Is Water Drying You Out?

a toddler drinking water from a garden hose

It is a fact that we need water to survive, but why have you been drinking the alloted 62oz. of water, and you still feel thirsty?

If you think about it when water is referenced from a Spiritual or religious standpoint the literature speaks of water as being purifying and cleansing.  Purification reduces body mass.   Water removes toxins as well as some of the good things like healthy oils, vitamins and minerals if your cells are unable to retain moisture.  This means the 62oz. of water rule only works if your cells are properly hydrated.  Keeping your cells healthy can be even more difficult in Pitta and Vata aggravating climate, such as places that are  dry, windy or hot.

Are My Cells Healthy?

To keep your cells healthy, you need to eat *healthy oils and omegas as well as externally applying healthy oils in the form of Abhyanga.  Healthy cells allow water in and out and retain the proper amount of moisture/suppleness in your skin.  If you try to rub oil into your skin and it doesn’t sink in , or you have post nasal drip, your cells need more moisture. (Note:Keeping your cells hydrated is not the same as bloating.)

*Healthy Oils and Omegas – avocado Oil, Olive Oil, Ghee, Sesame Seed Oil, Salmon, Chia Seeds, Hemp Seeds.

Beverages for Staying Hydrated:  

(These beverages are recommended for people with Pitta and Vata who have trouble staying hydrated. )                                                                                                                                                                            

Recharge is a natural Gatorade you can make your own by diluting juice and water, and add a pinch of salt.

Herbal Tea– helps your cells stay hydrated  Mint is cooling. Hibiscus is great for helping you feel quenched.  Chamomile is grounding and a natural antihistamine (helps with allergies).

Coconut Water-is not only a demulcent, but it also helps as an anti-inflamatory.

What do you use to stay hydrated?  Let me know in the comments below

Interpreting Nature to Allow Healing (Summer Prediction)

MH900438097Snow on May 1st in the high elevation desert here in Fort Collins, CO was not something I would have guessed, but mother nature knows how to take care of herself, and you.  Wet snow is one of the most affective ways of hydrating the desert without causing a flash flood. 

“Our bodies mirror the changing seasons.” -Shiva Rhea

Just like in our bodies we need hydration, but not chugging a bottle of water.  Drinking smaller amounts of fluid through out the day is much more affective and making sure you are getting plenty of healthy oils and fats to keep the hydration in your cells.

The snow also gets rid of weak trees and branches, to help reduce kindling, for possible upcoming fires.  The random snow also causes the trees to have to rebud allowing them to be stronger, work harder, and produce more resilience. 

Two things can be taken away from this for us: 

1.  The snow is allowing us to be more resilient at fighting off viruses, and allowing us to calm down, take a break and regenerate  from all the effects of the fires that increased  respiratory issues, before spring allergies truly start.Bean Sprout

2.  The animals are eating a lot of extra sprouts and roots, which we should copy.  *Sprouts are common for the spring but the continued snow and then regrowth has caused even more.  The cold has caused the tubers/potatoes and winter vegetables to be sweeter and knocked out the beginning of fruit season.  (Spring is usually marked as a Kapha season, but the overall  crazy change in weather is considered Vata.)  The sweet root vegetables allow Vata to ground and the dense sprouts help counteract the Kapha and increase prana.

Fresh Gourmet Salad

*You can buy sprouted pumpkin and sunflower seeds  and dahl at the store, or try sprouting on your own.

Let me know in the comments below how you are dealing with the weather?

To Be, or Not to Be Gluten-Free (Guest Post by Dr. Samantha Brody)

Woman Holding a Baking Tray with Freshly Baked BreadChoosing not to eat gluten is becoming more and more popular. “Faddish,” even. Celebrities are doing it. Chelsea Clinton is doing it. Olympic athletes are doing it. Even Keith Olbermann is doing it.

The thing is, you can’t know something is a fad until it’s passed as a fad.  By definition is short lived. Given how many people feel better on a gluten-free diet, it’s hard for me to imagine that it will be a fad. And just because something’s a fad doesn’t mean that it’s not good for you.

So how do you know if Gluten Free is right for you?

I had been off of wheat for years, intermittently off of gluten. Cutting out gluten on top of being off of wheat didn’t really make a difference….. until it did. I decided to do an anti-inflammatory diet for a chronic shoulder condition I’d developed. My shoulder pain? No change whatsoever. But lo and behold I had another effect I never would have imagined. My state of mind changed profoundly. My little one had just turned five and I was still a bit of a mess on the heels of becoming a mother. I was anxious and irritable more often than I really cared to admit. It wasn’t until I was off of gluten for a month that the cloud lifted and I realized just how much my state of mind was not where it should have been.

In my practice I had always been on the lookout for Celiac Disease for my patients with gastrointestinal issues. I had diagnosed it many times, but after my own experience I started recommending a gluten-free diet to more of my patients. The results have been remarkable. Chronic neurological issues, migraines, digestive disturbance, mood issues, inflammation..…were all vastly improved if not eliminated from cutting out gluten.

Is it the answer for everyone? Absolutely not. There are people for whom it does not make a lick of difference. Some people do fine eatingMP900177958 whole wheat and other gluten grains, and it may be the healthier choice for them.  But is it worth a try to see how you feel? As a rule I’d say yes, but swapping out an unhealthy gluten filled diet, for an unhealthy gluten-free diet may not be a fair trial. Be assured there are scads of unhealthy things out there that are gluten-free. For instance, packaged foods that have always been gluten-free but are now being labeled as such for commercial purposes. Take gummy bears for example, or Spam.

If you do decide to give it a try, make sure you work with someone to help you understand what your diet should look like to make it a healthy choice. Avoid processed foods, even if they are gluten-free. Eat plenty of vegetables. Eat plenty of protein. Make sure the food you eat is food. And give it some time. You’ll know if it’s right for you.

Dr_Samantha_web_028Dr. Samantha Brody is a licensed naturopathic physician, acupuncturist, and owner of Evergreen Natural Health Center in Portland, OR. When she’s not seeing patients or blogging, you can find her cranking out her upcoming class series on healthy and easy gluten-free living. She’s a powerhouse speaker and has been a featured in numerous print and online publications including the Wall Street Journal and Shape. Connect with Dr. Samantha on Facebookand Twitteror sign up for her newsletter here.

Heal your Heart, Calm your Vata

MP900440916Every day seems like the perfect day to focus on our hearts and the healing process.  But there is one day a year that there is a holiday to celebrate the heart and love, what perfect timing.  We are in the middle of the Vata time of year.  Vata’s tend to have traits of fear and self blame.  Do you know what the opposite of those traits are?  Love and self compassion, everything that Valentines day stands for (at least to me.)

3 Simple ways to Promote Love and Compassion for yourself:

1.  Bring your attention to your heart, imagine the energy expanding with joy.  Closing your eyes imagine a bright white, pink or gold light emanating out.MC900436241

2.  Take time to gently massage your heart with a clockwise motion.  The traditional number is 108 times, but any amount is better than none.

3.  Diffuse or use these essential oils rose, geranium, rose geranium, neroli, and lemon.

Self care over all is good for healing your heart.  Here is a short gentle Heart Opening Yoga Vinyasa Flow I made for you.  Happy Valentines:)

Click here to watch Gentle Heart Opening Vinyasa Flow.

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Find out about upcoming events click here.

5 Natural Tips for Avoiding and Getting Rid of the Flu

Woman with tissue and hot drinkI recently happened to watch a little of the news, which is rare for me and I saw a map showing the worst to least affected by the flu in North America.  It was pretty obvious to me after seeing it that the places worst affected had recently had a lot of trauma, such as the fires in Colorado and New Mexico, as well as the states that had the smoke drift into them and the North East with the Hurricane.  Trauma/stress can lower the immune system which then opens people up for a more likely chance of getting sick if they don’t take time to recuperate.  Stress lowers the digestive fire and dehydration causes the body to dry out.  Ayurveda always looks at the digestive system and what the digestive fire is doing, when someone is out of balance.  When your digestive fire is low it increases your chance of becoming sick because you are not able to burn up the infection and if you are not digesting and breaking your food down properly, it weakens your body’s ability to fight back as it is not getting the proper nutrients.

Keep the Flue at Bay by:

1.  Spicing your food with spices good for your dosha increases the digestive fire– coriander (Pitta), black pepper(Kapha), cinnamon(Vata).  More spice choices by dosha click here.

2.  Keep your bowls evacuating properly by drinking warm water with lemon in the morning before your first meal.

3.  Stay hydrated- even though it is cold out it is also dry.  Think warm teas especially ones that increase the digestive fire.  Honey is a natural germ killer and can be added to tea , sandwiches with nut spread and in oatmeal.MP900309578

4.  Diffusing essential oils with anti microbial properties -Thyme VK- P+, OreganoVK-P+, LavenderPK-V=, CinnamonVK- P+, Eucalyptus KV-P+, Clove KV-P+, GeraniumPK-V+.  Caution don’t put these directly on your skin without diluting as most are heating.

Lucky you! Here is a little peek at the 5 Week Sensory Cleanse Click here to see Video 2 which talks about the importance of smell, how to heal your stuffy, runny nose and using your nose to keep your digestive fire strong.  Video 2 the Sense of Smell.

Stay healthy this Flu Season!

How do you avoid or fight off the flu?  Let me know in the comments below.

Want some more Ayurveda right now?  Check out my guest post on Jessica Drummond.com Learn to calm your Vata and stress less this winter click here.

My New Years Resolution Breakdown

MP900309664This year is going to be the year I _________.  What did you fill in?  Loose weight, find a significant other,make it big?  What ever you put in the blank, I dare you to answer the question, why?  I hope it was for you, and if it’s not, make one that is solely for you.

The Doshas and Goal setting:

Vatta’s tend to set big goals and get overwhelmed. (Try small tangible goals)

Pitta’s tend to force themselves to reach their big goals, even if that means they are not enjoying it and can tend to express anger towards others because of it. (Try the 50% rule, allowing yourself a little break.)

Kapha’s can become stuck in their habits and not realize what  negative habits are doing to them. (Try supported change, gym, one on one training, exercise group, or do a challenge with your family) 

The two biggest reasons I find that New Years resolutions don not work are.  People set a big goal and expect fast results or they haven’t dealt with physical or emotional pain which can hold them back.  Here are ways to overcome theses issues and make this the year you stick to your new years resolution.

1.  When you set your  goal, break it down into smaller goals.  Lets just stick with the weight loss example, your big goal might be to lose 15lbs. but your small goal might be to lose 1lbs. a week.  That means that in 3 months you will have lost 12lbs.  Every time you reach one of your smaller goal you feel succesful and you have accomplished something, which allows you to be succesful see results and stay motivated to keep going.  On this gradual plan you are able to make progress without overwhelming yourself.

Once you have broken down the steps and made smaller goals, put it in your calender, make your plan just as important as your work schedule.  (Exmp. walk 2:30-3:00p.m. Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat.- Sun 10-10:45)

Eating healthier-try the 50% rule.  Half the time you eat what you want and half the time you eat healthy.

Exercisise-Try cardio every other day, depending on how much you currently do (haven’t been working out 10 min. already workout 30 min) and 10-30 min of walking every day .  A walking partner or music(one ear bud only for safety) can make it easier and keep you motivated.

 

2.  Physical and emotional pain can be big factors in being successful in your resolution.  Haven’t been exercising?  Is it because your knee, back is hurting?  Are you unable to stop overeating? Is it because you are constantly hearing your mother in your head telling you, you are not good enough or stressed because of work?

Take a moment to do a quick body scan.  First do this standing and then sitting.  Close your eyes, take a couple deep breaths and start at the top of your head all the way down to your toes look for any pain, soreness, tightness or discomfort, if you notice anything write this down.  Depending you may want to see a Chiropractor, Massage therapist, Ayurveda Practitioner or Doctor.

Sitting down, take a moment to think about your resolution, notice what doubts, or blocks pop into your head.  Maybe there is another stressor that has nothing to do with your resolution that keeps showing up.  Write these down.  These types of issues can be worked with through meditation, eating a Vata calming diet, talking to a good friend, psychiatrist, or regaining empowerment through physical activity.

Have a Great New Year!

What is your new years resolution?  Let me know if this post helped in the comments below. 

Have you signed up for the Free 5 Week Sensory Cleanse?  Starts Wednesday January 2nd.  Click here to sign up.

(How to) Easy Essential Oil Gift Ideas

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As the season of gifting approaches why not give a fast acting gift of happiness with a yummy salt scrub that will make your shower feel like a spa.  Or a room spray that can disinfect as well as smell great, or an uplifting blend, that can be used in your office or home.  Smell is one of the fastest ways to affect the mind.  Lavender calming stress, Lemon to enliven and brighten a gloomy disposition.  Smell can also affect your digestion, Peppermint helps calm a full stomach or fennel to stoke the digestive fire.  Overall pleasant smells make us feel happy and can greatly affect the mood of the environment you are in.

Essential oils for the Doshas

*Means ok for salt scrub, the others may be to harsh for the skin and should only be used in a spray.

Vata- *Chamomile (Grounding), *Lavender (Calming), *Jasmine

Pitta-*Rose (Heart opening), *Peppermint (Cooling), *Lemon (Uplifting)

Kapha- Eucalyptus (Decongestant), *Orange (Uplifting), Sage (Drying)MP900387904

Salt Scrub Ingredients:

1 cup of salt (small grains, not rock salt)

3/4 cup of Olive, Almond or Jojoba oil

Preferred Essential Oils

Plastic or Tin container

Directions:

Combine salt and oil into bowl, mix with spoon or clean hands.  (You want to have the salt soaked but not liquidy so if you need to add a little oil go for it.)

Add essential oil a couple of drops at a time and stir to avoid making too potent.  Watch video for blending tips.

Scoop salt scrub into container.  (Preferably not glass as the person using will be in shower and you don’t want them to drop it with oily hands.)

The more you decorate the container, the more posh it gets.  That means think ribbons, tags, charms, anything you want, be creative.

**My favorite essential oils for salt scrub are geranium and lemon blend.**

Room Spray Ingredients:

Distilled water (amount depends on size of bottle)

If you are doing a floral spray you can start with a pre-made rose water base instead.

Preferred Essential Oils

Empty spritzer bottle (can be in found in natural food or craft store.)

Directions:MP900177858

Pour water into spritzer bottle. Leave room at the top for essential oils and the tube that goes into the bottle for the spritzer.

Slowly add essential oils and check the smell as you go.  Watch video for blending tips.

Decorate with ribbon, tag or card, or decorate your own labels. (Blank sticky  labels can be found in the office sections of the store.)

**Lavender spritzer is an antibacterial and smells wonderful, you can even spray a little near your pillow to help you sleep at night.**

Essential Oil Safety Tips:

*If you haven’t done much blending you can stick to one essential oil, or try not to go over three.

*Not quite sure what oils, Lavender and Vanilla on their own are very accepted and enjoyed smells.

*Don’t apply essential oils to skin with out diluting with carrier oil.

*Keep essential oils away from eyes.

*Do not ingest essential oils.

*Pregnant women should ask their doctor before using essential oils.