Step 1 – Eat Wholesome Food – The Sattvic Way
An important concept in Ayurveda is how you eat. Eating is considered a major therapeutic tool and one of the most important things that you can do to help yourself from an Ayurvedic perspective. A healthy diet not only boosts overall wellness but also helps prevent disease. In Ayurveda the goal is to have healthy digestion and elimination and to be free of sickness and disease. It is believed that one way to achieve this is to have what we call in Ayurveda, a Sattvic diet. A Sattvic diet is a diet that promotes a clear and peaceful mind. It consists of fresh foods and avoids fiery and / or spoiled foods. Sattvic foods are fresh and light. And it is important to note that fresh and pure foods are free of additives, preservatives and pesticides. As things that are similar in nature increase one another, the foods that make up the sattvic diet are themselves peaceful (non-stimulating) and clear (free from impurities). Sattvic foods are properly prepared according to traditional methods, which means no “microwave cooking.” It is believed in Ayurveda that a range of illnesses, including heart disease, arthritis, and some cancers, are caused by chronic inflammation in the body which can be caused by eating foods that are not Sattvic.
It is a known fact that while genetic predisposition and lifestyle factors like stress and lack of exercise promote inflammation, poor diet and digestion the main contributor is the consumption of unhealthy food. For instance berries, oranges, tomatoes, kale and spinach contain disease fighting antioxidants. Slow to digest whole grain carbohydrates like oats, whole wheat, barley and quinoa are ideal foods because they provide essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as well as fiber which aids in the elimination process. These are examples of foods that are naturally beneficial to the body. So don’t shy away from these foods, eat up and allow your body to enjoy the benefits that these foods naturally provide.
Step 2 – Choose the Right Beverages
Hydration is the most vital thing that we can do for our bodies. All of our cells need to be properly hydrated in order function properly. Although water is best, it is possible to have flavorful drinks that are all natural beverages that are largely water based and free of artificial sweeteners. One drink that comes to mind is coconut water. Coconut water is a natural source of hydration that is high in potassium and is naturally sweetened. This natural source of hydration can be drank alone or added to other fruits to make a nice, healthy smoothie. Soda is an absolute no-no. It can deplete the body of electrolytes due to the diuretic effect that is has on the kidneys. Green teas and herbal teas are another good source for natural hydration, however it should be noted that some green teas contain caffeine and may have a diuretic effect as well. As for a dairy a nice healthy choice to try would by unsweetened almond milk. Although almond milk is not as nutrient rich as regular cow’s milk almonds are very nutritive and thus makes almond milk an excellent choice for a low calorie, non-dairy alternative.
Step 3 – Boost Health with Essential Nutrients
Even if the majority of the foods you are eating are unprocessed or certified organic, you probably could use a little assistance in getting what you need. Supplements and medicinal plant ingredients can help bridge the gap. Some important supplements to take a look at are Omega-3 fatty acids for brain and heart health, Vitamin D to improve bone strength, mood, endocrine and cognitive function and magnesium to support the nervous system and promote muscle relaxation.
Step 4 –Work Out for Big Payoffs
No health and wellness regime is complete without some form of exercise. A good workout, whether it is a Bikram Yoga session, a power walk through the park, an uphill bike ride, an elliptical session or a good jog, can improve mood, strengthen the heart and lungs, reduce stress, and promote weight loss to name a few perks. It is important to exercise at least 45 minutes, three times a week. For a balanced routine, include 20 minutes of resistance training twice a week, such as squats, core work such as Pilates to build muscle, maintain bone density and promote good posture. Reap additional benefits by exercising outdoors which helps to improve energy and bring clarity to your mind.
Step 5 – Calm the Mind with Meditation
Spiritual health is just as important as diet and exercise. Meditation in particular can lower stress and help regulate emotions. It is the best thing to calm the mind, nerves and emotions. Meditation relates to the spiritual aspect of life. According to Ayurveda the soul is the source of life and health. We must live according to the purpose of our soul in order to have peace and well-being. Disease generally indicates that we have lost contact with our soul and its creative force. To counteract this and to restore balance to our minds, meditation should be incorporated into your daily life. It has been proven to restore brain synapses and increase vitality.
There are many types of meditations to explore such as seated meditation, mindful meditation, walking meditation, breath meditation and moving meditations like yoga and tai chi. Both types are terrific for active people in search of stress relief and offer the opportunity to practice alone or in a group setting.
By incorporating the 5 Steps of Wellness into your daily life you will experience improvements in your overall health and wellness.
Live well and have joy and peace in your heart and mind!