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 ūüėĶ


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‚Äôs 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.



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 blas√© 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 ūüėČ). 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!

Tuesday 16 April

The Plan:
On waking Hot water with slice of lemon
Mid-morning (10-11) Stewed pears
Lunch (12-13) Falafel from Maoz
Dinner (18:30-19:30) Ei­er­mie met tofu en spits­kool (AH)

The Reality:
On waking Hot water with slice of lemon
Mid-morning (10-11) Stewed pears
Lunch (12-13) Falafel from Maoz
Dinner (18:30-19:30) Ei­er­mie met tofu en spits­kool (AH)

We had dinner so late last night again (forgot how long risotto takes…) that I’m sure it’s the reason we both had problems waking up this morning. It was all a mad rush. Hate those kind of mornings.

As I knew I’d be lugging my yoga bag around I had decided not to bring lunch today so I had a Maoz falafel for lunch.

Still having a lot of gas and bloating issues which is not so good and made me worried about doing yoga. We did balances and forward bends today; I love me some forward bends! I was telling my teacher how since doing yoga regularly again, I can feel the difference in my body going into the poses and feeling like I’m progressing nicely. She reminded me that when I used to practice regularly years ago, I did really well and I’m a natural “You’re a Yogi” she said. I swear if I had a tail it would have wagged like mad. I was so happy she said that – it felt good! I think I’ll step my classes up to two a week as I have done the last two weeks, because it just feels great.

We also spent a while talking about nutrition and I notice that I feel like a phony talking about it. I know a lot about it, but because I am so overweight, I feel like people must think “yeah right”. When TLB went to see a nutritionist a few years back because of high blood pressure, she told him exactly everything I had been telling him. I’ve always been interested in health and nutrition, unfortunately my knowledge was theoretical and I was not practicing what I know. I always told my sister she should study nutrition as that’s almost exclusively what we talk about, yet it never crossed my mind to do it myself ūüôā

Speaking of not doing the right thing, I had a small bag of crisps today because I was starving after yoga. Bad choice on an otherwise good eating day! Dinner was noodles with tofu and pointed cabbage.

RECIPE: Risotto with turnip greens and rucola


2 personen
25 min

2 bosjes raapstelen (ca. 200 g)
1 grote ui
1 teentje knoflook
1 bakje rucola (sla 30 g)
2 eetlepels roomboter
150 g risottorijst (pak 400 g)
2/3 kippenbouillontablet
(versgemalen) peper

VOEDINGSWAARDEN (per eenpersoonsportie)

Energie: 375 kcal
Eiwit: 9 g
Vet: 10 g
Koolhydraten: 62 g

Worteltjes van raapstelen verwijderen. Raapstelen wassen, laten uitlekken en grof snijden. Ui en knoflook pellen en fijnsnipperen. Rucola grof snijden. In (braad)pan boter verhitten. Ui in ca. 5 minuten zacht, maar niet bruin bakken. Knoflook en rijst kort meebakken. Raapstelen toevoegen en al omscheppend laten slinken. Bouillontablet en 250 ml water toevoegen en aan de kook brengen. Rijst onafgedekt in ca. 5 minuten gaar koken, af en toe doorroeren. Rucola erdoor scheppen en kort meewarmen. Op smaak brengen met peper. Serveren met (versgeraspte) parmezaanse kaas.

Bron: Allerhande 9 2001

Monday 15 April

The Plan:
On waking Hot water with slice of lemon
Mid-morning (10-11) Stewed pears
Lunch (12-13) Jerusalem artichoke soup and leftover noodles dinner
Dinner (18:30-19:30) Risotto with turnip greens and rucola

The Reality:
On waking Hot water with slice of lemon
Mid-morning (10-11) Stewed pears
Lunch (12-13) Jerusalem artichoke soup and leftover noodles dinner
Dinner (18:30-19:30) Risotto with turnip greens and rucola

The day did not start off well as it was a rush and we were all cranky it seemed, me, TLB and the cat. Monday morning blues I suppose. I was not amused when I got to work (late) to then discover I’d left my breakfast on the counter at home. I knew I’d need something before lunch so I settled for a hard boiled egg and an amaranth cracker. I skipped the mayo which I usually add a little bit of, to give it some moisture and it was actually fine; it didn’t taste like cardboard. I told myself Kapha needs drying, this is drying.

Lunch was some soup I had in the freezer; now I know for sure… Jerusalem artichokes give me gas. Enough said about that! The noodles which we had very late last night also didn’t help and I felt very bloated, a feeling I had grown used to in my life until recently.

Once again, life got in the way of my ‘carefully laid’ plans, as TLB’s mum was admitted to hospital so we know this week will be ‘take it as it comes’. But I have said that no matter what… we are going to cook and eat well for ourselves, especially to ground us in this uncertain time.

After work I went to the hospital with my yoga bag and I found myself looking forward to my yoga class so much. Unfortunately, as I left the hospital, the tram pulled away in front of me and the next one didn’t come on time. I was very disappointed; yes I could have gone and ran to the class but I did not want to come in with a rushed vibe and disturb everyone and then have to change as well. I was kicking myself for missing the tram, and then I thought, you know, hopefully I made an old woman happy by visiting her. Yes, I missed my class which I’d already paid for, but whatever.

It did mean I had time to cook which otherwise TLB would have had to do. I love risotto and I bought turnip greens for the first time on Saturday. Yum! And anyone who knows me knows I am nuts about arugula. So this dinner was a success and kapha pacifying on account of the arugula and turnip greens being bitter, pungent and astringent, the three flavors that reduce Kapha.

Risotto with turnip greens and arugula
Risotto with turnip greens and arugula