Monthly Archives: February 2014

Local Flavor

 

 

local_flavor

question_mastheadIs Ayurveda applicable for other people who are not geographically in the same area it’s origin is from? Making story shorter :), may a person from Europe, born in Europe for example, have more or less the same constitution as people from Asia? Different climate, different way of life, usage of eating foods available to the country but not others, different cuisine, etc.,?

GREAT question about Ayurveda and different ethnicities/regions. There is truth to that! For example, Germans at first glance might seem more of a hearty build than Asian people. But that doesn’t mean that all Germans are kapha/pitta OR that all Asians are vata. SO we have to take in account the ethnic group they come from, and what the doshas look like within their group. There are vata Germans, just as there are vata Asians, but they will look very different. So the measure is based on the group and from there, the doshas can be determined.

Regarding the region, an example would be people who live in warm climates are not necessarily pitta people, but they have a higher likelihood of a pitta imbalance because of their surrounding nature of heat. If you notice, people in warm climates have LOTS of fruit (coconut!) available to them and lots of water too. People who live in cold climates have more potatoes and meat and “stick to your ribs” foods – fresh fruits are not found there, but then again, fresh fruits would not balance them either. So…in a way, nature is perfect.

Overall, doshas are the same whether climate or ethnic group, but the climate will determine which dosha may go out of balance fastest (so we need to pay careful attention to balance those) AND the doshas are measured considering the ethnic group the person originates from.

Raise your hands, who’s confused!? Send questions if you have them! XOXO!

Ghee in my Coffee?

Ghee-Coffee

 

Cabin Fever

cabin_fever

For many of you, it’s winter and it’s not going away any time soon. A former midwesterner myself, I understand winters can be very very very long. Once holiday celebration and football season is over, winter can be a drag. Worse, it feels like it should be almost spring (Target doesn’t help by displaying the bathing suits immediately inside the front doors), but in reality, spring is at least four months away. Until at least April. And sometimes even in April you can’t wear short sleeves…which sucks. I’m not trying to be a downer, I’m empathizing and anyone in the midwest or east coast knows I speak the truth. Sledding is really only appealing until January and then…we want to wear shorts. I get it. Cabin Fever.

So let’s talk about something that might catch us while we are in the “cabin,” a little thing called S.A.D. (Seasonal Affected Disorder). Do you know what it is? It basically means that because of the cold, dry air, lack of light, too much time spent indoors, and nature that isn’t exactly “alive” and…we get depressed. This is the reason so many snowbirds get out of dodge by leaving for a couple months and so many others take a good vacation between January and March. We are governed by the nature around us and when that nature is lifeless, we often feel the same.

Now, there is nothing we can do about the weather, but there are some things we can do to make ourselves feel a bit better in the interim. Afterall, nothing lasts forever, even an ultra crappy winter. Chin up, that’s the good news! Other good news is, you have a bright light inside, so don’t forget to use that as your utmost power while in the cabin.

Here are some ideas to stay HAPPY instead of S.A.D.:
Go to the sun. Plan one good vacation and at least one long weekend between January and April so that you have little things to look forward to. It’s imperative to get to the sun and relax. This is life, use your vacation time.
Light it up! Fireplaces and candles bring heat and light.
Eat foods for your mood.
Oil massage. Warm oil and touch keeps our vata calm, giving us a sense of peace. Not to mention, oils are completely nourishing for winter skin. Best if used before a shower so the water doesn’t dry the skin out even more. You’ll feel like a bebe! Use almond (pitta), sesame (vata) or sunflower (kapha) oils from our good friends at Banyan Botanicals!
Keep your hands and feet warm! If they are cold it will make the rest of you cold, ankles too! Tip: put your socks over the end of a blowdryer, warm them up, and quick put on feet!
Head, shoulders, knees, and toes. Knees and toes. Literally! Breaking up the day with short bursts of exercise or just some good deep breaths will increase prana (life breath) and that’s what you need!
Aromatherapy. It can be any scent that makes you happy but some ideas are: lavender, sandalwood, jasmine, gardenia, grapefruit, ylang ylang. Put on your wrists, drop on the floor of your shower, add to baths, add in a diffuser.
Vitamin D supplements. Those can be helpful.
Sit in a warm bath, hot tub, steam room, or sauna. Baths are good for all doshas. Hot tub and steam rooms are best for vata. Sauna is good for kapha. Pitta…feel these out, they all might be too hot for you.
Buy fresh cut flowers or plant bulbs in a colorful pot indoors. Paperwhites, hyacinths, or tulips bring nature indoors.
Play great music. Harry Belafonte is fun music for dreary days.
Take classes in something you love. You have the time! It will give you something to look forward to each week for a certain amount of time, making the dregs move by faster and get you out of the cabin.
Be with friends, family and loved ones. Your heart will light up and stay warm when you have love in your life.

Vata Menu Question

question_masthead

I happened upon your site through way if your oatmeal recipe so I decided to explore some other pages. I am very excited about what you’re doing and enjoy your zest. I am just wondering about your recommendation for dried fruit and nuts as a snack as I have heard (or read, I think in one of Dr. Vasant Lad’s books) that dried fruits are no good for vata since the constitution lends itself to dryness. Could you please explain this? Also, your site is the first place I have read that brown rice is no good for vata. I thought it was classified as part of a sattvic diet and therefore compatible with all doshas. Finally, I had read that beef is good for vata yet I find here that not to be the case. All of the information I’ve gathered is pretty much from dr.lad. He is a higher up at the ayurvedic institute and even some if the info they have posted conflicts with his earlier work. Like I said earlier I love what you’re doing and I am not looking to criticize I am simply looking for clarity. I will be overjoyed once I’m back in school learning it for myself.

Yes, would love to lend some clarification based on the vata menu you are referring to. Dried fruits are indeed dry, but some are also sticky and sweet. Dates, raisins, prunes are all good for vata. A vata person could pair these with warm tea and/or warm water to “fluff” them up – to give the water quality back. For example, constipation is a dry problem, but prunes w/warm water and tea (on an empty stomach) will help. NOW! Prunes ideally should be soaked in water (raisins too) for best results, but having them with water can help. Keep in mind, vatas are usually a) picky eaters not wanting to soak anything in water and b) they are usually grab-and-go types, hence my trying to make life easier for them by saying, “eat dried fruits and nuts!” See? I got your back.
As far as meat goes, vata does need some meat for strength. Think of them like a bird. They have mostly grains and fruits, but sometimes they need a good worm :) That said, beef is rajastic/tamasic (depending on where it comes from) and too much meat can easily affect the sensitive vata mind. And yeah, brown rice is very hard to digest. Pittas can usually handle it (and sometimes not) but the others should steer clear.
And all this said, there are several sources/books that contradict each other with Ayurvedic foods/menus, even by teachers who have been doing this a long time. So much depends on the individual and situation. A bit of advice though: if we look at our foods as WHOLE foods rather than individual pieces, we will fare just fine :)

And please let me be clear, I LOVE DR. LAD! He makes me cry (in a good way). Every time I see him my heart lights up and tears plop out without even trying. He’s so wonderful. I wish I knew everything he does :)