Last spring, my sister-in-law advised me that the best thing I could do for my health would be to give myself a daily oil massage and to have a consistent schedule of sleeping and waking. And that would include a midday nap.
According to her, yoga instructor Charlotte Clews, when she advised me last June and also to Apurva Wellness‘ Whitney Paterson who “read my pulses” last weekend, my Ayurvedic dosha that was and is most out of balance is my vata, and that responds well to lifestyle changes.
Whitney is coming to my Holistic Moms Chapter on Thursday to give a presentation on the basics of Ayurvedic medicine. I can’t wait to get a better understanding of this philosophy. It’s hard to commit to something you don’t understand, so Whitney will break it down for us. Apurva might at some point offer additional classes for moms who want to incorporate Ayurveda into their family’s wellness protocols.
Back in September, I listened to a “fall cleanse” conference call presentation of Charlotte’s and learned that it’s easier on your digestion to have breaks in between meals rather than to snack, and that you should not eat after the sun goes down, or after 7 p.m. I heard this reiterated in October when Dr. John Douillard spoke at the first Take Back Your Health Conference.
Since it’s nearly impossible for me to snack anyway, seeing as I still can’t tolerate/digest fruit, raw vegetables or any grain, I jumped on the 2-3 meal per day train. But maybe I took it too far. I end up often eating way too much just so I won’t – gasp! – get hungry and snack. As a breastfeeding mom under a fair bit of stress due in part to a house renovation, and with a wonky thyroid and blood sugar that goes haywire if I don’t sleep well,I sometimes find myself gorging on a full meal of broth with veggies, cooked veggies and meat, sauerkraut, maybe an egg, and then, if I don’t feel like I can for sure make it another four hours without eating (or it’s almost time for my daughter to wake or my son to get home from school), I binge on coconut butter and nut butter. That’s a lot of calories. And no, most of my clothes don’t fit very well!
Just before this weekend’s second Take Back Your Health conference, where Whitney read my pulses, I was doing some research on Ayurveda. I did a little quiz at Banyan Botanicals and found that my dosha or body constitution is predominantly vata, followed by pitta. Well, that’s probably not the way to describe it, but I’ll learn more Thursday! That’s just the way the percentages broke down.
I read about vata: “Because of the inherent “light” quality in Vata, you may think that heavy foods would nicely balance that quality but actually too much heavy food-or just too much food at a sitting–is too heavy for the lightness of the Vata digestive system.”
So I’m reconsidering my eat-a-lot-at-once approach. And, after getting some great online answers and having a wonderful talk before her Take Back Your Health conference presentation with Real Food Media founder and Cheeseslave blog author Ann Marie Michaels, I’m going to up my probiotics and try some more carbs. Ann Marie has been writing lately about low-carb diets being problematic for the thyroid. My digestion has really improved the past few months since I started taking L-glutamine, digestive enzymes, and colostrum, so I think I may be ready to bring back in some raw veggies and maybe some fruit.
Ann Marie quotes GAPS diet creator Natasha Campbell-McBride as saying that 95% of food sensitivities — or more — can be cured. Her story about healing from painful arthritis at age 24 is powerful. She was told she’d end up in a wheelchair and she went on to get so well that after two years on a strict diet, she can now eat whatever she wants. And besides having an adorable five-year-old and a fabulous career, she looks great!
The conference also got me inspired about more juicing. I’ve been juicing every morning for a few months, and most mornings for several months, but I might try several times a day, and I certainly want to start adding in some sprouts. It was fun to see on the podium Raw Food Institute founder Lisa Wilson, with whom I took cooking classes from Monica Corrado now five years ago. Of course, my two children only made it about 20 minutes through her presentation (but then we got to go get my cell phone tested from Christine Hoch of the Center for Safer Wireless; Christine will be speaking at my June Holistic Moms meeting!)
Many moons ago, my friend (and now certified yoga instructor) Pamela of Walking on My Hands lent me a copy of Eat Taste Heal that I had better read before she moves away in a few months! It gives tips on eating right for your dosha. Since I’ve had such a limited diet while on the GAPS introductory protocol, I’ve resisted any other suggestions. My stomach was so sensitive for months. But I’m getting so sick of the psoriasis on my skin, I’m ready to make some changes — or I will be soon after we get a few decisions made on our house!
For a long time, I’ve owned Dr. Douillard’s Perfect Health for Kids, (recommended by Charlotte), but I hadn’t taken the time to read too much until recently when my son, age six, faced terrible seasonal allergies for the second year in a row. Almost a month of puffy eyes and staying indoors is no fun! Douillard recommends trikatu for allergies, but Charlotte, who knows my son, said he probably needs a more alkaline diet with more bitters and less meat. I had already tried bringing in more turmeric to his diet, and we’d been given a supplement from one of our practitioners to help his liver detox, Isagenix Cleanse for Life.
Whitney of Apurva read in little E’s pulses that he was a pitta-dominant individual (as she suspected from his red hair, and as I suspected from his temperament!). Noting that pitta individuals respond well to diet (while vatas respond well to lifestyle), she suggested I look into a pitta-calming diet. We were staying at a hotel and then launched into a super busy week, but I have at least managed to heed her recommendation for coconut water.
After I get a better understanding from Whitney’s presentation — and after we round some corners on this house project — I hope to bring more of this awareness into my home and my kitchen.
You can learn lots of practical tips on incorporating Ayurveda into your family’s wellness protocols by reading Dr. Douillard’s book. I’m giving away a signed copy of Perfect Health for Kids.
How to enter:
Comment below by sharing an experience of a cleansing or seasonal diet or a lifestyle change that made a difference in your health. Or share what kinds of health issues you’d like to consider Ayurveda for. Or share something about seasonal or food allergies.
You have until 5 p.m., April 27 to enter. Winner will be drawn at random. I look forward to hearing your stories!