As we enter the new year, I often hear my friends, family, and patients talk about life changes they want to make for the betterment of their health and wellness. And as much as I support that, I am writing today to remind you to avoid swinging the health pendulum. I, too, have found myself saying, “After this week, I’m going back to my normal diet” but the real question here is “What IS my normal diet?”
Ayurveda’s philosophy on a healthy lifestyle is to incorporate a “healthy” diet and lifestyle into your life while also allowing for the “unhealthy” things that feed your soul. I’m not talking about addictions and other life-threatening behavior, but the simple things in life we can enjoy like an occasional piece of cake! I recently spoke to someone who told me that after the new year, they will be eliminating all grains, dairy, alcohol, and nightshades from their life for one month. This extreme swing can actually do more damage on the body than just simply moderating throughout the year.
I once heard a weight loss coach say that moderation is what is wrong with the obesity epidemic today. I could not disagree more. The real culprit is not being comfortable enough with ourselves to know the right choices we must make for our health. Getting to know our bodies and trusting our intuition is the first step.
So what happens if the pendulum has already swung? If we are sick, inflamed, overweight, or just feeling generally unhealthy due to our overindulgences, we obviously have to set goals for ourselves in order to correct the imbalance. Ayurvedic Medicine, along with other natural healing modalities encourage a reset, but not a swing. Here are some starting points:
- Clearly define your health goals. For example: Better sleep, more energy, feeling stronger, better bowel movements, etc.
- Get to know your Ayurvedic constitution so you can tailor your changes to your body type.
- The spiritual approach to health reminds us to steer away from getting caught up in both attachments and aversions to specific foods. Both ends of the spectrum create stress. Instead, recognize that all whole foods are neutral and you get to decide what works for you based on how it impacts your overall health and wellbeing. Guilt is not an ingredient.
In this coming year, if you choose to go on a diet, do a cleanse, or change your lifestyle in any way, please remember to do it with grace and ease. That doesn’t mean it should be easy, but it must be something you can incorporate for the long haul that intuitively feels right for you.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
~ Albert Einstein