Top Tip for Healthy Eating

BigSaladWithPumpkinseed 038

Over our lives many changes mean that we have to alter our eating habits… pregnancy, loss of income, children leaving home, periods of living alone to mention but a few. Throughout these changes it is important not to lose sight of the fact that ‘we are what we eat’. Dietary neglect is often the root cause of more serious and life threatening health issues. Diabetes (type 2) has been in the news recently, not at all surprising to me, for the alarming requirement of 10% of the NHS funds. And of course how does Diabetes (type 2) begin? With poor dietary choice.

Create long lasting, healthy eating habits for yourself by considering the yogic principle of Prana – Life Force. Most of us get our Life Force (Prana) through eating food. Those who have a regular Pranayama practice will be gaining the benefits of better oxygenation, therefore more Prana via the breathing process (and therefore less requirement via food). So the question before eating a meal or a snack is ‘How much Prana is this going to give me?’ The answer is that the more alive your food is then the more Prana it will give you. Fresh fruit and vegetables, ripened by the sun are brimming over with juicy life force and energy. Any products that are dead or have been pre-prepared must have preservatives added to them and therefore will have less Prana. Seed and nuts are capsules containing the energy to grow and are therefore considered to have plenty of Prana. Interestingly, beer, wine and cheese also are considered to be full of Prana. (Those Yogis knew how to live!)

So the top tip is to chose foods that will fill you up with Prana and therefore fill you up with energy.

Is it the right time to detox…?

ginger water

At this time of year it’s  not uncommon to feel a bit down in the dumps. Seasonal Adjustment Disorder (SAD) is now accepted as a real ‘thing’ and it is thought that the lack of day light hours effects our brains to makes us feel this way. (So it’s not just me then!!)

Coupled with the over-indulgencies of the Christmas period which may have piled on a few pounds and added a shade or two to the bags under the eyes; this time of year can leave us feeling heavy, sluggish, tired and basically a bit unenthusiastic.

It may be time to consider a detox –  to rid your body of accumulated toxins that have gathered over the winter season. Other signs that could indicate a detox is in order are – lack-lustre skin, aching or stiff joints or a furry coating on your tongue (yuck!).

Ayurveda is an ancient sister-act of yoga which offers simple but effective treatments to bring the body back to its natural condition. There are a variety of detox methods some which you can safely do at home and some which you can visit an Ayurveda therapist  for (I think our nearest is in Leicester).

Ayurveda believes that all illness starts when our digestion doesn’t work properly. When the digestive fire (called Agni) is disturbed and food is not fully digested, it becomes a sticky, foul-smelling toxic residue known as ‘Ama’. If this is left to build up, it can further subdue the digestive system, clogging it up and creating imbalances that eventually lead to disease.

One of the simplest things you can do to boost your digestive power, according to Ayurveda, is to drink warm water. (Crikey, is it really that simple???) Well why not swap your tea and coffee and give it a try? Plain water is fine but you can also add a couple of slices of fresh ginger. Cold drinks are best avoided, especially iced drinks as they can weaken your digestive fire – quite literally putting it out.

The same goes for your diet – go for warming soups and vegetable stews  and avoid bread, cheese, meat pastries and cakes. These are heavy foods and congest the digestive system. Raw fruit and vegetables can also strain the digestive system, so it’s best to keep these to a minimum.

The Ayurvedic approach aims to support your digestive system – to rid it of ailments and get it running smoothly. The warm water detox can help to do this.

YOGA FOR YOUR HANDS AND STOMACH

blackberry and apple crumble

In today’s world of convenience and speed we can lose out on using our hands, fingers, arms and shoulders. By adding simple tasks into our daily routine we are not only preserving the mobility of many joints and muscles but are also slowing down the pace of information into our brains to ‘take a moment to smell the roses’. One such activity is the age old ‘rubbing in method’ used in pastry, crumbles and many other bakes. Taking time to make food is a way of nurturing yourself and your family – when I was growing up if a recipe turned out well, my mum always said that it was because ‘it was made with love’. In the yoga tradition food is considered as ‘prana’ or energy which the body takes on board for sustenance  and healing, pre-prepared food is considered to be ‘dead’ and containing little ‘prana’. Why not get in touch with the season and prepare a fresh and wholesome Apple and Blackberry Crumble? If you don’t have a family recipe you could try this one by Delia which contains almonds in the topping – yum yum!

Other ways in which you can utilise your hands …

play the piano

make bread

pick apples/blackberries

arrange some flowers

HAPPY HANDYCRAFTING AND HEALTHY HANDS!