FOOD – NOURISHING THE MIND, BODY & SOUL

Every time I think I need to write my blog – I realize there are so many topics I could write on, so many myths I could dispel, yet somewhere I realized I was missing a point – something a lot more deeper – something I really needed to write about and did not know what that was. At the same I have been really engrossed, enchanted and mesmerized with Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson, and I totally agree with Steve’s love for Simplicity.

How often do we end up complicating things in life, purely by just over thinking or over analyzing and then end up complaining life is so complicated! There is always a simple answer to every problem, yet we choose the most complex ways to solve it, because we simply cannot believe Life can be simple. Let us take an example of our diets – don’t we readily jump, read and believe theories which tell us – some foods are amazing and how eating them would miraculously make us skinny and how some food are bad, and why we must avoid them like the plague. (And a few days later, there will be another theory speaking the exact opposite – so what really is true.. God alone knows!)

No wonder it is said that Common sense is the least common thing! Why can we not be simple with our food and food choices? Why go to extremes – why completely eliminate certain foods, why only eat certain foods?

Now let us talk basic. Scientifically thinking – what is the purpose of eating? Why do we eat food?

Answer: the body uses food to perform one or more of four main functions:

To supply energy – Food supplies the fuel or energy needed to perform the many tasks of everyday living. We need energy to think, breathe, walk, sit, speak and even sleep. We get energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It is important that we eat enough food to supply all our needs. If we don’t, we will feel tired and listless. Having no energy can be compared to a car that has run out of fuel. On the other hand, if we eat more food than what our body needs – we do know that it makes us FAT

For growth and repair Food provides the materials needed to build, repair and maintain body tissues. Proteins, fats and minerals are the best nutrients for growth. Growing bodies need extra amounts of these nutrients. Every person whether growing or not, is going through a continual repair process of replacing injured or dead cells. It is food that supplies the nutrients necessary for this process.

For regulation – Food supplies the substances that help regulate the body’s processes. Water, vitamins and minerals help regulate breathing, the nervous system, digestion, blood circulation and the elimination of waste products from the body. They help keep all the systems in the body working properly.

For protection – Vitamins, minerals and protein keep the body’s tissues and organs healthy. Healthy organs are less likely to be attacked by disease.

This is what science has to say! But is this why we eat food or is this how we decide what we will eat for lunch or dinner? Though some of us do include certain things in our diets that are aimed at health, yet 80% of our food choices are emotional. Very often after eating amazing food we say – ‘what a soul-satisfying meal?’ or ‘dil khush ho gaya’. So doesn’t this imply that our foods not only nourish our body but our soul too! Great food can have an uplifting impact on our mood and vice versa.

How about we get simple with food? Can we eat not to just stuff ourselves but to nourish our soul? Enjoying our now, reveling in the beauty of the world and the simple pleasures of existence are equally important to our survival as food is. Gratitude and a sense of abundance, no matter how little we may seem to have, makes us happy, content and fulfilled. Perhaps all these may even help the body metabolize our food better.

Being skinny or size 0 can never guarantee enlightenment, happiness, or inner peace – it is instead a choice we make. In every moment can choose to be happy NOW, love and accept our body the way it is TODAY.

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I would suggest a small exercise by Louise Hay for a week – “Cease all criticism of yourself and others. Accept yourself as you are. Praise yourself as much as you can. Criticism breaks down the inner spirit, praise builds it up. Look into a mirror often and simply say: I LOVE YOU, I REALLY LOVE YOU. It may be difficult at first, but keep practicing and soon you will mean and feel what you say. Love yourself as much as you can and all of life will mirror this love back to you.

And after a week assess – how you are feeling? How your body is responding to a simple change in your thoughts? See how nourished your soul feels after receiving this love? Would love to hear your experience.  🙂

 

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What is your body or rather your excess weight trying to tell you?

To my all patients, I keep reiterating the fact, “Listen to your body. Listen to your gut.” I am strong believer of the fact that if something is there in our life – could be a person, a situation or anything and it bothers us in some way – then may be it is here to teach us something. Like Pema Chodron says – “nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know …nothing ever really attacks us except our own confusion. Perhaps there is no solid obstacle except our own need to protect ourselves from being touched. Maybe the only enemy is that we don’t like the way reality is now and therefore wish it would go away fast. But what we find as practitioners is that nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. If we run a hundred miles an hour to the other end of the continent in order to get away from the obstacle, we find the very same problem waiting for us when we arrive. It just keeps returning with new names, forms, manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter, without hesitating or retreating into ourselves.”

Is this not true about “losing weight” too? There so many fad diets, diet plans, diet foods and what not to make one “lose the extra weight”. We treat this excess weight in the body like an invader in our space, which we just want to get rid off. Did you once think where and how did you manage to pile on this extra weight? It definitely wasn’t injected in your system while you were sleeping – that you woke up next morning and you were twice your size! It was a gradual weight gain.

Can we once try and acknowledge that yes this extra weight is a part of me and if it comes back stubbornly no matter how many crazy diets I do, then may be its trying to tell me something? Our body is constantly talking to us, sending us messages, but the point is – are we listening? We keep ignoring what our body is trying tell us gently and thus we land up in a state where the body shouts out loud in the form of disease or weight gain!

Let me give you an example – busy watching the ‘game’ on tv late night with friends, you tank up on beer, pizza and chips. Next day morning being work day – you wake up tired, dehydrated, bloated, gassy, burpy and so on.. This was your body’s gentle way of letting you know of its discomfort. But what do you do when this happens – you now OD on coffee to feel kicked and silence the stomach by taking an antacid. Do you know what you just did? Imagine your child is coming to you crying because he hurt himself. Would you ask your child why he is crying or would you just stuff and tape his mouth to make him stop crying? Sounds cruel, doesn’t it? That is exactly what you put your stomach through.

WE abuse our system, WE eat mindlessly, WE put on the weight and now WE torture our body for being FAT! Silly, isn’t it? Just like in the previous example where we would ask the child – “tell me beta, what happened?” – can we ask our body that too? Can we really find out what is making us fat – despite our various attempts at “burning it”?

Excess weight here is trying to convey a message to you. If you kill the messenger – that is, if you actually do lose the weight but don’t understand why it was here in the first place – it returns. Don’t most people who do crash diets know this? There is no moral or personal failure here. It is not about eating less calories or switching to fat-free version instead of full-fat versions. We just didn’t listen deeply enough to what it was trying to tell us.

Trying to get rid of weight by “losing it” is like trying to get rid of paying a high electricity bill by shredding and throwing it out. Waah- phaado aur phekdo! Bill hi nahi toh pay kya karoge? The problem is though, when you throw out the bill, not only will you lose your electricity connection but also another one comes in the mail, and this time with a late fee. Throw that one away too and you just landed yourself in some serious mess.

Is it not just simple to pay the bill? The bill and the extra weight are here just to point to certain facts. The bill points to the fact that you use electricity in your house and you need to pay for it. Shredding and discarding it is of no use. Likewise, excess weight points to something else. To simply get rid of it for the sake of getting rid of it is of no use

So finally – coming to the core question –   “What is this extra weight trying to tell me?” Each one may have different answer to this question, and below are just a few common and obvious ones. Being overweight can point to:

  • Our poor nutritional choices
  • Eating out of Emotional hunger – (https://whosayshealthyfoodaintfun.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/my-relationship-status-to-my-food-its-complicated-really/)
  • Unsatisfied emotional wants or needs
  • Suppressed and repressed feelings
  • Low self-esteem leading to unclear identity about self
  • A big need to be loved and wanted (chocolate satisfies these cravings often)
  • A vicious cycle of guilt eating and self-hatred
  • Mindless eating leading to disconnection from the body/ stomach
  • Emotional hurts or wounds
  • Emptiness
  • Financial worries
  • Creative blocks or suppressed creativity
  • Being un-true and dishonest to our own inner self
  • Revenge
  • Fear, anxiety
  • Stress, etc

Each one of these is like a wounded child. It needs our attention. We cannot avoid these or shred it like the bill or just lose fat by crazy exercise and diet routine. It is time we sit with ourselves, look inside of us, see what we are running away from, look and examine what we are trying so hard to hide. It is time we love, accept, honour and listen to what our body is trying to tell us, otherwise we will continue this cycle of putting on weight-losing it and putting it back on. I agree it is not an easy process. Looking at our wounds may not be a beautiful sight, but the only way out is through it.

We have tried the fad diets, the quick fixes. Did it work? Then why not muster some courage and face ourselves. Things may not be as bad as we think they are.

So – WHAT IS YOUR BODY OR RATHER YOUR EXCESS WEIGHT TRYING TO TELL YOU?

 

Food for Thought – Are our Children Eating Right?

KidZania, Mumbai is simply fabulous! It is a child’s dream come true. Right from the concept to planning and execution to the designing and structuring – this place is FAB! Splendid execution of their philosophy of empowering, inspiring and educating kids through real-life role-playing activities. By blending reality with entertainment, KidZania provides an authentic and powerful developmental platform, preparing kids to understand and manage their world better.

Yesterday (4-Jun-14) was the first time, I visited this place and was totally in awe and in love with it. I wish I could be child again, just for a day to enjoy this place. It is a magnet-like place for kids. Kids being so impressionable take back not only wonderful memories but thoughts, inspirations and new ideas.

Though this place is perfect, I just felt one tiny bit missing. That while we are introducing children to such mind-blowing achievable ideas at this stage – we are completely overlooking the nutrition aspect of the foods being served there. Honestly, I love my pizzas or burgers or donuts – I am not someone to deny myself or someone else these foods, but I feel that from a place like Kidzania where kids learn so much consciously as well as subconsciously – it would be really awesome to give them these same pizzas, burgers or anything else – served more nutritiously. Let each meal be complete meal – with carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins & minerals (veggie portion)! We could have healthier soft drink options like nimboo pani (lime juice)! This way we look into their health aspect too! When a place like Kidzania would inculcate the right eating habits to a child – imagine how much are we teaching them! Eating right – when embraced since childhood can prevent issues like obesity and other related health conditions in the future – like heart disease or diabetes. While we are educating them on so many other things, why not food too! This is just my opinion.

( I sent out this as a mail to KidZania HQ – Mexico & received a wonderful reply from them, to which I am even more glad that yes – it matters and makes a difference when people are giving their best to provide better to kids world over)

(This whole experience made me get into trying out some interesting – yum healthy recipes.. Experiments on.. will post pics soon.. 🙂 🙂 )

As I was writing this as a blog post it struck why should just KidZania do this? Why not every school do this? Schools are where, as kids we have learnt the most – not just from books, but from our teachers, friends, not-so-dear friends 😉 but, yes, experiences and memories – lots of them! So, what if every school inculcates this culture of eating right from when the child joins school, I can only imagine – how fit a generation will be now looking at!

And why just eating right – why not thinking right too – where they are guided and nurtured through enjoyable, thought stimulating and creative activities to help develop their creative talents in a subtle way, with the wisdom that children need in order to trust their inner voice.  It helps them to develop their character, and enhances their social and creative skills.  What if they are also taught to love and accept themselves right from that age? Don’t we build our response or responding system to our current environment, based on our previous experiences, more so as kids? When a child is taught to be gentle with him or herself; support, love, accept and honour themselves – wouldn’t it be just amazing? This would be in the true sense of the words – “An All Round Development” of the child. Think about it!

Pic from KidZania –

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Healthy Heart Worshop

Heart BigHealthy Lifestyle + Healthy Diet + Healthy Thoughts= HEALTHY HEART

Date – 31st May 2014

Time – 1pm – 4pm

If you or someone in your family has been diagnosed with heart disease or are at risk for developing it, you might be surprised to learn that simple changes in your diet, lifestyle and even thoughts will profoundly affect your heart health, because – Complete Cardiovascular health must address the whole Heart–its physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects.

Healthy Heart Workshop is a mind-body approach to preventing and healing heart disease by strengthening the existing and creating total heart health. By exploring key areas of your life, you can take a step forward to heal your heart. Along with nutrition and exercise, we will also focus on creating changes in our environment – internally as well as externally. Take a simple example – the way you communicate, or how you handle stress have a big effect on your heart.

Topics covered –

Lifestyle

Making lifestyle changes can often help relieve signs and symptoms of heart disease; prevent the disease from worsening and even prevent the occurrence of heart disease Instead of creating lists of restrictions – do’s and don’ts  & good and bad foods, we focus to create a happy, healthy life in a way that is flexible, fun and free of denial and discipline

Nutrition

No one diet works for everyone. We focus to find the food and lifestyle choices that best support you and to make gradual, lifelong changes that enable you to reach your current and future health goals.

Mind – Body connection

What is your heart trying to tell you? Physical symptoms are merely tangible evidence of what is going on in your unconscious mind and how you are REALLY feeling deep inside.  Your emotions play a crucial role in ensuring your needs are met.  So, if they are ignored, your subconscious mind must find another way to get its message across and help you see that your deeper needs are not being met.   Symptoms are the way your body alerts you to how you are out of balance.

Workshop Conducted by – Dr. Khushboo Thakker

She is a Homeopath, a Certified Trichologist from the International Association of Trichologists, Australia; Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist from the California Institute of Hypnosis and Certified Nutritional Counsellor from Sophia College.     

She believes in a holistic approach towards fitness and emphasizes on a healthy lifestyle rather than any drastic changes that are not long term. She is completely convinced that it is possible to be madly in love with food and yet be very healthy and fit.

To Register Contact – 09820770536