Archive | June, 2015

Ojas – Stoking Your Digestive Fire

30 Jun

In this third of four blogs about our ojas (read the previous blog post HERE), I’m going to focus on a vital component of building a strong digestive fire: how and what we eat. Let’s go!

Food, Glorious Food

Unknown-1A conscious, mindful eating practice and healthy digestion helps us build our ojas. Be very selective about what you put into your bodies to keep strong during cold and flu season.

Although there are now ‘healthier’ options available at restaurants like McDonald’s or Jack in the Box, do your best to avoid food grabbed on the fly, especially fast food. Get the highest quality, organic, non-GMO food you can afford.

Become One with Your Meal

Don’t wolf it down! These days, people often don’t connect with their food. Taking the time to be mindful sets you up to receive the food properly and actually stokes the digestive fire.

Take a few minutes to be thankful for your food. As you eat your yummy meal, the digestive fire gets hotter, allowing food to be metabolized in an appropriate way. Then you won’t have pieces of undigested food sitting in your body creating ama (toxins) that then get pushed through the digestive tract.

What’s the benefit? Keeping the body in balance blocks illness from coming in. Illness only happens when we’re in an imbalanced state or not taking in proper nutrition. Healthy food is your prime energy source.

Some especially healthy foods include organic milk, almonds, sesame, honey, rice, pineapple, mango, kale and spinach. It’s not necessary to eat these foods exclusively but incorporating more of them into your diet increases the quality of your nutrition.

Good Fat

Cooking with clarified butter, known as ghee, builds ojas. You’ll get the yummy taste of butter without the unhealthy fats. Omega 3s, mono- and poly-unsaturated fats are great sources of healthy fat, and remember to use coconut oil for cooking. Olive, almond, chia and flaxseed are also excellent oils to not only build ojas, but they’re great for heart health as well. Women with a higher intake of healthy fat have firmer, smoother skin!

A Magical Recipe

Stay away from white or any processed sugars. They promote inflammation, which can lead to a whole host of diseases, and will decrease your ojas. Use stevia or agave instead, or add mango or coconut to your plate so you can have a sweet without adding something bad to your diet.

When I talk about sweets, know that I really had to work on it because I’m a sugar addict! Rice pudding contains the good fats I talked about and gives you the sweetness you want. Gather these ingredients:

  • ½ cup basmati rice
  • 4 cups organic milk (I prefer almond or coconut milk because I’m lactose intolerant)
  • 4-6 cardamom seeds – bruise them a little to allow the essential spice to come out
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/8th to ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon powder)
  • 2–4 TBS honey or organic agave syrup
  • 1 handful of pistachios or almonds. Almonds are good for all doshas.

Rinse off the raw rice. In a heavy-bottomed pan, add the rice, milk, cardamom and cinnamon and bring to a boil over low heat. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure it doesn’t burn. Check the texture and cook until the mixture is slightly thick but easy to stir. Remove the cinnamon stick and the cardamom pods (unless you used the powders). Stir in the agave or honey and let it cool. Toss in the nuts. I also like to add raisins or goji berries.

When I was pregnant with my daughter this was the only thing I could eat in the morning that didn’t cause morning sickness and was very nurturing to both of us. Funny that now my daughter doesn’t like rice pudding!

Do you have a favorite healthy go-to snack that’s healthy and satisfying? Share in the comments below how you build healthy ojas!

Wishing you peace to your mind, wellness to your body and tranquility to your spirit.

Namaste,

Rochel Marie Lawson, RN, AHP, CMS

The Queen of Feeling Fabulous and The Wellness Architect

How to Strengthen Your Ojas

16 Jun

In a previous blog post, I defined ojas, agni and ama, the three building blocks that contribute to a healthy immune system (read it HERE). Now let’s jump in and talk about specific steps you can take to strengthen your ojas!

Worry – A Great Way to Ruin Your Day

It happens to all of us. First thing in the morning, we might find ourselves worrying about our day, compulsively checking email or Facebook or thinking about problems. This habit sets us up to not have a good day. A worried, depressed state also disrupts our ojas, particularly if it becomes a chronic habit.

Rather than hit the ground running, create a slower-paced morning ritual that allows you to connect to the part of your body and mind that’s happy to be alive. Make a choice to consider the beauty of what the day has to offer without worrying about everything else around you.

The Morning Ritual

This is what I do on a daily basis when I’m not traveling. To set the tone to handle daily life, I wake up in bed and take a couple of slow, deep breaths. I give thanks for the day and slowly get up. In the bathroom, I wash my face and go through my elimination process.

I recommend using healthy oils on your skin. Use an oil like sesame prior to getting in the shower, then reapply after you get out. It nourishes the skin and helps curtail dryness. Sesame oil is a little bit heavier and nurtures all the body tissues. Lighter oils that I suggest are almond or sunflower. For fall and winter, make coconut oil your last choice if you can’t find the others. It works just as well, but tends to have a cooling effect on the skin so it’s best suited for the warm weather months.

images-1Tea and Meditation

Once I’m up, showered and dressed, I light a candle and maybe some incense. I sit down and meditate for a few minutes and finish the ritual with a cup of tea. Somehow a lovely, steaming cup of tea anchors me to go forth confidently through my day.

Try it yourself for a week and see if you notice how the tone you set in the morning lasts throughout the day to maintain that calm.

How do you usually start your day and is it setting the tone you really want? Let me know in the comments!

Wishing you peace to your mind, wellness to your body and tranquility to your spirit.

Namaste,

Rochel Marie Lawson, RN, AHP, CMS

The Queen of Feeling Fabulous and The Wellness Architect

Know Your Ojas!

2 Jun

This is the first of four posts to investigate the topic of ojas. Let’s dive in!

What is it?

In Ayurveda, ojas is the end product of good digestion and metabolism and is believed to connect consciousness and matter. In the West it’s more commonly referred to as your immune system or your immunity.

When we talk about strengthening your ojas, we mean building your immune system. A strong ojas keeps you free from illness and disease. Ayurveda is all about balancing your mind and body to prevent illness.

Our Inner Fire

images One of the most important principals in Ayurveda is the maintenance of the health of your agni, or digestive fire. If you don’t have strong digestive fire, you can’t efficiently absorb the nutrients and elements you take in.

A strong agni helps us digest properly and also process all aspects of life including the experiences and memories we have and the impressions we pick up from our environment. Efficiently burning food also staves off excess weight.

Strong vs. Weak

Strong agni, including our day-to-day experiences in life, creates a more balanced state, which aids in the prevention of illness. Weak agni doesn’t properly absorb nutrients and creates toxic buildup, waste and residue. That buildup is called ama (toxins), which get stuck in the colon and putrefy. Yuck.

Ojas, agni and ama go hand-in-hand to create a healthy, balanced body. Strong ojas helps us experience the nectar of life – now you understand what they are and why they’re important.

Next week, I’ll give you some tips you can start using right away to strengthen your ojas, so stay tuned!

What steps do you take to keep yourself in a balanced state? Share your comments below!

Wishing you peace to your mind, wellness to your body and tranquility to your spirit.

Namaste,

Rochel Marie Lawson, RN, AHP, CMS

The Queen of Feeling Fabulous and The Wellness Architect