Welcome to Week 6!
Our 6th Doctor is FOOD.
We are what we eat. The food we choose is a collection of molecules of information and messages we send to our body. The energy, composition, and spirit of food get passed onto it.
Do you ever look at the food you eat and think about the impact it has on you and what actually happens after you swallow? Or, are you more focused on keeping your cravings happy?
Food makes a long journey – up to 24 hours – through our body, and has impacts along the way.
PROTEINS (Meat, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts/seeds and legumes)
Protein is an important substance found in every cell in the human body. It is used in many vital processes and thus needs to be constantly replaced.
- Repair and Maintenance: Protein is termed the building block of the body. It is called this because it is vital in the maintenance of body tissue, including development and repair. Hair, skin, eyes, muscles and organs are all made from protein.
- Energy: Protein is a major source of energy. If you consume more protein than you need for body tissue maintenance and other necessary functions, your body will use it for energy. If it is not needed due to sufficient intake of other energy sources such as carbohydrates, the protein will be used to create fat and become part of fat cells.
- Hormones: Protein is involved in the creation of some hormones. These substances help control body functions that involve the interaction of several organs. Insulin, a small protein, is an example of a hormone that regulates blood sugar. It involves the interaction of organs such as the pancreas and the liver. Secretin, is another example of a protein hormone. This substance assists in the digestive process by stimulating the pancreas and the intestine to create necessary digestive juices.
- Enzymes: Enzymes are proteins that increase the rate of chemical reactions in the body. In fact, most of the necessary chemical reactions in the body would not efficiently proceed without enzymes. For example, one type of enzyme functions as an aid in digesting large protein, carbohydrate and fat molecules into smaller molecules, while another assists the creation of DNA.
- Transportation and Storage of Molecules: Protein is a major element in transportation of certain molecules. For example, hemoglobin is a protein that transports oxygen throughout the body.
- Antibodies: Protein forms antibodies that help prevent infection, illness and disease. These proteins identify and assist in destroying antigens such as bacteria and viruses. They often work in conjunction with the other immune system cells. For example, these antibodies identify and then surround antigens in order to keep them contained until they can be destroyed by white blood cells.
CARBOHYDRATES (Vegetables, fruit, grains and legumes)
Carbohydrates are important because:
- They provide energy: All of the tissues and cells in the body can use glucose for energy. Glucose is the breakdown product of carbohydrates and also the body’s primary fuel source
- They impact the stress response. The body works really hard to maintain a steady level of glucose in the blood so that we have enough energy to fuel metabolism and balance our hormones.
When our blood sugar gets too low it triggers the stress response. The stress response helps mobilize glucose from the liver and muscles, bringing blood sugar levels back to normal. So, having too many processed carbohydrates and sweets can throw off your blood sugar by causing a drastic increase in blood sugar, followed by an equally drastic drop in blood sugar. This big drop in blood sugar triggers the stress response, resulting in the physiological symptoms of anxiety mentioned earlier, and even panic attacks for some people.
- They provide brain power and focus
- They help to eliminate toxins
- They make muscles to move our body and beat our heart.
- They save protein and fat for their specific “jobs”
- They create savings for later use if you miss a meal, or need to run to catch the train.
FATS (Olives and olive oil, nuts/seeds, coconut oil, and avocado)
Break down into fatty acids that:
- Keep us warm, and protect our organs and body parts
- Power-up the brain and nervous system
- Put out the fire of inflammation
- Carry certain vitamins through digestion; e.g., eating tomato with olive oil increases absorption of lycopene.
- Support healthy cell-membranes, where communication happens in the body.
In conclusion, the message we send our bodies through food is very important. When we eat processed foods like hydrogenated fats, GMOs, artificial sugars and that long ingredient-list on processed food packages, our body needs to work harder, affecting its ability to perform its normal jobs. Our liver, who already has about 400 jobs, has to try to neutralize those incomprehensible messages. Fake food is like a foreigner who doesn’t speak your body’s language, roaming the body without an itinerary with messages that don’t translate. Your body does its best to neutralize it, but those messages can lead to imbalances.
The best message you can send to your body is eating real/whole foods that have a simple message your body can easily understand.
Connecting with food by taking a few breaths in between spoonfuls or by blessing it before eating can keep us in line with digestion and will send a great message to our body.
5 TOP TAKEAWAYS
- Eat real, whole food – know the message of that food
- Balance your protein, fats, and carbs choices
- Take 2 full breaths before each new spoonful
- Chew your food – slow down and enjoy what you are becoming
- Eat real food – that is worth saying twice
- Bonus tip: introduce yourself to a vegetable you have never met, or a spice that looks and smells amazing to you. Enjoy the journey of connecting to the wonder of your body and the many ways you can choose how to be what you eat.
Week 6 Actions:
- Observe what you crave to eat and how this food can affect your body throughout the day. Write down how satisfied you are with your diet.
If you are satisfied, it’s good to become aware that you are treating your body well. It’s always good to reaffirm if you are doing something good, and feel gratitude for that. Write some affirmations about what you do well.
If you realize that you could be more conscious in your food consumption. Write down what you would like to change. Changing your diet would be a full 21-day challenge, so for now it’s fine if you are just aware of what you would like to change in the future.
- Follow the guided meditation:
Before you start your meditation, come into a relaxed sitting position and start breathing in through your nose and exhale out through your mouth and just calm your mind. When you feel relaxed, start the music, and listen to the guided meditation.
- Repeat the following information throughout the day:
“My body is my temple, I honor my body and my mind. I make healthy choices, I nourish my soul and I supply my body with healthy foods.”
- Eat sugarless, organic and whole meals all day long with lots of vegetables.
- Watch this video:
It may change the way you relate to sugar and junk food.
As a neuroscientist, Amy is fascinated with how our brains control our behaviors in our dynamic and changing world. Things we eat, like junk food, also affect our brain. Dopamine is released when we eat junk foods, which makes us feel good and crave more, but we risk becoming sugar dependent.