I like to think of myself as a balanced contradiction.
I'm the girl with her nails always painted who'll happily muck herself up on a camping trip if it means getting to sleep under the stars. I equal parts know all the lyrics verbatim to every James Taylor song AND every rap song that the 90s left in their wake. My love for bacon and crossfit-style squat workouts is surpassed only by my undying devotion to my home-brewed kombucha and hours spent on my yoga mat. I know. I don't get it either.
|hi-lighted within an inch of its life|
So I suppose it should come as no surprise that I'm not a big fan of dietary labels. While I may eat close to a certain set of guidelines, I am more of a 'learn as you go' type of girl. Something may work today, but who knows what will work tomorrow? Life is learning process, isn't it? Anyways, I have a point, promise. I was recently approached to review Happy Belly by Nadya Andreeva, a book focused on digestive health through the practical application of Ayurvedic techniques (traditional Indian medicine) in both diet and lifestyle. From the outside, one might think that Aryuveda and a real-food, omnivorous diet (cough cough paleo cough) wouldn't mesh, but I'm here to happily tell you that's not the case.
My wise yogi sister practices some aspects of Ayurveda, so I'd been familiar with it-- but frankly, it seemed a little intimidating, so I never took the plunge into learning more (cop out!). You all know I'm blatantly honest about the things I tell you about on this here blog (even if that means giving a not-favorable review), but I am happy to report that Happy Belly totally exceeded all my expectations and then some. In the last year, my health priorities have gone from more superficial goals to being focused on balance and healing-- mainly, digestive and hormonally. Happy Belly is a treasure trove of how-tos on not only healing your gut, but maintaining a balanced lifestyle that best supports health and healing overall.
|see that thumbs up? my belly is happy.|
so is the rest of me, because I was headed to yoga!
hence the sloppy appearance, naturally.
While I'm not sure I'll ever fully buy into an Ayurvedic perspective (but I'll be first to admit that could change!), there are definitely things I've already implemented into my day-to-day routine that have already surprised me with their awesome results. I've been toying around with Ayurvedic recipes like this bangin' yellow lentil squash soup (adjectives are my own-- but it's really that good) or simple, easily digestible kitchari for breakfast. I've figured out my predominant dosha and have started implementing spices tailored to my own particular properties. I've been tongue-scraping (although I've technically been doing that since December-- thanks, yogi sister, for getting me hooked!) and dry-brushing regularly and as a result, have had the best oral & lymphatic health of my life. I'm scaling back a little on the dairy (sniff, sniff, I miss you cheese), particularly in combining it with anything else. Nadya's take on food combining is a fascinating and easily digestible (pun absolutely intended) approach on something that seems to me so equally foreign/complicated and vital for good gut health. If anything, this book has been an excellent primer into the next step of health and healing for me, and I can't wait to learn more. The only things I'd liked to have seen more of in the book are recipes and more concrete steps into implementing Aryuvedic practices into your life if this is your first foray into such things. Information is super awesome, but I am the type of learner who likes to hear the big-picture things and then be given the specific steps to implement those changes into my life right away. From the 'barely tip of the iceberg' that I've learned about Ayurveda thus far, I can tell it's multifaceted and likely more complicated than any one book could impart-- but I can't tell if it's a positive or a negative that reading Happy Belly has left me wanting even more!
If you're interested in gut health and the way it impacts overall health like I am (or are interested in taking the tenants of an anti-inflammatory diet one step further), I'd absolutely recommend checking out Happy Belly. Nadya's asked me to share that if you purchase the book before March 21st, you'll get a whole bunch of great bonuses-- a PDF toolkit, a cookbook (both of which I've gotten a chance to read and have loved! I told ya-- the specifics. I am a fan.), access to a 2-hour panel on digestive health, a self-care kit and an intro to Aryuveda e-book. Thanks again to the Happy Belly team for sharing this awesome resource with me - and I promise to report back on my little Ayurvedic experiment after a few months' time!