by Pam Rand RD, LDN, RI
Many people I see in my private practice as a Registered Dietitian do not enjoy life let alone their food. Arriving in the moment is a key strategy for awakening to whatever is happening; good, bad or otherwise. How can you enjoy life or your food if you are not paying attention? I often have my patients take a deep breath and sigh on the exhale as soon as they arrive for their nutrition appointments. Their next sigh of relief is that I don’t have a scale; never have and never will. Weight matters but not as much as food. Food is our medicine, but tastes a whole lot better!
According to Ayurveda, the science of life, filling the belly halfway should be completely satisfying. Food can be filling if it is real and prepared from fresh, non-processed ingredients that naturally contain sugar and fiber. A registered dietitian recommending sugar? That’s right, natural sugar was in your breast milk and from day one we want the sweet part of the tongue to be satisfied with wholesome carbohydrates. ‘Carbs’ are not the villain, that is, if and only if carbs are coming from whole grains, legumes, fruit, vegetables and dairy. Whole grains, vegetables and legumes are high in fiber but need ‘doctoring up’ for them to taste good. Adding fruit, good fats and spices will help you to savor the flavors and really enjoy every bite. Up to 30 chews per bite will really help to savor the flavor especially if you’re not distracted by watching TV or scrolling through Facebook. Distractions and not chewing are dangerous for many reasons. Please take a breath before you eat. Breathing slows us down and helps prevent choking. Don’t you want to savor the flavors of your food?
After I became a registered yoga teacher, I immediately started using breathing strategies and gentle yoga postures with my nutrition patients. Patients with medical imbalances such as irritable bowel syndrome, eating disorders, weight control, diabetes and other chronic illnesses and saw positive results.
I have taught 100‘s of people yoga and I continue to be inspired by my students. Nothing feels intrinsically good as helping the light come on in someone else’s eyes especially when it corrects something like constipation! Did you know that you can change your heart rate with breath awareness? The power of the breath extends to our eating behaviors as well.
From the moment I took my first yoga class I was hooked. I realized that the focused breathing was the reason my pneumonia finally went away! I remember holding on to every word my teacher said that first yoga class so I could share it with others. I knew from the start that I was on a transformative path.
Enjoy your food and enjoy life, Pura Vida!
Pam Rand RD, LDN has provides medical nutrition therapy as a Registered Dietitian and has been teaching/practicing yoga for 17 years. She is a member of the Rhode Island Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at eatrightri.org.