Posted in Healing

Healing with Ayurveda – Book Review

One of the greatest blessings in my life has been connecting with an Ayurvedic Medicine practitioner and learning how best to eat for my specific body type.  Learning that my dosha (body temperament) is Vata/Pitta and how to manage the typical imbalances of this combination has helped me to alleviate all kinds of unpleasant physical as well as emotional symptoms.  Ayurvedic Medicine has been a goddess-send for me!  I was therefore thrilled to discover the book, The Wheel of Healing with Ayurveda by Michelle S. Fondin.  Here she describes in very simple terms the theory and practice of Ayurveda and provides guidance for you to begin your own journey with Ayurveda.  I highly recommend this book for beginners and experts alike. Here is an excerpt from her book:

WheelHealing_cvr_p.indd

Food as Medicine
An Excerpt from The Wheel of Healing with Ayurveda

The adage “You are what you eat” is more than a cliché. More than ever, in today’s world, it’s a reality. And what we have available to eat is increasingly artificial, genetically modified, chemical laden, and simply unhealthy. Even though the choices may seem varied, in actuality they’re limited to a few ingredients, which show up in different products. So what should you eat to maintain optimal health?

First, I’d like you to consider a few facts and natural inclinations we have. This will put you in touch with your intuitive nature. Fact no. 1: We need to eat in order to stay alive. Fact no. 2: Our ancestors, who lived before the Industrial Revolution, had to rely on hunting, gathering, growing, and storing food to survive. Fact no. 3: Because the human body has been hardwired over time for survival, eating large amounts of food or yo-yo dieting will lead to weight gain.

In the postindustrial era, processed or chemically produced food has become the norm. Owing to shrewd and manipulative advertising, most people don’t even know the difference between something healthy and something processed. If one cereal carries the claim that it will lower cholesterol and is endorsed by the American Heart Association, why shouldn’t we believe it? If a yogurt company makes the claim that their yogurt has five grams of fiber, and your doctor says you must get more fiber, why not buy that yogurt? One thing we need to realize is that advertisers tell partial truths. Food manufacturers and distributors are multibillion-dollar corporations. If you don’t believe their claims, their advertising teams are doing a poor job. In 2010, Kraft Food’s net revenue was $49.2 billion.
In comparison, smaller, organic food companies, such as Horizon Organic Dairy, bring in around $50 to $100 million in net revenue. It’s not surprising that we believe the large food companies’ claims, given how loud and how present they are in our daily lives.

For millions of years, humans have eaten what was available from the earth; and for the past one hundred years or so, they’ve eaten what’s available. Do you understand the difference in that statement? In order to obtain optimal health, we need to go back to eating what’s available from the earth, because that is what we’re hardwired to process. Biological evolution takes a great number of generations, not one or two generations. By pouring chemically produced food and drink into our bodies, we are attempting to force biological evolution over the period of one lifetime. And our bodies are protesting. According to the World Health Organization, world cancer rates could increase by 50 percent, to 15 million new cases by 2020. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, obesity is the number two preventable cause of death in the United States.\

Poor diet costs us not only our lives but our resources as well. Type 2 diabetes, a completely preventable form of diabetes, drains $63.14 billion from our health care system yearly, and that figure doesn’t take into account the cost of lost days of work, physician office visits, and the detriment to families. Close runners-up in preventable disease are hypertension and heart disease, followed by osteoarthritis and gallbladder disease.

The good news is that you can do something about all this. With a shift in awareness and a change in habits, you get to take control of your health and life. Most people only dabble in a healthy lifestyle and then brace themselves for a cancer diagnosis or for some other disease that may creep up. But most diseases don’t “come out of nowhere.” Disease is developed over years and sometimes decades. According to Ayurvedic medicine, 95 percent of diseases are completely preventable with a consistent, proper lifestyle, one that includes a good diet, meditation, and an exercise regime. This is good news because you are in control. Being in control means you take responsibility for your own health. Leaving your health to doctors, medicines, other health care practitioners, or fate means leaving the door wide open to greater health problems in the future. When it comes to health, there is a place for allopathic medicine, herbal medicine, and, yes, prayer, but those are certainly not ways to prevent ill health. They are simply bandages applied to what’s already broken.

What I’m emphasizing here is taking real responsibility on a daily basis, starting now, today. There’s a reason why you picked up this book, and this is it. By taking responsibility, you cannot blame anyone or anything for your sickness or disease.

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Michelle FondinMichelle S. Fondin is the author of The Wheel of Healing with Ayurveda. She holds a Vedic Master Certificate from the Chopra Center and is a member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association and Yoga Alliance. She treats clients at her Ayurvedic Path center, speaks and offers workshops, and lives in Herndon, Virginia. Visit her online at http://michellefondin.com.
Excerpted from the book The Wheel of Healing with Ayruveda ©2015 by Michelle S. Fondin. Printed with permission of New World Library. www.newworldlibrary.com

Posted in Being Human, Body/Mind/Spirit connection, guilt, Healing, Inspiration

Latte’ Love and other Ways to Nurture the Soul

Deprivation as Health?

In Tuesday’s blog, I explored the connection between the way we nourish our body and the ability of the Soul to awaken and be realized through us.  In this culture of EXCESS, nourishing our body and awakening our Soul is unfortunately, most often experienced as a form of punishment.  I believe that this is due in part to the extreme departure from wellness we have taken as a culture.  As such, in order to be “healthy,” we have to deprive ourselves of all the things that give us joy. As a result, we see many embracing militaristic diets which might be nourishing, but are in no way joyful.  In my experience, this militant approach to nutrition is just as detrimental to our spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health as the gluttonous production and consumption of highly processed, lifeless food, and usually ends up backfiring as the participant grows tired of deprivation and then begins to gorge on all the things that used to give them comfort.  (Just think of Miss “O” and her yoyo journey of weight loss and weight gain.)

Moderation is Key

When we make healthy and living foods our priority, we soon realize the benefits thereof and are less likely to backslide. We feel better physically, we have more energy, our emotions move into a greater state of equilibrium and our blood sugar is balanced which makes us less likely to gorge.  The goal with preparing and nourishing ourselves with healthy and living food meals is to keep them simple, pleasing to the eye and pleasurable to the palate.  Nourishment should be enjoyable, not just a matter of necessity.  There is nothing worse than munching on rice cakes because they are “healthy” and wishing it were a chocolate shake and then wondering, “where was the pleasure in that!?” So instead of depriving ourselves of the things we love, it is important while maintaining a diet that nourishes the body while supporting the awakening of our Soul, to allow ourselves an indulgence from time to time.

Latte’ Love

If you want that piece of apple pie, enjoy it (while paying attention to how your body feels after eating it.).  If Chocolate is your go-to treat, keep a few Hershey Kisses nearby and allow yourself a few from time to time.  And by all means, if there is nothing better than a latte’ for making you feel loved and cared for, then allow for that latte’ love! The key to obtaining a natural state of health and wellness is MODERATION and ATTENTION.  Pay attention to how you feel after consuming these “special treats” and then make future decisions based on that.  For example, I have learned I can handle a half-caff latte’ at 10 am, but a full-caff makes me anxious and my brain scattered.  A piece of apple pie puts me in a sugar coma, so I usually choose to skip it.  A small bowl of Breyer’s natural mint-chip ice cream before bed gives me no negative effects, but a glass of red wine causes me to lose sleep.  So, I choose what makes me feel good, energetic, clear-headed and healthy vs. those things which wreck havoc on my emotional, mental or physical well-being. Now it is your turn to choose!  🙂

Latte' Love
Latte’ Love
Posted in Being Human, Body/Mind/Spirit connection, creativity, Healing, Lessons, Midlife Journey

Nourish the Body and Awaken the Soul

Nourishing the Body

DSCF3029I have discovered that there is a direct relationship between nourishing our body and the awakening of the Soul.  When we eat healthy, nourishing, living foods, the Soul feels nourished and supported and it has room to move.  When the Soul has room to move, it has room to grow and to be birthed through us. When we fill our bodies full of chemically-laden, over-processed, dead and deadening foods, our Soul gets grumpy and lets us know by either making us physically ill or creating emotional havoc.  The old adage is true, “We are what we eat,” and if we fill our bodies full of garbage, then we feel like garbage.  When we treat the temple of our body as sacred, magnificent and holy and nourish it with magical, life-giving foods, we become magical and full of life.

Every Body is Unique

DSCF3027Now, that being said, I am not one to tout one specific philosophy of eating over another.  Instead, I encourage you to experiment and see what feels right to you.  Start listening to your body and your Soul – they will tell you what they like and what they do not.  For example, recently, I am finding my body leaning toward a alkaline/raw/vegetarian approach, but I have also learned that in the fall and winter, my body prefers some cooked meals, and there are days when my body CRAVES meat – mostly beef or venison, preferably grass-fed and hormone free.  I have also discovered that whole grains are sometimes a necessary complement to my other food choices.  I have also learned that processed grains (ie: White bread, pasta) and refined sugars are not my friends. Neither are spicy, nightshade (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant), or acidic foods.  The point is – listen to your body and see what is says to you – it doesn’t matter if you choose vegan, vegetarian, raw, ovo-lacto, or carnivorous, as long as it works for YOUR body and that your choices are healthy….and living foods. PS:  You can tell if the food you are eating are living foods by how they make you feel.  For example, Taco Hell’s Cantinabeana Bowl (though promoted as “healthy”) is made of dead food.  And I’m pretty sure what they are serving at McD….(you know who) is Soilent Green!  YUK!

Making Nourishment Fun

wusthofNow, here is the most important part of nourishing your body so as to awaken the Soul – MAKE IT FUN!!!!  And what that means is treat yourself to pretty, fun and good quality food preparation equipment and whatever you do, do not skimp on the single most important cooking tool – A GOOD KITCHEN KNIFE!!!!!!   Believe me, you will thank yourself for investing in a knife (or knives) that cut cleanly, remain sharp and don’t snag on your chopping block!  I swear by Wusthof knives….and Macy’s often has them on sale!   A good knife makes cooking easy and fun and when it is easy and fun, we are more likely to give our energy and attention to it!

Feed your Belly, Feed your Creativity

saccralWhen we take the time to feed our belly through the preparation of healthy, colorful, living foods, not only are we feeding our belly – we are feeding the creativity center in the center of our belly.  The sacral chakra – responsible for creativity, procreation and co-creation, resides in the center of our lower abdomen.  Food preparation is a creative activity.  When we engage in this activity, we are stimulating and supporting our creativity center.  When we stimulate and support our creativity, our Soul is happy and starts to sing and dance which further stimulates our creative leanings.  Each of us has been uniquely and creatively gifted to find fulfillment, love, joy and peace in our lives and this creativity resides in the center of our belly.  Our job is to take care of it so that it can mature, grow and be brought forth into the world.  When we nurture our Soul through preparation and consumption of healthy, living foods, we are providing for its growth and development in the same way we have provided for the growth and development of our children.  Nourish the Body.  Nourish the Soul!

Then…..share your joy with others

DSCF3034Being raised in a family of six, I only know how to cook for 6-10.  As such, I always have leftovers and way more than I could eat before the freshness fades.  So what do I do?  I make one for me and one to share!  There is a certain sense of satisfaction in sharing our fruits with others, and in the process we are helping to nourish another’s body so that their Soul may also awaken.   In the spirit of sharing, check out the new page on my site:  SOUL FOOD for my favorite nourishing and healthy recipes for awakening the Soul!  And feel free to submit your favorite recipes and photos to be included.  Let’s share the food love! 🙂

What are you doing to nourish your body so as to awaken your Soul?