Thanksgiving is coming right up!
Here is a list of 13 tips for a making your Thanksgiving weekend healthier.
1. Plan to eat your Thanksgiving meal at midday or in the afternoon. This is when your digestive capacity is at its peak. Studies show that eating the bulk of your calories earlier in the day supports maintaining a healthy weight.
2. Plan several delicious plant based sides to accompany your Thanksgiving turkey. For healthy Thanksgiving food ideas, look here, here and here.
3. If you're not hosting, volunteer to bring a healthy dish to your holiday gathering. This way, you'll know that you have at least one healthy dish to put on your plate. Here's a list of healthy plant based Thanksgiving recipes.
4. Eat breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. This has been shown to prevent over-eating later in the day.
5. Sit next to healthy eaters. Find your healthy eating allies and enjoy strength and wellness in numbers.
6. Put veggies on your plate first. Take a larger portion of the healthier foods and a smaller portion of the less healthy foods.
7. Choose your indulgences wisely and enjoy them. There is a time for feasting. Consciously enjoy your dessert!
8. Slow down. Enjoy your food. Savor the flavors. Chew and swallow. Pause. Breathe. Repeat.
9. Focus on gratitude. Studies show that folks who make gratitude a daily practice open the door to more relationships, improve their physical health, psychological health, sleep better, are more empathetic, have better self esteem and mental resilience.
10. Drink digestive teas after your meal. Ginger tea, Cumin, coriander, fennel tea and licorice mint are all great choices. Here are some recipes.
11. When you're done eating, brush your teeth to discourage yourself from eating more than you need.
12. Move your body after your big meal. Invite your friends and loved ones to take a walk after your Thanksgiving feast. This will give your metabolism a boost and lighten the load.
13. Eat lighter and greener on Black Friday. It's a good practice to pulse between festive meals and simple meals. After a day of rich celebratory eating, dial it back. Think healthy and simple like green smoothies and vegetable soups.
Happy Healthy Thanksgiving!
Don’t you hate it when you realize that you’ve been living life in the fast lane, being too busy, feeling stressed, not eating well and not resting enough, and you wear down on your immune system and you end up sick. Let’s not let that happen!
Here are some ideas to help you build your immunity this season.
According to Ayurveda, ojas is the life sustaining vitality that promotes immunity in the body. I think of it as your energy reserves and deep immunity. Ojas is responsible for sustaining your physical health, mental clarity and emotional well-being. When you have a lot of ojas, your cup is full. You are a picture of health. Your eyes are bright. You look well-rested and content. You build ojas by good, wholesome living. When you are living in the fast lane, you spend your ojas quick. Burning the candle at both ends is a sure way to deplete your energy reserves.
Late fall is an important time to build ojas. Here is a list of simple ways you can do this:
Restorative Yoga is a great way to build immunity and replenish yourself.
Here is a simple 11 minute restorative yoga and pranayama practice you can to build your immunity:
Here's to your health!
How to cultivate health and well-being in a busy, complicated world
These days health and well-being can be hard to come by. There is so much information out there about diet, exercise and lifestyle. You may wonder what diet you should be eating. Vegetarian, paleo, raw, vegan? Should you go gluten free? Should you cut out dairy? Caffeine? What is the best exercise for you? Yoga, pilates? Cross fit? Running? And what can you do to get better sleep, more energy and manage stress?
Ayurvedic wellness is a time tested tradition that excels at guiding individuals toward greater well-being through lifestyle habits, individualized diet recommendations, and mind-body practices.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda means the “knowledge or wisdom of life.” Ayurveda is a holistic system of health and well-being that originated in the ancient Indian Vedic system of knowledge and is considered the sister sciences of yoga as it shares with yoga the goals of optimal physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Ayurveda offers a holistic lifestyle approach to health including lifestyle habits and guidelines, specific body practices, individual diet recommendations, and herbal remedies.
A central concept in Ayurveda is the tridoshic system. Health is considered to be the balance of three basic energetic forces or principles called doshas. When these doshas are in a normal state in terms of quality and quantity, there is a balance. When the quality or quantity of a particular dosha shifts, there is an imbalance.
In this post and accompanying audio talk, I give an overview of Ayurveda’s 3 dosha model. This knowledge can help you understand how to choose an appropriate diet, movement and lifestyle. Stepping into an understanding of Ayurveda allows you to align to your bio-rhythms and to the larger rhythm of nature.
Here are 3 reasons to discover your Ayurvedic body type:
1) To optimize your diet. What should I be eating? (Why can my friend eat all the bananas, nuts, and pizza she wants, and when I eat these, I feel gassy and bloated?) According to Ayurveda, what is food for one person may be poison for another. It all comes down to digestion. Learning your Ayurvedic dosha or body type helps you choose your foods wisely for maximum nourishment.
2) To choose the best yoga or movement practice for you. What is the best exercise for me? (My friend loves hot yoga and I can't stand it - why is that?) According to Ayurveda, there are different kinds of exercises that are suitable for different body types. Knowing your dosha can help you choose an exercise program that is suited for you so you can feel grounded, energized and fit.
3) To create a balanced lifestyle for yourself. How can I bring routine into my day? What can I do to manage my emotions? What can I do when I feel grouchy? anxious? depressed? Ayurveda recognizes that people are prone to different mental/emotional tendencies. Discovering your dosha can help you recognize areas of strength and weakness. Ayurveda recommends daily habits to bring balance to your bodymind and life.
Click below to listen to the audio talk:
Interested in learning more?
If you are interested in the topic of how to align your body with the rhythms of nature for better sleep as well as for optimal energy, and if you are interested in better understanding how you can create a daily routine to support your health, please contact me. As a Yoga Health Coach, I am a holistic wellness provider trained and practiced in the daily habits and health principles of yoga and Ayurveda. I help people up-level their habits for vibrant living.
An on-going theme that I teach my clients and emphasize in my wellness courses and explore in my own life is how to step into the role of being your own best care-giver and how to prioritize self-care. This is the intelligent stance of putting yourself first when it comes to health. Put on your own oxygen mask first.
I see too many people, particularly women, taking care of others, but not actively advocating and prioritizing their health and well-being and I've been guilty of this myself! But, we all know that when you don't prioritize your health, not only do you suffer, your family and community suffers too. It doesn't have to be this way!
Self care isn't a luxury. It's a necessity.
A parent who is perpetually exhausted has little to give. A zombie mom can’t be an effective parent. A zombie in the workplace can't contribute to the greater good.
When you practice self-care, everyone wins!
A good way to begin to self-care is by remembering your own care-givers and becoming aware of your learned and inherited patterns of care-giving and self-care. These inquiries are important. Our own personal health evolution requires a strong examination of the habits and patterns that are present in our lineage. The habits that we learned from our care-givers that are life-affirming, we aim to perpetuate. The habits that we learned from them that are not life-affirming we should release.
Who were your primary care-givers? Name them. Your mother, father, older siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, etc. Your list can include blood relatives as well as the special people who showed up for you in your life and cared for you.
In what ways did you experience their care? Maybe it was through physical touch, nourishment, humor, coaching or teachable moments. If your caregivers are still living, consider reaching out to them and expressing gratitude for their care. If they are no longer living, find a way to remember them and inwardly express gratitude.
Was self-care something that was strongly modeled in your family of up-bringing? Did the adults in your life model self-care? Can you remember how your care-givers cared for themselves and/or reached out for support when they needed it?
You already know how to be a caregiver to your family.
What does it look like to be your own best caregiver?
What habits or practices do you regularly engage in to promote your wellbeing?
Practice daily self-care and you'll live a healthy life.
“There is no herb, supplement or drug that can entirely take the place of having an appropriate daily diet, lifestyle and stress-management routine.”
- Dr. Claudia Welch
“I prescribe regimens for the good of my patients.”
Self Care Basics
Bookend your days with morning and evening routines
The day is going to be busy, hectic, variable with school, projects, errands, etc. You'll be more resilient and effective with your day if you make time for yourself in the morning and evening. Bookend your days with routines and rituals that ground, nourish and calm.
Cultivate a powerful morning routine
Get up early so you can have quiet time before the busy-ness of the day begins. Make time for self care in the morning: reflection, meditation, reading, exercise, journaling, etc. Plan your day for efficiency and flow.
Cultivate an easeful evening routine
Honor your body’s fatigue and slow down after the workday. Avoid doing more work in the evening and choose instead to make time for doing something that is pleasant and relaxing. Play a game. Listen to music. Consider a bath, reading, self massage, meditation or journaling.
Prioritize Sleep. Make Early to Bed a Habit
The truth is, most of us are incredibly busy and many of us get through life on little sleep. We don’t give our sleep the attention it deserves. What we want to recognize is that fatigue is a basic, natural sign from your body, like hunger and thirst. We need to pay attention to fatigue, just as we pay attention to hunger, for example.
Getting enough sleep is crucial for good health. Early to bed is crucial for parents. Get off your screen at least one hour before bed. Get to sleep by 10 PM to get the best hours of rest.
Move Your Body Daily
Exercise daily and you'll be more successful at home, at work, or at anything you do. Exercise boosts your metabolism, is linked to better productivity, encourages better sleep, and makes for a happier you!
Prioritize Your Nourishment
Meal plan on the weekends. Eat a well balanced, whole foods diet. Up your veggies and greens! Drink water between meals. Sit down and relax when you eat your meals. Eat a bigger lunch and an earlier, lighter dinner for better energy, weight management, and less inflammation.
Carve out breaks for yourself. Take yourself on a date
Can you give yourself a half day a week and a full day a month for self care? What brings you joy and pleasure?
What would you like to do for yourself? Plan something that gives you joy and pleasure. A walk in nature, a visit to a museum, an outing with a friend. How can you make this happen?
Don’t lose sight of your passions, joy and desires.
Be an awesome parent, care-giver, worker, boss or employee, but don’t lose sight of yourself in the process. Keep prioritizing your personal passions, interests and desires.
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. What the world needs is people who have come alive. - Howard Thurman
Annie Barrett. Educator, certified health coach, educator and yoga instructor.