Wellness Coach Deborah Kesten shares her opinions on popular weight loss diets.
Whenever I am lecturing, the first question I get, no matter what I say, the hand goes up and it’s always, “Deborah, what do you think about,” and the question is always about the diet du jour, the Zone, Atkins, whatever, and the original meaning of the word diet meant way of life from the ancient Greek and Latin. And Hippocrates, the godfather of medicine, turned it into a prescribed way of life and over the centuries, it became a regimented, rigid, prescribed way of eating.
So, when I talk about the concept of diet, I am suggesting diet as a way of life, and that means what I call “whole-person nutrition,” eating in terms of optimal fresh food to nourish your physical health, eating to nourish your emotions because food releases hormones which are natural, chemical messengers in our bodies and it relaxes us, it can keep us alert, it really does wonderful things beyond just physical health. And food also has a huge impact on whether, on our health spiritually, and what I mean by that is, this is the whole-person nutrition concept, animal-based foods, mainly fowl and fish and dairy, which comes from cows, and also meat, kind of have a life force. They have the mystery of life, as do we human beings.
Plant-based foods, foods and veggies and whole grains and beans and peas, nuts and seeds, also have the life force, the mystery of life in them, and some alchemical mystery happens when we consume food. It keeps us alive. We don’t survive without it, and animal- and plant-based foods depend on elements to survive as do we human beings, the earth and soil and sun and air and light and water.
And there’s a magical spiritual mystery; that’s what I mean by spiritual nutrition. And so, the point is, in the research I have done, when you eat mindfully, presently with the food, and you eat when you eat, and you taste that food, the Italians when they go ”mwuaah,” they are tasting that food. You don’t have to meditate for 20 hours and you are eating with enjoyment and pleasure and you are eating with other people in a pleasant environment. All this has a huge impact on how food is metabolized and ultimately how we are nourished and what our physical, emotional, spiritual, and social health is.
About Deborah Kesten, M.P.H.:
Deborah Kesten, M.P.H., is an international nutrition and lifestyle researcher and educator, with a specialty in preventing and reversing obesity and heart disease. She was the nutritionist on Dr. Dean Ornish’s first clinical trial for reversing heart disease through lifestyle changes, and Director of Nutrition on similar research at cardiovascular clinics in Europe. More recently, she has created the pioneering Enlightened Diet, a “whole person” optimal eating and weight loss program, the results of which were published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. With more than 200 published health articles, she is the award-winning author of The Enlightened Diet, Feeding the Body, Nourishing the Soul and The Healing Secrets of Food, a comprehensive, evidence-based nutrition program about the power of food to heal physically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially.