Cozy Tea Time

Mmmmm, there’s nothing like a warm, comforting cup of tea on a winter day.

Personally, I love chai. It’s my coffee (since I don’t like coffee).

And chai spices have their medicinal benefits. Fennel, cardamom and coriander are great for digestion and black pepper and ginger are fabulous for kicking on a little fire.

I’ve been feeling a little daring lately (yes, changing my tea is about as daring as it gets right now) and decided to mix things up. If you’re down for a tea-sized adventure, here’s a version I’ve been loving. I made a cup for a friend recently and she said it was like drinking a cup of comfort.

Let me know what you think!

Tulsi Astragalus Rose Tea - aka A Cup of Comfort

Tulsi, otherwise known as Holy Basil, is an adaptogen used in Ayurvedic medicine. It supports the body against stress and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Tulsi also used as a treatment for diabetes and asthma. And it’s an herb of wonderful spiritual lore and significance.

Astragalus is a traditional Chinese herb used for all things immune boosting, like colds and ailments, as well as to fend off heart disease and diabetes.

Rose, oh rose. In addition to being sweet and delicate, rose is powerful medicine. Rose has been used for centuries to heal many diseases and ailments. Rose tea aids digestion and tummy trouble, can relieve menstrual cramps, reduce stress, boost the immune system, help with osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease and relieve urinary tract infections. Rose is also the herb/oil of beautification and is great for hair and skin.

rose tea

You can get loose herbs at your local natural foods store or order online from a reputable retailer like Mountain Rose Herbs.

How to make

tulsi tea

1 tsp tulsi
1 tsp astragalus
1 tsp dried rose
non-dairy milk
maple syrup
sprinkle of cinnamon

(Start with equal parts of the loose tea, then adapt according to your taste.)

Pour boiling water over herbs in a tea press or teapot and let steep for 10-15 minutes.

Transfer tea to small saucepan and add equal parts non dairy milk (oat milk seems to be having a moment).

Warm to your desired temperature.

Pour into mug and add maple syrup to taste.

Sprinkle some cinnamon on top.



Pitta Project

Summer Solstice

Here we are at the peak of summer -- the summer solstice! It's the longest day of the year, and the official first day of Summer.

For many people, there's a felt difference in their energy, urges, even physical and mental states in the different seasons. Summer has long been revered as a time of increased creativity and stamina as well as maturation and manifestation of ideas and projects that may have begun this winter or spring.

In Ayurveda, summer is associated with PItta, which consists of the fire and water elements and governs transformation. Similar to the energetic qualities and beliefs about summer and fire, pitta is related to drive, intensity, precision, passion, intelligence and a desire for things to be orderly.

When untamed, pitta can veer into irritability, judgment, criticism, resentment and excessive perfectionism.  Think of the stereotypical "type A" personality and you've got a deranged (the Ayurvedic term for "out of balance") pitta.

This is not to say that pitta is a bad -- on the contrary. We all contain multitudes and are naturally combinations of many qualities. In Ayurveda the approach is often about finding counter-balance to help support harmony among the systems.

In fact, as a generally cold and dry person (my constitution is predominately Vata, associated with air and ether), a little fire under me can be a good thing.

My Pitta Project

Somewhere in the past week I saw/heard (it's very vata of me to not remember) of someone doing 100 squats a day for 30 days. I wondered if this might not be a fun project for my little twig legs, which are strong, but not that shapely. (I even took "before" pictures!)

I started my 100 squats with perhaps too much vigor, throwing in some lunge dips in the park last Friday. Pearl and I took a long, hot walk and my legs were pretty spent afterward.

Saturday I figured out that I can do 50 squats in the two minutes of my timed toothbrush. Bonus that I can see myself in the mirror and make posture adjustments in the shoulders and spine as necessary.

By my class on Sunday morning I was 250 squats in and unable to go up or down our stairs without sounding like a wounded animal. I shared my new goal with the class, and one person wisely responded that muscles need a day off for recovery. Ah, yes, moderation! Guess I have a little pitta in me after all.

This week another student wrote and said she might come up with her own Pitta Project, which inspired this post.

Maybe you, too, have a reasonable summer goal that can be supported by all this bright energy.

To call a senator every day.
To drink a half gallon of water every day.
To eat only plant-based food four days a week.
To walk a mile every morning.

Make it measurable and give it an end date. Your inner pitta will like that specificity. :)

Let me know if you come up with one and we'll do them together.


One Thousand Degrees

Well, that's what they feel like...those first few hot days after the gentle fluctuations of spring.

To combat the afternoon slump, I like to take the dog for a walk around the block after lunch. Today she got so hot that every patch of shaded lawn was the only place she wanted to be -- sprawled out on her belly, fully exposed to any amount of coolness. If I wanted her to go anywhere, I was going to have to drag her as she played possum. I wish I had a picture of it.

My phone says 87, but it feels more like the 90s. It was a hot walk, I'll give her that.

Perfect timing to try out one of my recipe ideas for the Summer Daylong Retreat!

I decided on a classic cooling beverage -- Rosewater Lemonade. Two of my favorite things! roses and lemons, and I had both ingredients on hand.

We are moving into the season of pitta, or fire, as described in the Ayurvedic system. When aggravated, pitta can respond with irritability, resistance and aggression. Being over-heated can make anyone angry!

The antidote to out-of-balance pitta is cooling sweetness and beauty. Rosewater Lemonade is the perfect remedy.

The fragrance of a rose can cool anger and criticism. Rosewater relieves and cools inflammation as well. While I was making this drink I sprayed it on my face and the back of my neck -- it's great for sunburned skin or summer rashes, and heals and soothes internal tissues. It has a mild astringency that tones tissues, including the digestive tract.

hot lemon water

Lemons are an Ayurvedic staple year-round. They cleanse the blood of impurities, aid digestion and quench thirst. They are a cooling astringent in the blood. The sour taste brings a scattered mind back into focus and helps shift us from the head back to the heart.


This drink is absolutely lovely. It's light, sweet, subtle and, well, cooling! I'm sitting outside working, even after that thousand degree walk!  Pearl, on the other hand, is inside :)


Rosewater Lemonade

1/2 Lemon
1 t raw sugar or maple syrup
1 T rosewater
2 c water

Mix all ingredients together. Served cool or at room temperature.

For even more cooling, use lime instead of lemon.

My beverage came out a honey color because I used coconut sugar. Next time I will try maple syrup. 

I played with the ratios and ended up adding more lemon and rosewater, so I'm not quite sure what my proportions were. Experiment according to your taste.


rosewater lemonade

Recipe adapted from Joyful Belly.


3-step morning routine

It has come to my attention that not everyone scrapes their tongue first thing in the morning. 

And that they might be interested in learning about such things.

So for you curious, voyeur-types, here are the three things I do every single morning. BONUS that you actually get a video of all of these things at the end.


First, I scrape my tongue. 

tongue scraper

Disclaimer: once you scrape your tongue, there's no going back. You'll wonder why you haven't heard of this before and you'll never be able to not scrape it again.

An Ayurvedic practice, tongue scraping is said to help remove the bacteria, toxins and dead cells that grow on the tongue overnight. Keeping the tongue clean is said to help digestion, boost immunity and help with overall oral hygiene.

Somewhere along the way, I learned that scraping nine times was auspicious (or superstitious!), so that's how many times I scrape. 

Sometimes they stock tongue scrapers at health food stores like the Natural Foods Co Op, or you can get one online.


Next, I put oil in my nostrils.


This is an Ayurvedic practice called Nasya, which helps moisten and lubricate the tissue of the nostrils, said to help fend off colds and ease allergies.

There's special naysa oil (this is why I buy if I don't make my own), but you can test it out with sesame, coconut, olive, jojoba or almond.

Blow your nose, put a drop of oil on each pinkie finger and swipe around the nasal passages. A bit of a sharp "sniff" will help distribute the oil deeper into the passages.


lemon water

Last, I have a large glass of warm lemon water.

Said to help cleanse and kick-start the digestive track, this is a great way to hydrate before having your morning beverage of choice, especially coffee, which is dehydrating.

I recently got some metal straws and started drinking my lemon water that way to help keep the lemon off my enamel. This makes it feel extra fancy.


These three habits help ground me and support my other practices. What you do each day matters -- consider bringing these into your morning routine. Your body will thank you!

You can see it all in action below!


a personal steam

As we covered last week in the Sad News for Smoothies post, winter is the season of the kapha dosha in Ayurveda. This season is characterized by heaviness, dryness (and wetness as we get more into spring), slowness and potential stagnation in digestion, mental processing and emotional state.

A great way to brighten things up and cleanse and clear the respiratory system -- as well as the mind -- is a good, old-fashioned steam.

(Side note: Somehow I did not get the sauna that I asked Santa for. Weird.)

Most of us do not have a steam room or sauna, and even if you have one at your gym, it's not always practical to do. If only there was a way to spare your hairdo from the sweatfest. 

Oh wait, there is!

It's the mini personal steam.

This doesn't mean you have to hunch over a pot of water on the stove. Just pour some steaming water in a mug, drape a kitchen towel over your head and breathe slowly in and out through your nose for a few minutes.

Essential oil (one drop) will amp up the medicinal value — eucalyptus, myrrh, cedarwood, ravensara, rosemary, fir and spruce are some of the great expectorant oils. (Keep in mind, this is medicine, not fun fragrance, so don’t over-dose.)

We did a personal mini steam in this weekend's Seasonal Care workshop to rave reviews!

ayurveda steam

A steam can balance whatever state is in excess -- it will help focus and clarify the mind so you can work on a task, and it will soothe and clear the mind so you can rest. Of course, it's fabulous for cold prevention and cold care -- keeping the respiratory system moist and moving.  

Give it a try and test the effects for yourself. As always, I'd love to hear how it goes.


bad news for smoothies

Smoothies in the news

A few years ago there were different versions of a popular post going around called Why Your Smoothie is Making You Fat.

The articles all talked about how smoothies are generally larger than we plan, more calories than we know, full of sugar and digest quickly, leaving us hungry.

Those are all good considerations about your smoothie. But I'm talking about ditching the smoothie for another reason.

Put down that smoothie

At least for now.

Wintertime in Ayurveda is known as Kapha season. There are three doshas, or functional energies in nature, each a combination of the elements. Kapha is predominated by the earth and water elements.

As such, characteristics of kapha season are cold, increased moisture (rain for us here in California), cloud-covered days, and a slow, heavy feeling.

The guiding principle in Ayurveda is Like Increases Like and Opposites Balance.

So just like in the heat of summer it wouldn't make sense to eat a spicy meal and take a run at 3 pm, we want to balance the qualities of winter rather than exacerbate them.

If the qualities of kapha are heavy, slow, cool, oily, smooth, dense, soft, stable and cloudy (think of the qualities or characteristics of wet earth or soft mud), in general, we don't need to add more of those things with our food.

This is why your smoothie is not the best choice in winter: it is cold, heavy, dense and wet. While it may contain great nutrients, the body has a harder time digesting all those kaphaqualities in kapha season.

Frustratingly, you can end up bloated, feeling heavy and lethargic or even experience weight gain from smoothies in winter.

kapha conditions + kapha food = kapha symptoms + creates more kapha

It's not that kapha is bad -- in Ayurveda, it embodies the energies of love and compassion. Kapha foods can be grounding and nourishing. This is a season that supports beautiful quiet and reflection. It's all about balance.

Seasonal Care

I find Ayurveda practical and helpful, which is why I love sharing it with others.

If you are interested in:

  • learning more about Ayurveda
  • managing the symptoms of winter (like colds and congestion, mucus, lethargy, weight gain, depression or mental heaviness)
  • having a mini spa day

...join me this Sunday for Seasonal Care :: Winter to Spring.

In the meantime, skip the smoothie and have some hot tea... or make some soup spiced with black pepper, cayenne pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom or cumin. Everything warm for winter!

Let me know how it goes!

winter care

If you think about winter in elemental or weather terms, our climate here has been cold and dry. Hopefully we're are headed into some wetter months ahead, which will change how we ideally care for the physical body and our overall health.

There's a system of health and healing out of the Indian/Tibetan lineage and related to Yoga called Ayurveda. Ayurveda in Sanskrit translates to “Science of Longevity” or “Knowledge of Life.”
Ayurveda philosophy is based on the recognition that the elements – ether, air, fire, water and earth – exist within the human body as they do in the environment around us.
From this awareness, it’s all about relationship, harmony and cause and effect. 

A basic principle of Ayurveda is:

Like increases like, and opposites balance.

So what does that mean in this winter season? How can we best support our bodies?

Well, we can help balance the qualities of cold and dry with warm, moisturizingnourishing and grounding. Having cold and dry foods (like bread) only increases the cold and dry of winter in our bodies. So we seek to counterbalance.

Here are a few Ayurveda-inspired ideas for basic winter care (these will change slightly  when our winter become more cold and wet):

  • Eat whole, healthy food and fresh vegetables (as basic as it is essential)
  • Enjoy warm and warming foods and drinks -- ginger, chai, warm lemon water, and foods cooked in warming spices such as...
    • Chili, black pepper, cayenne pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and cumin
  • Decrease both dry and cold foods and drinks such as salads, popcorn, breads and baked goods, frozen desserts
  • Increase meals that have to be eaten in a bowl -- hot cereals, soups, stews, healthy risottos 
  • Stay warm -- better to take your hot or gloves off than be cold without them
  • Stay connected to your sense of purpose -- consider writing in a journal, reading books that inspire you, volunteering
  • Balance rest with aerobic movement -- get your body warm and heart-rate up every day AND try a restorative pose or long savasana (stay warm and snuggly and try weight, like a sandbag, on the body on the feet, thighs, pelvis or chest)
  • Try Nasya -- a little bit of oil in the nostrils morning and night. It might sound weird, but a dab of oil (almond, sunflower or even olive) on the ring fingers, swiped inside each nostril, can help alleviate the irritation of heaters, allergens and colds. Try it!

I also have a general rule, especially in cold/flu season, of Never Touching My Face. Even if I wash my hands frequently, there's still all kinds of goo that gets on me throughout the day. 

Along with the basics of hydration (always warm or room-temperature water), whole food and vegetables, and getting enough rest and downtime, these tips have kept me healthy and cruising through these chilly days.

If you have ways you winterize, I'd love to hear!

In health,


ps If you're interested in more specifics on staying healthy and vibrant this winter season, check out the upcoming Seasonal Care workshop. It will feel basically like a spa day :) 

two new workshops

Workshops in the works! Two upcoming offerings...



Seasonal Care : Winter to Spring

Address the unique symptoms that can arise from the upcoming seasonal transition -- colds, mucous, sluggish energy and digestion -- using the accessible tools of Ayurveda and Yoga.

Sunday, January 28, 1-3:30 pm

Email to register.

The shift from winter to spring can be tricky for the body, digestion and sleep. In our climate, winter is cold and spring is generally wet — qualities that together can create mucous, heaviness and sluggishness in energy and digestion.

Using the tools and Yoga and Ayurveda (which has to do with what we put in and on our bodies), we can warm the chill, absorb excess dampness and keep things moving.

This workshop will include suggestions for foods and beverages appropriate for the season, tips for balancing body practices and aromatherapy.

Plus -- cold care. You'll get a take-home of my #1 oil for fending off a cold.

These seasonal workshops are a ton of fun, very popular and Include take home goodies!

Sunday, January 28, 1-3:30 pm $75
Hosted at Figure 8 Studio at 28th and S Streets
Class size is limited; register early.


sleeping angel

Tired of Insomnia?

Sleepy solutions based on science and real-life experience. Take home tools and samples included.

Sunday, March 11, 1-3:30 pm

Email to register.

Do you have trouble falling asleep? Or do you wake in the early a.m. hours and stare at the ceiling? Insomnia not only puts you in a bad mood, it’s bad for your health. Studies show that insomnia affects everything from our immunity to our lifespan.

No doubt you have tried many remedies, maybe some with success. But if you are relying mostly on pharmaceutical drugs and luck to get a good night’s rest, there’s more you can do.

Sleeplessness becomes its own cycle of anxiety over going to bed and fear of the effects of not sleeping ("Tomorrow is going to be terrible if I don't get any sleep!"), which make the possibility of actually sleeping even less likely.

Join Michelle for a workshop full of sleepy solutions based on science and personal experience. We’ll review the basics of sleep preparation, yoga poses to help set the nervous system and tricks to get and stay asleep. 

Includes take home tools and samples.

Sunday, March 11, 1-3:30 pm $65
Hosted at Figure 8 Studio at 28th and S Streets
Class size is limited; register early.


Questions about either of these workshops? Just ask. To register, email me. You will receive all workshop details after registration.

stewed apples

Why I don't make this for breakfast all year long makes no sense, given how excited I get when I remember that it's fall, the perfect time for a little sweetness and warmth. In Sacramento, we get fresh Apple Hill apples at the local Co Op, which is usually my cue that stewed apples are what's for breakfast.

In-season fruit is always best -- for the environment and your body. A variety of foods throughout the year is ideal.

Because this recipe uses fresh ginger, it's a good way to warm up and get the digestion, which can be a little sluggish in winter, back in gear.

And in celebration of all the other fabulous fall fruit, I've been adding red pear and more recently fuyu persimmons (high in antioxidants and many vitamins including many B-complex vitamins).

In the system of Ayurveda, fruit is eaten separate of other foods (especially dairy -- apologies to those of your who love fruit with your yogurt). Most fruits are somewhat acidic and digest rather quickly. When combined with more complex foods, the fruit can move through the digestive tract too slowly and can cause fermentation, gas and bloating.

I usually put this on the stove and let it simmer while I'm having my warm lemon water, then I'll eat this as a "first course" to breakfast. Sometimes it's enough; sometimes I want some hot cereal for a little more fuel. Give fruit about 30 minutes to digest before eating anything else.

I know it may not be feasible to make two dishes for breakfast -- although you could make them simultaneously.  I make a big pot and then store two portions in the frig for the following days. In a pinch, if I'm heading out for the day, I'll break some rules and have half of a bagel or zucchini bread to go as my second course.

The recipe is simple and modifiable -- adjust the spices and ratios to your liking!

Stewed Apples

1 apple (choose tart or sweet as you prefer)
1 red pear (optional)
1 fuyu persimmon (optional)
1/2 t fresh grated ginger
1/4-1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/8-1/4 t ground cardamom
drizzle of honey (optional)

stewed apples

Chop apple and put in a small saucepan with 2-4 T of water (just enough to cover about 1/4 of the apples). Add ginger, cinnamon and cardamom. You could also use a dash of clove, nutmeg or other favorite spice.


Bring to simmer and reduce heat. Let cook on a light simmer until fruit is just starting to soften. Add other fruit (the pear and persimmon will take less time to cook) and simmer another 5 minutes or until fruit is at desired softness. A couple of dates would be really great in this too!


Remove from heat and let cool slightly. You can mash it if you like more of a sauce. I don't add any sugar, but if you use a tart apple, you could use a little honey for sweetness. Eat warm, juice included.

I hope you enjoy this fall treat as much as I do. Remember to adjust the spices to your liking. And this dish isn't relegated to breakfast -- it makes a great snack or dessert. Just make sure you have at least an hour before and 30 minutes after eating other foods.

eat well or exercise?

There is an Ayurvedic proverb which reminds us of the power of food:

When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. 
When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.

Food truly is medicine.

And while exercise and eating well should not be mutually exclusive, if scientists have to pick one as the biggest determinant of your health, it's what you eat.

Isn't that amazing? More than exercise, eating nutritious food determines your health.

The science of Ayurveda agrees -- digestion is the seat of health. It's the first place to look when something is out of balance.

Rather than adding supplements -- or worse, taking medication -- making better choices about the food on our plates is something that is accessible every single day. 

And then, if that doesn't address the issues, supplemental support may be necessary. But Ayurveda always looks at food first (healthy relationships, including with oneself, are second).


Portobello Pot Roast

In celebration of fall here in California, I thought I'd share a recipe. 

The mark of a good fall meal is that you have to eat it with a spoon. Our bodies do well with moist, heavy, warm foods to balance the dry cold of the seasonal shift.

I've made this Portobello Pot Roast twice and it's a winner. You know I love mushrooms and this is the perfect blend of comfort and nutrition.


1/2 cup red or white wine
4 large portobello mushrooms sliced into 3/4-inch pieces
1 large onion sliced
2 cloves garlic pressed
3 tablespoons flour if sensitive to gluten use gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon rubbed or fresh sage
1 teaspoon dried or fresh basil
3 cups vegetable broth
4 large potatoes quartered
4 large carrots cut into 3-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper or lemon pepper to taste
2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (for slow cooker instructions see recipe notes)

In a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the wine and add the portobello mushroom slices. Allow them to cook through and brown a bit—you’ll need to keep moving them around and turning them—and then remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the remaining 1/4 cup wine to the pan and add the onion and garlic. Caramelize the onions by stirring them until they wilt and begin to brown. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.

Mix the flour, sage, and basil together in a small bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup of the broth to create a paste, and pour the mixture into the same pan you used for the mushrooms and onions. While stirring constantly over medium heat, very slowly add the rest of the broth so that you create a gravy or sauce.

When the mixture just starts to boil, turn the heat off and add any additional seasonings.

Add the potatoes, carrots, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to the gravy mixture. If more liquid is needed to keep the vegetables from drying out, add more broth.

Add the mushrooms and onions to the mixture and ladle into a large ceramic or glass pot or casserole dish with a lid, layering in the sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Place the lid on and put into the oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and serve hot.

A side (or bottom layer) of brown rice or quinoa would make this just about as nutritious as possible.

Recipe and photo from A Virtual Vegan.

Let me know if you make it or have any creative additions!


sleepy time

Our bodies can't "make up for" or catch up on lost sleep.

If you read about the magic pill that neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett prescribes for brain, body and emotional health, you know that sleep is at the top of her list. Like, science has proven that it's the number one determining factor for our over-all well-being.

As a long-time insomniac, I have tried every prescription, over-the-counter, mail order remedy I can find. I have a drawer of things that didn't work, including those that actually made me jittery and anxious rather than relaxed.

And from conversations I've had with just about every group I've been a part of lately, I am not alone.

A few key things to consider:

  • Mix up your sleep aids -- use a sleepy tea for a few nights, then a different herb for a few nights, then maybe nothing for a few nights. The body will habituate to whatever you're doing and they will all lose effectiveness if you don't vary your approach.
  • But have a consistent bedtime routine. The brain/body loves routine. Start to wind down at the same time each night -- shut down the screens, dim the lights, take your time through your personal preparations like face washing and teeth brushing.  Start slowing down least an hour before you hope to be in bed.
  • Don't try to sleep until you're sleepy, not just tired. Your body can be exhausted, but your brain and nervous system can be amped. See above -- prepare your body to slow down and be sleepy.
  • This segment on NPR's Fresh Air with sleep scientist Matthew Walker has even more great tips on how to make sure you get enough sleep, and what to do if you aren't sleeping.


My current favorite bedtime cocktail

Key ingredients

  • Yogi Tea brand has two Sleepy Teas -- one regular (in the blue box) and one Caramel flavored (in an orange box)
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Non dairy milk -- I like Flax
  • Coconut butter -- you can find it in the nut butter aisle of a health food store. If it's cool where you are, it will be solid. If you're able, it's great to heat and stir it up as the "butter" and the oil separate.
  • Local raw honey

How to

Heat about a cup of milk in a saucepan with about 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg. Nutmeg is a sedative, but it's strong, so if you're not a fan of the flavor, use less. Let the milk come to a low boil.

Pour hot milk into a mug and spoon in at least a teaspoon of the coconut butter -- stir well until the coconut butter mostly dissolves. Then steep the two teabags -- one of each -- for about five minutes.

Remove the tea bags and add a little more milk (or water) so that the milk is warm but not hot. Then add a dollop of honey and stir.

I like to get in bed with the lights low and sip my special tea right before going to sleep. Part of what makes this "work" is the ritual and my enjoyment; the herbs and goodness in the tea doesn't hurt.

If you try it, let me know how it goes!

fall enrichment

It's pretty common this time of year to see people talking about or advertising a "fall cleanse." 

Seasonal transitions are a popular (and useful) time to mark a shift in nature, prepare our bodies for a change in weather, light and activities, and check in with how our systems fared in the last season. And it makes sense to eat what is in season to ensure a variety of nutrients. 

But the word cleanse can be a little misleading. A cleanse isn't necessarily a detox, which can be more harsh. Detox might mean a juice fast, or a total food fast! A cleanse, on the other hand, is more about simplifying the diet so the body has an easy time digesting, not using any more energy than necessary on processing and absorbing the nutrients.

Because I associate the word cleanse to something more aggressive, I like to rephrase it as nourish.

And honestly, most of us don't need to "strip away" more in our lives. Yes, there are foods to refrain from in this delicate transition time, but we do it by "crowding out" rather than "cutting out." 


What most of us need is more deep nourishment -- for our cells, our hearts and our minds.

So... Enrich yourself as we enter fall.

Simplify your food. That might mean eating mild kitchari for most meals, or it might mean increasing your whole food, plant-based nutrient intake.

Here are a few guidelines.

Choose a timeframe -- 5 days, 10 days, 14 day, 30 days? You pick.

Give your system a break from:

  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Excess Salt
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Meat and Fish
  • Gluten
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Anything processed or in a package 

Instead, fill your meals with:

  • Seasonal organic fruit like apples, pears, figs, prunes, papaya, etc.
  • Seasonal organic veggies -- root veggies and fall/winter squashes are GREAT, as well as leafy greens, cabbage, celery and sweet potatoes
  • Whole organic grains such as brown rice, quinoa, amarynth, buckwheat, millet
  • Beans and lentils
  • Vegetable juice and broth
  • Soups and stews made with vegetables, legumes and grains
  • Small amount of oil (minimize the oil, as it is a processed product)
  • Raw honey (sparingly)
  • Warm water with lemon and/or ginger every morning

Here are a few recipes to inspire you:

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage
Roasted Veggies with White Beans
Wild Rice and Beet Salad
Fennel Squash Soup

Speaking of meals, it's important in this season to regulate your mealtimes. And don't overeat -- stop at about 80% full (which will give your brain time to realize that your belly is satiated).

If you'd like more tips for the fall transition, a little yoga, some time by the pool and someone to cook for you, there are two spots left in this weekend's
Women's Retreat on the Farm.  

Want to come?

Let me know your thoughts/questions/experiences with your Fall Enrichment!