As an Integrated Nutrition Health Coach, I support one of IIN’s unique theory’s Primary Food and Secondary Food. Primary Food is your relationships, career, spirituality and exercise and is as important in your health and well-being, as Secondary Food, what’s on your plate.
In this blog I am going to talk about a recent experience with spirituality and exercise (Primary Food). I have had a very rewarding, but stressful life as a restauranteur for the past 28 years and prior to that working for a Hotel corporation for twelve years. AT IIN I have been paying special attention to ways of reducing stress. There are several exercises that I have incorporated into my lifestyle from my IIN educational experience.
Breathing exercises to reduce stress (4,7,8), breath in 4 seconds, hold 7 seconds, breath out 8 seconds as an example has worked great especially when getting stressed. Daily meditation has worked its way into my life as well. Morning Pages (Julia Cameron author of The Artist Way) free form journaling after first waking up with affirmations and thankfulness has given me new perspectives and alertness to my daily activities. I am becoming much more mindful. (observant of myself and my surroundings, thinking, inner thoughts, perspectives etc.)
Recently we had a speaker, Taryn Toomey, a mind-body expert and creator of ‘The Class’ that gave me perhaps one of the most mind-blowing experiences yet. Before we get into that experience with ‘The Class’ I would like to provide the reader with some thoughts on spirituality.
What is spirituality?
Here is a perspective on spirituality, notes I have from Joan Borysenko, PhD. This is an except by George Vaillant M.D. from Men’s Sana Monograph 2008, Positive emotions and healing.
“This paper proposes that eight positive emotions; awe, love, (attachment) trust (faith), compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, joy and hope constitute what we mean by spirituality.
Another thought by Jack Kruse (retrieved from jackkruse.com-energy-and-epigenetics-2-the-real-dha-story) ‘Within you lies the sun, the moon, the sky and all the wonders of the universe. At our cores we all come from stardust. When you tug on your own nature, the rest of nature moves in unison.’
Taryn Toomey was a yoga instructor for six years when she realized something was missing, she confessed. There was something inside her that needed to come out. She felt she needed Fire! This unimposing, petit, smiling ever so slightly teacher proclaimed to our class with a growl I need Fiiirrreee!!!
She developed a 75-minute class that I highly recommend (you can find her and a demonstration on YouTube). ‘The Class’ is a meditative, high energy forum designed to hear the inner voice you have. This voice helps you visualize the thing that might be holding you back, may be keeping you from being your true self, keeps you from realizing your true potential. And you need to get it out!!
As best as I can describe, I stood in my office with my eyes closed listening to her instructions as she told us to stand and ground our body with our feet. With music and a Aboriginal tribal beat in the background, our minds became sedated as she asked us to let our arms and hands hang, shake them out, loosen your bodies, bend the knees slightly, get into the music, get into the mind. She instructed us to breathe in and out deeply and after a while, eyes closed we started rubbing our hands together. We did that for several minutes and were told to open our hands and lift our hearts.
Then in a timeless moment, she asked us to visualize the thing in our mind that’s keeping us from what we can achieve? Visualize it, what does it look like? Meditating on this, I followed her lead. I pictured in the center of my mind, a big, dark spikey ball, rotating slowly and I knew that had to be it. With the music and beat in the distant background I envisioned this oddity. As we maneuvered through this meditative fog, Taryn questioned, what will it take to get rid of it? Unable to rid myself of this vision I was led back to where we started, our class lasted 20 minutes of the normal 75-minute program.
For me it was profound. I found a spiky ball in the center of my mind, what the hell was it. Taryn, in her diminutive, calming voice, with her slight smile, as if she knew something we did not, continued to say something that struck me. She mentioned something about running with that same loosening of the hands and body and finding that inner voice and vision. I’m a runner, so my running goal was to get that thing out of me that was saying I was tired, I couldn’t do it, my legs were heavy. All the negative energies needed to be released! And I believed I could do it. My senses were enlightened, I couldn’t wait to go run the next day.
Before my next blog look up Taryn Toomey and check out ‘The Class.’
This topic is to be continued...stay tuned!
The editor of my upcoming book, titled Later Gator, Wendy Beckman (author of 8 Wonders of Cincinnati, Founders and Famous Families of Cincinnati and University of Cincinnati College of Nursing: 125 Years of Transforming Health Care) sent me this article by Holly Thomas, ‘Why do vegans attract such hatred?’ (Saturday January 5, 2019). And she just wrote..."Great article."
I read the article and a couple things came to mind. But first let’s examine what all the hubbub in the article is about. Gregg’s, a UK food chain announces the addition of a vegan sausage roll to the delight of some and dismay of others. The roll would quickly sell out by lunchtime, but there were others that deplore, why do we need to change the classic sausage roll?" (including a very vocal, famous T.V. personality and columnist).
1. You can’t preach from an Ivory Tower.
If you decide to become a vegan or move to a plant-based diet, there is a good chance you are going to be different than most of your friends and family. Learn that what may be healthy for you may not be healthy for everybody. If you find, as I did, someone has an interest in a plant-based diet engage them. I lost 30 pounds within a few months by getting off dairy and animal protein.
My skyrocketing cholesterol and high blood pressure went down to normal and my daily acid-reflux disappeared. People I ran into that hadn’t seen me for a while looked at me like, are you OK? You lost a lot of weight, or you are skinny, and I would reply I changed my diet and exercise significantly. This is where you need to be on alert. ‘I got on a plant-based diet’ would be my reply, and then the questions would start.
Q. You don’t eat meat? A. No. Q. How about dairy? A. No. Q. Cheese? A. No. Q. Fish? A. No. I always answer in a non-provocative way, not condescending at all. Then the conversation may go to the person saying, Oh I could never give up cheese, (or meat or fish or dairy) or whatever.
The conversation would end there with me saying it was a good choice for my own health but might not be for you. If you decide to become a vegan don’t be pretentious, do it for yourself and the planet. People will eventually come around and there are plenty of interested folks out there wanting to get healthier. Don’t waste your time with the naysayers.
2. Being a vegan and hanging out with carnivores is not hypocritical or vice versa.
I own a restaurant and we serve animal protein, dairy, cheese, and fish. Am I a hypocrite because I choose to be on a plant-based diet? No, I also added a dozen vegan recipes that tend to get the most positive reviews from my customers. Understand that I am an Integrated Nutrition Health Coach and have studied diets and nutrition thoroughly. One key theory is that one person’s food can be another person’s poison. Diet is based on bio-individuality.
At Allyn’s we buy local Wagyu beef and cage free chicken, steroid and hormone free. I find this to be a step in the right direction of sustainability. I am not running around the restaurant telling people what to eat and I don’t do that in my IN practice. Our growing vegan crowds come in with their carnivore friends and chow down at one table. Restaurant chains are adding Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burgers to their menus.
I haven’t heard it yet “Leave our White Castle burgers alone and keep that fake meat out of our fast food chains- we like our burgers the way they are! And maybe it’s because no big star has chosen to jump on that anti-plant protein bandwagon. The fact is all the people that are employed in the fast food industry are no different than you and me.
* It is wrong to put a label on them and their employment. They have families, bills, dreams, like us. What is interesting is the thought that these companies have the distribution channels to make big changes for the world in the future. The slight change of adding a plant-based burger on the menu has ginormous implications for our planet and food supply. (*Thoughts I got from a seminar by Joel Fuhrman M.D. at IIN)
3. Love the one you're with!
Don’t waste you time and energy hating anyone or anything. Learn to forgive people, even when they wrong you or don’t share the same opinion. Try to understand the underlying issues of someone with opposing viewpoints. Always be yourself and stand up for your values, but don’t preach them. Your overall health may benefit more from this than any diet. Controlling your stress levels is so important in health and wellbeing... (remember my breathing exercise suggestions).
In Integrated Nutrition it’s called Primary Food. It involves balancing your career, relationships, exercise and spirituality and may be more important than what’s on your plate. (Secondary Food) Think positive thoughts, be thankful, grateful, complimentary, be wise, creative, spiritual and don’t get caught up with ridiculous chatter about trivial issues like ‘leave our bloody sausage roll alone.’
Another approach this celebrity could have taken versus attacking the Gregg’s food chain for finding a vegan substitute sausage roll might have been a tweet or blog, “Is it time for a vegan sausage roll or should we leave the bloody thing alone?” To me that is a much better approach than attacking a population or company, but I’m sure it doesn’t stir up people as much, sell newspapers, magazines or newscasts.
What I heard from this T.V. personality in regards to a vegan sausage roll is, I’ve heard this PC sh!t before, I don’t believe it, there’s no proof it’s healthier, I want what I want regardless of those that say it is a better way, don’t placate me or my listeners, don’t mess with tradition, keep your sh!!t ass diet theories to yourself, revolt that’s who I am. But that’s just my opinion.
The Later Gator Blog
At Allyn's Cafe, we're about so much more than cajun food! Dive into the stories and our journey to going vegan, providing local sourced ingredients, nutritional advice, a sustainable future, writing a book and more with Allyn Raifstanger.
Integrated Health Coach
After several years of studying health and diets, Allyn embarked on a yearlong coarse at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition out of New York State. This course is accredited by the New York State Board of Education.