The advice given here are general dietary and lifestyle recommendations. Eating a balanced wholefoods diet and eating consciously are beneficial for everyday life and for longevity, but additionally there are certain foods that may require the body to spend more effort to digest and absorb and those foods in particular should probably be eliminated or severely reduced from the diet.
Along with the body requirements of being in balance, making food and water intake an active, mindful part of one’s life will help bring focus and stillness to the mind and emotions.
As taste and smell are an intricate part of one’s life, either or both can trigger emotional recollections that can produce anxiety. Therefore making note of foods that we associate with negative life events is a good practice and we should be conscious of those foods and eliminate them during the preparatory phase of a performance.
Our bodies function best when the pH levels are balanced. It is very rare for people to have a too alkaline inner environment and more likely that we are on the acidic side. Staying toward the alkaline pH levels benefits the body. Some foods cause the body to become more acidic.
Reducing inflammatory foods and increasing the intake of anti-inflammatory foods removes stress from our bodies and will allow us to function more effectively and with less physical and mental discomforts.
General Dietary and Lifestyle Recommendations
- Consume a diet that focuses on whole, unprocessed foods (whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds)
- Reduce animal products with the exception of cold-water fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, halibut, etc – it would also be preferred to stay with smaller fish, since large fish, like tuna and salmon, may have higher heavy metal content, i.e. mercury); use wild caught Alaskan fish, Northsea fish… stay away from Atlantic fish (have been shown to have higher metal levels, due to warmer water temperatures)
- Reduce alcohol, caffeine, and sugar (refined sugar can be substituted with raw honey, maple syrup [limited], brown rice syrup if you need to sweeten things or for baking) as well as cutting back on tea (herbal teas are fine) and chocolate. Additionally, refined sugar and carbohydrates can cause our blood sugar levels to spike, which can cause anxiety and then drop, which can make us suddenly exhausted and sleepy. This will also distract the mind and disallow us to focus.
- Don’t use table salt (white salt) but use sea salt instead (contains other beneficial minerals) – use all salts sparingly since many foods that aren’t whole foods often have salt added (from bread to desserts)
- Get regular exercise (if weight-bearing, joints are severely affected, try swimming, water aerobics, and bike riding in addition) and learn stretches to help keep all muscles supple
- Perform a relaxation exercise 10 – 15 minutes per day (deep breathing, meditation, etc.)
- Drink at least 48 ounces of still water daily
- Generally inflammatory foods are:
- Beef, Lamb, Pork – substitutes are chicken and turkey
- Dairy Products (milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream) – substitutes are soy milk, soy yogurts, rice milk, almond milk, hemp milk, spelt milk, olive oil or safflower oil instead of butter
- Peanuts – substitute with almonds, walnuts, pistachios, brazil nuts (all sparingly)
- Refined sugars – substitute with raw honey, brown rice syrup, maple syrup (sparingly)
- Deep fried foods – substitute cooking method with steaming, baking, boiling
- Wheat products and flour – substitutes are brown rice (pasta), buckwheat, spelt, barley; for starches, when baking or thickening sauces, use Arrowroot starch instead of corn starch or tapioca starch; it’s the most easily digestible.
- Foods that help against inflammation
- Vegetables and fruits (a couple of fruits a day instead of fruit juice, since most are from concentrate and have sugar and other things added; as many veggies you can handle – note, if you have a “sweet tooth” cook veggies that are starchy, such as peas, carrots, sweet potatoes – they’re naturally sweeter and reduce cravings for desserts)
- Fish and seafood (cod, salmon, halibut, mackerel, herring, sardines, etc.)
- Sea vegetables (any kind of sea weed)
- Nuts (the ones listed above)
- Antioxidants (prunes, raisins, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, alfalfa sprouts, kale, spinach, watermelon, avocado, grapes, mustard greens, broccoli, watercress, turmeric, gingko biloba, Vitamins A, C (in raw fruits and vegetables), E (in nuts, seeds, peas, fava beans, corn, whole grains, precursor to Vit A -> beta-carotene (found in red/orange/yellow vegetables and fruits), CoQ10 (in meat, fish, nuts, seeds)
- If you have trouble with constipation, alfalfa sprouts and bok choi are helpful. Also brown rice has very cleansing benefits to the small intestine.
- When getting up in the morning, before you eat or drink coffee, tea or the like, take 3 sips of plain, lukewarm or room temperature water, swooshing each sip around in your mouth, chewing it, and then swallow. This will wake up the digestive system bring moisture to current content in your large intestine, which will help move it along.
< NOTE: If suffering from arthritis, nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers) may aggravate your condition. Try to eliminate them. >
It is also important to take our time and enjoy the process of cooking, tasting and eating. When utterly savoring the food we ingest, even if it is not a healthful food, our body is more able to digest it and metabolize the nutrients.