Dodging the Magic Bullet
Establish a Solid Dietary Strategy
Time and time again we are promised the quick and easy approach to diet, aging, rejuvenation by way of just one pill or potion.
Our Western culture does not encourage the rejuvenation of our vital energy. We’re moving way too fast. We don’t have enough hours in the day to get our work done. We don’t make the time to nourish our bodies. Instead of supporting rejuvenation, our world is set up for systematic degeneration. The fundamental principles governing human health and well-being are breaking down. So we go looking for a magic bullet: the drug, belief system, healing modality, relationship or diet that will miraculously fix all our physical and mental discomfort.
If such a magic bullet had been found, we’d all be free of anxiety and illness (and somebody would be very, very rich!). The band-aid, quick-fix approach can’t sustain long-term, deep rejuvenation. Repeatedly falling back on caffeine, pharmaceuticals, and adrenaline rushes steadily weakens both body and mind. The “fix” is imaginary.
This is because the source of our energy being internal, the mechanisms that drain it are also within us. No external solution to our inner unease can ever address the source of our energy drain. It can only offer temporary symptomatic relief. Immediate, short-term respite can sometimes be exactly what the situation calls for; as a long-term strategy; however, the quick fix rapidly reaches the point of diminishing returns.
Fortunately, we have other options. We have choices, which don’t necessarily require us to quit our jobs, give up our cars, or leave our families. We can rejuvenate our vital energy right in the midst of our fast-paced lifestyles. All it takes is a clear understanding of the underlying forces that have brought us to where we are, and a genuine willingness to venture out on a new path of vibrant health and clarity.
In order to discover our innate vitality, we need to address our diet and nutrition habit and discuss the three components of proper digestion, timing, quality, and quantity. I’ll take them one at a time over the next few blogs.
Eat in Tune with Your Metabolic Clock
The Chinese system of medicine holds that energy flows through meridians or energy channels in a specific pattern. Every two hours, a different organ dominates. The small intestine, they note, dominates from one to three P.M. since it is the organ primarily responsible for digestion and absorption, one to three P.M. is therefore the best time for food to be assimilated. From five to seven A.M., on the other hand, the large intestine dominates. Since it is here that toxic waste is stored, it makes sense that early morning is the most appropriate time to eliminate.
“When you eat has direct impact on
how well your food nourishes you”.
In the Ayurvedic system of medicine-the science of health and longevity-a twenty-four-hour cycle is divided into six segments, not twelve, but the principle is essentially the same. If we follow the energy patterns during the day with respect to our bodily functions, then the brain will maintain balance and allow energy to flow freely. For example, because in the mornings between six and ten o’clock we feel most energetic or fresh, what we eat during this time should be cleansing and light so as not to impede that energy. From ten A.M. to two P.M., our metabolic energy is at its highest. Digestive enzymes are up-regulated (activated); food burns most efficiently. During this time eat anything you want-but be careful not to eat too much, since you don’t want to smother the fire of digestion. During the last cycle, from two to six P.M. we feel active and light ,in some cases even light-headed. Here we have a tendency to go for sugar and other stimulating foods, since it is the end of the day and we need a boost. Far better to choose food food that is stabilizing and moist- meaning foods that are complex like whole grains that regulate blood sugar levels, and “moist” referring to those foods you don’t need water to wash down.
The energy cycle repeats itself through the next twelve hours, but instead of repeating the food intake of the day, don’t eat anything at all. (Plain water or water with lemon is the exception.) The reason for doing this is that the digestive system needs rest for at least twelve hours daily, and an overnight “fast” is in the way to make sure this is accomplished.
From the above, it’s easy to see that the best time for our brain’s to recharge is in between meals and especially at night. Our energy and flexibility are highest in the morning and early evening when our stomachs are not overloaded and our vitality flows.
Americans, though, are a nation of grazers. We pay little or no attention to our metabolic clock. And since we eat throughout the day, we give little thought to the best time for food-or rest. It is a pity. Try eating the way I recommended and your brain health will improve, I assure you. Eat at the right time, rest and exercise your body and your vitality will increase.
The next part of this series, we look at the Quality of our Food and how it affects our mind, mood and overall health.