Tag Archives: Lifestyle

Why Ayurveda Could Change Your Life

Jumping

Imagine you’re outside, by a beautiful lake, enjoying the perfection of your surroundings. You feel comfortable, relaxed, as if you are an important part of it all. You are so in tune that it is as if you can hear nature speaking to you.

You see a swan glide past, and the swan is thinking to itself: “How wonderful it is to be a swan. I can take my time; life is serene. I am graceful and lovely. All is right with the world.”

And then you notice an eagle flying high overhead, and the eagle is thinking: “Ah, what a joy it is to be an eagle. I am strong, and free. This is the life!”

A hummingbird flits past, and you can hear the hummingbird is thinking: “I’m having so much fun on this glorious day. There’s so much to see and do. I’m so glad I’m a hummingbird and can move easily to all the things I love.”

Everything in nature has a purpose. We’re all connected. Sitting amongst the trees and looking at the clear blue sky you know that you are an important part of this connection. You breathe deeply and feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude and peace.

Now, imagine you’re in that same place, same time. When you hear nature speaking to you things are a bit different.

You see a swan glide past, and the swan thinks to itself: “Oh, my. Why am I stuck being a swan? I would so much rather be like that little hummingbird. I want to flit around like that! I feel so dumpy just floating here on this silly lake.”

Then the eagle flies overhead, and you read its thoughts: “Wow. Look at that swan down there. He’s got the good life. Why can’t I just hang out on the lake? Instead I’m up here working so hard. This isn’t fair. I’d rather be a swan.”

Then the hummingbird flits by and thinks: “Really? That eagle is so lucky. She’s way up there with a great vantage point. She can go so far without even flapping her wings. I’m down here pumping away a million beats a minute! Man, I want to be an eagle.”

Somehow, this second scenario just doesn’t make sense, does it? Because this is not how nature operates! And yet, this is exactly what we do as human beings all the time. We fight our own nature. We compare ourselves to one another. We think we need to always be thinner, more beautiful, more successful, more something, anything! When the truth is that we are inherently perfect. If we are carrying around excess weight, or stress, or feeling bad about ourselves it is because we are out of balance, our lives are out of balance in one way or another. We can find that perfect state of balance, and regain our strength and confidence and energy to be the best that we can be.

The most important thing we can do for ourselves, to be our healthiest and happiest, body, mind, and spirit, is to know who we are. Some of us are swans, some of us are eagles, and some of us are hummingbirds. Each being is valid, each being has value, and each being brings his or her unique gifts to the world. When we know ourselves, and our own nature, we allow the best of ourselves to shine through. Nature operates through us. So why are we fighting it?

Ayurveda is the 5,000 year old “Science of Life” from India. It explains the nature of everything in the universe. It teaches us how to live in harmony with nature, knowing the connections that we share. Ayurveda is all about balance, and this is something we are in dire need of today.

There are a lot of things that take us away from our state of balance. We are overstressed and overworked. We overeat and are overweight. We over exert ourselves and overspend so that we end up tired, hungry, in debt and living in a mess. Look at all the extra “stuff” we carry around with us. We need to lighten up! We need to shed the stress, the pounds, the debt, and the distractions and focus on what is good for us, what serves us. Food is a huge part of all this. We use food to soothe our emotions, to fill up our tummies when we feel a lack in some part of our lives. We fall into habits, with food and otherwise, that we think are easy, and they become mindless and robotic so that we don’t see any other possibilities or potential for ourselves.

It’s time to get back to nature, to get back to basics, to get back into balance. And what better way than by turning to a practice that has been tried and true for all these centuries? Ayurveda is a “sister science” with yoga and meditation. As we experience the benefits of these practices in our lives we naturally want to learn more – and that’s where Ayurveda is positioned right now.

Twenty years ago or so here in the west Feng Shui was a foreign concept – but now it’s a part of our every day vernacular. If you haven’t heard of Ayurveda yet – now you have! And if you haven’t lived the Ayurveda lifestyle yet, I encourage you to try it now. Lots more info in my new book, The Perfect Balance Diet: 4 Weeks to a Lighter Body, Mind, Spirit & Space and on my new website: perfectbalancediet.com

Why Love is the Answer to Living a Life with Meaning

Don't Let Go.While at dinner night one night, I had a discussion with an accomplished and influential man who has touched the lives of many millions of people in a very positive way. He was sharing how at the ripe old age of 10 he first realized that he was conscious. It led him to the conclusion that “there must be some meaning or purpose as to why I am here.” He became determined to live his life from that vantage point.

Now that he is quite a bit older, he is considering whether there is still a purpose for him and even if what he had done had been useful. I, of course, seeing the value in his work, chimed in with a resounding “Yes!” I could clearly see there was still plenty of purpose and meaning to be found in the years that lay ahead, no matter how many or few.

Another man I know is 15 years younger than the first and also looking back on his life trying to make sense of it all. He can’t seem to understand that there are still plenty of moments left for him in which meaning can and will be found, even if his past wasn’t all he wanted it to be. Instead, he is running laps in the playground of his mind, which from my perspective is different than gaining awareness and altitude. But hey, it’s his playground.

In my early twenties, I read Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” In it, the author introduces what he calls an existential vacuum, a condition that exists when one’s life is empty of meaning. When this vacuum is present, it is as if existence has a large hole in it that cannot be filled. A friend of mine at that time was a psychiatrist interested in levels of consciousness and why people felt this vacuum inside. In his quest for awakening and awareness, he introduced his friends to a veritable garden of spiritual teachers, each with a different take on the subject.

From that point on, I was fascinated by the existential, the spiritual practices of all religions, the experiences of mysticism, and the many ways people look for meaning and purpose in their life. Like my friend, I found my spiritual teacher and my spiritual practice. The sense of isolation I hadn’t previously understood shifted almost immediately. The emptiness related to my food addiction was more complicated and took many years to overcome.

As for my meaning and purpose, I spent decades searching for the answers. In the end, it all boiled down to “Whatever the question, love is the answer.” I discovered that the greatest gift I could give someone was to really listen to them and let them know that they mattered. To let them know that they were not alone – that someone cared about them. That in fact, all of us are part of a grand whole in which we are all interconnected.

I found new meaning when I shared my authentic experiences by helping others to understand that while we are different, we are the same. That each of us is ordinary, doing the best we can with what we have been given, and with what we have chosen to develop. And when I am communing in that way with others, I am in touch with what I have come to know as Spirit.

By loving and offering support wherever I can, in whatever small way I can, I find meaning in the moment. And since life is made up of moments, I can focus on those, and not have to ponder the imponderable or drive myself nuts with how many angels can actually dance on the head of a pin. Rather than get stuck in that place of no return, I return to the spiritual experiences, the transcendence of this level that I can have in the quiet when the peace descends and love enfolds.

We live in stressful times with people searching for significance in the chaos and peace in the turmoil. I think it can be helpful to look at the ways in which each of us finds meaning and then share that not only with everyone we know, but also with anyone who is looking. To that end, my daily questions to myself are, “Did I partake in the opportunities for loving that were presented to me today?” “Was I grateful?” and “Did I listen to and act upon the wisdom of my heart?” This wisdom tells me to always be open to the possibilities of new meanings, awareness, and new awakenings.

 

Originally published July 2010

5 Mindful Dining Lessons from an Italian Bistro

Pizza Salsicce close-up - Tiamo 2 AUD16.90 mediumUpon arriving in Bologna for a conference, I was determined to make every minute count: I checked into my hotel, checked my email, took a quick nap, showered and left for some sightseeing. At this point it was about 3:00pm and lo and behold, it was siesta (an Italian tradition when most businesses shut down for a few hours to ‘rest’).  As a result, I was forced to stop my touristic whirlwind and took my own siesta in one of the few open bistros, choosing to eat dinner early so that I could take advantage of my “Perfect Storm” of jet lag, hunger and nothing to do.

At RosaRose I ate local fare and watched the Fords, or shall I say bicycles and mopeds, go by. As a European, this time off is custom. As an American, however, this is foreign (pardon the pun). But yet, with no cellphone to answer… no laptop on which to type… no internet to distract… you somehow acclimate quite easily. So easily in fact, you quickly find yourself dreaming of this lifestyle as your own.

Although I clearly had other plans for my day, my new agenda was quite appealing and I was in no rush to leave my little Perfect Storm Haven. My storm became a calm: my jet lag seemed to dissipate, my hunger was satisfied and my ‘nothing to do status’ became my very own enjoyable siesta. After a couple of hours, I left recharged and ready for another several hours on the go. Maybe there really was something to this siesta after all!

In Italy, life seems less hectic… more simple. Undeniably, it becomes easy to think of adopting their lifestyle. Turns out, there were several life lessons to be learned during my time in a simple Bolognese Bistro:

  1. Take a Break: We tend to busy ourselves constantly and forget how important it is to take a break, decompress and relax. Being forced to stop and relax because there is NOTHING ELSE to do, gives you an opportunity to really understand how wonderful it is to do nothing.
  2. Eat GOOD Food: This means good in quality and in taste. If the quality is good, there is a good chance it is going to taste good too. The higher the quality of food you eat, the more likely you will eat less. My siesta meal was prosciutto, tomatoes and mozzarella…although a bit higher in fat than I would normally eat, as an appetizer it made me full for the rest of the day!
  3. Drink Just Enough: Often, I feel that many people over indulge in alcohol in the United States. In Europe, drinking is a social aspect of the culture. A glass of red wine with dinner is very normal. That said, you rarely will see binge drinking among locals.
  4. Slow Down: In the United States, especially in coastal cities, I feel that we run at a million miles a minute. Slowing down helps you enjoy more in life. For instance, when eating, don’t scarf…savor every morsel in a slow and purposeful fashion. You’ll feel satisfied on less food.
  5. Love the Ones Your With: During my time at RosaRose, it was apparent that people really enjoyed being together. They were smiling, laughing and chatting up a storm. Even the waitstaff were jovial. Whether it be friends, family or your partner, make time together special and fun.

Have you traveled to Italy or any other place in Europe? Did you have a similar experience? What valuable lessons did you learn from time abroad?

 

Originally published July 2012

A Life of Drag, As Described by Real Drag Queens

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 1.46.30 PMMost people know the term: Drag queen. There may be some feeling, belief, or opinion that goes along with the connotation, whether positive or negative. For many, “drag queen” describes a man who dresses up as a woman, perhaps in a flamboyant or performative way. But it that really the end of the story?

Not according to Vicky Vox and Raja Gemini, two Los Angeles-based drag queens who make it their business to ensure the community is properly repped. In this episode of “Subcultures,” Soulpancake goes behind the scenes to flesh out the drag community, not just as an alternative lifestyle but also as a healing path that many, like Vicky and Raja, are transformed by.

As Vicky and Raja allude to, there is so much more to drag than meets the eye. Here are 3 amazing facts about drag that you might not have known:

  1. Drag has been around since ancient times, when women were barred from acting on stage and men played both male and female roles.
  2. The term “drag” is believed to come from 19th century theater slang, describing the long skirts male actors wore when playing female roles.
  3. The first openly gay person to ever run for public office was also a drag queen, named José Sarria.

Do you know any drag performers? Have you ever been to a drag show? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Weight Loss: Fact and Fiction – What Works and What Doesn’t

Body Image. The subjective concept of one's physical appearance based on self-observation and the reactions of others.

Does sex really count as exercise? Should you set conservative weight loss goals of 5-10 pounds instead of 50? Does adding a little bit of exercise regularly over a long period of time really add up to significant weight loss?

A recent analysis of weight loss research by The New England Journal of Medicine, entitled Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity, attempts to answer these questions.

Some findings are surprising, some are not, and some common notions about weight loss are yet to be proven or dis-proven. I have my own opinions based on treating tens of thousands of patients over many decades.

We are all different. What works for some may not work for all, which is why I practice personalized lifestyle medicine, or functional medicine, that  allows me to discover the root causes of imbalances in the body that lead to weight gain and disease  – matching the treatment to the person.

The good news for me is that I was not surprised by the myths that are commonly held by doctors, nutritionists, and most people. And I know that some of the presumptions will turn out to be true – we just don’t have enough data to “prove” it.

Remember, the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. Just because something has not been studied accurately does not make it untrue.

So what are the top myths and facts about obesity and weight loss?

Myth #1: If you make small changes in your lifestyle over the long term you will lose weight.

Most of us have learned that if we just cut our calories by 100 calories a day, or increase our exercise a little bit over the long haul, we will lose weight. It’s all about the calories in or the calories out.

Sorry Mr. Newton, your laws of thermodynamics don’t apply in living systems. Biology and metabolism are more complex. If we just go with the math and burn an extra 100 calories a day by walking one mile or consume 100 calories less in 35 days, you would lose one pound (3500 calories = 1 pound).

And over five years you would lose 50 pounds. Yet, in studies they find you would lose only 10 pounds in five years. This occurs because of changes in your metabolism and calorie needs as you lose weight.

Bottom line: Big changes are needed to create big weight loss.

Myth #2: Don’t set big weight loss goals because you will become frustrated and set yourself up for failure.

The fact is that if you set your sights on big weight loss, you have a better chance of losing a significant amount of weight than if you keep your goals “realistic”. If you want to lose 50 pounds, then set that as your goal.

Studies have shown that if you don’t expect to lose a lot of weight, then you won’t! Common sense, it seems, but conventional wisdom is to keep people’s expectations low because weight loss is hard and people will get frustrated if they fail to achieve their goals. The truth is that you will only lose big if you think big.

Bottom line: Set your weight loss goals high. Don’t be realistic. If you set 10 pounds as your goal you might succeed, but if you need to lose 50 pounds you will fail. If you want or need to lose 50 or 100 pounds then name it. Own it. And you will lose it!

Myth #3: Don’t lose weight too fast or you will rebound and gain it all back.    

We have been taught that if you go for the quick fix, if you go for the rapid weight loss strategy, in the long run you won’t lose as much as if you go for the slow gradual approach.

Nonsense!

Studies show that if you drop weight quickly you end up with more weight loss in the end.  Mark Twain said, “The problem with common sense is that it is not too common.”

When I give my patients a big jump-start with weight loss, which is how I have designed my practice and my programs like The Blood Sugar Solution, they do better and lose more weight over the long run. They learn how to own their bodies and feel empowered.  The studies back this up.

Bottom line: Kick-start significant weight loss with dramatic shifts in your diet. Try things like cutting out all sugar, flour, and processed food. You can follow the program I have created in The Blood Sugar Solution.

Myth #4: You have to be ready to succeed and go through the “stages of behavior change”.

The science tells us that those who attempt weight loss without feeling ready still succeed. You can act into the feeling instead of waiting for the feeling to act.  

Bottom line: Even if you don’t feel inspired, excited, or motivated to start taking care of yourself, just start anyway. You are just as likely to succeed as someone highly motivated.

Myth #5: Sex is good exercise.

Somewhere we all got the idea that sex was good exercise. A bout of sexual activity burns 100-300 calories for each participant. That reminds me of a young teenage patient I saw when I was a resident. I asked her if she was sexually active. She said, “No, I just lie there.”

But even if you don’t just lie there, a vigorous love-making episode usually lasts about six minutes and burns about 21 calories. If you just sat and watched TV you would burn 14 calories. So find some other way to exercise or study tantric sex and make love for an hour.

Bottom line: You can’t “love” your way to weight loss. Get out of bed and start moving.

The article also had a few presumptions, which may or may not be true and still don’t have enough evidence to firmly put them in the fact category. However, a few of them I do think are crucial for weight loss.

The Value of Breakfast

In the large weight registry of people who lost 70 pounds or more and kept it off for 4 or more years, the only things they had in common were breakfast and regular exercise. It is one of the most powerful strategies. But it can’t be a muffin and a latte. The secret is a protein breakfast, which speeds metabolism and controls appetite.

Eating Fruits and Vegetables

If you eat more fruits and vegetables you will be eating less junk and creating health through hundreds of other mechanisms. In fact the only thing all nutrition experts agree on is that we should eat more fruits and vegetables.

Built Environment and Obesity

While it hasn’t been proven that more parks and sidewalks lead to a skinnier population, we do know that your immediate environment plays a big role in your health. Dan Buettner did an experiment in Albert Lea, MN where he implemented changes in the environment that led to significant weight loss and health.

Kids lost 10 percent of their body weight after eating in classrooms and hallways was outlawed. And the town’s population lost a total of 12,000 pounds by everyone agreeing to eat their meals using 10 inch plates and having grocers put healthy foods at the check-out counters. Your environment does matter.

The good news from this article is we can lose weight, but we have to set big goals, think big, act big, and we will get big results!

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com.

4 Tips to Make Your Home Office Less Stressful

Home OfficeBy Jessica Snow

Working from home is an excellent way to make a living while balancing other crucial aspects of life. And depending on your family’s dynamic, it could be the only way you’re able to work. The flexibility of having an office at home makes it possible to raise small children without having to foot the cost of childcare providers, and otherwise reduces travel expenses most people accrue by commuting.

This option can be remarkably convenient, but all the distractions that tend to come with this setup can give it the potential to be disastrously stressful. There are a few things to keep in mind as you’re setting up your office that will help make it the most productive space it can be.

1. Keep Energy Positive With Feng Shui Principles

Keep your office as far away from your bedroom as possible. This will help you mentally separate work from home life by eliminating possible distractions and temptations. Also, position your desk area so that your back is to a wall. Sit at the desk so that you can see out a window or through a doorway. Keeping your immediate surroundings open and not boxing yourself in will help prevent anxiety and promote a positive outlook.

2. Prevent Clutter

According to Feng Shui consultant Natalia Kaylin, “Clutter is vicious, it takes many forms, and is the biggest contributor to stress.” Reduce the possibility to accumulate stressful clutter by installing a filing system to keep records organized, and make a conscious effort to keep unneeded supplies and knick-knacks at bay.

3. Let The Light In

The plants you use to decorate your office will need a certain amount of natural light, as will yourself. Let as much sunlight into your workspace as you can, as this is the purest form of light. Avoid using fluorescent lights if at all possible. Over-exposure to fluorescent lighting has been known to cause or worsen migraines, headaches, eye strain, and anxiety. You’ll want to find a balance between having enough light that you can see your computer monitor and read freely, but not so much that your eyes become strained.

Choose the right shades for your office that will let in the right amount of light, and the environment in your workspace will be ideal for producing your best work.

4. Purify Air With De-Stressing Plants

Houseplants are a lovely way to decorate a home office. If you choose the right plants though, they will do so much more. Ivy, Peace Lilies, and bamboo palms have been known to have air-purifying qualities in addition to their peaceful beauty.

The home office is supposed to be a very productive, practical space, so it’s understandable that decorating it may not be at the top of your list of things to do. You’re human though, so a workspace that doesn’t accommodate that will not be conducive to productivity. Keep these tips in mind while you’re setting up your space. Your office will be an inviting, positive place to be, and your work will reflect that.

* * *

Jessica Snow is a young writer from sunny Florida who enjoys learning and writing about a myriad of topics. When shes not glued to her laptop you can find her running the trails with her Great Dane, Charlie

My Box: A Reflection on the Limitations of Our Reality

livinginabox-1I don’t even know where to begin, where I begin anymore, where it begins and where it ends and how I fit into any of it anymore and for that matter (lol – matter!) what it even is.

I’ve just arrived back in the box I call home that is a box within a box, surrounded by millions and millions of boxes after having spent 3 days filming interviews with some of today’s leading minds on consciousness, physics, metaphysics, mysticism, and religion, and my mind is blown.

Okay, just so you know I am making another BLEEP. It won’t be out for another year… it will be released for the 10-year anniversary of the original. It will be a completely new film, and it won’t be what you expect, it’s certainly not what I expected. But after 43 years, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to what I think I know, and what I realize I don’t, which is why my carefully created reality is currently in the midst of being blown up. Because one cannot explore the great questions about us, the nature of us, the nature of reality and the meanings we attach to all of it without having your mind blown. Without having your foundation shaken and waking up to the realization that everything you were worrying about before you opened your mouth and asked the question really means…nothing.

Before I headed out to film these interviews, my life was full of: how am I going to pay the rent, why hasn’t that guy called, my kids need new shoes, and the dog seriously needs a bath…Even as I experienced a sense of awareness about how those things impact my experience in life, it certainly didn’t stop me from being boxed in by walls I build in order to feel grounded in something, even if it is, worry and fear. I am human living the human experience after all.

But somehow, tonight, as I arrived back on my doorstep of my old reality, none of that seems to mean much anymore. As I opened the door everything that was once known about this place felt unknown, and I feel like I’m not sure I belong here. It’s not a bad thing, I could make it that, but I know now that this is what it feels like to expand my sense of reality, to see and experience more than what I was before I went down that rabbit hole.

This expansion of my awareness actually started a few weeks before I started doing interviews for the new film. It’s an on going process, but this little jump in wakefulness began as I finished my next book. It’s complicated to explain, I will do my best to put words to an experience that probably doesn’t fit our current language. This is one of my present quandaries, language…and how I use it and if I’m actually using language that truly reflects the experience I am having. Is there a word that can accurately describe it? I will try using the only language I have at the moment.

One night after writing for hours about how we humans work, how we attach meanings and pick up beliefs and how they rule our reality, writing about my box, I suddenly felt drained, more tired than I had felt in a long time.  I couldn’t write another word, I could barely carry myself into the house to sleep. I finally made it to bed, but even as exhausted as I felt, I could not sleep. I lay there staring at the ceiling. I should add that I recently moved into a new house, one with very small perfectly square bedrooms.

So I laid there looking up at my brilliantly white ceiling, and I noticed I could actually see all four corners of my room, and at the same time I could feel all four corners of my bed and I realized I was laying on a box, within a box. I contemplated my box, both literally and figuratively, the box outside and my box inside. I closed my eyes and took myself up and saw my new house, which is essentially a box, each room a box within the box that is my house, the center of my universe, so to speak.

I rose higher into the sky and saw my house, situated within a fenced box that was my yard, and as I rose higher and higher into space I saw that we had all, all of humanity, for the most part, built boxes so that we could live in them. We drive around boxes and shop in boxes and eat in boxes and out of boxes, and that we spend most of our time trying to get out of the box, but how could we if we had surrounded ourselves with them.

We had, in fact, created a reality of boxes seemingly so impossible to break free from, that no wonder we feel constrained and locked in and unable to expand. We spend most of our lives worrying about the mundane because it fits nicely into our box, the one we built around ourselves, it holds the pictures of our past, meticulously hung upon the walls of our boxes to keep our minds firmly rooted in their memory. Locked safely in our boxes.

And then I went away for the better part of a month, away from my box, away from my pictures and the stuff that makes me feel safe within my box, so familiar it’s scents, it’s sounds it’s quiet hum of the air conditioner that I am lulled into a false peaceful slumber. With my worries and my stress and my fears all tucked in and snug within my box causing me to forget that there is magic and wonder in my world, if only I would look outside my perfectly square windows to see it.

For a long time in my life I thought I was expanding my box, but alas, I was simply rearranging the stuff in my box, the box was still small and encapsulated in many many other boxes, but it always felt claustrophobic and with too much stuff, which made it harder to move. I have over the last few years, cleaned out my box, sold off some of my stuff, and accumulated less stuff to replace the stuff I had sold off. But the room was still small, and I could always see the corners closing in.

So while I was away, I began to question the box I had built, I considered all I had let go of, that although my box was pretty empty, it was still a box. What does one do next I wondered? Is it possible to get out of the box? And then I sat for hours and days listening to and talking with such great minds about the magic and wonder, and after hearing how amazing this reality is and the possibilities for us, I came home and my box felt small, and alien, I couldn’t cross the threshold back into the box of my past. I examined all the stuff in my box, my pictures and things that held the frequency of my past and while I still felt in a very tiny part of me connected to them, I understood that I could no longer allow them to hold me in my old state of space and time, I closed my eyes as I entered my house and saw my box expand, I felt the walls push outward, it felt roomier, it felt….hmmm I just can’t think of a word, maybe there just isn’t one yet.

It’s interesting to me that I still saw a box, I am not yet ready to declare “I’m out of my box!” And that’s okay for now. It is a process, the opening our boxes. I will delight in the unwrapping of them, a gift in each new understanding, with every opportunity to expand into the it that is…

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

5 Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tips That Will Leave Your Body Feeling Brand New

Strawberry #2

As herbalist Kathy Abascal pointed out in a recent article with Spirituality & Health magazine, most weight-loss diets out there tend to focus on one thing (be it gluten, dairy, glycemic rating, etc) and are therefore ineffective. Weight does not exist in a vacuum, which is why isolating certain aspects of the diet for the purpose of losing weight simply doesn’t work. Achieving overall health through lifestyle changes is the only way to see the kind of results you want. And, according to Abascal, there is one extremely effective way of doing that.

It’s called the TQI Diet, which stands for “To Quiet Inflammation.” From her expertise in biochemistry and herbalism, Abascal discovered that inflammation was one of the most common symptoms associated with poor health and extra weight. Having struggled with her own weight issues and eager to make a change, she developed an anti-inflammatory diet plan that is responsible for remarkable results among its followers.

Here are 5 of the 10 tips Abascal shares with Spirituality & Health on how to reduce inflammation and start losing weight:

  1. Eliminate inflammatory foods, like those high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, as well as alcohol.
  2. Eat healthy fats like nuts, avocados, and seeds.
  3. Eat breakfast soon after rising.
  4. Eat consistent meals without grazing throughout the day.
  5. Eliminate bedtime snacking.

For the rest of Abascal’s tips, as well as her description of how she developed the diet and why it’s so effective, check out the interview in the July/August issue of Spirituality & Health magazine.

Have you struggled with inflammation in the past? What have you done to reduce it? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

* * *

SH_JulyAug_CVR_lrgSpirituality & Health is a magazine for people who want to explore the spiritual journey and wake up to our capacity for self-healing, vitality, and resiliency. Read the entire conversation with Christine Northrup in the July-August edition of Spirituality & Health, on newsstands now! Get your first issue FREE here.

Would you like to win a FREE year-long subscription to Spirituality & Health magazine?

This month, Intent is giving away 5 year-long subscriptions to Spirituality & Health magazine. To enter, simply comment below with your favorite empowering quote. Be sure to include your name and email so we can contact you if you win.

 

18 Healthy Snacks to Ensure You’re Never In a “Food Emergency” Again

Marcona AlmondsIt may seem as though we live in a land of plenty. Everywhere you look there are vending machines, restaurants, and stores offering an endless assortment of quick and cheap snacks and meals.

And yet, the reality is that everyday most Americans live in a constant state of emergency. Either they skip breakfast or they put themselves at the mercy of the local coffee chain feeding them high-sugar coffees and donuts or muffins or scones (which sound like a French health food but are really giant sugar cookies). And then, at work, there are bowls of candy and vending machines full of soda and on the way home, there are fast food restaurants and convenience stores luring you in. We live in a toxic nutritional wasteland where finding real, whole, fresh food is difficult if not impossible for most people to find.

What is a food emergency? When your blood sugar starts to drop, you are hard-wired to eat anything (and everything) in sight. To think you can use willpower to control your hunger or cravings contradicts the science of how your brain controls your behavior. The more willpower you use, the more it backfires, eventually. You find yourself automatically overeating and binging or just eating whatever happens to be in front of you.

But there is a solution, a simple, practical idea that most of us never think about: planning and bringing food with us.

If you were a type 1 diabetic, you would not leave the house without your insulin syringe or a packet of sugar. If you did, your life would be at risk. If you had a severe bee or peanut allergy, you wouldn’t go anywhere without your EpiPen. One sniff of peanut dust and you could die without your protection.

While you may not die in an hour, you will get sick and fat and live a shorter, poorer life if you regularly find yourself in a food emergency. You will repeatedly choose poor quality, high sugar, refined foods and eat more than you need.

Emergency Life Pack – Your Food Safety Net

That is why I recommend that everyone create an emergency life pack, a food safety net. Each person has to find their favorite things to include, and the choices are almost infinite. You need to stock your home, your travel bag or purse, your car and your workplace with key rations for any food emergency. What if you didn’t have time to have breakfast? What could you grab for the car? Or if you get busy at work, what can you find in your drawer to get you through the day? Or what is at the ready in the late afternoon if you start to droop?

I definitely recommend including protein snacks, because protein controls your appetite and balances your blood sugar over long periods of time. These are snacks that keep on giving but don’t give that quick rush and crash we get from most “snack foods,” which leave us even more hungry and tired. If you wait until you are hungry, you will make irrational decisions. Just set yourself up to make better choices by having good things around you.

Here are easy-to-make or easy-to-buy foods that you can grab and go anywhere with. We all travel out of the house frequently, and with a little bit of planning and shopping, we can stay healthy and keep ourselves out of food emergencies. Get a few glass containers with lids and Ziploc baggies to put your snacks in. Buy an insulated lunchbox or mini-cooler to put your food in. These are just ideas and you can innovate, but make sure you include food with good-quality protein and fats that are also low in sugar.

Things That Last Forever:

  • Canned wild salmon or sardines
  • Flax or seed crackers (Mary’s Gone Crackers)
  • Jerky (bison, grass-fed beef or turkey—try Krave or Grass Fed Jerky Chews
  • Salmon Jerky (Vital Choice)
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts and pumpkin seeds)
  • Nut butter packets (almond, pecan, macadamia nuts—Artisana makes individual packs)
  • Coconut butter packets (Artisana brand is great)
  • Whole food or raw food protein bars (Raw Revolution and LÄRABAR are my favorites)
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Roasted red peppers

 Easy-To-Prepare On-the-Go Snacks:

  • Garbanzo beans with olive oil, lemon, garlic and salt
  • Hard-boiled omega 3 eggs
  • Hummus (Try Wild Garden single-serve packets that last a long time)
  • Cut-up carrots, cucumbers, peppers and celery in Ziploc baggies
  • Apple or pear

Treats:

  • Dark chocolate (70%)
  • Dried figs
  • Dates

Dr. Hyman’s Go-To Travel Food Emergency Pack

When I am on the road, I find it a dangerous place: airports, hotel mini-bars, bad restaurants, food deserts. My health is in jeopardy every time I step out of my controlled environment. So I bring food with me and make it a rule never to eat on planes or in airports (although increasingly, there is edible food in airports—you just have to know how to hunt and gather!). I never leave home without these things, and I keep a good stock in my pantry, so I can just throw them in my bag. They take up little space and pack a powerful nutritional punch.

  • Wild salmon jerky from Vital Choice or Patagonia
  • Grass-fed beef or turkey jerky by Krave
  • Packets of coconut butter and macadamia nut butter by Artisana
  • Raw Revolution protein food bars
  • Organic almonds
  • Organic macadamia nuts
  • Organic dates

For help creating your own emergency food pack, watch my how-to video here. Remember, with a little bit of planning, you can save yourself from food emergencies and stay healthy and well nourished wherever you go.

Now I’d like to hear from you …

What do you like to include in your emergency food pack?

Have you found some good sources of healthy, whole foods even while out on the road?

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...