A Prescription For Health
This is not meant to be in any way a definitive list, however it is a useful guide which we hope you will go on to develop as you take a more active interest in nurturing your most prized possession : your health!
• On rising each morning, after washing your mouth, drink between half a pint and a pint of warm water, to which you can add a squeeze of lemon if you prefer. This will help to end the ‘drought’ of the night and increase the regularity of bowel movement.
• 15 – 20 minutes later, drink a second glass of warm water, but add a teaspoon of honey with the juice from one or two slices of fresh lemon. This helps remove harmful bacteria from the gastrointestinal tract and assists the intestines in removing any accumulated waste material. Wait for at least 20-30 minutes before eating breakfast.
||• This 20-30 minute window would be a wonderful opportunity for some silent reflection, such as prayer, meditation or creative visualisation. There is now a staggering amount of research that is showing the incredible power of prayer, meditation and positive intention (see the work of Dr. Shanida Nataraja - The Blissful Brain and the work of Dr. Norman Shealy MD., Ph.D., and Dawson Church Ph.D. in their book Soul Medicine) in transforming the quality of human life. The daily practice of contemplation on a positive objective enhances the central nervous system and immune system function, as demonstrated in psychoneuroimmunology (see PNI and PNI2 on our resources page). The truth is, much more than that is achieved. Powers of focus, concentration, will and energy will all be enhanced by this habit.
• Eat a nutritious and wholesome breakfast. For example porridge oats or muesli. Weetabix is one of the better cereals from a nutritional point of view. Why not try to be more adventurous and try other grains such as buckwheat, rice, millet, quinoa. Whole wheat bread with just butter (not margarine) or natural jam (made with no added sugar) is a good alternative. Experiment with other milks, almond, rice, soya. Also experiment with other sweeteners. There is far too much refined sugar in our westernized diets. Try raw honey, maple or agave syrup, xylitol sugar, or fructose. Of course this is not an attempt to tell people what to eat; that is best worked out by each individual. However these are all good starts to the day. It is worth pointing out that adding fruit to your cereals is not a good idea as this leads to fermentation in the gut and subsequent toxicity. Fruit in its own right is an excellent breakfast but the body is best served having fruit alone because the rate at which it is digested is very different from that of cereals.
• Water should ideally be drunk throughout the day, at a ratio of between half to three quarters of a pint per hour. Remember, we are vertical rivers and therefore nothing can work properly in the body without water. Dehydration is our greatest enemy. It is the root cause of all congestion in the cells and connective tissues (see The Secret Life of Water and The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto). It is important to state that it is not beneficial to drink water at mealtimes. It is best to drink a glass of water about half an hour before meals and about an hour after, to allow for adequate digestion.
• In an ideal world breakfast or lunch would be our main meals as the point at which we need the greatest energy is during the day, not the evening. Our evening meal should, if we were eating for health, be our smallest meal. Just pause and think, when is it that you ask the most from your body? And doesn’t it make sense that that is the point you should give it the best nutrition? So if at all possible, eat a substantial lunch. The most important foods on the planet are green, so whatever you do don’t neglect vegetables. They are compatible with almost all food choices.
• After the activities of the day, it would be very beneficial to have another period of silence. Five or ten minutes would suffice. It would be a beautiful way to let go of any stress, tension or anxieties of the day, allowing the evening to be a period of renewal rather than allowing the day’s activities to contaminate the opportunity for leisure, pleasure and rejuvenation. Also see: Still Time
|• Be aware that the production of digestive enzymes stops at around 8pm. So eating heavily in the evening leaves food lingering undigested in the stomach until the early morning. This mostly undigested food is likely to find its way into the small intestine producing destructive bacteria. This is why eating the main meal at the end of the day is undesirable for health. Meals at this time should be light. The kind of foods that the body would deal with best at this time are soups which could be served with whole wheat pitta bread, spelt bread, whole wheat toast or rye bread/crackers, using unsalted butter, ghee or coconut oil. These fats are much better digested in the evening than other oils. Another option could be cooked vegetables with rice or other grains. What’s important is not to eat excessively.
• To complete the cycle of the day it is important to have good quality sleep. Sleep is at its most truly restorative during the delta wave phase (brainwave activity). To help achieve that quality of sleep, it is best not to do anything stimulating for at least 30 minutes before going to sleep. There needs to be a genuine wind down. Not only should we not do anything stimulating, we should avoid consuming anything stimulating -too - such as caffeine type products. During the evening, water consumption is best kept low. We should meet our hydration needs during the day, so we’re not spending the night urinating away! Just as our food needs are greater during the day, so are our water needs.
• A bedroom that is quiet, ordered, clean, with the right ambiance will co-operate with the mind to create the ideal conditions for slumber (see: Why it is Important to Get to Bed Early
) and (Quick Facts – About the Pineal Gland and Melatonin)
. One final comment on sleep; try not to wrestle with the mind when you are unable to sleep because this simply serves to prolong your inability to sleep and generates irritability and frustration in the process. If you lie there with your eyes closed and relax, you will still get approximately 90% of the benefit of sleep. This practice is like meditation. Although the meditator is not asleep, the practice of meditation takes the individual into alpha, theta and even delta waves. Alpha is a relaxed frame of mind, which with practice, we’re able to experience whilst awake. And it’s possible through the regular practice of meditation to experience the states generally acquainted with sleep i.e. theta and delta. Both are energy states of low expenditure and the brain, mind and body are therefore preserving energy, rather than wasting it. So try not to worry if you can’t sleep, simply focus your mind on positive thoughts and images and the wondrous benefits of a deep relaxed state will still be bestowed upon you.
• Whatever your lifestyle, it is imperative to find time for exercise and physical activity. This obviously needs to be designed in such a way that it becomes part of the fabric of your day. Constantly creating excuses for not exercising will only add to your toxic waste. Exercise is vital. It helps with the whole process of excretion. Find a routine that you enjoy and which works for you. If you enjoy exercising, you’re much more likely to maintain it. Some of the best options are walking, stretching, yoga, tai chi, pilates. One less known about but equally brilliant is squatting. Body squatting uses nearly all the muscles in the body. It improves respiration in all of the cells. It enhances the pumping of fluids, ensuring the delivery of nutrients to the cells and tissues as well as the removal of waste. The squat movement also encourages easier passage of faeces through the colon and helps to promote more regular bowel movement. So if you have the capacity, start with a few each day and increase by no more than 5 per day until you are able to do up to a hundred. It’s important to go at your own pace. You’ll find it very beneficial.
• Don’t make the mistake of doing too much exercise. Too much exercise is as bad as too little because it puts far too many acidic compounds into the body creating acidosis (see :The Secret of Health is the Removal of Waste
). Acidosis is the ideal environment for pathogens of all kinds to proliferate i.e. fungi, viruses, bacteria, parasites etc. The immune system is then weakened by the build up of pathogens. The thymus gland, which activates lymphocytes and controls energy supplies, is also undermined. This is why exercising too strenuously and to the point of exhaustion does not lend itself to health. It is always best to do less rather than more but if you prize health above all things, please do not choose apathy.
• Another important insight when exercising is to try inhaling through your nose whilst keeping your mouth closed. This helps to avoid what is called adrenalin breathing. Mouth breathing can lead to rapid depletion of one’s energy reserves and triggers the release of stress hormones. You may exhale through your mouth if necessary but always try to breath through your nose. Conscious breathing (see: the Breath Therapy handout in our resources section
) is a wonderful way to rejuvenate the body and uplift the mind, which is one of the reasons yoga is priceless.
||This simple exercise below, which we refer to as ‘I am’, can be easily mastered and is very portable. Simply sit for 3 – 5 minutes whenever you have the time. Then, on every in-breath say ‘I am’ followed by whatever it is you want to be e.g. ‘I am peaceful’, ‘I am courageous’, ‘I am calm and confident’, ‘I am understanding and loving’ etc. Then, with every out-breath have the thought ‘I let go of’ followed by that which you wish to be free of e.g. ‘I let go of anger’, ‘I let go of doubt and fear’, ‘I let go of inadequacy’ ‘I let go of sadness and pain’ etc. In less than 5 minutes the body is flooded with healing hormones. Stress is automatically reduced and the mind is reacquainted with its spiritual essence of peace beauty and love. Try it, you’ll be surprised. For more insights on the fascinating subject of health see: Why Good Nutrition Is Fundamental To Health