Friday, January 3, 2014
Flexibility and Diet
Can we affect our flexibility with diet and herbs?
We are what we eat. Our nourishment saturates, transforms, builds and re-wires our cells, nerves, DNA, tissues, muscles, mind... even our soul. No wonder the term "soul food" is so popular. Or the series of books "(Veggie) Chicken soup for the soul" resonate with so many people. Because food can affect every layer of our being all the way up into the soul spheres.
My core belief is that food and herbs are what builds and maintains our body and health. And that's the reason why I am not just a passionate herbalist, actually I am crazy about herbs :). And I apply herbs into every aspect of my life. Herbology is also my way of paying respects and admiring Mother Nature in her vast profound intelligence.
And to be clear herbs are food, they are just an extremely potent, concentrated form of food.
OK now let's get to the theme of this blog.
If you google flexibility and herbs there is the same information regurgitated over and over. And it seems like there is very little authored unique content and a few quite misleading articles. I don't know about you but I would like to learn from people's direct experiences...
I have had my own personal journey into flexibility and my own ways and techniques of developing it, supporting it and deepening it. Things that have worked for me:
1. Alkaline plant based diet- that's a given. An acidic body is inflamed, stiff, injury prone and most of all CONTRACTED! (contraction as the opposite of expansion) Add a lot of melons, berries, citrus and bananas, coconuts (potassium, electrolytes in general) to your diet. Eat fruit on empty stomach away from grains and proteins. Eat lots of greens and veggies. Make fruits and veggies the main bulk of your diet and eat small amounts of the more concentrated or animal foods.
2. A low sodium diet can help- again sodium is a contracting substance and tends to pull our QI/ energy in and draw it down, it has an inward and downward motion, which is needed in small quantities.(chinese medicine food energetics concept) Salt is especially helpful in winter when we need to contract and ground and go in.
3. HYDRATION - this is another obvious one. Keeping our cells hydrated, flushing the kidneys and cleansing the body with water is key in maintaining a clean and functioning digestive system. It's great to drink plenty of pure water, tea and even green juices. Adding water rich fruits and vegetables can support our detox, nourishment, alkaline state of body and of course our fitness.
4. Specific herbs for muscular and joint flexibility- slippery elm, licorice, saffron, astragalus, ashwagandha, horsetail, agar agar (a favorite of mine and a vegan jello), seaweed, flax seed, celery, cayenne (improves circulation), ginseng, okra (slimy like cartilage), burdock. (if you notice the theme is slimy brews, roots that bend, plants that have natural flexibility in them, adaptogenic herbs, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic herbs), cat's claw (a flexible vine), turmeric & ginger & galangal (they look like arthritic joints), yucca root (contains specific saponins known to reduce inflammation, stiffness, arthritis, pain and swelling of the joints), flowering quince fruit (anti-rheumatic), and the list goes on and on.
I am also using the principle of similarities - foods that look like organs, or plants that grow in conditions that require certain adaptation skills or plants that remind us of qualities in humans. If you are not getting this concept thats perfectly fine! My wish for this article is to open more questions than give answers so we can go deeper, learn more from personal experience, inquire more, study more, experiment more, realize more, experience more and overall grow and expand exponentially :)
5. THINGS TO AVOID! A diet high in meat, dairy, eggs, and concentrated cooked foods, coked fats, a diet high in fats, processed foods, old, canned foods. Avoid a diet high in protein -it makes the body stiff, more solid, tight, acidic and it's very damaging for the kidneys. Stay away from mucus forming foods (dairy, grains), acidic foods (most grains, meats, old food)
All in all if you are familiar with AYURVEDA avoid too much
Tamasic Foods - foods that dull the mind, the body and the senses. This would include old, stale foods, heavy meats, cheeses, rancid foods, processed foods, low quality foods.
Instead Opt for food that lifts you up & calms you down, food that invigorates your mind and senses, stimulates you intellectually and
food that gives you joyous energy :)
6. Not a diet tip- but keep learning how to breathe. We are here to continuously deepen our breath and thus deepen our connection to source! (I will write more on the subject of breathing soon) Breathing techniques have been one of the main tools I have used in deepening my own personal flexibility.
7. Mental attitude- try not to get stuck in a mental rut, avoid being self-righteous, avoid dogma, stay away from teachings that give you strict inflexible rules, you get the picture :)
LOVE AND BLESSINGS TO ALL
AND LETS EMBRACE FLEXIBILITY, FREEDOM AND OPENNESS ON ALL LEVELS