Melissa

STEP 1

Home panchakarma! You'll need to eat the same meal, three meals a day, for seven days. Here's the recipe:

1/2 cup basmati rice 
1 cup mung dal (split yellow) 
6 cups (approx.) water 
1/2 to 1 inch ginger root, chopped or grated 
pinch of mineral salt (1/4 tsp. or so) 
2 tsp. ghee OR good fat (e.g. olive oil, sesame oil)
1/2 tsp. coriander powder 
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds 
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder  
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 and 1/2 cups assorted vegetables (for fall, use: sweet potato, spinach, onions, root veggies)

FOR THE RICE & MUNG DAL:

Carefully pick over rice and dal to remove any stones. Wash each separately. Add the 6 cups of water to the rice and dal, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook covered until it becomes soft, about 20 minutes. Mix in ghee (or oil) and all spices.

FOR THE VEGGIES:

Chop sweet potato and any root veggies in bite-sized pieces. Place in a small bowl and coat with melted ghee (or another healthy oil), salt, and turmeric. Toss until evenly coated. Bake at 375F for 30-40 minutes or until all veggies are fork-tender. Sautee spinach in ghee (or another healthy oil). Serve on the side of the rice & dal.

ONGOING ROUTINE STUFF

This will be important to follow as you transition off your panchakarma. Here are some pointers for not wasting your tummy spoons...

  • avoid ice water, cold food, cold drinks
  • for now, eliminate all spicy foods (hot pepper) and instead rely on garlic and onions to get your pungent taste
  • sip warm herbal teas throughout the day
  • try to eat your largest meal at lunch. if possible have a lighter, more liquid dinner (e.g. soup/stew).
  • eat fruits by themselves, unless they are cooked (eat raw fruit 20 minutes before or after other food). no mixing fruit & dairy (plant-based milks are ok)
  • minimize raw veggies and raw fruits which are harder to digest
  • minimize cheese & bean combos
  • minimize raw & cooked veggie combos

Try to do abhyanga (warm oil self-massage) at least 2X a week (as often as everyday). Boil water, pull the stopper up in your sink, then put the water in it. Pour 3+ ounces of oil into a bowl and place into the hot water. Follow this tutorial for how to apply the oil, taking at least 10-15 minutes. Use a towel to wipe off excess oil before getting in the shower. Use this sesame oil.

Try to do dry brushing starting at 2X a week (up to 5X a week). Watch this video for more information about how to do it correctly without agitating your skin. The most important note: dry brushing is NOT intended to be your exfoliation routine. You should not be flushed/red/pink after your dry brush, that's a sign you've stimulated the circulatory system, not the lymphatic system. Use very light pressure and be gentle.

*Note: in the fall, favor more abhyanga over dry brushing. In the winter, favor more dry brushing over abhyanga.

NUTRITION

VERY IMPORTANT: Since your imbalance is Vata-Kapha, balancing your symptoms with nutrition will be a little tricky. We are going to emphasize certain foods/flavors for the two upcoming seasons. Fall is Vata season, so we will focus on Vata-pacifying foods until late December. Then from late December until late March, we will switch to Kapha-pacifying foods. This is a great resource on foods to emphasize & minimize by dosha.

FOR FALL Follow this guide to emphasize Vata-pacifying foods. Think: warm, wet, oily, grounding. Everyone needs to eat all 6 tastes in this guide, but Vata people need to emphasize sweet (e.g. sweet potato, beets, rice, meat), sour (e.g. dairy, kombucha, fermented foods), and salty (e.g. good salt, seafood). It doesn't mean you get to eat salt & vinegar chips and pie!

Emphasize the following spices in your fall cooking:

  • cumin
  • coriander
  • fennel
  • good salt
  • cardamom
  • ginger
  • nutmeg
  • turmeric (when using turmeric, it's also a good idea to add a little black pepper to help with absorption, but only if you don't have diarrhea)

FOR WINTER Follow this guide to emphasize Kapha-pacifying foods. Think: light, warm, dry, and rough. As always, everyone needs all 6 tastes in this guide, but Kapha people need to emphasize pungent (e.g. garlic, onions), bitter (e.g. leafy greens), and astringent (e.g. apples, pomegranates, quinoa, legumes).

Emphasize the following spices in your winter cooking:

  • cumin
  • coriander
  • fennel
  • cardamom
  • ginger
  • nutmeg
  • turmeric (when using turmeric, it's also a good idea to add a little black pepper to help with absorption, but only if you don't have acute diarrhea)
  • garlic
  • onion
  • saffron
  • dill
  • basil
  • oregano
  • dill
  • parsley

When it comes to other food guidance, here are some high points:

  • try to eat leftovers within 24-28 hours
  • reheat leftovers on the stove or in a toaster oven if possible (avoid microwave when you can)
  • if eating nuts, emphasize cashew & pistachios
  • emphasize warm, cooked foods as much as possible for both Vata and Kapha imbalances.

Have a cup of Triphala tea in the evening before bed to help your digestion.

RECIPES (V = Vata-pacifying, K = Kapha-pacifying)

*important note: make sure you wait at least 3 hours between full meals - it is too taxing on the digestive system to load it down with a bunch of food all at once.*

Ayurveda's definition of a full tummy = 1/3 food, 1/3 water, 1/3 air. Don't eat until you feel like you'll explode, eat until you feel satisfied then stop. This should also help reduce Ama accumulation.

BREAKFAST

Workday easy:

Cinnamon Oatmeal with Almonds & Milk (V)

Quinoa, Walnut, & Date Warm Cereal (VK)

Amaranth with Almonds, Apple, & Raisins (V)

More involved:

Mushroom Swiss Chard Frittata with Rosemary (VK)

Multigrain Pancakes (V)

LUNCH (sides & meals)

Sweet Potato with Kale & Ginger (VK)

Broccoli with Garlic & Black Olive (broccoli is usually a little harder to digest, so best eaten at lunch vs. dinner) (VK)

DINNER (sides & meals)

Kale & Carrot Soup with Ginger, Fennel, & Lime (VK)

Butternut Squash Soup with Fennel, Ginger, & Garlic (a little heavier, make sure Ama/tongue coating is low to minimal when making & eating this one) (V)

Curried Chickpea with Carrots (omit cayenne & avoid if experiencing diarrhea) (VK)

TREATS

Baked Pear with Cardamom (VK)

Maple Cream Walnut Cookies (make sure Ama/tongue coating is low to minimal when making & eating this one) (V)

Peach Blackberry Bake with Nut Crust (could also substitute fall fruits like apples & pears) (VK)

DRINKS

Mulled Spice Wine (do not make/drink if experiencing diarrhea) (VK)

Gold Milk (can also add: a pinch of nutmeg for additional spice AND/OR 1/2 to 1 tsp ashwagandha powder for reducing anxiety and promoting sleep AND/OR 1-2 strands of saffron for additional flavor and anti-inflammatory benefits) (VK)

HERBS

Mix all the powders into hot water (as little as 2-3 oz. is fine) and drink all at once. Start with Myrrh and Cinnamon for one to two weeks, then add in Licorice and Marshmallow as long as you're doing well. Please check in with me as you start and add on herbs.

  • Cinnamon Powder, 1/4 tsp 2X daily. Relieves muscle tension, promotes circulation, cleanses blood, promotes digestion, balances female hormones.
  • Myrrh Powder 1/4 tsp, 2X daily. Promotes circulation, cleanses blood, heals sores, also tonic/rejuvenative for both Vata & Kapha.
  • Licorice Root Powder, 1/8 tsp, 2X daily. Bulk laxative, liquefies Kapha for expulsion, soothes & tones mucosal membranes, anti-inflammatory, rejuvenative.
  • Marshmallow Powder, 1/4 tsp, 2X daily. Rejuvenates Pitta, the lungs, and the kidneys, tonifies Vata, soothes mucus membranes, anti-inflammatory, promotes healing, tonic for all three doshas.

YOGA, BREATHING EXERCISES, & MEDITATION

Keep up with your physical therapy and water therapy! For your yoga practice, focus on restoratives and pranayama. Overall, look for slow-moving, mildly heat-building classes. In general, focus on closed & open twists (especially when Ama/coating on tongue is thick or when digestion is irregular), forward folds (especially when you're feeling anxious), and chest openers (especially when you're feeling depressed or especially lethargic).

Make time for some stillness and quiet. Things like bee breath (bhramari), alternate nostril breath (nadi shodhana), and belly breath are great for calming high Vata. The best pranayama for Kapha dosha is skull-shining breath (kapalabhati), just make sure to not overdo it and take breaks when you need to.

YOGAWORKS CLASSES

I was trained in the YogaWorks tradition - a blend of Iyengar and Ashtanga yoga. I exclusively use YogaWorks for my home practice and highly recommend it. You can use this link to get 20% off a subscription. It's well worth it. Here are some videos I'd recommend for you:

Rest & Digest (15 minutes)

Healing Practice (20 minutes)

Short Meditation (8 minutes)

Yoga Nidra - 31 Point Meditation (11 minutes)

Sensory Transcendence (10 minutes)

GABI'S RECORDINGS (more coming)

Kapalabhati: Best for high Kapha, high Ama, stagnation, low energy, depression.

Nadi Shodhana: Great for all three doshas, balancing energy.

Belly Breath: Best for high Vata, anxiety, insomnia. Very grounding.

Bhramari: Best for high Vata, busy mind, anxiety, insomnia. Very grounding and draws senses inward.