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Ayurveda recognizes the season of summer as the Pitta (fire) season. Just as you wouldn’t turn up the heat in your house during summer, you don’t want to turn up the heat inside your body when it’s already warm.

While the summer season can be truly transformative as the ‘fire’ element burns off what’s no longer needed, too much heat can cause inflammation and imbalance in the body. So, as the days begin to heat up, pay attention to how you feel especially mid to late season.

Fatigue, frustration, irritation, feeling burned out or losing steam, anger, resentment, digestive issues, heartburn, eczema, ulcers, rosacea, burning eyes, rashes and even allergies can be symptoms of a fiery Pitta flare-up.

To stay healthy, try these Ayurveda tips for summer:

  • Choose foods that are cool and light with sweet and bitter tastes.
  • Avoid foods that are spicy, red meat, citrus fruits, hard cheeses, tomato sauces, as well as excessive alcohol, salt, fried and fermented foods.
    Exercise in morning before the heat of the day gets too intense and interferes with motivation.
  • Drink more water than usual. This is not to be underestimated. Water helps skin replenish hydration content lost from the sun. It also cools internal inflammations and supports metabolism. Cool or room temperature water is the best option.
  •  Always apply sunscreen before going outside. I’m biased, but I use a Neem Rose Face Sunscreen from Pratima – 100% natural, broad-spectrum 30 SPF, with cooling and hydrating herbs of Neem and Rose.
  • Protect your scalp. The long, hot days can have harsh effects on our scalp and hair. Hats can certainly be a creative option, but you can also massage your hair and scalp with brahmi or coconut oil before spending prolonged periods outdoors. This will deeply nourish follicles, promote healthy hair, hair growth, manageability, and guard against the sun.

According to Ayurveda the transition between winter and spring is the perfect time to cleanse. Your body, in conjunction with the change of the seasons,  naturally wants to slough off the congestion and sluggishness of winter.

Here are 5 simple Ayurvedic tips to ease you into spring:

  1. Eat warm, light, nourishing foods such as soups, or roasted/sautéed/steamed vegetables with grains like quinoa, couscous, or millet. Add vegetables and herbal elixirs that are bitter in taste. Herbal bitters with ingredients like  dandelion, ginger, turmeric, clove, and/or black pepper are great for digestion.
  2. Avoid heavy cold foods such as ice cream, cheese, and red meat. (Remember, eating a lighter diet for a few weeks while the weather is changing helps burn away toxins rather than accumulate them….yay for Ayurveda!)
  3. Get lots of rest. Seriously…the body needs time to replenish and getting enough rest is super important.
  4. Drink plenty of warm water and herbal tea. Warming ginger tea is recommended as it’s a nice contrast to the damp, cold of spring.
  5. Do yoga, take walks daily or exercise in a way that feels good for your body.

Want the full Ayurveda “Cheat Sheet” for Spring? Get a printable version of your guide by clicking the cheat sheet below!

I’ve been in India.

Yep…INDIA.

It was amazing and life changing on so many levels. My heart grew a little and my knowledge of what it means to practice Ayurveda, seeped into parts of myself that I didn’t even know existed.

Deep, nourishing, detoxifying, rejuvenating…these words all have new meaning.

Here are some pictures (because I have about a gazillion of them and am sharing them with every single person I know, every day).

It was that good. There aren’t adequate words to describe the sights and sounds AND smells of this place on the globe. It’s insane and blissful and heart-wrenching and so very innocent.

I learned so much.

But…

When I arrived home leaving behind the bliss and “cray-cray” of this third-world country, real life gave me a tap on the shoulder to “welcome” me home in the form of the flu. Luckily for me, I dodged the bullet but my husband, my father, my good friend, my niece…got to enjoy the misery of it fully.

This got me thinking about why they got it and I didn’t.

Because I was going to India, I’d beefed up my normal routine to include some of the superstar herbal formulas in Ayurveda to give my immune system a boost. Apparently it worked like magic as I’m still flu-less.

While living in balance (proper diet and lifestyle) is always the ultimate prevention to all illnesses and disease in Ayurveda, there are times when it’s totally acceptable to do a little extra to stay healthy.

Cold & flu season is a perfect time to give your body (your immune system) a boost.

  1. Indulge in a diet that minimizes stimulants, refined sugars, and processed foods. Instead, emphasize healthy, whole foods, and be attentive to Ayurvedic Food Combining.
  2. Including garlic in your diet will offer natural support to the immune system. Garlic kindles agni (the digestive fire), destroys natural toxins, encourages the maintenance of a normal body temperature, supports the lungs, and clears excess kapha.
  3. Sleep deprivation severely compromises immunity. Be sure you are getting enough sleep, take naps (if you can) and make time to rest.
  4. Engage in a healthy, balanced daily routine. Exercise, eat at regular times and minimize stress as much as possible.

Some Ayurveda formulas that you might find useful include the following:

Turmeric, Ginger & Tulsi:

  • Tumeric bolsters the immune system, purifies the blood, strengthens digestion, and eliminates natural toxins from the digestive tract.
  • Ginger burns ama, promotes healthy expectoration, cleanses the blood and lymph, encourages healthy circulation and sweating, and removes excess kapha from the lungs. Ginger has long been used to stimulate and support the immune system.
  • Tulsi removes excess kapha from the lungs and upper respiratory tract while promoting healthy circulation, and strong digestion. It is useful in maintaining a normal body temperature and it naturally bolsters the immune system.

The formula I like best in pill form and used prior to, during and after my travels is Immune Support by Banyan Botanicals. There is also Immunocare by Himalaya. Either is of these is recommended to help boost the immune system.

I’ve also found that a good probiotic taken daily does a body good.

Remember, our bodies flourish with proper nutrition, and adequate sleep; they do even better when we commit to managing stress, cultivating healthy relationships, embracing joy and meaning, and living in alignment with our own authentic truth.

The suggestions I listed will undoubtedly support the immune system, but it is equally important that you honor yourself and what’s going on with you.

Ayurveda is a very holistic and individualized wellness tradition; it is all about you—your unique strengths and vulnerabilities, and your personal path toward healing.

As always, if you have any questions about any of this, feel free to shout me out! I’m happy to answer your Ayurveda questions.

You can reach me by email sonya@benourishedwithayurveda.com or simply leave a comment below.

 

 

Making this recipe is an all-day affair, so start early in the morning on a day when you plan on staying home for the entire day. This recipe should yield enough broth for a small family to have on-hand for a few months to all year, depending on how often it is consumed.

This recipe is from my herbal medicine making immersion at Chestnut School of Herbalism. I used wild harvested Maitake (Hen of the Wood) mushrooms that I dried myself, however, you can use store bought mushrooms just as easily. Mushrooms are VERY SIMPLE to dry.

For the herbs required, you can usually find them in any good apothecary, your Co-op (Hendersonville Community Co-Op) or healthy food store. You can also order them online. Be sure you use organic herbs that you know come from a reputable source that are sustainably harvested.

You’ll want to keep this broth on hand in the freezer at all times, but especially during the fall/winter months, as it helps to keep the immune system in tiptop shape.

The astragalus, calendula, and maitake and shiitake mushrooms are all traditional foods for bolstering the immune system. They are immune tonics (deep and sustaining) that can be taken on a daily basis. As a traditional blood cleanser and lymphatic tonic, calendula helps to augment our native immunity by supporting the eliminative and immune channels of our body.

This broth is also high in minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron (made readily available by the inclusion of seaweed and nettles). The addition of the apple cider vinegar helps to draw out these rich minerals our bodies need.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients for the Herbal Broth:

  • 60 grams (2.1 ounces by weight) dried maitake (Grifola frondosa) – About 3.5 cups (840 ml) of the dried mushroom in large pieces
  • 70 grams (2.5 ounces by weight) dried astragalus (Astragalus propinquus) – About ½ cup (120 ml) of the dried cut and sifted root
  • 70 grams (2.5 ounces by weight) dried nettle leaf (Urtica dioica) – About 2.5 cups (600 ml), by volume, of nettles, cut and sifted
  • 90 grams (3.2 ounces by weight) dried shiitake (Lentinula edodes) – About 3 cups (720 ml) of whole dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 10 grams (.35 ounces by weight) dried calendula flowers (Calendula officinalis– whole flower preferable medicinally to “petals”) – About 1 cup (240 ml) of the dried flowers
  • 1½ cups (360 ml) dried seaweed (bull kelp or wakame  don’t have much of a “fishy” flavor and are high in minerals. Note that seaweed bioaccumulates heavy metals, therefore it is imperative that your seaweed comes from healthy waters.)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 2 gallons and one quart of water (288 fluid ounces {8.6 liters}), divided
  • 1 cup (240 ml) apple cider vinegar

Note: All the ingredients in this recipe are appropriate for children and adults. However, pregnant women should leave out the calendula,  as it has been used by herbalists, traditionally, to bring on menses.

Note: The recipe gives weight (scale) and volume (measuring cup) proportions for many of the ingredients. The weight proportions will be more accurate than the volume, but I listed the volume ratios for those of you who do not have a scale. Because dried mushrooms vary in how they are dried (which will affect their volume measurements), we list the more accurate weight measurements first.

Making the Herbal Broth:

Blend the onion, celery, maitake and shiitake mushrooms in a food processor (preferred) or blender, by measuring out a portion of the total water needed (listed above). Depending on the size of your appliances, you will probably need to blend several batches.

Add the mushroom/vegetable slurry to a large pot (4 gallons) or two medium sized pots if you don’t own a large pot. Add the astragalus, calendula, vinegar, nettles and seaweed and the remainder of the water to the slurry. Simmer covered for 5 hours. Strain into another large pot, and press out the herbs when they’ve cooled enough to handle. Simmer the strained broth uncovered for one hour to concentrate.

Making Bone Broth:

There are so many recipes for making bone broth out there! I’ve shared my favorite recipe as well as my go-to, store-bought, bone broth for those days I simply don’t have time to make my own. But you basically want to be sure you are using about a gallon of water to 4 lbs of bones (plus about a cup of apple cider vinegar to leach the minerals from the bones). You’ll simmer the bone broth for about 5 hours, covered. If you use store-bought, you want the yield to be about 3/4th’s of a gallon when it’s all said and done.

Putting It All Together:

Mix the Herbal Broth and the Bone Broth together and let cool at room temperature. Save some for use, immediately, and place the rest in ice cube trays or small containers to freeze.

You can use this concentrated mixture in soups, stews, marinaras & whatever you can think of! You can also just sip it straight. The recommended dosage is adding 4 ounces (120 ml) of stock per serving of a meal (about 4 standard ice cubes).

Liver Flush

The liver and gallbladder are the organs associated with pitta dosha. Natural toxins can accumulate and be stored here, impairing proper function of these organs. If you’ve overindulged in summer barbecues & spicy foods this gentle liver flush will help bring things back into balance.

This liver flush that can help to restore and rejuvenate liver and gallbladder functions:

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 t. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Pinch of natural mineral salt

Drink this remedy first thing in the morning. Do not eat breakfast for at least two hours afterwards. A pinch of cayenne can be added for excess kapha conditions and to burn ama (toxins).

The astringent quality of the lemon clears natural toxins from the deep tissues and organs, while the oil lubricates to loosen and eliminate.

This can be taken for 1-3 consecutive days. Ideally, it should be followed by tea of coriander, cumin, and fennel  taken throughout the day.

As always, it’s a good idea to consult with your health care provider before undertaking a cleanse.

Golden Milk

Golden Milk

Golden-MilkI love drinking this before bed as it aids relaxation and helps boost the immune system while sleeping. It’s an ancient rasayana (rejuvenative) used to keep the joins and tissues of the body healthy.

Since this tea contains Turmeric, consult with a doctor or midwife before consuming this if you are pregnant, nursing or have a medical condition.

  • 2 Cups of Milk (Coconut or Almond is quite delicious)
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Raw Honey or Maple Syrup
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of Powdered Ginger or Small Piece of Fresh Peeled Ginger Root
  • Optional (tiny pinch of cayenne)

Place all ingredients in blender until well mixed and frothy. Place in sauce pan and heat until warm. Sip before bed and enjoy a lovely night’s sleep. Serves 4.

ENJOY!

There is no excuse, anymore, for us to not be sleeping.

Just as we need to exercise, we also need to surrender into rest.

Everyone on the planet needs 6-8 hours of sleep on a regular basis. Every cell in the body needs stimulation, and every cell in the body needs nourishment.

It is also impossible to accomplish your goals if you are chronically sleep-deprived. Plus, your mind/body uses sleep as the washing machine for the subconscious mind. If we aren’t able to slip into deep dream sleep every night, our toxic, unprocessed emotions and experiences don’t get drained away.

Ayurveda offers an ideal way for transitioning from the activity of the day into the sacred chamber of sleep.

Following these routines will allow the space for sleep to come effortlessly, and will help you stay asleep through the night:

1. Set the mood: Depending on the season (in the winter it may be earlier), start turning off overhead lights after dinner. Avoid fluorescent lights always, but especially at night. Low lighting helps tell your body it is time to go to sleep. Lots of light confuses your circadian rhythms and messes with the natural hormones that pull you into the “sleepy feeling.”

2. No more screen-time: Set an intention to turn off all screens (computers, cell phones, TVs) by 8 or 9 pm. Science confirms that screens and lighting are also messing with our circadian rhythms.

3. Be in bed by 10 pm: Have you ever noticed that you get a second wind around 10:30 p.m? That’s because the metabolic energy your body normally uses for detoxing you while you sleep gets diverted to mental energy, and we get activated. Our body detoxifies and rejuvenates from 10 pm – 2 am. When we stay up late, we truly do miss out on beauty sleep. If you currently go to bed at midnight, use the fifteen-minute rule. Each night, trying going to bed a mere 15 minutes earlier. Within a few weeks, you will soundly sleep at 10 p.m.

4. Take a warm bath: Taking a scented warm bath can help reset the nervous system towards sleep. Use oils such as frakenscense, myrrh, lavender, honeysuckle, jatamamsi, sandalwood, chamomile, neroli or pure rose for deep slumber. For extra relaxation, add epsom salts (about 2 cups) to a tub of water. It’s great for the skin, detoxing to the tissues and relaxing to the muscles.

5. Light a candle, read a sweet book that makes your heart melt. Say some prayers, and turn in.

6. Unravel the day: There is a powerful meditative practice for unraveling the day. It actually builds your power of assimilation and boosts memory. Once in bed and laying down, mentally go backwards through your day in increments of 30 minutes. Try to simply register what was happening to you during the day without judgement. Notice your feelings, relax and let all events go. End with the point where you woke up in the morning. Gently drift into sleep.

LUNCH ROUTINES

1. Try to make lunch your biggest meal of the day. Eat in a pleasant, calm place without distraction.

2. Take some time to bless the food prior to eating.

3. After eating, if you can lay down on your left side for 5 to 20 minutes, this is ideal. Why? Because it helps the digestive organs to do their work to assimilate the meal. If you are at work, even just leaning to the left side in your chair will be helpful.

AFTERNOON/EARLY EVENING ROUTINES

1. One afternoon routine that helps you deeply relax into your evening is the practice of yoga nidra – a yogi nap. It’s also nice to do this prior to dinner, just before sunset.

2. Eat light at night: Having your last meal before sun-down, and at least 3 hours before bedtime will ensure better sleep. If you feel feel hungry, drink one of my rasayana tonics like Golden Milk.

Your morning routine begins the night before: Getting in bed by 10 or 10:30 p.m. (can be a little later in the summer) will help you start the morning off right!

1. Wake up at sunrise: If you are exhausted, sick or elderly, please sleep as long as you like. Upon waking, do not get out of bed right away. Try to be aware of your body and feel grateful to be alive before your toes touch the earth.

2. Drink warm lemon water: This helps to wash the G.I. tract, flushes the kidneys and stimulates peristalsis. If your digestion is sluggish, add 1/2 tsp ginger root powder.teaayurveda

3. Nature calls: Going to the bathroom upon waking will help clear your digestive system. A healthy “motion” will have a soft brown log quality, little odor and will be well-formed (like a banana). Undigested food, foul odor, mucous, excessive dryness or “pellet-like” quality suggests a digestive imbalance. Altering diet, lifestyle and using herbs will help better this.

4. Gently scrape your tongue: Buy a silver tongue scraper. Scrape from back to front 5-8 times. The tongue is a mirror of your intestines. When there is a thick white coating on the tongue, it is indicative that ama (toxins) are present. Tongue scraping helps prevent diseases of the oral cavity, improves our ability to taste, gets rids of old food debris and prevents bad odor in the mouth.

5. Wash the face, mouth, teeth and eyes: Splash your face with cool water. Wash the eyes with cool water or real-deal rose water. You can also buy an eye cup at most pharmacies and use for washing the eyes. Massage your gums with sesame oil. This improves oral hygiene, prevents bad breath, increases circulation to gums, heals bleeding gums and helps us maintain strong healthy teeth.

6. Mouth detox: Take 1-2 tablespoons of pure sesame oil (not toasted) in the mouth. Gargle and swish until it creates a liquid texture (about 10-15 minutes), and then spit out into trash can. This strengthens teeth, gums and jaw. It also improves the voice, and is said to remove wrinkles from the cheeks! I know you may think 10-15 minutes is a long time – but, just swish it around while you do something else (like your self-massage).

7. Use a net pot & lube the nose with nasaya: Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to warm water in the pot and drain through each nostril. Afterwards, put 3-5 drops of warm sesame oil or ghee in the nostrils to lubricate the nose. This keeps the sinuses cleans, improves voice, vision and mental clarity. Our nose is the door to the brain. Nose drops (Nasaya) nourish our prana and enhance intelligence.

8. Abhyanga (Self-massage): Massage is one of our greatest allies for total health. It nourishes and soothes the nervous systems, stimulates lymphatic flow and aids in detoxification. It also improves circulation, increases vitality, nourishes the skin and promotes body/mind balance.

9. Exercise: One of greatest allies in moving towards balance, exercise boosts the immune system and is an excellent way to counteract depression. Exercise daily to half capacity. We want to get a little sweaty glow, but not burn out before our day begins.

10. Bathe: Use natural products.

11. Meditate: Begin your day with some form of breathwork and meditation. Start with five minutes and work up to at least 20 minutes daily. You can practice meditation in conjunction with exercise! It’s a wonderful way to end a morning yoga practice.

12. Eat breakfast and notice how focused and grounded you feel throughout the day! 

Ayurveda Buddha Bowl

Let me just say it….

I LOVE lentils.

They don’t leave me gassy or feeling bloated like other types of beans. When I eat them, I feel SATISFIED and full (but not overfull).

It’s a bit astonishing to me, as I really like a wide variety of foods, that I haven’t grown bored with lentils yet. They are such a big staple in Ayurveda, especially in cleansing and detox.  But somehow, I continue to be surprise by their versatility.

Just love ’em!

This is my latest tasty lentil recipe. Just had it for lunch today.

ayurvedabuddhabowlrecipe_benourishedwithayurveda

I call it the Ayurveda Buddha Bowl since it’s really just a bowl of goodness with a lentil & basmati rice base cobbled together with vegetables appropriate for your dosha (constitution).

You could use, literally, any vegetable that is appropriate for you and your family! And once you have the elements of this recipe made, it’s super easy to put together.

You’ll need the following:

28-21 Package of Melissa’s Steamed Lentils – I like these because they are quick and nice change up from making my own. They are ready to eat right out of the package. In fact, this recipe evolved out of the recipe on the back of their package!

1 tablespoon chopped Shallot

1 Handfull or less of arugula (or you could use spinach or any other bitter green)

1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar

1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard – this ingredient can be skipped or you could use a half a teaspoon of cumin to get some of the same bite of dijon.

3 Tablespoons Sesame Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Basmati rice (white or brown)

You can use vegetables as you like in this recipe. It can be a sort of “make your own” buddha bowl depending on what vegetables you have on hand. Just be sure the veggies are lightly sautéed or steamed.

If you really want to go with raw, just be sure your belly is good with raw foods – Pitta types are generally good to go with raw. Kappa and Vata do better with cooked as opposed to raw but it varies from person to person. 

For my bowl, I used grape tomatoes sliced in half (about a 3/4 of a cup), a bit of arugula then added chopped avocado (because I had some that needed to be eaten and they are one of my favorite foods).

Optional: Cashew cream can be added to taste. I felt like I wanted a creamy dressing to top it all off that had a bit of a cheesy flavor so I added Cashew cream drizzled on top of everything. It was delish!

Putting it all together:

Make the flavor base:

In a medium to large bowl add 2 of the 3 tablespoons of Sesame oil, the rice vinegar and dijon mustard (or cumin), salt & pepper to taste. Whisk it all together. Set aside.

Cook your basmati rice. You want your cooked rice to yield about a cup to a cup and a half. If you have ghee on hand, drop a spoonful in the water after you dump in the rice to cook.

For the lentil mixture:

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to pan.

Add in shallots and stir around until they start to break down a bit (this doesn’t take long).

I added my grape tomatoes here because I like them cooked a wee bit.

Add in your arugula and sauté just until it starts to wilt.

Toss in the lentils. Now…you don’t HAVE to cook the lentils as they are already cooked and you could totally skip this step but warm is real nice. You just want to toss them in and stir them around so they aren’t completely cold when you make your bowl.

Turn off the heat and take the pan off the heat.

Dump the lentil mixture into your bowl of flavor base and mix well by gently folding it until the flavors & ingredients mix together. Set aside.

Make your bowl:

Slice up your avocado in chunks – I used 1/2 an avocado for one bowl. Use more or less as you like or skip it altogether. This is YOUR buddha bowl, after all. You could add cooked carrots or beets or broccoli or cauliflower….the options are limitless…check your foods to favor in the Ayurveda Food Guidelines for info on what foods are good choices for you.

Grab your bowl and add equal parts rice and lentil mixture or more or less of each depending on your taste.

Top with avocado chunks.

Drizzle with cashew cheese if you are into that type of thing. Remember it’s optional! Recipe is below.

Enjoy!!!

 

Cashew or Macadamia cream:

  • 1 cup cashew (or macadamia) nuts, soaked in water for 2-8 hours
  • 11-12 tbsp water (use as needed to achieve desired consistency)
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • fine grain sea salt, to taste (I used just over 1/4 tsp)

To make the cream sauce Drain and rinse the soaked nuts. Add them into a processor and process. Stream in about 1/2 cup water and a couple tbsp of lemon juice. Add more water as needed to achieve your desired consistency. The nut sauce should be super smooth and not grainy. Add salt to taste.