What are the benefits of mindful eating? The first thing you may notice is that you consume less food. Becoming sensitive to when you are full will automatically cue you to not overeat. This will also help to support a healthy body weight. You may also become aware of emotional eating habits. Are you stuffing feelings, eating out of anxiety, or perhaps not eating at all? Once you tap into your feelings around food, you become aware of how your body is or isn’t digesting. This can lead to modifying eating choices and choosing those that support optional absorption and health. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our daily lives, our ability to multitask, and we have become accustomed to the constant stream of distractions and information. We sit down with our meal in front of the television or even when we are going out for dinner we often don’t enjoy our food as much as we should. Shifting our awareness to thoroughly chewing our food will not only keep us in a state of mindfulness, it is also extremely beneficial to the overall health and well-being. The pre-digestive enzymes released in the mouth are critical for breaking down food before we send it on its merry way through the rest of the intestinal tract. Choose a time to have a meal by yourself when you can tune in and be fully present with the experience. Make a freshly cooked, seasonal meal that you know you will love. Have fun while you are cooking the meal, knowing that you will be infusing your joy into the food you are creating. Arrange the food nicely on a beautiful plate. When you take the first bite, explore the taste of it, what does it taste like, can you tell the texture, and how do the flavors of the food feel to your emotional body? Put your eating utensil back down and rest your hands in your lap. If you are enjoying a sandwich or hand-held food, place it back on the plate. Sit and experience the taste on your tongue and the texture in your mouth. Notice how you are feeling right this moment? These are all aspects of mindful eating. Once thoroughly chewed and savored, swallow and begin again with another bite. Continue until you are full. Do you consistently overeat? Your body actually lets you know when you are full. When eating mindfully, how do we know we are finished with the meal? Our bodies give us a little sigh. We must be paying attention or the sigh will happen and we won’t even be aware.
The happiest people are happy, not because they don’t have issues, fears, or worries but because they are able to live without attaching to those things. They can stay focused on what they want to create because they see and detach from the things that would otherwise hold them back. There are mindfulness habits of the happiest people and even just one of these habits will bring you power, grace, and happiness. Mindfulness is not an effort to eliminate fear or block out all the shadows in our life. It’s a state of being that makes it OK to be happy, to love yourself, and to achieve success despite those fears and shadows. 1. First habit is to meditate. If you don’ have a meditation practice, consider starting one. Start small. Even just a few minutes a day can have a profound impact on centring you into the moment. 2. Be present. So much of mindfulness is feeling grounded in the present moment. Happy and mindful people are able to maintain an awareness of the present moment, no matter what they’re doing – and you can too. Be fully present in your meetings, be mindful of the food you are eating and the act of nourishing your body during a meal*( see blog post about mindful eating), and feel the power of your body while exercising. These simple opportunities for awareness will help you stay present in every moment. 3. Be aware of how you feel. Pay attention to your emotions and how you are feeling in any given moment. This is especially helpful when you don’t feel good. If you notice feeling stressed or agitated, “check-in” to your body and feel what is showing up in a physical level. For instance, instead of succumbing to anger and expressing in a toxic manner, this process helps to feel the anger, identify why it exists, and to accept that it is OK to feel anger. 4.Keep a Journal. The process of journaling helps you to stay aware of what is happening in your life and how you feel. It helps to get things off your chest, detach from energy, and see things from a bigger picture. 5. Reduce social-media exposure. It is ironic that a tool meant to increase connection feels as if it is leading to an increase in disconnection between you and other people, and between us and ourselves. For many of us, it feels like social media creates a human experience that is designed around the instant gratification of external validation and approval. Happy people maintain a healthy relationship with social media. They take time away from their phone in order to reconnect to themselves (meditation), enjoy real human connection, or do the things that make them happy.
Starting your morning in stillness and calm lays the foundations for a calm and productive day ahead. It also helps you deal with the challenges that the day brings with a sense of clarity and calm, and increased levels of focus. You start the day stress and worry-free, rather than starting with a stressed and chattering mind. Your morning will set the tone for your entire day, so it’s important to go through your morning slowly, intentionally, and positively. As soon as you wake up, lie still and flat on your back, and breathe. Breathe through three breath cycles. Pay attention to how your breath feels. Pay attention to how your body is feeling. Pay attention to where your thoughts are. Don’t label anything as good or bad, don’t cling to anything. Just notice and let go. Often, I would find myself waking up with a racing heart and a body full of anxiety. But taking the time to pause and check-in can make a huge difference. Just acknowledging how I’m feeling and the thoughts I’m having reduces their power and I’m able to enter the day in a calmer state of mind. Train your mind to be positive from the minute you wake up. Now is the time to start bringing in positive thoughts and positive input. You can also now start to bring to mind all that you are grateful for, and to think of the joyful moments in your life. Think about the house you slept in, your friends and family that support you, and the fact that you woke up at all. We must always remind ourselves of the privilege of being alive, and be grateful for all that we have been given. Remind yourself of this when you wake up. Marcus Aurelius said, “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” If we view each day as a bonus day — to live, to love, to do the things we love to do — we can’t help but experience gratitude. Viewing each day in this way will ensure that you live your day mindfully .I try to remind myself each morning that today is a bonus day. A new day is not a given, but a gift, and I want to use it well. I realize how fortunate I am to have it. I’m also fortunate to still have friends and family, a roof to sleep under, and clean water to drink. None of this should be taken for granted.
Eating a climate friendly diet
Following an unprecedented drop of 5.4 percent in 2020, global carbon dioxide emissions are bouncing back to pre-Covid levels and concentration of green-house gas emissions in the atmosphere continue to rise. New mitigation pledges for 2030 show some progress, but their aggregate effect on global emissions is insufficient. As a group, G20 members are not on track to achieve either their original or new 2030 pledges. In September 2018, the United Nations Environment Programe (UNEP) named meat “the world’s most urgent problem.” UNEP stated: “Our use of animals as a food-production technology has brought us to the verge of catastrophe.” “The greenhouse gas footprint of animal agriculture rivals that of every car, truck, bus, ship, airplane, and rocket ship combined,” UNEP stated. Livestock is responsible for 18 percent of all anthropogenic (human-caused) greenhouse gas emissions. According to Scientific American, plant-based food creates drastically fewer emissions than animal-based food. To produce half a pound of beef, the emission output is equivalent to driving a car 9.8 miles. To produce half a pound of potatoes, the emissions equate to driving the same car 0.17 miles. The World Counts highlights that it takes 75 times more energy to produce meat than corn. Beef production is to blame for six times more greenhouse gas emissions than peas, a primary ingredient in vegan meat products like the Beyond Burger. The type of emissions generated is also of importance. On average, a cow releases between 70 and 120 kg of methane a year, and there are around 1.5 billion cows on the planet. Methane’s global warming potential is 23 times that of CO2. What we eat greatly influences our personal health and the global environment. Imbalanced diets, such as diets low in fruits and vegetables, and high in red and processed meat, are responsible for the greatest health burden globally and in most regions. At the same time the food system is also responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore a major driver of climate change. The aforementioned farming analysis conducted by Oxford University researchers concluded that going vegan is the most influential thing one can do to fight climate change. How can you introduce a climate friendly and sustainable diet to your family? 1.Buying from your local farmer allows you to support local agriculture. This means that the food you are eating comes from nearby, and does not require to waste lots of energy and petroleum to ship the food halfway around the world. You are eating food in your environment, where it has perfectly-created nutrients for your specific climate and region. You are also supporting the environment by reducing the usage of fossil fuels. 2.By shopping at the local farmers market, you will eat seasonally, fresh and ripe. This is a great way to increase your overall health. Supermarkets offer too much variety, and the food is picked before it has ripened decreases the vitality. The body does not need to be eating imported pineapple in the dead of a Montana winter! 3.Food from your local farmers market is generally safer. Remember the outbreaks of E.coli in bagged spinach? These things happen mostly in large industrial settings, where business-men work to mass produce food, preserve it and bag it in mass amounts. 4. The food from your local farmers market is fresher. Because it has grown locally, there is a good chance that the apples you buy from the farmer was picked a few days ago. This is virtually impossible in a big supermarket. Next time, you go into a supermarket, ask yourself, do I really want to support big corporations and contribute to the fossil fuel industry, or do I want to reduce my carbon footprint and support local farmers who are working hard to provide you with fresh, sustainable, healthy, nutritious food. Another great factor of reducing your meat consumption is that you can experience with so many new foods and flavors. One particular flavor is the “Umami” flavor which is the fifth “taste” alongside sweet, bitter, sour, and salty. Much like the primary colors of the food world, these five basic tastes are the building block of flavor. Umami is a delightful savory taste that occurs naturally in many foods, including meat, fish, vegetables, and dairy products. The world “umami” has been translated from its original Japanese origins that mean “deliciousness” or “pleasant savory taste”. Mushrooms are a wonderful plant-based option to mimic that “meaty” flavor our tastebuds like. You can create the delicious umami flavor with making your own mushroom stock and use it wherever the recipe calls for stock, like risotto, cook it with lentils, quinoa or couscous. When making a mushroom stock, be sure to add dried mushrooms, since the pack a bunch more flavor than fresh ones. You can use shitake mushrooms and simple bring to boil and let simmer for as long as you can. The longer you let is simmer the more flavorful it gets. For healthy and delicious plant-based recipes, head to my website: www.bhelathyeatwhole or check on my blog at Instagram: www.instagram.com/bhealthyeatwhole * 2021 United Nations Environment Programme *New estimates of the environmental cost of food | University of Oxford
Understanding Macronutrients & Micronutrients
In this article I will cover the main difference between macro and micronutrients but also to explain why you really do not need to think too much about it. When I studied for my Nutritionist certifications, it was a small part of the course. Of course, you need to know the difference, the functions and what role it plays in the body but more importantly how do you incorporate macro and micronutrients in your diet and why has this become such a big thing in recent years. The answer is simple, most often the media reports convince you that “Oh I really need to buy this and that supplement, or that latest superfood”, to complete my macro-and micronutrient needs. The truth is, that if you follow a whole food plant-based diet, most of your nutrient needs are going to be met without the need for other expensive gimmicks. You see, Macronutrients are split into three categories: Carbohydrates, Protein and Fats. They all yield energy once they are broken down in the body and digested. Let’s explore this a bit further. Carbohydrates - We know of the good and bad Carbs. Why is this? Carbohydrates are sugar and starches and supply your body with glucose, which is the body’s primary fuel source and preferred source of energy. Most types of carbohydrates are divided into simple or complex Carbohydrates, and this refers to the length of the overall molecule. Shorter molecules are easier for your body to break down, so they are classified as simple, (i.e bad carbs). They primarily consist of sugars (both natural and added, like white bread, cakes, crackers, white pasta, ect). Complex carbohydrates (“good carbs) consist of whole wheat, fruits and vegetables as close to their natural and unaltered state as possible. These carbs are filled with various nutrients. The problem nowadays is that most people eat far too many “bad” carbs and not getting enough nutrients and vitamins in their daily diet. This also is the main issue for bloating, unhealthy weight gain, lethargic, brain fog, digestion issues and a general feeling of unwell. Many companies are aware of these issues and invent new diet regimes, superfoods, and supplements to put a band aid on these issues but never get to the root cause of the problem, because of course they are interested in filling their pockets and not your health. The second Macronutrient is Protein. Protein is the building block of the body. All proteins are composed of combinations of twenty different amino acids, which your body consequently breaks apart and combines to form different physical structures. Your system uses amino acids in three main ways: 1) to build new proteins for cellular functioning 2) as an energy source (not the body’s preferred source of energy) 3) as a building material In other words, your body needs protein to support organ functioning, power enzyme reaction, and form your hair, nails, and other tissues. Unfortunately, most people eat too much protein per day. Scientific studies show that eating too much protein is associated with cancer, heart disease and arteriosclerosis and a whole bunch of other autoimmune diseases. I recommend reading the China Study, T.Colin Campbell, in my opinion a compelling read and one of many interesting studies in this field. The third Macronutrient is Fat. Fat supports your hormone functioning, insulates the nerves, and promotes healthier skin, and hair. Concentrated fats, such as oils, and oil-based spreads (think of condiments, salad dressings, all types of candy and most store - bought cakes, crackers, ect) do not fall under a food group. They are not required for optimal health, as essential fats are found naturally in whole foods like avocados, olives, nuts, and seeds. A small amount of concentrated fats should be included in a healthful plant-based diet. Chose oils and spreads that are minimally processed or make them yourself. Then we have the Micronutrients, and these are split into two categories: Vitamins and Minerals Micronutrients do not yield energy once broken down in the body, but they regulate the release of energy and other aspects of metabolism. There are 13 vitamins each with its special role to play. Vitamins are divided into two classes: water-soluble (the B vitamin and vitamin C) and fat-soluble (vitamins A, D, E, and K). The minerals also perform important functions. Some such as calcium, make up the structure of the bones and teeth. Other’s including sodium, float about in the body’s fluids, where they help regulate crucial bodily functions, such as heartbeat and muscle concentrations. However, when eating a whole food plant-based diet, you are eating food as close to its natural state as possible, meaning the food has not been or only very little altered and therefore still contain almost all nutrients and therefore you do not need to track down your daily Macronutrient and Micronutrient needs. A WFPD is also associated with many health benefits, here are a few examples: Prevent and even reverse heart disease Lower your blood cholesterol Lose weight Live longer Look and feel younger Have more energy Avoid Alzheimer’s Beat Arthritis A balanced whole food plant-based diet is made up of these four food groups: Legumes, nuts and seeds: This includes beans, split peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy products Grains such as brown rice, oats, quinoa, millet, wheat berries Vegetables, including cruciferous vegetables Fruits, especially citrus fruits, and berries are a great source of vitamin C To put it simply, if you’re eating a WFPB diet and you pay attention to the food groups above you’re almost certainly going to be getting all the Macro and Micronutrients you need. If you are interested in finding out more about a whole food pant-based diet, or how to get started visit my website: www.bhealthyeatwhole.com or view my blog: www.instagram.com/bhealthyeatwhole for recipe inspiration. References: Dr Greger, How not to Die Campbell, T.C The China study
Why fat is important to include in your diet!
When you wake up in the morning and switch the television on, you hear that there is “good and bad” cholesterol. On your way to work, you see a book in the bookstore praising the benefits of a high-fat diet. You head out at work for lunch and notice a sign at the health store advertising their peanut butter without hydrogenated oils. What does this all mean, you ask yourself? The question of what kind of fat to use can be overwhelming and puzzling. It will come as a surprise to most people that fat is essential to include in our diet. Fat is important to all the body’s cells and form the major components of cell membranes. When the energy from the food you eat is to be stored as fat, it is first broken down into small fragments. Fats are small molecules made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. These fragments then are linked together into chains known as fatty acids which is the major building blocks of triglycerides. A triglyceride is made up of three units known as fatty acids and one unit called glycerol. Glycerol is sometimes referred to as the “backbone” of triglycerides. Fatty acids differ from one another in chain length and in degree of saturation. Chain length refers to the number of carbon atoms that are linked together in the fatty acid. The degree of saturation refers to the chemical structure of the number of hydrogen atoms the fatty acid is holding. There are different types of fats to choose from: Saturated fat is generally solid at room temperature and refers to the number of hydrogen atoms contained in a fatty acid. A saturated fatty acid carries the maximum hydrogen atoms it can. This means that there are no points of unsaturation. Saturated fats are found in animal foods such as meat, poultry, full-fat dairy products such as whole milk, as well as coconut and palm oils, chocolate, regular margarine, and hydrogenated vegetable shortenings. Unsaturated fat is a fatty acid with one or more points of unsaturation. Unsaturated fats are found in foods from both plant and animal sources. Unsaturated fats are further divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. A monounsaturated fatty acid carries one or less than all the hydrogen atoms it possible could. Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and are plant derived. Examples are olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil and nut oils such as peanut oil. A polyunsaturated fatty acid carries at least two or fewer hydrogen atoms than it would if saturated. These fats are found in safflower, cottonseed, corn, soybean, and sesame seed oils and fatty fish. The body can synthesize most of the fatty acids it needs from carbohydrate, fat, or protein but not all. These are Linoleic (also known as omega-6 fatty acid) and Linolenic acid (omega-3 fatty acid). These two cannot be made from other substances in the body or from each other, and they must be supplied by the diet and are known as essential fatty acids. Both fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids and are widely available in the food supply. These fatty acids can be found in vegetable oils such as safflower, sunflower and corn oil and fish oils. Deficiencies in these substances can product pour wound healing, skin lesions and hair loss. Watch out for artificial fats and trans fats. Food manufactures have used chemicals which are derived from vegetable oils, and they tend to be solid at room temperature (lard). These trans fats are also called partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (PHVO). There has been carried out considerable research and the results show that these trans fats are unhealthy (Bhardwaj et al., 2011). Most countries have now legally banned these trans fats from their food supply. All fats have a mixture of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids (though we usually call them by the name of the fatty acid they contain most. Fats that are high in saturated fatty acids are Coconut oil, Palm kernel oil, Butter, Beef tallow and Lard. Look for a good mixture of fatty acids such as Sunflower and Flaxseed oil. Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated may help to lower cholesterol level and protect the heart if you consume them instead of saturated fats. Good sources are Flaxseed oil, Peanut oil, Soybean oil and Olive oil. Research has potentially linked the fat in the diet to several diseases, including certain types of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and gallbladder disease. ¹ On-the-other-hand, polyunsaturated fats tend to lower blood cholesterol, and therefore it is recommended to consume vegetable oils and nuts. ² The institute of Medicine recommends that total fat not exceed 20 to 35 percent of the day’s total calories and that it come mostly from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat sources such as vegetable oils, nut oil and fish oil. ³ The DRI (Dietary Reference Intakes) Committee recommends: Polyunsaturated fats: Omega - 6 fats: 5%-10% of total calorie intake Omega – 3 fats: 0.6% - 1.2 % of total calorie intake 1.P.Libby, Inflammatory mechanism: the molecular basis of inflammation and disease, Nutrition reviews 65 (2007):S140-S146; G.K.Hansson, Inflammation, atherosclerosis, and coronary artery disease, New England Journal of Medicine 352 (2005): 1685-1695; F.Montecucco and f.Mach, Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease, Seminars in Immunopathology 2009: 1-3. 2.K.Zelman, The great fat debate: A closer look at the controversy questioning the validity of age- old-dietary guidance, Journal of the American Dietetic Association 111 (2011): 655-658; Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Dietary fatty acids for healthy adults, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 114 (2014): 136-153 Edlin G, Golanty E, twelfth edition, Health, and Wellness, eating and exercising towards a healthy lifestyle, pp106 – pp107 Edlin G, Golanty E, twelfth edition, Personal Nutrition, a comparison of Saturated and Unsaturated Fatty Acids in Dietary Fats and Oils, , pp 126-128
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