5 Ways to Self-Nourish in Times of Stress

October 29, 2020

As we continue to live in the midst of chaos and change, it’s unsettling to imagine what comes next, along with anxiety and despair that we don’t have much control. However, we can still choose to focus on the things we can control and shift our mindset, by pressing into the little daily rituals that help us stay grounded and present. Self-nourishment is always progressive.

Most of us have needed to quickly adapt, build resilience and realign with what this “new reality” looks like in our day to day lives. When our routines are severely shifted, it may lead us to turn to comfort and numbing practices that may not be serving us, instead of cultivating self-nourishment practices to support our health and wellness.

Committing to a few small daily or weekly self-nourishment rituals can make a huge difference to our overall wellbeing. When we fuel our mind and body properly, it helps us to show up effectively for ourselves and for the people in our lives.

Here are 5 ways to self-nourish in times of stress:

Healing Apples

A simple, tried and tested therapeutic food – pureed apples with warming spices builds immunity and is wonderful for gut health. The healing properties come from the pectin in the skin of the apples that’s released during the cooking. Pectin repairs and maintains the mucosal lining of the gut, where 80% of our immune system is housed. The warming spices, especially cinnamon, are anti-inflammatory, immune boosting and contain good amounts of antioxidants. I recommend stirring in a little coconut yoghurt or cream per serving, to keep blood sugar levels nice and balanced.

Roughly chop three apples (unsprayed), keeping the skins on. Add to a small pan with 15 whole cloves, 3/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 3 star anise and 1/2 cup filtered water. Simmer over a moderate heat for about 10 minutes, or until the apples are tender. Remove the star anise and about 10 of the cloves. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Serve warm with a tablespoon of coconut yoghurt or cream (the thick cream on the top of a can of coconut milk). This makes enough for 3 ramekin sized servings. Keep refrigerated and warm through when needed.

Make Broth

Plant-based broth works wonders to re-mineralise and alkalise the body and is a superior food when it comes to healing many illnesses. 

In my experience many people (especially women) are energy and nutrient depleted. Drinking plant-based broth is one of the quickest and safest ways to build up your body so it has the energy and nourishment it needs to heal. If you haven’t tried the 3 Sources Miracle Broth yet, you’ll be amazed at how incredible this wonder elixir truly is. Think of it as a tonic, loaded with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and polyphenols.

Here are just some of the incredible benefits of Miracle Broth:

  • Alkalises the body – ideally our diet should be 80% alkaline + 20% acidic
  • Promotes healthy skin + hair
  • Supports adrenal glands (the organs that get hit the hardest when we are tired + wired)
  • Thyroid supportive
  • Supports healthy digestion (full of plant-based fibres to encourage beneficial bacteria)
  • Tames inflammation (the root cause of most disease)
  • Enhances brain function + mood
  • Aids recovery

Trust me, this is the only plant-based broth you’ll need to see you through the seasons. You can find the recipe here.

Eat your alliums

Alliums are long known to play a key role in modifying the major risk factors for chronic illness. In particular, garlic, onions and shallots are rich in organosulphur compounds, quercetin, flavanoids, saponins and others, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-microbial effects to name just a few.

Sulphur is one of the most abundant mineral elements in the body and its involved in hundreds of physiological processes, such as the synthesis of glutathione – one of our internal powerhouse antioxidants. It’s also essential for the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system, muscles and the central nervous system.

Eating alliums raw and sliced is the best way to benefit from the beneficial compounds as heat breaks them down. I prefer to finely mince and chop garlic and shallots into sauces and dressings, but studies also suggest that slicing alliums and letting them sit for at least ten minutes before cooking allows more of the sulphur compounds to release, making them more resistant to heat. 

Initiate a daily nutritive ritual

Daily nutritive elixirs are wonderful to add to your daily routine to restore wellbeing. I define an elixir as a warm herbal drink that can be a delivery system for herbal medicine. I love to make elixirs with herbs from Chinese herbalism and eastern Ayurvedic medicine to promote health and wellbeing.

This special chai recipe, inspired by Cap Beauty, contains the adaptogenic herb tulsi (or holy basil) that helps the body respond to stress in a balanced way by syncing up (and adapting) to your body’s specific needs. Tulsi also promotes vitality, focuses the mind and is incredibly soothing. The beautiful warming spices kindle digestive fire and support immune health as we move towards the colder months.

The healing benefits of adaptogenic tonic herbs come from consistent use. Developing an appreciation and reverence for the healing power of herbs is something you will benefit from for years to come. When you need to decompress, add a beautiful elixir to your daily rituals, sit and enjoy. For more nutritive elixir recipes click here.

Tulsi Chai 
Makes 3-4
2 tablespoons tulsi (holy basil, or rama) leaves or 3 tea bags, broken open
1 cinnamon stick
2-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced 
4-6 cardamom pods, cracked
5 cloves
1 star anise
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla powder
4 black peppercorns

Use an electric spice or coffee grinder, or a pestle and mortar to grind and blend the whole spices together into a rich powder. Add to a saucepan with 4 cups filtered water, the tulsi tea, ginger slices and vanilla powder. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, then cover and continue to simmer for at least 10 minutes. Remove the cover and carefully pour the tea through a sieve lined with muslin, catching the ingredients to discard. Add 1/4 cup of the chai to a tea bowl or cup. The rest can be stored in a glass bottle in the fridge until ready to use (slowly reheat).

I like to make a latte by heating and frothing plant based milk, such as oat, almond or coconut, in a creamer. Pour over the chai and sprinkle with bee pollen – a luxurious superfood loaded with anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties – plus vitamins and minerals. If you don’t want to use plant milk, you can stir a little ghee, cacao butter, or coconut oil into the chai. The addition of healthy fats aids assimilation and absorption of the wonderful properties of the chai.

 Smudging for energy clearing

Stagnant energy can cause us to feel stuck, negative, sluggish and low. The ancient practice of smudging can help clear negative energy in ourselves or physical spaces.

To prepare for a simple clearing ritual, choose a bowl or special vessel to act as a fireproof dish. Find a comfortable spot in a favourite area of your home. Start by setting your intentions for the coming day, week, or season and anchor your body in the present moment. Hold the smudge stick in your hand and light the top, allowing the wood or the dried plant to catch and create a steady flame. Blow out gently, making way for the smoke stream from the smouldering plant. 

Move the smoke by fanning it with your spare hand, allowing the vapours to permeate the space and your intentions. When completed, smudge out the burning stick and rest it in the fireproof dish to allow the smoke to settle. Breathe deeply and give thanks for your space and the positive energy it now holds.

Smudge sticks are easy to create at home and make beautiful gifts. I made some a few weeks ago on an IGTV live – you can watch the replay here if you missed it.

How about you? How are you self-nourishing these days? Please feel free to reply in the comments, I’d love to know.

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