Nourish Your Body, Balance Your Mind

Nourish Your Body, Balance Your Mind

As I reflect upon the health crisis now facing us, I keep pondering on the concept that there are ancient healing practices that help people to maintain the health and happiness of the mind-body and spirit, if only they were understood and practiced we would ultimately discover the secret to health and happiness.

I believe that each and every one of us has the innate wisdom to feel good, and I know from experience that the pathway to health and well being is not out of our reach.  We need three components to sustain ourselves in any endeavor – desire to do something, the knowledge to have a clear understanding of why your are doing it, and the practical strategies to carry out your intentions.

We don’t have the time to wait until the food chain is chemical free or, the groundwater is  purified, and the air is once again free from contaminants. To restore our health, we must initiate the change ourselves, taking responsibility for the nourishment and rejuvenation of our body and mind.  Cultivating a systematic practice guided by scientific knowledge is the fuel that enables this to happen.

When I introduce students to these concepts, I am always amazed to see how quickly their enthusiasm for live grows and how they  grasp the underlying philosophical concepts. Even more astonishing are their emotional reactions-their hunger to better understand themselves, their immediate response to wanting to feel better, their trust in themselves that they have the ability to change.

What seemed to be overwhelming before and impossible to overcome no longer is a mystery.  The unknown comes into reality when they see and feel the energy forces within their own body, mind, and spirit. When you begin to gain a sense of their innate capabilities and  potential.  This is our birthright as a human being.

The knowledge of the body and mind complex is essential to tread the path of practice.  We come to understand that this complex needs proper nourishment to function optimally.

According to ancient medical science, nourishment comes to our mind and body from three sources.

Energy derived from our food and drink, which once digested is transformed into the vital energy which feeds our brain and all of our cells.

Energy derived from the air we breath, we call this prana or chi or Qi, is taken into the Lung, where it is synthesized and converted into the energy which gives us our ability to focus and vitalize our entire life.

Energy derived from healthy, nourishing relationships, which is taken into the Heart where it is then converted into our happiness health.

The three energies from the Hara-Head-and Heart support our immune system as well as all our organ systems in the body, brain and mind.

Following practical nutritional principles, learning to breath with balance and understanding how to remove the obstacles that create the delays to your dreams and passions is the secret to a long, happy and healthy life.

Herewith some general nutrition guidelines to get you on the path of practice to feeling good.

General Rules For Good Nutrition

1.     Avoid refined carbohydrates, which includes white flour and sugar (including sweets, white bread, pasta, white rice, corn chips, potato chips, pretzels, soft drinks etc). There is little doubt that our high sugar and refined carbohydrate diets are contributing to the alarming rise in the incidence of many chronic diseases as well emotional and psychological imbalances.
2.     Hydrate by drinking filtered water, at least eight 8 ounce glasses every day.  When we get dehydrated, our brain signals “danger” to the nervous system creating many imbalances.
3.     Eat the bulk of your  food mid-day when your metabolism is at it highest- a time when your body will assimilate nutrients optimally.  If that means bringing extra food with you to work, do so.
4.     Practice eating out of a bowl if you tend to overeat.  Fill it only ¾ full. This will enable you to eat smaller portions. Smaller meals help to stabilize blood sugar levels.
5.     Use extra virgin olive oil for cooking and the first cold pressed extra virgin for occasions when you don’t heat e.g. salads. Many other oils oxidize and produce toxic residues.
6.     Reduce your consumption of coffee, alcohol, and  sweetened fruit juices.
7.     Read labels, and avoid chemical names that you can’t pronounce, and colors which are added to foods. Many of these chemicals can be harmful!
8.     Don’t deprive yourself. Eat your emotionally charged foods midday.  Enjoy your food, and savor the flavors, for the very act of eating with enjoyment can promote health because when we consciously nourish ourselves we send signals to our unconscious mind that all is safe and well.
9.     Add supplements when needed to your diet, but don’t overdue it.  You can actually create more problems by doing too much than too little.  Stick to the whole food brands rather than the synthetic.
10. Enjoy eating with full attention.  Eating at your computer or while texting is not healthy, better not to eat.
Modified from Feeling Good Matters:  The Yoga of Mind, Medicine and Healing