From Buddhism to Judaism, eating practices such as fasting, cleansing or more recently named ‘detoxing’, have been used over the centuries as a means to clear and energise the body, to reconnect to our spirit or essence so that it may flourish.
You need only to read the front covers of January’s magazines to understand how our view of these practices has changed. Feature titles include ‘New Year New You’ ‘Detox yourself slim’ and ‘Exercise to bust the fat’. Where did we lose the nourishing, spiritual essence of wholesome food to one that is now synonymous with deprivation and punishment for festive gluttony?
However the New Year is far from this. Instead I see it as a time to rest, restore, replenish and, in line with pagan traditions, to find the light amongst the dark. In a time when our lives are more hectic and disconnected than they ever have been, our need to return to these practices and turn away from the ‘new year, new you’ and calorie-counting has never been stronger. It is my belief that in this month we should embrace a way of eating that celebrates the connection between our body and our soul, that celebrates the seasons and reconnects us with nature. A way of eating that is free of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but rich in nourishment and tenderness for our body and mind.
The following are some gentle guidelines to do just that this month:
1. Avoiding non-nourishing foods
Try to replace sugar, alcohol and white flour products with organic whole grains (rice, amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa), seasonal vegetables, broth, pulses and natural sugars (local or manuka honey).
2. Drink warm filtered water with ginger and spices
This encourages the movement of the lymphatic system and supports the ‘flow’ of nutrients that help us to warm and revive.
3. Try a morning hot water drink
Start the day with a mug of hot water and the juice of half a lemon or a capful of apple cider vinegar. This alkalizes the body and stimulates digestion for a lighter start to the day.
4. Invest in a body brush
Use a body brush before you step into the shower each morning. Use upward strokes until you get the level of your heart and downward strokes from the head down to your heart. Don’t scrub, just gently brush.
5. Bathe with nourishing nutrients
Bathe in magnesium flakes or Epsom bath salts to soothe the body and soul at the end of the day.
6. Get stewing
Stew seasonal fruit, apples, pear and berries with warming spices such as ginger and cinnamon and add to cooked millet or quinoa flakes to start the day.
7. Broths that aid digestion
Bone broths and vegetables soups are rich in healing nutrients and light on the digestion. Use real stock and seasonal root vegetables to deeply nourish the digestive system and liver.
8. Try cleansing nutrients
Consider supporting your body with natural cleansing supplements such as chlorella or a cleansing complex.
9. Gentle exercising
Take long, fresh air walks in the light, and use the evenings to rest away from stimulus as much as possible.