Ayurveda on a daily dose… Rise and shine!!

With a background in yoga it has always made sense to me following Ayurveda as a great health guidance. Specially in times like today when we have so much available information, sometimes is hard to know what to do, how to best take care of our health. My advice is: do your research! Read, learn, investigate, ask, but most than all, experiment. Discover what your body needs and wants, how it works. Your body is different than mine, different than any other, so it has very individual and personal needs, only YOU can know what YOU need to be healthy…

That being said, Ayurveda works for me precisely because it relies on understanding each entity as unique, each living creature as one of a kind and in constant transformation. So not only you are different from anyone else, you are also different today, this morning, than you were yesterday or will be by this evening. Then it becomes obvious, you need to pay attention, to be here right now and live this moment. For taking care of your health, you must pay attention to how you are feeling moment by moment and act accordingly. Then, Ayurveda relies on habits, on the daily life; what a better way to prevent instead of fixing, even more, to make sure we’re allowing our body to express itself fully, letting our life energy flow freely.

Here’s an easy basic morning routine that will help balance your body and promote self awareness…

Wake up early, before sunrise!

From 2 am to 6 am it’s vata time in terms of energy in the atmosphere. Everything around and inside us begin to wake, to move and it’s a good idea filling yourself with this refreshing energy. Go out, breathe the morning air, fill up your lungs, your eyes with the peaceful dawn.

Drink 2 to 4 cups of luke warm water with a little bit of lime or lemon.
This will not only hydrate your body but also stimulate your internal organs, flush your kidneys and promote cleansing of the bowels. Lime juice is highly alkaline and filled with vitamins and minerals too.

Splash your face with fresh water to rehydrate the skin, remove accumulated heat from the eyes and stimulate your nervous system. Move your eyes around, from side to side, up and down, gentle circles and so forth.

Brush your teeth with natural toothpaste, avoid chemicals and harsh ingredients and scrape your tongue to remove toxins and stimulate your digestive tract and taste buds. The tongue is a good indicator of your whole digestive tract, pay attention to the appearance your tongue, any accumulations on the surface, any weird colors or shapes. You can find tongue scrapers in most health stores or you can use a spoon, scrape about ten times from back to front until you have removed any thick yucky stuff. Then rinse your mouth with warm olive or sesame oil, swish the oil around for two, three minutes and spit, don’t swallow! With your index finger gently massage your gums to stimulate and lubricate the tissues.

Now massage your ears and keep on massaging the rest of your face. You can do a dry massage but if you have the time is a good idea using a little oil that will nourish your skin and lubricate the tissues to a cellular level. For the face light oils like almond, sunflower or camelia are great. Then move on to the scalp, coconut oil is great for the hair. In Ayurveda there is an oil blend called Brahmi oil that is wonderful for the head and hair and that helps to clear the mind, relax the senses and induce meditation. Then massage the rest of your body. Sesame, coconut, olive and sunflower oils and all very good options. Stay away from mineral oil and artificial fragrances, I like to get my oils on the food section of the supermarket, feed your skin with natural food=]

Finish with a bath or shower and a fresh, whole, healthy breakfast. Remember breakfast is the most important meal of the day so don’t skip it! However keep it light and of easy digestion; a smoothie is always a great idea, a green juice too or if you want something more consistent how about some muesli or granola with almond milk….

Ayurveda on a daily dose… Rise and shine!!

With a background in yoga it has always made sense to me following Ayurveda as a great health guidance. Specially in times like today when we have so much available information, sometimes is hard to know what to do, how to best take care of our health. My advice is: do your research! Read, learn, investigate, ask, but most than all, experiment. Discover what your body needs and wants, how it works. Your body is different than mine, different than any other, so it has very individual and personal needs, only YOU can know what YOU need to be healthy…

That being said, Ayurveda works for me precisely because it relies on understanding each entity as unique, each living creature as one of a kind and in constant transformation. So not only you are different from anyone else, you are also different today, this morning, than you were yesterday or will be by this evening. Then it becomes obvious, you need to pay attention, to be here right now and live this moment. For taking care of your health, you must pay attention to how you are feeling moment by moment and act accordingly. Then, Ayurveda relies on habits, on the daily life; what a better way to prevent instead of fixing, even more, to make sure we’re allowing our body to express itself fully, letting our life energy flow freely.

Here’s an easy basic morning routine that will help balance your body and promote self awareness…

Wake up early, before sunrise!

From 2 am to 6 am it’s vata time in terms of energy in the atmosphere. Everything around and inside us begin to wake, to move and it’s a good idea filling yourself with this refreshing energy. Go out, breathe the morning air, fill up your lungs, your eyes with the peaceful dawn.

Drink 2 to 4 cups of luke warm water with a little bit of lime or lemon.
This will not only hydrate your body but also stimulate your internal organs, flush your kidneys and promote cleansing of the bowels. Lime juice is highly alkaline and filled with vitamins and minerals too.

Splash your face with fresh water to rehydrate the skin, remove accumulated heat from the eyes and stimulate your nervous system. Move your eyes around, from side to side, up and down, gentle circles and so forth.

Brush your teeth with natural toothpaste, avoid chemicals and harsh ingredients and scrape your tongue to remove toxins and stimulate your digestive tract and taste buds. The tongue is a good indicator of your whole digestive tract, pay attention to the appearance your tongue, any accumulations on the surface, any weird colors or shapes. You can find tongue scrapers in most health stores or you can use a spoon, scrape about ten times from back to front until you have removed any thick yucky stuff. Then rinse your mouth with warm olive or sesame oil, swish the oil around for two, three minutes and spit, don’t swallow! With your index finger gently massage your gums to stimulate and lubricate the tissues.

Now massage your ears and keep on massaging the rest of your face. You can do a dry massage but if you have the time is a good idea using a little oil that will nourish your skin and lubricate the tissues to a cellular level. For the face light oils like almond, sunflower or camelia are great. Then move on to the scalp, coconut oil is great for the hair. In Ayurveda there is an oil blend called Brahmi oil that is wonderful for the head and hair and that helps to clear the mind, relax the senses and induce meditation. Then massage the rest of your body. Sesame, coconut, olive and sunflower oils and all very good options. Stay away from mineral oil and artificial fragrances, I like to get my oils on the food section of the supermarket, feed your skin with natural food=]

Finish with a bath or shower and a fresh, whole, healthy breakfast. Remember breakfast is the most important meal of the day so don’t skip it! However keep it light and of easy digestion; a smoothie is always a great idea, a green juice too or if you want something more consistent how about some muesli or granola with almond milk….

Blueberry Ginger Smoothie…

The Holiday season is here!! 🙂
I love Christmas… I think I already told you that like 20 times before!! well, it’s my favorite time of the year so I’ll probably tell you again a few more times.

Another good way of adding heating foods in your diet this cold season is using spices in your smoothies, so easy! and that will help keep your internal fire going, that energy responsible for the strength of your immune system, for the power of assimilation and transformation of your metabolism, for keeping your spirit and energy high even during these times of coziness and over indulging.
This morning I’m using ginger and cinnamon, warming, sweet, detoxifying and stimulating spices that also add some added sweetness.

1 pear
1 cup blueberries
1 cup ginger tea
1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon maca powder
1 tablespoon almond butter

We like to make our own ginger tea by cutting two to three inches of ginger root into thin slices and let it simmer in one liter of water for 10 to 15 minutes, also whenever possible, ground our own cinnamon and spices for they conserve their medicinal properties better whole. When you think of your food as your stronger medicine you start to take care of preserving it’s nutrients and components: fresh is always better, avoid oxidation, humidity, sunlight…  AND!!!  I’ve been into nut butters lately, preparing some super fresh totally homemade, natural, delicious, indulging and healthy butters, keeping up with our Chihuahua Gourmet preserves. We’ll sell them in some local markets trying to make a little extra cash for the road so if you’re around stop by!!

Ginger Cardamom Tea… to keep you warm during the Holidays!!

According to Eastern medicine is recommended to include warming foods and spices to our diet during cold seasons to maintain our internal fire strong. Two of my ultimate favorites: ginger and cardamom!!
This tea is so easy to make, just cut about two inches of ginger into thin slices and place in the stove with one quarter of purified water and 12 cardamom pods. Keep a pot of tea in the stove and drink by itself or with a little of nut milk, so good!!

Part 15. Foods and Supplements (at a point you will realize they are one in the same:) The Beginners Guide to Bicycle Touring by Pedaling for Peace in 3D with Surround Sound

fruits and veggies power pedaling for peace

There are a literal sea of supplements to choose from, so, we will do our best to stick to the facts about todays technology and what is generally accepted as to what works and what does not.  At the end, we will share our recommendations for what has worked for us, KNOW THIS, we have not tried every supplement there is, we are only speaking on what we know.  Everyone makes the choice that is best for them, and if it doesn’t work, get rid of it, its extra weight!

Your body will operate best when it is fed properly, this includes vitamins, minerals, proteins – to include all amino acids, they are the building blocks of YOU!  When you hear the catch phrase “complete protein”, that means it has all the amino acids KNOWN and can therefore help to synthesize whatever your body needs.

When deciding supplementation you must ask yourself if you, A. Get it in your diet now, and if not, B. How will I do so?  For a vast majority of you, this will be very alien territory indeed.  There are many places to get your information, of course, be very careful where you get it.  If you come across sites that demand you to believe only what they say, tend to stay away from absolutes.  Go for places that seem well thought out, well spoken and open to many ideas.  One such place is http://www.pedalingforpeace.com=]

fruits and veggies power pedaling for peaceThe best way to get all you need is through a balanced whole food diet that uses fruits veggies nuts and grains as the primary source of food.  Meat is fine for those who choose to eat it, though this should be more of a condiment if you will, rather than the main focus of the meal as it is very hard for the body to digest and in many cases it will be coming from a factory farm.  Factory or Commercial large-scale farming is largely responsible for the decline in the nutritional value of food.  It affects vegetables, fruits and meats by producing them on such a large scale and so quickly that they are more food products than actual food by the time the process from start to finish is complete.  Much of the growth, in the case of your meat and dairy, is made possible by heavy antibiotic and growth hormone use.  The antibiotics are used to prevent the diseases caused by the sheer number of animals in such small confined, airless, sunless places full of disease, filth and excrement.  The growth hormones are used to speed the growth of the animals in order that they may be taken to the markets quicker, thereby increasing profit.  With veggies, many of them are now farmed with petro-chemical fertilizers, extremely toxic bug sprays, polluted water all in dirt that you would NOT want your children playing in, yet for some reason you let them eat its products…?

Meat and dairy in and of themselves are more difficult for the body to digest and are better when used in very small amounts as mentioned before, also, please note this is not coming to you due to the fact that we are vegan, this is coming to you as it has been decided by nearly everyone of repute, from scientists, to nutritionists, when it comes to the health of the human body these are facts based on how we are made.

Recent developments beyond the over use of antibiotics and petro chemicals and growth hormones have made eating food, good and wholesome food, the kind you want to eat, much more difficult to achieve.  With the advent of Genetic Modification Progroms (not a misspell), you may not know what you are eating.  A company called Monsanto, in association with the United States Government is at the forefront of this research that has already decimated what we know as food by adding in some cases even human DNA strands to various vegetables in an effort to make a plumper tomato and drought resistant corn.  While this sounds great, it is in fact a detriment to our species as now we have far fewer varieties and there is mounting scientific evidence that these GMO foods are actually very bad for the human body.

While I understand that many of you reading this may be disagreeing at this point, I remind you that as a human, you are one of the single most adaptable organisms on this planet, which, as we will discuss briefly, is a blessing and a curse.

Your ability to adapt is what allows us to enslave others and make them work in mines, nuclear spills, chemical plants and sit at desk jobs that literally cause the slow degradation of the body.  While many animals introduced into similar, for them, surroundings will simply die, the human in some instances seems to almost thrive…?

Adaptability.  Do not let your ability to survive working in a salt mine on coffee and salt and a few pieces of bread, lead you to believe that it is a healthy life good for the body!

All of this is important as you are going to be riding a bike for a bit of time, this alone shows your interest in your health, we are simply clarifying a few key points about one of the most important aspects of your health, i.e., what you eat, after all, will become you over time.

Hippocrites, the gentleman to which all Doctors swear the Hippocratic Oath, states as one of his most basic and fundamental rules, “let food by thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”

In other words, you wont have to fix the entire fuel system and engine if you refrain from filling the tank with sugar, use what is known to work!

When you travel avoid the following, refined sugar, refined salt, excess meat and dairy.  Especially when you are traveling in foreign countries for the first time as you want your bodies full power to be focused and available to combat the various new bacteria it will be coming across on a daily basis.  It cannot do this is it has to deal with all sorts of chemical and genetically modified unnatural things being forced directly into the stomach!

A few points that will help you on your way when it coms to food now that the lecture on the state of food is over=]

Try to eat fruit by itself.  Fruit is digested very quickly by the body.  When eaten in conjunction with other foods, it must wait in the stomach for the other food to be processed before it can pass.  Does this make sense, your stomach is very tricky, yet not so much that it can pick and choose what stays for further processing and what doesn’t, its all or none.  While the food waits, it begins to ferment, this process then spreads to the other foods being processed and you end up losing a lot of vitamins and nutrients, further, you get gas.

Some very easy to carry superfoods are Raw Cacoa, or raw chocolate, this is a powerful antioxidant and is full of theobromine.  This chemical turns to caffeine when the chocolate is heated to make chocolate as you know it, when in its theobromine state it will provide your body with clean energy for up to 12 hours with no crash.  It is also full of vitamins and minerals.

-Maca Root or Peruvian Ginseng.  This is somewhat pricey, but well worth it as it helps to balance hormones and increase energy naturally with no crash.

-Chia seeds!  Yay for chia.  This has been used for centuries, and is full of power.  The Aztecs and Mayans would use it before battle, the Tarahumara [Native Mexican Indian Tribe revered for their ridiculous ability to run for ridiculous distances in sandals] use it as one of their only food sources during their 400 plus mile runs.

There are many out there, you want to look for ones that store easily and do NOT require refrigeration of any sort.  Unless you somehow figured that out as well=]

A really important general rule of thumb for you to remember is the following…  The energy that your body is able to extract from the food MUST be more than the energy your body uses to process the food.

For instance, in the movie Supersize me, our valiant hero ate McDonalds for a month and nothing else.  At the end of the month he was on the verge of death, literally, his liver was perilously close to a shutdown.  This is because what he was eating was not food per sey, but an approximation of food.  It was riddled with chemicals and quite frankly, it was full of s#@t.  His body had to work so hard just to rid itself of the food that he was in a continual deficit of energy and was literally dying.  Again, you body is the most adaptable organism on this planet outside of viruses and bacteria, do not let that fool you into thinking that Doritos and Soda are in any way shape or form – FOOD.  They are not.  As you progress out into your journey, be aware of this, if you want to get the maximum experience, you must give the engine the best you can find.  Next rule of thumb, Feed the Body ALWAYS, sometimes feed your wants and desires.  This especially applies to alcohol if you’re into that sort of thing.

Be very careful with alcohol, ensure that you will not be riding, that you will have plenty of time for your body to process it out before you take to the road again.  It is a diuretic, it dehydrates and it really taxes the body.  It is one of the reasons I ended up with heat stroke.  Be very aware with this drug.  We have nothing against it, Diana makes wine, I love hand crafted Beer, we both respect it and use it very carefully when riding. When resting, we like to get down on occasion, I’m no stranger to waking up and being pleasantly surprised with my surroundings and the memory rush… just so you know, we’re human like you, we only ask that you be smart humans.  At some point in life, you may get to a point where you no longer desire alcohol.  This is truly wonderful as the body was not designed to do well with it, no matter what people tell you, it’s a fact.  The body with any alcohol is immediately in survival and clean up mode.  Know this and slowly move towards being clean.  This is coming from a guy who does drink, I’m not preaching at you, just sharing a truth I have yet to grasp WITH you.

You started reading this for supplements.  We have found two companies work very well.  The first is Vega, great stuff, the pre workout energizer allowed me to ride with walking pneumonia, so, I swear by it.  They have a complete line of products, of course, you will have to carry it, so, understand and do a weight/need analysis.

HealthForce Nutritionals, another whizz bang company.  One of the most expensive on the market and for good reason, they have thought of everything, all the way down to the individual plastic choices for reduced oxygenation of the product.  Amazing company.

 

Turmeric – Pedaling for Peace Super Foods Series

Pedaling for Peace - Super Foods Series tumericTurmeric curcuma longa is a plant from the same family as ginger that is very common in asian cuisine. The most commonly used part is the root, fresh or dried and made into powder, it used to be a staple in our kitchen, that is, when we used to have a kitchen. Now on the road, we try to carry some with us always; with the level of effort we submit our bodies riding, running, kung-fu-ing and what not, turmeric help us in optimizing the recovery of the tissues. I first started using it and learning about it’s medicinal properties during my time in India and quickly became a basic ingredient in my recipes. It is a key element in ayurvedic medicine and modern science is starting to recognize and research it’s properties.

The most important active component of turmeric is curcumin (5%) a polyphenol with great antioxidant properties that increase exponentially when combined with black pepper and it also has vitamins and other alkaloids. Some of the therapeutic properties of turmeric are:

1. It’s a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, very useful in case of cuts or burns because it also speeds up the regeneration process of skin.

2. Helps to prevent cancer and stop the growth of already existing tumors.

3. Helps to detoxify the liver and purify the blood.

4. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.

5. It’s a very effective anti-immflamatory agent, as effective as many common medicines that have adverse side effects.

6. Has analgesic properties. Because of this and being a powerful anti-immflamatory agent is very useful in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

7. Helps in balancing fat metabolism and therefore helps in maintaining an healthy weight.

8. Useful in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis and other skin disorders.

9. Improves digestion and relieves bloating and gas.

10. and if all this wasn’t enough, in researches is showing great results fighting the HIV virus.

We like to use it in our recipes, like our Turmeric banana shake! but there are many ways to consume turmeric. As a food supplement can be ingested in the following doses for adults(*)(**):

  • Cut root: 1.5 – 3 g per day
  • Dried, powdered root: 1 – 3 g per day
  • Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 – 600 mg, 3 times per day
  • Fluid extract (1:1) 30 – 90 drops a day
  • Tincture (1:2): 15 – 30 drops, 4 times per day

* taken from: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/turmeric-000277.htm#ixzz210bW9K90

** remember to always ask your health advisor of physician before consuming supplements.

I learnt to cook with turmeric during my time in India.