Are you sick of reading more about the best diet and the perfect nutrient combination for perfect health & wellbeing? Are you keen to explore healthy living and eating from a different perspective? Would you love to get to know a very simple, hands-on and practical way of knowing what foods work best for the individual YOU to reach YOUR goals?
Let`s do it. In this Newsletter, I would like to take you all on an excursion to delve into nutrition and healthy eating from an ENERGETIC viewpoint. A nutritional & healthy lifestyle lens that is more than 5000 years old and has proven itself over and over again as incredibly powerful and effective.
I guess, we are all more or less aware of the different effects carbs, fats, and proteins have on our bodies. We know that foods full of micronutrients are nurturing and deeply nourishing whereas those void of fibre, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and other phytonutrients can cause, if eaten in an excess for our lifestyle, situation and make-up, physical and mental imbalance such as weight gain, inflammation, disordered eating and disease.
However, have you ever considered whether the foods you eat also synergistically complement YOU and bring the best out in YOU?
I love combining latest scientific research with ancient wisdom. To me, looking at nutrition, what, when and why to eat for your individual constitution the Ayurvedic way is deeply refreshing, empowering, hands-on and incredibly insightful.
If you are somewhat familiar with Ayurveda, you probably know that in Ayurveda all matter is based on the 5 elements, which are from subtle to rough: ether, air, fire, water and earth. You might also have heard or reads somewhere that these can then further be categorized into the 3 different energy types, or doshas, called Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata is made of the elements space and air and therefore holds the characteristics cold, light, dry, rough, mobile, clear and subtle. Pitta consists of the elements fire and a little water and as such has the qualities hot, sharp, oily, light, spreading and liquid. Whereas Kapha is comprised of the elements water and earth, and thus carries the attributes slow, steady, moist, smooth, oily, cool, and heavy.
According to Ayurveda, we are all born with a certain, unique, combination of those elements. Typically, for most of us this means that we have a dominant and a subdominant dosha. More rarely, some of us also carry equal proportions of all three doshas. Each single one of us has all 3 doshas, but how pronounced one or the other is in YOUR specific case, body and mind, varies greatly and is unique only to YOU.
At birth, this particular make-up of YOU is balanced. This is called your Prakruti and refers to the best, most authentic and vibrant version of you. This is the version of you where you will totally thrive, can make all of your dreams come true, don`t have any healthy struggles and, simply feel, and look your best self. However, then life happens and if we are not mindful of supporting our bodies, minds and Selves the right way along this crazy journey, our perfect Prakruti gets more and more imbalanced, called Vikruti.
I am sure we can all relate to states of imbalances manifesting themselves from time to time be it on a physical or mental level (or on both levels). They may show up in the form of exhaustion, digestive issues, overeating, cravings, insomnia, overwhelm, anxiousness, hopelessness, isolation, procrastination, or the inability to make our goals happen and staying stuck in a cycle of self-sabotage, trauma and negative self-beliefs. I certainly can say that I have experienced all of these in one form or the other at certain times in my life. And no – none of these signs and symptoms added to my glow or elevated my life – to say the least.
The exciting news is that WE ALL have the incredible innate ability to reset and rebalance such chaos if we support our bodies, minds and Selves the right way with foods and a lifestyle that pacify our aggravated doshas.
And here comes the million dollar question. What does this look like for YOU? What is the right way to eat or go about life for YOU?
Ayurveda teaches the healing principle of opposites. That is when you have too many firey qualities within you such as impatience, anger, being judgmental of yourself or others, inflammatory issues or redness in your skin, adding more grounding, earthy and cooling foods will recreate balance. Similarly, instead of engaging in heating activities such as hot yoga, competitive sports or excessive training, it is super beneficial to choose those that calm this burning fire within you. Yin Yoga, Tai Chi or swimming come to my mind – but of course, there are many others.
You may also find that you have too much Kapha, earth and water, within you, which forms a gluey consistency. This may show up in weight gain, lethargy, an unwillingness to change course, experiencing water retention, or slow and sticky bowel movements. You might notice a tendency to head colds, describe yourself as NOT a morning person because it takes you some time to make it out of your comfy bed and get going. Sentiments of heaviness, complacency, stubbornness or possessiveness might seem well familiar to you. To counteract such tendencies foods that are spicy, pungent, astringent, warming and light in nature are super helpful. In addition, adding movement that is more vigorous has life-changing, re-balancing effects on someone with a derailed Kapha dominance.
It is my experience, that most of us, can very much relate to encountering a Vata imbalance of some sort since we live in very fast-paced world. In addition, we spend far too much time on our devices may it be for work or to connect with someone who lives across the world. All of which is related to the Vata dosha of movement and hence if not taken care of properly quickly throws off our innate equilibrium. What does it look and feel like when Vata energy, the energy of air and space, has gone out of sorts? On a physical level, you might experience bloating, gas, and dry skin or hair. Mentally, you might feel super restless, experience insomnia, feelings of anxiousness and seem to be unable to follow through with anything. Even though you are likely to get very enthusiastic about new projects and have an abundance of ideas and creativity, your energy is most often not very focused and has an erratic nature. Before you know it, you have lost interest or have fatigued yourself and need a break. Vata is the most subtle of all doshas and as such can easily influence and derail the other two, so you might be well off calming down your wind energy within you as soon as you become aware of its taking over the sails. Foods that wonderfully soothe overactive Vata energies hold the qualities of sweet, warm, nourishing, oily and grounding like sweet potatoes, ghee, dates, cooked apples, rich soups, oatmeal and stews. In addition, Vata is best kept in check with a well-established daily routine. In terms of movement, Vata individuals do best with slow, steady and strengthening exercise. Of all the three doshas, Vata needs the most sleep but often finds it the hardest to make their sleep a priority and to get enough quality sleep.
Please keep in mind that this entire balancing act demands of us to continuously keep checking in with ourselves to become aware of what is going on in our bodies and lives and then adjust and adapt accordingly. Just because you might be born with more percentages of pitta or kapha, this does not necessarily mean that you automatically always have to eat a pitta kapha balancing diet. As I said before, your Vata might be completely out of whack and if you then continue to add more drying foods to this imbalance, you are actually making things worse – not better.
YOUR body is always in flow and forever changing and so are you. So keep observing all the many signals your body is sending you all the time and then adapt and adjust lovingly. If you are a born athlete (pitta) but are totally restless, always cold and can`t sleep, adding in more raw juices is going to create more havoc. If you are born with luscious hair, skin and are usually the most loving person on earth (kapha), but find that you experience hot flashes, red skin or inflammation, adding more heating spices is literally the worst thing you can do. Similarly if you are born with a light frame, joints and have always been rather cold, but suddenly you have put on weight and are experiencing a lot of mucus related issues, continuing to on a Vata pacifying course will make things only worse.
So to sum up how you can fairly easily and quickly take balancing action on a synergistically energetic level, follow those 3 super powerful quick steps:
- Before you consume anything whether it`s food, a movie or a piece of information, take note of how you are feeling in your body and mind.
- Contemplate whether the “food” you are going to ingest has a similar energy to the one your body and mind is in right now.
- If so, make an empowered decision whether you are going ahead with this ingestion or if it was smarter and served you better to tweak your “feed”. You can easily add opposing characteristics with the use of spices, herbs, by adjusting its temperature, pace, amount, or by changing the underlying sentiment with which you going about it.
To finish off, I would like to share two more super empowering and important thoughts on nourishing yourself with the “right foods” for YOU.
- In Ayurveda, there are no good or bad foods. Even food completely empty of any wholesome goodness can have its place in your healthy life and diet if consumed at the right time, in the right amounts and with the right intention.
I love this and find this incredibly freeing and so different from all those rigid food rules that we all too often encounter in our Western world and lives.
- Secondly, food is not just, what we put into our mouths. Ayurveda considers everything as food for our senses. The information we take in, the relationships we engage in (also the relationship with ourselves), what we choose to read and watch, the words we listen to (also the words we say to ourselves), the colours, odours and textures we use on a daily basis. All of this is food to our bodies, minds and Selves and has the power to rebalance or disturb our physical, mental and emotional balanced versions of us.
Am I always doing the right thing for my individual make-up? Definitely not. But, I love how Ayurveda gives me a fairly simple, straightforward way how I can come back to more balance whenever I notice that something within or outside of me does not feel great.
Ayurveda also reminds us that everything is in constant flow and that it is not about the destination but rather about empowering oneself with ways that work so we can live our best lives – whatever this looks like for you, only YOU know.
Please never forget that you have the incredible innate ability to reset, rejuvenate and rebalance and that you were born to live your best life – so please make sure you do!
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E-BOOK COMING SOON:
In addition, my free E-book on 7 Unforgettable Mistakes on How To Lose That Weight is coming soon. In this E-book I will share with you all my experience and knowledge that I have accumulated over the last decade, so that you don`t have to go through trial and failure but can ditch the diet culture and THRIVE. I am very grateful that I get to lift up amazing human beings like YOU every day which is why I am going to make this E-book available for everyone without any cost. I believe in giving back to the community and share the love. I will make sure I will keep you posted on the publishing date!