Weight Loss: Part I

Weight Waist

I often have people ask me about weight loss. The first thing that seems to disappoint people is following fact:

There is no magic pill that provides instant weight loss!

 

Well, doesn’t that just suck? In fact, most of the recommendations I have for weight loss are of a self-help nature which puts the burden of following through squarely on the shoulders of the individual. My part comes in determining whether or not an internal imbalance exists that is a contributing factor to weight gain and moderating that imbalance with bodywork and nutritional therapy. That… I can do.

Otherwise, there are some simple key factors in maintaining an ideal body weight. The first, is so simple it will blow your mind.

Chew your food!

Chewing your food well helps your body create the necessary enzymes to begin the digestive process. The less your organs have to struggle with the digestive process, the more benefit for you. Eating in a rush is something everybody does in our fast paced society. It is worth the time to take a few extra minutes to perform this vital step. It is the first self-help step in keeping off the pounds.

Our Salivary Glands are able to produce 1 to 2 liters of saliva every day. Saliva consists mainly of water, a mucousal antibacterial broker and digestive support enzyme, the main functions of which are:

1.  Helps dissolve dry food making it easier to chew.

2. Lubrication, that makes food slide easily through esophagus.

3. Hygiene. Saliva helps decrease bacteria population, then it keeps mouth clean and helps alleviate bad breath.

The digestive process begins in mouth when we chew and swallow. Once we swallow  chemical breakdown occurs in the stomach and is completed in the small intestine. Digestion becomes involuntary and proceeds under the control of the nerves.

Food stays in our stomach a period of time but not all food has the same reaction with gastric juices. Certain foods, meat for example, require more time to be liquefied by gastric juices. These foods must be chewed longer in order to become fully digested and the nutrients absorbed through the intestinal walls.

By eating fast and not chewing enough what you are doing is:

  • Forcing your stomach and intestines to work harder and prolonging the time required to digest food.
  • Encouraging constipation.
  • Decreasing enzymes crucial for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.
  • Contributing to digestive discomfort (burping, bloating, and flatulence).

By slowing to take the time to chew your food you are:

  • Starting a good chemical process that separates good substances from toxic ones by mixing salivary enzymes with food.
  • Fullness feeling is achieved faster, therefore this can be beneficial to you if you want fitness.
  • You will enjoy the taste of one of the pleasures of life.

So… how much do we chew our food?

The average recommended many years ago was 32 times. That’s still a good general rule. When it comes to meat, it shouldn’t be less than that. If you don’t want to count, chew until your food has sufficient texture to swallow easily.

We must slow down and eat purposefully keeping in mind that eating is a process and we must perform the first step in a proper manner. During subsequent processes the digestive system will autonomously absorb nutrients to provide the energy that our body needs.

Slow down! Experience each meal. Use all of your senses to be delighted by food. Allow your eyes to absorb the cornucopia of colors from a bowl of fresh fruits or vegetables. Inhale the fabulous aroma of an exquisitely prepared sauce. Bask in the sweet flavor of a favorite dessert and exhalt the sounds your teeth make as they masterfully masticate your most delectible desire.

Chewing helps… Makes You Feel Full Faster

When you take the time to properly chew your food, you will eat slower, and far less, but still feel full after your meal. Eating slower gives your brain time to register that you are eating, and therefore it is able to send a signal that you are full when you have eaten enough. You usually have to be about 20 minutes into the meal before your brain is able to send this signal.

Chewing Helps… Absorb Nutrients

Digestion begins in the mouth as soon as the food is exposed to saliva. The longer you chew your foods, the more the food will be exposed to saliva, and as a result more nutrients will be absorbed. This is especially true for nuts and seeds as well as fruits and vegetables, as they contain hard cellulose fibers which cannot be broken down anywhere but in the mouth. This is why when you eat nuts, corn or other vegetables they just seem to pass through your system if they are not properly chewed.

When your body is able to absorb all the nutrients from the foods that you eat you will have higher energy levels. On top of that, no energy will be wasted on eliminating foods that the body cannot digest or break down. (Sleepiness after meals)

Chewing Helps… Prevent Heartburn

Properly chewing your food helps to make it easier on the esophagus, as well as your digestive system because you will eat less at each meal. It prevents you from swallowing air along with your food, which can also contribute to sensations that resemble heartburn. Chewing properly promotes the secretion of saliva which naturally helps to neutralize stomach acid and prevent heartburn.

Chewing Helps… Digestion

Carbohydrates are mainly digested in the mouth by the alpha amylase enzyme that is found in saliva. The digestion of fat is also started in the mouth by the lingual lipase enzymes, which are produced by the salivary glands located underneath the tongue.

Food that is not properly chewed is not exposed to these enzymes properly, but instead is passed along into the colon in chunks where it feeds harmful bacteria. This can result in gas, bloating, abdominal cramping, constipation and other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Chewing Helps… Promote Good Oral Hygiene

The saliva that is produced by the extra chewing helps to kill harmful bacteria, and washes away food particles from around your teeth. Additionally, saliva contains hydrogen carbonate which helps to neutralize plaque buildup which can cause bad breath.

 

Staying Healthy in Winter

rouge-gorge en hiver

The ancient Chinese believed that human beings should live in harmony with the natural cycles of their environment. Changes in the weather provoke changes in the body. The body requires time to adapt. Difficulty in adapting to weather conditions is often a contributing factor to seasonal illness. With the wind, rain, and snows of winter come the colds, flu, aches, and pains.

Winter is inactive, cold and damp by nature. The cold and darkness of winter cause a natural slowing of the body’s internal processes; a form of hibernation if you will. Everybody wants to instinctively stay under the covers on those cold, blustery winter days.

According to Chinese philosophy winter is ruled by the Water Element, which is associated with the Kidney and Bladder organs. The Kidneys are considered a vital source of all energy within the body. They also store reserve energy to be used in times of stress and change, to heal, prevent illness and age gracefully. Winter is the time of year to reflect on our health, replenish our energy, and conserve our strength in preparation for the burst of new life and growth in the spring.

Winter Foods

The body is conditioned to store fat in the winter in preparation for ideal developmental and growth conditions in the spring. So, wintertime is not the ideal time to begin a weight loss diet. People gain excessive amounts of weight in winter because they do not change their eating habits accordingly. Overindulging is common during the holidays, however, exercising a little restraint goes a long way towards maintaining a balanced health model.

Raw foods, clod foods and heavy, rich foods tax the digestive system more than normal and deplete energy reserves. Avoid raw foods during winter as much as possible.

During winter emphasize the warming foods (like grandma used to tell you).

  • Soups, stews and chili
  • Root vegetables
  • All kinds of beans
  • Spices like garlic, cloves, ginger and cinnamon
  • Teas and other warm drinks

A Few Simple Tips to Stay Healthy This Winter

A few good habits during wintertime can make the transition much less taxing and promote good health throughout.

  • Cover up. Chinese Medicine doctrine dictates that cold  that can lead to illness enters the body from the neck and shoulders so, it is very important the keep your neck and shoulders warm when outdoors. Most body heat escapes through the head. Consider wearing something to cover your head. Do not let parts of your body come in direct contact with cold surfaces. Pathogenic cold can enter the body through direct contact with cold surfaces causing roaming aches and pains that are aggravated by cold temperatures. This particular syndrome is impossible to detect via conventional medical methods and often mistaken for other illnesses.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Getting plenty of sleep (at night) enables your body to conserve energy used for healing and warming the body when exposed to colder climates.
  • Don’t eat too much. Your body’s natural tendency is to store fat in winter. Eating less will prevent excessive weight gain. Eating smaller more frequent meal will help maintain energy levels and moderate blood sugar levels.
  • Reduce stress. As difficult as it may seem, find a simple way to relax and release stress on a daily basis. Meditation or taking a long hot bath… choose your own method. Stress, frustration, and unresolved anger can easily deplete the immune system allowing illness to invade the body more easily.

 

How Chinese Herbs Work

In this day and age there are few, if any, texts providing adequate information about the function of Chinese herbs in terms the average person can comprehend. Quite simply, Chinese herbs work by providing the body with nutrients vital to the body’s natural healing processes; nutrients not found in many common food sources.  Over the course of several thousand years the Chinese have cultivated and refined the knowledge of which natural plants and minerals have specific effects on the body’s many functions. The practice of treating illness with dietary and herbal therapy has played a vital role in Chinese culture for many centuries and is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine as a whole. Both an art and a science, Chinese Medicine dictates, logically, that an initial assessment be made to determine the area of functional and energetic imbalance related to the internal organs. Specific herbs or herbal combinations are then applied to correct this imbalance. Chinese herbal therapy is a safe, viable and cost effective alternative to pharmaceuticals.

Chinese herbal formulas have proven especially effective for:

Acne *  Allergies * Alzheimer’s *  Arthritis * Asthma *  ADD/ADHD *  Back Pain * Bleeding *  Bronchitis * Burns * Cancer *  Cholesterol * Celiac Disease * Colds/Flu * Constipation * Cough * Cysts * Diabetes * Depression * Detox * Diarrhea * Digestion * Eczema * Energy * Epilepsy * Erectile Dysfunction * Eye Problems * Fertility * Fibromyalgia * Fungus * Gall Stones * Hair Loss * Headache * Heart Problems * Herpes Hepatitis * Hemorrhoids * High Blood Pressure * Irritable Bowel * Infertility * Insomnia * Kidney Stones * Memory * Menopause * Morning Sickness * Muscle Pain * PMS * Prostate * Shingles * Skin Problems* Stress * Thyroid * Weight Loss * Yeast Infection