Do you wish you had a more confident mindset on and off the water?
If you’ve joined one of my ‘Master Your Whitewater Mindset’ webinars then you know that after offering strategies for calming your mind that include fact vs story, mindfulness tips and looking at your self talk, I always end with my Good Life Cycle wheel exercise.
This wheel represents the 8 areas of life that support your mental agility. If you only focus on your mind and your thoughts then you’re missing some of the root causes of why you don’t feel confident.
One of those areas is the area of food and how you nourish yourself.
As a certified Ayurvedic Health Coach I’m trained to help my clients view food as medicine, eat according to their unique constitution and eat in alignment with the seasons for optimal energy and a clear mind. The results are transformative for their mind, body and paddling.
Here are 5 strategies that can help you eat healthier regardless of your constitution (if you’re curious about yours read to the end of this post) and in alignment with fall season that is upon us. If you follow them you will start to feel more confident in mind and body.
1. Eat at least 30 different plant-based foods per week
Your gut microbiome thrives on diversity, and scientists are now calling your gut your second brain. The more different kinds of plant-based foods you eat, the healthier your gut microbiome. When your gut is healthy you digest your food better, you eliminate consistently and with ease, and you have more energy.
In addition, plant-based foods have fiber, and fiber is important for blood sugar regulation, digestion and elimination. Poor blood sugar, digestion and elimination leads to brain fog and low energy. According to an article on the Harvard School of Public Health website, adults and children should get at least 25-35 grams of fiber per day, but most Americans get about 15 grams.
Challenge yourself to eat at least 30 different plant based foods per week to improve your gut health and your fiber intake. Examples are veggies, legumes, grains, fruits, and spices count too!
Here’s a quick tip: Instead of only preparing one veggie with your meal, choose to cook 2 or 3. Reduce your protein and grains to be 25% of our plate each, and make veggies 50% of your plate. This makes for more deliciousness, more fiber and a clearer mind.
2. Eat warm, cooked foods
According to Ayurveda our guts digest warm cooked food a lot more efficiently and effectively than cold raw foods. Effective digestion, according to Ayurveda, is the foundation for optimal health in mind and body. When you don’t digest your food properly your body isn’t able to absorb the nutrients that you’re eating, and poorly digested food can cause inflammation in the body.
I recognize that eating warm food is pretty much impossible without a lot of planning and packing a thermos when you’re on the water. That’s why sandwiches and bars tend to be our go-to for river lunches. When I’m on the water I recognize that nourishing myself is important for energy, and if I can’t eat a warm meal that’s OK.
Off the water I strive to eat mostly warm cooked meals to support my digestion.
As I write this we’re heading into fall season when our bodies naturally crave warm soups, stews, chiles and roasted root veggies. Enjoy these meals and start paying attention to how your body feels when you eat warm cooked food vs cold raw food.
3. Incorporate all 6 tastes
If you’re wondering how to prepare a nutritious and balanced meal, turn to the 6 tastes. These tastes are Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter and Astringent. According to Ayurveda, when your meal has all 6 tastes it’s balanced and nourishes all of the tissues your body for optimum health. The combination of all 6 tastes is important for effective digestion too.
Include all 6 tastes in at least one meal per day to improve your nutrition and your digestion. Read more about the 6 tastes here.
4. Rest and digest
You could eat the best, local, organic and fresh food in the world, but if you’re not digesting that food efficiently and effectively then it’s not going to be as beneficial to your health as you hope.
The parasympathetic nervous system is nicknamed the ‘rest and digest’ system for a reason. Both Western and Eastern Medicine have known for a long time that proper digestion requires rest. The countries who make time for ‘siesta’ have the right idea.
When I teach paddling I always make time for a 10 minute rest after lunch. I use the left-side lying technique from Ayurveda. When you lie on your left side your food gets to soak in your digestive juices longer due to the shape of your stomach. My clients almost always report feeling better and having more energy for paddling after that 10 minute rest.
Instead of jumping back into action right after your meal, try sitting or left side lying for 10 – 20 minutes (no longer) and see how you feel.
5. Eat mindfully
In keeping with the rest and digest theme, at your next meal practice eating slowly and mindfully. Be with your food, be with the taste and express gratitude for the nourishment you’re receiving from your food. To help you be more mindful, try chewing your each bite at least 25 times. This will no only help with calming your mind, but also with digestion. After all, digestion starts in your mouth with your saliva that contains enzymes that start breaking down your food, especially carbs.
The saying ‘you are what you eat’ is only partially true. A more accurate statement would be ‘you are what you can digest.’ When you eat food that is easy to digest your body doesn’t get as gummed up with poorly digested metabolic waste. According to Ayurveda, undigested metabolic waste causes brain fog, low energy and eventually can lead to disease.
Use the above strategies to eat better so feel more confident and clear in your mind. If you’re looking for a food reset, I invite you to join my Guided Fall Cleanse October 17 – 22nd. Join a supportive group of women taking on a health reset together. Click Here to learn more and register. If you want to discover more about your unique constitution, Click Here to take my Dosha Quiz.