Tips to Stay Centered in the Fall

Tips to Stay Centered in the Fall

Tips to Stay Centered in the Fall

– Your Diet –


Ayurveda is India’s traditional medical practice. In my opinion, it has never been more relevant than today as it is the most comprehensive and complete holistic health system in existence. The meaning of the Sanskrit word Ayurveda is science or knowledge (veda) of life (ayur). It’s system is based on logic and science and yet is beautifully simple somehow. It described systems of energies into three categories; named the Doshas. The three Doshas are known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each Dosha governs specific functions in the body and mind and is associated with different elements. Vata is associated with the elements of air and ether (space), Pitta with fire and water, and Kapha with earth and water.

Everything can be described in terms of its qualities, hence the elements. We can therefore describe the seasons through the doshas as they also each have predominant qualities. In Ayurveda the fall season corresponds to two major doshas or mind-body principles: Pitta and Vata. Autumn is considered Pitta as long as hot weather prevails, and Vata as it becomes cold. Late fall and winter are known as “Vata season” because they are marked by some of the same qualities that characterize Vata: cold, dry, light, clear, and moving.

As long as these qualities are in balance, a person whose dosha is predominantly Vata will be healthy, creative, and exuberant. But when too much Vata accumulates in the body and mind, the imbalance may manifest as physical or emotional disorders, including insomnia, dry skin, arthritis, constipation, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. 

All body types are vulnerable to Vata derangement during autumn and winter, but those who are predominantly Vata types need to be particularly vigilant about staying in balance (Deepak Chopra).

Following are tips on how to eat to stay balanced through these colder months:

Your Diet

Follow a Vata Pacifying Diet

  • Eat your food warm – this means trading your salad in for a cozy soup, your apples for warm applesauce. Butternut squash, eggs, ghee, warm dairy, winter squash, root vegetables, nuts, seeds, bone broth and beef provide the nourishment your body needs to build a layer of protective, insulating fat before winter. Add generous amounts of good quality oils like ghee and coconut oil to your dishes.
  • Avoid cold foods and drinks at all costs. Tip: when eating out; ask for warm water instead of the ice cold water they normally serve.
  • Stay away from cabbage-family veggies
  • Drink warm beverages
  • Avoid eating raw veggies or fruits
  • Inner lubrification ; ghee is your best friend during Vata season. If your dosha is Vata predominant you may add 1 tsp of ghee to each of your three daily meals.
  • Avoid dry foods such as chips, crackers, popcorn etc…
  • Always eat in a calm setting
  • Regular meals: Do not skip meals! and take your last meal of the day at least 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon or a splash of vinegar on top of your meals to bring in the juiciness of the sour taste. A dash of sour taste keeps the palate moist and digestion strong. (source: Joyfullbelly)
  • Spicy foods may feel warm as you eat them, but they will dilate blood vessels in the skin, which could leave you vulnerable to catching a cold. Keep your heat in by avoiding especially spicy foods in fall, especially cayenne pepper and chilis. Otherwise, spices are okay as long as they don’t make you sweat. Moderate use of spices like salt, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, garlic, onionand thyme are actually helpful to digest the heavier foods of fall, as long as you are wearing warm clothing to protect your skin. (source: Joyfullbelly)
    Like most pungent spices, cinnamon rekindles digestion. It is a favorite additive to counteract the damp, heavy qualities of dairy. Cinnamon’s anti-microbial qualities also reduce gas and fermentation in the GI. (source: Joyfullbelly)
  • Black pepper improves circulation via vasodilation. It is a carminative (expels gas) useful for cold Vata digestion. It is gently warming and digestive without being overstimulating or overheating like cayenne or chili pepper. As mentioned above, exercise caution with spices. Their use for digestive effect may be helpful, but in excess causes loss of heat through the skin.
  • Root vegetables; squash, sweet potato, carrots, beets etc are excellent choices
  • Lentils; choose the smaller variety such as mung dhal, red coral lentils as they are much easier to digest than the larger variety such as chickpea, kidney etc..
  • Avoid consuming too many stimulants such as coffee, alcohol etc; they will affect the quality of your sleep.
  • Natural sweeteners to use: honey, dates, and molasses (also a great source of iron!)
  • Tea recipe for optimal digestion: CCF Tea
    Add 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp coriander, 1 tsp fennel to 2 cups of water; bring to a boil, remove from heat and let steep for 3-4 minutes. Strain, and sip slowly after meals.
ayurvedic tea, recipe for tea

ayurvedic tea, recipe for tea

Keep focused on these tips to stay grounded during for Vata Season. In my opinion, Fall is a great time to read, stay at home and harness your creative energy. Fun times ahead!

Be warm, be well!

Tea recipes that will make you feel delicious!

Tea recipes that will make you feel delicious!

Tea for Three ( Doshas )


– Let’s enjoy a nice cuppa –


I Love Ginger Tea – for Vatas

  • 2 inches ginger root
  • 4-5 cups water
  • 1 tsp raw sugar
  1. Grate ginger root.
  2. Add to a pot of boiling water and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Strain and enjoy. Add honey if desired.


Rose & Mint Tea – for Pittas

  • 2 pinches of fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp mint
  • 1/4 tsp rose petals
  • 1/4 tsp raw sugar
  • 2 cups of water
  1. Boil water.
  2. Add ingredients and steep for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Strain and enjoy.

Spice for Life Tea – for Kaphas

  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp crushed cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 tsp honey (optional)
  1. Begin heating water in a pot.
  2. Add cinnamon sticks and turmeric powder and boil for 3 minutes.
  3. Add ginger and boil for another 2 minutes.
  4. Strain and add a bit of honey if desired once it’s cooled down a bit.


Digestive Tea for all Doshas ( CCF Tea )

  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 4-5 cups of water
  1. In the morning, Bring to a boil 4-5 cups fo water. Add all the seeds. Cover with lid and boil for 5 minutes.
  2. Strain out seeds and pour into a thermos.
  3. Drink at least 3 times a day to improve and reset your digestion.


I lived in England for a year when I was 19 years old. What a delight to visit grandiose estates on the weekends and enjoy a nice cup of tea in the beautiful surroundings. I must add that I generally accompanied that with a delicious scone and Devonshire cream. Fond memories.


Lifestyle tips on staying grounded during Vata season

Lifestyle tips on staying grounded during Vata season

Staying Centered During the Colder Months


– Lifestyle –


All body types are vulnerable to Vata derangement during autumn and winter, but those who are predominantly Vata types need to be particularly vigilant about staying in balance.
As long as these qualities are in balance, a person whose dosha is predominantly Vata will be healthy, creative, and exuberant. But when too much Vata accumulates in the body and mind, the imbalance may manifest as physical or emotional disorders, including insomnia, dry skin, arthritis, constipation, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression (Deepak Chopra).

Following is a list of tips to help you stay balanced through these colder months:

Apart from following a Vata pacifying diet which I spoke of in my last newsletter.
Today, I share with you some practical lifestyle tips to stay grounded:


  • I know, this sounds so obvious but it does astonish me to see so many people during the colder weather not cover their ears, necks and even waist. So please, keep your ears covered; very sensitive area for Vata people; the cold wind will greatly increase Vata symptoms. Cover up! If your ears are very sensitive you can add a dab of oil in each ear in the morning.
  • Keep your feet warm. A great practice is to rub the soles of your feet with warm sesame oil before bedtime. You shall have a more restful sleep!


  • Self-massage with warm sesame or almond oil before your shower is fantastic to improve your circulation, stimulate your senses, glands, lymphatic system and to simply give yourself love. Daily massage with oil will greatly benefit your skin as it tends to become dry during Vata season. Everyone responds positively to touch and this is something you can give yourself on a daily basis. How awesome is that!
  • Rub a few drops of warm oil into your nasal passages as they tend to get dry during the colder months.


  • Maintaining a regular daily schedule for your sleep, waking time, and meals is a must. Vata dosha is by nature variable, therefore bringing stability by sticking to a routine is very calming and restorative.
  • Having a set routine for the morning starts the day right and calms the mind. Morning rituals of self-care are not a luxury, they are a beautiful way to repapre the body and mind for what lays ahead.
  • Turn off all screens; computers, TV, tablets, at least one hour before bedtime for a more restiful sleep.
  • Meditation
    a daily practice shall nourish you physiologically and psychologically. It’s the best way I know of to filter our thoughts and emotions and to simply train your mind to come back to the present moment, which is key toavoiding suffering.
  • Hatha yoga practice
    The definition of yoga in the Hatha Yoga texts is the union of the upward force (prana) and the downward force (apana) at the navel center (manipura chakra). Hatha yoga teaches us to master the totality of our life force, which is also called prana. By learning how to feel and manipulate the life force, we access the source of our being. (Dr Swami Shankardev Saraswati)
  • Alternate Nostril Breat ( Sanskrit: Nadi Shodhana )
    Nadi is a Sanskrit word meaning “channel” or “flow” and shodhana means “purification.” Therefore, nadi shodhana is primarily aimed at clearing and purifying the subtle channels of the mind-body organism, while balancing its masculine and feminine aspects. It is pacifying for all three doshas and is a suitable practice for most anyone. Here are a few of the benefits of this practice:
  1. Infuses the body with oxygen
  2. Clears and releases toxins
  3. Reduces stress and anxiety
  4. Calms and rejuvenates the nervous system
  5. Helps to balance hormones
  6. Supports clear and balanced respiratory channels
  7. Helps to alleviate respiratory allergies that cause hay fever, sneezing, or wheezing
  8. Balances solar and lunar, masculine and feminine energies
  9. Fosters mental clarity and an alert mind
  10. Enhances the ability to concentrate
  11. Brings balance to the left and right hemispheres of the brain


When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” -Lao Tzu
I am not one to believe in positive affirmations. I don’t think that by repeating to yourself that you are happy you will actually become happy. I do however think that the practice of gratitude can literally make a big shift in your perspective on life, on your moods and on your biochemistry. Being in a place where you desire what you have, rather than desire what you don’t have changes everything.

  • Set a specific time of day for your practice of gratitude; I like to do this before bedtime as it gives meaning to my life and is a comforting way to end my day. The beginning of your day is also a great time to focus on gratitude as it sets an intention for the day ahead.
  • I simply focus on three things for which I have gratitude; it can be someone, something, an event, the weather, acknowledgment of a feeling, anything that pops into your mind really; the person with whom you had a confrontation or any event that has proven to be difficult can simply be seen as a lesson from which you have learned something to help you make a shift and move forward. Life is short, if you spend your time thinking about things that make you angry, or sad, that is likely how you will be feeling.
  • From a practice of gratitude arises an inner sanctuary of joy that carries us through life. This sensation of expansion and inner contentment actually has the power to modify your biochemistry. With the advancement of knowledge in the field of Epigenetics, we understand now how our thoughts truly have a huge impact on our bodies and mind. The simple practices of meditation, gratitude, awareness and careful choice of words you use to speak to yourself, are just a few examples that can profoundly change your perspective on life.From this focus of awareness and expansion, comes a deep sense of love and connection to yourself and to others. As Deepak Chopra said: To know oneself is the highest intelligence.

Keep focused on these tips to stay grounded during for Vata Season. In my opinion, Fall is a great time to read, stay at home and harness your creative energy. Fun times ahead!

Be warm, be well!

Liquid Gold Recipe (aka as clarified butter or ghee)

Liquid Gold Recipe (aka as clarified butter or ghee)

We’re big fans of clarified butter in Brain Food Kitchens, which means we go through a lot of it. Every few weeks we make a batch so that we always have it on hand.Clarified butter and, the closely related, ghee are simply butter that has been cooked to remove any water and solids. Besides making the kitchen smell amazing, turning butter to clarified butter also gives the fat a higher smoke point (this just means you can cook with it a high temperatures) and lengthens the shelf life of the resulting fat.Both clarified butter and ghee begin with melting over low heat. And they are both heated until the water evaporates and the milk solids settle and then the clear fat is poured off. Ghee is heated just a wee bit more until the milk solids are browned, giving the resulting fat a nutty flavor and aroma. The difference is subtle.

We use clarified butter for frying and sauteing it is excellent for cooking eggs, popping popcorn or cooking steak. Clarified butter also makes a mean hollandaise. Ghee is often associated with Middle Eastern and South Asian cooking so its very much at home in dal, curries or stir fries. Ghee is also amazing for making sauces or for a dip with crab or lobster.

Clarified Butter
Melt a pound of unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat and slowly cook until the bubbling ceases and the liquid turns clear, 30 to 40 minutes. Strain and cool, being sure to leave any solids in the bottom of the pan. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.

Melt a pound of unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. As soon as it liquefies, turn the heat up to medium. When it finishes foaming, turn up the heat a little bit more and wait for it to foam a second time. Ghee is done when a second foam forms on top of butter, and the butter turns golden, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Brown milk solids will be in bottom of pan. Gently pour into heatproof container through fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Store in an airtight container, being sure to keep free from moisture. Ghee does not need refrigeration and will keep in airtight container for up to one month.

So this may come to you as a shock, but I’m not the only culinarian around here (here being Brain Food Industries my test kitchen) generating life-enhancing recipes, tips, and advice for American cooker-folk. In fact, my Director of Culinary Ops, Meghan Splawn, has been working behind my scenes for years. Every week she’s sharing her wisdom from our test kitchens nothing classified mind you, but she can cook up a storm so you might want to pay attention. 

Which essential oils to use for your dosha

Which essential oils to use for your dosha

Which Essential Oils to Use for Your Dosha

If you are a vata type (typically susceptible to headaches, dry skin, constipation, nervous anxiety, hypersensitivity, insomnia), avoid sharp or strongly perfumed essential oils. You would benefit from warm, energizing oils such as camphor and cypress, combined with the stabilizing, calming oils such as sandalwood, lavender, geranium, jasmine or rose, blended in sesame oil, a carrier oil generally regarded as incomparable in its ability to penetrate the skin. Keep in mind that for my perfumes i use only jojoba oil as a carrier as it is the most compatible with the skin’s natural sebum and will not stain your clothes 😉 A pitta type (typically prone to ulcers, fevers, inflammatory skin diseases, acidity, agitation, anger) would benefit from cooling, calming oils, flowery fragrances such as gardenia, magnolia, jasmine, mint, rose, sandalwood blended in a cooling carrier like coconut oil. A kapha type (predisposed to respiratory ailments and or sluggishness) will benefit from the use of warm, light, stimulating oils such as sage, basil, cedar, pine, myrrh in very light carrier oils. The use of sharp, stimulating and warming fragrances is beneficial for the kapha type, such as cinnamon and cardamom fragrances.

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