Thursday, March 4, 2010
Eating for Your Health + Beauty
Becoming Vegetarian has revolutionized my life. It was not my first time at eliminating flesh from my diet, but this time it felt less about following a diet. While my vegetarian fast had proven the benefits of better physical energy and mental clarity, I was wise enough to customize it to my allergies to common vegetarian sources of protein like legumes and dairy and intolerances to some grains.
My commitment to change my diet was greatly influenced by my two week visit to the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico for PanchaKarma. Unlike my other entries into vegetarianism, fear was not my companion. Instead I planned the changes in my life to maintain this diet that was giving me better life energy and a better opportunity to contribute positively to my community.
The biggest change was cooking for myself. Focusing on developing my business left me eating out and trusting strangers to nourish me. Cooking for myself was not just healthier but I finally was giving myself time to nurture myself. My trip and my new diet strengthen my emotional detachment. It was changing how I perceive my relationships and interactions with others without losing my passion in life. Instead my love for others increased and deepened.
My life right now is in chaos as I am still experimenting with different foods and recipes as I try to create routines. When I indulge in my old ways, I treat myself to a couple of meals at Kale Eatery at 2366 Yonge Street north of Eglinton. The food is vegetarian and delicious. All of the dishes are labeled with ingredients for us who need to avoid allergic ingredients. I have eaten vegetarian in old favourite places but the experiences just increases my tendency to choose to eat at Kale.
And for a healthier alternative to Starbucks, I meet friends for “coffee” at the Organic Oven at http://www.organicoven.com/. Gluttonfree bake goods with organic beverages make this freindly time healthy as well. And while I still cannot eat as much bread as I would like to, the goods from the Organic Oven help me keep my home meals interesting and satisfying without causing me any adverse reactions.
After decades of herbal remedies from Naturopaths, Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Doctors; numerous detoxification fasts, my body has become intelligent enough to decide what was the best nutrition for it.
In this second half of my life I have finally embraced "food is the best medicine". Eating well is about prevention but best of all it means optimum health daily. An ancient Chinese sage once declared that the best doctors are ones that can keep us healthy with just food and lifestyle.
You can do this for yourself by using Ayurveda to help you monitor your health and your external environment and help you balance your mood, health and productivity with food.
But I am not a Vegetarian Evangelist. Eating for your health does not mean a philosophy of eating by principles as in vegetarian, low carbohydrate or raw food diets. It is about eating to contribute to your overall health. No one diet is perfect for everyone.
How can you discover your perfect diet?
It is a combination of self discovery and experimentation. Ayurveda's individualized diet recommendations for different body types is a great aid for those who do not know where to start. For thin Vata Types eating rich foods like meat, oils, dairy and nuts are excellent. Avoiding dry crunch foods is advisable. I avoid uncooked foods and gassy foods like cabbage and broccoli as a Vata and especially in Winter. Grazing is an excellent way to get all your nutrition without over working the stomach.
Pittas can indulge in bitter foods like greens and sweet foods like dairy. They should avoid fatty foods like meat and oils and acidic foods like citrus and vinegars. Hot temperature as well as hot spicy foods. In summer a raw food diet would be an excellent chose for fiery ambitious Pittas.
Kapha types can eat warm light crunchy spicy foods. These foods help to keep Kaphas alert and energetic. Heavy sweet foods like dairy and sweets and fatty foods like meat and nuts can slow down Kapha metabolism and energy.
For more information on the Doshas, you can read my earlier blogs or get a book on Ayurveda. For those who want more indepth information on Ayurveda and diet I would recommend Jennifer Workman’s “Stop Your Cravings” (http://www.amazon.ca/Stop-Your-Cravings-Satsify-Sacrificing/dp/0743217063/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268522035&sr=1-2 ) this book offers advice on common food issues of cravings, food sensitivities, weight management and protein versus carbohydrate
But that is just a start. As you gain more awareness of your relationship with food you may want to explore other ways foods affect you. “The Body Ecology Diet” by Donna Gates (http://www.amazon.ca/Body-Ecology-Diet-Recovering-Rebuilding/dp/0963845837/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268522230&sr=1-1 ) Here you will learn how to care for your digestive system along with the healing treatments and foods for the areas of concern.
Robert Thayer’s “Calm Energy” helps you find foods to include in your diet that can help you find harmony in our stressful overly ambitious society.
While I use Ayurveda as the basic structure of how I stay healthy and happy, I am open to any positive influences. I take what I find suitable for me and I may also pass on any information I feel may help another.
One such source is Dr Peter D’adamo’ “Eat Right for your Blood Type” Find it at http://www.amazon.ca/Right-Your-Type-Peter-Dadamo/dp/039914255X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268522456&sr=1-1
What ever your goals are food can have a great influence in your success. To help our clients achieve the beautiful skin they covet, our estheticians find that diet advice increases their success.
My Vegetarianism is reinforced by my desire to grow more connected to my world. This time with the role model of Dr Lad from the Ayurvedic Institute along with David Frawley's book "Yoga and Ayurveda" (http://www.amazon.ca/Yoga-Ayurveda-Self-Healing-Self-Realization-Frawley/dp/0914955810/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268523649&sr=1-1) I found my path to self discovery is aided to by a vegetarian diet and mindful exercise like Yoga and Chi Kung.
If you are interested in Vegetarianism go visit the the Toronto Vegetarian Association site at http://www.veg.ca/. It is great for encouragement, recipes and important health news not reported in the mainstream media