Let’s find out more about INDIRA…
Indira started looking into healing diets five years ago to control her severe and debilitating Rheumatoid Arthritis when medications alone were not enough. Diet and lifestyle changes have helped her tremendously to reduce her pain and inflammation, which in turn motivated her to switch careers and become a nutritional therapist.
She firmly believes that ‘the body can achieve what the mind believes in’!
On with the spotlight!
Welcome, INDIRA! What’s your health story?
I have been following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) for more than three years now. I followed the strict elimination protocol for three months and since then have reintroduced most spices, some nuts and occasional rice. My biggest challenge was not being able to eat most of the Indian spices that I had been used to adding to my food. Other than that, having also been a ‘rice and curry’ fan, I missed rice the most!
AIP helped me tremendously to heal the inflammation in my body and that has motivated me to keep going! In addition to diet, I also made a drastic change to my lifestyle by quitting my stressful and very demanding corporate job. Now my relaxed work schedule as a nutritional therapist helps me to maintain a stress-free life balancing my work, my personal family life and my self-care routine.
How do you wake up in the morning? Do you use an alarm clock? Are you a snoozer?
Not having to use an alarm clock is what I love about my life now! I manage to get 8-hours of sleep every night and so I wake up without an alarm!
Do you have a morning ritual? Can you describe it for us?
Yes, I do! My morning ritual means ‘Me time’ for me. Most weekday mornings I am alone in our home after the rest of the crew leave for work or school. Having a quiet home gives me the perfect chance for self-care! Upon waking, I first say my prayer thanking God for everything and praying for everyone’s health and safety. After this, I practise oil pulling. Except when there is snow outside, most mornings, I will step out into our backyard and patio space when I am doing oil pulling. I love to walk in this space as I have a garden there. I walk around looking at my plants, tending to weeds and such and even talking to them! Then I face the morning sun and get some vitamin D! After this, I step back inside my house and do my 15-minute yoga routine which helps me to relieve any stiffness in my joints. I also do Pranayama (breathing exercises).
Is your morning ritual something that you have been actively or consciously working on, or has it naturally evolved over time? How long has it looked like this?
I started this ritual consciously at the time when I was very sick and shortly after quitting my job. The free time I had at that time helped me to start this ritual and after that, it stuck and evolved over time. For the past year, it has looked like how I describe it above.
If relevant, can you talk us through how your morning ritual has evolved over time (especially as related to your health caper)?
My morning ritual was instituted only as recent as four years ago. Before that, I had a very busy life, which involved me being on my toes for almost 16 hours a day with hardly any time for relaxation. I was a very busy ‘super mom’ working as a lead researcher in a big company, managing my young children’s school as well as extracurricular activities, managing the home front plus socializing intensely on the weekends! I thought all this was normal without realising how my body was getting impacted by so much adrenal activity! It was only after I was diagnosed with RA that I began to realize that I needed to slow down and give time for myself too!
We know how important sleep is for our health. What time do you go to bed? – and, to sleep? How religious are you about your bedtime?
This is a constant challenge currently since I have two teenage children at home who don’t sleep till very late! I still try to be in bed by 10.30 pm and after a bit of reading, I fall asleep around 11 pm. I follow my bedtimes seriously Monday through Friday. On the weekends, I stay up a little and don’t go to sleep until about 11.30 pm but I do sleep in the morning to make up for the time!
Do you have an evening routine to help you get ready for quality sleep?
I wear my amber coloured glasses and read a book. I also say my prayer and drink a full glass of water.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
Of late, I have moved to have only two large meals in a day and so I typically do not eat anything for breakfast. If somedays I do feel hungry, then I will have a smoothie with lots of veggies, some fruit like berries and or avocado and collagen protein.
This is one of my favourite smoothies: Fruits and Veggies Smoothie Bowl
Let’s talk about stress management? – Is movement or mindfulness a part of your daily morning ritual? If not, how do you incorporate these into your day, if at all?
Yes, Yoga helps me to mobilize any stiff joints. And my morning backyard walk is what helps me to practice mindfulness because that’s when I observe everything (not just see but observe carefully) that nature has to offer and feel one with it!
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your morning ritual, track your sleep, movement or mindfulness?
I like Calm for meditation, which I do a few times in a week and use journaling to practise gratitude and mindfulness.
How soon do you check your social media and email in the morning?
I do a quick look (5 mins) at my Whatsapp messages first thing in the morning to check any messages from my family in India. But after that, I put my phone away and do not look at my phone until after I finish my morning ritual.
How does your family fit into your morning routine?
My husband works a few days from home so when he is not too busy with his work, he joins me in my morning yoga.
Do you follow this morning ritual every day of the week, or do weekends look different?
I do try to follow this ritual every day of the week including weekends except when we are on vacation.
What happens if life throws you a curveball and your morning ritual is compromised? How does this affect you?
I have noticed that not having a morning ritual makes me cranky and a bit stressed throughout the day. If I go for more than a couple of days without it, the stress can sometimes also give me neck pain.
Do you have any advice to people just starting out in creating their own morning ritual?
Think of what things you love to do and which have been on your list for a while. Pick a couple of those things and start there. Once you establish a habit (ritual), then you can always build upon it! So it’s ok to start perfectly small and simple like for example having 5 minutes of quiet time enjoying your tea in the morning!
Many thanks, Indira!