Diet and Lifestyle (Advice and Guidance)
Our dietary choices are key to good health within all levels of our being. There is much information in the media about what comprises a 'good' diet and much of it written by ill-informed employees within marketing departments. The reality is that as a member of a species of the natural world your dietary needs for optimum health revolve around eating the appropriate whole foods sourced from the natural world. For many hundreds of thousands of years humans have eaten such a diet which varies according to seasons and the prevailing weather conditions of where they live.
It is only in the past hundred years or so that our modern world has dramatically changed how it produces foods. In addition a massive food processing industry has been created that prepares meals for us. It is an industry that revolves around selling as much as it can and making as much profit as it can. It will aim to use the cheapest ingredients possible and frequently substitute 'fillers' for food to save on cost. Many of the constituents are not found in nature and so not recognizable by the body - such as hydrogenated fats, nature identical flavours, additives, e numbers, pesticides and even added vitamins. Quite simply processed foods stress the body. The body uses valuable resources to process them, detoxify and eliminate them. Try to empower yourself by educating yourself about food and diet.
Some pointers that might help you when making dietary choices:
pH It is essential for good health that the pH of your body is slightly alkaline and this maintained within a fairly narrow range. Choose foods that have a neutral or alkalinising effect such as fresh green vegetables, carrots, beetroot, lentils, pulses and seeds.
Buy fresh and organic Buy your fresh vegetables from your local health food shop if you have one. Organically grown foods contain substantially more nutrients than non-organic, are likely to have fewer ‘food miles’ and so will be fresher. The quality of fresh foods can vary enormously depending on how they are grown, transported and stored and to what extent they are processed. Generally unprocessed foods contain substantially more nutrition and won’t contain the additives that processed foods contain.
Whole foods Choose wholefoods and food products made with unbleached, unprocessed ingredients.
Essential fatty acids These are essential to health and can be found in cold pressed plant oils such as hemp or linseed oil or fish oils. Do not heat oils and use coconut oil to cook with.
Drink water preferably spring, or if from the mains then filtered. Aim to drink a pint of warm water before breakfast and another 1-2 pints during the day between meals.
Avoid processed meat products and keep meat to a minimum and preferably organically sourced.
Avoid sugar, starchy foods, grains and dairy if you can and avoid processed foods.
Avoid dehydrating drinks such as tea, coffee, alcohol and sugar / aspartame laden drinks.
Candida Candida can be found naturally in our digestive system and proliferates in a body fed on acid forming foods high in refined ingredients especially sugar and starch. Candida creates havoc in our bodies and is an underlying contributor to many of the illnesses of our modern world.
Observe the effects that eating different foods have on your wellbeing. If some foods leave you with a feeling of stress, lethargy or mental fugue then avoid them.
Choose healthy food rather than using supplements if you can.
Breakfast Soak a handful of seeds with a few raisins to sweeten in a bowl over night for a highly nutritious breakfast.
Lunch Food process the following for a nutritious and energising lunch: chopped raw beetroot, carrot, cabbage, celery, avocado, salad leaves with some fresh herbs or garlic. Add a handful of soaked seeds or nuts and some raisins to sweeten. Dress with lemon juice and hemp oil.
Dinner An ideal evening meal would comprise lentils, brown rice or quinoa and steamed vegetables. Use whole spices to flavour and dress with lemon juice and hemp oil.
- Use organic coconut oil for cooking.
- Drizzle a tablespoon of hemp oil over your prepared meal (raw salad, rice, curry or steamed vegetables) and add a squeeze of lemon juice for a wonderful flavour.
- Always, always, always soak seeds and nuts for at least an hour and preferably overnight before eating them.
- Better still start to sprout seeds and add them to your meals in that form. You can soak or sprout lentils and pulses as well and add them raw to your meal. Brown lentils, sunflower and radish seeds work well.
Natural Light Last but not least ensure you get outside into natural daylight for at least a half hour per day but preferably longer. This allows your body to create Vitamin D and melatonin.
A low fat diet can be harmful. Why?
The liver is the most important route for the processing and elimination of toxins because it filters these harmful substances from the blood. It then processes them to allow them to be excreted via the gall bladder. The gall bladder is connected to the liver and stores the bile which is released into the duodenum and this only by the presence of fats in the duodenum.
Ergo if we eat a diet that is low in fat then the secretion of bile is inhibited and toxins are retained in the liver and the most important route of elimination in the body is therefore blocked. Toxins backs up so that all tissues including the fluid inside the cells is unable to be cleared. All metabolic and maintenance processes are interfered with and adversely affected.
Continual retention of an ever increasing toxic load in the body means an increasing level of toxins in the blood and tissues which leads to illness.
This causes symptoms such as fatigue, bad skin, headaches, obesity (the body retains more water in the tissues to reduce the impact of the toxins), lowered immune system function (allergies), and deterioration of vital organs.
Essential fatty acids: As inferred these are essential to good health and can be found in cold pressed and organically grown plant oils such as hemp and linseed oil and fish oils. Omega 3 is very delicate and easily destroyed by heat and exposure to air so the method of extraction (cold pressed is best), the length of time in process and method of storage (in glass optimum) is important. Many highly processed foods which claim to contain omega 3 are unlikely to have retained the original goodness of it.
The biggest influence on cholesterol is the mix of fats in your diet with the most important mix to get right the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 oils which is 1:3.
Note: Don’t buy processed oils - those pale, thin oils in plastic bottles on supermarket shelves. Read the ingredients list – processed fats such as trans fats (hydrogenated) are poisonous to the body.
Warning: If you have had your gall bladder removed you will need to be more diligent with the quality of your diet, keep your dietary fats to a minimum and ensure they are of the highest quality. You can also research other ways to detox – skin brushing, Epsom salt baths and saunas can help but consult your GP as to any risks for your particular health condition before taking this advice!
Life - work balance
We hear a lot about life to work balance so assess how much time you spend in your average day on the following:
- Work you do that pays the bills – do you enjoy your job?
- Connecting with others
- Passive relaxation time such as watching tv, gaming, going online, reading
- Connecting with yourself, your feelings, the changes you’d like to make in your life
- Connecting with others in a mutually nurturing and authentic way
- Being in nature
Get a page a day diary and log where you spend your time. You won’t have to do it for long before you’ll see a pattern emerging.
Self-awareness and self-nurture
Journal Start a journal where you bring some focus to looking at who you actually are and what drives you. What are your beliefs, expectations, feelings, problem areas in your life? Do you have fears that affect your choices for yourself? Don’t judge yourself but allow yourself to just consider what is going on in your life. Get to know yourself in an aware and honest way. Observe your responses and reactions in your everyday life. Do you respond honestly and authentically or do you hide who you are in certain ways or certain situations? Do you need to make changes in your life, your relationships or your friends?
Exercise Ensure you spend 20 minutes or more in some form of daily exercise that exerts you enough to warm your body and increase your rate of breathing. If you are not used to exercising or in ill health then just try a few minutes a day and work up to the 20 minutes. Do not stress your body and be aware of your limitations. Exercise grounds you and gets you into your body and out of the constant stream of thought in your mind.
Tune into yourself When you first awake and before you open your eyes become aware of the feelings in your body and any emotions you may be experiencing. Do a quick mental review of what you will be doing that day. Are there any feelings of apprehension or fear? Why? Once you are up and if you are able to spend 10-15 minutes at least of going into silence and this twice a day. The more you tune into yourself the more you can be yourself. See below for some ideas of how to do this:
Ways to connect to your inner life:
Be creative Creativity is available to all of us and can manifest in a myriad of ways from designing the interior of our house or garden, cooking, or an infinity of other pastimes and hobbies with the better known ones being art, creative writing or fashion design. Just doodle shapes and random images with no conscious thought or plan and see what comes. Insights and inspiration can come in this way.
Spend time in nature. You first and foremost belong to a species of the natural world. Trees, plants and animals are fully connected to the intelligent energy that made them which is also our own source of being. So being in nature helps connect you to your true self.
Be in silence. We live in a world of noise and distractions which keep our attention focused on the outside world rather than our inner selves. One way to connect with your inner world is through silence. Simply sit or lie away from any noise, people, the computer, phones, TV and become conscious of yourself and how you feel. Bring awareness to your body and let any tensions relax. Just ‘be.’ At first your mind will be active with thoughts, but if you just observe them being there and don’t allow your mind to pursue a train of thought then they gradually subside until you experience an inner calm.
Bring awareness to your breathing. An easy way to connect to your inner self wherever you are is to become aware of your breath. Simply shift your awareness to your breath coming into and then leaving your body. This brings your attention into the present. Allow your breathing to be focused in your abdomen rather than your chest. Let it slow bringing a sense of calm and peace in which you can observe your inner life and world. In this uncluttered space intuitive insights and creative urges can manifest.
Use a meditation method. There are many forms of meditation available to help you connect with your inner life. It requires a quiet and distraction free environment. Learn Body Calm which involves just ‘being.’ Remembrance is a Sufi practice of taking your awareness into your heart, and connecting with the universe. Vipassana meditation is a detached focus on the body and sweeping your body with your awareness. Or focus on your breath or focus visually on a candle flame. There are numerous other methods.
Release your feelings. Release the unresolved feelings which have built up and block your awareness of your inner self. Observe and detach yourself from whatever negative feeling is present in the moment, then tune into the feeling of unconditional love (see below). Note, the frequency of unconditional love cancels out / neutralises the frequency of the feeling that is ‘not love.’The negative feeling should be dissolved then notice what feeling surfaces next and so on. Gradually you dissolve away the layers of feeling, until you reach a peaceful place of ‘being’. This might take practice and you might need to talk through the feelings with the help of a practitioner such as a Counsellor or Healer.
Unconditional love. Be in the world with a feeling of unconditional love. If you find difficulty in this then connect to how you feel with a person in your life whom you love unconditionally and stay with just the feeling. Then surround yourself in this feeling of unconditional love. Look at any discordant feelings this brings up for you and observe those feelings with the same feeling of unconditional love. The more you do this – and you can do this wherever you are – the more you connect to who you truly are. In addition you’ll be connecting to your intuition, the guidance from your higher self and guardian angel as well as the people and world around you – this should improve life choices and decision-making. Your self-expression will be more authentic which should improve relationships.