Mindful Nutrition© Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives

Mindful Nutrition

by Christelle Chopard - Founder of the DHARMI® Method

- based on the DHARMI® Method and the Five Elements.

The quality of the food that you choose to nurture yourself, your family, friends and community makes a clear difference to your health and wellbeing. The level of acidity in your body is not only related to the ingredients that you consume, but also to your state of being, the way you eat, your body type and your environment.

It is not only important what you put into your body, but how, where and when you eat.

Educate yourself about food, its many ingredients and properties. You may prefer to begin with the guidance of professionals who can support you in clarifying which diet is ideal for your body type, based on Ayurvedic principles, your blood type, physical condition, hormonal state or your current lifestyle.

 

About the connection of the Five Elements and Mindful Nutrition:

 

Ether Element         

Intention, Prayer

It is a blessing to have plenty food and drink options, while many are less fortunate. When you are grateful, bless the food and water before you consume it. There are many forms of prayers, but feel free to create your own.

The power of intention is greater than we imagine. 

Blessing our food is beneficial in many ways. It reminds us to be grateful; it supports in clarifying the energy and creates a link between you and the food or water that you are about to receive. Think of it as a doorway for your body to open and receive the foreign substance for nourishment. You can become sensitive to what you eat by observing how your body responds to it - if it is receiving or rejecting.

Remember that this food has been planted, nurtured, harvested, processed and packaged before it came all the way to you. There is a whole process behind the tea you drink, the bread you eat, the chocolate you savor, the wine you taste, the fruit you bite into. This level of consciousness opens your senses and broadens your perspective.

 

Air Element

Mindfulness

Be knowledgeable and mindful about the product selection, while taking into consideration your body type, lifestyle, and environment. There are many ways to eat. You can choose your food based on your tradition and culture, or from places you have visited. Some people are vegetarian while others eat almost everything that moves. You may have core beliefs in relation to food and perhaps believe that it is necessary to eat bread, cheese and meat a few times a week to survive.

I learned to listen to my body.

There are plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and seeds as a source of nutrition. The more you open your mind to explore different products, the better you will know what works best for you.

I studied different forms of nutrition based on Ayurveda, my blood type, physical condition and lifestyle. As I traveled through different countries and cultures, I broke belief patterns, learning that there are many more options to nurture myself. I had to break another thought pattern when I participated in some vision quests rituals and spent 4 days and four nights without food or water. My western mind thought that I would die after two to three days without water. Yet I have repeated this ritual five years in a row and felt fantastic each time after the experience.

Observe how you feel just after you eat and then again two-hours later. Learn to recognize which type of food and which mindset works best for you. Some people reject certain foods based only on core beliefs, while their body may need it. Other people force themselves to eat because it is lunch break, even if it is a day when they don’t have much appetite. For a few years, I did a one-day fast a week, which helped balance my body, my willpower and my mind.

 

Fire Element

Energy

Food awakens your senses and can even trigger certain sensations. Some foods, like sugar and caffeine, are a source of quickly released energy, which causes high peaks of energy that then crashes, leaving you feeling exhausted. These foods can even cause addiction, while there may be other ways to uplift your energy. As a yoga practitioner, I do some breathing exercises or a headstand for a few breaths to provide me with a boost of energy.

It is highly beneficial to eat live plant based nutrition, which provides a high level of energy.

When studying "smoothie for healing" I learned that it is best to drink a juice or smoothie within 45 minutes of preparing it because this is when it provides the highest level of vital energy. After that time, the energy of the food is no longer providing as much nutrition and energy to your body. 

Also the temperature of the food affects you and it is recommended to drink water at room temperature rather than too cold. It is best to use hot water rather than boiling water to prepare your infusion. As boiling water can burn the properties of the herbal tea you choose to balance your body. The rhythm in which you eat also has an impact on your digestive system and on the way your body receives and diverts the nutrition provided.

 

Water Element

Emotional Eating and Comfort Food

Most of the food we eat is directly linked to emotions. We all have our comfort food, which brings us back to those moments of connection, love and protection.

What is your comfort food?

If you have received candies when you were sad, that is what you will reach out for when you feel sad as an adult. If you associate alcohol to party time that is what you will reach out for when you look for a space of celebration. Many relate the feeling of vacation with ice cream. If you love being in contact with nature, biting into fresh fruit will bring a delightful sensation.

If you eat while you are stressed or upset, the body will digest it in a very different way than if you eat when being at ease and are in a good mood, surrounded with positive people.

When you take the time to be grateful (Ether), to be present (Air), to open your senses (Fire) and to chew your food thoroughly, your mood will already begin to shift naturally, creating saliva and activating the digestive system (Water). It is a way to open up to a space of reception to the ingredients you will receive to nurture your body in a healthy holistic way (Earth).

 

Earth Element

Organization and Wellbeing

When you have a clearer understanding about the importance of food and how to nurture yourself, you can organize your meals with great variety. Take into consideration your lifestyle and your schedule to plan your nutrition accordingly.

Take the time to organize and prepare your meals, to sit and eat healthily; to chew and digest your meals.

The quality of the ingredients and the quality of the space and environment in which you eat have a strong influence on your wellbeing. I notice that eating in noisy stressful environments can cause resistance in the body, which inhibits it from being receptive. While a natural, peaceful environment inspires my whole being to open, to welcome the food with a sense of nurturing.

Have you noticed that when there is a good mood around the table, your digestion is usually better and you feel more nurtured than when you eat in a tight environment?

 

The dedication you invest in your wellbeing, your choices, the way to cook and prepare your meals highly influences your health. If you don’t like to cook, maybe you would like to go and pick vegetables one day, or prepare the setup of a beautiful table to welcome a blissful nurturing experience.

 

Peace & Inspiration,

Christelle Chopard

 

published: 07/05/2017

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