3 Ways to Boost your Immunity System

As a kid and even as a young adult, I would almost always be sick over the Holidays. If only I knew about ayurveda then, I likely I could have prevented many stomach flus, bouts of food poisoning, colds and fevers. Luckily, I now have a much greater understanding of the body, so I am able to stay healthy during flu season. And I am happy to share some of my ayurvedic secrets with you to help you boost your immunity system naturally, so you can fully enjoy the season’s festivities.

Holidays are a time for celebration, big meals and travel. All great things, but add them together and wrap them in stress and our digestion and  immunity system gets overwhelmed.  Our normal eating habits are often askew this time of year and we tend to overindulge with sugar, alcohol and heavy food. The weather also affects the strength of our agni, or digestive fire.  During winter, our digestion ‘cools’ and slows down as the outdoor temperature decreases. This also means our metabolism weakens and so does our resistance to bacteria and viruses.

Here are three ways to boost your immunity and combat the first signs of a cold or flu:photo (8)

PREVENTION

– Eat regular meals in and a calm state. Plan and prepare healthy meals that give you energy before you are starving and willing to eat anything.

– Drink a daily tonic of hot water, lemon, turmeric (1/4 tsp of dry turmeric) and honey (1/2 tsp) – photo beside. You can also add ginger to this tonic. Chyavanaprash, a jam-like blend of 40 herbs and spices in honey and ghee, is another excellent preventative remedy.

– Take Amalaki. It’s a gentle ayurvedic herb that is super high in vitamin C and is non-acidic.

 

TREATMENT

– At the first sign of a sore throat, gargle with apple cider vinegar, honey and warm water. You can also gargle with turmeric, honey and warm water.

– Clean and clear your sinuses using a netti pot, a small little tea pot looking thing filled with warm water and a pinch of sea salt. Tilt your head forwards and to the side as you pour the saline solution into one nostril allowing it to flow out the other into the sink or bathtub. Do this  at night only. Afterwards, lubricate sinuses with warm sesame oil.

– Augment intake of vitamin C and turmeric. If hungry, eat small meals and favour warm herbal teas and soups.

RECOVERY

– Eat kitchari (click here for recipe) for three – five days following your cold or flu. It’s the best food to get the digestion back on track. Then slowly add in small amounts of foods from your regular diet. Dairy, sugar and alcohol should be the last things reintroduce.

– Dress warm, even inside (wear slippers) and stay hydrated.

– Avoid eating anything cold or raw, especially ice cream or iced water with a meal.  It will decrease the effectiveness of your digestion and immunity.

Above all, rest well and take care of yourself.  The best time to fight a cold or flu is before it’s full blown. You will recover much faster and conserve your energy throughout the Holidays.

 

Related articles:

Stomach Flu Natural Remedies

10 Ways to Improve Digestion

What is Ayurveda?

What’s my dosha

Morning Yoga by the Lake Recipes

If you need some inspiration for breakfast, our Morning Yoga by the Lake students shared a few of their favourite breakfast recipes.  Bon appétit!

Sunshine Oatmeal – Prepared by Carlo Kuhlenschmidt

The inspiration for this recipe came to me during the MYBL practice!
I have a sweet tooth, and I always make a sweet or rich steelcut oatmeal recipe. Two of my     faves are   maple, pecan and raisins, or “PB&J” oats! Yasmin mentioned she doesn’t particularly enjoy sweet foods in the morning, which got me thinking: “Does oatmeal always have to be sweet?” That evening, with that thought in mind, and looking at what I had in the fridge and pantry, I came up with this new favourite! Credit to my friend Kat who helped me come up with the recipe’s name when she tried it and said: “Mmmm, tastes sunny!”It was meant to be. Sunshine Oatmeal + Morning Yoga by the Lake.

7f76d6edc1e43fa37a9ac189658280fe-1Ingredients (Serves 2-3):
– 1/2 cup of steelcut oats
– 1+1/2 cup of filtered water
– Pinch of sea salt
– 1.5 TBSP of coconut oil
– half a large ripe banana, or 1 small ripe banana
– 1-1.5 TBSP of fresh lemon juice
– lemon zest of 1/2 a lemon
– 3 TBSP of unsweetened shredded coconut
– 2 TBSP of goji berries + 3-4 TBSP of filtered water

1. Place goji berries in a small bowl and cover with 3-4 TBSP of water. Set aside. This makes the goji more plump and tender
2. In a small-medium pot, bring water to a boil
3. Add steel cut oats and pinch of sea salt; bring back to a boil, stir with a wooden spoon
4. Lower the heat to medium, or a slow rolling boil. Cook uncovered for 15-18 minutes. Only stir occasionally, allow the oats to simmer. Turn the heat lower if the oats appear to be drying too fast. Cook the oats more for softer, well done, or less for chewier, more texture.
5. Slice banana into half-inch pieces and add them to oats. Thoroughly mash and mix it in with the oats using wooden spoon.
6. Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest. If oats are too sour for your taste, sparingly add either raw sugar, coconut sugar, or agave syrup
7. Stir in the coconut oil
8. Drain excess water from goji berries bowl. Garnish oats with goji berries and shredded coconut
Enjoy hot or cold! It’s refreshing on a hot, summer morning!

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Zucchini Spice Muffins – Prepared by Sue SnyderDSC_0274

Yield: 24 large muffins

Ingredients:
– 1/2 cup unsalted butter (vegan option: ½ cup coconut oil)
– 1 ½ cup coconut sugar or organic cane sugar
– 3 large eggs (or vegan egg replacer)
– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
– 3 cups grated zucchini
– 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or gluten-free flour blend)
– 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 tablespoon garam masala
– ½ teaspoon turmeric
– 1 cup chopped walnuts
– 1/3 cup black chia seeds (or poppy seeds)
– Zest of one lemon

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease or line muffin tins. Beat butter or oil until fluffy, add, sugar, beat again. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla, and then fold in zucchini.
2. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices. Mix well. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in two additions, stirring between additions. Do not overmix! Fold in nuts, seeds, and lemon zest. Divide batter between muffin tins and bake 25- 30 mins.
3. This makes a big batch! Consider freezing half for later or cutting the recipe in half.
Adapted from: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/my-special-zucchini-bread-recipe-recipe.html

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photo 5-3Recette de salade de fruits – Prepared by Laur Fugere

Ingredients:
– Petits fruits de votre choix: Bleuets, framboises, fraises coupées, raisins etc…
– Un quart de tasse de petits morceaux d’anis (au choix)
– Menthe fraîche
Sauce:
– Une ou deux cuillerée à table de sirop d’érable
– Une ou deux cuillerée à table de brandy ou autre alcool fort de votre choix
– Un soupçon de vinaigre balsamique très bonne qualité
– Un soupçon de sel
– Ajoutez un peu d’eau pour mélanger et adoucir les saveurs

Laissez macérer pendant quelques heures au frais

Vegetarian Autumn Recipes: Shepherds Pie, Ratatouille, Apple Crisp & Carrot Cake

Autumn is my favourite time of year. I love the crisp air, the colours and most of all the cozy harvest meals. Here are some of my favourite fall recipes: veggie shepherd’s pie, ratatouille, apple crisp and carrot cake. This dishes are perfect for a vegetarian Thanksgiving! (Ayurvedic considerations per dosha posted below each recipe.)

VEGGIE SHEPHERD’S PIE (à la Craig Bannerman)

  • YY_veg-sherpherds-pie2 c french lentils – soak for 1-2 hours before cooking
  • 1 red or white potato – cubed
  • 3 sweet potatoes or 1 butternut squash (or combo) – cubed
  • ~ 1/4 c Oilve oil
  • 2 small white onions – chopped
  • 3 garlic gloves – chopped
  • 1 bag spinach – chopped (or 1 block, 300 g, of frozen spinach – thawed)*
  • 1-2 corn – remove kernels of corn from cob
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp organic ketchup
  • Optional: goat cheese (for topping); chili, saffron or any other spices else you like

Directions

  • Soak your lentils for a minimum of hour to soften them – I usually do this in the morning or afternoon.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cube potatoes and/or squash and place on backing sheet covered in a light coating of olive oil.
  • Roast potatoes/squash in over for about 15 mins or until you can slide a fork in easy.
  • Once lentils are soaked, boil them in a big pot until they are soft enough to squish easily between your fingers – about 20 mins (amount of water doesn’t matter, you’ll be straining them.)
  • TIP: Add half a potato to the boiling lentils. Then discard potato piece when cooked. (The potato pulls out the farty/gasy quality of lentils– it’s a chemistry thing. This is especially important for Vata or people with weak digestion.)
  • Sauté onions and garlic on the stove with olive oil.
  • Mix cooked and strained lentils with sautéed onions, garlic cumin, ketchup and other spices if desired – set aside.
  • Once potatoes/squash are roasted, let them cool for 10 mins, then mash them in a bowl with salt & pepper.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  • ASSEMBLY :
    • Place lentils as first layer in a large casserole dish.
    • Second layer is corn kernels and/or peas.
    • Third layer is chopped spinach.
    • Fourth layer is mashed potatoes and/or squash.
    • Optional topping: crumbled feta or goat cheese.
  • BAKE at 350 degrees for approximately 20 mins or until topping is lightly browned.
  • SERVE with a side of steamed greens like kale or broccoli and a smile!
  • PS…This dish can easily be frozen, thawed and reheated.

AYURVEDIC TIPS:  This is a fairly tridoshic meal. For Vata, leave out the corn and peas, and substitute the red potato for another sweet potato. *For Pitta, instead of spinach use a layer of collard, kale or swiss chard, and serve with salad or steamed kale instead of broccoli. For Kapha, leave off the cheese and use 3 red potatoes and 1 sweet potato. {More about ayurveda – how to know what dosha to follow}

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RATATOUILLE
(This recipe is inspired by one from The Globe & Mail. Thanks to Greg & Tanya for sharing.)

  • 2 onions – sliced fine YY_ratatouille2
  • 1 small eggplant – sliced fine
  • 3 zucchinis – sliced
  • 3-4 ripe tomatoes – sliced
  • 2 red peppers – cut in strips
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh basil – finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh tarragon – finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh oregano – finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ~1/2 c Olive oil
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 c quinoa – cooked

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Slice onions first and place them in casserole dish covered in a small coating of olive oil.
  • Let onions brown in oven for 5-10 mins. (Set timer or check often)
  • Slice eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes, and set aside in large bowl.
  • Chop red peppers, garlic and herbs, and add these to the bowl.
  • Mix together mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and about 1/3 c of olive oil.
  • Using your (clean) hands, toss vegetables with the dressing.
  • ASSEMBLY:  Spread veggies over roasted onions and place casserole dish back into oven.
  • BAKE for 40 mins to 1 hour or until lightly browned on top.
  • SERVE the rataouille over a bed of white quinoa garnished with fresh herbs. Enjoy!
  • PS… This makes an excellent lunch the next day!

AYURVEDIC TIPS:  For Vata, this dish is fine as is. For Pitta, use tomatoes that are sweet and in season. Also, add 1/2 tbsp of mustard instead of full tbsp and use less garlic. For Kapha, use only one zucchini and add 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper to balsamic and mustard dressing. {More about ayurveda}

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VEGAN APPLE CRISP – best ever!

  • 6-8 apples – peeled and sliced (McIntosh and/or cortland are best for cooking)YY_apple-crisp
  • 1 tsp cinnamon – ground
  • 1/2-1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1  1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c kamut flour (or other whole grain flour)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 c coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp dry sweetener (can use organic cane sugar, sucanat, coconut sugar or 1.5 tbsp stevia – stevia is sweeter)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 c pumpkin seeds – dry roasted (If preferred, you can use other nuts or seeds instead.)
  • Optional: 1 tsp finely chopped ginger; coconut cream or ice cream.

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Peel and slice apples and place in large bowl.
  • Using hands, toss apples with 1/2 tsp cinnamon, lemon zest and maple syrup.
  • Place apple mixture into baking dish.
  • Mix together oats, flour, 1/2 cinnamon, dry sweetener, pumpkin seeds (+ ginger if desired) and work in softened coconut oil.
  • ASSEMBLY : Crumble oat mixture over apples.
  • BAKE at 350 degrees for approximately 45-50 mins or until topping is slightly browned.
  • SERVE as is or with a dollop of coconut cream or ice cream. Mmmmmmm….
  • PS… You can vary the amounts of sweetener. Use less if you prefer the crisp a bit more tart.

AYURVEDIC TIPS:  For Vata, this dessert is good as is, but avoid eating it with ice cream. For Pitta, leave out the ginger. For Kapha, desserts should be enjoyed in small amounts and in moderation. Helpful tips for kapha include reducing the sweetener, adding some ginger and serving it plain. {More about ayurveda}

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{JUICED} CARROT CAKE
This recipe works best when you use the left over carrot pulp from making carrot juice.  

  • 1 c kamut flour (or other whole grain flour) YY_carrot-cake
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon – ground
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg – ground
  • 2 organic eggs or vegan equivalent (2 tsp ground flax seeds + 6 tsp hot water)
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 3/4 c organic cane sugar or sucanat
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 c carrot pulp
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger – finely chopped
  • Optional:  1/3 cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds –  crushed; handful of whole seeds for topping.

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease one baking dish (~ 9″ x 9″) with coconut oil.
  • Mix together together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.
  • In a larger bowl, whisk together eggs (or vegan egg replacement), oil, sugar and vanilla.
  • Mix dry ingredients with wet mixture – stir well.
  • Using hands, mix in carrot pulp, ginger and if desired, add crushed seeds.
  • ASSEMBLY : Pour batter into greased baking dish and sprinkle whole seeds on top.
  • BAKE at 350 degrees for approx. 45 to 50 minutes. To test if ready, insert a toothpick or fork – it should be clean when you pull it out.
  • SERVE as is or covered with your favourite icing. (I like this recipe plain or with a light lemon juice and icing sugar glaze .) Soooooo good!

AYURVEDIC TIPS:  For Vata, all good like this. For Pitta, carrots are considered ‘pungent’ or heat producing, so enjoy this dessert in moderation and leave off any lemon glaze. For Kapha, desserts are best as occasional treats, as sweet things increase kapha. This said, to modify this recipe for Kapha, use vegan egg replacer, 1/4 c apple sauce and 1/4 c coconut oil, reduce sweetener and add ginger. Best to leave off the icing for Kapha. {More about ayurveda}

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Please let me know if you try out one of these recipes and what you think! Kindly posts your comments below.

 

 

 

 

10 Ways to Improve Digestion

In Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, proper digestion is paramount to health. When digestion is optimal, we say that agni or the digestive fire is balanced. Our metabolic and immunity systems become stronger, we are energetic, we sleep well, we eliminate properly and we maintain a steady weight. When digestion is weak, we can experience any or all of the following:  gas, bloating, mood swings, weight gain, fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, congestion, sleeplessness, low libido, inflammation, emancipation, heart burn and in serious cases, anemia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), crohn’s disease or diabetes.

Here are some tips on how to improve your digestion, increase your metabolism and strengthen your immunity system:

  1. Start your morning with a glass of warm water. It helps to get the system going.
  2. Eat only when you are hungry. If you aren’t hungry,  your body isn’t ready for food and you will have difficulty digesting.
  3. Don’t wait to eat. Hunger is sign that there are enough digestive juices (acid) in the body to assimilate food. The body will hold this acid in the small intestine for approximately 30 minutes, after which it will be transferred to the colon and reabsorbed into the blood stream. Overtime, this can increase our general acidity.
  4. Create a routine for meals. This may seem to contradict #2 & #3, but if you make a point of eating at the same time everyday, your body will adjust and thrive with the regularity. (This is particularly important for Vata & Pitta doshas.)
  5. Take time to digest. Avoid eating until the previous meal has been digested. Allow approximately three to six hours between meals.
  6. Snacking should be reserved for when you are very hungry between meals. Constant ‘mindless munching’ strains the digestive system.
  7. Fruit is best eaten at room temperature and alone. It digests quickly and therefore, eating fruit with other foods slows its assimilation and causes it to ferment in the gut, creating gas and bloating.  (For these reasons, fruit should never be eaten with a meal or for dessert.)
  8. Avoid iced beverages or food. Cold food amd drinks decreases the strength of our agni (digestive fire) and interferes with digestion.
  9. Eat until you are three-quarters full. You don’t want to leave the table very hungry or very full. Too much food overwhelms our agni.
  10. Practice food sadhana or mindfulness when eating. Enjoy your meals in a settled, quiet atmosphere. Always sit to eat and take time for gratitude. This helps you relax and digest better. Working, reading, watching TV or excessive talking during meals create distractions for your mind and body. This hinders your ability to know when your hunger is satisfied.

BONUS:  We are each a unique composition of elements. Understanding what the best foods are for your individual constitution or dosha will help you achieve your specific health goals and stick to your New Year’s resolutions. Whether you want to loose weight, improve digestion or increase your energy level, an ayurvedic practitioner can assist you in addressing your needs.

 

Yasmin_BIOpic_web_squareMy ayurvedic practice
As an ayurvedic practitioner, I work with people simply wanting to enhance their health as well as with doctors and their patients with serious conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. I design tailored food and lifestyle programs for each client. These programs may also include herbs, yoga, breathing, meditation and other exercises. Although my practice is based in Montreal, I have a satellite office in the West Island and I give consultations online via Skype.

Click here for more information about my ayurvedic services.

Contact me: hello @ yasminyoga.com

 

Related Articles

What is Ayurveda?

Green Juices for Vata, Pitta & Kapha

Natural Remedies for Stomach Flu  (Kitchari recipe featured)

 

 

 

Recipe: Gluten-free Vegan Pancakes

INGREDIENTS:
• 1/2 c brown rice flour
• 1/2 c chickpea flour
• 1 tbsp dry sweetener
• 2 tbsp baking powder
• 1 c milk (soy, almond, rice, coconut or hemp)
• 1 tsp ground flax + 3 tbsp hot water
• 2 tbsp sunflower oil (or coconut oil)
• 1/2 tsp vanilla
+ fruit (see below for best selection for vata, pitta, kapha)

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients first followed by wet ingredients. If you want them super fluffy, let batter rise for 45 mins to an hour. Cook pancakes on a non-stick surface or using a small amount of sunflower oil or coconut oil (for Kapha, use sunflower oil). Serve topped with fruit, maple syrup and perhaps a little soy or almond yogurt.
Bon appétit!

Modifications for Vata
People with a fragile digestive system (low agni) and tendency towards gas, bloating even constipation should use white rice and quinoa flour instead of brown rice and chickpea. Best fruits for Vata: sweet apples, pears & blueberries (all cooked or stewed)

Modifications for Pitta
People with a super fast metabolism and occasional tendency towards heartburn or loose stools should substitute ground flax seeds for ground chia seeds (less heat producing then flax). Pitta should also avoid soy. Best fruits for Pitta: sweet pears & rehydrated raisins and dates (to rehydrate dried fruit, simply soak overnight).

Modifications for Kapha
People with slow digestion and a sluggish metabolism should omit the dry sweetener, salt and oil, and favour unsweetened soy, rice or almond milk. Frying should be done on a non-stick skillet without oil. Best fruits for Kapha: green apples, blueberries, kiwi & pomegranate.

 

Please let me know if you try out this recipe and how it worked out. 🙂

Best-ever Vegan Banana Muffin Recipe

This is most delicious vegan muffin recipe on earth — moist, sweet, but not too sweet and super easy to make. Noe of this “mix froth wet stuff and dry ingredients separately” and then “fold them together” blah blah. I’m not that kind of cook… Plus, it’s wheat-free, egg-free, and soy-free!

This recipe make approx. 18 big muffins and takes max 10-15 mins to throw together. You can also do a half recipe easily.

INGREDIENTS

• 1/2 c coconut butter
• 1/2 c sunflower oil
• 1/2-3/4 c sucanat (natural sugar)
• 2 c kamut flour
• 1 c chickpea flour
• 2 tspoon baking soda
• 1 tsp salt
• 5-6 very ripe mashed bananas*
• 2 tsp pure vanilla
• Options: chocolate chips, walnuts, coconut, etc.

*I recommend freezing almost rotten bananas whenever you have them, so you have a good supply.

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease muffin tins or place those amazing silicone muffin cups or prepare the paper ones.

First, blend or “cream” coconut butter, oil, sweetener and vanilla. Then add dry ingredients. Lastly, mash in the bananas with your hands and stir in the chocolate chips or other extras. Scoop batter into muffin cup and bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until it’s done. (Test with a toothpick or fork.)

TA-DAA! Perfect for a Sunday morning brunch!

PS I feel guilty about being such a bad blogger lately. I’m in the midst of producing this incredible Yoga Basics DVD series. It’s very exciting and is honestly the best thing I’ve ever created. Stay tuned. I can’t wait to tell you more about it!

 

Recipe: Rhubarb Cake

This recipe comes from my good friend Amelie. She served it to us during a cottage weekend this summer. It’s amazing and perfect for August’s rhubarb season. But it calls for quite a bit of sweetener, so Kapha people beware: I suggest you add only half the sweetener and enjoy just a small piece. (More Ayurvedic tips below.)

Ingredients:
2 c Kamut or Spelt flour
2 c sucanat (raw sugar)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 c almond or soy milk
2 eggs or flax egg replacer*
1/3 c coconut oil or sunflower oil
2 1/2 chopped rhubarb

Mix all together. Place in a greased baking dish or cake pan. Add a dusting of sweetener and cinnamon on the top, and bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 mins. Great for brunch, lunch, tea time or dessert anytime!

* Make this recipe vegan! Mix 1 tbsp of ground flax with 3 tbsp of hot water. Wait until it gets a bit gelatinous and then use in baking as the equivalent to one egg.

 

FOR VATA:
All good. Enjoy with a nice cup of herbal tea.

FOR PITTA:
The sour taste of rhubarb can be aggravating for Pitta, but this recipe may be ok, since the rhubarb is baked and balanced by two cups of sweetener. Coconut oil tends to be more cooling and therefore, better for pitta than other oils.

FOR KAPHA:
Sweets are generally not recommended for Kapha. Kapha people can modify this recipe by reducing the amount of sweetener and using flax egg replacer. If you want to be all out Kapha friendly, you can also substitute apple sauce for most of the sunflower oil, and quinoa flour for kamut.

Light Dhal Recipe + Pitta Spice Blend

This Dhal (lentil) soup recipe is delicious and easy to make. It’s particularly fabulous for Pitta dosha, which can get all out of whack in the summer heat. Kapha and Vata can also benefit greatly from this dish, as it is light and easy to digest. Good for weight management programs too!

Ingredients:
• 1 1/2 c split red lentils – soaked for 1 hr first, rinsed & strained
• 1 med size sweet potato – chopped (For Kapha: use 2/3 c chopped cauliflower instead)
• 2 stalks celery – chopped
• 1/3 c asparagus – chopped
• 1/4 c leeks or green onions – chopped
• 1/4 c green peas (Vata may want to omit peas.)
• 3 kale branches – chopped
• 2 tbsp Pitta spice blend*
• 3 c water
• 2 tbsp sunflower oil (or any other cooking oil appropriate for your dosha)

Directions
Soak lentils for a minimum of one hour before using. While lentils are soaking, chop the veggies and prepare the spice blend (see below). Then, in a large pot, sauté celery, asparagus and leeks in sunflower oil for approximately 2 minutes. Then add spice blend and continue to sauté for another two minutes– it will be quite dry. Add about 1/4 cup water and let simmer for another few minutes. Then add lentils, sweet potato (or cauliflower) and the rest of the water. Half cover the pot and let the soup simmer for about 25 minutes or until lentils are soft. Add in the chopped kale and pea and let cook for another 5-10 minutes. Serve over basmati rice or enjoy alone.

 

*Pitta Spice Blend
This fantastic seasoning was inspired by a recipe found in Eat Taste Heal: An Ayurvedic Guidebook and Cookbook for Modern Living by Johnny Brannigan — a great book. It adds flavor and keeps the fires of pitta in-check, especially during the summer.

Ingredients
• 2 tbsp coriander seeds – whole
• 2 tbsp fennel seeds – whole (For Kapha: reduce fennel seeds or replace with 1 tsp fennugreek seeds)
• 2 tbsp cumin seeds – whole
• 2 tbsp mint – dry
• 1 tbsp cardamon seeds – husked, yet whole
• 1 tbsp turmeric – ground

Directions
Grind all the ingredients together in a spice mill or coffee grinder. Place in a clean, dry jar with a lid and shake vigorously to ensure contents are well blended. Store in a dark, cool cupboard. Add to soups, stews, rice dishes, salad dressings and anything else requiring a flavor boost. Use within one month.

Ayurvedic Summer Breakfast Recipes

Here are two amazing ayurvedic summer breakfast recipes.  With the summer on its way, nothing beats a fresh, fruity breakfast that is mostly raw, rich in minerals and protein and 100% gluten-free! Great for kids and adults alike, these recipes are easy to make at home, on vacation, and even while camping. Please note the considerations for vata, pitta, and kapha doshas.

V = Best for Vata
P = Best for Pitta
K = Best for Kapha

 

Delightful Decorated Fruit – Serves 4

Ingredients:

8 cups of your favourite fresh fruit, chopped: pineapple, apples, oranges, mango, berries, bananas, avocado…*

Dressing
2 tbsp almond butter (V/P)
2 tbsp tahini (sesame seed butter) (V)
2 tbsp maple syrup (P/V) or 1 tbsp honey (K/V)
2 tbsp hemp seed oil (V) / coconut oil (P) / sunflower oil (K)
3 tbsp lemon juice
5 tbsp chlorella powder (a rich antioxidant and protein sea algae) or for a lighter taste, use Green Balance by Arbonne
1 1/2 cups orange or apple juice (V)/ pear juice (P/V) / applesauce (K/P)
A sprinkle of shredded coconut (V/P)
Optional: 1-2 pinches cinnamon (V) / mint leaves (P) / fresh grated ginger (K)

Directions:

Chop and toss your selected fruit. In another bowl, blend the first dressing ingredients. Gradually mix in chlorella or Greens Balance with a fork. As the mixture thickens, begin to add juice or applesauce and a dash of water to the desired consistency. Serve fruit in individual bowls and top with dressing. Garnish with coconut or seeds and serve. A great recipe for the whole family.

*Ayurvedic considerations:

Best for Vata: Sweet, warming fruits that are easy to digest (stewed or cooked pears and apples, banana, blueberries, strawberries, papaya, pineapple, mango, peaches, oranges, plums). If vata is high and digestion impaired, it’s best to lightly cook or stew the fruits and eat food warm. Vata can enjoy all sweeteners, nut butters, and juices. You can also add a little cinnamon to help digestion for vata.

Best for Pitta: Sweet, cooling fruits (sweet pears, sweet apples, blueberries, avocado, fresh figs, soaked dates & apricots). Substitute tahini for more almond butter and choose maple syrup over honey. Coconut oil is better for pitta, and pear or apple juice is also preferable. Some fresh mint leaves are tasty in this recipe and good for calming high pitta. FYI, melons should not be added, as they are best eaten alone.

Best for Kapha: Light and mild fruits that are slightly astringent (apples, pears, berries, cherries, dried figs, prunes). Choose honey over maple syrup for sweetener. For high kapha, substitute 1 1/2 cups applesauce and 1/2 water for almond butter, tahini and juice. For Kapha, sunflower oil is best, as is a little added ginger. Lastly, add use 1/3 less chlorella.

Simply Magnificent Muesli – Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 diced apple, pear or any other fresh fruit*
2 bananas sliced (V) / 2 pears or apples (P/K)
2 handfuls field berries*
1/2 cup chopped dried fruit, such as dates, raisins, cranberries, apricots*
3 handfuls chopped raw almonds, walnuts and/or hazelnuts*
1/4 cup shredded coconut
A sprinkling of seeds*
Optional: 1-2 pinches cinnamon (V) / Mint leaves (P) / Fresh grated Ginger (K)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and sprinkle with seeds. If you want to add milk, use almond (V/P/K), hemp (V), or soy (K) milk, and enjoy!

*Ayurvedic considerations

Best for Vata: Vata is good with most fruit, especially sweet, warming fruits easy to digest (stewed or cooked pears and apples, banana, papaya, pineapple, mango, peaches, oranges, plums). The best berries for Vata are blueberries and strawberries. As mentioned above, if agni is low and digestion is impaired, lightly stew or cook ingredients making a warm breakfast blend. Nuts and all dried fruit should be soaked overnight. The best seeds for Vata are hemp, chia, sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower– all soaked overnight. Like in the recipe above, add a bit of cinnamon for digestion.

Best for Pitta: Pitta people need to be mindful of sour and acidic tastes, so their fruit chooses limited. Choose sweet pears, sweet apples, avocado and fresh figs. On occasion and only when very ripe, papaya and mango can also be enjoyed by Pitta. Blueberries are the least sour, so they are the only berry that benefits Pitta. All nuts and dried fruit should be soaked overnight. The best seeds for Pitta are pumpkin and sunflower. Almond milk is favourable for Pitta.

Best for Kapha: Kapha people need like fruits that are not too sweet (apples, pears, cherries, pomegranates). They can also enjoy all the berries in moderation. Nuts are heavy for Kapha, so it’s preferable to limit their quantity to 5-8 nuts per person and to dry roast them. Seeds like pumpkin and sunflower are better than nuts for Kapha. These can also be dry roasted. No need to soak dried fruits, but these too should be enjoyed sparingly as they are quite sweet. Freshly grated ginger is also good in this recipe.

Bon Appetit!

 

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Green Juices for Vata, Pitta & Kapha

There’s nothing like a great green juice to help purify your body, rejuvenate your energy and refresh your palate. If you need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, coffee doesn’t stand a chance next to a glass of swamp water like this!

Here are some of the many benefits of green juices:

• Easier to digest and assimilate that whole vegetables, these juices are rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals;
• High in vitamin K, which plays a significant role in blood clotting, cellular structure, absorption of calcium and the formation of healthy bones;*
• High in magnesium, which maintains the nervous system, supports the heart and regulates calcium, copper, zinc, potassium, and vitamin D;
• Pitta balancing, since green juice is alkaline, thus reducing inflammation by lowering acidity in the body;
• Bitter green veggies like bok choi, collard, dandelion and kale, are great for diabetics and Kapha people, because they lower blood sugar and slow sugar cravings;
• Super high in chlorophyll, which detoxifies the liver, stimulates the production of healthy blood, and increases the immunity system;
• Improves skin by clearing acne, rosacea, and redness on skin;
• Powerful source of antioxidants that helps create an oxygen-rich environment in the body, so cancer cells cannot survive.

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Green juice Recipe for Vata
Handful of Spinach
3-4 branches of rainbow swiss chard
1-2 Lebanese cucumber (without seeds)
Wedge of lemon with peel
1/2″ piece of ginger
1-2 apple or pear
pinch of cinnamon

Vata, being the dosha with the most temperamental digestion, needs to add a few warming ingredients, like ginger and cinnamon, to their green juice. It’s also highly recommended, for vata people especially, to skim the foam off (foam causes gas), and dilute the juice with warm or hot water– 50% juice and 50% water. Only one cup of this blend should be taken at a time. Preserve the rest of the juice in a sealed container in the fridge.

Green juice Recipe for Pitta
3-5 branches of kale, swiss chard or collard
1/2 English cucumber or 2 Lebanese cucumbers
1-2 celery stalks
Fresh mint leaves to taste
Wedge of lemon with peel
1 apple or pear or 1/2 beet
1 tbsp of aloe vera gel (optional)

Pitta people are prone to inflammation, skin irritations and high acidity, so this cooling green juice is amazing for them. Kale, swiss chard, collard and bok choi are better greens than broccoli and spinach, which are slightly warming. Mint and aloe vera are also cooling in nature and are beneficial for pitta as well. Although it changes the color of this recipe from green to murky brown, half a beet is a good alternative to apple or pear, as beets promote the flow of bile, which, in pitta, can get thick and sluggish. Dilute this recipe half juice, half room temperature water. Foam should be discarded.

Green juice Recipe for Kapha
3-4 branches of kale
2-3 branches of swiss chard or dandelion (for the brave)
1-2 celery stalks
1/2″ piece of ginger
1/2 apple
pinch of cayenne

Kapha people benefit from green juice, because its bitter quality reduces their tendency for sugar cravings, lowers blood sugar and can help them with weight management. Kapha has the slowest metabolism of the three doshas, so to help them digest this beverage, we’re adding ginger and a pinch of cayenne. Dilute the juice with a third warm or room temperature water. Only have a small glass at time. Too many liquids aren’t receommeded for kapha.

Notes:
There are many other wonderful green ingredients that can be juiced. Let your creativity flow. Broccoli, parsley, sprouts, lettuce, fennel and wheat grass are also great options. For dosha specific vegetables or fruits, you can ask me or consult your ayurvedic practitioner. There are also lots of online resources you can use. Here’s a good guideline from Vasant Lad: www.ayurveda.com/pdf/food_guidelines.pdf

*Considerations:
People with arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis and atheroma (conditions that can lead to coronary heart disease and stroke) must be cautious of taking too many vegetables high in vitamin K, as vitamin K promotes blood clotting.

Sources for more information on this topic:
http://www.hungryforchange.tv/sugar-is-a-drug
http://www.livestrong.com/article/271987-what-are-the-benefits-of-green-juice/#ixzz1ulsmzuDG
Crazy Sexy Diet, by Kris Carr