Do you have a sweet tooth? Read this.

This cooler, windier time of year is considered Vata and can increase flightiness, constipation, anxiety and overwhelm.  Combined with all of the Holiday parties and festivities it may also aggravate your sweet tooth.  Out of the six tastes sweet is best for calming Vata and Pitta.  No, this is not your free ticket to candy town.  In Ayurveda the sweet taste comes from fruit, grains (rice, wheat ext.), dairy, natural sugars (maple syrup and honey), some vegetables ( sugary tubers like sweet potatoes and carrots) and even some sweet herbs like licorice.   The sweet taste has a cooling and grounding affect, which make it one of the tastes that Kapha’s should have the least of.

When you crave processed sugars and carbs. there are three main things to look at: hydration, protein and sleep.

Are you hydrated?  A lot of times when you are craving sweets, you are really craving the cooling quality and energy.   Dehydration can cause your brain to feel foggy, and tired, just like when you don’t have enough glucose so your body tells you to eat something, because you have already over rode the feeling of being thirsty.  Try keeping a water bottle or thermos of herbal tea with you.

How much protein is in your diet?   Protein is a good source of energy and it helps slow down how quickly sugar is absorbed into the blood stream, allowing for less up and downs in your blood sugar.  One of my favorite forms of protein is raw sunflower seeds with sea salt. 

*Digestive tip #1 Having all six tastes on your plate can help prevent cravings.

*Digestive tip #2 Eat sweet things first (especially fruit), for better digestion.

Are you getting enough sleep?  The afternoon lull  can be caused by lack of protein and healthy fats or the fact that you’re actually tired.  Your morning coffee has warn off and you may have skipped lunch.  Food = energy, your body has learned to crave sugar and caffeine when it is tired, to refuel quickly.  The fact is if you are doing this frequently it is affecting your adrenals and can have longer lasting unwanted affects.  Getting 7-8 hrs of sleep a day is recommended.  Some people think that by having the lighter coffee or sugar this will help them loose weight or avoid feeling heavy or gassy.  In reality the lighter foods will aggravate Vata and cause flabbiness, because there is no nutrition.  Spicing healthy foods with neutral herbs like fennel will help alleviate heaviness, where as coffee is dehydrating your body and can be habit forming, to induce elimination.

 What step are you going to take to take your sweet tooth out of the drivers seat?  Tell me in the comments below.

Top 10 Tips for making it Through the Holidays without Stress or Weight Gain

It’s good to be back in Fort Collins, CO.  I am finally getting back into the swing of things after being on the Midwest Tour (Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa), Story Telling, Ayurveda Presentations and working with Ayurveda Jump Start to Health Patients.  It was so much fun sharing Ayurveda Health and Empowerment.  Changes are a coming for the clinic in the new year, stay posted in the next month for more details.  Also have you joined the fabulouse group of people on the Earth Ayurveda Clinic Facebook page?  If not click here.

The Holiday seasons can be stressful with traveling, visiting family, trying to keep your immune system high and not gain weight.  Here is a gift from me, to you:)  The Top 10 tips you Need to know to make it through the Holidays.  (In no particular order)

1.  Bring something you can eat that tastes good and that doesn’t make you cringe when you think of the health factors or calories.  (Try setting a goal of maintaining through the holidays, not trying to loose weight.) If you want a food that isn’t good for you, take a small portion instead of depriving yourself.  And remember it is what we do most of the time that affects you, not what you do once in a while.

2.  Family stress even just thinking about it can cause you to hold or shorten your breath.  Start practicing deep abdominal breath, which is not very noticeable but can have an astounding affect on calming the nervous system and the mind, allowing you to deal with family members and driving. When you reduce stress, it helps keep weight off.

3.  Overcoming the infamous stuffing your face.  Eat until you are almost full, not stuffed.  Your stomach digests food faster when there is a little space for it to squish and digest your food.  (Don’t stress about not getting enough, you can put what you want on your plate and save it for your second meal or cover it and take it home.)

4.  Whether you are hosting a party or going to one ask yourself “What can I do to make this run as smoothly as possible?”  exmp.  having food prepped the night before, plan a stop while your traveling in the middle, and allow children to run and go to the bathroom instead of whiny cranky children or make a list of safe topics that you know your family or friends can handle to divert to.

5.  Spice your food, in India all food is spiced, as it helps with digestion.  Some neutral spices are coriander and fennelBlack pepper is good if you are eating a particularly heavy or creamy meal.  You can bring spices with you if you don’t think they will be available, bring a fennel capsule to have before meals or bring some digestive tea to share instead of coffee.

6.  Your a vegetarian going into a household of non-vegetarians.  Bring a vegetarian dish that to you is considered a main course.  Do not bring a dish that has any reference to a meat substitute, because you will be setting yourself up for a battle.  Even though meat substitutes can taste great, non-vegetarians expect it to taste the same and will tell you it’s not that great.

7.  Be aware of your own sabotaging thoughts and behaviors: be able to recognize which role you tend to fall into and have a mantra or affirmation to snap yourself out of it.  (A favorite affirmation of mine is I bless everyone I see and they bless me.)

Vata’s tend to blame themselves.

Pitta’s tend towards blaming others.

Kapha’s can tend towards smothering and controlling behavior.

8.  Going for a walk.  It is best to let your food digest for atleast 10-30 min.  then taking a short, gentle walk of a minimum of 108 steps tells your body to burn fat and helps with digestion.  Try going for a group walk, or walking the dog or stepping out for a breath of fresh air.

9.  Go into the party with a positive attitude.  Don’t start off thinking it’s going to be terrible or that your going to gain five pounds, instead put out the energy that everything is going to be great.  What would be the perfect scenario?

10.  Have a support network, if a family situation starts to get a little hard to handle have someone you can text that will send you a positive text back, or someone you trust that you can go hang out with in your family.

Stay healthy and have fun this holiday season.

Related Blogs

If you are traveling check out How to Stay Healthy While Traveling Blog.

Ayurveda Book Gift Ideas click here.

Find out how to keep your immune system working great click here.

Yummy Recipes click here.

I’m Turning into my Mother! (Is it in your DNA?)

I often hear this from my patients, “I’m turning into my mother” and blaming things on heredity and DNA.  Are these excuses always true or is there something else going on?  Some imbalances are hereditary, but there are a lot of things that are caused by diet and learned behavior.

Are you angry (Pitta) because your dad was angry and that’s just how it is?   Or did your dad love spicy food and a beer at dinner, and you love spicy food too?  Alcohol and spicy food are heating which cause heating in the liver and lead to anger.

Take action:

* Start incorporating neutral and cooling/detoxifying foods into your diet like Kale and Green Beans.

*Gently massage the heart area daily, in India it is recommended that you rub the heart clockwise for 108 strokes.

*Being out in nature is calming to the entire body but especially the eyes which are associated with Pitta.

Does melancholy (Kapha) run in your family?  Or is it really caused by the fact that your family ate a lot of heavy foods like meats and potatoes  and lived in an area that didn’t get much sun?  And your mom loved to read books inside all day instead of going for a walk.

Take action: 

*Eat more fresh vegetables.

*Try reducing dairy and heavy foods from your diet.

*Add more physical movement into your day to day life (walking, yoga, hiking all count).  *You get bonus points if it’s in the sun:)

Now of days anxiety and stress (Vata) seem almost normal, but it is a learned behavior that can also be exacerbated by poor food choices.  It is said that parents who are calm when dealing with stressful situations, teach their children to be calm, but it doesn’t work if they look calm on the outside and are actually freaking out on the inside.  Just because you didn’t learn how to be calm in childhood doesn’t mean you can’t learn now.

Take action:

*Eat healthy grounding foods like potatoes and squash.

*Use abdominal breath or negative tension release daily.

*Reading spiritual literature (of your faith or belief system).

It is time to stop blaming others for your symptoms and emotions and take the proper actions to heal yourself.  But remember it may take time, especially if this is something you have been dealing with your entire life.  Make today the day you take your first step into health and healing.

Do you want to be a part of a group of people also focusing on healing themselves?  I am offering a Fun Free Challenge on Facebook (30 minutes of healing for the 30 days of November) Join me!

Give your Immune System a Boost

The leaves are turning beautiful shades of Red, Orange and Yellow.  On the color wheel these are considered warming.  Mother nature is using our visual senses to warm us up for the cold winter weather to come.  Out here in Colorado the leaves are mostly a beautiful yellow/gold color.  The color gold in Ayurveda is considered one of the most nourishing, rejuvenating, and Ojas building.  Ojas is our life force and is the container for our energy.  Watch Ojas Video.

Gold is one of the most common colors to see in the fall, mother nature always provides and she is giving us lots of nourishment and abundance before Vata really sets in.  Here are some ways to build ojas with the color gold:

-Watch the sun set or spend time watching the golden leaves on a tree dance

-Eating Squash or adding Ghee to your food

-Sprinkle some Turmeric in your food or warm milk.

Taste the Season with These Mouthwatering Fall Recipes

Yay! It is fall, a beautiful time to feel the heat releasing from the body, and a great time to cleanse before the cold sets in.  The most exciting of all is getting to put more sweet, salty, and sour foods in our diets (especially for those with a Vata imbalance).  The Vata season consists of dry, rough, cold, light, subtle and mobile qualities, so we need to reduce our intake of  foods that contain these qualities if we desire alignment and balance.

The words that come to mind when thinking of balancing Vata are grounding, nurturing and warming.

Because of Salt’s ability to accelerate metabolism (and at the same time contain and hold water in the body– as well as calm the nervous system), increased consumption can bring with it a passion for life. It is a great taste to add during Fall season as our digestion from the summer slows down.  Exmp.Sea salt, Seaweeds, Purslane, Miso, Tamari Caution: do not increase if you have heart problems, or issues with water retention.

Sweet calms, softens, creates stability, and grounds. It gives our body Ojas. Exmp. Almond butter, Cooked Apples, Bananas, Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Squashes, Dates, Figs, Mangos, Papayas

Sour can help increase the metabolism as well as ground and build the immune system. We have to be a bit careful with sours though, most are rajasic or tamasic, so we need to take in healthy types of fermented foods or sour fruits. Exmp. Cherries, Green grapes, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Grapefruit

Not sure how to put it all together? I have made it easy as pie. Here is a dee-lish recipe to help support the balance of Vata and welcome Fall and its magnificent tastes!

Mango Date Chutney with Miso Sweet Potatoes in a Rice Coconut Curry

3 mangos diced

1 lemon juiced

3 tbsp brown rice syrup

1 piece of ginger (3 inches)grated

1 garlic clove chopped

2 cinnamon sticks

1 cup dates pitted

1 cup raisins

1 teas salt

Combine the syrup and lemon juice in a large saucepan and bring to a low boil. Add the mangoes and the remaining ingredients to the mixture. Reduce the heat to a medium simmer and cook uncovered. This takes about an hour, or until thickened.

2 large sweet potatoes peeled and cubed

1/3 cup Miso paste

1/2 cup water

3 tbls almond butter

2 tbls maple syrup or agave

Preheat oven to 425. Mix miso paste, water, almond butter and syrup in a bowl. Add sweet potatoes. Place sweet potatoes on a baking rack. Roast for 25 minutes.

2 cups cooked Rice

1 cup Coconut Milk

1 bunche of Cilantro

1 to 2 Leeks chopped

1/4 cup Tamari

Lemon Zest or Lime Zest

1 piece of Ginger (1 inch) grated

1 Garlic clove pressed

1/2 cup Pineapple

Place coconut milk, chopped leeks, cilantro, tamari, lime zest, ginger, and garlic in a food processor. Blend well. Add pineapple to cooked rice. Pour over green curry.

 To plate: Rice curry on bottom, topped with miso sweet potatoes and finished with the yummy mango chutney

Guest Writer : Hila Granger is an Ayurvedic Chef and Educator who studied at the California College of Ayurveda. She currently resides in Tucson and teaches food education classes as well as promotes her blog and product line Veggietemptress. Her pleasure is serving others by offering the gifts as a food healer and Ayurvedic educator to propel awareness and consciousness to the world.

Don’t Make These 3 Mistakes this Fall

It is the season of Vata(air and either), things are getting colder, windier and drier.  A person with excess Vata might feel anxious, fearful, stressed, flighty, gassy, not hungry, overwhelmed.  Here are some tips that everyone can use to stay balanced durring this Vata time of year.

Go to Bed Earlier– With the sun going down earlier, it is letting you know that it is time to go to bed earlier as well.  When you sleep you are repairing your body and helping to calm Vata.  You don’t need to go to bed at sunset, which is traditionally recommended, but think about being more chill at night and going to bed earlier. If you feel tired you don’t have to stay up just because it’s been your routine to go to bed at 10p.m. you can change like the seasons. (Think about eating dinner earlier as well, your digestive fire starts to go out when the sun goes down.)

Stay Hydrated– don’t be fooled by the cooler weather, you should still be getting around 64oz. of water/non caffeinated beverage a day if you aren’t very active and more if you are.  Think warm tea, or diluted juice and don’t forget that fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water as well.

More time with Family and Friends– back in the day if people were up at night they would sit around the campfire, share stories and enjoy thecompany of their families.  Now of days we are drawn to the t.v.  It almost seems instinctual really, t.v. gives off light and warmth, but unlike fire which can soothe the eyes when watched, traditionally known as Tratak or candle gazing, t.v. also has the side affect of being Vata disturbing which can cause trouble when trying to fall asleep.  You may also be drawn to t.v. because it has familiar faces, like your friends that you can rely on.  Try hanging out with family and friends instead.  Autumn is naturally known for being a time of sharing, abundance and gatherings of family and friends, before the winter when people don’t get out as much.

What do you do to keep your Vata in balance?  Let me know in the comments below.

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