New to essential oils? You may be wondering where to begin. I always tell people to think of Christmas: start with smells that bring you “comfort and joy!”
Smells are powerful. They can transform you– taking you to a memory from the past, helping you relax, and invigorating your senses. That’s because essential oils stimulate the limbic system (the part of your brain that controls emotions and memories.) Smells can affect your mood, helping you to feel energized or more relaxed. In Ayurveda, oils can be used to help balance our natural constitution (or doshas.)
Vata doshas: take a look at earthy, woodsy notes like cinnamon, patchouli, orange, geranium, myrrh, and sandalwood. Pitta doshas: consider mints like peppermint, spearmint, and wintergreen. For floral notes, consider trying Ylang Ylang, gardenia, and jasmine. Kapha doshas: introduce yourself to ginger, clove, juniper, angelica, or marjoram. When my kapha is low, I enjoy a blend of eucalyptus and tea tree.
Always consult with your health care providers before beginning any new healthcare regimen, including the use of essential oils. The above is a personal opinion and should not be a substitute for professional medical advice.
Autumn is a Vatta season! It is cool, crisp, windy, and filled with prana—that’s why we recognize that we can smell the autumn air. Here is a list of spices that pair perfectly with this season’s bountiful fruits and vegetables.
Allspice, anise, cardamom, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg are great for baking. Their warmth and spice bring out the sweetness in baked goods, especially with pumpkin and apple. They can be sprinkled over root vegetables or blended into your coffee.
Saffron brings brightness to any dish. It easily lends flavor to rice, cous cous, or risotto. It pairs well with dill, and my favorite way to use saffron is to stir it into yogurt or crema. It is the perfect touch to Mediterranean recipes.
Turmeric is the earthiest spice. Since autumn is the best time ayurvedically to enjoy fatty proteins, turmeric’s rich, deep yellow color is a welcome addition to egg salad. It also lends color to soups and stews with vegetable stock as their base. My favorite way to incorporate turmeric is in a big bowl of vegetarian chili!
Consult with your physicians before beginning any new healthcare practices or changes to your diet.
Fall is here, and that means pumpkin has found its way into coffee creamers and baked goods. Let’s look at a few of the benefits.
Pumpkin, bitter melon, and other gourd seeds and fruits are loaded in vitamins and minerals. They are used across ayurveda to treat vatta imbalances. Among gourds, pumpkin is the most popular. It is earthy, grounding, and comforting. That’s likely because it contains tryptophan. This can make you feel relaxed and calm. After eating a bowl of pumpkin soup or a handful of pumpkin seeds, you may even notice that you sleep better. Cinnamon and nutmeg are warming spices that often accompany pumpkin. To balance its flavor profile in savory dishes, fat from coconut milk or acid from balsamic vinegar can change it up and make it more interesting.
Pumpkin is also pacifying for pitta doshas. Like other orange vegetables, pumpkin is rich in beta carotene which means it is rich in vitamins A and D. These vitamins have been shown to aid in eye health, asthma, heart disease, and certain types of cancers. Studies have also shown that it can be helpful in regulating blood sugar and blood pressure. Last, it can aid in weight loss. It is low in calories and filled with fiber, which can help you feel fuller longer.
If you are looking for ways to incorporate pumpkin into your diet, remember that fresh roasted pumpkin will have more vitamins and minerals (and fewer preservatives) than canned. The texture of fresh pumpkin is also fluffier– like a baked potato, whereas canned pumpkin can be off-putting. Consider substituting baked pumpkin in recipes that call for potatoes, sweet potatoes, or carrots. And if you’re already tired of pumpkin, consider substituting butternut squash, acorn squash, or sweet potatoes in your seasonal recipes–especially savory recipes!
Consult with your doctors before making any changes to your diet.
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In ayurveda, we eat seasonally. Nothing says autumn like pumpkins… or is it apples? Throughout the month of September, I am offering you ways to incorporate these two ayurvedic powerhouses into your menu. Let’s start with apples.
Apples contain Vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants like quercetin, catechin, and chlorogenic acid that are good for your brain and immune health. Raw apples help clean your teeth, tongue, and gums. They are rich in fiber and can aid in regularity. They are relatively low in calories (around 50 calories for a small apple) and their natural sugars can give you energy.
The cooling qualities of red apples pacify Pitta doshas, and the tart qualities of granny Smith apples are cleansing for Kapha doshas. But apples don’t agree with everyone; they can aggravate Vata doshas. If you’re a Vata type who longs for apples, consider cooking them down and adding a little cinnamon.
Whether you’re on team pumpkin or team apple, we’ve got you covered. Join our mailing list to receive healthy recipes featuring apples and pumpkin each week in the month of September.
When it comes to shakes and smoothies, most people are fans. Even if you’ve had an experience with the grainy or artificially flavored ones, chances are you’re willing to try again with a different brand in hopes of having a better experience. But many brick-and-mortar smoothie shop shakes are almost completely composed of ice. This can leave you feeling hungry. Some are not made from the highest quality ingredients, and others are outrageously expensive. Fortunately, there are some great shake options out there that you can make in your own kitchen or at work (which might actually be one and the same these days!)
Performance shakes are developed for those who are looking to take their work-out routines to the next level. They usually come in two varieties: pre-workout fuel or post-workout recovery. In the world of yoga, these shakes might promise energy for your asana. For energy, consider looking for shakes with fruit-based carbs. For muscle building, consider your protein content.
Weight Loss shakes are formulated to help you lose unwanted fat. Liquid and softer foods are also easier to digest if part of your weight loss program includes healing your gut. Some contain fat burners, while others contain protein to help you feel satisfied longer and keep cravings at bay. Natural fat burners like cocoa, green tea, and cinnamon are Ayurvedic alternatives to synthetic fat burners.
Meal Replacementshakes are intended to be a regular part of a healthy diet, unlike some weight loss products which indicate that they are for short-term use. Meal replacement shakes are easy to prepare and a simple, accessible alternative to high-fat convenience foods. Meal replacements are not snacks; think of them as a meal-on-the-go.
Smoothies are a great way to incorporate raw fruits and vegetables into your diet, so don’t be afraid to go rogue and make your own. When blending fruits and veggies, the best flavor palettes are going to come from sticking to the same color palettes. For instance, oranges and yellows (banana, mango, pineapple) or reds and purples (like cherries and berries) almost always partner well. To stave off hunger, nut butters are a great vegan source of protein.
Be sure to read labels and speak with your doctors before beginning any programs or making changes in your healthcare practice.