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Simple Food Rules and the Pillars of Health

Simple Food Rules and the Pillars of Health

November 4, 2012 by Dr. Andrea Seiffertt

Sustainable Health Nutshell: Enjoy life, take care of yourself, your community, and your planet, and when something is out of balance, try and find the root of it rather than blaming it on something outside!

It’s not the food! was the most obvious thing I learned from my 10-day silent meditation sit a year ago. I was sick every single day, and couldn’t figure out why my body was rejecting everything I put in it- simple vegetarian healthy food, cooked with love, that was tasty and eaten in a calm (and quiet!) environment but a voice in my head kept saying it wasn’t the food, and sometime around day 8, during a group silent hour-long meditation session, I noticed an anxious fluttering in my chest, followed instantly by an anxious cramping in my gut and a pinball-like exchange that went between my head and heart and gut regarding whether I’d have to get up and leave the meditation room and be embarrassed and all the other things that had been coming up that week. and it clicked. Somehow I was creating and amplifying my body’s reaction to my thoughts and emotions. Now, if I’d been eating junk food or lots of GMO/non-organic processed stuff, maybe then the food choice would’ve had something to do with it but nope. This was all in my head as they say. But it was brilliant because it gave me a very clear understanding of how our consciousness either allows our natural state of health and balance or creates resistance to teach us something Apparently I still want to learn a lot! 🙂

Anyway, today’s post is to help you understand the basic framework of the 3 Ayurvedic Food Rules, and a brief explanation of the 4 Pillars of Health that we focus on when you come in for consultation Understanding the basics here can help you pinpoint where the health issue you have may be coming from, and once you find the source, you can then dig down and find the root and pull it up to eat (meaning process/transform) it!

The 3 food rules! 

  1. Eat delicious food. Enjoy each bite, sit down, eat it in a calm environment, eat only until 75% full, but 100% full of gratitude!
  2. Eat food prepared with love. When you can, choose food grown by an organic and sustainable farmer that loves their land, as close to where you live as possible. Cook the food with love and the intention to nourish and help create health.
  3. Eat according to your imbalance and constitution. You can ask someone like me for help, but you really know your body better than anyone- eat intuitively- imagine what the food choice you’re making will taste like, will feel like in your mouth and stomach, and how you will feel after eating it. If it isn’t nourishing and energizing, then perhaps make a choice that is!

The 4 pillars of health! {If even one of these is off, we feel terrible your body is asking for attention!}

  1. Sleep (rejuvenation includes rest and meditation): Humans natural hormone cycle would like you to turn lights down at 8, be asleep by 10, and sleep straight through until 530 or so- anything else causes the body to have to compensate and burn reserves. If you have trouble sleeping there might be a simple reason, but it might point to something else that could use a little attention! See my sleep post and please ask questions!
  2. Digestion (transforming and processing of food and experience): If you aren’t digesting what you take in and it rushes through too fast, if the body is creating toxins or storing too much, or it isn’t absorbing nutrients and energy efficiently, you’re probably not feeling as energetic or healthy as possible. Eating according to the food rules above will help- but again, it might not be the food! Timing, emotions, sleep, and nervous system overload all affect digestion (and thus the immune system), so sometimes changing one of those things fixes a perceived problem with digestion!
  3. Elimination (cleansing and releasing toxins both physical and mental/emotional): This is the loosening, cleaning, and pushing out of toxins. You eliminate through stool, urine, and sweat. If there are issues with these, again, it might not be the food, though food choices of course may be an issue. Using stool as an example- if you don’t eliminate efficiently (normal is once a day, between 5-7 am, easily and completely- sometimes with a second in the afternoon also during colon time between 5 and 7), toxins build up and can cause illness. If each elimination process is not too slow, not too fast, and without pain or difficulty, then you can assume the process is going well- if not, your body is asking for help!
  4. Purification (menstruation, exercise, and panchakarma= flushing the channels or srotas in Sanskrit): This is a periodic reset of the entire body system. For part of their lives, women get the chance to cleanse monthly without having to do anything at all (which may be why we live longer!), but ayurvedic panchakarma treatments can mimic the same process for anyone. Exercise is also helpful to create heat and movement to eliminate toxins. The body’s channels all need to be open and flowing to allow toxins to leave and for health to exist. Periodic flushing is recommended but is best done very gently and with the body’s own mechanisms in order to not deplete the system or cause more imbalance. Please ask me for individual recommendations!

Learning a little about the most important ways your body wants to work can help point out a problem, can help you translate your own body’s messages, and can then allow you to see that you can choose to remove obstacles to your own best health!

Happy learning!