Happy Chinese New Year and welcome to your Utopia Health Care Newsletter. I hope you had a wonderful festive season and that you were able to re-enter your work/school/study routine feeling rested and rejuvenated.
I would like to take the opportunity of wishing you the 5 traditional Chinese New Year blessings: May you and your loved ones be blessed with longevity, wealth, love, health, and a natural ending.
On Chinese New Year, at the new moon that falls on February 14th 2010, we welcome the Year of the White Tiger. You can read below to learn more about the characteristics of a Tiger Year and how it will impact your Chinese astrological sign by checking out this link: http://www.falconastrology.com/chinese_astrology.htm
We are also now in the season of the Earth element. This newsletter is full of practical information to assist you make the most of this season in order to create optimum health and wellbeing for yourself and your family.
Earth Elements.0208 by Carrie McGee of New York
Earth Season/Earth Element
The Earth element is concerned with our physical existence and so naturally the season of the Earth is a great time to look at our eating patterns. This is the time of year we will have more personal strength in implementing healthy eating plans as the Earth energy is at its strongest.
Taking the first step
Most of us know what we should be eating – the food pyramid hasn’t changed that much, but for some, it’s a huge challenge to listen to one’s inner voice. It can be a little overwhelming with the bombardment of weight loss ads, dietary supplements and the different kinds of diets on offer, especially this time of year when many people have made a new year’s resolution to lose weight. At Utopia, we promote a healthy, sensible, whole food eating practice that will become a way of life and eliminates the cravings for sugar and other processed foods (See Rhonda’s article on foods and ageing). Regardless of where you are in your dietary challenges, we are happy to discuss your goals and will support you through these challenges and educate you about the Chinese system of food therapy.
If you have cravings for foods such as sugar or highly refined foods, it is quite likely that your body reacts to these substances the same way it would if they were drugs. Do you become an emotional wreck when you eliminate these foods and then find yourself bingeing on them? Is your need for these particular foods stronger than your will power? It is quite likely you have an addiction to that food (commonly sugar) but there are ways to overcome this. At Utopia, we are able to change the way your body responds to the trigger foods through positive conditioning and strengthening the stomach and spleen, creating a more balanced approach with these foods.
Making positive changes
Once you have addressed the food addictions, we recommend making small, positive changes that are easy to implement and won’t upset the family too much. Start by having breakfast every day and encourage your family to do the same. The stomach and spleen are governed by the Earth element. Optimal wellbeing can be maintained by eating breakfast between 7-9am, when the stomach is strongest and can integrate the food for maximum benefit. Then between 9-11am, the spleen is strongest and can effectively distribute the nourishment taken in at breakfast. This is one of the best eating habits you can introduce although, if you regularly skip breakfast, your body may take some training to get into the habit.
Eat with a ‘happy heart’. Think about what you’re eating and eat healthy foods you enjoy, there’s no point eating porridge if you really don’t like it. Get your friends involved and share healthy recipes.
Be kind to yourself. If you have metabolic or hormonal imbalances, your weight loss may be slow and gradual so forget weighing yourself every day. Know that you are doing the best you can.
Maintain variety. This is the time of year where there’s plenty of fruit and vegetables to choose from and try different methods of cooking – steam, char grill/barbeque, stir-fry.
If possible, keep out of the supermarket. You’ll be less tempted to buy junk and processed food. If you don’t have those biscuits in the pantry, you want have them in the back of your consciousness.
Have nuts and seeds on hand for when you do need a snack.
Find what works for you. Some people really respond well to the blood type diet whereas others may prefer a ‘zone’ type or low GI eating plan. We can help you decide by taking your constitution and state of health into consideration.
Change your thinking. Make it your eating plan, a way of life, not a diet. Strive to be healthy, not just to be lean. You’ll look younger, feel better and have more energy. You deserve it!
If you are interested in deeper knowledge and more practical advice about maximising self-care during the season of the Earth. Please click here.
The Ageing Process and how to Slow it Down Naturally
The ageing process is inevitable but we can take action to slow it down with various things that we do. Eat a healthy diet, exercise, breathe deeply at least once per day and have a healthy attitude towards life.
Gravity is working against us all the time to drag our muscles in a downward direction. (If you want to see how much you will age in the next 5 years hold a mirror under your chin and look down into it. This will show you the affects of gravity on your face. The sun damages our skin causing uneven pigmentation and wrinkles to appear. Central heating and fluorescent lighting dehydrates our skin as does not drinking enough filtered water. Heredity also plays a strong part in the ageing process.
So what can we do to slow it down and look younger for as long as possible? Facial exercises is one way of keeping the facial muscles firm, increasing the oxygen to the cells and helping the blood to flow freely around the body. Exercising the underlying muscles will firm your skin and help reduce wrinkles (a wrinkle will only follow where a muscle has fallen). Exercise nourishes your skin, increasing the blood supply and restores a healthy colour to your skin.
The face has 85 muscles which supports the entire facial skin. Every one of these muscles requires exercise. If these muscles are not given regular exercise, they cannot support your facial skin and sagging will occur.
Skin is nourished by your bloodstream. Exercise not only helps purify your blood, but it also brings a fresh supply of blood to the area, nourishing your tissues resulting in a fresher, healthier look.
The firmness and quality of your skin is determined by the underlying muscles which support it. You do not want a face that is devoid of expression (this often happens as a result of Botox).
Many people do not wish to have the risk, expense or inconvenience of plastic surgery to improve their appearance. Also many people find it hard to be committed to daily exercise of the face and body due to an already busy life.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Modern dietary foods contribute to the acceleration of the ageing process. You are what you eat.
TOP 10 FOODS TO AVOID
2. Fried bacon
3. Potato chips
4. White bread
5. White potatoes
6. Corn oil
7. Sugary processed cereals
8. Sugary processed snacks
9. Red meats and hot dogs
FOODS YOU SHOULD EAT
Fresh fruit and vegetables are high in anti-oxidants. High anti-oxidants levels in your body shield us from damage inflicted by free radicals which in turn help prevent wrinkles. These lead to the breakdown of collagen and elastin which are the protein structures that give the skin youthful elasticity.
Research has shown that antioxidants found in golden yellows, deep purple, dark emeralds and fiery reds fruit and vegetables neutralize the effects of free radicals and help preserve the skins youthful colour, fullness and firmness.
RECOMMENDED FOODS TO EAT
9 Berries (especially goji/wolfberries)
10 Water (filtered)
13 Flaxseed oil
The body is 70% water, so if you are not constantly hydrating and delivering fresh, clean water to your cells, you have the equivalent of murky, polluted still water in your body.
Mychelle and the team at Utopia Health Care.