5 Ayurvedic Spices Every Kitchen Should Have

(As published in the “Popular Lately” section of Elephant Journal)

I recently met an accomplished, Indian-born, western-trained Gastroenterologist at a graduation party I attended for my sister.

After sharing a little about how amazing it has been for me, as an American-born Indian, to not only discover, but have the opportunity to study Ayurveda, she was keenly interested to learn more.

“I work with the GI tract. We have so many complex procedures we take our patients through, but I so often find myself reminiscing back to my childhood days and all the simple, yet powerful solutions my grandmother used to possess to treat so many digestive ailments,” she confided.

Indeed, one of the most incredible discoveries for me from Ayurveda is how many tools it provides us to take our health into our own hands.  Continue reading

Staying Healthy this Fall: 4 Seasonal Tips from Ayurveda

(Originally published as a “Featured Today” Highlight, in the “Popular Lately” section and Top 10 Blogs of the Week on Elephant Journal)

One of the most inspiring things about the ancient science of Ayurveda to me is how it not only equips us with tools to transform disease, but also to actively promote real, abiding health.

Ayurveda is the sister science of Yoga. It is a full system of medicine, which is believed to have been revealed to Rishis (seers or sages) over 5,000 years ago in the ancient Indian civilization.

Ayurveda is still practiced all over India. These days, Ayurveda is in danger of becoming merely another prescription-writing medical practice in which more attention is increasingly given to treating disease than to preventing it. I am therefore so grateful to have been able to study the science of Ayurveda from a traditional Gurukula style of school, where the teachings of this ancient science have truly come to life in an amazing, experiential way.

One of the ways I have learned to really live by Ayurveda’s wisdom is by following its seasonal health protocols, called Ritucharya. “Ritu” means “season” in Sanskrit, and “charya” signifies “to follow.” Through following the specific seasonal regimens of Ritucharya, Ayurveda empowers us to live in greater harmony with the cycles of nature.

In Ayurveda, there are three fundamental constituents of the body, called doshas. These doshas are made up of the five great elements: ether, air, fire, water, and earth. Whereas many modern Ayurveda resources indicate that Vata dosha (made up of ether and air) is increased during the Autumn season, the ancient, traditional texts of Ayurveda, like Charaka Samhita and Ashtanga Hrdayam, inform us that it is actually the Pitta dosha (comprised of fire and water) that is dominant in the atmosphere at this time.

What does it mean for us to stay healthy in a practical, day-to-day way this fall?  Continue reading

Why Getting More Exercise Doesn’t Always Mean Getting Healthier

(As originally posted as “Featured Today” highlight and in the “Popular Lately” section on Elephant Journal)

Eat well and get plenty of exercise.”

We hear this blanket statement of ‘health’ all the time in the health and wellness world. Doctors prescribe it, the media promotes it, and so we practice it.

We work out and we feel better. We even come to crave the release of endorphins that accompanies our exercise routines. It makes us feel so good that the more we do of it, the better we will feel, right?

Having fallen (hard) for the endorphin release that comes with a great workout in the past, I can say from hard-earned experience that getting more exercise does not always equal gaining more health.  Continue reading