Ayurveda Health revolves around maintaining good health by preventing and treating illness through one’s lifestyle. This usually involves massage, yoga, meditation, a healthy diet, herbal incorporations, and more.” from Daily Life, a site on Ayurvedic Medicine.
When people look up Ayurvedic medicine, they often get overwhelmed and quit reading. The Ayurvedic health lifestyle seems so complicated when you are an on-the-go American who hardly has time to eat breakfast before going to work.
Ayurvedic Health focuses on personal self-care
How many working couples have time to exercise or do much self-care? This is one of the reasons that depression is skyrocketing in this country. Obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes are diseases because we do not take the time to live in a healthy way.
Living in the United States, unless you migrated from India, India is a world very different than what we grew up with. India is where Ayurvedic medicine originated some 5000 years ago. It is one of the oldest ancient healing systems in the world, still used today.
Saying that, if you are not Asian or Hispanic, their foods and lifestyle may be unfamiliar as well. It is because many of us just didn’t grow up with those foods and lifestyle practices that they seem so difficult to understand.
Learning about Ayurvedic Health has to do with just being willing to get over your brain and its tendency to reject new lifestyle changes.
I grew up in a household where my father was German, from Germany. We had only black bread in the house. Mom did make cornbread and biscuits at times. I grew up on both Southern cooking from my mom’s side as well as ethnic foods from Germany like eating cow’s heart, cow’s tongue, pickled pigs’ feet, and Limburger cheese. I still enjoy cow heart but never embraced the pickled pig’s feet that my father did. I ate head cheese with my father but just refused to think about its contents. I loved him and just wanted to make him happy. I can’t say I ate it after I left home. Mom passed on it too.
I would not eat it today because of the big farm-raised animals and the antibiotics that meat contains. I ate it in the 1950s when there were fewer pesticides and animals were raised in small home farms. Kids used to tease me when my mom would give me cow’s tongue meat slices in a sandwich. I just ignored them.
My sister gave me tongue and liver from their pasture-raised cow they butchered last year. They usually just sell their cows and buy store-bought meat. I loved it and they were happy to give it to me. My husband ate the tongue with hesitation, much hesitation, and is not on his favorites list. I had not eaten it in years and was a treat.
I am more apt to try a new food than he is. Years ago, at a dinner as a caregiver, they offered snails as part of me. I ordered them since they were free just to try them. They weren’t bad but would not buy them for us.
It has to do with just being willing to get over your brain’s negative voice that says it’s too hard, too complicated, and too different!
People tend to shy away from foods and ideas that they did not grow up with. Is that you?
People tend to make fun of or refuse to try foods that they didn’t grow up with. Most of us tend to turn down foods and styles of living that are different. It is human nature.
We need to be more open-minded to trying different foods, different views, and different ways because it’s good for you to do that. It does not mean once we try it once or twice that we have to eat that food again but sometimes we may find that it is something we really love.
Why is Ayurvedic Health so Complicated? Help me to understand it better.
Ayurveda is comprehensive including practices for the mind, the body, diet, and exercise. It is a lifestyle, a way of life, a way of thinking and breathing. It is part of every layer of their life, heart, and mind that is ancient and used today.
The people in that area of the world after a few thousand years know that unless you are healthy in all that you do, you don’t have real true health. It is like a person who is great at exercising but takes drugs on the side.
Our health is like a balance scale with the good things we do such as healthy foods on one side and the negative ones on the other. If your life has more positive than negative lifestyle elements, your health improves. The healthier your lifestyle habits are, the better your health is. Many Americans don’t have a real routine period.
That is why Ayurveda health elements are hard to implement, you need to do them every day. The women in India spend much more time on self-care than most American women. It is a part of their daily regimen. They spend more time on improving their thinking, breathing, and eating, and address every later of their life.
As Americans, for the most part, we don’t. This is evident in the stats on obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other serious life-threatening disease common here in the US and even with many children. It is clear, we need to change our lives if we are going to live longer with health and an active, healthy brain.
You do not need to embrace all of the Ayurveda Health principles to get benefits. Just improve your life one step at a time.
You do not need to go to India and take years to learn all of their ways. I am not saying that you shouldn’t, but it is not what you have to do to make things work.
You do not have to get into Yoga from the spiritual aspect to benefit from the Ayurvedic health principles. I walk and have a Yoga routine for seniors where I don’t have to get into those awkward positions on the floor. I would have to call the paramedics to get me out of those positions, I am just not flexible enough, but I can do the easier poses from a chair. Go to U-Tube to find videos on Chair Yoga, which is very beneficial to both mind and body, just like meditation.
Meditation does not have to be connected to a specific religion. The benefits of meditation have been proven by science as amazing for your health. Meditation helps with high blood pressure, depression, and stress-related illnesses.
We can pick and choose which of Ayurveda principles, food, and herbs to add to our life. So, we can adopt some of the Ayurvedic principles that help your health and that can be blended into your family’s lifestyle but not all of them. It is like we love Mexican food, but it is not all that we eat.
When you want to change your life and health, take one step at a time…. small changes lead to big benefits!
I suggest you go to Banyan Herb’s education page for a look at them with an open mind. If you know your health is a problem, could incorporating some of their lifestyle principles benefit your life? They have many daily regimens that really would improve health overall for many of us. Even if you only did a couple to start out, that would be a step forward.
If you don’t walk now or exercise at all, start by walking a block or two. Download a meditation video and just see if you can take a step towards that. If you eat too many cookies, eat two or three less for the first week. If you have no self-care regimen, try just taking the time for a relaxing soak in the bathtub, stop your work, and watch a movie with your family. Take a walk with your kids, husband, or dog. Baby steps lead to bigger ones.
As a woman who grew up too serious, feeling guilty for doing anything other than working, it is hard to take those steps. I had to learn to relax and stop thinking about all the chores not being finished. I have a strong German work ethic but was in the bathroom when God was giving out a sense of humor and the ability to easily have fun without guilt. I had to learn that. I work at it still today at 69. Thank God I married a man who has taught me through the years with his wonderful humor bone that life and your mental health are so much improved with humor and fun. Even now when I come up with a good one, he just looks and me and smiles. His sense of humor and fun has been a health asset to my life.
How did I get into Ayurvedic and Adaptogen herbs being a Western-trained herbalist?
My experience using Ayurvedic herbs is new considering I have been an herbalist for 35 years.
Most of my study was in western herbal medicine. It was in the past 5 years that I found my western herbs not working for me as they did. So, I began researching other herbal therapies and found Ayurvedic medicine and herbs. It seemed very foreign to me too, but I knew Western herbs were not doing the complete job.
One of my first steps was to take the Dosha Quiz so that I knew more about what herbs might be beneficial.
(The above link is not an ad, just educational, but does give you an idea of what Ayurvedic herbs might help your health. It’s interesting to take, informative, and does not take much time.)
I learned so much from answering the questions. I also took an online class and made use of the U-Tube videos on Ayurvedic Medicine. Two of the beginner books I now own.
This is how I got introduced to Ayurvedic herbs and Adaptogen herbs which are tonics for the whole body and the different systems. They go in and correct imbalances and they support the organs, and the different systems of the body so that they work more efficiently.
Most of them are safe to take over long periods of time so it is not like an herb that should only be taken when sick. These herbs are for long-term daily use. They make up an important part of your food intake that is healthy.
The more I researched, the more excited I got to try a new program. I will add here that two of the herbs I take every day for Chronic Lyme Disease are not Ayurvedic which are Japanese Knotweed and Cats Claw. Along with these, I take Neem, Astragalus, and Andrographis which are Ayurvedic herbs.
One of the symptoms of Lyme is deep eye pain and headaches that keep you awake. It is like there is inflammation in your eye socket. It is nasty. That is because the spirochetes from the tick bites that get into your system thrive on collagen which is very abundant in your eyes and face. You lose hair as well. There are only a few herbs that kill these bad guys in your body. They hide in tissues and can change their actions to avoid antibiotics. In autopsies, they are found in the brain of people who had Alzheimer’s and other brain problems. They are fascinating to research and frightening in their ability to take over your brain and body. I will be teaching that subject as well later.
The doctor had no idea about the eye pain except that most of his patients with Lyme complained about it and the symptoms persisted for months after their standard treatment of antibiotics. Since the eye pain was awful and I had Neem trees in the house, why not try Neem tea? I grow several Neem and Moringa Trees as small house trees and have for a few years. Neem tea is bitter folks, so it is not easy to drink.
I suffered through the bitter tea and about a week later, noticed the eye pain was decreasing a few days later, it was gone. I take Neem powder or Neem leaf every day with nothing but good results. This addressed another serious issue I have dealt with for 20 years which is an infection in the jawbone itself and jaw tissue that antibiotics do not help and can be really dangerous. That was caused by mercury fillings that caused infections in my mouth that nearly destroyed my immune system in the late 90s. Neem turned out to be my answer to this problem as well. I will be blogging on this in future articles.
The doctor’s treatment was to suggest cutting out my jawbone and surrounding area and replacing it with metal. I said no that I would find my own answer. Western herbs could not stamp out the infection completely. Antibiotics only worked to a certain point but could not kill it completely. It was a few years before I discovered that Neem does and has worked now for over 2 years. I was taking the Neem for the eye pain from Lyme and realized it was solving the issue with my jaw. I have suffered a lot over these years looking for the answer to my jaw issue. I kept it down to the point I didn’t land in the hospital but often I could not eat solid food for weeks. I did here and there have to take antibiotics but none of them really worked. For me, Neem is a lifesaver. Jaw infections can get into your brain, and they can kill you. I keep a supply of Neem powder as well as my house trees to last 6 months.
So, this is my story on how I got introduced to Ayurvedic herbs and Adaptogen herbs which are tonics for the whole body and the different systems. They go in and correct imbalances and they support the organs, and the different systems of the body so that they work more efficiently. Most of them are safe to take over long periods of time so it is not like an herb that should only be taken when sick. These herbs are for long-time daily use. They make up an important part of your food intake that is healthy.
How do we use Ayurvedic Health Principals in our life?
We walk our dogs and do chair yoga. I make the time to give myself more self-care. Oil pulling is part of my daily oral care routine.
Golden milk we drink every day. I basically add turmeric, ginger, Ashwagandha, mushroom powder, lion’s mane, and whatever else I choose to add.
Every morning we start out with Moringa-Spirulina balls with an array of nuts and seeds added in.
I put the herbs into yogurt and soups at times.
Â We drink a protein drink with adaptogen herbs and Ayurvedic herbs in it.
We also take Ayurvedic and Adaptogen herbs that are extremely bitter in capsules. I buy bulk-powered product and put them in capsules myself. Taking these Ayurvedic herbs keeps our immune system healthy, our mind sharp, and our whole system healthy.
The Banyan Herb site has one of the most comprehensive databases to learn Ayurvedic Health medicine. Visit it here (not an ad).
I hope in this article and more to come, I have opened your mind to the idea of Ayurvedic foods, herbs, and perhaps even trying some new healthcare regimens for your life. More on this later.
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Herbally yours, Cathryn Freer, the Herbladyisin
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