America is obsessed with weight control. Many throughout the country actively diet, subscribe to fitness magazines and health journals, and pay for pre-made health foods. Although low-fat and non-fat foods crowd supermarket shelves, many studies estimate that approximately half of the citizens throughout the US are overweight, and sadly this includes children as well.
For the general public, the word 'obese’ invokes images of a very large individuals, perhaps weighing 300 pounds or more. In the medical community, however, the word ‘obesity’ is used to describe a weight that directly compromises health and makes the individual susceptible to various medical conditions which including hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc.
Medical doctors believe that obesity is caused when there is an imbalance between the calories one consumes and the calories one uses. Simple overeating and under exercising is the most common reason for this excessive weight gain. A small number of individuals have a physical reason- such as hypothyroidism (or slow metabolism) that is linked to causing obesity. This makes the body store calories as fat instead of burning them.
So, if you choose to see your physician, he or she may run a series of tests to eliminate any medical reason for your excess weight, such as a thyroid condition. If there is no identifiable medical reason for your weight, however, your doctor will suggest a weight loss plan.
Now, this is how holistic (Humoral, Eastern, non-traditional) medicine looks at one major cause of obesity. It has to do with modern eating habits, namely cold drinks and cold food.
Humans are warm-blooded by nature. Our normal body temperature is 97.8 Fahrenheit or 36.6 degrees Celsius. The human body maintains such temperature (thermoregulation) as it is crucial to our wellbeing. Thermoregulation is a part of a very complex process called ‘homeostasis’, i.e. ‘maintaining a balance’.
Not to get too scientific, let’s just say this. The founding fathers of medicine (Hypocrites, Galen, Avicenna) teach us that the main reason for normal digestion is warmth generated by the body. So, whatever we drink or eat should be at a ‘room’ temperature or higher. Warmed up food, like hot soups and teas stimulate and improve digestion.
Conversely, drinking or eating refrigerated food works the opposite. Consuming cold food makes the stomach work harder to ‘rot and ripen’ food. In other words, to maintain the proper acidic environment and efficiently break up food, the stomach stresses itself. The same is true for the intestines and liver as your body has to compensate for lack of proper temperature.
When drinking or eating cold food becomes a habit, your digestive system constantly works on high gear. Years of such overload deteriorate your digestive organs. Food no longer is absorbed properly. This creates a constant overabundance of ‘dampness and phlegm,’ or in modern words, metabolic sluggishness. This results in excess accumulation of fat throughout the body, specifically around your belly.
So, why in our restaurants we are served iced water and soft drinks? Cold delays reactions of stomach hunger receptors. Your stomach is a sack. As you eat it expands and ‘hunger receptors’ send signals to your brain so that you stop eating. Unfortunately, that is not what restaurants want.
Here, is more of ancient wisdom. In the summer, when you are hot - drink hot tea. It dilates skin pores and excess body heat leaves. Thus, the body naturally cools. Cold drinks, on the other hand, provide only short relief, and in fact can be harmful since they cause your pores to constrict, trapping your body’s excess heat!
So, drink warm or hot fluid. When you are at a restaurant, especially with kids, refuse iced water and ask for hot tea. If you happen to like sea food (which is cold by nature) always compliment it with sliced ginger or green mustard in order to temperature-balance your food. You stomach will be forever grateful!
With all that is was said, understand the following: Diets provide symptomatic relief only.
Diets do not treat the cause of excess weight, which is weakened digestive system.
Holistic medicine formulas contain herbs that strengthen digestive organs and thus promote metabolism.
As digestion improves, excess weight disintegrates and slowly leave the body.
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