Ayurveda and the Magic of Autumn


“The sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep, and Autumn was awakened.” — Raquel Franco

Autumn is a truly magical time of the year.  It is when we begin to transform, allowing what no longer serves us to fall away, preparing us for the long winter hibernation ahead.

According to Ayurvedic knowledge, Pitta Dosha is the manifestation of Fire and Water in the human body. During Autumn, this energy is dominant within our environment, and within ourselves (our-cells).

In nature, Pitta season is the time when the air becomes cool and crisp, nature turns golden and fiery, all the trees burst into a golden sunset, before letting go of their leaves, allowing them to fall where they may.

Autumn is the time of Creativity, High energy, Enthusiasm. There is magic in the air, and everything takes on a cosy feel.

During Autumn, our digestive fire (Agni) is beginning to grow and become stronger, after being at its weakest during summer. This is why it is so important to make changes within your diet and lifestyle to help balance this.

Pitta is balanced by sweet, astringent and bitter. We also need to help balance Vata during the later part of the season, so also include in your diet sweet, sour, and salty tasting foods which are all moistening.

Lifestyle tips for this Season

Sleep: Calming our mind is really important during this time, especially before sleep. This can be the time of strange dreams/nightmares or an overactive mind. Take time to wind down at the end of the day, give your mind time to turn off. Journaling is a fantastic way to get out of your head what may be floating around your brain and get in onto paper – leaving your mind still, ready for a calm, deeper sleep.  

Yoga: Good poses include: Sun Salutations, Cat and Cow, Cobra, Spinal Twists, Lotus Pose, Forward Bend, Back Bend. End with Savasana (relaxation pose) to help your body to regroup and calm down.

Exercise: Do exercise that is grounding, such as weights and walking (but rug up!). Avoid over-active exercise (cardio) as this can aggravate Vata.  

Body: Daily Self-Abhyanga is going to be your best friend during this season. Use warm Black Sesame oil, and gently massage your whole body. Can be either done before a shower/bath – in which you can use extra oil, or after a bath/shower – in which use less oil.

Keep warm. Vata is unsettled by cold and windy – as it is a mirror of itself. On cooler/windy days, keep your head covered – with a scarf, hat or beanie. If your feet or hands are cold, heat up the torso, as this will encourage your body to allow blood flow into the extremities.

Tongue scrap:  Tongue scraping is an incredible way to help cleanse your body and mouth each day. During spring, we can help improve our digestion and overall health by using a tongue scraper each morning and night. In the morning, use when you first wake you – before eating or drinking anything. This will help to eliminate Ama (toxins) on your tongue – which has come up from your digestive system overnight. 

Tune in:  Autumn is the season of coming back into ourselves after the lightness and fun of summer. Take this time to take stock of what is serving you in your life and what isn’t. What are some things that may be more of a burden to you than help? This is the time to really sit down and let go of what we don’t need anymore. To see what may be holding us back – in Mind, Body and Spirit. To see what needs to be internally and externally cleaned out (emotions, beliefs, patterns, diet habits, relationships, material possessions etc), so we can go into the cooler months with only things that will support us through this time.

Transformation: Autumn is the time of Change and Transformation. Questions to ask yourself: “Where would I like to transform in my life?”  and  “What do I need bring change into my life, and how will I transform if I do change?”

Align with your Wild Self: Connect with the natural world around you. We as humans are part of the planets natural ecosystem. Find time to go outside and experience the beauty and renewal that Spring brings. Remember that this beauty that is happening outside of you, is also happening within.

Autumn Seasonal Produce

Fruits

Fiji/Pink Lady ApplesGuavaNashi Pears
Black BerriesKiwi FruitPassionfruit
BananaLemonStrawberries
Custard AppleLimePears
CumquatImperial MandarinPlums
FigMangoRaspberries
GrapesMangosteenNavel Oranges

Vegetables

CapsicumBok ChoyBrussel Sprouts
AvocadoFennelArtichokes
Butter/Green BeansBeetrootCabbage
BroccoliCarrotsCauliflower
CeleryLeeksSpring Onion
OnionsPumpkinSpinach
Silver beetShallotSwede
Sweet PotatoTurnipsTomato
LettuceCornEggplant
WatercressPotatoParsnip
WombokZucchiniOrka

Herbs/Spices

BasilChivesGarlic
LemongrassParsleyTarragon
CorianderGingerMint
RosemaryThymeChilli
DillOreganoSage

Grains – Oats, Wheat + Rice

Legumes – Red lentils, Split Mung Dal, Mung beans

Nuts/Seeds – Most soaked nuts – including nut butters. Chia seeds, Flax, Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds, Tahini, Halva, Pumpkin seeds.

Sweeteners – Raw Honey (do not cook), Jaggery, Molasses, Rice Syrup.

Dairy – Most dairy is fine. (avoid cold dairy e.g. ice-cream)  

Oils – Ghee, Sunflower, Olive, Sesame (most oils are fine) – Avoid Coconut.


For your personal diet plan – come see me for an Ayurvedic Health consultation, so we can plan a flexible spring diet, based on your Dosha constitution and lifestyle. Bookings are available online and in-person at the Wholesome Living Ayurveda Clinic – Hawthorn.

The Only Khichari Recipe You Will Ever Need!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup yellow split mung dal beans
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 6 cups of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (can also use organic sesame oil or olive oil)
  • 1 cup diced vegetables (whatever you choose: carrots, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, kale, capsicum)
  • 6 fresh curry leaves – or 2 teaspoons of authentic curry powder
  • Pinch of asafoetida (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger or 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Salt and Pepper

Steps:

  • Soak the split peas for around 25-30 minutes in a bowl. Drain, then wash through with running water, then drain again. Also, wash and drain rice (let the water run clear).
  • In a saucepan/pot, combine the rice, split peas and water. Bring to boil, and stir occasionally.
  • Add in the ghee (or other oil), curry leaves, fennel, turmeric, ginger and vegetables. Mix everything together. (Add asafoetida here if using).
  • Reduce the heat (low-medium), cover with a lid and allow to simmer to 20 minutes, or until the rice/split peas becomes soft and cooked. Stir occasionally to stop sticking to the bottom of the pot. If khichari is starting to dry out, add in extra water.
  • Serve in your favourite bowl. Add freshly crushed salt and pepper, and serve with fresh dill. Enjoy this delicious nourishing meal with a smile and a blessing upon your meal and body.

For your Personalised Ayurvedic Diet and Plant-based Nutrition guide,

book in for an Ayurvedic Wellness Consultation Today.

Healthy Home Made Jam

Waking up on a cosy morning with rain falling gently outside, with nothing to do, but enjoy your morning? Those are honestly my favourite types of mornings. They don’t happen very often, so when they do make an unexpected return, I won’t waste a minute of it.

On these mornings, I like to plod along to the kitchen in my dressing gown, and make breakfast as quick and simple as I can, so I can get back into bed and enjoy the rain.

My go to on these days is: A cup of freshly brewed Earl Grey tea in my favourite large handmade ceramic mug, and a stack of delicious gluten free sour-dough toast slathered in butter and my homemade jam. They all go onto a tray and off back to bed I trot, to enjoy my simple breakfast while reading a magazine and listening to the rain pattering outside.

So why Homemade Jam vs Store-bought Jam?

When I first thought about making homemade jam, I thought it was going to be very time-consuming, full of sugar and honestly just not worth my time. But then I saw a 3 ingredient Jam recipe floating around and thought I could give that a go. This was at the beginning of the year, and I haven’t looked back since.

The idea that making Jam at home is old fashioned and will take a lot of effort and time, is just not true.

When I would buy jam from the shop, I always tried to get one that was more fruit than sugar. Keeping an eye on what is actually in your store-bought food, can be a real opener. All the unnecessary ingredients that are added to so many foods, can be a disaster for your health. Which is why making your own (where possible) is so important, and empowering.

When buying store-bought jam, the cheaper you go, the higher the sugar content. Next time you are at the store, have a look at the ingredients on the different brands of jams, and see which ones uses sugar (or a sugar syrup) as the first (and therefor the largest ingredient) in the jam. When going for high quality jam: aim for jams that have the least ingredients on the label and fruit as the first ingredient (meaning the jam will be mostly made from actual fruit).

So why go for homemade then?

Well like anything, having a input into your own food and diet is empowering and helps you to understand and appreciate what is going into your body with eat bite. When we make our own jam, we have control over the flavour, the quality and the nutritional value.

Recipe

Homemade Blueberry Jam

Ingredients:

2 cups frozen blueberries (or whatever fruit you choose)

2 tablespoons chia seeds (the gelling agent)

1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)

To make:

  1. Sterilise a jar to place your jam in once made. Make sure you sterilise the entire jar including the lid, so no cross contamination can occur.
  2. In a saucepan, add the blueberries and cover with a lid. Bring the blueberries to boil, then add in the maple syrup (if including), then reduce heat to a simmer for 10 minutes. (The blueberries will release their juice, helping to keep the berries from sticking to the saucepan, though you can give them a stir just to be on the safe side.)
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. With a potato masher, mash up the blueberries till a consistency you like. (You can keep it more chunky or remove all the chunks.)
  5. Remove the lid, and add the chia seeds to the mix, and stir in.
  6. Leave the mixture and let it sit in the saucepan off the heat, for 10-15 minutes.
  7. After the time is up, give your jam a taste test. If it is tasting good, transfer it straight into the jar, and pop into the fridge. If the mixture is too watery still, add in another tablespoon of chia seeds, mix in and allow to sit again. If the taste isn’t sweet enough for you, add in more maple syrup.
  8. Keep in your fridge for up to 1 week.
  9. Enjoy!

Calming Bliss Balls

We all love a good bliss ball, but did you know that you could be adding some incredible ingredients to that can help to reduce your stress and bring the bliss back into bliss balls?

Stress and anxiety is in running high in 2020, which is why I created these ‘Calm Bliss Balls’. When things begin to feel overwhelming, we often stress-eat to give ourselves a sense of stability and a burst of comfort. So we will go for the foods that bring us this joy, such as a block of chocolate or coffee. Yes, these foods would give me a sense of feeling better, but it would wear off quickly, making me reach more comfort food. They were here for a quickie, not the long haul.

Recipe: Calming Bliss Balls

Makes Approx 7-15 Balls, Depending on how big or small you roll them.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Medjool Dates – seed removed and chopped
  • 1/3 cup Rolled Oats (or oat flour)
  • 4 tbsp Cocoa Butter
  • 2 tbsp Hemp Seeds (Hemp Hearts)
  • 2 tbsp Matcha Powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Bhrami Powder
  • 3-5 drops Peppermint Oil
  • Pinch of Salt

To Make:

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor, and blend/pulse until mixed together till smooth.
  2. Scoop out mixture and roll into little bliss balls.
  3. Enjoy!

Can be placed in an airtight container and placed in the fridge for a week. (although mine never lasts that long!)

Calm Bliss Balls – Enjoy with a cup of tea and a good book or listening to @wild.awakening_podcast

Why do these balls make you calm?

A good question! These balls are little bit sized moments of delicious goodness and contains different herbs to help calm your mind and body.

Matcha – Matcha comes from the  Camellia sinensis plant, and contains high levels of the Amino Acid; L-theanine; which is known to reduce stress while giving your mind a calm alertness. (which makes these balls a perfect 3pm pick-me-up!)

Bhrami – Bhrami known as its botanical name as Bacopa monnieri, is an Ayurvedic herb that has been used for centuries in helping to calm the mind and relax the body.


Feeling stressed and unhappy with your health?

Book in for a Holistic Health Consultation.

Ayurvedic Elixer To Calm Your Mind & Body

My favourite Ayurvedic inspired calming elixir. 🍵🌿 This is my go-to drink to help calm my body and mind during the cooler months.

Ingredients:
▪︎1 cup milk (your choice, I use nutty bruce almond/coconut)
▪︎I tsp cacao powder
▪︎ 1 – 2 Medjool Dates (de-pipped )
▪︎ 1/2 tsp Bhrami powder
▪︎ 1 tsp Ashwagandha powder
▪︎ 1/2 tablespoon Ghee (optional)
▪︎ 2 tsp Maple Syrup or Jaggary

To Make:
▪︎ Put all ingredients together in a blender (except Ghee, Bahrami and Ashwagandha), and blend together.
▪︎ Pour blender content into a pot and add ghee.
▪︎ Heat milk on medium till required temperature.
▪︎ With heating, using a whisk, add in the Bhrami and Ashwagandha, whisking to mix them in, and to create a milk froth.
▪︎ Once at the desired temperature, pour into a cup and enjoy.

How to be more Grounded

Being Grounded 

In our modern society, it can be hard to be grounded and centred.

Our days are a mixture of technology, frantic energies of the busy city or shopping centres, and rushing from here to there. More than ever before we are finding that we are living more in our heads. Our thoughts running a mile an hour and our nervous systems are on high alert (whether we are aware of it or not)

It is no wonder we are finding it hard to be grounded. 

Before I go on, lets just quickly chat about the idea of being grounded. To me, there are two definitions of what being “grounded” means. 

  1. Grounded: Being connected to the earth. Grounding your roots to the earth. 
  2. Grounded: Being calm and in balance with yourself. To be centred and focused. 

To me, these are pretty much the same thing. When you ground to the earth, you are also grounding within yourself: and vice versa. To me, being grounded is just being centred and connected to the now. I find that when I am not grounded, I am space-y, my nervous system goes a bit haywire and I am all over the place. Sometimes I don’t even notice I am in this state, as it usually builds up over time. For me personally, things like being in front of my screens (laptop/phone), being on a plane, or being in a place like a shopping centre: are all things that lead to me feeling un-grounded. 

When I am grounded: I feel peaceful, solid, strong, and able to think without the monkey mind coming to play. My creativity and ideas are able to flow with ease, and my thoughts are rational and calm. 

I have found these few tricks easy ways to help me re-ground to myself and the earth when I become un-grounded. 

Being in Nature 

This may sound obvious, but sometimes I actually find it hard to be in a natural environment when I am un-grounded. I am so in my head, (which is usually racing with thoughts), that my mind can’t stand being in the calming nature vibes for too long. As the old saying goes: it is like I have ants in my pants, and I just cannot stop and BE. Being grounded, helps us be in the now; rather than when we are all in our heads, where our mind is usually racing towards something(s) in the future or dawdling its feet kicking dust about in the past.  When we connect into nature, we help re-balance our energy and connect into the natural flow of the rhythm of the earth. 

Tip: Walk around in a park, at the beach, or in your backyard. Pause and be mindful. If you can, take off your shoes and let your bare feet touch the earth or water/sand. Use your different senses to connect. Touch the leaves, let the sand fall between your fingers. Smell the flowers, listen to the waves. Just enjoy. 

Breathe 

When we are un-grounded we often forget to breathe deeply. Often we are in such a rush that our breath becomes shallow and we don’t even realise. There are many amazing breathing techniques out there – I would recommend speaking to your local Yoga Teacher or Health Expert. 

Trick: This is a simple technique that I personally use when I am feeling un-grounded. It can be used anywhere at any time. I have done this on planes, in movie theatres, shopping centres etc.     Focus in on your breath. (if you can, shut your eyes) and take a deep breath in for 4 counts, hold the inhale for 4 counts, let it go for 4 counts, and hold the exhale for 4 counts.   Repeat 5-10 times, or until you are feeling grounded.

While doing this, I like to imagine my energy travelling down to the earth and connecting into the heart of the earth. To let my roots travel downwards, deeply and strongly, helping me to stand tall and stable. With each inhale, I imagine beautiful grounding energy from the earth travelling up from the earth into my feet, flowing into my body with each breath; and with each exhale, I let go of any stress or negative frantic energy, and release it back down into the earth to be naturalised.

Food 

Hooray! Yes, food is an easy and delicious way to help you feel more grounded. Eating heavier foods such as veggies grown under the dirt (rather than on a vine etc), and foods like meats, can help us to feel grounded once consumed. When you are feeling ungrounded, it is best to avoid things like alcohol and really dry foods like popcorn. This is because, (in accordance with Ayurveda), these foods have a higher percentage of the element of Air in them, and this will not help in grounding you down. 

Living Your Passion

How many times have you had someone say, “Just find your Passion”. Or you have heard the old saying “Do what you are passionate about, and you won’t work another day in your life”. 

I’m not going to lie, for years hearing these words really pissed me off! I didn’t know what I was passionate about, let alone knew how to make this into something I could do every day. 

I would look around me and see people living these amazing lives doing what they loved, and I had major green eyes towards them. So I decided to dig a little deeper and discover, first what living your passion meant to me, and then how I could go about doing this. 

For me, living your passion is all about living a life that you love, regards of what this looks like. What I discovered on my journey to finding out how to ‘live my passion’, was that there was no one way to do this. There are so many self-help books and articles on the web talking about how to find your passion etc, and yes some of them were helpful. However, others made it seem like such hard work! Screw that! So this is what I did to help me on the path of ‘living my passion.’ It is very simple, and cuts outs to the chase in helping you find your passion! 

Finding Your Passion

To help me find my passion, I asked myself these 3 questions: 

1. What are you good at?

2. What do you like to do?

3. What makes you happy?

4. Which ones of these cross over or connect to each other? 

Then I asked myself these questions: 

1. Are you excited to get out of bed and go about your day? 

2. What do you feel is holding you back in life? 

3. How often do you do what you love/makes you happy? 

4. What you are currently doing in life, are you doing it for you, or doing it to please someone else? 

A Visualisation To Help Manifest What You Desire

A beautiful little exercise I love to do is to imagine my perfect day. Just a normal day (not a day when you win the lottery or anything like that) in which you are truly happy and living your passion. 

I love to do this a few times, one for me right now (or the near future), one for me in a year, and one for me in 5 years. I find these “perfect” days really differ between these different time frames, and I can see what direction I want my life to be going. 

Once doing this, I then have a look at how my life is going now, and what I can do to help create these perfect days in my life. I have a look at the path I am walking down and see if this is leading me to the destination I desire. 

YOUR PASSION DOES NOT HAVE TO BE YOUR JOB!

Something that always annoys me when people say ‘follow your passion’; people take this to mean: you have to up-heave your life and quit your job to live your passion. Let’s be honest here, it is just not in everyone’s reality to do this. People have families to support, bills to pay, food to buy etc. 

Living your passion looks different for everyone! We are often lead to believe that ‘following our passion’ means quitting our jobs to pursue our long-forgotten dream of being a health coach or whatever. (Also not knocking health coaches, as I personally am one! haha) I believe that ‘living your passion’ is about living a life that truly nourishes you in mind, body and spirit. It is about finding love and passion and joy in our every day lives. For example, if your passion is painting: You don’t have to quit your job, move to Paris and become the next Picasso. (I mean if you can, you can totally go and do that!) What you can do, is find ways to bring your love of painting into your life. Sure you may still have your 9-5 job, but evenings and weekends could be about going to art museums and joining an art class. What about even setting up a stall at your local market and selling your gorgeous paintings there? There are so many ways we can incorporate our passions into our current lives, rather than throwing that all away and starting from scratch like a mid-life crisis scenario! 

Find out what your passion is, and then find out a way to bring this passion into your life. Remember there are no rules to ‘living your passion’. Do not ever feel like your passion is silly or not good enough to be qualified as a passion. If your passion is being a mum or dad, then that is your passion, no questions asked, no justification needed.  If your passion is gardening, thrift shopping, or trying to make the world a better place… then that is YOUR PASSION! HECK YES! 

As the fabulous Marc Jacobs said: 

” Let’s do what we love, and do a lot of it!” 

Tongue Scraping

Do you use a tongue scraper? When someone first introduced me to a tongue scraper my first week of studying Ayurveda back in 2015, I wasn’t that keen. But now? I can’t even imagine going a day without using this beautiful tool! 


In oral hygiene, we all know that we need to brush our teeth. But out of the whole mouth, our teeth are only 1/3 of it! So why are we only cleaning 1/3?! Scraping the tongue daily helps to remove any built-up toxins (ama) and other coatings that builds upon the tongue.

Tongue Scraping is such an easy yet powerful way to help cleanse the body daily. Our tongue plays an important role in our health. From it, we can see what is happening in the body (stresses, mal-nutrition, imbalances) and is one of the first points in the digestive system. When we clear our tongue daily, we improve our ability to taste and be satisfied with our food.

HOW TO USE:


Using a tongue scraper is easy. First thing in the morning (before consuming any liquid or food) brush your teeth, then use your tongue scraper. Hold it gently at the back of your tongue and pull forward, scraping it along the tongue to the tip. Do this 7-14 times, depending on the condition of your tongue. Wash the scraper and see all the muck that was accumulated on your tongue. Rise your mouth afterwards. You can also do this practice after each meal.

Copper tongue scrapers now available at the Clinic. 

Why it is so important to eat local in-season food.

How often do you hear the saying “Eat local in-season food”? It is one of those sayings that we hear about a lot, but without a clear indication of the ‘Why’ behind it. In Ayurveda, it is high up on the list of ways to help keep you at optimal health and wellbeing, so let me explain why.

When we eat seasonal local produce, we are helping our Body and Mind to align with the Earth and our natural environment. This food has the current energy of the season it is produced in, which then helps our own energy to customise to the current season. We as humans are part of the natural eco-system and the natural laws of the earth. Which means that we get affected by the seasons just like how the plants and animals do. In our modern-day world, we have lost this connection, especially when it comes to our diet. We can eat produce all year round, regardless of the time of year or season. While some might think that is great – I mean who wouldn’t want mangoes all year round right? They are delicious! This way of consuming food is having negative effects on our body and mind.

Let me explain why…


By eating local, fresh, seasonal food, we are fueling our body with food high in nutrients, rather than the depleted food that has been sitting in storage for months before hitting your supermarket shelves. This food, is low in Prana, aka Life Force, and it is often loaded with chemicals and waxes to keep them looking fresh.

With our modern-day food system, it means we can eat foods like for example tomatoes all year long, but that doesn’t mean we should. Nature has everything figured out for us and provides us with the food needed within that season.

For example, Oranges are best between June – October in Melbourne, with its high Vitamin C and warming energy, this fruit is naturally designed for us to consume during winter to help fight off touches of flu and colds and keep us warm.

Not sure what is in season? The Seasonal Produce website HERE has a great month by month list of seasonal fruit and veggies that they put out. Or just hit up your local farmers market, or try growing a few of your own fruit and veg!! Nothing tastes better than a homegrown carrot or freshly picked apple!!

The Coffee – Wine Cycle

Something that I notice time and again in the clinic, and from just generally chatting with friends and family, is this classic routine that people fall into.

Coffee in the morning to wake up, wine (or other alcoholic drink) at night to wind down. Anyone guilty of this?

While there is nothing wrong with enjoying your coffee or a glass of wine, there is something out of balance if you are relying on it to function properly each morning and night!!


What this routine is doing is constantly playing with our nervous system, which for most people, is something that is incredibly burnt out! By constantly having to jolt start it with caffeine in the AM and sedate it in the PM, we are creating a not so healthy and supportive routine that we believe we cannot live without!


Coffee and alcohol are great when we are enjoying them out of just the pure fact that it is delicious, but when it come into a co-dependant relationship with these drinks, then something isn’t right.


Have a look at your relationship with these drinks. How is it? Do you feel you may be in a co-dependent relationship with one or both of them? If so, it might be time to step back and change this relationship. 

During a consultation, I can help to find why you have developed this relationship, and show you ways that best suit you, to create a new healthy relationship with these drinks. Call or DM to book in. (Skype sessions available)