Spice It Up
In December, we welcomed back Sapna Fliedner to host a class on Ayurveda for kids. Ayurveda in Sanskrit stands for Ayur (life) Veda (knowledge or science), essentially meaning that our body’s health is a result of different habits we have. Sapna explained it to simply be a personalized approach to health, with a twist! Not only is Sapna a Family Nurse Practitioner and Holistic Health Coach, but she studied Ayurveda at the Kerala Ayurveda Academy and Hospital in Kerala, India, where she learned about the magic of plants and prevention and how nature has the ability to heal the body with simple measures.
The class reflected her passion for preventing diseases before they happen and how to become intuitive on how the body works. As a pediatric OT and mom of two boys, I personally loved learning ways to keep our kids healthy by knowing their mind-body type. It is so relevant in my practice and home, as so much of our mood and behaviors are influenced on how we are feeling, which is influenced by what we consume.
Our Mahavaha channel nourishes our body. It is the entirety of our digestive system from mouth to rectum. An Ayurvedic Doctor may look within here to detect imbalances. So for example, the following symptoms may be due to a deeper rooted issue:
- Headache: Toxic colon, acidic blood
- Red or yellow tongue: Too much bile related from our gallbladder into small intestine
- Runny nose: Mucous in stomach
- Trouble with sleep: Issue with liver
- Eczema: Acidity of body, look towards liver and lymph
Key Components of Ayurvedic Health:
- Food is medicine. Eating different colors of the rainbow open chakra’s (centers of power in our body). Our Western diet can lead to more of an acidic microbiome. This acidity can cause our lymphatic system to go stagnant causing a compromised immune system.
- Sleep. Keeping in mind to have a calm, dim bedtime routine 2 hours before bed. We get more restful sleep the hours before midnight. Also, going outside within one hour of waking resets the entire body and re-sets serotonin levels.
- Nature. Be grounded into earth as much as possible, meaning have your kids feel soil, grass, sand with their bare feet which will connect them to earths energy and feeling overall more grounded in their bodies. Sapna sited a study that found nature sounds reduces stress hormones 800%!!!
- Exercise. We all know this one!
- Massage or Abhayangha. Giving yourself an oil massage after a bath.
Now to the cool stuff… The three body types! Some of us may be one or a combination. The three body types are:
Characteristics: Light, cold, thin, trouble gaining weight, quick mind and memory. Due to lightness in mind, may have sleep issues.
- PRO: Positive emotions and enthusiasm, intuitive
- CON: Lack of confidence and ease from lack of direction
Digestion + Remedies: Due to winds energy, they tend to skip meals, making it harder to digest meals and absorb nutrients causing them to bloat. They tend to be more dry having trouble with dehydration and constipation. Vatas thrive when they incorporate routine with their mealtimes eating 3x per day at the same time leading them to be more grounded with mental direction. They need more nuts, seeds, oils, and spices to balance the lightness of their bodies and cold nature of their system. Such as eating heavier warmer foods/soups and using spices like ginger and cayenne.
Characteristics: Medium body weight and intense mind. Strong appetite, digestion, and quick elimination. Heat-related imbalances such as skin problems, liver weakness, ulcers, anger.
- PRO: Sharp, focused, decision makers, leaders
- CON: Critical, poor frustration, difficulty relaxing
Digestion + Remedies: Digestion towards acidity which is why their diet is balanced by alkaline diet of cool, bland foods with roots and greens, mild spices, sweet fruits, coconuts, fresh sprouts, and other raw foods. They get aggravated by chocolate, processed foods, alcohol, meat, hot spices, and caffeine. Thrive on steady intake one dark leafy greens.
Kapha: EARTH + WATER
Characteristics: Moisture, go- with- the- flow personality, do well with exercise
- PRO: Loving, at ease nature, forgiving
- CON: Slow metabolism, at risk for congestion, asthma, obesity, diabetes
Digestion + Remedies: Their slow appetite allows them to get by in less food. The best foods for them are those with an astringent quality to absorb the excess liquid nature of Kapha. Such grains include millet and buckwheat. Others include pomegranates, leafy greens, lemons and grapefruits, along with crunchy spicy foods.
Prevention starts with noticing signs and symptoms with in yourself and your children. Sapna references an Ayurvedic guru, John Doillard, if you are curious in learning more.
There are simple ways to boost our immunity with various herbs and spices that we already have in our cabinets! These can easily be mixed with honey (caution using before age 2 or consult with your Doctor).
Cold & Immune booster:
- Trikatu (ginger, long/short pepper)
- Bay leaves
- Lime juice, rock salt, natural sugar