Food as Medicine—For Weight Loss
Americans are not the most obese people in the world. That dubious title goes to the people of Nauru. After the environment of this small country was destroyed by mining operations they were unable to grow any food so imported processed food, high in fat and sugar, now makes up the diet of these islanders.
The French eat food high in fat; in Germany and England meat is eaten at every meal; Italians enjoy a diet rich in wine, bread and pasta, yet all four countries have low rates of obesity. American weight gain has accelerated in the past 20 years. Why is it that Europeans don’t have this problem?
One answer may be that American culture focuses more on what to eat with little attention on when and how to eat. The practices of counting calories, reducing fats, increasing proteins, eating less, cutting out carbohydrates and experimenting with every new diet has not resulted in healthy Americans. The National Institute of Health reports that 99 percent of those who go on a diet gain all the weight back in three to five years.
When we compare our eating habits with those of Europeans we find some similarities to the Ayurvedic philosophy of dining. Ayurveda is India’s traditional system of medicine based on living a balanced life in harmony with the changing cycles of nature. In this system it is recognized that there are many factors contributing to a healthful diet. The simplest are to consider what, when and how you eat. There may be other reasons for being overweight of course, such as a weak digestive system, thick bile, low thyroid or dehydration.
Eating With the Seasons
In Ayurveda it is suggested that our best medicine is food harvested in season. In Europe, and many other countries, people buy foods at local farmers markets, which ensures that these foods are seasonal.
In the winter Nature provides us with an antidote to the cold weather — soups, stews, meats, grains and fats. It is the time of year to eat more protein and healthy oils.
In the spring we can eat foods that are low-fat and mucous-reducing such as leafy greens, sprouts, berries, root veggies and grapefruits. These foods are fat-burning and detox foods.
In hot summer months, we can harvest cool fruits and veggies to help keep us from getting overheated and dried out.
To begin the weight loss process, try eating three substantial meals a day without between-meal snacks. This will begin to nudge your ability to make energy last from one meal to the next. In between meals, your body burns fat, which is your stable, non-emergency fuel. If you are stressed, your body sends the signal to store fat and crave sugar — our cultural epidemic.
Before 2:00 pm the digestive process is strongest. So having your most substantial meal in the middle of the day can help afternoon cravings to disappear. As your blood sugar becomes more stable, notice how your hunger level in the evening will become less voracious. You can begin to eat an earlier and lighter supper.
How to eat
Eating while driving, in front of the TV, or on the phone, creates a stressful situation for digesting food. When you are relaxed, the digestive process is more effective. The mind and body are nourished, and you can experience the taste of the food and assimilate the mental, physical and spiritual benefits of a balanced meal. In slimmer countries people sit down for every meal. They relax, dine and enjoy well-prepared food in a relaxed social setting. Try making meal time a sacred event.
Ayurveda recommends a couple of formulas to help those that already have an unhealthy amount of weight. This package of Shardunika, Optimum Weight formula and an Ayurvedic Determination of Constitution, can empower you to gradually change your diet and lose weight in a healthy way. http://www.curanderahealing.com/store/p12/Weight_Loss_Program.html
This herbal formula used to balance the blood sugar should only be used with the supervision of your health practitioner. http://www.curanderahealing.com/store/p12/Weight_Loss_Program.htmlhttp://www.curanderahealing.com/store/p22/Diabetes%2C%C2%A0Ayurvedic_Tradition%C2%A0cert._organic.html
Athena Wolf is an Ayurvedic physician practicing in Mimbres. You can contact her with questions at curanderahealing.com.