I get the feeling there will be many installments to this nutrition series! Keep in mind these posts are in no particular order, so apply them all as they work for you.
So yesterday we covered guidelines for the morning. Now we are going to tackle the evening. My yoga Guru, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, recommends a 12 hour fast prior to your morning Yoga practice. Doing yoga or any activity on an empty stomach will give you a boost of energy since none of your prana (chi, vital energy) is being used for digestion at that time. This means if you are on your mat at 6am you are finished eating for the day at 6pm the night before.
You will wake up easier even if you aren’t exercising in the morning. Your body will feel light and rested. Much of this is due to the cleansing processes that occur between 10pm and 4am. If you are eating late in the evening your digestion and cleansing cycles don’t start on time, thus you wake up feeling groggy and heavy because your body wasn’t refreshed. FYI: If you miss your cleansing cycles your body will just skip them altogether until the next day rather than postpone them (read The 3 Season Diet for details)…..kinda like the garbage man going on strike while the trash keeps piling up.
This is the reason all those dumb, trendy diets claim you will lose weight by not eating at night. It isn’t rocket science, just plain old biology. When your body has digested early in the evening you sleep more soundly, cleansing occurs, and you feel great the next day. Not to mention it prevents those unhealthy late night snacks. Thus, you lose weight. You eat earlier, burn off all your food, wake up more energized the next day and your physical activity of choice is more effective. If you aren’t a morning yoga practitioner shoot for 12 hours from when your alarm clock rings. Drink some herbal tea and hydrate to start your day (see previous post). If your 12 hour mark begins and you are still hungry try to stick to liquids before bed.