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Update from Swannanoa

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Hello all! It has been quite a while since I have written on my blog.  I apologize.  After moving my husband’s home, my home, and the wellness center to Swannanoa in 2015, and remodeling part of our home to accommodate my new office space, it has been a bit of a whirlwind!

The new office space is just wonderful, serene, and a perfect setting for slowing down to take time out to heal at all levels.  You can see the view from our home and my office above.  My clients love to sit outside before or after treatment and absorb nature and the wildlife.

In January of 2016, we adopted a lab mix puppy from a shelter with the idea of training him to be a Pet Therapy Dog.  He is sweet and loving, and does have puppy energy!  For any of you that do not wish to be greeted at the door by a gentle loving sometimes excitable puppy, do let me know and I will put him outside.  His name is Beau and he has made an incredible addition to the healing space.

beau

After 16 years in practice I have been searching for my next focus within Chinese Medicine.  I believe I am starting to get a glimpse of it.  I am fascinated how the brain works and how that affects our mood, how we handle stress, how our brain handles trauma, if we experience anxiety, depression, and those who have been labeled as ADD or ADHD or learning disabilities.  I will be focusing more of my spare time on researching how to treat these imbalances at an even deeper root level than I have been able to in the past. I have started to see changes already in clients as I engage more fully in my new passion.

I am grateful to be where I am in my life so that I may continue to serve and serve more deeply and wholly because of my life experiences.  I believe my path has been such a continued catalyst for me to grow, heal, and transform, that it can only serve you, my client, even more deeply.  I believe we can heal the deepest traumas within us to live a fulfilling, passionate, exciting life.

Here’s to healing and re-engaging with the world with a new perspective,

Whitney

 

 

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Whitney’s New Office Location

Dearest Clients,

I have exciting news to share with you! I have found a treatment space in Asheville just 15 minutes (14 miles) from our old location on Montreat Road. There is flat paved parking and easy handicap accessibility on the ground level.

My treatment room is located in the beautiful Western Carolina Physical Therapy’s building located in the Reynolds Community on 74-A (Charlotte Hwy) at:

226 Charlotte Highway, Asheville, NC 28803

Directions:

* From I-40 take exit 53-A toward Bat Cave/Lake Lure on 74-A East. Go 1.6 miles and take a left at the light towards Eastwood Village, across from Ingles. 

* From I-240 take exit 9 and follow 74-A (Charlotte Hwy) 1.8 miles and we are on your left (as above).



* From the Blue Ridge Parkway, take 74-A towards Fairview/Lake Lure. Go 1.3 miles and we are on your left (as above).



Click here for a Map.

I am looking forward to the simplicity and focus of treating one client at a time, versus the two rooms that I have run consistently for the past 14 years, and have rearranged my schedule times to reflect the single room. As a result, this will decrease the amount of slots per week that I am then able to provide. I would highly recommend that you book your next appointment now to assure your treatment time.

I will re-open on August 11, 2014, when I return from a much needed vacation to Europe with my daughter, Hailey. Appointments can still be made online, as before, with the On Line Scheduler or by going to the SourceForWellbeing.com website and clicking on Appointments. If you had a log in before, it is still active. If not, it is very easy to create a log in and I think you will find this method of scheduling very convenient. A new feature allows you to receive a text reminder the day before your appointment, if you should desire.

You can also call my cell number after August 11th at 828-778-4180 to make an appointment. I can receive texts as well on that number.  I will get back to you as soon as I am able upon my return.

My website is still located at www.sourceforwellbeing.com. It has been revised to reflect the recent changes and I will continue to improve upon it after my return. There is a tab on the website Former Practitioners which details all of the former Source Practitioners’ new practices and contact information.

My email address whitney@sourceforwellbeing.com remains unchanged. I will have limited email access in Europe and am happy to drop ship any herbs that you may need. Don’t worry, I won’t be sending herbs all the way from Europe – my distributor is in Candler, NC.

If you need anything at all while I am gone for the month of July, please feel free to contact Jean Hardesty, Lic Ac, at 828-257-2740.

http://www.stillpointenergetics.com

stillpointenergetics@gmail.com

70 Woodfin Place
Park Place Building, Suite 110
, Asheville, NC 28801


I hope you enjoy this next month of summer with your family and friends. I so look forward to seeing each of you upon my return and continuing to be of service in the co-creation of your health and vitality.

With great appreciation for you,

Whitney

**************************************************************************************************************************

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.

–  Henry Miller

Blog

Source’s Future

To Our Most Amazing, Courageous, and Loyal Clients,

I share this news with a very heavy heart. Sadly, Source For Well-Being will be closing as of June 30, 2014. We will be in full service until then – our last day of treatments will be Monday, June 30th in our beautiful Source House on Montreat Road.

Starting July 1st, we, as practitioners will continue to serve you… but individually at different locations. Each of us will continue to offer the same compassionate and skilled care that you have always expected from us. Most practitioners will continue to practice in the local area. Practitioners are securing locations at this time. They will of course directly communicate with you as their plans are finalized. Also, stay tuned to our upcoming e-zines in June which will update where each individual practitioner will be practicing as it is finalized. Individual email links are at the end of this letter if you would like to contact them in the meantime.

It has been a long, hard road, as so many of you know, to come to this point. You have all fought beside us on this journey and have been with us every step of the way, including creating and participating in the phenomenal benefit concert and on-line fundraiser. You gave us another year and a half of service in this town. You have gifted us with your emotional and financial support, your energy in actively letting the town administration and Board of Aldermen know how you feel, by signing the petition…the list is endless, truly. We can not thank you ever enough for standing beside us. We are blessed by the community we serve.

For the past year and a half, we kept hoping that the Board of Aldermen would do the right thing and repair the massive damage that the town manager, his staff, and the Zoning Board of Adjustment have created. Appallingly, that did not happen, even after getting 1,200 signatures on a petition requesting them to take right and legal action, that absolutely is in their power to do so.

The Source Team gathered a few weeks ago, after the last Board of Aldermen meeting, with the knowledge that the one and only path left was to sue the town. We had tried everything in our power to mediate with the town, but the town manager steadfastly refused to even have a conversation about it. Taking stock of our exhaustion and stress level from this past year, we determined that in order to take care of ourselves it is necessary for us to shut down the center. We need to recuperate, heal, and spend time with our families without the constant stress hanging over our heads that consumes our waking and sleeping hours. To rebuild the center in another town was certainly discussed, but taking inventory of our energy, we realized it was just not possible at this time.

We’ve had to make many hard decisions along the way. In the beginning, the shock of what was happening was very hard to grasp. How could we be shut down when we had done our due diligence? Day after day, night after night, the stress of not knowing what was going to happen next wore on us. Would we remain open? Would we be forced again to shut down? Where would our clients be seen? How would practitioners continue to make a living? When would the harassment stop? Our resident, Blake, and I all withstood the inquisition at the hands of the Zoning Board of Adjustment for five grueling months last year. We were treated like criminals, threatened, bullied, lied to, harassed, trespassed against, and publicly challenged on the Source Facebook site by an employee of the town. When would it end? When would it stop? It must stop now. We are stopping the abuse by disengaging and preserving our own lives and so that we may continue to serve our clients in a non-threatening atmosphere.

Yes, we could go on to the Buncombe County Superior Court and, most likely, win. We have no doubt that a judge looking at the clear evidence would declare us as having the right to stay. But, it begs the question, if we are here to serve you, our clients, in empowering yourselves to create balance, peace, health and vitality from within, how can we, as a Wellness Center, exist in a neighborhood where the town will not support us? This is an integrity issue that we take very seriously.

As another deciding factor, personally, as a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, my focus is always on getting to the root of the imbalance. By winning in court, it puts a band-aid on our situation, but it does not take care of the root of the problem, which we feel is a personnel issue in this town, both at the administrative and Board of Aldermen levels. Not only would we be unable to repair the root of the problem, but we would also be contributing more tax dollars to a system that is very broken. Why spend more personal and community energy and tax resources on a problem that could not be fixed by the Superior Court? And, why pay into a system that not only does not support us, but abuses us as well?

As you can probably imagine, this has not been an easy decision. It has weighed heavily on us since March 6th, 2013. We do not make this decision lightly, as we know how deeply it affects you as well.

We thank you for your patience as this transition is made. We will continue communicating with each of you as decisions are made via email, e-zines, Facebook, and the Source website.

Thank you for your passionate support and love. During these past 12 years it has been a humbling honor for the Source community to serve you. We are so grateful to have you in our lives, and we hope you will allow us to continue to serve you now and in the future.

With Abiding Love and Gratitude,

Whitney & Blake and Source Team

 

Individual Practitioner Emails until June 30th, 2014

Whitney Madden:  whitney@sourceforwellbeing.com

Renee Graziano:  renee@sourceforwellbeing.com

Diane Douglas:  diane@sourceforwellbeing.com

Chelsea Wakefield: chelsea@sourceforwellbeing.com

Danielle Rottenberg:  danielle@sourceforwellbeing.com

Rebecca Word:  rebecca@sourceforwellbeing.com

Marianne Mitchell:  marianne@sourceforwellbeing.com

Banta Whitner:  banta@sourceforwellbeing.com

Kristi Dickinson:  kristi@sourceforwellbeing.com

Courtney Smith: courtney@sourceforwellbeing.com

Debra Bell: debra@sourceforwellbeing.com

Linda Fox:  linda@sourceforwellbeing.com

Katie Hanning:  katie@sourceforwellbeing.com

 

Blog, Featured

So Many Supporters to Thank

Benefit

Thank you for the most AMAZING Benefit Concert for the Maddens and Source for Well Being held on October 10, 2013 at the White Horse in Black Mountain.

We had over 300 attendees, more than 200 silent auction donors, 54 on line donors, 18 corporate sponsors, 16 local restaurants, 12 musicians & performers, 3 local churches and a bank, and an incredible Benefit Team and group of volunteers that made this event Outstanding.

The support and steadfastness of our community is a gift.

Namaste,
Whitney & Blake Madden, and the Source Team


MUSICIANS

Marina Raye has over 13 recordings to her name; she was born in Africa, now calls Black Mt her home – she has been hailed the feminine voice of the flute – (native American, male) . Her work is played at Source, I know because I have had her music played during one of my sessions with Whitney, and is used by many healing practioners in their work…

Richard Shulman has recorded over 23 CDs – he is mostly known for his compositions for jazz quartet; he has also composed a wonderful piece for voice and orchestra called Camelot ReVisited, which has been performed several times here in Asheville-

Sarah Moor hails from Indiana, where she was principal cellist with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as having played with the Austin, Texas Symphony. Now a native of Asheville, she reaches cello, plays in the world fusion peace band Shantavaani, with Matthew, and has created a techno cello piece she would like to open the second half of the night with, after our intermission….

Matthew Cox also of Shantavaani, is one of the few tabla players in town. He will be playing a local made ceramic drum tonight, as well as some other drums – he and I toured together last summer on a 6-week coast to coast poetry music tour-

Bob Hinkle is more known as the laid back co owner and master of ceremonies of the beloved WHBM listening room – What you may not know about him is that he is a native of Asheville, and lived in NY for over 40 years where he worked with the J Geils BAnd, Harry Chapin, The Band, Etta James, and Kenny Rogers to name a few… He will be dishing the dirt on Friday night, on this very stage, scenes from behind the scene, as it were, tonight he is going to bang on some big bowls for us…

Joshua Messick is a welcome transplant to Asheville from Texas, where he won State Champion on the hammered dulcimer. He is 28 years old, is both a composer on the dulcimer as well as one of the best hammered dulcimer players I have ever had the pleasure to meet –

Jimmy Landry, local singer songwriter, just celebrated his 5th birthday bash doing what he loves to do most on his birthday, which is play music – and he did it last Friday night here at WHBM- we are fortunate to have him on this stage – he has played at such prestigious galas as the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and has played with the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn, David Crosby and Richie Havens, to name a few…

Daniel Barber is the leader of the Jubilee Community Church world beat band, where he plays piano and drums, he has recently launched into teaching adults how to reconnect to music – a great service to many people who feel they would like to explore that side of themselves

BJ Leiderman is the composer of NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell me, Car Talk, Market Place, and All Things Considered. He lived in NY for years where he was copywriter and creative director for clients such as Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Chanel. He will be playing at Jerry Reed’s Perelandra Studio this month, check out his website if you would like to know more about that…

Majo John has a Ph.D in Psychology, and has given it up to focus on a book which he is currently thinking about writing, as well as actually writing poetry….


A SPECIAL THANK YOU to our Sponsors!

  • Ale House
  • American Speedy Printing
  • Bi-Lo
  • Black Mountain Coin
  • Black Mountain Quilts
  • Dr. Mark Kleive, DDS
  • Fresh Wood Fired Pizza
  • Precision Graphics
  • SoulKu
  • Sunshine Pharmacy
  • Super Electro

FOOD DONATED BY:

  • Foothill Farms
  • Blue Ridge Biscuit Company
  • FRESH Wood Fired Pizza
  • Que Cera
  • Dobra
  • Dynamite Coffee
  • Morning Glory
  • The Ale House
  • Marcus from Red Radish
  • Todd’s sandwich shop 
  • Beacon in Swannanoa 
  • The Mill Pizza 
  • The Spice Shop
  • Dark City Deli
  • Black Mountain Bistro
  • Chow Time provided pizzas
  • Ingles
  • Lucky Bamboo

 

americanspeedy

American Speedy Printing

 

black mountain quilts
Black Mountain Quilts
Black Mountain Coins
Black Mountain Coin
sunshine
Sunshine Pharmacy

 

precision

Precision Graphics

FRESH

Fresh Wood Fired Pizza

Blog

Danielle Launches New Line of Oils with Sangita Ayurvedics

Danielle has been working her magic on her oil blends and is very excited to bring her passion for aromatherapy to Source. She has designed a new logo for her brand Sangita Ayurvedics along with a few new blends to try. She has been inspired by her teachings from David Crow, Jade Shutes and Dr. Light MIller and has seen the multidimensional benefits and power of the essential oils. Currently, Sangita Ayurvedics will be carrying these blends that can be used in the bath (10 to 15 drops), as a massage oil or in an oil application used daily for Abyhanga. Custom blends will be available along with 30 minutes Aromatherapy consultations to see what blends may best suit you.

What is Abhyanga?

Abhyanga is the anointing of the body with oil. It is has been a staple in Ayurveda for thousands of years. Often infused with herbs or essential oils and usually warm, the oil is massaged into the entire body before bathing. It can be beneficial for maintaining health and is used therapeutically for certain conditions. Abhyanga can be incorporated into a routine appropriate for almost everyone. I tend to use the oil while in the shower when the steam and the moisture can allow for the oil blend to seep in better. Pat dry to allow for some of the oil to remain on the skin.

Benefits of applying oil to the body (abhyanga)

Some of the benefits of abhyanga massage: imparts softness, strength and color to the body, decreases the effects of aging, nourishes the body, balances our sleep patterns, creates positive subtle barrier to the body and helps with dry skin. These blended oils also enhances tone and vigor to the dhatus (tissues) of the body, increases circulation, pacifies vata (by calming the body and mind), pitta (by cooling and clearing body and mind), and Kapha (by stimulating and detoxifying the body and mind). Taking care of your body and creating a ritual each day is a wonderful way to start the day grounded and balanced.

Benefits of the essential oils:

Vata Blend: essential oils in blend (Chamomile infused in sesame oil base:) Sandalwood, Ginger, Vetiver, Sweet Orange, Clary Sage: De-stresses and quiets the mind, helps with sleep or insomnia, calms the nervous system, cools inflammation, helps with depression and mental clarity, creates spiritual protection/meditation, rejuvenation, grounding, aids in digestive issues like gas, nausea and constipation.

Pitta Blend: Rose and Sandalwood (rose infused in Sunflower oil): spiritual love, romance, soothes heartache, opens the heart, PMS, quiets the mind, helps with sleep and meditation, decreases stress and depression. It also boosts self esteem, confidence and mental strength.

Kapha blend: Ginger, Black Pepper, Rosemary, Clove, Sandalwood. Helps with constipation, congestion, circulation and stagnation, colds, cramps, arthritis, promotes alertness, mental energy and clarity, great for arthritis and joint pain. Helps remove toxins.

Still Young: Rosemary, Frankincense, Carrot Seed Oil, Helychrysum, Geranium, Vitamin E, Rose Hip Seed Oil and Apricot Kernel Oil. Uplifting and purifying, promotes creativity, anti-wrinkle, stimulates skin, regenerates skin tissue, fades scars, reduces break outs, helps diminish spots, improves skin integrity and encourages new skin cell growth. Great for mature skin.

Spirit Blend: Palo Santo, Tulsi, Clary Sage, Helychrysum (in Safflower Base)

Benefits: promotes mental clarity, healing to the throat, great for meditation, enhances intuition, unconditional love and power helps with grief and loss, purifier of body, mind and spirit. Tulsi is considered the Queen of Herbs, uplift mood, boost immunity.

Pain Free 1
Marjoram, Birch, Peppermint, Lavender, Chamomile infused sesame oil, St Johns Wort,
Cools inflammation, helps reduce body fatigue and sore muscles.

And custom blends as desired. So come on out to Source. Look at all these wonderful and therapeutic oils. They make great holiday gifts!

– By Danielle Rottenburg, LMBT and Ayurvedic Practitioner

Blog, Featured

The Healing Power of Gratitude

gratitudeDid you know that the simple practice of giving thanks can improve both your physical and mental health? Research in the field of Positive Psychology points to a wide range of benefits. A daily gratitude practice has been shown to strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attacks, improve the quality of sleep, and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. In addition, people who practice gratitude are more optimistic about the future, experience more joy, feel more connected to others and enjoy more positive personal relationships. They are also less emotionally reactive, and better able to deal with challenges that arise without becoming overwhelmed.

Gratitude is a proven antidote to stress. If you could ward off some of your holiday stress by implementing this one daily routine, why not begin right now? It’s free. It takes only 5-10 minutes a day. You can do it anywhere, at any time. You can practice gratitude standing up, lying down, in your car, on your bike, in the produce aisle, or sitting at your computer. It requires no extra equipment, no special training, no advanced degree.

Some people enjoy having a partner in gratitude, not unlike an exercise buddy, to help keep them on track. Some people keep a daily gratitude journal. Some use visual cues, like a traffic light or an image on one of their screens, as a reminder to give thanks. Some subscribe to www.gratefulness.org and sign up for the Gratitude Word of the Day to be delivered to their email each morning. Some use a Mindfulness Bell app on their phone. The bell chimes randomly during the day as a reminder to return to the present moment, and be grateful.

To create a gratitude practice, all you need to do is count your blessings. “I am grateful for (fill in the blank).” Do this every day, morning and night, and you create what I call a gratitude sandwich. Try this for a week and see what happens. Bracket your day with grateful thoughts, but find new things to be grateful for every day (no repeats). Before you get out of bed, think of three things you are grateful about. Before you go to sleep, think of three different things.

See where this is going? Day by day, you will build a sense of abundance. You will retrain your brain to focus on the positive. And when we put our attention on what we have, rather than what we lack, we experience the joy of truly abundant living.

In gratitude,
Banta

Blog, Community

Thank You, Our Hearts Are Rejuvenated

white horseWe would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the many many people and businesses that have supported us and Source for Well-Being. There are so many people to thank.

Thank you to those who originated the idea of the benefit:   Cinnamon Kennedy, Marina Raye, George LeRoy, and Tracey Schmidt, for coming to us and saying, “We want to help. Let us do a fundraiser!”

Thank you to John VanArnam, whose passion and vision is grand and who led the benefit team.  Thank you to Beth Murphy and Courtney Smith who took decisive action to provide such incredible results.

Thank you to Linda, Pat, and Katie who gave hours and hours of their time to take care of the many details, and to the entire Source team.

Thank you to Heidi Blozan and the owners of The Orange Thing, Danny & Karen Leonetti, who showed up on the day of the event unexpectedly to help set up.

Thank you to the musicians & artists: BJ Leiderman, Richard Shulman, Joshua Messick, Marina Raye, Rita Hayes, Daniel Barber, Bob Hinkle, Tracey Schmidt, Jimmy Landry, Matthew Cox, Sara Moor and Majo Madden who shared their gifts, time, & energy with our amazing crowd.

Thank you to the Whitehorse who hosted this event so beautifully and is a beacon in this town as a gathering place to build community.

Thank you to the 16 restaurants who donated food.  Thank you to over 180 Black Mountain Business’ and individuals who gave products & services to the Silent Auction. Thank you to the corporate sponsors and to the online donators. Thank you to St. James Episcopal Church, Black Mountain Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church and 5/3rd Bank for supporting the event.

Thank you to over 300 people who came out for an incredible night, coming together as a community to create a healing space in Black Mountain.

Thanks to all of you, after expenses, $12,874 was raised, a huge portion of the $17,874 in legal fees we’ve incurred thus far, with an expected $5,000 more estimated if we go to trial. We do, however, continue to hold out hope for the opportunity to sit down with our elected officials to discuss a solution that would spare us and other citizens further disharmony.

Our hearts are rejuvenated and we look forward to being able to continue to serve and support our beautiful community.

In Overwhelming Gratitude . . . THANK YOU Black Mountain.

Whitney & Blake Madden

Blog, Featured

10 Benefits of Yoga

By Danielle Rottenberg, Ayurvedic Practitioner & Bodyworker

 

1. Prevents Pains & Aches
As yoga improves flexibility and strength it also helps in preventing back pains and joint pains that often occur from long periods of sitting or driving. A daily yoga practice (even just 20 minutes a day) can help to relieve spinal tightness and contracted muscles in hamstrings and hip flexors. So do a little bit of yoga everyday to help keep the aches and pains away!

2. Mental Peace
Yoga’s overall emphasis on breathing and other balancing asanas help in harmonizing both sides of the brain. This also helps with decision making and having more clarity to complete our daily tasks. By practicing yoga, you can find a state of balance between your thinking brain and your creative brain. Sounds like a great way to achieve some peace!

 3. Strength
As you can imagine by doing plank poses, downward facing dogs, standing and balancing poses, we are aquiring strength in various muscles. But do you realize that with adding twists, breath work, inversions and forward folds you are strengthing your immune system, nervous system, digestive system, respiratory system, circulatory system and reproductive system. Not bad eh?

4. Good Circulation
A combination of breathing techniques and yoga poses can improve proper blood circulation in your body. With an increase in blood circulation you will feel more energized, experience more mental clarity, have healthier organs and glowing skin.

5. Improves Balance
As we age, we can begin to experience poor posture and with that, our balance suffers. Without improving our core strength through yoga and other types of exercises we are more susceptible to falls, fractures and poor back health. Yoga can help you regain this lost balance and core control.

6. Stress Reduction
Yoga helps in relieving stress. When you practice yoga after a hectic day, you will notice that all (or most) of your stress will melt away. So after a long day at the office de-stress with yoga. Better yet, start your day with yoga and watch the stress just bounce off of you as if you have superman or superwoman powers.

7. Energy
Yoga asanas, breath work or (pranayama) are just a few examples of how to activate and balance your energy pathways. By using these tools you can gain the vitality and power you need to maximize your potential. Who wouldn’t want that?

8. Living with Greater Awareness
The mind is constantly involved in activity – thoughts of the past or worrying about the future. These thoughts leave you unable to be present, to truly be in the moment, yoga  can help! By simply being aware of this wayward mind, we can help reduce stress or worry by bringing consciousness to the breath.  Yoga, meditation and pranayama help create that awareness and bring the mind back to the present moment, because really being present is the greatest gift we can have.

9. Yoga Will Help You Lose Weight

Well you may not burn thousands of calories in a yoga class but what yoga does do is change your mind: It changes the way you approach life, your body image, and eating. Yoga brings you a sense of consciousness that allows you to become more aware of what you are eating and how you are eating.

10. Healing
The power of Yoga to heal ailments and cure diseases is becoming more and more an integral part of mainstream medical practice and treatment methods.  Even Western Medicine is beginning to see the power that yoga can have on those experiencing dis-ease. This ability of Yoga to heal also promotes longevity from the inside, out.

 

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10 Tips to a Better Digestion (through the eyes of Ayurveda)

By Danielle, Rottenberg, LMBT & Ayurvedic Practitioner

“We should eat to live, not live to eat.”  ~ Light Miller

As Americans, we tend to live in a fast paced go get ʻem world. We get up first thing in the morning toast in hand, coffee in a to-go mug and off we go to start our hectic day. From there, we may have a “power lunch” where we eat while we work. Symptoms related to improper digestion is becoming a major issue in our country and in our health. Such symptoms of gas, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, the feeling of heaviness after a meal are all indications of foods not being absorbed and assimilated to the best of its ability. In Ayurveda and other holistic systems, disease starts with digestion. It is essential to our health to slow down and eat our meals mindfully, to revere our food, to pay homage to the earth, to be thankful for what we have and for its abundance. It is time for us to make the time to eat. We also need to be aware of the physical importance of sitting down to eat our meal. When we sit down to eat, our stomach is in a relaxed posture. This makes assimilating food much easier. Here are 10 helpful hints to aid in a better absorption of our food.

  1. Do not drink cold or iced water. Drinking cold water or juices can dilute your digestive juices and make it harder to break down the food. If you can, try not to drink water or liquids at least 1/2 hour after a meal. This will allow for the fire (agni) to stay heated to allow for optimal digestion and metabolic productivity. If you need to drink during your meals, just take a few sips of warm water. Also note, drinking a glass of warm water 20 minutes before your meal with lemon juice can help stimulate your digestion.
  2. Eat your biggest/bigger meal at lunch time between 12 to 2pm. Due to the time of the day, our fire or “agni” is at its best during these hours and has the ability to break down food optimally. It is also the time when we need our most fuel. Lighter foods should be eaten in morning and night time. Eat 3 meals a day. If you are not taking in the proper foods as needed then you can throw off your digestive rhythm. If you can picture our metabolism like a wave, the digestive fire builds up in the morning, peaks in the afternoon and then ebbs in the evening. Dinner should be eaten before 8pm, preferably 6:30 to allow for time for optimal digestion and absorption.
  3. Sit while eating your food. Practice food sadhana, honor your food, make a small ceremony around it, bless the food and eat in a calm and peaceful environment, no tv, loud music or distracting conversation, allow the food to be your main focus. Donʼt eat on the run, or while driving or talking on phone. Prepare your room with fresh flowers if you can, allow for a pleasant environment and try to have all the things you need on the table so you donʼt have to get up and disturb your meal time. This is your time to enjoy, celebrate and be a part of what great things our earth has to offer.
  4. Eat slowly and do not eat while you are upset or emotional. Digestion is key to great health, if it is not in good running order than the indigested food will collect in the intestines and cause bacteria (or ama). Indigested food can also be responsible for sluggishness and imbalance, which in turn can effect our immunity and health.
  5. Eat at scheduled times during the day, your body likes to be on a schedule. Depending on your doshic type,Vata people may need to eat more frequently and enjoy warmer foods to keep them grounded and their blood sugar balanced . Pitta people have stronger appetites and may need to eat more often throughout the day Pitta people should eat cooler foods to not “over heat” or have acid reflux. Kapha people tend to have a more sluggish digestive system so they may need to eat less frequently.
  6. Eat fresh, in season organic foods. We are in synch with the earth and with what are bodies need at that time related to nutrients and vitamins.
  7. Drink a warm glass of water with some fresh lemon or a tablespoon of lemon juice first thing in the morning. This helps with elimination and gets the digestive juices flowing and cleans out the digestive tract before starting your day.
  8. Avoid incompatible food combining: milk and cream should not be combined with salty or sour. Eat fruits by themselves and preferably in the morning, that is when they are best digested. Do not combine proteins with starches as that is harder to digest. Sandwiches are not necessarily the best food combination, nor cheeseburger (meat, starches and dairy), yogurt with fruit, pizza (mixing wheat with cheese and tomatoes), apples with peanut butter.
  9. Donʼt over eat: you should stop eating by 75% of fullness, allow at-least 3 to 4 hours between meals, wait until you are hungry. If you want to have a dessert it is best as a snack but not after a meal, as too much sweetness interferes with protein digestion.
  10. Chew your food. Chewing is the beginning of the process. Digestion occurs as soon as we begin chewing. If you can chew your food extremely well it makes the stomach and intestines not have to work so hard. Chewing causes secretions of saliva which helps prevent over eating. Take small bites.