This is the time of year when many folks are jumping on the diet/detox/cleanse bandwagon. I do my best to slow down instead. It is cold outside, and still pretty dark both in the morning and the late afternoon. My body clock tells me to chill out during this time of year. If you think about it, most of nature is doing the same.
Way back in 2006, when I had kitchen/garden office space at SunRaven in Bedford, I used to run an 8 week program in January and February that was based on Marc David’s book, The Slow Down Diet. I find Marc’s insight into food to be very valuable to all eaters. His work is part of the information that I share with 4th year medical students at NY Medical College where I teach a segment of a Complimentary Alternative Medicine class. When I teach the med students, we discuss the impact of the sympathetic and para-sympathetic nervous system on digestion. When I teach others, its about fight/flight vs. rest and digest.
How you eat is equally important as what you eat. This book is a gem, loaded with many great insights into the way we eat. I highly recommend that you digest this book S-L-O-W-L-Y so that it really soaks in.
This year, I’m hosting a weekly Slow Down Diet group at the Mount Kisco Child Care Center, where I work as a food and garden consultant to their Feed Me Fresh program. The teachers and staff at the child care center have amazing Food IQs, they cook over 50 recipes a year with toddlers, preschoolers and after school children and grow food outside too. The group is open to all staff, parents and caregivers at the center. We are taking one chapter at a time, slowly, over a bowl of freshly made soup.
You can do the same thing. Gather a group of eaters, buy the book, read just a chapter a week and get together to discuss it. I’ve learned over the years that there is power in groups, you’ll get more out of it when you share.
Here are a few gems from Chapter 1:
- When the stress response is activated digestion shuts down. When the relaxation response is activated, digestion is in full force. Remember: REST rhymes with DIGEST!
- Chronic low level stress, via cortisol and insulin, decreases calorie-burning capacity. Weight gain can result.
- Worrying and anxiety generates a stress response. Weight gain can result.
- The stress state creates the metabolic conditions for bone loss. A relaxed state supports bone health.
- Don’t forget to breathe! Conscious breathing dissipates the stress response and promotes full digestive power.
- Oxygen is the most fundamental and necessary metabolic nutrient for the body. The more we breather, the more we digest, assimilate, and calorie burn. Think of a fire in your fireplace, oxygen makes it burn brighter and faster.