Make sure your body’s looking its best on the beach this summer with this ayurvedic detox plan devised by Dr Deepika Rodrigo
Dr Deepika Rodrigo
Make sure your body’s looking its best on the beach this summer with this ayurvedic detox plan devised by Dr Deepika Rodrigo An ayurvedic detox diet differs in many ways from the conventional Western notion of detox. In an ayurvedic detox diet, you won’t need to drink litres of water in order to flush out the system, nor will the prescription be for a steady intake of raw fruit and vegetables, salads and bland meals. Instead, the emphasis turns to three focus points: stimulating the body’s natural elimination processes so that waste is removed efficiently and effectively; firing up the digestive system so that food is fully broken down and its energy used in the proper ways; and in supplying the body with the necessary tastes in order for it to feel full satisfaction. Let me explain this last point a bit further. In ayurveda it is understood that our food needs to consist of the full range of flavours in order to satisfy our senses. These flavours, or ‘rasa’ as they are known, consist of sweet, sour, salty, astringent, bitter and pungent. Once these tastes are present in the food we eat the body no longer feels any cravings and so there is less tendency to overeat. Most foods, however – especially in the Western diet – fall into the first three categories – sweet, sour or salty. Bitter, astringent and pungent are often overlooked, leaving the taste buds and digestion unsatisfied – and you picking at the biscuit tin! Food awareness therefore – a recognition of the ‘type’ of food you are eating – is a crucial first step in starting an ayurvedic diet. Make sure you incorporate each of the tastes – sweet, salty, sour, astringent, bitter and pungent – into your food plan and you will find you feel fuller for longer and the cravings disappear, with no calorie-counting and no portion control. (Later on in this article I will list a few examples of food for each category.) Let’s now look at the other two aims of an ayurvedic detox diet: encouraging elimination and boosting digestion. Before eating your first meal of the day, it is important first to eliminate any waste that is still in the system from the day before. Coriander water, made from soaking crushed coriander seeds in hot water overnight, makes an excellent drink first thing in the morning as it stimulates a downward movement (known as apana vata) and encourages the flow of waste elimination. Before each meal, we stoke up the digestive fire, known as the ‘agni deepana’, with a fiery mixture of heating spices, such as ginger, cumin and cinnamon. After each meal we take ‘ama pachana’, a delicious tonic of lime juice, ginger and honey, which will further stimulate the digestive system so that it can effectively break down the food, move the energy to where it’s needed in the body and swiftly eliminate waste. These spices are also great energy boosters which will get rid of any after-meal sluggishness. Another detox drink, such as black tea with ginger before bed, will keep the system working overnight, so you’ll wake up energised and raring to go!
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Follow this simple daily routine for just 14 days and you will see the weight drop off – with no gruelling gym schedule and no hunger pangs. Before breakfast Soak three teaspoons of crushed coriander seeds in hot water overnight. In the morning strain the seeds out and drink the water. As coriander is a natural diuretic this cooling drink acts as a great detox to the body and will also calm the mind. Breakfast One bowl of rice porridge with two scoops of natural yoghurt, a sprinkling of nutmeg or cinnamon and a mix of any of the following fruit: apples, pears, kiwi, grapes and oranges. Mid-morning One ginger nut biscuit/rice or oat cake, A cup of green tea/chai/normal tea Before lunch Mix a few crushed cumin seeds and half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder in a third of a cup of hot water. This spicy drink will build the flames of the digestive fire! Lunch Choose from the following: Rice with dhal (lentils), Soup with noodles, Vegetable or chicken soup, Fish and spinach with pitta bread, Sushi, A wrap with chicken or vegetables Mid afternoon Raw pepper or celery sticks with a hummus dip Before dinner Mix half a teaspoon of asafoetida (hing) powder and half a teaspoon of ginger powder in a third of a cup of hot water Dinner Any light meal you wish Before bed Black tea with two slices of peeled ginger
Ayurveda is an ancient and deeply intelligent healing system that originated in India about 5,000 years ago. According to ayurveda, one’s physical, emotional and psychological make-up are determined by the ratio of elements present in one’s constitution. There are three main constitutions or doshas: vata, which has the light and mobile qualities of air and space; pitta, which is passionate and energetic like fire and kapha, which is steady and reliable like earth, and of course, a multitude of complex and subtle combinations. Understanding one’s own constitution and reordering any imbalance through the use of medicinal herbs, massage, diet and lifestyle is the path to a happy, healthy and long life, according to ayurveda. Its proponents see food and spices as medicinal substances and good digestion as one of the main factors to optimal health. The diet given on these pages is suitable for people of all constitutions and strives to build a strong and robust digestive system – the key to good health! Dr Deepika Rodrigo (B.A.M.S) is a leading ayurvedic physician. She runs an ayurvedic centre in South Croydon called the Ayurvedic Clinic, which holds ayurvedic detox programs (Panchakarma) from three to 21 days. Call 020 8405 4407 or visit theayurvedicclinic.com.
Do you reach for the biscuit tin when you feel bad? Try this advice from top weight loss expert Roz Watkins… 1. Learn the difference between physical and emotional hunger by letting yourself get quite hungry and noting the physical feelings in your body. In contrast, notice how emotional hunger can come on quickly, may feel like it is in your mouth rather than your stomach and may make you crave specific foods, like chocolate. 2. If you feel the urge to eat but you know you aren’t hungry, try to pause for a moment before you eat. 3. Take that moment to write down the emotions you are feeling. For example: “I’m angry my boss didn’t listen to me in that meeting”. 4. Then let yourself eat if you need to. Eat slowly with your full attention on your food, and enjoy it. Keep asking: “Have I eaten enough now? What am I feeling?” Each time this happens, try to wait a little longer and write a little more before you eat. You are not trying to change all at once – you are gradually developing your skills for coping with emotions without food. 5. Each time you pause, even for a moment, and note something down before you eat, congratulate yourself with a non-food reward. To change habits, you need to reward each small step in the right direction. To sign up for Roz’s free on-line weight loss programme, go to enlightenprogramme.co.uk
Incorporate each of the following tastes into your daily food plan and you’ll find cravings, nd dieting, are a thing of the past. Listed below are some examples of foods for each flavour to give you an idea. Salty: All salts, seafood Sweet: Milk, rice, dates, wheat Sour: Citrus, sour cream, yoghurt, vinegar, lemon Astringent: Pomegranate, chickpeas, yellow split peas, okra Bitter: Bitter melon, turmeric, rhubarb, rocket Pungent: Hot peppers, black pepper, onions, garlic, ginger, asafoetida, coriander leaves For maximum detox effect try Rupa Ayurveda detox tablets (Triphala), £13.50, from ayurvedarupa.com. Take two tablets twice a day after meals. Try Seven Seeds for the Digestive System, £14.75, from pukkaherbs.com. This formula helps to improve the assimilation of nutrients from food and supports the health of the digestive system. Pharma Nord’s Bio-CLA+Green Tea is specifically aimed at people trying to reduce fat levels and combines conjugated linoleic acid with green tea. Priced at £11.95 for 60 capsules, it’s available by calling 0800 591 756 or visiting multivits.co.uk.
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