Published on January 4th, 2017 | by Ruth Karmazon0
It’s Not Only What You Eat …it’s how you eat it
The secret to a healthy body is not really a secret. Age-old wisdom and common sense say sleep well, eat well and exercise. It is true that exercising your body, mind and soul can contribute to health, but if you do it with wild abandon, you will find your health wildly abandoning you.
A basic assertion of health in Chinese Medicine is, “where balance exists, ill health cannot.” By adopting Chinese Medicine’s moderate approach to diet and health, you can achieve the balance your body needs.
Here are a few simple tips to use wherever you eat:
Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store ensures that you’re getting the freshest foods that contain plentiful nutrients while avoiding processed foods and additives.
My idea of food took on a whole new meaning after I heard my teacher say “eating is the most intimate thing we can do.” Think about it this way: when we eat, we take something that is not us and it becomes us. We invite an other-than-us substance to inform our cells at their very core and shape who we are. We are miraculous, biological and sentient selves who get our nourishment and sustenance from that which we eat.
It is our birthright to age gracefully. This can only occur if our bodies are sustained with the proper nourishment. In her book, You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay wisely states, “If it grows, eat it. If it doesn’t grow, don’t eat it.” The food which you bring to your lips and let enter your body is there to nourish and sustain you toward your greater purpose.
Slow Down, Stop and Give Thanks
Saying a simple prayer connects us to our natural rhythm- something greater than ourselves. It can be as simple as “I am thankful that the Earth provides the perfect conditions for the growth of this perfect food. I am grateful that this food has given its life to nourish me.”
Sitting down to eat is an opportunity to connect, whether you are dining alone or with family and friends. Take a moment to slow down and release the stresses of the day. Focus on the miracle that is about to happen.
Count the number of times you chew your food. Chewing your food 28-60 times aids in digestion. 28 times for something as soft as a scrambled egg and upwards of 60 times for meat protein.
Digestion begins in the mouth where enzymes begin digesting the other-than-us substance before it is swallowed. Inhaling food instead of chewing it inhibits digestion. This leads to bloating, stomach rumbling, belching and flatulence. Connecting with the act of eating can be a pleasing experience. Try it.
When You Eat, Only Eat
Turn off the television and leave cell phones outside the dining area. This is a great time to connect with yourself and others. Bring others into your life and share your time with those important to you.
The organs responsible for the transportation and transformation of what you eat into something usable for the body, prefer calm, unfettered surroundings to assimilate and digest the foods eaten. As Louis Hay says, just as “junky foods accumulate and create a toxic body, junky thoughts accumulate and create a toxic mind.”
What and When to Eat
Start your day by eating protein. Chinese Medicine states that one can digest nails between the hours of 7a.m. and 9a.m. because that is the “time of the stomach.” Eating breakfast stokes the metabolic and digestive fires that have been diminished throughout the night as you have slept and fasted. Add fuel to your fire and get your engine revved as you begin your day. Jump start your day with a good nourishing breakfast. Increase your protein and decrease your bread and you will have more energy without an afternoon slump.
The same organs that are responsible for the transportation and transformation of what you eat thrive when there is regularity. Just like children, our bodies require boundaries, good parenting and routine. Develop a healthy routine by eating at regular meal times with nothing ingested after 8p.m. The organs settle down as night falls in preparation for restful sleep. Ingesting food before bedtime sends two very different messages to the body: 1. keep working to digest and 2. stop working to aid in slumber. Either you’ll be kept awake as the body works to digest or you’ll awaken feeling bloated, full and uncomfortable because nothing moved in the night.
Additionally, limit your fluid intake within the hour prior to eating. This allows your digestive enzymes to operate at peak performance, serving to break down the foods you have eaten without being diluted or saturated.
Recognize Your Deserving Self
Above all else, go easy on yourself. Love yourself. Know you deserve nutritive foods and nutritive thoughts. No self deprecation. Be gentle with yourself, you are the only you we have, after all “if you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?”
Ruth Karmazon is owner of Karmabridge Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine Center. Karmabridge Center is located at 490 Schooley’s Mtn. Rd., Hastings Commons – #3B, in Hackettstown. For information call 908-852-1267 or visit KarmaBridge.com.