Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Diet Tips for Pacifying Kapha

How to Reduce Kapha

I have been trying to slim down lately and it has been quite a challenge.  There are so many different diets around with conflicting ideas.  I think the only way to choose which one is right for me is to just pick one and try it.  For the next few weeks I am going to try an Ayurvedic diet to relieve a Kapha dosha. Listed below are my notes on how to implement this diet in my daily life.

Foods and Activities to Favor

1.  I need to increase my movement.  This is hard because I have a desk job. However I am going to try to get up and move around more.  I really only have been overweight since the advent of the Internet. However, since I make a living working at a PC, there seems to be an inverse relationship between my career success and weight battle.  The more I sit the more money I make but then my weight tends to go up as well. Too bad no one will pay me to work out to an exercise video each day. :) 

I bought an little peddle exerciser that fits in the closet.  Last night while my husband I watched a video I got got my peddler out and fit in an hour of peddling.  I am not sure how many calories I burned but it has to be better than just sitting doing nothing. Not surprisingly, people who watch a lot of TV tend to have more weight issues. I don't watch much TV but I am on the computer a lot, so I guess that is just as bad. 

2.  Have a cup of hot water with a pinch of ginger and lemon juice before meals.  Ginger is one of the most alkaline foods around, which I think is significant. Many of the foods recommended in Ayurvedia medicine to reduce Kapha seem to have an alkaline ash.

a piece of ginger root
Ginger is a common remedy for Kapha symptoms in Ayurvedic medicine, and for similar conditions in TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine. 

3.  Favor the following foods:
  • Tea
  • Asparagus
  • Seafood
  • White meat chicken and turkey
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Honey
  • Beans
  • Barley
  • Corn (organic!)
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Most spices
  • Eggplant
  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • Greens
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
I have problems with iron deficiency anemia from time to time, so I am not sure about cutting out red meat.  Maybe I can make up the iron with seafood like clams.  I will have to research this a bit more.

Ginger tea is a good for slimming down in traditional Chinese medicine as well as Ayurvedic medicine.  I think part of the reason is that ginger tea is very alkaline, and an alkaline digestive system has less stomach acid to digest food.  This is probably the same logic behind eating drier foods - they aren't as easily absorbed as water based foods like soups.  Yet in Western diet advice, soups are a dieting main stay.  Maybe I can compromise by only having very low calorie soups so I am absorbing lots of nutrients but not a lot of calories.

4.  Eat more light, dray and warm foods. 

Things to Avoid

1.  Eat less sugar, yeast, cheese yogurt, nuts, tofu, cold foods, red meat, nuts, starchy and sweet fruits (bananas, coconut, figs and dates) and refined grains. 

2.  Sitting for long periods, day time napping and not exercising.  The day time napping for me is tough because of the anemia.  I think it is better to nap than spend half the day falling asleep.  I may not be able to implement that idea very well.  Maybe I can limit how long of naps I take and then exercise right when I get up.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Interesting Health Quote on Ayurvedic Medicine

When diet is wrong medicine is of no use. When diet is correct medicine is of no need. - Ayurvedic Proverb

I first became interested in Ayurvedic medicine when one of my sons developed a bad case of night sweats. He was so hot at night he could not get to sleep, and then was so tired in the morning he couldn't go to school. He had to be home schooled for a few weeks. During this time we took him to many conventional doctors, few had any clue as to what was wrong with him. I searched the Internet and found out that he had been drinking ginger ale for an upset stomach, and in Ayurvedic medicine ginger was classified as a a warming spice.

The Ayurvedic solution was to give him milk, bananas and broccoli which were said to be "cooling foods". After he was on this diet he got better very quickly. Now I search my Ayurvedic and other holistic health books first for answers before going to the regular doctors. I used to go to the local health food store and look through their alternative health book library, but these days I have a more extensive collection of alternative health books than they do.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Treatments for Poison Oak

My husband is currently recovering from a nasty case of poison oak. He got it at the local archery range when he went into the brush looking for his arrows that missed the target. The rash started a few days after the archery outing. At first he thought the itching was caused by a bug bite, but after a few days it turned into a pretty bad, bright red rash. He went to see the doctor who seemed to correctly diagnose it as poison oak, and prescribed a steroid cream. Unfortunately, the cream spread the poison oak oil around on his leg and made the rash spread and turn even more red than it had been.

Tonight I went to the drug store and bought every poison ivy remedy in sight. My husband ended up using something called Tecnu. What he didn't realize until tonight was that he had never really washed off the oil properly after the initial contact, so it just kept spreading around and creating new, little satellite rashes. Poison oak oil doesn't seem to wash off from daily showers, and evidently not even from multiple washings with Palmolive dish washing soap (a home remedy treatment I got off the Internet).

One other product he found that was really helpful was called ProtectX. It came with a first aid kit I bought at Sam's Club. ProtectX came in towelette form and immediately stopped the itching and some of the redness. Unfortunately there were only two towelettes in the kit and we could not find any place else to buy it, online or off. Too bad. It seemed like a great product.

The Tecnu is supposed to actually get the oil off for good. So tonight we rewashed all of his clothes he has worn over the last couple of weeks and he washed his skin everywhere with the Tecnu. He said this made the itching stop, unlike the steroid cream which made the itching worse.

Even though the Tecnu helped, he still ended up getting oral steroids from the doctor. Steroid aren't very alternative health oriented, I know. But in his case the common home treatments, like Calamine lotion and washing with Palmolive just weren't helping him. When I was young I lived near woods and used to get poison plant rashes on a fairly regular basis, but I don't remember them looking anywhere near as bad as the pictures above. We have a friend who isn't allergic at all to poison oak. He can literally rub it on himself with no adverse reaction. My husband must just be one of the people on the opposite, highly sensitive, end of the spectrum.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Updates on My CTDS Site Regarding IBS

I've added updated my pages to my Connective Tissue Disorder Site on irritable bowel syndrome and the links to diet and fungal infections. In general, the tips I personally found helpful are to: 1) eat mainly cooked foods; 2) cut out sugar; 3) cut out most dairy except for yogurt with active cultures; 4) eat a lot of soup with nonstarchy vegetables, beans and meat; 5) cut buck on grains; 6) eliminate spicy foods; and 7) take probiotic supplements when needed.

I don't always stick to this diet mainly due to a lack of willpower, but when I do stick to it I feel much better. My husband and I used to enjoy going to a local French restaurant, but I've realized now that while the rich sauces and sweet desserts taste great, I just don't feel well afterwards. So instead now we often go out for Mexican foods with cooked meat beans and veggies dishes and feel much better afterwards. Whenever I eat sugar I've noticed it is not only hard on my stomach, but I also get more congested, especially at night when I'm trying to sleep.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Can Diet Changes to Increase Magnesium Help Tourette Syndrome Symptoms?

One of my sons had the beginnings of Tourette Syndrome when he was little - eye blinking, facial twitching, eye tics, etc. Our regular doctor didn't have any advice for us, so I researched my son's condition using the book library at the local health food store. The indications were that he was low in magnesium, so we changed his diet to get more magnesium rich foods and give him magnesium supplements for a few days crushed in yogurt. It worked great. The tics, twitches and eye blinking all stopped within a few days. We made the diet changes permanent, and for years I never gave the tics another thought. The only other time my son developed tics and twitches was when he was older and went on vacation with friends (without mom around to remind him to eat his vegetables!) and ate junk food for a few days, but the tics and twitches cleared up after he got home and ate healthier foods, including vegetables and nuts, for for a few days.

Then when my children were older they would come home from school and tell me about class mates with tics and twitches similar to the ones our one son experienced as a preschooler. That prompted me to put up a web page on my connective tissue disorder site about tics from magnesium deficiency a few years ago. The response to that one web page has been very positive. While one mom wrote that magnesium did not help her child, I think about 8 or so reported positive results, sometimes a complete recovery and often symptoms were alleviated within a few days. One parent emailed me that her child's vocal tics improved with increased magnesium. Many of these kids had been seeing a variety of medical specialists. Some were on prescription medications, yet no one was asking about their diets, which were often described by the parents as very low in healthy foods, especially nuts, beans and vegetables, and foods high in magnesium.

I find it odd that kids with tics, twitches and other signs related to Tourette Syndrome do not seem to be regularly checked for magnesium deficiency. A web page on magnesium in diet from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health's web site clearly notes that muscle twitching is a sign of magnesium deficiency. Yet based on my experience with my son and the experiences of parents who write to me, children with symptoms of tics and muscle twitching who are taken to the doctor are unfortunately not usually asked about their diets or checked for low magnesium levels.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Organic Produce May Have More Flavanoids

In a study published in the The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, researchers found that the level of one flavonoid in organically grown tomatoes was almost twice as high as that in tomatoes that were conventionally grown. This may give people who choose organic vegetables and fruits in order to avoid pesticides yet one more reason reason to spend the extra money on organic produce.

Flavonoids may fight a number of age-related diseases, so in recent years researchers have been trying to grow crops with higher levels of them. In the U.S. , only potatoes are eaten more often than tomatoes.The authors of the study, researchers from the University of California at Davis, examined tomatoes grown over a ten year time frames in regular and organic fields. The organic tomatoes scored much better, and over time their levels of flavonoid levels kept increasing.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Ingredients of Health

The common ingredients of health and long
life are:
Great temp'rance, open air,
Easy labor, little care. - Sir P. Sidney