SEASONAL SELF-CARE BLOG
cooling herbal teas
Posted on July 9th, 2019
Usually in the Summer I love a good iced black tea. But all the ice teas in the store are now in plastic bottles. Since I’ve been really trying to be as plastic free as possible, I just can’t buy them anymore. It’s really frustrating! You might ask “Why don’t you just make it?” But it just never tastes the same….so thanks to the inspiration of Plastic Free July and the intense humidity, I’m compelled to make an herbal cooling tea that I will love. Oh and according to Ayurveda, caffeine is heating and aggravates pitta dosha, the fire element, which is definitely true for me….(see above)!
Last week I asked my Facebook friends for suggestions of their favorite Summer refreshing cooling drinks. Wow! so many people had great suggestions! Some I know and others like, “watermelon, beet, lemon, and mint”, I had never tried before. It’s been fun experimenting with the plethora of cooling herbs that help us make it through this sweltering heat: mint, lavender, lemongrass, lemon verbena, hibiscus, rose petals, roasted barley, chamomile, nettles, comfrey, dandelion, fennel, jasmine, kukicha, lemon balm, passion flower & other Summer favs – lemon, lime, and cucumber.
According to Ayurveda, Summer is the season when Pitta Dosha , the fire element can become agitated. You might be noticing some of the signs of Pitta out of balance as the heat kicks up. Are you irritable, cranky, or impatient? Is your skin itchy? Do you have hives, heat rash or acne? Are you stressed out, feeling obsessive, or judgemental? We can effectively cool our system and stay hydrated with refreshing herbal teas so that we can fully enjoy the joyous expression of the Summer’s radiance!
I’ve been experimenting and love the pitta cooling mixture of lemongrass, lemon verbena, and fresh mint tea with a touch of lemon and honey. It’s incredibly refreshing, and makes me feel very relaxed. In fact, I’m sipping on some right now! Lemon verbena soothes inflammation, aids digestion, and offers calming qualities which also makes it a great sleep aid for those suffering from insomnia. Lemongrass detoxifies the body, reduces inflammation, fevers, infections, and swelling, and offers the bitter flavor and mint, our favorite Summer cooling herb, offers the sweet flavor both which calm pitta dosha. Lemons detoxify pitta in balance, though due to their sour flavor may stimulate aggravated pitta. Honey is heating to pitta, so use it sparingly. Enjoy!
Today I went to pick up some hibiscus and rose petals at Flower Power in the East Village. I’ve been trying my best to be plastic free and they have an incredible selection of loose, organic herbs and spices. I brought my own refillable cotton bags with me, but they also have small paper bags. It’s #plasticfreejuly and small daily plastic free choices make a big difference in the landfill & the sea. AND small daily dosha balancing choices have a huge impact on our well being. So today I made the choice to purchase herbs for tea that would cool my system instead of agitate it and I chose to support a business that offers herbs without any plastic footprint. Every little bit helps us find balance within ourselves and the planet.
little choices every day
Posted on January 13th, 2019
I ran out of both of my bottles of olive oil a few days ago. I’ve been using my other oils, but dipping my bread in sesame oil just wasn’t cutting it. So today I just had to get more. It’s cold outside & I really didn’t want to go out there, but I needed some olive oil and I’m also at the very bottom of my last refilled glass bottle of lotion. Since Integral Foods sadly closed last month, I’ve had to scramble and find places that I could refill everything. So this morning, looking at these empty bottles, I thought well I could just walk to the corner grocery store and easily get another bottle of olive oil, and lotion. It’s so close, so easy, and one more bottle of olive oil and one more plastic container of lotion won’t really make that big of a difference. I can at least recycle the bottle. It’s cold out there. Another part of myself said, yes, but you know that it’s a slippery slope, one bottle becomes two and three and convenience wins again and again and the Earth and ocean loose again. I know recycling isn’t really the answer because “they” say that only 9% actually gets recycled. I don’t want my plastic lotion bottle & olive oil bottle to be thrown into a landfill or floating in the ocean just because it’s a little cold outside & I’m feeling lazy today. The words of Jane Goodall were still swirling in my head from the video I saw on FB last night.
“If we could just get a critical mass of us who think about the consequences of the little choices we make each day…what we buy, what we eat, what we wear, how it’s made, did it harm the environment….so we collectively, as billions of human beings making the right ethical choices…that’s going to move us in the right direction”
And so I rose to the higher little action. I put my empty olive oil & lotion bottles, cloth bags for some rice and other dry goods, in my backpack, got my coat on and went out into the cold to the new Precycle store in Bushwick. It was actually a beautiful winter day to walk to the subway & the ride was just 15 min, no big deal really. At Precycle, I was delighted to see an array of choices for oil, besides my organic olive oil, they have canola oil, sunflower oil, balsamic & rice wine vinegar & honey. They also have bulk Vermont Liquid Lemongrass Zen Soap & Ecos dish soap. I’m ecstatic to have these other options for liquid soaps. When I run out of mine, I’ll go fill them up @ precycle. Unfortunately they do not have bulk lotions, which I’m bummed about. I talked with the owner about the need for a refillable lotion now that Integral is closed as it was the only place I could find in New York with refillable lotion. I suggested that she carry EO lavender lotion since I know that exists in refillable dispensers with a pump. When I went up to pay, she had already looked into EO lotions. I was impressed- She’s already on it!! So hopefully we will have a new place to get refillable lotion!! If you know of another place that does refillable lotion, please let me know. As I have maybe 3 more days of lotion & then I need to refill my lotion bottle!
plastic free yogini
dog days of summer cooling tips
Posted on August 17th, 2018
Given the speed and intensity with which climate change is moving, I’ve been getting increasingly involved in climate action and ways to create a more sustainable lifestyle. Those of you who are on Facebook, may have seen my recent posts about my plastic free journey which has intensified in the past month. Challenging and eye opening, this plastic free journey has awakened my mind to innovation, visioning, and community in ways that I had not anticipated. I feel very inspired and hopeful that we can shift this! The ocean & the Earth needs our help now!
One of the environmental organizations that I have been working with is 350 Brrooklyn. At our last monthly meeting, we were asked to share with each other ways that we were keeping cool this Summer without relying air conditioning which uses an excess of energy. As I turned to the people sitting next to me, I first I felt like I didn’t have anything to offer, but then I realized that I have a plethora of cooling techniques from my Ayurveda and yoga knowledge. I proceeded to show them Sitali pranayama, a simple breathing practice that cools your body and mind. It is incredible for the Summer when our Pitta Dosha, the fire element, goes out of balance. In our increasingly heated world, Sitali Pranayama is a great practice to know, as you can do it anywhere, at anytime, and it works immediately. My new friends at the 350 Brooklyn meeting loved it! We were then asked to share our tips with the whole group. So I taught the whole group Sitali Pranayama and they loved it to! By the looks on their faces, I’m sure it was the first time they had ever tried something like this at their meetings, and there was alot of laughter as everyone tried curling their tongues and sipping in the air. But they were amazed at how cool their tongues felt after just a few breaths and how that cool feeling spread through their bodies. Try Sitali Pranayama in these dog days of Summer when the heat and humidity feel overwhelming.
How To Practice Sitali
- Sit in a comfortable position with the head, neck, and spine in alignment.
- Close your eyes, breathe into the low belly (diaphramatic breathing) to relax
- Curl your tongue and put it out of your mouth.
- Inhale through the tongue and into the mouth. It feels a bit like you are sipping through a straw – a stainless steel straw, of course!
- Draw the tongue back into your mouth, close your mouth and exhale through the nostrils.
- Repeat 10 times
Keep it cool!