Allergies and Ayurveda

Up to 50 million people in America struggle with allergies every year and it’s considered one of the leading causes for chronic illness.

The immune system is a complex and dynamic system that protects us from disease by identifying harmful substances in our environment that it doesn’t recognize as safe, then triggering an allergic reaction to get rid of these foreign substances. An allergy occurs when the body’s natural defense turns on and against itself!

Allergies can cause a wide range of symptoms, from mild to life-threatening. They’re often caused by plant pollens or animal dander which we are allergic too without even knowing it because our bodies consider those substances harmful! Allergies and stress can also give people asthma, hives, itchiness, runny nose and watery eyes, when they’ve never had any before in their lives!

The practice of Ayurveda recognizes that there are many causes for allergies, one of the main reasons being the accumulation due to ama (toxic buildup from improperly digested foods). This combined together in our body with low Ojas (immunity) ~ leads to allergic reactions when it becomes too much.  There can be several reasons why this happens: typically because someone has a genetic predisposition combined by unhealthy diet habits or chronic illness; sometimes mental stress will trigger an emotional trauma leading them down another path towards having more trouble breathing during seasonal changes. This is why following a seasonal diet and routine is so important, to build Ojas (immunity) and protect against seasonal and everyday allergens.

When the power of digestion (Agni) becomes weak due to an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, overtime this will cause an imbalance in our doshas. This causes ama – or undigested food particles-to accumulate within us which acts as allergies that trigger an auto immune response from tissue cells anywhere in the body, especially the respiratory system, digestive system, skin or any combination.

Ayurveda gives us the tools to live a healthy lifestyle through daily dinacharya, ritucharya (seasonal rituals), and our evening rituals, help strengthen our digestion, enhance our immune system, and clear out unwanted toxins. 

Seasonal Practices to Keep You Healthy and Allergies at Bay:

  • Do some spring cleaning
    • For your body: Practice a spring cleanse
    • For your environment: Deep clean your house
    • Get rid of cosmetics with fragrances and chemicals
    • Get rid of chemical cleaning supplies
  • Wake Early
  • Dry Brush
  • Daily Nasya
  • Exercise first thing in the morning: Sun Salutations, a brisk walk, a short jog, jumping jacks, anything that makes you feel good and revitalized.
  • Meditate
  • Pranayama
  • Keep warm during these cold, damp days
  • Get an invigorating massage or Abhyanga
  • Eat light, warm and cooked food
  • Add some stimulating music to your playlist
  • Dance
  • Laugh and spend time with loved ones

Ideas for Eating this Season to Create Balance:

  • Add foods that are pungent, astringent, and bitter to your diet:
    • Aloe, nettle, dandelion, quinoa, barley, mung beans, fiddleheads, arugula, mustard greens, chard, spinach, asparagus, spring onions, lemon, spiced broths, green tea, local honey
  • Add apple cider vinegar to your foods
  • Consume less meat
  • Avoid dairy
  • Drink CCF (Cumin, Coriander and Fennel) Tea
  • Take triphala, tulsi, guduchi
  • Add activating spices like cayenne, ginger, turmeric, black pepper and mustard
  • Drink water

In conclusion, allergies are very common and can be caused by a variety of factors. Allergies can often be difficult to detect. With knowing your constitution and understanding your daily habits and lifestyle an Ayurvedic Consultation can help you to find the root cause and ultimately help alleviate symptoms!

Looking forward to connecting with you soon!

Many Blessings,

Michelle

Juice Cleansing For Health

Its amazing how good I feel after a juice cleanse! Three days in and I can feel the subtle changes happening. I start to experience higher energy, great sleep, glowing skin, no more sugar cravings…the list goes on….. Five days into a juice cleanse and I feel absolutely amazing! Juice Cleanses and fasts are of course are nothing new. Cleanses and fasts have been around for thousands of years. I love reading new research that backs why juice cleansing is so powerful and important. Especially with today’s environmental stressors.

Studies are showing that juice cleansing is a powerful and effective way to keep the body’s systems in check. Recently, I stumbled across UCLA an article on the health benefits of a three-day juice cleanse. Their research illustrated that juice cleanses increase beneficial gut bacteria, promote weight loss and improve general well-being. How amazing is that?

UCLA found that a three-day juice cleanse reduced body weight and decreased lipid per-oxidation, while increasing nitric oxide, both of which are associated with heart health.

Here is a breakdown of how a juice cleanse can benefit your health:

Give your Digestive System a Rest 

Bloated? Irritated bowels? Sensitive stomach? A juice cleanse can help reset your gut.  When you drink only cold pressed, raw fruit and vegetable juice, you’re greatly reducing the amount of input and stress that your gut experiences. This gives your body the time to heal and recharge, while also taking in essential vitamins and phytonutrients. Adding prebiotics and probiotics to your cleanse will help you get back to feeling how you want to.

Reduce Inflammation 

Studies have shown that juice cleanses followed by a plant based diet can greatly reduce inflammation in your body. Everyday I hear of people suffering of chronic inflammation; from the air we breathe, from meat, dairy, alcohol and the processed foods that we eat, to the products that we use. Your body responds to all of these toxins creating an inflammatory response. When you clean things up and cut out those outside toxins, while at the same time adding the beneficial nutrients readily available in cold pressed juice, you’re allowing your body optimal toxin removal and cell repair. Eating a plant based diet can greatly reduce allergies, arthritis, IBS and even cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases.

Boost Energy 

Within the first two days you’ll start to feel a wave of difference in your energy. Juice cleansing floods your body with nutrients in their natural state creating a lasting, clean energy; not the ups and downs and crashes we can get from coffee and sugar. With cold pressed juice, the enzymes and nutrients are liberated from fibre allowing them to be quickly assimilated into your body. Give it 15-20 minutes and you should be feeling a nice boost after each juice.

Healthy Weight Loss 

Juice cleanses can be a gateway to a more balance diet. A kickstart to your healthy habits. When you remove harmful, toxic, and processed foods, saturated fats and empty refined carbs, and replace these foods with vegetable and fruit juices and plant based foods you’ll naturally lose weight.

Hydrate

So many people I meet are chronically dehydrated. Drinking adequate fluids like water and low sugar, cold pressed juice helps the body function more efficiently, improves energy, and helps remove toxins more effectively. Drinking water throughout the day, even while on your juice cleanse helps keep everything moving. I always recommend people drink half their body weight in ounces of water. Hydration also makes your skin glow. Regular hydration, helps remove toxins while juicing helps bring your cells healing nutrients that can transform how you feel and look. Start glowing by adding enough water to your regular routine!

More details on the UCLA study.

For details on the next group juice here.

Cheers to better health!

Love,

Michelle

Cleanse

Cleansing has to be experienced to be believed. Its amazing how either a mono diet of kitchari or a juice fast can help with energy, weight loss, detoxification, better sleep, prevent disease and actually create more connection in our lives. When you feel great, you naturally strengthen your own sense of inner peace and openness, this in turn will deepen the intimacy and connection within.

1. You get rid of omnipresent toxins

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the truth is that you are constantly surrounded by toxins and pollutants. There is pollution in the air that we breathe, in the products we use to clean our homes and bodies, in the food that we consume, and even in our homes. You can definitely work on reducing your exposure to toxins but you can not really escape them (even your own body produces metabolic toxins). Hence why a seasonal detox/ cleanse is an excellent way to help your body get rid of some of these absorbed toxins.

2. You give your digestive system a much-needed break

Most cleanses and detoxes are based on avoiding junk foods and allergens. This helps balance blood sugar, reduce cravings and you also feel the benefits in your digestive tract. Problems such as gas, bloating, acid reflux, constipation, and irritation can all be reduced (if not completely eliminated) via a cleanse. Indeed, during a detox, there is less of a burden on your digestive system and you allow your body to get busy with other important biochemical processes, such as detoxification and rejuvenation.

3. You get more energy & a better sleep

Nutrition and most particularly the kinds of foods that you choose to eat will greatly influence your energy levels throughout the day and sleep at night. The heavier you eat and the more sugary foods you consume, the more likely you are to experience severe mid-afternoon crashes and/or poor sleep. That’s because these kinds of foods are very taxing on your digestive system and require a lot of “work” to be processed by your body.

Removing sugar-loaded foods and most common food allergens (i.e. gluten, dairy, soy, and sugar) from your diet for a period of time can go a long way in terms of giving you more energy and definitely better sleep. Test it out.

4. You experience a new sense of clarity

For many people, food and emotions go hand in hand. We eat when we want to celebrate, when we are depressed, bored, scared, … Emotional eating is a real issue and one great way to break through it is to try a cleanse. Through the removal of your favourite “comfort” foods, you learn to make healthier eating choices and you find new ways to cope with your emotions (e.g. daily movement, a new hobby, or socializing).

Moreover, the kinds of foods that we crave when we are emotional (sugary, salty, and usually fatty too) are known to make our minds foggy and unclear. Once you go through a cleanse, you start to see things in a different light  – the fog lifts up and you get a new sense of clarity. How refreshing is that?!

5. You access a new level of creativity

When you go through a cleanse, you are forced out of your comfort zone. It can be annoying and uncomfortable at first but then when you push through, you reach a new level of creativity. You start thinking of different ways to prepare your foods. And you inevitably try new recipes – better yet you may even create your own! Creativity will not just stop in the kitchen, it will also expand to other areas of your life. Again, give it a try and see for yourself.

I strongly suggest you cleanse at least twice this year. It could be a 7 day juice cleanse, a 5 day kitchari cleanse, a week without dairy & gluten, or even something as simple as 21 days without sugar. There are many combinations out there. Once you have done your research and have been advised by a health care practitioner or nutritionist, I am positive that you, too, will be convinced that doing a cleanse is good for you.

 

Blessings!

Michelle

Ways to Detox Everyday

The other day I was asked about weight loss, I really didn’t know what to say. Honest. Society has positioned many people to believe that we can just magically lose weight by taking a pill or doing the right exercise routine rather than living a lifestyle of loving your body and eating and living well.  Living your life in a way that gently, and continuously, and most importantly, healthfully supports your body’s natural detoxification pathways is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. If your Body just contracted a little bit by the word detox I am not referring to restricting, starvation or hunger. In fact, I am talking about the opposite. I am talking about how you can invite simple little acts of love into your life that healthily supports your body’s natural detoxification process. Our bodies are constantly in detox mode. It’s just one of those amazing ingenious internal processes like digestion, metabolism, reproduction, respiration, etc., our bodies just do for us. We don’t even have to think about it. However, because of the constant influx of 21st century toxins, chemicals, and chronic stressors — think: processed foods, environmental pollution, depleted soil, negative self-deprecating thoughts, staring at the computer for 10 hours, late nights, job-stress, energy drinks, I could keep going… — our detoxification pathways are constantly working overdrive. Here are 9 ways you can nourish every cell in your being, and glow from the inside out, for daily detoxification and total body vibrancy.

  1. Water. Proper hydration is the foundation for a healthy body and detoxification. When the body needs more liquids to flush out toxins, and there are insufficient amounts in the reserves, it will draw water from the bones, muscles and the of course the brain. Drinking half your body weight in ounces of water everyday helps flush out unwanted toxins from your body, prevents constipation, fatigue, acne and skin issues. It’s best not to drink water while you eat as it dilutes your digestive enzymes. Drink water 30 minutes before a meal or 30 minutes after a meal. Give yourself a huge helping hand through a rough day and get on the good stuff: clean water.
  2. Move. They say exercise is good. Do it 3 to 4 Times a week. Also, more importantly, walk 20 minutes everyday. You wouldn’t go a day without brushing your teeth, don’t go a day with out walking for 20 minutes. It doesn’t have to be continuous it just has to be done. Your body, mind and soul will love it too.
  3. Eat a rainbow of colors. 8 out of 10 Americans are not getting the phytonutrients they need. Green fruits and vegetables in particular help detox the body and in particular, dark green leafy vegetables because they are simply more nutrient dense than any other food group. They purify the blood, boost the immune system, promote a strong nervous system to restore energy and vitality, support eye health, cleanse your skin, repair DNA, assist in liver detoxification (especially cilantro and dandelion), improve bowel function, reduce acid indigestion, prevent anemia, and act as digestive magic.  Make sure to rotate between your greens, kale is not your only option, there is, purslane, watercress, spinach, arugula, micro greens, mustard greens, radicchio, escarole, and dandelion, I could go on………. Green juice or smoothie anyone?
  4. Unfiltered Raw apple cider vinegar stimulates circulation and aids in detoxification of the liver and lymph nodes. It also contains live probiotics which promote healthy microflora (bacteria) in the gut. When taken regularly, apple cider vinegar helps with gastrointestinal discomfort, indigestion, and can help clear up chronic acid reflux. ACV may also aid in weight loss by stabilizing the blood sugar for a longer period and helping to control appetite. You may also add nutrients to the ACV, I like to make a four thieves vinegar or you can make traditional Fire Cider! Take 1-2 Tablespoons of raw ACV before each meal as a shot or as a dressing on salads and stir fry’s with your dark leafy greens!
  5. Cultured or fermented foods are imperative for our gut health and for a healthy body, clear mind, and total high-vibe health. Cultured foods help us absorb our nutrients. Consuming cultured or fermented foods on a daily basis re-establishes a healthy inner ecosystem and dramatically improves digestion and the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Foods like raw sauerkraut, kimchi, and coconut or flax kefir are loaded with digestive enzymes and gut balancing probiotics! Pro- meaning for and biotic- meaning life.
  6. Lemon is a great alkalizer! Despite their acidic taste, lemons have an alkalizing effect on our internal pH levels making them ideal for cleansing and detoxification. Lemon juice also stimulates the release of bile and digestive enzymes, purifies the liver, hydrates the lymph, and is a natural diuretic. Notoriously high in Vitamin C, one of nature’s key water soluble antioxidants, lemons help neutralize free radicals and therefore protect our cells from damage. Warning: drinking warm water with lemon in the mornings (before or, in place of your am coffee) will change your life. Brush your teeth after! If lemon is not your thing, try Coral Legend by Premier Research Labs available in my shop!
  7. Detox teas and tinctures from amazing plants create insane alchemy on the body and  promote detoxification. It’s the little pleasures. Look for teas and or tinctures with dandelion root, ginger root, licorice root, burdock, or rose petals as they gently nourish your detoxification organs. In addition to your water, drink throughout the day!
  8. Emotional detox. Emotional health is biochemically linked to our physical body. Meaning, what we think and feel has the power to change the biology of our cells. Thoughts and emotions such as anger, sadness, frustration, fear, anxiety, jealousy, low self esteem you hold within maybe an even greater cause of stress, an imbalance in the system and eventually chronic dis-ease. Where do the actual toxic thoughts go? Hopefully not projected on the lovely people we share our lives with. Good old pen and paper really get the job done. Bitch it out, whine it out, sulk it out and just go on and on about it until you just can’t think of anything else negative to say. Then burn those pages up. Why? Because fire represents the alchemy of transformation and, it feels good to let it burn! Setting a little (safe) fire to can be joyously symbolic of your desire to release these negative emotions into ashes. Literally, burn that shit up.
  9. Screen detox. Start and end your day free of screens for at least the first hour of your day and the last hour of your day. Turning off your screen the first hour of the day will help you to listen to your internal clock and respond better to your internal clock versus responding to outside stimuli. The light coming from the screen delays your body’s natural release of melatonin, which is responsible for telling your body it’s time to sleep. Turning off screens an hour before bed help you sleep better. Also, no screens while eating. Be present with yourself. Taste your food! Enjoy life’s little treasures!

lemons

Each day this week invite one of these daily detox ideas into your life. The more consistent you are the sooner you will be able to see and feel results! What’s your favorite way to detox?

Love,

Michelle