Friday, August 22, 2008

Time To Unwind

The past few months have sent me on a binge for information about health and it's relation to food. Some tests have provided helpful clues. I've read up on food sensitivities, the U.S. food supply, the food industry, food labels, and holistic nutrition. I even met with a registered dietician! Yesterday my mind started spinning when I found a whole other topic on food - inflammatory effects!

Stop. Rewind. No wait, unwind!

I was about to purchase yet another book, this time on an anti-inflammation diet. I stopped. There are so many theories out there and so few hours in a day to cram them all in! I've focused so much on food in the last three months that it's probably not doing as much for my health as I would like to think. I've drastically neglected some key ingredients to well-being - meditation/slowing down, yoga, and even a little spirituality.

There is a movement inspired by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, based in NYC. The organization's philosophy is to look at nutrition within a holistic framework. I love their food pyramid. Primary foods include relationships, spirituality, physical activity and career. When our primary foods are satisfying us or better yet, inspiring us, driving us, we are less likely to substitute secondary foods for what truly is sustaining us. A sole focus on food cannot heal if we are having trouble at work or trouble in a relationship. A sole focus on food, while ignoring or failing to adequately deal with stress, doesn't contribute to overall health.

Light bulb moment!

Recently making time for a brisk walk each night in the park to my favorite tunes has definitely contributed to a sense of balance, ease and even spirituality (tree hugger here). Exercise is afterall a super food! It helps me unwind after a busy day at the office.

Next step: Meditation! Check out O's journey. I hope to have her discipline!

Clearing the cluttered mind is one big step towards optimum health! I recently watched a Discovery Health program with my favorite doctor, Mehmet Oz. He took four adults, ran a bunch of tests, and found that the person that seemed most healthy was actually destined to be the sickest! Why? She wasn't managing her stress! She maintained a healthy weight, was working out 5 times a week and eating rather well, if memory serves me correctly. But she wasn't really dealing with her stress. Dr.'s Order: add yoga to her weekly routine.

I'm sure other practices would do - taking a 5 minute mental vacation from the "real world", listening to some soothing tunes, or getting down with your downward facing dog pose (I prefer shivasana). Mental health days are major plus! Breathing deeply certainly works. Have you ever been to a drum circle? That'll do it too!

How do you find your inner OM?