BLUE MORNING; FOOD FOR THOUGHT

January 12, 2016
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Hello all, I hope everyone is having a good start to the New Year.

Today, I share with you a simple smoothie recipe and some food for thought.

I’ll begin by saying I normally detest winter and have a difficult time adjusting to cold weather. In this regard, it made sense to me to share a chai recipe the other day- it’s warm and comforting. Comfort foods, chai, hot yoga, blankies, and minimal exposure to the environment is how I typically get through winter.

Yet much to my surprise, I was craving a cold fruit smoothie yesterday- that’s odd. And it’s not the only craving I’ve had lately; I’ve been hungry for fruits, salads, kale, light broths, berries, brisk walks, weight lifting, and have been prancing around barefoot (this never happens in winter months, for me).

After teasing out the differences between this winter and my past experiences with this season, I discovered something interesting- this is the first winter that I’ve been “home” and “grounded.” In the past years, I’ve been rushing, balancing two jobs, grad school, internships, kids, and a social life. Of course, over the last several years, all of that rushing around, has been done on little sleep and in the face of all kinds of nasty cold weather. My past winter days, were simply a daily fight against sleet, snow, traffic jams, and darkness/doom.

After critically thinking about typical seasonal experiences and it’s affect on my body,  it made sense that I’d need some comfort food during these times. In the past, my body was naturally balancing itself against the hellish environment.

And my body is taking perfect care of itself now, too. You see, this winter I’ve been home, studying, writing, painting, taking time to explore the world at my leisure, and working on my photography. I’m grounded. I’m warm. I’m at peace. Perhaps I’m too stagnant, and my body is finding balance naturally; light foods, invigorating activities, less clothing, and is becoming more tolerant of the cold conditions outside.

I believe (strongly) if we pay attention to our bodies and our environment, we will do what’s best for our overall wellness, naturally. According to Eastern practices of holistic wellness and medicine, we become ill (mentally, physically, etc.) when we are systematically out of balance. I am not an expert on Chinese medicine or Ayurveda (the ancient health care practice in India), but in short, both practices focus on balance (mind, spirit, body) to promote optimal wellness and/or healing.

Most people have heard about yin and yang in Chinese medicine – ones health suffers when they are imbalanced. Similarly, the practice of Ayurveda (ancient health care in India) centers on the “balance of your constitution” (I’ll explain in a minute). However, many people I’ve spoken with, are not familiar with Ayurveda or the “doshas,” that according to Ayurveda, makes up ones “prakriti/constitution”.

I find the principles of Ayurveda fascinating- they make sense and resonate for me. Again, I’m not an expert on Ayurveda, but I’ve done a lot of research (own countless books, including cook books etc.) and follow the general principles of this ancient practice.

Quickly, here’s an extremely layman’s discussion on Ayurveda: we all have a constitution that is comprised of three doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These doshas are related to Air, Fire, and Earth (Vata/Air, Pitta/Fire and Kaphs/Earth). In short, each dosha has very specific qualities: Pitta predominant are generally medium build, quick tempered, become agitated by hot conditions, intelligent, and fast paced. Vata Predominant are often thin, anxious, averse to cold, creative, deep thinkers, and sensitive. Kapha predominant are typically strong in build and character, solid, grounded, uncomfortable with damp conditions, calm, and loving.

While we are comprised of all three doshas, we are typically predominant in one or two. When we are not keeping ourselves balanced, based on our constitution, we can become ill (mentally, physically, etc.). One example: If one is Pitta predominant, and become imbalanced with Vata, he may feel anxious. That said, this example is simply introducing the topic of balance. Ayurveda is a fascinating study; for over 5,000 years it has been used throughout India and is still being used in their health care system, today. I do not want to oversimplify this absolutely intriguing, dense, and incredibly valuable health care tradition. I encourage you to do the research on Ayurveda yourself and see if it resonates for you.

At the close of this article, I’ll leave you with some links to light reading ancient wellness practices. In these links you can determine your dosha by taking a quiz (fun)! You will also find information on how to keep your constitution balanced, to promote optimal wellness.

Share with me, your dosha after taking the quiz ~ I’m interested!

As for myself, I believe I’m Vata predominant. And currently, this Vata may have a Kapha imbalance (excess) which may be why I’m feeling the need to lighten things up. This may make a lot more sense after you read some of the literature I’ll leave below. If you’re not one who is naturally in tune with your body (paying attention to patterns of behavior, needs, food cravings etc.) it may take some focus to figure out your balance, too. 

Which brings us back to the smoothie recipe:
My recent cravings have been for something protein packed, fruity and light. As such,  I came up with this beautiful creation for breakfast yesterday. The smoothie is called “Blue Morning,”  and she’s packed with protein, healthy antioxidants, and is super cooling – enjoy!

Finally, here are the links I said I’d leave. They are easy and super fun to read if you’re interested.

And one more important side note: After years of reading on this subject, I’m pretty sure “Vata” is indeed “my dosha.” That said, I would like to visit a certified practitioner, to be evaluated, professionally.

If you’re interested in the practice of Ayurveda, you may want to see a practitioner in your area, too. Nothing takes the place of an actual professionals evaluation, when it comes to promoting personal wellness (holistic or otherwise). Ayurveda isn’t a “fad” or some fly by night wellness practice- it’s backed by scientific studies and should be respected as a quality way to self-care. 

Here’s some light reading!

http://www.chopra.com/ccl/what-is-a-dosha

http://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/prakriti-quiz/

http://www.livescience.com/42153-ayurveda.html

http://www.shen-nong.com/eng/principles/application2yinyang.html

BLUE MORNING
Serves 1
A purple pleasing protein delight ~ vegan!
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 30 grams protein powder (1 scoop, see notes)
  2. 1 cup almond milk
  3. 1 cup frozen organic wild blueberries
  4. 1 tablespoon ginger (fresh grated)
  5. 1 lemon (juice only)
  6. 1 tablespoon black chia seeds
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into a blender with a few cubes of ice. Blend until creamy. Pour contents into a glass with a few ice cubes and top with extra black chia seeds and frozen blueberries ~ enjoy!
Notes
  1. 30 grams protein powder is 1 scoop of vegan plant protein powder. I enjoy Plant Fusion.
  2. Add a little agave on top - sweeten to taste.
  3. This shake is roughly 28 grams of protein. The nutritional data is calculated by the recipe card application, and it must use an "average" for the grams of protein on the protein powder. My protein powder is 22 grams of protein, by itself. Adding the chia seeds and almond milk, would bring the shake up to around 28 grams of protein, at least.
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