Jane Arie Baldwin

Personal Tools and Techniques for Unwinding

Month: October, 2013

Seasonal Vegan

My fall garden offerings

My fall garden offerings

I start to feel the change of seasons at the end of summer.  While the hot August heat still pounds down I begin to feel the rhythms of the fall season in my bones much like the creaking bones of arthritis foretell of rains to come.

I’ve eased up on dairy, wheat and eggs in the last few years and don’t suffer from the seasonal allergies that I once had — before Claritin was over the counter.  When I felt a pang of fear every time I got to the bottom of a bottle and called my doctor in a panic for a refill. Back then the steroid nasal sprays, the Benadryl, the Claritin made no promises that they would work all the time.  Indeed they worked the least when I needed them most — when I wanted to pair wine with cheese or margaritas with queso — it’s as if those drugs ignored my frazzled yet humble requests for help.

Now days I follow the “Everything in moderation, including moderation,” rule. This saying is my reminder that there is no panacea for health. It reminds me to know my own body and do what I have to do to keep it in balance. I’ve noticed that in the fall and winter my body seems to be more sensitive to temperature and barometric pressure.  After radiation treatment for cancer many years ago my body does not retain heat and I feel cold most of the time, especially in winter.

To bring my system in balance in the winter I opt for more healing foods – baked root vegetables or soups.  I avoid dairy, wheat, eggs, and sugar in the cold weather months.  Also I cook my vegetables to aid in the digestion process, even salad greens I will toss in a pan for a few seconds. Raw vegetables, like dairy and sugar create mucous in the sinuses and I’ll do anything to slow that process. Every little bit helps in the winter as the majority of my energy is spent staying warm.  I’ve noticed though that once I shifted my diet, choosing to eat seasonal foods and curb my intake of hard to digest foods such as wheat and dairy my body changed. I no longer suffer from seasonal allergies or have to rely on allergy meds to get me through the day.

In the winter months I must put in extra effort to create balance in my life. For that I must practice being a seasonal vegan.  The cold and dry climate of fall and winter require me to make adjustments to my spring and summer routine. I have to tweak some of my everyday habits to maintain optimal health so that I’m not just surviving in the winter but prospering in a cozy and comfortable environment both inside and out.

Do you have seasonal routines that help make you comfortable and keep you in balance? I’d love to hear about them.

Abhyangha- My ‘flu shot’


picture courtesy of innovateus.net

As fall’s cool air morphs into winter’s chill I seek out my favorite local Ayurveda specialist for an ancient medical treatment that for many years has worked better for me than the annual flu shot.  Abhyangha, the word sounds so exotic for such a simple treatment.  The treatment so simple that it’s hard to believe that it really works — a light massage of large amounts of medical-grade aromatherapy massage oils applied to the body.

Winter brings with it dry, cold air.  Heating your house too can be very drying to your skin, your nasal passages, and throat making your body weak and brittle, more susceptible to bacteria and viruses. You are like a dry cracked desert. Sneezing and runny noses can even be deceiving as it seems that even though your nasal passages are full of gooey wetness they can really be reacting to the dryness all around. Your body, a vast electrical conduit has become frayed, unable to make synaptic connections between chils, sneezes and overall irritability.

In the cold weather months abhyangha is my Linus blanket.  It guards me against the cold, brings me back into balance.  Like plants that need water to insulate their roots from the cold, we too need insulation — that’s what the oil does.  Robert Sachs compares oiling yourself during cold weather to putting on a wet suit for diving.  He even recommends to step outside pre-abhyanga and then again after if you need proof.

How does it work?  In an abhyangha session, the oil is rubbed in long, even strokes over the body.  Starting at the top of the head and working down the body to the feet the oil flows into your pores as liquid into a cup. This sets in motion the real healing effects of the treatment. The Chopra Center explains that the skin then releases, “A pharmacy of chemicals that can have health-promoting effects on the physiology.”  As your pores become saturated the oil flows back to the skin’s surface carrying excess toxins from the body.   Sometimes at this point it feel likes I’m sweating, unless I’ve hit delta or some other state of awareness or deep sleep.

Stay well this cold season with abhyangha!

When you awake you may feel rejuvenated with energy surging through your body like you’ve just had the best workout of your life.  If you’ve been tired, stressed and under the weather, though, be prepared afterward to go home and get in bed because your healing is just beginning.

Either way abhyangha offers your body unmatched support for adjusting to cold weather, a change of seasons, and just plain old stress relief.

Find your local abhyangha specialist or begin a daily self-abhyanga practice and let me know how it goes.

Oh, and it’s great for kids too!


For more info click links below:

You Tube Video on Self abhyangha for Kids

Abhyangha in Dallas, TX:

Chopra Center Self-abhyangha Video

%d bloggers like this: