I have always loved bright colorful foods, not the fake pink-the candy kind, more like the bright red of blood orange or deep yellow of wild cherries. Growing up we harvested all colors of tomatoes, dark red radishes, all shades of green foliage for our salads. I grew up foraging Czech forests for the darkest=ripest purple blackberries, bright shiny ruby raspberries and hunched down to pick wild blue huckleberries. Not just because they were delicious but there is something special in collecting your own foods. As a kid and till these days I appreciate the free part of wild harvest as a bonus. Even as a child I knew that mother nature is abundant and it is trying to feed us. We just need to take a moment to learn what is it that will make my body thrive, what am I hungry for?. All it takes is to go out there and ask. Ask your friends, ask a biologist, ask your body? On a very deep level, it already knows what each color will make you feel like and it can tell you what is it in the mood for, what does it need.
Just about three years ago when I was studying Polarity Healing in Guatemala, we were asked to feel each other’s energy field and their vibrations. Most of the participants were like: “Yeah, that’s great!” Me, not so much. My only experience with energy was either feeling attracted to people of repulsed. I felt very much disconnected from how my body feels and reacts to outer impulses. I had no idea that I could actually ask my body a question and it would give me an answer, if I was patient and listened. Our body communicates in many ways. Either through feelings, intuition, aches, pains or bliss, fullness, contentment, joy There is so much my body is telling to me.
Ugh, so awful! And even thought I give the most credit for having calmer mind to my meditation practice, what I love the most is that I am “living here and now”. Don’t get me wrong, I still plan and here and then even dig in the past but I most importantly learned to listen to others and to my favorite teacher- my body. Listening opened so many new doors on so many levels for me.
Listening to my body, I came to realize we have so much control of how we feel.
My body gives me instant feedback
I stayed up late – I am tired today, I had too much to drink – I feel horrible. I watched violent movies – I am up all night. I had coffee in the afternoon – I can’t fall asleep. I forgot to drink water – I am constipated the next day. I didn’t dress warmly – bam, I get cold.
The list could go on and on. I am sure you get it. If we don’t listen to our body’s urges and don’t become our body’s best friend, it is just not gonna function at its best. And I do wanna feel great!!!! Every day I wanna feel not just good but awesome! I don’t wanna be where I was just a few years ago. A party girl, a skibum, a night owl. I thought I ate well, I exercised, but I didn’t sleep we’ll, I didn’t feel energized in the morning, I had inflamed joints, my body parts ached, my skin was not at its most radiant either. So what was I doing wrong? A lot, but mostly I didn’t live in my body, I was not at the driver’s seat of this life’s vehicle. I used to be obsessed with all the nutrients, diets and health books; and I still read them, don’t take me wrong, there is definitely a place for them. But the best book yet I already had, since I was born. And all I needed to do was to learn to read it, be present for it talking, to listen to it. Give it a minute or two to see: How did I do? Was this the right food for me? Was it the adequate amount? Did I feed it to myself at the best time? Consciously? Do I even know what I ate? Did I eat on run and shoved it in without paying attention to the colors, smells and beauty of my meal? Did I eat the way I would not wanna feed anyone else or did I create a ceremony, little ritual.
I love one of my teacher’s suggestion: Eat like the God was coming over. Maybe take little extra time to arrange your plate so it looks inviting, attractive and nourishing, energizing. We all go eat out to be treated like gods; and the best chefs take such a pride in creating beauty on customers’ plates, right? We do eat with all our senses, so our food should not just smell yummy, but also look lovely and taste divine. It should have all six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent) from Ayurvedic perspective but also all seven rainbow colors. Maybe not all at the same time, but surely some. Ask yourself: “Do you consume all the colors? Is your food vibrant looking, does it give you the energy you need? Are all the important nutrients, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants included? Are you eating for the energetic purposes or for the mass? More we think that we have to live on macro nutrition, on calories, on carbs, on proteins, on starches and on fats, the more we consume mass, and the more we identify ourselves as mass. The more we look into our diet for its energetics, the more we think about consuming energy, the Prana, the more we will be able to identify as energy. The mass versus the energy. We are not a mass, this mass is gonna come and go. We are pure energy! Plants are energy and plants are medicine. Its not about calories, its not about grams of protein. It is about what we are merging with. Energy and intelligence meet up with with consciousness.
There is a choice. Everything is either a medicine or a poison. Same with food. What do you choose? I pick me and my body. There is abundance of healing foods around us, all we need to do is to open up and try them. What is medicine for me, might not be for you. The only way to know is to test and listen. Am I feeling better or worse? Am I receiving energy or is it costing me energy to digest this experience, this emotion, this meal?
If we feed ourself with the medicinal foods and experiences, we are healing ourselves on the very deep level. Some foods have even cleansing properties. We can help our bodies to heal and detox through our choices. Everything depends on our will. Human will-power is stronger than any of our bad habits. We need to make this decision to chose what is better for us. Inevitably, we will take wrong turns. All can be good if we manage to get back on the right track instead of following the wrong path. Further you let yourself go down the rabbit hole, further out you will have. Same with longer you avoid being honest with yourself and keep denying that you are making wrong choices, deeper on the dis-ease trail you might be. There are many choices you have to make every day and unless you pre-decide on many of them and make the choices automatic, you are wasting enormous amounts of precious energy. I am sure you have plenty ideas where this extra energy could be directed. The habits that you have automated and don’t have to think about if you are gonna do them or not, are the ones that free you the most time. Stacking them on top of each other and allowing for a flow is very helpful. Good habits just like the bad ones compound. If you start day with a beneficial practice or two, the chances are you will want to continue on this trajectory of health and wellness and you might find yourself ordering an arugula salad instead of french fries. More good stuff we add to our lives, less room there will be for the old outdated stuff that doesn’t do it for us anymore. I recommend staring with cleaning up the house little by little. By introducing some of the cleansing moves to help us to get the kick start. It’s always a good idea to make sure you are eating every day something that is helping you to detoxify. I like to add the “good” before I start removing the “bad.” Quite often when we start taking care of our body, we naturally lose interest in the old.
My favorite super-foods and super-moves
We all have been given the best present ever- a body that tells us immediately what is working for us and what was not the best choice at that time. It is mind-boggling how much I was not present for all this valuable information growing up. I am embarrassed to even confess that until my late thirties I lived either in the past, obsessing with stories that weren’t even real and worse, were changing with time. The same experience would re-play in my head differently depending on a day. I spent good chunk of my time planning ahead. rehearsing what will I say and how is the conversation gonna go…
~Learn how to unwind before bed for better and deeper sleep. Let go of the day by journaling, going for a walk. Bring the energy down as you take a hot shower or a bath. Rub essential oils onto your feet to enhance nourishing sleep. Listen to calming music, or read a spiritual book. Find better and healthier ways to relax yourself. Blue screen is the biggest sleep disruptor, turn all your devices off two hours before the bed time.
~Go sleep early. the sleep you get before midnight is worth double. Doublr your sleep and double the energy. If you can’t sleep the recommended 6.5 to 8.5 hours, go to bed early. Leave the mental work that needs to be done for the early morning hours when you have more mental clarity and sharpness.
~Increase the amount of healthy fats in your diet. Our brain is more than 60% fat and will thrive on this diet. Pre soaked nuts, sprouted seeds and avocados are my “go-to’s.” Coconut and olive oil are great, add butter or better yet ghee to your dishes. Animal fats like lard or ever bacon fat are good for you also. Higher amounts of good fats make you digest your meals more evenly without the energy spikes caused by high carb diet. Fat is a slow and steady burner. Eating higher amounts of fat and less carbs forces your body into the fat burning mode when your body will reach into its reserves and start burning the stored fat.
~Eat slowly and consciously. Sit down to eat and be present, create a ritual around feeding yourself. make this time sacred. It is important to switch into the parasympathetic nervous system mode to digest properly. Eating in the fight or flight mode can cause issues in assimilation and absorption of vital minerals and nutrients.
~Grapefruit is one of nature’s great fat metabolizers, stabilizes energy and balances blood sugar.
~Raw honey, uncooked and not processed normalizes sugar cravings by forcing fat metabolism and helps natural detox. It should be taken only in small quantities to help with weight reduction. Raw honey has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. It’s very soothing for dry throat and helps in clearing out mucus.
~Spices are one of the most powerful medicine. For better digestion try to add cinnamon or ginger to your dishes. Homemade blend of fennel, cumin and coriander taken 1 teaspoon in a glass of water twenty minutes before meal time, can help stoke the digestive fire and help with smoother movement of the food mass down towards the exit.
~Darker greens provide more chlorophyl and more iron.
~ I love to go wild. Wild growing plants and weeds are loaded with energy, full of life force, of nutrients, minerals. They are plentiful around us, are deeply detoxifying and are free. Add them to your salads and smoothies to feel vibrant and alive. Or just chew on some, taste them and you will see, what you get out of it.
~ Look for nutrient rich option within each category of vegetables you are consuming. I have beed focusing on adding new vegetables to my cart every time I am shopping to increase diversity and add new varietals to my menu.
~ Hydrate, sip on hot water throughout the day, make sure you are drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces. With from sodas to pure water. Nothing else helps you clean that body of yours like clean water, we are after all mostly made out of water. Stay hydrated.
~ Detoxify your mind, sit in silence a few minutes every day to quiet the “monkey mind”. Let go of the thoughts, they change all the time anyway. Release the hold onto the stories from your day and connect with what is real, what is true.
~ Exercise daily, even if just for few minutes. Start the day by moving, increase the blood flow. Find a workout that you like and you can commit to doing every day. Start small, 3-4 minutes, build that habit and only then increase the intensity and length. Explore with breath, going in and out in a deeper manner. If you have a sit down job, get up several times a day and move. Jump, stretch, walk, dance or bounce, be creative. Sitting is dangerous in man ways. Find time for several bigger workouts in a week to get your heart rate up.
~ Eliminate daily. This seems obvious, yet many of us have a struggle going regularly, every morning. It is a simple as it gets, if you eat one day, you have to evacuate the waste the next one. Preferably before you eat again. Carrying the unused food material around any longer than necessary can be detrimental to your health. If your body says its done with it, it should be gone. Drinking a big glass or two of hot water first thing in the morning was found helpful. If you are having trouble, make sure you are hydrates and eat plenty of fibrous vegetables, including beets. Beets have remarkable properties, not just the roots but also the leafy green tops, they are higher in antioxidants than the root and really support liver function. Both are high in fiber and help with bile movement and easier waste evacuation.
~ at only three meals a day without snacking. Give your digestive track a break and allow yourself to feel hungry so you can experience true satiation.
~ Turmeric is the miraculous spice. It helps combat cancer, it is anti-inflammatory, an anti-oxidant and anti-septic. It helps with aches and pains, and will increase your immunity. It should be taken with one black pepper to increase its absorbability.
~ Eat a tablespoon of homemade or small batch ferments, like miso, sauerkraut or kimchi to increase the probiotics, the healthy bacteria in your guts. Raw dandelion greens are great prebiotic, feeding your probiotics. Same for raw garlic and onions, jicama, asparagus, jerusalem artichoke and leeks.
~ Go color, more better. Sweet potatoes have more antioxidants than the regular ones, are more nutrient dense and are lower glycemic. The purple one is on the top! Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts are best cancer fighting foods. Again the purple cauliflower has three times the antioxidants as the white variety.
How good do we wanna feel?
Are we willing to make few changes?
Can we read the book?
Can we go wild and diverse?
We are at the driver’s seat of how we feel.
~ green for is considered a blood cleanser and great for detoxing, the leafy greens, sprouts, broccoli, beans, peas, asparagus, avocado, all of those are starting to be abundant now at farmers market
~ yellow stimulates your digestion, lemon, lime, pineapple, grapefruit, apricots and peaches coming to season soon too, mangos, they all strengthen our nerves and digestion
~ and blue foods like plums and blueberries, grapes, purple potatoes are very good for our mental and emotional body
The outer ecology becomes our inner ecology, our inner ecosystem, more colors, more varietals we bring in, more micro-biome and more healthy intestinal bugs to help us with digestion and immunity we will have. And !!! Easier elimination we will experience.
EAT THE RAINBOW
There is a connection between the color of our food and nutrients and a correlation between the antioxidant level.
Every color is present because of certain minerals and that is why it is recommended to eat them all.You wan to be getting the whole variety of nutrients. Why not? The idea here is that the more deeply and intensely colored a plant is, the more phytonutrients it will contain. Look for the dark blue or purple, bright orange and red.
~ when you eat red food, it speeds up the circulation and gives you more energy- berries, beets, pomegranates
~ when you eat orange food, its wonderful for your lungs and allergies-raw honey, grapefruits