I'm doing a 2-week gluten-free challenge. I'm halfway through it. As a mid-way treat, I ate a bagel!! Lol. I couldn't resist. But, I'm still doing the challenge and that was the only gluten I've eaten in the past week! My friend, Dr. Aarti Soorya, is hosting the challenge. You might remember her from our Facebook Lives earlier this year? She's a functional medicine doc up in Michigan. And, from the functional medicine perspective, gluten can lead to leaky gut syndrome. That's Dr. Soorya's expertise, and if you're interested, I can invite her to join me on a FB Live about it!
But, for this week's blog, I thought it'd be interesting to talk about the Ayurveda perspective on gluten. Generally, Ayurveda recommends wheat. It can be balancing for Vata (Air) and Pitta (Fire) types. If you have trouble digesting gluten (or any other food product), chances are that:
1) It’s not suitable for your constitution, or
2) You need to strengthen your digestive fire (Agni)
So, what’s the deal with gluten-free diets? As a doctor, I’ve had so many patients report back to me that they feel better after going gluten-free! So, what’s that about?
It has to do with the processing of wheat these days. The processing of wheat is different now than it was 5000 years ago when Ayurveda originated. And so, it’s important that you adapt these ancient principles to your modern lifestyle.
What’s that mean for you?
It means you have to see what works for you! Ayurveda is all about self-awareness. Try something out for 2-3 weeks and notice how your body feels. Ayurveda recognizes that you’re unique. Gluten-free might make you feel great, and make someone else feel weak and sluggish! It’s all about self-exploration and learning what’s right for you.
I’ve honestly never tried to go gluten-free before this challenge. I’m one of those Vata-Pitta types and that’s been my excuse that wheat’s good for me! :-) I'm halfway through the challenge, and so far I've noticed that my digestion feels smoother. I also feel lighter after meals than when I was eating gluten. Will I continue gluten-free after the challenge? Probably not. But, this challenge gave me a greater awareness of how I feel with and without it. It pushed me out of my comfort zone to learn more about gluten and its potential effects. And, it was a fun challenge to find creative recipes and modifications to my regular diet!
So, now I'm curious to hear your experiences with gluten! Have you tried gluten-free? If so, did you notice any differences with or without it? Leave a comment below and let me know!
P.S. Follow me on Insta and Facebook to see what gluten-free meals I've been eating this past week! @sheetalajmanimd
One of the first questions people ask when starting out their yoga practice is, “What type of mat should I buy?” With so many types of yoga mats out there, and so many different styles of yoga, it can be hard to know! I found this great guide that breaks it all down for you. The folks who wrote this guide did a lot of research to help you pick the best mat for your needs. I love that all the mats they tested are eco-friendly and non-toxic. Personally, I plan to invest in the Tranquility Essentials cork mat as my next mat purchase. They say it’s a bit heavier than the other choices, but I like its eco-friendly rating and natural cork material. For studio practice, I’ll stick with my personal favorite that I've used for the past 9 years, the Jade Harmony mat.
Now, this article is cool because it also dives into a bit of the history of yoga mats. The idea of using a yoga mat is a relatively new concept. Ancient yogi’s didn’t use mats at all! They practiced in nature. Over time, people started using cloth rugs to practice on. Yoga practice used to be more about the seated practice, like meditation. Your modern yoga practice involves a lot more movement, poses, and let’s face it, sweat! That’s where these sticky, rubber mats came into play. To help prevent you from slipping and sliding during your practice. The problem is that many of the mats today use toxic chemicals. And, who wants to get all sweaty while doing something good for yourself on a toxic mat? Eek!
That’s where this guide comes in handy. They sent all the mats to a special lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan to test the materials. I’m interested to hear your thoughts after you read this guide. What’s been your favorite yoga mat? How has the info in this guide made you think differently about yoga mats? Leave a comment below and let me know!
Challenges are inevitable. Suffering is a choice.
This was the topic of a podcast I listened to recently. In it, Marie Forleo interviewed Krishnaji and Preethaji. Marie Forleo, if you’re not familiar, is an amazing entrepreneur, business and life coach. Krishnaji and Preethaji are the founders of an organization called O&O academy. So, in this interview, they talked about the difference between challenges and suffering. Life will always present you with challenges. But, suffering, they say, is a choice. Challenges are the actual situation. Suffering is your reaction to the situation. Suffering comes from your mind’s thoughts and the emotions that those thoughts evoke.
So, how can you move through life’s challenges without suffering? I’ll be upfront about this. It’s not easy. There’s the day to day challenges. Things like getting to work on time, getting your kids ready for school, or dealing with traffic. Then, there’s the bigger challenges that life throws at you. Things like the loss of a loved one, a new diagnosis, or a career change. It maybe that a completely enlightened person would be able to move through these situations without suffering. But, for the rest of us, I think it’s possible to at least minimize our suffering. To find some sort of peace and acceptance within those challenges. Possibly even find happiness and gratitude.
The first step is awareness. Recognize that you’re suffering. Acknowledge the suffering. Maybe even start a conversation with it. Your feelings are valid. They usually show up as a message. So, ask it: "Suffering, what are you hear to teach me? What’s the lesson I need to learn here?"
And then, sit still. Let the light enter those dark spaces. By asking those questions and being open to what arises, you’re letting the light in. The light of guidance and wisdom. It may be subtle as a little whisper from your inner voice. Or, it may be more obvious, like a blog post, book, or social media post that you stumble upon.
If you find it hard to sit still, then try journaling. I meditate daily, which helps me tune in. But, journaling is actually the way I most easily tune into these messages. So, if meditation seems impossible, try sitting down with a pen and paper. Write down these questions: "Suffering, what are you hear to teach me? What’s the lesson I need to learn here?"
Then, let your pen move. Free flow. Whatever comes out, let it be. And, then go back and read what you wrote. You might be surprised what you find. There may be a new perspective, a solution, or a lesson in what you wrote.
I’m interested to hear what you think of this idea of suffering being a choice. And, what you discover when you try out these practices! Leave a comment below to let me know!
"I could see peace instead of this."
This phrase has been coming to my mind a lot lately. I spent a good part of last year reading A Course In Miracles. I shared some of my reflections from those readings with you last summer. I made a video about this powerful statement, "I could see peace instead of this." And, I've found myself coming back to it a lot lately.
And so, I wanted to share that video with you again today. In it, I describe how you can use this phrase as a meditation.
1. Sit for a few minutes and watch your thoughts
2. If any disturbing thoughts arise, replace them with this statement. "I could see peace instead of this."
The more you practice this, the more reflexive it becomes. So that, even when you're not meditating, this tool is available to you. If a disturbing situation or conversation arises, your mind will shift more quickly towards peace. And, goodness, couldn't we all use more peace in our lives these days?
I hope this meditation helps you find a bit more peace within your own life. And, if so, let me know! I love hearing from you! So, be sure to leave a comment below letting me know your experience with this meditation!!
I was visiting one of my best friends last weekend. She's big into gardening and has a beautiful herb garden in her backyard. The last time I visited a month ago, she had just planted the herbs in container pots. When I returned this past weekend, I enjoyed seeing how the plants blossomed in the interim. I was especially drawn to the mint and lavender plants. And, I asked her, "Would you mind if I make a tea with these?"
So, I trimmed some of the mint leaves and sprigs of lavender. Warmed up some water, put in the fresh herbs, and some honey. Let me tell you, it was SO DELICIOUS! If you're able to get your hands on some fresh herbs this season, I highly recommend it!
Fresh herbs are a staple in Ayurvedic healing. Here's a sampling of all the things you can do with herbs:
-Add herbs to your cooking to amp up the nutritive and healing properties of your food.
-Crush herbs into powders and ingest them with carriers like honey or ghee.
-Make a paste out of herbs to apply topically to your skin.
-Steep the herbs in hot water for a yummy and healing tea.
Dr. David Frawley has this to say about herbs:
"Plants bring us the love, the nourishing power of the sun, which is the same energy of all the stars, of all light...They offer us not only their own nutritive value but the very light and love from the stars...They bring us the universal light so that we can enter the universal life."
Some of my favorite plants for the summer teas are lavender, mint, and rose. Cilantro is a great herb to add to your cooking. All of these plants have cooling properties and that's why they're perfect for the season!
Another one of my favorite things for the summer is to use essential oil aromotherapy. Going back to the lavender and rose that I mentioned earlier. Not only are these cooling, but they're also calming and grounding. How do I use them?
-Place a few drops mixed with water in an aromatherapy diffuser
-Place a few drops of lavender essential oil into sesame oil to rub on the soles of your feet before going to bed
-Use an essential oil blend to apply to trigger points of your body, like your wrists and temples. My current fave is Pratima's Pitta Essential Oil. It's a blend of Rose, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, and Sandalwood. It's heavenly!!
I have a whole bunch of other Ayurveda tips for the summer that I've written about in prior years. So, if you're interested in learning more, check out those blogs here:
And, now I want to hear from you! Leave a comment, let me know if you try any of these tips and how they worked out for you. Also, please share this blog with anyone you think would benefit from these tips!