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Winter has washed over us, and what comes to mind is the opportunity to spice and warm up what's in my tea cup in a way that summer doesn't always allow with pitta being the other half of my personal predominant constitution. 

The other half of my predominating constitution is Vata. Winter lends itself, personally, to dry, cracked skin, hair, nails, eyes, and weak digestive fire . 

Enter ALL the spices. In moderate amounts, at least. TOO much spiciness can either aggrevate vata further, or pitta. So what type of teas are good to boost digestive fire without aggrevation? Here are a handful of my go to teas that keep me warm and digestion boosted throughout the winter months. 

Warm Spiced Chai

*This can be tripled, and kept in a slow cooker on low for the day if you want more servings.*

3 cups water

4 cloves

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground black cardamom

1 tea bag of choice (I prefer Roobois, or 1 tbsp Dandy blend) *Keep in mind to limit caffeine if Vata is out of balance,...

There used to be blurred lines between the stress created during the holidays and the rest of the year, but nowadays, it seems like the whole year is blurred into one mass of chaos (technology is a blessing and a curse Emm-I-RIGHT? Please put down your mobile at 3:15am, you do NOT need to respond to Glenda in H.R. about updating your emergency contacts).

One distinguishing factor, however, during the end of October through January is not really the addition of travel, buying ALL the things marketing tells us we need, or really even sharing all the germs.

Huh?

Soooo what is it then? 

It's the elements of AIR and ETHER swooping in and wreaking havoc on our digestive systems and our minds. 

Unfortunately we tend to ignore the symptoms bubbling up in digestion (gas, bloating, occasional alternating diarrhea and/or constipation, dry skin, up at 2:00am wondering if Glenda has fallen down the stairs and broken her leg because she hasn't emailed you like she did last night, etc). It's not just 'tis...

Agni is your digestive fire, as known in Ayurveda. As winter comes to an end, the elements of earth and water begin to thaw. The stagnation that was upon us through the cold winter months are naturally attempting to flow. However, earth and water make mud. And it's hard to flow through mud, as becomes clear to me as I am tending to my garden in the pouring rain hauling large amounts of compost to renew my garden beds. 

Earth and water are Kapha; we are entering the Kapha season. Things are muddy, but growth and renewal want to happen. In our internal and external environments. So how do we provide our internal environment (our bodies) the right amount of fire to boost our agni? 

Lighter Foods 

Seasonally, when in tune with our body, we are naturally inclined to lighten up on the portion sizes and the starches, oils, and dairy. We crave fresh, green juices, more fruit and veggies, and salads! If you're just beginning your Ayurvedic journey and you don't quite hear the internal whisper to l...

 What you need to pop amaranth: 

Kitchen tools: 

-Small sauce pan with lid

-1/2 tablespoon

-1 small bowl

-1 large bowl

Ingredients

8oz/1 cup Bob's Red Mill Amaranth

1) Heat small sauce pan on high for 1 minute. 

2) Add 8oz/1cup raw amaranth to small bowl. 

3) Set larger bowl next to it. 

4) To small sauce pan, add 1/2 tbsp amaranth.

5) Quickly put lid on and in about 10 seconds the popping will start to slow down. 

6) Take the small pan off heat, and lid off. Add popped amaranth to larger bowl. 

7) It will take a couple tries of possibly burning the amaranth, but just take a deep breath and keep giving it a try, playing with the amount of heat.

From this:                                                         To this: 

Amaranth Bars

Ingredients: 

-1 cup popped amaranth

-1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

-1/2 cup chopped Mission figs (cut off stems, first)

-6 tbsp...

Dessert and breakfast. Can they be one in the same? I say why not???? 

I'm going to share with you my recipe that accomplished 3 things for me, ALL while nourishing me AND satisfying my sweet tooth. Say WHAAAAT? 

Mixed nuts is a big time holiday food set out, but often get surpassed for the more enticing indulging 'tis the season' foods. 

So what is a girl to do with roughly 2+ pounds of mixed nuts? I came up with many healthy snacks (I'll share them later) but this one  made me rush to the kitchen, early in the a.m. so I could get the day started. 

It's my take on cashew cream, but with mixed nuts. SUPER easy. 

Ingredients: 

-2 cups any variety of nuts and/or seeds

-Enough water to cover the nuts in a large bowl

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1 tsp nutmeg

-1 tsp salt

-1 tsp vanilla

-1 Tbsp Coconut Palm sugar

Directions: 

1) Pour enough water over the nuts to cover them. 

2) Let soak for 2-3 hours (overnight is fine. just cover them up in case you have roving curious kitties in the middle of the night)

3) Add...

Nourishment. This breakfast embodies all of the nourishment I could rustle up from my cupboards. Shatavari, marshmallow root, slippery elm, black sesame seeds, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom (my Ayurvedic rasayana mix), eggs, and nuts, and WARMTH. 

The start of a new year leads folks, at times, to fall into the trap of "DEPRIVE, DEPRIVE, DEPRIVE!" Maybe not in those exact words, but what else is a diet and extreme exercise program, but cutting out pretty much everything. And when you deprive yourself in one way or another, you create a void. A spacious air and ether, Vata void. This tends to be a set up for lacking in nourishment. Unsustainable. 

So start small, don't deprive, and check out my recipe below for this AMAZING, nourishing, easy peasy way to start your day, and not leave the Vata void that will set you up for feeling emotionally, or physically lacking at some point in the day. 

A one pot, breakfast bonanza!!!

Nourishing Noatmeal:

-1 tbsp organic, unrefined, extra virgin coconut...

A delicious, easy weekend's worth of meals? Yes, please! 

Weekends tend to be (whether I plan it, or not), "cheat" days in regards to what I eat. I don't intend to make less healthy choices, but it happens. And I realized I wasn't prioritizing my weekend meals as much as weekday (Sunday night lists, menu planning, grocery trip). Maybe I was subconsciously setting myself up so I could say, "Well, I didn't plan anything, so YES to giant, loaded veggie burgers from one of my favorite local restaurants. 

These recipes are a culmination of my time (like it was prison) on the Whole30, and also my son who eats approximately 1 can of black beans a day asking me to switch it up a bit and make black bean burgers, and my obsession with caramelized onions. 

I hope you can enjoy this combination as much as my family and I did, and it helps you intentionally/unintentionally set yourself up for avoiding a full blown 3 day cheat weekend. ;)

Caramelized Onions

-3 large yellow onions

-1 tsp salt

-1 tsp Asofoet...

I feel a bit guilty. I have not shared this recipe with anyone, and only recently started sharing the actually cookies. In my defense, the cookies weren't making it out of the kitchen because they were being gobbled up so fast! 

I am often looking for treats that everyone can enjoy, regardless of food restrictions or cutting back on added/processed sugars (by the way; let's all agree, adding maple syrup, honey, agave etc is STILL added sugar, especially when added in 1/2-1 cup measurements. Call it by any other name, it's going to spike your blood sugar no matter). 

This cookie is a result of having some over ripe fruit, and a lonely sweet potato and a whole lot of delicious warming spices to boost agni/digestion. 

The sweetness comes from nuts, ripe fruits, raisins, and balance of spices with salt. 

So enjoy the process of baking, and sit down in the sun and bask in the deliciousness of life and these cookies. :) 

Ingredients

1/4 cup ground almonds

1/4 cup ground pecans

1/4 cup ground...

 Svadhisthana Chakra: The Second Chakra, The Sacral Chakra

Often associated with the color orange, the svadhisthana chakra is the seat of emotion and translates into "dwelling of the self". The physical location is the lower abdomen just below the navel and is also associated with the reproductive organs. Psychologically it governs our ability to nurture and initiate and maintain healthy relationships. In close proximity to the root or muladara chakra,it can also aid in grounding, stability, and strength.

How do you know if your svadhisthana chakra is blocked?

Physical manifestations:

-P.M.S.

-hypoglycemia

-anemia

-adrenal fatigue, kidney symptoms

-low back pain (lumbar, sacral)

-joint problems (achey/painful joints vs. burning or swollen joint pain)

Psychological manifestations:

-tendency to overindulge

-occasional aggressive tendencies

-fear/anxiety combined with insomnia

-panic attacks

-detachment

-depression

Unblocking the svadhisthana chakra.

Working towards balance and moving energy/prana thr...

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R.D., L.D., R.Y.T., 

Ayurvedic Health Educator

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