I sat with a beautiful monk in the rice paddies of Bali recently and we spoke in depth about life. Of the many insightful thoughts she offered, one in particular stood out. It was “life is like a river, we never touch the same current twice. Instead we must learn to move with the ebbs and flows”.
Whilst balance would be a beautiful thing to have permanently, the reality is that it doesn’t really exist. Instead we must ride the ups and downs of life, learn how to best manage them and implement little practices so our health doesn’t take a hit.
It’s fair to say stress plays a large factor in more people’s lives these days than ever before. Time flies, with more work flowing in and less time to manage it, we take short cuts here and there to cope and the first is usually with our diet and health. We move fast, live fast and place huge expectations on ourselves for everything to happen fast.
Health and managing stress is an entire lifestyle approach, physical, mental and emotional. With a holistic approach we look at implementing practices such as yoga, meditation, relaxation training, exercise in conjunction with a renewed focus on what nourishment goes inside our bodies. So with that said, there are some key ingredients in diet, which may help manage stress, empower our health and help us better move with the ebbs and flows.
LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES
Not to point out the winners before the race has started, but vegetables often take the podium in health. Leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, swiss chard, beet greens, rocket and others contain a rich source of flavonoids, Vitamin C, carotenoids and antioxidants which can help protect skin from environmental stresses. Integrate them frequently into your diet on a daily basis through:
- Chopped salads with sprouts, legumes, herbs and a lemon, apple cider vinegar and olive oil dressing
- A big bowl of steamed leafy greens with some clean quality protein such as poached chicken or steamed fish
- Juices and smoothies with pear, celery, cucumber, apple, zucchini and mint
- Wraps to replace bread or wheat wraps around your favourite sandwich fillers
TURMERIC AND SPICES
Variety is the spice of life, and spice well; it’s the spice of life too – especially in health! When there are stress signals in life, they can show through digestion and skin, we lose our bounce and our glow. The golden nugget here is turmeric. With its mega punch of curcumin, turmeric becomes a very valuable spice to keep on hand in the kitchen when it’s time to renew your approach to health. Don’t be shy in using it frequently, liberally and creatively in sweet or savoury meals and snacks such as:
- Orange, carrot, pineapple, ginger and turmeric smoothie
- Cooked in quinoa to toss through dishes such as my delicious Turmeric Quinoa and Roast Pumpkin salad or within a nourish bowl
- Whisked through eggs with chilli and coriander to spice up your breakfast omelette
- Stirred through curries and dips to fuel some nutrition and abundant colour into your life
Sitting down to a cup of tea is such a delightful ritual for many of us. It’s warming, peaceful and with the right choice in tea can be incredibly nourishing too. Herbal teas, such as chamomile and rosehip can be wonderfully hydrating and restorative for the skin, peppermint is great for digestion, licorice can give you a little sweet sensation and dandelion superb to give your liver some love. However, green tea takes the cake when it comes to nutrition. It is the rich source of antioxidants in green tea that support the function of your immune system and health. It’s easy to forget to make the swap from coffee or caffeinated tea throughout the day at times, here’s some little reminders of how to go about it:
- Rise and shine with dandelion to give your liver a kick start and prepare it to digest your breakfast well
- Make the swap for mid morning coffee with green tea to boost your antioxidant supply for the day
- Find your sweet hit from licorice after your evening meal and settle down with a cuppa and a book