flakes + gardening in the hot sun = puffed out eyeball and hives…because she’s overheated!!

Yikes! She needed to cool down quickly and here are some bits of advice I gave:
• No alcohol, no spicy foods, no peppers, no tomatoes
• Eat lots of fresh summer fruits and vegetables
• Pasta or rice are okay
• Ice cream or frozen fruit mash (yonana!) are good for quick cooling
• Cool the feet (feet relate to the eyes!) by walking on cool grass after sundown. (Mom beat me to it and stuck her tootsies in a bucket of cool water. That works too!)
• Drink aloe vera juice or coconut water
Cucumber or mint water are good
• Water in general is good

Helpful? Any other hotties out there in need of a cool down? And if so, how did YOU chill out? :) Inquiring minds would love to know…do share!

Pickles, Ice Cream, & Constipation

 

pickles_ice_cream

question_masthead

Hey Monica,

I’m predominantly vata and have had a history of constipation which I managed by eating soupy food, drinking warm water, having more ghee etc. Recently I found out I’m pregnant (yay!) and the constipation monster has returned! Because of morning sickness I can’t stand drinking hot water and I’m struggling to stick a healthy diet. The only thing I seem to tolerate is sour foods. Can you please help me with how I can tackle constipation while pregnant? I’m also a vegetarian. Do you have any tips on what a pregnancy diet should be according to Ayurveda?

First of all, congratulations! Ah yes, constipation during pregnancy is not uncommon and I’ll tell you why. One of the sub doshas of vata dosha is called apana vayu. If I just confused you with that sentence, think about it this way: Vata has 5 different way it moves and one of the ways it moves is  apana vayu. Apana vayu is located “down there” ruling the energy that holds things until they are ready to move down and out. This includes reproductive fluids, menstruation, poop, pee, and…babies! Apana vayu essentially holds whatever it is holding, until it is time for it to go out. When a woman is pregnant, apana vayu “holds” the baby during pregnancy and then moves that baby “down and out” when it’s labor time. Same with poop, apana vayu “holds” the poop and then (hopefully daily) moves the poop “down and out.”

Long story short, your body is doing a lot of “holding” right now. So if you had constipation before, your apana vayu likely needs a little coaching in the poop department to move the poo down and out.

Tips for constipation while pregnant:
• For breakfast have, The World’s Best Oatmeal
• Or, have 3-4 prunes that have been soaked in water over night (baby will LOVE that!!), first thing in the morning. Drink plenty of water and don’t eat again until you are hungry or poop (whichever comes first).
Ghee! Ghee ghee ghee. Did I mention, ghee? You can have some with each meal as a butter/oil/fat.
Water! Drink plenty of water.
• CCF Tea. Boil seeds (1 tsp ea) of cumin, coriander and fennel for 15 minutes. Strain, sip room temp or warm.
• If you want to keep it simple, prunes, ghee and plenty of water daily will absolutely help you!

Tips for a pregnancy diet
Honestly, my wisest advice is to eat what you crave (no junk foods!!). Baby is ruling the process and is causing you to crave (or not) certain things. The reason why you are craving sour foods is because the sour taste ignites agni, which is what vata needs! Also, agni tends to slow during pregnancy so it can “hold” enough nutrients for baby. Makes good sense, right?! It’s all related. Bottom line, if you crave pickles (I did) because they are helpful for digestion, then have pickles. If you crave ice cream (I did) because you are hot and want something cool and soothing, then have ice cream. But do so in smart moderation because they do not contain nutritional value. Choose foods wisely because, remember, you are already feeding your baby.

Upset pregnancy tummy
Have you tried dried ginger pieces? Not sure where you live, but if you can find some dried ginger pieces, that will help! At Trader Joe’s (U.S.) they have crystalized ginger in the dried fruit section and it works like a charm on an upset stomach! Also, you might be getting sick if you are not eating enough so be sure to eat when you feel light-heated or getting sick to your tummy – it might help you!

Phew! I suppose a whole book could be written about Ayurveda and pregnancy, but hopefully these tips help! Thanks for asking and does anyone have any tips to add? Would love to hear! XO!

Ayurvedic Fasting

fasting

question_masthead

Julia, 23 vata-kapha from Brazil asked a question about ayurvedic fasting. Goodie! Thank you, Julia! xo!

Hey Monica! I’m from Brazil, I’m 23 and I’ve been practicing ayurveda for 3 months now. Could you please speak a little more about Ayurvedic fasting, and the different ways of fasting? As I said, I’m a kapha-vata and my kapha is a bit out of control, so I put some weight during the last year and my agni is veeeery low. I tried fasting (with ginger tea, and other types of tea) but I couldn’t manage to do it – I felt anxious, tense and hungry (maybe emotional). Is that because of my vata constitution? Only “pure” kaphas can fast? Being a kapha-vata makes me mad sometimes! Hahaha. Thank you sooo much! And good luck with you time/energy managing! I’m sending you good vibes from Brazil!

Ah yes! Fasting in our modern world might sound a little torturous (is that a word?) but it’s really one of the best things we can do for our digestion. And! In Ayurveda, optimal digestion is crucial because it affects evvvvverything else! The reason why fasting is good is because it gives our digestive fire (agni!) a chance to digest any extra food we have hanging out in our insides. Think of it as cleaning out your closet. If you ignore it, you will collect stuff you don’t want, don’t need anymore, AND you won’t have room for good new stuff. Same with food and our digestion.

Depending on your dosha, you will have to fast in different ways. Let me briefly outline for you.

Vata Fast: three square meals
Pitta Fast: fruit/veggie-fruit juice fast
Kapha Fast: at least once a week (think: skip dinner one evening and breakfast the next day)

As a vata-kapha combo, Julia is torn between the vata fast and the kapha fast because they are opposite! She is getting light headed without food because vata can’t handle that, however her kapha really needs a break and her agni a boost. So my advice, Julia, is to do a kitchari cleanse :) Kitchari is the BEST EVER cleanse in Ayurveda. It completely cleans out residue oldy moldy food stuffs, stokes agni, and you’ll be eating so you won’t feel hungry. I suggest doing this cleanse for 3-5 days and you can repeat as often as you need. Hope this helps, Julia!

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE KITCHARI CLEANSE.