Holiday Health Hazards and How to Avert Them – with SVA Tips, Recipes, and much more!

 

Let’s face it – the holidays can be mentally and emotionally stressful! In addition to our ongoing daily professional or familial obligations, we may find ourselves carried away by the whirlwind of back-to-back parties; endless shopping lists; painfully crowded malls and supermarkets; under-the-gun baking, cleaning and entertaining; family obligations and traditions that may involve challenging emotional settings. So it’s very easy to lose sight of ourselves and get caught in dizzying activity, compromising our own health. By the time it’s finally time to celebrate, you’re probably already exhausted having tried to make things perfect for everybody, but your diet is off, your can’t seem to get a full night’s sleep, and you are mentally tense, emotionally fragile – in a word: you’re a wreck! True, you may not be able to change how things are going to unfold and how stressful they are going to be, but you can manage how you are going to go through and respond to the stress.

 

Do you know what happens in your body when you get stressed? Your brain and body release specific chemical toxins, such as cortisol, that create metabolic imbalances that trigger inflammatory conditions. Stress compromises your body’s acid-alkaline balance, bringing down your immunity and making you prone to ill-health, weight-gain, depression, and more. Did you know that you can correct your body’s response to stress? This involves more than a mind-over-matter trick – when stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup no matter what you tell yourself to do. However, with Ayurveda, and specifically SV Ayurveda, we learn that there are herbs and ingredients that can naturally boost our bliss, or “correct” our behavior by increasing the “happy chemicals” in our brain: serotonin; dopamine; endorphins. With Ayurveda, you can also help curb those undue holiday errings of the senses: the overeating; the hang-overs; unruly sleep, etc.

How can SV Ayurveda help us address the typical holiday hazards?

Emotionally Down?: it’s unsettling how holidays can magnify pain. They will highlight everything that may have recently changed in your lives — a divorce, a death in the family, estranged family members, etc. If you are missing someone special this holiday season, if someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, first thing is to tell yourself it’s ok to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry and express your feelings, to give yourself the space to work through your emotions instead of suppressing them. You should not force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season! But do not dwell on the sadness longer than you need to. Acknowledge it and release it. But isn’t that the tricky part?! How do you release sadness?

If you are feeling sad it means your sadhak pitta is off and needs to be balanced. You can  cool off and balance your sadhak pitta by eating seasonal sweet juicy fruits – apples and pears are great this time of year. In addition, add more protein your diet, cooked with a nice pitta pacifying masala.

Herb-wise, add Ashoka Transdermal cream or roll-on your tala-hridiya  marma points. You can also do the full Samadhi Set protocol 3-5 times a day.

Add Ashoka and Brahmi Nectar drops: 3 drops of each to a glass of water.

Drink “Bliss and Bliss tea”

Drink “Vaidya’s Cup!” Treat yourself with Chyawanprash, – it’s the best tridoshic dessert you can have and 1 tsp will be worth 10 slices of cake or 5 chocolate bars!

 

Listen to or chant the Heart Lotus Mantra.

Don’t skip or delay meals.

Use pitta masala. Use the soothing aroma essential oils of Rose, Neroli, Jasmine, and Sandalwood.

Add the non-alcoholic Celebration Nectar Drops to your celebrations! Formulated by Vaidya Mishra 3 years ago, the nectar drop “celebration drink” is a hit with SVA clients. You can add 5-10 drops to your glass of water during lunch or dinner.

Top of your meals with a cup of “Vaidya’s Cup.” You will be surprised by the shift in your mood. “Vaidya’s Cup” will boost the serotonin and the dopamine to enhance your bliss. You can have 3-5 cups a day.

Mentally stressed and Physical Drained? During the holiday season, obligations and errands run us down. Due to mental and physical over-activity prana and vyana vata go out of balance, leaving us feeling frazzled, unable to settle down, and constantly haunted by the feeling of “always more to do!”

Take a breather: literally take a few minutes to step out of a scene to sit down and breath. Do a quick alternate nostril pranayam exercise to regulate the flow of prana and keep things even in your Ida and Pingala channels. Clear your mind and restore inner calm by shifting your thoughts to the big picture.

If you are caught in the middle of frenzy, spray 4-5 squirts of Stress-Free Spray, breath, and relax. This water base formulations has been helping countless individuals since Vaidya Mishra launched it this year.

Drink Soma Nidra Tea: this rich blend will calm your mind and sooth your sadhak pitta as well.  

Apply Soma Nidra Roll-on on your wrists, cervical area, and inhale the aroma.

At night, before the big day, or after the party is over, take a bath with the SVA “Relax and Detox Bath Pouches.”

Do a self-mssage with Vata Oil with Vit D and Magnesium – alternately you can treat yourself to a massage parlor, take your oil with you and ask them to use it on you for a richer relaxing experience.

Add Mucuna capsules to your dietary regimen (For Him for men, For Her for women)

Reclaim your vibrant energy with Chyawanprash: 1 tsp morning before or after breakfast, and 1 tsp after lunch daily.

Try to do at least 10-15 minutes of yoga or a brisk walk daily.  

Could not Stop Eating? Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all by abandoning your healthy habits, knowing full well that overindulging will only add to your stress and guilt. But it’s easier said than done, right? Here’s the trick: by consuming food that contains all 6 tastes – sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent, you maximize your chance of not getting carried away by temptation. Food that carries all 6 tastes helps us maintain psychological and mental balance – Ayurveda is very clear on this. But science also finds that chilies or the pungent taste, for example, release the endorphins already present in our brains; cumin, which is astringent, releases serotonin; black pepper increases oxygenation calming us down and taking away anxiety. When you eat a meal that contains all 6 possible tastes, the coordination between your stomach, brain, and heart is optimal, minimizing your craving for sweets or larger portions. This means that your pitta dosha stays cool and composed, then your emotions don’t go off. Meals that contain all 6 tastes are tridoshic. Eating all 6 tastes in each meal will help you not abandon healthy habits when you need them most.

No time to cook? Sprinkle Mum’s Masala on your meal – it’s balanced and tridoshic and delicious, giving you all possible 6 tastes.

Add chutneys to your meals – cilantro chutney and/or the Tamarind and Amla preserve, which will give you satiation by enhancing digestion and absorption of food.

In case you overeat and feel bloated, try the Pro-Pachak drops  – 5 drops in a glass of 8oz of water. Drink this after lunch and dinner to support digestion and absorption.

Make and carry a mixture of dry toasted 80% fennel seeds and 20 % ajwain seeds. Chew 1/2 tsp after each meal.

Overdosed on Sugar?: during the holidays it is inevitable not to overdose on sugar. It may be that one time of the time where we allow ourselves to go for it! And it’s great to reward ourselves from time to time… But here’s what you can do to help metabolize that sugar you ate so that after the holidays your immunity is not compromised, and in order to avoid sugar-induced fatigue and post-celebratory depression:

make a tea with 16oz water: add 2 pinches of Gymnema, 2 pinches Indian kino, 2 pinches of Jamun seeds, a tiny cinnamon stick, boil 5-10 minutes, filter and sip. This tea will enhance your sugar metabolism, by converting the sugar molecules into energy.

*Caution: don’t drink this tea if you have not eaten sugar (or consumed carbs), because it will otherwise drive your blood glucose levels low. Do not drink this tea before eating sweets, only AFTER eating sweets, otherwise you will not enjoy the sweet taste.

Can’t Sleep? When our days are overly active, prana vata goes high, and it becomes hard for the mind to unwind and settles down at the end of the day, unable to induce deep restorative sleep. What can help?

Massage with warm Vata oil with Vit D and Magnesium will help balance all of vata dosha.

Take a warm bath with the  “Relax and Detox Bath Pouches,”

Have a cup of Soma Nidra tea, or use the Soma Nidra oral spray, and Soma Nidra roll-on on the back of the neck and the shoulders.

Go to bed with “happy thoughts” – if your day was a mixed bag of events, let go of the ill-fitted episodes, as they were inevitable anyways, and linger on the brighter moments. You will be surprised to see how a conscious choice to prefer the positive over the negative will shift your mood and ease in blissful sleep.

In the end, holidays may be more stressful than fun, but the good thing is it’s predictable! You know it is going to happen, you see it coming, but also when it’s going to end, so you can do something about it. This year,you can be pro-active about it, and with SVA, you have a wide array of ayurvedic tips and stress-survival strategies, along with calming and mood-brightening formulations and recipes.

Happy Holidays!

An e-mail about paneer and raw milk…

“Hi,I made paneer for the first time ever today. It didn’t seem to curdle in a large enough clump. Is there a recipe for how much milk to boil and how much lime juice to use?
Also, wondering about using organic raw milk, with any of the natural cow hormones, since I had estrogen-positive breast cancer five years ago and need to be careful about hormone intake.
Thank you for any help you can give. Laura”
Vaidya replies:
“Dear Laura: in general, raw milk will not contain any hormones that will imbalance your physiology unless the cow herders are injecting the cows with substances to increase the production of their milk. However, milk is considered estrogenic, but how your body responds to it also depends on the current state of your physiology. I would suggest you test things out on your end with hormonal panel tests and see how you are doing when consuming it. If you are consuming the raw milk in the form or paneer and/or yoghurt, then the estrogenic content is less of an issue. However, if you are looking to consume the milk as a drink, I suggest you boil the raw milk with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, black pepper. This may balance out the estrogenic effect of the milk
For one glass of raw milk add:
1 small stick of cinnamon,
4 crushed green cardamom pods,
2 thin slices of ginger,
6 crushed black peppercorns.
 Boil and filter, cool off to room temperature and consume.
In general, raw milk does not and should not contain any additives and the cows it comes from should have been treated more humanely than not. But it does not hurt to check with the providers to make sure they are not injecting additional hormones into the cows as well.
As for making fresh paneer with 1 gallon of raw milk, bring to a boil and then lower the heat, squeeze in 2 oz of lime juice and boil for another 3-5 minutes until it curdles. At this point, your milk should curdle into big clumps of paneer surrounded by a clear yellow water – whey water. Filter the mixture by pouring into a cheese cloth. Tie it up and strain it so when it dries you can slice or cube it. Keep in your refrigerator – it is good to consume for up to 5 days.”

Cooling Summer Dahl with Toru and Lime Leaf

Be transported and soothed by this delicious recipe with Toru (this is an Indian  squash, very cooling, that has deep dark green ridges on the outside and a soft white inside) and the refreshing hints of lime leaf. It is a great summer-evening dinner dahl to cool off pitta and nurture you with easy-to-digest protein. It will take you 10 minutes to prepare!

You will need:

  • 1 tbsp. ghee (or grapeseed oil)
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 4 crushed green cardamoms
  • ¼ tsp. soma salt
  • 2 green chilies (optional)
  • Toru 1 large or 2 medium sized
  • 1/3 cup mung dahl (to serve for 2 people)
  • 5-6 fresh lime leaves (available at Asian grocery stores)

Prep:

Peel and slice the Toru into thin small pieces.

 Melt/warm the oil in your pot, then add the turmeric, cardamom pods (and chilies if you are using them), and toast for a 30 seconds or so.

Now add the Toru and keep toasting medium heat for a couple more minutes.

  Add your rinsed yellow mung dahl

Toast for five more minutes until your dahl turn a golden color

Add 3 cups (32 oz.) of water – you can add more water to dilute the consistency

Cover and cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes

When your dahl “melts” into a creamy consistency and your Toru is soft and cooked, add 6 lime leaves and cover for 5 minutes. Serve with a side of rice, quinoa, or flatbreads and enjoy!

Coconut Matters! Scrumptuous Coconut Chips

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It’s time to do something with the coconut you have been storing in your fridge/freezer after making the probiotic coconut recipe for the past week.
Of course, if you are not up to eating the coconut at this point (if you have a cold, or the weather where you are is really cold and you do not have high enough Agni to metabolize the coconut) then by all means, you can just store it in your freezer. You can store it either with the shell (but make things easier on yourself and de-shell!), cut it into chunky pieces, or grate/blend it and then freeze it. Watch this brief video for more information on storing your coconut.

This recipe is very easy, fast, and delicious.  To make it at home, you need the following ingredients:

4oz weight by weight fresh coconut chunks cut into thinner slices
1/2 tsp Mum’s ghee
1/2 tsp Mum’s Masala (or your own spice mix)
1/4 tsp Soma Salt
5-6 Curry leaves dry or fresh (optional – don’t fret if you don’t have any)
1 Green (Thai) chilli (optional)
2 fresh ginger – thin slices
A few leaves of fresh mint roughly chopped (optional but a nice twist for flavor)

Assembling the above ingredients is very easy. Warm the ghee in your pan and then add the masala, the chili and/or ginger, the salt, and then the coconut. Mix in the coconut making sure you coat it thoroughly with the ghee and spice mixture. You do not need to cook the coconut, it just needs to be coated with the spices. After 2-3 minutes of mixing in, add the mint leaves turn off the stove and cover for 1 minute (to infuse the coconut with the heat-activated mint aroma). Then serve and enjoy! You may also carry with you in a small container and snack on throughout the day. Discard unused portions and do not eat the next day as per ideal SVA dietary recommendations!

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