24 February 2017 – Day 3 of 3 Preparation phase – The Hot Belly Diet

DAY 3 breakfast: superfood smoothie

This smoothie is very light, maybe I’m not using the right protein powder as I’m just using what I have at home. Not filling at all because I forgot to add the berries as well. 

DAY 3 lunch: afternoon khichadi one fruit as dessert

DAY 3 dinner: I had dinner out at an Italian restaurant.

Plus I had one small chocolate. I was actually quite hungry because the breakfast was nothing. After some research I found out what I was using is not a protein powder so that explains it.

RECIPE: Surya Spa Dal

I got this recipe via Goop.  It is from an Ayurvedic Spa and is made for detox. This is so easy, and filling and perfect for when you want something nourishing and light. I make it often. It’s great for Kapha dosha (but because coconut is quite heavy and difficult to digest, people with Kapha constitutions should use it sparingly.) – CM

SERVES 4
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup organic yellow split mung bean dal or organic yellow split lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

1. Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add spices and cook for one minute, or until fragrant. Add cilantro, sauté another 30 seconds, then add lentils, water, and the ¼ teaspoon of salt.

2. Bring the mixture up to a boil, boil for five minutes, then turn heat to very low and cover with the lid, leaving it slightly ajar.

3. Simmer over very low heat for 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Season to taste with salt if desired.

Originally featured in The 2016 goop Detox

23 February 2017 – Day 2 of 3 Preparation phase – The Hot Belly Diet

This is the menu for Day 2 of the prep phase, I skipped a day as I didn’t have all the stuff I needed yesterday. In bold my selection. -CM

DAY 2 breakfast: 240 ml of low-fat yoghurt (I used Greek Yoghurt) sprinkled with roasted walnuts, fresh berries, strawberries, raspberries, or other berries and a little bit of honey if so desired

DAY 2 lunch: 115 g poached salmon with salad and an olive oil vinaigrette dressing and one piece of fruit as dessert

I had a double portion of salmon and no salad as there is a storm out and I wasn’t going to go out to get salad! Forgot to eat the fruit. 

DAY 2 dinner: one bowl of soup such as lentil soup, broccoli soup or tomato soup. I also had one lebanese flatbread with the soup as I was a little peckish.

I made one of my favourite dal soups which is simple and delicious and filling. 

I worked from home so I was able to prepare breakfast and lunch for tomorrow already, and I drank the tea all day. I had a good bm today and I feel lighter than yesterday. I am a little bit hungry now (21:11) but it’s because I only had a very small bowl of dal this evening.

Also had a kitkat and I blame PMS

 

21 February 2017 – Day 1 of 3 Preparation phase – The Hot Belly Diet

Last month I started this Hot Belly Diet plan. Unfortunately, I also managed to get a neck hernia which left me unable to use my neck and the right arm (i.e. For food preparation) for about two weeks. It’s much better now but not 100%. So…. here I go again, I am starting again today and will keep on the programme for the next 30 days

This is the menu for Day 1 of the prep phase. In bold what I chose to eat. -CM

DAY 1 breakfast: scrambled eggs with two eggs and any two cleaning vegetables such as: cauliflower, other cabbage varieties, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, carrots, onions, mushrooms, celery, pak choi, garlic, green beans, green peas, okra, spring onions, kale, fennel, radish or watercress OR a bowl of roasted oat flakes with linseed with a handful of walnuts and 60g fresh berries.

I bought roasted oat flakes for the first time in my life and I must say I like them a lot and they’re so cheap! As this is made with water it’s nice to have a bit of flavour. I don’t like berries, but I did add them and the walnuts were lovely which is funny as I don’t usually like nuts in my food. I could not taste the linseed at all. 

DAY 1 lunch: 85 to 115 g grilled tofu  with various steamed vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage varieties, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, carrots, onions, mushrooms, celery, pak choi, garlic, green beans, green peas, okra, spring onions, kale, fennel, radish or watercress with 120 grams of rice and a piece of fruit as dessert. Choose from the following (low sugar) fruits: apples, berries, strawberries, raspberries, mulberries, grapefruit, oranges, clementines, peaches, nectarines, prunes, kiwis and grapes.

I marinated tofu on Sunday night and cooked it in the oven on Monday night. The steamed veggies and rice were bland but ok. I had an apple as dessert. 

DAY 1 dinner: a green salad with 85 g of chicken, turkey, tofu or tempeh

I ate the rest of the tofu from lunch with the green salad. A nice clean dinner. 

The author says to drink the tea between 8AM and 4PM but I started at 11AM and did finish by 4PM as last time the green tea kept me awake all night 😵

 

I have a new love: Yin Yoga

On Monday 24 October 2016,  I took my first Yin Yoga class. I had joined a yoga school close to my house (4 minutes walk) and I was trying all the different styles on offer. The class description was Yin Yoga combines aspects of Hatha Yoga, the concept of the meridians in Chinese medicine, Taoist philosophy and Buddhist meditation techniques. Yin Yoga has a positive effect on your organs, immune system, muscles and joints. It was the bit about Buddhist meditation and the muscles and joints which intrigued me seeing as I’m creaking and cracking into middle age now.

During that first class my mind chatter went something like this: ‘ok, we need a lot of props’ and ‘wow the teacher talks a LOT’ (although she had a lovely soothing voice) and ‘oh boy this hurts’ and ‘ouch, oh my God, my muscles are tearing!’ and ‘what the heck is happening to my lumbar area?!’ and so on and so forth. I had done Hatha Restorative but had not really felt this level of discomfort in my body because in Yin Yoga, the positions are held for 3-5 minutes. Sounds relaxing right? Sit or lie on a yoga mat and hold a pose for 3-5 minutes?

Now I must say that as a Kapha person I LOVED that all the poses were done seated or supine on the mat, so no Surya Namaskar (which I still feel resistance to). It’s a passive practice although it turns out passive is not quite how it feels. Turns out the teacher talks you through the poses and all the while brings the focus back to your breath. Physically, you’re stretching stretching, stretching, your fascia and connective tissue around your joints (knees, spine, sacrum, pelvis) and mentally you are focussing on your breath. Then you realise, each breath can take you deeper into the pain, and it’s not actually pain, its discomfort and it’s not killing you. It actually feels like what your body has needed for YEARS. Each breath you are able to go deeper physically and somehow mentally too. Hang on you say to yourself… I’m actually meditating and doing yoga at the same time and I feel great!

The more dynamic forms of yoga I do are the Yang styles, Vinyasa and Astanga. Yin is very complementary to those styles and as I mentioned, is all about stretching the connective tissues, ligaments, bones and joints. Who knew that just sitting and extending your legs in front of you and walking your hands forward until you feel resistance, could feel so damn uncomfortable and so damn wonderful at the same time! I did give myself a neck injury by pushing myself too far in Yin so caution is absolutely needed I’d say especially if like me, you’re hypermobile.

For the last 11 years or so I’ve always said my back feels like it can never be stretched enough and I would beg The Lovely Boyfriend to lean on my back with me in child’s pose, just so I could feel a stretch. Now I know which poses give me the most benefit and I know I will not tear apart (pain is different to discomfort) and I know that the ‘pain’ I feel in my body during Yin practice, is the same discomfort I feel in my life sometimes. But if I breathe into the discomfort and see it for what it is – just discomfort which will pass – I feel space. What a great metaphor for life no?

And my favourite, most beneficial Yin Yoga pose you ask? Probably Ananda Balasana or Happy Baby, because it s t r e t c h e s my lower back, calms my mind and makes me laugh each time.

Have you tried Yin Yoga and if so what benefits are you experiencing? I’m curious to deepen my practice more.

This post is dedicated to my lovely Mandy who is experiencing pain today. Love you doll. 

Preparation Castor Oil Cleanse Hot Belly Diet

I decided to do a prep day before starting the HBD to clear everything out. Well I can tell you if you ever need clearing out… castor oil will do it!

Castor oil is often used at the beginning of a fast as it is a purgative. It has been used for centuries and according to the book, it stimulates your body to burn fat and the action of castor oil starts in the small intestine unlike other laxatives that act in the colon. I did some research and found that “When someone swallows castor oil, ricinoleic acid latches onto EP3­ molecules in smooth muscle cells on the walls of the small intestine and causes contractions, explaining castor oil’s effectiveness as a laxative”.

The book suggests you wake up early on a Sunday morning between 6 and 7 AM and drink the castor oil drink. There is no way I am going to wake up at 6 AM on a Sunday as it’s the only day I can have a lie in. So I woke up at 8 and took the drink at 8:30.

Recipe for the castor oil drink: take 2 tablespoons 30 ml of castor oil and mix it with 120 ml of orange juice or grapefruit juice. Make sure that the oil is fresh and if you feel like throwing up it should help if you mix everything very carefully so it only taste of citrus.

Castor oil (I used an Ayurvedic brand) is thick and I had to stir very well to mix everything up and then I just gulped it back.

An hour later I had to run to the loo, and after that I went at 11:30, 12:30 and 15:30. So exactly as the book says it took about 7 hours from start to finish (in the book he says take around 6-7 and should be finished by 2 PM). The BMs were very loose and you need to be home and close to a toilet. I think enough said about that.

I was however absolutely starving by 4 PM and succumbed to two tbsp of rice and Thai food because I was too lazy to make more soup. At 7 PM I succumbed again to one biscuit because I noticed my tummy was settled again. Apart from that I only had soup, tea and juice all day and did not do anything except read and cook.

-C-

 

When you reach Rock.Bottom.

Last year was one of the worst years I’ve had health-wise. I was basically sick with one thing or another all year, and things all came to a head when I was diagnosed with critical hypertension in July and put on blood pressure meds. Inside I was screaming THIS IS NOT ME!!! I am not the person on blood pressure meds in their 40’s!! It was very depressing but… the medication did make me feel better. Nonetheless,  I am determined to not take meds even though I have a pre-existing heart condition. I was very concerned about the extreme side-effects I experienced, even after I was put on different meds, and the fact my Dr. was very blasé about the fact he could “give me another medication to counteract the side-effects if necessary”. So my tactic has been to wait until my blood pressure stabilised over a longer period, then to wean myself off the meds and step up my yoga and exercise game, reduce my stress, and change my food game all whilst checking my blood pressure consistently (so no need to worry Mandytje 😉). On top of everything, I appear to have become more allergic to my fluffy bundle of joy, Roosje the Cat. But that situation is easily resolved by taking an allergy tab every day. Obviously, she’s not going anywhere ha!

I decided 2017, the year of my 50th birthday, I am going to commit completely to my health because the future looks short and depressing if I carry on like this. Last week I did a two-day Ayurveda course to refresh my knowledge and learned so much, I loved every minute of it! I am inconsistent about my Ayurvedic diet even though it’s the only thing that works for me.

Along with my course last week, I stumbled across a book called The Hot Belly Diet by Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar which appealed to me because it’s based on Ayurveda, and it’s about reigniting your digestive fire by following this diet for 30 days. So the ‘hot’ in the title is not the sexualised use of the word hot which is common now. The basic idea is to rekindle and maintain a balanced digestive fire (‘agni’) beginning with 3-day preparation phase to detoxify and give your digestive system a rest.

In Ayurveda we believe that the digestive system is the most important system in our bodies because it provides our body with the energy we need from birth to death. How well your agni functions determines the quality of your life. I will write more about agni in another post. But for the next 30 days I will be on this program to start feeling better because I do believe food is a medicine.

Here is a short summary of the plan:

  • A 24 hour castor oil cleanse before starting is optional. Do the oil cleanse the Sunday before you begin. Have your last meal on the Saturday night and don’t make it a heavy one.
  • Preparation days 1-3 are about breaking old patterns and not eating or drinking the things that lower your digestive fire. The goal is to lighten the burden on your digestive system.
  • Start day 1 on a Monday because the author thinks it’s easier to have your regular routine, rather than potential social distractions at the weekend (which is the case for me this week)
  • For the next 23-days, you mainly eat kitchari, a nourishing, easy to digest rice/dal  combination which I love anyway and always makes me feel great. Kitchari is the main dish for lunch (and dinner if you want), plus a non-creamy soup and steamed vegetables. Breakfast is a superfood smoothie, or oatmeal, or an egg-veggie scramble.
  • On the final 4-days you can start to reintroduce the other foods suitable for your dosha.

So this is what I’m going to be logging on here and am very interested to see what changes not only in weight, but in energy it will bring me. Will I still have energy to do yoga and go to the gym? Will I sleep well/better, will I stop getting skin rashes and bloating? Will my blood pressure be stable? I am positive I will answer yes to all the above!