Hi I feel swirly. Like my life is one big swirl and I can’t make it stop. My friend Jan, Director & Franchise owner for Ladies Who Launch Los Angeles, send me an email this past week that said, “Stop the world, I want to get off!” It’s like she read my mind.
Since I posted Seasonal Bloom, I haven’t been blogging quite as often as I normally do. It probably doesn’t bother you and maybe you didn’t even notice, but for me, it weighs on my shoulders because this is my passion. And I like it to happen fast!
I cannot discount that I also have many many other lovely things going on in my life, but those too, take up space.
So here we have this swirly colorful organic shape (I wish I could animate it because it’s always changing and it’s quite pretty) that represents how I feel. All beautiful things. All nice shapes. All somehow fitting in with one another. But MAN there’s a lot of them! I’ll count every single one of my blessings and by no means am I complaining, I just need a clone. Hah! I need reprieve. I need the world to stop for a second so I can get off and catch my breath. Right?! I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.
I actually had to go back and reread a post I wrote about how to manage all this stuff because I had forgotten my own advice! I guess sometimes it’s much easier to see other peoples’ lives than it is to see our own.
So anywhosies, I’m just a little swirly. I’ll get back on track soon no doubt, but I definitely needed to get off the ferris wheel for a bit cause I was feeling sick. If you ever feel swirly, I would love to know what YOU do to stay steady (and productive!). Or maybe you just lay low for a bit and surrender. That’s kinda what I did. Afterall, if we aren’t strong enough for ourselves, we’re no good for anyone else either. Everything starts from the self and radiates outward.
Ah! So maybe my words of advice are, sit still and take care of you first. That’s how it has to be. Do you need sleep? Do you need to knit? Do you need to do your yoga? Do you need to say no to a dinner party because you can’t afford to keep going out? You see, even in airplanes we are supposed to put on our own oxygen mask before assisting others. True that! Breathe easy my friends and take care of yourselves. Remember, rest is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. And the world will keep going round while you take a few days or weeks to collect yourself. xoxo.
Never underestimate….food is your medicine. Good nourishments in whole food will unravel imbalance and diseases quite easily. No mystery, no tricks, just right choices. Choose wisely when filling your gracious body with fuel…and be sure to thank that bod every day ♥
WOOOHOOOOO!!!! I’ve finally finished Seasonal Bloom for Vata. Yippee! Seasonal Bloom is an 18-page guide for each season and since we are now in vata season…let’s gooooo!!! You can DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY HERE just in time for Thanksgiving weekend. Make a fire in the fire place, kick up your tootsies in a pair of warm socks, make a cup of my chai or c.c.f. tea (what are those? read on to find out!), read Seasonal Bloom and relax! I create Seasonal Bloom with lots of love, so please share with three people you love. Let’s share the FREE gift of tools for a good health and a sensational LIFE! Namasté.
Show of hands, how many people think that eating/taking extra fiber will help them poop? Okay put them down. Show of hands, how many people eat/take fiber and it works? Okay put them down. Show of hands, how many people eat/take fiber and it makes you more bloatey, gassy, and your stomach puffs out like a balloon? Leave your hands up!!! YOU might be a vata person, but at the very least, it is highly likely you have vata digestion.
And do you know who has problems pooping the most? Vata. And you know what? It’s vata season, right now! Know what else? Vatas (and all of us) have been told that taking fiber helps you poop. And I’M here to say. That IF YOU ARE A VATA, TOO MUCH FIBER MAKES YOUR DIGESTION WORSE!! Oh yes I did! I said that. Now, I’m not calling the fiber-makers evil. But fiber-makers don’t tell you is that fiber is light, dry, rough, and airy. Pssssst, cause they don’t know what a vata is. Hear me out and I will demo.
Vata = light, dry, rough, airy
Fiber = light, dry, rough, airy
In Ayurveda, what do we say? “Like Increases Like!” Great!! Who said that? Give the dude in the striped sweater a fabulous prize (Monicab is getting closer to actually giving those out by the way!). Fiber is great for kaphas who have a tendency to collect thick goo in their bodies, afterall kaphas are mostly thick goo, so the more light, dry, rough, and airy things they have the better! Fiber has a scraping quality (rough) which will help scrape out anything that is in the way and kaphas need that! If a kapha person takes fiber, they will poop nicely, feel lighter, more energized, they might lower their cholesterol, and all happy things happen.
Same with pitta. Pittas have a tendency to burn through their food causing their digestive fire to give them the runs more often than vata or kapha types. So! When a pitta takes fiber, the light, dry, rough, and airy fibers hold together their hot, runny (sorry to be gross, just deal) poops and then they too have nice poops, feel less hot, and all digestion goes happy.
Vatas are NOT the same as pittas and kaphas. My dear sweet vata souls, the “fiber is good for you!” marketing rah-rahs are not meant for you. They don’t know you, but I do!! I desperately wish the fiber-makers would recognize that one size does not fit all and that some people get redonkulously, (and painfully!) bloated from Raisin Bran. Sad. Here is an example, my coworker (married and kapha) came up to me and said that he loved fiber but that my other coworker (his wife and pitta/vata) couldn’t poop so he was giving her fiber. I was like, “NO! She can’t have that, it’s going to make her worse!” So I gave her ghee, which she happily accepted. Next day, she pooped and high-fived me.
Here’s why: The little vata colon has a tendency toward dryness, gassiness, bloating, and constipation. The constipation is there because there is not enough heaviness or oily sustenance to help the poop out. So, take a vata person who thinks that fiber will help them poop, cause it’s what they’ve been told. If a constipated vata takes the light, dry, rough, airy fiber, it’s just adding more of the same qualities to what is causing the problem in the first place!! Imagine the fibers are like popcorn. Once the kernels get into the colon, they puff out and expand. All that’s there is more…puff! There is nothing grounding, oily, or heavy to pull out that poop. Vatas need oils and grounding foods like grains, root veggies, cooked veggies, and warming fruits like citrus. Even apples or not-quite-ripe pears will make vatas tootey. Vatas please don’t have too much fiber. Leave large amounts of Raisin Bran, lentils (except mung, those are good), black beans, pinto beans, cauliflower, broccoli, etc., to our pitta and kapha friends to enjoy.
That’s all I have to say. Oh, and you can put your hands down now. Love you guys.
Since we are in the thick of vata season now, I would like to challenge you to NOT drink carbonated beverages for one week. For some of you this will be a piece of cake. But for others, this might be tough. You might not know just how much carbonation you consume until you attach your mind do it. Ah! Mindfulness! During fall, the goal is to focus vata energy moving downward (so we can poop, concentrate, stay warm, etc.,) and bubbles…well, they go up! So drinking carbonated bevys reverse the body’s natural flow, which is counter-intuitive to all the vata-balancing work you are doing.
So for one week, try no carbonated beverages. My guess is that you might notice a difference in digestion, concentration, sleep and if you have any problems with constipation, that should subside too :)
Lemme know how it goes!
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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/
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
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!).
MonicaB. (and yes, it’s staying as B. ;)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!