Food Relationships: 3 Easy Ways to Balance Your BlissBody With Ayurveda
By Elizabeth Halliday-Reynolds
Every so often we get hit with not feeling right about what we have been eating. We might feel bloated, our sleep patterns may have changed, digestion is hampered and our bodies have been sending us signals that it is not happy.
We know that what we eat affects how we feel. We all have experienced this. We know it to be true. To much of anything causes an overload to our system. When we look at our food choices with an ayurvedic perspective, we can begin to make some subtle changes to how we think about and act upon our food choices.
This article is not really about giving up anything. It will ask you to think about food choices that make you feel really good and eat / drink more of those.
We may not want to recognize or validate that excess caffeine causes the jitters, acidic or spicy food can give us heartburn and reflux, to much sugar brings on the sugar crash, and too much of everything or not enough of some things result in poor elimination. And yet, we want to feel light, energetic, healthy, easy in our bodies. What stops us?
“I just need to grab a sandwich, a soda, a bag a chips and get back to work”. This kind of inner dialog is not foreign to us. We grab and go, then reward ourselves with some sweet or salty treat later when we can finally put our feet up or settle in for the night. Or we restrict our intake and live with crazy cravings (which set up a whole other host of chemical reactions in the body about starvation) or we plan meals but still are left feeling undernourished or lethargic.
Keeping our bodies in a state of light, energetic, and healthy does require focus and discipline but it does not mean giving up the things we love all together.
Here are three some simple steps:
Following an ayurvedic diet starts with the premise that we listen to what our bodies tell us. If it sounds simple it is because it is!
Following an ayurvedic diet does not mean cutting back, restricting or buying a bunch of exotic foods.
Step 1: Be in your body when choose your food.
Step 2: Be in your body as you eat and digest your food.
Step 3: Respond to what your body is telling you.
Step 1: Being in your body when you choose your food does not mean restriction, but it is important for you to understand the dialog you are having with your self about what your food choices are. Are you choosing this food as a reward (sweet/salty)? Are your choices because you are beyond hungry (amount), or because you are in a rush (fast food, old leftovers, and processed food). Perhaps today, you cannot change how you choose your food, but most of us with some effort put a planin place to make changes in small ways over time.
Step 2: Being in your body as you eat and digest your food, means recognizing that some choices make you feel better. As you eat and digest, pay attention to how your food choices really make your feel. If you do not feel light and energetic make a note of what you ate. What combinations of food were involved. Our bodies are amazing in that they tell us so much and when we listen and follow what our bodies really want, we are rewarded with feeling good. It could be that wheat based pasta causes you to have a slump but quinoa pasta does not have that affect. Great news! You have found an alternative choice. Plan more of this into future meals.
Step 3: Responding to what your body is telling you does mean that you get to experiment. Does sugar make you crash? How about honey instead? Does coffee give you jitters? What about jasmine tea, does it have the same result? Taking the scientific approach to listen to our bodies after every meal for a short time can really help us understand what we really need to be healthy.
A few final points:
- Recognize that those around us may not need the same thing as we do. Perhaps they are not affected by certain foods the same way that you are. It is ok for you to not be them.
- In ayurveda we learn that we each have an individual constitution that processes certain foods easier than others. Embracing this knowledge can be a powerful way to choose fun, yummy, nurturing foods that are right for you.
- Eating seasonally can bring you a sense of connection to your food. It can often mean that the food you are eating is also fresher and better nutritionally.
Eating with Ayurveda in mind is fun and we don’t even need to tell people that we are on a diet, or eating differently, we just do what are body has been telling us to do all along.
Eat with digestion in mind. If if feels good. Do more of it!
For more information about how Ayurveda and how living with the seasons can benefit your body consider coming to “Ayurvedic Yoga & Lifestyle: A Seasonal Class”. You can also contact elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See our schedule for all current classes.