John Douillard, an Ayurvedic physician, answers questions about weight loss and stress reduction.
Name: John Douillard
Hometown: Boulder, Colorado
Occupation: Ayurvedic physician and chiropractor; author of The 3-Season Diet (Harmony, 2000) and Body, Mind and Sport (Three Rivers, 2001).
Education and training: Graduated from the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic.
What is your daily routine of alternative therapies?Wake up, breathe and meditate first thing. Exercise if possible, yoga or a short run, then set my sights on my lunch, because that’s where I want to stop and have a good meal. Once I have my big meal in the middle of the day I’m pretty well nourished. There’s always a lot of interaction and learning that goes along with being a dad with five kids, so dinner is light.
What suggestions would you give our readers for weight maintenance and balanced health?
The most important component of weight loss is that we not perceive our life as an emergency or stress situation, because when the body is stressed we store fat and crave sugar. We all have stress in our lives but we’re not aware of the things we can change in our routines that would allow us to handle the stress like water off of a duck’s back, not letting it impact us.
It’s important to realize that you have to put gas in your tank at the right time in the right way or you won’t go anywhere. We need to put fuel in our bodies in the middle of the day. We’re the only country that doesn’t stop in the middle of the day to nourish ourselves.
Tell us about your “3-season diet.”
The 3-season diet is the logic of nature. There are three primary growing seasons with three harvests. One season is always dormant. We must change our diet with the seasons. That would happen naturally if we didn’t have a grocery store. It’s about being reconnected to the local farmer. In nature, the winter harvest is higher in fat and protein. We eat soup, nuts, fats for insulation, things that are naturally occurring in the winter months. You won’t get much fresh broccoli in winter. But in spring the rules change. It’s a wet, congestive, rainy time of year with leafy greens, berries, and root vegetables. Our diet is lower-fat, lower-mucus—there’s a naturally occurring shift in the harvest. Summer harvest provides higher-energy foods from carbohydrates which are harvested almost 100 percent in that season.
What is your favorite lunch?
A really good Indian or Italian lunch. If all there was were Indian and Italian restaurants, I’d be happy.
How do you feel about supplements?
If the supplement is designed to do the job for you, even if it’s natural, in the long run you become dependent upon it. Herbs, if prescribed properly, can help reset the body to a self-sufficient state of good health where it’s doing the job for itself.
What do you suggest for relaxation?
Breathe. Breathe through your nose into the lower lobes of your lungs. Find that calm eye of the hurricane. Life should be active with a calm center, otherwise you create a big, destructive storm.
Breathe deeply. If you saw a bear in the woods you would breathe in quickly through your mouth, triggering adrenaline, which puts your body in emergency mode. We breathe shallow, rabbit breaths all day, but breathing into the lower lobes of the lungs through the nose relaxes, heals, repairs, and activates parasympathetic receptors which calm us. Practice deep nasal breathing during exercise or during rest to re-oxygenate your blood, calm you, and deactivate the fat-storing emergency response in your life. We take 28,000 breaths a day. Those 28,000 breaths can be either calming or stressful.
How do you encourage people to change their lifestyle for better health and weight loss?
By experiencing the difference between living against the grain of your own nature and going downstream with your own nature. When people get a feeling for going with the grain, they choose that because they feel better. It’s a natural way of life, with no deprivation, no starvation and feeding yourself in the appropriate way.
I don’t teach stress reduction. I say you breathe 28,000 times a day anyway and you eat anyway, so why not do it in the right way to create a calm response? Don’t reduce stress, prevent it. If you’re floating downstream in your boat this way, you don’t have to paddle, you just steer.
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