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Our 30 Day Yoga Challenge has commenced at Kula Yoga.  We encourage all participants to choose a Nutrition goal to weave into their Hot, Flow, Yin and Barre practice.
Naturopath and Yoga Teacher Amelia Schrader has put together some recommendations for you to consider.  Your nutrition goal for the 30 days could be:
• No sugar
• No alcohol
• No processed or packaged food
• No coffee
• Increasing vegetable intake to 5-10 different types of vegetables a day
• Drink a minimum of 2 litres of water a day (plus electrolytes)
Here is some information to help you decide which one of these nutrition goals you would like to have over the next 30 days…
Sugar
Sugar the biggest of all evils and something that is now hidden in the majority of packaged food that your find at the supermarket which includes products like bread, yogurt, canned fish, most condiments, cereals and even the foods in the supermarket that are found in the health food isle will often contain sugar. Then when you dine out, it is highly likely that the delicious sauces on your food will be filled with a mountain of sugar.
When we consume sugar it is converted into glucose goes into the blood stream and causes your blood sugar/glucose levels to rise, the body responds by releasing insulin to lower the blood sugar levels and allows for the uptake of glucose into the cells.
So why is this bad? Firstly, if your not going to utilise the glucose straight away it becomes stored energy that may then become stored fat or adipose tissue in the body. High amounts of glucose and insulin in the body can lead to inflammation, disturbing the chemicals in the brain leading to that foggy feeling you have after indulging in lots of sugar (maybe at 3pm or even for the next few days after a big hit of sugar). For some, it can lead to mood disturbances, irritation or feeling really flat until you get your next hit of sugar. Sugar also suppresses the immune system leading to more infections, it will disturb gut flora and can cause bloating and other digestive symptoms. Ultimately the regular consumption of sugar will lead to fluctuations in blood glucose levels, cravings for more sugar and fluctuations in energy levels and then fatigue.
Alcohol
Alcohol acts like liquid sugar in the body and can disturb your blood glucose levels in a similar way to sugar. On top of the negative side effects associated with sugar, alcohol will also burden the liver as the alcohol needs to be processed in the liver before it can be excreted by the body. Alcohol will also dehydrate the body (which is not what we want when we’re doing hot yoga) and also deplete the body of important minerals.
Processed and packaged foods
Once foods are processed and packaged they are usually quite different from the original food. As soon as processing takes place, nutrient content is compromised and to improve shelf life, a whole cocktail of ingredients are added. These ingredients could include preservatives, artificial flavours, colours and additives. These ingredients can create inflammation and can interrupt chemical pathways leading in the body as they a neurotoxic. Processed foods are also likely to contain abundant amounts of sugar, salt and hydrogenated vegetable oils.
No coffee
If your social life revolves around getting caffeine boosts from the wonderful cafes of Camberwell or Hawthorn this might be the one for you.  For those that perhaps have several coffees a day it can be quite difficult to give up due to the addictive nature of caffeine. Coffee with wake you up and give you energy but it will also dehydrate the body, deplete the body of vital nutrients needed for muscle function and the nervous system, disrupt your sleep patterns and also deplete the adrenal glands that deal with stress. Be mindful that if you drink a lot of coffee and stop coffee cold turkey you may experience headaches, tiredness and changes in your mood. Yoga and staying hydrated will help you through this.
Consuming a wide variety of vegetables (5-10 types of vegetables a day)
In all the research papers on longevity the evidence points to those with the highest vegetable intake as having the greatest health and fewer health conditions. This doesn’t mean you need to be vegetarian but eating a wide variety of vegetables has numerous benefits. You will be providing the body with a wider variety of nutrients, more antioxidants to prevent free radical damage and keep you young, increase your intake of fiber that removes toxins from the body and also hydrate the body from the water content in vegetables.  For fresh produce visit the Camberwell Fresh Food Market or the monthly Boroondara Farmers Market in Hawthorn East.
Hydration
This is a vitally important part of your health and wellbeing and without water and adequate hydration the body won’t function optimally. Every process in the body, whether it is producing energy, breaking down and digesting food or removing toxins from the body, requires water. Without adequate water your body will become dehydrated and perform vital functions sub-optimally. This could lead to fatigue, loss of concentration, hunger, dry skin to name a few. As a generally rule we should be drinking 2 litres of water a day and then once we start exercising and sweating we require additional fluids in conjunction with electrolytles to replace what is lost during sweat.
 
Once you have chosen the Nutrition goal that resonates with you and challenges you, write it down.  Make yourself accountable.
Tell your circle of friends and family so they can help you stay on track.  And let us know how you go.
If you’d like to explore the concept of Nutrition further we highly recommend you attend Amelia’s ‘Clean, Lean & Green for Optimal Nutrition’ Workshop on Sunday August 24, 2-4pm.  Bookings at the studio or via www.kulayoga.com.au/workshops.
Our location is Suite 1, 47-51 Camberwell Rd Hawthorn East, Melbourne.  Only 850 metres from Camberwell Junction.

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