Food and Daily Routines
*Disclaimer: I reserve the right to change my mind and opinion about anything I post. As I learn, have experiences and evaluate, change will be inevitable. I also hope my ability to communicate my thoughts will improve and be reflected in the quality of what I choose to share.
Oh, how we love to obsess about food. So much information on food, diets, and lifestyle choices. It can be exhausting trying to decide what works for us and if we can sustain it. I believe it can add a lot of stress to our lives. Even my kids have expressed moments of guilt and shame about their eating habits. Both have felt pressure to adopt a Vegan diet. I have no problem with any of the food and lifestyle choices that people adapt, variety and diversity is essential. I do have a problem with individuals feeling shame or guilt about their food choices. The pressure to conform or adapt will probably cause more health issues than the food you eat, or don’t eat. It is my hope that we can all be open to learning about our choices and to cultivate a culture of tolerance and acceptance. I hope we can be curious, be willing to change, and to honor that our bodies are constantly changing. Our choices may have to change to accommodate the bodies needs.
I like the term “flexitarian”. To me this means that I get to choose what I eat, and why, according to how I am feeling or what is available to me. It allows freedom of choice and room for growth and change. It also prevents me from being labelled something that I may wish to change, without having to explain why. Here is an article explaining a typical flexitarian diet and the pros and cons. I do realize that Flexitarian is technically a label, but it is loose one!
I am currently working through my 300 hr Yoga Teacher Training and recently we had a guest speaker sharing some Ayurvedic wisdom with us. This is an interesting article outlining the guidelines for an Ayurvedic diet.
Here are some of my take-aways from my training and additional reading:
- It is more important how and when you eat, than what you eat.
Never gave this one much thought. I have always been a snacker, almost always eating while doing something else, and would eat whatever was fast, easy and available.
- Stop snacking and eat at regular and consistent times.
This one is hard! It will take a real shift to make this a habit. My work and family life are always changing, and I don’t know how to keep to the same mealtimes around an ever-changing schedule. Perhaps setting a time gap for food such as 11-1 for lunch and 4 – 6 for dinner?
- Have a 13 to 16 hour fast between dinner and breakfast. If possible, do not eat past 7 pm. (NO calories or food other than water or herbal tea, even better, do not eat past 6 pm).
This is interesting. Going to sleep just slightly hungry helps me go to bed and to sleep. I think for me, this will be the easiest to adhere to.
- Before you eat anything, sit or lie down, relax, appreciate your hunger and have gratitude for your food. Then consume the food mindfully. In other words, do not multitask or wolf back your food. Eat slowly until you are 75% full and then stop.
Ok I am literally eating my breakfast while writing this…. darn it. This will be a real challenge. It might be time to initiate prayer before eating. Just a few moments to appreciate your food, to offer our thanks and then to consume it mindfully.
- No caffeine and no alcohol. If you do, take a break (a week or a month), notice how you feel without it and then see how you feel when you bring it back in. Decide if it is serving you in a positive way.
I drink decaf coffee and only occasionally have a regular coffee. I almost always regret it. The last couple years, I have really suffered after drinking wine, but the occasional Guinness or Gin and Tonic seems to be ok. Here is a video about emotional eating that might explain the “need” for food/alcohol. Hint… the alcohol is numbing your emotions and the food is a substitute for contentment and ease.
- Get to sleep by 10 pm (this prevents the “second wind” which is usually accompanied by a second round of hunger). Get up early, before 6 am.
I have NO tips for this one other than be completely selfish and adjust your schedule and your family to respect your new bedtime.
- Start your morning by scraping your tongue, brushing and flossing and drinking at least one cup of warm lemon water. Bonus points for following this with a regular bowel movement and whatever breath/movement practice you enjoy. Double bonus points if you add in a meditation practice.
I allow myself a little lead way with this one, sometimes it works out better to do a movement practice in a group class or later in the day. Choose your activity according to your energy level. If you have a crazy busy day, end it with a quieter, gentler practice. If your day was slow and boring, ramp it up with some cardio or a stronger practice.
- If you have gas (farts or burps), bloating or irregular bowel movements, your digestion is NOT working properly. Something needs to change in how you eat, what you eat, and probably for sure, when you eat.
I am still surprised by this, I thought the gas, bloating and irregular movements were “normal” reactions to food. I have since started paying more attention to what may be causing these symptoms in my body.
- Drink more water and caffeine free teas. Hydration is so important for everything! Here is an article about hydration. Did you know dehydration puts your spine at risk for back pain and damage to the disks?
Going to get a big glass of water right now, you should too.
This week I have been trying to find some new dinners that the whole family can enjoy. I had a big head of cauliflower in the fridge, so I searched Pinterest for some dinner ideas. Knowing that we all like Mac and Cheese, and I actually had all these ingredients, I made Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Mac and Cheese.
I liked it. I think a little extra melted cheese on top would have made even better. I modified the recipe a little bit by using the pasta I had in the pantry.
I was pleasantly surprised that Lee liked it too. Todd said it was too spicy and I don’t think Zack even tried it….” too weird”.
Cooking for a family is hard. All my boys love their meat. I feel best eating soups, one dish meals and salads. I don’t have a lot of interest in making full meals for the family so I try to make something that I will eat, and serve it as a side dish to their meal. It works for us. The only problem is when I experiment with new recipes or ideas and nobody likes it. I hate wasting food.
To sum things up, the following is what I have been implementing into my daily routine. Maybe they will inspire you too?
- I wake up early between 5:30 and 6:30 am, drink lemon water, perform cleansing Kriyas (more on this later). Eat nutrient dense breakfast (overnight oats or eggs usually).
- Eat a big lunch.
- Eat a light early dinner or drink a protein shake a bit later if still hungry. No food after 7 pm.
- Drink more water, and herbal tea.
- Early to bed, sleeping by 10 pm.
- Move, meditate, and be creative every day.
- Read or study every day.
Coming up next: Kriyas and the Upanishads.