What's On The Inside?

A blog about yoga, meditation, ayurveda, and the application of it all into your life. A deeper look into the ordinary. 
Retha Maheswari Cazel

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Dry Cough Remedy

Dry cough?   We easily get dehydrated during the winter and 'bugs' make their rounds.  Dry cough, is one of the most irritating complaints.  There is a simple, tried and true solution to this problem.  Everything can be found in your kitchen!  Or at the very least, a short trip to Wegmans and you will be on  your way to a soothed throat and a coughless experience, I promise you!

1 Tablespoon of mashed banana
1 teaspoon of raw honey
1 round of ground black pepper from a peppermill

Mix well, and consume!  Viola!  The recipe is an Ayurveda remedy which soothes the dryness of the cough, eliminates the cough and tastes great.  Suitable for children, and adults ...not suitable for infants.


Let me know how you like this remedy for yourself or your family!


Aloe Vera


Just as the French Press slipped from pressing mode into "Oh my God, crash, break, and burn mode" - I screamed in agony.   Hot, hot coffee all over the counter, floor and worst yet, my belly!  Sometimes when you press the French press down it needs a little extra 'hutz-pah".  I gave it a little too much hutz-pah....and rest is on my kitchen floor and on myself.  Yeow.

A scalding burn.  I agonized and tolerated my day.  That evening - I discovered (rather, I remembered) ( rather  I was reminded) about my aloe plant at the Yoga Studio.   Aloe vera plants, the gel inside the leaves have been historically used to soothe burns.

I felt like someone clonked me on the head....'Remember Retha remember, remember Retha remember".  Got it.  I sliced open a leaf and applied the jelly leaf to my burn, instant relief.  And, brought a couple of more leaves home.   It was a blessing, and a good remembering.  Thanks to my pre-natal gal, Laurie Garner for simply taking note of the Aloe plant "oh look, you have an aloe plant, they are really good for burns".   Laurie had no knowledge of the burn, it was a synchronistic noticing and comment.   Thanks Laurie for reminding me of what I already knew, yet had "forgotten".

This learning follows suit with the concept "we always have everything we need", it just may not be what we want.  (credit to the Rolling Stones)   Sometimes, we simply do not recognize the gifts that are available to us, that are right in  front of us.   It is a reminder that each of  our lives are full of potential, and support.    We simply need  to be aware and have the insight that all is well, we are loved, we are supported and everything we need surrounds us. 

Thank you Laurie, thank you French press, thank you....Aloe Vera.

The UGLY EIGHT - Let's ban them!

I just finished reading an article about foods, chemicals, additives that we "eat, consume" and are legal in the United States.  The "ugly eight", as I will call them are illegal and banned in other countries because of the links to health risks and concerns.

I've attached the list below, in the meantime I am considering how and who to write to in order to have these substances banned from our foods.  I'll be sure to keep you informed.

The full list of foods with questionable chemicals banned elsewhere comes from a new book by nutritionists Jayson Calton, Ph.D., and Mira Carlton called Rich Food, Poor Food. It was also reported by BuzzFeed.com. Here are eight banned foods available in the U.S.

1. Artificially colored food made with dyes derived from petroleum and coal tar. Yellow 5, Red 40 and six others dyes — used to enhance products from Froot Loops to Nutri-Grain cereal bars — are called the “rainbow of risk” by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. They are banned in Norway, Finland, France, Austria and the U.K.

2. Chicken with arsenic. Arsenic in chicken feed cuts down on parasites, makes chickens grow faster and gives their meat more color. It also gives the chicken we eat higher levels of arsenic, known to cause lung, bladder and skin cancers, a study last month by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore found. Arsenic-laced feed is banned in the European Union.

3. Drinks with brominated vegetable oil (BVO). Bromine is a chemical used to keep carpets from catching fire, among other things, so why is it in our food? PepsiCo is removing it from Gatorade but keeping it in Mountain Dew. BVO is banned in more than 100 countries.

4. Breads with potassium bromate, used in bromated flour to make bread products rise higher and faster. Found in rolls, bagel chips, bread crumbs and  flatbreads, potassium bromate has been linked to thyroid and kidney cancers in lab animals. It has been banned in Europe, Canada and China. California declared it a carcinogen in 1991.

5. Frozen dinners with azodicarbonamide. This is used to bleach and stabilize flour and also to make foamed plastic products like yoga mats and sneakers. Found in frozen TV dinners, packaged baked goods and some breads, it has been associated with inducing asthma. It is banned in Australia, the U.K. and most European countries.

6. Food preserved with BHA and BHT. These preservatives are added to cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, meat and dehydrated potatoes to keep them from turning rancid. The debate over their safety has been going on in the U.S. for years. Meanwhile, they’re banned in the U.K., Japan and many European countries.

7. Milk with rBGH and rBST, also known as bovine growth hormones. Synthetic hormones, these are given to cows and therefore found in milk and other dairy products (unless the label specifically says otherwise). They have been linked to cancer and infertility and are banned in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and the European Union.

8. Chips with Olestra or Olean, a fat substitute used in fat-free chips, like Ruffles Wow. Olestra and Olean can produce cramps and leaky bowels and are banned in the U.K. and Canada.

Twice as Much!


Twice as much.  Twice as much cranwater.  I had been drinking 32 oz of cranwater a day, in addition to the long life cocktails.   64!!!  This is what you need to drink, per day, of cranwater.  64 ounces of the cranwater.

I think I am going to have to carry around a port-a-potty with me...because that is a lot of fluid flushing through the kidneys.    This is week two, I can see some changes ....some of the yoga students are too - they are ready to get on the band wagon.   

It has been an interesting 10 days so far.  I hadn't realized how much my life, and eating habits revolved around carbs.  And everywhere I look ..... there they are, easy to grab off the end caps at Wegman's - easy to find in my own cupboards at home, easy to spot in Zach's lunch box.  

So far, I have been able to give the carbs the 'evil eye', good thing I am Greek.  We Greeks can really give the evil eye if we need too.   I've been able to look at the carbs and say "you are a carb", and walk away.  Truthfully, am I going to be able to keep this up?  I hope so.  My goal is to be able to successfully navigate phase 1 of the plan, until Thanksgiving.  Have vegetarian Indian food for 4 days and return to phase 1 for one week.  Then, move onto phase two.  This is the tentative plan for now.

Phase two usually 'gets' me, with the first taste of healthy carbs like Ezekial bread and tortilla's....and then it is "Katey Bar the Door"...I have entered carbland, and cannot turn back nor do I want to and certainly I have lost any reasonable measure of self control.

"They" say, that the first step to fixing a problem is to admit that you have one...well, I have one.  "Hi, I am Retha, I am a carb-o-holic."  I have high hopes that by sticking to the rules and being aware of the problem - this will be navigated in a successful way. 

Fat Flush Strikes Again!

'Tis the season for holiday gatherings, cookies, friends, and family.  And, a few extra pounds on my body.  What is a girl to do?   Fat Flush.  Yes, I am beginning again.

This is the third day.  By all means the first day is the roughest.  Having the 'cheesy puffs' stare you down in the kitchen....telling you  "no one will know - just eat a few, come on - you know you want to" and the languaging goes on with the cheesy puffs.  

I conquered the cheesy puffs on Monday, which I think led to my success of making it the first day on Fat Flush.

Day one consisted of the following:
Before breakfast - longlife cocktail 8 oz of cranwater with tablespoon of psyllium husks
Breakfast - 2 soft scrambled eggs (pam on the pan) seasoned with oregano & pepper
Mid-morning snack - organic apple

Lunch - huge salad (organic red lettuce), cucumber, onion (oops!), red pepper, and 1/4 lb of organic turkey.  Salad dressing (1 tablespoon of flax oil, 1 tablespoon of Braggs vinegar)

Mid-afternoon snack - steamed green beans (well, it is what I had!)

Dinner - huge salad (organic red leaf lettuce), cucumber, onion (oops again!), red pepper, and 1/4 lb. of organic turkey.  Salad dressing (1 tablespoon of flax oil, 1 tablespoon of Braggs vinegar)

(32 ounces of cranwater consumed during the day between meals)
bounced on yoga ball 2 minutes

Day 2
Before breakfast - longlife cocktail 8 oz of cranwater with tablespoon of psyllium husks
1/2 lemon in hot water

Breakfast - Protein shake (strawberry whey: 1 scoop) 1 cup blueberries, 1 T flax oil, 8 oz cran water, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.

Mid-morning snack - small apple

Lunch - huge salad (organic red lettuce), cucumber, onion (oops!), red pepper, and 1/4 lb of organic turkey.  Salad dressing (1/2 tablespoon of flax oil, 2 tablespoon of Braggs vinegar)

Mid-afternoon snack - organic roasted pumpkin seeds in shell (not sure if it is on the list or not - oh well

Dinner - Shrimp and seafood sausage (Wegmans!) I personally like the organic farm raised shrimp, the Belize shrimp also has a good flavor.   Steamed green beans with oregano, pepper. Salad with field greens, cucumber, pepper and 1/2 T flax oil plus 2 T vinegar.

Evening-snack - Longlife cocktail (this at least quelled the desire to raid the freezer for the ice-cream or eat the stale fig newtons that are still in the cookie cupboard!)

(32 ounces of cranwater consumed between meals)
Bounced on yoga ball 5 minutes!

Day 3 
Before breakfast - longlife cocktail 8 oz of cranwater with tablespoon of psyllium husks
Breakfast - 2 soft scrambled eggs (pam on the pan) seasoned with oregano & pepper
Mid-morning snack - organic apple

Lunch - huge salad with cucumber, and left over shrimp/sausage.  1 T flax oil/1-2 T vinegar

Mid-afternoon snack:  1/2 grapefruit

Dinner - Stir fried chicken with garlic, green beans, shredded purple cabbage.  Salad, cucumber, pepper, and dressing (1T flax, 1-2 T vinegar)

(32 ounces of cranwater consumed between meanls)
Bounce on yoga ball 2-5 minutes)

Restore your energy & re-balance


Inverted Lake Posture, Viparita Karani, or otherwise known as "Feet up the Wall" pose in Yoga.  Feet up the wall offers a tremendous amount of benefit to women, men and children alike.   First of all children like it...because anything to do with being upside down (even it's most benign form as this pose) they absolutely love!    Remember seeing the children hanging off the edge of the couch, kinda like a bat?  This is akin to feet up the wall.  

Why do this pose?  Once you do this pose you will invariably ask yourself the question:  Why NOT do this pose?  It is one of my all time favorite poses.   The yoga poses that get sorted into the favorite category are poses which I feel could be a "sole" practice supporting pose.  This means if I were stranded on a desert island, and could only take one yoga pose with me....would this pose qualify for that "one" pose.

Feet up the wall qualifies. 

Just a word of pre-caution.  Those who should not do feet up the wall are folks who have a mitral valve prolapse, or glaucoma. Also, if you experience any discomfort in the pose, i.e. compression in the chest, dizziness, or shortness of breath...come out of the pose.  This is not a healthy pose for you to do.  Please discontinue the use of the pose and seek medical advice.  It is not recommended that you do this pose during your menstrual cycle.

Now, onto the benefits of the pose.  There is a myriad of benefits:   increased venous return to the heart, immune system builder, prevention of varicose veins, insomnia reduction, balancing hormonal system, balancing blood pressure, increased circulation and boost to the entire endocrine system (thyroid, parathyroid, pituitary, pancreas, adrenals, ovaries, testes).  The clinical specialty of endocrinology focuses primarily on the endocrine organs, meaning the organs whose primary function is hormone secretion.  The myriad of benefits of doing this pose continues, and extraordinary results achieved with a regular practice - reduction of anxiety, reduction of joint inflammation,  improves digestion, relieves headaches, changes migraine patterns and duration (not to be done during a migraine, however), improves digestion, helps balance peri-menopause and menopause symptomology....and more!  It sounds like a panacea...like I said this pose does rank as a 'favorite pose', with good reason.

We could do this pose for the above benefits, or just do the pose because it feels good.  The latter is how I fell in love with the pose, I remember in one of my first yoga classes we did feet up the wall pose.  I loved the pose so much,  I 'refused' to come out of the pose....even to do relaxation.  It is a wonder that my first yoga teacher was willing to continue to teach me through this lovely stubbornness of appreciating a yoga pose deeply.    Thank you, Nancy Hayes for your kind teachings.

The following is a link to the 'Yoga Journal' website which describes how to intelligently do the pose.  Personally, I prefer using a neatly folded blanket for support under my low back/sacrum area ~ 4" x 12" x  16".  A large bath body towel will work as well as a blanket. Just think "tidy-towel-fold"!   http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/690

Good luck, let me know if you have any questions or comments about the pose.


Digestive Help

Digestive help?  What is this?  Something that we rarely entertain and think about until something goes terribly wrong.  When we have acid reflux, ulcers, bowel movement inconsistencies (and all the glorious forms that this comes in), when we have excess air - creating burps or various gases.  All of these are symptomologies of digestive concerns.

Ideally, when your digestive fire is strong - the nutrients from your food is absorbed and can be used by the body in an efficient manner.  When the digestive fire is weak, there is less absorption of the nutrients - and any food impurities quickly turn into toxins.....lodging in our body tissues, collecting and accumulating thus creating the physical symptoms noted above. 

We want the digestive fire to be strong and to access the descending quality of digestion.   This descending action of 'prana' (aka life force) affects other downward workings of the body.When the digestive fire is weak, the quality of digestion begins to 'ascend' vs. 'descend' thus creating concerns.   And, eventually if this goes untreated....bigger problems down the road.  This is what I absolutely love about Ayurveda Therapy and Medicine, it allows you to address the concern in the formulation stages before it becomes a problem.  "Cure and Prevent Disease From It's Root Cause."  This is the motto, the base of Ayurveda.

Let's look at what we can do from a simple perspective to help aide digestion in the body and create a stronger digestive fire.   There are some simple spices from your kitchen cabinet that you can mix together and take after each meal, this will improve your digestion and help stoke the digestive fire. 

If you have acid reflux or ulcers, these conditions can be supported with the first spice formula - not the second one!

Formula ONE:  1 oz each of the following spices
                         Cumin  
                         Fennel
                         Coriander
                         Mix all the powders together and keep in a jar on the counter in your kitchen. 
                        After each  meal, please take 1/2 teaspoon of the powder with a glass of room
                         temperature water.

Formula TWO: 1 oz each of the following spices
                         Cumin  
                         Fennel
                         Coriander
                         Ginger
                         Tumeric
                         Mix all the powders together and keep in a jar on the counter in your kitchen.
                         After each meal, please take 1/2 teaspoon of the powder with a glass of room
                         temperature water.

Please consult with your nutritionist or Ayurveda practitioner which formula is the right one for you to use!  As always, organic spices are the best to use.  Check with your local co-op, health food store, Wegman's Nature Market for the spices.   Also, you can order from Banyan Botanicals   http://www.banyanbotanicals.com Banyan is the King of Ayurveda, and only uses organic herbs and spices for their formulas. You can also order from the Natural Oasis in Rochester, NY  585.325.1831  Natural Oasis only uses organic spices and herbs for their formulations and you can specify the ounces required.   I like using Natural Oasis as they are 'Johnny on the Spot' with orders and it is my way of keeping things local.

Good luck!  Let me know if you have any questions.

Insomnia? Difficulty Sleeping? Wakeful?

What are the words that describe your inability to sleep well and have a full nights rest?   According to Ayurveda the sleeplessness, hyperactivity of the mind, and restlessness are due to an internal imbalance.  There is too much air, too much wind ascending in the body....thus creating the sleepless night.

The air and the wind are not to be confused with actual "air" in the body, but how the body is responding and reacting to the situation at hand, and how everything is internalized.   And, yes, it could mean more burping (air element) as well as passing gas (another air element).

It is necessary for the air element to descend in the body in order to have a good nights rest.  There are several simple ways that you can been working on this one yourself, particularly if you want to get some sleep sooner than later.

There are a couple of natural, homeopathic remedies which help ease insomnia and encourage a good nights sleep.  The first is a homeopathic called "Coffee Crudia"....yeah, you read that right, COFFEE.  And we all know what coffee does to the central nervous system.  Hence, the homeopathic coffee crudia is the remedy for "sleeplessness associated with mental hyperactivity".     Another homeopathic remedy is made by "Bach"...called "Rescue Sleep Melts".

Finally, another remedy to allow for a calming of the mind - a quietening of the hyperactivity associated with the sleeplessness.  This particular remedy is called "Serenity Calmpound", it is made by "Herbalist Alchemist".  The beauty of the compounds and, in particular, this 'calmpound' is that it includes the supporting herbs which make the formula more effective.   Typically, the calmpound is taken three times per day to start, approximately 30 drops of the calmpound in a class/cup of water in the morning, afternoon and evening before bed.  The drops must be taken away from food, i.e. upon arising 20 minutes before breakfast, mid-afternoon away from food by 1.5 hours, and in the pm before bed.  A 4 oz. bottle is generally required to begin.

I prefer to order my serenity calmpound through our Ayurveda Natural Pharmacy known as "Natural Oasis" in Rochester, NY   585-325-1831  The product usually ships within one day....talk about service!  Give Solomon a call at the number above.

Questions about how to take the coffee crudia?  or the sleep melts? or additional questions about the serenity calmpound - let me know.  I will be glad to answer or investigate to find the right answer for you.  Be sure to check with your health practitioner if these remedies would be a suitable option for you.

Injury, Trauma and Bruising


We have all had it happen....an unexpected fall, running into the corner of the dresser in the middle of the night,  cutting our hand on a piece of broken glass, stitches, and the list goes on with respect to minor injuries that cause temporary great trauma in our bodies.

What to do?  Or the question to ask is "What can I do to help lessen the damage and speed up the healing process?"  This is the correct question.  At least this is the question which I can lend some insight to you.

The magic words are "Arnica Montana".  Arnica is a homeopathic designed to lessen the trauma, stiffness, bruising, swelling from an injury.   Arnica can be applied topically, it comes in a cream and gel form.   I like the gel because it seems cooling when applied.   The cream is also good, it seems to have more of an absorbency factor.

Appling Arnica topically readily reduces the swelling, and quickly changes the coloring of the bruising faster than you can say Vitamin C   Vitamin C is known for it's healing effects on bruises.  In addition to applying Arnica topically, you can take Arnica internally.  Mind you, not the gel or the cream!   The internal homeopathic comes in small pellet form, 5 pellets every 4 hours seems to do the trick.   When we have external bruising, trauma, swelling and injury in our bodies....there is always a matching internal component.   Taking Arnica Montana internally addresses the internal swelling, bruising and trauma to speed up the healing process and get you back to normal.   Be sure to shake the pellets beforehand to activate them, avoid placing the pellets in your hand, just pop them directly under the tongue to dissolve.   The homeopathic remedy, when dissolved under the tongue, is readily absorbed into the blood stream bypassing the digestive system of the body.  It goes to work quickly.  Remember to keep your homeopathic dosages away from the mint (i.e. tooth brushing time or ingestion of mint julep!)

Two to three days worth of the internal and external application ought to put you in good standing with the healing forces of your body.   If you have an immediate need for Arnica, you may also consider having some "Rescue Remedy" on hand.   Rescue Remedy is yet another homeopathic that helps settle the nerves, puts your mind more at ease with the surrounding stress of an incident.

Rescue remedy comes in a liquid tincture form as well as a 'pastille' form....i.e. gummy form.   The pastille form is non-alcoholic.   It is a great remedy to have on hand for mild injury, stress and tension issues, as well as disagreeable children

If you have any questions, please respond to the blog, give me an email or even a phone call.

Acne

One of the great things about having a pre-teen at home is the exploration and effect of Ayurveda on the adolescent body.  Acne, a word we all have learned to love to hate.  Acne shows up when we like a boy or girl of our choice, it shows up when we need to go to a party, it shows up when we are speaking in front of the class....basically ACNE has a life and thought process of it's own, which boils down to:  "How can I make the owner of this body feel sensitive, embarrassed and conscious about their looks and lead them down the path of self-consciousness in an unskillful way at a time which will have the most negative impact on them."   This is the function of ACNE in a nutshell.

Underneath the surface is a rapidly changing body, adjusting hormones, energy levels, processing oily and fatty foods.  The blood collects the toxins and stress, and produces the ACNE exactly at the moment of time you wish it did not.

Tumeric, is a terrific blood cleanser and is very helpful to the pre-teen, teen, and adult who is experiencing this issue.  We, meaning Zachary, tested this at home.  It was his idea.  The pimple was getting bigger and bigger and bigger and located in a very noticeable place on his face.   Well, I believe that all places are noticeable...but this one...was really noticeable.  Have you ever noticed when you have a pimple and you look in the mirror - it is the first place your eyes go to and the mind magnifies the negative aspects of the pimple....exaggerating it's appearance mentally until you are convinced you are turning into an alien.

Back to the story and his idea.

"What if I take some turmeric, since it gets rid of inflammation and reduced the abcess that the cat had - I think it will help my pimple go away.?"  "Give it a try", I replied.  He did.   A capsule of "turmeric, ginger, cardamom" at night before bed.   The large pustule was daily progressing from bad to worse ...yearning for that volcanic stage of bursting.  After the first dose of turmeric, the next day - it seems less inflamed.   Zach continued on his own for 4 days...pimple, pustule, acne gone!!!  It was a miracle

He is a happy camper, and has his own confirming evidence of the anti-inflammatory, anti-pus benefits of turmeric.

Organic turmeric is available at Wegman's (Nature's Market), Natural Oasis (Rochester, NY 585-325-1831) and http://www.banyanbotanicals.com.  Good luck!  Let me know how you and your teen fare with this one.

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Monthly Archives

Recent Posts

  1. Dry Cough Remedy
    Wednesday, February 12, 2014
  2. Aloe Vera
    Thursday, December 19, 2013
  3. The UGLY EIGHT - Let's ban them!
    Thursday, December 05, 2013
  4. Twice as Much!
    Thursday, November 14, 2013
  5. Fat Flush Strikes Again!
    Wednesday, November 06, 2013
  6. Restore your energy & re-balance
    Saturday, August 24, 2013
  7. Digestive Help
    Saturday, August 24, 2013
  8. Insomnia? Difficulty Sleeping? Wakeful?
    Friday, August 23, 2013
  9. Injury, Trauma and Bruising
    Wednesday, July 31, 2013
  10. Acne
    Monday, July 15, 2013

Recent Comments

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    8/24/2013
  2. Retha Maheswari Cazel on Healthier Gums, Teeth and Body!
    1/6/2013
  3. Jennifer Kumar on Healthier Gums, Teeth and Body!
    1/6/2013
  4. Retha Maheswari Cazel on Dali Lama in Syracuse!
    10/5/2012
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    9/26/2012
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    9/26/2012
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