|As the cool winds start to blow...
As a naturopathic physician I have the luxury of integrated many paradigms of medicine which allows me to view symptoms with various lens and offer solutions from a wide range of therapeutic tools. One of these paradigms is Ayurveda, or traditional Indian medicine. In this paradigm, we are currently entering "vata" season where the intense heat of the summer is waning and cooler winds are blowing. You might find that you have a natural inclination to switch from salads to soups, pull out your favorite cotton sweaters, or maybe do some baking. These are all natural instincts to balance the properties of the season with its increasing coolness and dryness. I offer a deeper look at the concept of vata
below (it is not only a way to view the qualities of the season but also a way to view the qualities of symptoms) in addition to offering some ways to balance its effects.
Keep warm and be well -
Funda M. Gulmen, N.D., M.S. - Naturopathic Physician
2505 Main Street
Stratford, CT 06615
Integrating both traditional and modern therapies, Dr. Funda M. Gulmen is a licensed naturopathic physician who offers natural family medicine through her private practice in Stratford, CT.
Services include: nutritional counseling, herbal medicine, homeopathy, stress management, mind-body medicine, therapeutic movement, lifestyle counseling, cleansing programs, food allergy/lab testing, supplement reviews, annual physical exams, yoga/meditation instruction, Ayurvedic evaluation/counseling, Reiki, and integrative medicine seminars/publications.
- Accepting Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, CIGNA and ConnectiCare healthcare plans -
In Ayurvedic (traditional Indian medicine) philosophy, there are three constitutional types - vata, pitta, and kapha. The conceptual qualities of vata help us to recognize when it is out of balance. Vata is associated with the elements air and ether (space). It is also associated with qualities such as being cool, dry, sharp, light, and mobile. So as we move into a cold, dry season with a lot of wind, these tend to increase vata symptoms unless we balance them. Typical symptoms associated with vata which reflect these qualities are:
signs of too much vata
- dry or wrinkled skin
- some arthritis, esp. with cracking
- muscle spasms
- variable appetite
- feeling overwlemed
- sensitivity to noise
- feeling cold
- weight loss
The way you eat can significantly effect your health including how an excess of vata may show up for you.
If you are suddenly finding that you are craving soups instead of salads as the fall season starts to unfold, this is actually good wisdom from your body on how to balance vata
. Here are some additional tips...only add in a few suggestions at a time:
- eat at regular times
- do not skip meals
- decrease raw, cold foods and increase warm, cooked foods
- decrease cold drinks and increase room temperature/warm drinks
- make lunch your most significant meal of the day
- eat sitting down and in a quiet, undistracted atmosphere
- favor the tastes sweet, sour, salty
- decrease the flavors of pungent, bitter, astringent
- eat foods that are grounding like grains, root vegetables, nut butters
- avoid extreme flavors
- soak beans, nuts, and dried fruits overnight in water before eating or cooking them to make them more digestible
- avoid stimulants and caffeine
- start your day drinking a cup of warm water
For individualized evaluation and suggestions on Ayurvedic nutrition, please contact the office at 203.895.5534 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Gulmen's new book
This book was inspired by the many patients and healthcare practitioners I have had the privilege of working with and I hope that it serves the community in a deep way.
Natural Medicine for Viral Infections
People are generally unfamiliar with how natural medicine can treat viral infections, so in many ways this work is a true paradigm shift. Now available on amazon.com
health consultations now available via Skype
There are many places in the world where it is difficult to find someone with deep experience in natural therapies.
For those individuals, Dr. Gulmen is now offering natural health consultations via Skype. For more information, please email email@example.com
the first medicine
- 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
(or 1 tablespoon dried)
- mineral salt to taste
- ground fresh black pepper
Bring broth and water to a boil, add rice, let gently simmer for 20 minutes until slightly softer than if you were to eat the rice alone as a side dish. Turn off heat. Whisk eggs into hot rice mixture stirring constantly, let heat through to cook eggs about three minutes. Stir in lemon juice, dill and salt. Let sit for 3-5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.
This recipe is made with all vata-friendly foods. It contains all six tastes - sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent so is well balanced. Basmati rice and mineral salt are specifically chosen over other kinds of rice and salt because they are more balancing for all three doshas. This soup is gently warming and grounding giving it vata balancing properties.
Garam Masala Peaches
- 4 peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1 teaspoon turbinado (raw sugar)
- 1 pinch mineral salt
Melt butter over medium high heat in small saucepan. Add spice, sugar, and salt. Mix and let the mixture carmelize slighty, 3 min. Add peaches, stirring occasionally. Let the fruit soften on the edges but not so much that it all becomes mush, 3-5 minutes.
This is a vata-friendly dessert, heating and seasoning the fruit in a wonderful way. Can be served with a splash of cream or as filling for cobbler.
The general principle with balancing vata is to introduce opposite qualities. Vata is balanced by the qualities of warming, grounding, moistening, stabilizing. Here are some examples of changes that will help reduce vata through its high season. Think about adding each suggestion like a layer of clothing, so you gradually build them up. This approach is more like pulling out a thinner cotton sweater and slowly adding more layers rather than immediately putting on your thickest wool sweater as the seasons change from summer to fall:
balancing vata through your environment
- dress warmly and avoid drafts
- drink more water to stay hydrated
- establish a daily routine, especially eating and sleeping at regular times
- avoid extremes and overstimulation
- spend time in quiet/silence
- decrease use of electronics
- engage in light, gentle exercise such as yoga, tai chi, walking
- spend 5-10 min in the evening massaging feet with slightly warmed sesame, almond or sunflower oil.
ongoing yoga classes
, 6:30 - 7:30p
, 7:30 - 8:30p (prenatal
, 7:30 - 8:30p
, 10 - 11:30a
Please note, no classes will be held Nov. 26 or Dec. 24-31.
In addition to these public classes, private yoga instruction can also be scheduled
. For class details and yoga updates, please visit: www.naturesourcecare.com/yoga.
"yoga starter series"
4 Saturdays in October
Oct 3, 10, 17, 24 (9:15-10:15a)
Fee = $40
The "Yoga Starter Series" is designed to teach the fundamentals of yoga so people feel more comfortable taking other yoga classes.
To register or for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Gulmen was invited again this year by the New Haven Ballet to present a nutrition curriculum
for their outreach program DanceAIR. Dancers from the company go to local public schools in New Haven
to teach young children about dance, movement, health and nutrition. The nutrition program was tailored to 2-4th graders in both English and Spanish. She also gave a seminar titled, "En Pointe Nutrition: Dancing with Food" to current New Haven Ballet teenage students and their parents.
Dr. Gulmen also gave a public lecture on natural medicine approaches to heart health
at Nature's Way health food store in Stratford. In this seminar we discussed natural ways to keep the physical, emotional, and spiritual hearts healthy.
If you have interest in having Dr. Gulmen design a seminar, publication or other project for your specific group
so they can learn more about natural medicine, please email email@example.com
. For a list of previous seminars, please visit: www.naturesourcecare.com/seminars.
Abhyanga can be performed daily but even 1-3 times a week can greatly reduce vata.
Reduce vata with abhyanga
(self oil massage)
- Put about 1/3 cup oil in a small bottle.then place the bottle in a pan of hot water until the oil is pleasantly warm. Vata is best balanced by sesame, almond, sunflower, and olive oils.
- Sit or stand comfortably in a warm room on an old towel that you don't mind ruining as it will accumulate oil over time. Make sure there are no drafts in the room.
- Slowly and gently massage the oil into your skin for about 15 minutes, beginning at the extremities and working toward the middle of the body. Use long strokes on the limbs and circular strokes on the joints. Massage the abdomen and chest in clockwise, circular motions.
- Apply a few drops of oil to the crown of your head and work slowly out from there in circular strokes.
- Be sure to wash the bottom of your feet before entering the shower so you don't slip.
- Enjoy a warm bath or shower removing the oil with a gentle, natural soap.
- When you get out of the shower, dry off with an old towel.
- This should not be done during menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding, acute illness, over swollen/painful masses, over broken/infected skin, when there is great physical discomfort or weakness.