What I Learned from my Digestive Reset

Last year I did my first Digestive Reset. The purpose is to promote health by helping us align with nature’s rhythms. In the Fall our nervous system and digestive systems are more sensitive to stress. This also effects our immune system, given that it activates during times of stress to protect us. This digestive reset helps us to prepare, balance and align with the changes in the qualities from summer to fall.  The nitty gritty involved a process of eliminating some stuff from my diet (I chose things like gluten, black tea, sugar, chocolate and red meat) and adding some self-care practices like body oiling, tongue scraping, neti, daily meditation,  yoga, alternate nostril breathing along with a mono-diet that involved eating Kitchari for breakfast, lunch and dinner and eliminating snacking. Since it was the first time there was definitely a learning curve with some of the spices and getting the right texture for the mung beans and rice.  The self-care practice was easy peasy compared to the diet portion. Caffeine and sugar withdrawal are definitely brutal for the first couple days.  Eating the same thing everyday was torture after the 2nd or 3rd day. I admit I had to cheat a little bit just to have some variety while still trying to stick to an Ayurvedic diet. Like a recurring injury that arises because of a physically weak spot in our bodies, I started to notice the  weaknesses in my mind and the stories I’d tell myself about my perceived struggle. You definitely start to learn some lessons about your relationship to food and perceived hunger. I say “perceived” hunger because those feelings of hunger are usually because something else is going on (thirst, boredom, stress).  Despite the struggles I ended up feeling better because of it. All abdominal bloating from my previous eating habits had disappeared and I discovered to my pleasure that I actually have a nice flat belly! Who knew! Energy was up and consistent. I was sleeping great and aches and pains settled out. 

My experience this year, while similar has a greater sense of ease to the whole process. This year I experienced a headache interspersed with migraines for the first 6 days and then I felt great after. Unlike last year, I mastered my Kitchari making skills and it wasn’t hard to stick to the mono-diet. Like anything, a little bit of planning and intention setting can do wonders. I was also much better able to listen to the signals my body was providing and the struggle was much, much less. Sticking with my meditation practice felt easier and I could sit for longer. As an added bonus I even lost some weight without restricting food and feeling hungry.

This year I started my second Fall Digestive Reset after Thanksgiving  (they are done during seasonal transitions going into Fall and Spring). It was 10 days (the spring one is a month). This what I learned for myself:

  1. Abdominal discomfort and bloating are definitely diet related.
  2. Our bodies are masters at adapting to what we put it in. The withdrawal symptoms are clear signals of what I was putting in was keeping me limited and creating cravings.
  3. Eating wholesome, nutritious food, regularly at meal times cuts down on the desire to snack and decreased cravings.
  4. Feeling hungry and going to the grocery store with my husband shed light on all kinds of food cravings that I probably would have given into otherwise. Shop when satiated. Make healthy choices.
  5. If you can get through the headaches and irritation you are going to feel light, clean and energized after. I feel less desire to jump back into old eating habits. (although as my load increased babysit my niece and nephew so did my old eating habits. A curious correlation between stress and food…)
  6. The second time around was much easier than last year.
  7. My gut doesn’t like milk and caffeine makes me more tired and foggy. I kinda already knew this but now definitely confirmed.

This spring I will participate in a month long digestive reset as a part of my yoga therapy training program. If you are interested in learning more visit my Ayurvedic teacher Mona Warner at Janati Yoga.

 

Part 3: Ayurvedic Self Care for Cold and Flu Season

Welcome to Part 3 of Ayurvedic Self Care for Cold and Flu Season. In Part I I discussed some self-care practices to build into your morning routine and in Part 2 I shared some evening self-care practices for better sleep. In Part 3, I wanted to share a practice I will be participating in and I invite you to join me.

In October I will be participating in a Digestive Reset program by one of my teachers, Mona Warner who is an Ayurvedic counsellor and yoga therapist. When the season and weather changes, it is an ideal time to do a digestive reset. Fall is becoming cooler, we are likely to feel less grounded and this can impact our nervous system and gut which can lead to decreased immunity and onset of cold and flu.

The benefits of doing a digestive reset  include, better digestion, more energy, more clarity, better sleep and feeling better overall.

If you would like to join me this October I will create a Facebook group so we can hold each other accountable and be there to support each other. The program  is a 9 day, self-guided, online program. The program includes educational videos explaining why a digestive reset is important, an e-book with recipes, shopping list and how do the reset. In October there will be live Q&A dates with Mona as well as access to the video of the calls. The cost is $75. You can purchase the program and find more on her website.

I will begin the Digestive Reset program on October 10, 2018. I hope you’ll join me!

Stay tuned for my next post on Toilet Meditation!

 

 

 

Recipe of the Month: Fruit Enzyme Drink

Kombucha and Kefir water seem to be in all the health food stores these days touting their health benefits. While I enjoy a good kombucha every now and again I thought I’d share a recipe for a fruit enzyme drink that I learned how to make in a detox program I took a couple years ago while I was living in Hong Kong.

Pineapple lemonmanuka honey

According to my yoga teacher and homeopathic doctor who ran the detox program, pineapple enzyme helps to breakdown proteins for digestion and it has anti-inflammatory properties to speed up post-workout recovery. It is also loaded with vitamins and minerals including calcium, potassium, fiber and vitamin C. Other benefits include: strengthens weak bones (manganese in the enzymes is needed by the body to build bone and connective tissues); it helps keep gums healthy; prevents macular degeneration (it contains a lot of beta-carotene); helps arthritis (bromeliad in the enzyme is an effective anti-inflammatory); fewer coughs and colds; aids digestion; helpful for upper respiratory tract infections such as Sinusitis and Bronchitis; can help reduce the risk of blood clots;

Fruit enzyme drink lasts for 2 weeks, which is about 1 shot per day. Store in a glass container.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pineapple – peeled cut in slices
  • 3 lemons – thin round slices with the skin.
  • Manuka Honey
  • Filtered water

Before you begin, wash your hands and the fruit, cutting board and knives. It is imperative that everything is sterilized so that you do not let any bacteria get in.

  1. In a glass container, pour enough water to cover the bottom surface.
  2. Place pineapple slices on the bottom (1 layer)
  3. Cover pineapple with a layer of lemon slices.
  4. Take a big spoonful of Manuka honey and drizzle all over the lemons.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 like layering a lasagna until you get to the top of your container or run out of fruit. The top layer should be mostly lemons with honey. The honey helps prevent bacteria from growing.
  6. Fill the container about 80%-90% full and on the very top cover with pure raw honey.
  7. Pour more water on the sides until it is just below the top of the surface level.
  8. Put a lid on the container. Let it sit (not in the fridge) in a warm place. Check it in 3 days. You will notice it starts to bubble.  If you notice black bacteria forming you need to throw the mixture away. White bacteria is okay.

Open the lid every 3 days to release gasses. After a total of 7-9 days, strain the liquid into a glass jar. The fruit enzyme should taste like a sweet, fruity wine, and be slightly alcoholic. Throw the rinds away and put the juice in the fridge.

Consume daily as a shot or mix with sparkling water.

Bonus Recipe:

Keep lemon and pineapple peels to make GARBAGE ENZYME.

For this recipe it is okay to use a plastic container.

Ingredients:

  • You can use any kind of fruit feels but lemon and pineapple are the best.
  • 1 1/4 cup of water
  • 3/4 cup of any kind of brown sugar

Place all the ingredients in the plastic container and shake it together. Store the container in a safe place. Pop the lid ever 3-7 days to allow gasses to escape. Let it sit for 3 months in a warm climate or 5 months in a cooler climate, like Canada. Don’t forget to write the date!

After 5 months, strain into a spray bottle. Throw peels away. The acidity in the Garbage Enzyme kills bacteria and can be used as a multipurpose household cleaner and to wash your clothes. Apparently it also repels ants and other insects! It smells citrusy and is 100% eco friendly.

 

To find out more about doing a yoga/detox program or to get help in making your fruit enzyme drink contact me today.