It’s hard to leave your house these days without hearing someone (or yourself) say “I’m just so tired!”
Beyond the fact that society unfortunately prizes being busy and over tired (and letting everyone know about it), there is an epidemic of sleep deficiency. Sleep quality is lower because we’re exposed to blue light from our smart phones and laptops late into the night. Many of us eat late, heavy dinners, which hinders sleep as we try to digest our food.
On it’s surface, sleepiness, tiredness, and lack of motivation are symptoms are related to the Ayurvedic dosha called kapha. I often have clients tell me that they “just don’t have any motivation”, and they worry that their tiredness is the sign of an under-active thyroid. Kapha energy moves slower, heavier, and more lethargic, so it sounds like the correct diagnosis.
Sometimes when the snowdays hit, I get to experimenting in the kitchen.
This time, the results of my work were magical. I made a vegan chocolate bark full of crispy crumbly brazil nuts, coconut, sunflower seeds, and chia. With a hint of maple syrup, it’s JUST sweet enough to be satisfying, without feeling overindulgent. In fact, because this chocolate bark is more “bark” than “chocolate”, it’s actually a great vehicle for vitamin and mineral-packed brazil nuts and chia. And, it’s vegan, gluten free, and soy-lecithin free for a delicious, pure, and healthy bark.
Today it’s time to tackle a question I get about Ayurveda all the time: can I still drink coffee?
The short answer: of course! As with all things in life, you can do whatever you want to do. Coffee rarely brings acute physical harm to you or to anyone else (except if you’re prone to spilling it on others), and for that reason – drink away.
However. If you’re experiencing these specific symptoms:
“I can give advice on this, I just can’t follow it myself.” I get this statement all the time. I hear it from random acquaintances at parties and from clients trying to uncover their health issues. Mostly I hear people say this about foods that they eat or their workout regimen, but I’ve seen this applied to situations regarding careers, relationships, and constructive communication.
When a new client said this to me yesterday, I realized it was time to dig into this phrase and understand where it comes from and what it really means.
After I wrote my post about trust being more important than certainty, the importance of this lesson throughout history kept coming back to me again and again. I wanted to share another story of how courage, trust, certainty, and heart all work together.
Last week, my yoga classes were all based around the myths of the yoga asanas. One of these myths is the story of Hanuman, Sita, and Ram. This famous Hindu myth revolves around Ram and his wife, Sita. Sita is stolen by a rival in Sri Lanka, and Ram desperately wants and needs to go rescue her. He can’t go because he was defending his own land from war, so he calls upon his faithful and most beloved friend, Hanuman. Hanuman is the monkey god, always known for play and joy.
You all know that I love my kitchari. This beans and rice dish is delicious, nourishing, and easy to make. My digestive system is primarily vata, so I tend to favor heavier, more grounding kitcharis. That means my kitchari will have a generous amount of oil, sweet potatoes, and grains like rice or quinoa.
The early spring is Kapha season, however, and we could all use a little lightening up. This past week, I put together a lentil soup that is a play on my usual kitchari recipe, but specially formulated for kapha season. It’s light, warming, well-spiced, and will leave you satisfied and happy. For a little extra nourishment, add some of my homemade chickpea crackers.
One of my favorite wind-down activities? Reading all the made-for-teen dystopian future novels. I read and watched Divergent a few months back, and a particular lesson I learned from that series still replays in my head on the daily.
Like most of these novels, teens are the heroes and at the center of the story. At one point in the movie, all of the teens are told to jump off of a building as part of their initiation to their “faction”. They have no clue how tall the building is or what’s at the bottom. They just have a scary, pierced-eyebrow 20-something yelling at them to jump if they want to be part of their community. Everyone’s looking at each other like “this is crazy…”, and then the lead character Tris volunteers to go first.
The more time I spend in this world, the more I’m reminded that we have to be our own heroes. Happiness doesn’t come from a new house, or getting the “perfect” job, or reaching milestones. Happiness is something that’s internally generated. Something that we choose day after day after day.
Same with our health. We’ve been conditioned to look outside of ourselves for health and healing: visit the doctor, get a prescription, put on the band-aid, it will all be over soon. I always laugh (and cringe) when I think about how many girls in my high school were put on birth control pills to control wide-ranging symptoms: heavy periods, not getting a period, even acne. (Think about this: you have a skin condition, so let’s jack up your *entire* hormonal system to take care of it, without trying anything else. Pretty crazy if you ask me).
So while so many of us have “taken back our health” and embraced natural solutions and healthy eating as medicine (which is SO awesome), I still see how so often we’re still looking for band-aids. The only difference is that we’re looking for certified organic, holistic ones.