There’s SO much to do!

This question was based on a comment from A Day In The Life of MonicaB.

your day in the life sounds heavenly. all that time to yourself to juice up and give yourself what you need.
the trick i need you to teach me is this:
 how do i incorporate these learnings and teachings when a day in the life of me is so different than a day in the life of monicab? i have a 6 year old in a full leg cast (and the wheelchair and walker that goes along with it), an 8 year old, a husband who works and travels, an ailing mother, a pregnant best friend, a full time job (and a part time one), etc. i’m sure this isn’t out of the ordinary, i just need guidance.

most of these things are blessings in and of themselves but still, when i get home from work it’s all downloading the day and homework and dinner and clean up and don’t fight and no more candy and bathtime and yes it’s already time for bed and what did you say, babe, i can’t hear you over espn and the girls singing and was that just the phone and whoops, no, i didn’t get the dry cleaning and man i need to call these six people back and check email and pop a load of laundry in and get halloween costumes and where are we going for thanksgiving and which party do we hit first this weekend and who wants a playdate and i love you so much too, goodnight, and then it’s 11:00pm and where does the ayurveda go?!?!?

much love and respect.

Anybody familiar with our friend’s day here? I know I am! I mean I do not have kids and, I can imagine that is a whole other ball of MonicaB wax yet to come. But I’ve had up to 4 jobs at once and have exhausted myself to tears (I’m not even going to go into it). And…one day I just decided to stop. I lied. It did not take a day, it took years. It took therapy, books, yoga, self-discovery and learning what are the most important things in life to do right now. Most likely, Thanksgiving plans can wait for today if it’s not yet Halloween… ;) Btw, the note above is typical of how a busy vata mind works.

My friend, I have suggestions for you to help balance your life. I will be honest, because not only do you like that (I know you!), but you need my honesty. Here we go:

Ask for help. Friend, you have 1, 2, maybe 3 other humans in your household, with 6 arms and 5 legs…so why does all of this fall on your shoulders? Whether it is pitta control, kapha being to shy to ask for help, or vata being so overwhelmed that she can’t stop, something is preventing you from delegating tasks to others. Dig deep to figure out why. Cause really, the 8 year old could throw in the laundry or fill dishwasher or dry dishes. When he’s not traveling, hubby could pick up dry-cleaning or answer the phone or start up baths. Look! That’s 5 things done just like that! And they will probably be happy to help you, but you have to ask them. ASK for help! And if they say no, um, you’re the mom. Teach them to help and make it fun. Maybe the rule is to sing while dusting or dancing while vacuuming. Whatever – you’re creative, make it cool and have them help. They want to be part of the household because you are raising mini-adults afterall ;)

Prioritize with Love. Love yourself enough to end the looooong list of things you have to do, because you are setting yourself up for failure. Then you’ll just end the day feeling defeated and exausted. No bueno treating yourself that way! You wouldn’t give the girls a list of tasks that they can’t possibly finish, right? So be nice and set realistic expectations. Focus on today or the week and then break it down. What is really necessary for today?  You have a long list, but you probably don’t have to do these things on the same day – just pick the most important ones for today and be sure to delegate a couple. Even if you don’t get to Thanksgiving planning tonight, you will be happy that the kids are fed, the dishes are done, the laundry is now in the dryer, the girls are clean, and one is drawing a flower on her sister’s cast ;) That’s GOOD for an evening! Lower the expectation bar, you’re not being graded.

You as a WHOLE. A friend of mine (married with two kids) told me that one of the successes to her marriage and family life is that she takes time for HER. And her husband takes time for HIM. They trade off so that one can go for a run, go meet the guys, go to therapy, or whatever it is that makes the person feel whole. YOU have to feel whole because without a whole you, you don’t have enough to give your family. And then it’s kinda like you’re doing them a disservice as well as yourself.

Voicemail. You mentioned you also had a friend who was pregnant – that’s great! But how much time do you spend on that per day/week? I understand if she needs support – totally. But so do you. And maybe if you let the phone go to voicemail, you could enjoy 5-10 minutes of stillness sitting on the porch, enjoying the leaves. Learn to use voicemail so you can call them back at your convenience. They will be okay – you don’t have to hold them together. And you can even call them back tomorrow!! Btw, that’s totally allowed! My therapist taught me that :)

Boundaries. Block out time. I clean on Saturday or Sunday mornings starting around 11 and I don’t clean much past 12:30. I move fast! After that, I enjoy the day. Whatever is not done is not…but look how much IS done! Yeehaw! I also have a boundary of writing in the morning for 10 minutes. Just 10. That’s it. But it makes my whole day better. I also don’t practice violin for more than 30 minutes (I’m useless after that anyway). Control your time – don’t let it control you. Block it out and you’ll make it happen.

Rewards. Maybe you say at 8:30 you are done with “tasks” for the day when you and the girls can play spa and rub eachother’s feet :D (hah! trying to sneak in Ayurveda…). Or maybe play a game OR sit in a massage circle and draw pictures on each others’ backs. Make it chill and make it fun. This can be a calming reward for helping you out earlier.

(as I’m writing this, I just found my dog in my closet chewing a hole in my favorite jacket. Frickin awesome. At least it still zips.)

Part Time Jobby. Is it necessary for funds or is it more of a hobby? If it’s the latter, treat it as such. Enjoy it and create! I get stressed with my full time job + HeyMonicaB sometimes. But then I’m like, “Dude, all my readers are not sitting around griping because there is no post today…” And I just take a mini break until I’m inspired, and then it becomes fun again. And that’s when the best posts happen! Make time for it maybe once a week. Or one Saturday afternoon a month. Take it slow. Easy breezy. When you make time, more time will appear. Then you will have two fun hours…and so on. Sounds lame but it works.

Sleep. Make sure you get enough. Bed by 10:30 if you can. It’s key to your sanity and balancing vata. If you don’t, your emotions will be all over, you won’t be able to think properly and you will feel constantly fatigued.

Small Bits Make a Big Difference. No matter what you want to accomplish, chip away at it in small doses. If you try to do tackle any project in large doses, it’s going to be a stiffer journey. Because life gets in the way :) Sitting for 5-10 minutes can do wonders for your level of happy (see? It’s late and I can’t write anymore) which is pretty small, but it makes a world of difference.

It’s Life. All these things coming at you will not stop, ever. That’s just how life is. The only thing you can control is you :) You can choose to pause, take a breath, ask for a moment to yourself and take a time out. Or you can choose to become swept up in all of it. Once you start taking time for yourself, others will see it, and they might become more self-sufficient, relying on you less so you have even MORE time to yourself :) All healing starts from the inside out. Heal yourself first and watch the world around you change. But you HAVE to start with you first. Namaste sweet friend. I hope this helped some. xo

Happy Halloween Tips!

Tip #1
If you eat a lot of candy, fast the next day and drink ginger tea until your tummy feels better and your tongue is pink!

Tip #2
If you’re eating pumpkin seeds chew them up good! We don’t have teeth anywhere else and they might hurt coming out…

That’s as wise as I get today. Have FUN! xoxo

Bit of Wisdom {30}

Feel overwhelmed, dizzied, maybe even grumpy about all that you have on your plate? Well you know some nice people, so ask them for help :) They can’t read your mind, so ask. Don’t be shy, you’d do it for them. It doesn’t make you weak, it makes you smart, strengthens relationships, and brings you peace. Just do it, they’ll help. I promise. xoxo

A Day in the Life of MonicaB

Do you all know about the daily routine?! Ooooo…if you don’t you should because it’s one of the BEST things you can do for your health. Most of it is easy because it’s just making sure you are doing the right things at the right time. No mystery! Just a switching of the clock is all.

I promote the routine to my clients and get asked a lot, “Monica, what does your routine look like? Do you do all that Ayurveda stuff?” So I thought it would be fun to run through my day so that you can see it’s not really that tough to incorporate Ayurveda into a 40-hour work week grind. Did I say grind? I meant…thine lovely waking hours of the day at thee establishment of employment, Monday thru Friday ;) I’ve highlighted everything in PINK that is according to Ayurveda. If it’s BLUE, it’s not Ayurvedic. This is kinda fun since I’ve never written it out before so let’s see how I do.

Please note: It has taken me 3 years to get this far. Slowly I made the changes. If you want to adopt some of these, great!! But do them one or two at a time until they become habit. If you do everything at once, it will not stick. And, as you can see, there is still room for improvement. I’ll always be learning about Ayurveda, forever :)

MONICAB’S DAILY ROUTINE

MORNING!

6:15 a.m. (it’s really dark right now which makes it tough)
6:15 get up
Pee (I don’t poop)
Brush teeth, scrape tongue, drink warm water
Take dogs for a brisk 25-30 minute walk, come back and feed them (feed someone else before you feed yourself).

7:00 a.m. The BEST part of the day
• Sometimes I eat an english muffin with ghee at home. Most of the time I make oatmeal with ghee at work.
Go in our spare room, turn on my yoga salt lantern, my “facing east” pandora station, and write “morning pages” (based on The Artists Way) for 10-15 minutes
Then I sit and do So-Hum for 10 minutes OR kapalbhati for 5-8 minutes
Kiss George goodbye as he leaves for work

7:20 a.m. Personal Hygiene
Shower. I use Dr. Bronner’s Lavender soap (natural)
and shampoo with chemical crap in it.
• Get out of the shower. Our 2 dogs that were sitting on the floor mats come over to lick the salt off my ankles and the cat jumps in the shower to play in the water (animals make us happy)
Quickly apply almond oil to my legs, arms, torso and with what is on my hands, I do a quick eyebrow and cheek massage. If I was following Ayurveda, I would do this before my shower. I will work on making this change.
I don’t wash my face in the morning, I just rinse it with warm water. I use Rose Du Jour moisturizer by Simply Divine Botanicals (natural & awesome), unless my skin is really dry and then I use Amazing Face moisturizer.
Take 2 amalaki tablets (detoxification, rejuvenation, heart tonic, pitta & vata balancing)
Dry hair w/blowdryer, use non-Ayurvedic hair products (Aveda, which is based on Ayurveda but owned by Esteé Lauder. So I count them as a no). Get dressed.
• Go to kitchen, grab leftovers for lunch and heat the chai I made last night in the microwave, then put in my to-go cup

7:55 a.m. Commute
Drive 5-10 minutes to work. Yeah, not really a commute…

8:00 a.m. Work Day!
• Say “Good Morning!” to Marshall, Sharon & Lisa. Put my stuff down, turn on computer. Go get a warm glass of water (I have not pooped yet) and make my oatmeal with ghee that I borrow from Gavin’s desk (he only has ghee ’cause of me anyway…)
Sip my homemade chai
• Go through emails, listen to voice messages, do all the easy things on my list, poop (the water works every time!), help people get jobs (even with positive thoughts), be nice to coworkers, clients and talent. Sip warm water, sniff lavender

12:00 Lunch
I usually eat my leftovers at my desk (this is not Ayurvedic, I should take a full hour and I should eat away from my computer). Sometimes I come home for lunch and eat on our porch with the dogs. That’s the best!!!
Do the challenging work and meetings in the afternoon.
• By 3:00, I’m antsy. I usually wave my arms around, stretch, yawn (loud, stick my tongue out), sigh, look at coworkers through binoculars (two fists around my eyes making to peek through) and sometimes I go lay on the floor of someone’s cubicle and then leave with a happy butt dance. I end all of this with some tea and go back to my desk.

5:00 p.m. Quittin Time!
Get home, kiss George and take the dogs for another walk together 30+ minutes. We talk about our day.
3-4 days a week I do yoga or ballet workout after the walk

6:15 p.m. Making Dinner
Dinner! George usually picks up ingredients for a vegetarian friendly dinner together and we make enough so I can take leftovers the next day. We always eat a light together, at the table and sometimes while watching football.

7:30 p.m. Down Time
• Any mix of: Heymonicab projects & blog posts, practice violin, study, reading
Sometimes I do my yoga or ballet here

9:00 p.m.
Most of the time, I follow my own guidelines and turn off the computer. Sometimes I’ll get in bed and read, which always feels luxurious.

10:00 p.m. Bed!
Wash face with Black Velvet skin cleanser and moisturize with Amazing Face.
• If it’s dry or I’m feeling old (hah!), I put a little almond oil at the corners of my eyes
I lay on my right side and do So Hum…I don’t know how long because usually I fall asleep

That’s my day in a nutshell. The great thing is that I don’t stray too much from it, which balances my vata. Vatas need routine. I’ve changed my eating habits to include warm meals (to balance vata and my varied digestion) and I often bring my lunch from home, which also saves money. I have more energy because I get up early and the almond oil in the morning feels awesome on my skin. Using high quality facial soaps and moisturizer is KEY to keeping skin hydrated and wrinkle free! A job is a job is a job, so I make it fun for myself and the people around me. Life is too short not to have fun! Walking the pups and getting some exercise feels like recess and I can catch up with George then too. Dinner is usually light and full of warm veggies mixed with pastas, noodles or rice. Bed time is key! If I’m not in bed by 10, I’m up until 1:00 a.m. and a tired, crabby disaster the next day.

Try some of this stuff!! These are good, fun, easy tools you can try. If you try it, really commit to doing it for two weeks. You will notice a difference. Share your stories with us – we all want to know!! You have a big cheering squad, so go for it! Be well my friends. XOXOXO!

The Giggling Guru!

HAHA! Check out the Giggling Guru. He cures by laughing! He’ll be on Brian McClure’s show for A Conversation with Dr. Madan Kataria (Laughter Yoga). Should be great!! http://conta.cc/apewDJ

Ommwriter

Hey fellow writers out there! I ommwriter! It’s a zen space that calms monkey mind while you get your write on. It has plunky music, pretty delicate backgrounds, and won’t let chat pop-ups and emails  bug you.

Perfect for vatas who love to create, yet fall victim to distractions! Chill out, create, enjoy! http://www.ommwriter.com/

Falling for Vata

Crisp air, crunchy leaves, apple cider, Halloween costumes, and Sunday football games all tell us that it’s fall! And in Ayurveda that means it’s vata season! We exited pitta season (summer) about a month ago (sorry for the delay!) and now there’s a whole new set of rules to follow to keep us balanced for fall and winter.

Rather than repeat myself from what I wrote last year, I wanted to explain a little bit more about why so many of us feel the effects of vata energy so often. We live in a very vata imbalancing society. As we know, vata is the energy of movement so anything that moves within us or around us will increase that energy. Our world has become so fast and so filled with “instant gratification” that we are all racing at the speed of light. Whether it’s battling traffic on our commute or not having enough patience to stand in line at the grocery store because our meter will run out, these anxieties and constant rushing only increases the vata within all of us. It happens whether or not vata is part of our natural balance.

Take for example, the internet. How much stuff is thrown at you daily? We have personal email, work email, calender notifications, IM/chats, ads on websites, flash animations, facebook (emails here too, things to respond to), twitter (links to check, things to read, people to connect to), daily news…and that doesn’t even include what you’re doing for work! There are SO many things to look at and respond to that we sort of get this internal buzz (vata!) happening. Right!? Do you ever feel that? For some of us, it is fun to look at all of these blinking, dinging, flashing things as part of our to-do list. But over time it can be a constant annoyance of information overload. We become easily distracted, fatigued, and anxious as our heart races out of panic at seeing how large our inbox is. Am I wrong?

Those feelings my friend are 100% vata imbalance. This is a perfect example of how we are affected and governed by the energy around us. That’s why, we really have to learn how to counterbalance the fast, cold, rough, dry, light qualities of what vata season brings. We have a lot of these qualities in our daily lives, but now add on top of it Mother Nature. That said, a lot of us are NOT naturally vata, but we might feel these effects. If you are a pitta or kapha feeling a vata increase, follow the vata balancing tips below. You should balance out fairly quickly and then return to your normal routine.

AND!! I am in the works of creating Seasonal Bloom for vata season, so do not fret. It’s in progress (not making deadlines is typical vata behavior. I got married so I’m trying not to be hard on myself :) xoxo!

Tips for everyone for fall!
• Turn off the computer at least one hour before bed. Vatas are prone to insomnia and this is a great way to avoid that
• Enjoy a vata-balancing diet which includes warm teas, warm meals, cooked veggies, oils/fats, nuts, squashes, bananas, warm apples & pears
• If you are feeling out of whack, enjoy kitchari for a few days until you feel like yourself again
Balance your dinner plate so that it’s vata-balancing (if you are a pitta or kapha, follow those plates)
• If you get gas or bloating, eat a small piece of raw ginger and you’ll feel better instantly
• Stay well oiled inside and out. If you have dry skin, use oils instead of lotion! Or you can pick up some lavender salt scrub from Trader Joe’s!
• You may want to put a layer of oil on your skin before showering. Put it on your full body and let it sit 5-10 min. Then shower. The oil will absorb and act as a barrier since water dries out our skin
• Stick to your routine. Doing the same thing at the same time every day will bring a steadiness to vata. It will reduce anxiety, stress, and you will be more productive
• Cover your ears when outside in the cold! Wind (vata in nature) gets in the ears (where vata lives) and can cause vata imbalances like overall chilliness, headaches, ear aches, anxiety, and panic
• Fill your ears with soothing, calming music
• Light plenty of candles. Warm light will counterbalance cloudy skies and our shortened days. You will feel warm, happy and cozy

Ayurvedic Bride (That’s me!)

HEY!! I’m getting married todaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay (hence why over the past few weeks my posts have not been as frequent)!!!

When we talk about LIFE (Ayurveda is the “science of life”), getting married is one of the most life-enhancing events there is. I was planning on writing a blog post on how to be a modern and Ayurvedic bride, but you know what!? I’m not going to. If I was counseling YOU, I would say, “Nevermind the blog, just savor, enjoy and breathe every moment of this day!” So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to write my tips for being a physically, mentally and emotionally healthy  bride (word is still out on the emotions…I’ve already cried once this morning and it’s only 8:30). I will do that after I enjoy my wedding with friends and family. And after my honeymoon with my new husband. Because THAT my friends, is life. And it’s pretty sweet.

I’ll be back in a week and a half or so (and yes, the next version of Seasonal Bloom is coming after that too!).

LOVE-AND-LIGHT!!!
MonicaB. (and yes, it’s staying as B. ;)

Bit of Wisdom {29}

Instead of thinking “What can I get out of this?” what if we started thinking, “How can I improve or help this.” Our egos want me me meee! Maybe we can tell Mr./Ms. ego to be quiet for a sec while we lend a helping hand with grace, expecting nothing back.

The Kind Book

Dude!! Has anyone read, The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone? I just got it last week and I am LOVING it!! To be honest, I was a little skeptical (pitta) at first because I wasn’t sure how substantial it would be. I thought it might be a lot of fluffy air about nothing or that it would severely in try to sway us to veganism. SO wrong I was!

She is a former meat eater and dairy lover. And basically, she has been vegan for years and the book explains how and why a vegan (if the word “vegan” just turned you off, stay with me here) diet is “kind” to our body-minds and the planet. What I like about the book is that she is not overly preachy, but she does go into detail as to why a plant & grain based diet is good for the body-mind. I also like that she does not try to push anyone to change to be vegan, she simply gives facts and guidance. She actually gives a LOT of great facts about our food and where it comes from, which EVERYone should know! Her writing style feels like you are talking to your girlfriend (she even talks about farts), which makes all of this really easy to grasp and it also feels like it’s coming from an authentic place.

If you are questioning your nutrition and/or what kind of foods are good for you, this is a great educator and a fun read. She must have studied Eastern health modalities of some sort because she is RIGHT on parallel with Ayurvedic nutrition philosophies. What is not in her book, which is uniquely Ayurvedic, is that depending on your dosha(s), the types of food you eat will vary per person.

She has a blog, The Kind Life ,which has more recipes and life-guiding goodies. Below is my favorite excerpt from the book so far (oh yeah, there are loads of tasty recipes too!).

I’m here to remind you that eating is the most important thing you do. It determines how you look, how you feel, and even how you behave. Every meal drives your day in one direction or another. Food is the foundation of your life.

What if I’m TWO doshas?!

I get this question all the time, “I’m two doshas! How do I know which one to follow?”

(If you’re like, “Wait! What’s a dosha?” – Here is some help)

First, don’t panic! It’s aalll good. Many of us are more than one dosha and sometimes we are two doshas in equal parts. I’ll use myself as an example. I am an equal split of pitta/vata. I have a vata mind; creative, scattered, multi-tasking, inventive. I have a pitta body; medium build, straight slightly oily hair, sharp tongue. I have vata digestion: bloatey, tending toward constipation. I have the typical pitta “I want it my way” desire for control. They play together to make me who I am. Because I know a lot about the doshas, I can pick out where they live in my body and balance them that way. For example because of my weak/variable digestion, I know that I have to follow mainly vata guidelines for food.

So what does one do when they are a combo of both doshas but the tools that balance them are sorta opposites? There are a few things you can do, but first you REALLY understand what each dosha needs to stay balanced.

In a tiny nutshell
vatas need: grounding, moisture/oil, heaviness, heat, and stability
pittas need: soothing, cooling, a bit more dryness, sweetness, and serenity
kaphas need: movement, heat, dryness, invigoration, and spices

Great so what do you do when you are a pitta/vata and one is telling you to stay warm and the other is telling you to stay cool? Or what to do when you are a kapha/pitta and you are supposed to eat hot spices to jumpstart digestion, but hot spices aggravate pitta? THIS is where Ayurveda gets a little complicated and becomes a WHOLE science. This is where the combination of YOU comes in (and probably a good practitioner ;).

There are several ways to manage two doshas but for you to keep it simple, stay in balance with the seasons. Please see the seasonal chart for a happy visual aid. Seasons are the larger nature and we are smaller, so we are governed by them. If you are a pitta/kapha and it is summer, monitor and balance your pitta by having cooling, astringent foods like veggies. Don’t exercise in the hot sun or drink too much booze (heating). But also, mind your kapha by not having “sugars” as your sweet foods (kapha increasing), rather choose fresh fruits to balance both doshas.

I hope I am not making your head spin. Really it will all make sense once you start to know yourself. I know that salads (vata increasing) make be bloatey (vata problem) during fall and winter (vata season). I also know that I might get heartburn (pitta problem) during summer (pitta season) if I have a glass of red wine with spicy food (both pitta increasing).

So my suggestion is, read up about vata, pitta and kapha. If you have questions, ask them and I will do my best to answer. Once you know the three, you will begin to see where each one shows up in your body-mind and you can make food, exercise and lifestyle decisions accordingly. It will take time as your discoveries unravel, so don’t be anxious, just start to notice your patterns. You will begin to notice how certain foods affect you and maybe how stress affects you at different times.

Take this as the start of getting to know yourself. Hooray for two doshas! It’s fun to watch them play together and flip each other over as the seasons go by. Use this new knowledge to your advantage so you can keep yourself healthy. xo!

Questions!?!???! ;)

The struggle to surrender

I’ve been sitting here all night trying to come up with a brilliant Ayurvedic…something, to write about. I’ve gone through old notes and looked through my books, only to get distracted. And then I think, “Shoot! I have to write something on my blog for tonight!” And I’ve spent an hour and a half in my little “writer’s block” struggle rather than grabbing a good book and reading just to relax.

So. What if I stop struggling? Ah! Lovely. Suddenly I find I have something to write about :)

When we can’t get ahead or achieve the results we are looking for, maybe it’s time to just surrender. Sometimes I forget about that lovely tool, surrender, because it’s just so easy. When there is no relaxation, there is no rest. Yet the only time we get stronger is by resting! So often we push and push and push only to find ourselves exhausted and going in circles. Only once we stop can something else come in and change our perspective to help solve our problem. So before I hit the sack, I’ll leave you with this:

Relax! There is more strength in surrender than there is in forging ahead.

Plated Portions!

Hohkay! Did you know that how you build your plate of food should be based on your dosha(s)? You may have (You win! Again, someday maybe I will give out fabulous prizes. For now, just enjoy that you won). Since Ayurveda focuses on the individual, it only makes sense that the way we serve ourselves should be based on our individual make up.

For example, if we are mostly vata (air and space), we will need more grounding, sticky, and warm foods to ground us. If we are mostly pitta (fire and water), we will naturally have great metabolism and digestion so we have the fire to digest proteins and even raw veggies (although most veggies according to Ayurveda should be cooked). Same as, if we are kapha (water and earth), we will need lighter, spicier, and warm foods to balance the heaviness of kapha.

To make it easy to understand, I’ve made a little graphic below.


**Proteins don’t necessarily mean meat! Protein could be lentils (vatas no lentils, they will gas you up), nuts, cheese, etc. I just drew a fish because…it’s late and I’m tired. oxoxo**

As you can see, the vata plate has more grounding foods (carbs), plenty of healthy fat (ghee), some cooked veggies, a little protein and a little spice to aid their variable digestion. Vatas need warmth and stability so the fats and carbies will help keep their body strong and their mind/emotions stable. Vatas need protein for strength, but it can be tough to digest, therefore the spice will help increase digestive fire.

The pitta plate is pretty even all around, but there is little or no spice used. Pittas tend to be spicy enough as is ;) Pittas need a balance of veggies and carbs because both cool their fire. The protein gives their agni a job to do for a while. Otherwise, their fire will quickly use up the veggies and carbs and they’ll be hungry again in a short time.

The kapha plate is loaded with warm veggies, with a kick of spice. It has a small amount of protein and carbs because kaphas are already heavy and sturdy. The cooked veggies are both light and very easy to digest which will keep kaphas feeling light and energized. The spice will help give their digestion/metabolism a nice boost that it needs. Proteins can be hard to digest so keep them small or stay with vegetarian dishes. Kaphas should limit fat in their diet.

Hopefully this visual helps! It’s all about knowing who you are and what you need, so forget the “food pyramid” and build your plate according to who you are! Your body will THANK you for giving it exactly what it calls for and you will begin to feel amazing! xo!

Music to My Ears

Tip: Clear Burps

HERE’s a lovely thought: When you have clear/clean burps, it means you have fully digested your last meal and your body is ready to eat! A fine example: It’s 6:00 pm (dinner time) and you are still burping up Indian food you had for lunch (burp talk is just never pretty). That means the food is still in your system and it’s not ready to tackle dinner on top of it. Take note, have some ginger tea and skip dinner. Chances are you’re probably not hungry anyway. Give your digestion a chance to catch up because mal-functioning agni (digestive fire) is the root cause of 90% of all diseases. Tra-laaaa!

GOOD morning!

On Tuesday, a friend of mine posted on her facebook, “Enjoyed listening to Michael Bublé, cruised through the Sept issue, and a savored a killer cup of coffee before work this morning. All mornings should be like this!” I wrote a comment and said, “Why can’t they be?!? :) :) MAKE them all like that!! Awesome!”

Right? Why can’t each day be a mini celebration? Why do we have to wait until the weekend to do nice, peaceful, nourishing things for ourselves? Why not cushion our morning a little bit or spend an evening doing something we love. Our body doesn’t know the difference so why can’t our mind do a little foolin…a little pretending that it might be a weekend.

Imagine scenario A: Alarm goes off, hit snooze 7 times, then because we’ve hit it for an hour, the alarm turns itself off. We slightly oversleep and then scurry to the shower, shave quickly, brush teeth, blowdry hair on highest setting, and get dressed. Quickly slap on mascara (don’t blink or you’ll have to spend 5 seconds cleaning it off your brow bone and we don’t have time!), maybe blush, and the lip gloss can wait for the car ride. Shuffle to the kitchen, maybe grab something for breakfast (no lunch, there’s no time) but it’s probably faster to scrounge for food on the way or grab an over-priced muffin and coffee at Whole Foods (that’s what I used to do anyway). Get to work 15 minutes late and start jammin on emails.

Imagine scenario B: When the alarm goes off, get up (we just bought ourselves 30-45 min). Walk the dogs (only if you have them). Or, make a pot of coffee or tea. While that’s brewing, light a candle and turn on your favorite Pandora station. Optional: if you have dry skin, apply (strokes toward the heart) almond oil on your arms, legs, chest, butt and back, and put your robe on. Then sit to read a magazine or a book, or write in a journal while you sip your beverage (sounds luxurious to me!). Or you could sit and just breathe, for 5-10 minutes with your eyes closed. Or scrap all that and do yoga, with lovely candle of course. Then shower, teeth, hair, make up and get dressed. Go to the kitchen and pop your english muffin in the toaster. While that’s cooking grab a to-go mug for your coffee or tea and get our lunch out of the fridge (you prepared it last night). Sit and eat your english muffin. Grab your mug and lunch and head out. Get to work on time, set your mug down, and start jammin on emails.

Which sounds better to you? Doesn’t scenario B almost sound like a weekend!? Why not have more than just 2 mornings like that, because there are 5 more days to take advantage of ;)

This is an example of what my mornings used to be (A) and what I changed them to (B). I mean, I still hit snooze, (just not as bad) but I’ve just given myself more time to enjoy the morning. It’s a nice start to every day. Our perception governs our mood, emotions, and body. Let’s give our perception a little lift, a little positivity and a little luxury. There’s no sense in intentionally starting the day with chaos, so let’s learn to give the new day a little more time and a nice warm welcome.

Bringing your Ayurvedic Lunch

 

Show of hands, who gets in a mad scramble at lunch time to grab something to scarf down before their next meeting? 1, 2, 3, 4…wow, LOTS of you! ;) Who is so rushed in the morning that they don’t have time to pack a good lunch? Who has empty cupboards and complains that there is “nothing in the house?” Who’s sick of spending…$10-$12+ per day on lunch that is not as healthy as you would like OR is not as tasty as something you could have made yourself?

Ah! This is where it gets fun. Friends!! You have FULL control over what you eat for lunch!! Yes you do! It just takes a little planning. By bringing lunch, you would have more time to eat (because you’re not running around trying to find food), you would feel good about eating healthier and saving money, AND you will have time to enjoy relaxing before you jet to your next meeting. You can pack your lunch at night so that you just have to grab it. Really! It’s not that hard, you just have to make it priority and you will LOVE how easy it becomes.

This lunch thang is a big challenge for almost all of my clients. It’s very hard for most hard-working people to make lunch a priority because we have so many other things on our plates (pun!). But bringing your own yummy lunch will ease stress, enhance your efficiency, settle your mind, help with weight loss and save you dough. Plus, you will be eating fresher foods that have not been processed which will do wonders for the body-mind. Try it for 1 week. My guess is that you’ll feel SO GOOD that you will want to make that decision over and over. It will be one of the most healthy things you can do for yourself, I promise.

The trick for an Ayurvedic lunch is to make sure it’s not freezing cold and avoid using the microwave if possible. Those are the biggest hurdles I’ve discovered ya’ll have with this. Most foods can be kept room temperature and they will not rot/spoil in a matter of 4 hours — it’s just the truth — so don’t feel like everything has to go in the fridge. When I take my lunch to work, I leave it on a shelf at my desk. That way I don’t need to nuke the crap out of it because it’s cold. I usually eat it room temp or add a little hot water from the water cooler to warm it up (depending what it is).

Where to start when to bringing your Ayurvedic lunch:

• Make a dish in a crock pot or rice cooker at night so it’s ready in the morning.  Bring any kind of one-pot meal in a thermos or some other “keeps things warm” container. Foods you could make are soup, rice/veggies, pasta, barley/veggie, veggie curries, fried rice, or do a google search and find endless possibilities.

• I like to make a “kitchari burrito” — it is room temp (no micro!) but they are tasty and don’t get soggy!

• Make this awesome 10-minute kitchari and bring in a thermos!

• Make roasted veggies or steamed veggies the night before and bring in a container with pasta and a drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper.

• Bring pieces to assemble a good lunch, like tomatoes, avocado, fresh mozzarella cheese slice, and basil. I’ll bring a tortilla and make a wrap!

• Pesto and hummus are fun accessories. Basil can be used with pasta (sprinkle some pine nuts & sundried tomatoes – mm!) or spread on a wrap. Hummus can be used to dip steamed/cooled veggies or used as a spread on some naan.

• Use a little hot water from the water-cooler and add to warm up soup or soften and warm up a rice dish.

• I keep oatmeal, raisins and almonds at my desk if I get into trouble. Yes, it’s an oatmeal packet, but better than starving or rushing. I use the hot water to “cook” it and let it sit til it absorbs. Decorate with raisins and almonds and…not too shabby!

• Don’t skip lunch if you didn’t bring it. If you need to duck out and get food, make sure it’s prepared fresh by happy people and is warm-ish. Don’t carry any guilt or judgement around about it, just make a conscious choice to do better tomorrow. Yeah?

And you know what?! You are smart. I bet you have lunch ideas to share with us too. Send them in the comments below so we can all see and have better lunchies. There will be a “part 2” to this which includes lunch ideas for kiddos! Stay tuned. XO!

Thunder-shows

Ahh, who doesn’t love a great thunderstorm!? Like, a really good, healthy (not dangerous) one. You know, when the sky turns totally black (or green) and opens up while rain pours down to water the grass and plants. It delights our 5 senses as thunder booms in our ears and lightning puts on a show for our eyes. Then there’s the cooling, wet touch of rain on our skin or maybe our tongues. Our feet are vehicles that cool our entire being by walking in grass and dancing in puddles. And when it’s over, nothing beats the smell of a recent thunderstorm.

Well no wonder we love thunderstorms!! They touch every one of our senses! In Ayurveda, we use those 5 senses are the vehicles to all healing. We perform massage (touch), aromatherapy (smell), give nutrition guidance (taste), play mantras or soothing music (hear), and provide nice surroundings (sight). That’s why you feel so nice when you go to a spa or Ayurvedic center – because they pay delicate attention to our five senses, which heals you.

So next time a thunderstorm blows by, take time to enjoy it. My grandpa and I used to sit on the swing on the front porch while nature put on its little show. We just took it all in. While summer is still here, I invite you to do the same and if anyone asks you why you’re dancing in the puddles just say, “it’s good for my doshas!” and they will leave you alone :D

When Sh*t Happens

In the article Wish It Away, I mention how we can use our mind as an energy shifter to heal ourselves and others. In response, I received a comment from a lovely gal who wanted to hear the other side of things…like, what do we do when bad stuff just happens? An excerpt from her comment:

I do have a minor quibble with this post–I really wish it had included a ‘but sometimes bad stuff just happens and it’s not our fault’ caveat….Sometimes we can control it, sometimes we can’t. And helping people handle stuff when all good intentions still don’t help the bad stuff go away is really important.

Her comment is very valid and true. Like, what do we do when our parents divorce or a loved one dies? Not only what do we do, but why did it happen in the first place…because it’s not my fault! Correct, it’s not your fault. And in all honesty, the why’s cannot really be answered…at least in the moment it happens. Years down the road we might be able to look backwards what our lives have turned into and it might make more sense. We might even find that it’s a blessing that the sh*t happened.

In short, when sh*t happens, there is nothing we can do except find faith. Find faith that we will be okay. Faith that it happened for SOME reason which will make its way to us later. The truth is that when sh*t happens, we grow, we learn, and we change.

Ayurveda would say that when something traumatic happens, it’s part of our (and their) karmic path for our own evolution and/or for someone else’s. Allow me to share a personal story so that you can see how it unfolds. Maybe it will help you see things like this in your own life.

My grandma died when I was 11, which left a crater-sized hole in my heart. She was my caretaker because my mom (single) was working her hiney off. Grade school, high school, college and most of my 20’s I seemed outwardly happy, but inwardly I was pretty pissed. It would show up in me having a quick fuse, bouts of depression, and worst of all, a heart that had kinda shut down.

All of that sh*t pushed me to move from Milwaukee to San Francisco and there, I finally found me again. At 31, I had the courage to go to therapy, acupuncture,  life coaching, and a nutritionist. One day when I was depressed as hell, I wanted to disappear to go do yoga in India (so weird cause I knew nothing about India). So I googled it and from there I found a retreat that was “Ayurvedic.” Not knowing what that was, I googled “Ayurveda” and once I found a description, I cried and cried and cried. My heart broke open. Everything I had always believed in was right before my eyes…and I never knew it existed. Four days later I was in school for Ayurveda and 3 years later I’m spreading the word in hopes to heal millions.

THAT is one small example of how one trauma (cause I had more! and I’m sure you do too!) can turn a life around. The traumas and the sh*t are all lessons. The key is to keep FAITH and open your heart to what comes next. Of course there is a grieving period…although in my experience I don’t know that grief goes away, but I’ve learned to accept it. And I can smile at it now. And I can thank it. It’s there, but I’ve made friends with it.

A dear friend of mine, her dad passed away and when we were talking about grief, I shared my outlook on it. And she responded, “I get it, so, it’s like boobs. One day you look down and say, ‘Oh okay, I have boobs now’ and that’s it.” And I said, “Yeah…kinda like boobs.”

Sweet friends. Bless you and your traumas. They are not your fault if they happen, but they are part of your path. They are necessary, for whatever reason. You might not get instantaneous clarity and it could even take 20 years. But be patient and have faith. LIVE this life the very best you can, as positively as you can, with your best intentions. You cannot always avoid sh*t, but you can learn from it and even make friends with it if you choose.

Namasté dear friends.

Intro To Ayurveda Video!!

Peeps!!
Below is a link to an AWESOME introductory video on Ayurveda!! It was created by my friend and fellow Ayurvedee, Diana Bayless and a special appearance made by your truly :)

Introduction to Ayurveda by Diana Bayless