Kichadi – a balancing Ayurvedic Dish for Detoxing and resetting your digestion

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I’m into sharing recipes lately!  I think it is so important to get in the habit of cooking for yourself, and the more you do it, the easier it is!  I may have posted this, but it has been a while, and now that we are experiencing the change of seasons, a good ‘ole bowl of kichadi (Ayurvedic Mung Bean stew) is super balancing for all three doshas!  You can be flexible with the spices and veggies, listed below as well to make this recipe your own.  Enjoy!

KICHADI RECIPE – 3 to 4 servings

  • kichadis1 C white basmati rice (can use less, or substitute with Quinoa if rice sensitive)
  • 1 C split mung beans (available at the Natural Foods Coop in San Luis Obispo also called “Mung Dahl”)
  • 8 C water, or use a veggie stock
  • 1 T fresh grated ginger root, less with high Pitta
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds or 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2  tsp. mustard seeds (can omit if high pitta)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2  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 or what ever is in season.

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.  If it’s mushy/sticky, simply add more water while cooking.  These beans absorb a lot of liquid. When done, take the pot off the heat and add ghee and Himalayan Sea Salt (pink salt) 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 1 hour.



Delicious Red Lentil Soup Recipe

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I must be in a soup mood these days, and my stepdaughters absolutely love this soup, which is also balancing for fall.

Red Lentil Soup


  • 1 onion chopped finely
  • Carrots – two or tree, chopped small (same amount as onion)
  • Celery – 2 stalks chopped
  • One cup red lentils, rinsed well
  • ½ teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coriander powder

Saute onions in ghee or oil (olive or coconut oil okay) then add the tumeric, cumin and coriander.  Add the carrots and celery next.

Add the lentils and 4 cups of vegetable broth, or 4 cups of water and a vegetable stock cube instead of the veggie broth.

In a pressure cooker, bring to pressure, then simmer for 20 minutes.  (Can you tell, I love to cook with pressure cookers!  More on that later)

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook for about 45 minutes (or until the red lentils to become tender.)

Blend until smooth (with blender or hand puree tool) and squeeze in a bit of lemon or lime juice.

Serve with some warm steamed veggies, and a piece of gluten-free non-yeasted bread slathered with ghee and you have a tasty Ayurvedic meal.


Ayurveda recommends soup for fall

Ayurveda recommends soup for fall




It’s Pumpkin time! Fall Harvest Pumpkin Soup Recipe

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It’s almost autumn equinox, and we are starting to get a nip in the air, at least at night here in in the San Luis Obispo area of California. We have several really large pumpkins in our garden, and I just love everything pumpkin, from the seeds to the savory dishes and pies that you can make with them. According to Ayurveda, pumpkin is really balancing to the Vata dosha, especially when its the key ingredient in a warm, comforting fall soup. Fall is the time to start transitioning from salads to soups in order to keep your “vata” balanced.Enjoy my recipe below, which I just cooked up last weekend! Let me know if you’d like more Ayurvedic recipes!

Fall Harvest Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Please note, being the “Vata/Pitta” type that I am, I improvise greatly, so please feel free to do so yourself, especially when it comes to spicing. You can also substitute an acorn squash instead of a pumpkin. If you like your soup richer, try adding a potato when cooking the pumpkin.

• 4 – 6 cups fresh cubed pumpkin
• 1 tablespoon fresh chopped ginger (more if you like ginger)
• 1 or 2 garlic cloves (more if you like garlic)
• 1/2 chopped medium onion
• 4 cups veggie or chicken broth
• 1 can coconut milk
• 1 tablespoon curry powder or use a combination of turmeric/coriander/cumin to taste
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)
• 1 tablespoon ghee

Sauté the onions, garlic, ginger and spices in ghee (substitute butter or coconut oil if you prefer) until onions are translucent. Add the pumpkin and the broth and bring to a boil; turn down to simmer and cook until the pumpkin is soft, about 20-30 minutes. (FYI, a pressure cooker is A LOT quicker – like 5 minutes!)

Next use a hand immersion blender (a handy tool for blending soups this fall and winter) to blend the pumpkin. If you don’t have one, just place the pumpkin/onion/etc. in the blender and puree. Next, place back in your pot with the remainder of the liquid already in the pot, and stir. Continue to stir, while adding the coconut milk until the soup reaches the desired consistency. Personally, I like mine thicker and creamier.

Fall Harvest Pumpkin Soup

Fall Harvest Pumpkin Soup

Heat back up to a simmer and let cook for a few more minutes so that the tastes can blend together. Add the salt, and taste to see if you need to add more spices.

ENJOY! And remember, you can save the pumpkins seeds and toast them for a healthy and tasty snack!

A Centering Morning Routine

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I love my morning routine, instead of grabbing a quick cup of coffee and rushing off to work, I take the time to consciously enter into my day.  By waking up a little earlier I have time to do a little qigong or yoga, meditate, and sometimes, even take the dogs (Prana and Chi) for a little hike.  This helps me to feel much more centered and balanced as I enter the workday, or any day.  As a result I can deal with the ups and downs of life much better and have a more positive influence on those that I interact with.  It’s SO worth that extra half hour or hour of proactive consciousness!  I’d love to know what you do to keep yourself centered!

Meditate for a great start to the day.

Mediate for a great start to the day!

Fall Into Ayurveda for Less Stress & More Energy Workshop on 9/28

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fall dayWe’ve had gorgeous warm weather here on the Central Coast, but I can feel that  fall is on the way, as it gets darker earlier, and my animals start to grow their winter coats already!  As the seasons change, it’s important that we do too in order to stay healthy.
Our bodies also shift with the fall season, becoming impacted by the “winds of change.” If we don’t adjust our daily routine to be in alignment with nature as the season turns, we are prone to imbalances, both physically and mentally.
I will be offering a workshop later this month to give you Ayurvedic tips on how to have more energy, reduce stress and stay healthy during the fall. Here are the details:
When:  September 28; 3-5:30 p.m.
Where:  Smiling Dog Yoga; 1227 Archer Street, San Luis Obispo
Register:  by 9/21 for discount

In this fun and informative class, we will start with a brief and eye-opening exercise to figure out our “doshas” or constitutions (Vata, Pitta or Kapha). Those who know their dosha can study their current imbalance. You’ll then learn easy-to-implement Ayurvedic choices for fall that will help keep a bounce in your step. This class is great for those new to Ayurveda as well as those already familiar with the concepts.“Fall Into Health” will address the following seasonal choices and more:

  • Diet – Proper fall food choices for digestion, weight management and even a good night’s sleep.
  • Lifestyle – From sleep to daily habits, optimal routines for balance this fall.
  • Herbs – Herbs that fortify your system this fall, keep your mind at ease and your body in balance.
  • Exercise – Types of exercise best for fall.

Register by 9/21 and get the Early Bird Price:  $25

Price:  $30

Recipes for Summer- Keep your PItta cool!

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Recipes for Summer
By Dr. Light Miller
According to Ayurveda, as the days lengthen, we enter into a cycle dominated by the energy of the fiery pitta dosha. This is a time for outdoor activities: working in the garden, enjoying picnics, and gathering with friends and family at parks or beaches. Our bodies crave more fruits and vegetables as well as refreshing drinks. These light foods are refreshing, nourishing, and will help us dissipate excess heat.
Limeade with Rose Water
Serves 8
¼ cup lime juice
6 cups water (spring or purified)
4 tbsp rose water (best organic)
2 tbsp organic maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice)
Squeeze the lime juice (best fresh)
Strain the pulp add maple syrup or sweetener of your choice

Green and Healthy Salad
Serves 4
1 cup basil
2 cucumbers
4 cups baby greens
½ cup fresh mint
½ cup cilantro
2 tomatoes
2tbsp olive oil
Rose water (to taste)
Bragg’s or coconut amino acids (to taste)
Chop or dice the basil, mint and cilantro, removing the stems.
Slice the tomatoes.
In a salad bowl, toss the baby greens, herbs, and tomatoes.
Add olive oil, rose water and amino acids, and toss well.
Kale Jicama Salad
2 bunches kale, chopped
1 head romaine lettuce, torn or chopped
1 medium jicama
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
edible flowers for garnish (my preference is marigolds)
Bragg’s or coconut amino acids to taste
One hour before serving, chop the kale into very thin slices, add to salad bowl with 2 tbsp olive oil and allow to marinate.
Before serving, peel and then cut jicama into thin slices, add to marinated kale.
Toss with: nutritional yeast, cilantro, chopped romaine lettuce, lime, edible flowers, and amino acids (Bragg’s or coconut).

berriesStrawberries Delight
10 Strawberries
1 Medium mango
2 kiwis
2 basil leaves
¼ tsp crushed cardamom seeds
½ head lettuce
1 cup almond milk
1 cup spring water
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Note: While most people do well with raw food in the summer, people with a strong vata dosha can add extra oil to their salads to promote balance.

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)


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:

    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

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