Winter health tips…

I have a problem with my sinuses every Fall/Winter and this year it hit me and it hit me fast. I’m going to be honest with you… I believe in a mixture of western medications and holistic remedies. I’m not going to tell you that all I do for my health is take Wellness Formula, use my neti pot twice daily, and sleep with a humidifier. When my head feels like it’s about to explode I take over the counter congestion relief and it works amazingly well. But here’s my deal… I pair it with holistic and Ayurvedic remedies and try not to take the medication for more than a few days. If I need a round of antibiotics to fight off a bad sickness I do it because it works. And when I’m done I pump myself full of Kombucha and healthy fats to get my digestive balance back. Just because you claim to be a natural healthy person doesn’t mean you have to swear off western meds all together (just my little soap box).

So I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite holistic remedies to help you feel well and balanced all through the colder months… (recipes curtsy of Birmingham Yoga)

Winter Kitchadi – Moong Beans and Rice… Kitchadi (Kitcheree) is known in Ayurveda as the food that many turn to when illness calls and we need something warm, light, and restorative. Using a range of herbs and spices, Ayurveda devises kitchadi can heal various diseases. This recipe is used as an Ayurvedic cleansing therapy because of its ease of digestion and assimilation. Kitchadi is especially helpful in the winter to bring balance to our bodies as the season changes from warm to cold.


I added zuchinni and sweet potato to my kitchadi. Yum.

  • 2 Tbs – Ghee (clarified butter) or Coconut Oil
  • 1 Onion chopped
  • 1  Inch – Ginger Sliced
  • 3/5 Cloves – Garlic Chopped
  • Mustard Seeds 10-20
  • 1/2 tsp – Turmeric
  • 1 tsp – Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp – Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp  – Masala (optional) and or chili’s or hot sauce (optional) *Adds a lot of flavor*
  • 2 – Bay Leaves
  • 1 Cup – Green Mung Daal (soaked overnight) *Use sprouted mung beans for quicker prep (no pre-soaking)*
  • 1 Cup or 2 Cups (if you have gas)- Rice (I recommend brown basmati)
  • 2 Cups or 4 Cups – Water
  • Veggies(carrots,beets and beet greens, zucchini,celery, kale sweet potato whatever you like)
  • Pepper
  • Rock salt or Sea Salt/Braggs Amino Acids add as you like.

There are a few ways to cook this recipe…

  1. In dutch oven or large pot cover pre-soaked beans with water and salt, bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  While the beans are cooking you can begin to heat your spices.  Take a saute pan heat ghee or coconut oil, add onions & ginger saute until onions are clear. Add garlic, mustard seeds and wait until seeds pop then add next five ingredients, saute for a couple of minutes and set aside.  When the beans are soft you can add onion mixture, uncooked rice (for every cup of rice add double the amount of water) water and bring back to a boil, cover and lower heat and cook for another 20 minutes until rice is done. Add chopped vegetables to your liking and cook until vegetable are Al Dente about 5-10 minutes add pepper, salt or Braggs and chili’s/hot sauce.
  2. You could do the above recipe in the same manner except cook the rice separately while the beans are simmering.
  3. You could cook in a pressure cooker.   Take pressure cooker and heat ghee or coconut oil, add onions & ginger saute until onions until clear. Add garlic, mustard seeds and wait until seeds pop then add next five ingredients, saute for a couple of minutes then add water, beans, rice and veggies.  Pressure cooker takes about 20-25 minutes.

If you want to make it a little more hearty you could also add cheese, cottage cheese or yogurt and a few tortillas.  Along with a nice salad.

I personally like to top my Kitchadi with nutritional yeast, a splash of sesame oil, and a little clarified butter (ghee).

Tea! I love tea. This was my first time to make this amazing recipe of Yogi Tea from my teacher, Akasha Ellis at Birmingham Yoga. Since I made it at night for the first time at night I didn’t add the black tea and it was very tasty! I don’t know if it was because of the tea, but I had the best night of sleep. For the past few days I have had this tea twice daily; in the morning with the black tea for a little pick-me-up and without the black tea at night. I hope you enjoy this yummy tea!

Yogi Tea ingredients

Homemade Yogi Tea!

“When Yogi Bhajan was a military commander in India there was an epidemic among the troops. He ordered all of his men to fill their canteens with yogi tea and drink nothing else, not even water. His Battalion was the only unit that didn’t get sick! Yogi tea purifies the blood, lungs and circulatory system. It cleans the liver and has many more unseen benefits. It’s good to drink this tea every day.” ~ Birmingham Yoga website

  • 1 Gallon Water
  • 30 Cloves
  • 30 whole Green Cardamon pods
  • 30 whole Black Peppercorns
  • 1 inch or more of fresh Ginger, thinly sliced
  • 5 sticks Cinnamon
  • 1 teabag, Black Tea (leave out if sensitive to caffeine or planning to drink at night)
  • *Milk and Honey/Maple syrup to taste or Almond Milk.
  1. Bring water to boil.
  2. Add all spices except black tea bag. Boil 30 -45 min. If you want to make it stronger boil longer and add more water as needed.
  3. At the end add black tea bag and boil another 5 min.
    **The black tea is added last because it amalgamates the spices and sort of seals them. Also the tannins help assimilate the spices into the body.
  4. Add milk & sweetener to an individual cup as you require.  This will allow you to store the raw tea in the fridge and prepare with milk and sweeteners as you like.
  5. If you go cup by cup, you can leave the raw tea on the stove on the lowest flame to enjoy all day.

**Milk helps to ease the shock of the spices on the stomach and intestines so drink with milk if you’re sensitive.

**Note: for a stronger tea you can let the spices sit and sink to the bottom.


Last year’s post on winter wellness: When this yogi gets sick… 

Happy Fall y’all,


New beginnings…

Change… Graduation has always meant major change for me. After graduating high school I took off for college. 10 years and lots of soul searching later I graduated from college and started a dream job working with children with a diagnosis of Autism. And now, facing graduation again I have to prepare for major change. I have to leave my beloved first job, the place that gave me a start, the place that reassured that special education is where I belong, the place where I love to walk into work every day and not only see the smiling faces of the children, but my amazing co-workers. This might be the hardest transition I have faced yet. But if yoga has taught me anything, it is that the hardest changes are usually the best ones. Stepping forward into the unknown can be thrilling.

Just like when I first started yoga, it was new, it was exciting, and I was scared to try new poses that challenged me. But I tried, I fell, I tried again, I fell again… but when I finally landed that pose it was an amazing feeling of accomplishment. So in my new job adventure I may fall and that’s okay. Because when I get it right I know I will be a better person for it. Our failures don’t make us who we are, but rather they mold us into the amazing beings that we are: our best Self.


School snow day…

A few things I would like to tell my 20-year-old self…

1. You are smart. That girl that didn’t care about school as a teenager just graduated with her masters with a 4.0. Never call yourself stupid. You are amazing.
2. Don’t fret about money. It can be a real issue for some, but think about the grand scheme of things. Being a millionaire is not of much importance.
3. Happiness is a state of mind that does not revolve around physical things (people, money, possessions).
4. Don’t be afraid to meet new people. The most amazing friendships are made there.
5. Don’t regret anything. Learn from your failures.

More change… Not only am I facing this major career change, but I am preparing to make the change from being a single girl living in a 1 bedroom apartment with a dog to being a wife. I am excited and scared all at the same time to take on these new roles in my life. It is important to me to be the best partner to my husband and the best teacher to the children that need it so much. I want to give everything I have to these two new roles in my life but as I think about it I can’t forget the relationship that I have built so strongly over the past 10 years… the relationship with me. I came to know myself through all of my soul-searching in my 20’s and I can’t forget or let go of that girl. I love that girl. So here’s the merging of me as one whole person and my husband-to-be as one whole person and I think the most important thing is that we don’t forget those people as we merge into one. We have to make time for our relationship with each other as well as with ourselves.

Heather Durham Photography