A few years back I attended a mindfulness retreat for teachers and my biggest take away was that most if not all the teachers seemed uber stressed. It gave me pause to wonder what we as adults are teaching, directly or indirectly, to younger ones about what’s important and what success really means in life.  Because as social beings, what is modeled to us influences us more greatly than information that is spoken and/or taught.  

To be sure, times and values are changing and I see wonderful signs of heart-focused and sustainable life choices everywhere.  One of the things we did at the retreat that made a lasting impression on me was to eat in silence and to chew our food mindfully. We were given a full 30 minutes just to be present and grateful while eating with no other distractions or interactions.  It’s a theme upheld in kundalini yoga, which promotes chewing each mouthful 26 times before swallowing.  I love to share food and gratefulness with others and I take the time to savor the experience and be really present during these moments.  But I realize when I eat alone, I still have retained some of the “eat-on-the-go” habits I developed when I was super engaged in school, business or academia and had learned to become an epic multi-tasker to juggle many responsibilities.

I have always had a preference for healthful food, have sought out organic, avoided junk food, and so on, but I realized that I rarely chew my food as well as I can before swallowing, thinking that that process is something the digestive tract handles.  Or usually not thinking about chewing at all!  

In my studies to find out how human beings can live at their highest potentials I have read and digested (pun intended : ) many different theories and approaches both spiritually and scientifically.  I love when I see an overlap where ideas from divergent sources converge, and a sort of light bulb goes off, saying something like “pay attention: there is true wisdom here!”

In systems as complicated as the human body it is not always apparent that what we do, think and believe have a direct effect on our health and well being.  Because of the time delay for one, but also due to the very many energetic and physical levels that make up who we are in any given moment. Some actions are obvious, such as: put your hand on a hot stove and Yowza! direct effect noted and remembered.  But what mix of emotions, breathing, specific food items, Present moment awareness, external environment and social company (and yes chewing) were involved in your last meal?  These considerations certainly complicate things in seeing a direct cause and effect on health and wellbeing.  And so we often do things unconsciously, from habit, rather than from inner knowing, and that takes it toll on individual human health.  And collectively, unconscious habits take their toll on the health and well being of all humanity.

I’m not suggesting we never rely on habits again, but I am advocating that we consciously reprogram learned behavior that is not our highest truth and not in alignment with true vitality.  Right now I am reprogramming the way I eat to be more mindful, grateful and centered, a slowing down that matches other lifestyle choices that I have made in other areas of my life. I’m intending to select and savor the flavor and color and origin of my food and its spiritual essence more.  I’m choosing to make decisions based on highest vitality over age-old emotional comforts (like wheat toast with butter, or a late night frozen desert), or social norms like dining out at a place that may have food that tastes good but doesn’t make me feel good.  

I’m deciding to be consciously grateful and say a prayer of thanks before eating anything, even a raisin!  I’m going to tune into my breathing and slow it down before eating so that any leftover flight or fight chemicals like adrenalin and cortisol dissipate and more feel good neurochemicals are released to optimize this sacred moment of eating consciously.  I’m intending to allow my teeth to do their job well by really chewing the food into very small particles.  I’m intending to allow the saliva in my mouth to do what it is intended to do—mix thoroughly with each morsel providing the essential digestive enzymes that begin transforming the food to fuel and allow it to gracefully and synergistically flow throughout the rest of its GI tract journey.  I’m going to adequately space and combine what I eat to give my stomach and liver and intestines the best opportunity to convert the highest percentage of food to energy, absorb the most nutrients and facilitate the most efficient removal of waste and toxins possible.   And I am doing the same with the supplements I take so they can be best utilized to optimize my long-term health and wellbeing.

I am still sorting through what type of foods are best for my unique body and learning a lot about different theories along the way.  I am learning to listen to the wisdom of my body at a deeper level.  Instead of seeking pain relief in a conventionally prescribed way I am asking “what is the wisdom this discomfort is telling me that is out of alignment?” “What can I do to love my body more so it can serve me and my spiritual expression best?”  “Is there an emotional trauma or blockage seeking to be acknowledged and released?”  If so, I can do the Morter March technique https://drsuemorter.com/morter-march-mpower-step/ or tapping or journal to release it.

I am applying a lot of what the Medical Medium Anthony Williams advocates in his book, Cleanse to Heal (and many others), in reducing fat intake to allow the liver to do its best job to eliminate the body of toxins, and there are so many toxins we are exposed to these days, more than ever!  He ascertains that the three factors behind the vast majority of chronic illness today are:

one) a sluggish liver burdened by too much fat, undetected viruses like Epstein Barr and toxins like heavy metals, GMOs, glyphosate from Round Up and other poorly managed and now ubiquitous toxic chemicals

two) the stomach’s impaired inability to absorb nutrients efficiently and the intestines being full of poorly digested food-waste build up  

three) the two above combined with our emotional states often running at a high level of stress! 

So I am doing what I can to help my liver and other body systems out.  I’m eating a lot of organic fruits and vegetables and avoiding gluten, meat, dairy, eggs, processed foods, soy, sugar, corn, alcohol and caffeine.   I am drinking a lot of water, the purest I can find, to stay hydrated.  I’m dabbling with Ayurvedic principles, supplements and dietary suggestions as well, and these areas overlap in the above ways which rings that aha bell: there is truth here.  They differ in cooked versus raw, and certain other ways which I am still sorting out and enjoying learning more about what it takes to keep my body healthy along the way!  I am practicing some of the guidelines in the book Ancient Secrets of a Master Healer by Dr. Clint Rogers, and pressing marma points (like acupressure) and balancing doshas according to this approach.

So I am doing what I can to help my liver and other body systems out.  I’m eating a lot of organic fruits and vegetables and avoiding gluten, meat, dairy, eggs, processed foods, soy, sugar, corn, alcohol and caffeine.   I am drinking a lot of water, the purest I can find, to stay hydrated.  I’m dabbling with Ayurvedic principles, supplements and dietary suggestions as well, and these areas overlap in the above ways which rings that aha bell: there is truth here.  They differ in cooked versus raw, and certain other ways which I am still sorting out and enjoying learning more about what it takes to keep my body healthy along the way!  I am practicing some of the guidelines in the book Ancient Secrets of a Master Healer by Dr. Clint Rogers, and pressing marma points (like acupressure) and balancing doshas according to this approach.

I’m also retraining the way I sit, stand, walk and run to allow the maximal life force energy to flow through me in an unimpeded way.  I am learning to let my heel absorb the impact of each step and roll forward off my toes to lessen pressure on my joints and engage muscles in a more efficient way.  And I am learning to lean forward a bit more and engage the muscles more in different stances and do specific exercises to build strength and stability.  I am being helped by a knowledgeable physical therapist who is very encouraging, and I am especially grateful for her in-person presence, since I usually learn by books and internet!