Our 28 day journey is officially complete. However, after such an extreme process of cleansing and elimination, we must now take time to slowly incorporate in the foods we have eliminated while strengthening and rebuilding the system. Without this vital step, we can easily undo all of the good we have just accomplished and in some cases cause harm to our digestion. Therefore I felt it was needed to finalize this process by sharing some recommendations that will allow us to smoothly transition off of our Healthy Digestion Challenge and back into our more typical daily routine.
After a cleanse of any kind, the system can sometimes be left in a slightly weakened state from the detoxification process. If we come off of this challenge and jump straight back into our previous (and possibly less healthy) dietary habits, the digestive system can 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 we 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) and a large bowl of ice cream the very next day, this can easily overwhelm our system causing extreme gas, bloating, cramping and constipation.
Finally, by taking some time and intention to slowly incorporate these food types that we had given up for multiple weeks, we can see more vividly which food choices may be creating sensitivity in the 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. For this purpose I suggest to add in the food type of choice solely for 7 days before adding in the next food type. **If you have decided to permanently say good-bye to any of our foods that we have eliminated (i.e. 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 the 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 however.
Ayurvedic Dietary Tip of the Week
Incorporate strengthening and Ojas-increasing foods into the diet.
Ojas is the subtle energy in the system that when healthy and strong creates energy, vitality, immunity and an overall “juiciness” to our beings. Since cleansing procedures can often deplete the Ojas, it is important to rejuvenate this vital force after the cleanse is complete.
One way to increase Ojas post-cleanse is to take the Rejuvenating Ojas Drink in the morning, 2-4 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 the system. Click here for a full recipe!
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 one should take them in in moderation, but avoid overdoing it as this can lead to heaviness, increased Kapha and/or toxic build-up. For this recommendation I would suggest taking one of the food choices to eat per meal, or 2-3 Ojas-building foods per day.
Daily Routine Practice of the Week
Create a healthy exercise routine.
Now that our time of reducing and elimination is over, it is time to rebuild and strengthen our systems. Exercise is an essential part of every-bodies lifestyle 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 tsp of Rasayana Ghrita with one tsp of honey twice daily.
Rasayana Ghrita is a medicated ghee that is specific for rejuvenating and strengthening the body on a cellular level. The herbs included in this formula are all geared towards rebuilding the system and it is often recommended to take after a period of cleansing. Taken with the honey, this ghee becomes even more potent.
Directions: Take 1 tsp of Rasayana Ghrita blended with 1 tsp of honey. Wash down with warm water. Take this mixture once in the morning on an empty stomach, and again around 2-3pm, between meals. **If the rasayana ghrita is not available, please 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 tahini, cashews, coconut, raisins and of course ghee. All and all, this is a great recipe as we transition off of the challenge. Click here for the full recipe!
As we continue the elimination of white processed sugar, here is yet another recipe to help get a more natural sweet fix in throughout the day. With ingredients geared toward increasing Ojas and building strength this recipe is even more essential at this time of our post-challenge transition. 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 sour nature of the plain yogurt. This is a healthy way to gently introduce dairy back into the 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 can take with you some healthy practices (dietary and otherwise) with you as you move forward and transition into your daily life. Even if you choose 1-2 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- longterm! 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 to bring awareness to everything you put into your system and what a huge effect food (and digestion) has on your entire health, energy and wellbeing.