Category Archives: water as medicine

The insidious power of cravings

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stinking thinking at work

stinking thinking at work

“One of the reasons people consume anything too much is because they don’t consume other things enough.” (Marianne Williamson, A Course In Weight Loss, 74).

When people ask me what they can do about their sugar cravings, I usually suggest that maybe they could look at where in their lives “sweetness” is missing. Some of them nod in recognition of a truth they had been avoiding, others become defensive and sometimes angry. Either way, I know I hit a nerve.

Although sometimes fighting cravings seems an unwinnable battle, these desires are actually not good nor bad. Cravings are instead wonderful indicators that something inside of us is out of balance. As emotional eaters, we have used food to numb out our feelings, so when they suddenly start calling our attention, we become scared and we fall into the automatic response that we have learnt to comfort ourselves in these cases: we go to food. We will invent one thousand excuses and justifications of why it is good to go ahead and use food to calm us down.

Whenever you are having cravings for those “comfort” foods you tend to go to when there’s some emotional stuff happening, take a deep breath and some time to think about what is triggering those cravings. Even if you do indulge in them, don’t miss the opportunity to understand yourself and identify what’s beneath them. Deconstructing cravings is a magical way to develop mastery over them. When you experience a craving, ask yourself, what does my body really want and why?

Some causes of cravings are:

1. Lack of “primary” food, that is to say, nurturance beyond food. For example, relationship issues, an inappropriate exercise routine (too much, too little or the wrong type), boredom, stress, an uninspiring job, or a lack of a spiritual practice may all cause emotional eating. Food can be used as a substitute for entertainment or to fill a void.

2. Water. Lack of water can send the message that you are thirsty and on the verge of dehydration. Dehydration can manifest as a mild hunger, so the first thing to do when you get a craving is drink a full glass of water. Excess water can also cause cravings, so be sure that your water intake is well balanced. For more tips on this topic, please go to my previous blogs “Our Bodies Many Cries for Water,” and “Please Stay Hydrated.”

3. Yin/yang imbalance. Certain foods have more expansive qualities (yin) while other foods have more contractive qualities (yang). Eating foods that are either extremely yin or extremely yang causes cravings in order to maintain balance. For example, eating a diet too rich in sugar (yin) may cause a craving for meat (yang).

4. Inside coming out. Often times, cravings come from foods that we have recently eaten, foods eaten by our ancestors, or foods from our childhood. A clever way to satisfy these cravings is to eat a healthier version of one’s ancestral or childhood foods.

5. Seasons. Often the body craves foods that balance the elements of the season. In the spring, people crave detoxifying foods like leafy greens or citrus foods. In the summer, people crave cooling foods like raw fruit and veggies, and in the fall people crave grounding foods like squash, onions and nuts. During winter, many crave hot and heat-producing foods like meat, oil and fat. Cravings can also be associated with the holidays, for foods like turkey, eggnog or sweets.

6. Lack of nutrients. If the body has inadequate nutrients, it will produce odd cravings. For example, inadequate mineral levels produce salt cravings, and overall inadequate nutrition produces cravings for non-nutritional forms of energy, like caffeine and sugar.

7. Hormones. When women experience menstruation, pregnancy or menopause, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels may cause unique cravings.

8. De-evolution. When things are going extremely well, sometimes a self-sabotage syndrome happens. We crave foods that throw us off, thus creating more cravings to balance ourselves. This often happens from low blood-sugar and may result in strong mood swings.

As we become more aware of the underlying emotions below the cravings–stuff repressed for so long–, that crystallized energy starts to melt down and bubble up to be released. Exactly the same as when we detox. Addressing our stored emotions IS a way of detoxing! Thus we de-program ourselves from years of automatic behaviors around emotional eating. That is why staying conscious and paying attention to the indicators that something’s out of kelter is so crucial. Stay aware and enjoy the journey!

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Please stay hydrated!

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Front image_drinking-waterIt’s been HOT! The end of the summer in Los Angeles usually tends to gift us with the high temperatures we missed earlier in the season. I hear people can’t sleep, are irritable, and can’t even do mental work in this heat. This extreme weather takes a toll on our bodies, and we need to be aware of that. The most important thing is to stay cool and hydrated.

I have already talked about the importance of keeping our bodies hydrated in a recent post “Our bodies’ many cries for water.” . In it I mentioned how F. Batmanghelidj, M.D. considers that water is the cure to many of our ailments caused by modern life, as most of us are chronically dehydrated.

Personally, when it’s so hot I scale down my Bikram Yoga practice and swim every day. There is something very cooling and refreshing about soaking in water and splashing in that fluid, all-embracing motherly element. But even then, it’s important to rehydrate after swimming, as the chemicals used to keep the water clean, the sun and the sweating (yes, we sweat when we swim!), dehydrate us. I replenish the lost electrolytes with coconut water. It’s also good to add electrolytes to our drinking water, if we exercise and sweat a lot.

In addition to drinking lots of filtered water, raw fruits and veggies are very hydrating foods. During this warm weather we usually feel less hungry, so go ahead and substitute some meals with delicious veggie juices and smoothies. You can find some easy recipes here and here.

If your diet is composed mainly of processed and mostly cooked foods, you will need more water to hydrate. Also keep in mind that coffee, teas, alcohol, sugary sodas, cigarettes and other irritants are dehydrating and you’ll need to drink more water to counter their effect.

These simple tips will help you stay healthy and at your best even during this torrid season. So, enjoy the end of the summer and stay cool!

 

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Our body’s many cries for water

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imagesAs we move through these interesting times, mostly in the recent weeks, with a cosmic alignment of three eclipses in a row, ending with a powerful full moon eclipse on May 24-25, our energies shift, we feel tired, overwhelmed, stressed out, sad, etc. Some of the authors writing about how to deal with these emotions suggest we go back to the element of water as medicine. I can relate to that as a Sirena!

Lena Stevens suggests that we “take care of the body in some way as the body struggles with new energies it does not understand. You may be experiencing aches and pains you never had before. Work with water, drink lots of it, immerse yourself in it and make sure you are getting enough minerals.” And Pat Liles mentions that in this alignment there is “such effortless, easeful energy available, especially from the water signs–our emotional, receptive, fluid nature where we just tap in and intuitively understand what is going on from our deep knowingness. This water energy is part of our learning as well at this time – how to be fluid, receive, use our feminine powers of cooperation…”

So, in this time of deep transformation and renewal, the astrological experts invite us to go back to the most simple and essential of elements. Why?

From a scientific point of view, F. Batmanghelidj, M.D. in his famous book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water assures us “you are not sick, you’re thirsty,” and recommends to use water as a cure for an infinite array of diseases: from rheumatoid arthritis, low back pain, headaches, depression and stress, to high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

I always remind my clients to drink their good, fresh, clean water constantly. How much? The rule of thumb is 2-3 ½ quarts of high quality water per day, or half our weight in ounces. Drink more if you sweat a lot, like I do when I practice Bikram yoga. If we eat raw veggies and fruits, those will hydrate us and we won’t need that much water. Remember, though, that if you are eating a lot of dehydrated food, you will need more water to rehydrate it.

When should we drink it? At least one hour before and one hour after the meals, so that the water doesn’t dilute the acids necessary for digestion.

I have a reverse osmosis filter in my kitchen that I use to refill a metal bottle, so to avoid the waste of plastic bottles that also leach carcinogens. Spring water is the best!

Warm baths with Epsom Salts are great too, they relax our muscles when we exercise, help us calm down after a stressful day and provide the soothing environment to dream and simply chill.

We’ll be talking about this and many other seasonal tips in my next phone group coaching program Are you ready to benefit from the healing power of the summer season?

I have to go now. My mermaid’s tail is getting dry, it needs to dip into the oceanic womb of Iemanja.