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Happy, healthy eating…and after

6 Nov 2015   Shanti Gowans
Corporate giants such as Coca-Cola, Kraft, and Kellogg’s dominate the food and beverage industries, but they are optimised for profit, not for our health. To make their foods more palatable and profitable, these companies strategically utilise specific combinations of salt, sugar and fat, foods are not just unhealthy, they are also addicting. The 'bliss point' in commercial food is built around 'mouth feel' and 'flavour burst'. Our snack and convenience habits have opened the door to industry abuse.
We're not getting fat because we're overeating; we're overeating because we're getting fat. In other words, what makes us constantly hungry, overweight, and undernourished is not a lack of will power, but a biological reaction to our present-day diet and lifestyle. Our fat cells are hoarding the nutrients from the food we eat instead of releasing them into the bloodstream to be used, triggering a starvation response that sets us up for failure: if we eat more, we'll gain weight; if we eat less, we'll slow our metabolism down and (again) gain weight.
Ayurveda, the ancient system of medicine which is almost 5,000 years old (and is the sister discipline of yoga) 
has a wealth of knowledge that has been tried and tested and passed on for generations. Western science is coming around to prove so many of these ancient findings in recent years. Sushruta Samhita, a 5,000 year-old comprehensive Ayurvedic text is the oldest known surgical text and describes in exquisite detail the examination, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of numerous ailments? Here are some more tips from Ayurveda.
Ayurveda shows us how to break out of this cycle that is keeping us overweight. It helps us to:
- re-programme our fat cells
- tame humger
- boost our metabolism
- lose weight.
Ayurveda debunks the calorie myth that losing weight is simply a matter of eating less. This system of medicine explains the science and the research behind our epidemic of overweightness and presents a detailed, highly structured plan to help us conquer the cravings.
No matter which culinary style you follow, you must eradicate processed, poor quality foods. Processed food sales increase annually not because they are good for you, or becaiuse they are conventient, but because it's profit driven. Big food coporations don't care who gets hurt along the way and unfortunately it's you and your loved ones. Health problems such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, fatty and alcohol pickled liver diseases, alzheimer's cancer, metabolic syndrome are all health problems are 100% managable and even reversable, if when it comes to shopping and cooking at home, you simply eat real food. Whether you are looking for more energy, clearer skin, balanced moods, stronger libido, luscious hair, better sleep, less pain, whatever your're searching for to achieve optimal health, the answer lies in the foos you eat and how you prepare it. That being said, this can be challenging especially when you watch family and friends eating the forbidden fruits of dining out all the time, and TV commercials that don’t help your hunger cravings.
Here are some suggestions for healthy, happy eating…and after 
• Enjoy your food
We desperately need to detox from manufactured 'food-like' products which are packed with toxic chemicals and residues that force us to gain weight, together with some gross stuff that the body has to pack away as fat. Because this stuff isn’t real food. We have to replace that stuff with real food we enjoy. You’re supposed to enjoy food. Dieting and depriving yourself just leads to binge eating and weight gain. Unfortunately, marketing around the big food and beverage corporations put out a lot of misleading information (lies)! Another lies is that the only way to lose weight is to deprive yourself and work out like a maniac. And that clean eating is expensive, difficult, and bland. In fact, my patients tell me all the time how astonished they are to discover how easy it is to lose weight on really good food.”
Eat quality foods. These are nutrient dense, full of medicinal and revitalising properties, healing and powerful, and they taste amazing. Make meals that contain real, single ingredient foods that are not made in a laboratory, or subjected to numerous chemicals and additives to lengthen their shelf life; Food that is both good for you and good-tasting…and detoxes your body which means does not clog your channels. You will find that his food is easy on your budget, easy to prepare, and that no one would never, ever think is detox diet food. YOu won't need special equipment or shop at pricey stores. When you stop consuming the toxins from processed foor, you star feeling and looking better almost overnight. Your body can do what natures designed it to do. 
Eat foods your great grandmother would easily recognise. If it is something that you could not even begin to pronounce yourself, toss it out. Great grandma's recipes relied on natural and fresh food. Whole, real, untampered foods straight from Mother Nature are the most powerful medicine on the planet and are the key to vibrant health. 
Eat foods that will eventually rot. While there are a few exceptions to this rule, most foods that don’t rot on the outside within a few days, will rot out your insides once they settle in!
Not at point of sale
Eat the food from the perimeter of your grocery store. Because this is where the fresh foods are kept since they have to be constantly replaced.

If you do nothing else in way of healthy eating strategies, you will still be working from a solid meal planning base with these suggestions.

Hands were invented before cutlery

Get your hands dirty.  Eating with your hands can be pure joy! Long before cutlery was in the picture, people used their hands to feel the food they were eating. The food was at the optimum temperature, (not too many cases of burned tongues from food that was too hot.) and the energy centers at the tips of your fingers make contact with your food, increasing the energy vibrations of what you place into your mouth, and make the experience more real for you.

Sitting on the floor is active sitting

For centuries, people around the world sat on floors either cross-legged or in a squatting position. If you are a yoga practitioner, this will make complete sense to you. When you sit on the floor (whether it’s kneeling and heel-sitting, known as Vajrasana, or a simple cross-leged pose, known as Sukhasana, or any other yoga pose), you actually engage many of your musclesin contrast to when you sit on a chair. When your feet are below your heart (as in a position when sitting on a chair), the blood circulation is being directed to your feet, as opposed to when you sit cross-legged on the floor where your heart receives the benefit of better circulation.

Because of the fact that our generation is surrounded by chairs and couches, we’ve lost the ability to sit for longer stretches on the floor. Nevertheless, it is enormously rewarding to incorporate ways to sit on the floor whenever you can, and worthwhile to explore cushions and backrests to aid active sitting on the floor. By sitting on the floor, you strengthen the lumbar region of the body, reducing back pain and discomfort. The hips open, making your pelvis and legs more flexible. Core muscles are strengthened, and the ankles also get gently stretched. Floor sitting also helps promote mental calmness, soothes frazzled nerves and can aid your creative imagination.

Eat while sitting with your legs crossed

This simple and beautiful art is still practiced by millions of people in countries in Asia. All you need is a low table on which you can place your food and a little rug or cushion to sit on. When you sit down to eat in this position, your digestive juices are concentrated in your stomach and prepared for digesting the food you eat. You also somehow respect your food even more and will tend to not overeat.

Drinking water

Drinking water before a meal is not ideal. It dilutes the acid that would otherwise be  utilised for digesting your food, or weakens the digestive fire (agni), which in turn makes the digestive strength weaker. This causes vata imbalance, and symptoms such as bloationg, gaseous distension, indigestion can arise. You will losr weight if you drink water about 30 minutes before eating, just to fill up your stomach. 

When you drink water after a meal, first the solid part of the food you have consumed, which is heavy, goes down, and water fills the stomach, leaving no space for air. This inhibits the churning action that mixes the food, water and digestive juice). It affects both the quality of the food as well as the digestive strength. Drinking a lot of water after a meal, increases Kapha energy with a corresponding feeling of laziness, tiredness and sleepiness after the meals, which leads to a tendency of obesity over a period of time. 

Ayurveda recommends that sipping small quantities of water with your meal (Astanga Hrdayam - Sutra Stana 5th Chapter) works like nectar and aids good digestion. It keeps the food moist, which helps to break down the food better. Sippling water with your meal helps to mix the food, water and digestive juices in beneficial proportions, and increases Pitta energy or Agni to facilitate good digestion. It quenches your thirst. It can be room temperature, or hot water, depending upon your body type, but should never be ice-cold, as this would douse your digestive fire. 

If you are eating a plain meal, without spices, then spice water will aid digestion. On the other hand, if you are eating an Ayurvedic meal, then sippin plain water with your meals is best, because Ayurvedic food already contains spices and you don't want to overwhelm your body.

A cup of water with your meal is adequate, but it does dep[end on what you are eating. Sop, for instance, if you are eating soup  or dhal, you will needs much less water. However, if you are eating a larger quantity of dry food, such as dry biscuits or you will need to sip more water.

Squatting in the toilet can help evacuate your colon

​The root cause of Alzheimer's and many so-called degenerative diseases is not caused by genetics, or even old age. It's because of the bacteria-like fungal organism, present in the gut, that eats away people's brains, and destroys their memories. 

Proper elimination is one of the basic, core foundations for a healthy digestive system and good absorption of nutrients. It has been believed for ages that a person who has a well-balanced digestive and eliminating system has the ability to deficate easily, and within minutes.

To aid this process and allow the body to make use of its natural urge, a squatting style toilet has been used for centuries. In fact, constipation in a huge percentage of cases can be avoided by just switching to a squatting style toilet. Now, people all over the world who are constipated are advised to squat for a couple of minutes before going to the bathroom or to use a squatting stool. This simple and efficient method can take a little while to get accustomed t,o but can go a long way in preventing constipation and hundreds of other gastrointestinal problems.

Eat Food Fresh

It's undeniable - fresh food has a "je ne sais quoi" about it - something special even if you can't detect the difference in a lab. There's something bright, juicy and colorful about fresh food. Classical Ayurveda recommends against eating leftovers, for several reasons. But is leftover food really as bad as Ayurveda claims? There were no refrigerators in ancient India when the Ayurvedic rules were written. Does this rule still apply in modern times? Should you take a fresh look at leftovers? 

Enjoy a healthy life.


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About Shantiji

Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.

Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography

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