Featured Article

Ayurvedic Herbs to Add to Your Diet

Top view image of turmeric latte over white wooden table with copyspace

As far as holistic health trends go, Ayurveda has been popping up everywhere in recent years. There are even Ayurvedic health drinks and recipes being offered in some of the trendiest restaurants. It’s no surprise that this ancient Indian system of medicine is becoming more popular.

Ayurveda takes a truly holistic approach toward the entire human body and mind. It seeks to balance a person, rather than treating illnesses after they manifest. Though it can do that, too. With how popular and versatile ayurveda is, it’s tempting to just throw a bunch of Indian herbs into your cooking and hope it helps. But there’s a rich philosophy behind Ayurveda that will help you make the most of Ayurvedic herbs.

A basic primer on Ayurvedic herbs

Ayurvedic medicine dates back anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 years ago. Ayurveda translates from Sanskrit to mean “the knowledge of life.” It was commonly passed down via oral tradition, and eventually written down. Because it is such an ancient form of medicine, it has some philosophical underpinnings that are helpful to know if you’re going to work with herbs from the system.

One of the most basic frameworks from Ayurveda is the three constitutional principles. These can be seen as certain energies or associations that govern the body. When these constitutions are in balance for a specific individual, then health is maintained. The three constitutions are:

Vata: The constitution of air and space. It governs movement and thus any bodily functions related to movement, like nerves, breathing, muscle movement and thinking.

Pitta: The constitution of fire and water. It governs transformation, so anything in the body related to transformation, like metabolism, digestion and sensory perception.

Kapha: The constitution of earth and water. It governs stability and structure, so anything to do with the building blocks of the human body, like the skeletal system, organs and the lipids that support the body.

The deal with these is that each person has his or her own unique equation of what it means to be in balance between these three principles. You can take a quiz to find out what your unique balance is here.

But Ayurveda is about more than just throwing some herbs into your life and calling yourself balanced. It takes the whole person and lifestyle into account when treating an imbalance. If you’re thinking of going down the road to Ayurvedic health, you may want to spend some time with this rich and detailed topic.

That being said, Ayurvedic herbs are a good starting point to straighten out any imbalances you may have.

Popular Ayurvedic herbs to get started

Turmeric: If you’re going to work with any Ayurvedic herb, turmeric is a good place to start. It’s called “the spice of life” and it purifies the blood, works as an anti-inflammatory, it balances out all the constitutions (and especially Pitta). It’s one of the most versatile herbs to work with. It comes in capsules, you can use it to spice up your cooking or you can make Turmeric lattes with it (turmeric mixed with almond or coconut milk).

Trikatu: This is a group of spices known as the “three peppers.” It contains black pepper, Indian long pepper and ginger. They aid in digestion and help the body process nutrients more effectively. Simply use them to season food.

Cumin: This herb is used to balance digestion and metabolism, so it’s good for Pitta issues. It’s said to help the body absorb nutrients, as well. Use it in general cooking.

Ashwagandha: This herb is known for vitality and is good for anti-aging. It’s usually taken as a dash of the herb in a cup of nut milk.

Manjistha: This herb is good for purification, so it helps inflammatory issues and helps acne. This herb comes in capsules or you can take it with nut milk.

Brahmi: If you want to boost any functions related to the brain, like memory, mood or concentration, take this herb. It’s also used for balancing out high Pitta conditions. It’s usually boiled in water to make tea.

Holy Basil: This herb is seen as sacred in India by many people. It’s an anti-inflammatory, can clear out the respiratory system and can help treat anxiety disorders. This also comes in a capsule or you can make it into a tea.

image_pdfimage_print

5 Spring Vegan Soup Recipes

Leek potato and watercress soup3

Spring and summer are headed our way. While that may mean fun in the sun and a great reason to boost those mood-elevating vitamin D levels, it can also be a time for heartache. Heartache because soup season is over. Or is it? We’ve rounded up some spring seasonal vegan soup recipes that use spring veggies and herbs to create a lighter taste that works great in the warmer months. Check out these spring vegan soup recipes to change up your soup game and continuing making this lovely, versatile dish. more→

image_pdfimage_print

9 Plant-Based Foods That Will Help You Sleep

hummus dip plate on wooden table

Did you know there are foods that will help you sleep? There’s a lot in modern society to disrupt our sleep, and food could counteract these sleep disruptors.

Late night glowing screens, general stress, insane news stories, caffeine too late in the day, exercise too late in the day, certain medications, getting really involved in binging Netflix and deciding your painting muse is only active at 1:12 a.m. are just some of the ways our sleep can get disrupted. more→

image_pdfimage_print

10 Great Quinoa Bowl Recipes

Quinoa, kale, and artichoke salad recipe

If you need an easy way to serve up a ton of protein and nutrients in one go, you’ll want to look into these vegan quinoa bowl recipes. These quinoa bowl recipes serve up fruit, veggies and tasty spices all heaped onto some delicious quinoa. Serve these up for an easy breakfast, lunch or dinner—seriously, you can have them any time of day! more→

image_pdfimage_print

How to Use Less Energy When You Cook

steaming mixed vegetables in the wok, asian style cooking vegetarian and healthy, selected focus, narrow depth of field

Trying to use less energy when you cook is an admirable goal. Energy efficient cooking reduces emissions and it can help save money in the household budget. California’s Consumer Energy Center estimates that cooking casserole costs $0.03 in the microwave, versus an electric oven at $0.16. Rather than trying to cook everything in the microwave (good luck frying anything), there are also plenty of other ways to save energy while you cook. more→

image_pdfimage_print

Which Vegan Foods Release the Least Amount of CO2?

Buddha bowl of mixed vegetable with avocado, carrots, spinach, romsnesco cauliflower and radishes

One of the biggest advantages of eating vegan meals is being able to reduce your carbon emissions to help the environment. By now, eating less or no meat to reduce our carbon footprint is pretty cemented in the green living lexicon. The vegan carbon footprint is far smaller than other diets.

The Guardian even estimates that giving up beef can lower your carbon footprint more than using a car. Red meat uses 28 times more land and 11 times more water than pork or chicken. Red meat also produces five times more climate change emissions. Taken a step further, red meat requires 160 times more land and produces eleven times more greenhouse gasses than vegan staples like potatoes, wheat and rice. more→

image_pdfimage_print

Vegan Risotto Recipes

vegan risotto

Vegan risotto can be tough to make. Traditional risotto recipes call for a lot of dairy, which makes creating a good vegan version a challenge. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this classic Italian dish senza formaggio.

Here are some exciting risotto recipes that are delicious, satisfying, and totally vegan. more→

image_pdfimage_print

7 Hearty Vegan Soups With Wild Rice

wild rice in a spoon

No matter the season, soup remains a staple dish in everyone’s home. Hearty vegan soups are a great meal option for vegans because they can be easily made with plant-based ingredients. Soups are a great way to cook vegetables and other hearty ingredients like lentils, beans, and even potatoes.

However, there are a number of non-vegan soup recipes that need to be updated with more plant-based substitutes. One of these classics is cream of chicken and wild rice. For vegans, a simple substitute is mushroom and wild rice. This soup is perfect for cozy nights or lunch on a chilly winter day. more→

image_pdfimage_print