Seeding Healthy Rituals into Your Daily Life
We have just come through the Spring Equinox, traditionally a time of coming back to the light from the sun, renewal of the earth and celebrating growth by the planting of seeds. It is a wonderful time to be in the garden, as everything is starting to grow again after laying dormant for the winter, flowers are blooming and seeds planted now will be ensured of a good start to life. Likewise for our own health, it is a good time to plant some seeds and lay the foundations of some healthy rituals for our lives.
I love rituals of all kind, even the simplest, but when they are done with an intention for our good health and an honouring of Mother Earth, they can be very powerful. Let's look at some simple, healthy rituals that we can do to set us on a healing path. The best time to lay down foundations for our health is first thing in the morning. Once we are off to a good start for the day, it is much easier to keep to our positive, healthy plans.
Here are some morning rituals you might like to incorporate into your day:
- First thing on rising and about a half hour before eating, drink a large glass of warm water with the juice of half an organic lemon. This is an old remedy that your grandmother may have told you about and the health benefits are numerous. Lemons contain many different acids, citric and malic acid being two of the main ones, but once ingested and absorbed into our bloodstream, the overall effect is alkalising. We now know that an acid system can lead to various diseases which are less likely to survive in an alkaline environment. Lemons are also very high in vitamin C and therefore boost the immune system. They can help to flush out toxins from the liver, control blood sugar levels due to their high fibre content, improve energy due to the amount of vitamins, electrolytes and minerals they contain and limonin, one of the main phytonutrients in lemons, has now been shown to suppress cancer development. Always rinse your mouth well after consuming lemons as the acids may effect the enamel on your teeth.
- If you are all out of lemons, a good alternative is Organic Apple Cider Vinegar that contains the "mother". This has very similar health benefits to lemons, apart from the vitamin C content, and again a large dessertspoon needs to be consumed with a glass of warm water. Some people like to add a teaspoon of Honey to this mix for the antibacterial effect. This is also an age-old folk remedy that has been purported to cure arthritis and many other aches and pains in the body because of its alkalising effect. It can also help with digestive problems and is rich in potassium which helps with muscle, nerve and heart activity. Make sure you rinse your mouth well afterwards as apple cider vinegar is also acidic on the teeth.
- If neither of these appeal to you but you would like to improve your gut function and strengthen absorption of nutrients as well as help to heal leaky gut syndrome, then Slippery Elm is for you. This ritual involves making a strong brew of chamomile tea and leaving it to stand overnight. Reheat it in the morning and add two teaspoons of slippery elm powder. Let it stand for a few minutes and consume first thing on rising, waiting a half hour or so before eating. Slippery Elm will help to improve bowel function, both constipation and diarrhoea, ease reflux and heal gastric ulcers as it's mucilaginous content puts a lining on the gut wall and it is a soothing, healing remedy for all types of indigestion. Chamomile is healing and calming for the digestive system.
Follow up these health drinks with some yoga, stretching, meditating or walking while you wait for the half hour before your breakfast. You can focus on your intentions for the day and think of three things you are grateful for as a part of your ritual.
There are many healthy breakfast options to choose from depending on your body type and the amount of activity you do in the day. Unlike many, I am trying to gain weight at the moment so eggs either soft boiled, scrambled or poached with gluten free toast and some fresh herbs from the garden is one of my favourites. If I don't have a lot of time in the morning and want a lighter start to my day, a protein smoothie with Maca Powder for hormone balancing, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, and some fruit will suffice.
Another part of my morning ritual is to be in my garden, as I find it very healing and calming. Also, being in the sun will help with vitamin D levels as well as stimulating melatonin which then makes for a good night's sleep. Once you are off to a good start with your day, a healthy lunch and dinner are much easier to follow. In spring we start eating lighter foods as the weather warms, vegetable stir fries with tofu and warm salads are perfect for this season.
There are so many wonderful ways to seed some healthy rituals into your life. Maybe you love walking or doing yoga on the beach in the morning, having a herbal tea and a rest in the afternoon or meditating for twenty minutes before dinner. I have recently added a relaxing soak in an Epsom Salts bath to my daily rituals before dinner. I add some lavender oil, put on some relaxing music and let the stresses of the day leave my body along with any aches and pains that may have accumulated. I hope I have inspired you to start seeding some healthy rituals into your daily life.