Ayurveda Health April Newsletter 2017
– Autumn – transitioning with the seasons- looking after the Vata dosha
– Food is the Perfect Medicine.
– Dr Vijay Murthy – a fantastic opportunity to attend a workshop on the topical subject of Intermittent fasting…a few “one on one” consultations (with Dr Vijay Murthy) offered on the 11th May
– Restorative/Yin practice/Meditation practice – new 6-week course starting (Yoga Tree in Takapuna) Tuesday 2nd May
– Recipe – Spiced Lentil soup with Coconut Milk
Quote I love …
The seasons are shifting …the days are becoming shorter and the temperatures are becoming colder. You can really feel the transitions of the seasons and it is a time when we become a little more vulnerable.
“Real flowers are much more beautiful than plastic ones, in part because of their impermanence. We appreciate the seasons, the autumn and the spring, because they are a process of change. In this way, impermanence is beauty.” – Chögyam Trungpa
As the seasons change so does the dominant dosha in our immediate environment. In the fall Vata increases and this tends to make people, especially Vata types, more prone to symptoms like constipation, sore and dry throats, excessive dry skin, anxiety, sciatica and increased insomnia. The word Vata means to move and this is an important clue to the character of the Vata individual. Vata regulates all activity in the body; from the number of thoughts we have, to how quickly and efficiently food moves through the digestive tract. The behavior that Vatas are drawn to – erratic hours, travel, frequent change, and excessive movement – can easily upset their balance. Excessive vata makes the mind restless and hyperactive. Like the wind the vata types have a hard time feeling grounded, when their Vata becomes aggravated. Sticking to a routine is difficult for them, but is vital for them to remain healthy. To decrease vata, Ayurveda has given us dietary, lifestyle and herbal treatment strategies. Here are a few underlying concepts that these strategies are based on:
Have a look at products that help keep Vata in balance – click here
Food is the perfect medicine.
In Ayurveda Food is the number one focus in healing. We know that food builds, fuels and repairs every cell in the body, and by means of the subtler energies it also fuels and heals our emotions. What you eat is as important to your mental health, as it is to your physical health.
Ayurveda recognizes that we are all so different and that “one shoe does not fit all.” All foods are classified according to taste; Virya i.e. heating or cooling effect; the dominant quality (guna) of the food eg drying, oily etc. The principle of strength of digestion and the amount of toxins on the body, are always taking into consideration. A good example of right diet wrong person, would to treat a Vata dominant person with all raw food and juices for long periods of time. This would eventually increase the Vata through the cold, astringent, and drying action of the food. Raw is Ok for detox, but generally for Vata people, they require more warm and unctuous foods. To treat a person’s health without careful regard to diet is like tending a garden without checking the soil and amount of sunshine and water it receives. . Good food leads to good health and mental well-being.
Intermittent fasting – workshop with Dr Vijay Murthy May 10th
We are so excited and honored to have Dr Vijay visit NZ in May. During this time he will be offering his expertise on a topical subject. Intermittent fasting as the most effective solution for:
This will include how to fast and how not to. Traditional ways of fasting and the scientific evidence on medicinal fasting. His bio is impressive view here – click and I really encourage you to try and make his talk. You will learn a lot as he is a great communicator. There will be allocated time for questions. Details are as follows – View Facebook Event – Click Here
In addition to this he will be allocating the next day – Thursday 11th May Vijay will be offering – one on one consultations. These will be held here at Ayurveda Health in Milford. There are a few spaces left in the afternoon If you wish to book please email me firstname.lastname@example.org. It will be a case of “First in first served”.
Yoga – Restorative class moving into lead meditation…(yes it is good for vata)
We are offering a “restorative class moving in to meditation” again starting for 6 weeks in May.
Tuesday evenings from May 2nd – 7.00pm to 8.15 pm
A very nourishing form of Yoga that benefits all people (there is no need to have had any prior yoga experience).
All people are very welcome. Register online: www.theyogatree.co.nz
Spiced Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk –
Note this recipe serves about 6 people.
We have made this recipe in our cooking classes and I am feeling like eating this warm and nourishing food again. Very yummy and perfect for the coming colder months. The recipe calls for green lentils. Split or red lentils will likely get too mushy here. I used 4 cups broth because I like my soups on the stewy side, if you prefer more broth to you soup, add another cup or two when cooking the lentils.
1 1/2 cup lentils, rinsed (green suggested)
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp cumin and coriander powder
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 large red onion, diced
2 stalks lemongrass, outer layer removed, lower portion finely minced
1 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. cinnamon pinch of red pepper flakes to taste
Pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cup coconut milk (use full fat, just believe me)
3 Tbsp. lemons, lime or orange juice
A few handfuls of swiss chard, spinach or kale
1 cup flake coconut, toasted (optional)
Chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Add the rinsed lentils, broth, thyme and turmeric , cumin and coriander powders to a large pot. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes.
While the lentils cook, heat the coconut oil in a pan. Add the onion and sauté until just browned. Add the lemongrass, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, pinch of red pepper flakes and some fresh ground nutmeg and sauté another minute. Add the onion mixture to the lentils and stir, keeping the heat on a low simmer. Add the coconut milk and greens and simmer another five minutes, stirring occasionally until just wilted. Taste for salt and spice and add, as you prefer. Finish with the citrus juice and serve warm with toasted coconut flakes and cilantro on top.
A thought plus a quote…
Intuition, intention, awareness, acceptance are cornerstones in creating lasting change. On and off the Yoga mat, these principles enable us to let go of old patterns and ways of being.
• Our thoughts become our words
• Our words become our actions
• Our actions become our habits
• Our habits become who we are.
At Ayurveda we take great interest in the tongue. We spend a lot of time looking at people’s tongues, which can say a lot about your present state of health, and can be a reflection of your internal organs and your level of toxicity. Every morning get up and scrap your tongue first thing to get the night slop off it. After that look again if it is pink you are doing great — If not it is sign that your system is overloaded.
This tongue coating is a sign of ama, which translates as toxins inside the digestive system. This coating, which is a mixture of bacteria, fungi and dead cells, can be clear, thick, white, yellow, brown or even greenish. We all have some coating, but the colour and amount is an important sign to your overall health. If you need more convincing, here are fi ve good reasons to
scrap your tongue daily.
• Eliminates bad breath — the cocktail of gunk on the tongue affects your breath. You will be more kissable for sure if you adopt this daily habit.
• Enhances the sense of taste — removing build up from the surface of the tongue will better expose your taste buds. Food tastes better
• Slows the growth of plaque and improves oral hygiene — leads to healthier teeth and gums assisting in tooth decay, gum infections, and gum recession. Your dentist will thank you.
• Improves digestion and immunity— the mouth is the first base of digestion. Swirling food around in a bacterial pool will not help in enhancing immune health. When coming down with a sore throat my suggestion is that we scrap the tongue more frequently so we can rid our mouths of unwanted toxins and give the body a chance to fight the infection.
• Gently stimulates the internal organs — your whole body is mapped on the tongue, just like your hands and feet (except, interestingly enough, not the reproductive organs). Scrapping your tongue stimulates and massages those corresponding organs as a form of acupressure.
WHAT THEN IS A TONGUE SCRAPPER AND HOW DO WE USE IT?
This is what it looks like, commonly made from copper or stainless steel. I tend to encourage copper due to its natural plaque and anti-bacterial actions.
This is what you do:
• Hold tongue scrapper firmly by both hands.
• Open your mouth and extend the tongue as far as possible.
• Using the fl at centre part of the scraper gently scrap from back to front using one long stroke.
• Rinse and repeat 5–6 times.
• Wash tongue scrapper well in hot water.
When you first get started be gentle, and don’t scrape if there are ulcers, open scars, or bumps on the tongue. You will be amazed how much stuff comes off your tongue in the morning and how great it feels to have a clean and fresh mouth.
Tongue Scrapper, for daily oral hygiene.
Click here to view and buy now.
Words: Perry Macdonald
(Dip Naturopathy – ND, Dip Ayurvedic Medicine)
Article by Verve Magazine
Over the past decade, Perry Macdonald has immersed herself in her passion for Ayurvedic medicine, a health system developed some five thousand years ago by the sages of India, and considered by many to be one of the world’s most enduring, sophisticated and powerful mind-body health systems. Perry loves what she does, and it is obvious that she practices what she preaches, as she radiates beauty, calmness, serenity and positivity.
More than a mere system for treating illness, Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge). It offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vibrant and healthy while realising their full human potential. The two main guiding principles of Ayurveda are that the mind and the body are inextricably connected, and that we look at all dimensions of one’s being to see what could have made one vulnerable to getting sick in the first place. It offers countless practices for expanding self-awareness and cultivating an innate state of balance, for instance, through eating well; practicing meditation and getting the right amount of restful sleep.
According to Ayurveda, sleep is the nursemaid of humanity, so when a colleague mentioned feeling sluggish, possibly due to poor sleep patterns, it was suggested that she book a session with Perry.
Perry works from a tranquil studio with panoramic views across to the sea in Milford on the North Shore. After a friendly introduction, and a brief chat about what was bothering my colleague, Perry suggested commencing with hair profiling: a new technology that measures the resonance of the cells /or the epigenetics of the hair. It is more effective than conventional hair testing — prioritising nutritional needs (vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, anti oxidants, amino acids, EMF’s, toxins and more). You can find out a lot about your present state of health with results of the hair testing during that first session with Perry, who uses the results to assist with treatment advice.
Hair test out of the way, Perry set about finding out more about my colleague and her poor sleep patterns. By working out what Dosha type she is, Perry will have a better insight into what might be causing the problem. The Doshas are the energies that make up every individual: there is Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha, and it soon becomes clear that my colleague may need to balance Pitta. Perry continues to ask questions, listens to the answers, frequently suggesting alternative and better ways of doing things, like having a routine around sleep, pen and paper by the bed to write down any bothersome and persistent thoughts, the removal of all technology from the bedroom, and making sure there is some sort of interlude between work and home. She strongly encourages a reflective practice and the use of oils/massage when showering or bathing.
HAIR PROFILING INTRODUCTORY OFFER $95.00
Contact Perry to make a booking.
Diet of course is all-important. A combination of muscle testing, and the results of the hair test emailed back to her from Germany all help to make recommendations. Then there is more chat about various herbs, metagenics supplements and Yoga Nidra — a deep relaxation and guided meditation technique.
The session is over for the day and my colleague walks away from this safe-haven with a plan that should help her release what is not working in her life, and restoration of better sleep patterns.
A month has elapsed since meeting Perry, and my colleague is looking more rested and calm, and says that the quality her of sleep continues to improve as she becomes more adept at doing the things recommended in her session with Ayurveda Health.
Perry’s Refreshing Ayurvedic Tea
A formula that revitalizes, helps to warm up circulation and clear out water retention. It stokes the metabolism (digestive fire) and will help purify the blood. An added bonus is that it tastes good.
Place the following ingredients into a tea infuser basket.
• 1/2 lemon diced
• 5cm fresh ginger sliced
• generous pinch of fennel seeds
• generous pinch of cardamom seeds
• generous pinch of coriander seeds
Pour over freshly boiled water and let stand for 5 minutes.
Verve Magazine November 2015
You’re cooking with massage oils?” a friend quips when I mention I’m off to an ayurvedic-cooking class. Clearly ayurveda is clearly best-known for things other than its cuisine. Native to India, the 5000-year-old tradition is, at heart, a self-care system of preventative medicine that meshes nutrition, meditation, massage, yoga, tailormade herbal remedies – and the odd tantra and mantra.
Practised by a string of celebs including Madonna, Gwyneth and Demi, ayurveda’s no longer just a lifestyle of the rich and famous. With its in-vogue aim of balancing mind and body, it’s become Miss Popularity in the Western world this millenium.
“Five years ago, no one could spell or say ayurveda, but they can now,” says Auckland ayurvedic practitioner Perry MacDonald. She has that radiant glow (but not in an irritatingly zen way) that most of us crave. Though she’s cagey about her age, it’s hard to believe she has two grown-up children.
Having turned her lifestyle into a career, Perry holds health consultations and retreats, teaches yoga and meditation, and practises massage through her company Ayurveda Health (www.ayurvedahealth.co.nz). She also runs an ayurvedic-cooking course – three classes held weekly – at her Milford home every couple of months.
As I’m doing the downward dog at her yoga class one Monday, MacDonald mentions her next round of classes, saying they’ll help people who struggle with adding taste to their food – especially vegetarian food.
This hits a nerve. Instead of emptying my mind on the mat, I’ve been pondering what to make for dinner. I’ve never had much of a cooking mojo. Vegetarian for 18 years, I’ve never learned how to cook tasty, healthy meat-free meals despite stacks of cookbooks and good intentions. The kindest adjective my partner can come up with for my stir-fries is “pedestrian”. I’d say soggy, tasteless, bland.
It turns out MacDonald runs the course for love, not money ($150 barely covers food costs), because she wants to spread the word about how to use spices, which add taste and aid digestion, in everyday cooking. Sold. A few weeks later I turn up in her kitchen, with its oven big enough to house Hansel and Gretel and its Buddha statue. I know ayurveda involves diagnosing doshas (physical constitutions/bioenergies), but you can take or leave that side of things.
Five others press the doorbell. Tim, a hairdresser with a booming laugh; his real-estate agent girlfriend Bernadette, whose lightning quips belie her corporate attire; wistful-looking hospice manager Janine; and mother-of-three Sue, whose daughter’s health problems spurred the family to cook differently. Then there’s project manager Mary, who has IBS, which Perry informs us can be cured by ayurvedic cooking. The jury’s out on that, but there’s consensus that spices (particularly hing and arjwan) aid digestion and reduce bloating.
Apart from the “place in bowel” directive, the recipes look pretty straightforward. Don’t be daunted, MacDonald tells us, by the long ingredient list: most are just a teaspoon of cumin here, a few arjwan seeds there. First up we’re making ghee, which looks much as you’d imagine: like a jar of lard, just yellower. The equivalent of olive oil to Italian cuisine, this clarified butter’s the building block of ayurvedic cooking. You simply heat unsalted butter until the milk sinks to the bottom and the water evaporates, leaving a rich, golden oil. “Ghee brings food alive,” MacDonald says. “A small amount goes a long way, and like whisky it gets better with age.”
We move on to two other ayurvedic-cooking bastions, vegetable subji and dahl, as Tim quips “Hey Dahl, what’s for dinner?” and Bernadette rolls her eyes. “If there’s nothing else in the house you can make subji,” MacDonald says, whipping out “something I prepared earlier”, Alison Holst-style. When I ask if it’s frozen veg, MacDonald shoots me a look of horror. She doesn’t do frozen – or leftovers – and shops fresh every day.
There’s a lot of stirring. Ayurvedic cooking is also about bringing awareness and mindfulness to your cooking and eating, says MacDonald, so you’re not just slapping it in the pot and shovelling it down while glued to The Bachelor. As she relays tidbits about each spice’s health-and-medicinal benefits, she reminds me of Ayla, the healer from the Clan of the Cave Bear book series – all she needs is a totem and medicine bag.
I haven’t looked forward to a meal this much in ages – and not just because aromas are wafting, it’s nearing 9pm and my stomach-gurgling has become alarming. Dinner, followed by spiced rice pud, is delicious. I chew slowly, relish the food, enjoy the company.
At class two, we make chutneys – one tomato, one cilantro-coconut – which go nicely with dahl or fish. And who knew my favourite takeaway – palaak paneer – could be so made easily and healthily? (Vegans can substitute tofu for cheese.) Dessert, semolina halva, is substantial enough to double as breakfast.
At the last lesson, Sue informs us that, to her shock, her three fussy-eater kids liked her paneer. There’s another surprise in store. We’re expecting to make another subji or curry, so we’re thrown when MacDonald, who’s trying to break down the myth that ayurvedic cooking is always Indian, announces tonight’s main is ayurvedic fish ‘n’ chips.
Baked fish is coated in a spicy paste that’s also good for meat and tofu; served with wilted veges, crispy potatoes, and cilantro-coconut chutney; followed by spicy fruit crumble and washed down with a little chai. Because I eat slowly, appreciating each bite, I don’t leave the table over-full, but MacDonald insists we leave her with the dishes. She even makes us up a basic spice tin for me.
After stocking up on every imaginable spice from Mahadeo’s and buying the requisite mortar and pestle, I try flying solo. I can now turn out a decent dahl, vegetable subji, even palaak paneer. It doesn’t taste like MacDonald’s cooking – yet – but it’s good. And as those mustard seeds pop, for the first time in years I’m having fun in the kitchen.
1 cup of split Mung Dahl
3-4 cups of water
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 Tbs ghee
1 pinch of hing (Indian spice, also known as asafoetida)
2 clove of garlic
2 tsp grated ginger
10-12 curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)
Salt to taste
Handful of chopped coriander leaves
Lime juice to taste
Rinse the lentils until water runs clear. Mung dahl needs no pre-soaking. Cook dahl on medium heat and skim off any foam that builds at the top.
Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, ginger, chilli, to the dahl. Continue boiling on low heat .
Heat ghee in a small saucepan.
Add mustard seeds and once they have popped add cumin seeds, a pinch of hing, chopped garlic and curry leaves and fry for a few seconds.
Add the seasoning to the boiling dahl.
Boil for a further 3-4 minutes, then garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Add a dash of lime and serve hot with steamed rice or roti.
– NZ Herald