Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Improve Your Gut Health In 2018

Once again, our very own Manas Kshirsagar wrote an amazing article originally published on  . In this article he discuss how to recharge gut health! Read this his article below.

7 Easy Ways to Recharge Your Gut in 2018

With all the glorious excesses of the holidays behind us — pastries, parties, and New Year’s Eve celebrations, oh my — you might be feeling a bit worn out. Fatigue, brain fog, and a few extra pounds around your middle are all signs that your digestive system could use a little tune-up. No time for a big cleanse? No worries. We’ve got your back — and some easy, age-old Ayurvedic tips to gently purify and strengthen your digestion.
Here are seven of our favorite (and simple!) strategies for restoring and maintaining gut health in 2018:

1. Start Your Day with Lemon Water

According to ancient Ayurvedic texts, drinking a glass of lukewarm water mixed with a spoonful of raw unpasteurized, unheated honey* and fresh lemon juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach helps to cleanse the digestive tract. Moreover, lemon juice is high in vitamin C, and honey helps to fire up your agni. It’s a simple little formula, but it helps you start the day off with some gentle detoxification.

2. Follow a Rest and Repair Diet

When you need to get your digestion back on track, consider a Rest and Repair diet, recommends Keith Wallace, PhD, co-author of Gut Crisis. Reducing or eliminating your intake of wheat, sugar, and dairy for several weeks can do wonders for your system. And if sugar cravings start to feel unmanageable, try popping a cardamom pod in your mouth and sucking on it, says Kulreet Chaudhary, M.D., author of The Prime: “Cardamom ties into your dopamine reward system, satiating your sugar craving without providing you with sugar that will overload your dopamine receptors.” Dr. Chaudhary also recommends drinking bone broth to repair your gut wall.

3. Feed Your Inner Fire Before Meals

Think of your digestive fire, or agni, as a fire. If you’ve been eating lots of rich, heavy, or sugary foods, you’ve heaped a lot of logs on your internal flame! As a result, the fire might be a bit diminished. A great way to rekindle agni before meals, when you need it most, is to eat a slice of ginger with freshly-squeezed lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Or, if you’re suffering from an acid stomach (which can also happen with overeating), Pomegranate Chutney’s the way to go. Try Aci-Balance to naturally deal with occasional acid indigestion without putting your body into acid rebound.

4. Drink Lassi Instead of Popping Probiotics

Why buy expensive probiotic pills when you can get a solid dose of healthy gut bacteria from a glass of delicious lassi? Rich in lactobacilli — bacteria your intestines need to function well — lassi helps to prevent and reduce gas and bloating when you drink it with meals. And, if you use our digestive lassi recipe, you’ll also benefit from digestion-boosting spices like ginger, cumin, and coriander. There are plenty of other lassi recipes to explore, from classic mango to rose petal mint, and other delicious variations. Also, every farmer knows that “if the ground isn’t fertile, the plants won’t grow.” The same holds true for the millions of friends living with us in our gut. Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) is a daily detox that tones the digestive tract and makes it fertile ground for a healthy gut microbiome.

5. Sip Some Detoxifying Spice Tea

Sometimes the simplest things are the most powerful. Organic Digest & Detox Tea helps stimulate the lymphatic system, improves nutrient absorption, and flushes toxins through the urinary tract. This potent brew contains organic cumin, fennel, and coriander seeds, which help counter sluggish digestion.

6. Step Outside

Stanford research shows that spending time outside helps to soothe the mind and improves mental health. As the mind and the gut are intimately linked (the gut has a “mind” all its own called the enteric nervous system), spending time outside can be therapeutic for your stomach, too. Moreover, morning walks are considered a rasayana (rejuvenative), according to ancient Ayurvedic texts. “Get out in the morning for at least twenty minutes, even on a cloudy day, and walk,” says Nancy Lonsdorf, M.D., in this video. “Enjoy the beautiful, enlivening, refreshing air of the morning and the morning light. It will benefit your metabolism and your weight all day long and also help you sleep at night.”

7. Tone Your Tummy — on the Inside

While boosting your friendly bacteria intake is important, you also need to create an environment where it can take hold and flourish. Studies suggest that 85% of North American adults have at least one unwanted form of flora in their gut. Flora Tone contains herbs like holarrhena, caraway, vidanga, and ajowan, which were traditionally prescribed by ancient Ayurvedic practitioners to support patients’ natural ability to expel parasites and promote healthy intestinal flora.
Any favorite Ayurvedic gut-boosting tips you’d like to share? Drop us a line in the comments, below. And with that, we wish you a healthy new year!
*According to Charaka, one of the greatest of all ancient Ayurvedic sages, honey is considered toxic if heated; heating makes it extremely hard to digest and can lead to ama.

The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Why You Should Cook Your Own Meals

We all know we should cook more and eat out less. But our lives are so hectic sometimes (or a lot of times!) it's just easier to order take out or hit a drive through on our way home. But honestly, no matter how busy we are, it's about priorities and making the time. We have to prep and set ourselves up for success. Brittany Wright, a Registered Dietician and Yoga Instructor, wrote a compelling article explaining why we should make cooking at home a priority. Read her article on Chopra.com below.

As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” The human body is made of trillions of cells involved in a continuous cycle of cell death and rebirth. Although genetics plays a large role in susceptibility to disease, you have an opportunity each and every day to feed your cells with vital life energy from the food you eat. The food you take in quite literally becomes the building blocks of your physical self.
These days, there is no shortage of fuel options. You can buy frozen meals, eat out at a nice restaurant, or grab something on the fly through a drive-through. With pre-packaged and dining-out options become increasingly inexpensive, it can be difficult to remember why you might ever choose to spend time in your kitchen!
The following are three benefits to choose to cook at home.

1. Higher Quality Ingredients

Cooking fats

Cooking your own food enables you to be involved in every step of the ingredient-selection process. Pre-packaged and restaurant foods are typically prepared using inexpensive and low-grade salad oils, such as soybean or vegetable oil. These types of oils promote inflammation.
Most home-cooked recipes, however, feature ghee, butter, coconut, or olive oil. By cooking your own food, you control the type of fats you consume; therefore, you can optimize your diet to prevent inflammation.

Real-food spices and seasonings

At home, you are in complete control over the spices used during the cooking process.
You may add less salt, opting instead for fresh or dried herbs. Herbs are medicinal plants. Rich in polyphenols (beneficial plant components), they deliver antioxidants to your body while helping your meals taste complex and satisfying.
Pre-packaged foods often contain fewer fresh or dried herbs, yet higher levels of salt. They also often contain isolated monosodium glutamate (MSG), a lab-created, powdered flavor enhancer, which has been linked with symptoms of intolerance in many individuals.
By cooking at home, you can limit your fuel to only real-food, whole ingredients.

2. Cooking as a Mindfulness-Based Practice

Western society has moved toward a culture of “hurry up to slow down.” You buy your food pre-made and eat it on the go, then slide into yoga class for an hour to slow down.
While yoga and meditation are healthy routine practices, you can work mindfulness into every aspect of your live—starting with meal preparation.
You can practice awareness through every step of the cooking process:
  • Notice the colors of fruits and vegetables at the grocery store
  • Savor the aroma of onions and garlic simmering in olive oil
  • Pay close attention to the sounds of cooking: a boiling pot, peeling potatoes, dicing vegetables, or searing meat. All food prep stages have distinct sounds.
  • Try to identify each of the six Ayurvedic tastes within your meal: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. If you notice a flavor, shift your attention to the part of your mouth or tongue that senses that flavor the most distinctly.

3. Cooking for Connection

Food connects people—it gets you talking, lets you show your love or support for friends in need, and helps add to feelings of comfort and well-being. When a loved one is ill, you show your concern by cooking a pot of soup. When you celebrate a birthday, you bake a cake. Food is connection, comfort, and celebration that connects us all.
Cooking with children is important not only for creating memories, but also for their health.

Fewer Behavioral Problems in Children

Research conducted by the American Medical Association found that adolescents who had family meals seven times weekly, compared to those who reportedly had family meals two times or less per week:
  • Were less likely to use tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana
  • Had higher grade point averages
  • Had lower depressive symptoms
  • Were less likely to attempt suicide

Establish a Foundation of Food Variety

As you know, eating habits are formed in childhood and are difficult to change as an adult. Research shows that children who eat meals at home are more likely to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as drink fewer soft drinks. Furthermore, children who are engaged in the cooking process are more likely to grow to be adults who feel comfortable cooking for themselves and loved ones.
Undeniably, cooking does take time. However, by focusing on whole food ingredients, staying mindful throughout, and involving your friends or family in the process, you can change the process from seemingly time-consuming to time-fulfilling.
Bon app├ętit!

Brittany Wright

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Nutrition For Your Chakras

Check out one of my articles in Bad Yogi Magazine!  This is an easy to ready printable chart on what to eat to balance your chakras.  I've even included an asana for each chakra.  Of course there are many foods and poses to help clear and maintain chakra health but this is a great place to start!  These energy wheels affect our entire system (energetic, mental, emotional, immune, digestive, muscular, etc).  For holistic health, we must include all parts of our being. Nothing is in isolation.

Original article featured in Bad Yogi Magazine

Still a little unsure about what chakras are and how they work? Click the link below to read a great article on Chopra.com by Michelle Fondin discussing just that.

In Love & Gratitude,
Joy Arnold
IG @thespiritofjoy

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Doctor Is In The House

This weekend Dr. Manas Kshirsagar will be in our Roseville location seeing patients Friday-Sunday for Ayurvedic Consultations.  He'll also be giving a complimentary lecture Friday night, in Roseville, on 'The Winter Blues'.  His lecture are informative and entertaining in a relaxed environment.

If you haven't had the opportunity to have an Ayurvedic Consultation with him, it's a must! They are life changing and even life saving!

Call our Roseville location to reserve your spot for the lecture and to schedule your consultation with him. (916) 797-8550

Friday 12pm-4pm
Saturday 9am-4pm
Sunday 9am-4pm

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Avoid Holiday Bloat

Another great article written by Manas Kshirsagar (originally posted on mapi.com).  If you're thinking about detoxing or simply cleaning up your diet and gut, this is a must read!  Check out the original article below;

Ten Tips to Avert Ama Build-Up Over the Holidays
Written By Manas Kshirsagar
Ama, the toxic waste-product of inefficient digestion, can accumulate at any time of the year. During the holidays, we’re particularly susceptible to it. The bounty of festive meals and lots of sweets tempts us to overeat and eat at irregular times, and these are all triggers for the build-up of ama. If left unchecked, our body can become clogged and our immune system weakened by the accumulation of ama. Do you experience lack of appetite, stiffness in the joints, occasional constipation, respiratory issues, allergen reactions, or weight gain? Ama is the most likely culprit.
So, what is the ayurvedic tool for conquering ama? Agni — our digestive fire! If we keep our agni strong, our bodies will be able to digest the food we eat without creating toxic by-products, and we can “avert the danger yet to come.” What a relief!
How do we keep agni balanced and avert ama build-up? These simple tips are a great place to start:
  1. Eat Our Main Meal Midday

    Instead of a big late-afternoon meal or a heavy dinner, we should try to have our main meal between 12:00 and 2:00 p.m., when our digestive fire is the strongest — when the sun is highest in the sky. Eating a big dinner will not only tax the digestive system, but can disrupt sleep. To avoid the discomfort of feeling too full and not being able to sleep well, eat a light easy-to-digest dinner at least three hours before bedtime.
  2. Keep Regular Mealtimes

    Miss a meal? Skipping meals disrupts and weakens agni. However, eating three times a day around the same time of the day keeps digestion balanced. Eating a meal before the previous meal is completely digested also disrupts agni. Our bodies need at least three hours to finish digesting a meal before eating the next one. An afternoon snack is fine as long as it is small and light: a piece of fresh fruit, dried fruits or soaked nuts are great options for in-between meals! How do we know when our body is done digesting the previous meal? We experience hunger — listen to your body!
  3. Avoid Overeating

    This advice might be the hardest to follow, especially during those big holiday meals, but it is very important. Always eat according to hunger level. Our body knows how much food it can digest; we just have to listen. Take smaller portions, eat slowly and don't go for seconds if you are not hungry. When you eat slowly, your body will naturally tell you when you are full. Eat to only ¾ of your capacity. Even good food in excessive quantities can create ama.
  4. Find Herbal Aid

    If we happen to occasionally break one of the above rules, no worries! The holidays are a time to enjoy. We can use nature’s intelligence, ayurvedic herbs, to support agni. We can increase our appetite and gastric juices by occasionally drinking warm water, ginger water or cumin tea, or by eating a thin slice of fresh ginger with a pinch of salt before meals. Or for the sake of convenience, balance and promote digestion with one or two Herbal Di-Gest tablets before a meal.
  5. Avoid Agni-Destroying Foods

    Some people say certain foods taste better the next day, but ayurveda does not recommend eating leftovers — not even holiday ones. Eating freshly-prepared foods is preferred, because freshly-prepared food is easier to digest and contains more prana, or life energy! In addition to leftovers, avoid heavy, deep-fried foods and cold foods and drinks that diminish agni and contribute to the accumulation of ama. Think of throwing cold water on a fire. That is what we do when we have cold drinks just before, during, or after meals.
  6. Watch the Sweets

    This is another area where moderation can save us from dampened digestion and weight gain. If we have a sweet tooth, eating homemade pies and cookies instead of "junk" sweets is favorable. The latter usually contain preservatives, artificial flavors and colors which are toxic for the body and will turn into ama. They also lack nutrients and prana, and are heavy to digest. Commercial pastries and cakes also tend to contain more sugar and fat than our body needs.
  7. Take in All Six Tastes

    Sweet might be the taste of choice — but we know we can’t eat just sweets! Ayurveda identifies six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. For each of our meals we can strive to include all six of these tastes. This will tend to make us feel more satisfied and ultimately have fewer cravings. The vpk® by Maharishi Ayurveda Churnas are excellent spice mixes that include all the six tastes, and as an added bonus they also improve digestion.
  8. Balance Meals

    In addition to all the tastes, meals ideally include a balanced combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat. If we eat only carbohydrates, our blood sugar will rise quickly, but leave us feeling fatigued or lethargic later. Not all fats are bad. Why? Because healthy fats such as olive oil and ghee are essential for carrying the nutrients to our cells. Ayurvedically, varied foods and menus supply all the nutrients necessary for complete nourishment. According to ayurveda, when we eat properly we don’t need to supplement our diet with concentrates or extracts.
  9. Daily Exercise

    Regular exercise, at least half an hour a day, will not only help keep the extra pounds off, but will improve agni and reduce ama. A short walk after a meal, for example, is a great way to help digestion. Yoga asanas are the ideal way to balance mind and body and help digestion along the way. Read more about winter (Vata season) balancing asanas, here.
  10. Regular Routine

    Being regular is important not only for mealtimes, but for our daily routine as well. Our elimination, bedtime and working habits should all be ayurvedically appropriate in order to keep our immune system strong and our body ama-free. Enjoy holiday festivities, but try to maintain normalcy in daily habits as well!
*View original article on Mapi here

The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Benefits Of Coffee

After recently quitting coffee, I found this article on chopra.com particularly thought provoking.  This article by Brittany Wright discusses not only the western approach to the benefits of coffee but looks at consumption from an Ayurvedic approach.  One thing is for sure, whether you drink decaf or regular coffee, you should be drinking organic.  Coffee bean crops carry more chemical residue and pesticides that any other type of crop.  And if you're drinking coffee on the daily, that's a lot of toxicity over time.
Take a look at this article on chopra.com and decide for yourself.  To drink coffee...or to not.

Coffee Benefits, According to Ayurveda

According to the National Coffee Association, coffee is one of the most sought-after commodities in the world. The history of drinking coffee begins with an Ethiopian goat herder who first discovered the effects of coffee beans when he noticed that his goats would dine on the beans and forego sleep. He shared this observation with a monk in a local monastery. The monk boiled the beans, yielding a fluid that enabled him to stay alert through evening prayer. Soon, all the monks began drinking the coffee bean liquid––a secret that spread to the rest of the Arabian Peninsula, and then throughout the world.

Risks of Coffee

Throughout history, dietitians and physicians have warned about the risks of drinking coffee, mainly its ability to cause an increase in blood pressure or hypertension. However, current research does not support this perceived risk. Regular coffee drinkers seem to “regulate” themselves. In a meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, after routine consumption of coffee (2 to 3 cups daily) for two weeks, the body adjusts, and the hypertensive effect is no longer observed.
Hypertension is considered bad because it can lead to cardiovascular and kidney disease. The American Journal study, however, found that in women, despite the short-term increase in blood pressure, drinking coffee is associated with a decreased chance of having a stroke. The researchers also noted that the effect does not seem to be due to caffeine, since other caffeine-containing beverages such as tea and soda were not correlated with stroke risk. Instead, the protective effect seems to be due to something else—components aside from the caffeine—but this requires study.
Coffee components can also affect the body’s ability to metabolize drugs; it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor or pharmacist about potentially negative interactions.

Benefits of Coffee

The coffee bean is a powerhouse of polyphenol activity. Polyphenols are compounds found in plants that have high antioxidant activity, combating damage-causing free radicals (unstable molecules that can harm DNA and proteins) from the inside out.
Chlorogenic acid, or CGA, is thought to be the most abundant polyphenol of the coffee bean. Unfortunately, CGA is depleted through the bean-roasting process. However, the average medium-roast coffee still contains approximately 50 percent of the CGA present in the original coffee bean. CGA is known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and may be the leading factor behind many health benefits observed in regular coffee drinkers.
Benefits attributed to regular coffee consumption include:

Coffee According to Ayurveda

Ayurveda teaches that all plants serve a purpose. Coffee is best viewed as a medicine. Just as with any medication, it is important to monitor its effects and adjust consumption accordingly.
Coffee is known to have a warm, stimulating effect in the body. It may promote energy, stimulate digestion, and raise blood pressure. These characteristics may benefit some doshic constitutions, but should be consumed in moderation by others.
(Not sure of your dosha type? Take the Chopra Center’s online quiz.)
Vata: Individuals with strong Vata constitutions have quick thoughts, and tend to be colder (in terms of body temperature) individuals with airy, gas-producing digestion. It’s best for Vata types to not consume coffee . Coffee may deplete Vatas; ginger tea is an option to help “heat” the digestive fire and stimulate the gut. Drinking  coffee may lead to poor focus or difficulty sleeping at night.
Pitta: Pitta types tend to be hot and competitive, with quick thoughts and responses. For them, coffee should also be avoided—perhaps one to two cups as an after-breakfast “rev up,” if at all. Coffee for this dosha type may manifest as overproduction of acid and temper: think gastric reflux, sarcasm, heat, and anger.
Kapha: Individuals with a strong Kapha influence may tend to feel somewhat heavy and slow-moving––not only in the morning, but also throughout the day. Coffee may be a fantastic tool to help stimulate energy in those with a strong Kapha dosha, as well as to promote digestion following meals.  On top of providing stimulation and energy, the diuretic qualities of coffee may help dry up some of the heavy, wet nature of the Kapha constitution.

Coffee—A Place at the Table

Due to its medicinal plant properties, coffee seems to have earned a place at the table. Stay mindful, however, that any false energy created through caffeine is ultimately draining to the body. You are generating energy in an environment where your body is naturally telling you there is none. Over time, this false production of energy may create imbalance. If you notice yourself feeling low on energy without your daily coffee habit, take a look at your regular sleep cycles. Sometimes, the body is asking for simplicity, and needs to be met with rest—not caffeine.
The takeaway? Go ahead and pour yourself that daily cup of joe. Just stay mindful of its effects, and consume consciously. As is often the case, choosing organic is a good decision—the less processing, particularly with potentially harmful chemicals—the better. Your taste buds, and health, may thank you.
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.

It's All About That Root Chakra

Feeling a little unbalanced, stressed, and overwhelmed lately?  Do all the Holiday plans and errands have you feeling pulled in too many directions? Your root chakra might be out of balance!

If that sounds a little too “woo,” think about it this way: your root chakra represents security, safety, and grounding. We’ve all felt a little out of sorts in those areas, right? If you’re feeling that way right now, check out this quick guide to help you balance your root chakra!

In Love & Gratitude,
Joy Arnold