Ayurvedic Reset: Day two

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What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is an ancient type of healing system and traditional medicine that has been used in India for thousands of years (5,000 years). It is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a dedicated balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Each of the components must be in state of harmony – neither too strong nor too weak – for the body to remain healthy.

Ayurveda further emphasizes good health and prevention treatment of illness through lifestyle practices (e.g., yoga, meditation, massage, and dietary change) and the use of herbal remedies.

In Ayurveda medicine, optimal health and even one’s spiritual growth starts with prevention. Prevention is based on a balance lifestyle that is in harmony with the cycle of nature.

Origin:

Ayurveda is a Vedic Science. Another Vedic Science, often called Ayurveda’s sister science, is Yoga. All Vedic science are primarily teaching for the development of full human physical, mental and spiritual potential.

Ayurveda’s base of knowledge was recorded in a large body of Sanskrit literature that originated in India, called the Vedas. The Vedas are considered to be the oldest written recordings that describe, often in metaphors, ancient principles, practices and spirituality

The Meaning of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a science of life – the word Ayurveda origins from two separate Sanskrit words (Ayur-Life, Veda = science or knowledge).

Ayurvedic medicine is holistic, which means viewing the body and mind as a whole – Ayurveda treats not only the physical body, but also changes lifestyle practices to help maintain or improve health.

The two main guiding principles of Ayurveda:

1. The mind and the body are connected 
2. Nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind,

According to Ayurveda, the five elements of nature (Space, Air, fire, Water, and Earth) combine in the body as three components known as Dosha (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha). The three doshas relate closely to the element of nature and to specific functions of the body. For an optimal health, it essential that all the doshas are balanced.

*Doshas will be further discuss tomorrow*

Ayurveda and yoga:

Ayurveda is often refer to as the sister science to yoga, as such if yoga is the path to achieving wellness and enlightenment, then Ayurveda is the system that supports a healthy body and mind for yoga’s practices.

Both practices come from the same philosophy, however Ayurveda focuses mainly on the goal of dharma (living the right way), while yoga focuses on the goal of moksha (enlightenment). Both are practical system with a holistic perspective - persons are seen as being with a unified body, mind and consciousness.

Journey to Health and Wellness with Kyra Ann: Overcoming auto-immune disease & Leaky gut

IG: kyrholistics

IG: kyrholistics

Kyra is a Utah native with a passion for health and wellness. When she's not blogging or posting amazing photos on her Instagram page, Krya loves spending time in nature, hiking, creating beautiful food, buying excessive amounts of plants, and most importantly spending time with her husband Michael & playing with her baby boy Shilo. Below, Kyra talks about her journey to health and wellness, and overcoming an auto-immune disease and leaky gut.

This is a two part interview, make sure to check out the blog for the second part of the interivew in the coming week. 

"I am so grateful to be a stay-at-home mama & spend every moment with my little one. It’s the best job ever! Although, it’s also been one of the most difficult things I’ve done, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually…  I wouldn’t ever change that, because it’s caused me to grow, learn, and ultimately help me attain so much knowledge about myself, and about holistic healing – which is my passion" 

When did your interest in wellness relating to food begin?

I became interested in a healthy whole food diet once I became pregnant with my babe because I wanted him to grow into a healthy little sprout. However, that passion accelerated a few months after he was born when I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease & leaky gut. I was determined to heal naturally using food. From this point it became a large part of my life and I spent countless hours learning as much as I could about the benefits of eating whole foods, especially through experience. Once I saw that I was healing and how much real, healthy food was changing my life, I knew I had found my passion!

How would you describe your diet now?

I would describe my diet as a real, whole foods diet. I do eat primarily plant-based but I focus more on intuitive eating and listening to my body than I do on labels.

Do you avoid anything?

I do have some food intolerances and foods that seem to cause inflammation for my body. The foods that I avoid are gluten, dairy, soy, corn, peanuts, refined sugar, anything processed, vegetable oils (canola oil, etc), and most grains & legumes. I don’t think that everyone needs to avoid these foods, this is just what I’ve learned through trial and error are the foods that cause me to feel bloated, inflamed, fatigued, or cause an allergic reaction.

Can you tell us a little about your auto-immune disease & leaky gut experience and how it influenced your current health and wellness lifestyle?

Like I mentioned briefly before, 3 months after my little son was born I started experiencing systematic inflammation. My throat would close off, I was fatigued beyond belief, and I was bloating after every meal. After meeting with a gastroenterologist I was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE). This is a chronic, incurable disease that is in the same family as asthma. Basically what it is, is an auto-immune reaction to what your body perceives as “toxins”. When I eat certain foods, my body will try to protect itself by sending little eosinophils (anti-bodies) to my throat to fight off the toxin. Unfortunately my body helps out a little “too” much, leading to my throat closing off not allowing me to eat until the inflammation is somehow reduced. It was so scary. I was choking on my food and not able to breathe on a regular basis. I was prescribed medications, steroids, and basically told I would never heal. At this time I was also experiencing extreme bloating after every meal, gas, excruciating bowl pain, constipation, nausea, vomiting, etc. but no tests confirmed anything. I self diagnosed leaky gut based on hundreds of hours of reading on the condition. I did NOT want to take pharmaceuticals for the rest of my life and submit myself to the idea that I just had a disease and that there was nothing I could do about it. That is when I completely changed my life style, started eating whole foods, herbs, and super foods… and implementing yoga and meditation into my life. My disease helped me realize that I needed to make a change and start taking care of my body. My body was trying to tell me something – that something was off. I listened, and through the listening process I was able to heal. It completely changed my life.

What are specific changes you were forced to make because of that experience?

Here are the biggest changes I made:

1. My diet. I stopped eating junk and started fueling my body with vegetables, fruits, and small amounts of high quality animal foods like pastured eggs and wild caught fish.

2. Adjust my type of exercise (more gentle and mindful) which includes yoga, walks, stretching and light weight lifting. I had to stop focusing so much on losing weight and more on what my body needed.

3. Getting enough deep restorative sleep. Going to bed early, stop using electronics and tv late at night, winding down, and blacking out my room.

4. Taking time for self-care

5. Adding supplements/herbs to my diet. My favorites are adaptogenic herbs like maca and medicinal mushroom extracts.

6. Having a positive outlook/never losing hope. Positivity is everything. I had to put myself in control of my situation and learn to manage stress by being optimistic.

 7. Meditating daily and just always expressing gratitude for all the amazing good I have in my life.

What is currently your favorite workout?

Definitely restorative yoga. I feel my best after a practice that includes a lot of balance practice & twists.

Can you tell us a little about your blog and why you were motivated to start?

My blog shares some holistic tips I’ve learned for healthy living as well as plant-based or gut friendly recipes. I wanted to start a blog to help me to be excited about my change in lifestyle and also to help other people who are struggling with the same health setbacks as I have, and hopefully find the same healing as I have as well.

What are some of your favorite holistic remedies?

When I was experiencing a lot of digestive problems I loved starting my day with warm lemon water with apple cider vinegar. It also helped to soak in a warm bath with Epsom (magnesium) salt and lavender oil in the evenings.

Drinking bone broth or bone broth protein powder when my leaky gut symptoms start acting up also help to reduce bloating and inflammation.

Tumeric latte. Coconut milk, tumeric, black pepper, and Ceylon cinnamon sweetened lightly with raw honey or monk fruit extract help to reduce inflammation in the body.

 Peppermint oil rubbed on my temples to relieve headaches or help increase energy on a day I’m feeling particularly fatigued. I do not drink caffeine, and this helps.

How do you stay motivated (health, wellness, fitness)?

My greatest motivation is a sincere love for myself and my spouse/son. Once I learned to truly love myself then that was and is now the catalyst for my motivation. I also want to be my best self for the ones I love and I know that I’m not when I’m not making healthy lifestyle choices.Staying motivated includes a practice of constantly trying to love myself and who I am. True love is the greatest motivator.

Take us through a day in the life of your food?

Wake up: I drink an herb elixir that usually contains cacao, maca, reishi mushroom & he shou wu mushroom OR bone broth. Breakfast: A superfood smoothie. Usually packed with frozen veggies like cauliflower, sweet potato, zucchini, spinach… fruits like banana, blueberries and avocado. Then I throw in sunflower seed butter, hemp hearts, flax seeds, chia seeds, and almond milk. Then whatever toppings I feel like…. I spoil myself there hehe. Snack: Handful of nuts or an RX bar with a drink of kombucha. Lunch: Usually some kind of salad. Greens like romaine, spinach, arugula, then some zucchini, cabbage, carrots, strawberries, sprouts, pasture-raised chicken breast and one of my homemade dairy free dressings or just some oil & balsamic vinegar. Snack: An avocado on rice cakes or with an egg & saurkraut. Dinner: One of my favorites is zoodles with a homemade tomato or dairy free “cheese” sauce with some wild-caught salmon. Before bed: I’ll drink some “natural calm” magnesium drink or bone broth if I’ve had a bad digestive day.

How do you decide what to make, day-in-day-out?

I just listen to my body. I wake up and try to tune into what I’m craving, and what sounds good to me that I know will nourish my body. I try my best to balance my day with a variety of foods and nutrients. That is basically it! Just intuitively trying to nourish my body with what it needs, which changes all the time.

When do you feel best in your body?

Right after a good yoga class I feel amazing. I also feel my best when I have spent my day being active (walking, running errands, cooking, cleaning) and especially when that day includes serving others. I get depressed and feel sick when I am too idle or not doing anything important.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

“Eating evolved” dark cacao chocolate bars (drooling)

Where can people reach you?

I am the most active on Instagram, my tag is @kyrholistics. You can also check out my blog at www.kyrholistics.com or email me at kyrholistics@gmail.com

Holistic healing: Guide to Crystal Stones

Photo IG: alison__wu

Photo IG: alison__wu

I've recently gotten into Crystal stones and I am extremely fascinated by it. Perhaps it's the recent hype that has brought crystal stones to the forefront of every health/wellness enthusiast view is the reason, but it seem like healing crystal stones are having a moment and everyone is interested in what crystal stones can do for them.  I am by no means an expert, but I am happy to share with you to hopefully inspire you to work with crystal or start collecting your own. I use my stones for variety of things - holding a crystal stone in my hand during my meditation , aligning it on body as it correlates with the different Chakras, or one specific chakra that I want to focus on during a practice. I have one on my table desk which I use for focus and creativity, and one that I carry everywhere with me to help me with my anxiety.

I am the biggest sceptic out there, and it took me a long time to get into crystal stones, before getting into it I told myself to keep an open mind and see what happens. Realistically I have nothing to lose, if anything I’d have more to gain from experimenting with them, and if all fails, I’ll have a rad collection of beautiful rocks that I can use in my bedroom and around the house to bring pops of colour and sparkle, as well as add a sense of ease and cool bohemian style to the house.

Down below is a selection of my favourite stones along with some of the healing beliefs link with them.

Amethyst:

Amethyst us a natural stress reliever that encourages inner strength – it is a stone of spiritual growth and protection. It brings clarity to the mind and helps you to become more in tune with your feelings so that you get to know yourself on a much deeper level. Amethyst repels negative energy and attracts positive energy.

Hematite:

Stone of protection; grounds emotions and anxiety – it absorbs negative energy and calms you in times of stress. It helps you feel balanced, calmed and centered.

Moonstone:

Open creativity, perception and sensitivity. It’s good for increasing one’s intuitive abilities and humanitarian love. It is believed to be a stones od destiny – it’s connected with the common and the divine feminine. It helps to align the hormone production, metabolism, and reproduction.

Tiger’s Eye:

Relieves uncertainty, encourage integrity and helps provide ability to see clearly. It helps to rebalance the body on all level, while encouraging optimism and trust in the future. It brings brightness and light into all situations and shines insight onto all problems. Tiger’s Eye brings good luck, abundance and prosperity to its wearer. 

Smokey quartz

Smokey quartz help you let go, its known to transmutes negative energy and act as a protective shield against unwanted energy. It helps with letting go of old patterns/habit and belief systems that are holding you back. It also releases all blocked, old and stagnant energy in the body.

Ways to cleanse/clean your crystal

There are different ways of cleaning or recharging crystal stones. One way is recharging them in the light of a full moon, which allows them to return to their full frequency after being used for long time. The other options is holding them under running water or placing them in a bowl of water, and then add two drops of crab apple remedy for cleansing.

Here are few source - book and website for all things healing stones. 

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Journey to wellness with Melyna Amyot

Melyna Amyotc (@melynaamyot) is a Toronto based Instagramer, whose journey to wellness began 3 years while going through a difficult time. What started as a 30 day challenge has now turn into a lifestyle. Here Melyna shares her story of how she got into wellness, how she stays motivated and and favor work out.

When did your interest in wellness begin?

I'd say my journey began roughly 3 years ago. I had just dropped out of Art School and was going through a difficult time which resulted in fostering this really negative relationship with my body and food in particular. I was sick, tired and unmotivated. A friend suggested I try going Vegan for a month and that's all it really took ! I had to really research what I was putting into my body to fuel it properly and the more I learned the more I became passionate about cooking and understanding the power of plant based food. 

From there it was only natural that as I felt better internally, I could only keep improving externally. And that part I'm still figuring out.

How would you describe your diet now?

Plant based/Experimental are the words I would use. I'm always very curious to understand people's  specific allergen restrictions or food sensitivities so I myself will personally go without wheat, soy, or whatever it may be to really identify and understand how to build proper meals around these modifications. As well as try and educate myself and introduce certain diets out there such as Keto or Paleo for instance while staying true to my plant based roots.

What is currently your favorite workout?

Circuit training and Boxing ! I'm obsessed with the inclusiveness and energy of group training but also love that empowering feeling of one on one time with my boxing coach.

How do you stay motivated (health, wellness, fitness)?

Set a schedule and stick to it ! Holding yourself accountable for your own progress is really what motivates me the most. Reminding myself that no one is going to make the changes I want to see  really puts me in that positive mindset.

Takes us through a day in life of food?

My day starts with half a litre of water and a coffee. Always.

Unless I have a prior morning engagements I practice fasted cardio, meaning I don't eat my first meal till right after my workout.

Breakfast is typically a Smoothie Bowl, loaded Oats or Chia Pudding. Often a  second coffee.

Afternoon snack is a protein shakes with almond milk and Sunwarrior protein.

Lunch is usually Raw. Weather it be a salad or some kind of concoction of whats left in my fridge.

Mid day snacks are veggies and hummus or rice cakes with avocado and nutritional yeast.

Dinner is more often then not some type of stir fry. Whatever is fresh and whatever is available. Usually over brown rice / quinoa or some type of spiralled vegetable. 

I usually end the day with some type of snack.

Where do you go food shopping?

I prefer to stick to local markets (Dufferin Grove is my fav !) but I also know how difficult sourcing locally year round can be so when I do shop at major grocery store I tend to pick up organic produce.

Who is (are) your favorite Food instagramer that you follow?

@ErinIreland ! Erin has been such a role model to me over the last few months. Her passion for food and vegan advocacy is so refreshing and inspiring. She seems like she has it all figured out.

How do you decide what to make, day-in-day out?

It's always a surprise. I never follow recipes and because I enjoy sourcing locally it's whatever's in season that hits the table. Sometimes it's a disaster but often then not I end up with something new and different.

Where do you get recipe inspiration?

Mostly Instagram. Obviously visual representation doesn't always mean it will taste good so I try and take inspiration from beautiful dishes and try my best to make them really flavourful and put my own vegan twist on them.

Favor dish to make?

Smoothie Bowls & Vegan Mac & Cheese !

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

1000% Chocolate. Zimt & Fitzy's are my favourite. (Both Plant based & Canadian !)

Favorite place to get  healthy food  in Toronto?

Hibiscus, One Love vegetarian, Calii Love & Sweethart Kitchen.

Advice for anyone struggling with getting into health and wellness lifestyle?

Whenever and wherever you decide to start, do so at your own pace. Listen to your body. Thank it everyday for deciding to begin, for being strong, for being able. Be patient and kind to it. It's your forever home.

Favor self-care ritual?

STRETCHING ! I often avoided this step when I first got into fitness and trust me I learned quickly to never skip a stretch again. 

When do you feel best in your body?

I feel best in my body those minutes following a tough workout. My face is red, Im struggling to catch my breath, I feel my heart racing in my chest, my hair has taken on a new life, my body is dripping with sweat and those are the moments you need to be thankful for. You brought yourself to that exact place. There is nothing more gratifying and beautiful to me. 

You can find more of Melyna and inspiration on her Instagram. 

 

Good Food for Good Mood

Photo by:  @leefromamerica

Photo by: @leefromamerica

What if I told you that we’re going to spend the next little while talking about blood sugar management and how what we consume in a given day makes that blood sugar spike and drop? How excited would you be on a scale of 1-10? Probably about a zero, right?

But what if I told you that we’re going to talk about mood balance, stable energy, and better sleeps? Now you’re listening, right?

A little about me: I’m a Holistic Nutritionist practicing and loving life living in Guelph Ontario.  But before getting into the world of natural health, a few years ago, I started to develop some health problems.  Most of them physical in nature: skin rashes, hair started to fall out in chunks, acne on my face and back, and fatigued and sick all the time.  I would go to doctors only to be told that all my test results were “normal” and that I was okay. But the reality was, I didn’t feeeeel okay. Eventually, I discovered natural medicine and went to go see a Naturopathic Doctor.  Let me tell you, after a couple of months of sticking to a specific diet protocol to strengthen my gut, my physical symptoms started to disappear. But even better, my mood started to change: I was hardly ever cranky pants, and I had energy that was more stable throughout the day with no dips and crashes.  These were all side effects that I didn’t expect, because I had sought help mostly for the hair and skin stuff.  From there, I started to discover the amazing power that food can have on our bodies: both healing and destructive, depending on what we’re putting in it.  I was so fascinated by my own experience and healing journey that I decided to quit my full-time job as a Child and Youth Program Supervisor to pursuit Holistic Nutrition full time.  I absolutely fell in love with the concept that we are not just physical beings and we need to address the mental, emotional and spiritual side as well in the healing process, and that finding the root cause of an issue is key, so that we don’t continue to treat symptoms and patch things up with band aids left right and centre!  And here I am now, as a Holistic Nutritionist, and always always still learning and loving it all!

Let’s Start from the Top

So let’s talk about food. There’s a common notion that we need to eat constantly throughout the day in order to keep our metabolism active.  Well, in my opinion, that doesn’t have to be entirely true. Here’s what we’re going to do: I’m going to tell you about how blood sugar works, and you can make your own conclusions.  Here we go…

Whenever we eat anything throughout the day, blood sugar levels go up, and a few hours later, they go back down again because the food that we consumed is passing through our system.  The cycle continues like this for as many times as we consume anything throughout the day.  Blood sugar is a measure of how much glucose(or sugar) is in our blood due to the consumption of carbohydrate foods(anything from veggies, fruits, to grains, breads, and pastries).  Ps. I promise, this is as sciencey as I’m going to get…just bare with me here!

So let’s imagine that we woke up in the morning and decided to have a nice fresh, blueberry muffin for breakfast.  Because a muffin is predominantly a carbohydrate food, blood sugar levels will increase super quickly after consumption.  As a response to that, the body releases a hormone called insulin.  Insulin’s job is to partner up with all the little glucose guys, and help them to get in to the cells. They want to get into the cells as fast as possible, because ultimately the cells are using that sugar to give us energy!  But in the case of the muffin for breakfast, it was WAY too much sugar in comparison to the other nutrients, so the body freaks out and releases WAY too much insulin to pair up with that glucose and get it out of the blood stream.  The body is in a state of major stress at this point.  So because there was just tons and tons of insulin released, the blood sugar doesn’t gradually go down and enter the cells the way it’s supposed to, but instead, it comes crashing down.  When it crashes down below the level that we need to function, the body once again freaks out and is in a major state of stress again.  

At that point, the body releases a bunch of stress hormones that send a signal to the brain to crave more sugar.  Seems kind of odd, right? But think about it this way: the body is stressed out, as if it’s being attacked by a bear.  The only way it can think of to get the blood sugar back up to normal levels is to send a signal to crave more sugar.  And thus, the cycle continues in this way throughout the day, with constant cravings and loads of internal stress as the body deals with this.  Now think about this: what’s the result on our mood as all of this is happening on the inside? Probably not great, especially during the crashing phase.  And often times, if we’re eating in this way later in the day, it starts to affect our sleep with all of these dips and crashes happening through the night. 

So what are we supposed to do? Obviously stop eating blueberry muffins forever! Totally kidding! I love blueberry muffins! 

The Ideal Plate

The key is to make sure each meal is balanced with appropriate amounts of proteins, healthy fats, fibre from green veggies, and carbohydrates with less of a sugar content(low on the glycemic index).  An ideal plate composition for blood sugar management should consist of:

1/8 protein source: organic chicken, grass-fed beef, fish, nuts and seeds(especially pumpkin seeds), lentils, chickpeas, beans, tofu, and raw cheeses. ** note: some vegan sources of protein also contain carbohydrates, so we have to be careful with how much we consume. 

1/8 carbohydrates: **and here’s where we’re going to choose the sources with less of an effect on blood sugar as often as possible: sweet potatoes, brown rice, lentil or black bean pasta, whole grain breads(not whole wheat), chickpeas, apples, peaches, cantaloupe, berries(especially blueberries). 

¾ green leafy veggies: **these foods have little to know effect on blood sugar, so you want to load up on these guys: kale(cooked or raw massaged with sea salt and olive oil), romaine lettuce, collard leaves, parsley, cilantro, broccoli, etc. 

1 Tbsp of a healthy oil(or ½ an avocado): **healthy fats in our diet also help to prevent that crash from happening and they keep our cells nice and round and ready to receive the pair of glucose and insulin when they want to enter.  Try pouring a little flax oil, hemp oil, olive oil, or walnut oil over top of your cooked or raw food(you don’t want to cook with these oils because they will go rancid at high temps).  If you are going to be cooking your food, try coconut oil(for 350F or less) or avocado oil for temperatures up to 400F. 

Going back to the Beginning

So, let’s go back to the original question: is it good for our metabolism and our bodies to be constantly eating throughout the day?  Or is it more of a quality over quantity type thing?  I’ll leave that up to you to decide what works for your body.  Think about it this way though: every time we eat, it’s another opportunity for our bodies to release insulin.  There are a lot of health concerns, including diabetes that result from insulin resistance: meaning that our cells just become resistant to the signal and sugar can’t properly get out of the blood stream and into the cells the way it’s supposed to.  So perhaps a minimalist approach to how often we eat is best here. What I do to manage my blood sugar is I make sure that each meal is balanced with proteins, healthy fats and fibre, enough to keep me full and satisfied mentally and physically for at least 4 hours.  When a given meal doesn’t provide that satisfaction for that amount of time, I know that something in that proportion was missing.  Maybe not enough protein. Maybe too little healthy fats.  Either way, I want to make sure that those proportions are balanced for my body’s needs so that my body doesn’t have to keep releasing insulin over and over again, creating more of a potential to become resistant.  Makes sense, right?

Ultimately though, it’s your body and you will learn to listen to the cues it’s giving you.  I’m not here to tell you what to eat and when to eat, but instead, I want to encourage you to listen to the signals your body is giving you.  Did the food I just ate make me feel energized, or drowsy? Do I feel full and satisfied after this meal? Do I have physical symptoms of gas, bloating or constipation when I eat certain foods? Ask yourself and see what works for you.   

Connect with me on Instagram or Facebook @healthybymarjan to get all my healthy and balanced lifestyle tips.  I’m always up to chat about food and health!

Happy eating and living everyone! J

post by: @healthybymarjan