Ayurveda

Stay Divine. Fall with the Leaves. Breakthrough.

Fall..that smell of freshly sharpened pencils, new beginnings, boldness, courageous shedding of layers and breaking through old paradigms. 

AYURVEDA. Mother Earth. Witches from the Salty Seas.

Include these ingredients into your day now that the season has turned. 

Pomegranate: The pomegranate has been heralded for centuries, and in fact, it’s one of the oldest known fruits in existence. Lucky for us, this gorgeous fruit is still plentiful and we’re able to enjoy the benefits of its jewel-like seeds and juice, which is brimming with free-radical zapping antioxidants. These antioxidants have been shown to lower cholesterol, improve heart health, and possibly inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. On top of this, pomegranates are a great source of iron and vitamin C, and vitamin B-6 which helps keep your body functioning as it should.

Pomegranate seeds are delicious as they are, but they’re also incredible tossed into salads, soups, and smoothies. The next time you break out your juicer, try adding in a few pomegranate seeds to reap their rewards.

Pumpkin: It seems only natural to start this list with the most autumnal of them all, doesn’t it? Pumpkin is ubiquitous for fall and on top of being flavorful, this squash is also jam packed with good-for-you vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin is incredibly rich in fiber, which helps to keep you feeling full longer and keeps your digestive tract healthy. Pumpkin is also rich in folate, which aids in cell renewal, and is an amazing source of vitamin A, which helps keep your vision sharp. Just 1 cup of pumpkin contains over 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A!

While it’s great mixed into baked goods and smoothies, pumpkin is even better when it’s incorporated into savory dishes like soups and stews. You can even roast it and mix it into pasta and rice dishes for an easy meal. And don’t toss the seeds! Pumpkin seeds are rich in phytosterols, plant-based chemicals that have been shown to lower cholesterol, and they also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that can help boost your mood.

Beets: People seem to either love or hate beets, and I fall into the former category. In my opinion, beets are pretty awesome. These jewel-tone root vegetables were originally harvested for their greens only, but over time people caught on to how delicious the roots were as well, and good thing, because these earthy vegetables are also nutritional powerhouses. Along with vitamin C, folate, and manganese, beets are also a unique source of betaine. Never heard of betaine? You’re not alone, but this elusive nutrient aides in reducing inflammation and has been shown to protect cells from environmental stresses and about a million other things. Beets are also an incredible detoxifyer and help to purify your blood and your liver. And don’t throw out those greens! Buying a bunch of whole beets is a nutritional two-for-one: the greens themselves contain even more iron than spinach.

Beets and beet greens are super simple to prepare. The root can be roasted, juiced, shaved onto salads, and thrown into almost anything. The greens can be steamed, sauteed, or mixed into soups and salads; whichever way you make them, they’re sure to be delicious.

Pears: After researching their nutritional benefits, I’m working on including this autumnal fruit much more into my day. Just the skin of pears contains over half of the entire fruit’s dietary fiber and three to four times as many antioxidants. Pretty incredible, right? Pears are also a great source of fiber and can help aide in lowering oxidative stress on our cells.

Pears are great raw, but my favorite way to eat them is roasted or baked as a dessert. They’re also an amazing addition to salads and can even be tossed on the grill and served as a sweet accompaniment to a savory dish.

Squash: Besides pumpkin, there are countless numbers of other squash available this season, and you should definitely pick some up. Depending on which type you choose, squash is generally an amazing source of fiber and vitamin C, and also contains high percentages of potassium, which can help muscle performance and vitamin A, which helps development.

If you’re new to the wide world of squashes, I think the two friendliest are acorn and butternut. Try trimming and roasting a butternut squash, or making it into butternut squash soup, or try making a stuffed acorn squash. Once you get the hang of it, explore the countless other varieties out there, each one with their own amazing benefits.

SPICES:
Cinnamon

Cinnamon doesn’t just smell heavenly, it also has a number of great health benefits and is actually a powerful medicinal herb used for years in traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy for colds and headaches, among other things. Cinnamon is known to be a great digestive aid and also helps lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar. Even the scent is said to boost cognitive function and memory! I love adding a small dash of cinnamon to coffee or tea, or on top of oatmeal. Cinnamon and honey in tea is incredibly soothing and delicious.

Juniper Berries Juniper berries are commonly used as a spice in preparing hearty type dishes. As a veg head, the only way I've ever consumed them was in a beverage, but they are delicious! Their health benefits including improving digestion, lowering blood sugar and improving kidney health. Mix juniper berries with cinnamon and cloves and any other desired ingredients, simmer, strain and serve hot!

Turmeric

Turmeric is native to Southeast Asia and a member of the ginger family, and is thought by many cultures to be one of the most beneficial substances around. It is a common ingredient in Southeast Asian foods, and was also often used in ancient Indian medicine, Ayurveda. Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant that some studies show can also be used to block the growth of certain cancers. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory. It is best incorporated into food raw – just sprinkle a bit in soup or mix in with salad dressing and enjoy its mild flavor and many health benefits! Oh, and the unexpected uses – turmeric can be mixed with plain yogurt to create a skin cream to promote healthier skin, and it can also be used to make a really beautiful natural dye!

Nutmeg

I actually never knew this is what nutmeg looked like! I’m used to the ground, reddish brown powder that you get when these are ground up. Nutmeg is one of my favorite additions to sprinkle on top of soup in the fall – it has a very potent flavor so you only need small amounts. Medicinally, nutmeg has powerful antibacterial properties and can effectively kill bacteria in the mouth, preventing cavities and sickness – and nutmeg oil can be used to treat toothaches! Other health benefits include mixing with honey to help with nausea, indigestion and even anxiety and depression.

Cloves

Last but not least, cloves are another great seasonal spice that can help remedy colds, skin problems and more. Cloves work surprisingly well as an expectorant if you have a cough – add a couple cloves to your tea and let it do its work! For an unexpected use, a small satchel of cloves in a drawer can give your clothes a lovely aroma and also keep them fresh. Combine ground cloves with honey to make a homemade facial remedy that will help fight breakouts and balance out your skin.


Stay tuned for the next series on oils, stones and flowers that will uplift also.

Transformation & more metamorphosis: Clips from the Novel


The room was dimly lit with candles, chakras were all aglow.
Liana lightly touched my shoulder like a fairy, "do you have any health issues" she asked with a smile so bright, if my answer was, 'yes,' she would have melted the disease in that moment. I replied "no," and introduced myself. She reached for me, scooped me up and gave me one of those giggly girly hugs where you can transcend back to your childhood.
Two sisters, or friends hugging and jumping lightly at the same time, feeling each others giggles from the gut, laughing as though you just rolled down a grassy hill together.

Within moments I'm sweating, working on my
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana I, moments later I'm crying after feathering out of Ustrasana. She walks around the room on tippy toes so delicately considering your senses at every moment. Liana is such a gentle guide. She tickles your underarm to get it to move where she thinks you might like it better. Gracefully stands before you demonstrating just how it will feel best. Encouraging with heart and divinity, all the way.
Like a mommy, like a mermaid she is one I will remember and cherish.
The onset of my current direction, Liana was a part of it.
Her lemongrass sealed it with a kiss. She showed me what a teacher is supposed to feel like. She showed me, I would love to do this. Once you find what it is you love, I realized, don't ever let it go.

I've been calling her Caroline, Caroline Grace Ashurst, but her name is clearly Grace. Gracie when I feel like super cozy with her. And she is so cozy even with her sharp needles. Like a lily, petite and present, she places them so precisely, as I feel the steam of qi, like butterfly kisses, along my left foots arch. She has created movement, blood flow and feeling. She asks very intently, "does it hurt here, is it achy, what about here?"
She finds that perfect place to place what will be liberating me.
She touched my pulses, glanced at my tongue and seemed to get my entire health story, leaving no stone unturned.
She understood everything with such depth. My fire constitution, or maybe earth or water. It takes awhile to find sometimes. We're pretty certain, I'm a fire.
We're balancing my metal and my fires, so that we can see more clearly. It's a dance you do together practitioner and the one seeking the healing, in order to see the results.
Punctured to the fullest she smoked the room with incence and mugwort torched my belly as I requested. "This definately looks like you went to China and had this done."
She said at my follow up visit. Some like it hot, I don't think she was pleased.
She told me, as she crouched down closely to my belly whispering to it, almost as seductively as the one who kisses it softly and keeps going, but very differently than that, like it was her belly, one she loved, "How can we talk nicer to this belly." I realized then, I can't tell my belly I may cut her again. I have to thank her for bringing life and try to heal her from deep inside.  I can feel the vibrations changing in me. I'm now putting my fire into my earth. My scars are healing.

Cindy, with her cable TV network show came to interview amidst all of this change. She has Grounded me, all seven of my chakras to be exact, and it sent me to my core. Helped me to silence that chatter, in order to conduct an interview. Airing on 3-11 in NY and Saturday in Manhattan. "Who are you giving your power to, girly?" She asked, shocked. "I instantly felt a ping in my heart and sick to my stomach when I touched your heart and your belly." She told me I'm definately all in my head, but that I'm not reaching from the divine space to deliver what I'm delivering so freely. "You're around really sick people all day. In that line of work, it's important to balance and ground the chakras." I was calmed, finally. I stopped talking too fast, thinking too fast and losing focus on the now. I had confidence and delivered the interview with ease.

Liana opening me to release, Grace guiding me to put my fire in my earth clearing my metals, water and wood, while freeing my qi and Cindy grounding my dreams into reality. Thankful bliss.

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