Benefits of eating seasonally

paleoeffect_seasonal_guideThe wonder of nature is that once we start following its rotation and synchronize our activities to the different energetic periods of various cycles, our lives start flowing with effortless ease. Once we collaborate with nature it will grant us great boons.

Cravings

Cravings can be good and bad, rising when the brain and the body are in need of nourishment of some sort. Bad cravings rise when we have fallen out of alignment with our routines. Incorrect eating habits can leave the body undernourished even if we have eaten a lot. A hefty lunch, eaten in haste can create a strong craving soon after eating because the digestive process has not started properly, is slow or stopped all together.

Cravings for sugar in the afternoon are a response to brain’s emergency need for fuel. The energy from sugar is released in the mouth but only lasts for a short period of time. Then craving after craving follows, leading to confused digestive rhythms.

The brain is nourished by food, by feelings and by emotions. Once there is undernourishment or malnourishment a craving rises and can be uncontrollable. The brain can translate foods as emotional comfort and vice versa by taking positive, loving thoughts and emotions for nourishment. Once we nourish our brains routinely with the correct kind of food and impressions we make sure our emotional life is kept in balance as well. With a well-nourished brain we are able to stay alert, concentrate and focus more easily as well as using our memories and imagination in a positive and creative way. But a tired brain deprived of nourishment responds first by expressing a craving.

A good craving arises when we follow seasonal dietary guidelines and maintain a daily routine that keeps our digestion, absorption and elimination under control. Once we have a good daily rhythm we start craving things only when we are hungry and our stomach is ready to start processing another load. Amazingly we also crave foods that are exactly in season. It will become hard or unsatisfying to eat kale in October and November because it would highly aggravate vata. Instead, the craving for kale is natural in spring, which is in season to pacify kapha. Then we can enjoy it to our heart’s content.

The taste sensation can be completely different from one season to another. Following what nature wants us to do and listening to our bodies needs doesn’t have to be hard at all. In winter we naturally gravitate towards warm and heavy soups and in summer we crave light salads. We find great satisfaction in filling the desires of the palate with exactly what we find in nature.

Acidity

The amount of acidic food eaten has dramatically increased in Western diets. The first and foremost reason for this is because of the quantities of white sugar and flour we consume. Secondly, we eat meat that has been reared by feeding the wrong kind of food. The meat of a cow that has been grown in a pasture eating grass is much less acidic than its industrially grown and fed counterpart.

Also, fruits and vegetables are different as regards acidity and alkalinity. Our diets should contain one third acidic foods and two-thirds alkaline foods. Eating a seasonal diet satisfies this need. Spring and summer diets are alkaline and an autumn and winter diet is acidic. Once we rotate seasonal food items on our plates we naturally keep this balance under control.

Ideal weight

Each individual has his or her ideal weight. Different body types naturally vary in their perfect balance of weight and height. Kapha people naturally tend to be more robust with thicker skin than vata people. Vatas are usually leaner and have thinner skin. Pitta people fall in the middle of these two and tend towards a medium sized body frame.

Following seasonal dietary guidelines is highly beneficial because our bodies naturally maintain a weight that benefits a long life, with good stamina to fight disease. Even though we might put weight on during winter, changing our diets to highly detoxifying and weight-decreasing spring diets will help us to get rid of the excess effortlessly. The spring diet will trigger the body to burn fat for energy. With this maneouver the body will be able to digest all the carbohydrates it is offered over summer.

Detoxing

Our bodies fall under the influence of toxins through two routes: internal and external. The external sources of toxins come mainly from food (industrial), household and beauty chemicals, radiation, plus industrial and vehicle pollution. The internal sources of toxins are faulty digestion and metabolism. Even if we lived in the cleanest part of the world and used no chemicals for cleaning ourselves and our environment, we would still fall prey to toxins – those created by a faulty digestive process.

Our digestive power varies according to the time of day and of season. It also varies depending on our eating habits. Sometimes we eat at the wrong time, or eat a lot in the evening and go to bed without having fully digested our food. There are many times in life when it’s not possible to follow nature’s guidance, for example when sickness or travel put our systems under pressure and slow down or speed up digestion to an abnormal level. As a consequence, food either stays in the gut too long or too little a time.

Whatever the reason for the accumulation of toxins, it is good to do a detox every so often. The good news is that by following an ayurvedic daily and seasonal routine of diet, the body does this naturally. The morning is dedicated to clearing slow and cold mucous collected during the night as well as to turning on the enzymes. They burn off undigested material from the stomach and gut, which are potential causes of toxins. Also, the body is set to burn fat for energy. This is really important because the toxins lodge in the fatty tissue and when we burn fat, we burn toxins.

Identically, spring season is the part of the year when the body is willing to dispel toxins. The power of detoxing is strong if we treat our bodies accordingly. The spring diet is full of detoxifying alkaline food items like leafy greens: high in chlorophyll, they scrape and clean the gut and nourish the good bacteria to do their work. Also, springtime is the period when we should increase the use of spices and herbs in our kitchen as they easily manipulate the digestive and metabolic powers. Digestive spices such as turmeric, pepper, ginger, parsley, rosemary and chilli are all very familiar to us.

Ideally there would be no need to go on a specific detox if we just followed the daily and seasonal routines for the most part in our lives. Then the body will burn the fat that contains toxins and keep our digestive power strong so that any other toxins that enter the system are dealt with efficiently and eliminated without causing havoc.

Budget

One of the great benefits of a seasonal diet is that it is cheap. Being in season, these food items are cheaper than those grown artificially in the wrong season or brought to the supermarket from a great distance. We can perhaps grow food ourselves in our gardens or terraces, or go to gather nature’s resources straight from the source. Mushrooms, berries and wild herbs like dandelion are all there to be collected in abundance, given the right season. They can be made into preserves or dried and enjoyed at a later stage.

The benefits of the daily and seasonal routines are multiple. Once the wheel starts turning and we find synergy between nature and our individual tendencies and behavioural patterns, the effort to stay healthy and strong is minimal.

Following nature’s way is to follow our true purpose of living. Once we find it, the path opens up clearly in front of us and choices that take us in the right direction become natural. We start naturally rejecting what is harmful and gracefully lean towards the healthier options in life.

Pulling oil

photo-1One of the most interesting and certainly most exotic sounding routine to integrate in our daily life is oil pulling, an ancient ayurvedic practice of detoxing. By this we mean gargling our mouths with a high quality oil for 10 to 20 minutes at one time. This method is increasing in popularity because new research is showing its efficiency. Every magazine, blog and health related publication is talking about it and so are we. This is because it really works. I can’t stop praising this practice and it has, yet again, proved it is the best way to heal my gums.

Oil pulling is excellent for the health of your teeth and gums. It is a marvel against sensitive teeth as oil, especially sesame oil, pacifies the nerves and reduces pain and sensitivity. Being antibacterial sesame oil reduces plaque and pulls toxins from the mouth. This wonderful quality also works really well on gum disease, like I can personally prove now. I had a naughty trigger happy dentist doing a cowboy’s job in my mouth. Never mind… (I took him to court but he is still practicing). Anyway, amongst other things I am left with a reoccurring gum infection. But, this is not my undoing as I have my dear sesame oil at hand: the best weapon ever towards oral bacteria and plaque.

Two days ago the infection started again and in two days I’m in the clear again. I usually pull oil two to three times a week. Now I increased the frequency to every evening and every morning. The result always impresses me. In two days the problem is solved. I’m so excited I just can’t stop writing about it in a public blog!!!

Wishing you all gum disease colleagues a life of healthy gums!

Life – Light – Love

 

Rules for sensible eating

sheknowsHave you ever noticed that after finishing a plate of food you actually didn’t taste much of what you ate? Did it go down with such speed and volume that the only thing to stop you eating more was the stomach stretching to levels that started hurting? Yes, I’ve done that too. Many times. What used to happen after hurrying back home from work with an empty stomach is not something I want to share here, but my point is that when stressed, you make wrong decisions. This is the number one rule of sensible eating: you should be relaxed when you start your meal.

What and how you eat is incredibly important and often how is even more important than what. Even the healthiest foods can become toxic if you eat them in a wrong way, be that too much, too fast or eaten in a wrong combination. If you have a plateful of raw spinach that you firstly don’t want to eat because it has no salt or butter on it, your salivary glands don’t excrete enough saliva. Your digestive power goes down when you have no appetite for what’s on your plate. Then, the enzymes in your stomach do not work well because you haven’t secreted enough saliva, and whatever happens thereafter in your gut is not something to brag about (but it has something to do with toxins). So this then is rule number two of sensible eating: make sure your food is appetising.

You also have to make sure you have understood if your need to eat is because you are actually hungry and not just because you have an appetite. Rule number three consists of making sure you don’t eat before you’ve digested your previous meal. There is however (& hooray), a trick you can try to test this. When you get a craving have half a glass of warm water. If this makes you burp, you have not fully digested yet and should wait until the previous meal has left the bottom of your stomach.

These are a few helpful practical tips for your everyday life. If you are interested in knowing more, come for a health consultation at our centre. When you book, remember to mention this article and you’ll get a 15% discount on your first session, or if you prefer to book online, simply use the promocode “toxinfree”.