The 6 Pillars of health & wellbeing
Written by Alwyn Rea
A glimpse of what’s inside:
1st Pillar of Health & Wellbeing
Welcome to your very first Newsletter and I’m delighted to be introducing you to Self-Care November with Oxygen Mind Body Soul.
I invite you to start your well-being journey to a healthier, happier and balanced life by incorporating the 6 Pillars of Health and Well-being into your everyday life.
Over the next 6 weeks I’m going to break down each of these pillars to help you bring yourself into balance, enhance health and wellbeing by integrating these ancient self care tools and beautiful practices into your every day life.
Let’s do our very best to feel good from the inside out while balancing our body, mind and soul in preparation for the upcoming “silly season”.
I ask you to begin by setting your intention for your goal for the month.
In this edition we will delve into the importance of our 1st Pillar, Nutrition, to your wellbeing, give you tips on how to tune into your appetite, discuss how damaging overeating, unconscious eating and stress can be to your wellbeing and how we can improve it with choosing the right foods, improving our digestion and mindful eating. Food is information. Paying attention to how foods interact with your body is the most powerful way to keep your mind/body balanced.
Natural foods, such as, fruits, vegetables, and foods rich in fibre will increase prana/Qi (energy) and communicate to your brain the nutrients they contain through their appearance, taste, and smell. On the other hand, artificially flavoured and processed foods can trick your brain into thinking they contain nourishing benefits while disguising harmful properties. When we eat processed foods, generally high in sugar, salt, and fat, the toxic residue increases in our bodies, and we don’t take in any Qi or prana. However, by nourishing our bodies with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fibre, will increase our life-force energy.
Tune in to your appetite
Your body has the innate intelligence to choose nurturing foods in just the right amounts.
When we eat mindfully, we slow down and notice the signals that our body is sending. We fully experience and enjoy our food. We stop eating when we’re full! We’re energetic and satisfied when the meal is over. By paying attention to our body and our food, we know when we’re hungry, we know exactly what to eat, and we know when we’ve eaten enough.
Too often, however, we eat out of habit, boredom, emotional reactivity, stress, or social pressure. We don’t listen to our body’s intuition because we eat unconsciously, consuming more calories than we really need, and choosing foods for their convenience rather than their nutritional content.
By removing distractions while you eat, you allow your body to focus on your food. Distractions don’t always come from your environment. Stress and emotions can also get in the way.
Triggers the fight-or-flight response in our body and stimulates the production of cortisol in our brain.
We tend to overeat when we’re under stress because our body is preparing for a traumatic event and needs fuel.
By slowing down, practicing stress-reduction techniques like meditation, qigong, yoga, and using other self-care practices before you eat, you can strengthen your digestive system and fully experience and enjoy your food.
Next to breathing, eating is one of our most vital bodily functions. We nourish ourselves by converting the energy and information of our environment into the biological intelligence of our body. To create and maintain a healthy physiology, our food needs to be nourishing, our digestive power strong, and our elimination efficient.
In Ayurveda, Chinese medicine we cultivate health by eating a variety of fresh, delicious foods and tailoring our diet to balance our mind-body type.
Our health depends on proper digestion. Nutrition isn’t limited to what goes into our mouths. It involves being conscious of all the steps involved in nourishing ourselves. In the act of eating,
We not only consume the calories, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates of the food, but we’re also influenced by our emotional state while we eat, the environment in which we eat, and the way the food is prepared.
The by-product of healthy digestion means that the pure substance that’s extracted from food, emotions, and experiences that have been completely digested.
When our digestive system is strong:
- We feel rested upon awakening.
- Our skin has a healthy glow.
- Our tongue is pink and clear.
- Our body feels light, regardless of our weight.
- We feel centred throughout the day.
- Our digestion is strong, without bloating or constipation.
- We feel energized and enthusiastic.
- Our mind is clear.
- Our body has a pleasant smell.
- We rarely get sick.
When our digestive fire is weak or irregular:
- We’re unable to completely digest our food, emotions, experiences, and information. As a result, our body accumulates what’s known as toxic residue. Which can interfere with the free flow of energy and information throughout our body
- Weakened our immune system
- We feel lethargic and tired.
A very simple fix to this is to enhance our digestion with Herbs and Spices
To Increase Digestive Fire:
We can use herbs and spices to kindle our digestive fire. For example, Ginger can improve our digestion as well as our overall health. You can enjoy ginger in the form of tea, or you can make a ginger elixir using fresh-pressed ginger juice, a little bit of lemon juice, black pepper, a dash of salt, and some honey for taste. Taking this ginger elixir as an aperitif before a meal is a powerful way to ignite agni. You can also simply eat a few pieces of freshly sliced ginger sprinkled with lemon juice fifteen minutes before meals
To Decrease Digestive Fire:
If our digestive fire is too strong and we’re experiencing acid reflux or heartburn, we can alleviate it by cooking with cooling herbs. In Ayurveda, we typically use Cumin, Coriander, Cilantro, and Fennel. You can make a tea from cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and fennel seeds (CCF tea), which is wonderful for digestion.
To Decrease Bloating and Gas:
A class of herbs called carminative herbs is helpful for decreasing gas and bloating, which are digestive issues associated with too much air in the system. The typical carminative herbs used in Ayurvedic cooking are cardamom, cinnamon, and bay leaves. These herbs are often incorporated into bean and lentil dishes. In addition, CCF tea and chewing on roasted fennel seeds also can help to dispel gas.
When we have an imbalance or digestive issues we may experience inflammation. Inflammation is the cornerstone of the body’s healing system and is needed to provide the body with nourishment and immune activity to heal when we’ve been injured. However, inflammation that goes on for too long can be destructive to health. In recent years we have learned that chronic inflammation is the root cause of most diseases of aging. health.
One of the most effective ways to reduce inflammation is to eat a diet that favours fresh and healthy foods. By eliminating processed, artificial foods filled with toxic chemicals, and choosing a wide variety of fresh, whole foods, herbs, and spices, you can reduce inflammation and expand your health.
The Principles of Mindful Eating:
Eating consciously will help us to optimize our digestion and overall well-being.
- Eat in a quiet, settled, comfortable environment.
- Eat only when you feel hungry.
- Don’t eat when you’re upset.
- Always sit down to eat.
- Practice Gratitude.
- Take your time.
- Eat freshly prepared foods.
- Include all 6 tastes in every meal.
- Wait until one meal is fully digested before beginning another – approx 4 hrs.
- Listen to your appetite
- Don’t overeat.
- Sit quietly for a few minutes after eating.
- Go for a short walk.