Ayurveda tells us that nature is made of five elements (ether/space, air, fire, water, and earth) and that we, too, have these elements within. It is the expression of these elements that makes each living being unique. Thes are commonly known as our dosha or our primary constitution. There are three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) and we can be a one, two or a blend of all three.
Whatever you identify with is the blueprint dosha for your lifestyle, your daily routine, the type and amount of exercise we engage in, and ultimately, how we eat. Though each person may have different food preferences, some excluding specific foods such as animal products, Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of a plant-based diet regardless. This is because plants carry the highest amount of prana, also known as energy or life-force.
Benefiting Your Plant-based Diet With Ayurvedic Principles
A plant-based diet is already in alignment with Ayurveda, and not just because plants are medicinal and pack an energetic punch. In such away that people who adhere to a plant-based are very intentional with how and what they eat.
By promoting self-awareness and conscious decision making, to support what we need in any given moment, Ayurveda is largely a practice of being intentional. This completely parallels conforming to a plant-based diet as you simply have to slow down and be aware when you’re scanning ingredient lists or making recipe substitutions.
In addition to eating plant-based and being intentional, here are some suggestions to enhance your diet using Ayurvedic principles:
1. Eating food that are in season
Due to modern times we have the ability to import all types of food in every season. Its amazingly convenient to not have to wait for the tomatoes and peppers from the garden to ripen to make an epic batch of homemade salsa - but this isn't necessarily a positive thing. The dramatic changes in weather and qualities of each season give rise to plants that bring balance to our physiological state. So, if we aren’t eating what we are growing locally, we could be missing out on the very ingredients that will ward off seasonal illnesses and keep us healthy year round. In spring, leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, and fresh berries are astringent, light, and detoxifying which help us to cleanse and slough off the accumulation of winter. Then summer provides us sweet fruit and all the makings of a good salad which cools us internally, so that we are less likely to experience symptoms of excessive heat, such as anger and inflammation. And finally, when we need grounding and warmth the most, produce like squash and root veggies, along with grains, nuts, and seeds are available to help us sustain the dry, light, and cold feelings fall and winter bring.
2. Consider the Qualities of Your Food
The word “quality” here doesn’t mean good or bad – rather, it is how we would describe it using the Ayurvedic gunas. A guna is a qualifier or descriptive word. There are 20 in total and they are paired in opposites: light/heavy, dry/oily, hot/cold, clear/cloudy, mobile/static, dense/liquid, rough/smooth, hard/soft, sharp/dull, subtle/gross. These are important because if too much of one quality is consumed, a condition with the same quality can manifest. For example, if one is consuming a lot of foods that are astringent or drying, like beans, dried fruit, crackers, or bread, it’s possible that they could develop a dry condition such as dry skin, constipation, or even insomnia or anxiety. The same would be true of someone who is intentionally avoiding healthy oils or fats.
The major concern here is that we become familiar with what we are eating, so that we do not consume foods in a way cause accumulation or lack.
Plant-based diets have a tendency to be inherently lighter and drier than diets that include more meat and dairy, so it’s important to be sure that we’re getting an adequate amount of healthy oils like nuts and seeds, as well as consciously adding heavier foods like cooked veggies, soups, and stews.
3. Focus on Variety
Ayurveda considers all food to have a medicinal effect and to be purposeful with specific timing, but if we are over-consuming even our superfoods, what was once could have served as a remedy could cause a malady. At times, eating a well-rounded plant-based diet can be difficult or inconvenient until you find your groove, but the concern is that the groove could become a rut. Eating a variety of foods will promote a healthy microbiota, along with ensuring you’ll get the full spectrum of macro and micronutrients that our bodies need.
4. Eat For How You Feel and What Your Senses are Telling you
It’s important to stop to check in with how we are feeling both mentally and physically before choosing what we are going to eat. Our instincts and healthy cravings are like status updates from our internal environment, acting as indicators as to what sustenance will be your best medicine in the moment. The meal that serves us best on a day filled with fun and laughter is not likely what will pacify our mood on a bad day.
As you begin to approach your diet from an Ayurvedic perspective, remember to start slowly. Take time to make the changes that don’t feel overwhelming at first and the ones that you feel will work best for you at the time. Observe the ways that Ayurveda can strengthen your connection to nature and support your path to being the best version of yourself. If ever in doubt, there are plenty of knowledgeable Ayurvedic practitioners around the world who can provide seasonal guidance to support your journey.
Digestive Enzymes... The Key Supplement for Your Health...
Eating all the right foods doesn’t mean much if your body isn’t digesting them properly.
Have you ever noticed despite eating well and getting exercise, you’re feeling a little sluggish, bloated, in pain, or just overall not feeling awesome?
It could be a cry for help from your gut!
And the culprit could be a lack of digestive enzymes. Your gut might not be getting all the help it needs to break down the nutrients in your food.
By definition, digestive enzymes are macromolecular biological catalysts.
Layman's terms: They are substances in your body's digestive system that breaks bigger things down into smaller things via chemical reactions.
And your digestive system is smart. It knows different foods break down differently.
So, it uses over 20 types of digestive enzymes, and a variety of methods, to deconstruct food into molecules that your body can absorb as nutrients. Each enzyme has one job: it deconstructs only one type of food molecule, like fats, carbohydrates, lactose, proteins, etc.
With age, increased stress, or poor nutrition, your body tends to slow enzyme production – and this means the food you eat doesn’t break down properly.
This is a problem for two reasons:
It's all connected.
Supplements and raw whole food sources!
The great thing about digestive enzymes supplements is your body will still continue to create them on its own.
This means you won’t be depending on them forever, just that the supplement-derived enzymes will give your body's natural digestion a boost when you need it.
There are plenty of reasons to make sure you’ve got your digestive enzymes on track, and if you’re low, a supplement is definitely a great idea.
We just can’t emphasize it enough: Having the proper enzymes in their proper numbers means you’ll get more out of the food you eat!
All those fruits, veggies, and proteins you consume go to good use instead of just, well, sitting there in your gut (and making you gassy).
The tiny cells along the lining of your intestines are what absorb the nutrients in your food.
When food isn’t digested properly, these larger, undigested molecules can start to push and break through the cell walls, which in turn triggers your immune system to kick into gear to fight these “invaders.”
This can cause inflammation in your intestinal lining and elsewhere in your body. Not good.
Another common side effect of food not being deconstructed properly is that the bacteria in your gut can begin to feed on it.
When this bacterium is overfed and overgrown, it can lead to bloating, gas, cramps, diarrhea and other typical IBS symptoms.
What’s more, diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis can also be attributed to inflammation in your gut. Preliminary studies have shown that proper digestive enzymes can also help with food sensitivities and conditions like lactose intolerance.
When we said it’s all connected, we meant it. When you’re not getting the proper nutrients you need or experiencing inflammation inside your body, it can show up on your skin.
For example, fatty acids are a key component of healthy skin, and we get them from food! If your body isn’t getting enough inside, it’s going to show on the outside.
Your stomach is where things start to get going in terms of digestion. Stomach acid, or hydrochloric acid, begins to break down proteins early in this process. It’s helped out later by pancreatic enzymes in your intestines, but if your hydrochloric acid levels are low (hypochlorhydria) then this throws everything else off.
Specifically, low hydrochloric acid levels can cause malabsorption of certain vitamins, like B12, which in turn can contribute to anemia (low iron levels) and symptoms of fatigue. Taking an enzyme supplement can help build up hydrochloric acid if you’re lacking.
Inflammation is often at the root of pain problems. Things like headaches and migraines can be linked to inflammation in your gut, which in turn can be linked to a lack of nutrients.
In particular, the pancreatic digestive enzyme amylase converts carbohydrates into glucose, which is a key molecule that our bodies use for energy. So if everything in your digestion in running smoothly, you’ll likely see a difference across the rest of your body as well.
Neurotransmitters - things responsible for our moods, energy levels, and alertness – need proteins.
In fact, they need amino acids, which are created by the healthy digestion of proteins. If you’re not getting the right amount of protein or don’t have adequate enzymes to break down protein into amino acids, you’re likely in need of a boost.
Proper gut health can have a huge effect on anxiety and can help counter inflammation-born issues in your nervous system, like depression and sleep problems.
When we think of things like serotonin and dopamine, we often think of our brains. But in reality, 90% of our serotonin is created in our digestive tract. If you’re feeling foggy, or need a productivity boost, start with your gut!
When things like Leaky Gut Syndrome trigger autoimmune responses in the body, it can lead to even more serious problems.
While there’s a range of opinions on whether autoimmune disorders are curable, the fact remains that many things, like Celiac Disease, can be attributed to poor digestion.
At the very least, enzyme supplements can ensure that your body has the tools it needs for proper absorption of nutrients and minimizes the risk of inflammation.
Methylation is a biochemical process that refers to the vital cell division and production in our DNA. It’s what’s responsible for all kinds of responses in our bodies, everything from detoxification to inflammation control to energy production.
Our bodies use B vitamins for this process, so when our digestion is lacking, or when an overgrowth of bacteria is present in our digestive tract, this makes it harder for these vitamins to be absorbed.
The bottom line is that gut health = overall health, and the first step to gut health is making sure your body has the tools it needs. Digestive enzyme supplements can be a great way to kick-start your body into healing itself – because everybody needs a little help sometimes.
P.S. I have created an amazing guide to give you my best tips, tricks and hacks for alleviating those uncomfortable stomach issues.
Get your free guide here:
Eating healthy can help you lose weight and have more energy.
It can also improve your mood and reduce your risk of disease.
Yet despite these benefits, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can be challenging.
Here are 14 ways to stick to a healthy diet.
Eating a nutritious diet has many benefits, including potential weight loss.
However, it's important to set realistic expectations.
For example, if you pressure yourself to lose weight too quickly, your plan to achieve better health may backfire.
Researchers found that obese people who expected to lose a lot of weight were more likely to drop out of a weight loss program within 6–12 months.
Setting a more realistic and achievable goal can keep you from getting discouraged and may even lead to greater weight loss.
Remembering why you're making healthy choices can help you stay on course.
Making a list of specific reasons why you want to get healthier can be helpful.
Keep this list handy and refer to it when you feel you need a reminder.
It's difficult to eat healthy if you're surrounded by junk foods.
If other family members want to have these foods around, try keeping them hidden rather than on countertops.
The saying "out of sight, out of mind" definitely applies here.
Having food on display in various areas of the house has been linked to obesity and increased consumption of unhealthy foods.
A major roadblock to achieving a healthy diet and lifestyle is black-and-white thinking.
One common scenario is that you have a few unhealthy appetizers at a party, decide that your diet is ruined for the day, and proceed to overindulge in unhealthy foods.
Instead of considering the day ruined, try putting the past behind you and choosing healthy, unprocessed foods that contain protein for the remainder of the party.
This will help you feel full and satisfied rather than stuffed and frustrated.
A few off-plan choices make very little difference in the long run, as long as you balance them with healthy foods.
Sticking to a healthy diet can be tough when you're away from home for extended periods.
When you get too hungry on the go, you may end up grabbing whatever is available.
This is often processed food that doesn't really satisfy hunger and isn't good for you in the long run.
Having healthy high-protein snacks on hand can help keep your appetite in check until you're able to have a full meal.
Some examples of good, portable snacks are almonds, peanuts, and apples and banannas. Also consider filling a small cooler with hard-boiled eggs, chopped fruits and veggies, or plant-based yogurt.
You may have heard you shouldn't change too many things at once when trying to improve your health. In general, this is good advice.
Still, research shows that when you make both dietary and physical activity changes at the same time, the results tend to reinforce each other.
In a study in 200 people, those who began eating a healthy diet and exercising at the same time found it easier to maintain these behaviors than those who started with either diet or exercise alone, then added the other later.
Trying to maintain a healthy diet while eating out can be very challenging.
Still, there are ways to make it easier, such as checking out the menu before you go or drinking water before and during the meal.
It's best to have a strategy in place before you get to the restaurant rather than being overwhelmed once you get there.
Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, being outside of your familiar territory can make it difficult to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few tips:
Eating mindfully can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Take time to enjoy your food and appreciate its ability to nourish you. This increases your chances of making successful, lasting behavioral changes.
In a four-month study, overweight and obese women who practiced mindful eating significantly improved their relationship with food.
Another 6-week study in women with binge eating disorder found that binge episodes decreased from 4 to 1.5 per week when the women practiced mindful eating. Plus, the severity of each binge decreased.
Logging the foods you eat into a diary, online food tracker, or app can help you stick to a healthy diet and lose weight.
Measuring your exercise progress is also beneficial and provides you with motivation that can help you keep going.
In a three-month study, overweight women who were given pedometers walked farther and lost six times more weight than those who didn't use them.
Sticking with a healthy eating and exercise plan can be tough to do on your own.
Having a diet or exercise buddy may be helpful, especially if that person is your partner or spouse..
Researchers studying data from over 3,000 couples found that when one person made a positive lifestyle change, such as increasing physical activity, the other was more likely to follow their lead.
If your first meal is well balanced and contains adequate protein, you're more likely to maintain stable blood sugar levels and not overeat for the rest of the day.
In one study, overweight women who consumed at least 30 grams of protein at breakfast felt more satisfied and ate fewer calories at lunch than those who ate a lower-protein breakfast.
Don't be discouraged if it takes longer than you expect to adapt to your new, healthy way of living.
Researchers have found that it takes an average of 66 days to make a new behavior a habit.
Eventually, eating healthy and exercising regularly will become automatic.
There is no perfect way that works for everyone.
It's important to find a way of eating and exercising that you enjoy, find sustainable, and can stick to for the rest of your life.
The best diet for you is the one you can stick to in the long run.
So, as you can see there are some efficient ways to create healthier habits to stick to a new health regiment.
This is why we created The Alchemy of Detox 21 Day Challenge. It has all of the components that will keep you focused and motivated. The protocols and plant based recipes are easy to follow. You will get weekly lives teaching on numerous detox topics. We will share some cooking styles and some sweet treats. You will get unlimited email access to our team to get all of your questions and concerns answered. You will also be added to our private VIP Facebook group where other people and yourself can connect throughout the challenge and share all of your successes and the issues you experience.
You will get all of the consistency, accountability and support you need to successfully complete the 21 Days.
You can purchase the program here: www.candisandalden.com/the-alchemy-of-detox
I hear from people all the time discussing the negative, toxic behaviors of other people they know that pushes them away. These kinds of behaviors can devastate your family and friends over time.
But we have to be real: we've all acted in toxic ways in the past. Things like gossip, thoughtless anger, and a lack of compassion are something I'm sure we've all done in the past.
Do any of these sound familiar?
1. You're outwardly envious of the people around you.
2. Taking things way too personally.
3. Acting like you're the victim.
4. Holding onto pain and negativity.
5. Chronic negativity.
6. Lack of emotional self-control.
7. Being overly judgmental of others.
8. Being cruel to the people around you.
9. Hiding from your personal truth.
10. Constantly needing validation from others.
11. Being stubborn about your beliefs.
12. Demanding perfection.
13. Lacking empathy for others.
14. Cutting corners because you can.
15. Cheating at life.
16. Lacking any kind of compassion for the people around you.
17. Excessive, hurtful gossiping.
18. Angry outbursts without thinking.
Are any of these traits consistent in your life? If they are, it might be time to work them out. It could be time to consider what they actually mean to you, how they impact others, and really challenge these habits head on.
Making the choice to switch to a plant-based diet (or better yet, a plant-based diet emphasizing whole foods) is one of the best health choices anyone can make, or even aspire to transition into. Just the concept of eating more plants in place of animals is a remarkable way to enhance your longevity, optimize your taste buds to crave healthier foods, balance your mood and hormones, and increase your chances at preventing disease with every single bite. Or, maybe you’ve made the choice to do so for your budget, the environment, and the animals that a plant-based diet benefits. Whatever the case, know that you’ve made the right choice and are likely to experience more health benefits than you ever imagined such as cancer prevention, blood sugar benefits, digestion improvements, and even a more energetic and happier mood thanks to all the nutrient-dense properties a plant-based diet has.
But let’s be honest — not everything is rainbows and sunshine when you make the switch, even if you’re completely stoked about the diet and are witnessing several health benefits. Many people who transition into a plant-based diet go through a detox period. Not your typical detox diet where you skip out on meals or just drink juice all week, detoxing from animal-based products is a real issue that you need to be aware of. It can include headaches, digestion changes, and even feelings of sadness as you learn to let go of old traditions surrounding meals with meat, dairy, eggs or poultry and get used to the concept of eating different foods than you might be used to.
Many people assume these are signs their body doesn’t deal with a plant-based diet well, but this is always true. Detox is a real issue that most people go through; it can last a week, a month, and for some people it can occur off and on every few months for a couple days as the body continues to clean itself out from old toxins, hormones, mercury, pesticides, bacteria, and other harmful things found in most all animal-based foods.
Many people don’t realize how much they’re emotionally tied to certain foods. For instance, if one of your most favorite memories is sitting down and enjoy chicken or beef burgers at the table with your parents as a kid, or having a plate of mom or grandma’s bacon and eggs on Saturday mornings makes you just smile with warmth and good emotions, the idea of not eating these dishes anymore can be a little depressing. But realize that you’re not attached to the food; you’re attached to the memory around the food that enhances the strength of that emotion.
Physiologically speaking, your body’s hormones also change when you quit eating animal products and many people’s bodies are more sensitive than others. As hormones change and stabilize, realize that emotional changes are normal. One unique thing to point out is that a plant-based diet can be very mind-clearing due to the way it sweeps out excess hormones from animal-based foods in the body. As it does this, the body can go through almost a shock emotionally and physically. If you are experiencing emotional changes, know that it’s completely normal, and don’t be afraid. See some tips for transitioning away from your favorite traditional meals, and explore How Your Food Choices Affect Your Hormones to learn more about the physiological changes that happen when you quit eating animal proteins.
As your body cleanses itself from many sources of harmful animal protein stored in your cells, keep in mind that your liver, digestive system, kidneys, and lymph system are in major “cleaning house” mode. Be aware of this and know that because they’re sweeping all that out without you eating any more of those foods to slow the detox down, you’ll likely be a little (or a lot) more tired than usual, may experienced increased bathroom time (which is a good thing!), and may even have headaches. It feels a little like the flu and can be exhausting in the beginning if your diet was especially toxic before. These are all signs your body is cleaning itself; be patient and wait things out, they do get better!
Be sure you eat a very clean diet with very little processed foods during this time if possible. This will better allow your body to do its job so you can feel your best much more quickly. Remember, the cleaner the food you give your body, the better it can use food to detoxify and supply you with nutrients for fuel. Greens, fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and seeds and their milks and butters, complex carbs from gluten-free grains and root vegetables, beans, legumes, along with healthy fats like olives, coconut, nuts, and avocado are all great choices. Be sure you take in adequate protein from seeds, greens, many grains, and keep in mind that all greens and vegetables have protein too. See some digestion troubleshooting tips here if you have some especially uncomfortable issues going on.
As your body cleans house, it may expel some of those toxins from your organs and cells through your skin. This is normal, but not always fun to deal with when you’re showing up for a big meeting or presentation at work or going on an important date! However, keep in mind this is usually short-lived and typically goes away in a week so long as you’re not eating a food you’re allergic to (such as gluten, soy, nuts which are many of the most common).
Eat a variety of foods high in vitamin C which will clear your skin and speed up detoxification even further. Vitamin C rich foods include broccoli, citrus fruits, berries, spinach, kale, apples, pineapple, papaya, sweet potatoes, and peppers. Also be sure to eat foods rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A), which clears the skin and promotes a healthy glow; it also supports your immune system which will help you during the transition. Vitamin A rich foods include sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash, carrots, spinach, kale, turnip and collard greens, Swiss chard, spirulina, and goji berries.
Lastly, don’t forget your healthy omega-3 fats; these fats promote healing to the skin and inner organs, reduce inflammation, stabilize your blood sugar (which will also benefit your skin), and they’re also great for the mind to improve emotional health. Omega-3 rich plant-based foods include walnuts, chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocados, and acai fruit. Be sure you also wash your skin with a natural cleanser and for those that use makeup, wash it with something free of chemicals such as coconut oil.
When it comes to changing up your meals, there are so many ways you can learn to replace animal-based proteins with plant-based foods. Open your mind to the concept of getting to choose between limitless amounts of produce, nuts, seeds, grains, beans, legumes, and fruits. Then come up with all types of combinations that best suit your needs and taste buds’ desires. Check out our FAQ section in our Plant-Based Nutrition Guide to see how to transition more easily; you’ll also get plenty of information you need about nutrients your body needs.
Always keep in mind that your body needs adequate sleep, with no less than eight hours a night. Your body detoxifies, heals, and repairs as you rest; let it do its job and you’ll also feel much better the next day. Be sure to maintain a regular exercise routine and try detoxifying activities like yoga and hot baths. Spend time in nature, with friends laughing and communicating (which most of us don’t do enough of), and have fun in the kitchen! All of these things keep our bodies healthy even though we often seem to forget about them.
Remember, detox is temporary, but a positive healthy change can be life-altering.