My favourite thing about finishing practice is that I finally get to eat. By the time my practice comes to an end I am totally ready to dig into some delicious breakfast food. Or lunch if I have pracrastinated long enough.
Nope, that’s not a spelling error. Pracrastinated is just the term I made up to define the act of procrastinating from practice.
Back to the food…
Whether you call it breakfast or lunch doesn’t really matter, but what you are putting into your body does. Once you finish practice you want to replenish all the nutrients you have used up – and this actually requires more than just protein.
Ayurvedic nutrition goes beyond the basic macro and micronutrients. This philosophy looks at the energetic aspects associated with the food we eat and accounts for things like fueling our Agni (digestive fire) and replenishing Ojas (vigor and vitality).
Here’s a few Ayurvedic post-practice nutrition tips, and a delicious smoothie recipe to go along!
Ayurvedic Post Practice Nutrition Tips
1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
During Ashtanga, you sweat… a LOT. It’s so important that after practice you begin the process of rehydration, and keep that going throughout the day. Try having a coconut water right after practice to help replenish those electrolytes you lost. Throughout the day, sip on warm or room temperature water to stay hydrated, while maintaining that Agni.
Sipping, rather than chugging your water is important as it can create bloating. It can also impede digestion resulting in unprocessed food, and suboptimal nutrient absorption. Slow and steady wins the race.
2. Wait 20 minutes post-practice before you eat something
Ashtanga is a challenging practice. While you are actively working to calm the nervous system through difficult postures, your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) is likely dominant and is still coming down as you take rest. When your body is in this “fight or flight” mode, it places digestion on the back burner, and Agni will not be as strong. It’s important to give your body time to wind down after such an intense practice.
Taking a longer rest, or simply waiting 20 minutes (ish) after practice gives the body enough time to come down from this high. This rest period is also important because in Ayurveda favoring slow transitions, rather than abrupt ones is best so as not to shock the body. So whether you are waiting to eat something or not, taking a nice long rest after practice is always a good idea.
3. Have a balanced meal, with whole foods
There is this old-school idea that you need to guzzle as much protein as possible post-workout in order to refuel your muscles. Many people resort to a protein bar or high protein shake after their practice. Yes, protein is important, but replenishing other nutrients is equally important post-practice. A meal with adequate protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and rich in micronutrients is the best post-workout fuel.
4. Try this Agni igniting, Ojas building smoothie
Ayurveda traditionally discourages smoothies as they often mix various foods that should not go together, making them harder to digest. But if smoothies work better for you because they’re quick and easy to have on the go, you’re in luck. At the end of this post, we’ve given you a simple, delicious Ojas building smoothie recipe to get you started.
When making smoothies, to optimize digestion and nutrient assimilation, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t add fruit to your smoothie. According to Ayurveda mixing fruits in your smoothies is a no-no. Fruits are digested differently than other foods and should be had on their own. To sweeten, use dates, or maple syrup.
- Have your smoothie without ice. A super cold smoothie will weaken your Agni and will impede digestion.
- Incorporate spices that will ignite your Agni such as ginger, cinnamon or cardamom.
- Avoid adding dairy or yogurt to your smoothie as these are best digested alone.
Ojas Building Smoothie:
- 1. 5 cups almond milk
- 10 soaked and peeled almonds
- 2-3 dates (more or less depending on preferred sweetness)
- 1 scoop unflavoured protein powder
- pinch of turmeric
- pinch of cinnamon (I truthfully added more cinnamon than a pinch)!
- pinch of cardamom
- pinch of ginger
- pinch of saffron
- Place all ingredients in a blender on high.
- Pour into a cup and enjoy!