·In this latest post I am hoping to share with you some knowledge of functional nutrition and Ayurveda lifestyle and provide you with tools for your body to help you maintain optimal wellbeing over the winter months and beyond.. To prepare your body for winter.
Learn to dance to the rhythm of mother nature - The Solar and Lunar Rhythms
The Solar Rhythm
Do you look at what time you need to get up and then calculate back to the minimum number of minutes you need, to work through your morning routine?
Possibly pressing snooze a couple of times and really pushing it to the limit?
As mornings are darker it becomes even more of a challenge to get out of our beds!.
However in Ayurveda lifestyle "Brahma Muhurta" which is translated to "celebrating an awakening sky" is the principle of getting up as the sun is rising and taking time to breath, stretch, have a warming drink, look at the sky (not your phone), focus on your breath, your body and you BEFORE you start your day.
Working through rituals such as bathing, showering, skin brushing, tongue scraping teeth cleansing and preparing oneself for the day ahead. in a mindful caring manner rather than just zooming through it as fast as you can.
If you rush and don’t give your body time to stabilize the chances are you will be physically and psychologically compromised all day.
Giving yourself just an extra 30 minutes to gently wake up, move and stretch can and does have profound effects- especially on bowel elimination - lest face it no one likes to poop at work and so if you don’t go before you get to your office the chances are you will hold it in and you are literally holding on to LOTS OF TOXINS!!!
It has been shown time and time again that by practising Brahma muhurta and supporting your body as well as managing the food you eat, within a couple of weeks- there will be a really positive effect on your body's elimination processes.
Create your own personal morning routine which works best for you and your amazing body.
The lunar rhythm is the time at the opposite end of the day where as the moon rises in the sky we need to slow down and become more introverted rather than more active.
Spend time on self massage with warming oils. soak your feet in warm water and give them a salt scrub.
Ayurveda suggests we should welcome sleep rather than dismissing night time as part of a wasted day! - Sleep should not be looked upon as an unavoidable biological obligation!
Sleep as you are well aware is very healing.
From an Ayurveda perspective nighttime is possibly the most important time for rejuvenating, refreshing & resting.
Take a warm bath, or shower, have a milky drink, maybe adding in relaxing herbs
Turmeric latte - Warm some milk then add a dash of - Turmeric which is very warming and is also excellent for dampening down inflammation. The proteins in milk can induce sleep- adding a couple of cardamon pods is also lovely. I often use Pukka Turmeric active or night time tea bags in my milky drinks.
Explore the possibility of No phone or TV by bed - far too much stimulation instead opt for a good old fashioned alarm clock, and if you do need to look at something maybe read a book !!!
There is more information on sleep here.
Make where you sleep a sanctuary -make your room as comfortable as possible. Not everyone can or wants to have a bedroom that is like the one below. However, we can all remove clutter, pick up clothes, get into a tidy bed.
As the seasons change there is less stability in nature and this can impact on us as animals.
We become more unstable and often our routines that we have maintained over the warmer and lighter days are disrupted.
If we maintain stability in our lifestyle – with the basics of eating,drinking, sleeping & elimination our health can be better supported.The number of clients I work with who have disrupted eating and find once this is supported other areas of their life seem to become more manageable.
There is an old Ayurveda proverb
"When the diet is wrong medicine is of no use.
When the diet is right medicine is of no need"
Not everyone may agree but we really do need to focus more on our nutrition to prevent illness - both physical and psychological -rather than looking to medicines to cure illness!!!!!
Many principles of functional nutrition go hand in hand with Ayurveda
In order to prepare your body for winter try some of these suggestions
·Eat a seasonal diet
·Eat hot and warming foods – soups and stews, warming drinks
·Minimize cold, raw or frozen foods- stop having ice in drinks and eliminate frozen foods. Difficult in todays fast paced convenience food lifestyle-microwaving and freezing is looked upon as removing the life force from the food we eat.
If you eat out a great deal even if you eat "home cooked" check it is not frozen or microwaved!
·Use spices ginger garlic turmeric chilli, cumin, cloves, cardamon
·Avoid alcohol – makes it more difficult for the liver to eliminate toxins- I have written about this before in a blog
·Stress- physical and psychological impacts our immune systems as well as many other systems of our machines!
Some tips and ideas to support you through the dark days of winter
As well as incorporating Brahma Muhurta and the Luna rhythms
here are some simple ideas that you may want to try:
Ginger and lemon with hot water on waking- sip it as you prepare your body for the day ahead.
Other warming drinks are Hot spicy apple juice- add in cinnamon and cloves
Eat warming fruits such as pineapple, cherry,oranges
Drink Herbal teas or warm water - heated homes and offices can cause dehydration just as much as a hot summer day!
Warming foods – milk, cooked vegetables, nuts, avoid salads and eat more root vegetables. These will help support your gut health by providing soluble fibre for the beneficial bacteria which have a huge role to play in both immunity and psychological health.
Our gut bacteria make specialised cells that help to eliminate viral proteins so if your gut health is out of synch the chances are so will be your immune system. Possibly your mental health too a 80 -90 % of the neurotransmitter serotonin is made by gut bacteria.
Its all to do with reducing inflammation.If we can reduce the inflammatory response, and look after our digestion our amazing machines will flourish.
Try to get some sunlight- for vitamin D which again is essential for immunity- However in the Northern Hemisphere this is an issue (even in the summer months!!)
Fresh air and movement is important and if you can go outside and take some minutes to move. Consider vitamin D supplements and increase your oily fish intake.
We also need to look at not only What we eat but When we eat and How we eat.
Below are some behaviours that nutritionists today including myself promote for wellbeing- The west DID NOT invent these ideas- They have been around for 1000's of years. Prepare your body for winter and focus on these areas.
If you would like to learn more about how functional nutrition and Ayurveda lifestyle can support your wellbeing not only over the winter but long term, please feel free to book a discovery call
I am also running a 2 day luxury retreat at Mitton Hall in the Ribble valley where we will be exploring some of these ideas as well as practising yoga, meditation, breathwork and taking time focus on ourselves.