Holistic Approaches


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Holistic Approach


 Feeling tired, stressed and confused? Are your emotions playing roller-coaster with you? Perhaps it’s time to look into your nutrition.

 Starting with the assumption that you are made of energy, body-mind-emotions-spirit, and that the food you consume is also energy, it is clear that anything you ingest will impact all levels of your system. From all food products available in the stores, some are fuel for your body, and some are stress factors. There are foods your body needs to digest; others, it needs to overcome.

 Knowledge about nutrition has been around since human civilization. From Ayurveda (ancient Indian medicine system), to Traditional Chinese Medicine, to aboriginal healing practices, and more, food has been regarded as a means to heal the body when consumed appropriately. Today, in the age of super-fast electronic information, all knowledge is at the tips of your fingers, abundantly. This can be, at times, confusing. What type of nutrition is best for you? Vegetarian? Vegan? Macrobiotics? Ayurveda? Chinese tradition? Is red meat good for you? Is keeping away from red meat wise? What about consuming soy products, red wine and chocolate? Some studies bring contradictory reports, and while foods like soy, red wine and chocolate have some benefits, they also have less desirable qualities.

 Your best choice is to listen to your own body and energy, to decide what is good for you to eat and when. You are an individual person with individual needs in each moment, and your inner wisdom is your best bet expertise. Observe how you feel after eating each foods. You can check for food and food combination sensitivities either with your naturopath’s technology (Vega test); with your holistic health facilitator, by muscle testing; and self-testing with your own body.

 Apply your common sense to observe what works for others. Notice various ethnic groups’ health and longevity, and learn from their lifestyle, including their nutrition. For instance, the Japanese are known for their longevity. The Japanese traditional cuisine is base primarily on vegetables, rice and fish, very little meat, and no dairy or sweets.  The Greeks seemed to be doing pretty well health and longevity wise before the MacDonald era. Their traditional cuisine includes lots of raw dairy (not skimmed!), sheep’s yoghourt, olives and olive oil, wine and great quantities of vegetables. The Greek dairy is unprocessed; it’s the white, not yellow, cheese: the famous feta.

Also, look for the common denominator in most nutrition theories, as well as in the cultures known for their longevity. For instance, think which cultures traditionally consume extensively cured meats? How are they doing healthwise? How about “meat and potatoes” – animal protein with abundant starch and no vegetables; sweets; processed cheese? Pick your own “nutritional heroes” and take what resonates with you from their diet.

 Let’s take a few suggestions that many nutrition theories agrees upon:

  • Water

 Most of your body is made of water. Pure, clean water is paramount to your health and aliveness. The recommended way to drink water is to sip throughout the day half your body weight in pounds, in ounces of pure water. Drink an 8 ounce glass of water each hour. Other liquids will not do: each food has its own agenda in your body; coffee, tea, juice, milk: they all do something for your system. Pure, clean, natural water cannot be replaced. 

  • Sugar

 Sugar, especially refined sugar, is a stress factor for your body. Sugar is highly addictive, and it has an impact on your biology, as well as on your mental and emotional well-being. Many people are addicted to sugar and unaware of it. Sugar sensitivity translates in the way your body produces insulin, and ultimately, in your brain’s chemistry. How sugar sensitivity and addiction affects you, is being described by Kathleen DesMaisons in her books “Potatoes, Not Prozac” and “The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program”. See her website http://www.radiantrecovery.com/  Sugar addiction can be a problem for those consuming alcohol and even simply grains. Even if you stop eating sugar, grains and alcohol, you still need to stay away from hidden sugars, such as concentrated fruit juices and dried fruit. Artificial sweeteners, besides having the harmful effect that many chemicals have when ingested, tell your brain you are eating something sweet, and your body produces insulin. A sugar sensitivity can be a cause of depression, fatigue, low-self esteem and lack of discipline.

 Stopping all sugars, including alcohol, may be difficult for the first few days, if you are addicted. The bonus is that when your body is clean, your sugar cravings subside, and you are likely to feel significantly more energized, self-confident and joyful.  

  • Alcohol

 Alcohol is a stressor to your body. When you are totally radiant with health, moderate wine consumption can be enjoyed to your benefit; your body is strong enough to quickly overcome the alcohol. Until then, stay away from all alcohol. The good news is, if you like the taste, and not the brain fog of liquor, you can cook with it! Pour some wine in your dishes: the alcohol will evaporate during the cooking, and you can still enjoy the taste. 

  • Refined foods

 Foods have Mama Nature’s wisdom in them, until we alter their composition with our chemical and thermal processing. When you buy and prepare your food, ask yourself whether your meal has been greatly altered from its nature, or not. Were there chemicals, pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics added to what is in your plate now? Were there heating or chemical processes that killed the enzymes and friendly bacteria needed to a good digestion in your body? While not all agree on raw versus cooked, all nutrition gurus will tell you to eat only whole grains and stay away from anything “white” – like white rice, peeled potatoes, white flour etc. Organic is always your best choice, including your meat. 

  • Chemicals

 A friend of mine, a holistic nutritionist, taught me to always read the ingredients on the package of foods I buy. “If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!”. My advice is, buy your food fresh or frozen, and unprocessed. Buy in the farmers’ market, or in the grocery stores at the periphery aisles. Some harmful ingredients are processed from natural stuff, like MSG. Stay away from it! MSG (monosodium glutamate) opens your taste buds so you perceive more intensely all flavors in your meal. Trust the wisdom of old cultures: you can built healthy, nutritious foods from scratch, with good old spices and herbs. Is time an issue? Cook from scratch larger quantities, and freeze some.

 The aboriginals have based their living on experience, observing nature and nature’s rhythms. To check if a food is good for consumption, they would leave it outside. If no animal would touch it, neither would they. Warning: don’t try this with your pets: they are so “humanized”, they often have a sweet tooth and a taste for junk food.