Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Navigating Breakfast

Navigating Breakfast

Breakfast is an important meal, but not all of us actually are hungry in the morning. Many people, articles and nutritionists have told us that we have to eat in the morning because of all sorts of reasons: kick starts metabolism, gives us more energy, keeps us from eating more later in the day, etc., and for some of us this may be true, but not for all. So if you are TRULY not hungry in the morning have a cup of herbal teas and some fruit and call it good (not being hungry in the morning may mean your body needs extra time to process through the food from the night before, and therefore more food is not necessary). Eating when you are not hungry can put out your digestive fire, and in Ayurveda terms, that means digestion slows, metabolism slows and your food turns into sludge in the body. So eating at a consistent time is important. But also eating when you are hungry and not eating when you are not hungry, can help you to keep your fire burning bright and strong. 

If you are hungry at breakfast, do not ignore it, it means you have a strong fire and you need some nourishment, so have a decent sized breakfast, nothing too light but not too heavy either. Make sure it is warm. Kitchari, oatmeal, eggs with veggies, steamed vegetables or freshly made muffins can be a perfect choice. 

Gluten free, Vegan, Morning Glory Muffins
1 ¼ cup buckwheat flour
¼ tapioca flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 mashed bananas
½ cup olive oil or your favorite cooking oil
2-4 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
½ cup raisins
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 grated carrots
½ cup hemp hearts
Optional ingredients
            Chocolate chips
            Coco nibs
            Candied ginger pieces
            Crushed pineapple
            1 egg

Preheat oven to 345 degrees. Grease muffin pan. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. Mash bananas and add vanilla. Mix in raisins, coconut, carrots, hemp hearts and any other optional ingredients. Combine with flour mixture and scoop into muffin pan. Bake 20-25 minutes. These are wonderful breakfast treats with a little nut butter and ghee, or a wonderful afternoon snack with tea for a little pick me up. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Spices - what they can do for your body


What they can do for you

Cooking and making teas with certain spices can be flavorful, but they can also be used as a medicinal way of cooking. Here are a few spices that I recommend you start incorporating into your diet for flavor and health reasons.
In Ayurveda every food, spice and herb plays a roll on the 3 doshas that you are made up of, which is vata, pitta and kapha. Below is general information about the spices and also what doshas they effect and how. If you are not sure what dosha type you are take a quick quiz here:

NOTE: cooking with these spices will be beneficial to anyone, but notice the amount in which you are cooking with them, if some heat up your stomach too much, then counter balance them with cooling spices and herbs like fennel, cilantro, coriander and cardamom. If you need more digestive help, use black pepper, ginger, turmeric and mustard.

Turmeric: (decreases kapha, vata and pitta)
Light and dry herb that is bitter, pungent and astringent in taste. Its post digestive effect is heating. It is good for cleansing the blood, decongestant, anti - inflammatory, anti- carcinogenic, blood purifier and helps to improve blood circulation and acts as a natural antibiotic.
This herb can be used fresh or in powder form and is great in rice, mung beans, stir-fry and roasted veggies. Using it every day will increase its benefits.

Fennel: (decreases kapha and vata)
This herb is light, moist and sharp. It is sweet, bitter and astringent in taste and has a cooling post digestive effect. It is great when used for abdominal pain, flatulence, indigestion and colic. Fennel tea can be made by simply seeping fennel seeds in hot water for 5 minutes and then drinking the water and chewing the seeds. It is great for upset stomachs and indigestion.

Cumin: (decreases kapha and vata, increases pitta)
This light and dry herb has a heating post digestive effect and tastes more pungent. It improves the digestive fire, reduces gas, helps to purify blood can be used as a diuretic and can be anti-inflammatory. Chew the seeds to help with stomatitis or mouth sores. Easting a few seeds before or with a meal helps with digestion and absorption of food. Woman, If you have a tendency to have cramps while menstruation, dry roast a couple of tablespoons of these seeds and then chew on a pinch or two every hour or so throughout the days of your heaviest flow. The anti-inflammatory property can help alleviate painful cramping.

Cinnamon: (decreases kapha and vata, increases pitta)
This spice is light, sharp and dry and has a heating post digestive effect. It is a pungent taste and can be good on fruit and vegetables. Cinnamon improves your digestive fire, stimulates the liver, is a cardiotonic and a diuretic. Cinnamon helps to even out blood sugar levels so adding it to hot water mid day can help you avoid those sugar cravings.

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this blog are based upon the opinion of Staraya McKinstry. They are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, and they are not intended as medical advice.