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5 Ayurvedic Tips for Air Travel

It’s official–traveling is back. But while we daydream and plan the perfect vacation, it’s important to keep one thing in mind: Travel (especially by plane) is hard on the body.

That’s why we’re sharing five Ayurvedic tips for staying healthy and balanced when flying. Try these simple, powerful strategies to bring more ease to your journey whether you’re traveling for work or pleasure.

Before the flight

  • TIP #1: If you’re going to be changing time zones, start adjusting your bedtime before you travel. Beginning a week before your flight, shift your sleep schedule by 15-20 minutes per day. Any remaining adjustment will be much gentler when you arrive at your destination. 

During the flight

  • TIP #2: Flying increases Vata so it’s important to counter the impact of dry air and excess movement. Mitigate these effects by drinking hot water and avoiding iced beverages. 
  • TIP #3: If possible, avoid eating while flying. Most of the food available in the terminal or on a flight is inherently Vata imbalancing (especially dry foods like crackers and pretzels). Eating while flying also increases jet lag. If you need to eat, bring your own grounding and unctuous foods such as empanadas, roasted sweet potatoes, coconut chips, or a wholesome cookie or muffin.

After the flight

  • TIP #4: Flying deprives us of grounding energy and exposes us to increased levels of EMF’s. Once you’ve landed, reharmonize with the earth’s energy by standing barefoot in a forested or grassy area or on the beach. If that’s not possible, a shower and gentle exercise like yoga and pranayama or walking can be a big help.
  • TIP #5: Eating well always makes a difference, and it’s especially important to choose nourishing and grounding foods after a flight. Because it’s hard to find healthy options on the go, Divya’s has created a line of single-serving one-pot meals. With four kinds of kitchari and two kinds of soups, there’s something for every mood and any time of year.  
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5 Fun Facts about Divya

Whether you’re new to Divya’s Kitchen or you’ve been following us for a while, we thought you’d enjoy these fun facts about the visionary behind the brand: Chef Divya Alter. After all, it’s her own incredible story of exploration and healing that inspired her to launch Divya’s Kitchen in the first place.

Some of them might be familiar, and others may surprise you. But each one offers a window into what makes Divya…well, Divya.

She’s from Bulgaria

“I grew up in Bulgaria during the communist regime. Even though our connection with the world and exposure to foreign cultures and foods were limited, I had a happy childhood. I spent a lot of time in nature and playing outdoors. I was an excellent student and always ended up in leadership positions.”

She lived a monastic lifestyle

“I joined a bhakti-yoga ashram in my hometown, Plovdiv, at the age of 18, and I practiced a monastic lifestyle for 15 years before meeting my husband Prentiss. This is where I learned how to cook and fell in love with serving others.”

She’s a champion skier

“In her youth, my mom, Vera, was an athlete, a national ski champion, and a professional ski instructor. She put me on skis as soon as I learned how to walk. Our whole family used to compete in regional and national ski events. I’ve won a couple of regional gold medals as a teenager :-)”

She loves to sing

“I was in the school choir for a few years. While in India, I studied classical raga singing and I learned how to play the tamboura (a string drone instrument). I love to sing chants and Sanskrit poetry–it’s the healing type of music. I stopped when we opened our restaurant (too busy), but now I’m gradually getting back into it.”

She’s an avid gardener

“At home I take care of our balcony garden, where I grow 20 culinary herbs and fragrant flowers. Whenever I visit my Mom in Bulgaria, I spend most of my time in her garden–weeding, harvesting, pruning, cleaning. I hope to one day have a teaching kitchen with a bigger garden, so I can provide my students with a full farm-to-table experience.”

We hope you enjoyed these fun facts about Divya! If you’d like to learn more about her story–especially her introduction and personal connection to Ayurveda–we recommend this podcast episode.

How to Detox this Spring

Spring is coming – and as we transition from the heaviness of winter to the busyness of summer, it’s the perfect time to consider a detox. That’s because spring is when our microchannels naturally expand and soften, making it easier for us to release the toxins that have built up in our system.

It also happens to be the season of bitter greens and other foods that support the liver – our primary detoxifying organ.

Sounds simple. Spring time = detox time, right? Not exactly.

Poke around the internet and you’ll notice that most detox regimens are based on juicing, fasting, colonics, and other highly restrictive diets. According to Ayurveda, these methods are often too harsh for our complex, delicate digestive systems. In fact, Divya compares them to blowing up a bomb in the body.

But we don’t need to blow up anything in order to detox. The body already has its own process for the elimination of toxins – we just need to support it with certain food and lifestyle changes. The nature of those changes depends on your unique body and your specific imbalances, which means we can’t possibly know the perfect protocol for you. But with that in mind, here are some general protocols and guidelines to help you plan your next detox.

The Kitchari Fast

This simple, gentle detox program relies on the classic Ayurvedic one-pot meal: 

For one to five days, whenever you feel hungry, eat only freshly cooked kitchari and drink only herbal teas and hot water. Refrain from eating or drinking anything else. This simple, gentle fast helps reset your digestive system. 

How to prepare for a detox

  • Understand the different types of toxins and their sources. This article has a great explanation of toxins, and detoxing in general
  • As much as possible, reduce your exposure to these toxins.
  • Make sure your physical and vibrational channels are open. Eating well, exercise, meditation, and making time for fun are all excellent ways to prepare your system.
  • As a pre-cleanse, choose balancing foods that you can digest well; avoid foods that clog your channels or disrupt your body’s natural intelligence. If you need help understanding which foods are right for you, we recommend this book by Divya.
  • Consider seeking the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner.
  • Follow your detox with proper nutritional and lifestyle practices that support rejuvenation and balance.

When you should NOT detox

Although it’s a safe and natural process, there are times when it’s best to avoid a detox protocol.

Do NOT detox if you’re experiencing any of the following:

  • Inflammatory intestinal/bowel disease
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Exhaustion or weakness
  • A consistently stressful schedule
  • Winter or summer seasons
  • Serious illness, taking medications, etc.
  • A lack of time to adequately prepare your body
  • Your menstrual period

That’s it. We hope this helps you find your perfect way to cleanse and reset. When in doubt, contact an Ayurvedic practitioner who can help you develop a personalized protocol. And remember, the body already knows how to do this work – it just needs a little support.

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Managing Your Sweet Tooth

Photo c/o Briana Balducci from Divya’s Kitchen

We all crave sweets from time to time. The question is: what do you do when the urge strikes? Do you indulge? Begrudgingly abstain? Or do you enjoy them fully, but in moderation? 

Most importantly: How do you feel after each of the above scenarios? Noticing how you feel after eating sweets (or any other kind of food) is essential for maintaining good health. It allows you to understand your ever-shifting needs and to make the right decisions about what to eat.

Most of the time, we turn to sweets when we’re tired, unmotivated or emotionally drained.  Unfortunately, these foods are limited in how much they help and overindulgence can lead to further imbalances.

5 simple tips

As an alternative, here are some simple tips for transforming sugar cravings (as well as the root feelings of fatigue and emotional heaviness):

  1. Incorporate foods of predominantly pungent, astringent, and bitter tastes. For example, you could use more spices, sunchokes, and dark leafy greens.
  2. Eat wholesome, nutritious meals like our kitcharis and soups with a moderate amount of ghee or olive oil (You can also find more seasonal recipes in Divya’s cookbook What to Eat for How You Feel).
  3. When you’re craving something sweet, ask yourself: Am I really deficient in sugar, or am I craving nourishing food? Am I actually seeking feelings of love, satisfaction, and pleasure that sweet foods seem to provide?
  4. If you can’t avoid giving in to your sugary pleasures, enjoy a small amount mindfully. Try to eat it slowly without distracting yourself. Feel the pleasure the sweetness creates and then tell yourself, “I’ve had enough. Thank you.” 
  5. When choosing sweets, aim for high quality and unprocessed options. For example, you can satisfy your craving by slowly licking a small teaspoon of raw honey. With its astringent-sweet taste, it’s an excellent choice when you feel heavy and sluggish. As a bonus, honey is low-glycemic and can help you lose weight!

Finally, you can find some excellent teas here at divyas.com that help balance blood sugar after eating sweets and reduce sugar cravings: Gymnema Brew, Vaidya’s Cup, Tripti Tea. Drink any of these after a meal and you will feel energized!

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