Toxins are created by old food but not solely food. As with all things in Ayurveda, emotions, stressors, lifestyle and environment (all connected) also play a huge role in how we digest. Digestion is food, yes. But digestion also includes all information we absorb with the five senses, taste being only one of them. When doshas are imbalanced due to lifestyle, diet, negative emotions, etc., agni’s function becomes weakened or disturbed and it leaves undigested food behind.
This undigested food turns into ama (AH-muh), which is a toxic, sticky, cloudy and smelly substance that can spread from the gastrointestinal tract to other parts of the body. From there it can lodge itself into crevices causing clogs in channels, blood vessels and cell membranes. Yum!
It sounds complicated and difficult to get ama, but it’s kind of easy if we’re not paying attention. How many times have we eaten on the go, while working, during an intense conversation, or while nervous? How...
*NEW* Check out the full video here: Ayurveda for Kids, School Lunch Ideas.
Raise your hands, who has kids?
1, 2, 3...good! At least 3 of you do so this is good to share and even if you don't have le kiddos, you can use this for yourself!
Anyone struggle coming up with new and healthy ideas for the kids lunches?
*me raising my own hand!* OH! ME!
When my daughter started kindergarten, it was a new game making her lunches every day. Without a plan, I knew I'd be harried and absent-minded when trying to cobble together a good lunch.
So I said to myself,
So I did! I wrote down a bunch of lunch and snack ideas on a piece of paper and stuck it to the inside of my cupboard.
Then I thought, "Hey I could make this pretty and my Ayurvedic peeps might love this too!"
HINT: Most of these are taken from dinner the night before so these...
QUESTION FROM YOU
Hey Monica! I KNOW that ghee is one of your first recommendations to cure constipation but I am AFRAID to eat ghee. I know it is clarified butter and that just says cholesterol and weight-gain for me. You said that you won’t gain weight from ghee, etc. Why is that since it is butter? What about cholesterol?
GREAT question and thank you for bringing this up. Certainly you are not the only person who wants to know, "Does ghee make me fat?"
Raise your hands if it has crossed your mind that eating ghee will make you gain weight. Look around the room, see? You're not alone. Leave your hands up if you are a vata. Ah-HAH, just as I thought. See, vatas always ask the, "Will it make me fat?!" question and the irony is that vatas are the dosha least likely to gain weight no matter what they eat. Vatas need extra fat to keep their structure built, yet they are the dosha most paranoid about eating them.
Let me get to the answer of this question because I know...
Below is an excerpt from my book In Your Elements, available on Amazon.
A kitchari (KIT-cha-ree) cleanse is a mono diet to nourish and reset the digestive system. Simply commit to 3–7 days for the cleanse.
If you feel emotionally depressed, physically heavy, have any symptoms of ama, or are just not feeling like yourself, a kitchari cleanse will do you a world of good. You know yourself better than anyone else, so you be the judge of when you need it. This can be done any time.
Kitchari is a traditional Indian dish made of digestive spices, basmati rice, mung dahl and veggies of your choice. It’s a staple in Indian households to accompany many dishes. If a food could wrap you in a cozy blanket, it would be kitchari.
Kitchari is good for all doshas and easy to digest. It is also a great source of protein because the mung dal is a complete food and is excellent for detoxification and de-aging of cells...
There are 3 chapters dedicated to nutrition in my book In Your Elements. Get your copy on Amazon!
If you are unfamiliar, Ayurveda sees nutrition in a very different, refreshing way!
The basic Ayurvedic nutrition guidelines below have a lot to do with how we eat, not just what we eat.
Based on the 'one size does not fit all' principle in Ayurveda, nutrition is not generalized, it is personalized. So while it might feel confusing, "Just tell me what to eat!" food is totally not totally black and white. And honestly, who wants to eat black and white food anyway?! ;)
Food should be full of rainbow colors, varied tastes, made from high quality foods, and most of all it is to be enjoyed!
So while there are foods that are "better" for you based on your dosha, don't let that confuse or frustrate you, especially if you are new to this perspective on nutrition.
Just try eating...
The body's internal digestive fire is called our agni. When agni funtions properly, whatever we have eaten gets digested and absorbed by the body's tissues. Then the body eliminates waste. Pretty simple.
However, when doshas or tissues are imbalanced due to lifestyle, diet, negative emotions, etc., agni becomes weakened or disturbed and therefore cannot digest food properly.
In Ayurveda, "You are what you digest." If you can't digest it, you'll get imbalanced!
This undigested food (and emotions) turns into ama, which is a toxic, sticky, cloudy, smelly substance that can spread from the digestive tract to other parts of the body. From there it can lodge itself into crevices (sometimes large crevices) causing clogs in channels, blood vessels and cell membranes. Yeah, eu. It's gross.
How many times have you eaten on the go, while working, during an intense conversation or while...
Learn more on optimizing your digestive fire, what food is best for your dosha and so much more in my book In Your Elements on Amazon.
Agni, our digestive fire, is responsible for processing and absorbing the foods we eat. The function of agni is the main contributor to our physical and mental health and when agni functions properly, we thrive. But when agni malfunctions, we get sick and we can accumulate ama (toxins).
Visualize agni as a little fire burning behind our belly button, responsible for digesting and assimilating our foods. But, agni needs to function properly or there will be problems. Let's think about real fire for a sec: Fire functions properly by burning and transforming substances. Or, fire can go wild and crazy if there's too much wind (think, heartburn). Or, fire can get snuffed out by too much wetness or heaviness (think, weight gain). Or, fire can have a slow low...
Here we go! Kapha's vices!
Unless of course, you are a kapha. Then you can skip those and read on because the spotlight is on you, baby. By vices, I mean stuff that you reach for that is opposite of what you need for optimal health.
You see, when a dosha is increased (imbalanced), the person will crave the foods and habits that keep increasing that dosha! Meaning, they will crave the completely wrong things.
When we analyze our sweet kapha friends they are happy-go-lucky, inviting, generous, the best listeners (and huggers!), able to handle a lot of work with grace, peaceful minded, and rock a curvy goddess-like physique. Kaphas can also be stubborn and impossible to move, can gain weight easily, have depression (though you probably wouldn't be able to tell), tend toward emotional eating, and if pushed too far they will hold a grudge.
When I see a kapha person who's skin looks dull/gray, their...
Ok guys, let's talk about pitta's vices, which stems from the previous post on vata's vices.
Remember, when a dosha is increased (imbalanced), the person will crave the foods and habits that keep increasing that dosha! Meaning, they will crave the completely wrong things.
Taking a look at pitta, we know pitta people are sharp-minded and sharp-tongued. They are direct, focused, witty with a great sense of humor, hyper-organized, detailed, play by the rules, ask a ton of questions, and are usually found in leadership roles.
So when I see a pitta person with a big burger on their plate, copious glasses of wine or cocktails, pouring extra Tabasco sauce on their nachos with jalapenos, and following it all up with a piece of chocolate lava cake (with ice cream), I know they have a pitta imbalance. Why? Because a balanced pitta would not eat that much or crave those things. By the way, that there pitta would be running for the heartburn medicines to calm that craziness down! ;)...
Sometimes people think I have magical powers because I can often predict peoples' diet and lifestyle habits even if I don't know them very well. The way someone behaves (and eats!) gives me a lot of insight into their doshic make up. And not only that, but also gives glaring information about the dosha that is imbalanced.
In Ayurveda, when a dosha is increased (imbalanced), the person will crave foods and habits that will keep increasing that dosha. Meaning, they will crave the completely wrong things!
Let's take vata for example. Vata people talk a lot, move a lot, do a lot, lose focus, forget things, skip details, are creative, are dramatic/moody, love to be spontaneous, and are naturally bubbly. My brain automatically says, "Vata." Now, when I observe one of these vata people drinking a lot of coffee, skipping meals yet eating candy as a food group, drinking lots of diet Coke or carbonated beverages with ice, I say to myself, "Vata imbalance." Why? Because a balanced vata would...