Our 28 day journey is officially complete. However, after such an extreme process of cleansing and elimination, you must now take time to slowly incorporate in the foods you have eliminated, while strengthening and rebuilding your system. Without this vital step, you can easily undo all of the good you have just accomplished, and in some cases, cause harm to your digestion. Therefore, I felt it was needed to finalize this process by sharing some recommendations that will allow you to smoothly transition off of your Healthy Digestion Challenge and back into a more typical daily routine.
After a cleanse of any kind, your system can sometimes be left in a slightly weakened state from the detoxification process. If you come off of this challenge and jump straight back into your previous (and possibly less healthy) dietary habits, your digestive system may go into a state of shock, overtaxing this vital force, and at times even causing new food allergies and sensitivities to form. For example, if you have gone from giving up white sugar, dairy, gluten, and red meat over the past 28 days, to eating a cheeseburger (on a wheat bun) followed by a large bowl of ice cream, this can easily overwhelm your system causing extreme gas, bloating, cramping, and constipation.
By taking some time and intention to slowly incorporate these food types that you have given up for multiple weeks, you can see more vividly which food choices may be creating sensitivity in your system (or even in some cases an unknown allergy). For this reason, it is essential to not only add in the various food types slowly, but one at a time in order to differentiate any potential harmful foods. Ultimately, I suggest adding in one single food type of choice (for example, dairy) solely for 7 days before adding in the next food type (say, gluten)
*If you have decided to permanently say good-bye to any of the foods that you have eliminated (e.g. white sugar), this is all the better!
Healthy Digestion Challenge: WEEK 5
For this week’s chart, I will get you started on a single food type (gluten) to slowly add back into your diet. If you have decided to continue a gluten-free diet, please choose a different single food choice to add back in.
This week’s recommendations are geared toward rebuilding and strengthening your digestion and body as a whole. The previous diet, lifestyle, and herbal tips that have been suggested over this challenge can be continued as long as needed.
Ayurvedic Dietary Tip of the Week
Incorporate strengthening, Ojas-increasing foods into your diet.
Ojas is the subtle energy in your system that when healthy and strong creates energy, vitality, immunity, and an overall “juiciness” in your being. Since cleansing procedures can often deplete your Ojas, it is important to rejuvenate this vital force after your cleanse is complete.
One way to increase Ojas post-cleanse is to take the Rejuvenating Ojas Drink in the morning, 2 to 4 days each week, for several weeks (or longer if needed). This drink is filled with energizing ingredients and is specific for promoting healthy Ojas in your system.
If this is not enough for you, here is a list of some other foods choices that are considered strengthening and Ojas-increasing:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Healthy oils such as coconut, olive, sesame, and almond
- Coconut meat, coconut water, coconut milk
- Organic, whole milk (warmed and spiced)
- Whole grains (brown rice, buckwheat groats, oats, whole wheat…)
- Sweet, juicy fruits such as peaches and mangos
- High anti-oxidant foods such as blueberries, cacao, and beets
- Sweet potatoes
- Rice pudding
- Bone Marrow Broth
- Meat Broth
As you can see, most of these food types are fairly heavy by nature. This means that you should take them in moderation, but avoid overdoing it, as this can lead to heaviness, increased Kapha, and toxic build-up. For this recommendation, I would suggest taking one of the food choices to eat per meal, or 2 to 3 Ojas-building foods per day.
Daily Routine Practice of the Week
Create a healthy exercise routine.
Now that your time of reducing and elimination is over, it is time to rebuild and strengthen your system. Exercise is an essential part of your daily routine, whether you are overweight, underweight, or somewhere in between.
For this week (and beyond), it is suggested to establish a healthy exercise routine that incorporates at least 30 minutes of “intentional movement”, 3 days each week. Ideally the exercise option should elevate the heart rate and get the blood pumping for the duration of the practice. Healthy exercise options include:
- Cardio (i.e. elliptical, treadmill, jogging, brisk walk)
- Moderate Yoga class (or video)
- Home exercise videos
- Body weight exercises
Herbal Regimen of the Week
Take one teaspoon of Rasayana Ghrita with one teaspoon of honey, twice daily.
Rasayana Ghrita is a medicated ghee that is specific for rejuvenating and strengthening your body on a cellular level. The herbs included in this formula are all geared toward rebuilding your system, and it is often recommended to take after a period of cleansing. When taken with honey, this ghee becomes even more powerful.
Directions: Take 1 teaspoon of Rasayana Ghrita blended with 1 teaspoon of honey. Wash down with warm water. Take this mixture once in the morning, on an empty stomach, and again around 2 to 3pm, between meals. *If Rasayana Ghrita is not available, replace with plain organic ghee.
Week Five Recap
Recipe Suggestions of the Week
Here is a kitchari recipe that is perfect during times of rebuilding and rejuvenation. Although it is still easy to digest due to the spiced, warm, mushy nature of the dish, it also brings in a strengthening quality from our essential Ojas-increasing foods such as broth, cashews, coconut, and of course ghee. All and all, this is a great recipe as you transition off of your challenge. Click here for the full recipe!
As you continue your elimination of white processed sugar, here is yet another recipe to help get a more natural sweet fix in throughout your day. With ingredients geared toward increasing Ojas and building strength, this recipe is even more essential at this time of your transition back into a “normal” diet. Click here for the full recipe!
Lassi is a traditional yogurt drink that is often taken to improve digestion after a meal. This particular lassi recipe uses some warming digestive spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, and ginger, as well as some honey to help sweeten up the slightly sour nature of the plain yogurt. This is a healthy way to gently introduce dairy back into your diet; however if you are avoiding dairy still, the milk based yogurt can be replaced with a non-dairy substitute such as coconut milk yogurt or almond milk yogurt. Click here for the full recipe!
Congratulations on your hard work and discipline over the last 28 days. My biggest hope is that you take with you some healthy practices (dietary and otherwise) as you move forward and transition into your daily life. Even if you choose 1 to 2 recommendations per category (i.e. food elimination, diet, daily routine, herbal), this will help to keep the ball rolling and keep your digestion healthy and robust – long term! So set your goals and keep up the momentum while it is still strong.
Ideally foods that are not needed for nutrient purposes such as white sugar, processed foods, additives, and preservatives can continue to be eliminated for good. If nothing else, I hope this challenge has helped you bring more awareness around your food choices, and what a huge effect diet (and digestion) has on your entire health, energy, and wellbeing.