Some words about nutrition

Fresh-Vegetables“I don’t happen to think magazines should be full of thin people. What I do say is that we can all work a little harder with what we have. It is possible to achieve a better body shape and heart rate with nutrition and exercise.”   -Linda Evangelista

Nutrition is the main entrance path for energy in the body.   Mindful and relaxed eating habits will contribute to greater well being at many points throughout the day and down the road.  What we eat provides all of what our bodies can use to do what they do.  Also, if the body has no current need for something we eat, our bodies store anything we might be able to use in the future, but it will probably never come out the same way it went in – when it comes to food, it almost always goes in EASY – AND THEN, IT GETS COMPLEX.  VERY COMPLEX.  And we can no longer control anything that happens to anything after we’ve done ANYTHING.

Without getting off the topic and criticizing ourselves (criticism is often about false ego sense, and yoga is not), let’s take a look at the basics of nutrition.

When we think about eating and exercising, we might be tempted to look for advice about what to eat and what not to eat, what products to buy, and what rules to follow and fad diet prescriptions will make us lose weight – AND IT NEVER WORKS.  Why?  What works for us?  The answer is simple:  simplicity.

Let’s simplify our awareness of what we eat and why.  Get rid of all of that useless fad dieting advice and all of those impossible-to-follow rules.  That stuff is stressful, and it becomes the source of our problems, when we try to follow something outside of ourselves, trying to be something we are not.  Simplify life, eating, and nutrition, and our lives, eating, and nutrition will reflect that simplicity.  We will think simply, we will make simple and mindful choices, and we will manifest simple results.

To begin simply, please take a look at my blog article, The ABCs of Nutrition.

Thank you for reading, and ~Namaste~

-Thomas Masanz, Certified Yoga Instructor

About the Author:  Thomas Masanz has completed Undergraduate studies in Nutrition Science, Health Psychology, and Holistic Health and Healing at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.  Thomas is also certified as a Yoga Instructor by Saint Paul College, in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  For information about booking private yoga instruction, mindfulness practice, or sessions in mindful nutrition, please call Thomas at 651-323-8866, e-mail at tmasanz(at)me.com, or see the WOW Yoga Website at http://thomas.massageplanet.com.

The ABCs of Nutrition (ABCDMV)

abc-apple-featured-1Dieting and exercise can be complicated, confusing, and nearly impossible to get any results from in the long-term.  Why is it so hard?  It shouldn’t be.  Nutrition should be SIMPLE, right?  Start with just the basics of nutrition.

The ABCs of Nutrition

When deciding what to eat, follow these 6 principles and simplify your eating.  As much as possible, buy foods without boxes or labels at the grocery store (hint:  fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy), and with ingredient lists as short as possible, on items with labels.  When choosing foods each day, consider these simple principles:

1. Adequacy: the food we eat each day should provide enough energy, vitamins/minerals, protein, fat, and carbohydrate, fiber, and water to sustain us for that day.  The same is true for the foods we eat in a week, and so on.

2. Balance: foods we eat in a week should complement the foods we eat during the rest of the week, so if we are short in one vitamin here or there, we will have enough of it during a different day – it’s a no-brainer.  Eat enough of everything, and not too much of any particular thing.  Balance a plate with half fruits and vegetables, a quarter of starch or grains (preferably whole grains), and a quarter of protein (beans, legumes, lean meats and seafood).

3. Calorie Control: manage intake of energy from food.  Keep it simple – count servings, not individual calories and grams.  If you like counting calories and it works for you, do it.

4. (Nutrient) Density: choose more from foods that have more vitamins and minerals and less weight.  For example, fruits and vegetables generally have high proportions of nutrients per weight.  Lean meats are also good choices.  Choose less from foods with low nutrient density.  Baked goods, high-sugar beverages, and fast food typically are low in nutrient value, and high in calories.

5. Moderation:  don’t get crazy.  There’s no need to swear off certain foods.  Just like you wouldn’t go and eat a gallon of ice cream and expect to stay healthy, you’re not going to be happy and healthy by eating a bucket of spinach every day.  Avoid nothing.  Overdo nothing.  Eat a scoop of ice cream when you want a scoop of ice cream.  Don’t eat a whole box of cookies or a whole bag of chips.  Use less salt, especially at the table.  Simple.

6. Variety:  choose more than one food, combine raw ingredients, eat foods from all the food groups, and try different spices.  Add color and texture to your plates.  Make it interesting, try new things, and have fun with it!

Be well.  Simple.
Thomas Masanz
Certified Yoga Instructor – Saint Paul College, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Undergraduate Studies in Nutrition Science and Psychology – University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Thomas Masanz is available for private consultations in Nutrition and Mindful Eating practices.  Call 651-323-8866, or e-mail at tmasanz(at)me.com to schedule an appointment.  

Why is it important to practice Yogic Posturing? Asana: Receiving Health Benefits via Improved Posture (Poise)

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According to Feuerstein, Bodian, and the staff of Yoga Journal, poise is developed by practicing Asana (yoga poses) “correctly, efficiently, and elegantly… with the right inner disposition.”  Poise comes of maintaining good posture, with ease in all circumstances.  This is a summation of the concepts of balance and maintenance of good health practices, cultivated by practicing yogic awareness and posturing.  Poise ensures that we are constantly ready for the demands we place on our body, and able to respond with ease.

Balance is developed through a union of oppositions of tension and relaxation.  We gradually increase strength and stamina, and balance it with relaxing release, meditation, pranayama (breath work), and restorative poses.

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Health practices speak directly to the body and to the immune system.  Good posture allows for smooth and fluid movement and reduces the risk of injury.  Body language in yoga can signal well-being to the nervous system, so it is important to communicate poise throughout posturing in practice.  Put attention to correcting alignment, softening facial expressions, and keeping practice at a level of “effortless effort,” rather than striving to do more or go farther.  Breathe in and out through the nose, not mouth, to maintain a relaxed state, and avoid straining face, neck, and heart muscles.  Ride the breath, rather than muscling through poses.

With continued attention to right action and restorative relaxation, the entire human system continually receives the benefits of practice.  As we become more aware of our posture, poise, and health, we continually  make corrections to energetic imbalances, refining our union of oppositions, and creating a culmination of well-being in all circumstances.

-Thomas Masanz, Certified Yoga Instructor – WOW Yoga

Namaste

Welcome to the WOW Yoga Blog!

This is where you’ll find a collection of articles and anecdotes, containing an essence of yogic philosophy.

You may use the materials found in this blog to complement your own understanding of yogic philosophy, and to help yourself develop a greater sense of your own relationship with your higher self and with your surroundings.  You will find that your inner knowing will provide you with all of the guidance you need on your life journey, and these materials cannot substitute for that, though you will likely find, as I have, that the wisdom shared by the teachers who have come before us will encourage us to focus on the things that matter most for our spiritual development and for expanding our conscious awareness to experience a more fulfilling and holistic lifestyle.

I started this blog to have a place to share that wisdom, and to offer a jumping-off point for ideas of where to place our intentions for yoga and mindfulness practice.  Please do take a moment to read it at your own pace, wherever you are at in your life’s journey, and with all of the self-respect you may offer yourself at any given moment.

Be well, and thank you for allowing me to share the gift of yoga and mindfulness with you!

What is honor in me, honors you.   ~Namaste~

-Thomas Masanz, Certified Yoga Instructor