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Don’t Skip A beat! – Find Your Rhythm During Daylight Savings Time

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Don’t Skip A beat! – Find Your Rhythm During Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time Takes Place this Year on Sunday, March 12

Some version of Daylight Savings time (DST) has been in use since early times when ancient civilizations would adjust their daily schedules to the sun’s schedule. In current times, DST is now in use in over 70 countries worldwide. [1]

Shifting your clock forward by an hour, this year on March 12, brings to mind longer, beautiful spring and summer days and the chance to spend more time basking in the sunshine. Unfortunately, the transition is not always as easy as it sounds. Even an hour time change can mess with your body’s 24-hour natural cycle. Cued by light, it is called the circadian rhythm.

According to Ayurveda, the body’s natural state mirrors that of nature, which accounts for our circadian rhythm. Ideally, we rise with the sun, and slow down as the sun sets in anticipation of darkness and sleep. We see just how much our internal clock is set to the rising and falling of the sun when we all of the sudden jump forward an hour.

It can take about a week for the body to adjust to the time change, not just for sleeping, but for meal times and other activities as well. Until we have adjusted, we can have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up at the right time. This can lead to sleep deprivation and reduction in performance, increasing the risk for mistakes including vehicle crashes. This is especially true when you skip forward in the spring, essentially losing an hour out of your day.[2]

Daylight Savings Time occurs during the Kapha season (spring), when cool, heavy and moist qualities are most prominent both in our environment (think thick, gooey mud…) and in many people’s bodies, because humans mirror the qualities found in nature. As a result, you may feel more lethargy, heaviness and dullness, especially so if your dosha is kapha. Experiencing DST and the Kapha season simultaneously is enough to even drive true Vatas and Pittas out of balance. Because opposites create balance according to Ayurveda, chose lighter foods and more “yang” or stimulating activities.

Committed to tackling Daylight Savings Time before the clock strikes midnight? Here are seven steps to set your body’s clock forward and get back in rhythm following simple ayurvedic principles:

  1. Go to Bed Early… If you normally get to sleep at 10 (ideal time according to Ayurveda) on March 12 10pm will feel like 9 pm – I know, it’s confusing! As a result, you may be tempted to burn the midnight oil, which may leave you feeling foggy the next day or longer. Instead, about three days prior to DST, gradually adjust to an earlier bed time in 20 minute increments. Using 10pm as an example, go to bed at 9:40, then 9:20, then 9 the days leading up to DST.  Herbal formulas to help you relax and sleep include Banyan’s I Sleep Soundly”.  Other sleep suggestions include turning the lights and computer screens off at least a half hour prior to bedtime, finishing a light dinner three hours before hitting the sack, taking a warm bath and diffusing relaxing essential oils such as lavender, jasmine or rose geranium (some sort of floral scent.) in your bedroom. I keep a diffuser on my nightstand, and find the gentle, fragrant scents extremely relaxing year-round. If you are naturally prone to an “early to bed and early to rise” pattern, you will adjust easier because the time shift follows your usual tendencies. Conversely, if you typically keep to a “late to bed and late to rise” routine it will be more difficult for you. If so, you may want to adjust to an earlier bedtime starting about a week prior to DST, at 10 minute increments each day.
  1. Wake up early – The same goes for three days prior, gradually move up your waking time by 20 minutes as well. Ideally, according to Ayurveda, this would be at 6am, before you start to feel the weighty pull of kapha, from 6-10am. If you get yourself out of bed as close to 6am as possible, you will feel more energized, light and lively throughout your day. One of Ayurveda’s best known herbs to help you adapt to the time change is Ashwagandha. One of my favorite formulas to engage my brain in the morning is Mental Clarity.
  2. Shift your Meal times as well following the same format. This means eating a bit earlier each day by 10-20 minutes until you have shifted your meal times to an hour earlier by DST.
  3. Eat Lighter Foods. Since this is also the Kapha time of year, heavier foods will feed into feeling lethargic regardless. The time shift can amplify that imbalance if you don’t pay attention to your food choices. Choose seasonal foods that are lighter and dryer in nature.
  4. Eat Clean, especially the few days before and after the time change. Eliminate or at least reduce caffeine, and do away with alcohol and processed sugar, which tax your system. Following tip #4 will also naturally help you to eat a cleaner, seasonal diet.
  5. Spend Time Outdoors, especially in the morning, as close to sunrise as possible. Even a brisk walk around your neighborhood will benefit you. The morning sun will reset your circadian rhythm and the exercise will increase your circulation and help you to be more alert.
  6. Practice Breath of fire, also known as Kapalabhati. This is a rapid rhythmic breath with equal emphasis on the inhale and exhale. The technique will energize you and increase alertness among other benefits. Add this to your morning routine shortly after waking up.

The time change reminds us that if we do live in harmony with the rhythms of Mother Nature, she will be kind to us. It’s also a great opportunity to transition into balancing routines for the spring season. Essentially, incorporate Kapha balancing guidelines, and shift your daily routines forward a few days before March 12 to help you to stay in stride!

[1] https://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/history.html

 

[2] https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2016/03/09/daylight-savings/

 


How much Vitamin D should you take?

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Here’s a great piece on Vitamin D that appeared in Natural Solutions Magazine:

How Much Vitamin D is Enough?

By Craig Gustafson
In 2010, the USDA increased its Daily Recommended Intake of vitamin D from 400 IU to 600 IU for people younger than 70 years old, and to 800 IU for those who are older. This revision is a step in the right direction, but still pales in relation to the levels of vitamin D the human body is capable of producing.

It is no secret that sun exposure triggers the production of vitamin D3 in our skin. However, geography and skin pigmentation play a significant role in a person’s ability to produce vitamin D. For people living north of Altanta, Georgia, the sun is not strong enough for any vitamin D production from November through March. South of Atlanta, all the way to the equator, the oblique angle of the sun during the winter months causes most of the important UVB rays to be absorbed by the ozone layer.

If you can consistently get 15 to 30 minutes of sun exposure over 40 percent of your body two to three times each week (minding the above considerations), you are probably producing adequate levels of vitamin D.

If not, and you are not taking a supplement, you are probably vitamin D deficient. According to Dr. Michael Holick of Boston University, one of the world’s foremost vitamin D researchers, vitamin D deficiency has reached pandemic proportions. Studies show that as much as 80 percent of the US population could be deficient.

The question is: How do you really know if you are getting enough? According to Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND and editor in chief of Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, the only way to confirm adequate production and intake of vitamin D is a blood test. Furthermore, because of all the variables involved with vitamin D production, the only way to be sure that a supplement is bringing you to the optimum level is to continue periodic testing.

Blood tests measuring vitamin D should test calcidiol (25(OH)D) levels. A significant number of researchers maintain that this level should lie between 40–65 ng/ml (or 100–160 nmol/L).

For those who are identified as being deficient, both Holick and Pizzorno advocate supplementing at a higher level for two to three months to overcome the deficit, then reducing to a lower dosage for ongoing maintenance.

For example. Pizzorno suggests that initial doses of 10,000 IU per day and maintenance doses of 5,000 IU per day for adults who are not suffering from vitamin D hypersensitivity syndromes, such as sarcoidosis.

Additional nutrients are also needed for proper regulation of vitamin D at these levels including vitamins A and K, magnesium, and zinc.

Talk to your doctor about supplementation for infants, although their vitamin D level is very important to manage. For children, start supplementing with 1,000 IU per day. Dosage may safely rise as high as 1,000 IU per day for each 25 pounds of body weight.


Easy cleanse for September

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I’ve decided that I’ve procrastinated long enough on my cleanse, so am officially jumping into the detox routine today! I’m doing an easier cleanse than I usually do (I tend to go to extremes) with a lot more “allowed” foods. Items that are a no-no include alcohol, black tea and coffee, red meat, wheat, dairy, potatoes, bread, pasta, etc. (Oh, and sugar…) In other words, I’ll be eating lots of veggies. It’s actually not that different than I normally eat, so it won’t be too hard. I get tempted by the sugary treats and bread, so it will be good to eliminate those. If anyone is interested in trying this cleanse, let me know and I will share the details with you! Happy Labor Day 🙂


New Year’s Tips the Ayurvedic Way

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New Year, New You the Ayurvedic Way
Ayurveda, the ancient system of health and wellness from India, recognizes that balance in all areas of our lives is essential for well-being and longevity. For those looking to realize their New Year’s resolutions for a healthier body, mind and spirit,

For Weight Control and Detoxification: Wholesome Foods and Established Eating Routines

Ayurvedic Yoga

Enjoy your largest meal of the day at lunch – Our digestive fire mirrors the sun; it is highest at noon, meaning we burn more calories during our mid-day meal than any other time. According to Ayurveda, eat enough breakfast to get you to lunch; make lunch your largest meal of the day whenever possible; and eat enough dinner to get you through until the next morning’s breakfast. To maintain or lose weight, finish dinner by 7 p.m., allowing three hours between dinner and bedtime.

Pay attention when eating – Stay focused on your meal, eating slowly and with attention. Not only will you appreciate your food more, but you will feel satisfied quicker. Avoid eating in front of the computer or TV, or during a stressful conversation.

Eat wholesome foods – Avoid packaged, processed and frozen foods, opting for fresh produce, dairy and light meats, which are loaded with easy to absorb nutrients, packing a powerful energy punch. Try shopping at your local farmer’s market, or shop the “outside” aisles of your grocery store for the freshest options.

Drink water, and lots of it! – Drinking half your bodyweight in ounces of pure water daily (i.e. a 150 lb. person should drink 75 ounces) will not only remove toxins, but help you to feel full. Many times you may think you are hungry, when you are actually thirsty, so drink up! Avoid ice, sodas, sugary drinks and coffee.
Helpful RUVED Herbal Formula: Good health begins and ends with digestion, and Triphala is one of the best-known and most revered Ayurvedic formulas for supporting it. The herbal combination in Triphala has been considered the secret to longevity and robust health in Ayurveda for centuries.*
For a Trim, Strong Body: Appropriate Exercise

Exercise between 6-10 a.m. or around 5-6 p.m. – Ayurveda recognizes daily cycles, and within these cycles, times that are best for various activities, including exercise. Your body will make the most of exercise if performed between these hours.

Exercise frequently, and in nature– Find a type of exercise that you are passionate about and participate four to six times a week. Setting reachable goals with activities that you enjoy paves the way for success. Ayurveda says we soak up the most “prana” or life force, when exercising in nature, so if the weather is agreeable get outside for a hike or bike ride.

Practice Yoga –Yoga -particularly a slow and focused practice – creates a state of peace and relaxation for mind, body and spirit, while keeping the body strong and flexible.
Helpful RUVED Herbal Formulas: For muscle and joint support, try CoCurQ or Paingon for a healthy inflammatory response *.

For Stress Reduction: Just Breathe, Meditate and Massage

Meditate daily – Meditating as little as five minutes every morning can help you center, allowing you to respond (rather than react) to the day’s challenges. Busy mind? Most of us experience this – just a few seconds of a quieted mind can positively influence your entire day! There are many books, websites and meditation organizations to help you find a path that works best for you, regardless of religion.
• Practice breathing techniques – The ancient sages from India recognized the breath as important for balancing and de-stressing one’s body, mind and spirit. One simple technique is simply to take a minute, three times a day, to breathe through your nose into your belly to the count of ten, and then slowly exhale through your nose to the same count. (For more breathing techniques, click here.)
• Give yourself a daily massage – A massage a day can keep the doctor away, and according to a recent Dr. Oz Show, “abhyanga,” or a simple self-massage, is an excellent daily ritual to boost immunity. Abhyanga can make a remarkable difference in de-stressing, nourishing and detoxing the body, as the skin is our largest organ and deeply absorbs what we apply to it.
Helpful RUVED Herbal Formulas: For self-massage, try RUVED Ayurvedic massage oils with medicinal herbs that balance one’s unique constitution, or “dosha.” *
For stress relief, ashwagandha is one of the most highly regarded herbs in Ayurveda, supporting a stable mind function and a restful state. Memoren™, also contains well known Ayurvedic herbs addressing the nervous system, stress-relief and memory support. *

For Sleep: Early to Bed, Early to Rise

Go to bed at 10 p.m. and wake at 6 a.m.– Follow the rhythms of nature: hit the sack by 10 p.m., and wake up at approximately 6 a.m. Sleeping during these hours facilitates the best rest and healing functions of the body. The later you go to bed, the more difficult it will be to fall asleep, as you miss the body’s prime time for shifting into sleep.

Make sure your bedroom is free from distractions such as television and excessive light in order to support solid sleep. Invest in an eye mask if outside lights shine into your room.

Helpful RUVED Herbal Formulas: Again, try ashwagandha to help calm a busy mind.
Following these daily routines will bring you back to a harmonious and energetic state in no time, allowing you to put your best foot forward in 2012.


Kitcheree recipe

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I thought I had posted this recipe a long time ago, but it looks like I haven’t! The Ayurvedic dish “Kitcheree” consists of mung beans and rice primarily, with spices that assist with digestion and overall cleansing. Now that I am on a simple cleanse for the month, I will be making lots of this, and thought I’d share it as well. Enjoy! (post any questions that you may have)

KICHADI RECIPE

Great for balancing all three doshas!

  • 1/3 C white basmati rice
  • C split mung beans (available at the Natural Foods Coop in San Luis Obispo)
  • 5 C water, or use a veggie stock
  • 1 tsp to 2 T fresh grated ginger root, less with high Pitta
  • tsp. cumin seeds or ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • tsp. mustard seeds (can omit if high pitta)
  • -1 tsp coriander seeds or 1 tsp ground coriander
  • tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1 clove garlic (omit if Pitta)
  • Heat up spices on the bottom of the pot, stirring constantly for about 1 or 2 minutes, until aromatic. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil for about 5 minutes, and then reduce heat to medium-low. As rice and beans are cooking, chop and add vegetables such as:
    Carrots
    Zucchini
    Broccoli

    After bringing water to a boil, simmer for approximately 30 minutes – until most of the liquid is absorbed, but the consistency is smooth, not mushy and sticky.

    When done, take the pot off the heat and add ghee or salt/braggs liquid amino acids to taste!

    It is better for your digestion to use split mung beans (and even better if you soak them overnight. However, you can use whole mung beans; however you will need to adjust the cooking time to about 45 minutes


Esalen Kale Salad

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Esalen Kale Salad As promised on Facebook, here’s my absolute favorite recipe for kale, from one of my favorite spots in the world, Esalen in Big Sur. And, because it is summer, eating it raw is fine for all doshas, especially pitta! Kale is highly nutritious and really good for cleansing the digestive system. Really, I can’t get enough of this salad – enjoy 🙂

1/3 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos or tamari soy sauce (I like tamari better)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup flax seed or extra virgin olive oil ( I use olive oil)
1/2 medium- sized red onion
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (you can cheat and get these already roasted, unsalted)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds (I didn’t have sesame seeds the other day, so just used more pumpkin seeds)
1 lb. fresh kale (or about 2 big bunches)
1/2 cup sunflower sprouts
1 avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (optional)
1 cup thinly sliced shiitake or crimini mushrooms (optional – I typically don’t add these))

Combine the Bragg or soy sauce and lemon juice in a blender or whisk in a bowl. Slowly dribble in the oil as the blender turns or as you whisk vigorously. Slice the onion into thin half-moons and marinate in the dressing as you prepare the rest of the salad.

Toast the seeds in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat until seeds are just golden and fragrant (cast iron skillet is the best). Toast each seed type separately as their size requires varying roasting times. Cool to room temperature.

De-stem the kale. Stack the kale leaves and slice or tear into 1/4 inch ribbons. This is the most important step so make sure that you take your time. The success of this recipe lies in cutting the kale into small ribbons and in completely massaging the kale with the dressing.

Toss the seeds, sprouts, and kale together in the marinated onions and as much dressing as necessary to lightly but completely dress the kale. Massage the dressing into the kale with your hands. Add the avocado and mushrooms if using and toss again with your hands.