Shining Bright on Health at Sun King – A Blog about Healthy Living

Friday, December 21, 2012

Shining Bright on Health at Sun King – A Blog about Healthy Living

The holiday season can mean stress, lack of sleep, excess food and alcohol consumption and irregular sleep schedules; all the things that can break us down and make us sick, sluggish and feeling heavy. So why not try to enjoy the holiday season this year by reducing stress, practicing some yoga and learning how to take a few deep breaths.

Health Tips:
This month’s health tip addresses the irregular eating and drinking schedules that we tend to take up during this crazy season. After a day of eating and drinking more than felt good to your body, take the next day to detoxify.
• Drink warm water first thing in the morning. Eat a light, warm-hot breakfast. (Think about stewing some fruit with spices, making your own fruit sauce over some granola and yogurt!)
• Drink Digestive Cleansing Tea before OR for breakfast (recipe below)
• Go to the gym. Find a yoga class near by, or go for a 45-60 minute walk
• Drink plenty of warm water
• Try to eat mostly warm fruits, vegetables and/or broths for your meals
• Eat lightly
• Try to get some sleep, even a 20 minute nap can do wonders
Resetting your systems and allowing your body to process and filter the excessive food and drink fully, will give you that extra energy that you will need to actually enjoy time with friends and family. It will also make sure you don’t need to use up your sick days at the very beginning of 2013.

Yoga in the community:
Since schedules are unpredictable and you may be trying to save a little money this month, I suggest starting a home practice. I highly recommend checking or These sites allow you to have multiple yoga, meditation and Pilates videos at your fingertips, whenever you want them for very little money. You can search by difficulty and by length of practice and both sites offer a two-week free trial!


Digestive Cleansing Tea
Bring to a boil: 5 cups pure water
1 Tbsp. Fresh grated ginger root
1 Tbsp. tumeric
1 Tbsp. Dried licorice root
Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink. If you are experiencing inflammation without a sluggish digestive system, omit the ginger and add the juice of half a lemon instead. Drink throughout the day. Reheat if needed.
Recipe from Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners

Need a quick dessert option? You can pour this over any fluffy cake, chocolate tort, ice cream, yogurt or serve with a dollop of whipping cream!

Died Fruit Compote in Spiced Zinfandel Syrup
Serves 8

3 C. dry red wine
½ C. sugar
1 cinnamon stick
½ vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
16 whole, pitted prunes or dried plums
16 whole dried black mission figs
16 whole dried pitted apricots
¼ C. dried pitted cherries

Bring wine, 1 C water, sugar, cinnamon stick, and vanilla bean to a boil in a large saucepan. Add prunes, figs, apricots and cherries and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 1 hour. Cool. Remove cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Chill 3 hours. Serve warm or cold.
Recipe from Vegetarian Times Nov. 2012

Fruit Sauce
½ C. water
½ banana
½ organic apple chopped
1-2 dates, pitted
2-3 dried prunes
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
sprinkle of coconut (optional)
1 Tbls. Flax seed

Pour all ingredients into a small to medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, transfer mix to a blender and blend until desired consistency. (Be careful when blending hot ingredients) If you want to make it more into a soup like substance, add almond, coconut, cows milk or more water.

Additional Recipe for a warm soup:

Don’t forget that the Indy Winter Farmers Market takes place on Saturday’s from 9am-12:30pm at City Market, Downtown, Indianapolis. The market has over 40 different vendors to stock your fridge and pantry high. The best thing is that mostly all the goodies are fresh, organic and local!

Workout tips
Think about working out, as a gift to yourself. We all know the physical benefits but do you also pay attention the mental ones? If you don’t have time to make it to the gym or the yoga studio, pack a bag with extra warm clothes and tennis shoes and throw it in your car. If you have anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes to spare, you can take a walk, jog, or a bike ride. This way you can have some time away from the chaos to clear your head, start envisioning what you want the New Year to bring and give all your sense organs a break from the hustle and bustle. Nature can be a great tool to get you back into balance. And why not utilize all the wonderful trails that our city has to offer, without paying a dime! Check out Indiana trails here:

Additional tip:
Pranayama is translated to “life-force enhancement” and uses the breath to calm, enliven, clear and/or cleanse the body and mind. Taking a few minutes in the morning, or whenever possible, can make a huge difference on the nervous system and will help you to calm any anxiety that may arise at this time of year.
Check out a few videos at
A great all around breath is nadi shodna (there are plenty of videos on youtube). So take a breath, relax and enjoy a wonderful, healthy holiday!

Staraya McKinstry

If you have additional questions, please email Staraya at

About Staraya McKinstry:
Born and raised in Homer, Alaska (the western most tip of the United States), which was not fully appreciated by my siblings or myself until we all went out into the world and found that we grew up in a pretty amazing place. Alaska is a rugged frontier but it has a lot of perks; eating fresh vegetables from the garden, fish and seafood out of the bay, and a freshly hunted moose/elk/deer was and still is the way of feeding family there. Fitness is a way of life: hiking, mountain biking, fishing, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and sledding (yes, it can be a great work out when you walk up the mountain) just to name a few. The connection with nature seems to be a common understanding when you live in such a beautiful, ever changing environment as Alaska. With that background, I have come to love yoga and the connection it has seamlessly brought me in regards to myself, my family and friends, nature, and healthy living. I have a Masters in Public Health, but the everyday healthy lifestyle I have learned from my mom and dad and those like them back home. I am currently going to school to train in Ayurveda Medicine (one of the oldest forms of medicine known to mankind), which focuses on healing the body, mind and spirit and maintaining health through food, herbs and exercise. My studies in yoga and Ayurveda are allowing me to bring practical, resourceful and sustainable practices to anyone who wants to learn how to get/stay healthy in mind, body and spirit.

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