June, 2012
Posted on June 11th, 2012 by in Ask the Expert, Nutrition

Ask the Expert: Bite by Bite

In this edition of Ask the Expert, Kripalu’s Lead Nutritionist, Annie B. Kay, answers your questions. An integrative dietitian and a Kripalu Yoga teacher, Annie is the author of the book Every Bite is Divine.

What would you recommend as a good diet for someone who is vegan and has IBS?

I invite those with IBS to try the experiment of eating gluten free as a starting point. Nutritional science research suggests that up to 40 percent of people have some level of difficulty digesting gluten, and if you have an IBS diagnosis, that risk skyrockets. Try it for 30 days. And don’t think of it as, I’m never going to be able to eat my favorite foods again. Think of it as collecting data. Even if you do find you’re sensitive to gluten, most people can tolerate a little bit of gluten.

You may not notice the full benefits for as long as six months, but you may notice a significant difference before then. Then you can determine whether eating gluten free is a lifestyle choice for you, or if you want to try reintroducing gluten. About half of those with IBS who go gluten free find it’s a miracle cure.

What kinds of tea have the most beneficial properties?

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Posted on June 10th, 2012 by in Moment of Quiet

Moment of Quiet

Every Sunday we provide a space for quiet, calm, and peaceful introspection. Enjoy the morning light here at Kripalu on Lake Mahkeenac.

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Posted on June 9th, 2012 by in Words from the Wise

Zen and the Art of Writing: Q & A with Natalie Goldberg

An excerpt from Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

After more than 20 years, Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones remains the definitive guidebook for those who see the writing process as a journey of the soul. Goldberg broke ground with the book, first published in 2005, when she compared writing with Zen meditation. In this Q&A from the 10th-anniversary edition, she explores that connection.

Q What are the “I can’t write because” excuses that you hear the most?

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Posted on June 8th, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Foodie Friday: Kitchen-Sink Cooking

“That’s it—I’ve had enough! I, of all people, should not be doing it this way!”

Ever have one of those enough-is-enough moments? As I was once again staring at my refrigerator with its combination of very fresh, slightly worn, and “what-are-you-still-doing-in here?” produce, leftovers, and half-eater jars of miscellaneous mayhem, I hit the turning point.

“OK, family,” I announced. “I will not be buying one more ounce of food until we have eaten every single morsel of what we already have.”

My rant was spurred by my newly instituted budget austerities, and the obvious yet uncalculated cost of what I was about to throw in the garbage. I heard a staggering statistic once that something like 15 to 30 percent of our food budget goes in the trash: sporadically used condiments and half-eaten canned goods; good-intentioned yet left-to-rot produce; the two pounds of this or that “wonder food” that were purchased after reading about its healthful properties in O magazine.

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Posted on June 7th, 2012 by in Healthy Living

Fitness Focus: Exercise at Home

To save precious time and money, working out at home can be just the ticket. It does, however, require some motivation. Here are some tips to help you get—and keep you—all fired up to work out at home:

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Posted on June 5th, 2012 by in Life Lessons

Cycle of Transformation

Danna Faulds, Guest Blogger

I didn’t think much about the distant rumble of thunder as I biked along a favorite unpaved rail trail. It was a hot day, and I figured that, if it rained, it would cool things down a bit. There were small, roofed picnic shelters every couple of miles where I could wait out a thunderstorm and then continue on my way, a bit mud-spattered from the puddles on the trail perhaps, but none the worse for wear. And even if I did get a little wet, my clothes would dry quickly in the sun.

A thousand times a day, my mind creates its own little world of expectations and assumptions. I imagine how things will be in the future, plan how to deal with contingencies, and try hard to be on top of things. This was one of those times.

I biked on, glad for the clouds that took the edge off the afternoon heat, unaware of the fantasy realm of presumptions I was living in. When rain began to fall, it was more like a fine mist than actual drops. It felt good on my hot skin, and I thought, Oh, this is nice! It’s even better than the clouds. I immediately revised my inner calculations, seeing myself biking through the mist for just long enough to really cool off, at which point the sun would emerge and gift me with a rainbow.

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Posted on June 4th, 2012 by in Healthy Living, Meditation, Studies, News, and Trends

Meditating for a Better Brain

Aging Gracefully Through Meditation

Meditation has long been believed to be a win-win proposition, carrying certain psychological benefits with zero risk or cost. People who meditate regularly report lower levels of stress, improvements in concentration and memory, and slower reactivity (no more road rage!). The mental relaxation produced by meditation can have physiological benefits, too, in the same way we know that a calmer emotional state is good for our physical body. But a few new studies reveal that the practice may have profound effects on actual brain development—something traditionally believed to peak in our 20s and then begin to decline.

Researchers at the Laboratory of Neuroimaging at UCLA have spent years studying how meditation may affect neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to make physiological changes. In a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, the lab reported finding that long-term meditators had brain function that not only did not decline as they aged, but improved, thanks to an increase in brain gyrification—activity that happens in the cerebral cortex, or the outermost part of the brain. The lab also determined that the brains of dedicated meditators have more gray matter, which affects the brain’s ability to process information, and white matter, which helps a person communicate clearly.

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Posted on June 3rd, 2012 by in Moment of Quiet

Moment of Quiet

  Every Sunday we provide a space for quiet, calm, and peaceful introspection. To read more about the Kripalu labyrinth, click here.  

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