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7 Easy Ways to Recharge Your Gut in 2018

With all the glorious excesses of the holidays behind us—pastries, parties, and New Year’s Eve celebrations, oh my—you might be feeling a bit worn out. Fatigue, brain fog, and a few extra pounds around your middle are all signs that your digestive system could use a little tune-up. No time for a big cleanse? No worries. We’ve got your back—and some easy, age-old Ayurvedic tips to gently purify and strengthen your digestion.

Here are seven of our favorite (and simple!) strategies for restoring and maintaining gut health in 2018:

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New Year, New You? How About A REVIVAL Instead?

That time of year is almost here. In a few short weeks, the world will be joining a gym, starting a diet, and setting mind-boggling self-improvement goals.

“This year I’m gonna lose 30 pounds and get in shape.” Or maybe something like, “This is the year I’m going to fit into those old jeans.”

Pretty soon we’ll be bombarded with advertisements to join everything from Gold’s Gym to Jenny Craig. And all those New Year’s Resolutions? The same old, same old plans to make this year THE year that you finally get the body you’ve always wanted?

Kind of exhausting, isn’t it?

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Eat What You Love and Love What You Eat

Many years ago, my boyfriend (at the time) and I were invited to dinner at the home of his friends. The conversation was good, but no matter how much I tried, I just couldn’t enjoy the food on my plate. What struck me about this meal was its emptiness. It was devoid of joy and bland in flavor and vitality.

 

The couple that had kindly asked us into their home was accustomed to an all-American diet, but a doctor had recently told the husband he needed to make a change. So, the cupboards were stripped of snack foods and the fridge was filled with “health foods,” such as turkey bacon, egg whites, and low-fat cream cheese.

 

This couple wanted to be healthy, but they didn’t know how to change their habits. So, they chose poor substitutes for the foods they were accustomed to eating, and they assumed that eating healthy foods meant that they would forever be relegated to dull meals. There was no joy in the food because they felt no joy in this new way of eating.

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Is There a "Point" to Disappointment?

"People are not born once and for all on the day their mother puts them on to the Earth, but...time and again, life forces them to enter a new world on their own."     Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

Lying in a hospital bed on the maternity floor in North Central Bronx Hospital, I received a text from a new mom friend I recently met. She wanted to know if "my baby girl was born yet." I replied she "arrived three days prior and, with uncontrolled tears, I texted that I had a c-section." She replied, "Congratulations! Welcome to the C-club."  My kneejerk reaction was that this was not a club I wanted to join. I was not supposed to be the 1 in 4 women who have c-sections every year.   

 

"I was not supposed to be the 1 in 4."

 

When I became pregnant back in January, my plan was to have a homebirth. I was a homebirth. When I was growing up, my mother shared wonderful stories about my birth. You could say home-birthing was in my cellular memory.  It was who I was, and aligned with how I tried to live my life: naturally. I envisioned bringing our baby into the world in the comfort of our new home, with little to no medical intervention.  

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Stress-Free Holiday Travel: Traveling Tips From Maharishi Ayurveda

Long delays and canceled flights...traffic jams...inclement weather...crowds.....all these factors and more can make traveling during the holiday season a nightmare for many people. Yet, getting together with friends and family is a big part of what makes the season so special.

It's possible to travel stress-free. Once you understand what imbalances are caused by travel, you can take steps to protect yourself and prevent the imbalances from developing.

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Wondering What to do this Holiday Season?

The answer is simple: work on positive perceptions!

Positive perceptions of the mind enhance health by engaging immune functions, while inhibition of immune activities by negative perceptions can precipitate dis-ease. Those negative perceptions can also create debilitating, chronic psychological stress that has a profound and negative impact on gene function.

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4 Ways to Make the Holidays Blessed Instead of Stressed

The Holidays are a time to gather with friends and family and give thanks for the many blessings in your life. However, this can also be a stressful time. Family knows exactly how to push your buttons, which doesn’t always bring out your best self. There are a million and one ways that this time of year can be challenging; however, there are just as many ways that it can be a magical time, filled with fun and laughter.

 

Here are my top four tips for getting the most out of this season. These simple exercises will help you remain cheery and upbeat, no matter what chaos there is around you.

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Savor Your Food, Savor Your Life

Eat Slowly, Connect to Your Soul Purpose

It may seem surprising, but you really can eat your way to a deliciously enlightened life! When we think of a spiritual path, we often envision meditation, yoga, fasting, chanting, or prayer. We don’t usually consider our everyday meals as a potential gateway to mystical transformation. Yet, the food you eat and your approach to it can be one of the most powerful pathways to spiritual renewal.

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Each step counts

From time to time we need to address the concept of stress management within us. It is an ongoing process you need to keep track of. It is important that you should have an overall plan for managing your stress and not allow your stress levels to rise high before you start handling them. I feel the need to talk about the available resources for handling most of the stressful situations. 
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Ayurveda’s Tough Love Recipe for a Good Night’s Sleep

How many articles have you seen lately about getting a good night’s sleep? A lot, I daresay. That’s because it affects us all and any of us can fall prey to insomnia at any time.


Don’t we all wish we could sleep like a baby again?


Lack of sleep can do more than just make us cranky and reach for a cup of coffee. It can make us crazy and it can make us sick.


Our body depends on sleep to repair and regenerate. Without it, we’re vulnerable to a host of illnesses too long to list here.


And forget looking and feeling our best. It just doesn’t happen without a good night’s sleep.

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5 Supplements to Help Vegetarians and Vegans (and Everyone!) to Thrive

No matter how healthy your diet is, many modern eaters are lacking in essential nutrients. If you want to thrive on a plant-based diet, consider these supplements for vegetarians and supplements for vegans. 


Whether for health, ethical, or environmental reasons, hundreds of millions of people are basing their diets around plant foods.


A whole food, plant-centered diet offers tremendous advantages, including reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, dementia, and many other ailments, according to research.


But due to the realities of our modern times, a large number of plant-based eaters aren’t getting specific nutrients from plant foods. And failure to get these nutrients can cause serious consequences.


Many people think a healthy diet should supply all the nutrients you need for optimal health. And that is basically true.

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Why Happiness Starts in the Stomach

In the 2004 documentary Super Size Me, a filmmaker decided to eat a steady diet of fast food for 30 days to see how it would affect his health. Although he and his doctors expected some changes, they were shocked by how quickly his skin turned sallow, his cholesterol levels and blood pressure skyrocketed and his weight shot up 27 pounds. Worse, his mood changed from one of vibrancy to depression.

According to Maharishi Ayurveda, there is not only a direct connection between the food you eat and your health, but food affects your happiness as well. You could even say that health and happiness have a common source in a single product of digestion — called ojas.

Ojas is the physical equivalent of both bliss and immunity. It is what causes the eyes to sparkle, the skin to look radiant and the immunity to be strong. And it's directly related to digestion.

"Ojas is the finest and most refined product of digestion and metabolism," explains Mark Toomey, Ph.D., the director of Maharishi Ayurveda programs and health practitioner at The Raj Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center and Spa. "It's very much related to how we digest and metabolize not just our food, but our very thoughts."

There is a lot written about ojas in the ayurvedic texts. Ojas is said to be slightly yellow in color, to reside in the heart and to also continually circulate throughout the body. It is cool, soft, sweet, stable, viscous, clear, and pure, and when lively in the body, these qualities can be felt in the pulse during an ayurvedic consultation.

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The Real Deal On Plant Proteins

"But where will I get my protein from?"

If I had a pound for every time I was asked that question from patients toying with the idea of switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet, I would’ve bought my tesla by now! Fear around whether a plant-based diet provides enough protein and where to actually source it from seems to be the number 1 reason people don’t make the switch or do it very poorly.


Indeed, protein is an essential nutrient, absolutely critical not just in building and repairing muscle tissue, but in the maintenance of a wide array of important bodily functions. But does it matter if our protein comes from plants rather than animals?

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Who Went and Put the Holidays Smack Dab in the Middle of Vata Season?

Who went and put the holidays smack dab in the middle of Vata Season?


This year, armed with my ever-growing knowledge of Ayurveda, I am facing the holidays with a new sense of understanding, freedom, peace, and CALM. Usually, as soon as Halloween is over, I’m filled with panic and dread.


The holidays seem to be all about staying organized, time management, scheduling, and upsetting your regular routine. Learning about Ayurveda finally made me understand why the holiday months have always derailed me.

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The End of Alzheimer’s

You know I’m not pushy, right? Well, here and now I’m climbing up on my soapbox and asking you to read Dr. Dale Bredesen’s new book The End of Alzheimer’s.  And why would I ask you to read about a disease we regard with such fear, even horror? Because for the first time, there’s good news about Alzheimer’s disease. There’s hope.


As Dr. Bredesen explains in the intro to his book, “Let me say this as clearly as I can: Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented, and in many cases its associated cognitive decline can be reversed.”


This is precisely what he and his colleagues have shown in peer-reviewed studies that have been published in leading medical journals, based on 3 decades of research on the neurobiology of Alzheimer’s in his lab and case studies with real people. The first ever scientific study showing the reversal of cognitive decline in 9 out of 10 patients with Alzheimer’s disease or its precursors was published in the journal Aging in 2014, based on a sophisticated personalized protocol called ReCODE, for reversal of cognitive decline. And not only did it achieve a reversal in cognitive decline, but it allowed patients to sustain the improvement. 


The journal Aging has shared that this 2014 article has had the greatest impact of any article they’ve ever published. And no wonder. Not only is the diagnosis and inevitable (until now) decline of Alzheimer’s tragic for the individual, but also for their family; and soon for the nation and the world, as a tsunami of Alzheimer’s patients could bankrupts Medicaid and Medicare and overwhelms long-term care facilities in the foreseeable future as our population ages. But…

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Putting the person back in personalized nutrition

Joan, a 60 year old woman and cancer survivor originally came to me looking for help with weight loss. As you'll read in her account of our time together, we dove into much more than what she was eating.

 

GATHERING THE STORY

In our initial session I listened to Joan's story and learned that underneath her weight woes, there were much deeper issues to tap into.   My priority with whomever is in front of me is to consider the person's whole story, from birth to present day. We spend time looking at the Wheel of Health in order to see what area of living needs the most attention. Then we create a health plan together, rather than place a cookie cutter agenda upon the client. Oftentimes one sees a healthcare provider and the practitioner is focused on the immediate situation, disregarding the lifetime of events that make up who we are as a whole being. Lifestyle Medicine peels back the layers of who we are in order to feed the body vital nutrients that support our physical, mental, and psycho spiritual selves. 

 

THE CALM™ DIFFERENCE

My CALM™ program is an approach in educating and experiencing.  The education is about understanding the relationship between the body and inputs from the environment, diet, stress, lifestyle, etc. The experiencing is using various tools (food, movement, mindfulness, communication, affirmations, supplements, oils) to move out of disease and sense greater health from the inside out.  I learned Joan is a skilled cook, has an awareness of healthful ingredients, and made clear she did not want to give up the pleasure of food. We created a plan together that included more attention to meal planning, food journaling, exercises in awareness of behavior, and supplementation.  Here, she describes what worked from our sessions together.

 

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Balance Restlessness

If you have ever experienced restless sensations or twitching in your body, arms or legs when you are relaxing, sitting down for meditation, or sleeping — you are not alone. Restlessness in the physiology is a common experience for many.

Ayurveda identifies this imbalance as related to Vata dosha — specifically Apana Vata, a subdosha of Vata that governs downward flow in the body. The movement associated with Vata is fast; it is the dosha that governs movement, after all. But with Vata imbalance, symptoms can be expressed as restlessness in the body, arms or legs. Ayurveda focuses on digestion as the primary source of balance and good health. When digestion is not strong due to weak agni (digestive fire), or environmental stress, our bodies can build up accumulated impurities or toxins, known as ama. These impurities lead to our doshas going out of balance, and Vata, being responsible for movement, will usually be the first to be affected. The result, in Vata-dominant people, can experience spaciness, occasional constipation, feeling cold in a temperate environment, worry and, for purposes of this article, restless limbs.

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Fast Food Health Risks That Will Shock You

Today, the majority of people in most of the developed world get more than half their calories from processed, fast, and fake foods. The fast food health risks are shocking. And it’s only getting worse.


The global fast food market is growing. And the demand for packaged foods is predicted to increase as well.


Industrialized food industry giants like KFC, Nestlé, and McDonald’s are aggressively expanding in developing nations and getting people hooked, in places such as Brazil,GhanaChina, and India, where obesity and other health issues are becoming an epidemic.


Fast and processed foods are common today. But they may be more destructive for our health and for society as a whole than you ever imagined.

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What You Need to Know About GMOs and Glyphosate

Are you concerned about the safety of the food you eat and feed to others? I know I am, which is why I’m so glad I had the opportunity to sit down with Institute for Responsible Technology founder and GMO activist Jeffrey Smith.


Jeffrey shared with me some critical new developments related to genetically engineered foods and glyphosate, which is the primary active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup.


In the following video, we discuss the main problems with genetic engineering, the dangers of glyphosate, new genetic engineering technologies, and what you can do to protect yourself and your family.

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Self-Care Interview Series: Amy Chaplin

Amy Chaplin is an author and chef, whose approach to whole foods and cooking is endlessly inspiring. Her cookbook is nothing short of a kitchen bible to us. We had the pleasure of meeting up with Amy in NYC a few years ago and had the best time chatting about our favorite subjects like sprouted flours, cookbook publishing, and acupuncture. Needless to say, we were excited to get a peak at her self-care routine.


In this interview, Amy tells us about the valuable self-care tips she learned from her mother, her favorite meals made with pantry staples, the skincare brand she’s been using since she was a teenager, her approach to exercise, stress, and so much more.

 

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