Food is no big deal. Just don’t eat what makes you sick! It is so simple to be healthy. A little change will make a huge difference. Remember absence of illness is NOT healthy. Healthy is a state of well being where you actually feel like jumping out of bed in the morning.

Those are wise words from the founder of Ryoho Yoga (and my teacher), Andzej Gospodarczyk.  According to Andzej, our health is the result of how we move and what we consume (i.e. what goes in and what goes out). We all have tendencies that make us sick, but with changes to our habits – through exercise, diet, meditation and lifestyle choices – we can break the cycle of illness and improve our health. Here’s 10 tips to how …

Avoid sugar: in its myriad forms, sugar is not only a useless substance, but is harmful to the body. It leeches minerals (especially iron and calcium) from your bones and blood, creates constant fatigue, dire mood swings and a generally horrible disposition. Sugar also ages the entire physiology of the human system. Cut down sugar and your health will leap forward!

Cut down on animal products: The Western diet contains is based on about 50% animal products leading to symptoms of excess protein: acidic blood, calcium deficiency and a tendency to cancer and other degenerative diseases. Meat takes 72 hours to digest leading to an overly yang acidic condition and also inhibits the absorption of calcium. Dairy products will destroy a lot of the healthy bacteria in the human digestive system, are mucous forming and linked to bone degeneration such as osteoporosis (cows have hollow bones!)

Eat what grows naturally in your environment: Buy fresh, organic, locally grown produce and you will master the art of eating what is right for your climate and season. Eating foods that don’t grow in our environment will lead to an imbalance, e.g. tropical foods in a temperate environment will create a yin imbalance in the body.

Chew your food: Most people over-eat simply because they don’t chew enough. 80% of sugars from food are absorbed in the mouth. The stomach simply cannot cope with whole bits of steak or bread. Help body by breaking your food down by trying to chew 20-30 times per mouthful.

Use good quality oil: Oil has been prized throughout history for its health benefits. Good quality oil is a better investment than expensive moisturiser. Good oil, ingested will lavish the skin with care better than any topical cream. Olive oil is a brilliant if eaten raw but once cooked it is a saturated fat so it’s best to use only for dressings on salads. For cooking use good quality cold-pressed oils such as sesame, sunflower, safflower and for desserts, use corn oil.

Cook with good quality sea salt: Sea salt contains 99% of the minerals that the body needs and helps in the breakdown of carbohydrates and assimilation of foods. Use it in your cooking, not on your food, as it dissolves better with heat. Add at the beginning of cooking for grains, half way through for vegetables and at the end for beans/ legumes. Avoid table salt.

Exercise every day: The basis of human functioning is a very simply equation of input and output. If you take in a lot and do very little you will put on weight. So balance these and the body will function better. Even just going for a short, brisk walk every morning will have a huge impact on your metabolism.

Don’t skip breakfast: The first meal of the day kickstarts your metabolism. Porridge is the best way to start the day and will especially help combat sugar cravings and low energy levels. Experiment with different grains such a rolled oats, brown rice, quinoa, millet and barley. For taste add gomasio, tahini, nuts and seeds or stewed fruit.

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a nobleman, and dinner like a pauper: If you want to loose weight or just stay in shape, this old adage is the best advise you can take. Remember, nighttime is for resting, not digesting!

Meditate daily: Even just 10 minutes twice a day of meditation will help develop a positive mental outlook which is fundamental to overall health. You’ll probably also become a lot more calm, creative, happy and successful!


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