“Let thy food be medicine and medicine be thy food,” Hippocrates
We’re all aware of the effects of a slice of watermelon on a hot day, hot cocoa on a chilly night or a dish of those melodic BBQ beans! There is no doubt that different foods have different effects in the body. The foods we choose to eat may be leading us towards great health or horrible dis-ease. For example, it is recommended to people with arthritis to avoid eating nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers) as they are linked to increased inflammation, but tumeric is a wonderful anti-inflammatory that adds color and bite to your meals. Let’s not poo-poo the nightshades though, eggplant improves circulation and the digestion of fats and tomatoes are rich in iron so they help to reduce anaemia.
The keys here are: 1. To be aware of your ailments 2. Notice the effects of your food and 3. Make new food choices according to what feels good after.Yesterday evening, I was feeling bloated and sleepy. I had a big lunch with a salad, rice, curried lentils with veggies and cornbread, later I snacked on saltines and homemade peanut butter. I over ate and I combined a bunch of different foods. I would attribute my discomfort and sluggishness to the lentils, saltines and overeating. Looking back, it would have been better to have gone for the carrot ginger soup over the lentils and to snack on fruit or skip it completely. So, I brewed a cup and ginger tea and decided to try that greens & grape smoothie for dinner! Mmm. Mmm!
If you are having a specific chronic issue related to digestion or energy levels, it may be helpful to give your system a break. You can try a cleanse, detox or fast depending on your health condition. It’s advisable to speak to your doctor before significantly altering your diet. A light cleanse or detox could be eating ONLY simple, clean and easily digestible foods for a 2-5 days. This could be herb or tumeric-seasoned steamed rice and vegetables (with no oils or spicy seasoning). Proteins, oils and other heavy foods take longer to digest, so these are left out (it’s ok, its less than a week!). This type of cleanse is like a subtle “reset” for the digestive system because, the foods you eat are easily digestible and will help release toxins and reduce inflammation. In the past, I’ve added in a day or two of vegetable juice fasting in the middle to boost the effect.
Today in Hindu culture, the women celebrate Vat Savitri (which means “long life”) in honor of their husbands. They fast for the day and offer prayers for a long and healthy life for their spouses. The fast is to purify the body so that their full energy is present in their prayers. But it is interesting that a day dedicated to a long and healthy life is a day of fasting.
Have you noticed any foods this week that made you feel radiant afterwards? How about sluggish?