Finding Beauty Around


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Windy season – Chronicles of Vata

Palm-Trees_Hurricane-Wilma

I decided to write this down mostly for myself, but maybe someone else who faces similar  mmm phenomena in their life will find it interesting as well.

If you are familiar with Ayurveda, you know that there are five elements in nature  –  earth, water, fire, air and ether(or space).  Every individual has a certain proportion of  those elements in their system, in Ayurveda it’s called doshas and there are three doshas –   Vata= air+space , Pitta = fire+water and Kapha =earth + water.  You can read more about doshas

Although we all have our unique  proportion of elements that we get from birth, doshas in our system can go out of balance under the influence of environment, seasonal changes, food that we eat, our lifestyle.   For example my combination is Vata + Pitta, Vata is air and motion, and it is Vata that goes out of balance easier than other doshas.  Especially when the seasons are changing  (it’s usually February-March and August-September when it will be most imbalanced).  Also if you travel a lot, when you don’t have a regular routine, etc.   I ll make a separate post that talks more about all those details, today I just wanted to note some funny effect that imbalanced Vata has on our system and remind  (myself first of all!) what to do when it happens 🙂

So, if you notice that –

–  You can not find your phone (keys, wallet  or something else), you start running around like crazy looking for it and then find it in the most obvious place where it’s supposed to be and it happens to you  again and again  around 5-10  times a day

–  Things start flying out of you hands! They are literally flying, you maybe standing in the kitchen and stirring the soup and then you observe how the spoon flies out of your hands, splashes soup everywhere and lands  on the floor 🙂 You also drop jars and boxes full of tiny objects like fennel seeds or cotton buds that spread all over the floor

– You get really irritable and impatient because everything takes forever !! and you really can’t wait at all, it’s not a fiery irritation or anger, it’s more like you have an itchy mind, and the more you need to wait the more it itches 🙂

–  You are trying to do a thousand things at a time,  you don’t know which one is the first to start with so you run around in confusion : )

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It means you Vata is out of balance, there is a Vata hurricane blowing in your mind  (and probably in the body too;), it does not let you concentrate on one thing and does not let you stop.

So the first thing I need to do when it happens, is to  stop, sit down and do something to end this madness 🙂  Which is usually the last thing that Vata blown mind wants to do.

If you know a meditation technique or breathing technique or mudra pranayama  sit down and do it, it won’t be a time wasted at all (but so it seems to a crazy windy mind!)

You will notice such a big difference after just 15-20 minutes of meditation or breathing, your mind will settle down, you’ll stop loosing and dropping things 20 times a day and will have much more patience!

It is also a good reminder that all those “Vata manifestations” like irritability, scattered brain etc.  are not who I am, they are just caused by the changes in the environment and we can affect and control it to some extent.  Also if you are rarely affected  by hose things but somebody next to you shows the symptoms  mentioned above , don’t get mad at them 🙂   They just need to remember to sit back and  help their mind to settle down.


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My Love of Miso

Couple of weeks ago I found this new stall at our organic farmers markets in Miami –  Rice Culture,

They  sell Organic Miso  –  fermented product made from soy beans,

There only 4 items in the Ingredients on the label  :  Australian organic soy beans , Australian organic  rice, sea  salt and culture  (Koji starter), I like when things in the jars have only a few ingredients on the the list and when they all sound like  natural ones 🙂   Yay!  Well this miso is not only Unpasteurized and Organic,  it is also hand made and it’s made locally,  here on the Gold Coast.

miso

I realize the photo would look better if the jar was full, unfortunately i already finished half of it :))

It turns out that Miso is quite an ancient food,   ” Miso’s origins can be traced to China as far back as the 4th century BC.  A seasoning, called Hisio, was a paste resulting from the fermenting a mixture of soybeans, wheat  and salt.    In Japan, miso was introduced in  the 7th century by buddhist monks. The process of making Miso was furher refined and it became a necessary part of the samurai diet.  ”

Miso is a paste that can be used in various ways in cooking, it’s a base for traditional Japanese Miso soup, you can add it in vegetables when you cook or make a sauce with it.  I even like using it as a spread on toast ! I just checked Rice Culture website and they have some  interesting recipes there  – Rice Culture

I like Miso because of it’s taste and it’s grounding effect on my system, especially if it’s cold or windy outside, of after I spent the whole day  running around , it really helps to settle down.  Miso is also quite good for you because it ‘s a product of natural fermentation process   –     ” Miso’s fermentation process enables the superior nutritional characteristics of the soybean to be assimilated readily by the body.  Miso is a rich source of proteins, fibre, minerals, vitamines and isoflavones,  (about 20mg/100g), saponins, soy protein (partly digested) and live enzymes (in non-pasteurized miso).”

Live enzymes  –  that sounds interesting ….There is a whole concept how fermentation process transforms the   nutrients in the grains and soy beans  making them more readily  available for our system to utilize.  They say that is the reason why all ancient breads were made with a cultured starter (I started making rye bread with a home made starter,  I ll make a separate post about it)

I searched  online  looking for more information on the benefits of fermented soy  products, another concept I  came across (I heard about it before as well) is this one     – ” All legumes contain phytate (also known as phytic acid) to some extent, but the soybean is particularly rich in this anti-nutrient. Phytate works in the gastrointestinal tract to tightly bind minerals such as zinc, copper, iron, magnesium and calcium, causing the deficiency.    In most legumes  soaking is enough to break down most of the phytate content. However the soybean requires that the enzymes be released in the fermentation process to reduce its phytate content to the point where it becomes fit for consumption. This means that fermented soy foods like miso and tempeh have the lowest levels of phytate and are the best choices for anyone wishing to eat soybean products. Tofu is also a good choice, as long as care is taken to replenish loss nutrients” (Source  –  Natural News). That’s something new for me…  Oh well, with soy products, like with any other “health foods” there will be the whole bunch of  opinions stating how it’s so good for you, it fights cancer, etc and the whole bunch of opposite opinions stating that it slows down brain function …

I guess the key is in moderation.  I remember I read once in one book on Ayurvedic cooking, how Western mentality can perceive  something as   only good or only bad, like yogurt is very good for you or yogurt is terribly bad for you. According to Ayurveda if you eat a little bit of yogurt (which is actually a cultured food too)  with the right spices it’s good, if you eat too much or late at night it becomes a heavy food.   “When fermented soy foods are used in small amounts they help build the inner ecosystem, providing a wealth of friendly microflora to the intestinal tract that can help with digestion and assimilation of nutrients, and boost immunity”.

How to use Miso

-Miso is a sticky paste and  it needs to be mixed with a bit of water if you want to use  it in a soup or in a sauce .

-To preserve the good bacteria  in Miso it  should never be cooked with the food but added at the end of the cooking.

-After opening a package of Miso it will keep for several months in the fridge.

And now it’s time for me to go and eat a toast with some  Miso paste on top 😉