Embracing Wisdom

Life, food, wellness and love


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Kitchari

Let’s face it being a red-head has some great qualities: unique coloring (only 2% of the world population has red hair),  we well-known for a spunky temper and we have an awesome sense of humor due to years of being teased.  Believe me, I have heard them all. The not so great qualities of being a red-head: well, that very same temper plays both sides of the coin and I pity the person dealing with the not-so-spunky side, red-heads have a much lower pain tolerance and even bleed more than non-gingers, and seasonal changes especially from summer to fall is incredibly difficult. The hot PITTA dosha that most red-heads are can be exasperated this time of year. With that said, it is a great time to consider a Ayurvedic porridge made from rice and mung beans. This amazing stuff is wonderfully seasoned with ginger, cilantro, cardamom and clove. Kitchari is considered is used to purify (and cool down) digestion and cleanse systemic toxins from the body.

I typically do this process in the spring and most certainly in the fall.  I try to make the day or few days to be quiet ones where my focus is to love my body.  I practice Yoga, meditate, take short walks in nature and drink plenty of water.  This year I chose to do a one day Kitchari cleanse the day following a huge hike up a 14,000 foot mountain.  My body was tired and empty from the exertion and I felt this would be a great way to move gracefully into the fall season.

Kitchari reminds me of a  creamy rice cereal and a light dal, or lentil soup. Great for warming the body on a cold day, but even greater the cozy feeling is the rest it offers your digestive system.  This blend of rice, legumes and spices provides all the needed nutrients one needs while resting the system and also provides the body needed energy. Ideally eating Kitchari for three days is ideal but a once or twice a month day is a great maintenance practice.  The morning of the “cleanse” I avoid caffeine and I enjoy unsweetened steel-cut oats with butter or ghee.  The process of making Kitcahri can be meditative if you are open to seeing the process as one of health and vitality.

KITCHARI

  • one cup yellow split mung beans (can sub red lentils if unable to find)
  • one tablespoon chopped ginger
  • two tablespoons shredded coconut
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • one teaspoon cinnamon
  • one-quarter teaspoon each of cardamom, pepper, clove powder, turmeric, salt
  • three bay leaves
  • three tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter
  • one cup basmati rice
  • six cups water

1. First, rinse split yellow mung beans and soak for several hours. Set aside.

2. In a blender, liquefy one ginger, shredded coconut and chopped cilantro with one-half cup of water.

3. In a large saucepan, lightly brown spices and three bay leaves (remove before serving) in three tablespoons of ghee, or butter.

4. Drain the mung beans and then stir them into the spice mixture in the saucepan.

5. Next, add raw basmati rice. Stir in the blended spice and coconut mixture, followed by six cups of water.

6. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook on low heat for approximately 25 to 30 minutes until soft.


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My Daily Essential Oil Regimen

Essential oils do two things for me…..well, at least there are two things that I am consciously aware of.  1–They smell great which makes me happy.  2–They provide my body with an alternative to combat pain and other ailments which also makes me happy. My daily regimen of oils looks something like this:

Morning:

  • I fill my diffuser with something bright and uplifting like a citrus blend and peppermint.  This combo lifts my mood, wakes me up and alerts my mind to the coming day.
  • I apply Balance and Frankincense to the bottoms of my feet.  This evens out my mood and grounds me.
  • I apply On Guard to the bottom of my other foot.  This helps my body ward of illness and smells great.
  • I apply Elevation to my heart and my wrists. This blend increases my happy factor and the scent is amazing.
  • I take Life Long Vitality supplements. I have never been more pain-free, more energetic, and more vibrant.  These gems are dōTERRA’s number one selling product and I can easily see why.

Evening: 

  • Another round of Balance and Frankincense to the bottoms of my feet.  This takes the hectic energy of the day and subdues me.
  • I apply another dose of On Guard to bottom of other foot.  All the germs I come into contact throughout the day are squelched by this awesome blend.
  • Second dose of  Life Long Vitality supplements. I have found optimal results for me is when I take the recommended dose as directed twice daily.  Once a day I felt better, twice a day I feel AMAZING.
  • I diffuse Serenity blend while I read and settle into the evening.
  • I apply Vetiver to the bottoms of my feet.  This oil puts me into a deep sleep and I rest well.  I often have “vetiver dreams”–vibrant and often very vivid dreams.  I take a break from this oil about every seven days to keep the sleep benefits at their best.

Sometimes I add in some Ylang Ylang if my body feels off balance hormonally or throw some rosemary and lemongrass into the diffuser to freshen up and make my space super clean. It may seem like a lot of oils or time applying, but it really is not at all.  The time it takes is less than three minutes morning and evening and the slowing down to love my body a little bit it way worth it to me on so many levels.  Besides the great self-care, I am also not taking over the counter medications, using toxic air fresheners, or relying on exhaustion to give me a deep sleep.

Way worth it in my book.

Oil on, people.

 


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Old members vs. new members

Forgive me in advance. It is rare that I rant.

Each year I experience the same end-of-year, not-so-cool energy from people who I overhear in the gym.  Teaching Yoga and Pilates at two health clubs, I hear it over and over each year. Old members complaining about new members. The perceived entitled people making comments about the courageous people attempting to figure out this healthy way of life thing.  Just last week I heard someone say “the January people need to know its a lifestyle not a resolution”.

Now wait one second, did they never have a first day?  C’mon people….the only way to change the world is to live as an example.

Be kind.  Be helpful.  Be genuine.  Lose the judgment. Help someone rather than evaluate. Find acceptance.

Perhaps they need to start within.


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Why Essential Oils

Are you asking yourself why you should consider essential oils?  The answer seems simple to me… Why not? Here is why I do:

IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH. Essential oils are made up of natural chemical compounds that have anti-viral, anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-septic properties. When oils are diffused in the air, they can kill airborne pathogens to keep you healthy, and they can improve your moods. Calming anxiety, uplifting depression or feelings of sadness, essential oils are a great alternative to managing moods.  Essential oils offer quick and effective ways to reduce pain of all types.  From children to adults, there is an application that works.

IMPROVE YOUR MOODS. When you smell an oil, it activates the part of the brain that controls emotions, heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. Simply diffusing oil into the air can alter the moods of those in the room.

MULTIPLE USES. Pharmaceuticals are made from one single isolated synthetic compound while an essential oil can have hundreds of chemical compounds. This means that a single oil has hundreds of different things it can do for you. Lavender has a variety of uses; it can improve your sleep and calm you down emotions, while also helping to reduce your response to allergies and provide support to your immune system at the same time. Peppermint can support digestion and headaches at the same time. Lemon for uplifting a mood and cleaning. The list is endless.

SAVE MONEY.  Essential oils are pennies per drop. Compare that to the cost of prescription and over the counter medications that most come with an undesired side effect.  Just the other day I took charge of my back pain without the fogginess of narcotics. Additionally, oils can be swapped out for cleaning products throughout the house.

SUPPORT THE PLANET. It’s so easy to make your own personal care and household cleaning products using essential oils. Lotion bars, laundry detergent, countertop cleaner, etc…the list is endless.  Imagine all the toxic chemicals and wasteful packaging you could keep out of the environment, water, and landfills. Plus, when essential oils are produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way, they actually help to improve the environment and communities where they are grown. Sustainability at its best.

POWERFUL SOURCE OF ANTIOXIDANTS. Essential oils, because they are so concentrated, are some of the most powerful known antioxidants in the world. We have all heard that eating foods high in antioxidants protect our cells. Antioxidants help to absorb free radicals and prevent the aging of our cells so we can live healthier, longer lives. Who wouldn’t want that?

Finally, it is important be careful about essential oil quality and potency before using them, especially when considering using them internally as a dietary supplement. Many essential oils on the market are 100% synthetic, so they could be irritating to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Companies often dilute or adulterate their product in some way to get a higher yield and lower their costs.  Shop wise.  Live wise.