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Venus Water

Rose Water Ayurveda

I love turning what may seem like an ordinary moment into a spa like experience. Whether it is taking a bath or drinking a glass of water. Evoking the senses with something out of the norm allows space for the ah-ha moment, the deep breath and appreciation. It’s a treat I wish I did more often, but there’s also something special about an occasional routine, I truly appreciate.

Making water smell like roses will be one of my occasional summer routines. I am thinking of mixing up a jug at least once a week. To have on hand after a hike, on a lazy afternoon or just as a substitute for plain H20. It’s a cooling, nourishing option without the sugar that supports balancing  pitta’s (fire + water) intense summer energy.

If I feel like enhancing the sensorial experience, I’ll sprinkle in dried rose petals and fresh mint. In a few seconds (literally), the herbs transform my glass into a mini-edible garden and look so darling floating around. The bright green and pink attract a calming, yet vibrant energy. While bringing nature, finger distance to my day.

Roses in Ayurveda, are summertime’s queen of the floral court. A sniff of her petals and she’ll have you wrapped in bliss with her sweet, intoxicating aroma. Similar to the Roman goddess Venus, roses evoke love by supporting the heart’s digestive fire or sadhaka agni. This agni helps to digest negative and stress based emotions associated with the heart. Roses support this process and send enhanced, open and positive signals to the brain. Generating sattva. Energy that is balanced, peaceful and based in love.

In the summer season, external heat can create an overabundance of internal heat, especially for people prone to pitta imbalances. Some ways excess heat can be seen are through skin imbalances or the emotions—think hangry, burst of anger or stress. Rose’s sweet scent, cooling energy combined with bitter taste help calm and ground pitta dosha. Which has an intensity similar to fire. Roses are also unctuous and weigh down the light, mobile qualities of vata dosha. These properties combined, make roses nourishing for pitta-vata constitutions. Especially in the summer season.

No matter what your dosha, as heat rises in the external environment, pitta imbalances can impact us all. Introducing rose essential oils, rose water, rose jam, rose chai to your summer routine will help spark sweet, loving and blissful emotions. The world needs a little extra love these days. Spread it, spray it, sprinkle it with roses.

Rose-Mint-Water

Venus Water, Infusion of Rose & Mint

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy

Dosha: PVK
Season: Summer
Qualities: cooling
What you need: a jug or large jar

Ingredients

  • 2 T rose water*
  • 4 cups water

(optional ingredients)

  • a few sprigs of spearmint
  • a big pinch of dried rose petals
  • touch of lemon juice*

Directions

  1. Combine water and rose water in a jug or jar.  Adjust amount of rose water depending on taste. Some brands are stronger than other.  If adding in rose petals and mint leaves let them infuse for a few minutes. Overtime, the flavors will get stronger.

*adding a squeeze of lemon will bring a slight pink color to the water. 

Notes: I made a batch of this water and it kept well in my refrigerator for over a week. Overtime the water had a slight chartreuse color, from the mint leaves (I did not add lemon to this batch). The longer the mint infuses the stronger the taste. What is nice is both the mint retains the vibrant green even after a week.

Rose Water/Petals: I usually get the water from a local Middle Eastern or Indian shop, but I have also seen it at Whole Foods and Berkeley Bowl (if you are from the East Bay). A bottle which last a long time is under $5. Edible rose petals are usually available in the bulk section or Mountain Rose Herbs. The bulk price seems high, but that is because dried rose petals barely weigh anything. I get over a cup full for a few bucks at my local.

Venus Water


Thyme for Coriander & Asparagus

Asparagus with Coriander, Thyme & Lemon ZestI’ve been eating asparagus every week for the past 6 weeks and I am still loving it! With minimal prep and cook time, whether sauteed or steamed, these slightly sweet and astringent tasting spears are topping my spring list for the easiest green veggies. They’re so tasty too!

Rich in the earth and air elements, foods with an astringent taste, like, asparagus, can bind and draw out excess from the body.  Whether it is ama (toxins derived from undigested food), fat or water, the astringent taste supports detoxification. Have you experienced urinating a bit more or longer after eating asparagus? In helping the body release excess water, combined with asparagus’ cooling energy, these delicious spears support reducing inflammation and puffiness, while helping to purify the blood. For individuals who tend to retain water or have accumulated excessive heat from the winter season, asparagus is spring’s natural detoxifier. It’s light and dry qualities harmonize with spring and prep the body for the summer. Mother Nature’s—she’s on it and one step ahead.

Spices for AsparagusWhether steamed or sautéed, the simpler the better when it comes to my favorite way of cooking asparagus. Too much of any spice, I find takes away from it’s natural flavors and can be to over powering.

For those who tend to have more of a kapha constitution or imbalance, steaming asparagus is a great option—no fat needed. For those who tend to have a vata constitution or imbalance, sautéing or steaming works just add a good fat to help balance the astringency and dryness. For pitta constitutions or imbalances fat or no fat—either method works.

Here are two versions of the same recipe…steamed or sautéed, you choice.

Happy eating, happy digesting. Read More

Spring Time Masala Chai

Warming & Sweet Cardamom, Ginger & Fennel Chai

Cardamom Ginger Fennel ChaiThose leisurely Sunday mornings…lingering around in your favorite pajamas…slow beats vibrating softly through speakers…sun’s rays beaming in through the windows and pulling on those lethargic, sluggish strings to move on out…while the spirit snoozes under the aroma of cardamom, fennel and ginger brewing atop the stove.

Ginger to heat the body, which has been dormant under the night sky, sweet cardamom to activate love, awaken the lungs, dissolve mucus and cooling fennel to lighten the body of excess air and water.  All three igniting the digestive fire, supporting movement and tantalizing the spirit through their aromatics. Masala chai Sundays are pure joy.

For the past couple months, I’ve made it a spring ritual. Minimal ingredients, effort and three spices that are available in my spice cupboard at all times. This masala chai recipe is my current go to. It’s less milky, thus, less heavy than an autumn chai.  For a little extra pep with each step! Read More

Zesty Fennel, Cucumber and Chive Salad

Over the past few years, fennel has a reserved spot my vegetable bin. It’s versatility, carminative properties and cooling energy has made it a weekly produce staple. When in season, I pick up a small to medium size bulb to incorporate half into a bitter-tart-sweet-slightly pungent juice, while using the stalk and fronds in homemade bone broths and the other half to roast with other seasonal veggies or shaved in a salad.

From it’s seeds to flowers, fennel is used in many cultures around the globe. Commonly known as a digestive aide, fennel is cooling for the body. It is also a diuretic, helps with internal spasms and is considered a carminative herb. I wrote about the benefits of fennel, if you would like to learn about it in more detail, click here.

This week, I was craving a slaw like salad. Something with a little crunch that felt cooling, was refreshing, with a touch of pungent and bitter tastes for balance and did not involve any lettuce. Apparently, all the ingredients also had to be green and white! I guess the colors are illustrative of the season.  With warming shades of red, orange and yellow fading away and cooling shades of detoxifying green taking center stage. Green is often a clue that the inherent energy, or virya of the vegetable will be cooling. It’s not always 100%, for example, mustard greens are heating, but in general the color can serve as a good rule of thumb (one of those fun facts I picked up when I was getting my Ayurveda Wellness Counselor certificate).

This simple salad is sort of like a kachumber, a salad eaten with a main course as compliment to the dish. It usually lasts for a couple days and marinades in it’s own juices, while retaining a crunch. My intention was to enjoy it over the next few days with my meals, but my belly had a plan of it’s own. Needless to say, I ate most of what is pictured here for lunch with 1/2 a serving left for my next meal. Ce la vie! Read More

Guide To A Beginner’s Meditation Practice

Imagine living with less fear, regrets, anxiety, jealousy, greed, and anger. Imagine instead living with more compassion, self-acceptance, understanding, selflessness, and peace. Does it sound like a dream? Does it sound like an impossibility that sounds great in theory, but can never become a reality?  I am here to tell you that it is absolutely possible. In fact, many people now, in the past, and in the future, have lived and will live this way.

All of our problems start in the mind. We cannot always control what happens to us. We know that all too well from our life experiences. Over the years we all create default settings in ourselves. So, when our ego feels attacked or we feel judged, our go-to responses are defensiveness and self-protection. You can change your default settings to something else, something more nourishing and evolving. How? Meditation. Read More

5 Spices to Heat Up Your Spring Pantry

5 Spring Spices

It’s time to fall out of autumn and leap into spring! Soon, flowers will be blossoming to express the new season. A gentle, quarterly reminder from Mother Nature to start shifting lifestyle choices and harmonize with her spring energy. Generating heat and movement internally will support balancing the cold, wet and heavy qualities she exudes in the spring. While helping to prevent common spring imbalances such as congestion, sluggishness and stiffness. A natural antidote for producing internal warmth to break-up and move stagnation within the body are heating spices. The intoxicating flavors and aromas will lure the cook. While their medicinal magic will bless the meal with the ability to heal.

Generally speaking, all spices can be enjoyed year round, simply by adjusting their quantity according to the season. Ayurveda, determines the seasonal recommendations based the spices’ inherent cooling or heating energy. Spices which foster heat, are recommended in the cold season—winter into early spring. The heat warms the cold and dries the wet qualities. Lightening up congestion not just in the chest but also in the gut. Helping to balance the qualities in the body that Mother Nature is now providing within the external environment.

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Adding heating spices to meals or teas, before the daffodils pop-up to say hello can start to prepare the body for the seasonal shift. Spring may officially begin on the equinox, but the wet and heavy qualities start manifesting earlier. The progression is slow and often not realized until there is an imbalance. When the days start getting longer, begin introducing heating spices with carminative, stimulating and diaphoretic effects  to the daily menu. Generating internal heat, prior to spring, can help prevent imbalances and begin to align the body to the season.

Five Heating Spices for Spring Read More

3 Steps to Creating Your Own Spring Cleaning Ritual

3 Steps to Creating your Own Spring Cleaning Ritual

Each spring the festival of Holi is celebrated in India. It signifies the welcoming of the harvest season, as well as new beginnings in our relationships and lives. Colored powder and water are tossed through the air. Everyone wears old clothes they don’t mind getting splashed on. No one walks away untainted or without a hue of vividness on their faces. It’s a scene of laughter and joy, as friends and strangers alike gather in the start of a literally and figuratively, new season. What a beautiful way to remind us that we always can make a fresh start.

Here in the West, some of us have our annual spring cleaning to help us remove the clutter accumulated in our households over the winter hibernation months. It, too, signifies a new beginning. Not only does clearing our spaces create more physical room, but it also helps us to mentally prepare and embrace positive change.

Below are three steps to creating your own spring cleaning ritual: Read More