NATURAL DIETING ALTERNATIVES
There are a variety of natural alternatives to consider when seeking to conquer obesity. Many prefer to utilize natural alternatives rather than resorting to appetite suppressants and surgical procedures. While natural alternatives provide an option that is often more healthy, using natural methods does take time and patience, and a level of commitment that is a bit higher than choosing to use pharmaceutical or surgical means. Which natural method of weight loss or weight control you use depends upon several factors, including what types of foods you like, the amount of time you are willing to dedicate, and your schedule. All natural alternatives require some form of exercise, so rather than discuss them here we will discuss exercise routines in the next section.
Ayurveda is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning science of life, and actually is a branch of traditional Indian medicine. Using Ayurveda means actually changing not only the way you eat, but also the way that you see yourself and your body. In Ayurveda, you don't objectivize your body as a “thing”, but realize your body as a system of energy that is constantly changing. Realizing that 98% of the atoms in your body are replaced completely within less than one year helps you to understand that nothing about your body is static, and if you wish it to change, then change is actually easy. What needs to be done is to retrain the body and its cells to think differently, and to stop responding randomly to external stimuli. This is putting an end to what is called self-referral.
The first step is very simple; when you are hungry then eat, but when you are not don't eat. Although this seems over simplistic, in this practice is the key to conquering most cases of obesity. Americans eat impulsively more so than any other culture in the world, and that means we eat often when we are not hungry. We tend to eat because we see food we like, or when we sit down to watch a movie, or perhaps when we are sad or feeling depressed. We have learned to use food as a pacifier, a stimulant, and a hobby. The key is unlearning this behavior.
Increasing your awareness of actual hunger, including the time you are actually eating, will help you limit your diet. You should eat only when you feel your tank on empty so to speak. Eat to satisfaction, the point where the sensation of hunger has left, not to the point where you are uncomfortable and cannot eat another bite. Start a log, preferably in a small pocket notepad that you can carry with you to work and use at home, and record each time you feel hungry and when you ate just to satisfaction. Within two weeks time, your body will begin to significantly be retrained to eat only when hungry, and only for nourishment. Once this two week time period has passed, begin to set definite times when you eat your meals: a set time for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday, without fail. When doing this, make lunch your largest meal, with very small breakfasts and dinners.
The next step would be to eat right for your body type. In Ayurveda there are three basic body types: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The Vata body is one that belongs to a person that is very active and quick, has a very thin build, gets cold easily, tends to speak very quickly and be very talkative, usually has dry skin, and is a very light sleeper. Pitta characteristics include being very orderly, forceful, very intolerant of hot weather, easy to perspire, having reddish, sandy, or blond hair, stubborn, intolerant of spicy foods, very self-critical and critical of others, determined, and impatient. The Kapha body is a person that naturally moves slow, gains weight easily and loses it slowly if at all, tends to be thick-built, is ironically good at skipping meals without discomfort, has a tendency to develop phlegm, needs a full eight hours of sleep to feel rested, sleeps very deeply, tends to have dark thick hair, tends to be very affectionate and understanding, usually walks slowly, and generally enjoys a steady level of energy. Each type of person has different dietary needs. Some people of course share several of these factors equally, and therefore have combination bodies. The descriptions given are only a general guide; for a detailed test, visit online at http://www.ayurvedahc.com/aytest.htm and take the free test to determine your type.
Generally, one who has a Kapha body type has the hardest time with losing weight, so we will concentrate on foods that reduce the Kapha influence. If you consume milk, switch to low-fat milk instead of whole milk, and boiling the milk before drinking it makes it easier to digest. It is best to drink the milk warm, because cold milk increases your Kapha. If you decide you cannot tolerate warm milk, you should give up milk all together. Eat plenty of foods that are spicy or bitter, yet avoid salt. Avoid red meat if you eat meat, and eat white meat chicken or turkey, or opt for fish. Beans are also an excellent source of protein when avoiding or cutting back on meat consumption. Eat plenty of light fruits, such as pears, apples, cranberries, and pomegranates. Sweeten your foods when necessary with honey instead of sugar, as honey reduces Kapha very well. When choosing grains, barley, corn, buckwheat, rye, and millet are very light grains that are good for your consumption. All vegetables are good to eat, however vegetables that are especially beneficial to reduce Kapha include eggplant, radishes, beets, all green leafy vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, pumpkin, and celery. In Ayurveda, food is preferably prepared by cooking, since it makes for easier digestion than eating raw foods, however an occasional salad is not harmful. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, fried foods, packaged foods, soft drinks, and deep-fried foods.
Low - Carb High Protein Diets
This type of diet became very popular as of recently due to the promotion of the ever-popular Atkins Diet Craze. This diet is very popular because there is no calorie counting involved, and many foods that many people love to eat are allowed on the diet. Further, the Atkins diet is a high-protein diet, which means that weight lost during this diet will not result in lost muscle mass, since protein is the main nutrient needed for maintaining healthy muscle tone. This diet basically eliminates carbohydrates, which are simple sugars or foods that break down into simple sugars. These serve as empty calories in your diet, providing no nutrients yet many calories.
While we won't cover the Atkins diet here, we can give you basics of the high-protein, low-carb diet. First let us identify carbohydrates. Sugar, including powdered sugar, granulated white sugar, brown sugar, or any type of sugar you can think of, is the main carbohydrate that you would need to eliminate. All types of pastas count as carbohydrates, meaning all noodle and spaghetti products must be eliminated. Starches of any type, such as white rice, potatoes and potato chips, need to be eliminated. Cereals are mostly carbohydrates and should be avoided entirely during the diet phase. Because of the low-carb craze, there are many low-carb options of sodas, milk, ice cream, bread, beer, and wine available in the average supermarket. If you do consume these, be sure to do so only occasionally and in moderation, even if it is a low-carb type. Otherwise, the aforementioned foods should be eliminated entirely when not of the low-carb type. Beware of foods that contain hidden sugars, like bacon, barbeque sauce, ketchup, salad dressing, cough syrup, and fruit juice. As strange as it may seem, fruits and fruit juices should be eliminated while in the weight loss phase of this diet, as they are nearly pure carbohydrates. Anything made with flour needs to be eliminated during the weight loss phase, since as mentioned earlier they are high in carbohydrates.
Now what can you eat? Well, the good news is that you can eat all meats, fish, poultry and seafood, except prepared meats like bacon and honey baked ham, which are high in sugar. Skip the bread and have meat and salad, or meat in your salad. Eggs are very low-carb friendly, but be sure to skip the mayonnaise or salad dressing unless it is low-carb type mayonnaise or dressing. Any type of vegetable is fine, but be sure to realize that when making that salad that tomatoes are actually a fruit, and you want to limit your consumption of them at least during the weight loss phase. Choose brown rice as your starch replacement, as it is low in carbohydrates comparatively to potatoes, bread or white rice. Cheese is good in limited amounts, as this is a high-protein, low-carb food. Butter and cream can be used, but should be consumed in limited amounts. One complex carbohydrate that is good is fiber, as it does not break down into simple sugar, and helps the body with elimination. Further, fiber fills you up quickly without adding significant calories, so hunger pangs are fought off successfully.
Finally, make sure you are drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day minimum in addition to any other liquid you may consume. Dehydration often masquerades as hunger and causes overeating. Of course, again exercise is a necessary and vital part of your diet plan, which we will cover in the next section on exercise.
Once you lose the weight that you set out to lose, the weight loss phase of your diet is over. Of course keep in mind that you are making lifestyle changes, not going on fad or binge diets. This means that you will not go back to your old eating habits. Instead you will introduce certain foods back into your diet in moderation. For example, you may add a couple of strips of bacon once a week to your meal plan. You can enjoy small portions of deserts of any kind, simply in moderation. It is best to avoid soft drinks all together, or opt for the low-carb type permanently. If you do introduce any other carbohydrate-laden foods, be sure to do so only at one meal, and in small portions. Reducing carbohydrates will become a lifestyle to you when following this plan, one is very likely to boost your overall energy level and help you keep the weight off.
DETOXIFICATION AND LIVE FOOD DIET
Another natural alternative is to detoxify one's body and switch to a live food diet. Although this dietary change has permanent benefits that are excellent for not only losing and maintaining weight, it heightens energy and often eliminates toxins that cause a variety of illnesses and conditions that commonly plague the body. With this lifestyle change, in addition to weight loss, chronic illnesses such as migraine headaches, insomnia, skin problems, brittle hair, constipation, arthritis, and many others are alleviated permanently. The drawback for some is again the level of commitment that it takes to achieve. Far from impossible, this option takes a level of commitment to health and general well being that is strong enough to want to give up foods that are toxic to your body.
The first step one should take is to cleanse the body. If you suffer from high toxicity that is currently showing itself as chronic illness, you may want to consult with a natural practitioner before embarking on a cleansing routine, as cleansing may exacerbate many symptoms of the body's ailments as the body attempts to correct itself. Even if you are not highly toxic and have no signs of chronic illness, you will likely experience slight headaches, chills, irritability, and fatigue as you body is releasing toxins. This is quite natural and no cause for alarm, since your body is releasing a large level of toxins during this time and symptoms of all of the illness they cause over time are going to show up.
The best way to begin is by embarking upon a juice fast. That's right, take nothing in except juice, herbal tea, and protein drinks for three days. There will be no malnourishment here, since juices are highly concentrated foods, and the protein drinks will add the necessary protein you would normally get by consuming solid food. In fact, drinking one glass of carrot and celery juice is the equivalent of eating two whole carrots and three celery stalks. Imagine trying to get a daily serving of six large carrots and nine celery stalks each day, in addition to other foods; this would be quite burdensome. Yet consuming just three glasses of carrot-celery juice takes care of that daily allotment. Even if you were able to eat all of these vegetables daily, you would not get as full a benefit from these foods as you do when you juice. Juicing separates the vitamins and minerals from the fiber, which can trap the nutrients and block your body from absorbing them. Also, because raw vegetables and fruits are rich in enzymes, they serve as a great energy booster.
There are certain juices and drink additives that will help you to lose weight as well as detoxify, because they have natural chemicals in them that aid in weight loss. These can be taken during your initial juice fast, and continuously throughout your new diet program:
These nutrients are vital to losing weight and preventing obesity. It is best to purchase organic fruits and vegetables for juicing, as non-organic produce contains high levels of toxic pesticides, and will defeat the purpose of detoxification. Even when purchasing and using organic produce, be sure to wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Use a vegetable brush, available at many supermarkets or at your local health food store, and scrub lightly yet thoroughly under running water. The vegetable brush may also be used to clean the steel strainer inside your juicer when cleaning up. Juicing with the peeling on is fine for most fruits and vegetables, except of course those with exceptionally thick skin, such as kiwis, papayas, oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, and bananas. Do not peel away the “bitter” on oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines; this is the white part of the fruit directly under the skin, but do remove the seeds of all fruits as they are very bitter. Bananas do not juice well in a juicer and should be juiced in a blender instead. Juices should be drunk immediately after juicing ideally. However if your schedule does not allow you to juice several times a day, refrigerating your juices in a glass container is suitable for one day without losing vital nutrients.
As for protein, you can use one of the many all-natural protein powders found in your local health store or health section of your local supermarket. These powders can be added directly to your juices as suggested on the packaging. You may want to use a blender to blend the powder into the juice.
Be sure to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of purified water along with your juicing during your juice fast, and everyday from now on as a matter of fact. Pure water is vital to aiding your body in releasing toxins. Also, always drink your juices slowly, aiding their digestion and savoring the taste. Savoring taste is very important not only for your palate, but for your weight also. When we do not taste our food and drink properly, we have a tendency to over-consume and gain weight. Sip your juice the same way someone may sip a cocktail; make it an enjoyable experience.
Once you detoxify, you will want to make a complete diet change. Meat should be eliminated from the diet if at all possible, as should all animal products. Despite not being the best food for you in general, livestock is raised in such a way these days that makes it dangerous to eat meat. Diseases such as Mad Cow and E. coli are infecting more and more supplies of meat, poultry, and dairy products. Due to mass processing plants, it is hard to track when an infected animal is added to a mass meat supply of many tons, unlike the days when a cow was taken to a local butcher shop and butchered. Additionally, hormones being used to fatten up livestock in today's market can seriously alter your body chemistry and cause a number of chronic illnesses over time. If you do not wish to become a vegetarian, substitute with fish on occasion, or purchase organically raised and prepared meats and poultry from your health food store on occasion.
You should incorporate as many organic live foods into your diet as possible, picking a variety of fresh vegetables for salads, as well as continuing a healthy juicing regimen. You may want to employ your blender a bit more in this phase, using it to add ice and even nuts to your protein and fruit shakes to make smoothies. Nuts make a good addition to your diet both in smoothies and whole, adding a good amount of protein to the diet. Be sure to skip desert while you are trying to lose weight, and definitely eliminate all foods made with white sugar and white flour permanently from your diet.
Definitely lose the alcohol and caffeine, as they cause mineral deficiencies due to the diuretic effect, cause great stress on our adrenal glands, and have been proven contributors to anxiety and insomnia. Regular caffeine use has been linked to incidences of cancer and prostrate trouble in men, as well as fibrocystic breasts and uterine fibroids in women. Alcohol use seriously depletes B and C vitamins, calcium magnesium, and manganese. Of course, the most well known danger of alcohol use is its detrimental effects on the liver, causing possible deadly cirrhosis of the liver. Taking about 1000 mg of the amino acid L-glutamine will help your body replenish after alcohol use, and will cut down on cravings for alcohol as well. Nicotine should be discontinued also, as this is a toxin that is well known for its dangers and high addiction factor.
Living toxin-free and eating a diet high
in live foods will help you feel rejuvenated and help cut down on cravings. This is the long-term effect you desire
for shedding weight and keeping the weight off. Of course, as with any long-term solution, dedication is needed.
Just remember that this is not only about your looks, it is about your health and well being.