Wise Tips from Ancient India for Weight ManagementPosted by hclibrary on Oct 11, 2012 in Eating Right | 0 comments
by Sharon McRae
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a fascination with all things Indian. Lately, I’ve been listening to a very interesting audio book by Deepak Chopra called Magical Mind, Magical Body. It’s all about Ayurveda, a system of medicine that originated in India over 5000 years ago. The chapter I recently listened to had some very relevant, useful tips with regard to maintaining optimal weight and conquering cravings. Here’s a brief summary:
If you enjoy food, you will never have a weight problem. Eating awareness helps to maximize your satiety. Most people who have weight problems seek more satiety because they are eating unconsciously, so it takes longer for the satiety level to be reached.
Here are some rules from Ayurveda for eating with awareness:
1. Whenever you eat, no matter how little or how much, make a rule that you are going to sit down, preferably at a table. Don’t eat when standing, driving, walking, speaking on the phone, etc. Eat in an enjoyable manner so you get the maximum enjoyment out of the experience.
2. When you eat, don’t do anything else; don’t read, do a crossword puzzle, watch TV, etc. You want to get the maximum sensory experience out of the food.
3. Eat when the stomach is empty, when there is no remnant from previously eaten meals in your stomach. Otherwise, this will interfere with maximum enjoyment. According to basic rules of physiology, it takes approximately 4 hours for all food to leave the stomach (this may be a little shorter or longer depending on your Ayurvedic “dosha,” or body type). Place your hand over your stomach and feel the sensations to determine whether there is food in the stomach or not. If there is still food from a previously digested meal, then wait to eat. In the beginning, this takes a little practice. After 3-4 days, hunger sensations begin to come at appropriate times.
4. Do not put food in the mouth until the previous bite has gone into the stomach. Don’t speak and eat at same time. Speak only when food is in the stomach, not in the mouth.
5. For your first helping, take the equivalent of 2 cupped handfuls of food. This will fill about 2/3 of the stomach, leaving about 1/3 for digestion. If after that you still feel hungry, it may be genuine hunger, which means you haven’t eaten enough, or it may be just a memory. If it’s just a memory or force of habit, just wait 5 minutes before you take a second helping. Frequently satiety levels will reach a threshold and if you wait 5 minutes, you will reach that level. Get in touch with the experience of comfort and discomfort in the area of the stomach. At the point of comfort, stop eating. If you go beyond this point, you are violating a simple point of eating awareness and disrupting the feeling of energy. If you practice eating awareness for a week, you will feel so much energy coming into you from eating that you will want to follow these rules all the time. You get used to feeling so good that you don’t want to violate it. If you eat past this point of comfort, you will feel uncomfortable, then tired, and perhaps sick.
6. If one has cravings that are inappropriately strong in that he/she eats always to the point of discomfort, that person may have an eating disorder. But this is from the inability to enjoy food. There are six tastes and if you do not experience them every day, this may be the cause. The six tastes are sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent, astringent. There are taste buds distributed on the tongue: the tip has more for sweet tastes, the back of the tongue has more for bitter tastes, the sides of the tongue have more for sour tastes, and the surface has more for salty tastes. The pungent and astringent tastes have very few receptors; these tastes are characteristic in that just a little has a big effect on the body. Sweet tastes can be detected at a dilution of 1/200. For salty tastes, a dilution of 1/400 can be detected. For sour tastes, a 1/130,000 can be detected. For bitter tastes, a 1 in two million dilution can be detected. Most poisonous things are extremely bitter and can be detected in a very faint dilution.
If we listen to our taste buds, then we will enjoy food more and tend not to overeat. In our society, we tend to focus too much on the sweet, sour, and salty tastes, for example, in fast food, so the body develops nutritional deficiencies. We have lost our ability to respond to the internal cues that nature has built into our system. If you constantly expose your body to sweet, sour, and salty tastes, this becomes what you crave. When you have these cravings, gently introduce all six tastes in one meal every day. To introduce bitter tastes, try green leafy vegetables. Pungent tastes are spices, like horseradish, mustard, red peppers, jalapeno; and astringent tastes are beans and lentils. Start eating more of these types of foods, and your cravings should dissipate as the body is exposed to what nature intended.
Following these rules and eating with awareness ensures that your body gets the nutrients it needs and in the right amounts for maximum energy and weight control without deprivation.