Tip: Omit Brown Rice

Something to note! Brown rice is actually pretty tough to digest – it takes a long time to get through the system. In Ayurveda, digestion is #1 importance! If you feel heavy, bloated, are not hungry, or are not pooping, switch to white rice, like basmati. You’ll probably feel a lot better.

Ayurvedic New Year’s Cleanse

Show of hands, who LOVES 2011 so far?! (my hand is up, high!) I think it’s super groovy and really believe there are fantastic things ahead for all of us! Feels good!

That said, maybe 2010 has left you feeling like you have residue from holiday parties, client lunches, junk foods sitting on the filing cabinets at work, and maybe too much champagne. I’ve received quite a few inquiries about cleanses and which ones are best to do. A lot of them I see marketed are raw veggie and fruit cleanses. But remember it’s still vata season and raw, cold things are not our agni’s (digestive fire) friend right now because it’s cold outside! In Ayurveda like increases like. And therefore, Cold + Cold = Coooooold (and throw a hefty “brrrr” in there for good measure). Cold/raw does not ignite or sustain a nice fire, which is what we want our digestion to do. We want a nice roaring fire in our bellies so that we can digest food properly. Again, we all live in different places on the earth and we all have different constitutions. Maybe you have a favorite cleanse that you do and that’s cool.

But if you don’t, I’d like to offer a very simple, cheap, effective, Ayurvedic new year’s cleanse:
The Ayurvedic cleanse is a mono-diet of kitchari (rice, mung beans, cooked veggies, and Ayurvedic spices), so basically that’s all you eat. You can have kitchari for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eat until you are satisfied. Do this for 3-5 days. In between meals if you are hungry, you can have fruit (not banana). For liquids have water (not iced or cold) or herbal teas (a little honey is okay, but no sugar). I promise you will not be hungry. Don’t do major exercise, just yoga and walking. Make sure to go to bed by 10 and get up by sunrise, latest.

The benefits of the Ayurvedic New Year’s cleanse:
• Digests ama (toxins)
• Gets digestive system back on track (i.e. nice poops! less constipation, bloating, and gas
• The food is sattvic (pure harmony) and it will clear your mind
• Brings a sense of calm, serenity and focus
• Nourishes all bodily tissues to eliminate toxins and rejuvenate them as well
• Reduces our sensation of taste (our tastebuds are often over sensitized by salts, sugars and fats) so that when you begin eating regular foods again, you will notice flavors much more. Therefore you will be satisfied with less AND you will notice just how much salt/sugar you were eating before!

Go here for the Kitchari Recipe
Go here for the Ghee Recipe (or you can buy ghee from Pure India Foods or Whole Foods if you are near one or check your local Indian grocery)

Let me know if you try it and if you like it! It’s lovely food, really. I like to do a mini-cleanse for about 3 days every 4 months or so. It resets my clock and  feels amazing for the body, mind and soul. Happy New Year my friends! 2011 is going to be a great one. Start it out with a clean slate because as we know all healing starts from the inside out! :)

YAY! Fun show, thank you!

YAY! Fun show, thank you!

Thank you to all of you who listened and called in to the first HeyMonicaB radio show tonight!! I will always post show notes and archives on the radio show page so you can catch up in case you miss it. This way too, when people call in with questions, I answer them on the show but can also follow up with articles I’ve already written on the topic so you can read at your leisure. It’s really helpful to go back and read about it! AND if I haven’t written anything on the topic yet, it gives me good reason to write a post about it! Cause this is all for YOU.

THANK YOU AGAIN! You guys feed my soul. Love, MonicaB

MonicaB Radio Show!

Okay guys and gallies, starting Tuesday, January 4 I’ll have a weekly radio (all internet based) show on Ayurveda! Yipee!

I will be part of the wonderful You Are What You Love network. You will be able to stream the show directly from heymonicab.com by pressing play on the little blue “You Are What You Love” icon (top left column) during show time. Or, you can go directly to {http://www.blogtalkradio.com/purplev} and listen there.

The show will be one hour on Tuesday evenings at 6pm PST/9pm EST.

Each week we’ll cover one simple topic on Ayurveda and then I’ll open up the phone lines so you can call in! Yay! Just like Ayurveda, this show will help to uncover the authentic YOU so please call in with your questions (949) 272-9508.

This will be super fun and I can’t wait to connect with you in person! Also, there will be archives of all the episodes on the radio page where you can download and listen. Yay! All great things ahead!!

Pomegranates: Worth The Putz

Pomegranates are worth the putz! Check it out, I’ll tell you why. Pomegranates are delicious, juicy, poppy, little seeds that have a special affinity for the blood, heart, reproductive system, and are cooling for the digestive tract.

The pomegranate is tridoshic but it is especially cooling for pitta in the digestive tract to help inflamed stomach and intestines. It is useful in ulcers, IBS, hyperacidity (use as an antacid), diarrhea, even hemorrhoids. Okay ready for more?! Not only all that but it strengthens the heart and nourishes rakta dhatu (that’s, blood tissue). A good clue that it works on the blood and the liver (both pitta locations!) is that the color is bright red. It’s also good to reduce hot flashes and keep tempers cool during menopause when the body moves from pitta lifecycle into vata lifecycle.

Basically the pomegranate is astringent so it dries and cools (balancing for pitta and kapha). Vatas be mindful because it can cause constipation. In fact, boiling pomegranate peels for 5 minutes then drinking the water will stop a severe bout of IBS or non-stop diarrhea instantly. If you have oily skin and/or reddish skin with pimples, splash that same “pomegranate peel” water on your face for a facial tonic. Your skin will tighten, become less red and will feel cooler :)

Since they are in season, go pick some up! Eat the seeds, drink some juice and play with the peels! If you are a vata, have a little bit less and do not ever drink “pomegranate peel” water – you will be so sad. However, if you have any pitta-type disorders, pomegranates are a God send. Make friends with them. There is a little putzing to peel them, but check out this Produce Picker Podcast (I don’t know him, but his intro is kinda funny and I liked the instructions) to learn how to get the seeds out easily. If it takes longer than you wish, chill out, sing, enjoy the process. Some things are worth a little extra effort and little pommeys are one of those things! xo

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!! Ahhh…the hustle and bustle is finally coming to an end and it’s time to enjoy this day. By now you are probably settled in with loved ones, maybe you even opened a gift or two. Maybe getting those gifts were not nearly as fun as watching someone else open the gifts you gave for them.

Remember the best gifts don’t come in a box or under wrapping paper. You will find them in a phone call, a laugh, a hug, a nourishing meal cooked by a loved one, and a sense of serenity. Enjoy this day of love, peace, celebration and gratitude. Namasté.

Holiday Mocktails!

Recently a loyal reader of mine had a question about drinking alcohol because she’s menopausal. She noticed she was getting terrible night sweats when she would have beer or a glass of wine. Yes, it was because of the heat in alcohol and her moving from pitta stage (heat escaping) to vata stage of life. I recommended several recipes of non-alcoholic beverages for her so she could still participate in festive toasts without having to have a boring glass of water.

I thought you all might like to have a non-alcoholic creative approach to cocktails as this holiday approaches. Or as I like to call them, “mocktails!” Here’s the thing, we are all going to parties and events where there is a lot food and boozin going on. The bottom line is that you can and should limit how much you take in (we all know this, it’s no big news) to stay balanced.

That said, I like to enjoy a glass or two of wine myself, but I use my trick so that I stay mindful and don’t over do it.

The Best Trick:
Start the evening off with one or two mocktail or sparkling waters before your first glass of wine or cocktail. This way, if you are thirsty you drink something decent and avoid slugging down the boozey drink. And, this way everyone else will be on their 2nd drink, but you’ll just be having your first. You can savor it and enjoy. And! You can feel good about honoring your modern Ayurvedic self without feeling like you’re missing out.

Please note, this won’t work if you choose the wine or cocktail first, following with a mocktail. Why? Because your good decision-making has been altered by the alcohol and you likely ignore your good judgment and carry on with more boozies. If you want to succeed, have the non-alcoholic drinks first. Trust me!

Below is what I wrote to my sweet reader about making her own mocktails at home AND about ordering them when she’s out on the town.

Have any variety of these handy:
Apple cider, cranberry, orange, grapefruit, and/or pomegranate (pricey but perfect for holiday AND it’s red!! So fun!) juice. And have seltzer and/or ginger ale.

To make at home – you’ll have to experiment, but that’s part of the fun!
1. Warm apple cider. Heat in a pot with cinnamon sticks & a few cloves. Strain & enjoy. You can also add honey if needed. Garnish w/one cinnamon stick.
2. Cranberry w/splash of orange juice and top with seltzer. Have with or w/out ice. Garnish with an orange slice or float 3 little crannies in the glass.
3. Pomegranate juice, dash of orange juice. Optional fizz: Top with seltzer
4. Pomegranate or cranberry juice mixed w/ginger ale
5. Grapefruit juice, splash of cran, & selzer. Dip a lemon wedge in sugar for garnish :)
6. You can always have sparkling cider (delish!) or non-alcoholic beer/champagne (never tried it…)
7. MY FAVORITE: Cranberry juice with seltzer and a lime. mm!!

Ginger ale will give fizz and sweetness. Seltzer just adds fizz. Orange juice ads sweetness, pineapple juice is also good for that, very sweet. Pomegranate and cranberries are astringent, soaks up and cools down heat.

If you still want to experiment with alcohol
1. 1/2 glass light pilsner beer and add 1/2 orange juice – I love this combo
2. 1/2 sweet white wine (like a riesling) and 1/2 seltzer – a refreshing “white wine spritzer”

Make the bartender your best friend. At a bar or restaurant, they have most of these juices and can make you whatever you want. Or! Make it fun and challenge them to come up with a non-alcoholic concoction that you love. You’ll get more ideas that way too! Embrace it :)

Remember, more than the alcohol, these events are all about celebration. And no substance can take that part away from you. Put your concoctions in fun glasses (wine, high ball, tumbler, mug, flutes) with cool straws, garnish, or wine charms. Dress is up and don’t be afraid to celebrate!!! That’s what life is all about.

A Cup of My Chai

Look! I made chai spice mixes in a cute mug! After my quest (albeit whiny) for spectacularly spiced chai, I decided to make some myself. In addition, a while back I wrote a post about having a good morning and my friend Hollie said, “That graphic makes me happy. You should put it on a mug. I would buy it.” LOVE that Hollie o’ mine. Great idea! So while I was making chai recipes, I modified the mug and then added ten inspirational goodies on the back. I mean, why not have healthy, happy reminders right in front of our eyes each day?!

After that, I thought it would make a nice gift to put my chai mix in it. And hence, the little chai mug was born! I quite like it. It’s way happy.

If you need a last minute gift for holiday, I still have some left! It comes with 4 chai spice mixes, 16 servings total. You add water and your choice of milk (happy cow or coconut). Here is the link: http://www.etsy.com/listing/62205507/good-morning-mug-wtea-chai-spices

And if you don’t care for chai, you can just get the mug and put root beer in it instead: http://www.etsy.com/listing/64422741/good-morning-mug-with-10-happy

Happy Shopping!!! xoxo

Extra Holiday Eating

Oh my goodness. Who else is inundated with client/vendor lunches? During my day job, I service lots of clients and now is the time for end of the year reviews, i.e. lunches up the wazoo. It’s a mad scramble to try and fit everyone in during December before holiday ends and that’s a LOT of eating out!

My schedule over the past three weeks has been work parties, work lunches, and dinners out. While I’d much rather bring my own lunch, what can you do!? It’s part of our job.

So no wonder we get lethargic and might notice that our pants are tighter. Yeah yeah, we all know about gaining weight over the holidays and it’s no wonder, what with holiday work parties, parties with friends, get togethers with family, cookie exchanges, white elephant exchange, and work lunches…that adds up to a lot of extra food that we aren’t used to! Not only that, but it’s probably not the most healthy foods either.

So, what to do?
I have some ideas to keep our minds in our food during all the holiday lunches, parties and snackies.

• Practice Mindful Eating.

• Remember the Plate Portions according to who you are. Especially when there are snack foods, the best thing to do is grab a plate. Fill it up so you can see what you are eating. That helps the mind understand how much the body is consuming. The mind is like the body’s guardian.

• If you are talking, don’t eat. That’s a good rule of thumb to keep our mind in our food. You could throw down 3 lacey cookies in 2 minutes while talking to your friend about her new boots. See? You don’t even remember that, do you.

• Say NO to the cookie/candy snackie area. If you can’t resist the cookie/candy area at work, take a different direction to get back to your desk.

• While on a client lunch, keep portions under control. Soups (not creamy) or wraps (not mayonnaisey or fried stuffs) might be a good option. Ask for a little roll with your soup. Eat only 1/2 the wrap and choose healthy sides like pasta salad, fruit, side salad or seasonal veggies.

• Order hot tea with your lunch. It increases agni AND you will have to sip it instead of guzzling a coke and then getting a refill 5 minutes after you sat down (that’s already about 400 calories).

• Make sure you are truly hungry before putting food in your mouth. Clear burps are a good sign!

• FAST. If you eat a lot for lunch, skip dinner. If you are not hungry for breakfast, skip it and have ginger tea. Really. THIS is where true Ayurvedic balance comes in. Give your digestion a chance to catch up cause holiday time is also prime ama time! No bueno. Listen to your body. It will tell you when it’s hungry.

If you have other ideas for our reader-friends on how to have healthy client lunches, do share! Love you guys! xo

Tip: Bring the light inside

Bummed about the lack of sun light lately? Light some candles in the morning while you are getting ready or during your yoga practice. Enjoy your fireplace or more candles in the evening. If you don’t have a fireplace, buy the Wellness & Harmony: Fireplace Atmosphere DVD. Haha! I used to watch this in my tiny apartment in San Francisco. Mmmm…warm.

Kapha Shopping

Kaphas like to shop the sales. And they tend to buy multiples of the same thing because once they find something they like, they stick to it. Now as I unpack the Christmas box, I find 11 stockings (eleven!) and 6 are the same. I’ve been told there was a nice sale last year.

I Feel Swirly

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.

Bit of Wisdom {30}

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 ♥

Seasonal Bloom VATA!

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.

The Toots About Fiber

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.

Challenge! No Bubbles

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!

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!