If there’s anything most women are in dire need of today, it’s balance.
Luckily, this month’s book club read has you covered. You already know that a good diet is the cornerstone of a healthy body, but how can you create lasting well-being in all areas of your life?
“The Perfect Balance Diet: 4 Weeks to a Lighter Body, Mind, Spirit & Space,” by Lissa Coffey, addresses precisely that question. Using the practice of Ayurveda, – a 5,000-year-old “Science of Life” tradition from India – the book is a how-to guide for creating balance and harmony – in your body, your life, your relationships, and your home.
As Lissa writes, there are a lot of things that take us away from a state of balance. We’re overstressed and overworked. We overeat and are overweight. We overexert ourselves and overspend.
Raise your hand if this is starting to sound familiar!
No “diet” is complete without looking at how all of these areas are either in balance or out of whack, because they all affect one another. In Ayurveda, this involves balancing the three main doshas, or energy systems, at work – Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
The bottom line? Lighten up!
To shed the stress, the pounds, the debt, and the distractions, it’s important to focus on what really serves you. And what better way than by turning to a practice that has been tried and true for all these centuries?
Here are a few of Lissa’s tips to help you started with this ancient tradition:
1. Never put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat.
Your skin is the largest organ of the body and it basically “eats” whatever you put on it. There is a whole range of natural items you can use for multiple purposes. One little miracle worker is coconut oil. With antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing properties, coconut oil can be used to treat everything from ringworm and athlete’s foot to crow’s feet and sunburns. You can even use it on your pets!
2. For optimal balance, change with the seasons.
Weather and seasonal changes affect your inner balance. Even if you live in a place where there are no major weather fluctuations (looking at you, Southern California), everyone can benefit from getting in tune with the seasons. Right now we’re in “Vata” season. As wind, cold, and dry weather continues, Vata energy builds up in the environment and can cause a Vata imbalance in the body.
Adopt a Vata-centered diet, stay warm, eat warming foods, and rest. Foods like apples, pears, broccoli, endive, kale, pomegranates, pumpkins, and Brussels’s sprouts are amazing for your body during the colder months.
3. Incorporate cumin into your diet.
Cumin is a spice popular in Indian, Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisines. According to Ayurveda, it’s balancing for all three doshas. It also aids digestion and helps to flush toxins out of the body. Blend it with other spices, like turmeric, fennel, ginger, or cinnamon. Cumin is especially delicious in dhal and soups.
4. Get to sleep by 10 p.m.
Your favorite TV show may start late, but Ayurveda suggests that 10 p.m. is the ideal bedtime. Kapha time ends at 10 p.m., which has the quality of slowness and relaxation. After that, stimulating Pitta time starts, and being in bed by 10 allows body heat to burn accumulated toxins most effectively. Stay awake and you might even get those post-dinner munchies as Pitta time moves closer to midnight.
More than a diet, Lissa stresses that The Perfect Balance Diet is a lifestyle shift. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather a very personalized program that keeps us in balance. We don’t need to create a “new” you – we need to bring you into balance to be your happiest and healthiest self.
Now, doesn’t that sound amazing?
A final note: 20 years ago or so Feng Shui was pretty much a foreign concept in the West – but now it’s a part of our everyday vernacular. If you haven’t heard of Ayurveda yet, now you have! I encourage you to try some of the basic principles; Lissa’s book is the perfect introduction.
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