Tag Archives: health tips

5 Ways to Look and Feel Better Than You Did in High School!

Spa Treatment at Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort - MauritiusIt’s been said that youth is wasted on the young. When we’re in our teens we can get away with bad habits because we have that natural, youthful energy anyway. As we get older, we find that energy is a commodity that we prize and need to be more diligent in our self-care so that we have plenty of it!

Luckily for us, Ayurveda, India’s 5,000 year old “Science of Life,” has some easy guidelines we can follow to look and feel healthier, sexier, and more energetic than we did in high school!

Here are 5 tips from Ayurveda on how to look and feel better:

1. Know your body type.

THEN: In high school you probably coveted the body types of the women in Charlie’s Angels, or wanted to look like Cheryl Tiegs. Now we know better! YOU are the best you, don’t try to be someone else.

NOW: Know your body type – Are you Vata, Pitta, or Kapha. This way you know what “normal” is for you. That way you don’t have unrealistic expectations of yourself. Every dosha is beautiful! Be your best self.

2. Eat for energy.

THEN: In high school you probably lived on pizza and leftovers, and ran through the drive-through after school.

NOW: Eat energizing foods. Fresh vegetables should constitute 40% of the meal. Green, leafy vegetables are especially high in minerals and fiber, so should be eaten often. Raisins are among the best of fruits because they enhance purity, pacify the mind and heart and increase the coordination between them. They are also a rich source of iron and vitamin B6, and provide magnesium, calcium, zinc, and potassium. Raisins aid digestion and elimination when they are soaked in water overnight. One handful per person is a good amount.

A date-milk energy shake is a nourishing way to end the day because it promotes sleep and calms both Pitta and Vata sleep imbalances.

Date-Milk Energy Shake

  • 4-5 whole dates
  • 1 cup whole organic milk (may substitute soy or rice or almond milk)
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • Boil the milk until it creates a foam. Turn off the heat and cool until the temperature is comfortable for drinking. Combine the milk with the other ingredients and blend until the dates are ground up. Drink it warm in winter and at room temperature in summer.

By the way, the warm frothy milk can also be used as a face mask – wonderfully hydrating and leaves the skin super soft!

Herbs and spices are your friends! Cumin helps digestion, freshly crushed black pepper helps you assimilate food better, cilantro cools and nutmeg soothes. There are spice blends, or CHURNAS, specifically to pacify each dosha – you can buy them ready made or make them at home.

Also, avoid energy-draining foods. Any fast foods, canned, frozen, packaged, leftover, or old foods, or foods with preservatives, chemicals and additives, are difficult to digest and contain little nutritional content. They actually drain the body of energy. If you do have some of these foods and feel heavy afterwards, drink half a glass of warm water with ¼ of a lime squeezed into it.

3. Keep skincare simple.

THEN: In high school, you probably spent a ton of money on grooming products, soaps, perfumes, lotions, hairspray.

NOW: Keep it simple. Nourish the body with natural oils. Abhyanga is a daily self massage which is good for keeping all the doshas in balance. It helps moisturize the skin, helps to release toxins, helps to tone the muscles, and it soothes the nerves. Sesame oil is usually recommended in general and is very good for Vatas specifically. Almond oil is also good for Vata. Coconut and sunflower both work well for Pitta. Corn and olive oils are beneficial for balancing Kapha.

The massage can be done in the morning before your shower, or in the evening before bed. Start by warming the oil to skin temperature, and drizzle a small amount of oil into the palms of your hands. Massage the top of your scalp (on days when you wash your hair), pay particular attention to the circumference of your ears, and the soles of your feet. Massage with long strokes on your limbs, and round strokes on your joints. It’s best to leave the oil on the body for 20 minutes before washing it off in a warm shower or bath. This 20 minutes is a good time to do your morning meditation!

4. Maintain a regular routine.

THEN: In high school, you probably kept late nights studying and partying with friends, up early for school, activities – on the go all the time.

NOW: Regular routine can help prevent stress. Ayurveda says there are 3 types of fatigue. Mental fatigue is a Vata imbalance, emotional fatigue is a Pitta imbalance, and physical fatigue is a Kapha imbalance. For all three:

  • Meditation – Twice daily
  • Good sleep habits.
  • Regular meal times.
  • Regular exercise, morning walk in the sun, yoga.
  • Dosha balancing routines – and teas.

5. Support fertility naturally.

THEN: In high school, energy probably came easily. You were always ready for a date!

NOW: Some grains, such as quinoa, enhance estrogenic activity and support the hormonal activity of both men and women. Cook it with a little ghee, salt, and spices such as cumin. Fruits such as papaya and pineapple are also helpful in strengthening the ovum. Turmeric helps enhance the binding of estrogen and progesterone.

Take the Dosha Quiz to determine your Dosha and learn more about Ayurveda with my free 6 week e-course here.

 

Originally published April 2012

If Your Cat Could Talk…The 13 Best Health Tips From Animals

hin40cnWhen you watch TV, do you notice all the clever commercials attributing human qualities to animals, like dogs driving cars and a talking gecko selling insurance? You smile while you absorb the message. For a lesson on healthy living, let’s go the opposite route and tap into our animal nature. Animals can teach us a great deal about good health – physical and emotional; just ask any scientist who observes rats and monkeys in a laboratory setting to treat human conditions.

13 Animal Lessons For Human Nature:

 

1. Animals delight in movement; exercise is fun, not unpleasant.  Dogs and cats look for opportunities to play. Going outdoors is even better as it is stimulating and fresh.

2. Animals live in the moment as they are single-taskers.  Animals don’t get stuck in a negative loop of past failures. Every moment is a new opportunity.

3.  There is nothing mundane to an animal as every action is meaningful.

4. Animals might fight to change the status quo, but will ultimately accept what is.

5. Animals periodically shed their fur, hair or feathers. Life is a casting off. Animals can lose a home or their family, yet move on. They know that they truly possess nothing, except for their identity and primal instinct.

6. Animals, who are light sleepers at night, catch a few winks during the day to restore their energy reserves and improve focus. They rest when they can and don’t override it.

7. Sure, animals are creatures of habit, but they do expect the unexpected. A daily structured routine of waking up, eating and sleeping at the same time makes them feel less anxious and keeps the body operating at peak performance – alive and alert.

8. Animals are real. They express honest emotions as opposed to stressful, self-suppression.

9. Animals trust their intuition and don’t override it with intellectualizing. What is essential is often invisible to the eye.

10. Animals pay attention and make great listeners which enable them to read body language and emotions well. However, humans are busy texting, technologically overloaded and come up short on face time.

11. Animals seek sunshine energy for Vitamin D, but do not want to get a tan.

12. Animals drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and fire up their metabolism. Many humans forget to drink water as they walk around dehydrated and wonder why they feel fatigued. Even worse, humans drink fluids with sugar or artificial ingredients.

13. Animals are not so clean which keeps their immune system at peak performance. Humans use antibacterial soaps as though they were surgeons scrubbing in the operating room. Yet, humans have a lot of auto-immune diseases.

 

Image: imgur

Excerpt From Dr. Chopra Says: Leading an Aced Life

Excerpted from Dr. Chopra Says: Medical Facts And Myths Everyone Should Know

Everyone wants to live a long, happy and healthy life, and there are certain things you can do that will help you accomplish that goal. But determining what’s right for you, and what’s a waste of your time and money is often very difficult. Throughout this book we’ve provided you with the information you need to make good health choices, but more than that we’ve attempted to give the foundation you need to become an educated health consumer. Both Alan and I hope that now you’ll be able to read or hear stories about the latest medical discoveries, advances, and studies and know what’s good for you but also know what is simply hype. We want you to navigate through these complicated waters of scientific news with confidence and skill. When I’m asked about my own lifestyle I explain that I lead an “aced life.” That’s a mnemonic I’ve created to describe what I consider to be a healthy lifestyle. The “A” is for aspirin and alcohol, “C” is for caffeinated coffee, “E” is for exercise, and “D” is for vitamin D3. The “L” is for laughter, “I” is to go inward, in my case, to meditate, “F” is fish or fish oil for the omega- 3, and “E” is for empathy. If you do all those things, you’re leading an “aced life.”

And when I do tell that to people, I always remember to add, “Please, don’t go nuts remembering this mnemonic”— a good way to remind myself to have a few nuts.

Both Alan and I try to lead aced lives, although in certain respects we fall short. On a regular basis I get up at 4:30 in the morning and meditate for 45 minutes. The only supplement I take is vitamin D3, and I take 1,000 IU of it with my morning low- dose aspirin. I also keep two regular aspirin readily accessible in my home, my car, my office, and even in my golf bag. While I’m not at high risk for a heart attack I carry these aspirin as my insurance policy. Should I have a heart problem or be with someone who suffers a heart attack or stroke, I know those two aspirin might save a life.

I exercise three or four times a week. Generally I meet two of my closest friends at the gym at 6:45 a.m. The buddy system is valuable to me because like most people, half the time I don’t feel like exercising and if I were on my own I probably could talk myself out of it, but knowing my friends are waiting for me is the incentive I need to get to the gym. On the way to the gym I’ll stop for my first cup of regular coffee.

After exercising and showering I’ll stop for a second cup of coffee. I average about three or four cups a day, with the final cup no later than 4:00 p.m., otherwise I would have difficulty falling asleep. I have a small refrigerator in my office in which I keep water, some carrots, and some nuts. I always have a handful of walnuts or almonds a half hour or so before lunch.

I walk as much as possible during the day, often choosing to take the stairs rather than an escalator. I eat my fruit and vegetables. I will eat fish at least once or twice a week and I avoid eating red meat at least five days a week.

I believe it is important to spend time with friends and my wife and I make a point of celebrating even small things with the people whose company we enjoy. I have friends who can make me laugh, sometimes even just being around them makes me laugh. I also have hobbies: I read, I attend concerts, I travel extensively and have been to 80 countries, and I play golf. Or as golfers understand, I attempt to play golf. In the evenings, when possible, I will meditate again. That’s about half the time. When I meditate I do it for about 20 minutes, and if I have been successful in meditating twice during a day I find six hours of sleep is generally sufficient for me.

The final thing I try very hard to do on a daily basis is practice kindness. I do this consciously, although I think that by nature I am a kind person, because my parents were incredibly kind people. I live by the words of the Dalai Lama, who said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

Alan follows a somewhat similar pattern. In the mornings he takes aspirin. Like me, for a time he took a statin, Lipitor, but both of us had to stop because it caused significant muscle cramps. That is not a particularly common side effect, but it has affected both of us. He doesn’t carry aspirin with him, he told me, because he is only 48 years old. I asked him what he would do if he was with someone who is likely having a heart attack— and he decided he would begin carrying aspirin with him.

Alan exercises at least four times a week on an elliptical machine in his home, and two or three times a week he also works with light weights to increase his upper body strength. When possible, he’ll also do about 15 minutes of yoga in the evening. He did try meditating, but unfortunately he usually falls asleep. At my urging he may try it again. Also like me, Alan only needs about six and a half hours sleep. Both of us probably should get a bit more, but we also understand the pace of daily life.

Alan drinks between three and four cups of caffeinated regular coffee or espresso daily. He’s a cardiologist so he understands the importance of exercise and walks as much as possible. Alan admits he “avoids aluminum like the plague, irrationally.” His children get vaccinated.

He doesn’t take vitamin D3 because he makes sure to spend a reasonable amount of time in the sunshine. His job brings him to Florida on a somewhat regular basis, so even in the winter he does get sufficient exposure to sunlight.

Unlike me, Alan is absolutely focused on eating nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day. A serving is about a half cup, so an apple is about two cups. He will go out of his way to get his nine servings. He doesn’t count juice, by the way, although he admits, “I don’t know why. There’s no data to support that.” He rarely snacks between meals, and he always has some nuts as what he calls a “tag- on.” He might have a handful of nuts with eggs on toast for breakfast or add them to his dessert at night— but he will have some healthy nuts every day. And like me, he will have a glass of wine with his dinner, four or five nights a week. He favors red wine, but that’s simply a taste issue. Both of us are privileged to be actively involved in the world of medicine and healing. It is something we cherish dearly. We are also fortunate that when we read or hear about an advance in medicine we’re able to speak with colleagues, who often are renowned experts, to find out for ourselves the real meaning behind the story. There is no single way to have the healthiest possible lifestyle.

Certainly no one really expects you to change your daily schedule to incorporate every one of those suggestions that appear to make good health sense. That’s just not possible. But we hope you will take this information we’ve presented and find ways to apply it to your own life. And most important, the next time you’re waiting in a supermarket checkout line and see provocative headlines, or you’re reading the latest health newsletter, or lying in bed watching the news and you learn about something that might make a difference in your health or that of your loved ones, you’ll ask the right questions and make the proper decisions.

Buy Dr. Chopra Says: Medical Facts And Myths Everyone Should Know on Amazon here

 

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