Here is a list of my current daily health practices. Some of these are fairly uncommon, so I figured that they may serve some interest.
* When I say daily, in truth Sundays are always my day off everything, where for instance I don’t “intermittent fast” and I usually eat and drink fairly loosely (this is my 80-20 rule in effect).
1. “Apple Cider Vinegar / Bicarb soda spritzer”. Great way to start the day. To ~125ml of filtered water add a dash of organic apple cider vinegar. To this add 1/2 tsp of bicarb soda (baking soda). Stir vigorously and consume whilst fizzing. ACV is renowned for it’s health promoting properties. In particular it is rich in acetic acid and malic acid which among other things promote internal cleansing. The caustic-like effect of the acid breaks down cholesterol congestion through the arteries, thins the biles, dissolves intrahepatic (liver) stones, along with gallstones. Similarly, other mineral deposits (particularly bad calcium deposits) through the arteries and in the joints are dissolved through the action of acids in ACV. All of this leads to improved blood and lymph flow. The bicarb soda I have been doing since reading a forum on “Earth Clinic” a few years ago. Basically it takes the sourness out of the ACV (and saves your own body’s bicarbonates from doing the same thing). and the effervescence creates a refreshing drink, which is perfect as an early morning pick me up. *If using bicarb soda be sure to buy a good one such as the Red Mill brand which is free of aluminium (which cheap bicarb soda commonly has).
2. Yoga / Meditation – I like to be on my mat by no later than 5:45am so that by 6:30am I’m able to start getting dressed and reading for work. If I am starting later then it might just be 20 minutes of Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations) followed by 20 minutes of pranayama / meditation. Surya Namaskara is a cycle of 12 postures performed in a fluid sequence one right after another. It integrates the mind, body and breath, whilst strengthens and stretches all the major muscle groups, lubricates the joints, conditions the spine, foot massage and massages the internal organs. With meditation, I’ve recently been experimenting with integrating binural beats into my practice. It is too early in my experience to comment but it’s a very interesting technology. Here is a good app if you wish to test it out.
3. Oil Pulling. This is an Ayurvedic ritual which has been practiced for centuries as a means to draw impurities out of the body. Using sesame oil, safflower oil or coconut oil (you can use others as well) you take 1 tsp of the oil and the swish around your mouth and through your teeth for at least a few minutes (the longer the better though). Dr Aushi Patel who is a holistic dentist here in Sydney, once told me that she has brought back many patients with severe gum disease from having them oil pull. For me, apart from maintaing excellent dental hygiene, I have noticed that my teeth have whiten noticeably from committing to it. After expelling the oil in the basin it’s important to then brush your teeth (I also often tongue scrape).
4. No Breakfast – Over the last couple of months I’ve changed my Intermittent Fasting method which I previously wrote about here, to fasting through the morning, with my first solid food from 1 or 2pm. Having finished eating dinner by 8pm the previous evening, 16 hours + elapse before eating again. Doing this my body accesses the fasted state for about 4 hours everyday. Firstly, it takes up to 8 hours for my dinner the previous night to be digested, thereafter the body accesses glycogen stores in the liver and muscles. Once glycogen stores have been used up (usually after around 4 hours) the body is then forced to fuel metabolism by burning fat stores – this is the “fasted state”. Fat (particularly deep visceral fat coating the abdominal organs) is where we store fat. As we burn this fat we detox. In the fasted state our body also gets the opportunity to efficiently administer the physiological process called autophagy which is basically cell recycling. Our usual state of chronic cellular inflammation through our diet choices and constant eating, inhibits this vital balancing process.
6. Sip boiled water through the morning up until lunchtime – this is a variation on a practice picked up from Dr John Douillard‘s work. Again, this is an ancient Ayurvedic health practice – this time for flushing the lymphatic system, softening hardened tissues, and dilating, cleansing and then hydrating deep tissues Douillard refers to this as “Rehydration Therapy” where you sip plain hot water every 10-15 minutes. I don’t drink the water every 10-15 minutes but I do still make up a 1 litre themos and sip the water intermittently through the morning. When you boil water, you boil off the dissolved mineral solids in the water, making it much more easy to absorb into the cells. Boiling water also makes the molecules more active, which is why hot water cleanses better than cold. It also dilates the blood vessels, pores and tissues, thus stimulating circulation and hydration. Finally, I find doing this through out the morning, helps hunger at bay whilst I fast.
5. High Intensity Interval Training – Actually, this isn’t daily, it more like 2-3 times a week but I’m including it here as it follows on from the morning activities perfectly. By exercising around 12 or 1pm after having my last meal the previous night, I am now fully in the fasted state. By now my body has already adapted to fat burning so when I start exercising, immediately I’m enhancing this fat burning. For those wanting to burn fat off, obviously nothing beats exercising whilst in the fasted state. I find too that because my body is already burning fat by the time I start exercising, my workouts are easier and more effective. Fat is our body’s preferred fuel – it’s rich in energy and burns cleanly and in a stable way. Burning blood sugar and glycogen is good for sudden, short intense efforts. With HIIT in a 20 minute workout on my cross-trainer or stationary bike, I can exercise both my aerobic and anaerobic physiological system. In other words I access slow twitch muscle fibers and fast (along with super fast) muscle fibers. I build up both, but its really through building up oxygen storing capacity in fast twitch fibers that you get exponential fitness gains. That 20 minute HIIT workout gives incredible return for effort.
6. Quark & Flaxseed Oil (Budwig Protocol) – The first solid food meal I eat is at lunchtime; everyday I start with a heaped tablespoon of Quark cheese (similar to cottage cheese) with 2 tbsp of organic flaxseed oil hand mixed vigorously through it. The Budwig Protocol devised by Dr Johanna Budwig, a Nobel prize winner for her contribution to science has been successfully used as a natural cancer fighting remedy. By combining a sulfur rich protein in the form of Quark with flaxseed oil (a highly unsaturated omega 3 oil), it enables the omega 3 oil to become water-soluble allowing it to be immediately available for use by the body. In this manner, the necessary “spark plugs” are provided as oxygen flows readily into the cells, allowing them to breathe and optimally detoxify and function. I see this as a bit like a oxygen transfusion and a great post workout refuel of a high quality protein, as well as omega 3.
7. Sprouts – Lunch I usually base around a large green salad. In the cooler months I include a soup. Sprouts are always included in my salad, and often get added to my soups. Sprouts are arguably the best food on the planet. Sure, certain superfoods get talked up a lot but unless they’re picked off the tree and eaten immediately, they can’t match sprouted foods for the amount of live enzymes present. The ancient essenes (to which Jesus was a descendent) revered foods which had the highest amount of lifeforce in them. Edmund Szekely who studied the essenes , ended up classifying foods based on the Essene philosophy. Here he had 4 food categories based on their quality and functions, of generating life and health in our bodies.
Biogenic foods included sprouts, germinated seeds and nuts due to them having the highest enzyme content and so being “life generating”, were at the top of the spectrum. The process of sprouting (or germinating) also results in the plant’s protein starches, fiber and anti-nutrients being “broken down” by the live enzymes. So on top of those live enzymes adding to your enzymes reserves upon ingestion, the foods themselves are far more bio-available for complete absorption. Sprouted alfalfa and bean sprouts are easy to find in any supermarket. In addition to these, I like to buy “sprout combos” which include mung beans, lentils, chickpeas and adzuki beans.
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Aaron Travers is author and creator of “ The Boda Cleanse”– a three step plan to lower inflammation, maximise fat burning and restore vitality.” Aaron writes at www.thebodacleanse.com.au giving tips and personal insights on how to bring more health promoting simplicity into our lives .