Until a few months ago, I didn’t care much about my lifestyle. I could binge-eat and not gain weight, had clear skin and was pretty comfortable with the way things were. However, as it always does, life kind of b*tch-slapped me when I least expected it, and a string of events left me feeling the lowest I have ever been. Naturally, this took a toll on my body in every possible way. My skin took a turn for the worse. I lost about 5-6 kilos in the span of three months (I am thin, so this was not good for me). After wallowing in my sorrow for a bit (c’mon, I’m only human), I decided to make it my goal to better my lifestyle.
I reached out to my mum for help in fostering healthier habits, and she suggested I go back to our Indian roots. What’s better than Ayurveda to solve lifestyle problems, amirite? This ancient Vedic practice dates back to 5,000 years ago. It is a system that encourages you to find the right balance between your body, mind, and spirit. For me, the practicality of the habits I would adopt was of utmost importance. I am all about trying out new lifestyles, but in moderation–ensuring that I can lead a balanced life while not making sudden changes too soon.
So, I took my notebook and pen, fired up the good ol’ internet, and jotted down the things to do in order to lead a healthy and wholesome Ayurvedic lifestyle. And here are the top 5 things I adopted!
You might have heard the popular saying, You are what you eat, and in my experience, this holds true in every sense of the phrase. What we put into our bodies will eventually be reflected on the outside. Hence, it is crucial to make sure that you eat local, seasonal, and fresh produce. As per Ayurvedic experts, we are encouraged to include warming spices into our food habits for healthier digestion. For example, ginger aids with digestion, turmeric acts as an anti-septic for inflammation, and cinnamon for blood sugar regulation. I have also cut down on eating outside food and ordering take-out. While I haven’t had the heart to completely give up pizza, cheese, and other favourites, I have tried to reduce my intake of processed foods. Moreover, I also cut down on my intake of that casual drink post-work.
Not only does Ayurveda stress on maintaining a balanced diet, but it also prioritises digestion. As a rule of thumb, make sure to chew your food thoroughly (at least 3o chews per bite), avoid drinking water while eating, and avoid greasy and liquidy foods.
After trying this for a month, I felt like my skin was able to breathe more. Pretty cliché, but it made me feel healthier as well. Along with the other points mentioned below, eating clean is one habit I’m glad I’ve cultivated.
Along with eating healthy, working out was on top of my list as well. Ayurvedic experts stress the importance of stretching your muscles for a healthier and toned body. As I mentioned before, I am quite thin, and hence the main goal for me was to reach a healthy body weight and maintain it. So, I enrolled myself for a three-month personal training course. Three days a week, I do kickboxing and other core workouts with a trainer who understands that gaining weight (in a sustainable way) is a priority for me. Also, on days that I am not working out, I practice yoga at home, which hardly takes a half-hour from my day.
In general, my skin has really benefited from exercising. A study even shows that exercising increases the blood flow and nourishes our skin cells. Sweating causes the toxins to leave your body. It’s like an internal cleanser for your skin!
Now, trust me when I say that I used to be that girl who would drink perhaps a glass or two of water every day. When my skin started acting up (coincidentally during the unbearably hot Mumbai summer), I made it my goal to drink 2 to 3 litres of water each day. I downloaded a water app that sends me reminders and made sure that my work bestie reminds me in case I forget, haha. At home, I have a designated 1-litre bottle that I fill up daily and make sure to finish it before bed.
What really helped me was to invest in a good sippy cup or a sippy bottle. When I’m too busy to pour out water and drink (real struggles, y’all), I can just mindlessly sip the bottle to get my daily intake. With the hot Indian climate, I understand that it can be hard to stop drinking cold water, but trust me, this is key! It is easier to drink room temperature water throughout the day in comparison to cold water. According to Ayurvedic experts, cold water is believed to “dim the digestive fire” within your body which results in poorer digestion, lower metabolism, and builds up toxins in your system.
My sister actually commented on my skin a few days after I committed to diligently drinking water. I felt the glow that consistent water intake had on my skin. Also, all my toxins were flushed out of my body due to, umm, peeing like every 30 minutes.
As Indians, we practice eating warm food for all the three meals of the day, don’t we? Whether it’s dosas straight off the pan or upma for breakfast or dal chawal for dinner! Previously, my staple breakfast would always include cold milk with cereal. After doing some research, I switched to consuming a warm breakfast daily. This includes oats, porridge, upma, poha and so on every morning. The science behind this ayurvedic habit is that when we eat cooked food that is warm, it aids digestion and saves the body from having to use its own energy to heat the food up. Cold food requires your body to work harder and strain itself to break the food down. So, the next time when you’re feeling too lazy to heat up your food, remember this!
The absolute favourite habit that I’m super proud to have adopted is moving to a primarily plant-based diet. A plant-based diet consists of mostly foods derived from plants, such as vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, and with few or no animal products. As I mentioned above, I am not entirely vegan. However, I have made quite a few changes to a dairy-free diet. Vegetables and fruits are natural internal cleansers. Appropriately designed vegetarian meal plans can be healthy, nutritionally adequate, and even help in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases, according to experts.
So, which one of these ayurvedic habits will you adopt? Let us know in the comments below!
Follow @missmalinilifestyle on Instagram to never miss a beat!