Let’s admit it, most people on earth prefer immediate gratification in most areas of their life, particularly when it comes to feeling and looking good. The majority of people can get talked into anything, as long as it’s quick and easy. Unfortunately, when it comes to improving the overall quality of our health and wellness ‘quick and easy’ will not always yield sustainable results. But it can be a great starting point, like an instant switch button, to implementing positive habit forming rituals, which in the long run will significantly improve the quality of health. These are the top 10 things I recommend to my clients and friends who are ready to hit the ‘switch’ button and embark on a cleansing and energizing whole foods nutritional diet. May all good things in life be this easy!
1. Start your morning with a daily ritual or ‘sadhana,’ and an intention! In Vedic health and philosophy a person takes on a ‘sankalpa.’ intention, which in Sanskrit means ‘born of the heart.’ It’s a type of affirmation or vow, your own personal mantra, which physically, ethically, mentally, and spiritually anchors you and motivates you live from a place of heightened awareness, and with a sense of purpose. Upon rising, also start your morning with a full glass of room temperature water; warm water is preferable. Then gently stretch, do a mindful and prana activating (but not rigorous or tiring!) yoga asana practice for 10-15 minutes, re-affirm your sankalpa and start you day!
The work ‘breakfast’ comes from breaking the fast, and anyone who has ever fasted knows you slowly ease into taking in food and liquids if you have not ingested anything for a significant period of time. Make sure not to add anything to this water, including herbal tea, lemon, or honey. The water instantly re-hydrates all the cells and tissue in the body, and especially if warm, it gets the digestive system moving, promoting easy elimination. This is especially ideal for people who tend to be constipated. Then start your sadhana, and after have your ideal morning beverage and healthy breakfast.
2. Have a combination of protein and complex carbs for breakfast; ideally with no animal protein, especially meat. And add psyllium for extra fiber!
Most people begin sabotaging their day nutritionally because they are not eating the right type of breakfast! Breakfast and lunch should be the most satisfactory, nutrient balancing meals of the day – comprised of complex carbohydrates and protein! Otherwise, one will be hungry as a result of having deprived the body of the appropriate combination foods and fuel necessary to sustain mental and physical energy. Carbs don’t mean bagels or donuts. Try to avoid anything with white flour in it at all costs! I am talking about whole foods here – whole grains, whole seeds, plant foods, etc. Think whole grain sprouted toast or Ezekiel muffins, topped with sunflower, cashew, or almond butter, with raw honey for sweetness, and a pure fruit smoothie – no dairy, no sweeteners, just fruits with added Maca, Spirulina, or Moringa powder. Add psyllium husks powder to your smoothie, as this is the ideal colon cleanser and detoxifier. It also keeps you slender around the tummy!
3. Have at least one probiotic beverage or fermented food product a day. This will work wonders on your digestive tract!
I recommend Kombucha or any other fermented beverage over diary products, or non-diary coconut yoghurt with live cultures will work as well. If you tend to get colds easily or suffer from respiratory issues or are prone to extra mucus or congestion, I would definitely opt for non-diary products. Also, miso and saurkraut are great fermented products, the latter chuck full of antioxidants! My favorite is kim chi Korean saurkraut! I make a veggie sushi roll with it, with quinoa, backed sprouted tofu, and greens, and the kraut, wrapped up in a collard green leaf.
5. Get up every 30 minutes from your desk or if you sit for prolonged periods, and walk around the room, or better yet, step outside for a fresh breath of air.
Studies have shown that sitting down at one’s desk for 40 hours a week has the same damaging effect on your health as the equivalent of 2 packs of cigarettes a day! Our posture, namely the health and natural curvature of our spine, which is responsible for the support of our back and the unrestricted function of our major organs, has been severely compromised in Western society. Many diseases can be avoided or reversed by simply standing up!
6. Have a pressed green juice or green smoothie, with at least one leafy green vegetable (kale), and ample ginger added to it.
Raw leafy greens are best for promoting an alkaline balanced digestive tract, which means that everything will be properly broken down in the body, aiding digestion and full nutrient absorption, with the added bonus of eliminating gas, bloating, and keeping the immune system (80% of which is in our digestive tract!), in tip top condition. The added benefit of ginger, which has great medicinal properties as an antiseptic, antioxidant, and super immune booster, will be sure to keep illness at bay especially during the cold season. I am a big fan of the NutriBullet, and my favorite most delicious smoothie is a combination of kale, pineapple, banana, coconut butter, and ginger with chia or flax seeds for extra Omega-3 power!
7. Take 10 minutes in the morning to gently stretch and tune in to notice your breath before ‘jumping’ into your day, and 10 minutes to wind down without any sensory distractions before going to bed.
Think standing and forward bending yoga poses integrating breath with movement! I find this to be an imperative first step in gearing up for a ‘mindful,’ positive, and stress free day. Tuning into our bodies and minds consciously upon beginning our day sets the precedent for how our day will unfold. The end goal is: wellbeing. At night, I suggest reading something that calms or uplifts your spirits, writing down 3 positive highlights of the day, and spending at least 5 minutes mindfully breathing and relaxing the mind. Reflection and meditation are the key to soothing the mind, body, and spirit, and living consciously and purposefully in the present moment.
8. Leave your house, office, or any place before you set off to go to a destination 10 minutes earlier than usual, and disconnect from all devices! Drive or walk in silence to your destination. Or you may chant a healing or inspirational affirmation if your mind feels restless, and needs to ‘do’ something. (Can use any of the chant affirmations on my website!)
This will avoid any unnecessary stress build-up and mental distress, which leads to anxiety and aggressive behavior. We all know that stress plays a major role in the development and aggravation of a majority of health issues, including elevated blood pressure, and heart disease. Silence is ideal. We cannot get in touch with anything, especially with our inner most selves if we do not shut down all devices, and take time to introspect and just BE still. Use any alone time you have to be silent whenever possible. No radio, no phones.
9. Have at least the equivalent of 6-8 glasses of pure water a day, and add lemon to at least half of that amount. Every time you drink water, affirm your daily ‘sankalpa.’
Try to omit any ‘other’ or sugary drinks from your diet, including fruit juices unless they are freshly pressed. Hydrate and nourish the cells. Lemon is a natural cleanser and toner.
10. Engage only in uplifting and meaningful quality time and conversation with positive, kind, and spiritually minded people. Paramahansa Yogananda says ‘environment is stronger than will power’ furthermore stating – if you want to be a saint, spend time with saints, if you want to be successful businessman, spend time with successful people, if you want to be a drunk, spend time with people who drink. No matter how healthy, positive, and content you want to be, if you are in a negative ’emotionally polluting’ environment, your will power or positive aspirations will be counteracted and you will absorb the negative influences and lower energy which will prove detrimental to your wellbeing.
Meaningful human connection is everything! It lifts depression, energizes and inspires us, and it is proven to increase happiness and longevity. Just as making time to unwind and be introspective is equally important, so does time spent sharing our lives with positive conscious-minded people will greatly promote life-long health and well being, and above all IN-spiration. Don’t let others mentally or emotionally hijack you!
*Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me for a Complimetary Health Consultation & Evaluation, or EMpowerment Coaching, , or to find out what your unique bio-individual emotional and nutritional needs are, and what you need to do to hit the ‘switch button’!