Happy Healthy Holidays!!
There are a variety of holidays this month, which can mean more of so many things we enjoy…more gatherings, more food, more travel. We also know that we can experience more stress and eat too many of the wrong foods in this season.
When energy intensifies with more activity, polarities in our daily life may become more pronounced. The most calming position you can take around holiday activity is to see and accept the reality of this. Ahh. There is nothing quite like seeing life as it is – seeing true reality – to bring you peace, even in a hectic holiday season. Now, what else can you do?
As best as you can, find some ways to live closer to your center so you can handle the energetic extremes better when they show up. Maintaining some good habits and spending time in Nature are the best ways to keep your center of balance. In this blog are some mindful Ayurveda practices that can help you at this time of the year to stay as balanced as you can in mind, body, and spirit.
With the stress, rich foods, and irregularities around the holiday season, ama, the waste product of digestion, can accumulate. Ama clogs the channels of the body and weakens the immune system which can invite post-holiday illness. But we can prevent this from happening. Here are some Ayurveda tips:
1. Eat Your Main Meal at Noon
Your digestive fire is strongest at midday so use this to your advantage. Although you need more substance for tissue building in the winter, try to not overeat. Eating slowly will help with this. A large meal late in the evening can easily interfere with sleep. Good sleep requires energy and if we are using our energy to digest…well, you see how this ends.
Some great large meal ideas are right here for you:
2. Don’t Snack
The holy grail of Ayurveda is perfect digestion. If we snack between meals, our digestion is never complete, and we confuse our physiology in terms of what digestive processes should be operating. If you must snack, choose something watery and easily digestible like grapes, oranges, a flavorful herbal tea, or soaked, raw nuts.
3. Support Your Digestion
Drink hot spice water, which I have often referred to in my previous blogs. Make a tea of hot water with a teaspoon of 2 parts fennel seeds to 1 part cumin and 1 part coriander seeds or have fresh ginger tea. You may also simply eat a slice of fresh ginger with salt and lemon juice on it.
Below is a list of great probiotic drinks that are gut-healing:
4. Avoid “Dumb” Foods, Eat “Intelligent” Ones
In Ayurveda, we go for the intelligence in food to give our physiology its operating orders. These are fresh, organic, colorful, not-processed foods. They are full of prana. Avoid dumb foods that are processed with sugars, white flours and preservatives. Also avoid, or at least minimize, leftovers that have little prana remaining.
Some great ideas to warm your belly and your heart during this holiday season:
- Yellow Mung Soup
- Tomato Soup with Seasoning
- Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry
- Vegetable Multigrain Khichdi
- Sautéed Sprouts and Vegetables
5. Stay Hydrated
People often mistake thirst for hunger. Keep hydrated throughout the day. When you arrive at a gathering, ask for hot water, perhaps with lemon, if available. Only drink about 1/2 cup of water right before and during a meal, otherwise you will dowse your digestive fire.
Some great smoothie ideas to hydrate yourself are:
6. Watch the Sugars
Ohhh…this one is so hard at the holidays. I have noticed that once I have a little sugar, I start to crave more. You can at least go for homemade treats with natural sugars instead of processed sweets with highly addictive fructose. Rather than loading up your dessert plate, take a small amount of a sweet and tell yourself you can go back for more if you must. Eat a dessert slowly, so the feeling of fullness can register.
For some wonderful home-made, minimal ingredient desserts that you can snack on (almost) guilt-free, check out
- Chia Seed Pudding
- Date Almond Boats
- Gasagase Payasa (Poppyseed Kheer)
- Sweet Pongal (Huggi)
- Mango Rasayana
With travel and celebration, sometimes our exercise routines get shoved to the side. If you are not near your gym or your yoga equipment, at least try to maintain some form of daily exercise like taking a walk or doing some simple stretches.
Yoga is a great way of stretching the body gently. Read up on how you can use 5 Easy Yoga Stretches to get your morning going right. For some gentle back exercises check out Yoga to Ease Lower Back Pain.
8. Keep Routines
Vata (November-February) loves routine, so keep that Vata calmed down with regular rising and bedtimes as best you can. Try to eat at regular times. Keep some good daily habits like tongue scraping and self-massage. If you have a Vata-dominant dosha, a wonderful read about Yoga for Pacifying Vata is available to you.
Author Bio: Rhonda Egidio Ph.D., R.A.P., [Registered Ayurveda Professional] provides Ayurvedic assessments of primary health, diet, sleep, and lifestyle concerns and offers Ayurvedic recommendations. It may be a wise idea to obtain a baseline assessment to help you customize Ayurveda knowledge to your particular needs. Contact Rhonda at 269-345-2991, email@example.com or check out her website: http://www.radiantlifeayurveda.com