By Deborah Charnes
I happen to love broccoli, kale and brussel sprouts. My mother couldn’t stand them. It turns out, some people have different taste buds, and for many people, vegetables like broccoli can be extremely bitter. I eat these three greens like candy.
While I never particularly had a sweet tooth, as my mother did, over the last few years my cravings for salty foods have increased. I still consume loads of spicy foods, something else my mother couldn’t tolerate. She didn’t even like garlic and onions, which I can’t comprehend.
While my father drank coffee every morning and also enjoyed a cup after dinner, my mother rarely drank the brew. She only took a few sips at luncheons, maybe to be “lady like.” I was a coffee addict for most of my life. However, I self-prescribed the hot java for several reasons.
First, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been friolenta. Living in Mexico City, and shivering in the mornings, I learned that the hot liquid warmed me up a bit. When I worked in Miami, there was nothing better than a mid-afternoon cafecito break, just like tea time, this was a great way to get up and get my circulation going along with a bit of socializing. Third, and most importantly, caffeine was a great antidote to the perennial lethargy I felt, no matter how much sleep I’d had.
I’m an Aquarian, so I tend to like adventures. To make them reality, I learned how to modify my lifestyle to take my adventures to the max, and rid myself of my sluggish nature.
Basically, what I did was try to create more balance in my lifestyle and my life. Sleep was a waste of time to me, and eight to ten hours of sleep never yielded an energetic and vibrant next day. Many people, in today’s super fast paced world, have chronic health conditions due to imbalances brought on my improper nutrition and lifestyle.
The Ayurvedic life science, the mother of all healing arts, that supposedly was passed on by the divine, addresses precisely these imbalances. According to Ayurveda, one’s constitution is established upon conception. In the case of my mother, she was probably predominantly Pitta. She would sweat easily, and heat was unbearable to her. She craved sweets and cold soothing foods like yogurt and ice cream. What’s more, she had a premature thinning of the hair and chose to wear a hairpiece. These are all signs of Pitta imbalances.
There are three doshas, or constitutions: Pitta, Vata and Kapha. However, people’s levels of Pitta, Vata and Kapha fluctuate constantly. As one ages, there is a natural tendency to shift balance over the years, throughout the day, and based on the season. For example, during summer, one’s Vata increases and in the winter, Kapha is more in force, so you need to adjust diet, exercise and routine accordingly.
While I may be my mother’s daughter, I see no Pitta in my life. I sense my innate constitution as Kapha which I probably inherited from my dad. Interestingly enough, he and I shared multiple idiopathic health problems. Idiopathic means it’s not hereditary and they have no idea why you got the illness. While no allopathic doctor could tell either of us the source of our pains, I think the answer may be from too much Kapha.
My inner balance must have recognized this, so I worked to decrease my Kapha for decades, without even knowing what I was doing. In the end, I had an overabundance of Vata that I brought upon myself, far beyond the coffee fixes.
Ayurvedic experts say that the vast majority of people in our western society have Vata imbalances caused by the drive-through and dog-eat-dog world of super moms and super Marios.
There are several recommended Ayurvedic methods to create balance in one’s life.
Diet is key, and each person, based on their imbalances is given different recommendations. Herbal remedies are traditionally prescribed, as are massage therapy, all which are customized based on the three forces. Likewise, periodic detoxification has tremendous benefits, and the cleanse varies based on one’s dosha. Finally, there are daily regimens that need to be followed to provide total balance in mind, body and soul.
Deborah Charnes has more than 30 years working in the bilingual communications industry. A Texas resident since 1998, she recently opened her own business, The Write Counsel, a strategic public relations consultancy dedicated to transforming our community. Additionally, she is a certified yoga instructor and recently completed coursework in Ayurvedic studies.