Most people are consumed with the hectic pace and competing demands of modern life. As a result they are not conscious about how they eat. They don’t practice healthy “eating hygiene”. This contributes to all kinds of symptoms from poor digestion, weight gain, headaches, inflammation, poor sleep, anxiety and stress. What if there were another way? I’m here to tell you that there is and it’s called the Thankful 13.
What is The Thankful 13?
It’s a list of simple yet powerful ways to help you have a healthier relationship to food. I learned about this list while getting trained as an Amma Therapist at The Wellspring School for Healing Arts in Portland. It was one of the most common handouts that I gave to new clients who I treated in the Student Clinic. The thing I love about this list is that it’s more focused on how you eat, as opposed to what you eat. There is so much focus in the media on what and what not to eat these days:, e.g. “You really should cut out gluten.” Western culture gravitates toward drastic / extreme approaches. In contrast, this list is built around simple and easy tips that I have found to be quite effective! If you experience digestive discomfort, before you jump to “I need to eliminate all dairy!” why not first try simply chewing your food well 🙂
Lastly, I wouldn’t think of this as a list of hard and fast rules that you must follow or else you’ll feel bad. Think of them more as interesting suggestions to play around with. Keep it lighthearted! Experiment with a few that you gravitate toward. It’s not necessary (or likely to be effective) to try to make too many changes to you your habits all at once.
So without further ado, I present to you The Thankful 13.
Eat a nutrient dense breakfast in the morning.
In Chinese Medicine, 7-11am is the time of day when your digestive organs are most active. During this window your body can get the most from food.
Don’t wait until you are starving to eat.
By then your blood sugar has already dropped and you will be more likely to crave sugar and carbs.
Avoid eating while angry, under stress, with people you don’t like.
These conditions prevent you from digesting well and from extracting nutrition from your food.
Eat slowly and thoroughly and breathe! Chew your food well!
Carbohydrate digestion depends on an enzyme (salivary amylase) found in mouth. Try to chew until it your food is all the same consistency. Remember to breathe, as it will relax you & ensures better metabolism and digestion. If you eat too fast you’ll take in too much air which can cause gas and bloating.
Practice eating mindfully.
Sit down. Remove distractions like television, books, internet. Focus on your food and just appreciate its flavor, texture, mouth feel. Pretend like you’ve arrived from another planet and are eating this type of food for the first time. Watch my video where I demonstrate mindful eating!
Reduce use of your microwave.
From a Chinese Medicine perspective microwaving renders the food energetically dead.
Eat plenty of cooked foods.
Try to eat at least half of what you eat cooked – and even more during colder seasons. This recommendation does vary with constitution e.g people who run warm require less cooked foods than than people who run cold. But, in general, we have evolved to need cooked food in order to nourish our brains and thrive.
Refrain from drinking lots of liquids with meals.
Liquids dilute your digestive enzymes & stomach acids necessary for digestion. Try drinking either 20 minutes before or after your meal. If you do drink with your meal, consider having a warm tea or glass of wine. These beverages have have been used around the world for centuries to enhance digestion.
Eat a variety but Eat Simply.
What? How does that work? The idea is to eat a wide of variety of food over a day or week, but make each individual meals fairly simple. Try to avoid complex combinations of foods within a meal and your body will thank you!
Eat until you are satiated, not until you’re full.
One rule of thumb is to eat until you’re about 75% full. Take a pause, you’ll notice you’re feeling of fullness will increase after you’ve stopped eating. If you don’t stop eating until you feel full, you’ll most likely feel over-full and uncomfortable within the next several minutes.
When possible – early dinner, by 7pm.
Your body is less capable of digesting at night, especially heavy or complex meals. This is not to say “neve ever eat late at night”, but more just trying to get into the habit of having an earlier (and lighter) dinner. Saver you bigger and heavier meal for breakfast – See #1 above!
Moderate your consumption of raw/cold/frozen foods
Your digestive process needs warmth to really work well. In Chinese Medicine one of the main digestive organs is the Spleen. Too much cold and frozen foods chills the Spleen and renders digestion slower and less effective.
Give thanks for food & thank yourself for eating consciously. Prepare food with love.
This positive energy will help you absorb more nutrition from the food and digest it easier. Additionally, the energy (known as “Qi” in Chinese Medicine) you have while cooking matters. If you include love as the key ingredient into your food preparation, it will be felt and appreciated by those who eat it. Always prepare food with love.
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the Thankful 13. Please leave a comment or question to let me know what you think!
Learn more about how Amma Therapy can improve your health
If you like the benefits that the Thankful 13 provide than you should really try out Amma Therapy as well. It can take you to even deeper levels of transformation of your health. Amma Therapy treats similar imbalances as acupuncture but without the use of needles. Amma Therapy is completely non-invasive and has an incredibly nourishing and harmonizing effect. It provides a wide array of benefits. A few common ones include:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Decreased aches and pains
- Improved sleep
- Improved digestion
- Increased energy and vitality
As an Amma Therapist, I use the strength and sensitivity of my hands to stimulate acupoints and provide a rhythmic circular digital pressure along energy (Qi) pathways in the body. Unlike a typical massage, oils are not necessary and undressing is optional.In addition to bodywork, Amma therapists provide recommendations for lifestyle, self-care, nutrition, herbs and mindful movement.
In conclusion, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and learned something new! If you’re interested in staying in touch and learning more about Amma Therapy please do the following:
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- Sign up for a free holistic health assessment