Sunday, December 25, 2016

Brahmi-The Amazing Ayurvedic Brain Tonic

Brain tonic sounds a little strange and a bit of an over sell.  By way of background, the name of this herb is derived in Ayurveda for the highest state of consciousness, one of unity and of God.

Back here on earth,  brahmi (centella asiatica) is one of the most powerful brain remedies in the Ayurvedic 'pharmacy.' Interestingly, the leaf of the brahmi plant resembles the cerebellum and is used to promote memory and intelligence, to relax the central nervous system, to support restful sleep, to calm emotional turbulence and to improve concentration and alertness.  Brahmi is used in many traditional herbal formulations to aid the mental component that is so necessary for holistic health.

Recent studies show that hidden in the walls of the digestive system is a second brain.  Specifically, this 'brain' is the enteric nervous system (ENS), which is composed of  two thin layers of close to 100 million nerve cells that line the gastrointestinal tract from esophagus to rectum. This brain has powerful links between digestion, mood and health.  Its main role is to control all aspects of digestion, from swallowing to the release of enzymes that break down food and the circulation that helps with nutrient absorption to elimination,

For decades, it was thought that anxiety and depression contributed to digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome and weak digestion. However, studies are showing that it may be the other way around,  Irritation in the gastrointestinal system sends distress signals to the central nervous system that triggers mood changes.  This explains why people with bowel and digestion issues tend to be disproportionately more depressed and anxious, seeming to develop more of theses mental problems when the bowel and digestion issues continue or worsen.

Brahmi's therapeutic reach is beyond the mind.  Ayurveda teaches that brahmi supports healthy skin, lymph and circulatory functions. In particular, Brahmi seems to balance the inner skin that lines the digestive tract.  Healthy skin in the digestive tract supports healthy microbes, which aid in the production of neurotransmitters, which supports a healthy mood and cognitive function.

While modern science has recently connected digestive health to mind and emotional health, Ayurveda knew the connection many, many years ago.

Stay healthy & well,

Monday, December 19, 2016

Is Protein Your Go To Diet Food?

When dieting, people tend to load up on the protein.  Why not? It is filling and feels satisfying, so the dieter won't feel as tempted to snack or fill up on unhealthy carbohydrates.  Eating more protein is frequently recommended for weight loss because it does help reduce appetite and it slows down digestion which prevents harmful blood sugar spikes. Further, the body certainly requires protein as the amino acids from protein are the primary building blocks for muscles, bones and enzymes. Aging and pregnancy make consuming sufficient amounts of high-quality protein especially important.

Ayurveda teaches about balance because extremism has negative drawbacks.  Excess protein has significant health risks. There is an upper limit to how much protein a body can actually use, and anything exceeding that requirement will speed up the aging process and cause related health problems like increasing the risk for cancer, kidney disease, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases.

Protein tends to make cells multiply faster, which is beneficial in early life when a child is growing.  But, when cell growth is not needed, it can be a huge negative.  Excess unnecessary cell growth is a risk for cancer.  Cancer is the growth of unwanted, diseased cells.

The body only digests and absorbs a certain amount of protein at every meal, which is about about 20 to 40 grams.  The recommended RDA is 46 grams of protein for women and 56 for men.  This can be easily met with a cup of cooked chicken being 44 grams of protein.

The excess protein your body cannot absorb or use isn't handled well by the body.  In Ayurveda, this excess waste is called ama which is a root cause of many illnesses.  In modern terms, the excess protein will convert into sugar and then into body fat. This is very similar to what happens with a high carbohydrate diet.

There are other healthy options that can give the body abundant nutrients and energy like whole grains, fats, fruits and vegetables.  Real foods in balanced amounts are what both Ayurveda and modern medicine recommend.

Stay healthy & well,

Sunday, December 11, 2016

How To Eat Less Calories Without Dieting

Food is our body's fuel but it also comforts us on an emotional level.  This is why people have a hard time dieting or eliminating certain foods.  Intellectually, people may know what to change, but getting there is still difficult,

Change has to be eased into.  A small success encourages a person to take the next step and hopefully the cycle continues.  These steps take a person to real change.

The best way to cut calories without dieting is to eat leisurely.  This means taking small bites, chewing food slowly and putting the fork down in between bites.  A research study found on average, participants ate 88 calories less per meal and still felt satisfied.

Once someone gains some mastery and control over their eating, they will feel encouraged to do more.  Eating slowly sounds easy enough to try.  Then, someone may think that they want to increase the speed and gain of their success.  They will feel empowered to switch their cookie snack to a piece of fruit or maybe have a salad and steamed vegetables with dinner instead of just a protein and starch.  Maybe they will start to add a little exercise too.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, all you have to do is eat slowly and you will cut calories and lose weight.  Really!! And you don't have to diet.  Try have nothing to lose but a few calories.

Stay healthy & well,

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Podcast Interview On Filling Your Soul

I had the opportunity and privilege to be a guest on the Purposeful Living Podcast with Leah Ruby! She has many wonderful podcasts that help people feel positive, move forward and learn insights.

Here is the link to our interview:

I hope you enjoy and gain from it.

Stay healthy & well,

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Lie I Thought I Only Tell

I hate the word lie and I really hate lying too.  Maybe it is me trying to make myself feel better but my lie is a way to preserve something that is important to me.

I like to exercise everyday because it is good for me.  More importantly, it maintains my sanity by being an amazing stress reliever and gives me down time alone.  To really fit in my exercise time, it is scheduled like an important appointment.  It is nonnegotiable and rarely missed.

Life is hectic and it is difficult to maintain control over our day.  Sometimes there are people we need to meet or business that needs attention.  When a conflict arises between my exercise time and arranging a meeting or situation, I tell the other person that I have an already scheduled appointment. If pressed, it is a doctor's appointment.  Because exercise is like an appointment with a doctor ...?  Well, it is to me.

Then, one day as I am heading into the gym, I hear a guy talking important business on the phone. The guy then apologetically ends the phone call saying he has a doctor's appointment and he will call back in an hour. I smile to myself, feeling like I am part of a crazy club. I have heard a busy lady do the same thing on another occasion.

Yet, am I crazy? I prefer to think of myself as a person who makes life choices that uphold things I value.  Family or real emergencies that need immediate attention will disrupt my exercise appointment.  I do work very hard to fit in the exercise another time like waking up at 6 AM or doing an evening workout.  These are emergency times that I use infrequently because they make the exercise difficult to do and less enjoyable.

Having rituals that center us are taught in Ayurveda and other holistic practices.  In today's nonstop 24/7 world, having time to disconnect to refocus is a necessity not a luxury.  Meditation, deep breathing, yoga, reading uplifting material, prayer and enjoying a hobby give us time to restore our soul, the unique part of us that was created by G-d for a very precious mission that only we can do.  When we are running around all the time or mindlessly being pulled into our media devices and entertainment, we disconnect from our soul essence.  Even if you prefer to forget the soul talk, look to science and you will find that down time makes you smarter, happier and healthier.

Happy to expose my lie, but the reason why I lie still remains.

Stay healthy & well,