The festive season is here, and what a fun time of year it is! But with it comes socialising, late nights and parties which makes it difficult to keep our health routine on track.
The festive season brings an abundance of sweets and temptations; we tend to overeat and eat at irregular times. Not to mention more alcohol is usually consumed.
All these are causes for the build-up of toxins, or impurities in our body (called ama in Ayurveda). If left unchecked, toxins accumulate throughout the body, clogging the systems, channels and ducts, weakening the immune and energy systems.
During the holidays, we’re particularly susceptible to this ama formation as we tend to throw our usual routines and diet out the window. Leaving most of us feeling a little worse for wear when the new year comes.
If you experience fogginess of mind, lack of appetite, stiffness in the joints, sluggish digestion, allergies or intolerance’s and weight issues – toxins are most likely the culprit.
The key to preventing the formation of toxin build-up is to support the digestive system. If we keep our digestion strong, we can digest food efficiently without forming the toxic by-product.
Follow these simple tips this holiday season to keep digestion strong, prevent toxin formation and start the new year feeling fresh, energised and in balance;
1. Kindle your digestive fire with herbal and nutritional support
• There are so many wonderful foods and herbs provided by nature that can support digestive function. If we start to feel sluggish or want to ‘prime’ our digestion for more digestive capacity, we can take these to get gastric juices flowing.
Sip on warm water, ginger or cumin tea. Eat grated ginger, with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon before your main meals.
If you are feeling bloated, nauseous and suffering flatulence, chew some fennel seeds after your meal, or sip on peppermint or chamomile tea to soothe digestion.
2. Eat your main meal at midday
• Look to the sun for your clue about when to eat the biggest meal of the day. When the sun is directly overhead, the digestive enzymes are 11 am. So, eat lunch between 11 am – 2 pm.
Eating a big dinner places strain on your digestive system. This disrupts the body’s self-healing and cleansing mechanisms which naturally clear out toxins. It also disrupts sleep. Eat a light dinner, preferably 2-3 hours before bed.
3. Minimise/ Avoid digestive weakening foods
• There are certain foods which place a burden on digestion and contribute to the formation of toxins. Leftovers, heavy, deep-fried and cold food and drinks all contribute to this process.
4. Practice Mindful Eating
• Mindful eating will prevent you from overeating. Even good quality food in excess can create toxins. Not overeating may be quite hard with all those beautiful holiday foods around, but it’s very important not to overeat. Always eat in accordance with hunger levels. Listen to your body. Eat slowly and in a settles atmosphere. Take smaller portions and don’t go for seconds if you’re not actually hungry!
5. Keep a routine
• Try to keep your regular eating pattern and meal times. Skipping a meal can disrupt and weaken digestion so eat three times a day, roughly around the same time. Eat a meal only when the previous meal has been completely digested. Snacking is fine if you’re hungry, but choose something fresh and light like a piece of fruit.
Also, try to keep a routine around sleeping and waking. This will keep our nervous and immune system in balance.
6. Move daily
• Moving daily, at least 20 minutes a day, will improve digestion, kick-start the lymphatic system and natural detoxification system to reduce toxins. Do a few yoga stretches on rising and take a short walk after meals. This will also help keep the extra kgs from creeping on.
7. Cleanse your system
• Start your day with a squeeze of lemon in a glass of lukewarm water. Add a teaspoon of honey and drink up the first thing in the morning. Warm water flushes toxins out of the body, keeps your system clean, accelerates the fat burning process and gives you a glowing skin. Green tea is another drink that is full of anti-oxidants and helps in detoxifying the system. Drinking more water throughout the day helps your system cleanse the toxins. You can also have fresh fruit or vegetable juice.
The classic Ayurvedic formula Triphala is a wonderful support to detox your system and support digestion.
Enjoy the festive season, but also try to maintain normalcy in daily habit. Your body and mind will thank you come the new year.