Author Archives: J Gomez

Transition Time

The days are slowly getting shorter. Yet, if you’re like me, you still want to carry on at the same pace as before.

In Ayurveda the autumn season is linked with Vata – movement. With the large intestine being the seat of Vata, I often get clients contacting me with more issues around eliminationat this time of the year. You may feel a bit more sensitive than usual, and want to get involved in many activities but lack the energy. Your body is already starting to anticipate the change in season. There may be times when you feel anxious, unsure, stressed. This is normal at this time.

As we approach the Autumn equinox, a period of transition from the heat of the summer to cooler typically more windy weather, most of us are more sensitive physically and emotionally. During the transition it’s important to devote time to help your body deal with the changes happening within and externally.

Here are 3 sets of advice to support you during this time. In particular, they’ll help you to handle the cold and dryness that dominate during this season and to help bring fluid and warmth in, maintain gentle movement and support the ability to let go.  

Advice set 1 – dietary tips

  •  Include heating spices in your diet e.g. cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and ginger
  • Eat warm, soupy, oily, sweet, sour and salty foods to bring more fluid and (see extra tip below)
  • Consume less raw food and avoid very cold or frozen foods and drinks and cold dairy products.

Advice set 2 – lifestyle tips

  • Establish a routine of waking up and going to bed early to ground and centre yourself     
  • Take more exercise e.g. go for a walk to raise energy levels, do yoga regularly – at least 3-5 x weekly for 30 minutes
  • Bring rhythm into your life for more stability

Advice set 3 – yoga techniques 

  • Lie down in the relaxation position – savasana – on coming home from work for a few minutes to help reduce stress and tense muscles, tiredness and boost your immune system.
  • Sit for a short period each day in a calm environment 
  • Do nasya or neti to breath more deeply, boost the immune system and bring balance to body and mind

Spicy pumpkin soup ( for 4 generous starter portions)

3 tbsps olive oil & sesame oil (half and half) or ghee
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 generous tbsp fresh ginger (peeled and chopped)
1/8 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp black pepper
500g pumpkin (diced)
Salt to taste
small bunch of fresh parsley (finely chopped)

Heat the oil in a pot. Test the heat of the oil by dropping in one cumin seed. If the oil sizzles it is hot enough to add the remainder of the seeds. Fry until brown.
Add the fresh ginger and stir well.
Add chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric and black pepper and mix well and leave to cook for a minute. Add salt.
Add the diced pumpkin to the pot and mix well.
Add enough hot water to cover the pumpkin completely and stir well.
Leave to simmer for approx. 20 – 30 minutes.
(optional) Pour the mixture into a liquidizer and blend for 30 seconds.
Sprinkle on the chopped parsley just before serving.

What’s next?

Choose at least one idea to put into practice in the coming week.
Go out and get the ingredients for the recipe.
Feel free to share your feedback with me, including photos!
I’m happy to answer your questions to support your choices so feel free to contact me. 🙂

Sugar & relaxation – hunger or thirst?

During Summer the pace slows down and we can take the time to reflect/relax/take a step back to start new habits before the September “back to school” rush.

It’s also a time when we tend to enjoy more sweet food. Ayurveda explains why.
In Ayurveda the sweet taste is one of the tastes that helps to cool down the body being made up the elements of water & earth.The water component is important. When our cells are dehydrated they hold on to toxins rather than letting them go.

When we become stressed our body produces more heat, and the cells dry out. At this time our body may require more water to support its reaction to stressors. Our individual reaction to stressors produces toxicity resulting in acidic chemistry within the body. The more acidic (=dehydrated) we are, the more the body needs water to neutralise the acidity and flush out the toxins (a reason why we may urinate more when we drink more at this time).  Flying, for example, is stressful/ dehydrating for the body so, in addition to our normal water intake, it’s useful to drink a glass of water for every hour you are in the air.

So we may be able to understand why some people who are dehydrated may have a tendancy to want to eat more sweet & sugary foods in summer.

What can be done to manage sweet cravings and stay cool & hydrated
Here are 3 simple ideas!
1. Have a glass of water the next time you feel hungry.  Mild hunger pangs come sometimes when in fact you are just thirsty.
2. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables – some are up to 80% water!
3. Have a water schedule – the body likes routine. For example, drink a glass an hour after breakfast, one an hour before lunch etc. Drink water away from meals as far as possible. If you forget and feel thirsty during a meal, sip warm water /herbal tea but not cold water, which will impair efficient digestion of food.

The following recipe is a classic Ayurvedic one for keeping the body hydrated at any time of the year!
Cumin, coriander, fennel tea
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 litre boiling water

Place the seeds in a heat-resistant jug/teapot. Pour the boiling water over it. Leave to steep for 10-15 minutes. Sip & savour.

What next?
Choose at least one idea to put into practice in the coming week that you can continue for the next four weeks.
I’m happy to answer your questions to support your choice so feel free to contact me. 🙂

Ready for Spring – clearing with care

Clearing with Care

We’re in the first few weeks of Spring. Are you ready ?

Join me for a day of gentle cleansing with Ayurveda & yoga techniques to maintain balance on all levels to clear with care. As we take the time to reflect and explore attitudes & practices to support the rising and clearing energy of Spring,

You’ll discover
–  healthy ayurvedic nutrition & eating principles
–  simple daily cleansing rituals

Together we’ll practise
– routines for relaxation & restoration in a busy lifestyle
–  appropriate asanas (postures/exercise), pranayama (breathing) & meditation

You’ll receive, for your individual Spring Cleaning practice,
-meal suggestions
– support items e.g. neti kit, tongue cleaner
– 1 week e-coaching support

When? Saturday 5 April  9.30 – 4pm

Where? Phosphorus 19-21 rue du Village, 1214 Vernier, Geneva

Suggested Price: 150 frs * (including organic & seasonal vegetarian lunch  and all support material)
*Anyone wishing to learn is free  to give a donation of what s/he can afford.

Ad hoc Vitality sessions

Ad hoc vitality sessions at your workplace during your lunch hour in person or by phone. Sessions may be 15, 30 or 45 minutes depending on your schedule.

They may include any of the following to enhance vitality for the group/individual:

  • specific yoga postures/asanas
  • ayurvedic foot treatment (in person only)
  • breathing exercises /pranayama
  • meditation

Other ayurvedic/yogic treatments/techniques also available depending on your needs

Contact me if you  feel that you or your work colleagues would benefit from individual or group relaxation sessions.

How to eat Bread …

Recently I gave two talks on food intolerance entitled (rough translation) “How bread eating won’t leave your intestines hurting” at the Salon Holistica, a local alternative trade fair, and taught an ayurvedic cooking class at the Sivananda yoga centre here in Geneva. The participants had a number of questions, a few of which I share with you below.

Question: Is there a secret recipe to how to eat bread?

My answer: According to Ayurveda the “secret recipe” is to enhance your digestive capacity. One of the easiest ways is to include  spices appropriate for your constitution in your diet. Ginger in root form is a great one for almost everyone.

Question: If someone has a very quick digestion where the food just seems to race through, what can s/he do?

My answer: One simple thing they can do is to take more time, to slow down, to breathe between mouthfuls and to savour each mouthful. In general a good spice for such a person would be fennel because of its cooling as well as digestive action.

Question: Are onions and garlic not used in Ayurvedic cooking?
My answer: 
In Ayurveda nothing is actually excluded. Individuals eat ideally what is appropriate for him/her at that time of life, during that season, depending on what else is happening around them, to maintain harmony with Nature within and externally. Those following a yogic path may choose to omit onions & garlic from their food to avoid the stimulating energy they both contain.

And here is the recipe for the warm decoction I made for participants of the talk.

Cinnamon and ginger decoction (for improved digestive capacity)

(adapted from the book “Recettes Ayurvédiques faciles” Editions Jouvence 2009)
Preparation time: 10 – 15 minutes

1 cinnamon stick

1 tbsp fresh ginger

1.   Put all the ingredients in a  pot with about 1 litre water.

2.   Boil for approximately 15  minutes. Remove the cinnamon and the ginger.

3.   Drink half a cup of the warm/hot decoction 15-30 minutes before eating.



Varied Diet

Question: I find it difficult to maintain a nutritional diet. Info about how to create a varied diet would be helpful for me.

My answer:Last year I gave an ayurvedic cooking course and in one of the presentations I gave  ideas of what to eat according to the season and to your dosha (whether you are predominantly Vata, Pitta or Kapha). Here’s the link to the slide presentation.

Ideas for breakfast lunch and dinner


Staying Cool this Summer

Summer is with us. It is lovely to be able to enjoy the warmth of the sun. Moreover, the light from the longer days lifts our spirits and our body can make plenty of Vit D if we spend just 30 minutes enjoying the sun each day.
Yet, the heat of the summer can also be a negative source of stimulation. We are typically much more active because of our increased energy levels and all this action produces heat within our bodies (fine as long as we don’t overheat!). What’s more, the general race to get as much done before going away on holiday or travelling can easily result in hot tempers, irritation etc.
I was recently talking to a friend who complained of redness around her eyes and generally swollen eyes. In Ayurveda, the eyes are one of the main sites of Pitta, associated with the fire and water elements. Fire is experienced within the body as the force which breaks down food, thoughts and ideas – digestion, and also in our body temperature. For burning eyes, swelling or redness, and in general to stay cool in both body and mind it is important to follow appropriate lifestyle and dietary tips. So, as we move into summer,let me share with you 9 of my top lifestyle and nutritional tips to keep the internal fire steady and balanced so you stay cool in both body and mind while at home or travelling this summer.
Enjoy a diet that includes
1. cooling spices, for example, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, saffron, and plenty of fresh green herbs (my favourites include coriander and mint)
2. leafy greens such as kale, chard, at least once a day to introduce the bitter taste, the most cooling of the six tastes that we learn about in Ayurveda
3. light and cooling grains such as basmatic rice, quinoa and barley.
Keep cool and hydrated by
1. making sure you drink plenty of (non-sparkling) water (at room temperature or slightly warm) throughout the day to hydrate even more quickly. Add a squeeze of lime juice to liven it up
2. having at least one glass of water for each hour you are in the air on any flight to and from your holiday destination. I generally carry a small thermos flask with me on flights (remember to empty it BEFORE being screened!)
3. avoiding/limiting caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, and alcohol especially when you fly. They have a dehydrating effect on your body cells, which means that it will take you longer to recover from jetlag.
In your day to day life
1. avoid the hot sun especially on an empty stomach or right after a meal, and don’t leave home on an empty stomach.
2. cool down during the day with a refreshing pure rosewater face/body spray when you’re feeling hot and by putting slices of cucumber on burning eyes at night.
3. wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses when out in the sun

Organic Shopping – where?

Question: Though this would be limited to Geneva, I would be interested to know where to buy organic products here
My answer: 
Here are a few online and offline hints of where to go in the USA, UK, as well as France and Switzerland. Feel free to let me know if you know of other good links

Online sources of information include
For the USA

For Online Organic food delivery in the UK
A comprehensive listing of companies offering organic food delivery – locally and nationwide.

Local sources in Geneva, Switzerland and (neighbouring) France include
Alna Diététique & Bio, rue de Cornavin 3-5, 1201 Genève – 022 738 1028
Espace Santé/Bio-Servette , 3 route de Meyrin, 1202 Geneva – 022 733 8708
Le marché de vie, 25 rue des Eaux-Vives, 1207 Geneva – 022 735 44 34
Satoriz , 2 rue René Cassin – ZAC de la Chatelaine 74240 Gaillard, France – +33 450 94 20 49
Satoriz , 31 rue Voltaire, 01210 Ferney-Voltaire, France – +33 450 407862
Satoriz , Z.A Pré de Fontaine, 01710 Thoiry, France – +33 450 99 14 94
La Vie Saine », 5 rue des Esserts, Annemasse, +33 450 84 2841
LACOMBE traiteur Au deux portes, Rue Schaub 10, Geneva 022 734 11 22
Supermarkets in Geneva and other parts of Switzerland
e.g. Coop, Migros, Manor, Globus
In the German-speaking part of Switzerland

Spring Solutions

With the advent of Spring the main complaint many of us have is associated with our breathing.
Spring is the season when the heavy and solid qualities of the Kapha principle start to become lighter and more liquid. There is movement – especially around the time of the Spring Equinox. In Nature, for example, we see movement with a change in the weather, internally we feel a shift as our bodies adjust to the longer days. Since Kapha is associated, in particular, with the chest area around this time it is no wonder that so many of us complain about respiratory issues that involve sneezing, congestion, sinuses etc.

So here are 3 key solutions to help you saunter into and through Spring:
Solution 1:Keep breathing – maybe the most obvious advice but so many of us are shallow breathers – practise deep breathing into your belly (you can place your hand there to observe the rise & fall).; for those who practise hatha yoga, the pranayama technique of kapalabhati is particularly beneficial; the practice of jala neti and/or nasya can also provide relief.
Solution 2:Get things moving – go out for walks (wrap up warm if it’s still chilly & windy like it is here in New Mexico!); get a massage (especially lymphatic drainage at this time of the year)
Solution 3:Spice it up! Include more warming spices in your diet – e.g. fresh ginger made into a tea or as part of your meal is a simple solution for all.

And to get you going here is a Red Lentil Soup for the season
Ingredients (for 4 portions):
red lentils (150g)
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt (to taste)
fresh ginger chopped into small pieces
pinch of black pepper
200g organic seasonal vegetables
4 tablespoons sunflower oil
1. Wash the lentils until the water is clear
2. Put in a pot with fresh water and the turmeric.
3. Bring to the boil and keep at a rolling boil for 10-15 minutes
4. In the meantime wash and chop the vegetables.
5. Place the vegetables in the pot of lentils.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste, the ginger and  sunflower oil.
7. Cover and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with freshly cooked basmati rice.

Post-holiday Health Hints

This week one of our teachers shared simple hints on how to give your digestive system a break after the holidays. They are for all of us especially if we’re feeling run down after a hectic time over the holiday season.
We’re well into Winter, the season when the Kapha principle manifests, which involves qualities of heaviness, slowing down. Most of us have spent the last few weeks busy socialising with family and friends eating heavy rich foods. Heavy + hectic = stress & strain on all levels of our bodies.

To find balance the tips I shared with you last month are still valid. However, here are 3 specific post-holiday health hints.
Health Hint 1: Brew up a large flask of lemon and ginger water, enjoy it at the start of the day and sip throughout the day.
Health Hint 2: Chew a small piece of fresh ginger with a little salt and lime juice before your lunchtime meal
Health Hint 3: Go on a simple diet of lentils, rice & vegetables (kitcherie) for three days (see recipe below!)

Post-Holiday Kitcherie
Ingredients (for 2 portions):
basmati rice (100g)
red lentils (100g)
salt (to taste)
fresh ginger chopped into small pieces
1 teaspoon cumin powder
pinch of turmeric
pinch of black pepper
handful of raisins (optional)
½ lemon, juice of
160 g seasonal vegetables
4 tablespoons sesame oil /ghee
water (2 ½ x rice and lentils)
1. Squeeze the lemon.
2. Wash the rice and lentils thoroughly. Leave to drain.
3. Peel the vegetables and cut them into cubes or round slices.
4. Pour enough sesame oil/ghee into a big pot to cover the bottom.
5. Add the vegetables, cumin powder, turmeric, raisins, lemon juice, salt, the rest of the oil and the ginger. Then add the rice and lentils, stir.
6. Add 2 times the amount of boiling water and bring everything to the boil before reducing the temperature and cooking over a low flame for 30 minutes.
7. Turn off the heat and leave the dish to stand for 10 minutes. Serve & enjoy!