Ayurvedic Recipes: Sauteed Greens
Ayurveda calls collard greens sattvic. This implies that they support peacefulness and purity of body, mind, and spirit. Collard greens possess bitter, astringent, light, dry qualities. Their digestion is aided with spices, healthy fats, and substances rich in digestive enzymes and stomach acid boosting abilities.
Enjoy collards as a side dish, a main dish with protein rich nuts, seeds, and beans or, in a soup. Read on to discover more about the greatness of these greens and the ingredients by which they are accompanied in February’s recipe.
The ‘personality traits’ of the ingredients
- Collards Greens are packed with fiber and are an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins A , C, E, K, folic acid, iron, calcium, magnesium. Their bitter taste aids in de-stagnation of the liver and enhances bile flow.
- Tamari contains digestive enzymes and provides that “umami” taste.
- Apple Cider Vinegar will give your stomach acid a boost and supports healthy blood sugar.
- Ginger enkindles the digestion fire, keeps us warm, and detoxifies unhealthy fat from the body.
- Ghee-the butyric acid in ghee nourishes the gut and provides a great source of healthy fat.
- Pumpkin & Sunflower Seeds provide protein, are mineral rich and protect against free radicals.
Sauteed Greens with Pumpkin & Sunflower Seeds
- 1 cup water
- About 10 cups washed, dried, and chopped fresh collard greens
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped ginger
- 1.5 tablespoon ghee
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1/4 c. toasted sunflower seeds
- 1/4 c. toasted pumpkin seeds
1. In a large deep skillet, on medium heat, sauté the ginger until soft and slightly golden.
2. Add the collard greens and mix well.
3. Add the water, cover and reduce the heat to low and cook until the collard greens are tender.
4. Turn off the heat and stir in the tamari and raw apple cider vinegar.
5. Transfer to serving bowl and stir in the sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!
Wellness, Naturally: Balancing Pitta in Winter
In Ayurveda, there are three types of energy, including pitta. Pitta is a building block of the world, and can be found in everything and everyone. It’s closely related to digestion and intelligence, and is regarded as “fire energy.” Pitta individuals are typically athletic and tend to gain weight evenly. The pitta individual is typically success-oriented, energetic, quick witted and has a great capacity for achieving balance. However, an excess of pitta can overheat the body and mind.
Signs of pitta imbalance
There are typical manifestations of pitta imbalance that can signal as an imbalance of the mind and body. These manifestations include anger, irritability, overall discontent, acid indigestion, heartburn, inflammation and heartburn. Pitta can become imbalanced when one doesn’t get enough rest or eats spicy foods.
Here are three easy ways to bring pitta back into balance.
1. Drink a cool glass of milk. Milk cools the fiery energy of pitta.
2. Stay hydrated. Make sure to drink lots of water throughout the day.
3. Take regular breaks. When pitta is high, there is a tendency to focus and dive in. This can be useful, but it must be balanced with occasional breaks. This will help refresh your spirits and keep you cool and relaxed. This way you can work without letting the work overwhelm you.
Understanding how to feed your fire
If you have a pitta constitution, it’s wise to avoid pungent, salty and sour foods. Reduce sour fruits like grapefruits, and stick to sweeter fruits like mangoes, pineapples, grapes and melons. Avoid veggies like tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers. Instead, favor veggies like cucumbers, green beans, potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli.
Pitta individuals should use seasonings that are cooling and soothing. These include clove, cilantro, cardamom and fennel. Hot seasonings, such as cumin and mustard seed, should be used sparingly. And if you’re a non-vegetarian, chicken and turkey are better than beef and seafood. Dairy can help balance the heat of pitta and should include things like butter and milk.
Keep your cool
Balancing Pitta also includes lifestyle. Allow for some free time every day, so you can balance rest and activity. Don’t skip meals and wait till you’re famished. Spend time in nature. Take a stroll in the woods and keep plants and fresh flowers at home. Most of all, make sure to laugh a lot every day. You may even want to consider performing a daily massage with cooler oils like coconut. Take in some aromatherapy with mint, lavender or sandalwood.
At the Art of Living Retreat Center, we provide guidance on how to keep your pitta in balance. We offer a sense of connection, inner peace and rejuvenation. Nestled on scenic mountaintop in the Blue Ridge Mountains, our center is the ideal location for Ayurveda and personal transformation. Everyone is cared for like family.
Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!
Wellness, Naturally: Balancing Kapha in Winter
When you learn to look at the world from an Ayurvedic perspective, it won’t be long before your view on achieving and maintaining your own personal sense of wellness will become not only clearer, but also attainable in ways that you may not have thought possible. In this post, we’ll be focusing on the various techniques for balancing Kapha through the cold months of winter.
Know your dosha
One of the first steps toward gaining clarity and control over your own health is understanding the three dynamic energies known in Ayurveda as doshas. These are Vata, Pitta, and the one we’ll be focusing on specifically in this post, Kapha. Doshas are, put very simply, the biological energies that make us who we are as individuals. They are not one size fits all! Your dosha is not only as unique as you are – it is what makes you so unique.
What does it mean to be kapha?
Each of the three doshas project both mental and physical attributes that will reflect the elements related to them. The elements related to the kapha dosha are earth and water. This manifests in people who are thought to have a dosha balance dominated by Kapha as both a solid physical frame, as well as a strong, calming presence and grounded personality.
Kapha in winter – losing your balance
When you fail to take care of yourself properly, your doshas can become imbalanced. This will be noticeable both in the way you feel physically and mentally, but also in the way that you interact with others and even how they respond to you. If you find yourself feeling “off” or “unsteady”, chances are good that your doshas have gotten out of proportion.
Kaphas who allow themselves to be too sedentary in the winter months will suffer the consequences, and often find themselves experiencing some of the following negative effects:
● Weight gain
● Depression and lethargy
● Poor circulation
● Respiratory issues
● Oily skin
Balancing kapha: 3 easy ways to feel lighter in winter
Ayurveda is all about keeping your doshas balanced. Fortunately, when you become aware of an imbalance, there are a lot of ways to make balancing Kapha again a cinch.
1. Get Moving! – Regular physical activity is key for balancing Kapha . Bundle up and take an invigorating winter walk around your favorite park or better yet, use the chilly months to give hot yoga a try!
2. Keep Your Diet Light – It’s easy to fall into a routine of eating more in cold months, no matter what your dosha is, but Kaphas often tend to have a slow metabolism anyway. Be mindful of your portions and don’t let yourself go overboard, especially on rich, heavy foods. Which brings us to…..
3. Avoid Kapha-Rich Foods – Foods that increase Kapha will tip your balance, so you’ll want to take a pass on that big slice of gooey pecan pie, and anything else that is overly salty or sweet. Heavy foods will only weigh you down, but try taking inspiration from the pitta dosha until spring comes, with lots of warm, light veggies (think green beans, yellow squash, or zucchini) and oats, quinoa or basmati rice. And be sure to have lots of ginger and lemon hot tea!
If you’re new to Ayurveda, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by information – but don’t forget that intuition and self-awareness about how you feel mentally and physically play a big part in living an Ayurvedic lifestyle. It will soon become second nature and the benefits to your overall health are worth it!
Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!
Wellness, Naturally: Balancing Vata in Winter
Seasonal changes affect our lives in many ways. They play a role in a person’s very nature, something known as a dosha in Ayurveda. The winter season can affect and imbalance a vata dosha, or constitution, so balancing vata is important during this season.
Vata is one of the three constitutions in Ayurveda. Associated with the air element, it expresses itself in attributes like cold and dry skin, feeling restless, having a thin body, talking a lot, and gravitating toward a warm climate.
It’s important to be mindful of how a dosha imbalance happens. Once you understand this, you can focus on preventing it or bringing yourself back into a state of balance. Some factors that imbalance vata include sleep problems, high-pressure work situations, a lot of worry and stress, and an abundance of talking or traveling. During the winter season, cold and windy climates can throw off a vata constitution. Winter is generally hard on a vata type, because of their cold and dry skin, cold hands and feet, and overall difficulty handling cold weather.
These problems are particularly pronounced when a person’s vata is unbalanced. Some things that indicate an imbalanced vata include problems with the joints, body pains, restlessness, and trouble sleeping.
A vata constitution will feel much better when in balance. You’ll feel healthier and happier, with a more calm state of mind. You’ll sleep better, feel less pain, and have a more stable and focused mental state. And throughout the winter, you’ll feel warmer and experience healthier skin and circulation. While there are numerous steps you can take to balance vata, try these three methods this winter:
Follow a daily schedule
Create a better routine that provides balance. Your schedule should help manage your workload and personal responsibilities by breaking them down into smaller steps and allocating enough time. This way, you can reduce stress and still remain productive. Plan ahead of time for personal care and meditation. Make an effort to get to sleep earlier by making your nighttime routine more calming. Try to find motivation in getting more sleep, such as noticing the difference in how you feel, both mentally and physically, when you go to sleep earlier.
Help yourself achieve a better state of calm by cutting down on stimulants. This includes caffeinated beverages like coffee, as well as processed sugar that creates a quick sugar high and then an energy crash. Instead, find more stable sources of energy through complex carbohydrates and healthy fats and proteins. Meditate and use other methods to calm and rejuvenate yourself, rather than reaching for stimulants.
Follow a vata diet
Rejoice in winter comfort foods. Foods that are cooked, warm and soft will be good for you, so enjoy stews, macaroni and cheese, and similar comfort foods. Take in healthy oils and a lot of moisture through foods and beverages. Some ideal vata-balancing foods include olives, dairy products, avocado, nuts, seeds and wheat. Also, choose salty, sweet and sour tastes like fruit, yogurt and kimchi instead of bitter, pungent and astringent ones like radishes, kale and legumes. Fried dishes and overeating can cause problems to vata, while rich yet nourishing meals help balance this constitution’s lightness.
Ayurvedic Recipes: Beet Soup a la Poland
Food blogger and yoga teacher Kasia Fraser specializes in healthy, delicious food with a flair for vegan and raw cuisine. Here Kasia shares a recipe for one of her favourite winter meals – beet soup a la Poland! Beets are a wonderful Ayurvedic winter food, due to their ability to cleanse the liver and rejuvenate the blood.
Beet soup a la Poland
- 2 organic beets with the leaves intact
- 1 organic potato
- 1 organic carrot
- 1 organic parsley root
- 1 small celery root
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger (optional)
- 3 tbsp of olive oil
- half of a lemon, juiced
- fresh dill
- salt and pepper
- Cut all veggies, and cook in the hot water with a bit of salt. Once soft, add olive oil, black pepper, and lemon juice.
- Add chopped beet leaves and turn the heat off. Keep covered for 3-5 minutes.
- Spoon into a bowl, and garnish with fresh dill! Enjoy with a spoonful of vegan yogurt and wheat-free warm toast.
Check out more of Kasia’s amazing recipes at hellodelicious.info!
5 Reasons to Plan a Spa Retreat
When it comes to pampering yourself, it’s hard to beat a couple of days at a high-quality spa. But some spa experiences go above and beyond, offering a retreat that is about so much more than merely spoiling yourself.
Are you tired to the core? Overwhelmed? Feeling that you simply don’t have enough time in the day to accomplish everything that you need to accomplish? Struggling to balance all your seemingly insurmountable responsibilities? Well, you may not think that a spa retreat could be the answer to your problems. But you’ve never had an experience like the Shankara Ayurveda Spa at The Art of Living Retreat Center.
Still wondering if it’s a right time for a trip to the spa? Just consider that a high quality wellness spa can help you do all of the following:
Overcome the effects of stress and fatigue
Like all spas, a wellness spa is a great place to treat yourself to some much needed rest and TLC. But unlike the benefits of a mere “pampering” spa, the effects of a visit to a wellness spa can last long beyond the few days that you spend there.
Connect with yourself
It’s extremely difficult to “find yourself” when you’re lost in the grind of your daily routine. A spa retreat can not only help you to get away from it all, it can help you get in touch with your long buried thoughts and emotions. Give yourself some “me time” in the most profound meaning of the term.
Try something new
If you’re intrigued by a esoteric type of massage or a spa treatment that is largely unknown to the general public, seek out an organization that provides that particular service and give it a try. Better yet, find a quality comprehensive wellness spa and explore everything that they have to offer.
Learn something new
Interested in being gluten-free? Wonder about the benefits of a vegetarian or Ayurvedic diet? A good full-service wellness spa will not only pamper but educate, giving you the information that you need to understand a wide variety of health topics and the tools that you need to incorporate them into your life.
Start the New Year with a new you
The time has come for New Year’s resolutions. Want to explore a path to health and wellness? A spa retreat can help you develop a personalized plan to get you on that path and keep you there.
Providing so much more than your ordinary spa retreat, the Shankara Ayurveda Spa at The Art of Living Retreat Center can help you do all of these things and so much more. We’d love to support you, giving you the break that you need during your visit to our facilities and the tools that you need to build a healthier and happier you for years to come. Discover the benefits that await you at The Art of Living Retreat Center.
Wellness, Naturally: Health Benefits of Ginger
Health benefits of ginger
The perennial plant ginger is cultivated all across the world. It is available in different compositions and widely known for its culinary use. However, ginger is more than just a spice that can be added to your favorite dishes. The Eastern holistic healing approach of Ayurveda recognizes the interconnectedness of the mind and body and celebrates ginger as a tonic that can help balance the body. Ginger root also offers a huge variety of health benefits.
Ginger for weight loss
Obesity can reduce a person’s life expectancy by as many as 20 years. However, research shows that ginger may be instrumental in controlling your weight and suppressing obesity by reducing a variety of contributing factors, including glucose and body weight.
Ginger for beautiful skin
Thanks to its anti-aging properties, such as gingerol, this perennial plant also helps to rejuvenate your skin. Studies indicate that ginger helps reduce the synthesis of melanin and reduces aging of the skin.
Keep infections at bay
Ginger’s antimicrobial properties make it a powerful tool for fighting infections, including bacterial infections like strep throat. It’s been used to remedy a variety of conditions, including flatulence, nausea and flared sinuses. Ginger is also an ideal immune support during cold and flu season.
Minimize inflammation and pain
Some conditions, such as fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, can come with chronic pain due to inflammation — the body’s natural response for healing injuries. The longer the inflammation persists, the more painful it can be, but ginger may provide alternative pain relief. Research shows that ginger helps to reduce inflammation and pain, due to the presence of gingerols and essential oils.
Ginger for digestion
This famous superfood can help you to not only digest your food, but it can also help control and enhance your appetite. A common Ayurvedic practice includes consuming ginger during lunch, as it is believed to facilitate nutrient absorption.
Including ginger in your diet
Leveraging ginger’s health benefits is not hard to do. Here are four simple ways you can include ginger in your diet:
1. Ginger Tea. Relieve stress and uplift your mood with the power of ginger tea. Ginger tea can provide soothing relief when you have a cold. You can boil ginger root in water to flavor the warm beverage for a potent taste. You can also add ginger powder to a hot drink or take an even easier route by steeping ginger tea bags in hot water.
2. Cooking With Ginger as a Spice. Ginger adds a little kick to the flavoring of meats, fruits and veggies. Try enhancing the taste of your steak, chicken or asparagus by incorporating some freshly peeled and diced ginger into your dish.
3. Pickled Ginger. You can include ginger in your diet in pickled form. Pickled ginger is great appetizer that for neutralizing your taste buds, especially after you eat sushi or raw fish.
The health benefits of ginger stretch beyond its culinary appeal to help with skin rejuvenation, healing and appetite control. Using the power of ginger, you can adopt the Ayurvedic approach to extend balance from the mind to the body and leverage its numerous benefits.
Ayurvedic Recipes: Carrot Currant Salad
Yes, carrots are good for the eyes and so much more!
This popular root vegetable has an interesting “personality”. Ayurveda tells us that substances with a sweet taste have a cooling energy. Although the carrot is mainly sweat in taste (rasa), it has heating energy (virya). This makes the carrot a great seasonal vegetable for winter.
Rich in Vitamin A and antioxidants, the carrot is a salad superhero and can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Immune-boosting qualities, the ability to bring down blood pressure and protect the liver, act as a diuretic, improve appetite, and treat IBS, are just a few of it’s superpowers!
The other ingredients in this salad are great sidekicks that help this dish pack the perfect punch! They are nourishing, grounding, and unctuous, making this a welcoming, wonderfully warm winter recipe.
This is a raw salad that I suggest be warmed before eaten, or at least eaten at room temperature to aid in digestion.
Carrot Currant Salad
- 1 cup of currants, raisins, or chopped dates
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 tbsp tahini
- 3/4 tbsp maple syrup or jaggery
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, to taste
- 3-4 cups grated or shredded carrots (about 4-6 medium carrots)
- Optional: about 1/4 cup fine toasted coconut flakes for garnish
- In a small bowl, soak the currants, dates, or raisins in the warm water for five minutes. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the soak water.
- In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients, except for the carrots and coconut.
- Stir in the carrots until coated well with the dressing.
- Warm before serving, and garnish with toasted coconut.
Serves four as a side dish.
Wellness, Naturally: 5 Ayurvedic Diet Tips for the New Year
If you’ve ever had a delicious meal at an Indian restaurant, you’ve experienced the healthiest and most balanced method of cooking in the world. Applying Ayurvedic principles to your own diet isn’t at all complicated, but learning to modify your food choices and cooking style requires a basic understanding of the term itself.
Ayurveda, the foundation of wellness in India, is centered in the idea that our bodies are made of five elements: space (akash), air (vayu), fire (tejas), water (ap), and earth (prithvi). At the helm is space, the cosmic space that allows the remaining elements to operate. Balancing the elements through diet and lifestyle can help you achieve greater wellness. Here are five tips to consider as you integrate Ayurveda into your diet.
Eliminate fast food
All too often, the modern American diet subsists on processed foods containing chemicals, fermentation, and oils that negatively affect the natural dietary balance your body needs. Make a commitment to reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates and saturated fats, especially those that come from meat and cheese. Cook with fresh, whole ingredients in your own kitchen instead of grabbing meals to go, ordering pizza or heating frozen entrees loaded with fat and sodium. With less saturated fat and more attention to food combinations that suit your constitution, your body can better extract the nutrients it needs.
Learn the terminology
An Ayurvedic cook knows how to categorize food according to traditional terminology. Learn to speak the language. Besides the elements, you should learn the three mental properties: sattva (curiosity), raja (motivation), and tama (the desire to stop, slow down, and rest). Also learn the three terms for doshas, or body constitutions: vata (air and ether), pitta (fire), and kapha (water and earth). Observe your behavior and determine which dosha or combination of doshas rule your own body and eating behaviour.
Strengthen your prakruti
With the understanding that learning and living an Ayurvedic life takes time, you can begin to strengthen your constitution, or prakruti, by eating foods that remedy your imbalances. For example, if you’re like the many Americans who gravitate towards tamasic foods that make you feel sluggish and slow, a simple change like replacing your frozen breakfast burrito with grains or fresh fruit will encourage mental clarity. As you gradually eat more sattvic foods such as beets, greens, lentils, soybeans, wild rice, and fresh yogurt, your improved mood will help fight colds, fatigue, and other health problems.
Monitor your digestion
The most valuable benefit of eating in the Ayurvedic tradition is an improved and healthier digestive system. Part of your new regimen should be an increased awareness of how you eat. Do you shovel the food in quickly to keep up with a partner who eats at the speed of light? If so, slow down and take your time. Put the fork or chopstick down between bites. Drink water or tea at room temperature (the Ayurvedic tradition shuns icy drinks with meals), and go at your own pace. Also consider the time of day you eat and drink, adjusting mealtimes to reduce hasty eating on the run — no more breakfast in the car on your way to work!
Look for balance in your life. With the basics under your belt, move forward by fine-tuning your diet. Remembering to maintain a primarily sattvic approach, experiment with dosha combinations to balance your moods.
Ask an experienced Ayurvedic cook for help and guidance in learning how to pronounce the terms, and determine why your habits are steering you toward a particular direction. With focus and dedication, you’ll soon see why Ayurvedic cooking as outlasted every food fad on earth. Namaste!
Ayurvedic Recipes: Sweet Carrot Halwa
As the winter weather is upon us and the holiday season beckons, it’s easy to accidentally over-indulge in unhealthy foods. Fortunately, the Ayurvedic approach to healthy living has proven tactics that will help get you back on track for 2018. So what does Ayurveda suggest for the winter months?
If you want to ward off the cold and feel more nourished and energized, Ayurvedic wisdom suggests you should supplement your diet with seasonal root vegetables. With the right type of food, you can improve your digestive tract, experience optimal health, and find the balance you need to live a healthy life when the new year begins.
Carrots: an Ayurveda winter classic
During the winter, we want to avoid getting sick at all costs, which means that you need to reconnect your body with nature’s cycles. One of the ways to do this is to eat seasonal vegetables, such as beets, potatoes, and carrots. These root vegetables are dense, rich in fiber, packed with vitamins, filled with minerals, and of course, loaded with antioxidants to help you get through the winter.
Carrots are an easy to digest vegetable, which makes them perfect for stimulating your system, increasing your energy, and purifying the blood. Did you know that carrots can even have a relaxing effect on your eyes? From helping your complexion to improving your vision and reducing inflammation, carrots are a must-have vegetable for many Ayurvedic winter recipes.
Unless you live in the tropics, during the winter we often feel as if our body is shriveling up in the colder temperature and drier air. Unfortunately, as our skin begins to dry, our sinuses also begin to dry out, which can lead to unwanted infections, colds, or the flu. Even our joints begin to feel as if they’re dry, and creaking all of the time. This is why this Ayurvedic recipe is the perfect thing for the season.
This nourishing dish can be served as a side course or for dessert.
Sweet Carrot Halwa
- 2 cups finely grated carrots
- 1 tablespoon filtered water
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons of ghee
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/8 cup finely sliced almonds
- sweetener of your choice, to taste (favor natural sweeteners like raw cane sugar or stevia)
- Soak the saffron in 1 tablespoon of water for 10 minutes.
- Melt the ghee in a large pot over low heat. Once the ghee is melted, add the carrots.
- Stir and cook the carrots until they become fragrant. After approximately five minutes, the carrots should become slightly brown.
- Add the milk, spices, and soaked saffron to the carrots.
- Cook over low heat for 15 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Be sure to stir frequently to keep the halwa from burning or sticking to the pan.
- Serve in small dishes, topped with sliced almonds.
This winter, make sure that you stay healthy and balanced with a diet that features the right types of foods, courtesy of delicious Ayurvedic recipes.