Monday, January 24, 2011

Overcoming Sugar Cravings with Herbs

Continuing with the topic of losing weight, one of the primary changes that would be helpful for most people in my experience is eating fewer carbohydrates. In general eating whole grains and less processed complex carbohydrates is better than eating refined carbohydrates.

Of course, eating fewer desserts and sweets is very helpful as well. If one has a sweet tooth, there is an interesting Ayurvedic herb that can help with this.

It is called Gymnema Sylvestre or gurmar (which means "sugar destroyer") in Ayurvedic medicine. When taken as a liquid extract, this herb has the property of anesthetizing the tastebuds responsible for detecting the sweet taste. After swishing it around the mouth for about 30 seconds, one is actually not able to really experienced the "sweet" taste temporarily -- any chocolate candies such as Hershey's kisses or Kit Kat would actually not be sweet. You don't even have to swallow the extract, you can just spit it out.

If you feel like you really have a bad sweet tooth, keep a liquid extract of Gymnema around. When you have a craving for dessert, just swish and spit this extract and then have the dessert -- you'll find that it probably won't taste very good, and over time perhaps your cravings will decrease. I know it's hard to believe but it actually works!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ayurvedic weight loss tips

Thinking about losing weight?!

One of the most common New Year's resolutions each year is to lose weight. In the next several posts we will discuss various tips for weight loss from Ayurvedic medicine. We will discuss issues of diet, how to eat, lifestyle, stress, and other areas, because all of these actually impact one's weight.

To begin with, let's start with the subject of water. To maintain a healthy weight each person needs to maintain a healthy Agni, or digestive fire. There are different types of Agni but the most important one is centered in the stomach, and responsible for digesting our food and controlling the pace of metabolism.

How does this relate to water? The first way is actually related to water temperature. Ayurveda always recommends having warm water, and suggests avoiding ice or chilled water. The reason is that cold water dampens and weakens the Agni while warm water supports it.

When one is trying to lose weight, the Agni should be strengthened and supported in order to boost metabolism and improve digestion of food. In fact some Ayurvedic practitioners start with just having warm water as part of a weight-loss program for new patients.

The water does not necessarily have to be boiled, just heated until it's warm. If the water is heated and then cooled it is still better to drink from the Agni perspective than water that is cold or has never been heated.

We'll continue our exploration in the next post...