Some days you just gotta drink your veggies!
Last night I went to bed with a bloated, upset belly and I knew that today I had to take action and give my body the chance the heal. My digestion has been sluggish the past few weeks. Ever since India I’ve been a bit fragile in the GI department honestly. When I got back to the US, I did a 2 week long parasite cleanse and then a whole-body herbal cleanse, but even so I’m not 100% back on track. Since returning home, I’ve really been loving cooking and eating my healthy hippie food but I’ve also been indulging a bit too much….going out for fro-yo, eating dark chocolate bars and vegan cookies, chowing on huge hunks of wheat bread with avo, salty potato chips as well as the occasional slice of veggie pizza from Christian’s. Well, the “honeymoon” period is up, I’m back on American soil for good (well, until January…haha…the life of a yogi), and I need to bring a little more awareness to my nutritional needs right now.
So today I’m doing a bit of a flush – no solid food, just lots of fresh veg juices, raw green smoothies, coconut water, herbal tea and purified water with lemon juice. I’m not up for a total no-food fast today, but a flush of this sort is really beneficial. It just fills your body with nutrition and hydration!
From my experience, the best thing do to when your stomach is upset is to simply give it a rest! Whenever we ate food that didn’t sit well when we were traveling, FY and I would simply fast from the next few meals and this always helped. It takes a lot of energy to digest food and if your system is already run down, then forcing it to spend extra energy digesting and processing food is quite taxing. I’m not advocating that you fast all the time or give up eating (no, no, no – food is good! nourish yourself! don’t starve!) but in general, I find that most Americans simply eat too much and too often! There are some trendy dieting techniques these days that proscribe eating 5 or 6 small meals a day. For some people this helps them lose weight initially, but in the long run this is not the way to go. Snacking all the time never gives your digestive organs a break!
The yogis have long known that a key to longevity is to eat lightly and with ample time between meals. Fasting can be very healing for the body and cleansing for the mind as well.
But fasting can be taken to extremes that are unhealthy and overly-taxing to the body too. There seems to be an epidemic within the health-conscious, yoga community of people obsessing over fasting and uber-clean, raw food diets as a way to mask or excuse other eating disorders. As someone who has struggled with anorexia, I’m certainly not condoning starving yourself – this is not healing in the least bit! Being able to eat healthy, organic, nutritious food is a gift and a blessing! Cooking and eating mindfully is a joyful thing that bring great pleasure and satisfaction to my life. I’m not one to routinely starve myself anymore, but instead I’m learning through the journey of healing myself with food/yoga/meditation/mindfulness/writing when it’s appropriate to eat, when it’s ok to indulge and when it’s most beneficial to abstain. It’s a practice and a process for sure.
Today I started off with dry body brushing, a cold shower, tongue-scraping, neti potting and then an hour+ of modified Primary Series (yoga chikitsa – “yoga therapy”) focused on the deep, powerfully tapas-building, prana-regulating ujayyi breathing….and it felt so good!
Well, I’m off to the kitchen to make a mango, kale, spinach, celery, banana and avocado smoothie….oh yea! Life is sweet.