I had a wonderful discussion with one of my clients this morning: she, a lady of 70, asked me whether nutrition really matters? Surely our stress levels and emotions have a stronger influence on disease? One of the reasons she asked these questions was because of the anxiety caused by all of the diet and nutrition information fired at her curious mind from the media.
Beyond my obvious request to take whatever the media report about nutrition with a bucket of salt, my answer was as follows:
Nutrition matters a lot, because the food we eat is literally what our body is built from, and without our bodies, our life on Earth ceases (we do not know if there is life beyond it, so staying here strong and healthy seems like a good option!). However, I do agree with Pierre Teilhard de Chardin that we are 'Not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience' - and all that we feel, beyond bodily functions - stress, energy, love, positivity, negativity, mysterious telepathy and more - is our soul communicating, and we need to listen, and take action, in order to be healthy and happy.
Nutrition matters a great deal - we need to build our selves to our maximum potential. Once that self is built, and replenishing nicely, we need to ensure we are doing our utmost to allow it to function without the negative impact of poor attention to spiritual health. If we're stressed, upset, sabotaged, lonely, frustrated, depressed, angry or more we need to compassionately take action to change the situation where ever possible to help optimise our experience of life. Stress is truly a killer. (See Karoshi: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kar%C5%8Dshi).
Nutrition and spiritual health work hand in hand: You know that feeling when you've been eating and living well (exercising, sleeping, laughing) and you feel inspired to keep climbing up the positive pathway - we are happier when we are well nourished, and being happy makes us want to eat even better. You also know that feeling when something stressful happens, and suddenly you're reaching for the processed food. Emotion directly impacts the way we choose to nourish ourselves, for good and for bad: Be aware of your patterns to ensure you learn about your triggers; this will help you catch them before you lose a lot of progress as a result of a few hard weeks. Much of the work we do in clinic is building easy systems to ensure a healthy diet doesn't involve too much hassle. Often times the wrong kind of people are a big trigger: many a client of mine has succeeded in a permanent improvement of dietary intake as a direct result of removing toxic, draining people from their lives!
Grab a cup of tea to read the beauuutiful National Geographic article below: it covers the research done by the US's National Institute of Aging: Scientists focused on several regions where people live significantly longer and healthier lives (Sardinia, Okinawa and Lonna Linda). These communities don't just have incredibly high rates of people living to be 100, they also have a fraction of the diseases which we see taking the lives of people in Westernised society. These people don't just live to 100, they live well to 100 - healthy life years is what we're aiming for (preferably without unnecessary pharmaceuticals!).
A summary of the best practices of these communities (watch how they influence actual nutrition and spiritual health):
1. Honour family: Eat with your loved ones, talk and connect.
2. Drink red wine: In moderation - binge drinking is clearly unhealthy.
3. Stay active: Preferably at work and outdoors! Even if you go to the gym daily, sitting still for hours seriously impacts your potential for long term health - get up and move around.
4. Find purpose: Have something to live and aim for. Don't expect someone to spoonfeed it to you - go out and discover what switches your passion centres on!
5. Eat vegetables: Now you know why I am always pushing vegetables (even over fruits).
6. Have faith: It doesn't matter what you have faith in; just have it: Don't be a cynic - there is a plan - “You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore”
― Christopher Columbus
7. Take time off: Stop trying to be perfect or over productive. Stand and stare!
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
8. Celebrate Life: Party whenever you can :-)
Here's the link to the article: Please read, absorb and eat something vibrant. Have a wonderful week!