By nature, our bodies were created/evolved in balance and in harmony with its surroundings. Our job is to get and keep them that way. When it comes to what we eat, it is not just the type of food that influences the balance but how we combine it with others and prepare it.
A vital area of balance is between acid and alkaline. According to many nutritionists, well over 50 percent of our diet should be alkaline-forming. However, much of our modern Western fast-food diet is largely acid forming. Note that there is a difference between acidic food and acid-forming food. For instance a lemon is acidic, but is alkaline-forming in the body. This subject is covered extensively in the book Acid and Alkaline by Herman Aihara (George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation, Oroville, CA, 1986). He is an authority on the macrobiotic diet (see Macrobiotics page) which is an excellent study for anyone desiring a wholesome lifestyle. It does not just cover food, but how to maintain a healthy balance in all aspects of our life, which is also the goal of this website.
There are so many variables in our diet, and hundreds of books and programs, many of them with contradicting views. The key is not to lose sight of the forest for the trees. Fanaticism and rigidity can undo you, as well as trying to change your diet too fast. Be kind to yourself and your body!! Give it time to get used to big changes or you might have a negative experience and then stop and discard it. If you are going to make any big changes, please consult a doctor or nutritionist! Try to tune-in to what your body needs. Pray for guidance. And the more balanced your diet gets the easier it will become to tune-in to that small voice within. To help you on your way, here are some subjects that often cause concern or confusion. You can also search this page for subject matter by pressing Ctrl+F on your keyboard to open the Find feature (comand+F for Mac).
The balance between taking supplements and getting enough nutrients from your food.
The balance between raw and cooked food.
Detoxification and Fasting.
"Healthy alternative" myths and health alerts.
Wholesome weight loss
More to come! If you have a subject you would like covered, let us know.
The balance between taking supplements and getting enough nutrients from your food.
The main argument for taking supplements is that because of intensive farming practices, the soil that our food is grown in is getting continually depleted of nutrients.
Also, many of the essential nutrients in food only develop when the food ripens, and a lot of mass produced food today is picked before ripening. This is done so that the food does not spoil on the ever-increasing distances to the marketplace. This is true even if you buy organic produce. Food storage and preservation further deprives food of nutritional value. So how many minerals or vitamin pills should you pop? The solution is not that simple. For one thing, people’s metabolisms and needs are different. Plus, our bodies are highly complex organisms designed to process wholesome foods, and they co-ordinate many delicate balances. Artificial interference through taking synthetic pills can upset those balances and be detrimental to our health. That may sound surprising to many, but most “natural” supplements are synthetically produced by the major pharmaceutical companies. (More on this below.) The safest way is to rely on nutrient-rich whole foods.
One of the best sources, and one that’s often most lacking in our diets, is leafy greens. I can almost hear the reactions to this, like “Oh no, not spinach again!” Well, a lot of cooked spinach all at once is not so good for you anyway, as it (and red chard also) is high in oxalic acid that inhibits the absorption of calcium. But a little bit is fine, plus there are lots and lots and lots of other wonderful leafy greens, and they don’t have the oxalic acid problem. Most of them are easy to grow in your backyard, especially green or Swiss chard. It just needs a bit of time and effort to get used to doing something different. : ) Another great source of nutrition is fresh fruit and vegetable juices. One of the best authors on the subject is Dr. Norman Walker, who has written many good books, including Become Younger. He explains that since fruits & veggies have harnessed energy from the sun (like chlorophyll through photosynthesis), they contain the life force within the fibers, liberated by your juicer, that have the capacity to rebuild the cells of our bodies. But remember your yin/yang balance, as described in Macrobiotics. For example, juices are normally yin, so don't over-do them if you are already yin. And don't over-do liquids in general.
An excellent resource to find out how to get all the nutrients you need from food, including Vitamin B-12 for vegetarians, is the chapter called “Is One a Day Too Much?” in the book The Macrobiotic Way by Michio Kushi (Avery books, 1985). (See the Macrobiotics page for more on Macrobiotics.) His attitude towards supplements is that a balanced macrobiotic diet, which is based on organic whole foods, supplies all the essential minerals and vitamins in quantities equal to or greater than the RDAs (Recommended Daily Allowances), without supplements. But a balanced macrobiotic diet is not easy to change to overnight.
If you need a supplement for leafy greens and other vegetables, there are a lot of “super food” mixtures on the market today, which are better than vitamin tablets. They include things like dried vegetable juices and algae, soy lecithin, bee pollen etc. A word of caution, though. Some have quite a few herbs added. Herbs are more like medicine than food and are best used for treating a specific condition in consultation with a naturopathic or other doctor. A good product without lots of herbs is Greens Rx
produced by Green Kamut Corp. (Warning: These kinds of products can have a detoxifying reaction effect. See Detoxification section on this page for more info.) However, these “super” foods are not perfect. For one thing, the vitamin and mineral levels are often too low if you need to treat a specific condition, and they are not always listed on the label. Also, a normal piece of whole food has a certain surface area. When you make it into a powder, that surface area is increased hundreds of times, which increases the oxidation of the food, which reduces it’s quality. This is also true for all flour-based products.
Other types of food supplements include things like flax seed oil for Omega-3, -6 and -9 nutrients, liquid soy protein extract seasoning like Bragg™ for amino acids, acidophilus for intestinal flora etc.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
If you feel you need to take vitamin or mineral supplements, it is best to consult a health care professional. Some supplements, especially those containing certain herbs, may pose safety problems or have the potential to interact with drugs. Also, begin taking one new product at a time. Then, if you have a negative reaction, you don't have to guess which one may have caused it. Some supplements can also irritate your digestive system and be detrimental to your health.
Once you’ve decided to take supplements, a word to the wise: Buyer beware! Just because they say “natural” on the label doesn’t mean that all is well. It will pay you to do your own research. For instance, a large amount of Vitamin C sold today is being derived from Genetically Engineered (GE) corn. Make sure the contents are certified organic if you want to avoid GE content. Also, many supplements are not in a form that our body recognises as food and can absorb properly. An extensive amount of scientific research in this area has been done by
Intracell Nutrition Inc
. They have found strong evidence that the vitamins and minerals in food are bound up in highly complex molecular structures which they call the “food matrix” that cannot be duplicated in the USP and FCC chemical processes used to produce most supplements.
Most supplement companies buy USP/FCC supplements in bulk from pharmaceutical companies and then blend them together into formulations and market them under their own brand names. For instance, Vitamin B1 might be in the chemically synthesized USP form of Thiamine Hydrochloride (see the ingredients table on the side of your vitamin bottle). This is not in a “food matrix” form, even when they mix it with foods like lecithin to form a base, and therefore still not recognized by the body as food. The Intracell research team found a way to produce supplements in a form that the body recognises as food and can therefore absorb and utilize better, which they call
FOODFORM® vitamins and minerals. Their main product is called Manna®, which is a concentrated 100% wholefood supplement with the vitamin, mineral and general nutrient profile of a perfectly balanced diet. They also have other good products like FOODFORM® Glutathione - "The Mother of All Antioxidants®" which is a whole food, unlike L-glutathione found in other brands. Details on the subject can be obtained on their website.
Mannatech Inc., which is a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) company, has a product called Profile, which is also in a food matrix form. They also market a range of phytochemical and glyconutritional products which are gaining a lot of credibility in the new “nutraceutical” industry. However, some of their product’s ingredients are questionable, like bovine (cow) testes extract, and it can be very costly to get involved. There are also lots of other companies out there with some very good products. Glyconutrients help cell-to-cell communication and phytochemicals act as strong anti-oxidants and help immune system support and in fighting carcinogens. Then there is IP-6 and GHR-15 and on and on. If you just want to get a mineral supplement without vitamins, the best form (besides FOODFORM®) is in an “ionic” liquid or second best, “colloidal” form, for easier absorption by the body. Most mineral tablets and capsules are little more than ground-up rocks, which your body is not designed to absorb as food. But there is still a lack of documented research as to the absorption of these non-foodmatrix minerals, even in ionic form.
Another factor that could possibly make most theories on supplements obsolete is the principle of atomic transmutation, which has been acknowledged in the East for centuries. This is covered briefly in Appendix 1 - Transmutation, in the book 7 Basic Macrobiotic Principles by Herman Aihara (The Grain and Salt Society, P.O. Box DD, Magalia, CA 95954). It refers to research stated in Biological Transmutation by Louis Kervran (Swan House Publishing, Bklyn, N.Y.)and condensed by George Ohsawa, proving that our body constantly changes one mineral into another, as it needs. But this is more prevalent in a healthy, well balanced body on a wholesome diet. This subject is also covered on page 151 of Our Earth, Our Cure by Raymond Dextreit (Swan House, Bklyn, N.Y., 1974).
The Bottom Line on Supplements
Taking extra care to eat a really well-balanced diet that is appropriate for you is much more natural and holistic than getting involved in any one of these products or companies, and a lot more economical (unless you’re doing it as a MLM business). There is a strong tendency to get pre-occupied and “dug-in” with supplements, and you tend to lose the holistic big picture. Our time is usually better spent in service to others. See also “The balance between what we put into our mouths and what comes out” on the General Balance page.
The balance between raw and cooked food.
As cooking tends to kill or reduce some of the nutrients in food, especially vegetables, raw food is usually considered more healthy. This is partly true, and if you follow a raw food diet with intelligent balance, it can be very healthy. However, is not necessarily the most holistic way to approach the subject. Raw food takes more time and energy to digest, so it’s more suited for cultures where people walk instead of drive. Also, the vitamins we eat are used partly for the breakdown of food. But cooking also helps breakdown carbohydrates and protein, so some of the vitamins lost during cooking are no longer needed anyway.
More interesting points on this subject were made in a lecture called “Why Is Cooking Important?” by Herman Aihara. It is available on the 2 cassette album A89044 (2 hr. 25 min.) from the bookstore section of the Ascended Master Network (www.summitlighthouse.org). Or contact the Vega Study Center, founded by Herman Aihara (www.vega.macrobiotic.net). Another factor is that cooking makes food more yang, which improves our body's transmutation ability (see Atomic transmutation in the section above). It can therefore produce more of it's own vitamins and enzymes.
So those are some of the reasons why it’s okay to cook food. It should not be a case of either/or but a healthy balance between the two. However, if you prefer munching on raw squash, don’t let me discourage you. :) And if you feel committed to following a raw food diet, go to http://www.rawhealth.net for some good resources on the subject.
The main argument for food combining is that our bodies use different enzymes etc. to digest different categories of foods like protein and carbohydrates, and that it is best to eat them separately. This sounds good in theory, but it’s not very appetizing sitting down to a meal of all carbohydrates. Besides, natural food is already mixed. It’s never 100 percent protein or carbohydrate. And further, carbohydrates are broken down mainly in the mouth, protein in the stomach, and fats in the intestine.
Most digestion problems, including with food combining, can be overcome by chewing our food really well. Actually, let’s rephrase that: Really, really well! Solid food should be liquid before you swallow it. (i.e. Never eat your food! Drink it.) This has several important advantages. Firstly, it helps your digestion tremendously and results in far less gas. You don’t only get more nutrients and taste out on your food, but more prana or Life Force, and that’s the bottom line of why you are eating in the first place. (So now you know!) Plus, your body has time to appreciate what you’re giving it and it feels more satisfied, so you don’t feel as hungry afterwards and therefore you eat less. But if you’re one of those who are stuck on shovelling food down your throat, don’t feel bad. The fast food industry needs you. : )
Detoxification and Fasting.
Our immune system can do an amazing job in keeping us well, until it gets over-burdened by toxins. The first obvious step is to reduce the amount of toxins you take in. And beware of apparent "healthy" alternatives, especially if they come from the pharmaceutical industry like Aspartame (see the "Healthy alternative" myths and Health Alerts section below). Mercury from tooth fillings and household cleaning agents on our skin are also sources of harmful toxins. There are many ways to aid the elimination of toxins from the body.
IMPORTANT: Before going any further, it is important to understand that when the body gives off toxins, those stored and hidden toxins come to the surface. If it is not done gradually, it can make you feel ill or make an illness worse. This cleansing reaction, also known as the healing crisis, does not only affect you physically, including getting old symptoms of things you had before and thought were gone, but can also upset you emotionally. Even if you do a slow cleanse, a cleansing reaction is still likely, depending on how much toxic build-up you have. It is therefore very important to do this slowly and under supervision at first.
This cleansing reaction can also arise when you change to a more healthy diet. It has to do with our body cells resisting new intercellular fluid after several months on a new diet. It is this resistance to change that can sometimes cause a temporary worsening of conditions. This subject is covered in more detail in the Faith chapter of the book 7 Basic Macrobiotic Principles by Herman Aihara (See bottom of Macrobiotics page.) If this happens, remember to take it slowly, be kind to your body, and drink lots of fluids. Also, get informed before you start, and consult a professional. Your long-term health is worth it.
One of the most overlooked ways for the elimination of toxins from the body is via our largest organ, the skin. A dry skin brush is one of the best treats we can give it. Alternatively a wet skin brush or sauna are also very good, especially a "far infra-red" sauna. But for saunas, consult your doctor in case of high blood pressure. There are other methods regarding the skin you can research like salt baths.
Secondly, before thinking of taking something internally for detox, consider not taking in anything at all i.e. fasting. There are actually some good food fasts as well, if you don't do well on liquids only. Plus some juice fasts are far too high in sugar, and also make your body too yin (see the Macrobiotics page for more on yin/yang). If you are not used to fasting, do it under supervision at first. Start slowly and drink lots of water to help flush out the toxins. And excellent food fast is the Brown Rice Fast. (Guidelines and recipe included.)
Good foods to help detox are chlorophyll-based products, either liquid chlorophyll or powdered products from algae or dried vegetable juices. There are many on the market, including the green "superfoods". Also excellent for cleansing your intestines is psyllium seed husks and Bentonite clay. Beware of laxatives. They usually do more harm than good, but are tempting because they seem like a quick-fix. Homeopathic and herbal cleanse programs are much better. These are best done together with enemas, or much better still, colonics. See colonics or colon irrigation in the Yellow Pages for one near you.
Also consider a herbal fiber supplement to sweep the colon clear of accumulated waste and toxins. As noted below in The Best Way, "The slower the method, the deeper and more complete is the processes." Herbal fiber makes a great colon cleanse as it works slowly to gently yet thoroughly cleanse the body. There are also many good books on colon health, including those by Dr Bernard Jensen (www.bernardjensen.com). Some colonic therapists complement colonics with lymph massages, which helps drain our lymphatic system of toxins.
Toxins also come to the surface of our tongue while we sleep. It's a good habit to get into when you wake up to scrape the top of your tongue with a tongue scraper (or as a last resort, with your teeth and spit it out). Further detoxification methods include ion foot baths, “chi machines”, and “Rife machines”. (These are devices based on the inventions of Royal Raymond Rife, which “zap” parasites, viruses and toxins. But the devices vary largely, so do your research.)
The Oil Therapy
Dr. Karach's Oil Therapy is a rather unusual method, but there is an abundance of testimonies to back it up, and it's simple and easy. Unfortunately the only reference to it I can find on the web is in German. Dr. Karach is also German. It is on the page http://www.kombu.de/oelsaug.htm of The Kombucha Journal, which AltaVista will translate for you. But the translation is very poor. In essence, you swish vegetable oil around in your mouth. If you can get it, the best oil to use is Hain Sunflower Oil or Spectrum Natural Peanut Oil. In the morning before breakfast on an empty stomach you take one tablespoon in the mouth but do not swallow it. The oil is slowly swished in the mouth and drawn through the teeth for fifteen to twenty minutes. It is thoroughly chewed and mixed with saliva as it is done in the Mayr cure. Chewing activates the enzymes and the enzymes draw toxins out of the blood. Thus, the oil must not be swallowed, for it has become toxic. As the chewing process continues, the oil gets thinner and white. You then spit it out. If the oil is still yellow, it has not been masticated thoroughly or long enough.
After the oil has been removed from the mouth, the oral cavity must be thoroughly rinsed several times. It is preferable to use a cup of pure warm water to which has been added one-half teaspoon of salt and one-half teaspoon of baking soda. The teeth, gums and tongue must be brushed carefully. It is recommended that salt and soda be applied directly to the brush. The sink must be cleaned afterwards because the spittle contains toxins. The oil therapy is preventative as well as curative. Dr. Karach says: "With the oil therapy, I healed my chronic blood disease of fifteen years. With the use of this therapy, I was healed within three days of an acute arthrosis that had forced me to lie in bed." He claims that the following illnesses can be effectively healed with the application of oil therapy: headaches, bronchitis, lung and liver conditions, toothache, thrombosis, blood diseases, arthrosis, paralysis, eczema, gastric ulcers, intestinal disorders, heart and kidney ailments, encephalitis, nervous conditions and female disorders. But if you have any of these conditions, please consult a doctor as well.
The Best Way
The slower the method, the deeper and more complete is the process. The best way to detoxify your system is therefore to slowly change your diet to one that has a minimum of preservatives, pesticides, artificial flavours and other synthetic additives or GMOs (genetically modified organisms). The macrobiotic diet is very well balanced, and has good guidelines on toxin elimination and organ healing. (See the Macrobiotics page for more.) But the bottom line of all of it is: Do not be impatient! To detoxify too quickly can make you sick and put you off doing it again. If you want to rush it, you have more of an emotional or spiritual problem than a physical one. (So fast slowly!!) Also, as the physical world is subject to the laws of the spiritual, there are spiritual techniques for the purification of our physical body, see the violet flame section for more on this (under Holistic Healing on the page Balancing Our 4 "Bodies").
Fill the Vacuum
Lastly, eliminating toxins from your body creates a type of nutritional ‘vacuum’. Be sure to fill the vacuum with lots of nutrient-rich foods and supplements so that you are less vulnerable to absorbing toxins back into your body.
“Healthy alternative” myths and Health Alerts.
First of all, there are many scientific reports that contradict each other, so it is best to do your own research. Most importantly, however, is to follow your heart and your body signals more than following what is said or written by others. We stay in balance best by looking at both sides of every story, and then going inwards and tuning in to how any of it applies to us personally.
Secondly, if you have used a lot of these products in the past, don’t worry. Our bodies can take a lot of punishment and abuse before they start breaking down through disease. So there’s time to detoxifying your system (see Detoxification section above). Plus, if you didn’t know about these things before, beware feeling guilty, angry, resentful etc. We are much more than our physical bodies, and negative thoughts and feelings can do you more harm. God understands our plight, and if our heart is right with Him, all will be well. The physical world is subject to the laws of the spiritual. For info on spiritual techniques for the purification of our physical body, see the violet flame section for more on this (under Holistic Healing on the page Balancing Our 4 "Bodies").
Lastly, if some of these products below are harmful, our government would never allow them on the market, would they? Do not trust the government or politicians or large institutions or corporations to know everything, tell you everything or protect you from everything. They usually have their own best interests at heart more than yours. If the failures of many countries’ governments to expose the dangers, lies and unethical practices of the tobacco industry for over half a century is not proof enough, then there are other examples which we shall not go into here. But as the saying goes: Buyer beware. No other person or institution is responsible for looking after you. You are the sole captain of your ship. And we wouldn’t really want it any other way, would we?
Now for the details. Thanks largely to corporate greed and questionable advertising (brainwashing?), some products which have become known as "healthy alternatives" are not. The best example is probably the shift away from sugar.
Aspartame and sugar: Instead of refined sugar (also called glucose on ingredient labels), which is not healthy, the market is flooded with artificial sweeteners like Equal and NutraSweet, which are also not healthy. Most of them contain aspartame, which has some very serious health risks. Diet cold drinks (pop) are one of the biggest sources, plus any “sugar-free” products. According to the Dorway website, which has many quick facts, aspartame contains methanol, a deadly poison. “The fact remains that most victims don't have a clue that aspartame may be the cause of their many problems! … Many reactions to aspartame were very serious, including seizures. (A long list is provided.) …It appears to cause slow, silent damage in those unfortunate enough to not have immediate reactions and a reason to avoid it.” For more in-depth resources, see Healthfree.com - Aspartame or the Aspartame Toxicity Info Center.
Society has been programmed into using sweeteners for just about everything, so that natural healthy sweet foods do not taste good anymore. Good references on this are Sugar Blues by William Dufty (Warner Books, 1975) and The Macrobiotic Way by Michio Kushi (Avery books, 1985). The section in it called Sweet Low, Sweet High explains how excess simple carbohydrates (including sugar) leads to hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). This first reveals itself as insatiable hunger, even on a full stomach. Other symptoms like fatigue and uncontrollable emotions follow. This is also a result of an excess yin condition. (See the Macrobiotics page for more on yin/yang.) For a good yin/yang balance, even natural sweet foods like honey, brown rice syrup and maple syrup are too sweet for frequent use. There is also a Natural Sweeteners section in the book.
Canola oil: Another apparently healthy product is canola oil. It is found in many health products and is generally known as a healthy light vegetable oil. But it is obtained from the rape seed, and has some serious health risks. For more info, see Say NO to Canola Oil.
Margarine: Studies have shown that margarine and other hydrogenated fats actually increase cardiovascular disease, so they are not healthy alternatives to butter. Rather try soy lecithin spread, which is very similar in looks and texture.
Fluoride: The justification for fluoridating our drinking water and toothpaste is to prevent tooth decay. The fluoride in fluoridated drinking water originates from the phosphate fertilizer industry. The city of Escondido, California added 33 tons of fluoride to their water supply in a single year. Only 16 pounds of it actually reached the target group of children. In other words, 99.98% of the fluoride - 33 tons of a poison more toxic than lead - was dumped into the environment. Even if you do not live in a community that uses fluoride in the water supply, and don’t use fluoride toothpaste, flouride has become very pervasive in the food and drink industry.
For more info, a good resource is Fluoride - Cure or Curse? A quote: “Our position is this: For most of the 20th century, the tobacco industry enjoyed the "protection" of the United States government- the courts, congress and such agencies that are supposed to protect the welfare of the American public as the FDA and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Then, in the last ten years their scam was attacked in the courts and now practically all who do not smoke view the industry as an "evil business." Details of how they came to power and maintained their lucrative hold over so many consumers is now the subject of drama in books and movies. This will also be the fate of the use of fluoride in our society. This story has many of the same elements, only much larger and more pervasive than cigarette use.”
Microwave ovens: Is it possible that millions of people are ignorantly sacrificing their health in exchange for the convenience of microwave ovens? Why did the Soviet Union ban the use of microwave ovens in 1976? The following details are only snippets from a large report on the subject by Anthony Wayne and Lawrence Newell, to be found at The Proven Dangers of Microwaves.
According to research done by Raum & Zelt in 1992, “all foods that were processed through the microwave ovens caused changes in the blood of the volunteers. Haemoglobin levels decreased and overall white cell levels and cholesterol levels increased. Lymphocytes decreased.” In 1991 Norma Levitt died from a simple blood transfusion because the nurse had warmed the blood in a microwave oven. Studies done by Dr. Hertel showed the following: Radiation from microwaves results in the destruction and deformation of food molecules. Microwaving also creates new compounds, called radiolytic compounds, which are unknown fusions not found in nature. Radiolytic compounds are created by molecular decomposition - decay - as a direct result of radiation.
These are just some of the main areas and products of concern. There are many others, including MSG, mercury dental fillings and GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms, the sacred cow of the massive biotechnology industry). Go to the Avoidance of Toxic & Unhealthy Substances page on the Holistic Healing website for more details.
Wholesome Weight Loss
The best weight-loss prescription: A doctor handed her overweight patient a bottle with hundreds of pills in. “Don’t take these pills,” she said. “Spill them on the floor three times a day and pick them up one by one.”
Healing the cause.
Losing weight can be a lot easier if we clearly understand our motive, and the underlying cause of our weight problem. If it is something obvious like kidney disease, then refer also to Holistic Healing on the page Balancing Our 4 "Bodies". But if you want to lose weight to please others, you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle. First, ask yourself what is really in it for you. If it’s to be more acceptable to others, dieting isn’t necessary going to solve your problem. You need to accept yourself first, fully for who you really are, which is a lot more than your figure. The chances are you’re an intelligent, good-humoured, kind, productive, talented person who can contribute more to this world than many of today’s TV idols. (If you don’t agree, maybe read “The balance between self worth and humility” on the Spiritual Balance page.) If you rely on your sense of worth primarily from what others say about you, you will always be a victim of manipulation, and you’ll benefit by reading up on personal psychology. (See the references at the bottom of the Emotional Balance page for some ideas.)
Even lack of physical exercise is not a root cause of being overweight. It could be caused by several things, like not making enough time for quality recreation for yourself. This may be because of lack of self-worth, fear of not making enough money if you take time off to exercise, or feeling intimidated or guilty about not filling other people’s needs first. It may just be lack of motivation to do anything. If you need some inspiration, see the Inspirational Poems or Spiritual Balance pages. Overeating is also not a root cause of being overweight. It can be caused by a serious mineral deficiency or hormone imbalance in your body. So diet and physical health is important. (See Wholesome Diet page for more.) But overeating is more often caused by a desire for comfort, as an emotional coping mechanism for many stresses and problems in life. It can also be used as one of many subconscious addictions to drown out the crying of our soul (or inner child) when we are not fulfilling our true emotional and spiritual needs. Even in cases of mild addictions to food, losing weight will also involve withdrawal symptoms. (For some inspiration, see Withdrawal Symptoms on the Inspirational Poems page.) In any case, it is well worth consulting with a pro-holistic doctor or nutritionist before going on a major diet.
Assuming that you’ve now found out the root cause of your weight problem, part of the action plan is to remove the symptom i.e. get rid of your excess weight. If you’re serious about losing weight permanently, don’t rush it. Your chances of staying thinner are much better with a slower diet. Plus it’s a lot kinder to your body. Crash diets upset your body’s equilibrium and are hard on your organs. So are very high protein and high carbohydrate diets and any other extremes. Brad King says in his book Fat Wars – 45 Days to Transform Your Body, that poll after poll shows that at any given moment, over one-third of women and one-quarter of men are on the latest fad diet. Meanwhile, other studies are showing that North Americans are getting fatter every year. Can you believe that we are spending nearly $14 billion a year on a diet industry that can’t deliver results? He says that 99 percent of all diets fail miserably because they go against the way the body is designed to work. And most diets leave us worse off than if we hadn’t dieted at all. Many popular diets rely on the reduction of calories to the point of serious nutrient deficiency. (More on this under Exercise below.) If you get your body and its organs into balance (yin/yang, acid/alkaline etc.) it will automatically shed unnecessary weight and stabilize at what is best for it. A great diet for this is the Macrobiotic diet (see Macrobiotics page). For some ratings on diet books, see Doctors Rate Popular Diet Books on the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) website. But most importantly, try to tune into your body. It knows what you need. And not just regarding food. Your drinking habits are also important.
Our society has been programmed into drinking lots of fluids. But this is not always what your body needs, especially if what you drink contains sugar or synthetic additives. We should only drink when we are thirsty, and preferably not at mealtimes. In his book Old Fashioned Health Remedies That Work Best(Parker Publishing, 1977), Dr. L. Schneider says that if we drink before our stomach has completed digesting a meal, we dilute the stomach juices and interfere with digestion. It is far better to drink before a meal than during or within 3 hours after it. If fluid is taken during the digestive process, the body often accumulates the fluid. It is carried around as excess poundage. Sometimes this fluid accumulation is the result of faulty kidney, bowel or perspiration action. But no matter what it is due to, it adds up to excess pounds and inches. Talking about drinking, apple cider vinegar (one teaspoon in a glass of water) is very refreshing, and very good for general health, including kidney stimulation and excess water. It also apparently helps break down excess body fat .
Exercise and Fat Wars
A good physical exercise program is also essential (see Physical Exercise page). If you are working on weight loss, it is important to work on building muscle tissue as well. This may sound strange, but muscle is where fat burning happens. This is covered in Brad King’s book Fat Wars – 45 Days to Transform Your Body. As quoted above, he says that most diets leave us worse off than if we hadn’t dieted at all, and that many popular diets rely on the reduction of calories to the point of serious nutrient deficiency. Why does starving ourselves on a diet prime our body to store up even more fat when we stop? It’s because our bodies have developed survival techniques for dealing with feast and famine periods. They are programmed to store energy as fat whenever there's an ample supply of food, getting ready for the next famine, even a self-administered one. Why can men lose weight more easily than women can? Because men carry, on average, 40 lbs more muscle than women do and muscle is where fat burning happens. 1 pound of muscle can burn up to 70 calories of fat a day, but many diets cause a devastating loss of muscle tissue. Dieting also lowers our metabolism and primes our fat-storing enzymes to prepare for the next famine. Read Brad King’s book for more details.
To complement your dieting, meditation and mind work can help tremendously. As mentioned in the Balancing Your 4 “Bodies” page, our energy cycles from the mental to the emotional. Much of it is at a subconscious level. But we can get our subconscious working for us by concentrating our thoughts on the desired results. The most effective way to utilize the amazing potential of our brain is to “get into Alpha”. (See Intellectual Balance page for more on this). There are various ways, but a meditation mode with baroque music (around 60 beats per minute) is a good start. Do not put any of your attention on the negative. Spend 5 to 10 minutes twice a day of vivid imagination on how you’re going to be once you’ve lost weight. Engage all of your senses in as much detail as possible. Imagine what it feels like fitting into those clothes that are the size you are aiming for; what it sounds like to hear that special person in your life complementing you on your weight; how you look in your bathroom mirror when at your ideal weight; the smell of the sea breeze while you’re lying on the beach in the sun in your bathing suite that looks great on you with your slim figure etc. And lastly, imagine how good you feel about yourself for enduring and turning your attention away from all those temptations that came your way during the process. You can experience this feeling in reality very soon: as soon as you’ve risen above the first temptation, which can be today! So enjoy this process and have fun! And good fortune!