Seasonal Support

Warming Ayurvedic Breakfast for the Cold, Dry Winter Mornings

Warm Ayurvedic Breakfast

Roasted Rice with Dates, Cinnamon & Cardamom

  • 1 cup basmati rice

  • ¼ tsp black pepper

  • ¼ tsp cardamom

  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

  • 4 whole dates

  • 1 Tbsp ghee

  • 1 to 2 pinches of mineral salt

  • 3 cups of water

Preparation

Chop dates. Heat a medium saucepan on low, and add ghee. When it melts, add uncooked rice. Stir continually for 2–5 minutes, until it smells sweet and all the rice is coated with ghee. Add the spices and dates. Stir for 1 more minute. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover pot and lower to a simmer. Cook until rice is tender (about 20 minutes). Serve with warm coconut milk or rice milk. And top with slivered almonds or nut of choice.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. 

Eating for the Season: Recipes to keep Kapha in Balance!

Eating for the Season

Coming out of November and into December we are moving from the Vata season to Kapha season. As the cold and wetness of winter settle in, the effects of the winter climates are obvious, but even in more temperate climates, you can still notice the subtler changes that come with winter. With any shift in season, there are steps you can take to stay balanced through your diet. During this time Kahpa and Vata are both vulnerable so its best to approach a diet that concentrates on herbs and foods that carry dual tastes in order to avoid aggravating your Vata while balancing Kapha.

In general avoid refined sweets, excessively cold, dry,  unctuous, salty and fatty foods. I know it seems hard with the holidays, but if you keep this in mind you may notice the ease that it creates in your health during this time. It’s best to slightly increase the pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes in your meals during Kapha season. However, as it is also important for Vata to pay attention to your sensitivity to these tastes, and learn to adjust your diet according to the daily conditions. For example, if it’s a strongly Vata day (i.e. dry and windy) despite being Kapha season, focus on more Vata-balancing foods and tastes. Otherwise, eat to balance Kapha and Vata with warming meals. Also be mindful of your agni or digestive fire. Since Kapha season can contribute to sluggish digestion, eat at regularly scheduled times without skipping meals or overeating. As always, eat your largest meal at lunch, when the digestive fires of Pitta are strongest.

Here are some simple recipes that can support you in balancing your diet this time of year.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup (serves 4)

  • 1/2 gallon of water

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats

  • 1 tablespoon of finally chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder

  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger

  • juice of 1 fresh lemon

  • 1 tablespoon rock salt

  • 1 tablespoon soya oil

  • 2 scallions chopped

  • parsley

  • landcress

Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add squash, oats, cilantro, spices including black pepper and salt, fresh ginger, lemon juice. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 35 minutes. Use a flat bottom ladle and puree the squash. Heat oil in a small skillet and saute scallions for about 2 minutes, then add to the creamed soup. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Serve hot and garnish with fresh parsley and landcress.

Seven-Grain Bread (serves 4)

  • 1 Tablespoon of natural yeast

  • 1/2 cup warm water

  • 2 tablespoons of sesame butter

  • 1/2 spelt flour

  • 1/2 cup unbleached whole wheat flour

  • 1/2 cup soya flour

  • 1/2 cup millet flour

  • 1/2 cup of oat bran

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats

  • 1/2 cup cracked wheat

  • 1 tablespoon of Sucanat

  • 1/2 teaspoon of rock salt

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

Dissolve the yeast in warm water, then dilute the sesame butter in the yeast solution. Combine the flours, bran rolled oats, cracked wheat, Sucanat, salt and remaining water together, then add the yeast-sesame butter mixture. Kneed into a sticky dough. Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover securely and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes. Punch down the dough, cover, and let rise again for 40 minutes, until it doubles in size. Form dough into four rolls and place on oiled backing trays. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Whole Mung Dhal (serves 4)

  • 1 Cup whole mung dhal

  • 2 1/4 cups water

  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 pinch of sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon ghee

  • 1 minced green chili pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

  • 1 tablespoon Masala

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Wash mung dhal until water runs clear. Soak in 3 coups of cold water overnight. Drain. Boil 2 cups of water and add dhal, turmeric, and salt. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 50 minutes. In a small skillet, heat ghee, green chili pepper, and ginger for a few minutes. Add the Masala toward the end of browning. Add to dhal with lemon juice and remaining water. Cover and continue to simmer for an additional 30 minutes over low heat.

Sauteed Golden beets with Masala (serves 4)

  • 4 golden beets

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil

  • 1 tablespoon masala

  • 2 yellow onions of shallots, half moon slices

  • 1 teaspoon rock salt

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Scrub the beets and cut into bite-size pieces. Heat cast-iron skillet with sunflower oil. Stir in masala until slightly browned. Add shallots, beets, and salt. Stir and add two tablespoons of water. Cover and allow to cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, garnish with fresh parsley and serve hot.

Caraway Brown Rice (serves 4)

  • 2 cups long-grain brown rice

  • 3 1/2 cups boiling water

  • 1 pinch of sea salt

  • 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds

Wash rice until water runs clear and add to boiling water. Add salt. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 25 minutes. Dry roast caraway seeds in a small cast-iron pan until golden. Add to rice mixture and cook and additional 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Red Cabbage and Onion Soup (serves 4)

  • 1/2 gallon of water

  • 1 small red cabbage shredded

  • 2 red onions, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder

  • 1 tablespoon dried dill

  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 1 tablespoon of rock salt

  • 1/4 cup cashew butter

  • 1 red onion, thin- half moon slices

Bring water to a boil in a large soup pot. Add the cabbage and onions, along with the coriander and cayenne powders, dried dill, parsley and salt. Lightly crush the garlic cloves with a hand stone and remove the skin. Add the lightly crushed cloves of garlic to the soup mixture. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 35 minutes, until onions are practically dissolved. Add cashew butter and stir the soup until it dissolves. Garnish the hot soup with thinly sliced red onions remove from heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve hot with a heaping dollop of Millet Supreme.

Millet Supreme (serves 4)

  • 3 1/2 cups water

  • 2 cups millet

  • 1/4 cup fresh peas

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ajwain seeds

  • 1 teaspoon rock salt

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil

  • 1/4 cup currents

  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds, slivered

  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Bring water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Thoroughly was the millet and add to boiling water, along with the peas, turmeric, cumin powder, ajwain seeds and salt. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes. Heat the oil in a small skillet, and add the currants and almonds. Stir for another few minutes until currants begin to swell. Add the lemon juice. Add to the millet, and continue cooking for 10 minutes more. Serve warm.

 

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

 

How to Ensure a Healthy Transition with the Change of Season

ayurveda spring food

Spring is almost here, but we are still feeling the cold and dark attributes of the winter. Ayurveda defines rutu sandhi as the transition between two seasons, which is generally taken to be the final 15 days of one season and the first 15 days of the next season. As we are coming out of winter and into spring, this ‘door’ or pathway between seasons is a great time to change our clothes, lifestyle and attitudes from the old season and have a fresh new start for spring. This seasonal juncture is an excellent opportunity for a cleanse like panchakarma. Chances are we have accumulated kapha in our system during the winter, which can be aggravated by the entering of the spring, also a kapha season. Ayurveda recommends incorporating certain foods, practices and herbs in our daily routine to keep kapha in balance.

Spring is the king of the seasons. During this time, Mother Earth awakens to bring new life after the winter dormant months. Spring is mild, moist, and full of color. It is a great time to test new skills, for growth and starting a new lifestyle. Since it starts getting warmer during spring, any accumulated or stagnated kapha will start to liquify and run out of the body, which is the cause of spring colds.

Spring is also a blooming season, where flowers shed their pollen and fragrance making it gorgeous for some people, while others, specially kapha individuals or people who have an accumulated kapha, suffer from allergies and hay fever. To alleviate kapha in the throat area you can gargle honey and hot water or a cup of hot water with a teaspoon of each tumeric and saltTrikatu is a combination of ginger, black pepper, and pippali (piper longum) and great for pacifying kapha, increasing digestive fire and eliminate toxins during this changing season. Eliminating any excess kapha during the pre-spring period can lower the incidence of allergies, hay fever and colds. Diet is an important part of this process.

Regimen for Spring

  • Eat a kapha pacifying diet primarily bitter, pungent and astringent foods
  • Eat light, easily to do digest foods. Favor soups and cooked vegetables
  • Use small amounts of raw honey as a sweetener
  • Fast for one day a week, preferably on Monday or Thursday for astrological reasons
  • Drink warming, cleansing herbal teas, such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, clove tea
  • Practice yoga, meditation, and pranayama
  • Keep warm and dry
  • A warm saltwater and herbal rinse of the nasal passages takes just a few seconds but it can save days for misery from sick sinuses

Things to Avoid

  • kapha aggravating foods like fatty and fried foods
  • Excessive amounts of sweet, sour and salty foods
  • Heavy, large breakfasts
  • Snacking between meals, except for dried fruit
  • Cold or iced beverages
  • Daytime sleep
  • Exposure to dust, dirt and pollen
  • Cold drafts and air conditioning

Foods for the season

  • Legumes, slit peas, red lentils, chickpeas, pinto beans and fresh soybean products
  • Amaranth, barely, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, radish, spinach, artichoke, asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuces, okra, radish.
  • Apricots, berries, cherries, dark grapes, mangos, peaches, pears, pomegranates and raisins

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

 

Herbal Immune and Lung Support for Spring

Spring can bring many challenges for the respiratory and the immune systems. You may notice many people around you are suffering from colds or flus at this time. This is generally due to excess Kapha in the system, built up from the winter season. Allergrens, pollutants and other irritants can irritate this built up of Kapha. Too much Kapha in our system weakens our agni (digestive fire) and ama or toxic undigested material accumulates. These accumulations then weaken the immune systems and since the seat of kapha is in the chest, imbalance in the respiratory system are most likely to occur.

Ayurveda offers a variety of support for a healthy immune and respiratory system during spring. Our suggestion would be a four part process. First you would want to start by boosting the agni. In doing this, you also cleanse the ama in the system, which is the second part. There are many herbs you can use for boosting agni and burning ama at the same time. These herbs include pippali, ginger, turmeric, and an Ayurvedic formula known as triphala. Make a tea with a combination of these and drink morning and night. Having a warm cup of water with lemon and black pepper upon waking is another easy way to support a healthy digestion.

The next step, would recognize if there is a high imbalance of kapha. If so you would want to create a kapha reducing lifestyle and diet routines while  using herbs to support the respiratory system. When the respiratory or lungs need support, Ayurveda’s traditional formulas of talisadi and sitopaladi would be a good choice. These warming herbal blends are particularly suited for kapha in the respiratory tract. They help in clearing the throat and nasal passages and promote a healthy respiration. Honey is a wonderful carrier in which you can take these mixes with, as it helps target the respiratory tissues and naturally scrapes toxic residues.

The final step would  to create daily herbal protocol to rejuvenate the immune system and build ojas. Chyavanprash is a formula in Ayurveda known for is immune supportive properties. It is an excellent choice to promote proper immune functions and rejuvenation, as well as supports healthy digestion, metabolism, nervous system and respiratory system. Take one teaspoon once or twice a day alone with milk. It is delicious as a jam on toast or other foods as well. 

In addition to Chyavanprash, herbs such as ashwagandha and guduchi are both known to support the body through cycles of stress by promoting energy, vitality and general health. In Ayurveda, the belief is to support healthy elimination in order to strengthen the immune system. Consider adding triphala daily along with your immune supportive herbs to aid in the removal of waste and toxins from the body. Taking triphala before bed each evening is the most effective.

We are happy to help you create a personalized herbal program based upon your mind-body constitution. Please contact us to schedule an in office or online appointment.

 

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

 

Vata in the Fall

This time of year, many of us feel out of whack. Fall usually increases the Vata energy in all of us, which in excess can result in anxiety, pain, the urge to travel (which would of course make Vata even stronger), dryness of skin and hair and many other symptoms. We may find it harder to concentrate or focus for any length of time. We may feel compelled to create changes in our lives – when actually steadying the course is just what we need. If you are primarily made up of Vata energy, you will feel this even more keenly than the rest of us!

To keep Vata in balance, there are any number of things we can do. Food is the best medicine. So eat lots of Vata-balancing foods, which are generally hot, well-cooked and wet. Eat seasonal foods such as cooked onion, carrots sweet potatoes, parsley, beets, radish  grapefruit, grape strawberries, raspberries, figs and avocado. Also use whole grains such as whole wheat, basmati rice, brown rice and oats. Increase pecans, walnuts almonds and pine nuts. Drink warm water with ginger and lemon through out the day. 

For reducing Vata, take time before you shower and give yourself a sesame oil massage. Let oil soak in for 20 mins. It is good to calm your mind at this time, practice breathing exercises and meditate. Also, much of our grandmothers’ seasonal advice is well-aligned with what Ayurveda has to say about reducing Vata. For example, bundle up in cooler weather, drink warm (caffeine free) liquids, and protect your head (especially the ears) from the wind.  

The best way to deal with seasonal change is to get ahead of it. If you eat for your Ayurevdic constitution all year, and do a seasonal cleanse/panchakarma program at each junction of the seasons, you can avoid/prevent/lessen the imbalances often caused at these times of year.

Spring Cleaning

Our ancestors lived in harmony with nature’s changing seasons. Today we have lost our connection to that wisdom. The frenzied pace of the modern world, our increased exposure to environmental toxins and a growing alienation from nature have caused most of us to fall out of alignment with an optimal state of health and happiness. But each new year brings another opportunity to perform the time-honored ritual of internal cleansing. 

Spring, which celebrates rebirth is the perfect time for detoxification. Detoxifying in spring is an important part of the Ayurvedic seasonal routine. Spring is the Kapha season, because the wet and cool weather reflects the moist, cool, heavy qualities of Kapha dosha are predominate during this time of year (March-June). Biologically, nature supports cleansing the body in the spring. In winter the digestive fire is high, and people eat more sweet and heavy foods. Most the time they aren’t able to assimilate these hard-to-digest foods, so Ama (toxic product of indigestion) starts to accumulate.

When warm weather melts the snow, it has a similar effect on the body. In spring the Ama melts and the volume of Ama becomes so great that the channels of the body become clogged. If you don’t assist these toxins in moving out of the body, you can become prone to flu, colds, cough, or allergies. Or you may feel unusually fatigued, sluggish or drowsy after lunch, or lose your normal appetite.

Sharp headaches, dizziness, mild tremors in the limbs and unexplained muscle aches especially in the calf, can also be symptoms. Your tongue may be coated, and your throat may be sore. The skin can be less radiant, heavier and more oily. You may also find that you break out more often, are more prone to sunburn, and have dry patches on your skin. If you suffer from indigestion, constipation, bad breath, disturbed sleep, PMS or any of the above, a spring detox could be just the thing to get you back on track.

Spring is the best season for detoxification, because nature is already trying to de-clear out the toxins in your body. Its the time to help the body to efficiently detoxify the channels and the body tissues. A Kapha pacifying diet and lifestyle is the best at this time. If you avoid eating heavy, cold, hard-to-digest foods, and avoid or reduce the sweet, sour, and salty tastes, your digestive system will be more efficient in burning away the accumulated Ama. 

You can sip hot water ( if you do not have a Pitta imbalance) to help melt the digestive impurities that have accumulated. Sweet juicy fruits can help cleanse the body, although they should be eaten before sunset, as they have a Kapha-increasing effect after the sun goes down. You can add spices to your food -- such as coriander, cumin, turmeric, and fennel -- to help stimulate the digestion and detoxify the skin. Daily exercise, and avoiding day sleep will also help. 

According to yoga’s sister tradition, Ayurveda, health means a body that is clear of toxins, a mind that is at peace, emotions that are calm and happy, organs that function normally and wastes that are efficiently eliminated. Panchakarma, an Ayurvedic method of detoxification, aids in reversing the effects of daily living and restores good health.  Spring is the perfect time to partake in a Panchakarma. The core regime of Panchakarma consists of adherence to a diet that is appropriate for your psychosomatic constitution, sweating and purgation therapies and internal and external oil treatments. These methods gently cleanse the body’s tissues of toxins to open the subtle channels and bring life-enhancing energy that increases vitality, inner peace, confidence and well-being.