Category Archives: Diet

06Jun/18

Space and fuel

Environment and food

Space and fuel

There are many factors that influence how and what you feel. Space and fuel you use are two that are instantaneously transformable. Of course what I mean by space and fuel is the environment you are in and the food that you eat.

A key part of managing and building energy is choosing the right fuel. To engage with life and to pursue a purpose, we need energy. And to have energy there are certain practices that are musts, not shoulds. These include a healthy sleep pattern, movement, exercise, a focused mind and the fuel we take on board. The question to ask yourself is:

What must I eat each day to have the energy that I need to feel great and be successful?

You will know the foods and snacks that give you fuel and those that meet a short-term need. The quick fix may make you feel better for a few minutes, but quickly you realise that it is no solution to the energy problem if you are often tired and yawning. Here are some more questions:

  1. Are you tired and grouchy in the morning?
  2. Mid-morning are you struggling and telling yourself how tired you are?
  3. What about mid-afternoon, how is your energy?
  4. Are you enthusiastic about your daily endeavours, or is it often a drag?
The kids and space and fuel

As adults, we shape the patterns of the youngsters by setting the standards. So if we stock the cupboards with sugary things, that is what the kids will consume. We must normalise the good stuff. It is pretty clear now that the gut and brain hugely interact, meaning that the stuff we put inside us affects our emotions and our thinking. At this vital time in life when there is so much learning and development, we often excuse grumpiness and lethargy as being a ‘teen’. Yet when you look at diet and the space that they live in, if it is sugary and cluttered, guess what?

Observing youngsters in their environment you can see how they react. They will of course model behaviours of the adults nearby, so together with the space and how it is organised you can see the patterns emerge. Again it is about setting the standard of what works for health and wellness and what does not. We are both part of and creating the environment in which we reside. There is no separation, and hence to look after ourselves with compassion, we must care for the environment. Kids can understand this at an early age and develop patterns that nourish, nurture and support healthy development.

Tidy space = tidy thinking

Contrary to the common belief, tidying and cleaning are both useful practices. They create the opportunity to build a routine of movement and focus, appreciation and caring. These are all vital for health and wellness. Kids and teens understanding that health and wellness underpin their enjoyment in life are more likely to engage. This is also a chance to share time together and demonstrate the importance of giving, which is one of our human needs. Here is a great little monk’s guide ~ click here.

We are all shaped in our early years, but this does not mean we must continue in that way. Realising limiting beliefs, we can disrupt them and use empowering beliefs to feel great. When we do this as adults, we can then help to mould the youngsters in ways that mean they work to their strengths, building energy, confidence, self-belief, self-compassion, gratitude and generosity. These are all great states and those that drive health, wellness and success.

KIds and space and fuel
A fuel exercise

What foods give you great fuel? Make a list if you like, and then plan how you will use these each day. You know that much like cleaning your teeth this is a daily practice, not a one off! Writing things down helps us to commit.

My great fuels are:

1.

2.

3.

To get momentum behind what you are doing, you decide upon a standard that you set in your life. How do you want your life to be? Sustained joy or just meeting short-term needs? If it is the former, then we set that standard and live by it each day, enacted by the moment to moment decisions. Having a standard and a vision of success means that you have a reference point for these decisions: am I heading towards my vision or not?

Here is an experiment you can try (if you are following a medical diet or you are under medical instruction, please check with your provider) => for 2 weeks cut out sugar, red meat and bread and see what happens.

Your space

Environment and food

How do you organise and manage your space?

The environment has a clear impact upon the way we feel, the way we work and our health. On a simple level, being able to move with freedom, locating things with ease and seeing the space around us help to keep clarity. Thinking (cognition) emerges from the embodied person meaning that how your body feels (your physiology and your interpretation of your physiology) impacts upon the way you think and reason. Being cluttered, unable to move and hunting through to find something all result in frustration and suffering states.

Here are some simple questions:

  • Do you put things away when you have finished with them?
  • Do you wash the dishes before you go to bed? Or wake up with them to do?
  • Can you walk round your house without having to navigate bags, shoes and other clutter?
  • Have you got drawers full of stuff that you never look at?
  • Have you got clothes in your cupboard that you have not worn for a year or more?

We change when we are desperate enough. Or we are inspired. Whichever it is, we must associate either enough pleasure with our current approach or too much pain and suffering with a change. This must switch so that there is pleasure associated with new actions: tidying, clearing, cleaning etc. The long-term joy arises from the clarity that emerges, the ease of living, the pleasure of seeing a clean kitchen. What is going to happen if you do not change? What is the cost of that now, and in the future?

Space and fuel are important parts of living a great life. If you have set a new standard, and you have a clear picture of how you want your life to be, getting results and being successful, this becomes a simple way of being.

04Sep/13

Can diet fight chronic pain? | Guest blog by Kaitlin Colucci, Student Dietitian @kaitlincolucci

Thanks to Kaitlin for writing this guest blog on diet. @kaitlincolucci

As a current student at the University of Nottingham studying a Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics, I have an interest in all fields of work to do with nutrition and diet. I aim to lead a healthy lifestyle and promote fitness and nutrition in all forms. I want to be able to inform the public and make them more aware of how diet is tied into every aspect of life. My blog aims to get people to think about how diet can influence men and women in new ways, and in ways that they would have never thought of before.

The internet and popular health magazines nowadays are littered with all sorts of nutritional advice on how some foods or supplements can help with chronic pain – arthritis, headaches, osteoporosis to name a few.

There are many foods that have anti-inflammatory properties, of which many are scientifically proven. Plans like the Mediterranean diet are built on the principles of the anti-inflammatory theory. When you talk about a diet that emphasises foods that are said to have an anti-inflammatory effect, the diets are going to look very similar. Each diet emphasises slightly different things but there is a main focus on antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, little to no processed or refined foods, and an emphasis on omega-3 fatty acids like those found in fish oils.

For example, red grapes contain a powerful compound, Resveratrol, which blocks the enzymes that contribute to tissue degeneration. There is evidence that resveratrol is particularly useful in the prevention of osteoporosis, especially in women who do not benefit from hormone replacement therapy. The compound of resveratrol also found in red wine, which is popular in the Mediterranean, is more easily absorbed due to the form it is in.

Olive oil is another popular food used in the Mediterranean diet that due to its high content of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (the good fats) has favourable properties of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. This is due to the compound known as olive oil phenols that have been shown to reduce the rate of cell death.

One thing we must be aware of is that the majority of studies linking diet to disease are either too small or not reliable in the information they are receiving from the participants, such as an inaccurate recall of the foods they consumed. But this doesn’t mean anti-inflammatory diets are all bad. However, patients shouldn’t expect a miracle cure.

When it comes to pain caused by arthritis, which much of the ageing population is suffering from, it is evident that a bigger contributor to the worsening of this condition is body weight rather than diet. Physical activity has been shown to be significantly more effective at improving tiredness and pain caused by arthritis than any other diet including omega-3 supplementation, the Mediterranean diet and herbal medicine.

For decades old Chinese remedies and herbal medicines have been said to help with pain throughout the entire body. This is something that interests me more and more as old herbal doctors have sworn by these passed down family traditions, and they seem to work without fail. Proper clinical studies to date that have delved into this topic further have shown that herbs like turmeric work the same way in the body as ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and pain. Similar effects have also been found in ginger, long known as a digestive aid. In a recent study, ginger was proved to significantly help women with severe menstrual pain and also reduce muscle soreness after exercise. 

Experts warn that diet is meant to enhance, not replace treatments that have been shown to work for eliminating chronic pain. However, following the advice that is out there won’t hurt, and most evidence leads people towards following a healthy and balanced diet, encouraging them to have a healthier lifestyle.