All Posts By

katiemeyer

0 In Ayurveda

Elderberries: Not Just for Insulting Invading Hordes

First off, who gets the reference in the title?  And if you get it, can you NOT think of Monty Python when someone mentions Elderberries?!  I know I can’t.  For those not in the know, please see this classic clip from Monty Python & The Holy Grail below:

Ok, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about Elderberries for real.  And how they can be a great tool in your anti-cold arsenal.

I can hear you saying it now though: ‘Katie, aren’t Elderberries from Northern Europe?  How can they possibly be Ayurvedic?”

That’s an excellent point/question and first, you’re correct.  Elderberries originate from Northern Europe but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have Ayurvedic properties.  In fact, EVERYTHING has Ayurvedic properties so we can view anything and everything from the lens of Ayurveda.  Remember, Ayurveda is simply a practice of bringing your doshic imbalances back into balance (to keep you healthy) so whatever works, right?

So, what’s so great about Elderberries?  In short, they’re cute little berries that pack quite a punch.  Quick summary:

Elderberries are high in antioxidants, specifically, polyphenols, carotenoids and flavonoids.  These all helps protect our cells from damage (self-imposed or environmental).  They’re also high in vitamins A, C and E.   All good things for fighting off colds and keeping you healthy.

Ayurvedically, they balance all three doshas.  (hint: this is good!)  More Ayurvedic nerdery here (courtesy of Blue Lotus Ayurveda):

“Effect on Dosha: VPK=
Taste: berry-sweet, sour, bitter/flower-slightly bitter, pungent
Energy: berry-neutral to cooling/ flower-cooling
Post Digestive Effect: berries-sweet/flowers-pungent

Tissues/Dhatus: plasma, blood, muscle, fat
Systems/Srotas: respiratory, immune, digestive, circulatory, urinary
Properties: antioxidant, immune tonic, astringent, expectorant, diaphoretic, digestive, carminative, relaxant.
Indications: coughs, colds, sore throat, tonsillitis, congestion, respiratory infections, asthma, fever, flu, gas, allergies, abdominal discomfort, inflammation, high cholesterol, poor eyesight.
Preparations: infusion, tincture, syrup, winter cordials, medicated wine, food preparation.

Precautions: None for flowers. According to the Botanical Safety Handbook* the unripe and raw fruit contains sambunigrin, which may cause nausea, vomiting or severe diarrhea. Avoid elderberries that are red in color. The fruit is commonly cooked to avoid digestive upset and possible toxicity or the fresh fruit. Sambucus nigra is the variety most commonly used in herbal medicine and is considered to be relatively safe, especially when cooked.”

So good, right?  And if you’d like to make your own Elderberry Syrup, check out the recipe below:

Homemade Elderberry Syrup (InstantPot)

(they say the spices are optional but if you to maximize Ayurvedic goodness, don’t leave them out!)

And, as always, I would never recommend forgoing flu shots or ignoring your doctor’s advice for what’s best for you and your family.  This recipe is a great supplement to all the other evidence-based measures you’re already deploying! <3

0 In Ayurveda/ Life

Happy Summer! Now, chill out.

Happy Summer to you and yours!   At least, I think it’s summer here in the Norther hemisphere?  Where I live, it’s been cold enough to merit fuzzy socks and flannel pajamas at night but I keep hoping that we get some warm weather here soon.  Although, who am I kidding?  As a predominantly Pitta person, I live for brisk chill days…the heat makes me crazy!

If you’re like me and need some relief from hot summer months, I’ve got some good information and recommendations for you here!   Grab yourself a cool drink and settle in…

Q: What is Pitta and why does it get (h)angry in the summer time?

A: Pitta is one of the three doshas (basic constitutions) and is made up of fire and water.  It’s responsible for transformation.  Think of it as the spark that lights the fire.  The catalyst.  It’s also responsible for digestion and the seat of Pitta is in the stomach.  

So, why do Pitta-predominant folks tend to (kinda) dread summer?  Well, we don’t need any help in the fire department.  We’re spicy enough on our own! 🙂  So, in order to have a cool, calm, chill summer, we need to keep our Pitta fire in check.  Give it something to gnaw on so it doesn’t take over in the form of acid reflux, angry outbursts (emotionally), skin rashes, etc.  

My personal recommendations:

  • If you’ve wanted to try a raw food diet (or incorporate more raw foods into your existing diet), summer is the perfect time to do that.  Just be careful.  Sometimes, raw food can cause indigestion because you’re not pre-digesting the food by cooking it.  But if you’ve got strong Pitta and great local produce, go raw!  So much easier to do in the summer than in the winter.
  • Switch up your moisturizer and just use coconut oil.  Coconut oil is great for summer months and Pitta-predominant folks because it’s lighter than the traditional moisturizers used in Ayurveda (like sesame or jojoba oil).  Add some lavender essential oil for a delightful pre-sleepy time moisturizer or a citrus essential oil for morning pep.
  • Nadi Shodhana:  Ok, I’m cheating here.  This breathing exercise is good any time of year but if you find yourself being more impatient in the summer heat, your Pitta likely needs some help chilling out.  Nadi Shodhana will do that right quick!  Learn how HERE.

Other resources:

What to Pack for a Balanced Vacation

Pitta Pacifying Diet 

The Best Pranayama for Your Dosha

Happy Summer! <3

0 In Balance Restore Rejuvenate/ Life

Beware the B*#@S*%&: Essential Questions When Looking For A Holistic Health Provider

[Sunday Rant!]

A client of mine has been suffering from vertigo, anxiety, and a whole host of other things for years and has seen ‘doctor’ after ‘doctor’ with no results.

(I’m guiding her through my methods of mindfulness-based stress reduction but I feel it’s important for her to have someone local she can meet with regularly)

I finally said ‘Ok, who are these people? I want to research them!’ and found that they were all quacks! Seriously, one guy said he could cure cancer with his own ‘proprietary blend of microbiome enhancing supplements’ Oh, he also had a skin care line.

No. Just no.

It is EXTREMELY important to know how to navigate the alternative medicine world and learn how to spot the BS early and often.

Why?

There are people out there who will prey on your desperation to feel better. They’ll say all the right things but when you get down to the nitty gritty, their methods are flimsy (at best) or dangerous (at worst).

What really bites me though are people who’ve actually gone to medical school but then switch to ‘alternative health’ and use the social proof of their medical degree (although their license may have lapsed) to manipulate people into buying their junk.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all about alternative medicine. I think our western medical mindset can often miss the connections between symptoms and it’s important to find a practitioner you trust to help you interpret data and offer more natural therapies.

But you need to know how to spot the snake oil.

So as I’ve been looking for practitioners in my client’s area, these are the questions I’m asking:

1. Are they board-certified and if yes, by whom? If offering lineage-based teachings (like spiritual-based meditation), who is their teacher and what is their lineage? An ethical practitioner will be happy to tell you all about their mentors and lineage.

2. Do they have any peer-reviewed articles published? If yes, are they linked? If they link to research, is it solid research that’s peer-reviewed (instead of self-published)?

3. Are they enthusiastic about a collaborative care model? It’s a red flag when a practitioner (of any kind!) is unwilling to collaborate with others to help you feel better. ‘My way or the highway’ does not a happy healthy person make.

4. What does your gut tell you?

That last one is really important. Listen to your gut.

Does it seem weird that this person is listed as a cardiologist but he’s selling vitamins and skin care and telling you he can cure cancer? (seriously, that’s what this guy had on his website)

Do they make wild promises that seem too good to be true?

Will they have a quick phone consult with you to ensure they’re the right fit for you?

And more.

Step into your power place. Let got of ‘being nice’ and don’t stay silent because you are ‘afraid of hurting someone’s feelings’. Ask questions and get more information.

We are our own best health advocates and it’s super important that we build the RIGHT team around us to support our wellness.