I went to Eastern Europe for a health retreat – a program that taught me how to look after my health and wellbeing. I’ve decided to share some notes with you now.
- How to reverse the damage caused by the standard western diet:
It is said that chronic inflammation is a major cause of most physical conditions these days, so the focus of this retreat is about how to cool inflammation and improve overall health & wellbeing.
Truthfully, chronic inflammation is not just about redness and pain. In fact, chronic inflammation is also about whole-body communication. Basically, that means I must avoid common sources of inflammation such as stress, smoking, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, unhealthy gut microbiome, inflammatory foods, and environmental toxins.
Audrey Hepburn was a smoker. She began smoking when she was 15 years old (after World War II) and was a constant smoker throughout her acting career. It is reported that Audrey Hepburn was smoking at least 3 packs per day, i.e. 60 cigarettes per day. If she wasn’t smoking, perhaps she is still alive today.
This trip to Eastern Europe also taught me that another source of inflammation is environmental toxins like mercury, pesticides, and plastics. Also, the standard western diet is a source of inflammation as well, as a lot of western foods stimulate the immune system to make inflammatory cytokines.
Fortunately, this trip to Eastern Europe taught me how to change my diet completely, so now my diet is anti-inflammatory (very exciting)!
Firstly, I have eliminated sugar from my diet. According to recent research in Europe and America, sugar can cause inflammation in various ways: 1) it directly causes tissue damage; 2) it causes insulin resistance. Sadly, sugar is commonplace in the Western pattern diet, i.e., a “normal” diet.
Secondly, alcohol is also bad for your health. Oftentimes, alcohol is mixed with sugary beverages like soft drinks, fruit juice, or tonic water. Worse still, long-term consumption of alcohol can shrink your brain which regulates the stress response system.
- An anti-inflammatory diet from my trip to Eastern Europe:
Now my fridge is filled with vegetables because I schedule a weekly trip to the local vegetable market. Apart from that, I also grow my own herbs and vegetables in my garden. Another strategy that I’m going to try is to sign up for a weekly delivery of a produce box.
Previously, I didn’t know that a low-carb diet is actually unhealthy because it can cause insomnia, anxiety, hair loss, underactive thyroid, constipation, and so on. Now I’ve learned that eating enough carbohydrates is actually essential, and it’s best to eat it with dinner so that it can stabilize my blood sugar and help me sleep better.
This trip to Eastern Europe is very enlightening, for it also taught me what an ideal diet looks like. In general, the best diet is one that offers an adequate supply of micro and macronutrients, and one that is not inflammatory at all.
In order to lose weight and stay fit, I’ve been using this technique: the 8-hour eating window. This is an effective way to reduce snaking. And here is how it works: I eat a standard and satisfying dinner by 7:30 pm which includes all 3 macronutrients, i.e., fat, starch and protein. After that, I don’t eat anything at night. So, that becomes a gentle type of intermittent fasting which reduces inflammation and significantly reverses insulin resistance.
“A trip to Eastern Europe gives me the empowerment, hope and wisdom; this retreat is so valuable and is a true investment in myself and my future.”