For the Ladies: Relief for That Time of the Month

Embrace your lady vacation.

Embrace your ladies vacation.

Ladies vacation. Lady times. The crimson wave. That time of the month.

Whatever name you use for menstruation, Ayurveda offer lifestyle, diet, and exercise tips that will bring relief. If it wasn’t obvious, this one is for the ladies out there.

Minimal exercise

This is one of the most important bits of advice I learned during my studies. I used to hike, run, do handstands, and never take a break when that time of the month came. And I paid the price.

Apana vayu is the body’s downward energy that moves urine, feces, sperm, and menstrual blood out of the body. Exercise during your period increases vata dosha and disturbs this downward flow. By not honoring your body’s need to rest, increased vata can cause cramps, pain, clotting, and more serious lady disorders.

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Nothing Tastes as Good as Healthy Feels

Note: this post was updated on November 15, 2013 to provide additional clarity.

A famous supermodel once said that nothing tastes as good as thin feels, but I’d revise that statement to say that nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.

I spent so much of my life completely unconscious about what I ate, whether it meant scarfing down junk food and late-night burritos or starving on salads and raw veggies. And I was paying the price with depression, skin problems, moodiness, gas, bloating, and water retention.

It was revolutionary to me that changing my diet could have such a profound effect on my overall health and that these symptoms could be lifted by eating in a certain way. I’ve seen this happen with patients, too.

Behold, the dosha food pyramid

pitta vata kapha pyramid

Food by dosha: Foods that contain qualities of each dosha. (Or that can aggravate that dosha if eaten in excess.)

One of the ways Ayurveda is so effective is in its scientific approach to crafting a diet and lifestyle to balance an individual. There is no one diet that fits everyone. Continue reading

Autumn Eating Tips (and a Pumpkin Stew Recipe)

Fall recipes are nourishing and counteract the heat and dryness of the season.

Fall recipes are nourishing and counteract the heat and dryness of the season. Even Mr. Cookie Jar wants a bite!

Our bodies reflect the changing seasons outside, essentially mirror what is happening in nature. In fall, dryness is abundant as leaves change color and fall off trees and grass turns brown. Our bodies tend to get dry, too, (as vata increases). There’s also heat left over from summer, so pitta is fired up.

To counteract the hot and dry properties, fall is the time to focus on kapha-promoting foods which means a sweeter, more nourishing, and slightly heavier diet than we had in summer. This gets us ready for winter, too.

So support your body this time of year, forgo dry and carbonated stuff (goodbye, beer, chips, raw salads, and popcorn) and cut back on heating food while you’re at it (chiles, eggs, red meat, garlic, red wine, raw onion, eggplant, and fish).

In fact, looking up what fruits and veggies are in season where you live is another way to ensure you’re eating what’s appropriate for the time of year. If you live in California, specifically the Bay Area, this chart from CUESA has a list of what you can get when. Continue reading