The “NOW” Diet

Sat nam…mtherlvrs…

Why my restricted diet didn’t work:

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I grew up in a controlling home; Mum and Dad were eastern Europeans and followed the mantra of “finish what’s on your plate before you can leave the table”. Food was served to me, and I rebelled growing up by ordering chicken fingers and fries on special request at every dinner out (even when not on the menu). “Picky eater” was what I was dubbed. But in retrospect, I can see that my little self was trying to solidify herself in self-assurance and in my rebelling, I was attempting to gain control over my own life. I became so keen to rebel that it then became my identity because I was so sick and unhappy of being told what or when to eat. Essentially, my identity became “Fuck you, I’ll do the opposite of what you want me to do.” The trouble lay in my identity becoming a mask of coping through rebellion, instead of true intuitive listening to my own needs. What the hell did I like to eat?

Long ass food journey of Bulimia, Anorexia, seasoned with Anxiety and Depression. Honestly, now, as I heal, I can say that self-awareness and being present is the key to finding myself. There is no fear and no need to escape myself when I’m present. If I dissociate, numb myself, mindlessly eat shit that bloats me, if I don’t tune into my true hungers, be them mind-based or physiological or BOTH, then I lose myself. The cycle continues in this catalyzing way, the vicious turmoil of pain and more pain, craving more and more escape. More water, more salt, more foods that engage my psychological needs to FEEL (think shitloads of Tabasco, heat, FEELINGS, SENSATIONS, etcetc).

After high school and university, binge-purge escapism persisted. I was a sensationalist. I rebelled so hard and didn’t eat the “real food” served at home, buying into my now-ingrained habit of rebellion by way of non-food items (egg white fluff pancakes, fat-free coffee whitener, sugar free jam…copious amounts of splenda…) paved way to finding a healthier way in more routine, and Timothy Ferriss’s “slow-carb” diet. This was a new awakening for me. A peek at physiological nourishment. So I followed, strictly. Slowly, binges stopped. I ate on time, without hours of punitive fasting, and real food like eggs and hummus. But my deep sense of self was still not looked at. I was covering up the wound, not looking at the pain, again, escaping. I’ll bless my own soul for surviving though, because each step along this journey has molded my NOW. Thanks sexci Ferriss for the SC diet because it gave me nourishment, body nourishment and not soul, albeit, but still good food. But, HARK- (?)

This new diet, “Paleo” became what I believed to be my saviour. But then my life gradually took on an insane routine-oriented blinding, rubbish-path. Obsessed with timing of food, and so keen to listen to body hunger cues while still bloating and dishonouring my intuition, I closed off my own life.

Today, right now, I am changing. More aware of myself than ever before, I don’t want to hide from my feelings anymore. When I release this stronghold of routine, I am forced to FEEL. When I feel all of my needs, all my body’s speech, I am so goddamn grounded. Fuck, I just now had the first real food breakfast I’ve had in years, instead of my usual super-diluted protein-powdered blended “smoothie bowl” (sometimes smoothies good, sometimes chew, aye?!). What I am realizing is that the reasons my “diet” and most “diets” don’t work, is because WE are always changing. We have to constantly tune into our needs, no singular rules will work. For example, kefir, good shit, right? Honestly though, not alllll the time! Sometimes my body doesn’t want kefir, and sometimes it does. That’s WORK. That’s discomfort in awareness. Listening, because we are DYNAMIC beings, this human shit we partake in. Always changing, no constant, no definitive rules. Sometimes poo 2x a day, sometimes 4 (sorry for those less than 2….bless your souls….might I suggest flax? sometimes…).

That’s that. I’m on my way. We all are, aren’t we?

And now, some funny indian comedy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o_GAZMnmuM&t=70s

Have a sweet ass Monday!

Feeding your Inner Child

food cravings

Food cravings are often confounded in media towards sweet and fatty foods. When sitting down for a meal, are you mindful of what your body is craving?  Steak (low in iron), veggies (alkaline/acidic), ginger (antiinflammatory), or anything else.  Whether your body is acidic, alkaline or nutrient-deficient, the body language speaks in hints and whispers to tell us what we need. Often we seek the advice of health professionals, external resources once illness ensues, in order to get the answer we seek. But if our own bodies are posing the questions, should we not know the answers ourselves? We are all we need to be happy and healthy, and when we tune into our body’s requests, bringing mindful awareness into and around feeding, rest, and our fundamental needs, we will not reach the point of illness. And if we do, if we listen, often our own voices are enough to tell us how to heal and repair.

self-care_-bomb_Think of a pregnant woman, nurturing inside her a child. She will have these fluctuating and demanding food cravings. Some, seemingly bizarre. As a mother is carrying a child, we are also carrying inside us our inner child. We have food and specific flavour cravings, but unlike an expecting mother, we are often taught mixed signals about suppressing our needs in favour of work and other demands. A mother knows the critical importance of feeding her child, but we often sideline and back-burn our needs as adults. These whispers and pleas from our body build up, we get confused, and often end up reaching for a sugar hit when stress accumulates and we have forgone our needs for too long. Our inner child needs to be addressed; our awareness needs not be clouded. When we practice mindfulness around body signals and tuning into our body’s language, we learn intuitive eating, just as an expecting mother does when she craves certain things that the baby needs. However in society, an expecting mother is given the space to help the child grow. Her purpose is for giving the baby the best care it can in order to grow. Society doesn’t give space for adults alike to learn this, let along children. Our purposes lie in the roles society subliminally guides us to through social norms. Be that work, school, parenting, caring for others before ourselves. We cannot help others if we have not yet helped ourselves. So, we must relearn to listen. In this way, we can learn to give our bodies what they need instead of suppressing requirements in favour of what society deems priority.

It seems that the idea behind self-love by treating your inner child with love and proper nourishment is thought to be insignificant and selfish versus necessary and self-interested. So our busyness leads us to a block with our awareness channel of our minds to our bodies, and we get sick, overweight and unhappy. We cannot change other people’s stigmas on the need for our health as a priority, but we can change our own belief systems. We can start by understanding the need to nourish our inner child. After all, we are the beings that were so cared for in the womb. We owe it to ourselves to attend to ourselves with as much care and intention. It is time for us to treat ourselves as our little child versions, as did our caregivers and mothers.

Start with mindfulness around your needs. Before eating, take a brief second or a walk around the block if you can spare it, and inquire to your body what it is craving. This takes time and a healthy dose of self-interest (not selfishness) to devote yourself to your own health. Remember, without this space for yourself, your body’s voice will be muffled or silenced, resulting in a buildup of cravings, eventually a crash.  Beginning with a mindful practice around eating opens opportunity to truly nourish your body instead of ending up confused, deprived, famished and ill.

 

Elephant Journal Article: 12 Ayurvedic Tips for Healthy Eating. ~ Julie Bernier

I’d like to post this great article from Elephant Journal that explains some tips for healthy eating that are even more important than WHAT we’re eating, but HOW we’re eating.
This is one of the biggest themes in my life, and sharing how I’ve learned some great lessons to tailor my own healing journey is one of my most intuitively integral purposes in my life.
lifestyle design
I am creating a Lifestyle Design Package for a template, as well as a free daily example of what a well-designed, routinized day looks like.  I’ll be offering the package for a 30 day deal, with a one-week jump start to reboot your life, and begin to make changes to engineer a life with healthier habits for finding your ideal weight, lowering stress, improving digestion and gut health, as well as calming the mind and dispelling chronic illnesses and insomnia.
The plan will include:
  • Scheduled eating times throughout the day
  • Movement and walks prior to each meal
  • Mindful breathing practice for 60s prior to each meal
  • 7 Thirty minute workouts for each day of the week (one active rest day of stretching/Yoga included)
  • Ayurvedic/Paleo/Sattvicly inclined meal options including recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and snacks
  • Highlights on where to focus on mindfulness meditation techniques including: awareness of body and mind-state, stress state, intuition, commitment, self-duty, authenticity to self and others
  • Emphasis on maintainable plan that is fine tuned to the individual, for longterm change, CONSISTENCY, slowing down, surrendering to intuition, and a sense of calmness and being grounded.
Side effects include: improved immunity, happy demeanour, positive attitude, good poops, more fun, and wholesome, holistic health. 🙂

It’s More Than What We Eat: 12 Ayurvedic Tips for Healthy Eating. ~ Julie Bernier

Julie Bernier

Via on Oct 13, 2013

holiday-eating-binging-nutrition-health

A lot of us really care aboutwhat we eat.

We buy organic, avoid GMOs, weigh up antioxidants, evaluate the glycemic index: all factors relating to the quality of the food entering our bodies.

Props to us for doing our research and making healthy choices, but it’s all done in vain if we don’t give as much attention to the process of eating itself. It’s not only what we eat, but alsohow we eat that matters.

Ayurveda, the science of life, teaches us how to eat.

This concept may seem a little silly at first. After all, we’ve got decades of practice under our belts!

But let’s face it, the norm in our busy American lives is eating in the car, standing up, when we’re stressed, in a rush and chowing down on cold leftovers straight from the fridge. Under these conditions, we don’t digest properly and even the most wholesome food becomes unwholesome to the body. There’s certainly room for improvement.

For this reason, Ayurveda gives us upayoga samstha: the art of eating.

Here are the guidelines:

1. Eat when your food is warm.

It shouldn’t be too hot or too cold. Warm food ensures we don’t snuff out the agni (digestive fire) and makes for good digestion.

2. Eat freshly cooked food.

Fresh food is full of prana (life force) and nutrients. These start to diminish soon after it’s cooked. By the time it’s a leftover, the properties have changed and it’s heavy for the body to digest. Cooking every single meal may not be realistic but at least try to avoid food that’s been cooked more than 24 hours before.

3. Eat the right quantity of food.

Overeating leads to indigestion and undereating leads to loss of strength. There’s no standard amount that’s right for everyone because we’re all different sizes and have different needs. Find your right amount by filling your belly 50 percent with food, 25 percent with liquids and leave 25 percent empty for digestive action.

4. Chew your food thoroughly and eat at a moderate pace.

Digestion starts in the mouth.Chewing your food properly makes it easier for the rest of the system to process.

5. Wait until the previous meal is digested before eating again.

Ayurveda says that feeding the system too soon is a major cause of ill health. How to know if your food is digested? You should feel light, enthusiastic, hungry, and thirsty.

6. Eat around the same time each day.

The body thrives on routine. The digestive system does well when it can expect its meals at a certain hour. It’s prepared and ready for action.

7. Eat when you’re hungry.

Hunger (meaning true hunger, not the munchies) is a natural urge that should not be suppressed. Once you’ve got an eating routine going, you’ll find that you’re hungry when it’s meal time and won’t crave snacks. Listen to your body’s hunger cues when given.

8. Never eat when you’re upset.

Wholesome food will lose its wholesomeness in the digestive tract if it’s eaten with a negative state of mind. If you’re upset, angry or crying, postpone eating until you feel better.

9. Eat in a quiet, settled atmosphere.

A calm environment promotes a calm mind. And the state of mind has a direct impact on the physical body and the process of digestion.

10. Always sit down to eat.

Try your best not to eat in the car, while walking or even while standing. The body doesn’t want to multitask when you’re eating. Sitting ensures that all your energy is given to digestion.

11. Concentrate on your food.

When you give it your full attention it will taste better, you’ll enjoy it more and you’ll be less tempted to overeat because you’ll notice those cues of satiation. Avoid distractions like eating in front of the TV, reading or working.

12. Sit for a few minutes after each meal.

Don’t eat and run. Just be still for a little while to let your digestive system do its thing.

These guidelines are simple but make a big difference. When you choose seasonal, local, organic foods appropriate for your body andeat them in the right manner, your body can process the food the way it’s supposed to.

Good health starts with good digestion.

How Food and Emotion are connected

In Ayurveda, there’s big emphasis on the state of mind, and how food affects us.

Did you know that food, and the way we eat, and how we feel while, during, and after eating plays a huge role in how we live our lives?

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Hansaji Yogendra of The Yoga Institute in Mumbai, India, has great insight onto this topic in her article Yogic Principles of Healthy Eating:

The ancients knew this long ago – they equated food with God. Thus, were developed rituals and practices like praying before meals, eating with full concentration, relishing the meal, etc. Therefore while eating, one should attend to the way food is being chewed, the subtle tastes of the different food items, the way it goes down the oesophagus to the stomach, etc.

When food is eaten thus, with one -pointedness, the assimilation and absorption of food is at its best. This is the ideal way to eat food. Alternatively, one could also indulge in polite conversations bringing joy and happiness. Avoid watching television while eating. One should also try to go beyond likes and dislikes and not have a negative opinion about food. Most physical ailments are caused due to unhealthy food habits.

Moderation is the key word. Eat food as a duty, eat only as much as will make you feel hungry after 4 hours. Remember that food we eat is only to sustain us and our body’s proper functioning, avoid overeating just because you like the taste of the food. Instead eat what you love slowly, relishing every part of the meal; that way you will feel fuller faster and not crave for more food.

Furthermore, here are some key points to take home:

Tips to eat right from dawn to dusk

  • While lying in bed on your back inhale 5 seconds and exhale deeply 5 seconds. While going for a walk inhale for 2 steps, exhale for 2 steps. Follow this pattern for about hundred steps. This will help you wake up feeling happy and relaxed.
  • Appreciate whatever there is on your plate. In case some taste is unpleasant for you, instead of becoming critical, enjoy every morsel of food and be happy that you have some food to eat, unlike others who do not. Our likes and dislikes have to be tempered by what is good for us. Remember to chew your food thoroughly. Make sure you do not have another morsel ready as you chew, this will tend to rush your meal. Wait till you have swallowed the food in your moth before you pick up the next morsel.
  • If your job is a sedentary one, get up every half an hour and walk a few steps.
  • Change the position of your legs often, this helps prevent swelling in the legs and keeps your blood circulation in order. Whenever possible close the eyes and think. Listen more and speak less.

Now here is a log that I used to track my emotions and how I felt after eating different foods.  I noticed consistently that there was a theme to how I felt after consuming different foods.  The Ayurvedic food groups are tracked into 3 Categories:

According to Yoga, the type of food you eat determines the type of mind , you have. As the food, so the mind; As the mind, so the man. Therefore, eat easily digestible food or

  1. Sattvic food which includes: Milk and milk products fresh fruits and dry fruits seasonal vegetables, cereals (like wheat, unpolished rice, jowar, bajra, corn), pulses (like moong dal – green with skin and yellow), sprouted cereals and pulses. A little ginger, turmeric powder (haldi), cumin seeds (jeera), coriander powder (dhania). Honey, jaggery, crystal sugar (misry), raw sugar (gud shakkar), ghee or rice brand oil and filtered oil (groundnut or till oil). Eating this food brings relaxation and a feeling of peace.What not to eat?
  2. Only little of rajasic food may be eaten. This food is difficult to digest and leaves one in a disturbed state of mind. All non-vegetarian foods, hot spices, onions, garlic, non-seasonal vegetables and salt fall in this category.
  3. Tamasic food is unnatural and stale. All refined, processed, artificially coloured, flavoured and deep frozen foods are Tamasic in nature.

NOW: Keep in mind that moderation in moderation is key.  This info is powerful knowledge, and so use to your digression.  Every body is different, so why not experiment with the log below to see how you feel?  It’s a cool self-experiment.

Mind and Body Reaction to Food Intake: Rate each which is applicable /10

This is a log which is a tool to use in order to see how our food choices affect the way we function in our minds and bodies. Food is a powerful medicine that affects not only our body functioning, but also our state of mind and state of being. This log is a way to watch how we feel after eating the food we eat, in a way to mindfully shift our behaviours after becoming aware of the way our choices are driving our sense perceptions.

  Morning Afternoon Evening
Time of Eating      
Food      
Mental state prior to eating      
Perceived Quantity      
Calmness      
Clarity      
Stress-level      
Mental comfort      
Physical Comfort      
Energy Level      
Happiness      
Self-Image      
Confidence      
Anxiety      
Ease/dis-ease      
Satiety      
Other      

Here’s an extra vid of brilliant insight if you want to hear more about Hansaji, and what she has to share: