Staying Grounded During the Winter Season

The late fall and winter period corresponds to the Ayurveda mind-body principles of “Vata season” because it is comprised of the same qualities that characterize Vata: cold, moving, dry and changeable. If these elements are in balance, then it is much easier for a person to thrive in the fall and winter season. However, an individual can easily accumulate too much Vata if they do not engage in practices to maintain the balance. Imbalances may manifest into physical and/or emotional symptoms, such as dry skin, anxiety, depression, insomnia and a general feeling of not being grounded.

Since we are all susceptible to too much Vata, we need to be particularly vigilant about staying in balance during the fall and winter seasons. The following are a few, simple ways to help keep you balanced and grounded during these colder months.

Diet:

It is recommended that you increase your intake of root vegetables and drink plenty of warm fluids in the form of teas, soups, and warm water.

Some Common Root Vegetables are:

  • Beets
  • Burdocks
  • Carrots
  • Celeriac (a.k.a. Celery Root)
  • Daikon Radishes
  • Jicama
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Radishes
  • Red Potatoes
  • Rutabaga
  • Sweet Potatoes (yam)
  • Turnips
  • Yuca (cassava)

These vegetables can be added to just about any dish including soups, casseroles, or by themselves.

One of our favorite soup recipes is this Roasted Parsnip & Garlic Soup. It is great tasting and chock full of root vegetables. You will find this recipe and others at the following link:

http://blog.drsalzarulo.com/2012/11/12/roasted-parsnip-and-garlic-soup-with-mushrooms/

Sipping warm tea is another activity that greatly helps to reduce excess Vata. There are many companies that make Vata balancing teas. One of our favorites is Vata Tea by VPK.

Another great Vata balancing drink is an Ayurvedic recipe called Ghee Milk. It is warm, delicious, and easy to make. You will find this recipe at the following link: http://blog.drsalzarulo.com/2012/11/29/ghee-milk/

My final recommendation is daily abhyanga (oil massage). It is best to perform this massage in the evenings right before going to bed. Ayurvedic medicine recommends sesame oil, but a mixture that includes coconut or almond oil is also fine. Massage each foot for 1-2 minutes with approximately 1 teaspoon of oil. This will help ground the Vata energy that you accumulate throughout the day as well as help you to have a more restful sleep.

Remember, the best defense is an early defense, so use these tools to proactively care for your health.

Please share this with everyone who will benefit from this!

Yours in Vibrant Health,

Dr. Salzarulo

Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Soup with Mushrooms

With cold weather knocking at our doors, we tend to turn to comfort foods to please both palate and soul. Made with love, care, and life-affirming intentions, a good soup is an instant heart-warmer.

This Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Soup with Mushrooms is sure to be filling for both body and spirit. The parsnips, a naturally sweet root vegetable, bring a unique sweetness to the recipe, while the mushrooms provide an earthy, grounding taste that helps us remain centered as the leaves fall and the wind swirls. Mushrooms contain powerful healing properties that boost our immune systems as the cold weather sets in.

Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Soup with Mushrooms

Old or large parsnips can have a hard core, particularly near the top. If you find that your parsnips are overly woody, cut out and discard the hardest part.

Serves: 4
Prep time: approximately 10 minutes
Cook time: approximately 45 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 head garlic
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 rib celery (including leaves), chopped
4 to 5 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon white pepper or to taste (white pepper adds spiciness)
1/2 cup great northern beans
6-8 ounces mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 scallion, white bulb removed and sliced into thin pieces
salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place the parsnip cubes in a baking pan. Cut the top off of the head of garlic, just enough to expose the tops of the cloves. Place it on a square of parchment paper, spritz it quickly with a half-second spray of olive oil (optional), and wrap it up. (this prevents the garlic from drying out in the heat of the oven.) Place the parchment paper package in the baking pan with the parsnips and put it into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, turn over the parsnips, and cook for 10-15 more minutes until parsnips are tender and just touched with brown. Remove from oven and allow the garlic to cool in its wrapper.
  2. Heat a non-aluminum saucepan and cook the onion at low heat until it’s translucent. Add the celery and cook for a couple minutes more. Add 3 cups of the broth, the parsnips, and the pepper. Squeeze the garlic out of the cloves into the pan. Cook for a few minutes, until parsnips have softened. Add the beans.
  3. Puree the soup in one of two ways: (1) place it into a blender in one or two batches, being careful not to fill more than half full and adding more broth if necessary, or (2) use a stick blender and carefully blend right in the pan. The smoother you get it, the better, so a Vita-Mix or other high-powered blender is great here. Return the pureed soup to the pan and warm over low heat. If the soup is too thick, add more broth until it reaches your desired consistency. Keep it covered because it will “erupt” from time to time.
  4. Cook the sliced mushrooms in a small skillet until they soften and release their juices. Season them with salt (optional) and add the green onion. Stir most of them into the soup, setting some nice-looking ones aside to use as a garnish. Season with salt and white pepper to taste (careful with the white pepper if you don’t like things spicy!)

Variation:

For a cream of mushroom-type soup, add the mushrooms with the celery and cook until softened. Blend with the other vegetables as directed.

Remember, eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout the year will help you continue to live a vibrant, beautiful life.

Immune Defenders: Kali Mur & Vitamin D

I am often asked about the best ways to protect the body from viral invasion.

In addition to a non-inflammatory, whole-food diet and a lifestyle that includes sufficient rest and exercise, my immediate recommendations for added protection against the flu and H1N virus are Kali Mur 6X and vitamin D.

Kali Mur 6x is a homeopathic cell salt, which is gentle and highly effective. Cell salts help to reorganize the way tissues function, often lifting them out of their pattern of dysfunction. I recommend Kali Mur 6X because it helps to protect the integrity of cells against viral invasion. This includes almost every cold and flu, as well as more serious viruses. Dr. Rudolph Ballentine, master homeopath and one of the most influential doctors in the alternative health movement, discusses Kali Mur 6x in his book, Radical Healing:

“…when smallpox used to sweep India, health workers would go from village to village ahead of the epidemic, handing out Kali Mur 6X. Where this was done, it is said, the epidemic passed over or there were only mild cases.”

Vitamin D is an equally important tool in your vibrant health arsenal. In October of 2007, Epidemiology and Infection presented some very important findings concerning the epidemic levels of vitamin D insufficiency in the United States. The public health impact of this observation could be great, but more specifically:

  • Over a 3-year period, taking 800 IU of vitamin D3 reduced the incidence of colds and flus by 70%.
  • Taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 reduced the incidence of colds and flus to nearly zero (only one person out of 104 had a cold or flu while taking 2,000 IUs of vitamin D. That one person only had ONE COLD all year out of all 104.). The people in the control group, also numbering 104 members, suffered an average of 3 colds/flu per person per year.

Additionally, a 2009 report in the journal Pediatric Research stated that infants and children appear more susceptible to viral rather than bacterial infections when deficient in vitamin D. Based on the available evidence showing a strong connection between vitamin D, infections, and immune function in children, vitamin D supplementation may therefore be a valuable therapy in pediatric medicine.

Remember: the best defense is an early defense!