The Summer Secret to Feeling More Alive

Sushi meal

Summer time is a great time to embrace a practice of eating lighter meals. When the weather is warm, your innate craving for heavy meals decreases. Your body is warmed by the sun and your Vitamin D level has increased. Often you are moving more while partaking in outdoor activities. The summer secret to feeing more alive, lies in eating less. Eating until you are eighty percent full is a Japanese practice that I learned in my studies at IIN. It is called Hara hachi bu.

Think of how you feel when you are hungry and cannot wait to devour a meal. Then think of how you feel after you gobble up that meal to satisfy your hunger. Are you content? Are you stuffed? At your next meal, eat with the presence of mind to notice when your hunger subsides and the feeling of contentedness just begins. Practicing hara hachi bu will raise your awareness to your internal fullness-meter. Try visualizing your satiety level like a gas gauge in a car. Your meal starts with you on Empty. What would it take for you to push away your plate when you hit three quarters of a “tank?”

When you embrace Hara hachi bu, the gap in your belly is a space both virtually and in reality, for extra energy and vibrancy. You will feel more energized because you do not have that Thanksgiving-Day-stuffed feeling. You will feel vibrant and more alive because your meal has nourished you and your energy is not diminished.

Diagram of Digestive system
Your digestive system

On a physical level, the digestive system works very hard to process and assimilate all the food we consume. When you give your system a break, by not over filling your “tank” you will find you are less-tired and livelier. Digestion is exhausting on the body. Before you raise your fork to your mouth, take a moment to express gratitude for your food, to appreciate those or yourself for its preparation, and to admire any beauty you may find on your plate. Now your brain is ready to begin digestion, because you paused to appreciate. Next, take time to thoroughly taste and chew your food. With these first two steps in place, you will be more attuned to your fullness level, and can successfully push your plate away at 80% full. Feel the difference! Experience more energy and creativity as a result of hara hachi bu.

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