I had a beautiful conversation with one of my fave yogis last night about food, diet and things we put into our body! Of course we are bombarded these days with more information than we can possibly digest on diets, detox’s, low fat foods, body image… the list goes on! It becomes hard to know where to start if you know you want and need to change your daily intake of food and your relationship with it!
I have been on a turbulent journey with food since I was a young dancer and this journey continues and changes frequently…. Perhaps the thing to get our head round is not what we should or shouldn’t be eating but of letting that control and dominance rule our life. It’s good to know that your relationship with food will change over the years, so will your tastes, probably your weight, the kind of food and drink you have access to and like everything in our life, being able to accept those changes and adapt to them, can be one of the biggest journeys.
One of the best words of advice to live by has to be “everything in moderation” but how can we make that work best for us, without turning into a food obsessed, health freak (I speak purely of myself here)?
When in May last year I began to live like a yogi not only on my mat but off my mat too, I noticed a few natural evolutions starting to take place. It’s wonderful when something becomes natural isn’t it? You find yourself just going off alcohol, not wanting to binge on lollies and sweeties, gravitating to vegetables and fruit instead of cakes and crisps; of course it can be a natural evolution into these foods too! So the problem is the healthy choices don’t always happen naturally. I did find that as my yoga practice started to get more intense and serious with this came a natural wanting to give up the foods and drinks and lifestyle choices that made me feel yucky! I think is what is meant when yoga teachers say the beautiful words “you stop doing yoga and become yoga”. Even if you think that yoga can’t change your habits, your food choices, your lifestyle choices, it absolutely can and it’s usually you that makes these changes happen, yoga just becomes the instigator!
So I got thinking about a weekly eating plan, I don’t like to use the word ‘diet’ as it normally has negative connotations with fad starvation and suppression from the foods you like. So I put together a few ideas to maybe think about so that you don’t purely just deny yourself treats and ways of living that make us smile. We all know that if we ate nothing but fruit and vegetables and drank nothing but water we would be as pure as pure can be….but would we be happy??
- Make Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays – healthy, cleansing days – this is sustainable and a great way to start your week mentally, physically and internally. Try to cut out the foods/products and drinks below on these days, giving your body time to purify and your mind time to see the benefits of living like this: (Of course these are all just a guide, even just starting with a few is better than none!)
- No Coffee or Caffeine – replace with hot water and lemon, green tea, peppermint tea
- Maybe just fresh fruit and veggies (there are lots of different ways you can eat these)
- Freshly made soup, or natural soups for dinners
- Nothing with additives (this is a great one to stick by, the less preservatives and additives the better)
- No Alcohol
- No meat
- No milk or dairy
- No wheat’s or heavy carbohydrates
- 2 litres of water a day
- It’s also good to think – 3 meals a day, morning, lunch and early evening, with 2 snacks throughout the day
- Also similar eating times on these days, so the body knows when to expect food and when to digest
- Sticking to no food after 7/8pm ish is a great one too, let the digestive system slow down before you sleep
- Making sure you have lovely healthy things at your disposal, this does take some planning but can be fun too, get shopping!
If you start with aiming to live like this for 3 days, it’s like a mini detox each week and totally sustainable for the short time. Of course it’s not to then spend the next 4 days putting back in complete rubbish, remembering the moderation rule but it’s worth seeing how your feel on those 3 days. It’s also great way to work out if there are any foods or drinks that don’t agree with you.
- Great to take every day: – A probiotic – I have been taking one of these for the past 5 years every day and I swear by them for everything!
- Spiralina – A green super food
- Chlorophyll – Great for digestive health
- Psyllium Husk – Great for bowl health
The difficult bit then comes to try and not think about your daily intake every second of the day, I’m guilty of this one! Becoming overly obsessed is as bad as not obsessing at all and there is lots of great information out there and some bad information too, if it’s something you become increasingly interested in. Get in the know how about the foods you eat!
The most important bit, just use and trust your initiative and intuition, yoga connects us to that part of our beautiful selves, think natural, the more beautiful things you put into your body the more beautiful you will feel!! And just so you know I’m totally not saying give up treats, but just starting to become more mindful about our internal body can be an awesome way to live!