Food has the power to heal the body. Or to hurt the body. Disease rarely happens overnight. Disease is usually a culmination of events or repeated activity and consumption that hurts the body overtime. Eating habits have a direct impact on personal health. There is so much information out there, it can be confusing. Sometimes I will be in the shopping centre and wonder what all the packaging and language means.
- Is organic really better?
- Where do they use pesticides?
- Who can I trust with food?
- Is tap water OK to drink?
- Is spring water better?
- How much KFC is OK?
- How much alcohol can I have before I risk my health?
Bugger it, I will just eat whatever. This devil may care attitude has not served me well and has really come to the forefront for me in the last couple of years. I have always had tummy aches and just “gotten used to it”…which is a terrible thing to say. But, I thought it was normal to have an irritable digestive system and to always feel tired. I have anemia and thalassemia and have tried so many different types of iron tablets to no avail.
In 2016, I saw a nutritionist who told me I had lactose intolerance symptoms and put me on a Mediterranean healthy eating plan which I honoured….for the first few months only! And slowly returned to old habits. I did cut out the majority of dairy, but still maintained my love of regularly consuming chocolate.
At the start of the year I went on a detox but I still felt constantly tired. I was lethargic in the day, napping regularly for a really long time (2 hour naps!) and had tummy aches. After my time away, I completed a panchakarma detox through Vibrant Ayurveda in Brisbane which was a digestive system reset. I feel amazing post panchakarma! And really want to maintain healthy habits following panchakarma. Panchakarma has opened my mind to the power of the digestive system and food which also has an impact on mental health. Fill your body with junk food, expect to feel sluggish physically and mentally.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda hails from India and is the sister science to yoga and is over 5000 years old! Ayurveda looks at maintaining health through food and food as medicine. Vibrant Ayurveda highlights:
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term that translates to ‘the science of life’ or ‘the knowledge of life’. ‘Ayus’, means life and ‘veda’ means knowledge.
Ayurveda teaches individuals to take ownership of their health by adopting healthy diet and lifestyle practices, and following daily and seasonal routines. The aim is not just to cure disease, but rather to maintain and preserve health, and strive for the perfect balance of a clear mind and an energetic body.
Principles of Ayurveda
According to ayurvedic philosophy, the environment in which we live is made of five elements – earth, air, fire, ether and water. When the five elements in our bodies are in harmony with our outside environment, we experience perfect health. When we are not in balance with our environment, our health deteriorates, and disease can occur.
The five elements are present in our bodies as three bodily intelligences (doshas): vata, pitta and kapha.”
Basically, there are certain foods that either nourish or hinder your body based on your dosha. My dosha is kapha and the foods I was regularly eating wheat, red meat, cashews and chocolate and eating a big meal at night time were contributing to my fatigue. I lacked vegetables and healthy carbohydrates. The panchakarma detox was super challenging at first because I cut our sweets, my chocolate which I should not have been eating anyway, plus alcohol and red meat. My time sans alcohol, dairy and meat felt fairly easy to do. I struggled with not having chocolate though! I had headaches and was breaking out.
What is panchakarma?
Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic detox that uses natural herbs, oils, massage, enema basti and oil basti to cleanse the digestive system and give the body a chance to reset. Your panchakarma treatment is unique to each person and dependent on your body make up or dosha. My favourite part would have to be the daily massages and steam! My face cleared up, my skin felt lush and my body was utterly relaxed. The hardest part was not having chocolate and headaches, feeling weak from the detox menu plus the purge day where you have herbal tablets and literally “cleanse” your system at home.
Life post panchakarma
I have returned to chocolate once every 2 weeks! I have cut out red meat, dairy and not had any alcohol since the cleanse. I have switched my meals around to have the heaviest meal at lunchtime rather than dinner time and also started oil pulling and drinking warm milk and cinnamon at bedtime per doctor’s orders! My digestive system feels happier and I feel energetic in the day rather than always looking to have a nap. I am eating fresh vegetables and actually cooking daily. This is rare and unusual because I want fast and convenient food! E.g. Cereal, muesli bars, shakes, smoothies, vegetables here and there…but certainly not daily! But, I am having less digestive issues and this whole process has made me realise how I was not listening to my body with regards to nourishing foods and convenient foods. Freshly cooked, warm food is what my body likes and along with this detox has healed my belly and reinvigorated me.
I really wanted to share with you the power of wholesome and fresh food. Rather than a takeaway pack here and a takeaway pack there. Embracing fresh food has healed my noisy gut and given me more energy and focus through the day. I really want to maintain this!! Sooo I am sharing so you can keep me accountable! Plus, I want to share with you so that you can perhaps listen a little bit more to your body and choose foods that keep your belly happy which in turn has an impact on your brain.
😊 Healthy intake = happy body = happy belly = happy brain
Take care, take good food and good rest.