What is food?

Food is a mixture of chemicals. The essential chemicals are nutrients. Other chemicals found in food are flavors, colors, caffeine, and phytochemicals (plant chemicals that are important to health functions).

There are 6 essential chemicals, or nutrients: carbohydrates, lipids (fats and oils), proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water. They all contribute to cell and body structure and regulate body processes. Carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins supply energy. 

When it comes to alcohol, men and women are not equal.

 Women and men metabolize alcohol differently. Because   women are smaller than men on average, they have smaller livers and less total water, so they metabolize alcohol slower than men. Other reasons women metabolize alcohol at a slower rate include having a higher body fat percentage, thus less water to dilute the alcohol. Also, the primary enzyme that breaks down alcohol, alcohol dehydrogenase, is less active in women then men.

Women, don’t try to out-drink your male counterpart!

Acknowledge that our lifestyles rarely show the need for balance.

"We seek it only when the universe forces us to pay attention, when we suffer the breakdown that avoiding our dark side creates. Only then do we seek help to regain balance. Only when we become exhausted or sick do we take time off. Only when we injure our bodies do we slow down and look for gentler ways to exercise."

We can be “fired up” for only so long. We can be relaxed for only so long. We need balance in all things. 

-Bernie Clark, The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga

How have you health habits changed this year?

Take a tour of your body. Don’t judge what you find but be curious about the possible need for change, especially during this joyous, yet stressful time of year.  


Close your eyes and relax, yet remain alert. Bring awareness to each part of your body, starting with the big toe, each of the toes, the ball of the foot, the arches of the foot, and the heel of the foot. Continue up your body with this detail all the way to the top of your head. As you are scanning your body, be curious. Do you feel tension or pain? Observe other sensations, such as warmth, coolness, tingling, dullness, compression, and spaciousness. Note your relationships to these experiences as they arise and pass away. Don’t pass judgement on your body, just notice what is there. Be curious, and learn to train your mind to go where you want it to go. 

Some More Food Rules

Humans evolved to want to eat all the time because our ancestors never had enough food. Eating patterns are engrained human genes, but there is disconnect between why our population is obese and our ancestors were not. The natural food our ancestors used to eat were not calorically dense and the processed foods of today are.

So how do we fight our natural urge to eat all the time? How do we fight genetics? We can, but we do not. America as a whole does not limit portion sizes. The culture of fear that has developed in the US contributes to the stress response. Eating is an addiction Americans can feed cheaply, building a tolerance to the sweetness of food at the same time. People can justify spending more money on quantity rather than quality because the least healthy calories are the cheapest calories to purchase. 

Eat natural, unprocessed foods.

Stress Disrupts Homeostasis - How to get Rebalanced?

There are many different types of stress

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Behavioral
  • Eustress (good)
  • Distress (bad)

Managing stress

  • Get centered-balanced
  • Values-know where you stand and what you stand for
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff! And it is all small stuff
  • Think and act constructive, take control, problem solve, modify experience, stay positive

How to cope

  • Learn how to relax
  • Learn how to manage your time
  • Try to develop a relaxation response so heart rate and muscle tension go down
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat nutritious diet
  • Get enough quality sleep
  • Have a social support system

Just Breathe

Diaphragmatic breathing quiets and calms the entire nervous system, reduces stress and anxiety, and improves self-awareness. 

Lie comfortably on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place a palm on your abdomen and breathe comfortably for a few breaths. Notice how your breath  feels, without any judgment.

As you do this, begin to make your breathing as relaxed as possible, smoothing it out by pausing briefly after each inbreath and outbreath.

Once this feels comfortable, notice how your body is moving. As you inhale, the abdomen expands and as your exhale, your abdomen contracts. As you notice this, try to bring to control to this natural movement for 6 to 12 breaths. 

Even more reasons to see the morning light!

Seeing the morning light slows the onset of illnesses such as insomnia, cognitive slowdown, and depression. It helps your body’s circadian rhythm, which governs the timing of the brain’s release of stress hormones and other hormones that keep you alert during the day and put you to sleep at night.

The nerve cells in your eyes send messages to the brain’s internal clock. Maybe go outside without sunglasses when daylight is bluest to set your body’s clock!

Michael Pollan's Food Rules

Michael Pollan, author of Eater’s Manifesto, believes we can escape the Western diet and its consequences of chronic disease.

Whole fresh foods are better than processed foods. Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize, such as something incapable of rotting. Avoid food products containing ingredients that are unfamiliar, unpronounceable, more than five in number, or contain high-fructose corn syrup. 

Michael Pollan's Food Rules

What happened to our current eating habits?

There has been a shift from whole foods, complexity, quality, leaves, and food culture, to refined foods, simplicity, quantity, seeds, and food science. We have become a nation of orthorexics-people with an unhealthy obsession of healthy eating. Paradoxically, by receiving nutrition advice over the last half century has made us less healthy. 

Begin Your Day With Admiration for the Sun

It’s enlightening to understand the meaning behind sun salutations found in yoga. 

As we sweep our arms up and bow forward, we honor the earth, the heavens, and all of the life in between. As we lower our bodies, we connect with the earth. As we rise up from the earth, we stretch through the atmosphere once more, reaching for the sky. As we bring our hands together in Namaste, we gather the space of the heavens back into our heart and breath, acknowledging that our body forms the center point between heaven and earth.”

- Christopher Key Chapple, Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology