This soup is for those winter days when you are feeling cold and run down. Make this soup and feel nourished!
Gather: 1 tbsp olive oil 1 small onion, diced 3 carrots, chopped 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced 1 daikon, chopped 6 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced 2” piece ginger, grated 3 scallions, thinly sliced Water (or vegetable broth or bone broth) 1 tbsp wakame seaweed (or any other seaweed variety) 2 tbsp miso paste 1/2 tsp black pepper 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Make: Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the celery and carrots, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring. Add the daikon, mushrooms and ginger, and stir for one minute. Add water to the pot to 1-2” above the veggies (depending on how soupy you want it). Bring to boil, then add the seaweed and simmer for 25 minutes or until veggies are soft.
Once the the veggies are soft, turn the heat off and let sit for 5 minutes. Then stir in the scallions, miso, black pepper and vinegar. Enjoy!
Have you been feeling really cold? Have dry skin, dry scalp and chapped lips? Feeling a little spacey, pulled in too many directions and basically ungrounded? That is the energy of vata dosha, and we are in the midst of vata season. Vata dosha has the qualities of cold, dry, light and mobile. In Ayurveda, to balance the force of doshas we use opposites. So, at this time of year we focus on things that are more warming, heavy, and grounded. And oily and unctuous, which are the opposite of dry.
One great way to help balance vata is to eat a warm and grounding breakfast every day. This is a basic oatmeal porridge recipe with some extra add-ins to make it more appropriate to balance vata. Grains, like oats, are very balancing to vata as they are heavy and grounding. The spices in the oatmeal – ginger, cinnamon and cardamom – add some heat and help make the other heavy ingredients like oats and dates more digestible. Dates are also heavy, and they also build ojas. Ojas is your resilience and immunity – definitely needed at this time of year. The chia seeds, hemp seeds and sunbutter are grounding and are healthy fats that help balance dryness in the body.
Gather: 1/2 cup oats 1/4 tsp cinnamon 1 cardamom pod, smashed Grated ginger from 1/2-1” inch ginger root Pinch of mineral salt 2 chopped dates Optional: 1/2 cup of fruit (I like to use apple) 1 cup water 1 cup oat milk 1 tbsp chia seeds 1 tbsp nut butter (I use sunbutter) 1 tbsp hemp seeds
Make: Add the oats, dates, dates, fruit, spices, oat milk and water to a small pan. Heat on high until it’s boiling. Turn to low and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. It should be creamy. Turn off the heat and stir in the chia seeds. Let sit for a few minutes to let the chia seeds absorb liquid. Put the porridge in a bowl and top with hemp seeds and nut butter. Enjoy! Makes 1 good size serving.
So, you decided to schedule an Ayurvedic consultation to learn more about your mind-body type, and the ideal diet and lifestyle unique for you. Or maybe you are looking for some support for a health issue that hasn’t been helped (or maybe even acknowledged) by western medicine. It’s very possible that you don’t know anyone else who has done an Ayurvedic consultation, and maybe you’re wondering what to expect. You might not even know what Ayurveda is! If you’re feeling a little apprehensive, don’t worry. I’m going to describe the process for you, so that you feel more comfortable about your upcoming Ayurvedic consultation.
First up: paperwork and photos! The first part of the process is… detailed paperwork. Prior to your appointment, you will need to complete an intake form asking you many questions about your current health and health history. Just relax while you are doing this – there are no right or wrong answers. You’ll also be asked to provide a list of supplements and medications, as well as a list of foods eaten over the last few days.
Since appointments are currently done virtually, you’ll also need to provide some photographs of yourself. Most of these can be taken by yourself as long as you have access to a mirror. Physical observation is one of the diagnostic tools that I use. This information all helps me determine your mind-body constitution and any current imbalances.
Be ready for lots of questions… At your appointment, be prepared to answer many questions about your health. Like, a lot more questions than your health practitioner has possibly ever asked you. Filling out the intake form will give you a good idea of the types of questions I’ll be asking. For instance, you will be asked questions about any digestive issues, past and current health issues, the foods you eat on a regular basis, how or if you exercise, your daily routine and your stressors.
Some questions might seem personal and even kinda uncomfortable to talk about – like questions about your sweat, urine and poop. This information is crucial to help us know what is going on inside your body – especially the presence of toxins and your digestive strength.
You will stick out your tongue Another diagnostic tool is analyzing your tongue. You’ll be asked to send me a close-up of your tongue in natural light and/or show me your tongue during our appointment. You might be wondering, should you clean your tongue before your appointment? It’s actually better if you don’t, as this lets me observe your tongue coating. Observing the size, shape and coating of your tongue is helpful in determining the presence of toxins, digestive strength, and other imbalances.
What you get After our appointment, you will be getting diet and lifestyle tips, as well as herbal recommendations from me that help address your current imbalances. These tips are specific to you and won’t be helpful for your family members or friends. Don’t be overwhelmed when you see these, as most Ayurvedic practices take weeks or months to implement. It’s all about the baby steps you take on the way to your healing. I recommend people tackle one diet and one lifestyle change a week. Together we will decide if it would be supportive of you to have a followup appointment.
I hope after reading this, you’ll feel more comfortable scheduling an appointment to see an Ayurvedic Health Counselor. I am currently available for appointments via Zoom. Please e-mail me at email@example.com to set up our consultation.
It’s early December, and we are in the midst of Vata season. In Ayurveda, the seasons are characterized by the doshas – vata, pitta and Kapha. Late fall and early winter are vata season – and have the qualities of dry, cold and light (think of fallen leaves blowing in the wind). Have you noticed the weather is dry and cold? Have your skin and sinuses felt drier? Have you felt more ungrounded than usual lately? That is how the energy of vata manifests in your mind and body.
To balance the dry, cold and ungrounded energy of vata – we use opposites. One way to do this is through the foods we choose to eat. Soups are very balancing to vata as they are moist and warm. Adding heavier ingredients like butternut squash, and healthy fats and proteins, like lentils and coconut milk, are grounding as they balance the lightness of vata.
Don’t be put off my the long ingredient list for this recipe. It comes together quickly, then goes right into your instant pot. You can make the recipe easier by using frozen, precut and peeled butternut squash. You could also choose to not blend your soup after it cooks in the instant pot.
Gather: 2 cups chopped & peeled butternut squash 1 cup red lentils – soaked overnight 1 small onion, chopped 3 stalks celery, chopped 1 clove of garlic, minced 1” of fresh ginger, grated or minced 2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil 1 tsp turmeric 1 tsp cumin 1/4 tsp smoked paprika 1/4 tsp garam masala Pinch of black pepper 1 tsp mineral salt 1 quart of broth (vegetable or bone broth) 1 can coconut milk (full fat) Optional: plain coconut yogurt as topping.
Make: Set the instant pot on the saute function. Melt the ghee in the pot, then add the onions and celery. Saute, stirring, until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and other spices and saute for 2 minutes. Add the butternut squash and red lentils, stir and cook for 1 minute. Turn off saute function.
Add the broth and salt and put the lid on the instant pot. Set on manual for 30 minutes (on mine I can also use the “soup” button). Sit back and let the instant pot do its thing. After its completed cooking, let it natural release for 5 minutes. Let out the rest of the pressure and add the coconut milk, stir. To make your soup a puree consistency, let it cool a bit then blend in batches. Or, use an immersion blender and blend it right in the instant pot (my preferred way). Optional, top with a dollop of coconut yogurt. Enjoy!
The holidays are quickly approaching! And that means we are most likely indulging in eating large heavy meals that we wouldn’t do in everyday life. Below are a few simple tips that you can do to help your mind and body handle eating all of these rich and decadent foods!
Also, I want to be clear that I feel any food made by a friend and family member with love is completely appropriate for you to be eating on these rare occasions! These are just some ideas that will help you digest these meals better, resulting in better digestion, which will make you feel better overall and enjoy your time with family and friends.
Get some movement in! Get some exercise in the morning, and take a short walk after eating your large meal.
Drink herbal tea throughout the day and especially 30 minutes before you eat. Some good choices are CCF tea, fresh ginger tea and chamomile tea.
It’s November, and we are deep into the fall season. According to Ayurveda, this time of year we feel the effects of ether and air elements. Ether (or space) lacks structure and form. Ether is the changeable quality we see in nature at this time of year. Air element also reigns at this time of year – think of air as movement. Think of the movement of the air with a cool breeze and leaves blowing in the wind.
The qualities these elements express are dry, cold, light and mobile – its a changeable energy that is very ungrounded. These qualities describe the energy of vata dosha in Ayurveda, as fall and early winter are the vata times of year. You might notice feelings of vata imbalance at this time of year like dry skin, cold hands and feet, and feeling erratic in your mind.
How you care for yourself during this season will directly reflect on your body’s health through the winter. In Ayurveda, we use opposite qualities to heal any imbalances. At this time of year you want to bring in the qualities of warm, moistening, heavy and grounding. One of the easiest ways to manifest these qualities is to practice an Ayurvedic self-oil massage called abhyanga.
Abhyanga is a simple form of self-massage with oil. The word for oil in Sanskrit, the language of Ayurveda, is sneha. An additional way to translate sneha is love or affection. Abhyanga is a great way to nourish your body and show it some love! There are many benefits to doing a self-oil massage every day – it balances and calms your nervous system (and mind), nourishes and moisturizes your skin, stimulates your immune system, detoxifies by activating your lymphatic system, lubricates your joints, and gives your skin a radiant glow – to name just a few!
How to practice Abhyanga self-oil massage:
Pick your oil of choice. Generally, sesame oil is therapeutic for vata skin, coconut oil for pitta skin, and sunflower oil for kapha skin. If you don’t know your doshic makeup, try sesame oil in the fall and winter, coconut oil in the summer, sunflower oil in the spring. Mahanarayan oil is a great oil to use if you have aching joints and muscle pain. Source cold-pressed, organic oils. I purchase my oils from Banyan Botanicals.
Warm your oil. I either do this by rubbing small amounts of oil together in my hands to warm before applying, or by putting the oil in a small glass jar that I let sit in a skinful of hot water for a few minutes. (It’s recommended to start with 1/4 cup of oil, and as you do this more you’ll learn how much quantity you really need).
Remove all clothing and jewelry. I recommend that you stand on an old towel.
Start at the soles of your feet and work towards the crown of your head (or opposite – crown to feet). Gently start to massage the oil onto your skin – everywhere. On your arms and legs, use long stroking motion, on your joints circular motion. On the belly, massage the oil clockwise if you are looking down to stimulate digestion. If you are washing your hair that day, massage the crown of your head.
If you have the time, leave the oil on for 15-20 minutes. If you don’t have that amount of time, leave the oil on at least 5 minutes. I usually use this time to continue to massage my joints and any places on my body that I experience tension like my low back and neck.
Rub off any excess oil with your old towel and take a shower. The steam of the shower causes the pores to open, allowing the oil to penetrate deeper into the skin. You do not need to soap off the oil.
Abhyanga can be practiced either in the morning, or in the evening – whenever you typically take a shower.
Try practicing abhyanga daily and see how you feel. It is such a nourishing and healing gift you can give to yourself everyday. Enjoy!
Kitchari is a comforting, nourishing meal commonly used in Ayurveda. It’s used as a healing food – you could say it’s the chicken soup of Ayurveda. It’s base is basmati rice and split mung beans, with spices to aid digestion. It’s commonly eaten during an Ayurvedic cleanse at the turning of the fall and spring seasons. It kindles your digestive fire, improving your digestive strength. I commonly eat it for lunch, as it’s simple to make, it’s got a good mix of protein, fats and carbs, and its yummy! My favorite way to make kitchari is using the instant pot – it’s so easy this way!
Gather: 1 cup white basmati rice 1/2 cups split mung beans (also called yellow mung dal) 1 tablespoon kitchari spice mix* 2 tablespoons ghee 5-6 cups water 1-2 cups chopped vegetables of your choice Salt to taste A few pinches of fresh ground black pepper
Make: Optional: Soak rice and mung beans overnight, then drain and rinse before cooking.
Add the split mung beans and spice mix to your instant pot along with 2 cups of water. Cook on manual setting for 20 minutes. Let it release naturally after cooking for 5-10 minutes. (I often do this step in the morning, then set the IP on a timer to cook a few hours later if I’m making this for lunch).
Add to the instant pot all of the other ingredients. The amount of water varies by how thick you want your kitchari. I usually add 3 additional cups of water here for a thicker stew-like kitchari. If you like soupier kitchari, add the additional cup of water. Vegetables I like using are carrots, zucchini, butternut squash, green beans, beets and cauliflower. Cook on the rice setting (just hit the rice button on the Instant Pot). Enjoy!
Optional: top with fresh cilantro like I did in this photo
Join me for a seasonal Ayurvedic cleanse this fall! Ayurvedic cleanses provide a physical, mental and emotional reset. Detoxing has been practiced at seasonal transitions for thousands of years, and plays an important role in your overall well-being.
The Ayurvedic approach doesn’t involve juice, spicy lemonade, fasting and depriving yourself of solid food. Instead, it focuses on cooking and eating warm, nourishing and comforting foods and teas that encourage a gentle release of toxins built-up over time. It also includes self-care practices that promote both cleansing and rejuvenation. You’ll notice a renewed sense of balance, inner-peace and calmness as you move through the cleanse.
This guided cleanse includes:
Four live group calls over Zoom for support and instructions
Handouts for each phase of the cleanse (preparation, active cleanse, rejuvenation)
Recipes (one per each phase)
Option to schedule an individual Ayurvedic consultation with me to discuss your specific health and wellness goals at a discounted rate.
The cleanse will last 25 days and starts September 12, 2020. The Zoom call schedule is below. We are following the cleanse from the book “The 25 Day Ayurveda Cleanse” by Kerry Harling. It is recommended that you also purchase that book for more recipes, day by day cleanse schedule and shopping lists.
Investment: $40 *Also recommended that you purchase “The 25 Day Ayurveda Cleanse” by Kerry Harling
Zoom Dates (all times MST): Introduction, Precleanse, and Preparation: 9/9/20 (Wed) 7 pm Active Cleanse Preparation: 9/16/20 (Wed) 7 pm Active Cleanse Check-in: 9/25 (Fri) 10 am Post Cleanse: 9/30/20 (Wed) 7 pm (give yourself an hour for each call, though they may run shorter
Cleanse Dates: September 12 – October 6th. Note that you are not actively cleansing the entire length of this time frame – this includes a pre and post cleanse.
To register: E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org letting me know you’re in! Then submit your $40 investment (see options below). Optional, but highly recommended, purchase Kerry Harling’s book “The 25 Day Ayurveda Cleanse.”
1. Send your $40 investment via Paypal. Use the following e-mail address: email@example.com
2. Send your $40 investment via Venmo. This is my Venmo account name: @Corinne-Bernardo
3. Send your $40 investment via Cash App. This is my name on Cash app: $coribernardo
I prefer to eat a cooked breakfast, as it’s easier to digest in the morning. Most of the year I turn to oatmeal for my warm breakfast. As we move into late spring and summer, oatmeal begins to feel too heavy. That’s when I turn to amaranth porridge.
Amaranth is a gluten-free grain that has a nutty taste. It’s a lighter grain, but is still satisfying. It’s high in iron, calcium and magnesium. In Ayurveda, amaranth is good to balance kapha, as it’s dry and light. It also balances Pitta, as it’s cooling and sweet, as it has an affinity for soothing the eyes. Vata types can balance the dryness of amaranth by adding some oils to their porridge, like coconut oil or ghee.
Gather: 1/2 cup amaranth 1 cup of water A few pinches of cinnamon 1 tbsp ground flax seed 1 tbsp hemp seeds 1 tsp coconut butter or ghee Optional: top with oat milk and serve with fresh fruit
Make: Bring the water, amaranth and cinnamon to a boil. Turn heat down so the porridge is simmering, and partially cover. Stir occasionally. Cook about 20 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed.
Stir in the flax seed and hemp seeds. Top with coconut oil or ghee. I also like to pour some oat milk over top to make it more porridgy and creamy. Optional: serve with fruit of your choice.
Have you been thinking of trying yoga, or recommitting to a yoga practice? Here are some reasons to roll out your mat and give it a try! Yoga is an ancient practice that brings together body and mind. As it’s practiced today, yoga incorporates breath work, poses and meditation that have many benefits to your mental and physical health. Most people of all ages and fitness levels can do the most basic yoga poses and stretches.
Relieve Stress and Anxiety
The practice of yoga eases stress and promotes calm and relaxation. This is what led me to the practice of yoga almost 20 years ago. The practice of yoga is known to lower cortisol levels-cortisol being your primary stress hormone. At the same time, yoga triggers your parasympathetic nervous system, your rest and digest response, which helps both mind and body relax. This rest and digest response also helps you sleep better, another benefit of yoga!
Improve Flexibility and Balance
This is why most people add yoga to their fitness routine – improved flexibility and balance. Yoga poses stretch your muscles and increase your range of motion. Balancing poses help with balance, but also focus and coordination. Many professional athletes are even adding yoga to their training these days to improve their performance.
It takes a lot of strength to hold your body in some yoga poses! Strong muscles protect you from conditions like back pain and arthritis. When you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility, helping you to prevent injuries. Increasing strength may also help you improve your posture, and prevent posture-related issues like back and neck problems.
All kinds of other Health Benefits…
Including (and I’m probably missing some) – improved respiration and lung health (through breathwork), balanced metabolism, weight reduction, heart health, bone health, boosts immunity, helps with high blood pressure, helps you sleep better, improves digestion, eases pain, and best of all…
Yoga makes you happier!
Studies have found that a consistent yoga practice improves depression by increasing serotonin levels (the happiness hormone), GABA levels (associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety) and decreasing levels of cortisol (stress hormone). And you’ll learn how to regulate the breath through breathwork, which is key in terms of lowering stress and bringing your mind to the present moment – both of which make you feel happier.