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De-stress During Seasonal Chaos

With looming to-do lists, invite lists, gift lists, wish lists, and grocery lists, the most wonderful time of the year can quickly become seasonal chaos. It’s no wonder that many of us feel so stressed out during the holiday season!

The expectations of holiday shopping, hosting or visiting family, having so much to do and so many decisions to make, may cause Prana Vata, the subdosha of Vata that governs mental functioning, to go out of balance. Aggravated Prana Vata can cause excessive worry, occasional feelings of anxiety and trouble sleeping — thus making it difficult to remain calm and stay happy during one of the best times of the year. If we become more and more stressed, we enjoy the holidays less and less.

The holiday season does not have to be stressful. Ayurveda empowers us to balance our lives, in body, heart (emotional) and mind. We can utilize healing ayurvedic herbs to stay calm, balanced and de-stressed during the holidays. The experience of holiday chaos is inversely proportional to our state of balance; the more balanced we are, the less we feel that life is chaos. Nothing may change on the outside, but how we experience our world can change — for the better.

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Nutrition Takes Another Spin - Why Can't the Experts Get It Straight?

Fad diets come and go, but officially the subject of nutrition is guided by science. The public stubbornly thinks in terms of "good" foods and "bad" foods, so when the government's nutritional experts issue scientifically based advice, any attempt at a nuanced picture generally gets lost. Recently there were headlines when the highest board for dietary protocols, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Council, reversed a government warning about avoiding foods high in cholesterol, which has been in place nearly 40 years.

The public is likely to shrug off this about-face, or else decide that eggs, the most common food high in cholesterol, is no longer a "bad" food but has moved into the "good" column. This ignores the council's message, which weighed one thing against another. For people in a normal state of health, saturated fats from animal products pose a higher risk than high cholesterol. This finding is more a shift in focus than an about-face. It's still unhealthy, the majority of nutritionists agree, to eat too much red meat as opposed to eggs, but eggs are high in saturated fat, too, so you shouldn't overdo them, either.

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Should You Eat Organic Foods to Reduce Your Cancer Risk? A New Study Says Yes

A 2018 study examined the link between organic food and cancer. And it came to some remarkable conclusions. Researchers found that eating organic foods can help cut overall cancer risk due to the reduced exposure to dietary pesticides.

By Charles Benbrook • A version of this article was originally published on Environmental Health News

More than 1.7 million Americans will be newly diagnosed with cancer in 2018, and 35% of these cases will prove fatal.

A little less than $150 billion was spent fighting cancer in 2017.

Imagine the excitement that would accompany the discovery of anything — a new drug, therapy, diet, or lifestyle change — that promises to cut overall cancer frequency by 5%.

Every year, such a discovery would spare 87,000 people this most-feared diagnosis and reduce deaths by 30,000 and cancer-related health care costs by around $7 billion.

Such monumental benefits would justify major investments and significant policy change.

Well, not necessarily.

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Give Thanks for Your Digestion!

The holiday season brings feasts, parties, merry-making and heavy foods. Big meals complete with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy leave us sleepy and ready for an afternoon nap on the sofa in front of the fireplace. If you're concerned about increasing your immunity during the flu season, you'll want to avoid overeating.

Instead, take time to savor each bite and stop eating when you are satisfied. Before each meal, pause for a moment and be thankful for your digestive system, the food, the cooks and the Creator. Digestion is the process of taking in and assimilating Intelligence from the universe to feed and nourish our own Inner Intelligence.

Through our digestive tract and our senses, we digest and metabolize our food and our experiences. If we digest well, we maintain good health. If we don't digest so well, ama is formed (ama is the ayurvedic term for impurities, the sticky stuff that clogs the srotas, or the channels of flow). Ama is defined by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as, "the product of unripe digestion of food and experiences." Ama is fertile ground for viruses and bacteria to multiply and cause disease.

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Welcome Faces

What do their faces say to you?

The Practice:
Welcome faces.

Why?

As our ancestors evolved over millions of years in small bands, continually interacting and working with each other, it was vitally important to communicate in hundreds of ways each day. They shared information about external "carrots" and "sticks," and about their internal experience (e.g., intentions, sexual interest, inclination toward aggression) through gestures, vocalizations - and facial expressions. Much as we developed uniquely complex language, we also evolved the most expressive face in the entire animal kingdom.

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Plant-Based Protein: Here’s What You Need to Know

Protein is a buzzword these days, but what is protein? And how much protein do you need? What are the ideal plant-based protein sources? Can you have too much protein? And what is protein deficiency? Here’s what you need to know about this critical nutrient.

“But where do you get your protein?”

Anyone who adopts a plant-based diet or even considers going vegetarian is likely to hear this question with alarming frequency.

You don’t have to look far to see what can sometimes border on something of a protein obsession. From protein shakes, bars, and powders to cereals, cookies, and protein-focused diets and meal-delivery services, attention to protein seems to be just about everywhere.

But what is protein? How much protein do our bodies really need? Is more always better? Or is it actually possible that some people could be getting too much?

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Intuitive Self-Care: A List Of My Favorite Steps For Cultivating Self-Care And Wellness

Many of us are juggling so many responsibilities and challenges in life that our own health and self-care ends up on the back burner. From long workdays and endless obligations to putting others’ needs before our own and ignoring our inner voice and intuition, we’re like robotic race cars racing around on the verge of running out of electricity. (Mind you, our cars are at least environmentally friendly.) We don’t want to pull over to allow our engines to recharge because we might get behind in the race. Yet, if we stop to think about it, we aren’t quite sure what the race is ultimately for in the first place!

I’ve had so much going on lately it’s got me thinking about self-care and healing. Many of us are struggling with something these days—whether exhaustion, illness, allergies, pain, depression, anxiety, or a cold that doesn’t want to go away. Beyond those more obvious symptoms, so many of us just feel stressed and out of balance.

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What Do You Need To Weigh In On?

Most of us have blind spots -- situations in our life that we can’t see clearly or, consciously or unconsciously, choose to avoid. Whether we realize it or not, on some level, we even fight to keep our avoidance alive. We justify our excuses and buy into our rationalizations of why we should or should not do something.


On a daily basis I hear stories from people who, despite what they say they truly want in life, remain in the cage of their comfort zone. They validate their justifications by telling themselves that they should: 

  • Not get into a relationship because they might lose themselves it,
  • Avoid looking at their bank balance because it might impact their feelings of security,
  • Or if they are like me, they convince themselves that they should not get on the scale because it may trigger their body and eating issues from the past.



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The Placebo Effect Goes Through the Wringer

By now there's widespread acceptance and abundant research to show that the placebo effect is real. In fact, every drug gains some of its effect with many patients by dint of placebo--expecting to get better makes the drug work better. Subtract the placebo effect, and many drugs have little efficacy.

This fact has stared medicine in the face since 1962, when the Food and Drug Administration demanded that every new drug prove its clinical benefits. To subtract the placebo effect, a typical drug test involves giving the control group a sugar pill while the other half of the trial take the new drug. In the area of painkillers--placebos are at their most powerful with pain--more than 90% of new drugs cannot pass the test of working better than a sugar pill. Among those drugs that do pass, the gap that separates them from sugar pills, which was once 27%, has narrowed to an average of 9%.

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6 Science-Backed Reasons to Drink Matcha Tea

Is matcha tea good for you? How is it different than other green teas? And are some types of matcha better than others? Get answers and discover some incredible health benefits of drinking matcha tea.

Matcha tea comes from the same plant that originates all green, white, and black teas: the camellia sinensis bush. The name “matcha” literally means “powdered tea.”

The process of turning tea leaves into a powder is not new. Matcha was the primary way to consume tea in China during the Tang Dynasty (600-900 AD).

In the 1100s, a huge transfer of knowledge and culture from China to Japan occurred, and that’s how matcha made its way across the ocean. Matcha and Zen Buddhism flourished together, and the two were often considered inseparable.

By the 1500s, matcha took hold as part of the formal Japanese tea ceremony, which celebrated stillness and simplicity. It grew in popularity in Japan, even as it lost its appeal in China.

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Ayurvedic Strategies for Healthy Holiday Eating

‘Tis the season to be snacking! From Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day, the holidays present an extended string of festive gatherings that center around food and drinks. While living it up with friends, family, and colleagues can be fun, it can also be a bit stressful — especially with travel, gift buying, hectic schedules, and easy access to rich and sugary foods.

“When there’s stress involved, our choices can become more reactive, rather than coming from a grounded place and connected to the self,” says Sankari Wegman, an Ayurvedic consultant at The Raj who also teaches Ayurvedic cooking classes. Moreover, Wegman tells us, it’s particularly easy to feel stressed during Vata season, which falls in autumn. “Vata by nature is light and airy, and it gets thrown out of balance when there’s any kind of irregularity.”

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The Human Body Is Starting to Make Sense

The complexity of the human body has fascinated medical science, and every new discovery leads to a new level of complexity. Now it is no longer possible to talk about depression, for example, as a general disorder or cancer as a single disease. It may be that the brain of each depressed patient is depressed in its own unique way, and the leading research on cancer is heading towards personalized drugs targeted to each patient's highly specific genetic variation of cancer.

Does increasing complexity actually clarify things? The traditional disease models taught when I was in medical school are fraying around the edges, and some disorders, such as schizophrenia, have no localized cause. There is no known cause for schizophrenia. The general public thinks that you catch a cold because of exposure to the cold virus. But in fact direct contact with the cold virus gives only a 1 in 8 chance of catching cold.

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14 Top Foods to Boost Your Immunity Now So You Can Stay Well During Cold and Flu Season

As temperatures get cooler, do you want to know how to boost your immune system? Discover some of the best foods to boost your immune system and which supplements you might want to take. The right foods can help you avoid falling victim to colds and flu this year!

Do you sometimes get colds or the flu, particularly in the colder winter months? If so, you’re not alone. In the U.S., the average adult gets sick two to four times per year, and the average child between six and eight.

You probably know the basics of cold prevention, like practicing good hand washing and avoiding contact with sick peers. But have you ever wondered why two people could have exactly the same exposure to a sick friend — and one of them gets sick, while the other doesn’t?

The difference is often their immune system.

So how can you boost your immune system? It turns out that one of the most powerful tools for a strong immune system can be found right inside your own kitchen: the food you eat.

Let’s take a look at what your immune system does and how to boost your immune system with food, so it can protect you from nasty, cold-weather bugs.

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When time expands: creating a life that’s full and rich and meaningful!!

Wow! Am I ever intrigued with a recent article in the New York Times entitled, Why Following Your Passions Is Good for You (and How to Get Started). This features a 2015 study published in The Annals of Behavioral Medicine which found that pursuing your passion both lowers stress and contributes to greater happiness overall. My dears, this is RIGHT up my alley!

In the article, Laura Vanderkam, a productivity expert and author of Off the Clock: Feel less busy while getting more done, advocates finding time for yourself as a means to greater happiness overall. “Life just feels better when you have things in your hours that you want to do,’ Ms. Vanderkam said. ‘There’s moments where time almost has no meaning because we’re so happy about what we’re doing. The more time you can spend in that zone, the better life feels...

Maybe you can carve out a few hours of really fun, cool stuff per week. That will make the other 165 hours that are in a week feel a lot more doable,’ she explained.”

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The Ayurvedic Take on Paleo, Keto, Vegan, and Raw Diets

The caveman diet. Going keto. Eating raw foods and juicing. Does it seem like there’s a trendy new diet cropping up every time you turn around? If so, you might be wondering how to keep up—which one to choose and whether you can still follow your Ayurvedic diet.

"There’s going to be a new diet literally every month, if not sooner," says Robert Keith Wallace, author of  Gut Crisis. "The value of Ayurveda is that it gives you kind of a filter. It’s a long tradition. It’s not just a fad, and it gives you an idea of how your individual, mind-body type will respond to one of these new diets."

Below, we’ll give you a rundown of the Paleo, keto, vegan, and raw diet regimens, along with some Ayurvedic insights on how each diet relates to the dosha types.

TAKE THE DOSHA  QUIZ HERE

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Antioxidants And Why Are They So Good For You

Antioxidants have become a health buzzword. And the media and many marketing departments have seized the opportunity to tout their many supposed health benefits, claiming antioxidants can prevent cancer, protect against heart disease, slow aging, and more.

But beyond all the hype, what are antioxidants? How important are they? And what are their proven health benefits?

Learn the truth about these compounds in food, and discover which antioxidant-rich foods will give you the most bang for your buck.

What Are Antioxidants? And How Do They Help Your Body?

Woman preparing fruits and veggies

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Is Perfectionism Keeping You from Achieving Your Goals?

All of us have goals, no matter how modest or majestic they may be.

Some of us have specific, written goals that are broken down into action items that we can check off as we accomplish each step, while others may have more general goals that are longer term and less formalized.

Unfortunately, regardless of the types of goals you’re trying to achieve, any people-pleasing or perfectionist tendencies you may have can keep you from realizing them.

In fact, for those of us struggling with perfectionism, just deciding which goals to pursue can be a challenge.

It’s not that those of us struggling with perfectionism can’t see a multitude of options and possibilities. We can.

But all too often, us perfectionists find ourselves frozen in place at the outset as we attempt to choose the ultimate, ideal goal that will bring us the greatest benefit for the time and energy we invest.

And, perfectionism doesn’t just make it hard to get started. It can also make it extremely difficult to move forward and implement the steps necessary to achieve our goals.

If any of this feels familiar, I highly recommend you start by choosing a goal based on what matters most to you and not what you think you “should” be doing. It’s all too easy to set a goal based on the criticism of others or what you see others trying to achieve, but you’ll have a much harder time following through on the steps necessary to achieve your goal if the goal itself doesn’t resonate deeply with you.

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Mindfulness and embracing your own reality

Allowing ourselves to wallow in the past or the future is the favorite game of the human mind. This constant yo yo situation is a source of a new level of stress, beyond the existing stress level in your life. There are many ways our mind strategizes in order to manage the stress in our lives, yet at most times stress continues to nag at us.

This is like a warning to take charge of our lives and begin to focus on our lives in a more specific way. The important thing is for us to realize that it is imperative to live in the present moment.

POSITIVE CHANGE

This is only possible if we accept our present condition, understand it, realize its impact on our state of mind and our health, and also our power to be able to change this.


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One Simple Solution! One Step

Wouldn't be nice to not just react and place yourself outside the situation? Especially during stressful situations.

New research (cited here & below) reveals that in times of stress, talking to our selves in the third-person helps control emotions and enables our conductor-mind to manifest harmony (i.e., health) within our organ “orchestra” .




For example, say Bruce is stressed-out and is emotionally reactive when addressing himself in the first person: “Why am I distressed?” Bruce has a completely different response when he expresses his feelings in the third-person: “Why is Bruce distressed?”

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Focus on Fall Health

As the dog days of summer wind down and a hint of crisp fall weather cools the night air, you might find yourself suddenly looking forward to going back to school or picking up the pace at work after a lazier summer.

The seasons affect us. A saying in Maharishi Ayurveda, "As is the macrocosm, so is the microcosm," captures an important principle: the outer environment affects our inner state of mind and body. When the weather is hot and humid during Pitta season (July-October), those Pitta qualities of heat build in the body as well. When the air is cool and dry in Vata season (November-February), we experience more of those qualities inside us.

Ritucharya: Staying in Balance as the Seasons Change

When the temperature, humidity, and length of days start changing as a new season begins, we respond to these changes in nature by desiring different foods and daily routine. In the hot months, for instance, most people choose cooler, lighter foods and take it easy more often, even indulging in afternoon naps when they have the chance. As the weather cools in fall, we suddenly start feeling more energetic and desire warming foods and tastes.

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