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Amanda Hester-Smith

Coffee, Our Love/hate Relationship


Coffee, Our Love/hate Relationship

April 19, 2023

Ah coffee, the nootropic we love to hate!

But why do we hate it? Simply put, coffee is known to give us jitters, easily addict us, send our minds into overdrive and derail our sleep. But on the flip side, why do we love it? Because it wakes us up, gives us energy, and is a ritual so ingrained in our culture that it's hard to separate productivity and a pot of coffee!

We love it so much in fact, that we’ve created about a million ways to prepare it, from fancy pourover to machines that cost into the thousands. And even though we love it so much, the truth is that most of us don’t know beans about it! (See what I did there?) For instance, did you know that coffee is one of the dirtiest crops out there, and if you're not buying organic and fair trade, you're not doing the world, (or yourself) any favors. Or how about the fact that drinking coffee after 2 PM affects your sleep?


History of coffee and how we’ve evolved…

We’re not quite the working class we used to be. We’ve evolved, and with that, so have our diets, rituals, practices and overall way of living. I’m sure your parents' and grandparents’ generation had coffee - All. Day. Long. Probably black, and even sometimes, after dinner! The MADNESS! But we’re wising up. Studies show that we drink half as much coffee in the US today as we did in 1946. Coffee in the workplace has been common because it increases productivity in its employees, it’s stimulating, which is great, right? (I guess if you're the owner, or the boss, yeah!) But for the consumer, it can be detrimental. In ayurveda, coffee is explained as borrowing energy from your future self; kind of like borrowing from Peter to pay Paul; or writing a check your body can’t cash.

Why and how to drink coffee, so that it has a positive nootropic effect:

But first, coffee, right? Nope! Wrong. First, warm lemon water, followed by a healthy breakfast, and THEN coffee. Why, you ask? Actually, it’s simple science. It seems like common knowledge that a strong acid black coffee hitting an empty stomach may not be the best way to break a fast, but on a biological level, it goes even deeper.

It actually stresses your system and can trigger the body’s natural stress response which over time can have a negative impact on hormone and nervous system regulation. Once one, or both, of those crash, it can take a LOT of work to get them back on track! The benefit of using adaptogens in place of coffee here is that adaptogens do the exact opposite. They help the body to manage its stressors and regulate the systems to run more balanced and more efficiently.

So… let's talk Alternatives.

Okay, you’ve made the decision to give your body a break from coffee, what do you do next? How do we replace this age-old ritual into something that feels good in our body and mind? Luckily, today there are coffee alternatives, and other options available. In order to keep energy up, and jitters down, working with adaptogens is the most ideal alternative. At Bala Veda, our Kapow-Cacao offers what I refer to as our “Super 6” blend of adaptogens, which includes Red Reishi, Ashwagandha, Amalaki, Licorice, Cordyceps, and Astragalus. Together, this magic blend of adaptogens helps give your body energy (without the jitters or crash) while boosting your immune system.

Amanda Hester-Smith

Dinacharya - Importance of Your Daily Routine


Dinacharya - Importance of Your Daily Routine

When you get up in the morning, what dictates your every move? Your kids? Work? School? Truth be told, it probably shouldn’t be any of those things. It should be you…and what makes you whole and well. Granted, there will be days where life simply lays waste to your best-laid-plans. But generally speaking, taking control of your health begins with prioritizing your daily routine around habits and practices that best elevate your physical, mental, and spiritual state of being.

Dinacharya translates to the “law of nature,” which consists of positive daily structure. Routine brings order and balance to your life, helping reduce stress and giving you a solid foundation to take on everyday challenges with success and confidence. Your morning routine sets the rest of your day’s routine in motion. Here are some basics to consider:

  • Wake Up Early
  • Plant Your Feet Firmly On the Ground to Connect with the Earth
  • Meditate/Focused Breathing
  • Movement/Exercise
  • Eat Well

As you carry on through your day, look inward to your biological clock. Not your baby clock, ladies. Your internal timing device that dictates your circadian rhythms, the physical, mental, and behavioral changes experienced in a daily cycle. That’s essentially science talk for why you might get drowsy around 3 p.m., consistently each day. Or, feel a snack coming on at 10:30 a.m. See, in addition to environmental factors (like light and dark) and social norms, your body is already predisposed to react certain ways at certain times of the day. Some seem universal, but others are inherently unique to you. Understanding the nuances of your own biological clock can help you build a routine that leverages those daily changes to your advantage. Your dosha also plays a key role in identifying timeframes where you should be active or at rest.


Transitional times where you should be active:

2 a.m. - 6 a.m.

2 p.m. - 6 p.m.


Transitional times where you should be active:

6 a.m. - 10 a.m.

6 p.m. - 10 p.m.


Transitional times where you should be active:

10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

10 p.m. - 2 a.m.

While order allows your body and mind to function at an optimal level, it also gives you permission to improvise and say yes to change because you are firmly grounded in a routine. So, don’t forget to have some fun and throw caution to the wind from time to time. Your clock’s running, go enjoy. And make the most of your time.

Amanda Hester-Smith

Are Adaptogens the Future?


Are Adaptogens the Future?

April 20, 2023

I've been thinking about this question a lot lately because I've had several people tell me that they don't need adaptogens. Hmmmm...Interesting. Honestly, I'm not sure there's a person walking this planet that doesn't need plants, and adaptogens in particular, especially with what has happened in our world over the course of the last two and half years. You see, things are changing, and we've got to change with them!

Adaptogens are a special set of select herbs, roots, berries and mushrooms that help our body manage stress and restore balance in stressful situations. Additionally, they are natural immune boosters and energy enhancers, and overall great for all the bodies systems: cellular, endocrine, adrenal, etc. Think of them as the great equalizers to what the body needs the most: Homeostasis.

The reason adaptogens even exist is because they're resilient, but how do they do it? Not by resistance, not by withering and dying, and certainly not by giving up, but they just simply adjust and adapt to their ever changing environment. The world doesn't quit spinning for a plant and it doesn't for us either. We don't live in a stress FREE world, we live in a stress FULL one; and no one escapes stress, but we can learn how to manage it, work with it, and even live a happy life with it! Because after all, not all stress is bad. We have a lot to learn from our plant friends, like how they change their DNA, upgrade their phytochemicals and in the end&. Survive. Sure, our bodies have done it over time, too. We get viruses, our bodies learn to handle them, and we move on; stronger & better. But what if we worked closer and more consciously with the intelligence between our own bodies and the intelligence of a plant? What if we could incorporate THEIR learning into OUR systems and adapt a little more wisely? Imagine upgrading all the systems in your own body to hold more power, more strength, more energy and more resilience. Adaptogens have been used for centuries for all this and more. So not only are they our future, but they're incorporated into our past as well. Science is now pushing to the foreground what ancient medicine has always known. (We're seeing this more and more with sound, vibration, herbs, breathing, etc.)

Paracelsus, the Swiss physician, alchemist, and philosopher of the German Renaissance, once wrote, Experience is the judge; if a thing stands the test of experience, it should be accepted; if it does not stand the test, it should be rejected. With that, adaptogens have proved over and over that they are worthy of our attention and should be a necessity in our diets. Now marinate on this: What you ingest, you have to digest. Your body processes it, integrating along the way what it needs. Sometimes it needs less of this, and more of that. (Okay, it always does.) The constant battle going on inside your body is the fight for homeostasis - a place of balance, a place of peace, and that overall I'm okay feeling. I'd love to say enter the magic of adaptogens but the truth is, everything is magic until you understand the science behind it. Read that again&

Additionally, studies show that utilizing adaptogens creates a balanced effect in our bodies; and here's some proof:

Evidence-based efficacy of adaptogens in fatigue, and molecular mechanisms related to their stress-protective activity Alexander Panossian 1, Georg Wikman Good scientific evidence has been documented in trials in which Schisandra chinensis and Eleutherococcus senticosus increased endurance and mental performance in patients with mild fatigue and weakness. Based on their efficacy in clinical studies, adaptogens can be defined as a pharmacological group of herbal preparations that increase tolerance to mental exhaustion and enhance attention and mental endurance in situations of decreased performance. The beneficial stress-protective effect of adaptogens is related to regulation of homeostasis via several mechanisms of action associated with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the control of key mediators of stress response such as molecular chaperons.”

Alexander GPanossian 1

“In light of more recent research, adaptogens are redefined as “metabolic regulators which increase the ability of an organism to adapt to environmental stressors and prevent damage to the organism by such stressors.”

So, all in all, what I’m saying is -Adapt Wisely, and consider adding adaptogens to your diet.

Oh! And welcome to the future!


Let us help you get started by offering the code 20Kapow20 for 20% off all our Kapow products.


Amanda Hester-Smith

Managing the Stress System 1



Managing the Stress System 1

April 10, 2023

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** It's not stress that kills us, but our reaction to it.** - Dr Hans Selye.

Do you know how stress works in your body? And how it affects your body? To better understand stress, we need to first gain a baseline understanding of our nervous system. We've all experienced the fight or flight response, this is our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) taking over and trying to keep us safe. Then, there's the rest and digest response. This is our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) that restores the body to balance. Keeping these two systems in the body working efficiently and properly can mean the difference between illness and wellness. Let's dig into the SNS because this is where we all get trapped. When talking about the SNS, it's always good to start with the seemingly magical part of the body called the HPA axis. So, what is that exactly? Good question. Knowing more about this amazing system can be helpful in your daily life.

What does HPA stand for?

H = Hypothalamus. P = Pituitary. A = Adrenal. They all work together to form the main stress response system in the body by secreting necessary hormones, like cortisol, adrenaline and corticotropin (among many others). Here are the basics:

Hypothalamus (corticotropin) This is your control center. This tiny gland at the center of your brain is responsible for so much of your basic survival. From regulating your body temperature to commanding what hormones need to be released to maintaining homeostasis. It works hand-in-hard with the next gland, the Pituitary!

Pituitary (ACTH) (anterior - growth hormone and thyrotropin, posterior - vasopressin and oxytocin) Another seed-sized gland located just under the hypothalamus, this gland helps us grow&think of lactation, oxytocin and human growth hormone. It can also play a role in our spiritual growth. How cool is that?

Adrenals (cortex - cortisol and DHEA, medulla - adrenaline and epinephrine) These glands are located behind the kidneys and are responsible for cortisol release. When your adrenals are overworked, because of the constant stimulation to send out cortisol, they simply shutdown. Having had adrenal fatigue myself, I can tell you it's no fun. You feel exhausted and burnt out, mole hills become mountains and you can barely think clearly enough to get through your daily tasks. And then, if all that's not enough, the anxiety creeps in. Listen, our body needs stress for several reasons, but too much of it and we run the risk of putting our bodies in a habitual cycle that is dangerous. Sustaining healthy cortisol levels is imperative to good health, and isn't that what we all want? It's important to mention here that there are many kinds of stress such as biological, chemical, environmental, nutritional, physical, psychological and spiritual. These are the basis of most health issues, leading to adrenal fatigue, inflammation, brain fog, weight gain, low immunity, hormonal imbalances and insomnia. For so many of the people I work with, we have to work backward from the symptom to the root and very often, the root is stress. So what can we do? How can we have the HPA axis work for us and not against us? We'll dive into that in part 2, stay tuned! Amanda


Hans Seyle was one of the first to study stress in the 1930s. He is commonly known as the father of stress research.

Adaptogens; herbs for strength, stamina, and stress relief.

Amanda Hester-Smith

Managing the Stress System 2


Managing the Stress System 2


April 11, 2023

Working WITH Stress

So, now that we know how the SNS works, how do we work with it? There is not just one answer, but many! In Ayurveda, we learn that 3 core things determine our state of health: Appropriate Diet, Lifestyle and Herbs. Sounds simple, right? So why aren't more of us doing it? Do we even know how and what does it even look like? Well, let's start with diet.

  • Eat organic - when it comes to meat and produce, we can shop our farmers markets, buy local and eat seasonal. If you have to make a choice given financial reasons, stick to informative lists like the dirty dozen, typically these are thin skinned fruits that pesticides penetrate easily and your money is best spent buying them organically.
  • Eat at the same time everyday - Again, based on schedule this may look different for each person, but try to eat meals within a half hr of the same time daily. Create a routine around your mealtimes. Use them as fuel ups that your body can depend on.
  • Eat mindfully - This means, without distraction. No scrolling instagram or driving. It's simple, if you're eating, just sit and eat. Enjoy your food, chew your food and be present.
  • Keep it simple - try to stick to 3-4 ingredients each meal, not including your seasonings . In ayurveda, we treat with opposites, and stress is incredibly complicated, so simplify! And a good place to start is with what's on your plate. Just following these few simple rules to start, will help your system to move into rest and digest and process your food easier.


There's a lot to touch on here, so let's keep it simple.

  • Meditation - Science has proven that sitting quietly helps mitigate stress and make the mind feel calm. You can start with just a few minutes a day to bring your attention in, and connect to your breath.
  • Speaking of breath, pranayama (breathing exercise) is another small thing you can add to your day to help your body slip into a parasympathetic response. My favorites are LSD breathing (long, slow, deep breathing), Alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana), and mantra breathing (repeating words as simple as in, out as you breathe). I love to include both breathing and meditation into my morning and bedtime routines.
  • Exercise - You may be a runner, a yogi, or a weight lifter, but chances are you know what type of physical exercise works best for you. Whatever it is, do it, but moderately. Overdoing it can stress our bodies out more and cause injury along with wear and tear.
  • Community - (Pandemic aside) Connecting with friends and loved ones makes us feel good. It really is better when we're together. Hugging a loved one releases happiness hormones and reduces the production of stress hormones. If you can't hug, at least call or facetime!
  • Sleep - Rest is best. Things like burning the candle at both ends and burnout only add to stress and make it harder for the body to detox. Sleeping can be like hitting the reset button or recharging your battery. Get into good bedtime habits to help, like turning off screens at least an hour before bed and curling up with a good book instead.


My favorite! The earth provides great treatment for us in the form of herbs. For individual herbal formulations, I suggest working with a qualified herbalist, but that doesn't mean that you can't investigate and try some wonderful herbs on your own. Lucky for us, there is a classification of herbs that make it really easy to mitigate stress known as adaptogens. Adaptogens are special because,

  • They are nontoxic
    • They produce a nonspecific result in the body
    • They have a normalizing influence
    • They are the natural homeostatic metabolic regulators

Each adaptogen has special affinities within the body, which we will get into in another post, but as a class, they function to bring the body into homeostasis.

If you applied some of these simple principles to your day, your stress levels would lower as a result, because at the end of the day, we all have stress, but it’s all rooted in how you manage it, and how well you adapt.

Amanda Hester-Smith

Sooo, What's Your Dosha?


Sooo, What's Your Dosha?


February 13, 2023

In Ayurvedic practice, doshas represent the biological energies that pulse through our bodies and mind. They're what make you uniquely you. They also serve as a guide for your overall well-being, including your health and fulfillment. Which ultimately means, leaning into your dosha will bring you much greater happiness than your Instagram account. And we can only imagine how Insta-awesome you are.

There are three doshas that exists. Each relate to the Five Elements and their respective properties:

Vata Space and Air

Pitta Fire and Water

Kapha Earth and Water

Now, back to our headline. What's your dosha? Let's dive a little deeper into each of their characteristics. Hopefully, you'll see yourself in one.


Mentally active, Vata types are enthusiastic, free thinkers with vivid imaginations. You could say they have their head in the clouds, which could speak directly to the air element. But they're surprisingly grounded, allowing for a fair measure of tolerance and flexibility. However, when they're in state of imbalance, they can be anxious, flighty and unbound to routine. Physically speaking, they have distinctive body types; thin, sinewy, maybe a bit lanky. Most prefer warm, humid climates as they naturally run cold. Since their constitution is driven by the air element, their energy and mood can fluctuate dramatically, affecting their appetite and ambition. Because there is no fire in this dosha, a warm, spiced diet is key to managing a Vata type's stress. If you're Vata, try Deng Shen, Licorice, Brahmi and Ashwaganda.


Fire! It is ever-present in this dosha. And pitta types are noticeably full of it, making them strong, intense, and quick to emotion. To say they are natural leaders would be an understatement, and they'd let you know about it. As you can imagine, they're fiercely competitive but fair, often characterized by their ambition and determination. That internal fire is also indicative of their physical stature; stout, muscular, slightly imposing. Of course, they have big appetites with strong digestive systems. Which means, missing a meal will put them on edge&and others on notice. Cool and refreshing diets will help temper their fiery tendencies. If you're Pitta, dtry Shatavari, Red Reishi, Rhodiola and Schisandra.


Think Type A. But not necessarily an alpha. Methodical and organized, routine is critical to Kapha types' peace of mind and balance. The presence of earth and water in this dosha provide a measure stability combined with compassion. Their body frames are strong and athletic, which can lead to weight gain, if regular exercise isn't part of their day. While they benefit from introducing change and new experiences in their life, it can be disruptive, leading to stubbornness. Generally speaking, Kapha types are sound sleepers and good eaters. A proper diet would include light fruits and vegetables, limiting dairy and meat. If you're Kapha, try Eulethero, Tulsi, Shilajit and Asian Gingseng.

Identifying your dosha is the first step to making sound life decisions. Might make that Instagram account of yours even more super cool.

Amanda Hester-Smith

Destination: Staying Healthy


Destination: Staying Healthy


April 14, 2023

Ayurvedic Tips to Staying Your Healthiest While Traveling

Since we're all gearing up to hop on planes, trains and automobiles, it seems like a great time to discuss how to travel in a healthy way. By proxy, traveling is aggravating to the body. As Ayurveda teaches, _ the mind craves freedom but the body craves stability._ Travel is exhausting, dehydrating and interrupts our daily routine, but still, we love to do it! Whether you're away seeing old friends and family or checking out new sights and cities, there's definitely a smart way to do it. Check out our top tips to staying healthy and feeling your best over the upcoming busy holiday travel season.

General Traveling

  • Hydrate properly: Ayurvedic gatorade works best- Just add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt to your water bottle and keep refilling whenever you can!

  • Set up a healthy sleep schedule beforehand: We all know that we are supposed to get enough sleep daily, but its especially true before taking our body out of our normal routine. Staying up late depletes your energy so try to be in bed to give yourself at least 6-8 hours of sleep the night before your travels!

  • Pro tip: if you're traveling to a different time zone, set your clock to the time of your destination a few days in advance to try your best to get used to the time change!

  • Don't stress, Plan ahead: Make a list of what you need& allllways including your adaptogens!

  • Eat for fuel: Not for convenience, pay attention to what's going into your body. Try to avoid sweets and alcohol - it's all too easy to grab a snack from the vending machine or a drink at the bar when you're waiting for a flight, or maybe even some delicious fried bar food! But before you do, think about how those things make you feel afterward and choose wisely!

Traveling by Car

  • Stretch!: Can't emphasize the importance of this one enough! Long road trips can really cramp the body and stretching can prevent issues such as back pain and blood clotting during extended periods of sitting!

  • Scents!: Keeping elevating scents in the car such as orange, peppermint, and rosemary essential oils will help to keep you focused and alert while driving.

Traveling by Plane

  • Pack your Bala Veda Immunity Shot: Our little bottles of goodness were created with travel on the mind and are TSA compliant, making them super easy to take on the go

  • Don't Forget your Sweater!: Planes are often cold and being comfortable is key to easy travel. Not to mention, you are literally up in the clouds, being that high creates even more cold in the body. From the Ayurvedic perspective, travel disrupts Vata dosha (air and space), so appeasing your Vata while traveling can help tremendously! Afterall, we are in the time of year when Vata is naturally running quite high.

  • 6 Tips for lowering Vata:

    • Stay warm - dress appropriately; wear a scarf, hat and mittens if you're in colder climates. Sipping warm beverages throughout the day - like herbal teas, hot lemon water or a yummy adaptogenic cacao like our Kapow Cacao (coming soon!) will help you too!

    • Rest when you're tired - Holiday season is often go go go and we sometimes have to force ourselves to rest.

    • Abhyanga - Oil body massage. This helps us to stay calm and grounded. If you're in a hurry, oil your temples, ears, heart and feet. Sesame oil is best in Fall and Winter.

    • Practice gratitude - keeping your mind focused on the positives keeps vata out of the mind. Vata tends toward worry and fear, but if we can be grateful for our blessings and bring ourselves back to the moment, we can avoid that pitfall.

    • Increase Vitamin C intake - our Elderberry Amalaki Immunity Shot contains all the Vitamin C that you will need throughout your day!

    • Adding Essential oils by dosha: Find out more about your dosha here

    • Vata: angelica, anise, cypress, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, rosewood, sandalwood, vetiver.

    • Pitta: Chamomile, cumin, fennel, geranium, lavender, lime, mint, rose, yarrow.

    • Kapha: angelica, basil, bergamot, cardamom, eucalyptus, ginger, grapefruit, juniper, orange, rosemary, thyme.

The mind craves freedom but the body craves stability. Let us help your body and mind stay balanced while you go out and explore the world. Bon voyage!

Amanda Hester Smith, Bala Veda Co- Founder

Amanda Hester-Smith

The 2022 Burnout


The 2022 Burnout

April 18, 2023

Burnt the heck out? Residuals of the roaring 2020's null

The start of this decade has been less than desirable for most of us. The burnout is real, and the residual effects are too. Studies show that the effects of long term stress lead to disease in the body, and fragment the mind. Feel spacey, tired, sore? Well, welcome to the end of 2022. The question is: How do we cope? Or rather, how do we cope in a healthy way; so that maybe, just maybe, we come out of this time a bit stronger than before. It might be easy to find yourself on an alcohol/caffeine hamster wheel; stress eating, or turning to other substances that zone you out. After all, the last couple years have probably not created the best of memories. But there's an alternative, right? There's always a choice. We can choose health, we can choose wellness and we can choose ourselves. We can choose to have peace in our bodies and in our minds; especially with a little help, some encouragement and knowledge of HOW to do so. The stress management system of our bodies does the best it can alone, but with some external aid it can go farther, work better and be more efficient. Certain lifestyle practices like proper sleep, meditation, breathwork, physical exercise, water & mineral intake and exposure to sunlight help TREMENDOUSLY when it comes to mitigating stress.


Ayurveda teaches us that a healthy routine, proper diet and appropriate herbs encourage an overall well being. So what are these appropriate herbs? There is a special classification of plants called adaptogens that work specifically with our bodies stress response by regulating stress hormones and creating homeostasis. Not only helping us to feel calmer, but also alleviating the amount of energy our bodies put into combating said stress. You see, if the body is running in a more efficient manner, it frees up the energy in the body to utilize in other ways. All adaptogens work in this way, but a couple favorites of ours that we have used in our Energy shot formulations are Eleuthero and Cordyceps. They happen to be very good at freeing up the body's energy in a sustainable way. No jitters, no crash, just coastable clean energy. Perhaps this is why they are so famously used amongst athletes to improve performance and energy and by soldiers to overcome mental and physical fatigue.

At a cellular level, stress affects the body's ability to transform glucose into energy. Adaptogens counter the effects of stress and stimulate the liver to convert glycogen to glucose, providing more energy for the body to use - David Winston

In the 1930s, 40s, and 50's, a man named Dr. Nikolai Lazarev pioneered the historic research around this class of herbs and how they may help the body without causing harmful side effects. As a matter of fact, the exact definition of an adaptogen consists of 3 criteria; 1. Adaptogens are non toxic 2. Adaptogens produce a non specific response in the body 3. Adaptogens have a normalizing impact on the body. Deeper research since then has proven that this genius class of herbs should be moved to the foreground when we discuss stress effects in the body. Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death in America and one of the main lead up factors to these illnesses is stress. One way that adaptogens serve the body is that all adaptogens contain antioxidants, and one of the major uses for antioxidants is to help prevent cancer. WOW! Why are we all not taking these everyday?! At least a maintenance dose for health's sake! That said, another reason we use high grade matcha and blueberry in our energy shots is the high bioavailable levels of antioxidants (and flavonoids) found in them! People tend to think of energy as a roller coaster; you spike, you crash and so on and so on. But here's the thing, your body is always always always making energy, and of course, always using it as well. A lot of this energy gets tasked in places where it doesn't necessarily need to be. So if the body is always making this incredible energy, how do we FREE it up?

The theory behind using adaptogens to relieve or prevent stress holds that adaptogenic herbs will lessen the reactions of the alarm phase and thereby, delay or minimize the onset of exhaustion. Research has shown that adaptogens can reverse the depletion of adrenal cortisol associated with adrenal dysfunction. - David Winston

So given the choice of the spike / crash energy roller coaster of something like "a typical gas station energy shot", or even coffee (when taken inappropriately, which most of us do) - OR - using adaptogens that actually increase your resistance to stress and therefore create more usable energy while preventing exhaustion, well, I know which one I'd choose! Looking deeper into Adaptogens used for Energy we find Cordyceps, Eleuthero, Asian Ginseng, Rhodiola, Holy Basil and Shilajit. All very wonderful in their own, unique ways, but we chose Cordyceps and Eleuthero for our organic energy shot formulations because they work very well together to increase endurance, energy and stamina, while combatting fatigue. Additionally, their positive effects on stress, aging, the immune system, and tonic abilities on systems throughout the body are incredible. If you made it this far, hopefully you've learned a bit about energy and adaptogens, and how we just can't afford to not have them as part of our daily ritual. So with that, let me leave you with this thought of the day:

When we know better, we do better - Maya Angelou

Adapt Wisely!



Amanda Hester-Smith

Naturally Boost Your Immunity


Naturally Boost Your Immunity

So, here we are, facing an unprecedented health crisis. One that demands we be vigilant in washing our hands frequently and keeping a safe distance from others. But how else can we protect ourselves against viruses and disease? One way is to enhance your own immune system through diet and exercise. See, when it comes to Ayurvedic practice, all disease begins in the gut. Maintaining good digestive health is key to helping build a strong, natural resistance to illnesses. And we do that by paying attention to how we nourish our tissues. In Ayurveda there are seven layers of tissue:

  • Rasa (lymph)
  • Rakta (blood)
  • Mamsa (muscle)
  • Meda (fat)
  • Asthi (bone)
  • Majja (nervous system)
  • Shukra/Artava (reproductive)

This is the order in which Agni, the digestive fire that breaks down food and nourishes your body through absorption and assimilation, ultimately feeding the tissues. It takes 35 days from the time you consume something for it to make it through all seven layers tissues. Immunity then travels through the bloodstream to the entire body, giving you the resistance you need to ward off sickness. In other words, healthy Ojas, the juice of life, your resilience and vitality. Which is why it is imperative to consider the foods you eat. While that might sound obvious and trite, it could very well be the single most important decision you make in times like these.

Techniques for Increasing Immunity:

Build Agni Eat easy to digest foods, like smoothies! Consider warm, light foods.

Eat Ojas-Building Foods Healthy oils, fruits and veggies, nuts.

Exercise Move your body and sweat every day.

Breathwork Take time to focus on your breathing. Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) is effective for calming stress and balancing the body.

Herbal Support There are many herbs that help boost immunity, most you can find in your kitchen cabinet; ginger, turmeric, fennel, rosemary, honey, cinnamon, garlic, cardamom, and black pepper.

Get Adequate Sleep Six to eight hours is recommended. This is an important time for the body to heal and reset. We can't stress enough how valuable sleep is to not only your body but your overall constitution.

Stay Hydrated Sip warm water throughout the day.

Herbal Support:

Elderberry High in Zinc and vitamin C, antiviral.

Astragalus An adaptogen with antiviral properties. It also helps build white blood cells.

Amalaki Very high in vitamin C (20-30x that of an orange), rejuvenative, nutritive tonic, and antioxidant.

Amanda Hester-Smith

Herbs for Reprogramming the Nervous System


Herbs for Reprogramming the Nervous System

April 13, 2023


The last few years have left many of us feeling like a nervous wreck! Constantly asking ourselves if we are safe wreaks havoc on our poor nervous system and the majority of us find ourselves in a space of needing to nourish ourselves back to a state of balance. So let's talk about it&

Understanding the nervous system helps us to grasp a better overall understanding of our bodies. The nervous system is often described as the body's electrical system - but that's mechanical, and I don't believe the body is designed in that way. I like to think of the nervous system more like roots spreading throughout the body, communicating our needs at any given moment. This gives it a more holistic feel, which to me, feels more correct. So if this is a central communication system in our body, it only makes sense that we stay on top of its proper function. There are many things we can do to maintain proper nervous system health including: chiropractic care, meditation, yoga, acupuncture, massage, and herbal treatments that are becoming more and more available across the United States. Several types of herbs work wonders in the nervous system, so let's narrow in on a couple of types, starting with the most obvious, Nervines.

Nervines have a special affinity for the nervous system and you're most likely familiar with a number of them. Let's discuss a few of my favorites here, that fall into the relaxant category.

Skullcap: This bitter herb really cools the nervous system down. Relieving tension and leaving an inner calm feeling. Skullcap falls into the category of nervines called hypnotics. Often used as a sleep aid, skullcap has a way of settling your nervous system, so you can relax.


Passionflower: This is another mild sedative and hypnotic, Passionflower is often combined with other herbs such as Chamomile, Skullcap and Valerian, to relieve insomnia and anxiety. This is one of my favorites that I grow in my garden, and use regularly with clients. In the southern U.S passionflower is often called Maypop. The medicine is in the leaves but the sour fruit is enjoyable as well.


Chamomile: I think everyone knows this one, who hasn't had a chamomile tea to calm their nerves? This is a favorite for clients that are either with-child, or a child themselves, because it's so gentle. My own children drink chamomile-lavender tea on nights when they have trouble getting to sleep. In Chinese medicine, it's known to calm the Shen (spirit). It's high in calcium, so it naturally helps with irritability.


Lemon Balm: This one should be in every garden! It's delicious, grows easily and is very accessible. Lemon Balm calms, relaxes and quells the nervous system, even aiding in digestive problems due to nervousness.


These are best taken as a tincture because alcohol goes straight to the nervous system (ever notice how a night of drinking can bring on anxiety or twitches?) A few Nervines that fall into the stimulant category, that I personally LOVE, are Eleuthero, Cacao, and Ginseng. Let's discuss them a little deeper.

Eleuthero: This is one of my favorites for adaptive energy, it's even in our Bala Veda Energy shots . This herb has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to make a person feel happy and vigorous, and to slow the aging process. Eulethero is a mild and easy herb to use, and although it stimulates, it won't over-stimulate. Athletes often use Eulethero for endurance and stamina, and it aids in muscle recovery. It improves alertness and cognitive function. It's no wonder I take this daily myself and utilize it for my clients all the time! It's a gem of an herb.


Cacao: Delicious, mineral dense, packed full of antioxidants, and vitamin rich; this one is special! Held in ceremony for its heart opening benefits and ability to stimulate blood flow to the brain and heart, Cacao lifts depression by releasing dopamine. This food of the gods is the main ingredient in our Kapow Cacao, a blend of 6 super adaptogens and raw organic cacao. Yum!


Ginseng (Panax-American and Asian): Ah yes, probably one of the most famous adaptogens. If you haven't heard of ginseng, it is a root that increases longevity and energy levels. It is well researched that it helps the HPA axis and endocrine system in mitigating stress. Ginseng both stimulates and calms simultaneously, bringing the body into homeostasis. This one has a special place in my heart as it was the first adaptogen I was ever exposed to. While living in NYC, I had a sinus infection that would not go away, not with time, nor antibiotics. My kinesiologist suggested I take American Ginseng for 48 hours, and the infection disappeared within 24! All hail the mighty Ginseng!


As far as Tonic nervines go, we can turn to most of our adaptogens. These are known as rasayanas in ayurveda. My personal favorites in this category are discussed below.

Ashwagandha: One of the kings of ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is used for a bevy of symptoms that include energy management, sleep, stress, sexual disfunction and anxiety. Sounds pretty good, huh? The name means the odor of a horse, because Ashwagandha is believed to provide the strength of a stallion, but it's commonly called Winter Cherry. In David Winston's Adaptogens, herbs for strength, stamina and stress relief, he states, Few herbs have a direct effect on thyroid function, but in animal and human studies, ashwagandha root was found to stimulate thyroid function, making it useful in hypothyroidism Ashwagandha is a wonderful tonic to use when dealing with depletion and nervous system exhaustion. It is great for both men and women, and plays well, synergistically, with other appropriate herbs.


Rhodiola: The rosey adaptogen. A wonderful energy enhancing herb, Rhodiola is actually cooling and not overstimulating to the nervous system. Rhodiola gently lifts, allowing clarity of mind, and alertness to arise. Rhodiola is incredibly protective for those who choose to take it, especially for the heart, and provides the usual benefits of a well loved adaptogen.- combats stress, fatigue, deficiency, etc.. Even the vikings used Rhodiola to improve their physical performance. Rhodiola is commonly used in the holistic field for seasonal affective disorder, and highly effective for the nervous system.


Licorice: The sweet root. Licorice is a lovely adaptogen to use for adrenal exhaustion. Its sweet and soothing properties also love on the lungs and respiratory system. I like to use it in small amounts as the ultimate synergizer in formulas, because Licorice brings all other herbs together so well. I sometimes think of licorice as a loving grandmother that helps you sort through emotional stress and hugs you until you feel better. Now, that's some nervous system lovin'!


Gotu Kola: Sometimes called Brahmi, Centella Asiatica is used in Ayurveda as a brain tonic, skin tonic and nervous system tonic. I often utilize this herb for clients, and even grow it in my own greenhouse because I love it so much. It settles brain fog, and focuses the mind. It helps the skin maintain elasticity when applied topically (hello natural collagen!) and Gotu Kola's brain shaped leaves, when taken internally,†nourishes the brain like no other.


These work best taken as powders, or churnas in sanskrit, the preferred ayurvedic method. Other things that regulate the nervous system include sunlight, sleep, breath (pranayamas) and stress management techniques (ie. time in nature). Implementing some of these techniques and herbs into your daily routine can have massive benefits for your nervous system and therefore, beautiful benefits to your body, both inside and out.

In warmth and wellness, Amanda

Amanda Hester-Smith

Mocktails and Mistletoes

Alcohol free drink recipes for a happy holiday

Mocktails and Mistletoes


April 17, 2023

If you're looking for a healthy alternative to the holiday mulled wines and brunch mimosas, we've got you!! Adaptogenic mocktails are some of our favorites around here because they're simple, delicious and are actually good for you. Try our recipes below or make up your own. They're quite fun to create and even more fun to drink. Oh...And to help you make these amazing mocktails, Bala Veda has a 12 for $12 special right now! Purchase our new Sampler Pack and use code: 12FOR12 to take advantage of this limited time offer! Packs are running out so get yours soon! Cheers, Amanda




Sip the bubble, without the trouble.

1 turmeric ginger Bala Veda 1 ounce shot grapefruit juice Fill to top with sparkling grape juice Garnish with orange slice


Berry Zing Tini

Taste buds are shaken, but words not slurred.

1 blueberry vanilla Bala Veda 1 ounce shot coconut water 1 ounce shot pomegranate juice Shake with ice Garnish with berries and pomegranate seeds


Mo - ho ho ho - jito

Mo ho ho - better for ya.

Ice in glass Pour over 1 Mint Matcha Bala Veda Fill to top with club soda Garnish with Lime and Mint


Unwine'd Sangria

You don't have to be Spanish to enjoy this "Tinto de Verano" - Sangria for the world over!

Add apples, grapes, limes and oranges to pitcher Pour in 2 Elderberry coconut Bala Veda's Fill half way with grape juice and half way with sparkling water Refrigerate for one half hour Pour into wine glass Garnish with orange slice


What if the Secret to Finding Balance Is Found in Ancient Herbs?



Adaptive Energy Activists, Balance Seekers.

Welcome! We're glad you're here. We're Amanda and Sebastian and we started Bala Veda for one reason to bring the stress-relieving, healing powers of adaptogens to people everywhere. We want you to experience the miraculous benefits of these ancient herbs and achieve better focus, balance, and the wisdom of vitality as we have.


Our journey began in NYC while looking to find better ways to combat stress, fatigue, and anxiety. With a background in herbalism, a budding interest in Ayurveda, and a heart filled with spirit, Amanda searched for months before stumbling upon the remedy to her ongoing energy and stress issues:


These ancient herbs for modern-day healing are life's natural stress balancers and immune boosters, with all-encompassing functionality and the power to bring the body into homeostasis.


It was this discovery that led to the initial spark of inspiration:

Why can't everyone find the same level of balance in their bodies that I have found?

And thus the seeds of Bala Veda were sewn.

Today, Amanda is a well-respected Ayurvedic Practitioner and co-founder of Bala Veda, whose sole focus is using these adaptogenic formulas to help jumpstart your immunity and focus in times of need. Energy and Immunity-are all uniquely formulated to help you find balance in your body.

Adapt Wisely.

Elevating Wellness Culture


Being a lover of the ocean and a surfing family, a portion of our proceeds go to the Surfrider Foundation.

Amanda, Co-Founder & President, Bala Veda

All of Our Glass Bottles Are 100% Recyclable.



The Wisdom of Vitality


We believe that every sip of our 100% organic beverages can change lives.

We are on a mission to celebrate the spirit of hard work and determination that fuels people's success. We believe that true champions are those who persevere and overcome challenges, and we are proud to draw our inspiration from everyday heroes around us.

Our beverages are made with the finest organic ingredients, carefully selected to nourish your body and mind.

We want to support you on your journey towards excellence, whether you're a working mom, a student, a truck driver, or an adventurer seeking new horizons.

At BalaVeda, we stand with you every step of the way, through thick and thin, because we know that the road to success is not always smooth. We are committed to empowering you to unleash your full potential and achieve greatness.

We want you to join us on this journey of inspiration and transformation, one sip at a time.

Let our organic beverages fuel your body and uplift your spirit, and let us show the world what we can achieve when we prioritize our health and well-being. We are BalaVeda, and we are here to change lives for the better.


Adaptogens are a select group of 15 roots, fruits and leaves known for assisting the body to boost its energy & immune system and resist stressors of multiple kinds. These herbs and roots have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic traditions.


No. There is no dairy, gluten, artificial colors or ingredients in Bala Veda. It's purely from mother nature to your body. Our natural flavor in our Elderberry Coconut is from coconut extract.


We allow our children have BalaVeda to help manage their daily immunity, but our philosophy is little amounts for little bodies. No more than 1 per day. However, if you are concerned, please consult your pediatrician first.


Yes. There is 90mg of caffeine in each 2oz BalaVeda Energy drink.


Bala Veda Energy drinks deliver 90mg of caffeine for an immediate energy boost, and that's where the similarities end. BalaVeda Energy drinks are formulated with adaptogen to lengthen and sustain your energy. Adaptogens fill in the gaps and rise to the occasion keeping away the jittery-jitters and crash of other energy beverages on the market.


We suggest no more than 1 per 12 hr period.


We suggest any time, any day. Building up your immunity is a smart way to help fight the icks through every season.


Although we have heard of women using adaptogens while pregnant, please consult your physician or midwife before using.


Not necessary, but they sure are tasty chilled.


Please drink within 5 days.


You may go to the information desk at your local grocer, market or health food store and request that they carry BalaVeda. Hugs!


Glass bottles are 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss of quality. An estimated 80% of recovered glass containers are made into new glass bottles.


YES! A portion of every BalaVeda purchase goes to support the SURFRIDER ORGANIZATION.

Our ocean faces growing challenges from pollution, offshore development and climate change. At the same time, expanding industries, such as offshore oil drilling, threaten to crowd our ocean and degrade its health (and those who call it home!).

Every day poses new threats to our oceans and beaches.

Our ocean and special places must be proactively protected before they are threatened and stem the tide before further damage is done to the ocean's health.

This is precisely why Surfrider has built a network of passion-driven people who are on the ground and are the voice for our ocean and beaches. With one foot in the sand and the other in the water, Surfrider is the only non-profit organization who is 100% focused on our coasts.

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