Ayurveda

Why you love fast food

Do you crave, the salty, sweet and sour taste of fast food? Did you know that consuming these three tastes have certain physical and energetic affects on the body?
 
These are the three tastes that are most common in Western Diets, they are also the three tastes that pacify Vata? For those of you not familiar with Ayurveda, Vata is the wind and ether elements in the body. When Vata is out of balance in the body some of the symptoms are stress, anxiousness, hyperactivity, restlessness or nervousness. Therefore when we consume these flavours it gives us the sensation of releasing some of these symptoms, i.e. stress release, feelings of comfort. Have you ever noticed someone who is stressed adding lots of salt (salty taste) to their meals and sipping alcohol (sour taste) or reaching for a cake, chocolate or even something like a big bowl of pasta (sweet).
 
The Upside
 
When we consume foods with the sweet taste the effect on the body is soothing, satisfying, comforting, it can even be blissful! When we consume foods with the salty taste it will enhance the appetite and make everything taste delicious. Sour foods also stimulated the appetite and can make us feel more alert. No wonder fast food is so popular in Western Society.
 
The Downside
 
When you consume these three flavours, sweet, salty and sour, in excess there is a negative impact on the body. We all know the effect too much sweet taste has on the body, it increases weight. Did you know that excess salt would weaken the kidneys and aggravate stomach acidity. Too much sour can lead to an increase in acidity in the body. Hmm…so think, obesity, adrenal burnout (related to the […]

Aloe, Aloe – 12 ways to use Aloe Vera

It warms my heart when I notice my kids harvest Aloe Vera, split it open and rub it on their cuts and scrapes. I have succeeded in teaching them something, they know that Aloe Vera is a living first aid plant, soothing, healing, cooling and calming, how cool is that (excuse the pun)! This plant has a long and rich history, it has been used medicinally for over 5000 years, Cleopatra used it as part of her beauty routine and it is mentioned in the Bible.

This plant is heavy, unctuous and slimy (Kapha qualities for those interested in Ayurveda), although it looks spiky it is a very nurturing plant. Aloe Vera is super useful and it grows really well in pots, so no matter how small your home; you can always find space for a small Aloe Vera plant!

Commercial Aloe Vera juices are often diluted and combined with unwanted additives, so I would encourage you to grow your own plant. Here are 12 of the many benefits of this wonderful plant that the American Indians call ‘The Wand of Heaven’:

Aloe Vera is widely used for many skin conditions, it is an excellent healer for cuts and wounds, and this plant has amazing antibacterial properties, rub the gel directly on.
This plant is high in vitamins and minerals so helps boost the immune system.
Aloe Vera contains Vitamins A, C, E (along with K and B12) so it is fantastic for the skin, just rub the gel directly on your face to cleanse before you moisturise.
Make a homemade facemask, scrape the gel straight from inside the leaf of the plant, mix with some honey, apply to your face – leave for 20min while you relax and then […]

Dinacharya – Daily Routine

How aligned are you to the daily rhythms of nature?

It is easy to get out of sync with natural rhythms. Demanding careers, busy social lives, family pressure and exponential improvements in technology that mean we are plugged in 24/7,  all take their toll on the body.

For a long time I have been a night owl, I enjoyed being a creature of the night, staying up all night, going clubbing, hanging out with friends or playing computer games into the early hours. I enjoyed the intensity of this lifestyle, overriding natural daily rhythms. Having children was the grounding force that brought common sense to my life. Children naturally live closer to nature; they are less affected by the stresses of modern life it is easy for them to wake up with the sun and sleep when the sun goes down.  I still struggle with the ‘early to bed, early to rise’ philosophy but slowly over the years, I have started to switch my patterns and I understand and respect the profound importance of daily rhythms. These gentle changes make a huge impact to overall energy levels.

How do we become more aligned to the daily rhythms of nature?

Throughout the day the different universal energies (made up of the elements water, earth, fire, ether and wind) are present. Each of these energies sets the tone for the activities best suited to that time of the day to promote optimum well-being. When we tap into these energies we become more attune to our body and are more able to access the bodies natural intelligence.

In Ayurveda ‘like’ increases ‘like’ (a bit like facebook). To give you an example of working with natural daily rhythm, we need to think about […]

Meditation and Chakra Seven

The Crown Chakra – Sahasrara

Last week I dragged my husband to a conference where the fabulous Dr Robert Svoboda, an Ayurvedic Physician from America spoke.

I enjoyed every minute of the the 3.5 hours talk on Ayurveda, Consciousness, Yoga etc, my husband, not so much. I’ve learnt my lesson and next time I’ll leave him in the pub with a beer – oh well, horses for courses…. Anyway since that evening, one of Dr Svoboda’s quotes has echoed in my mind….

‘The manifested universe acts as a mirror for supreme reality’

Where is this supreme reality and how do we connect to it, you ask? (unless you’re my husband and you don’t ask)

Through the study of the subtle body, Sahsrara Chakra is the place where we can connect to this supreme reality that’s beyond the duality of our material world. You may also like to call it a higher power or your inner wisdom or god.

This chakra is located at the crown of the head and is associated with thought and consciousness, it is connected on a physical level to the pituitary gland. When we have balance in this chakra we are more aware, and are less likely to be ruled by our unconscious mind.

However, just as the ‘thousand petal lotus’ that symbolizes this chakra turns down to incorporate all of the chakras, we must be living in the manifested world at the same time as having awareness of this limitless space.

In this modern world with the amount of information we are inundated with each day, we need to inhabit the body and the lower chakras while using the upper chakras to make sense of this information.

As one of my favourite authors Anodea Judith describes in her […]

How to make your own gorgeous Ghee!

Surprisingly, Ghee is very easy to make, it’s also really relaxing and creates a beautiful aroma of buttery popcorn in the kitchen.
 
You will need:
·       2-4 250g blocks of unsalted organic butter
·       1 cheese-cloth
·       1 sieve ladle
·       1 saucepan
 
Place butter in the saucepan uncovered and heat on medium for around 12 minutes or until it begins to smell like buttery popcorn. If you are using a really heavy saucepan you may need longer. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool for a few minutes. Use your ladle to skim off any white foam. Strain the liquid through your cheesecloth into a glass jar, discarding the curds from the bottom of the saucepan. When the ghee has cooled in the jar cover and store. (I keep mine in the fridge but this is not necessary, as it doesn’t go off.)  
Ayurveda has long proclaimed the extraordinary benefits of ghee, and just to name just a few:
 
·       Ghee has magical healing properties, enhancing the nutritional elements of food.
·       Ghee contains butyric acid, a fatty acid with both antiviral and anti cancer properties.
·       Ghee is good for the joints.
·       Ghee has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to transport herbs and spices to the cells of the body.
·       Ghee is good for the brain and memory.
·       Ghee aids digestion.
·       Ghee promotes the healing of wounds.
·       Ghee tastes delicious, enriching the flavour of anything you make!
 
Check out my post about my grandmother and her ghee, here!
 
Now, please excuse me now while I go and enjoy some fat!
 
Justine
X

Beautiful Beatrice and her Golden Ghee

My gorgeous grandmother Beatrice (Trixie) passed away last year at 97 years of age. I love this photo of her, as it captures her style. She was a party girl, an animal lover, a great horsewoman; always beautifully groomed, not a hair out of place, was impeccably dressed, and, according to my Aunty, you could wear the clothes she sewed inside-out, they were created with such attention to detail.

Above all this she had a passion for cooking, especially for a crowd! She studied at Le Cordon Bleu, so it was always a lavish, gastronomic feast when we visited.

One of the staples in her fridge was Ghee; she used it all the time, especially in casseroles and curries.

If you are a health & wellbeing junkie, you will know that my grandmother was onto something by using this ancient ingredient as fat is definitely back on the menu! Science is catching up with old school cooks like my grandmother who used good fats, ghee, butter & coconut oil. These are the fats that are good for the brain.

Ayurveda has long proclaimed the extraordinary benefits of ghee, and just to name just a few:

Ghee has magical healing properties, enhancing the nutritional elements of food.
Ghee contains butyric acid, a fatty acid with both antiviral and anti cancer properties.
Ghee is good for the joints.
Ghee has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to transport herbs and spices to the cells of the body.
Ghee is good for the brain and memory.
Ghee aids digestion.
Ghee promotes the healing of wounds.
Ghee tastes delicious, enriching the flavour of anything you make!

Check out my post on how to make your own gorgeous ghee, here!

Now, please excuse me now while I go and enjoy some fat!

Justine

X

 

References: Big […]

6 Ayurvedic Home Remedies that really work!

I’ve always been a seeker of natural remedies.
 
The beauty of Ayurveda is that the home remedies have been tried and tested over generations, they are usually simple and they really work! Another bonus is, you will find most of the ingredients in your kitchen or garden.
 
There is plenty of science behind these remedies, and when you think about it many pharmaceutical products are based on natural occurring substances.
 
Here are 6 ‘go to’ remedies I often use for my family…
 
Herbal tea for colds and flu
Dry roast 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds to release the flavour (approx 2min). Add 3 slices of ginger and 500mils of water; bring to the boil for 10min then strain and drink.
Viral stomach bugs
Peel two apples and then stew them until soft, add a teaspoon of ghee (or butter) a pinch of cardamom and a pinch of nutmeg. This works a treat!
Hangover
A glass of coconut water will rehydrate you!
Insomnia
A few options here…

Warm some milk add a pinch of nutmeg or saffron.
Snack on some cherries.
Try Nadi Shodana Pranayama a breathing exercise that will help you sleep.  Read my post here for instructions.

Hayfever
Eat some coriander leaves, as they are a natural antihistamine. If you have time you can make Coriander chutney go here for my coriander chutney recipe.
Liver cleanse
Add the following ingredients to a bowl

1 tsp of dandelion root (you find this in a health food shop)
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
5-6 slices of ginger
3 cups of boiling water

steep for 5min, strain and drink!
On the topic of your Liver, click here to check out my post on 2 yoga poses for cleansing the liver.
 
Enjoy!
Justine
x
 

 

Ajna Chakra & My grandmother’s insane healing powers!

Everyone gets sick but why do some people bounce back so much faster than others? The answer is very complex and depends on myriad factors such as individual constitution, genes, environment, and lifestyle, diet, thought patterns…I could go on and on. What I do know is that my Grandmother has insane healing powers! She is always quick to bounce back from illness and at 93 years has just had an amazing recovery from a stroke.
About 20 years ago when ‘Gigi’, as my children know her, broke her leg the Doctors were amazed at her quick recovery, especially considering her age. While I sat with her in hospital I asked her how she was healing so well.
She let me into her healing secret that I will share with you…

With her leg in plaster, throughout the day (whenever she thought of it) she was practicing a powerful visualization technique. She would close her eyes and picture her leg as a building site. She would imagine the builders arriving to work each day, thinking about every detail down to what they were wearing and what their lunchboxes looked like. She would think about this miniscule world where each builder was doing his or her part to repair the bone of her leg, she would continue to think about this until she was interrupted or bored with it. She told me this really helped with her healing and I believe it did.
I really love this story, but what does it have to do with Chakra 6 (Ajna Chakra)? This Chakra is also known as your third eye. It is located on our forehead between the two eyebrows. While our two eyes see out into the external […]

How to do a Self Abhyanga (Self Massage)

As the weather cools down enjoy this Ayurvedic Ritual to help you stay warm and supple.

Massage is the oldest healing modality on the planet. In the ancient science of Ayurveda there is a practice of self-massage that helps to ground and nourish us. It is ‘Self Abhyanga’  or ‘Self Warm Oil Massage’ (massaging the body with large amounts of warm oil).

I really encourage you to try this as not only will it keep you feeling warm and looking young, it is also a delicious, calming and relaxing experience. It is a simple self-care exercise that you can introduce into your weekly or even daily routine.

There are numerous benefits to Self Abhyanga including the following:

Soothes Vata Dosha
Helps build resilience to stress
Increases energy and removes fatigue
Helps to eliminate toxins by stimulating strengthening lymphatic flow
Strengthens and tones skin and body
Grounding and nourishing
Helps with insomnia

Here’s how to do Self Abhyanga:

This massage is best done before your shower, either in the morning or before going to bed.

Select your oil – As a general rule of thumb go with Coconut oil in Summer and once the weather becomes cooler and coconut oil begins to solidify switch to Sesame (Melrose Organic is a good one) or Sunflower oil. For an extra dimension to the experience, you may like to add an essential oil of your choice to your massage oil.
Warm the room you are in and warm the bottle of oil in a bowl of hot water.
Stand on a towel that you don’t mind getting oily.
If you prefer the oil warm, sit the bottle in a bowl of hot water. Pour a small amount of oil into the palm of you hands and begin with a head massage, slowly massage oil […]

Muladhara Chakra

Organise your energy, start at your roots.

In the chakra system the first chakra, also known, as the root chakra, is located at the base of the spine at the perineum.  In the physical body our largest nerve the sciatic nerve runs from this chakra all the way down to our feet.  This chakra is associated with our survival and material aspects of our life. When this chakra is blocked we are often living ‘too much in our heads’ or we maybe fearful, insecure, restless, and can suffer from anxiety.

Grounding practices that work energetically to balance this chakra are very healing; they help us in the more practical parts of life as well as facilitate energy moving up the chakra system.

When we are grounded we are able to live in the ‘here and now’, without roots we are unsteady with no foundation from which to grow.  We need roots to have wings!

Grounding Exercise

As a child my grandmother would often say ‘go and ground yourself, take your shoes off and walk along the beach.’ It sounded strange to me then, the concept of electricity within the body. I wasn’t aware at the time that this simple exercise was connecting my nervous system to the earth. Walking barefoot upon the earth and feeling the stability beneath us is very supportive and nourishing and helps to calm the mind. For those of us who live an urban existence it is easy to go days without our feet actually coming into contact with the earth. Make a conscious effort to try it even for 10min a day in the nearest park and notice the effect!

Yoga

Most of Hatha yoga is very grounding especially when done slowly.  The standing poses, as […]