March 23, 2010
Healthy Food Habits
Yoga teaches us to listen more attentively to the needs of our bodies. We surely acknowledge that we have one body throughout this lifetime to take care of and to honor, but how often do we protect our body when it comes to the food that we feed it? The food we eat has a direct impact on our physical health and our emotional life.
Sometimes even when we maintain a generally healthy diet, we can hurt ourselves in other ways. For instance, when we feel tired we reach for caffeine or sugar to “pick up” our mood. But these substances often create “crashes” that leave us feeling worse than we did to begin with. Perhaps when we feel distressed, we reach for a “comfort food”, like chips, a pastry or other sweet temptation. When our bodies try extra-hard to digest these, we end up in more discomfort than we were in beforehand.
When choosing what foods to eat, a healthy diet are simply matters of education and listening to what foods best serve your body’s needs. Sure, we know that choosing baked or grilled foods over a fried-food meal is a better option and we are reminded of this when we choose the latter and our body speaks to us shortly afterward. We may moan in discomfort, and hope for time to go by faster so our bodies have time to digest what we have fed it.
Why not listen to your body BEFORE making food choices? Try to remember the last time you chose to eat a certain something and how your body felt afterward. Was it rewarding? Was it nourishing? Did it leave a sense of guilt, or physical discomfort? Your body can tell you what it likes and needs and what it doesn’t, but your listening senses need to be open.
When we think of our bodies as our magnificent temple that we have to protect our energy throughout this lifetime, having this mindset can help us make better choices when it comes to what foods we choose to eat.
As quoted from B.K.S. Iyengar,
The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in.
Once again, yoga can also help. The next time you need a physical or mood pick-me-up, don’t automatically reach for a dietary crutch. Instead, try a natural stimulant, like a quick walk in the sunshine, some deep breaths of fresh air, or your favorite yoga pose. It’s amazing how powerful just a couple of Sun Salutations can revive the body, mind and spirit. Your favorite breath technique (pranayama) can also help oxygenate, and wake up your body and mind.