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Nourishment: Plant-based Yoga retreat 101



Every 35 days your skin replaces itself and your body makes new cells from the food you eat. Therefore, the saying "you are what you eat" is more accurate than we might have thought. But chances are that you already know that what we eat has a huge impact on health and wellbeing. There is a vast body of scientific evidence demonstrating just how life-changing a balanced diet can be in terms of how we feel on a day-to-day basis (energy levels, mood, sleep, digestion, hormone balance) as well as on our overall physical- and mental- long-term health. I for one can advocate for this as since I have changed my diet, I feel like a whole new person both physically & mentally.


"Your body is a temple; feed it with wholesome foods."

So what is a plant-based diet and why is it so good for you?

Let's first start with what a plant-based diet is.

Plant-based eating patterns focus on foods primarily from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. It doesn't mean that you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy. Rather, you are proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources.





Now I for one don't believe there's a one-size-fits-all when it comes to our diets; everyone has to find their sense of balance (not only when it comes to food) and establish what works best in their own life. That being said, starting to include more plant-based food in your life and moving towards a plant-rich diet can have huge benefits from improving gut health, to supporting our immune systems, protecting against some of the major diseases and improving planetary health. Below are just some of the benefits of a plant-rich diet:


"Now I for one don't believe there's a one-size-fits-all when it comes to our diets; everyone has to find their sense of balance (not only when it comes to food)"

1. It's full of goodness

Plants are full of micronutrients – vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These are involved in millions of physiological reactions in the body, supporting the immune system, skin health, energy production and sleep. Every plant-based food offers a different nutritional profile, so eating a variety across different groups such as grains, lentils/beans, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruit, spices, and herbs helps. The more diversity we get, the more essential nutrients, fibre and phytonutrients are provided to keep the body healthy and vibrant.


"Nourish yourself with healthy food & watch your life flourish."

2. It's great for gut health

The best kind of plant-based cooking focuses on fresh ingredients. These unrefined, unprocessed foods - fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, grains etc - are commonly referred to as whole foods. Choosing a diverse foundation of colourful and vibrant whole food ingredients is brilliant for our health for so many reasons, including improving gut health.


For optimum gut health, we should be eating 30 different plant-based foods each week and getting 30g of fibre each day – the current in Western diets average is only 17g. Unsurprisingly, as fibre is only found in plant-based foods, studies show those on a plant-based diet eat much more fibre than a standard Western diet.


Our bacteria produce 90% of our serotonin (our ‘happy’ hormone), and keep the nervous system found in our gut wall working optimally, which communicates directly with the brain. The good news is that eating more fibre each day can begin to have positive impacts on our gut bacteria quickly – one study showed significant improvements in just two weeks, with higher levels of beneficial strains such as Bifidobacterium.





3. It's great for our long-term health

Eating a plant-based diet has been shown to help reduce our risks of developing several of the most prominent modern diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. It is also linked to lower blood pressure, glucose levels, improved cholesterol, and a lower incidence of obesity. The reasons for this are largely thought to be related to the higher intake of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals found in plant-based whole foods. Phytochemicals – carotenoids, polyphenols and lycopene – which impact metabolic pathways, providing multiple health benefits. A balanced plant-based diet also contains fewer artificial ingredients, emulsifiers, preservatives and trans fats that can increase inflammation, and have a negative impact on our energy, cardiovascular function, and gut- and brain- health.


4. It's a way of activism

When we consume organic & seasonal produced plants from small local farms. We are not only being kinder to our planet but also taking our responsibility as consumers in showing the big companies that we will not go along in the pollution of our planet through industrial agriculture. Plus we are supporting local, small businesses! Is there any better activism than this?



Plant-based Yoga Retreat

At the Yoga retreats in Portugal and Spain, we focus on a predominantly plant-based diet. This means that most of our foods come from vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. Most of these are coming from local, organic farms. Supporting our local farmers as much as we can. We do also add milk products from happy animals and during the Women's Sculpt yoga retreat in Spain we will even add animal protein (for those that want to add this) from locally sourced fish and meat.


Yummy recipe

During the yoga retreats, our chefs also offer a glimpse of their magic to teach you the skills of making delicious plant-based meals at home.

To give you a sneak peek, these delicious chickpea burgers are always a big favourite at the retreats. Especially when it gets prepared during the cooking workshop & presented to the other yogis 🫶as food is not only what you eat, but also how you eat it. Preferably enjoying it with a group of wonderful like-minded people.






Recipe:


• 400 grams of chickpeas (preferably homecooked, but from a can or jar also works)


• blend it into a thick paste


• Stir fry in olive oil: 1 small diced onion, 1 red pepper, 1 grated carrot and/or 1 courgette. Season with salt, black pepper and curry.


• Add this vegetable mix to the paste.


• also add 2-3 tbs of peanut butter and a handful of fresh coriander.


• Mix everything and add a cup of bread crumbs or almond flour for gluten-free, until the mix has a good consistency that allows you to shape hamburgers with it.


• Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Form the hamburgers .


• Place them in a tray to go to the oven for 30 min or grill them.



Enjoy!


With love,

Shaini

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