In an earlier post, A three days trial for a happier life, I invited you to try a method for a higher energy level. In this post and the next one I’d like to share with you my experience in a more detailed way and based on that suggest easy to follow, simple steps that really help make a difference. At the end of the second part you’ll find a simplified ‘user guide’ for how you can implement the seven points within a 21 day jumbo jet challenge.
You may choose the ones that you like or change some elements according to your needs and lifestyle.
For me, there’s basically no positive change without keeping my energy level high. To explain what I mean by a high energy level maybe I should describe what my inner atmosphere is when it’s not high.;)
It’s easy for me to know: lower energy level in my case means a great deal of criticism towards others and myself and a general pessimistic attitude with constantly expecting (and trying to avoid) the worst case scenario. Thanks to practicing Karma Killer Yoga by Anamé Program and my lifestyle, though, I managed to transcend this energy level. But I still remember how it felt and when I notice a drop in my energy level, I still experience traces of my old ways of working.
Most of the below listed elements of my lifestyle I’ve tested for the last more ten years, together and separately in various combinations. You’ll find that they are not strict rules, but rather ways to treat yourself well. This is a significant difference compared to lifestyle advice you may find elsewhere: the focus is more on the close and loving relationship with yourself than on packing your days with as many healthy habits as you can.
So let me share with you what I’ve found.
I was 16 years old when I first stopped eating meat. It was only partly a conscious decision: it felt more like a calling. For a while I felt better and lighter thanks to my new diet. Then, around the middle of my 20’s I returned to eating meat, moderately, for a short period of time.
During these times I noticed that being a vegetarian doesn’t mean to eat healthy. Now as I put it down it seems so obvious, but back then it wasn’t, at least not for me.
So the second time I eliminated meat from my diet my approach was more conscious. I tried pescetarianism (consuming fish and seafood but no other types of meat) for a short period of time, ovo-vegetarianism (consuming eggs but no other animal products), lacto-vegetarianism (consuming dairy but no other animal products), and yes, as you may have guessed, ovo-lacto vegetarianism (consuming … come on, it should be easy now:)).
Finally, I was left with a plant based diet (no animal products at all. Well, honey is an exception for some.) It still was not the end, as out of curiosity I kept experimenting.
Although the benefits of fasting are questioned by some, but that was another thing I felt a calling to do, and for me it proved to be quite useful. Many of the things I learnt I could’ve read about, but I’ve always liked to form my lifestyle and to choose what’s best for me based on my own experience.
The longest fasting I tried lasted for 12 days, plus the introductory and the settling days. One important thing I learnt is that food processing takes up a lot of energy. From about the third day on, I woke up every morning around 4 o’clock, completely, thoroughly rested and fresh. I went out for a long walk to the woods (for most days of the fasting I was away from home, on a holiday, which made it a lot easier to focus on the effects and the change I was going through), and did some exercises or went to the pool for an early morning swimming. I remained fresh and strong and energetic all day long.
The other thing I learnt was how much the physical-psychological-spiritual layers are linked together. Again, this is not something I couldn’t have learned from numerous sources, but to have a first hand experience was a whole other story for me. My thoughts were cleaner and calmer than usual and overall I was more relaxed. I could clearly see correspondences?….. I’ve never see before – in connection with my own life just as well as with my mom’s, for instance. And the solution became clear with the seeing too.
It was after the fasting I began to understand some stuff about how it works with the body wanting certain types of food and not others – regardless of how healthy or unhealthy they are considered.
Earlier, I had always wondered why it was that I used to crave for food that clearly wasn’t good for me. I thought that the body should be an intelligent system, knowing what is good for its health and what’s not. And once knowing it, it should be sending signals to the brain to want the types of food that are necessary and beneficial.
What I noticed after the fasting is that the above theory, although obviously simplified, actually works, but only in case the body is not burdened with unnecessary or toxic substances. For me, the experience was rather unexpected: when I went shopping for food, certain sections in the supermarket I simply trespassed without even stopping, as the food I saw there I simply didn’t consider consumable – like dairy and pastries and sweets and a good share of processed food. Now, it was a weird experience, as I didn’t decide beforehand that I was going to avoid those types of food. Well, not all of them, and therefore I was surprised by some.
At that time I haven’t heard of the bowel system as second brain theory. Here goes a fragment from a Scientific American article for you, in case it’s unfamiliar to you:
[…] the second brain can control gut behavior independently of the brain, Gershon says. We likely evolved this intricate web of nerves to perform digestion and excretion “on site,” rather than remotely from our brains through the middleman of the spinal cord. “The brain in the head doesn’t need to get its hands dirty with the messy business of digestion, which is delegated to the brain in the gut,” Gershon [author of the 1998 book The Second Brain (HarperCollins)] says. He and other researchers explain, however, that the second brain’s complexity likely cannot be interpreted through this process alone.
“The system is way too complicated to have evolved only to make sure things move out of your colon,” says Emeran Mayer, professor of physiology, psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.). For example, scientists were shocked to learn that about 90 percent of the fibers in the primary visceral nerve, the vagus, carry information from the gut to the brain and not the other way around. “Some of that info is decidedly unpleasant,” Gershon says.
In case you’re interested in the whole article I included the link at the end of this post.
But there’s a great amount of information you can find on the topic, if you’re interested.
When I heard about this concept of the second brain, years later, I was given a deeper understanding of the basis of my own experiences.
The next determining factor on this journey of diet and nutrition for me was my 21 day raw food challenge. By then I had been a vegan for several years. I came across a raw food chef whose attitude and way of thinking about food and eating was really appalling to me, but I didn’t feel the call to go 100% raw. I simply felt that I needed a boost in this field of my lifestyle, so I decided to go with it for 21 days. It was a great experience.
During the first week, I didn’t feel anything special, nor any significant change to how I usually am. From about the 12th day I began to really feel the difference. On the one hand I felt a lot lighter, my overall mood was better and I became more steady both emotionally and mentally.
On the other hand – and it was unexpected and therefore a very pleasant surprise – I started to enjoy the food even more than I usually do. I do like eating generally, but it was a whole different, unprecedented experience. I did not simply enjoy the taste of the food, but I could feel how – it may sound weird, I know – my body was happy with what I was eating. The feeling of being taken care of and nourished and the gratitude for all this added up to the heavenly flavours. I wasn’t thinking about it, I was feeling it on a cellular level.
After the 21 days my body expressed quite unambiguously what kind of food it wanted. It was vegan and gluten free with vegetables and something green with each meal, except for breakfast, when I had fruits and porridge on most days. It was obvious that an entirely raw diet was great for a challenge, but not suitable for me as a lifestyle. But still, the challenge was an immeasurably valuable experience.
To this day, this is the diet I try to keep, vegan, gluten free with lots of raw fruits and veggies. In case it’s not possible for any reason, I make sure that what I eat is vegan.
When it comes to nutrition, please note that I am not a health care specialists and therefore not qualified to give you professional dietary advice. Especially if you have any health condition, please consult your nutritionist or health care provider.
Also, feel free to experiment. Have fun with trying different things and see how you react physically, emotionally and mentally.
And don’t forget that eating is not only a physical act. Making dinner together with someone you love and having it in candle light while listening to some nice music is about so much more than simply providing your body with the necessary nutrients.
Body/skin care routine
When it came to the relationship with myself, the first thing I understood was the importance of how I consider myself.
I understood that it doesn’t matter how professional or expensive your skin care products are if the conversation that’s running in your head is about self judgement and blame. It can be on different levels of course: you may be discontent with your body or with certain features of your character, or you may be criticizing yourself for various reasons.
But no matter where you see these flaws, by concentrating on them and repeating them to yourself you give them constant energy, and it’ll have an effect on how you treat yourself during your everyday self care routine.
Also, with time the negative, criticizing thoughts and feelings can leave their marks on your body, on your face. If nothing else, there are already studies that show how stress can have a negative effect on your skin:
We’ve all heard, at one point or another, that beauty starts from within. And for good reason: Your skin is your body’s largest organ. External issues can be a telltale sign of the wars waged within.
While bottled serums and sheet masks possess a certain level of aesthetic and soothing allure, a solid skin care routine may not be enough to provide calm for the imbalanced hormone battles happening underneath the surface.
Fact: Stress makes your skin battle harder. The increased jump in cortisol can jumble up the messages your nerves decide to send, causing anything from an outbreak of hives to fine lines.
While this correlation between stress and skin can be traced back to ancient times, formal studies revealing the deeper connection only date back to the last two decades.
The link of the article you’ll find below, at the end of this post.
But it seems obvious that stress is not the only internal factor that has an effect on our skin, and as a general rule, on how we look.
So what’s the solution? Well, nothing complicated, actually: love. The way you take care of yourself, of your body is of utmost importance. Looking at it from an energetic point of view: your arms, your hands belong to your heart chakra. So whenever you touch yourself, you convey a message to your body. And it’s your decision if you want it to be the message of love.
For me, there are a couple of practices that have been working very well, and that I’d like to share with you. But again, feel free to experiment and find out what feels right for you, what’s efficient and what it is that makes your routines true and loving self care rituals.
- Dry brushing in the morning, followed by a cool shower and applying some oil like almond or coconut on my still moist skin. I find it very energizing, making me feel ready for the day. (Please note that if you have inflamed skin including skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, you should avoid dry brushing over the inflamed area. You should also avoid dry brushing over an open wound, otherwise you may introduce bacteria to the wound, which could lead to infection.)
- This is relatively a new finding, but I love it so much that I’ll share it here. As a part of the morning cleansing-toning-hydrating routine I introduced a face roller, which is, in my case equipped with an energized Anamé crystal. I also use some Karma Killer Yoga breathing exercises while doing the rolling. At first I was quite sceptical about the benefits of tossing a piece of crystal on my face back and forth.:) But it’s really cool: I love the feeling and it makes my face firmer and more alive. So, although this one is new, it has proven enough to become a definite keeper.
- As a closure for my evening skincare routine (which is very simple, by the way, with cleansing and toning) I like to use some organic oil, usually with wild rose or hemp. My skin reacts to oils a lot friendlier than to creams. What I like to pay attention to is exfoliation (physical and chemical in turns), using my Clarisonic face brush.
As you can see, my body/skin care routine is quite simple and doesn’t require many products or take up a lot of time.
In the next post I’ll add 5 more elements to the above list: the practice of Karma Killer Yoga by Anamé Program (which is, by the way, a perfect yoga for beginners), exercise, planning, focus, and as a final point, observation and mindfulness. And to sum it up, I’ll give you the outlines of an easy to follow 21 day challenge to kick off the change in your life you’ve been waiting for. See you next week, cheers!