Breaking the Food-as-a-Drug Habit

by Norm on June 30, 2013

in Blood Pressure, Breathing, Diet, Energy, Exercise, Fasting, Healing, Health Q & A, Insomnia, Nutrition, Relaxation

Q. You recommend fasting as a way to rest the digestive system, eliminate toxins, and improve health. If I don’t eat at night, I have trouble sleeping. Wouldn’t it be wrong for me to fast?

That depends on how you prepare yourself. Can you mentally accept the idea that you don’t need three or four meals every day to be healthy? If you can believe that fasting will improve your health, then retrain yourself to gradually break your dependence upon food to help you sleep.

Because the digestive system slows down considerably when you sleep, food that is eaten before bedtime tends to ferment instead of digest. This can result in catarrh of the alimentary canal.

Furthermore, because energy is pulled from the brain to digest the food, your sleep might become restless. You may fail to experience truly peaceful sleep, even though you may not be aware of or remember this on the conscious level.

How You Can Break the Habit of Drugging Yourself with Food

You can break this habit the same way you would break a dependency on sleeping pills. Cut down on the amount until you can do without it. One of the uses of food that few people are aware of is food’s use as a drug.

What else can food be but a drug when it is used beyond its need to nourish the body?

Even the best food becomes a poison to the body, when it is taken to excess.

While you may easily accept the psychologists’ idea that many overweight people drug themselves with excess food in order to compensate for feelings of inferiority, can you also realize that when you are used to eating an excess that stretches and overloads your stomach to bring on drowsiness so that you slip into an afternoon siesta, that you are doing the same thing: Drugging Yourself?

Use Deep Breathing to Help You Sleep Better

If you have trouble relaxing or falling asleep, you would be far better off doing some slow, deep breathing exercises to relax yourself, than overloading your stomach to bring on drowsiness. In addition to relaxing you, the slow, deep breathing exercises will cleanse the lungs, bloodstream, and cells of carbon dioxide, make more room for oxygen in the bloodstream and cells, and recharge the cells with energy. In short, instead of drugging yourself, you will be rejuvenating yourself.

Q. You have talked about diet, fasting, and exercise for bettering your health. While I can understand that all of these are important, I feel that it would be too complicated for me to make all of these changes at once. If I were to start with just one thing, what would you recommend as the most important that I work on first?

ATTITUDE. If you will concentrate upon improving your attitude, than all else will follow. Conversely, if your attitude is not good, then there is little chance of anything else succeeding for any length of time.

Let go of the idea that you can’t help what you are or how you think. At any time you always have a choice.

Choose to think those thoughts and entertain those ideas that will take you to better health and happiness.

Choose to think positive, constructive thoughts that will make a better future for yourself and for all concerned.

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Please feel free to ask questions and make comments below, which will require you to sign in with your name and email address in order to prevent spam comments. Your email will not be posted on this blog nor will it ever be sold or otherwise distributed without your permission. I dislike spam as much as you do…Norm

I very much would like to hear from those of you whose success with Yoga might inspire others.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

James Muthana November 15, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Thanks for you advice here Norman. I’ve been hearing recommendations from a number trusted friends to begin fasting, but I find my concentration levels and ability to sleep are drastically affected when I feel myself getting hungry — even to the point where I can feel irritable if I haven’t eaten in a while. Would your recommendation still stand to gradually reduce my food intake over time, to the point when this is less of an issue? Thanks again, J

Norm December 14, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Hi James,

What I have given are general guidelines. In your case you need to decide if your hunger symptoms are a result of a habit of always having food in your stomach, or fear of not eating enough, or are they the result of some medical condition, like low blood sugar.

In Ayurvedic medicine if you are experiencing a lot of nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, and tension, you might be diagnosed with a Vata out of balance condition, which would require you to not try to operate on an empty stomach in order to get the Vata back into balance.

If you feel that you have no medical condition which would make fasting an aggravation, then you can experiment with different ways to move into fasting to find what will work best for you, as I have advised on my previous article: Improving Your Eliminations Will Improve Your Nutrition.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if I may be of further help.

I wish you success. Namasté,
Norman

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