Dinacharya – Regular Daily Routine
One of the most important aspects of Ayurveda is Dinacharya – It is a set of regular activities we perform everyday such as waking up, getting ready, and exercising the body.
An Ayurvedic dinacharya is composed of a schedule and activities designed to balance your doshas. Most people have stress and anxiety, which implies that the Vata dosha is imbalanced. Regular schedule is a key factor in balancing Vata dosha, thereby reducing stress and anxiety to some extent.
The key aspect about Dinacharya is the regularity, being regular in doing something is beneficial as it allows you to automatically get into the activity, it gives you a better ability to perform the activity mindfully and also to perfect or excel in that activity eventually.
Example: If you decide to perform yoga immediately after morning shower and make this as a Dinacharya - regular routine, after few days, you would find it easy to get into the yoga mat, and be able to fine-tune and go deeper into the postures as you perform it regularly.
Regularity has the benefit of you not having to decide what is next because your body automatically carries you into it.
Example: Brushing teeth in the morning – this is a good part of dinacharya, which is usually not missed by us whether we like it or not. In fact, we did not like to brush when we were kids, but now we like it and cannot do without it.
Below is a simple Dinacharya to make your day much better.
Wake up before 6 a.m.
Clean tongue with tongue cleaner and brush teeth.
Sip a cup of warm water
Shower and use the bathroom.
5-10 minutes of gentle yoga like slow sun salutation. (Make sure you don’t push yourself hard or tire yourself)
10 minutes of pranayama like Ujjai breathe or alternate nostril breathing.
5-10 minutes of shavasana relaxation or 20 minutes of simple meditation.
Eat as per your constitution.
Eat mindfully & relish every mouthful.
Breakfast – Something light, warm and easy to digest, avoid cold and processed food.
Lunch – Have lunch by noon for best digestion. Make it the biggest meal of the day. Eat 3/4th your capacity.
Avoid snacking throughout the day. Avoid ice-cold water.
Dinner – Have a light dinner by 8 p.m. At least two hours before bed.
Avoid intensive TV shows, movies and discussions before bed.
Have a plan for next day; write all things to do, so your mind need not worry during sleep.
Read pleasant books or listen to gentle music before bed.
Floss, brush teeth and apply small amount of oil to soles of feet for good sleep.
Mute all un-important apps in your phone.
Sleep – Go to bed by 10 p.m.
A suitable Dinacharya for your body type – Prakrithi and current state – Vikruti can be obtained from an ayurvedic practitioner. The practitioner will assess your body and design a dinacharya to reduce your imbalances.
As I write this article, recollection of countless discussions, arguments with my family members, come flooding to me. As a child, teenager, adult and now a mom (separate entity), I was always told that only dairy builds better and stronger bones. I always believed in my bones that it was not the ultimate truth and my belief was further consolidated by the extensive research published in “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell. I consider it as a bible for vegetarians like me.
So, let’s explore more on bones and how to build better bones. Bones make up the framework of our body. They are constantly broken down and made anew. Up until the age of 30 or so, we build more bone than we lose. Later, the bones tend to break down more than build up. The loss of too much bone calcium can lead to osteoporosis or fragile bones. Our goal after 30 should be to prevent bone loss rather than build it.
Just one mineral or one vitamin is not a magic bullet to prevent bone loss; its one’s overall diet that is responsible for preserving bone health.
Maintaining bone health:
Role of calcium: 99 percent of calcium is stored in bones and teeth. When there is not enough calcium in the blood to satisfy the body’s need, it is pulled from the bones. When there is more calcium than required, the excess (to a point) goes back into the bones. This show is carefully orchestrated by the parathyroid glands, a set of four little glands that sit on the thyroid gland located in your neck. Under the influence of the parathyroid’s hormones, calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D interact to maintain the integrity of our skeletal system. Food is by far the best source to get calcium.
Sources of calcium: Calcium is very well absorbed from kale, water cress, collards, mustard greens, turnip greens, bok choy, broccoli, fortified plant milks, fortified juices and firm tofu made with calcium-sulfate, almonds, hazelnuts, sesame and sunflower seeds. The daily adequate intake recommendation for young adults is at least 1,200 mg of calcium per day; women between the ages of 25 and 50 years need 1,000 mg per day; and postmenopausal women not on hormone replacement therapy need 1,500 mg per day.
Eat your fruits and veggies: Many green vegetables have calcium-absorption rates of more than 50 percent, compared with about 32 percent for milk. They maintain pH in our body thereby protecting bones. Vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and boron are important for healthy bones. One cup of edamame, no salt provides 261mg Ca; arugula 1 cup - 125mg Ca; broccoli 1 cup - 180mg Ca.
Role of protein: Growing body of research suggests that adequate protein is essential to develop and maintain healthy skeletal tissue at all stages of life. About 0.8 gm/kg body weight of protein for adults is recommended to ensure optimal bone health. A high-protein diet (well above the RDA), in association with low intakes of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and other nutrients, increases urinary mineral loss and worsens chronic low-grade metabolic acidosis, and is detrimental to bone at all ages. It leaches out calcium from bones, making them brittle and weak.
Vitamin D: This hormone absorbs calcium from body to make strong and healthy bones. There are few natural food sources of vitamin D. Between 10-20 minutes of sunlight exposure is optimal to make active form of this vitamin in our body.
High salt intake, alcohol and high protein intake with inadequate vegetable and fruit intake increase loss of calcium from body.
Recipe of the month: Lentil crepes stuffed with broccoli and tofu
- Yellow mung dal - 1 cup
- Chili - 2 hot
- Ginger 1 tbsp
- Tofu super firm 1/2 pack
- Broccoli 1 chopped medium big.
- Soak the yellow mung lentils overnight.
- Drain the water and grind with fresh water green chillies and ginger, cilantro.
- Tofu chop, drain water for about 2 hours or leave overnight in refrigerator between paper towels. Cook in oven for about 20 minutes.
- Chop broccoli, add water, sauté broccoli with baked tofu. Add salt and chipotle seasoning, garlic powder to it.
- Cook lentil crepes with slight olive oil on one side and add filling in the center and top it with salsa or any hot chutneys. Enjoy.
To our health!
Bhavi Nirav is a Registered Dietitian/M.S., R.D., L.D., certified yoga practitioner, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org