Do you think there is something wrong if you feel hungry?
Is your desire for eating all consuming, going beyond the necessity of nourishment?
We live in a privileged society where food is available 24/7, it’s not that we need to eat all the time.
I was at a restaurant for dinner last weekend. The choices were endless! First, we had drinks, then an appetizer, a main dish and ended with a dessert. We felt compelled to order and eat all of it. But it was way too much food! We left the table so full we barely got home. My sleep was compromised because my digestive system was working too hard for my system rest.
Only a few decades ago, we ate three meals or less a day and that was it! You sat down at table there were intervals between eating of 4 to 6 hours before the next meal.
Around the late 70’s, grazing, the phenomenon of continuous eating began when packaged snacks came on the market as women went to work. We also thought we had to eat more when reports of hypoglycemia or related illnesses came into our purview that we were not eating often enough. Drive-through fast food pickups, drinking coffee and water nonstop became the norm.
If you’re like me and seduced by what you see as if my eyes are hungry all the time (not my stomach), I eat as though I’m afraid to be empty and I am not alone.
Your body naturally responds when you smell or see food, your digestive process begins working and gets ready to eat by secreting digestive juices and releasing enzymes and hormones to help breakdown the food.
When you are full, your fat cells produce the hormone leptin which decreases your appetite telling your brain that you have eaten enough. Known as the hunger hormone, leptin is supposed to reduce your appetite and signal the body that it has enough energy stores of body fat. Leptin helps maintain a healthy body weight over longer periods of time through the brainstem and hypothalamus, the region of the brain responsible for self-regulating processes, such as body temperature, thirst, and hunger. Regular overeating stimulates your body to produce more leptin which is a result of more body fat.
Alternatively, another hormone called ghrelin does the opposite. It stimulates your appetite to eat and will show up several hours later to let you know to eat again. Ghrelin has certain benefits for promoting blood sugar regulation, preventing muscle breakdown, and protecting the heart. It decreases when the stomach is full. People who have obesity often have low ghrelin levels, while people who significantly restrict their calorie intake have high ghrelin levels.
During weight loss, leptin has a more profound effect when its levels decrease. It signals the brain to think it is starving, causing the brain to decrease its energy levels and uses fewer calories to preserve fat reserves.
Regular food bingers can build up a resistance to leptin, interfering with the brain’s power to register when you’re full. The same goes for when you eat too fast, the brain is missing the signal, eating past the feeling of fullness triggering the body to make more leptin.
I talk to people regularly about their signs for feeling full. The majority say, they don’t feel full until 20-30 minutes after they eat and then they feel stuffed. Some say they feel full after eating a portion of food on their plate and others never have the sensation of feeling full.
For some of us, feeling hungry can trigger deep emotional reactions around fear, anxiety, and anger. Feeling full avoids falling into the trauma of survival mode.
When we eat and drink all the time, we never allow ourselves to become truly hungry. It is when we allow ourselves to become truly hungry, then take the time to eat slowly with attention, that we can really experience the enjoyment of food.
Remarkably, the body is naturally designed to know when it is hungry (ghrelin) and when it is full (leptin). It also has its own internal diet system of what foods to eat based on the alkaline (80%) and acid (20%) ratio of foods. The body is talking to us all the time, we can tune in and notice the signal.
What is the interplay between the brain and mind?
The brain implements the actions of the body and responds to the physiological demands, while the mind focuses on thoughts and thinking that drives emotions and percolates stress.
The balance of brain and mind are found in mindfulness. Mindfulness teaches us to pay attention, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.
To be mindful, I have to intentionally attend to internal and external body sensations, emotions, and thoughts. It is somewhat instinctual aligned with positive awareness to guide me.
For example, knowing that you are eating is not the same as eating mindfully. When you are purposefully attentive to eating, you are consciously aware of the process. You may deliberately notice the sensations and your responses to those sensations. When you notice your attention has moved off the intended object of focus, you take note and purposefully bring it back to what you are eating. Breathing meditations are an example of when your mind wanders, you acknowledge the shift and then bring your attention back to the breath.
This maybe different from your habitual way of not paying attention to eating, which usually involves mindless eating with a limited awareness of body sensations, thoughts, and emotions. When your attention is pulled into thinking, there is no conscious attempt to bring it back to the experience of eating. There is no purposefulness.
This purposefulness is a very important part of mindfulness. Having the purpose of staying with your experience, non-judgementally whether it be the breath, an emotion, or eating, means that you are actively training your attention.
Connecting to your relationship with food is one reason to learn more about brain health, how to slow the brain down to be purposefully present.
The mind/body connection is designed to protect you because it is always seeking balance.
Learn more about mindfulness in the upcoming program Heal to Health: a mindful practice to coping with stress. Read more about it here. Begins September 15th
Feed the Brain A mindful eating approach to nourishing the body, heart, and mind. Read more about it here.
END OF SUMMER RECIPE
This summer I did some inventive cooking mostly around vegetables and fruits of the season. I love mixing in the two, adding proteins or other condiments such as olives, seeds or fresh herbs.
This salad I ate often. Now, is a great time to buy zucchini and corn since they are ripe in season.
Melange of Zucchini, Basil, Seeds and Corn
- 2 ears of corn or 2 cups of frozen organic corn
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 2-3 zucchinis
- A pinch of sea salt
- ¼ cup of Pumpkin seeds (roasted)
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, sliced
- A handful of basil leaves
- 1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
Lemon Garlic Dressing
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tbsp extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Zest of ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp capers
- If using corn on the cobb, place corn ears on a grill turning over every few minutes until a bright yellow. If using frozen corn, coat with coconut oil and roast on a pan (woth parchment paper) in the oven for ten minutes at 375 degrrees. Remove from grill (or oven) and let cool. Cut off the corn kernels by standing each ear on its end in a shallow bowl and slicing downward. Keep the oven on for the zucchini if not using a grill.
- Slice the zucchini lengthwise and cut to ¼ inch thick pieces to place on a grill. Rub with coconut oil and place on the grill. Cook, flipping once until both sides are tender and lightly charred. Remove zucchini from the grill and add in a small bowl. If not grilling, roast in the oven for ten minutes on a flat cookie sheet reusing the piece of parchment paper or silicon mat fro the corn. Turn over after 8 minutes until both sides are lightly browned. Season with flaky sea salt or what ever salt you have.
- While the vegetables are grilling/roasting, prepare the lemon garlic dressing. Add all ingredients and mix together.
- Pour half of the lemon garlic dressing over the corn and zucchini. Toss gently to coat and let the vegetables marinate.
- Preheat a small dry skillet over medium heat. when hot add the pumpkin seeds, tossing often, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat and set aside.
- Please the zucchini and corn on a large serving platter or bowl. Add the tomatoes and basil, pour the remaining dressing over top and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds (if using) and crushed red pepper flakes. Serve immediately.
I am an avid reader and some of you know that I have been part of a book club for over 30 years. I’m currently reading The Library Book by Susan Orleans. It is a non-fiction book about the Los Angeles Central Library that experienced a catastrophic fire in 1986 where over one million books were destroyed in its collection. Orleans investigates the fire and tells a fascinating story about the role of libraries in the community, its history of how they came to be and how the digital age has changed the way the library system functions. I highly recommend it
Upcoming Programs and Events
Start Your Personal Mindfulness Practice with Heal to Health, A Mindful Practice to Coping With Stress (the MBSR program) begins September 15th to November 3rd.
Get the early bird price of $87 before September 6th (price increases to $125).
Christina Sjoberg (from Soma Yoga and Wellness) and I invite you to our special Retreat in the City day on Saturday, September 17, 2022.
It will be an enlightning day of yoga, nourishing foods, meditation, and self-care for an exclusive group of ten people. Reset your inner energy, calm your body, mind and soul.
Find out more and register on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/retreat-in-the-city-tickets-399524537647.
Special Bonus: Come with a friend or family member and share the cost.
Our final talk is Monday, September 12, at 7:30 pm for Vibrant Health + Happiness
Christina and I will demonstrate some key benefits of why habits are essential for long term health through the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, Yoga and functional nutrition.
Visit Eventbrite link below to get your tickets: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/vibrant-health-happiness-experience-what-you-desire-more-easily-tickets-383638090857
Looking for 5 more people to pilot FEED THE BRAIN: A Mindful Eating Approach To Nourishing The Body, Heart and Mind. This is an interactive program with proactive solutions to helping you manage your relationship with food and body. Read the article posted above which offers insight into the body/mind interplay with balancing your relationship with food.
.Read more about it here. Begins in October.
Continue your meditation practice in a group setting with Practice Together, 10 one-hour meditation and movement sessions.
I look forward to sharing your health journey with you.
Contact me if you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you!
My best in health,