Eat it all: 3 tips for better digestion

imagesGluten is not the enemy. WHAT?!?!? And get this, neither is dairy, soy, corn, carbs, fats, meats, beans, hot peppers or anything else that may be on your personal forbidden list of foods you “can’t” eat, or “shouldn’t eat but sometimes do at 2:00am in front of the open fridge”. I am not saying that your sensitivities to such things are in your head, what I am saying is

perhaps your food sensitivity is a sign of weak digestion, not a fault of the food itself. 

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Spring Dinner Muffins (Yes, they’re green!!)

Tomorrow we turn the clocks forward and feel one hour closer to Spring! In the spirit of this change from frozen to green, why not some green muffins!!! These are great to get you through these last weeks and this recipe goes out to all of my New England friends!

These Ayurvedic muffins are light, warm, nourishing and soothing; perfect for these Almost-April days that feel stuck between Winter and Spring. They provide the six tastes of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Eating from all six tastes helps to balance food cravings and make sure each organ is getting the nutrition it needs. In Ayurveda, carbohydrates and vegetable proteins are part of the sweet taste as they nourish the tissues even if they don’t seem “sweet” to the palate.

This recipe is tri-doshic (good for all healthy digestive systems in Vata, Pitta and Kapha), with a little extra balance for Pitta and Vata, what my fellow busy bee New Yorkers could always use a bit more of!

These are great with soup, as a snack or as a side dish to a main meal. Each muffin provides aproximately:

  • 80 calories
  • 4 grams protein
  • 2 grams fat
  • high in: calcium, iron, soluble and insoluble fiber, antioxidants like A and C in addition to trace minerals like copper, manganese and zinc.

Personally I love these with homemade chutney, but that will have to wait for another recipe. Try different beans, greens, spices, or substitute amaranth or another whole grain for the quinoa. Enjoy and share! Continue reading »

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Morning Fruit Chutney

You’re right. You should eat breakfast. But some foods are better in the morning because they set your system up for a balanced day in a number of ways.  This classic Ayurvedic recipe is a blend of warm cooked fruits, a dish that is balancing for all constitutions. It has been known to relieve a variety of digestive concerns like chronic gas and bloating, fatigue, weight management, heart burn, cholesterol and many others. Consider adding this breakfast “appetizer” to the menu, a small dish had 20-30 minutes before your normal morning meal to encourage a strong metabolism, improve digestion, and feel more energized, satisfied and nourished all day long.

Fruit is best on an empty stomach, and even better first thing in the morning. The sweet, hydrating qualities of fruit help to encourage the liver and to improve peristalsis, improving how your body eliminates toxins and regulates the digestive system. The spices  further encourage the healthy functions of the liver, kidneys and intestines, and serving the fruit warm will stimulate the metabolism and literally warm the digestive tract, making the rest of breakfast and the meals to follow absorb more completely. Cooking fruits together helps to mitigate the indigestion that is common with raw fruit salad mixes. I’ve also found that eating sweet fruits in the morning helps to curb sweet/starch cravings throughout the day.

The classic Indian recipe focuses on apples with a handful of raisins, but I’ve found that adapting to the fruits grown close to where you live and choosing the vibrant Spring fruits that are now coming into season will add variety and creativity to your menus.   This recipe is meant to balance most constitutions, but if you have irritable bowel syndrome or another specific digestive concern, make sure to check with your Ayurvedic practitioner or send me an email. Enjoy!

Morning Fruit Chutney

best 20-30 mins before other breakfast foods like warm cereals or proteins

recipe serves 2


  • 1 large apple (apricot/pear/peach/plum), scrubbed clean with skin on, cored and sliced into 8 wedges
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup fresh pineapple
  • 1 tablespoon raisins or cranberries (or 1/3 cup fresh berries)
  • 1/2″ piece of peeled fresh ginger, finely grated and tough pulp removed)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp each of: fresh black pepper, allspice and cardamom
  • pinch of ground clove
  • 1 tsp ghee or unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 large saucepan
  • 1 liter/1 quart water


  1. In a large saucepan bring water and all spices to a boil. Grate the ginger directly into the pan and discard the tough pulp that will be left in your hand, squeezing the juice out into the water. Let this come to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.
  2. Add the sliced apples, bring back to a boil and then let cook on medium flame covered until apples are soft (red delicious can take up to an hour, McIntosh around 10 minutes, softer fruits around 10 minutes). You should have only about 1 1/2 cups of liquid remaining. If it cooked away from you, add more water with spices or if you’re in my kitchen add brewed chai. Too much water? Cook at medium-high until reduced.
  3. Add the banana sliced into 1/4″ pieces, discarding the very ends of the fruit. Add any other fruits being used: raisins, berries, etc. Return to a boil and then simmer on low until softened, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Once all fruit is cooked and the liquid is dark and slightly thicker, separate into serving bowls and add 1/2 tsp of ghee/coconut oil to each.


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Late Summer Healthy Coconut Chutney

In Ayurvedic Medicine, every food, spice and drink you consume either improves or challenges the state of your health. The food choices you make are your medicines or they are your toxins. Particularly powerful remedies have a variety of uses both internally and externally, Ayurveda teaches us that nutrition is consumed both from within and from without.

Coconuts are one of these powerful remedies, a true super star food, the original “triple threat” offering three main products: water, meat and oil. Each form has different properties that are beneficial all year long but are particularly balancing for the heat and energy of late Summer.

Sadly, coconuts still have a bad reputation for being “bad fats” and can seem daunting sitting in their thick hairy shells in the “ethnic/Asian” section of the produce aisle. Read on to learn what the different parts of the coconut can do for you and to try your hand at a simple late Summer chutney.

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Yogurt in Ayurveda

If you are often gassy, bloated, or suffer from indigestion AND you regularly consume yogurt, this article will change your life.

Yogurt has gained popularity recently as a health/diet food because it often has a low fat, high protein and high calcium content, especially the “euro” and “greek” thicker styles you’ll find on the market.

In Ayurveda, foods carry qualities like light, heavy, wet, dry, hot and cool that then create an effect in the body; often the effect on the body is close to the quality of the food consumed. For example, a plate full of french fries have a heavy, oily, starchy-sticky quality which is easy to see, and once consumed create a heavy, sluggish feeling or effect in the body.

The qualities of yogurt are cold, thick, wet and sour (because it is fermented), and the effect on the body is congestive, mucous forming and gaseous, often causing bloating and indigestion when taken in excess or when combined poorly with other foods. Thankfully, these qualities only apply to store-bought yogurt. Freshly made yogurt is light, easy to digest and improves nutrient assimilation, and is an effective remedy for indigestion and upset stomach.

To make sure you’re getting the most of your yogurt experience, here are a few Ayurvedic do’s and don’ts:

Yogurt Don’ts:

  • Do not mix yogurt with fruit* or granola: this combination creates the most gas as the fruit, grains and dairy each require different digestive processing times and enzymes in the stomach. Gas indicates poor food combining which reduces nutrient absorption and can then lead to poor digestion of the next meal.

*In Ayurveda, the only fruit that safely combines with yogurt is sweet ripe mango, hence the popular mango lassi in Indian restaurants. See more on lassi recipes below.

  • Do not have yogurt as a meal: Yes, the high protein/low calorie/low fat/high calcium content may tempt you to think this is a dietary breakfast or lunch gem, but yogurt is simply too heavy on the system to stand alone. Cultures that incorporate yogurt on a regular basis generally make it fresh and blend it with spices and digestive aides: think of the greek tzatziki yogurt-cucumber-dill sauce, Indian raita chutney or Indian lassi drinks featured here.
  • Do not use yogurt as an oil/fats substitute in baking recipes: Many recipe sites and sources will suggest substituting yogurt for the oil in baking recipes to lower fat and calorie content while keeping the baked goods moist. Combining yogurt with grains, fruits and nuts is another gas forming nightmare. Instead, use unsweetened applesauce to the same ratio substitution or consider lowering the sugar content instead to make your baking healthier and retain moisture.


Yogurt Do’s:

  • Do make your own yogurt: Fresh yogurt is economical and easy and the taste is like the difference between store-bought and home-made…anything! Fresh yogurt retains and delivers more calcium to the body and does not cause gas, bloating and indigestion. You can control the thickness and fat content by adding more or less water, even infuse it with flavors like vanilla or cardamom. Just remember to make it in small batches because after 48hrs yogurt continues to ferment and will then become just as irritating to the system as the store-bought varieties.
  • Make yourself a lassi drink: Lassi is an Ayurvedic medicinal tonic of fresh yogurt blended with therapeutic spices and cool water. Lassi is water:yogurt:spices in a 3:1:1 ratio and is designed to quickly dispell gas, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, anemia, fatigue and to regulate metabolism, just to name a few.  Medicinal lassi can be sweet, savory, even spicy depending on what spices are used.

Lassi is a good choice all year long but is especially effective in Summer months following a large meal or between lunch and dinner. The recipes below are fine for all doshas, although Kaphas (or those who tend to feel sluggish, congested and struggle with excess weight will benefit more from the ginger or savory recipe and should abstain from the sweet recipe).


Basic Yogurt:

Bring 1 cup organic milk to a boil in a shallow pan. Turn off heat and let cool to room temperature. Mix in 1 tablespoon of active culture store-bought yogurt, pour mixture into container, cover with a dish towel and place in your oven for 8hrs/overnight. Nope, the oven isn’t on! Just place it at the warm spot towards the pilot light. Must be consumed within 48hrs of making.


Lassi Tonic Recipes: 

Savory Lassi

  • 1/2 cup plain organic yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp finely crumbled mint (optional)


Sweet Lassi

  • 1/2 cup plain organic yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp rose water (optional)
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp sweetener of choice (raw honey or agave)


Ginger Lassi

  • 1/2 cup plain organic yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 thin slice of fresh peeled ginger
  • 1 big pinch cardamom powder
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp sweetener of choice (raw honey or agave)




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Done with Winter Indian Ginger Tea Cookies

January through March is peak season in edenic places like Costa Rica (shameless plug: Red Apple Yoga Retreat, April 2012)  and other locales that conjure visions of white sands, warm sunlight and outdoor yoga (maybe that’s just me). At this point of the season, everything is in full dormancy and without the thrill of the holidays people begin to feel down and crave change.

Ayurvedic recipes are not just healthy, they also balance the emotions of the seasons. Winter recipes are warm, cooked and soothing; Summer recipes are simple, refreshing and hydrating. Here at peak winter, we choose nourishing dishes filled with carefully chosen spices that both support our immune systems and lift our moods.

This deceivingly delicious Indian Ginger Tea Cookies recipe is:

  • Vegan, low-fat, low-calorie, gluten-free AND high in nutrients.
  • Balancing for all doshas but particularly for Pitta which can feel the most frustrated and restless at this point of the year.
  • Each and every ingredient is chosen for a Winter balancing quality:
    • Mood lifters: cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon and dates
    • Immune builders: ginger, black tea, clove
    • Nutritional supporters: oat flour, sunflower oil, applesauce, molasses
  • Each cookie contains:
    • Protein 2g
    • Calories 75
    • Fat 1g
    • Iron 3% dv
    • Fiber 3g
    • Good source of calcium, magnesium, B vitamins, fiber and vitamin E

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Not Sick Soup

Ok, let’s face it, this is winter.  Our minds and bodies have come to accept that warm weather is out and that it’s time to dig out the sweaters and mittens.

To keep our immune systems healthy we 3 things:

  1. maintain a level of strength and heat within the digestive system to fight the cold
  2. keep the liver and kidneys stimulated to balance out any holiday party indulgence
  3. keep our fluids up to stay hydrated against all that dry radiator heat

This one recipe combines traditional Ayurvedic herbs with Tom Yum, a classic Thai recipe. It is low fat, low calorie, low sodium, sugar free and vegan. Each ingredient is as beneficial as it is delicious. Continue reading »

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Daikon Radish: Moving from Summer to Fall to Winter

The transitions from the big seasons to the little seasons are the most important times to be kind to the body and to support the digestive system; this means that September and March are great opportunities to take better care as the body prepares for a major shift in weather.

In Autumn we begin to draw a bit more inwards, though still have spurts of warm days and summer Continue reading »

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Water: The Simple Miracle

Try a few nourishing recipes from Indian medicine to keep you happy and healthy all summer.

Healing Qualities of Water:

  • Water represents soma, the nourishing, cooling quality that is associated with lunar energy.
  • Water helps with digestion, prevents constipation, it nurtures, lubricates and also detoxifies when it flows out of the body as urine.
  • Water helps to remove fatigue and increases stamina
  • Water enhances glow of skin and soothes a stressed out state, it is the original “super antioxidant”.

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Fennel Seeds: balance the stomach and the intestines

People either smile or frown when asked if they like that black licorice/anise/fennel taste. Perhaps knowing what fennel can do for your stomach will help brighten your impression of this amazing spice.

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Spring to Summer Drink

As the Spring begins to settle in, help your body detox and rehydrate with Barley Tea.

In Japanese culture it’s called Mugicha (moo-gi chah), in Korean culture, bori cha. In the states it’s often in that bag of “herbal coffee” on the bottom shelf near all the teas. Roasted barley tea is made from toasted barley kernels and contains no actual tea leaves, but is a wonderful addition to your day as the weather turns warm.
A few notes on the benefits of Roasted Barley Tea:
  • A slight diuretic, helping to balance concerns with water retention.
  • It’s naturally caffeine free with a nutty flavor, making a great substitute or transition away from coffee that can then also be enjoyed at night.
  • The chemical compound alkylpyrazine is known to help blood flow better, benefiting high cholesterol.
  • In Ayurvedic medicine, roasted barley has “heating and drying” components, it won’t make you feel hot per say, but will help the body to burn through stored stagnant matter and improve digestion and regulate morning eliminations.
  • Barley does contain gluten, though in very small amounts, so take care if you have gluten concerns.

How to make Roasted Barley Tea:

Bring to a boil a few tablespoons of roasted barley which is found commonly in asian stores or follow the directions on great brands like Teeccino (see Amazon link below) which comes in a variety of coffee compassionate flavor blends where the barley is combined with vanilla, almonds, dates and figs.

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Gentle Spring Detox with Triphala Herbs

Embrace the season with a gentle “Spring Cleaning” for your digestive organs with Triphala.

Indian medicine tells us that a vast majority of diseases begin with stagnation in the digestive system. And during the winter, our bodies the ever devoted microcosm of the seasons becomes slow thick and sluggish: we tend to eat more, stay indoors and slow down. As Spring arrives, the thick and cold begins to melt in both the season and in our bodies and it’s important to encourage a smooth transition in order to avoid Spring related colds and allergies and to help us to better enjoy this time.
One of the most popular and effective herbs in ayurvedic medicine is triphala which means “three fruits”. Nutritionally these fruits contain high levels of vitamin C, B-vitamins and linoleic oil and when combined together in triphala powder they’re known to regulate the system from the inside out.
Here are some main benefits to triphala:
  • Antioxidants within the fruits prevent free radical formation and delay signs of aging.
  • Regulates peristalsis, the proper passage of food from one organ to the next and easily out.
  • Reduces plaque formation in the arteries, reducing heart related health problems.
  • Balances cholesterol levels by reducing the formation of low density lipoproteins (LDL or “bad” cholesterol).
  • Improves vision (yes, believe me it’s true, I’ve noticed this myself) by increasing blood flow and nourishing the muscles of the eye, especially effective for minor near-sightedness.
  • Gentle laxative properties, more so that it helps to regulate the bowels, but is particularly effective in chronic and passing episodes of constipation.
How to take Triphala:
The best way to take Triphala is to find the powder (called churna), place 1/2 tsp of the powder in the bottom of a cup and pour 4-6 oz boiling water over it. Cover and steep 10 minutes. Have this right before bed. If you are one of the rare (like me) who’s sleep is disrupted by Triphala, simply take this tea first thing in the morning. Tasting the bitter, astringent quality is an important component of its healing process. When in a pinch (or feeling skitish), you can buy it in capsule form. If so, take 1-2 capsules with hot water.
It’s safe to take triphala daily for 6 months, then let the body rest for 3-4 weeks and then resume if needed. Triphala can be found in indian health stores and widely online.
For constipation: Take triphala at night just before bed
For general colon cleansing/liver toning: Take triphala in the morning.



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Sweet Healthy Cookies for late winter

Late winter is the perfect time for nourishing foods that help us to feel warm, but is also a good time to start gently preparing the body for Spring.

This super easy recipe includes oats and tahini, both of which are calming and comforting (tahini contains triptophan), but are also slightly drying and energizing, which helps to balance out the sluggishness of Kapha in winter. The vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and natural sweeteners help to improve mood by balancing Pitta which can feel down in these last days of mittens and darkness. As a whole, these nourishing treats are both soothing and energizing to strengthen mood, digestion and help get you over the hump into warmer weather.

Tahini Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients ( 1 doz)

  • 2 cups “old fashioned” rolled oats
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup tahini paste
  • ½ cup barley malt (or brown rice syrup)
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 3 cup nuts, chips, dried fruit of choice

Preheat oven to 350. Put rest of ingredients in large bowl and blend well. Stir in nuts seeds or chips. Let cookie batter rest 1/2 hour. Lightly oil cookie sheet with oil. Spoon cookies onto sheet and shape into 2 inch rounds. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Do not overbake! Transfer to wire cooling rack and cool. They are done cooling when the center becomes firm. Makes 1 dozen cookies.

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Detox with Herbal Water

When you’re feeling chilled, run down, or getting over a lingering cold or late night, replenish and restore with herbal water.

In Indian nutrition it’s best to drink water either room temperature or warm to maximize your digestion and improve assimilation. By adding medicinal spices and herbs to your drinking water, you take this benefit a step further. Each of the ingredients below will bring a gentle heat to your core, igniting digestion and encouraging better elimination while hydrating you from inside out.
Please note that the ingredients below are a basic recipe and a different combination of spices and herbs may be best for your particular constitution, ask your ayurvedic health consultant about this.
Herbal Water
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/2 inch of fresh ginger root sliced thin
  • 3-4 whole cloves
  • 2-3 whole cardamom pods cracked open with a knife
Bring everything to a boil, once this has boiled for 5 minutes, let it simmer for 10 minutes, allowing the ingredients to homogenize. Then sip this water throughout the day either warm or room temperature.
Or for a more energizing herbal water that also improves your digestion and clarity of mind, try this blend:
Cumin Energy Water

  • 1 quart water
  • 1/4 tsp. whole cumin
  • 1/3 tsp. whole fennel
  • 2 pinches of licorice

Boil the water first. Place it in a thermos and add the spices. Sip the water throughout the day to improve digestion and increase your energy. If you are a Pitta constitutional type, you may want to let the water cool to room temperature before drinking.
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Nourishing Winter Breakfast Recipe

This below recipe comes from a wonderful site for tips, recipes and information on living an ayurvedic lifestyle.

Cinnamon Oatmeal with Almonds & Milk
Servings: 1Prep Time: 10 minutesCook Time: 10 minutes

Warm, rustic, and nourishing, this oatmeal sticks to your ribs.

Most Americans who eat their morning cereal with cold milk would be shocked to discover that milk with grains is generally a bad food combination. The milk curdles almost instantly in the stomach forming a greasy, indigestible coating over the cereal grains. When cooked together, however, the mixture becomes homogeneous and more digestible. In the winter, thin, deficient people have trouble keeping warm. Their naturally high metabolism burns off any stored energy. In Ayurveda, recipes that stick to the ribs build ojas, which is well-formed, well-nourished tissue. Proteins are an important part of the alchemy in Oatmeal with Milk and Almonds. They build stamina and ojas. Oats are an ideal breakfast grain because it is easier to digest than wheat or corn. Milk is heavy for digestion. Two powerful herbs, cinnamon and cardamom, are combined with the milk to make it lighter and less mucus forming. We chose almonds to supply proteins because they are also sattvic, helping to create a spiritual state of mind. An ancient Ayurvedic text called ‘Ashtanga Hrdayam’ recommends hot cereals with milk. Hot cereals with milk ‘oleate’ the body, making it soft and supple. A mixture of fats and carbohydrates, hot cereals with milk sweeten the blood, making it more dense. Sweet blood helps coat dry membranes with mucus, lubricating the nasal passages, lungs, and digestive tract including the colon.

1 tsp ghee
1 cup milk (or almond, rice, hazelnut milk as an alternative)
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp Maple Syrup (or agave nectar)
1/4 tsp cardamom powder (or 2 cracked whole pods)
2 tbsp crushed almonds (can be crushed or blanched)
1/3 cup oatmeal

Soak the almonds overnight and peel them in the morning. Blend in a coffee grinder with oatmeal. Place oatmeal mix and remaining ingredients from the list above in a pot with double or triple the quantity in water (depending upon level of dryness in the body). For easy stirring and to avoid lumps use room temperature water or a potato masher. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until soft. Garnish with a pinch of cinnamon.
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Boost Immunity and Digestion with Spices

In traditional Indian medicine, spices are as much about flavor and enjoyment as they are therapeutic and medicinal. Each spice carries it’s own abilities to change the body’s chemistry, to heat or to cool, to increase digestive juices or to keep digestion steady, even to rebalance the flora and protective lining of the stomach and intestines vital to digesting any food.
In this upcoming season of sneezes, coughs and groggy mornings, help yourself stay on top by making the following spice mix and having this with your dinner grain or vegetable. Make the choice to stay healthy and appreciate each bite:

Immunity Spice Mix*

  • 6 parts turmeric
  • 3 parts ground cumin
  • 3 parts ground coriander
  • 6 parts ground fennel
  • 1 part powdered, dry ginger
  • 1 part ground black pepper
  • 1/4 part ground cinnamon


  • Mix the spices together well.
  • Heat one teaspoon of the spice mixture in one tablespoon of ghee, using medium-high heat, until the mixture releases an aroma. Remove from the heat immediately so it won’t burn.
  • Add this spiced ghee to cooked rice, vegetables, or other foods.
*From The Answer to Cancer by Hari Sharma, M.D. and James Meade, Ph.D.
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Holiday Gravy that IMPROVES digestion!!!

Yes, you read correctly! We all know that the holidays come with an endless parade of tempting treats filled with all the things we know we shouldn’t, really really shouldn’t but maybe just this once, and then why not seconds? And we all know it only gets better the second day, or maybe that’s just me! But there is hope.

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar has a host of health improving qualities:
  • improves digestion
  • lowers cholesterol
  • lowers blood pressure
  • reduces reflux
  • relieves gas and regulates bowels
  • increases energy
Try having 1 tsp of raw apple cider vinegar in warm water first thing in the morning to balance yesterday’s meal, but to also prepare your stomach and immune system for all the fluctuations that holiday eating can bring.
And as a final support, try this tasty apple cider vinegar recipe to the very meal itself:

Cider Gravy

· 4 cups turkey stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth

· 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or chickpea flour)

· 1 1/4 cups apple cider

· 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

· 1/4 teaspoon salt

· Freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Whisk 1/2 cup turkey stock (or chicken broth) and flour in a small bowl until smooth; set aside.
  2. Set the roasting pan over two burners on medium-high heat. Add cider and vinegar; bring to a boil and cook, scraping up the browned bits from the pan, until the liquid is reduced by about half, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining 3 1/2 cups stock (or broth). Increase heat to high; return to a boil, whisking often. Boil until the liquid is reduced by about half, 8 to 12 minutes.
  4. Whisk the reserved flour mixture into the pan. Boil, whisking constantly, until the gravy is thickened, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour the gravy through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup. (Discard the solids.) Season with salt and pepper.

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Allspice Helps Ease Transition into Fall

Allspice can help ease the body, mind and spirit from Summer to Fall

As many of us reluctantly put away the summer and gear up for fall, it’s common to feel quiet, sluggish, anxious or even sad as we’re all in a period of transition during September: going back to school, back to work, back to long sleeves and pants. And sometimes this transition is not an easy one. But the benefits of allspice can help.

What is Allspice?
No, it’s not a mixture of spices, it’s in fact the dried berry from a Jamaican pepper tree also known as the pimento tree. It has a flavor similar to cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg and is used in many traditional Carribean and Latin recipes. But the secret is that allspice also helps to improve digestion and regulate hunger in addition to balance and improve your moods, all key ideas in this season of change.
How to use allspice?
It can be found in full dried berries about the size of peppercorns which you can add to your pepper mill (1 part allspice berries to 3 parts peppercorns) to add depth to your dishes.
Powdered allspice can be added anywhere you’d normally use cinnamon or cloves: try it added to cider or spiced tea. Boil milk with allspice and sweeten for a soothing bedtime drink.
Or for a fall recipe try this spread which can be eaten on crackers or on toast, the best time is late afternoon between 3:00 and 6:00pm to stabilize mood. Each ingredient helps to regulate mood, improve digestion and ease the body mind and spirit into the coming months:

Apple Butter with Allspice Spread

  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cored and peeled granny smith apple, chopped coursely
  • 1/2 cup succanat
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • Pinch ginger
  • Pinch cloves

In a saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Cool. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Yield: 2-1/2 cups

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Prevent Mesothelioma with Yoga and Nutrition
This post is in conjunction with friends of mine who works to better educate people on Mesothelioma. More direct information can be found at:

What is Mesothelioma? 
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelial cells that make up the lining of the lungs, heart a
nd abdomen. The primary cause of mesothelioma is exposure to a naturally occurring mineral known as asbestos. It is often difficult to treat this type of cancer as it has an unusually long latency period. Symptoms can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years to become noticeable. By the time a diagnosis is made, the cancer is typically in advanced stages.  The conventional treatments for mesothelioma are not that much different from most other types of cancer. Chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy are all commonly used in mesothelioma treatment. 

Nutrition and Mesothelioma

According to the National Cancer Institute, about 35 percent of all cancer diagnoses can be linked to poor nutrition. Although malignant mesothelioma is not a type of cancer that can be prevented by healthy eating, improving nutritional intake can improve chances of survival as well as alleviate painful disease symptoms and unwanted treatment side effects.  

Here are a few tips:
  • Dry grain products like crackers and toast can help calm the upset stomach, reflux and nausea common with cancer treatment.
  • Low white blood cell count, which increases the chance of contracting infections is another common effect of cancer treatment. To avoid this side effect, it is most important to avoid bacteria, which is common in foods that are damaged or not prepared well. Avoid buffets when eating out, wash your hands before preparing meals, avoid raw meats and fish (like sushi), and throw away any foods that are bruised or damaged.
  • Fruits and vegetables are also vital in fighting cancer. Many berries contain cancer-fighting phytonutrients like ellagic acid and resveratrol . Berries contain a whole host of other important nutrients, including plenty of fiber and vitamin C. In fact, just one cup of strawberries has the same amount of vitamin C as one cup of orange juice, and all berries are great sources of this anti-oxidant and immune-strengthening vitamin. Dark leafy green vegetables like kale and bok choy can also provide a lot of these same benefits.

Yoga and Mesothelioma

In addition to improving nutrition, some mesothelioma patients have found yoga to be particularly helpful in their fight against cancer. 

There are a variety of health benefits associated with yoga for the cancer patient: 
  • Yoga's gentle meditative poses calm the central nervous system, which can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress, improve coordination and flexibility, and improve quality of sleep.
  • Mesothelioma patients suffering from fatigue and muscle soreness can also benefit from a gentle yoga practice that can energize and restore the body.
All of these benefits can help strengthen the body, allowing to better fight the cancer. Those suffering from a chronic or acute illness who would like to start a yoga practice as a form of alternative therapy should take the time to discuss the situation with a physician.

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Ghee: One of the best “Good Fats”

Ghee (clarified butter) is one of the healthiest foods to balance weight, mood, digestion and chronic ailments of all kinds. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine and cooking, inside and out.


Health Benefits of Ghee:
  • Aids weight loss (Stimulates digestive fire)
  • Promotes longevity (Assists absorption of vital nutrients)
  • Enhances glow and beauty to skin and hair. (Add to meals for 2 wks to a month to see results)
  • Improves taste and flavor of food…dramatically. (Drizzle up to a tsp over finished dishes for best flavor and minimal calories)
How to make Ghee for yourself:

  1. Place one pound of organic butter (unsalted) in a good sized pan, with a good heavy base. Heat gently until butter melts, then turn heat up to medium.
  2. Once it starts boiling turn down to a low heat again. Let it simmer away gently. It will foam and splutter. This is just the butter giving off the liquids, as it turns itself into the magical ghee!
  3. Do not cover the pot or you will interfere with this process.
  4. Stir from time to time. After 10-15 minutes it should start to smell ‘popcorny’ and turn a rich golden shade.
  5. Skim off any foam from the top (this is the portion of butter that causes most stomach problems). When mixture has cooled slightly, pour it into a jar through a piece of cheesecloth and secure with an airtight top. There will be some solids at the bottom of the pan which you can discard.
  6. Sound too complicated? Purchase plain or medicinal organic homemade ghee through the Products & Services page

Ghee has a very long shelf life. Traditionally it is not kept in the fridge, but do so if you prefer. It will easily keep for a few months.

However, once the jar is opened make sure you always use a clean dry spoon to extract the contents or you will easily contaminate it.

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