Back in February I had this idea: Start a new ayurveda morning routine (or, at least, ayurvedic-based). Blog about it.
The routine included activities I was already doing, such as yoga and meditation, so I was building on it. It also incorporated habits that I used to have but had stopped.
I started strong. Then a few weeks in I started a new corporate day job and my schedule changed both in terms of how long I had for said routine, and my blogging schedule. Honestly, for the first month of my employment I had little energy to do anything outside of work. (Working to make money vs. working on my passion is a topic I'm putting some notes together on, potentially to create an article on LinkedIn.)
What's in an ayurveda morning routine?
When I started my routine, based on some googling and what I'd seen in an Instagram account I follow, it looked like this – though the order would sometimes change:
- Meditate (20 minutes) – I still use the Insight Timer app.
- Journal (15 minutes)
- Scrape tongue with a plastic tongue scraper (30 seconds or so)
- Ayurveda recommends scraping away white coating that accumulates on the tongue overnight. This coating is perceived as accumulated undigested toxins sitting in the digestive tract. Those toxins can cause illness.
- Splashing cool water on my face/in my eyes, 7 times.
- Ayurveda recommends splashing your face and eyes with water as soon as you wake up, seven times. Seven represents the body’s chakras, or energy centers.
- Drink a half liter or full liter of warm water.
- Some practitioners recommend lemon, some recommend lime. Morning lemon water has long been part of my routine. Sometimes I juice of lemons or limes. Other times I use lemon or lime essential oil from Young Living, or their Citrus Fresh essential oil blend, which contains orange, grapefruit, mandarin, tangerine, lemon, and spearmint. Some days I get my magnesium in, with Natural Calm lemon flavoured powder.
- Give myself a body massage with coconut oil or sesame oil (washed off in the shower).
- Oil pulling with coconut oil and a couple of drops of Living Libations Healthy Gum Drops, done for 10-20 minutes.
- Oil pulling is where you swish oil around on your mouth. I scoop up some oil with a spoon, add the gum drops, and pop it in my mouth. It's part of the oral hygiene routine, though NOT a replacement for brushing teeth. When you spit, always do it into a garbage can, as it can clog pipes.
- Skin brushing with a dry skin brush before showering.
- Skin brushing, allegedly, helps encourages lymphatic drainage, improves blood flow, and rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin. It improves circulation and helps rid toxins from the body.
So many steps!
That's a LOT of steps. I also walk my dog in the morning, and like to do morning yoga. It's time consuming, and I was keeping it up at least 6 days a week. I tried including pranayama (breathing) exercises but I kept forgetting to do them.
Sometimes I multi-tasked with other activities on the list, or with other activities. For example, I'd oil up and then sit at my computer, or oil up and then empty the dishwasher. Or sit with oil on my body and in my mouth at the same time.
Oil pulling is one of the activities that I've been doing on and off for years, and I usually do it in the shower (again, spitting into a garbage can). Once, I sat down on the couch with my body oiled and coconut oil in my mouth while my man told me stories. For 10 minutes, I nodded and “mmmhmmm”ed , amused by it.
(My sister commented that she has a similar routine. Of course she does!)
My Ayurveda morning routine now…
When I stared my new job I couldn't sustain that time-consuming ayurveda morning routine. Some experts say that you should wake up at 6 am, or before the sun. By the end of March, the sun is rising around 7 a.m. My optimal sleep cycle is 11 p.m. -7 a.m., though 10:30-6:30 is do-able and 6:30 wake up is necessary now. I still need 2 hours before I leave for work in the morning!
I need 8 hours of sleep, though can get by on 7.5 without feeling too bad. When my dog was a puppy I DID get up before 6 a.m. to walk her before work but she's older now and her morning needs have changed.
So here's what I say to 6 a.m. wake up – and especially any time earlier: Screw it. If you can do it, that's great! We all have different needs and rhythms. I'm a little envious, but I'm satisfied where I'm at, I'd just like to get up a little earlier. Last week I made myself 3 versions of a morning schedule. One does have a 6 a.m. wake up. I eye it in the way that one looks at something unappealing. Then I sleep later. Maybe if I start with 15-minute increments…
Do what's right for you (find YOUR health and wellness)
In an article on Chopra.com, provides the following note before its ayurvedic-inspired morning routine:
These suggestions for morning habits are inspired by traditions in Ayurveda; however, the invitation is to try them out, do what feels right, skip the ones that don’t, add ones that balance you best. They can be done in any order. Whether you’re already an early riser or more of a drag-myself-out-of-bed, stumble-to-the-coffeemaker, why-is-it-so-bright, kind of person—these tips will help you get a jump on your day.
Indeed. And I did.
The activities I kept were those that were already part of my life:
- Meditation (20 minutes tops these days, though I'm striving for earlier wake up and longer sessions)
- Tongue scrape
- Skin brush
- Oil pull in the shower. Above, I said that I take a spoonful of the oil. In past warmer months when the oil was melted, I swigged straight from the container. My Happy Gum Drops are a new addition – maybe I'll drop them straight into my mouth.
- Drink warm water. I've been saying for years that even if I neglect to drink water throughout the day, at least I know I've had my morning water.
After 100 days of meditation I missed a day. And then went back to it. I'm doing yoga most days but I occasionally do skip. I loved challenging myself and feeling really good about streaks but I eventually decided to go easy on my self if I miss a day.
Sometimes I forget to skin brush as part of this ayurveda morning routine. I often forget to splash water on my face. Most mornings I go from bedroom to living room for yoga/meditate/journal. The massage would be nice, but it's more of a treat now. I remember one evening after I'd done it in the morning, when suddenly felt my neck release nicely and knew it was a result. The timing just doesn't work right now.
How do I feel from all this ayurveda morning routine stuff?
I honestly don't know if the skin brushing is benefiting me, but often times we don't see or feel health benefits. Not seeing or feeling doesn't mean it's not working, nor does it mean that it is.
My tongue always feels cleaner with a good tongue scrape. I use the small plastic scraper that came with the Living Libations Successful Self-Dentistry Kit that I won last year. Some people swear by stainless steel or copper. You could use the back of a spoon. I used to sometimes do that.
My teeth always feel cleaner with I oil pull before brushing. It amazes me that oil pulling will loosen debris from the day before that evening flossing did not.
I was sick with colds in both March and April, even though I usually only get sick twice a year, in fall and spring. However, both times the cold lasted less than a week. The first one stayed mostly in my chest. I didn't even go through an entire box of Kleenex. The second one was more intense and in my nose, but brief. It could be the ayurveda morning routine, the turmeric consumption, or the Genuine Health probiotics I've been taking.
All I know is that I'm trying, and being as consistent as possible without being extreme about it.
We try our best and be gentle on ourselves. That's the way to live.
I'm glad it took me a couple of months to get around to blogging this because it provided the opportunity for a “then and now” post, which I think is more interesting and relatable.
A few summers ago I read the book I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson. Here's an excerpt from page 6, which resonated with me:
I was a sugar addict. I didn't look like one. I didn't drink Coke or put sugar in my coffee. I've never eaten a Krispy Kreme donut, and ice cream bores me…. I hid behind the so-called “healthy sugars” like honey, dark chocolate and fruit.”
I love ice cream, but I rarely put sugar in my coffee. I don't like sweet sweets. I eat the occasional TimBit (for my international readers, though are doughnut holes from Canadian coffee chain Tim Horton's) and I prefer burnt sugar flavours. Of course I needed to keep reading.
When I first heard about the Sweet Freedom Summit I thought, “Yeah yeah, Americans and their affinity for sweetness”. Then I started reading the promo material.
Sugar is not just candy and pastries, the soda and loaded coffee drinks you order each day; it’s also found in many other foods- foods processed by their manufacturers to force your body into addiction.
True that. As as Sarah says, it's not just about refined sugar. That said, refined sugar is made similarly to heroin and cocaine, but triggers the brain’s receptors 8 times MORE than cocaine. It’s a serious issue, because refined sugar is found in most grocery store foods.
The Sweet Freedom Summit starts on Monday April 10.
People worldwide will learn from the expert wisdom so important to ending the depression, fatigue, illness and obesity caused by sugar addiction.
Here are some of the diverse talks taking place in The Sweet Freedom Summit:
- The Sugar-Cancer Connection
- What in the World Is Sugar Doing to Your Body?
- Impact of Stigma/Self-Stigma on Sugar Addiction
- Holistic Dental Approach to Giving Up Sugar
- Power of Sleep for Survival (and Beyond!)
- There's a talk called, The Man Who Only Ate Potatoes for 365 days
You can learn…
- How “non-food addiction” can lead to a serious and painful death
- Impacts of poorly processed foods on your emotional state
- Educating your family to be supportive and healthy
- Why diets rarely work long term (and the strategy that does!)
- And, so much more…
Some of my favourite experts contributed.
How to participate:
- Register immediately to make sure you'll see the free talks.
- Purchase all of the expert talks and help us reach more people struggling to live healthy lives. This means that you own all the talks to watch at your own pace. It includes all the slide shows, the presentations in MP3 – so you can listen in transit, at the gym, while walking your dog, etc., and transcripts, in case you learn best by reading. It also includes around $500 worth of bonus gifts. The online access package for all of the expert talks is $59 through Tuesday morning (April 11) at 10 A.M. U.S. eastern. After that, it increases to $79.
Register For Free
Whether you like your refined sugar sweets or are addicted to more natural sugars, this is for you. If you're in the latter camp, you might be even more interested in the event.
I'll never give up fruit, honey and maple syrup permanently because they have immense nutritional value but I do occasionally take breaks from them to heal from candida, fatigue, mood and more. I'm looking forward to this.
According to a study conducted by Melitta in 2015, coffee is the most commonly consumed beverage in Canada, with 84% of Canadians saying that they drink it.
Normally I'd note the potential bias there but a) potential bias is pretty obvious and b) 84% doesn't seem far-fetched.
According to CBC.ca, 67% of Canadians aged 18-67 drink coffee daily. According to that same article, coffee drinkers consume, on average, 16.6 cups of coffee per week, or 2.4 cups per day.
German housewife Melitta Bentz invented the Pour-Over™ over 100 years ago. Before that, coffee was brewed similar to the way tea is steeped now – coffee grounds were boiled in a cloth bag tied with string. This resulted in a cloudy, bitter coffee with an oily residue. The pour-over technique changed the way people made and consumed coffee.
Everyone's got their favourite – and their opinion is “THE RIGHT” one.
Coffee is a personal, very subjective subject. Everyone's got their favourite coffee spot and a preferred at-home method. They like it just so.
Some people prefer a stronger cup, others prefer a weaker cup. Some people want it black, others load it with condiments. Some like it flavoured, others insist on – to quote Denis Leary in this swear-laden rant – coffee flavored coffee. I think that if you need to load it up with condiments or flavour, you don't really like coffee and should choose another beverage. Embrace the bean.
My last five years of coffee makers
When I first moved in with my man almost five years ago he had an espresso machine that he'd modified to his liking. It eventually broke.
We tried French press for awhile, and it was good. I'd used one when I lived alone. We used one as our camping coffee method.
Then we went Keurig but the environmental guilt was too much for us. So much waste! For awhile, after each time I used the Keuring to make a cup of coffee, I would open the k-cups and dump the grounds into the compost bin. After awhile I stopped doing it each time, instead tossing them aside to do a bunch of them “later”. A time came when I stopped altogether. Eventually we started using reusable cups with our own freshly ground coffee but we still had that guilt. Two people have told me recently – and this might just be rumour – that the inventor of Keurig machines feels guilty about his invention and its environmental impact. In my home, we refer to all coffee machines that use cups and pods as “waste packaging dispensers”. I know that biodegradable cups exist now, but the non-recyclable and non-compostable still dominate.
Then came our beloved Aeropress, of which we own at least 3. (One at home, one at work, one at our trailer…) It became my favourite method by far. Using the “inverted” method, I get a strong cup with a thin layer of crema on top. Crema is one of my criteria for enjoyable coffee.
Having experienced many home coffee brewing methods and having a current favourite, I wasn't looking to make a change. I was slightly skeptical when Melitta's PR company offered me Melitta's 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer to try, but I accepted it with an open mind. I do not accept every product offer. In fact, I decline most. However, Melitta is an established name. They've been around a long time. And I like coffee.
Having a current favourite, I didn't expect much from Melitta's 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer. I was pleasantly surprised.
Melitta's representative sent me a can of ground coffee but I haven't opened it, choosing instead to grind my own as usual. Nothing is the same as freshly ground. My current beans aren't fancy. They're not fair trade or locally roasted, although I have some favourite local roasts. The beans I currently use are “Colombian Supremo” from a local grocery chain.
Just one disadvantage to start
The first thing I noticed with Melitta's 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer was a disadvantage: I didn't know how much water to use. One of the brewer's features is a “window” that allows you to see how much coffee you're brewing. However, while it allows you to see into your cup, it doesn't help determine how much water to put into the cone. As I do with the Aeropress, I began the brewing process by slowly pouring a little bit of boiling water into the coffee grounds to saturate them and let them “bloom” before slowly pouring the rest of the water. With the Melitta brewer, I paused after pouring in a little more water, let the cup fill, poured some more water, pausing and pouring until the cup was filled with the desired amount of coffee.
You can see the “window” at the bottom.
The solution to the water volume issue that I came up with is to fill your mug with water, pour that water into a measuring cup, and then note to use that much water next time. (So if your favourite mug holds 1 U.S. cup of liquid, pour 1 cup of boiling water into the cup.) You'd have to do this with every different sized vessel that holds your coffee.
If you've got a better idea, feel free to share it.
Oh, but the smell…
After that, all good. My man walked into the kitchen as I was making the first cup and observed that it smelled good. It really did. The smell of fresh-brewed coffee is one of the best smells in the world, isn't it? Unless you don't like coffee or the smell of it.
I tried it black first, and it tasted really good. Much better than I expected.
I proceeded to make one of my Bulletproof-like lattes and it was delicious with its added cinnamon, vanilla and grass-fed dairy, blended to a lovely froth.
Clean up is a snap!
[*finger snap*, like in a cheesy commercial]
Clean up was easy. Melitta's 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer takes a #2 cone filter. When the coffee has finished brewing, dump that in the compost bin and rinse the plastic brewer- and the rinsing part is optional. It's slightly easier to clean than the Aeropress, which requires a good rinse.
I still love my Aeropress, but will use the Melitta 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer at work. It saves money on buying coffee, and saves the guilt of using one of the Keurig machines at the office. Curious? Go for it! Melitta's 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer is a great choice. It also costs under $5 in both Canadian and U.S. currencies. You can find it at Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and other retailers.
My “almost Bulletproof” coffee.
1. The Heart Revolution – February 25-March 5.
More than 60 doctors, scientists, and experts teach you how to prevent heart disease, heal from childhood trauma, recover from grief, release resentments and bring more health, love, laughter and peace into your heart and your relationships. Experts include Dr. Eben Alexander, Rollin McCraty of Heartmath Institute, Dr. Steven Stosny, JP Sears (you likely know him as the guy who makes videos that parody new age spirituality), JJ Virgin, Sayer Ji and Dr. Tom O’Bryan. Join The Heart Revolution today and learn to heal, empower and follow your heart.
2. The Thyroid Secret– starts today!
Dr. Izabella Wentz and her amazing team have produced this powerful 9-part documentary and it truly is groundbreaking.
30% of the population could be walking around with undiagnosed thyroid disease. It's one of the most overlooked diseases and is so often misdiagnosed.
For this 9-part documentary series, Dr. Izabella Wentz and her team spent the last year traveling all around the country interviewing top experts in thyroid health as well as patients who overcame thyroid disease.
Topics will include:
- Underground information on how to recover your health
- How toxicity robs us every day – plus what to do about it
- Why food can be your best friend or worst enemy
- The connection between stress, trauma, and autoimmunity
- Finding hope in the midst of fertility issues
- Success stories and SO MUCH MORE!
3. Miracle Mindset – free and upgraded options
In case you missed it, JJ Virgin’s Live Training on how to master your mindset was awesome! You can check out the replay HERE now. This Live Training demonstrated that a strong, positive mindset is the missing ingredient to reaching your goals in every area of your life! If you don't want to watch the entire thing you can skip around. The replay ends tonight at midnight. That's the free part. Want more?
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Recently I had one of those instances where I looked in the fridge and cupboards and they all seemed bare. I didn't want to order in or go out, so I decided to make one of my “clean the pantry” meals. It was either going to be rice and beans, or some other sort of grain and beans. I had lots of buckwheat even though I don't like buckwheat. I chose the buckwheat.
Beans are full of protein and fiber.
I'm still on a turmeric kick. Turmeric has been a repetitive presence in my blog and Instagram posts. I credit it for me not getting sick when my partner was sick, and then when I did get that cold it was mild and short. I bought new boxes of Kleenex (really the Kleenex brand – I'm loving the “Ultra Soft 3-ply”) thinking that I'd run out of my 2 open boxes at home quickly, but the nose blowing was less frequent than expected. It was mostly a chest cold, with sinus pain and some nasal congestion.
Here's my rationale behind the rest of the ingredients:
- The mixed vegetables were for variety and crunch. You can use them, or not.
- The wakame was added 1) because I really like wakame and 2) Because wakame is said to mitigate the gas problem caused by beans. You know how the rhymes go: “Beans beans are good for your heart, the more you eat them, the more you fart.” and “beans beans the magical fruit, the more you eat them the more you toot.”
I ate this salad twice and the first time the wakame defense failed miserably. The next day my ass was like a wind machine. However, I added tuna to the leftovers and farts were minimal so either my stomach was used to all that fiber, or the added tuna helped. The nutritional benefits of wakame were secondary to me, but here they are:
- Wakame is a good source of magnesium, which I've been trying to get enough of. Every cell of the body relies on magnesium and people tend to be deficient. Magnesium is integral to hundreds of biochemical reactions across all bodily systems and it's depleted every 12 hours so it needs to be constantly replenished. If you're feeling “off” try increasing your magnesium intake.
- Wakame is a good source of iodine, essential for strong metabolism of cells, and also iron, manganese, folate and bioavailable calcium.
- It's rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for brain health.
- It's a good source of a number of vitamins including A, B2, C, E, and K and vitamin D, which isn't a vitamin, but a hormone.
- It's got a ton of health benefits including boosting immune function. Combine wakame with immune boosting turmeric, plus pepper and fat to maximize the benefits of turmeric, and you've got an immune system powerhouse. Turmeric might play a role in thyroid health. For more information about thyroid health, check out The Thyroid Secret, a documentary series that runs from March 1 – 10.
- I really wanted apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and turmeric together. If you prefer a sweeter dressing you could add maple syrup or honey, but I prefer my dressing unsweetened.
Here's the recipe:
You could use this in Golden Milk or mix it with hot water for an alternative to coffee. Make a turmeric latte. Add Golden Paste to your smoothies or add it to muesli or oatmeal.
You could use this in Golden Milk or mix it with hot water for an alternative to coffee. Make a turmeric latte. Add Golden Paste to your smoothies or add it to muesli or oatmeal.
Combine all the ingredients except for the coconut oil in a small pot.
Bring to a simmer over low heat.
Cook until it begins to thicken.
Transfer to a clean, dry jar, such as a mason jar, and store in the refrigerator