Our diet of course, is in the forefront when we think about obtaining our ideal weight, so I really need to start with a focus in this area. A diet that is reflective of health and vitality in the foods we choose creates health and vitality in our bodies. When we view our food from a mechanical view we turn it into mere calories or nutritional units which we burn to create energy. We find that we give no more attention to eating, than putting fuel in our cars in order for the engine to run. Once seen this way, you approach food in terms of what is tasty and pleasing, but still low in calories. This mentality creates a market for the low fat, artificially sweetened foods which we fool ourselves into believing we can consume and be healthy. Why have we allowed our foods to become so polluted and harmed to a point where they do not offer nutritional value? Why has our food become so off balance, full of chemicals, artificial ingredients and poisons? I feel a key to this lies in the fact that we as a people have lost touch with our inner self and our connection to our Creator, our fellow human beings and Creation itself.
Consider for a moment that food is a gift from our Creator, the essence of life. Your food creates energy, which gives your body life. Deepak Chopra, MD in his new book What are you Hungry for called vegetables rainbows of energy sent down to the earth for us to enjoy. Our food is part of the cycle that connects us to our Earth, in consuming our food the energy of Creation itself, becomes a part of us. In the book Matrix Healing author Raphael Kellman MD states that "Americans are both overfed and malnourished." We have become a people who lack gratitude and have lost connection to the food we eat. He goes on to ask "what happens if we choose to see the food we crave as a gift that cows, chickens, trees and plants have chosen to share with us? What if we experience our receiving of food as the acceptance of a gift created by wind and water, flesh and blood, sun and soil?" Do you see how this shift in your perception of food, creates gratitude? Dr. Masaru Emoto in his book the healing messages of water, found that water molecules exposed to the emotion of gratitude would become some of the most beautiful crystals. While water exposed to emotions of anger, hurt, jealousy etc, would denature the molecules in the water so that it could not form crystals at all. If we consider this just for a moment, then would it not make sense that we should consume our food and water with gratitude and not to denature it?
Can you see why you might want to avoid food which has been depleted of nutrient content in order for companies to gain greater profit? Does it not make sense that if food's natural qualities have been stripped and artificial ingredients have been added, all for the purpose of companies making money, that the energy of this food might be changed as well?
What if instead you began to choose foods that are natural and close to the earth, with little processing, grown by people who care about the food and the earth? Would not these foods contain more energy, vitality and life giving properties? How do you think that food grown with love would affect your health and ability to lose weight?
When I learned about these ideas and concepts I began to look at food differently, which automatically caused me to choose my foods differently as well. I found my body craved a salad or soup full of beautiful fresh vegetables, but I felt bad, even depressed when I ate an empty processed food of some type. Even the snacks that I chose were made of pure natural ingredients. I started to read my labels to find companies which worked with sustaining the earth and raised animals in cruelty free environments. As I made these changes I realized that my food choices directly affected the level of energy and the rate of metabolism in my body.
I know so many of you are addressing the subject of losing weight. I really feel for you because there are so many factors to consider from diet, to controlling food cravings, choosing an exercise program, maintaining proper bowel elimination, water intake, controlling stress and cortisol, and balancing blood sugar and hormones levels. I plan to send you more information on these different areas so you can learn about and understand them.
If I could direct you in one thing that I think can help make the biggest difference in your obtaining success, it would be to consider the quality and source of the food you eat. Move away from foods that have been processed, denatured, or raised in unkind ways with no respect to the planet, the animals, or the people involved with them. Drink plenty of pure water. Our bodies are made of over 75% water, in the womb we are surrounded by water. The Earth is covered in water; the rain brings water to our plants and to our food supplies. The energy of water and the role it plays in our health is much greater than we can imagine. So I also encourage you to be grateful for the water you drink each day and for the work it does in your body as it bathes your cells.
As you shift your perspective on food and water, you will begin to tune into your body and hear the innate wisdom within you, which will guide and direct you on the path of creating a new and healthy body.
Food Cravings: carbohydrates and sugars
As we move forward in taking steps to create our new body and mind, our best intentions are often sabotaged by a sudden urge for a particular food or drink. We try to avoid these foods and yet we seem to have no power. Suddenly we are caught by the realization that we are being controlled by our body. Food cravings are there for a reason, they indicate a chemical imbalance which your body is trying to correct. Your body has a need, and it is trying to get your attention. If you meet that need, the craving will stop, if you don't it continues and becomes stronger and stronger.
Cravings for carbohydrates or sugars generally come because of imbalances in one of three areas: digestion, blood sugar or serotonin.
Digestive imbalances "Think of your stomach as a fire which cooks your food and breaks down the life giving nutrients (food essence) and separates the waste products for elimination. Your digestive fire needs to burn properly, just like a fireplace on a cold night in order for your body to create energy to sustain life". This energy is the essence of metabolism. People tend to equate metabolism with the thyroid, and although the thyroid plays an important role, it is the fire in your stomach that begins the process.
If your digestive fire is not working properly then your body will tend to crave carbohydrates and sugars as they are the easiest form of food to create energy from. Poor food choices, especially foods which are not natural and contain artificial ingredients tax the digestive process and cause your fire to burn very weakly. Healthy natural foods are easy to burn for energy and contain very little waste products, like burning oak in a fireplace over pine. In addition to improving your food choices you can build and enhance your digestive process with the herbal formulas Chinese Spleen Activator TCM (#1070-5), Anti-Gas with Lobelia (#1198-4) or Chewable Papaya Mint Enzymes (#485-6). If you know you have weak digestion, find it hard to build muscle, or feel tired and look pale then I suggest you use the Chinese Spleen Activator TCM at 1 capsule twice daily through one bottle and then 1 capsule daily through a couple more bottles. If you have trouble digesting various foods and often have gas, bloating or an irritable bowel, then I suggest you try the Anti-Gas with Lobelia at 2 capsules with each meal. If you have generally good digestion but just feel heavy and unsatisfied after meals try chewing one or two Papaya Mints after a meal to enhance the process of digestion. You may also combine the Spleen Activator with either of these two formulas.
Your stomach's digestive fire is also damaged by excessive worry, dwelling or thinking too much and holding in our emotions. These actions affect the way we breathe, which effects the movement of the diaphragm which decreases the oxygen we take in with each breath. This lowered oxygen intake effects our body's ability to burn food for energy. Just like closing a damper on a fire place would extinguish the fire. Practicing breathing exercises and Qi gong exercise can help increase your oxygen uptake, increase your metabolism, and decrease cravings for carbohydrates and sugars.
It is important to address your stress and pay attention to when your thinking becomes too centered and over focused. Chinese Mood Elevator helps a person to become more heart centered and less caught up in their head. Chinese Stress Relief helps to quiet the mind and stop excessive dwelling. In addition B-complex vitamins or adaptogen herbal blends like AdaptaMax (#872-9) help support your day-to-day stressors.
Blood Sugar imbalances play a key role in why we crave carbohydrates or sugars. When you consume carbohydrates or sugars in a meal or by themselves, your blood sugar levels rise. There is an optimal blood sugar level which the body needs to function at its best. If we take in too much sugar or carbs at a given time, or in a form which is processed and not paired naturally with fiber, then the blood sugar rises too high. The body controls the rise of blood sugar and carries this sugar into the cells for use as energy by producing the hormone insulin. Sometimes the body overreacts to a sudden surge in blood sugar (because you just ate 6 cookies) and over produces insulin which lowers the blood sugar too much. This then creates an alert signal in the body which says "more sugar needed fast" and this triggers an uncontrollable urge to eat something sweet.
This is why it is important to eat natural sources of sugars like a whole apple which contains fiber that slows the flow of the sugar into the blood stream. If you have been having trouble with sugar or carbohydrate cravings for awhile then your blood sugar management system may not be working properly anymore. I recommend you try the herbal formula HY-A (#950-0) at 2 capsules per meal if you tend to get low blood sugar and experience headaches or irritability if you don't eat on time. If you tend to have high blood sugar, insulin resistance, or your doctor said you are prediabetic then the Sugar Reg formula (#927-1) would be a good choice for you.
If you just want to help stop sugar cravings between meals try the new NSP Stixated drink (#6540-5) which provides chromium to balance blood sugar and Garcinia Cambodia to decrease appetite and increase metabolism.
Low Serotonin levels also create cravings for carbohydrates. Serotonin is a feel good neurotransmitter created in the brain but primarily in the intestinal tract. A lack of serotonin creates the following symptoms: Cravings for carbohydrates (they help to form serotonin), vague muscle aches and pains, insomnia, depression, binge eating, tension headaches, migraine headaches, PMS headaches, mood swings, body aches, generalized fatigue, joint swellings, numbness and tingling, fibromyalgia, obsessive compulsive behavior and addictions (alcohol, smoking, and stimulants). Stress causes serotonin levels to decrease, so make sure to properly support your stress with formulas like Nutri-Calm (#1617-3), Adrenal Support (#1507-0) or AdaptaMax (#872-9). In addition, since your digestive tract plays a major role in the production of serotonin we can once again see how eating healthy foods which are easy to digest and maintaining proper bowel function would play a role in eliminating cravings for carbohydrates. The formulas 5HTP(#2806-4) and Chinese Mood Elevator (TCM #1035-7, or 100 ct #1878-8) both help to build serotonin levels. Do not take the 5HTP if you are on a serotonin reuptake inhibitor drug without first checking with your doctor. The 5HTP can lower the need for this type of medication. To improve bowel function consider formulas like LBSII (#990-1) for a sluggish colon, Everybody's Fiber (#1336-6) for sensitive colons and Probiotic formulas like Probiotic Eleven (#1510-1) to rebalance the good bacteria which make the serotonin.
Creating a healthier you and reaching your ideal weight is not a short term program, it is a lifestyle change and commitment. To help keep you on your path towards healthy eating consider getting a subscription to a healthy eating magazine like Clean Eating Magazine, Vegetarian Times, or Eating Well. With a monthly subscription coming in the mail you will always be receiving new ideas and motivation to keep you on your path to meet your goals.
I hope I have helped to give you hope and direction on how you can improve your health, balance your weight and move forward in creating a new and healthy you!
Natural Health Counselor/Educator/Certified Herbalist
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