Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Food, practice and wellbeing

A few months ago I decided I should take a look at what I eat.  I am not a nutritionist, I am merely using this space to share my personal experience. I already ate pretty healthily and was interested in how I could optimise my nutritional intake to support me in my life and wellbeing, spiritually and physically.  I'm pretty active.  As an Ashtangi working on the first part of second my yoga practice is fairly long.  I also teach yoga and teach about 12 classes a week.  I do not own a car, by choice, I passed my driving test and decided to become a cycle commuter, so I cycle to all my yoga classes which are mostly in the Liverpool city centre.  I love my active life and wanted to optimise my food to support this amount of activity.

To begin with I just cut out the baddies caffeine, milk, bread and sugar.  It's hard to cut out sugar when you go out to a bar for example even if your drinking non alchoholic drinks.  I do not go out that much but when I do, I just do my best but am not fanatical.  At home I do not eat any processed food so there is no issue.  When I first practiced without sugar and caffiene, I could barely be bothered to put my leg behind my head, very sluggish practice, it was hilareous.  Now my energy levels have stabilised, I no longer need a caffiene jolt in the morning.

I have always been curious about eating raw.  So I started eating more raw and reading some books about the topic and eating mostly raw.  At first the results were mixed, sometimes I would feel great, sometimes not so.  I also got a cold around this time, first time I'd been sick in ages.

I figured my body was detoxing, so decided to speed things up.  I did a juice only detox for four days, I followed a specific plan which involved adding blended avocado to my drinks.  I had done this detox before a few years back.  If you are overweight you are meant to loose weight but if you are at your optimal weight you will not loose or gain anything.  So I did this particular detox because I did not want to loose any weight.  I felt amazing on the detox, practice continued as normal and I even went on a 2 hour bike ride.  Any muscle fatigue seemed to get flushed out of my body, I felt fab.

After the detox I ate pretty much completely raw for a couple of weeks.  During my reading I learnt that you can not get B12 from plants and most raw foodist take a supplement for this.  I take a very good multivitamin which has a high level of B12 , as high as B12 supplements.  However, I decided to take on some more B12 from Meridain yeast extract which is fortified with B12.  I have this on hemp bread (also non raw) as an afternoon snack.

Around this time I also read the Thrive Diet which is written by a vegan triathlete who eats a lot of raw food.  This helped me consolidate and make the stuff that I read in the raw food books work better for me.  I used to run a lot and used to think about nutrition for before and after runs but I have never really thought about that before with regard to yoga.

It's difficult to say with all the changes that I have made and explored what it is that has worked for me and I feel healthier and better than ever before.  My body is the vehicle through which I experience the world.  Increasing it's vitality has helped me on every level of activity from meditation to cycling.  I'm so glad I have taken some time to explore this aspect of my life.  I think that we all have to explore what works for us and that maybe there isn't one nutritional law that suits all.

So now my diet is mostly but not completely raw.  I still like going out for dinner and do not think cooked food is evil!  My body is pretty healthy I figure and will get rid of any waste as it needs too.  Here is an average days eating.

Museli with hemp milk or fruit
Snack hemp bread with Yeast extract
Raw meal
Oh and my favourite treat at the moment is a tofu chocolate and banana mouse, just in case you were worried about me. Lol

If you've read this far well done!  Practice the morning after a raw meal is really light.


  1. Am curious about this Helen, remember pricking up my ears last time I started hearing about Raw food. Happened again just now with your Triathlete. Have noticed lately that I've started eating a lot of salads in the evening, all kinds of things chucked in. Wasn't planned, haven't thought about it much but just seem to be leaning that way.

    When you say raw meal above, what kind of thing are you talking about.

    There's usually a gap between the fancy recipes you find in books and the what somebody actually eats in the real world once they settle down into a new way of eating.

    love to hear more on this topic occasionally.

  2. Yes, I found recipes in some raw books a bit elaborate. Will put something about this in my next post.

  3. Helen- I am curious about the detox/juice fast you did. I could loose 10-15 pounds to get to my optimal weight. But that is not the main reason I am curious about the detox. Just wanting to flush out toxins and maybe start with slowly introducing more Raw foods into my daily diet.
    I am a vegetarian but tend to eat way too much processed foods for the ease of cooking and having a hectic schedule.
    Suggestions would be great!!!

  4. Hi Flo, the detox is from a book 7lb in 7 days juice detox by Jason Vale. It is a great way to cleanse the system and start a new eating plan.

  5. Taking natural supplement is better than artificial supplement because it contains natural ingredients that are beneficial to our health system. It is good to take it regularly to maintain a youthful glow.