Patience

Life here in America can be tough. Long work hours, constant distractions and stimulation everywhere you turn, and the pressure to fit more into every day than is humanly possible. That’s where I step into this picture. In the last year or so I have gotten rather caught up in the typical American whirlwind lifestyle, and that is certainly a life that does not support authentic health. My health has been subpar, my nerves have been frazzled and my habits have been less than ideal. Yes, I am still working hard every day to help people be healthy, but my own life and vitality got lost along the way in all the hubbub of “Doing More”.

So where does fasting come into all this? Well, in the foggy craze of survival and distraction this past year I have found my digestion has been suffering. I won’t go into the lovely details, but the easiest way to describe what has been happening is that my body has simply forgotten how to digest and absorb food properly and completely. Imagine what you will about that, but that’s what happened. You may ask, ‘How can your body forget how to digest food?’ The answer comes in six little letters: stress. As I have said countless times to hundreds of people, stress stops your body from functioning right. For me it came in the form of maldigestion. I was eating quite healthfully and avoiding junk food most of the time, but my body has been letting me know it ain’t happy with all this stress for a while now. I took that message to heart about a month ago. Yeah, I know, what took so long, right? Read any of don Miguel Ruiz’s amazing books and you will understand the power of the Mitote. That explains it all.

Consistent practice of meditation, journaling, and giving my body the valuable rest it deserves lead me to a moment of clarity recently that carried with it the message to stop eating for a couple days and give my whole gastrointestinal tract a rest too. I’ve never really done that before, but it sounded right and it gave me a good feeling in my heart when I thought about doing it. No food, only light tea and water, and psyllium husk fiber three times a day to sweep out what doesn’t need to be in that colon of mine. Plus a probiotic capsule, also three times each day. Simple. Concerned with my energy levels during this time without food, I arranged to do it for only two days, on my days off this past week. I am sure glad I did.

The Fast

My body actually responded quite well to having no food at all. I wasn’t as tired as I had expected until the very end of the last day. And I feel like this intentional nutritional pause has helped me reset my body. Before I started this, and each day within, I spoke clearly to my body letting it know what was happening, and I think that helped the process.

What I found most beneficial and profound about this whole experience was the moment I began to have my first meal to break the fast. I chose a light meal of cooked vegetables and a light soup. I knew that with such a long time without food, my stomach and intestines needed to ease back into the process of eating and digesting again, so I took it really slow. I took small bites, I chewed slowly, I was fully present in the process and I took my time. And my body Loved It! This reminded me of how I used to eat when I first dove into the Holistic life. Here’s what I learned:

 

Tips for Healthy Eating

  1. {And this is the very biggest one} Do Not distract yourself while eating! That means:
    • No Reading! emails, books, news or blogs,  the back of the cereal box, anything
    • No Television! news, netflix, internet videos, nothing
    • No Listening to anything!  radio, podcasts, TV, audio books, nothing (except maybe some pleasant music, (avoid Twisted Sister, try Bach))
    • If you are with a family member or a friend, by all means talk to them, sans gossip, but please be mindful of the following tips while doing so.
  2. Put your fork down. As soon as you deposit the food into your mouth, there is absolutely no need to continue to hold onto that fork or spoon. Put it down. Better yet don’t even put it on the plate, place it on the table next to the plate. That way it’s a conscious message that it’s time to chew. You don’t need to root around the plate with your fork, rearranging the remaining food, and loading up the utensil to stand by, impatiently, for you to swallow. Let it go.
  3. Chew. That’s right, Chew your food. If you are distracted with everything around you, chances are astronomical that you are hardly chewing your food. Chewing is the beginning of the digestive process. It’s essential to grind up the food you are eating for complete and efficient digestion. If you chew each bite anything less than 30 times you are sending large chunks of whole food straight to your stomach. Ladies and Gentlemen, your stomach doesn’t have teeth. Your gut has to work 10x as hard to break down those big chunks with acids and enzymes and digestive juices. If you would have just had the patience to chew properly everything would be fine.
  4. Stop when you feel 80% full. That’s an old Okinawan idea, and one of the many reasons why those beautiful people live such long, happy and healthy lives. If you follow all the above tips at each meal, you will be in full awareness of exactly when your body is satisfied with this meal. Just pay attention.

All of these tips basically have the common goal to get you to slow down, enjoy the meal you are eating, and maybe even give you a chance to feel grateful for the farmers and grocers who brought you this food, for the Earth for providing this food for you, and for the simple fact that you actually have food to eat (there are lots of people who don’t). But most importantly, eating this way shows genuine love and respect for yourself and your body. When was the last time you did that?

This was a very eye-opening experience for me and I intend to carry what I have learned into every meal I eat. And maybe make this whole fasting thing a regular thing for me. Perhaps you will give it a try, too. Feel free to offer your comments and experiences below.

Love Yourself!

 

 

Photo by Jonathan Pielmayer on Unsplash

 

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