Tag Archives: Diet

Nutrition is more than food

Nutrition heart @chnagethisweek
Nutrition heart @chnagethisweek

Hi friends, nutrition continues to be our theme at Change This Week and today I’m excited to kickoff the weekend with a new guest blogger.  Meet Alison Wilburn who has great insight on health and nutrition.  I’ve had the pleasure of taking my first ever yoga class with Alison and am happy she is here to contribute today.  It’s all yours, Alison.

When asked to write this piece, the first thing that came to mind is that nutrition is about more than food. Then I remembered a friend who spent a summer sun-gazing – a practice whereby you nourish your body with solar energy by staring at the sun rather than eating food. I had never heard of this until he shared it with me, but apparently it’s an ancient technique, originating in India, though observed by other cultures as well, and known in modern times as the HRM phenomenon based on a NASA study of a sun-gazer named Hira Ratan Manek.

Before I continue, let me say I’ve been around the block a few times when it comes to eating, exercise, and nutrition, and I’m still traveling. Nothing I say is meant to be a definitive answer only what I can share from my experience so far.

I grew up observing a mom who was overweight and always on a diet. To my best recollection, I went on my first diet in the 7th grade, though I remember struggling with issues about my body and weight even earlier. In subsequent decades I continued to go from diet to diet and exercise regimin to exercise regimin trying to attain more of an ideal body weight with only spotty and temporary results. Though, my tendency was to carry excess, I spent almost two years underweight, probably anorexic if it had been diagnosed, so I really have a full spectrum experience with this in many ways. And after years of working from the outside-in, what I found is the lasting shift came from the inside and worked its way to the outside.

When I really committed myself to a spiritual path, I began to have a connection with a different sense of myself and developed an awareness of the origins of my impulses and appetites – a discernment that allowed me to feel from the inside whether I was being guided by my higher nature or unconsciously following the conditioning of my personality. This had an immediate and lasting impact on the kinds and amounts of food I choose to eat.

One thing I’ve realized in the last few years especially is that gluttony is a common cultural practice in America. It’s a fact that an overwhelming majority of us simply eat too much. The second thing I’ve come to see over the years is that no one diet is right for everyone. And if I try to eat according to someone else’s plan, regardless of how “expert” they are, then I get pulled away from my intuition, which is my most trusted ally when it comes to eating what is right for me and only me. And let’s face it, those experts are changing their minds on a pretty regular basis. From Atkins to South Beach Diet, from soy to wheat protein, almonds to coconuts, the ideas about what’s best for us will be changing until the end of time. If you really think about it, who could possibly know better what’s best for you than you?

I know this might sound strange in a society given to putting our health in other people’s hands, but in my experience I have found this to be the case. Health is more than a numbers game about matching an external standard designated by someone else such as a cholesterol, blood sugar, or calorie chart. The word “health”comes from an Old English word that means wholeness. More and more people in the healing arts (even western medicine) are realizing that real healing has to take the whole person into account. So if all my numbers match a chart, but I’m unhappy, unfulfilled, and resentful, is that really health (wholeness)?

I also tend to go by the idiom that the exception proves the rule. And there are so many exceptions to the common notions about health and nutrition. One that comes to mind right away is known as the Roseto Effect based on the documented study of an Italian-American community in Roseto, Pennsylvania. Turns out the common denominator in this group of people living longer, happier lives than the average American (despite the fact that they ate what would be considered unhealthy food, didn’t exercise, many were overweight, and some even smoked) was the sense of connection and belonging they cultivated among each other. No one was isolated and the study concluded basically that connection is not only good socially, but also physically and has a direct impact on the human body itself. Spiritual teacher and author, Ram Dass, tells how his guru, Maharajji took an inordinate amount of LSD and it had no effect whatsoever. I know LSD isn’t food, but I think it’s very relatable to the topic in that it is a substance that is supposed to have a certain effect when ingested and in this case that effect was neutralized. What I draw from these 2 instances is that nutrition is as much, if not more about belief than it is about the properties of the food itself.

What I’ve also realized in current times with food being big business, often produced by those who care more about money than well-being, is that what I eat is about more than personal preference. There’s a domino effect that goes into play when I take a bite of food, so I strive to be mindful and ask: “Will this choice alleviate or increase suffering on the planet?” This has led me to a predominately vegan diet and I see that what I choose to eat isn’t just about me and what it will make my body look like, it’s also about the effect it will have on the world and the other beings in it as a whole. Finding a balance between those two aspects is key.

What I would like to impress upon anyone who’s made it this far in reading what I have to say, is:

Nutrition is an inside game.
Find ways to connect with your intuition, whether in spiritual study and practice, spending time in nature, or whatever else calls to you.
Notice how you feel before, during, and after you eat. This is a telling guide. Do you feel energized or weighed down?
Don’t be overly influenced by current cultural models of what’s right to eat, knowing they will change on you before you know it.
Look at the big picture when it comes to nutrition. Consider your whole being and the effect your choices have on the planet as a whole.
What I’ve shared here continue to be my guiding principles. I am at the most ideal place I’ve ever been with feeling balanced and at peace with what I eat and the way I feel in my body. I have levels of freedom, energy, and strength that eluded me for many years. There’s nothing that would make me more happy than to see everyone walking around in a body that they felt truly good and alive in. If you’re not already, I hope you will be one of those individuals who finds that kind of freedom here and now. 17th Century philosopher, François, duc de La Rochefoucauld, wrote: “To eat is a necessity, [though things like sun-gazing bring even this into question] but to eat intelligently is an art.” Let what you eat be an artful expression of you, a beautiful, balanced depiction of who you are at the deepest level.
http://www.ramdass.org/ram-dass-gives-maharaji-the-yogi-medicine/

http://www.uic.edu/classes/osci/osci590/14_2%20The%20Roseto%20Effect.htm

 

Guest blogger Alison Wilburn
Guest blogger Alison Wilburn

Alison helps others through the avenues that have been most profound in her own experience. In 2013, she created Lightwave Healing & Yoga as a channel to offer yoga, healing, and insights on eastern and western spirituality, quantum physics, and ancient wisdom.

Alison is very grateful to share her life with a mindful/yogi husband, 2 beautiful stepdaughters, and a couple of furry critters. When not engaged in service, Alison can be found practicing yoga, running or hiking the SoCal trails, or geeking out on an Einstein biography.
To recieve Alison’s Daily Lightwave (an inspirational soundbyte she publishes everyday), or to find out more about her yoga teaching schedule or special events, visit her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

How boring is eating healthy?

Celery meme @changethisweek
Celery meme @changethisweek

So my Father’s Day was amazing, how was yours?  Now that I ate like a king, I am truly ready to make a Change This Week about nutrition.  I am really pleased with how far I’ve come over the years with improving my eating habits but it is time again to step it up a notch.  So I will tell you about my plan soon, but starting off today is my friend Krystal who has been on an exercise and eating journey as well. That’s exactly why I asked her to be one of my guest bloggers this week.  Welcome to the Change This Week, Krystal!

Eating healthy is boring! Right?

Luckily I’ve always tried to eat healthy coming from an athletic background but at the same time, I loved my chili cheese fries and ice cream. Not together. If I ate bad I would tell myself that I would just work it off later. I think everyone has done that. It wasn’t until early this year my whole idea of eating healthy changed.

A friendly challenge started at work where we were going to be Vegan for 22-days. Sounds intense! It was a little intense at first just not knowing anything about being a vegan. And my first thought, “NO CHEESE?!?!?!”. I love cheese! I knew that would be the hardest thing for me. No quesadilla? Chili cheese fries? Nachos? All of my favorite dishes!

I started searching online about vegan diets and good vegan recipes as well as restaurants to get ideas for recipes and got excited seeing that this might not be as tough as I thought.

Going to a vegan restaurant and seeing “cheese burger” on the menu or “chicken tenders” was so refreshing but my next thought, will it taste like chicken? The answer, heck yes it does!! Does the cheese taste like cheese? YUP! I was so excited at this point to know that there were healthy vegan alternatives to my normal eating habits.

Now to try and make my own vegan meals because I can’t be eating out everyday. Going to the grocery store being Vegan I spend majority of my time in the produce section. I also spend a little time getting a lot of beans. All kinds of beans. Black beans, red beans, garbanzo beans etc. My favorite fast vegan dish is a “beef bowl”. It’s chopped tomato, black beans, cooked zucchini, corn, roasted tomato’s and seitan. What the heck is seitan?? Seitan is your “meat” and is super high in protein and delicious(you can pick it up at whole foods and trader joes). If you don’t want to try seitan you can always throw tofu in there(you can pick up at mostly all super markets). OR you can be super lean with it and make a yummy veggie bowl.

As the 22-day challenge was coming to an end I was questioning whether I wanted to continue this challenge.

Being vegan I have noticed a great difference in the way my body works. I’m a runner so I noticed that now that I am a Vegan I can run much faster because I feel much lighter. I don’t feel lethargic from the chicken sandwich at lunch. I feel my stamina has greatly improved as well as being able to stay lean.

I have been on this vegan diet for 5 months and I don’t see myself going back. Any food you enjoy can be made vegan. Organic. All plant based and all good for you.

What about drinking? That was a big deal for me. Surprisingly, vegans are normal people and like to drink also. Before I agreed to the challenge I looked into if and what vegans can drink. I’m a vodka drinker so seeing Absolut first on the list, I was sold! (http://www.barnivore.com/liquor)

Now I appreciate much more what I am putting into my body. Now I see that it really does make a change and a huge difference. Your body is a machine and it needs to be taken care of. I’m not one to tell you you should become vegan but it doesn’t hurt to try a vegan meal and see how you like it. Change is good. This could be your change this week. If you have any more questions related to going vegan, restaurants, recipes, please feel free to send me an email. krystal.g.05@gmail.com.

 

Eating differently with @krystalbee
Eating differently with @krystalbee

Krystal Bee is single and living the life in L.A. You can hear her every morning in Big Boys Neighborhood on Power106 from 5-10am and see her as a contributor on RevoltTV. For leisure activities Krystal runs with two running crews in Los Angeles that meet twice a week. If you have any more questions related to going vegan, restaurants, recipes, please feel free to send her an email. krystal.g.05@gmail.com