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Simple Fall Ayurvedic Detox

A cleanse or detox is best done in the autumn or in the spring when the weather is neither too hot nor too cold. It’s a chance to rest and reset the mind and body. The ideal length of time for a cleanse or detox really depends on the person. I suggest three to five days.

An ayurvedic cleanse works on all levels of the being – physical, emotional, psychological and even spiritual. Quiet time and rest is key. Physical and mental activity during a cleanse is meant to be kept at a minimum. The food plan is also intended to be simple and easy to digest. This way energy is directed towards rejuvenation and healing. It’s important to reduce responsibilities and if possible, take time off work. Think of this as a stay-at-home vacation. If you can get away from your normal routine and be in the country, that’s even better.

Take the time to prepare, schedule and plan for your cleanse.  If you need a personalized cleanse to address specific concerns, I suggest making an appointment with an ayurvedic practitioner.

Here is a simple tridoshic cleanse perfect for autumn:

 

FOOD PLAN

Vegetable detox soup (see below) or stewed apples and pears / apple sauce; herbal tea; green juice – see recipes for green juices; If you can’t take time off work, then reduce workload and responsibilities as much as possible and eat kitchari instead – recipe below.

Vegetable Detox Soup –  Broth is easy to digest and cleansing – recipe from Vaidya Anita Sharma

Ingredients:
•  2 c water
•  1 c broccoli (chopped)
•  leek (chopped)
•  1 c peas (fresh or frozen)
•  1 c swiss chard (chopped)
•  ½ c fennel (chopped)

•  
½ c parsley (chopped)
•  5    garlic cloves
•  1 c  green cabbage (chopped)
•  1“  ginger (freshly grated)
•  pinch cayenne pepper
•  pinch salt
Put everything into a pot & bring to a boil. Then simmer for 15-20 mins. Strain and drink broth only or blend.

HERBS

Take Triphala ¼ tsp 3x a day or ½ tsp am & pm with good amount of warm water. It’s a tridoshic (good for everyone) herbal blend for cleansing.

Other herbs – optional:
• VATA for nervous system:  Bramari ¼ – ½ tsp in water at night and/or ashwaganda ¼- ½ tsp am & pm
• PITTA For liver: Milkthistle in capsule (2 x 500 mg am – first thing) or Kutki 1-2 capsules (500 mg) am;
• KAPHA for congestion: ½ tsp Triphala Guggul am & pm; Trikut may also be good.


REST & LET GO

•  Reduce mental work and pressure – best to take time off work and computer*;
  Rest – go to bed before 10 pm; Take naps if needed;
  Yoga Nidra– deep yogic rest or a long savasana (Richard Miller has fantastic guided Yoga Nidra practices);
  Letting go exercise:  Write out all your frustrations, worries and fears on paper. Be brutally honest –even curse and swear. Dig deep and get out all your emotions. Then, as safely as possible, burn the pages as a symbolic release. Do this daily, maybe even twice a day, during your cleanse.

 

YY_breathing_alt_nostril_kapalbhati-newMEDITATION & BREATHING

  Meditation morning and evening – download a 30 min guided meditation;
  Om chanting, prayer and/or expressions of gratitude and devotion;
  Pranyama Breathing: Alternate Nostril Breathing & Kapalabhati 4 x 50 per day – download instructions;

 

OTHER

  Ayurvedic self massage – instructions via Chopra Centre
  Journal about your dreams, desires, and the things you love and appreciate in life;
  Artistic pursuits: draw, write, paint, knit, etc.
  Read uplifting or spiritual texts (jnana yoga).
  Walk in nature – particularly soothing for Pitta;
  Gentle Yoga – download the pawan muktasana series for joint mobility;
  Ayurvedic Massage & Shirodhara is recommended.

 

POST CLEANSE

Best to ease back into responsibilities and work. For food, I recommend keeping the diet simple for several days after cleansing. Eat small meals. Having kitchari, a stew of lentils and rice, is ideal an transition meal. Here’s a kitchari recipe, also inspired by my teacher Anita Sharma:

Kitchari Recipe

Ingredients
•  1 c split mung beans or red lentils (soak for 1 hr before)
•  2 c rice or quinoa (or 1 c quinoa & 1 c barley for kapha)
•  4 1/2 c water
•  3/4 tsp sea salt & black pepper
•  1 tbsp freshly ground cumin
•  1 tbsp freshly ground coriander seeds

•  1 tbsp freshly ground fennel seeds
•  1 tbsp turmeric
•  Optional:  pinch of hing for Vata;  or pinch of cayenne pepper for Kapha
•  Desired veggies – chopped (add leafy greens at the end)
Put everything into a pot & bring to a boil. Then cover & let simmer for on Low for ~45mins. You may enjoy with 1-2tsp of ghee (clarified butter) or plain yogurt can also be good with this dish.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes. 

Related Articles

What is Ayurveda?

10 Ways to Improve Digestion

Green Juices for Vata, Pitta & Kapha

 

 

 

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}

 ——————————————————————————–

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}

  ———————————————————————————

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}

 ———————————————————————————

{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}

  ———————————————————————————

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

 

 

 

 

What’s my Dosha?

What’s my dosha? is a rather complex question, because every living creature is composed of all five elements and all three doshas– vata, pitta and kapha.  Each of the ayurvedic constitutions (doshas) have distinct attributes and responsibilities in the body. You cannot survive without them. This said, we are not one-third vata, one-third pitta and one-third kapha. There is an infinite number of doshic combinations and no two individuals are exactly the same.  We all have a unique balance that makes me, me and you, you. One’s essential nature is inherited from our parents and does not change.  This is Prakruti.

When we are healthy and balanced, we experience the favorable qualities of the doshas and our Prakruti is revealed. When we are imbalanced or sick, we experience Vikruti, the shadow or unfavourable qualities of the doshas.  Vikruti (imbalance state) can also be inherited from our parents and grandparents. Since we only treat vikurti in Ayurveda, what’s important to determine are what doshas are out of balance. Why? Because we don’t fix what ain’t broke!

Here’s how to tell when a dosha is out of balance:

VATA (air & space)

Vata character when balanced

•  Vibrant, lively, enthusiastic
•  Clear and alert mind – fast learner
•  Flexible
•  Adaptability
•  Imaginative, creative, artistic
•  Sensitive/ clairvoyant
•  Talkative, energetic, quick to respond
•  Social butterfly

What aggravates Vata 

•  Irregular routine – irregular meals & sleep
•  Staying up late
•  Multi-tasking & excessive mental work
•  Cold, dry weather
•  Bitter, astringent, pungent or cold food
•  Traveling, injury, trauma
* Bitter emotions like grief or astringent emotions like fear, aggravate Vata. 

When out of balance – Symptom –> Pain

•  Restless, unsettled, forgetfulness
•  Light interrupted sleep, insomnia
•  Tendency to overexert then crash
•  Fatigued, stiff, dryness
•  Anxious, worried, lonely, depressed, unstable
•  Underweight, malnutrition
•  Poor digestion, gas, bloating, constipation

Conditions: arthritis, dehydration, mental illness, anorexia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease

To balance Vata – Calm & soothe

•  Create routine for meals, work & sleep
•  Favour warmth & rest
•  Reduce stress, travel, disturbing sounds & loud music
•  Favour warm lubricating, nourishing food
•  Favour soft colors, calming music
•  Gentle flowing yoga & restorative poses
•  Guided meditation & rest

PITTA (Fire & water)

 Pitta character when balanced

•  Warm, loving, passionate, contented
•  Enjoys challenges, motivated
•  Strong digestion & immunity
•  Lustrous complexion
•  Good concentration
•  Articulate and precise speech
•  Courageous, bold
•  Sharp wit, intelligent, focused

What aggravates Pitta 

•  Excessive heat or exposure to the sun
•  Alcohol, smoking, drugs
•  Time pressure, deadlines, competition
•  Excessive activity – physical or mental
•  Too much spicy, sour or salty food
•  Skipping meals
* Sour emotions like envy or pungent emotions like anger, aggravate Pitta

When out of balance – Symptom à Inflammation

•  Demanding, aggressive, perfectionist
•  Tendency towards frustration, anger
•  Tendency towards skin irritation & infection
•  Extreme hunger, allergies
•  Prematurely gray hair /early hair loss

Conditions: ulcers, heart burn, IBS, OCD, high blood pressure, acne, liver issues, addiction, hypoglycaemia, auto-immune diseases
To balance Pitta – Refresh & release tension
 •  Reduce stimulants, spicy foods and pressure
•  Favour coolness, leisure, natural beauty, rest  & moderation
•  Favour sweet, bitter & astringent taste
•  Work on letting go of anger & cleanse blood
•  Gentle yoga in nature with some challenge
•  Mantra meditation & rest

KAPHA (earth & water) 

Kapha character when balanced 

•  Affectionate, compassionate
•  Nurturing, calm, relaxed
•  Forgiving, loyal, Emotionally steady
•  Good listener & good memory
•  Slow, methodical, reliable
•  Strong stamina
•  Natural resistance to sickness
•  Soft skin, melodious voice

What aggravates Kapha

•  Oversleeping
•  Overeating
•  Insufficient exercise
•  Too little variety in life
•  Heavy, unctuous foods
•  Too much sweet, sour or salty food
•  Cold, wet weather
* Sweet emotions like desire, or salty emotions like greed, aggravate Kapha.

When out of balance – Symptom –> Swelling

•  Complacent, dull, boring
•  Sluggish, lethargic, lazy, no ambition
•  Oily hair & skin
•  Coughing, phlegm, congestion
•  Slow digestion & metabolism
•  Heavy, overweight, emotional eater
•  Possessive, over attached, needy
•  Tendency to oversleep

Conditions: obesity, chronic fatigue, kidney issues, blocked arteries, diabetes, growths (tumors)

To balance Kapha – Motivate & encourage

•  Reduce sweets & heavy food
•  Regular exercise – daily
•  Favour stimulation, new experiences, variety
•  Sleep less, eat small meals & let go
•  Favour pungent, bitter & astringent taste.
•  Active, invigorating & stimulating yoga
•  Mantra meditation or walking meditation

Related Articles

What is Ayurveda?

10 Ways to Improve Digestion

Green Juices for Vata, Pitta & Kapha

Natural Remedies for Stomach Flu  (Kitchari recipe featured)

 

*Find me 

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Life of a yogini

Time’s flown by since my last post. Apart from my regular practice and teaching schedule, I’ve been especially busy and productive this winter. Some highlights:


YOGA BASICS DVD LAUNCH

YYO_4705-blog
After months working in virtual isolation on my collection of yoga DVDs for beginners, it’s euphoric to finally celebrate their release! February was all about the Yoga Basics DVDs. The video triology came out January 2 and we had two huge parties to celebrate: Feb. 2 at  Lululemon Athletica Fairview in the West Island  and Feb. 13 at Lululemon Ste Catherine St downtown Montreal. There was a had a red carpet Mount-Royal Photobooth, plush gift bags, DJ Nkla, Ethereal Tribal belly dancers, live drumming by James Olmsted, raffle prizes and of course, a speech about passion and the meaning of yoga by yours truly. (see media coverage)

I am grateful to the event sponsors: Vega – my favourite whole food products to go; Yoga Jeans – world’s most comfortable jeans and made in Quebec; Rise Kombucha – fantastic fermented tea beverage; Juicy Lotus – best little veggie cafe in Montreal; Organic Traditions – the organic chocolate almonds are addictive; Vitamin & Sea – beautiful natural skin care line; David’s Tea – designer teas; Victoria Park – where I teach Barre and Yoga. (see my schedule)


ASTAP 2013 BEGINS

ASTAP_paulA.S.T.A.P. is my Advanced Student Teacher Apprenticeship Program, a 300 hour vinyasa yoga teacher training. This year, I am running the program with my longtime friend Jamie Lee, a fellow ashtanga teacher and fantastic visionary artist. Our group is fabulous. We are exactly half-men and half-women. This never happens. Yoga has, in recent years, been a mostly female activity. We began at the top of February. The schedule includes weekend workshops once a month  and one weekly practice session. (See their curriculum) I am encouraged and inspired by the diversity amongst our participants — retail owner, e-marketing master, financial planner, contractor, translator, yoga teacher and so on.


TORONTO TOUR

Fresh_yyA recent trip to Toronto convinced me that Montreal’s revival city is actually kinda cool. I loved running around town with friends dinning at great vegetarian restaurants and practicing with different instructors. Some notable TO destinations: Fresh  – my favourite is the ‘beach bowl’, sans sun-dried tomatoes; Live – a mostly raw resto with incredible desserts; The Drake Hotel – wicked decor and an amazing terrace; Ashtanga Yoga Centre Toronto – most popular Mysore program in Canada, because David Robson is lovely; Feel Good Guru – great little organic raw juicery;  Union Studio – I definitely recommend a Barre class with Christie Ness; And last but not least, the Art Gallery of Ontario – the model ship collection stands out most for me.

MARCHing on
I am currently on the train once again riding t to Toronto – currently on the train.  This time for the Yoga Conference & Show, where I am presenting three workshops: Immunity Flow Yoga; Yoga for the Ayurvedic Constitutions: Vata, Pitta & Kapha; Understanding a Balanced (Prakurti) vs Imbalanced (Vikurti) state.

All and all life is good!


SEE ME – FIND ME
Thur. Mar 21, 6:20am:
  I am on Breakfast Television Toronto – tune in!
Fri. Mar 22 :  I am interviewed on CTV TorontoSat. Mar 23, 10:30am : I am giving a demo class at the Toronto Conference Centre – see schedule.
Wed. Mar. 27 : The new RSVP Montreal Magazine comes out – look for my wellness section!
Thurs. Apr. 18 : 108th Day of the Year (and three year anniversary of my 108×108) – celebratory practice with me at le Studio de Yoga Wanderlust

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Chai recipes for Vata, Pitta, Kapha & kids

Given the season, here are some Chai recipes for Vata, Pita, Kapha & kids* too. Chai is medicinal and a great substitute for coffee or traditional hot chocolate and perfect for a wintery afternoon — think aprés-ski beverage! Mmmmm…

The word chai has a couple of meanings, which, in my opinion, are clearly related. In Hebrew, ‘chai’ means ‘life’. (It is also a symbol for the number 18, a factor of the auspicious number 108.) ‘Chai’ in many parts of the world, simply means ‘tea’. This warm and soothing beverage is usually made with spices, herbs and milk. In ayurvedic medicine, chai is considered a  rasayana, a remedy that lengthens lifespan. (‘Rasayana’ literally means ‘the path to [life’s] essence’.)

Here are some great chai recipes I share with my ayurvedic clients.
*See below, if you’re not sure how to choose which chai is for you.

2013-Jan26-yas-chai

Chai is perfect on a snowy afternoon.

Vata Chai
(for calming and warming)

  • 3 c filtered water
  • 4 green cardamom pods (crushed)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 whole star anise pods
  • 1 cinnamon sticks or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp whole fennel seeds
  • Optional: 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
    +
  • 1 c almond, rice or seed milk
  • Raw organic sugar or Sucanat

Kapha Chai
(for stimulating & circulation)

  • 3 c filtered water
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger or ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp whole fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp whole cardamom pods (green or black)
  • ½ tsp whole cloves
  • 1 star anise pods
  • 1 cinnamon sticks or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Optional:  ½ tsp black tea leaves
    +
  • 1 c almond milk or seed milk or soy milk;
  • Honey or stevia
Pitta Chai
(for soothing and relaxing – not too heating)
  • 3 c filtered water
  • 5 mini rose buds or 1 tsp rose petals
  • 1 tsp black cardamom seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel
  • ½ cinnamon stick or ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean stick or 1 tsp ground vanilla
  • Optional: 2 tbsp pure organic cocoa nibs or 1 tbsp cocoa powder
    +
  • 1 c almond milk or seed milk or ½ c coconut milk
  • Maple Syrup or Natural cane sugar

Kids Chai
(for a hot chocolate alternative, good night sleep)

  • 3 c filtered water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 c almond or soy milk
  • Maple syrup or honey

Directions
1. In a large saucepan, boil water over high heat;
2. Add in spices / herbs, reduce heat and let simmer for ten minutes.
3. Remove from heat and let tea cool for a few minutes before stirring in milk and sweetener to taste.
4. Pour the chai through a strainer into cups or mugs and enjoy!

(Makes about four cups of chai.)

 

* What’s my dosha?
Vata, Pitta & Kapha are the three ayurvedic constitutions or doshas. Although we have all three constitutions within us, one tends to be more dominant and/or out of balance than the others. In ayurveda, we treat the imbalanced doshas, so here’s a little guide to help you choose which Chai recipe is for you.

 

Choose the Vata recipe, if you have some or all of these symptoms:
You are cold all the time;
• You have digestive issues like gas, bloating and/or constipation;
• You have restless or disturbed sleep;

Choose the Kapha recipe, if you have some or all of these symptoms:
• You feel lethargic and heavy;
• You have a slow metabolism;
• You tend to oversleep;

Choose the Pitta recipe, if you have some or all of these symptoms:
• You have redness in skin and often feel hot;
• You have heart burn or feel acidic;
• You tend to have soft or loose stool;

Read more

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. :)

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.

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