tea

NOT DIGGING YOUR DIGESTION?

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I don’t know about you, but mealtime is a sacred part of my day. Whether I eat in, dine out, or pack a brown paper bag, feeding my body is a special experience I savor every time.  And so there’s nothing worse than enjoying your favorite meal only for it to be spoiled by the subsequent discomfort of bloating—or gas, stomach pain, constipation, heartburn, fatigue, etc. And bon appetite soon becomes just blah. Been there? We all have.

Deep breath, don’t panic—there’s a solution to this suffering.  But first—literally take a deep breath! Next time you sit down to eat, make sure your stomach is in a relaxed posture and your awareness is focused on the taste, texture, and smell of the food. This simple form of mealtime meditation can greatly improve you digestion. Now that’s some food for thought 😊

According to Ayurveda, agni is the "digestive fire” in charge of breaking down food and other things we ingest from the environment, absorbing what is useful and eliminating the rest. Think: your body's tool for "cooking" your food. Without this fire, our system cannot digest anything we consume. The goal is to keep your agni burning gradually throughout the day.

To maintain a resilient digestive fire, Ayurveda recommends incorporating a variety of practices into your daily life that can strengthen agni—while also facilitating weight loss, improve the metabolism of food, and minimize those unpleasant GI symptoms.

So without further adieu, try these simple, natural, medicine-free Ayurvedic remedies to help your belly feel flat, calm, and balanced:

Upon waking, drink apple cider vinegar: add warm water, some good maple syrup or honey

When we wake up in the morning, our digestive fire is naturally low. Hot water mixed with ACV gives agni a jumpstart, both preparing it for food and stimulating the bowels. Do this every day if you can, not only when you’re feeling bloated or gassy. And then chug a huge glass of warm water with 1/2 a lemon.

Be mindful when you eat!

In other words—slow down! Sticking to a regular eating in a relaxed environment where you can focus on your food prepares your body for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. Think: your yoga practice to your plate.

Don't drink a lot of liquid during meals—take small sips

Many people like to drink tea after dinner but this still disrupts digestion. Wait 30-60 minutes before drinking your tea. Ginger is best if you want to help your belly out (more on that below).

Avoid gas producing foods.

Cabbage, peas, potatoes, cauliflower, beans, broccoli and brussell sprouts are all foods most likely to give you gas. If you’re having issues, try cutting them out of your diet, and then reintroducing them one at a time. Notice how you feel afterward. If they make you bloated or gassy, either cook them with lots of digestive spices (see below!) or avoid them completely. Soda water is also full of gas (see: bubbles) and is not the best choice if you need extra help digesting your foods. Go for flat water with lemon.

Don't snack

The truth is it takes your body 3–4 hours to properly digest food—so grazing throughout the day tends to overload your system. By allowing between meals, your food can fully digest, giving proving you with more energy. Note: it is not true that you need to eat 6 smalls meals to increase your metabolism.

Eat raw fruit alone

Raw fruit in its whole goodness digests more quickly than other food. If eaten with other food, it starts to ferment in your belly. Note: cooked fruit is okay, especially when cooked and combined with other foods. That way it has time to assimilate.

Take magnesium supplement before bed (CALM is my fave)

Drink 1-3 tbsp in 6oz of warm water about an hour before bed. Don't chug right before bed if you have a small bladder or you'll be running to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Been there, done that. Magnesium not only helps your digestion but it also relaxes your muscles and gives your body a chance to recoop after a hard workout.

Drink ginger tea or juiced ginger

Ginger can help to counteract your food’s gas forming tendencies, Ginger can relax the smooth muscle of the intestines, thereby relieving symptoms of gas and cramping. Ginger, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne are renowned  favorites for nurturing your digestive fire, while also boosting your immune system. Side note: Ginger is known in Ayurveda as the universal remedy due to its many benefits for the body. It’s been used for over 2,000 years to treat digestive issues. To make: steep ginger in boiling water for about 10 minutes. If you don't have fresh ginger root at home, ginger tea will work too. (My favorite is Rishi Tumeric Ginger or Yogi Ginger tea.) Viola. PS: wait 30 minutes to drink tea after meal so there's time for your body to focus on food digestion (drinking lots of liquid dilutes).

Do some form of daily movement

Whether it’s a bit of yoga each morning, a daily walk, or light stretching before bed. A recent study published in Diabetes Care showed that a short 15-minute walk after each meal helped to control sugar spikes after eating. These short post-meal walks were more effective than taking a longer, 45-minute walk once daily.

When our digestive system is strong, we create healthy tissues and produce a subtle essence called ojas. In relation to Ayurveda, ojas is the innermost vital essence; the basis for clarity of perception, physical strength, and immunity. In contrast, if our agni is weakened by improper eating, lack of activity, negative emotional energy or unhealthy daily routine, our digestion will be weakened and prone to producing toxins that get stored in the body. In the world of Ayurveda, this toxic residue, known as ama, is known as the root cause of disease.

To learn more about how you can get good with your gut, reach out to me for a free consultation @ www.natashawellness.com/appointment

EQUINOX DETOX WORKSHOP RECAP + HERBAL TEA MENU

Happy Spring Equinox....9 days ago! Okay I'm a little late. But so is the weather. Last weekend Maren and I (as Kindred Spirits Collective) hosted our second workshop at Acorn Yoga in Brighton. We're starting to really get in the groove of this space and are loving seeing so many familiar AND new faces show up to our events. I'm very eager to share the herbal teas and photos from our event with you all. You should also know that Kindred Spirits has committed to at least 2 more workshops in this space so keep an eye out for updates and leave a comment below if you have future workshop ideas! We want to cater to you and your interests so don't be shy. 

Here are 10 herbs we got to play with and taste at our workshop. Mix and match to make your perfect blend! Our resident herbalist Maren did a kickass job explaining the tea blending process and explaining which herbs are most beneficial to us as we enter into Spring. 

Detoxifying Herbs for Spring

Calendula: Best herb for nourishing and cleansing the lymphatic system. Delicious and beautiful in salads! Provides heart health; relieves congestion in lymphatic system and reduces swollen lymph glands; digestive distress and soothing inflammatory conditions in stomach lining and bowels; improves circulation and detoxifies body; eases menstrual and menopausal difficulties; antibacterial properties (heals wounds); antifungal properties (especially for pelvic and bowel infections); antiviral.

Dandelion leaf: Think twice before spraying this beauty with weed killer. Dandelion can be used for medicine and food. It flushes the system, good for kidneys; iron (good for anemia), vitamin C; mild laxative (relieves constipation and bloating); bitter (good for optimal digestion); safe, healthy diuretic (contains potassium - most diuretics deplete potassium); great for cleansing after winter!

Hibiscus Flower: Contains high levels of antioxidants. Great for flavoring teas! Contains vitamin C and is calming. Good for high cholesterol and high blood sugar, heart health, coughing; has antibacterial and antifungal properties; helps with digestion. Good for depression.

Hyssop: Great for respiratory system; treats colds, cough, heavy congestions, indigestion; reduces inflammation in mucous membranes (good for asthma and allergies; antiviral; remedy for rheumatism and other aches and pains in muscles and joints.

Lavender Flower: An essential herb to have on hand. Good for relieving anxiety, depression, tension; headaches; mood swings; dizziness, fainting; reduces fevers; detoxifies; induces sweating; antiseptic; eases vomiting and diarrhea.

Lemon Balm: The “official” herb of apothecaries. Good for allergies and asthma (“nature’s antihistamine”); antiviral, antibacterial; antidepressant/anxiety; cleansing kidneys and urinary tract; good for digestive distress. Remedy for heart disease (and heartache). Lemon Balm is said to promote a long life

Nettle: Nettle can be used to remedy gout, rheumatism, anemia, exhaustion, menstrual difficulties, skin problems, and hay fever, to mention just a few. Nettle can be cooked, eaten, brewed into beer, infused as a tea, tincture, and more. Useful for “growing pains” in young children and for older folks with creaky joints. Excellent tonic for reproductive system of both men and women. Blood tonic, circulatory stimulant; aches and pains; energy (high in chlorophyll; vitamins A, C, D, K; minerals); great for liver, gallbladder, and kidneys; PMS, fertility issues, prostate issues; antiseptic; respiratory health.

Oatstraw: This plant is highly valued for its ability to restore balance and a sense of calm in weak and stressed out individuals. Full body tonic (strengthens immunity, builds energy); regulates blood sugar, reduces cholesterol, stabilizes thyroid function; great for nervous system health; antibiotic; antidepressant; fatigue; anxiety/depression; insomnia; skin health

Red Clover: Considered nature’s best vitamin supplement. Rich bounty of nutrients that support entire body. High in beta-carotene, calcium, Vitamin B, C, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, selenium. Respiratory health; menopause; blood and lymphatic cleanser; eczema and psoriasis; bone density. Blossoms taste like honey cups! Add them to salads, blender drinks, garden-fresh soups, and tea.

Spearmint: The eldest of the mint family. Cooling, refreshing, and uplifting. Soothes and strengthens nervous system; clear sinuses; digestion; urinary tract; stimulating blood flow it cleanses and tones spleen; mild stimulant; . Lovely as an apertif or digestif (make a strong tea and mix it with sparkling water, maybe adding a handful of fresh berries) and great for flavoring other, less tasty herbs. Combine with ginger to cure a restless stomach. Chew on fresh leaves instead of gum!

This workshop was part 2 of our 2-part series leading up to our May 19th-21st Spring Awakening Retreat in the lake region of Maine. This all-inclusive retreat is based at a lovely lakeside cottage and includes yoga, meditation, pranayama, Journey Dance, Qi Gong, holistic/cooking workshops, nature hikes, kayaking/lakeside activities, campfires, and more! And guys, it's SO affordable. For $350 you get a bed (or tent, if you'd like!), Organic home cooked food by your retreat chefs, and all the aforementioned activities. This would be the perfect Mother's Day gift by the way! Grab your mom, daughter, sister, friend, whoever! and awaken your heart through movement, nourishment, and laughter. I can promise you laughter, for sure. We have limited space so click that Register button and commit yourself to TREATING YO'SELF. I'll see you lakeside!

Thanks again to all who attended! We had so much fun with you. For more information on Kindred Spirits Collective you can follow us on Facebook.