3 Ways to Comfort Without Sweet Treats

Ever notice the abundance of sweet treats in airport stores? That’s no coincidence.

Sweat treats pacify our feelings of stress and anxiety. According to Ayurveda, sweet taste is grounding and heavy, and food companies know this!

They know that sugar triggers the reward center in the brain, releasing opioids and dopamine. It makes us feel great… in the short term.

Another perspective is that the sweetness of breast milk is the first thing we taste as humans. If we’re fortunate enough, we drink it from the safety and comfort of our mother’s arms.

In Ayurveda we call this a samskara, or latent tendency in the mind. When comfort, stability and warmth are missing from our lives, we seek it out in the form of sweet foods. The sweetness helps us recall that sense of safety and comfort.

Airport shops make a killing on sweet treat sales and I’ve been known to help their cause 🙂

According to Ayurveda, travel is associated with Vata (Air) Dosha. The last time you traveled on an airplane, I bet you experienced the qualities of variable, dry, rough and cold.

They manifest as anxiety, dry skin, and constipation, to name a few.

If you travel for work and/or play, or your life feels hectic and stressful, here are 3 strategies I use to find that sweet, comforting feeling without the sugary treats.

1. Get Back on Schedule

According to Ayurveda, routine is super important for pacifying Vata and grounding.

Go to bed by 10 p.m. every night and wake up between 6 and 7 a.m. every morning. Be consistent and set alarms for bedtime as well as wake time.

Eat at the same time every day, making lunch your biggest meal of the day.

Exercise at the same time of day.

If you’re consistent with routine you’ll find that your anxiety lessens and the feeling of steadiness and comfort returns.

Want to know more about schedule and routine? Check out my blog How the Sun Rules Your Health.

2. Be Kind to Yourself

There’s nothing less comforting and grounding than checking your phone first thing in the morning!

Be kind to yourself and make time for yourself in the early hours of your day.

Read, practice yoga, meditate or go for a walk. Any activity that helps you center yourself and feel grateful for this new day.

Resist the pull to pick up your phone until after you’ve done something grounding  and kind for yourself.

Finding comfort within yourself is much more sustainable than looking for comfort outside of yourself.

If you’re looking for ideas on yoga practice or meditation you can check out my Youtube channel for free videos.

3. Mono-Diet Mini Cleanse

The mono-diet mini cleanse is what I’ve been using for years to reset my digestion and ground myself after travels, or when I feel like I need it.

On the day that you designate as your mono-diet day, eat the same easily digestible meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you like the idea of intermittent fasting then you can also fast for breakfast or for dinner.

Eat a small portion for breakfast, a larger portion for lunch and a small portion for dinner.

Sip warm water or warm lemon water with meals and between meals all day. lemon water anna levesque ayurveda wellness counselor asheville

Refrain from snacking. A piece of fruit (apple or pear) is ok on it’s own and at least an hour before a meal.

Wait 4 – 5 hours between meals and be sure to eat dinner no later than 7:30 p.m.

If you’re feeling disciplined, don’t eat or drink anything other than the recipe below and warm water or herbal tea.

Doing a mono-diet day will help break up the samskaras of the mind, and will get your digestion back on track.

It’s much easier to be mindful with sweet treats after you’ve taken a full break.

The gut is now considered by science as our second brain and we want it to be working well. In my experience, when my gut is healthy, my immune system is strong.

I’ve used different recipes for my mono-diet day, and my latest favorite is spiced quinoa with veggies.

Anna’s Spiced Quinoa with Veggies Recipe

1 cup quinoa, soaked for up to an hour and rinsed

2 cups water

1/2 cup – 3/4 cup chopped veggies (zuchinni, squash, sweet potato, carrots are my favs)

2 Tbs ghee

1 inch piece of fresh ginger finely chopped

1 Tbs Calming Spice Mix (from Kate O’Donell’s book Everyday Ayurveda Cooking for a Calm, Clear Mind) – see below

1/2 tsp salt

Small handful of coarsely chopped cilantro

1/2 lime

Heat the ghee in medium saucepan. Add the chopped ginger and Calming Spice Mix. Stir a few times. Add the veggies and stir until they’re covered. Add in quinoa and stir until covered with spice mixture. Add the water and salt. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 min. Remove from heat and fluff. Top with cilantro and lime juice.

Kate O’Donnell’s Calming Spice Mix:

1 Tbs coriander seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 Tbs ground turmeric

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Dry roast the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds on medium heat in a frying pan. Stir constantly until you can smell them. app. 3 -5 min. Let cool. Grind the spices together with the cardamom and turmeric to a uniform powder.

 

If you want to learn more about Vata pacification, intermittent fasting, mini cleanses or seasonal cleanses then Email Me! I’ll be offering a 4 day fall cleanse in October where I provide recipes and guide you through the process. Contact me if you’re ready to reset your digestion!

Does support help you out when it comes to healthy choices? Join a group of like-minded women in the mountains of Western North Carolina for The Art of Self Care Retreat! I’ll be cooking all weekend and sharing yummy recipes and Ayurvedic wisdom for health and wellbeing.

 

 

 

 

Meet Anna Levesque

Anna Levesque is the leading expert on paddling instruction for women and yoga for paddling, including SUP Yoga. Named one of the most inspirational paddlers alive by Canoe and Kayak Magazine, Anna’s twenty-plus years of experience as an accomplished international competitor, instructor, coach and author has landed her in mainstream publications such as TIME, SHAPE and SELF.

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