Happy New Year
Happy New Year and welcome to 2021, the year of “ease.” January brings us hope of “doing” things differently, becoming whatever, we believe will make us happier. Most times it begins with a promise to lose weight, eat healthier, which in Ayurveda is exactly where we want to begin, with the physical body. It is also just as important to work with the subtle body as well as this includes impressions we take in, the emotional body and the Self.
I believe our gut is our first brain, our digestive fire is the main form of fire and power, responsible for the 12 forms of Agni (fire), which makes our digestion the cornerstone of health. The reason is because food becomes blood, and all organs are bathed in the blood, including our mind. Thus, food and digestion affect our mood, behavior, and physical health. If our digestive fire (Agni) is working properly, the food we eat disperses the nutrition from the food to the seven tissues, which also each have their own Agni, feeds the mind.
It is vital that we not only look at our food but also the fact that the most basic level of nourishment for the mind is the metabolism of impressions from the outer world. If the impressions we take in are unwholesome, loud, noisy, conflicting, angry, etc. it will tend to derange the mind. Hence, positive impressions found in nature, color, music, mantra, etc. balance the mind through the senses.
It is the same for emotions/feelings. If we take in unwholesome feelings like fear, anger, or hatred, this will disturb our emotional nature deranging the mind. If we are receptive only to love, friendship and happiness, this will promote emotional calm and contentment. Did you know that Love is the only emotion that can be really digested? Love has many forms such as compassion, devotion, joy, etc. It is the lack of love which is the source of emotional disturbances. Our ideas and impressions we take in about ourselves are just as important. If we are continually negative, a poor self-image is created. If our thoughts are positive we are able to function with confidence in the world.
To begin 2021 with ease, let’s take a moment to honor ourselves and acknowledge that we did the best we could under the challenging circumstances of 2020. We are here for spiritual growth and bringing and sending the energy of love into the world.
There is really nothing we have to do to move with ease other than to be present with ourselves with awareness of what impressions we are allowing in, our self talk, and the feelings we are giving and receiving. Our reactions to scenarios is where our responsibility lies. How we respond to given situations affects our energy and moods as well as that of others around us. Perhaps you can simply take the approach of the observer. Notice any emotions as they arise. Our reactions negatively or positively affect our own energy which becomes our reality.
Understanding that our thoughts/mind affect our digestive fire, we now look at ways to bring “ease” to the digestion. If you indulged over the holidays, or let’s face it, the whole year, the first thing to begin with is to consume easily digestible foods, eating foods that are cooked with warming spices and herbs to stimulate the digestion. This is one of the most loving and compassionate things we can for ourselves, taking time to rekindle the fire through a sattvic diet. The go to in Ayurveda is Kitcheree, as simple dish of basmati rice, split mung beans, spices and vegetables if you choose. There are various ways to ease the digestion:
· Fasting “a” meal a few days a week or fasting for 1 full day
· Drinking warming teas throughout the day and with meals
· Using ghee which is the easiest oil for the liver to breakdown
· Being present when you eat. Our eyes play a big role in digestion, if we are working or watching television, on the phone, etc. multitasking divides our attention which dampens our digestive fire
Wishing you all of life blessings in 2021, peace, joy, prosperity, health and greater sense of ease within you.
Winter Recipes to Ease the Digestion
Excellent as a mono diets for cleansing or fasting or as the basis of a Sattvic diet
½ cup split Mung Beans ½ & ½ Rice & Beans + Twice the liquid gives solid Kitcheree
½ cup Basmati Rice ½ & ½ Rice & Beans + 3-5 the liquid gives “Soup”
1 inch fresh ginger – peeled and chopped
2 tbsp of ghee
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp Coriander powder
1 tsp Cumin powder or Cumin seeds
1 pinch of sea salt
1 pinch of hing (asafetida) (spice in the white container that smells)
2-6 cups water
(add 3-5 times the amount of stock as total Rice/Beans mix for soup – add 2-3 times the amount to make Kitcheree)
In a large pot – heat ghee on Med/HighAdd ginger mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, hing, coriander and stir 1-2 mins until spices become aromatic, Add rice and beans and stir till all grains are coated “Dry Roast” 3-4 mins stirring continuously
Add water and salt and bring to a boil
Cover – Reduce heat to med and cook for 30 mins for “solid kitcheree” or 40 – 60 mins for soup.
Variation: Add sliced vegetables with water
5 cups Vegetable Broth
1 tbsp Olive Oil
2 stalks celery
1 head of Cauliflower
3 bay leaves
salt & Pepper to taste
½ tsp arrowroot powder
¼ - to ½ cup almond milk
Saute leeks and celery in olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Add vegetable broth, cauliflower and bay leaves, simmer for 30 mins
Bring 4 cups of water to boil.
2” Fresh ginger root, peeled and cut in pieces
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp turmeric
A pinch of fennel seeds
Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10-30 minutes, depending on how strong you like your flavors and how much digestive help you need. Strain and sip after meals.