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Tips

Few tips..

Tips for the Kapha Season

The Kapha season has already started and thus you may experience symptoms such as colds, flu, nose & lungs congestion, weight gain etc. Kapha dosha, translated as "mucus", is cold, wet, heavy and sticky.

Kapha and Ama (the toxins) are very similar in qualities. Therefore, when Kapha increases (due to the external factors – humidity, cold, snow, rain, heavy food etc.) the toxins may be amplified as well. The heavy meals you may have had during the holidays are not helping neither. Your body has now less capacity to digest and burn toxins and you can see that in how quickly you are getting colds and flu. An anti Kapha diet implies the use of spices & diuretics to burn the toxins and to reduce the excessive water from your body.

Here are a few hints which may help you get through the winter season in a more enjoyable way. The best medicine is prevention so please listen to your body and give it what it needs.

If you are of a Kapha constitution (that is: solid bones, big body frame, tendency to gain weight, large hips, chest and thighs) it would be a great idea to apply right away these tips in your daily life. The main line of treatment for any Kapha constitution consists in:

  • Reducing the Kapha forming foods (everything that is too heavy, greasy, cold, humid).
  • Eating 2 meals a day.
  • Using diuretic and spicy foods.
  • Keeping alert and active.
  • Doing energetic pranayama.

Please remember that in Ayurveda we are treating the imbalances by applying the opposite qualities of the element which is in excess. As Kapha, just like the mucus, is cold, heavy, sticky and humid, work with the opposite qualities: warm, light, dry and energetic.

For Vata and Pitta, some of these apply as well, please consult your ayurvedic practitioner or simply follow your intuition and your body responses when applying them:

TIPS FOR KAPHA

WATER: Do not drink too much water. The 2 litters a day are no longer required during this season, especially if you are of a Kapha constitution. Kapha's main element is water and by drinking more, you only aggravate it. Drink herbal teas instead (rosemary, thyme, cardamom, cloves, ginger etc) or simply warm water with honey.

HONEY: A key element for Kapha. Do not be afraid that you may gain weight by eating honey, it is only the FRESH honey that may increase the body weight, OLD HONEY actually helps reduce the body mass. Honey is one of the most important medicines used in Ayurveda applied internally and externally to heal all kind of conditions: diabetes, obesity, asthma etc. Drink a cup of warm water or ginger infusion with a spoon of honey in the morning before breakfast. Sweeten your herbal teas, your cereals with honey. Take a spoon of honey with a half a teaspoon of lemon juice three times a day the moment you start coughing. Please do not COOK nor HEAT the honey.

DAIRY: As much as you can, reduce the dairy. Cut mostly the milk, the yogurts (mostly the sweetened and fruity ones), the cheeses and all other milk based creams and deserts (puddings, milk&rice etc.). Milk and yogurt are Kapha forming. The best way to consume the yogurt - for proteins and calcium - is by preparing Lassi: yogurt blended with water and spices. For Vata and Pitta mix 1 part yogurt with 1 part water, for Kapha people, mix 1 part yogurt and 3 parts water. To this, add the spices that you like the most (ginger, coriander, pepper, cumin, etc.)

FRUITS: Avoid all juicy and Kapha forming fruits: bananas, watermelon, juicy pears, grapes. Stick with more sour fruits, apples, berries, etc. Fruit juices can also aggravate Kapha as they are cold, sweet and heavy. As much as you can, avoid eating the fruits with the meal. Consume them at least 1h30 after the meal or in between meals.

GINGER: The miracle food. Use ginger as much as you can, add it to your soups, your stews, your salads (grated) or herbal teas. It keeps you body clean of toxins and it reduces Ama (toxins) and Kapha. It is a tri-doshic food – that is good for all the doshas and it is Sattvic – pure in qualities calming the mind. Please note that the ginger powder is more heating and thus aggravating for Pitta dosha.

FAST: Fasting is essential to reduce Kapha. During the days when you feel caught up by a cold or a flu, skip a meal or two while taking hot drinks. If you can, fast for one or two days, especially if you have a Kapha constitution. Keep drinking hot spicy herbal ginger teas with honey to clear the toxins out the system. Fasting with warm liquids one day a week is the best thing you can do for your health.

SALT: Clean your nose with salty water. Best to use is the Himalayan rock salt. The sea salt is too humid and does not have the same cleansing and anti-Kapha properties. If you can, buy yourself a "neti" pot; it is a good investment and it will help you establish a good routine for morning and night. If you do not have one available, simply add a few grains of rock salt in a cup of lukewarm water, let it melt. Pour some of that water in your palm and then by covering one nostril inspire the salted water through the other nostril. Repeat through on the other side. For best results and to avoid colds, flues, sinus infections etc is best to do it daily, morning and night.

ESSENTIAL OILS: Use essential oils. Purchase 2-3 of them and keep them with you: rosemary, thyme, eucalyptus. Apply on the chest, neck (at the base of the throat) and on the back at the chest to increase the breathing capacity of the lungs. If the cold hits you, pour a drop of rosemary, thyme, eucalyptus or ginger essential oil on a small sugar cube (best to use cane sugar) and take it 3-4 times a day until your respiratory system gets clear.

PRANAYAMA: Do pranayama – breathing Technics. "Bhastrika" pranayama is the best for Kapha dosha, as it releases toxins from the body, it helps reduce excessive fat and it increases the digestive fire. Best for the Kapha constitution; if you are of a Vata or Pitta nature do it only when you feel congested or with a flu. Do not do if high Vata, hypertension or heart condition. Here is how you can do bhastrika:

  • Sit in a in a comfortable position.
  • Keep the back straight and the body relaxed.
  • Close the right nostril with your right thumb and both index and middle finger on your third eye.
  • Raise your right elbow to the level of right shoulder.
  • With the eyes closed, inhale and exhale through left nostril, from slow to a little faster for about 20 times.
  • At the end of these 20 breaths a deep breath in, block the left nostril as well with the ring finger and hold it for as long as possible.
  • Exhale through the right nostril, keeping the left nostril blocked and then repeat the same process through the right nostril.
  • This is a cycle. You can do up to 3 cycles morning and evening.

YOGA: Put together for yourself a short Yoga practice of 10-15 minutes that you can easily include in your daily schedule. Better to do 10 minutes daily than 1 hour per month.

There are several Yoga postures that are best to reduce the Kapha, increase the breathing capacity of the lungs and increase the digestive fire. If you do not have time for more, Surya Namaskar is a complete exercise that could be a good daily practice for Kapha reducing, it increases the heat, it improves the circulation and it works all the joints and the body inner system and organs.

For Kapha dosha the best are the standing poses, the inverted poses, the backward stretches and the postures that are opening the body and are extending the limbs. The yoga for Kapha dosha sould be practiced in an energetic way with a more active breathing. Please remember that forward bends are increasing Kapha therefore they should be kept for a shorter time.




Facial mask for the summer

During the summer Pitta dosha is at its peak and you could easily notice rashes, pimples and redness on your skin. Apply regularly coconut oil on your body, drink plenty of water and juices, eat fresh vegetables and avoid food that is too spicy, too hot, too cooked and too oily.

As for the skin of your face, even if you are not of a Pitta constitution, you could benefit from the application of this mask once a week, mostly if you have exposed your body to the sun.

  • 1 spoon grated cucumber.
  • 1 teaspoon neem.
  • ½ teaspoon of rose water.
  • ½ teaspoon green clay.
  • a few drops of coconut or sunflower oil.
  • 1-2 drops of lavender/rose/sandalwood essential oil.
  • 1 spoon of rice flour.

Mix the dry ingredients, add the liquid ones and mix until you obtain a rather fluid paste. If the mix is too dense, add a few more drops of rose water. If too liquid, add some more rice flour.

Clean your face first with rose water using cotton pads.
Allow it to dry naturally and then apply the mask using the back of a spoon, a big painting brush or simply your fingers.
Allow it to dry for 10 minutes and then rinse with lukewarm water.
Take a few drops of coconut oil and apply it all over the face massaging gently from the chin up towards the temples, around the eyes and on the forehead.
You can remove the excessive oil with rose water.

For Vata types: if your face is very dry, replace the coconut oil with pure, cold extracted sesame oil

For Kapha types: if your skin is very moist or spongy, use chickpea flour instead of the rice flour and replace the coconut oil with corn or almond oil.

Tools

Recipes

Few recipes in details..

Recipe for Ama cleansing (DETOX)

A simple recipe for a detox vegetable soup to clean your digestive system. You can use it for one liquid day a week, to cleanse your digestive system after some excessive meals or for a short (2-3 day) detox or anti-ama diet.

This can be done simply by a 2-3 days fasting (even 5 days for the Kapha constitution) when you only drink the broth of this vegetable soup and some herbal infusions made of ginger, fennel, cardamom to which you can add little honey.

Recipe for soup - good for all doshas
For 2 l of water:

  • Various vegetables 3 carrots, 2 zucchini, a hand of green beans, 1 onion, 2 turnips, etc.).
  • 2 c. tablespoons ghee (clarified butter).
  • 1. c. teaspoon ground cumin.
  • 5-6 cardamom pods.
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds.
  • 1 tsp coriander powder.
  • ½ tsp turmeric.
  • a little salt.
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger cut into small cubes.

Heat ghee in a pan and add all the dry spices for a few seconds so that they begin to release their properties while cooking in ghee.
Do not keep them too long so you do not burn them.
Then add the ginger and the vegetables cut in small cubes.
Stir fry them for about 5 minutes mixing them so they do not burn.
Add water and let it boil for 20 minutes. You will be only drinking the broth.

Return gradually to your diet with cooked rice and cooked vegetables.
Avoid raw vegetables, alcohol and fried food for 2-3 days after the fasting.




Turmeric vegetable souffle


(good for Vata and Pitta)

Ingredients, for 4-6 people:

  • 1 big onion.
  • 2 carrots.
  • 2 medium size turnips.
  • 2-3 medium size zucchini.
  • 1 red pepper.
  • 3 eggs.
  • 1 tbsp of ghee.
  • 10 cl of cooking cream.
  • grated emmental cheese to taste.
  • 2 table spoons of turmeric.
  • 1 table spoon curcuma.
  • 1 tables spoon coriander.
  • ½ tsp pepper.
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger.
  • 1 tsp dry chives.
  • salt to taste.

Chop all the veggies in equal size small cubes except for the carrots.
Slice the carrots using the peeler to make very thin slices which you can then reduce in size using the scissors.
Heat the ghee in a frying pan and add all the spices mixing them for a few moments until they release their qualities in the butter.
Add the finely chopped onion and then the rest of the vegetables, some salt and cook them for about 10 minutes.
Remove from the fire and let them cool off a bit.

Butter a cooking pan using a little ghee and then add the half cooked vegetables.
Mix well the eggs with the cream adding a little salt and add it to the veggie mix. Add the grated cheese on top and cook at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Good for Vata and Pitta, Kapha types can use coconut cream instead.




Turmeric & Marjoram potatoes recipe


(Mostly good for Pitta)

Vata should use more spices and add more Ghee, Kapha increasing, not good for loosing weight.

Ingredients, for 2 people:

  • 4 medium size potatoes
  • 1 full teaspoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin powder or seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon of dry shallot
  • little pepper
  • a few slices of fresh ginger
  • fresh marjoram leaves
  • salt to taste

Peel the potatoes and slice them thin using either a knife or the cheese slicer.
Warm up the ghee in a large frying pan and add the spices: turmeric coriander, cumin, shallots and the pepper, mix them all for a few moments until the spices release their properties in the ghee.
Add the sliced potatoes and sauté them slightly for 1 min or so, then add water so they are completely covered, add salt and the ginger cut in fine slices.

Let boil for about 10-15 minutes until the water evaporates.
Serve with fresh marjoram leaves.




Smoothie - for spring and summer

Want to try a delicious smoothie recipe for your breakfast?
It is a complete meal giving you all the minerals, vitamins and proteins and the omega 3 that you need...

The recipe will vary according to your dosha:

VATA

  • 1 cup of almond, oat or soja milk.
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats.
  • 1 tablespoon of flax seeds.
  • 2 dates (soaked during the night).
  • 1 dry fig (soaked).
  • 4 almonds or 6 hazelnuts (soaked).
  • 1 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh ginger root.
  • 1-2 cardamom seed pods.
  • Some fresh fruit (mango, papaya, ripe peach, nectarine, berries.).

Blend all the ingredients in the blender and serve it in the morning with a cup of ginger tea.

PITTA

  • 1 cup of almond, oat or soja milk.
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats.
  • 1 tablespoon of flax seeds (whole or powder).
  • 2 almonds soaked.
  • 1 spoon of grated fresh coconut (or dry if fresh not available).
  • 1 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh ginger root.
  • fresh fruit choose among: figs, mangos, peaches, papaya, berries, banana.
  • 2-3 drops of vanilla.
  • a few drops of rose water.
  • a little saffron to your taste, or mint.

Blend all the ingredients in the blender and serve it in the morning with a cup of basil, chamomile or gotu kola (brahmi) tea.

KAPHA

    (sorry!! Less ingredients for ya!! J)
  • 1 cup of rice milk.
  • 2 tablespoon of rolled millet, rye or buckwheat or rice flakes.
  • 1 tablespoon of flax seeds (whole or powder).
  • 1 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh ginger root.
  • fresh fruit: berries.
  • 1-2 cardamom seed pods.
  • 1 tablespoon of honey.
  • ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon.
  • You can add some sunflower seeds on top of the smoothie, once all the ingredients have been blended.

Blend all the ingredients in the blender and serve it in the morning with a cup of ginger tea or green tea.
Feel free to adapt your recipe to what you have already verified is good for you. Enjoy!