What is ojas anyway?
Ojas is a subtle essence that creates radiance, vitality and joy. Strong ojas gives bright eyes, glowing skin and a sense of peace and stability. Sounds like something you want a little more of in your life, right? Here's how.
By Lisa Åkesson Stryker
Sugar has often been linked to strong emotions for me. I have eaten sugar when I felt happy, sad, lonely, disconnected, tired, hungry, thirsty, anxious, out of control, victimized, unsettled or excited. I could always find a reason why I deserved a piece of candy, and rarely enough strength to say “no.” Sugar was a faithful friend, always there when I needed distraction from what was happening to me. It sounds a bit like an addiction, right?
This winter the negative impact of this relationship became painfully obvious to me. After eating a lot of sugar around Christmas, my skin was breaking out, I felt constantly exhausted and my digestion was protesting. Still I couldn’t stop having the sweets that were presented to me. When my sister shared that she was detoxing from sugar this spring, I jumped right on board with the idea.
It’s time to rethink your smoothie habit. You know that cold, blended fruit and veggie drink that you’ve been told is a healthful meal. Be honest: How do you really feel after you have one?
On the surface, smoothies appear healthful. Fruit is filled with vitamins and fiber. Protein powders have a long list of nutrients. Nut butters are filled with good oils. Yogurt, coconut oil, cacao, maca -- what else do you toss in your blender? Taken individually, the ingredients in a smoothie seem to have all that your body needs to function.
But Ayurveda asks you to look holistically. From this view, the results are different.
Combining fruit with other foods wreaks havoc on digestion, resulting in gas and bloating. Adding ice or frozen fruit dampens agni, digestive fire. Topping everything off with a heaping scoop of protein powder fills the void with something that is unrecognizable as food to your body. All this leads to uncomfortable digestive problems that are the first step on the path to illness and disease.
If you’ve got a smoothie habit, leave them out for two weeks and replace them with our recipe of the month: a date shake.
By Lisa Åkesson Stryker
I have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day. As much as it’s a lovely idea to have day where love and attention to our fellow human beings is in focus, it has also sadly been connected with pressure, consumerism and anxiety for me in the past.
I remember in high school, we could all buy roses for our friends and boyfriends for Valentine's Day and get them delivered to the school. The one strutting home with the most blood red roses at the end of the day was perceived as the most popular person.
It would always leave me with an icky feeling in my stomach, knowing that others were not as privileged as those who could afford to buy roses. It is a clever marketing trick for the flower and gift shops, and a great way to make insecure teenagers even more apprehensive by making them attempt to find their value in a symbolic gesture.
Incorporating Ayurveda into your diet can bring many wonderful benefits, including better digestion, stable energy through the day and a calmer mind. And sometimes, it even comes with dessert.
That’s right: Ayurveda believes that sweetness in life and in cooking is a good thing. The sweet taste is nourishing, grounding and calms your body and mind. It’s just a matter of rethinking what you are accustomed to know as dessert and putting something more loving in its place, like our Carrot Halvah recipe below.
If you find you are feeling scattered or more anxious during this vata season, it’s time to use some food as medicine to calm and ground. What’s a better way to nourish your body and mind than a batch of freshly baked cookies?
The sweet taste is calming to vata dosha, and these “everyday cookies” can be enjoyed as the augmenting part of a meal (they’re also great to include in a child’s lunchbox).
Cookies can calm vata?
We post recipes on HalePule.com every month. We even have a cookbook that many people use when they are beginning their journey with Ayurveda. But when we cook for ourselves, we rarely use recipes. Why? Because we prefer to connect to our creative energy and let inspiration be our guide.
The beautiful thing about Ayurveda is how it can so easily be integrated into every aspect of your life, even the holidays. If you have a tradition of sharing cookies with your loved ones, here are three Ayurvedic cookie recipes that will make them feel even more loved. Each one is simple to make, lovely to eat and sweetened without even a dash of refined sugar.
There’s another benefit to these Ayurvedic cookies – they are based on foods that build ojas. Considering the role strong ojas plays in supporting health and immunity, these cookies couldn’t come at a better time as many of us are traveling during the holidays.
By Lisa Akesson
For many of us, the holidays are an excuse to eat whatever we want and how much we want. Rituals, traditions, family agreements all suggest that this is freedom. I was once of that understanding, too. When I moved away from home and was in charge of my life, it felt like freedom to eat what ever I felt like (even foods that didn’t do me good).
I’ve come to realize it is actually not true freedom. Myra Lewin once said something that stayed with me. She said, “This kind of thinking comes from a misunderstanding that what is outside of us brings us happiness and joy.”
This Ayurvedic recipe for pumpkin pie is sweet and nurturing for your body, mind and soul. It balances vata dosha particularly well, leading to contentment and a calm mind — exactly what we need during the busy holiday season.
As you are creating this dish, use organic, locally-grown ingredients as much as possible. This extra attention will bring in even more love and happiness for your body and the earth.