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,

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ayurveda Answers Why a Heavy Blanket Helps Insomnia and Anxiety

Weighted blankets have been used for many years as a therapeutic tool for children with autism or suffering from a wide variety of sensory anxiety disorders. Occupational therapists find that heavy blankets are one of the most effective tools for relaxing and calming young people who are suffering from anxiety or having difficulty sleeping due to emotional stress. It has become a popular treatment for patients in hospitals, psychiatric wards and geriatric units.  The weighted blanket offers a gentle but firm pressure over a large area of the body's surface, triggering a calming response from the nervous system.  As an option that is both drug-free and completely without side effects, the weighted blanket is a wonderful health care option and its therapeutic effect has been demonstrated in recent scientific studies.

In Ayurveda there are three main body types but each of us has all the types but in varying amounts. One of the types is vata. Vata can be described as cold, light, irregular, dry, and always changing. On a positive personality level vata types are energetic, creative, and flexible. They also take initiative and are lively conversationalists. When unbalanced, they are prone to worry, anxiety and often suffer from insomnia. To balance vata, lifestyle choices that bring warmth, stability, and consistency are recommended.  This means heavier, fatty foods, massage with oils, a regular sleeping schedule and slow moving exercise.  Notice that the remedies to balance vata are things to counteract the lightness and instability of vata.

The weighted blanket is heavy, grounding and thereby balancing to the classic vata symptoms of anxiety and insomnia.  Modern science and Ayurveda are intersecting with their treatment.

Sometimes getting a little heavy is a good thing...

Stay healthy & well,

Friday, November 25, 2016

Ayurveda Explains Why Music Helps Plants Grow Better

Yes, music helps plants grow better. Science has shown a highly statistically significant effect on the number of seeds sprouted when exposed to music as opposed those that were untreated.

Music is sound. What is sound? Sound is waves or vibrations that travel through the air and provide human beings with a way of  communicating. These waves affect the nervous sensory system of every living thing, not just humans.  Sound is a potent, powerful energy that can express many things.  Think of a siren going off, the sound makes someone's muscles tighten and become wary of danger.  Classical music is soothing and relaxes a person.  Human consciousness and well being are clearly impacted by sound.

Ayurveda teaches that when the cells and tissues of a person vibrate in harmony, then there is a free and unhindered flow of energy, allowing a person to live in good health and well being. Any disturbance of this energy is defined as illness. External influences like sound vibrations have the potential to restore energy flow or have the potential to cause imbalance.

The main objective of Ayurveda is to restore balance.  In order to re-establish this original state of health,  Ayurveda uses many techniques to do this.  Music is one of the methods used to restore the body to its original state of harmony.

All living things have consciousness, even if we as human beings cannot communicate with them.  This is why music helps plants grow better.  The consciousness plants possess make them affected by sound.  We can harness the healing power of music for  ourselves and all living things in our life.

Stay healthy & well,

Friday, November 11, 2016

What Time Of Day Is Best For Exercising?

According to Ayurveda, the body has its own circadian rhythm, making certain times of the day better for certain activities.  For example, Ayurveda teaches that digestion is strongest at midday, making lunch the best time to eat the heaviest meal of the day.  For exercise, Ayurveda recommends doing it during kapha time, which is from 6 AM to 10 AM, to jump-start the body's sluggish morning metabolism.

Recent research has shown that day exercise is better than evening exercise. Muscles have their own circadian rhythm or internal clock.  Thus, they function better during the day than they do at night. The muscles’ circadian rhythm controls the body's exercise response.  Specifically, the muscles’ ability to use oxygen for energy and adapt to the demands of exercise is most efficient during the day. The day refers to the time anytime a living creation is awake. The research was done on mice, and mice are 'awake' at night.

The time we exercise also tells our body when it is a good time to rest.  Exercise prompts the release of a wide variety of biochemicals in the body and brain, which will affect the body’s internal clock and circadian rhythms, particularly  those related to activity. Exercise seems to make the body better able to judge when and how much more it should be moving and when it should be at rest.  A study demonstrated that increasing physical activity for mice set their body clocks with specific rhythms for rest and activity.  The mice became regimented and efficient at times of exercise and rest.

It appears afternoon exercise is best for muscle performance and utilization of oxygen.  However vigorous to moderate morning exercise reduces food cravings, both immediately afterward and throughout the day.  Morning exercise seems better suited for weight loss. Night time exercise affects some people's sleep but not others.  Vigorous night time exercise does affect cardiac autonomic control of the heart during the first sleeping hours.  This may be okay occasionally, but it seems prudent to limit night time exercise.

Exercise is needed by all human beings for good health.  Knowing what each time of day brings to the person exercising is a good thing.

Stay healthy & well,

Monday, November 7, 2016

How & Why To Eat Eggs

Yes, eggs, the WHOLE egg, are good for you.  No need to throw out those whites.  Enjoy the fatty, rich filled yolk and know that your cholesterol will not go up.  You will get a nutrient-dense source of antioxidants, lecithin, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins (vitamins A, D, B2, B6, B12 and folate) and minerals (calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus and zinc.  Since the egg is a fatty food, it helps these important nutrients become more easily absorbed.

Before you even go back to those plain egg white omelets or egg substitutes, know that the white of the egg eaten alone blocks the absorption of certain nutrients like biotin (which supports healthy hair and nail growth).

Raw eggs have more nutrients than eggs that have been cooked for a long time or are overcooked. Eggs should be eaten with a soft texture by being boiled or lightly pan fried to retain more of the nutrition of a a raw egg.  It is interesting to note that the risk of contracting salmonella from eating raw eggs is very low.

Not all eggs are created equal, nor is all food for that matter.  The quality of what you put in your body matters. Try to eat eggs that are pastured eggs from an organically raised chicken.

From an Ayurvedic standpoint, foods are classified by whether they suit your body (dosha) type.  Eggs are better suited for vata types.  But if a pitta type or kapha type is having a hard time reducing their intake of heavy animal protein like meat or cheese, then eggs, fish or lean poultry is preferred or suggested for occasional consumption.

People get hung up on calorie counting, and calories do matter to a certain extent, but the best weight loss trick is to eat real whole foods.  Eggs will always be more satisfying and nutritious than a processed bar or danish.

Stay healthy & well,