Isn’t it interesting that the simplest things in life are usually the hardest to do?
I have struggled all my life with eating. I love food and it has almost been like how to eat as much as I can without putting on weight. It is a game. And loving all the wrong food. Somehow yummy food tastes the best (but of course it does – otherwise the manufacturers wouldn’t be able to sell their processed ‘food’.
And so, eating and I have an interesting relationship. And as I get older my body is starting to assert itself and I am having to listen. If I eat a big meal at night, I don’t sleep so well. If I don’t sleep so well, the next day is more difficult. If I eat meat, my elimination process suffers. If I skip a meal, I reach for inappropriate food between meals.
Is this like the saying ‘we spend 40 years trying to kill ourselves and 40 years trying to save ourselves’?
So what is the answer?
For me it is finding a philosophy that is realistic and works. Something that has been around for a long time and stood the test of time. I find it very confusing to read the latest research about what not to eat, then some other research comes out how wrong the last research was. Coffee is like this – sometimes thought toxic and carcinogenic and other times warding off disease.
For me the answer is Ayurveda. This is the science of self-healing and it is about knowing our body type so we can keep in balance for good health and longevity. There is no such thing as good or bad food – it is different for everyone, but there is a philosophy that every part of life fits into methodically. Ayurveda has been a science for 5000 years and has doctors who train just like our ones do and train for as many years.
I have really enjoyed learning more about Ayurveda. It is not only learning about it, because I have studied it for years. It is actually applying it and seeing the results which in themselves are motivating. I am shocked at how slow my journey has been. It makes me realise how I can be told something; actually believe in it; understand it; but still choose to do the same old thing.
We accept what others do in our society as the right thing to do – but is it? Look at how we eat – we shop at supermarkets where most of the aisle space is processed food. Fast food outlets are everywhere. Fizzy drink and white bread are very cheap – good organic food is very expensive.
I think our society is not on the right track. I look at the number of people over 50 on medication who think this is ‘normal’. The number of people who are stressed and suffer from chronic diseases, including cancer. The rising number of allergies. The diabetes epidemic. The obesity epidemic. The number of people on antidepressants. Sports people swallowing anti-inflammatories and having cortisone injections so they can continue with sport. And most of these people think they are healthy!
How does this look for our aging population?
Ayurveda says if we are healthy and happy, when we are old we can give back to society. But I am not sure where our society is heading.
It is another story about how to change the status quo. It is rather difficult when pharmaceutical companies are so powerful, when big business is promoting unhealthy food and making it sound delicious and the right thing to eat.
This makes me realise so many things need to come together before we are ready to change. Sometimes it is a big health scare which provides motivation and even then it is sometimes not enough to motivate change.
In Jin Shin Jyutsu it is said to change – you change your focus; if you keep thinking the same way you go in the same direction.
Here are a few Ayurvedic principles which are so simple but would help so many people get back into balance, without ever having to follow diets:
Eat only when hungry.
How many times do we eat when we are not hungry. We know that hunger is our body’s message to eat, but do we listen to our body’s message? If we are not hungry, we are putting more food on top of undigested food and overloading our digestive system.
Eat when sitting down and relaxed.
That means sitting down in a relaxing environment – not in the car, not while watching tv or working on the computer, or reading a book or the newspaper, or walking down the street. We need to give our food our full attention for it to be digested properly. If we are not relaxed, we will not digest our food properly, in fact it may become toxic.
Eat until satisfied, not stuffed full. We need to eat until we feel energised, satisfied, not so full we are uncomfortable.
Chew your food properly. Maybe put your knife and fork down while you chew. Don’t talk while eating mouthfuls. This helps to start our digestion system rather than make it difficult for our digestive system.
Eat at the same time each day – Our digestive system likes routines.
Eat seasonal, unprocessed and organic food where possible. Seasonal fruit and vegetables are ready at a certain time of year for a reason. Enjoy nature’s bounty. Nature is our medicine bowl. Unprocessed and organic food has the least amount of additives and toxins and sprays and in today’s world we need to take as much care as we can to avoid toxins.
Avoid iced beverages when eating – these slow down the digestive system radically. Sip room temperature liquids with food.
Have the biggest meal in the middle of the day when the digestive system is at its best. Eat a smaller meal at night.
Eat all 6 tastes at every meal – sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, salty and astringent.
Eat as many colours at each meal as possible.
If you are interested in learning more about Ayurveda and knowing your body type and how you can live in balance with good health and longevity, Waihi Beach Wellness offer Ayurveda Workshops. If you are interested please contact Jeannette or book online.