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Meet MSYI Blog Contributor, Laura!

Discovering my love of yoga and food …

When I started practicing yoga more consistently, I remember how it made my body feel. I didn’t have a deep connection with my practice yet or a self-practice, but 2011 was a big turning point for me. I was practicing 3 times a week, and I remember distinctly the evolution of my body to crave healthier foods. Well what does healthy mean? It’s open to interpretation, but I remember after I practiced, whatever meal or snack was next; I did not crave non-foods, processed foods, fast foods. I craved nourishing options, fruit and veggies smoothies, salads, lean protein like chicken or fish. It was atypical of me not to crave sugar, or carbohydrates.

During this time I became more mindful of what I ate, because I consciously knew what I ate would affect my body. My food could either continue my refreshed, blissful feelings from practicing yoga, increasing my focus and energy, or it could do the opposite. I had increasing food sensitivities in my early 20s, what began as sensitivities to dairy and gluten, expanded to eggs, sugar cane and soy. Coincidence? Nope. I had consumed excess processed and refined foods, especially carbohydrates most of my life, there were at least traces of wheat, dairy, eggs, and soy in almost anything I would typically buy and eat.

I had to start listening to my body, nourishing my body, and it took me about 5 years to finally discover balance and I’m still learning, I’m still listening. I will never deny that I love food, but now I love and appreciate the taste of real food, whole foods, clean foods, organic foods, and non-GMO foods. I still indulge, I live an 80/20 life style, I drink wine, eat chocolate, and if you know me I love Mexican and Latin food! I eat slower, I chew more, I taste more, and as a result I digest more, and absorb the many macro and micronutrients whole foods provide.

I have an appreciation for how food nourishes me, and for those that bring us real, delicious food, our farmers. I support my local farmers, whether at the farmer’s markets, or farm to table committed restaurants. I’ve battled years of digestive and physical problems, and now as an R.H.N. Holistic Nutritionist and through deepening my yoga practice as an R.Y.T., I know that food can heal and sustain, it is one of our main forms of nourishment, along with things like love, joy, connection and laughter. I’ve found balance is key in many areas of my life, but especially in my relationship and love for food.

People will hear me say my partner, he is the Yin to my Yang, or as I learned in teacher training, he is my sukkah, my softer side. Food also has a theory of opposites, per se, just like a yoga practice and relationships. Energy flows naturally like a pendulum swinging between opposites, yin and yang. Yin foods are cooling, dark, larger, grow in the winter, grow above the soil, grow faster and are creative, relaxed, fresh and raw; this tip of the pendulum being sugar, fruit, tea, coffee, and even alcohol. Yin foods are expansive, spicy, sweet, tropical, fruits, leafy, herbs like parsley and dill, and good for warm weather.

In contrast Yang foods are hot, lighter, smaller, grow in the summer, grow below the soil, grow slower; the end of this pendulum being meat, salt, eggs, cheese, fish, beans and root foods like carrots and radishes. Yang foods are contractive, bitter, salty, pickled, often slow cooked, and good for cold weather. Whole grains such as brown rice lie in the middle as a balanced food.

There something to eating a colorful plate, variety, eating with the seasons, eating local, eating according to your climate, and biochemical uniqueness, which we will delve into more in future blog posts. We are all somewhere along that pendulum, never in the exact same place, so listen to your body, be mindful of what you eat, become open to feeling different, a good different, play with the balance between yin and yang, be curious, eat and enjoy real food. Nourish yourself.

Laura is a Southern California girl living in Calgary, Canada as a Yoga Instructor and Holistic Nutritionist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and is a Registered Yoga Teacher with 300 Hours of Teacher Training. Her company, BendBalance, is focused on educating and empowering the community to make conscious choices to live an overall healthier, happier, and more balanced life. Nourish. Sweat. Soul.

Check out her Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/bendbalance/ ... Website coming soon!