Thursday, August 27, 2009

Upgrade Your Immune System: Individualize your Diet

“What extracts from the 'Vedas' I have read fall on me like the
light of a higher and purer luminary,...It rises on me like the
full moon after the stars have come out, wading through some for summer
stratification of the sky.”
---- Henry David Thoreau
the Journal of 1850

Take your health into your own hands instead of relying on toxic medications or vaccines to safeguard your health. However much you may like your Doctor – you'll be able to impress him/her with the strides you can make by incorporating practical stress-reducing techniques into your lifestyle, avoiding processed foods whenever you can, and individualizing your diet for maximum nutrition.

Kick your dietary status up a few notches to boost your immune system:

. Know Yourself: First, find out what your blood type is, and use it as a guideline to the best foods for your individual metabolic type. For example, Type 'O's are statistically blessed with the hardiest constitution, but are most likely to be gluten sensitive, and lactose intolerant: goat, farmer cheese, and almond, or soy milk are best.. Type 'B's can eat more widely, including most grains (but quinoa is a wise choice) and can include dairy, but need to be especially wary of poultry, especially chicken. They do very well on deep water, oily fish. Type 'A' s can thrive on a largely vegetarian diet, but should follow a similar dietary template to 'B's.

Ayurveda is a profound spiritual science concerned largely with the energetics of food as a means of balancing constitutional humors, which are termed doshas. Knowing your 'Dosha' helps to optimize your diet through harmonizing it with your individual type. Thus there is no standard diet for everyone. The concern is that the energy of the food we take in, and the manner in which we take it, is in harmony with our own nature. Ayurvedic dietary philosophy is based upon the ancient knowledge of the Veda's, which sheds light on the elemental forces, air, fire, and water – contained in all life. It emphasizes specific elements, and when these are out of balance, the causative forces behind disease are set in motion. Ayurveda seeks to balance the doshas through specific foods, spices, herbs, and even remedies including gems, mantra and yoga. A very simplistic overview of the three doshas correlates the Vata Dosha to air, or wind. Vata people are typically the lightest among the three, usually more ectomorphic and 'dry.' Their eliminatory system can be weak. Pitta's are associated with the fire element. They are well proportioned and don't lack for muscle; their digestive 'fire' is strong, but they can most easily erupt into inflammatory conditions. Kapha, are the large-eyed, heaviest, and most languid of the three. A combination of earth and water, they are prone to building excess 'tissue.' and need to overcome the inertia inherent in their psychological and physical constitution. Treatment of dosha imbalances, or excess, is accomplished primarily through the six tastes – sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent, which are also classified as heating or cooling in nature. For example, pungent spices like cayenne or ginger are therapeutic for kapha in helping to spark their metabolism, but inadvisable for pita's who need to be calmed, or pacified with cooling energies like those found in bitter herbs like cilantro, turmeric, dandelion ,and saffron.
Alkalize your System: Fruits and Vegetables are alkaline -- while animal protein, processed starches and sugar, alcohol and coffee, acidify your blood. An alkaline system is strong and inhospitable to bugs and viral attacks. Umeboshi plums are an excellent remedy for acidic conditions and also have antibiotic properties. Take one umbeboshi per day dissolved in tea , or consumed in salad or sushi to strengthen and alkalize.

Meditate and Exercise Everyday: Mild exercise stimulates your immune system. Walks in the early morning sun, before 10 -11am, are most beneficial. Meditation and breath awareness especially help to relieve stress, (see Gaia's July article, 'Managing Stress with Desk Pranyama..' ) If you're sitting at a computer for long periods of time, avoid EMF stressors: Stretch and change your focus at least once or twice an hour. Placing plants and crystals near to your computer also helps to counter negative EMF energy. Wear natural fibers whenever possible. Enjoy a lunch break outdoors and ground yourself as often as you can; hug a tree, garden, take a walk in the woods or park.

More Guidelines for Optimal Nutrition
Dine when you are conscious of your food; not stressed or preoccupied with reading or TV.

Begin each meal by giving thanks and maintaining a peaceful attitude. E.g. Arguing while eating turns your food to 'poison.'

Include at least one raw dish in each meal to keep your blood alkaline.

Get in touch with your hunger. Don't overload your stomach.

Avoid foods that are too hot or too cold.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Vegetarian Alert: Heal your Diet with this Ayurvedic Superfood

Your own Self-Realization is the greatest
service you can render the world
--Sri Ramna Maharshi

Grass-fed organic ghee is as delicious as it is healing. Among its chief nutritional benefits; it calms inflammatory conditions associated with the pitta dosha, like acne...and it's high in CLA, an important nutrient abundant in red meat and dairy, often lacking in vegetarian diets.

CLA, (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) increases satiety, promotes weight loss, and lowers insulin resistance. Why grass fed? Grass-fed cows have 500% more CLA in their milk than do grain-fed. If you do nothing else but include adequate amounts of CLA in your diet ( 2 - 4 grams a day), you'll lighten up by 2 - 4 lb in a year.

Ghee, which is actually clarified butter, maximizes absorption by carrying nutrients and protective spices deep into the tissues. Its ability to penetrate rapidly into the blood stream earns it a starring position in ayrurvedic medicine; it's been used as a 'carrier' for over a thousand years – essential to allowing nourishing formulas to strengthen the body (like chyrandush) and delivering potent formulas that target the blood brain barrier.
Heated ghee is slightly alkalizing, unlike cooking with butter and traditional cooking oils, which when heated, acidify the system. (An alkaline system is stronger and more inhospitable to 'foreign invaders', like bacteria, virus', etc...whereas acidity breeds toxicity, weaker immune function, vulnerability to infection, etc.) Ghee also has a higher smoking point than butter and most oils. Since casein and lactose are removed from ghee during the clarification process, even those allergic to dairy, casein, or lactose can benefit it.

3. CLA's benefits have shown to include lowering insulin resistance and “if there is inadequate intake of CLA, dietary fat cannot be moved into cells or stored as energy. The end result is that the body stores this fat” according to James Howenstein, MD in 'A Physicians Guide to Natural Health Products that work.'
In 1945 Dr. Weston Price identified what he called “Activator X” as a critical nutrient to optimal health. The vitamin, since identifed as Vit K2 is naturally occurring in the fat of ruminants that graze upon growing, green grass.

Delicious, Nourishing Ways to use Ghee:

Add a teaspoon of ghee to chai recipes to deliver healing spices deep into tissues.

Chyrandush – ghee and honey-based ,with ayurvedic herbs; nourishing, delicious, and child-friendly. A tablespoon a day keeps the Doctor way. (great for back-to-school).

Drizzle melted ghee over popcorn.

Prepare omlettes with ghee.

Add ghee to oatmeal.

Saute veggies in ghee.

Drizzle over favorite bread.

Saute garlic in ghee, spread on naan,or brushcetta.

Add ghee to hot spiced rice.

Guilt-free dessert: Mix 2tsp. Ghee with 1tsp carob powder add agave nectar to taste. Spread on rice cake for a satisfying, gluten-free treat.

Guilty Desserts – substitute grass-fed ghee for butter or shortening in cookies, cakes, etc. The taste will be enriched and bakery will stay fresh longer.
Spiced Chai with Ghee

(Serves 4)
4 whole cloves*
2 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
3 cups water
1/4 inch fresh ginger*
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups grass fed milk
Sugar to taste
2 tablespoons black tea
2 teaspoons organic grass fed ghee

*Pitta should avoid pungent herbs; go lightly on these. If you are Pita, also avoid salt, cheese, yogurt, and alcohol; all too acidic.

Slow Food Method: Add spices, water, ginger and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer on low for 5 minutes. Add the milk and sugar to the pan and bring to a boil again. Add tea and bring to a boil again. Strain. Add 2 teaspoons ghee and cool slightly before serving.
Quicker Method: Bring water and spices to a boil. Add tea and milk and bring to a boil once more. Strain. Add 2 teaspoons ghee before serving.

Benefits of Chai Spices:

Cardamom: Supports digestion without increasing heat. Mucus forming properties of milk neutralized when cardamom is added. Promotes expectorant, digestive actions.

Ginger: Has heating, cleansing, toning and stimulating properties. Promotes digestion, and helps resolve respiratory issues due to phlegm; arthritic conditions due to coldness.

Cinnamon: Warming spice used in cold formulas; aids digestion.

Clove: Energizing herb, aromatic, benefits lungs and stomach.
Fragrant Naan with Ghee(Makes 8 – 16 naan)
1 1/2 active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup warm water (105F-110F)
1 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
5 tbsp ghee
3 tbsp plain yogurt
additional ghee for brushing
additional salt, for sprinkling

Mix yeast and water, let sit for 10 minutes. Add salt and flour, then ghee and yogurt. If necessary to bind the dough, add additional flour or another tablespoon of ghee. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 4 minutes in bread mixer). Cover in an oiled bowl and let rise for about 90 minutes in a warm place, until doubled. Punch down dough and knead for 10 minutes more on a floured, clean surface. Divide the dough into 8 or more balls, then roll out; try for teardrop shape. (Roll thicker for frying; if broiling about 1/4” is good.)

To pan-fry:Brush one side of a rolled out naan with ghee and sprinkle lightly with salt. In a hot skillet or griddle, place ghee-side down. Brush the other side with ghee. Flip after about 2 – 3 minutes. It should be turning slightly brown, with darker spots (similar to tortillas). Remove.

To stone-broil:Preheat oven to broil, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven (about 20 minutes). Once the stone is sizzling, naan can be placed onto stone. After 90 seconds, check for bronw spots; depending on oven temperature, it may take up to 2 -3 minutes per naan. Carefully remove naans with tongs. Drizzle ghee over naan and a pinch of kosher salt.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cuddle Therapy: The Healing Power of Touch Can Help Protect Against Flu

There is natural power, and there is spiritual power. In the old
days, my people did not separate daily life in the world from spiritual
life. Everything was spiritual, our attitude was spiritual and Wakan Tanka was involved in everything we said and did.
– Fools Crow, Teton Sioux, 1975

Touch therapy boosts the immune system with no side effects (except love) -- and looks to be even more important than diet, exercise and vitamin therapies when it comes to protecting against 'bugs' and helping to overcome chronic health challenges. ‘Inoculate’ loved ones now against the flu, by incorporating healing touch into your daily routine.

Liberally indulge in massage, cuddling, hand-holding, and good-old hugs. College students and singles can book themselves into a massage school to receive full body massages at a fraction of the cost of a professional one. Visits to the chiropractor also help to strengthen immune response and are often covered by health insurance.

Try incorporating healing touch 'games' into your next party: Host a 'pot luck' healing circle and have everyone bring their favorite therapy, back rub technique, or ginger compress. Play 'musical massage' or spin the bottle (using mini-neck and shoulder massage as the prize).
Remember the elderly. Seniors are actually the least-touched group in our culture. When visiting nursing homes, hold hands with residents while chatting and sharing stories. Bestow generous 'hello' and 'good-bye' hugs.

Young people under the age of 24 may be especially vulnerable to this latest 'bug.' Spend extra time with children now to protect against the flu once school starts. Incorporate serious cuddling into their TV-time routines. If younger family members are resistant to formal massage, offer foot rubs, pedicures and manicures and massage their limbs. Trimming hair can also lead to head-stroking, which releases beneficial hormones.

In his book ‘ Quantum Healing,' Dr. Deepok Chopra, M.D., cited a study where rabbits were fed extremely toxic, high-cholesterol diets. Consistent results emerged confirming the damaging effects of the high fat diet, except for one group – which strangely displayed 60% fewer symptoms. Nothing in the rabbits' physiology could account for their high tolerance to the diet, until it was discovered that the student who fed this group of rabbits enjoyed fondling and petting them. He would hold each rabbit lovingly for a few minutes before feeding it the poisonous diet. Repeat experiments displayed results confirming that holding rabbits lovingly even for a few minutes before feeding, enabled the animals to overcome the toxic diet.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Aquarius Lunar Eclipse

Lunar eclipses are like super full moons -- all emotional energy is magnified and supercharged. This full moon in Aquarius sets the perfect stage for group meditation; a time when reflecting with an open mind brings the gifts of understanding, peace, and of truth uncovered by the moon's full light. Eclipses offer a magical doorway to new understandings through which our hopes and dreams can be evolved and realized.

On a collective level for the USA, the August 5th lunar eclipse falls a few days after Obama's birthday and so opposes his sun-sign. Since it belongs to Saros Series 11S, which according to Bernadette Brady is a family having to do with 'humanitarian reform' – some blocks may be removed that were preventing health care reform from coming to fruition....or more likely, Obama (and many of us) may have to accept the fact that the American public still isn't ready for it; really doesn't want it. The Light of this Aquarius moon falls in Obama's house of 'hidden enemies' – so some previously submerged complaints and people opposing health reform are now surfacing.

Lunar eclipse energies usually manifest for us personally as internalized events – as in the realization, or culmination of particular emotionally-charged eras in our life, which now are clearly outmoded and worn – nonetheless, sometimes painful to relinquish. Today's eclipse carries a clear message for achieving higher consciousness through group effort, but not without a few bumps in the having to sit down and make peace with 'foes'. Presidents Clinton and Obama, both Leos, are setting the example.

Personally, the eclipse will affect you only if you have planets within orb of 13 degrees Aquarius, (or, as Obama does in opposing Leo), by shining the light of truth on previously clouded issues or relationship and bringing an internalized sense of closure to that area of your life where the eclipse falls in your natal chart. You'll feel it only if you live on the East Coast, India, or parts of China where it's visible.