LISTEN TO YOUR REAL NEEDS

We may quite rightly ask ourselves if it makes sense to listen to our inner voice, when we observe that some people seem to be able to eat as much as they want without putting on weight and other people (maybe like us) who are extremely cautious with how much we eat, increase our volume / weight, even when we eat a fraction of what we really would feel like eating…

So, maybe, we shouldn’t listen to that inner voice at all!

This Manifesto for the Evolution of Food decided to explore what happened to our inner voice?

Health promoting gut bacteria and other microorganisms are instrumental for us to digest food and make use of all the nutrients we ingest. Also interesting is the fact that our gut has as many nerve cells as our brain – we can say it is our second brain – and there is a constant flow of information between both brains.

This interchange includes information about whether we are getting the right nutrients for our needs and how much we need to eat.

Here is one take on this topic:
The foods we eat promote the growth of different bacteria and other microorganisms in our gut. When we eat the right foods in the right amount for us (and this depends on our metabolism, on our genetic makeup, on how exposed we are to toxicity, on our level of activity and on our lifestyle) we are surprised by how friendly and clear our inner voice becomes – asking us for the right amount of the right foods.

Relevant facts and figures:
Did you know that eating slowly results in better digestion, better hydration, easier weight maintenance, and greater satisfaction with our meals?


VOICE OF WISDOM

This is how Okinawa people wish each other “bon appetit” –  The Okinawa people are known for their longevity! The principle of eating the right amount is an inspiring principle we can find in many cultures, including some far far away ones, like the Okinawa food culture. In Okinawa, for example, they say: “slow down when you get to 80% of your perceived needs” and this means that if you are careful with the following actions, every day, you won’t fall into the common trap of overeating:

  1. Use a small plate to serve yourself of food;
  2. Place just enough food on the plate;
  3. Walk as far away as you can, from where the food was prepared and eat this sitting down (ideally close to the floor);
  4. Take your time to feel gratitude for the food you will eat and eat it slowly, chewing well;
  5. Should you feel like eating more than you had on your plate, you get up, walk all the way to the kitchen and, checking in if you really still need more, get your second helping, starting again from 2nd…

The people from Okinawa say to each other before they start eating: “May the food heal you”.

(The Okinawa Way – by Bradley Willcox, Craig Willcox, Makoto Suzuki ISBN 0-718-14494-5)

DANCING WITH TEMPTATION

Daniela is an Austrian single mother and designer, who works from home. After I shared with her the Okinawa principle of eating just enough, she incorporated it as a strategy by adapting it to her temptation treats ritual: She shared with me the following story: “I live on the third floor in a traditional Viennese building (no lift and high ceilings) and the post boxes are in the ground floor hall (not heated)! As I am quite a chocolate addict, having it easily accessible makes it tough for me to resist having more than I should – I have incorporated the Okinawa strategy and adapted it to me! I store my chocolate in the postbox on the ground floor and every time I really need a treat, I walk down to my post box on the ground level, take a piece of chocolate and climb back up to enjoy it at home. I get to appreciate it more and I also get some exercise.”

Keeping our Temptations at a safe distance may help us to manage our habits of reaching out to these foods that may be a quick emotional fix, but are not an answer to our physical needs. The hormones released by sugar and chocolate have a calming effect on us emotionally …, nonetheless they also bring illnesses like Diabetes with a heavy toll on our individual quality of life and a huge cost to society at large.


TAKING YOUR TIME WHEN EATING

André is a very peaceful person – calm, quiet, takes his time in all his movements – he even has a lower heart rate than most of the people. He married Joana, who is always on the run, doing 12436295374 things every day – she probably has a higher heart rate than most people. I say probably, because she hasn’t had the time to measure it…

Like most couples, when they started dating, they would go out for dinner. Often Joana found herself almost finishing her desert while André was just starting the main course. This was annoying for her! So Joana shared it with her quantum therapist (whom she consulted to help her handle the stress in her life) and the therapist answered “Thank God! Now you have someone that will force you to eat slowly, to enjoy your food! How many times have I tried to say this to you: you needed to chew your food! The way you are eating now is the way you are living – too fast – and that is not going to support your health. Take this opportunity to slow down.” And she did.

Joana and André have stayed together since then. They enjoy their meals peacefully every day. 

SUSTAINABLE RATIONS

In 2018 the UN made public that 820 million people suffer from hunger in the world. Mainly these people live in developing countries. Meanwhile, in developed countries, many other millions who have access to food, prefer to ingest inadequate products and to therefore contribute to the crisis of obesity and other food related illnesses.

Let us imagine that we have been asked to solve this problem and that we have been empowered to put in place all the necessary measures to bring the adequate nutrition to every inhabitant on the planet in order to eradicate hunger and obesity. 

What would our vision be? Sustainable rations.

A basket that will reach every family once a week with two components: the first are the packaged foods like rice, legumes and other dry nutrition which can be distributed safely nationwide and the second are the fresh goods, like fruit and vegetables, produced and distributed regionally.

Do we need more information? Probably we need to know more about local food habits so as to adapt the quality and quantity of food to the needs of every person.

How much will such a ration / basket cost? In Portugal it is perfectly possible to supply every person with a complete nutrition for less than 5€ per day, including the cost of preparation. This results in 150€ per month per person – which is less than a quarter of the minimum wage.

It is important to clarify what we mean with “food” – we mean something that nurtures and is a benefit for our body. We don’t consider as food, products that are edible and have no nutritional added value for our body, nor do we consider food products that transport pesticides into our body or that harm our health in any way.

With such a simple solution we are able to make accessible to every family that nutrition which will contribute to their resilience – so needed in times of crisis as we are experiencing at present.