Are you overwhelmed with change right now? All of the forced changes from this past year can lead to physical, mental, and emotional imbalances. Last week I wrote about how some of the change was really good and asked you to focus on those positive changes that have come into your life this last year, and see how you can keep them going.
Some of the changes this last year were really tough. Our routines and social lives were interrupted. As we go forward together into the new normal, take a look at your new daily routine. How has it changed from pre-pandemic times? My guess is some things have changed, and maybe not in a way that supports your health. I invite you to observe, without judgment, what changes have occurred to your diet, exercise routine, sleep, and other activities? As you are making note of these changes, try to view them through the lens of compassion, it’s been a really tough time, you were doing whatever you could to make it through. When you’re ready, making your health your highest priority will improve all aspects of your life. 2021 can be a joy-filled and fulfilling year!
Over the next few weeks, my blog will focus on the daily routine, or in Sanskrit, dinacharya, healthy daily routines.
Personally, I have to admit I am eating more sugar than I was last year at this time. I’ve gotten into routines with my eating and, because I’m eating alone and doing all of my own cooking, I’m not eating as wide a variety of foods. Sometimes if I make a big pot of dahl or soup, I’ll eat it for many days in a row. Although this is good sustainability practice (no waste) it may not be the optimal way to eat for overall health.
According to Ayurveda, we achieve ultimate health when we eat seasonally (of course keeping our own constitution and digestion in mind). This includes a wide variety of plants in all shapes, sizes, and colors. We strive to “eat the rainbow” as deep rich colors in food indicate they have phytochemicals that have a variety of health-supporting properties. Ayurveda does not necessarily recommend a strictly vegan diet, just that most of your food is plant-based. Modern science agrees with the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda. Now that we know about our microbiome (micro-organisms that live in the gut) and the role it plays in keeping balance in so many systems of the body, we need to remember to eat in such a way that we keep our gut bugs happy.
Gut bugs thrive on lots of lightly cooked veggies and some fruit, and a wide variety of locally sourced, organic, high fiber foods.
It is easy to make small changes last. I’m not asking you to throw out the meat and potatoes. Just add steamed broccoli or roasted carrot and brussels sprouts to your dinner. If you shock your microbiome with a drastic change in your diet you may suffer some digestive upset. This is why crash diets don’t often yield long-term positive results.
How to improve your diet over time:
- Start without judgment, just observe what you eat and when. Whenever I begin work with a new client, I have them keep a food diary and often this awareness brings some surprises when people mindfully make note of everything they eat. Try it!
- Once you know where you are, if you decide you want to eat in a healthier way, make change simple. Add one healthy food at a time. You may need to try several veggies, even some new ones before you find a variety that works with your usual meals and your tastes. Maybe one per day or one per week, whatever works so it doesn’t feel stressful. Stress does not support digestion.
- Slowly over time, you can increase the proportion of veggies in your diet. You can even eat veggies at breakfast!
Let me know how it goes, and have fun with it!