Habits for Vibrant Health 3

Habits for Vibrant Health 3

Rise and Shine

There are many reasons to wake up and get going in the morning so this is a focus on the connection to the unseen (but deeply felt) layers of ourselves and the reasons for awakening with intention. Right away if you have not read the previous two blogs on this adventure into the lifestyle habits from Ayurveda then start here with Habits for Vibrant Health and then Habits for Vibrant Health 2 as these practices are all interconnected and introduced in an intentional order.

So from the previous two posts we now know the important connection of eating a lighter and earlier dinner to reach deeper states of sleep so we can wake in the morning feeling rested and ready to shine. The morning is a very influential time with a quality containing many potentials for the direction of the day, this idea leads to the power of waking up with an intention or miracle mindset!

Have you noticed the difference of how you feel later in the day from when waking up and directly jumping into a reaction mode rather than taking the time to enjoy the intricate details and subtle qualities the morning contains? Just as we begin to wake up our mind is coming back from dream land and in an expanded state, this state when we use it for our benefit is fertile ground for planting new intentions and inviting new perspectives. Starting the day with this template sets the trajectory and opens the perspective to the larger happenings of the world around us. But this is just one of the many pieces to this puzzle.

So we have a variety of channels flowing in the body ranging from the subtle at the top of the body to the gross at the lower end of the body. The morning is a time when the energy is already at the top, especially upon waking and is needed to move in a downward and grounding way. Doing this creates a stronger foundation and brings us deeper into our body so we can face the days challenges and respond to those challenges with more integrity.

Movement in the morning should be a non-negotiable for everybody since it opens up the body stimulating the channels from the subtle to the gross. Movement combined with deeper breathing opens up specific channels, clears the mind making room to create a brand new experience and brings in the potential for how we want to experience the day. When these channels are clear it becomes easier to hit the rest button, easier to let go of yesterdays challenges and easier to invite the day with a clear mind and clear body.

The food we ate yesterday affects us on many levels beyond just the physical and cellular structure of our body. From how it was prepared to our mental and emotional state while eating, these subtle details affect how we feel which is just one part of why we need to fully eliminate yesterdays food clearing the larger channels making room for the subtler channels and the new days’ experiences.

As I dove deeper into these habits I began to identify what was preventing me from growing into my next phase, preventing me from living my values and appreciating how good it feels to thrive. For myself, starting the day in a constructive way comes down to a few easy steps I have adopted and integrated to create a strategic routine. I start with the usual oral hygiene, drinking water and without hesitation I start moving. Whether its jumping jacks, sun salutations or foam rolling I open up the body with movement and intentional breathing.  I find it much easier to sit, listen and focus on an intention for the day and to invite the miracle mindset after moving and getting the channels flowing.

Habits for Vibrant Health 2

Habits for Vibrant Health 2

Circadian cycles and importance of sleep.

What did humans do in the evening before email, smart phones and television? How often do we completely honor our need for rest? How often do you wake up in the morning feeling ready to go fully charged? I know I have found myself many times headed to my bed when twenty minutes later I notice I was mindlessly scrolling through social media with a tense face and strained eyes wondering why I have a difficult time falling asleep. It can feel rewarding to relax in front of a screen before bed watching a movie or tv show however doing this too often may not be the wisest choice to set up for the deep rest we truly need.

The purpose of this is to create balance and come back to the basic circadian rhythms of the planet we live on. Through consciously making micro adjustments to our routines we can reconnect to this circadian cycle setting ourselves up to truly experience deep restful sleep. But its not just about going to bed earlier, it includes taking the time to settle in and enjoy the evening. Disconnecting from the to do lists which aren’t going anywhere, disconnecting from work and using healthy boundaries for ourselves to fully tune in and feel where we need attention and how to fulfill it.

Sometimes we do need to shake things up a bit and when we have established healthy routines and functional boundaries, facilitating our wild side can be much more fulfilling than regular indulging, with this in mind recovery from allowing the wild side out tends to smooth out more quickly. And of course sometimes we need more sleep than others and which simple body awareness practices can do wonders to notice when the longer nights of rest or sleeping in with no agenda are needed.

One of the key points to creating a healthy bedtime routine is the earlier and lighter dinner practice from my previous blog Habits for Vibrant Health. It does take some time to adjust to the new lighter feeling in the body, especially if you are used to the feeling of eating a very filling and heavy dinner as I was or topping it off with dessert. And thats where I began to notice the merging of these habits and how they all depend on each other as whole to create optimal states into feeling great.

Listen to your body, understand the signs that show fatigue, stress, overwhelm and don’t just push it aside. Understanding the signs is a great way to reflect on how our jobs, relationships and everyday situations are affecting us and to see where we can use some extra attention. The goal is creating an easier experience, keeping overwhelm, anxiety and stress levels to a minimum especially in the evening.

At some point in recent history there was the transition to watching television during dinner time and before bed, but is this helping us restore energy or depleting energy and raising stress through redirecting our attention. What are the obstacles preventing me from creating a healthy bedtime routine? What is something kind and settling I can do for myself before bed? I invite you to ask these questions next time you head for the couch with the remote in hand.

Rather than burning the candle at both ends take some time to direct the focus inward, listening to the needs of our bodies, rebuilding the energy reserves and setting ourselves up for the next day. Find what is most relaxing and recharging for you and schedule it in for the end of the day after dinner. Turn down the lights, light some candles, its ok to not be reachable by the outside world for a few hours.

If you are interested in learning more about how to create recipes for deep restful sleep fill out the form below to sign up for a FREE 40 minute personal wellness evolution workshop with me. 

 

 

 

Habits for Vibrant Health

Habits for Vibrant Health

 

This is about understanding our bodies digestion through the lens of Ayurveda. It s such a fundamental process which when out of sync has the potential to cause many levels of dis-ease through our lives and on the opposite, when its working properly it has the potential to create a more easeful experience. From bloating, post eating abdominal pain, lethargy, constipation, mood swings, and all the other complications associated with slow bowels, digestion and ability to break down food is a massively impactful subject to master.

It was when I learned about the relation our digestion has to the rhythms of the rising and setting sun each day that the basics of this sister science to yoga started making sense. This is the first of a series of explanations and aha moments I’ve had since adopting ten fundamental habits from Ayurveda and began noticing the changes.

Agni to a degree is understood as the digestive fire in our belly, think of the burning hunger you feel when you haven’t had any food in some time that is the Agni. However Agni is not limited to that of digesting the physical food we eat but it also includes the assimilation of our daily experiences, emotions and cellular communication among others. So with this understanding there are very simple things to do which help build the strength of the digestive fire as are many which put out the fire keeping our digestion down and slow moving.

First is timing and frequency of stuffing our face and with the abundance of food in our culture we can see the rise of disease from not only poor food choices but also never giving our bodies a break. So back to the sun rising and setting and begin to get a sense of the midday sun shining its strong warmth upon you. This midday sunshine when its at its highest is also the time of day when our digestive fire peaks, and just as the sun does our Agni looses intensity as the day progresses. The basic idea behind this relationship is that of consuming the hardest to digest foods during the midday meal or lunch and having something light for diner so our body can enter deeper states of sleep.

Just as the ancient practices conclude, modern studies have shown humans having spikes in bile production which we use for breaking down and assimilating food and just as the traditions follow, the bile peaks around 1pm and then another less intense spike in the evening before levels fall during the night. This makes sense when we align the understanding of circadian rhythms to humans beings and reflect how in sync we are to the this natural cycle.

The most personally impactful discipline to this practice of eating a lighter diner and a more traditional supper is meal spacing and not to constantly snack between meal time. It sounds a bit strict but think of smothering a fire constantly throughout the day as you wonder why it is always struggling to catch back up. The same thing goes for our Agni in the belly, if we are snacking between meals we never give the digestive juices time to build up strength.

So how I would summarize this practice of meal spacing is to relate to the modern approach of intermittent fasting or as some of the science / bio-nerds ( myself included) would call it, cyclical ketosis. Its when our energy sources are cycling between fat and glucose where on one level we enter a much different perspective on life. This can happen dramatically when we are in the fat burning mode as we burn up the toxins we have accumulated through our daily life and store in the adipose tissue. Think of burning through this tissue as breaking old patterns, beliefs and ways of approaching our daily existence.

Remember to enjoy the new ideas you adopt in your life and that changing old patterns are not always easy but when we approach the situation as a child would with curiosity and take the small steps on a new path it lessens the pressure and deepens the reward.

Seasonal eating fundamentals

Seasonal eating fundamentals

part 2, Regional Awakening

Without a doubt its almost impossible to limit your foods to only those from your neighborhood especially when we are living in an urban environment, but that doesn’t mean we have to disregard this practice of eating local completely.

It starts with awareness.

Through the agricultural and industrial revolution we have become increasingly more distant from our environment and while some of us use air conditioning all year and never spend extended periods outdoors in the elements, our ways of consuming food are far from being in harmony with the ecosystem we are inherently involved with. I believe there is an underlying benefit from cultivating this regional awareness as it brings us closer to the planet and deepens our relationship to it.

When walking through a grocery store or health food store we are bombarded with adds and fancy labels trying to sell us something. Not that all of these foods are bad but there seems to be many trends and fads with the latest superfoods from near or far and what they may do for us. My way of navigating this subject is to become focused on the foods growing closest to me which can be much more nutritionally interesting and also tend to be the freshest available. So here are a few tips to gain experience and an understanding for your local environment and the edible treats it has to offer.

  1. Search online or find a book on local ecology and edible plants then spend more time in nature and deepen your sense of the environment.
  2. Join guided nature walks where time can be taken to identify the different plant species while gaining knowledge from the guide.
  3. Visiting local farmers markets is a great way to begin identifying what is being grown close to home. It feels different than walking through a grocery store as the you notice the vegetables and fruits are not perfectly shaped and colored but rather unique and much more interesting.

Foraging and shopping at local markets help to lessen the carbon footprint we are leaving behind with every purchase so it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing scenario. Even if we can make only a few choices to eat food grown close to home we lessen the impact of emissions and environmental damage creating momentum in a progressive direction.

 

 

Summer Tips

Summer Tips

Cultivating seasonal awareness and understanding how it responds in your body is a great way to thrive all year long. If you are in the northern hemisphere its summer which means cherries, melons, peaches, cucumber and many other fresh fruits are great ways to stay cool and hydrated in the warm sun.

Its easy to become dehydrated very quickly especially when sunshine is combined with hard to digest foods. Its not difficult to drink water although many of us are chronically dehydrated due not meeting the amount of what we really need. This combined with food containing little to no water content leaves us even more thirsty.  Thirst comes in many cravings and sensations and with a disconnection from our bodies its challenging to translate whether the hunger we feel is really that or our cells craving water.

From the many potential reasons for dehydration I like these simple ways to stay hydrated feeling light and energized.

  1. Eat a majority of whole foods. Raw or lightly cooked vegetables and think of adding cooling herbs such as mint, dill and fennel.

  2. If you will be out in the sun for long periods of time, drink more water than you think you may need. To keep it interesting think of adding a few slices of fresh fruit to your water bottle.

  3. Rather than reaching for the tortilla chips or other dehydrated snacks, allow yourself to indulge in the fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. Don’t forget to take the time to relax in the shade and just be!

 

 

Kombucha Recipe

Kombucha Recipe

Bubbly, tangy, delicious kombucha. If you are not familiar with this beverage, start your exploration here at Kombucha Kamp. If you are familiar with the beverage then welcome back.

This is a short tutorial on the process of brewing and flavoring this beverage based on my experience and explorations of recipes. Its very easy to do and once you get started its easy to keep the momentum.

If you are like me, then you will be skeptical about the sugar content. I consider myself to be quite sensitive to sugar and smaller servings of kombucha ( 6- 8 fl oz’s) does not affect me the way other sugar containing foods do, which to my understanding has to do with the sugar being food for the bacteria and yeast creating a crisp and clean end product. I have tried to use different types of sugar for this operation and nothing compares to the classic organic unbleached cane sugar. Im not sure why, but after failing multiple times experimenting with other options I have quit trying to change a good thing.

Next is the vessel to brew your elixir. I use a gallon Anchor jar, it has a wide mouth, it is  sturdy, very affordable and you can buy it on amazon. Cheese cloth will be needed to cover the jar allowing air to flow through so the bacteria can breathe while keeping dust, small insects and bugs from contaminating the brew.

The SCOBY, which is a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast, is what makes kombucha what it is.  You can buy a scoby from Kombucha Kamp or as I recently have done, you can grow your own from a bottle of store bought unflavored raw kombucha. If you want to try to grow you own let me know and I will create another tutorial on that process.

Tea is used as the base of the brew and a green or black tea is the most common. I personally enjoy the flavor of earl grey which is a black tea infused with essential oil from orange. I have used others for the base such as oolong so its just a personal preference.

Go Time!

Tools/ equipment needed

Ingredients

Directions

  • Brew your chosen tea (steeping for five minutes)

  • Strain tea into your anchor jar

  • add sugar and allow it to completely dissolve

  • fill the vessel with water leaving room for kombucha starter and scoby ( about 3 inches from the top)

  • Allow to cool to room temperature (  Very Important)

  • add starter kombucha and scoby

  • cover with cheese cloth and secure with a rubber band

It will take 7-12 days for the kombucha to mature for the first brew. I recommend tasting it at 7 days and based on your flavor preference harvesting or continuing to brew longer. Shorter brew will yield a sweeter beverage, longer brew a more tart beverage. My preference is 10 days. During this time you will notice a new scoby forming on top of the brew. This is perfect and referred to as the baby, and sure enough the original scoby used is the Mother.

Harvesting procedure

You will need jars or bottles to store your finished brew so find your favorite shape and size and go from there making sure they are very clean before transferring the kombucha. Remove the baby scoby and mother from the vessel and set aside in a clean bowl along with 16 oz of the brew for the next batches’ starter. Bottling is the next step as is the option to flavor your brew. See the options below for flavoring. You also have the option to continue fermenting which I usually do for another two days after bottling and flavoring the kombucha which will greaten the effervescence or the option to go straight into refrigeration. At this stage it is ready to drink but I find as it matures for another few days the flavor is much better.

Flavoring options per 24 oz bottle

  1. 2 oz lemon juice, 1 oz ginger juice

  2. 2 oz lemon juice, 4 oz grapefruit juice

  3. Get creative and try your own