As Dr. David Simon writes in his book The Wisdom of Healing, “According to Ayurveda, our ability to metabolize food is as important as what we choose to eat.” The ability to fully metabolize food and get energy from it is the basic difference between the living and the nonliving.
If food is not completely transformed into its constituent energy and intelligence, healthy tissues cannot form and toxins accumulate. Thus, the way that we prepare food and our intentions and attention as we consume food are important aspects of its nourishing influence. Other than breathing, eating food is the most profound way in which we interact with nature.
The Five Senses of Eating
Mindful eating, with full attention and presence, can be a total body experience. Honing your five senses to help you make the best food choices can also make eating a lot more enjoyable. This method works a lot better than portion control or calorie control, which is often destined to fail.
Sight: Unfortunately, most people eat with their eyes, not their stomachs, which is what happens when your eyes tell you there is still food left on your plate and you ignore the fact that your stomach is full. The next time you sit down to dinner and you’ve eaten half your meal, try closing your eyes and see if your stomach is still asking for more food. If you no longer feel hungry, save the rest of your meal for later.
Smell: Your sense of smell is strongest when you are the hungriest; you can smell food “from a mile away” and your mouth starts watering. To counteract this reaction, let your nose help tell you when you are full: If you smell your food partway through your meal, and your mouth is no longer watering, it may be time to stop eating.
Touch: How food feels in your mouth is a good indication of a healthier choice. Pick foods that are fibrous and take a while to chew, not the ones that simply “melt in your mouth.” These foods will take longer to digest and give you a full feeling for a longer time.
Hearing: Studies have shown that people who listen to loud music while eating tend to eat longer and consume more food. Likewise, people who listen to loud music while drinking tend to finish drinks faster and order more of them. While dinner music may seem pleasant, try eating in silence or engage in casual conversation with a companion, and let your mind and body focus on the meal.
Taste: This may seem like the most obvious sense when it comes to eating, but taste may also take the most time to train (or retrain). You can train your taste buds to prefer food a certain way — with a lot of sugar or salt, for example. It may take some time, but you can train your taste buds to prefer low-sugar or low-salt foods. Start by slowly reducing the amount of salt you cook with, as well as limiting processed foods containing sodium. Over time, you will not even notice the lower sodium content, and you will become more wary of highly salted food.
Know Your Type and Relieve Stress from the Inside Out
Everyone may be unique, but people also adopt certain “typical” or habitual responses to problems and stress. That is, people can reflect types, and knowing yours will offer clues about how to relieve stress. Take an “inside-out” approach and reflect on how you view the external world.
For instance, do you tend to adopt a “victim mentality,” where you blame others rather than looking at your own role in your current situation? Or do you prefer to be in “driver mode,” which constantly wants to be dominant or in charge? Are you a type A personality — someone who’s often overachieving, time-pressured, competitive, impatient, and hostile — or a type B, someone who usually prefers playing over winning, and creating more than achieving?
Type A personality traits, especially cynical hostility, are particularly associated with cardiometabolic diseases. Sometimes, actively reframing the picture can lead to a better perspective.
Cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman coined the term type A personality in the 1960s after spending a fortune reupholstering the chairs in their waiting rooms. One day, a new upholsterer came in to examine the wear and tear, took one look at the chairs, and exclaimed: “What the hell is wrong with your patients? People don’t wear out chairs this way.” The cardiologists realized that their heart patients habitually sat on the edges of their seats, fidgeting and clawing away at the armrests.
What they found was that there is a very strong correlation between type A personalities and heart disease. Certain high-pressure professions, like lawyers and doctors, show this. For instance, in one study, male physicians who had measured high on hostility scores twenty-five years before had four times higher risk of coronary artery disease and six times higher risk of mortality.
The hallmark of cynical hostility is the absence of trust in the goodness of others, and people who exhibit this tend to agree with statements like: “Most people make friends because friends are likely to be useful to them,” and “I have frequently worked under people who have things arranged so they can get credit for good work but are able to pass off mistakes onto those under them.”
Ultimately, the most effective ways to increase happiness, optimism, and resilience depend on each unique individual and each particular situation. Paths to greater wellness are varied. It’s a lot like musical tastes. Different people may prefer Beethoven, Bach, the Beach Boys, Beyoncé, or Bobby Lewis, but the joy each person feels while listening is the same. Be sure to pursue the strategies that resonate best with you.
SOME RULES TO LIVE BY
* Stress is a normal part of modern life.
* Stress management is an essential skill; use your energy wisely.
* Choosing your responses to stress makes all the difference.
* Our perception of control and predictability makes unpleasant situations more tolerable.
* Music, art, meditation, and deep connections with family and friends are possible outlets for alleviating stress.
* Optimism is a positive trait that can be developed.
* Meaning, purpose, and joy sustain us.
* Quiet times help us reconnect with our personal power; take breaks from technology.
* Reframe the picture if your current frame is not working.
* Social connections are a major factor in our ability to keep good habits.
* Forgiveness and gratitude are powerful tools.
* Be here now.
* A proven way to increase your resilience is to commit to your goals.
Copyright ©2018 by Pankaj Vij, MD.
Reprinted with permission from New World Library
Turbo Metabolism: 8 Weeks to a New You: Preventing and Reversing Diabetes, Obesity, Heart Disease, and Other Metabolic Diseases by Treating the Causes
by Pankaj Vij, MD, FACP
As the modern Western lifestyle spreads around the globe, so too does metabolic syndrome -- a cluster of symptoms that increases the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other conditions. The good news: metabolic syndrome can be tamed by a sensible program of exercise, natural foods, stress management, and quality sleep. In this concise and lively book, Dr. Vij distills a mass of medical research into a simple, effective program for vibrant health. Avoiding fads and gimmicks, he provides practical advice, case studies of ordinary people, and brief sections that debunk common medical myths. By following Dr. Vij's evidence-based methods, you can manage diabetes, avoid related metabolic conditions, lose weight, and live a healthier, happier life with energy to spare.
About the Author
Pankaj Vij, MD, FACP, has helped thousands of patients lose weight, manage chronic health conditions, and improve their physical fitness. Board certified in internal medicine and obesity medicine, Dr. Vij has been practicing medicine since 1997. Co-Founder of HealthZone Life and leader in the introduction of the HealthZone Model as a tool for health education and clinical practice, Dr. Vij has a passion for nutrition and fitness. His interests include approaches on how to slow down the aging process and optimize human performance, thereby enhancing health span, not just life span. He models a healthy lifestyle by following a low glycemic, anti-inflammatory diet, with regular physical activity, meditation and focus on sleep; (adding music and humor for good measure). For more info., visit http://healthzonelife.com/