Tag Archives: health tips

Spring Ayurveda Cleanse

Date: March 15-19, 2021

Investment: $108 individual + $20 per additional person in household (Registration is required by 5pm EST March 14, 2021.)

Spring is a time for blossoms, birth, renewal, and sunshine. It’s also when many of us suffer from allergies or begin to feel sluggish from the heavy eating habits of winter. Spring is kapha season where we see damp, muddy, cool, sometimes wet weather. As we enter this season we physically and mentally take on these qualities, which can cause allergies, poor digestion, and lack of enthusiasm for life. This spring Ayurveda cleanse helps rekindle the digestive fire to begin moving toxins through the body for elimination to help reduce the effects of allergies and put some spring in your step!

What’s Included

  • Daily Livestream Classes via Zoom with with asana, meditation, yoga nidra, relaxation, and daily exercises.
  • Recordings of each class. These will be uploaded daily to a website where you are invited to view them at your convenience and for 1 month after the cleanse end date.
  • Facebook community where participants can connect, share ideas and recipes, successes and support.
  • Group kick off Zoom meeting to meet and build community.
  • Kitchari cooking tutorial video.
  • Sample grocery list and recipes for the cleanse.
  • Tips for success!
  • Option to purchase the lentils and spices to support you during the cleanse.

For more information or to register visit www.sageandfettle.com/product/springcleanse

Register for Class with Angelina Fox, ERYT 500 Yoga Teacher, Ayurveda Health Counselor, Diet and Lifestyle Design, Washington DC, Alexandria, VA, Lake Anna

 

*By registering and participating in any offering you agree to our terms.

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Eat Well This Holiday Season

Eating well over the holidays can be tricky. This holiday season is going to be different for most of us in our current state of affairs, but we can still be mindful in the food choices we make to keep us healthy.

What is eating well anyway?

In Ayurveda, it depends. Each person is different, made up of a different balance of the five elements, different life experience, different family history, and so all foods can either be a poison or medicine depending on the individual. Some people may be able to tolerate chili peppers without any digestive upset, whereas others may break out in hives, or have acid indigestion, etc. Eating well in Ayurveda is all about maintaining good digestion to support our immune system and body functions.

Healthy eating is more than just giving up cookies. In fact, having cookies can be part of a healthy diet. The foods we choose to consume are just as much about our mental state as our physical state. Sometimes we may feel bored and decide we need a cookie. Or we may feel sad so we reach for some cake. Being aware of your emotions and mental wellbeing is critical for creating and maintaining healthy eating habits. Perhaps if you are bored, you may do well with a glass of water. If you feel sad, perhaps a hug from a loved one or watching your favorite movie will satiate your need.

Optimal health and eating well in Ayurveda are all about maintaining a healthy digestive system: urination is not foul smelling and is a light yellow color, and occurs regularly about every 3-4 hours; bowel movements occur at least once per day and first thing in the morning, ideally 1-3 times per day, are the consistency and size of a ripe banana, are a good brown color, and are not oily or dry. It’s not pretty taking about our body’s elimination, but we can learn a lot about how well or GI system is working be examining our excretions. If your urine is bright yellow and occurs 2-3 times per day, you may not be consuming enough liquids. If your bowel movements are hard, painful, or do not occur at least once per day, you may not be getting enough vitamins and minerals or other necessary nutrients.

How do we know if a food is poison or medicine?

It is all an experiment with foods and a deep awareness in how they affect your physiology. Does eating yogurt with fruit on it give you gas? When you eat eggs do you feel lethargic or energized? When you eat raw vegetables do you feel bloated or unbothered? Once it is determined if the body digests something well or not, it becomes a mental practice. Is it worth it to me to feel this particular to continue eating the thing(s) that make me feel like this? This is where discipline and practice come in with a dash of compassion and forgiveness.

It isn’t “healthy” to restrict things because we “think”we should. If know something is bad for us, and it is not just limited to food, and we continue to consume it or participate in that activity, this is more about the strength of our mind. If I know when I eat cream cheese I will wake up the next morning with nasal congestion and mucus in my throat, I have to decide if I want to eat the cream cheese and feel that way the next day. Or, do I want to skip the cream cheese and wake up the next day with clear sinuses and throat? Sometimes it is worth it, like if we are celebrating a loved one with a lovingly made cake with cream cheese frosting. Sometimes it’s not, like if I plan to go for a swim the next day and need to be able to breathe clearly.

Tips To Eat Well This Holiday Season

Here are some easy ways you can ensure you eat well over the upcoming holidays, and year round, to help keep your immunity and energy up, and your digestion moving smoothly.

  • Make lunch your largest meal.
    Our digestion is the strongest in the middle of the day, so it can help with better sleep, better digestion, and overall mood if you eat your largest meal at lunch time. If you know you are going to a dinner party later in the evening, keep lunch light.
  • Skip a meal if you aren’t hungry or plan to eat a larger meal than normal.
    It is important to be hungry when you eat a meal. If you are hungry your body releases gastric fluids to help you digest your food. If you aren’t hungry and you eat food, your body will have a difficult time breaking down what you eat because the appropriate fluids and enzymes are not available to break the food down. If you know you are going to have a larger than normal dinner, your digestion may benefit from skipping lunch before or breakfast the next day, or making those meals very light.
  • Eat and drink enough during your meal to feel satiated and not full.
    It is a good idea not to eat so much you feel full. In general, see if you are able to consume food and drink during your meal to fill you 3/4 of the way full. Generally we want each meal to fill our stomach half full with food and one quarter full with liquid or drink.
  • Have dessert as part of your meal.
    If you are planning to have dessert, which you are because the holidays offer some of the most delicious desserts, do your best to leave room for it as part of your meal and don’t eat so much that you feel full and have dessert a few hours later
  • Eat a plant-based diet.
    Ayurveda promotes a plant-based diet of whole foods. With an Ayurvedic diet, meat is used only when needed to support bones or muscles, or if a person’s particular constitution requires it for optimal health and safety. Most people can get all the essential vitamins and minerals they need from fruits, vegetables, and legumes when consumed as part of a balanced diet.
  • Don’t eat a minimum of 2 hours before bed time.
    It takes most foods 2-6 hours to fully digest. If we eat right before bed or in the middle of the night, our body is busy working to digest the food instead of resting and may cause restless sleep.
  • Avoid snacking.
    Because it takes most foods 2-6 hours to digest, snacking can lead to indigestion, stomach upset, gas, bloating, or other GI discomfort. The reason for this is because when we eat hydrochloric acid is released in our stomach to break down the foods we eat to be absorbed through our small intestine as vitamins and minerals. Hydrochloric acid, along with other digestive enzymes, is considered our digestive fire, or agni in Ayurveda. This is like a real fire, if we put logs on it, it will burn evenly. If we then put four more logs on before the first logs have caught and are becoming embers, we may put out the fire. If we constantly put food in our stomach without allowing it to be fully digested, it may cause gas, bloating, and or GI distress. If you are hungry, you should eat, and some people benefit from frequent small meals. If you need to snack, consider foods that digest quickly and easily like fruit.
  • Reduce or eliminate cold drinks with meals.
    Similar to snacking, if we put something cold in our stomach with the rest of our meal, it will dampen the ability of the stomach to fully digest what is consumed. Room temperature or warm drinks are best with meals. If you love iced beverages, keep them for in between meals as best you can.

It’s important to keep in mind everyone’s digestion is different. These are basic tips to help you keep on track with healthy eating this holiday season and year round. Remember, healthy eating means you easily digest the foods you consume. In Ayurveda we like to encourage the 80/20 rule. If 80% of the time you have good digestion and 20% of the time you eat your favorite snack and have a little gas, then you’re doing great! Being perfect is boring, and we want to enjoy the life we live. So get out there and enjoy your pumpkin pie! (But as part of your meal.)

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November 26, 2020 · 7:51 am

Create Greater Wellbeing this Fall

Transitioning from summer to fall can be difficult on our system and our mindset. There are many things we can do to help make the transition a little smoother and easier to cope with.

Fall is one of the most magical times of year. When the leaves begin to change from shades of green into purples, golds, pinks, and reds, there is a sense of ease and warmth. Fall is considered the start to vata season, which takes full swing through the winter. Fall still has some traces of summer with some warm sunny days, late summer vegetables, and sleeping with the windows open. As the light begin the fade and days become shorter, that feeling of warmth the leaves gives us is a reminder that cold days are coming and we would do well to make some diet and lifestyle preparations to be ready for the oncoming winter months. Ayurveda has some helpful tips for making that transition easier.

The qualities of vata are cool, dry, rough, hard, mobile, and spacious. Ayurveda offers us simple tools to make the transition from warm to cold by cultivating a feeling of warmth, heaviness, and stability. The fall helps ease us from the heat of the summer to the cold of the winter. We will still see some summer vegetables in the fall, depending on the climate you live in, like broccoli, peas, peppers, and others. The flavors of summer, sweet, bitter, and astringent, will come through in some of these later vegetables and fruits. This is important because winter is all about incorporating foods that are sweet, sour, and salty and the sweet flavor is the bridge between the two. Remember, sweet taste is more than just eating chocolate and and candy. Although those fall in the sweet category, sweet taste shows up in foods like dairy, grains, meats, etc.

As fall begins to incorporate these new tases in the diet through the produce that is available naturally, we also want to consider the qualities of the foods we are eating. In the summer, our foods are light, crisp, and cool. We see these qualities in melons, berries, cucumbers, etc. As we transition to colder months, incorporating heavier, warmer, and dense foods will help us stay warm and help us feel cozy inside. Thinking of the foods we see available in the fall and winter, this makes sense. Typically, these foods are best in the fall:

  • Nuts (especially pecans and almonds)
  • Squashes
  • Pumpkins
  • Potatoes (especially sweet)
  • Fruits (apples, dates, figs, lemons, oranges)
  • Grains (wheat, oats, amaranth, quinoa)
  • Dairy (cow, goat, soft cheeses)
  • Oils (ghee, sunflower and almond oil)
  • Legumes (kidney, mung, urad)
  • Meat
  • Warming spices (cinnamon, chilies, pepper, anise, clover oregano, cardamom, ginger, saffron, rosemary)

In terms of diet, think all the warm, comforting, sticky, heavy foods like chili, mac and cheese, pastas, casseroles, etc. Although in the fall season

A daily routine incorporating abhyanga, the self oil massage, is perfect for creating warmth and nourishment for your skin. This is the perfect time to incorporate slower practices like yin or restorative yoga, meditation, journaling, and other forms of self-reflection and introspection. Take the time to think about what you have done over the last few days, weeks, or months and determine whether your choices are helping you move in the direction you want to be going or if they are derailing you. What can you learn from your experiences to help move you along your path with a little more ease.

In Ayurveda there is an adage that like increases like and opposites balance. Remember the qualities becoming fo fall, cool, dry, rough, hard, mobile, and spacious. See how much warmth, moisture, smoothness, softness, stillness, and stability you can incorporate into your life in all possible ways.

 

Self Care Sunday October 2020 Yoga with Angelina Fox, ERYT500, YACEP, Yoga Teacher and Ayurveda Health CounselorYou may enjoy this video from the October Self-Care Sunday discussing the transition from summer to fall.

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November 14, 2020 · 11:16 am

Keep Cool This Summer

Keep Cool This SummerKeep Cool This Summer with Some Great Tips from Angelina Fox, ERYT500, YACEP, Ayurveda Health Counselor. Image of canoe.

In the hot months of summer our digestion begins to slow down as the body spends its energy keeping the body from over heating. This is important to remember as we move into the season of BBQs, frozen treats, and lots of time in the sun.

In the summer it is no surprise that we begin to crave things to keep us cool like iced drinks, frozen treats, and shade. This is a natural response from our body to help maintain homeostasis. Summer is the Pitta season, according to Ayurveda, and contains the qualities of fire and water like oily, pungent, hot, spreading, sharp, and light. Our physical form and mental state are affected by these qualities and take them on. This is why it is important to bring the opposite quantities to maintain balance.

Self Care Sunday June Edition - Keep Cool the Summer with Angelina Fox ERYT500, YACEP, Yoga Teacher and Ayurveda Health Counselor in Washington DC and Northern Virginia Areas

Check out my live videowith some tips to stay cool this summer.

One easy way to balance the heat is to incorporate bitter, astringent, and sweet flavors into the diet. Bitter tastes come from leafy greens, astringent from many fruits and spices, and sweet from the fruits of the season (sweet doesn’t mean sweets or chocolate, in this case.) These tastes offer a cooling sensation to the body and are easier to digest when our digestion is not its strongest. It is good to reduce the tastes of salty, pungent (spicy), and sour. Foods dominant in these tastes create more heat and are harder for us to digest in the heat of summer. If you can’t give up those spicy tacos, make sure to load them up with lots of cilantro and avocado to balance them out.

Food Lists

It is also important to make lunch your largest meal and to eat between 12 and 2 pm because this is when our digestion is the strongest. Below is a list of foods to incorporate into the diet over the summer. Some of these will have multiple tastes, but are listed in their dominant taste.

Bitter

  • Aloe vera
  • Amaranth
  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Barley
  • Bitter Melon and Gourd
  • Chicory
  • Citrus
  • Cocoa (at least 80% and 1 oz or less)
  • Cranberries
  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, arugula, cabbage, radishes
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Jicama
  • Leafy greens
  • Lettuce
  • Nettle
  • Oat Bran
  • Oats (and astringent)
  • Tapioca

Astringent

  • Apple
  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Aloe Vera
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Beans
  • Chicken (white meat)
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Lentils
  • Pear
  • Peas
  • Pomegranate (tastes sour on the tongue but is both astringent and bitter)
  • Popcorn
  • Potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Seitan
  • Sprouts
  • Tofu

Sweet

  • All the Berries
  • Coconut Milk/Water
  • Couscous
  • Dairy (in small amounts)
  • Melons
  • Pancakes
  • Pasta
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Rice (basmati, white, wild)
  • Rice Cakes
  • Spelt
  • Sprouted Wheat Bread
  • Wheat
  • Wheat Bran

Spices

  • Basil (Bitter and Astringent)
  • Bay Leaf (Astringent)
  • Cardamom (Astringent)
  • Cilantro – Did you know coriander grows into cilantro?
  • Clove (Astringent)
  • Coconut Oil (Sweet and Astringent)
  • Coriander (Astringent)
  • Dill (Astringent)
  • Fennel (Astringent)
  • Fenugreek (Bitter)
  • Ginger (Bitter) – In moderation
  • Marjoram (Astringent)
  • Mint (Astringent)
  • Nutmeg (Astringent)
  • Oregano (Astringent)
  • Parsley (Astringent)
  • Rosemary (Astringent)
  • Saffron (Astringent)
  • Turmeric (Bitter)
  • Vanilla (Sweet and Astringent)

Iced Beverages

Enjoying a ice cold lemonade on a hot day sounds pretty refreshing. However, this can kill our digestive fire and cause gas, bloating, and discomfort if we consume iced beverages with our food. Enjoy your cold drinks throughout the day, but try to have room temperature drinks with and up to two hours after meals to help aid in digestion.

Take Time to Chill

Another great way to keep cool is through reducing very strenuous exercise and doing your hardest physical efforts early in the morning before it is too hot and when the body is the most stable. Consider changing out your hot yoga classes for a slow flow and keep your exercise non-competitive. Offer yourself lots of space to relax. Relax in a hammock with a good book. Sit in the shade with loved ones and spot cloud animals.

Always stay hydrated. Make sure to consume at least half your body weight in oz of water which will include liquid in your foods. Keep your skin protected with sunscreen and appropriate summer gear like a sun shirt or hat.

Want some helpful tips on cooking this summer?

Please join me on July 18 from 10am-12pm EST for Ayurveda Kitchen: Cooking Class for Summer where we will prepare two main dishes and a sweet treat. This will be live, so you will be able to ask questions and cook along with me! Once registered, I will send the recipes, grocery list, and if you register by July 9 you will also receive a spice pack and a special gift. Enroll now! yogawithangelina.com/online

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Starting a Meditation Practice

Starting a Meditation Practice

Check out my live videowith some tips to get your meditation practice started.

Starting a meditation practice can be daunting. We have these images in our mind that meditation is sitting quietly on a mountain top, in lotus legs, hands turned up on the knees, eyes closed in rapture, and exuding the bliss of enlightenment. Um, I don’t know about you, but that aint practical for me.

Before diving in, it is helpful to define what a meditation practice is and isn’t.

What meditation isn’t is making the thoughts in our head stop. We are human and we are living in the real world. Our thoughts will never cease. We need thoughts to get us through every day. To help us make sense of the world we are a part of.

What meditation is, is the process of seeing these thoughts as the thinking mind separate from how we actually are. We are not our thoughts. Who we truly are and our thinking mind are two separate parts inextricably connected.

A meditation practice can be what we imagine above, or it could be washing the dishes. The key is the way in which you do the practice, that you do it in earnest, you practice regularly, and do it with purpose.

Be Compassionate

You will have setbacks. There will be days when you come out more frustrated than you went in. You will have days where it is impossible to concentrate. Remember, that isn’t you, that is your thinking mind. Let it be upset you didn’t “succeed at meditation” and then look at that desire to succeed with discernment rather than judgement that you couldn’t do it.

There will also be days where you are completely tapped in. When you have a set back, remember these connected days. See if you can bring that  deep sense of connection and see if you are able to refocus your efforts.

Here are some tips I have for starting a meditation practice.

  • Find a spot where you will always meditate. Let it be a place that is free from interruption and distraction.
  • Pick a time, morning is ideal to help set our day up to be amazing. 
  • Choose the type of meditation you will do before you sit down to meditate and stick with it for at least 30 days before trying a new one.
  • Have a test amount of time. Can be as little as five minutes.

If you’d like more tips on meditation, my Movement and Meditation Series might be a good fit for you. Each class is 30 minutes and begins with a discussion of meditation followed by short movement and a meditation practice. Get more information, the videos and handouts at yogawithangelina.com/onlineseries.

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Add Spring to Your Step

Add Some Spring to Your Step

According to Ayurveda, spring is the Kapha season. Kapha is a blend of water and earth elements which give it qualities like heavy, dense, wet, cool, slimy, dark, smooth, liquid, stable. These are not to been seen as negative qualities, but qualities in of themselves. We need these qualities in our life to function. Without the heavy and dark qualities it would be difficult to sleep. Without stability, we would fall apart. Without liquid or slimy qualities, our joints would dry out.

Add Some Spring to Your Step Self Care Sunday April 2020

View my video with more information and follow me on Facebook for monthly Self-Care Sunday tips.

In spring time these qualities are more abundant and directly affect us so it is important to take care to not let ourselves be overwhelmed by them. Like increases like and opposites balance is an adage closely followed in Ayurveda. By adding light, dry, warm qualities through lifestyle practices and diet choices it is possible to bring balance to the qualities of Kapha and prevent them from taking over and creating that sluggish, don’t want to get off the couch feeling and add spring to your step!

Think of the “spring cleaning” ritual many of us follow with our homes. It is the same thing with our body. We need to shake out the cobwebs we accumulate over winter to make space for the fun of summer and begin to feel light on or feet.

If we are wise, we begin to incorporate the practices just when the weather is starting to turn from winter to spring to reduce things like allergies and colds as much as possible. But it’s never too late!

Lifestyle

Start to move your body more! Exercise is critical to keeping the heavy and sluggish qualities at bay. Every day move your body for at least 30 minutes. This does not have to be high intensity or all in one take, simply walking, or dancing in your living room counts!

Kapalabhati Breathing is also a great way to bust up excess Kapha. Kapha tends to collect in the lungs and airway, which is why it is important to breathe deeply. To do this, sit tall, have a tissue on hand, forcefully heal air through your nose. Your inhale will happen on it’s own. If you feel light headed, take a break or stop. Always be safe and listen to your body.

Doing a saline rinse with a Neti Pot helps keep the cilia in the nostrils functioning at full capacity to help filter allergens, dust, and other pathogens keeping galleries and colds at bay.

Drink your beverages warm or room temperature (At least no ice!). Because Kapha has the cold quality already, we don’t want to aggravate it and further reduce our body’s ability to digest the food we eat.

Diet

Incorporate more foods with bitter, astringent and pungent tastes and try to reduce sweet, sour, and salty tastes. In Ayurveda, sweet is more than sugar and candy. Sweet is anything that has a sweet taste like dairy, heavy meats like red meat or pork, wheat, etc. Replace flour with amaranth, millet, oat, barley, or buckwheat.

Have your meals warm to make them easily digestible. During the spring, our digestion is not as strong, so eating fully cooked foods that are warm make it easier to digest to the food. Make dinner your lightest meal or if you’re digestion is particularly sluggish, you may consider skipping dinner all together for a short period of time.

Bitter:

  • Leafy Greens (like kale, collards, dandelion greens)
  • Cabbage Family (broccoli, cauliflower)
  • Cranberries
  • Artichoke
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Chard
  • Collards
  • Coffee
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Bitter melon
  • Burdock root
  • Eggplant

Astringent:

  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Lemons
  • Pomegranates
  • Rye
  • Popcorn
  • Corn
  • Ricecakes
  • Legumes and Beans
  • Green Beans
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes (not sweet)

Pungent:

  • Black Pepper
  • Cayenne
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Chilies
  • Ginger

Begin to reduce oily, cold, dense, and sweet foods like fried foods, avocados (I know, it’s a bummer. Don’t have to give them up entirely, just reduce to like once per week and you can bring them back in full force over the summer!), soy, sweet potatoes, olive oil, cucumbers, bananas, oranges, dairy, etc.

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