dimanche 17 mars 2013
YOGA AND NUTRITION: PHILOSOPHICAL COUNSELLING AMONG NATIVE INDIANS OF AMERICA
YOGA AND NUTRITION: PHILOSOPHICAL COUNSELLING AMONG NATIVE INDIANS OF AMERICAS
Yoga Sutra 1.15 of Patanjali states:
Disinterestedness is the consciousness of the mastery in him who has given up the desire for perceptual and visual objects
While reading the commentary by Dr Jayadeva Yogendra of Yoga Institute in Santa Cruz, Bombay, I realized how useful it would be to use this philosophy when counselling American Indians about Nutrition.
This is in the context that most American Indian Reservations are food deserts and neighbouring small towns, like most small towns in USA are nutritionally deficient.
Yoga Sutra 1:15 talks about VAIRAGYA
It means more than Lack of Interest but mental mastery over objects, which attract us. This applies to all worldly objects as Food, Drink, Power or unseen objects such as Heaven.
How can I use it when counselling American Indians? (Also Mexican patients of Dra Rosales in Coahuila in Mexico)
Use Different approaches according to the Emotional State of the person.
THE FIRST STAGE
Most people are aware of the Malnutrition provided by sugary drinks, fast food and processed food
People tend to rationalize, in face of the reality. In Texas, at any McDonalds, it is a parade of Obesity. Apart from belonging to the Lower Socioeconomic levels of society, these fat Texans have somehow rationalized their attachment to the “food of the McDonalds”
At this stage, we should help American Indians understand that the “food” offered is not nutritious and chemically loaded and unbalanced.
Coca Cola wants us to believe that exercising a can of Coke (300 ml, 149 Calories) would be a healthy choice!
There are two fallacies here:
It is recommended by all medical authorities that a minimum of 30 minutes a day of Exercise is necessary to ward off chronic illnesses. It would take 30 minutes of exercise just to spend the 149 calories of a can of coke!
So an average person who may drink 2 cans of coke a day is burdened with an extra hour of exercise to ward off cola-calories? Isn’t it better not to drink the stuff and let the exercise have added benefits to your metabolic state?
No American Indian, however poor or isolated their lives have this additional hour to ward off cola-calories. (As I write this, from an Indian Reservation, the temperature outside is 5 F or minus 15 C)
The second Fallacy is that Not all Calories are the same. When it comes to their effect on the metabolism of the body
To give some examples
Cane Sugar versus High Fructose Corn Syrup
Truvia (maltodextrin plus stevia) vs. stevia
Real vs. Diet Coke (one chemical vs. another)
Processed meat causes damage to your heart and is not related to their caloric content or carb/protein ingredients.
Awareness comes through knowledge. As professionals, we have to transfer our knowledge to American Indians that we encounter. As Professor Ronnie Frankenberg used to say: For Knowledge to be Knowledge, it has to be transferable.
So, don't fall for a person’s degree or qualifications but choose a professional whom you can understand and who understands you and respects you.
THE SECOND STAGE
Learn to distinguish between what one has been able to control and what one has not.
It is a sign of progress.
My colleagues at the HoCank/Whirling Thunder Wellness Programme advise me: Don't counsel patients that this or that is bad for them, if you can’t give them an alternative choice. If the available food is bad, where are they to go?
We all know that sugary drinks, whether Real or Diet coke is bad for you, but as my Kikapu sister says: when a patient has been drinking five or six cans per days it is better to tell her to reduce, doing it slowly, increasing control over their desires.
Reinforce, saying certain morbid desires have been reversed, because certain senses or tastes have been conquered.
If at this stage the unconquered craving sensations are encouraged (that chocolate cheese cake, just this time!) the mind returns over and over to the craving, the patient trying to improve his or her nutrition will remain at this stage.
Little by little one has been able to control and master the sensation regarding “non nutritious food” but a strong attachment still is present in the mind.
As we advance through this process of acquiring knowledge we can see that we are able to overcome all types of ordinary desires. The mind does not stop functioning but it is full of knowledge, which helps to distinguish between nutritious, and non-nutritious food.
Hope this Helps.