Day 7 of 21 Day Ayurveda Challenge

Happy Transformation Tuesday everyone!

I thought I’d take this opportunity on this most glorious of days of the week and chat about what my 21-day challenge has been like thus far. Spoiler alert: challenging but satisfying.

So what’s been been so hot and cold about it? Well 1st I will say I’m enjoying a book on Ayurveda immensely, have learned a few lessons the hard way and continue to integrate Ayurveda more and more into my days! Here’s the scoop:

1st: Book Review

“The Ayurveda Way: 108 Practices from the World’s Oldest Healing System for Better Sleep, Less Stress, Optimal Digestion and More” by Ananta Ripa Amjera (found here on amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ayurveda-Way-Practices-Healing-Digestion/dp/1612128181/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495227119&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Ayurveda+Way+Ananta+Ripa+Ajmera)

I must say that I quite enjoy this book; it’s composed of 108 short essays around Ayurveda, the hows and the whys without inundating the reader with pages and pages of history. Each essay is short, sweet and to the point with recipes, tips and what not. This makes it easy to keep reading (you know, “oh just one more chapter…” and suddenly it’s after midnight!), these short essays also make it easy to stop and pick up where you left off without having to commit to a 40 or 50 page chunk before you stop reading for a bit.

The essays are divided into groups (Introduction to Ayurveda, food as medicine, spices, beauty, mindful eating, etc.) which makes for a nice progression from start to end. Though I must say that while this is a nice book for someone new to Ayurveda (like myself), it may not be a book you’d want to start with if you had never done any reading on Ayurveda to begin with, or if you are someone who likes to know the particulars of something before you jump in. The information is presented neatly and written with the average reader in mind; you don’t need a English/Sanskrit dictionary next to you the entire time.

The book doesn’t help you find your dosha, discuss what each dosha is, their specific foods/diets/exercises, etc. This is more of an overarching book that discusses things appropriate for everyone. (Though if you are more loosey-goosey than I, you might enjoy a book with over-arching ideas to incorporate into your life before you get to know and integrate things at a more granular level)

All in all, an easy read that I could see myself going back to when I want to get “back to basics” without going through every molecule of Ayurveda.

Pick it up from your local library and give it a read!

2nd: Mistakes Learned

So I’ve definitely made some mistakes already- unknowingly but that’s my own fault! I leaped before I looked!

  • My golden latte guffaw
    • I found a recipe for “golden milk” or a “golden latte” in which you let milk simmer with spices and enjoy warm. The issue I had is when I saw the recipe I thought the ratio of milk to spices looked off but I ignored my gut and didn’t really shop around to find other recipes to check out their ratios. The recipe called for turmeric, cinnamon, a bit of pepper all to be mixed into a big batch of spices in which you would simmer 2 tsps of spice mix into 2 cups of milk. Let me tell you 2 tsps is TOO MUCH! The milk was so bitter from turmeric-overload my mouth went yellow and I had to toss the rink 3 sips in! Save yourself the spices and overly-bitter taste and maybe try a ratio of 1 tsp spice mix to 2 cups milk to start.
  • Mix Master: some foods don’t mix
    • I didn’t realize that some foods shouldn’t be combined with others in order to promote optimal digestion; here I was, putting whatever was on the “approved” pitta food list into my mouth however I pleased. Little did I know that I was too ahead of myself and was mixing cheese with beans when they don’t go! For a nice chart of what to combine and what to avoid I found this site to be helpful: https://www.ayurveda.com/pdf/food_combining.pdf
  • Eating without my mind and other principles I missed
    • So not too far in, I’m making changes, sticking to my food list and found myself ALWAYS hungry! “WTF??” is what I asked myself and when I dug around the internet I came across others who found the same thing! It turns out there were even more principles I was missing. So now I’m following these guidelines and lo and behold! I’m not starving all the time!
      • Eat with awareness (or mindfulness) – I definitely wasn’t doing this. I would stuff my face until I was too full instead of eating until I wasn’t hungry anymore. I was also eating in front of the TV or computer which meant I was distracted the entire meal!
      • Slow down –  nope, I wasn’t doing this either. I’m a champion food-scarfer. If there’s a time-deadline to get a meal down leave it to me to beat the fastest time out there!
      • Chew well – surprise, surprise another principle I wasn’t following. In fact, I now realize I’m more of a “take 3 bites and swallow the meal” kind of gal, which is part and parcel with the fact I wasn’t eating slowly or mindfully!
      • Do not wash your meal down with a drink- another one I’ve been guilty of for year. Eat my meal THEN have a big glass of milk or cold water (both of which are no-no’s in Ayurveda. Icy water and combining milk with meals slows your digestive fire). No wonder I’ve always been such a food-maniac when it comes to mealtime; I’ve been eating all wrong for years (my mother was right…), instead I should enjoy a beverage an hour or so before my meal and then enjoy the meal by itself.
    • All of these things are a hindrance to your digestive fire which, according to what I’ve read, means your body isn’t fully absorbing nutrients from meals. When you don’t digest properly, you don’t absorb the food-goodness which means your body burns through what you’ve eaten more quickly making you hungrier, faster than you should be. Think of it like stoking a fire with gasoline instead of a big block of wood- either way the fire will burn but the fire stoked with gasoline will burn too quickly to keep you warm or cook anything over, while the fire stoked with blocks of wood will burn more consistently and slowly, allowing you to have a source of heat and coals for much longer. (others I’ve read is some sources but not in others to consider are no snacking, eat at consistent times of day and set aside specific and quiet times to eat)

3rd: Integrate the changes slowly – going “all in” when you already have a schedule that a baby wreaks havoc on can be more stress than it’s worth

Now this is one I “got” from day 1- instead of trying to do everything by the book right off the bat, I started by committing one meal a day, the largest meal (lunch) to be 100% pitta-friendly while making changes gradually to breakfast and supper. What I’ve found is as I continue to learn about Ayurveda, how I should be eating and what not, I’m more inclined to continue to integrate more and more of it into daily life. Now my breakfast and lunch are both 100% Ayurvedic-friendly, I find a smaller portion can keep me fuller, longer (which means I spend less time trying to get food into my face which means I’m not distracted by my stomach = more time to either get other things done (like write this post!) or more importantly, have extra quality time to snuggle and talk with my baby!  (nothing like baby smiles to keep my heart full!) This leads me to the next point:

4th: I find myself wanting to incorporate more and more of it; not just the food!

The more I incorporate Ayurveda into my life, the more I want to keep going. It’s not just the food; it really is a whole way of being that is neither dogmatic nor nonsensical. It’s all about balance, what makes sense for you and taking care of yourself so you’re around for the long haul 🙂 I’m being more mindful, slowing down, taking time to enjoy the little things (day to day tasks as well as a little baby!).

I’m even enjoying getting back into yoga with a short-term goal of being able to properly perform Monkey pose (AKA the splits). I’m not there yet but I’m getting there. I’ve got lots and lots more to learn and work into my day beyond the diet-aspect. Getting my groove back with taking care of me is a hard rhythm to get into, especially as a mom where the credo is “kids 1st, moms last” but I think it’s worth-while. Moms who take care of themselves are still great moms!

There you have it folks; the “Coles notes” of what I’ve learned 1/3 into this 21-day challenge. I’m happy with where I’m at and how far I’ve come! (notice that no where in this post do I mention my weight or my measurements? This entire challenge is about taking care of myself and feeling better through eating. I’m not tracking my weight or my measurements- if I lose anything then great!)

Enjoy your Tuesday everyone and we’ll catch up again later this week!

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