Ayurvedic tips for the Fall Season

Written by the Art of Living Foundation

Autumn has arrived. Trees are turning colors, daylight is waning, and the nights are becoming cooler. Summer’s sun and heat are surrendering to the cool, soft embrace of fall weather.
At the change of seasons, we automatically change their thermostats and wardrobes. Yet, many of us do not realize the importance of changing their fitness regimen, self-care routine, and food choices.
Ritucharya: The Seasonal Routine
According to Ayurveda, seasonal and weather changes significantly affect the physical and mental body. Factors like temperature, humidity, wind, rain, and daylight hours, all influence the body’s natural cycles and vital systems. So, we must know how to adapt diet and lifestyle in order to maintain balance in digestion, sleep, immunity, and energy.
As the seasons change, so must our daily routine. This practice is known as a ritucharya. “Ritu” means “season” and “charya” means “routine”. Ritucharya is a seasonal regimen for diet and lifestyle that helps maintain health and well-being.
Autumn from Ayurveda Perspective
In Ayurveda, each season is associated with a dosha, with autumn being linked to vata dosha. The qualities of fall weather and vata dosha are dry, mobile, subtle, and cool. Plants and leaves dry up and turn color. The sun’s light is subtler. Temperatures become cooler.
In the body, excess vata manifests as dry skin, cracking joints, irregular digestion/elimination, and stiff muscles. In the mind, brisk winds and shorter days create feelings of restlessness and spiciness. Suddenly you want to do a bunch of fun projects, and find yourself starting them all, yet finishing none.
Here are five easy, effective, and enjoyable Ayurvedic self-care tips to create optimal health, vitality, and creativity in your life this fall.
Five fabulous fall self-care tips
1. Do a seasonal cleanse. As summer turns to fall, it’s important to remove excess heat from the body and mind, and prepare your immune system for winter. Observe nature and notice how trees naturally shed their leaves. Autumn is the perfect time to shed habits and foods that no longer nourish your body and mind.
2. Grounding Yoga Poses. Take a cue from nature, where her pace slows down in the amount of daylight hours and by the waning of plant life. Slow down the pace in your life. Start doing some gentle yoga practice.

3. Warm Oil Massage. The Ayurvedic fountain of youth is Abhyangha –( warm oil massage). Abhyangha pacifies the dry, subtle, and cool qualities of fall. It nourishes the body, calms the mind, relieves dry skin, improves circulation, and maintains the skin’s youthful glow. Abhyangha self-massage is easy to do before showering. A Harvest of Nourishing Foods. During autumn, nature provides the perfect foods to nourish the body and ground the mind. Enjoy the harvest of root vegetables! Roast or sauté carrots, turnips, beets, and parsnips using organic oils like coconut, olive or ghee, for extra support for the nervous system. Use spices to warm the body and stoke circulation. Enjoy kitchari once a week. Kitchari, an easy to digest dish of mung dal, rice, vegetables and spices, gently detoxes and powerfully nourishes the body.

4. A Harvest of Nourishing Foods. During autumn, nature provides the perfect foods to nourish the body and ground the mind. Enjoy the harvest of root vegetables! Roast or sauté carrots, turnips, beets, and parsnips using organic oils like coconut, olive or ghee, for extra support for the nervous system. Use spices to warm the body and stoke circulation. Enjoy kitchari once a week. Kitchari, an easy to digest dish of mung dal, rice, vegetables and spices, gently detoxes and powerfully nourishes the body.

5. Ayurvedic Date Shake. Cooler weather creates a stronger appetite. An Ayurvedic date shake is a fantastic and filling snack. Date shakes are easy to make, boost energy levels, and nourish the bone and muscle tissue. Date with tahini 5 dates, pitted 1 ½ cups cow, almond, or coconut milk 1 tbsp tahini ¼ tsp vanilla ¼ tsp cinnamon Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. This shake is perfect for vata types because it warms their delicate body type and calms an overactive mind. Tahini is high in protein and rich in calcium, potassium, Vitamin B and iron. Cinnamon improves circulation, which tends to run low in vata types. And vanilla has a relaxing effect on the mind. Fall in love with Ayurveda this fall season Celebrate fall’s colorful changes by welcoming Ayurveda into your life. Honoring baby steps when implementing change in daily habits is the best strategy to long-term success. So start with integrating 2-3 of the Ayurvedic self-care tips into your daily routine. During Autumn, many trees stop branching out and shed their leaves. With less daylight hours, it’s more effective to receive nourishment from their roots. It’s a great reminder of the sacredness of letting go. Clear your calendar to make room for rest and reflection. Reflect on what you wish to let go of in your life. Root into Ayurvedic self-care and enjoy autumn and a lifetime of health and happiness.

Delicious Ayurvedic Probiotic Drink Recipe!

Written by: The Art of Living Foundation

Fasting is a process that proves to be an effective method to ignite the digestive Agni or the body’s inner fire and burn off the accumulated impurities and amas or toxic wastes in the body. Amas are the root cause of almost all diseases. Fasting rejuvenates the mind, body and spirit entirely. It nurtures general wellness by discarding toxins and gas, and augmenting mental lucidity. It also makes the physical state light and easy.
In Ayurveda fasting depends on the body constitution based on dosha and its dependent cleansing needs. In fact it does not support the route of completely abstaining from food or water for long time periods as it leads to disharmony. It also drains the dhatus or body tissues. This is why Ayurveda advocates more of regular, short span detoxifying fasts than infrequent long drawn hunger strikes. This type of fasting is non-stressful and gentle. It is very convenient and can be easily integrated into one’s schedule. Such fasting boosts the body energy level and cleanses the body beautifully.

From a scientific standpoint. Food literally is like input or information for the body. Like any other form of matter it consists of atomic particles in a specific arrangement. These get broken down by the various elements of Agni comprising of enzymes, hydrochloric acid, etc., and reform new cells. Simply put, during the process of fasting the quantity of the input in the digestive system tends to disintegrate and then reassembles. They do this by absorbing the nutrients. Major organs such as the stomach, intestines, pancreas, and gall bladder get ample rest and this swiftly leads to their revival. The process strengthens digestion and bolsters the immunity of a person. According to Ayurveda, fasts help in maintaining balance within the body. Otherwise while curing one condition, one can set off another.
There are four main classifications of fasting according to the ancient practices of Ayurveda. These are decided based on factors such as one’s body structure and composition, digestive power, age and toxin level. One must also check the overall health status like if one is suffering from any ailments or health conditions. Due to this reason professional recommendation is important.
The type and style of fasting is different for different individuals. A fast pattern based on a proper Ayurveda diet is always customized to suit the person. There are four distinct classifications based on the kind of intake that goes into the system. These include firstly consuming fruits, veggies and juices only. The second type involves consuming light foods like khichdi, mashed rice, and kanji. The third is completely staying away from all solid foods and drinking fluids like water and herbal teas. Water can be consumed during the first three. The fourth and most severe is completely abstaining from food and water for a short spell.
In fact during normal meals too, Ayurveda doesn’t encourage excess eating. In fact one should consume only the amount that can be cupped by one’s hands. If we eat too much the excess amount is partially digested and stays lodged permanently. Heavy meals put a strain on the digestive tract and get stored as unwanted flab in the body.
Detoxification fasts in Ayurveda are streamlined with body types. The three doshas namely Vatta, Pitta and Kapha have their very own specifications. During fasts Vatta types can add warming spices, starchy vegetables, a little oil and fruits like avocado and bananas to their meal plan. Vata types are generally lean with a dry, cold dosha and their bodies don’t gel with total fasting. Due to the excess of air and ether lack of food can make them very weak.

Those with Pitta dosha can try lime juice with a dash of coconut water and sprinkled with cooling coriander leaves. Kaphas can also integrate warming spices into the diet but must avoid starch and oil. These two types have larger builds and more energy with weigh gain tendencies. Both can benefit from aggressive abstinence. Generally these fasts don’t last more than a couple of days.
Ayurveda supports regularly going in for partial fasting. This can be done for at least a day or so once every week. This is known as a mono diet. One can drink plenty of salt-free fluids like water, vegetable juice, raw milk boiled with ginger and yogurt mixed with cumin powder and water. A single light meal at noon is ideal. This can consist of milk, rice, yogurt, veggies, fruits, yellow lentil garnished with pepper, ginger, cumin, etc. One can also extend a mono diet for 2-5 days if one can manage the same. It will result in complete detoxification. One should not be tempted to snack. The value of hunger translates to a positive effect for the body at the end of the day. During the time of the fast one must maintain a certain intake of water. Hence one should frequently drink water and expel the same from the body. This is also a technique for discharging the toxins.
Change in seasons is also great for fasting according to the principles of Ayurveda. Fasting can be done any time but usually the cusp between winter and spring is a great time for any kind of cleansing therapy. It helps one to release the toxins that build up in the body over the harsh winter months. Fasting is not just cutting food but also a time for breathing exercises and positive thinking.
This is how a detoxifying fast can completely purify and energize the body and mind in order to promote fitness, wellness and contentment.

Carrot kanji (probiotic drink)recipe | gajar kanji recipe
**prep time
15 mins
total time
15 mins
carrot kanji recipe – a fermented north indian probiotic drink made from carrots, beetroot and ground mustard and water.carrots, beetroot and ground mustard and water.
serves: 2 litres of kanji drink
ingredients (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)
5-6 medium sized carrots/gajar
2 small beetroots
8 cups water – approx 2 litres of water (boiled & filtered or purified)
1 or 1.5 tsp red chili powder
3 tbsp mustard powder (dry grind 2 or 2.5 tbsp mustard)
black salt as required
how to make the recipe:
rinse and then peel the carrots and beetroots.
chop into long pieces.
mix all the ingredients in a glass or ceramic jars.
cover with a lid or muslin cloth and keep the jars in the sun for 3-4 days.
stir with a wooden spoon everyday before keeping the jars back in the sun.
when the kanji tastes sour, it means the drink is fermented.
Serve carrot kanji straightway or refrigerate.

Enjoy!

Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd

You Are What You Eat:  Written by The Art of Living Foundation.

Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd: Also Know as Karela or Ampalaya

1.Relieves Cold:
Ampalaya or Karela is used in treating fever and cough caused by cold. It has anti-inflammatory properties and that is why it is used against mucus accumulation and chest congestion.

2.Disinfectant:
It is used against bacteria as it has strong powerful antibiotic properties. It can be used as a disinfectant for minor wounds, burns and scrapes.

3.Lowers Blood Sugar Level:
Karela is used against diabetes. It is able to reduce the blood sugar level and prevents other side-effects caused by high blood sugar.

4.Immunity Booster:
Bittergourd removes free radicals from the body and fights infections which can lead to tissue and organ damage.

5.Lowers Blood Pressure:
It lowers the blood pressure because it is able to relax the vascular system. Lowering the high blood pressure is an important function because it can protect people from having a heart attack or stroke.

6.Headache Relief:
When the muscles around brain are under pressure, they cause headaches. Ampalaya reduces the pressure and alleviates headaches. Stress usually causes the pressure but ampalaya also helps in relieving tension and stress.

7.Improves Psoriasis:
People who suffer from psoriasis have confirmed that this plant has helped them a lot. Ampalaya juice can also help with fungal infections as athlete’s foot and fungi.

8.Spleen and liver Protection:
Overuse of alcohol and toxins can lead to damaged spleen and liver. This vegetable can regenerate and repair tissues in the body which were damaged by toxins. Ampalaya contains useful enzymes which maintain proper spleen and liver function.

9.Weight Control:
Obesity is linked with numerous health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and many others. A study showed that Karela juice is effective in preventing fat cells from forming.

10.Eye Problems:
Karela is rich in beta-carotene and other minerals which help with eye problems.

Punjabi Karela Sabzi Recipe

prep time: 10 mins cook time: 20 mins total time: 30 mins
serves: 2-3

karela sabzi – dry bitter gourd curry made in north indian style.
ingredients (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml):
5-6 medium sized karela/bitter gourd
2 or 3 medium sized onions
½ tsp turmeric powder or haldi
¼ tsp red chili powder
¼ tsp garam masala powder
¼ or ½ tsp amchur powder or dry mango powder
2 tbsp oil
salt
how to make the recipe:
Peel the karelas. Wash them in running water. Chop them. You can even slice them. Remove the seeds.
Slice the onions too.
In a kadai or pan, heat oil. Add the chopped or sliced bitter gourds.
Saute the bitter gourd on medium heat for 2 minutes. Lower the flame and saute for 2-3 minutes more.
Add the sliced onions.
Mix the sliced onions with the bitter gourd.
Saute for 2-3 minutes.
Now add the turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt.
Stir. Cook the sabzi without any lid for 7-8 minutes till the both the karela and onions are cooked and sauted well. The onions will become brown. Keep on stirring in between. Check the seasoning. Add more red chili powder or salt if required.
When the Karela sabzi is ready, sprinkle the amchur and garam masala powder. Mix it with the entire sabzi.
Garnishing Karela Sabzi with chopped cilantro/coriander leaves is optional.
Serve Karela Sabzi with phulkas, parathas and a bowl of fresh plain curd/yoghurt or sweetened curd/yoghurt. Karela Sabzi also goes very well as a side vegetable dish or accompaniment with the combination of dal rice or kadhi chawal ( punjabi curd kadhi with rice)

An Ancient Ayurvedic Drink that will Change Your Health

You are what you eat.

Lassi in Punjab or Chaach in Gujrat, also called as Mor in South India, is a common drink in most Indian households. It is roughly called in English as buttermilk. It is the Indian drink for healthy summers and was previously found in every home. There are many health benefits of traditional buttermilk, which will not only let you have a healthy summer season but keep you active and away from summer ailments as well.
Recipe for Traditional Buttermilk:
1 cup Yoghurt / Curd
3 cups Water
1/2 teaspoon Cumin Powder
2 Green Chillies
1 inch piece of Ginger
1 tablespoon Coriander Leaves
Salt to Taste
Method of Preparation:

Take curd (yoghurt), water and salt and using a whisk mix it well. Add chopped ginger, green chillies, coriander leaves and cumin powder and mix well.
Serve the yummy and scrumptious buttermilk as such or serve chilled.
The following are some of the benefits of this traditional drink.
Buttermilk Keeps the Body Hydrated .
Buttermilk is a tasty combination of water, curd, essential spices and salt. It is packed with beneficial electrolytes. The salt and water works to keep our body hydrated. It is an excellent drink for summer when we need to fight dehydration.
Buttermilk Cuts Down Fats
If you feel bloated or simply have eaten too much then drink a little bit of buttermilk. The ginger, pepper and other spices in chaas help to improve the digestion and make you feel less uncomfortable. Apart from that buttermilk is very effective in washing down the fat, oil or ghee that normally coats inner walls of your food pipe and stomach making you feel instantaneously lighter.
1.Buttermilk is High in Calcium
Buttermilk is a rich source of calcium. A cup serving of buttermilk will satisfy 28% of your calcium requirements. Calcium is a nutrient that promotes stronger, denser bones. It reduces the risk of bone disease including osteoporosis. Calcium also aids in muscle contraction and supports cell communication.
2.Buttermilk Reduces Blood Pressure
Buttermilk is rich in bio-active protein which has antiviral, anticancer and cholesterol lowering properties. Having buttermilk on a regular basis helps in lowering and controlling blood pressure. It works as a natural remedy to reduce high blood pressure.
3.Buttermilk Helps in Digestion
Ginger, pepper and jeera all make an excellent digestive agents. Known for their carmative properties individually, together in a tall glass of buttermilk they make the best natural digestive out there. So, If you feel an attack of indigestion coming on, try sipping on some chaas for immediate relief. Are you suffering from indigestion? Try adding mint to quiet your digestion trouble.
4.Buttermilk Reduces Cholesterol
Buttermilk has several special components which help in reducing cholesterol levels. Consuming a glass of buttermilk everyday helps in reducing cholesterol levels and controls it naturally.
5.Buttermilk is High in Protein
Buttermilk is an excellent source of protein too. A cup of buttermilk will satisfy about 15% and 17% of protein needs for men and women, respectively. Protein helps facilitate muscle growth, tissue repair, and fat breakdown. This nutrient also keeps the bones, muscles, and skin healthy and strong.
6.Buttermilk Helps with Acidity
A powerful tool to fight acidity, buttermilk has essential spices like pepper and ginger that help to beat the burning sensation you feel during a short period of acidity. Moreover the buttermilk cools the stomach and reduces the irritation in the stomach lining due to acid reflux, giving you relief from the discomfort.
7.Buttermilk Helps in Weight Loss
A glass of buttermilk is an integral part of several diet plans helping people to lose weight effectively. Buttermilk digests foods better and washes down fat and oil which cleanses the system and helps in weight loss.
8.Buttermilk Has Beneficial Bacteria
Buttermilk is teeming with live beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive tract healthy. Probiotics re-balance the flora of the gastrointestinal tract, reducing the risk of bad bacteria overgrowth. Beneficial bacteria also keep the gut healthy, cutting the risk of cancer, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal diseases.
9.Buttermilk Helps to Cleanse the Skin
Buttermilk works as an excellent skin cleanser. You can use this as your everyday skin cleanser. To prepare the cleansing solution mix a tablespoon of buttermilk, some drops of almond oil and rose water. Apply this over your face and wash it after 10 minutes. You will love your glowing face.

This recipe was brought to you by The Art of Living.

6 Secrets For Warming Winter Smoothies That Help Digestion

From: MGB, by  Alexandra Jamieson;

Green smoothies are an easy and delicious way to get healthy produce into your body, but drinking them in winter warrants special warning:

Don’t freeze your chi!

Chi is a Chinese word meaning aliveness, life force, or energy, and is also known as Ki, Qi, or Prana.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, doctors recommend against drinking cold water with meals as it “chills the digestive fires.” Drinking a green smoothie filled with frozen fruit may have the same effect and can cause stomach pain, bloating, and other digestive issues.

Your ability to stay warm and energized may freeze up if your smoothies are too cooling energetically or if the ingredients themselves are frozen.

This little-known truth about cold smoothies is leaving a lot of health seekers feeling like failures, when in reality, they could feel a lot better in and about their bodies with a few simple tweaks.

In my Cravings Cleanse + Mindset Makeover program, I provide clean eating inspiration and healing to help people heal their bodies and their mindset about food with functional nutrition and positive psychology.

If you have a hard time staying warm in the colder winter months, or are working to heal your digestion and want to take your smoothies to the next level, take these steps to protect your energy, chi, and digestion:

1. Think about the energetics of food.

Foods that take longer to grow, like winter squash and collards, are more warming than foods that grow quickly, like lettuce and summer squash.

2. Warm your berries.

A food is more cooling when it’s frozen than when it’s thawed.

Thaw your frozen berries overnight in the refrigerator or even leave them out for an hour on the counter to take the chill off while you do your morning run or yoga.

If you forgot to thaw your frozen berries overnight, scoop them into a plastic baggie and run under warm water before adding them to your blender.

3. Choose warmly colored ingredients.

Blue, green, and purple foods are more medicinally cooling than orange, red, and yellow foods. Think of lime as cooling, lemon as more warming.

4. Skip the tropics.

Tropical fruits such as banana and mango are more cooling than foods grown in temperate zones like apples and pears.

5. Add fat and protein to each smoothie.

Coconut oil, coconut or almond butter, avocado, nuts, seeds, hemp, or pea protein help your body stay warmer. They keep you full longer, too!

6. Include warming ingredients in every smoothie.

In Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine foods are believed to have an overall cooling, neutral, or warming effect.

While opinions differ slightly, the following foods are the most warming ingredients that commonly show up in smoothie recipes:

  • apple
  • blackberry
  • basil
  • cardamom
  • caraway
  • cashew
  • cherry
  • cinnamon
  • citrus peel
  • clove
  • coconut
  • collard greens
  • date
  • fat
  • ginger
  • hemp seed
  • kale
  • blackstrap molasses
  • nutmeg
  • pea protein
  • pear
  • pine nut
  • raspberry
  • sweet potato
  • winter squash
  • pumpkin
  • turmeric
  • walnuts

My Favorite Winter Green Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup collards, packed
  • ½ cup frozen cherries, defrosted overnight
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups almond or coconut milk
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled
  • 20-plus grams chocolate pea protein

Preparation

Puree all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.

Pumpkin Spice Green Smoothie

Photo courtesy of the author
Ingredients
  • ½ cup pureed pumpkin or leftover mashed sweet potato
  • 1 cup kale, packed
  • 1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
  • 1 pear, seeds removed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly peeled ginger
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut or almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or ½ avocado
  • 20-plus grams vanilla pea protein
  • pinch of nutmeg

Preparation

Puree all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.

Cover photo: iStock

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