You know those mornings. You wake up feeling tired, lacking in energy, foggy, unfocused. You might feel as if you’ve got a cold or the flu coming on. Your body is screaming to you, ‘treat me well, stop poisoning me’. But your habit when you feel like this, your idea of nurturing yourself, has always been: eat comfort food – lots of carbohydrates, drenched in fat, and often refined sugar too; stay in bed; lie on the sofa; watch TV. I’ve been there. And I still feel the urge to do this sometimes. I have to remind myself that my body is tired because of all the work my digestive system is having to do to process all those heavy refined carbohydrates (the delicious pasta and garlic bread I had last night), my liver is tired from working to remove toxins from my body (the white wine I had with it), and my blood sugar has plummeted to an all-time low because of the extraordinary amount of sugars I placed in my system (the cinnamon bun for breakfast, chocolate bar after lunch and tiramisu after dinner) So on a day like this, when I wake up feeling half-dead instead of reaching for more of the same, I try to support my body to regain its natural balance. I start with two big mugs of warm water (and lots more water during the day) and head for my yoga mat. Yoga improves digestion, absorption and elimination; it balances the endocrine system which controls our moods and appetite; it stimulates all the internal organs, enhancing their optimum performance; and it revitalises and energises when energy is lacking. It also helps to bring me back into a focused, relaxed state, so that I can be mentally aware of how my body feels and what it needs. I then go into the kitchen and make myself a beautiful Big Purple Vegetable Drink for breakfast. For lunch, I’ll have a salad with as many fresh raw vegetables as I can find, with some avocado or nuts and seeds for protein. If I want to snack, I reach for raw almonds, brazils, dried apricots, prunes, figs and fresh fruit. I drink water, herbal teas and freshly-squeezed juices. By dinnertime, I usually feel great again. I might now introduce some cooked food, but something very simple, like steamed vegetables and tofu, or a light soup. Believe me. Try it next time you’ve over-indulged, or think you’re getting a cold. Add in some superstrength Vitamin C to the mix and you’ll either knock that cold on the head, or at least greatly reduce its severity and duration.
Big Purple Vegetable Drink
You won’t believe how good this tastes! It’s a bit like gazpacho, and once you get used to the idea of soup for breakfast, you’ll be wanting it every day. You can just feel your cells dancing after drinking this. This works best if you have a power blender, such as Vitamix, Powermill or Blendtech, but you can still make it with an ordinary blender, just follow the alternative directions below.
½ cup (125 ml) filtered water
1-2 tablespoons cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil
½ lemon, peel removed
1 tomato, chopped
½ small clove garlic
¼ – ½ cucumber, chopped
pinch Himalayan or sea salt
twist of freshly ground black pepper
large piece of red capsicum (bell pepper), chopped
½ carrot, chopped small
¼ – ½ beetroot, chopped small
celery, if you like it, chopped small
handful of fresh greens (spinach, lettuce, kale – whatever you have)
½ handful fresh herbs (basil, parsley, coriander – whatever you like)
Power blender method:
Start by pouring the water and olive oil into a blender. Add everything else, and blend well. Add more water if needed.
Ordinary blender method:
Add water, olive oil, lemon, tomato, cucumber, garlic, cucumber and seasoning. Blend well. Add the chopped capsicum, carrot, beetroot and celery and blend again for quite a while, until the vegetables are well pureed. Add the fresh greens and herbs and blend for about another 30 seconds until the mixture is smooth. Add more water if needed.
Variation: Big Green Vegetable Drink
Add 1 teaspoon spirulina to your drink. In case you didn’t know, spirulina is close to being the ideal food for human beings. It contains an almost perfect balance of protein, including the eight essential amino acids, nine important vitamins and at least fourteen minerals. It is easy to digest and, because it is such a perfect and complete food, a small amount fills you up. It is said that a Japanese philosopher lived on spirulina alone for 15 years, and while I wouldn’t suggest that you follow such a dispiriting diet, a little every day is a very good thing.