Nourish your vitality, mind, and emotions when you eat. Not everything you are tempted to put into your mouth is nutritious. Most processed, treated, and refined foods lack nutritional value. The chemicals and preservatives disrupt communication in your mind-body-spirit system. Processed foods are high in salt, sugar, and unhealthy fat. In other words, they offer a lot of what you don’t need and very little of what you do.
Since these foods are typically void of nutrition, we eat them to fill other needs. Their consumption is often rooted in cravings, which may be for a certain taste, emotional comfort or because we are thirsty. Do you acknowledge these alternative reasons for eating? Observe yourself and your diet to identify any patterns.
- Do you eat when you are happy? Sad? Bored? Lonely?
- Do you crave sugar? Salt? Spices?
- Are you confusing thirst with hunger?
Pinpointing these patterns help you to develop strategies for coping with them. In turn, these strategies are your guides to a lifetime of good health and feeding your body with intention and nutrition.
There are five types of taste. Sweet, sour, salty, astringent, and bitter. At different times, the body will seek them all out. Many people are familiar with the desire for something sweet after a meal or a salty snack in the afternoon. These cravings are based on taste, not nutrition.
Scientists have proven that on an average, cravings last approximately fifteen minutes. Even though you feel as if you won’t last another second without a cookie, it simply isn’t true. If you can occupy your mind with deep breathing or another activity until the craving passes, you will survive.
The Ayurvedic lifestyle also offers a strategy to deal with taste-based cravings. According to these ancient teachings, the best way to solve the problem of eating for taste is to nourish all of these sensations in every meal. Look for natural sources of each taste and combine them to satisfy your food cravings before they begin. Your meals could include a variety of foods from each taste group. This includes sweet fruit, astringent herbs, sour yogurt, salty cheese, and bitter spinach. This may require that you begin to see foods differently, but that is an inevitable byproduct of feeding your body with intention. Food becomes fuel, not an answer to a craving.
The human body is 70% water. Good health requires that you remain hydrated. Most people don’t drink enough water and when this occurs, the body sends you a signal. Often this signal is misinterpreted as hunger. So before you hit the food, drink a glass of water. This may be just what your body needs. And giving your body what it needs is the basis for proper nutrition.
Some cravings are emotionally based. Throughout your life, you may have associated food with a number of situations, which, in turn, became automatic responses. If as a child, you were treated to a bowl of ice cream when you were sad, chances are as an adult you will repeat this pattern to nourish your self. The ice cream made you feel better then, so you assume it will make you feel better now. It often does for a little while. However, in the end, you are still left with an unresolved situation or emotion. The only thing you fed was your sweet tooth, and as we all know what it wants is hardly ever nutritious.
Our world is a highly stressful one and many people turn to food as an escape. Like the emotional eating described above, eating to release stress is only a temporary fix. It does not offer you valid emotional or nutritional value. Instead of reaching for the chips, reach for a pad and pencil. Help yourself learn to deal with your emotions by making a list under the heading Emotions I Would Feel If I Allowed Myself To Do So. Write down any emotion, positive or negative, that you feel you are holding back. Your list could include anger, joy, guilt, sadness or love. When you eat out of stress or for comfort, you are using food to stuff these emotions back inside.
Now go down your list and allow yourself to really feel each emotion. Use deep belly breathing to help yourself focus and center. This process teaches that these emotions are a part of you with a need to be expressed. You owe it to yourself and your health to freely express your emotions without fear or shame. Once you accomplish this, you may find that open communication is more satisfying than cookies, cake or any other foodstuff you would have previously reached for.
Keeping your heart healthy makes it a timekeeper for your life. Your timekeeper requires more than just taking physical care of your heart and body. In my last post we looked at how to have a healthy heart. In my next several posts, I will share taking a more holistic approach to heart health.
Think of your heart as a physical entity, affected by physical, mental, and spiritual factors. Keep in mind also that the mental association between love and your heart is so powerful that you can use this concept for your benefit. As you read this, remember PEMS – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Know that the connection between love and your heart is so great that it can generate powerful chemical changes – a physical manifestation that originates from a feeling of love.
These chemical changes, in turn, produce cellular relaxation that results in cellular regeneration. Cells always have two possible states: open or closed, expanding or contracting, renewing or dying.
- If you had a choice about the state your cells were in, which would you choose–robust or atrophy?
- And how would that benefit your heart physically?
As you explore physical ways to keep your timekeeper healthy, keep your thoughts positive and encouraging. Keep your feelings grounded in love. Do this, and you will renew the physical cells that make up your heart.
Reducing Stress on the Timekeeper
Reducing stress is critical to restoring and maintaining a healthy heart!
Great news here. You have plenty of non-drug stress interventions to choose from. They include deep breathing, biofeedback, yoga, support groups, vacations, hobbies, even your family pets! What is required is for you to set aside a time for your activity and to establish a regular routine or ritual around its performance.
It requires an act of self-love for you to follow through on your plans. Yes, you must put your health in a place of importance in your life. Can you care enough about your life to gain more of it?
This is a great time to take out your journal and seriously consider this question. As part of the emotional and spiritual maintenance that is necessary for heart health, ask yourself whether or not you are worth it? What’s stopping you from keeping your heart healthy? We often sabotage our own health for a variety of reasons. You need to examine these reasons if you want your timekeeper to stick around!
Studies Suggest We Are Slowly Suffocating
- Air pollution may contribute to the development of asthma in previously healthy people.
- A recent Los Angeles study found that 8% of childhood asthma cases are a result of living within 250 feet to major roadways.
- The gains in lung function paralleled improving air quality in the communities studied, and across the Los Angeles basin, as policies to fight pollution took hold.
- The research appears in the March 5, 2015 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that air pollution is causing an increase in respiratory illnesses, as much as 50% in some areas. The result is that asthma has grown into an epidemic in the United States. Breathing exercises that can help are often overlooked.affects 16.2 adults and 6.7 million children.
- The most common chronic childhood disease in the country affects 1 in every ten kids and links is now correlated with allergies.
- Common air pollutants slow children’s lung growth according to results of a comprehensive, ten-year study from the University of Southern California Children’s Health Study.
When the quality of our air is weak, we tend to breathe shallower, and we absorb more toxins.
The resulting rapid, shallow breathing leads to inadequate oxygen supply, respiratory disease, and fatigue. Parents may resort to the strongest medications to help their children breathe better and remain active. On the other hand, many parents are uneasy with the constant intake of medication and look for alternative ways to reduce their children’s need for bronchodilators and steroid-based drugs.
Solution: Breathing Exercises
The environmental facts speak openly about the necessity and urgency to take action and improve our breathing capacity. To enjoy health, we must enhance our breathing ability and understand that:
- Shallow breathing increases stress and anxiety.
- Deeper breathing exercises bring relaxation and the ability to manage better asthma episodes.
The first step in the breathing process is inhaling. After oxygen enters the lungs, it is picked up by hemoglobin in the blood and sent to all the cells. Once in the cells, oxidation, the method of combining the nutrients from food with oxygen, creates energy. Oxygen maintains cells and keeps them clean and healthy. At the same time, oxygen helps remove waste from the body and reduces inflammation. Breathing that is more efficient increases oxygen in the body.
Children are especially at risk for respiration difficulties because their growing bodies require oxygen. Moreover, their bodies must be capable of using that oxygen efficiently. Unless the muscles responsible for respiration are exercised through deep breathing techniques, the rib cage and surrounding tissues get stiff, which makes inhalation more difficult. Less suppleness and weak muscles leave stale air in the tissues of the lungs and prevent fresh oxygen from reaching the bloodstream. This stunts growth, depresses the immune system, and contributes to disease. By teaching children to breathe fully and deeply, you can positively impact their health for a lifetime.
First Graders Can Do It
The International Breath Institute helps you retrain poor breathing habits in a three-step breathing exercise called Full-Wave Breathing. Full-Wave breathing fights the toxins that pollute our cities by strengthening the lungs, relieving bronchitis, improving circulation, oxygenating the blood and minimizing the reoccurrence of respiratory ailments.
Research from the International Breath Institute shows that first-grade children, who sat for long periods of time in their seats, breathed shallower and shallower as the day progressed. Their postures slumped, and their eyes glazed. Learning cannot take place under such conditions.
But, when their teacher led them through deep breathing exercises for ten minutes each day after lunch, something amazing happened. They felt upbeat! They learned and concentrated more easily. They were relaxed and could shift attention without difficulty after recess. The first graders reminded each other to use their breath before each assignment, and they practiced breathing while walking in the hallway, which helped them not chatter and disturb others.[i]
Emotional Links to Allergies and Asthma
Emotional reactions affect our breathing.
Fear accelerates breathing.
Anger pumps our breathing like a spewing volcano.
Sadness and grief inhibit breathing.
Well-known asthma triggers are exercise, emotional stress or emotional excitement.
Shallow breathers are more anxious and impulsive.
Breathing is the only body function that we do involuntarily, and that we can voluntarily control. We can influence our autonomic nervous systems and positively affect other systems in the body like circulation, respiration, and digestion.
How people breathe affects their attitudes. Deep breathers are more relaxed and balanced. Shallow breathers are more anxious and impulsive. Full-Wave Breathing is a smooth and successful tool to help children develop better resilience and emotional strength!
You can’t breathe for your kids, but you can help them with breathing exercises to give them an extra edge in fighting illness every day. Use the Full Wave Breathing method with your children and you will see the difference it makes.
OTHER LINKS WITH UPDATED POLLUTION NEWS:
NEWS RELEASE: Research links tobacco smoke and roadway air pollution with childhood obesity
NEWS RELEASE: Research raises new concerns about air pollution impacts at Los Angeles International Airport