By Nancy Smorch
I’m a week behind in listening to the lectures from Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). Fortunately, last week was a shorter week in terms of assignments, so it’s making it easier to catch up.
But, boy, did the first lecture of Week 9, really catch my attention!
It was John Douillard, DC. Admittedly, I had never heard of him until I watched the video of his lecture at IIN. The topic for Week 9 is Ayurvedic Philosophy or Traditions. This is something that has intrigued me for a while, but it just seemed to be too much of a “foreign language” for me to tackle.
But, Ayurveda keeps popping up - in conversations I’m having with people, in yoga class, and in the research and other reading I am doing. It even popped up in the restaurant in Santa Barbara I mentioned on Monday (Alchemy Cafe). So I am so grateful for the focus on Ayurveda for Week 9 of lectures. It is giving me the foundation to further explore this amazing philosophy - not only as it relates to food, but also as it relates to our emotions, personalities, and life as a whole.
The clip above is from the beginning of his lecture at IIN, and what he said in that 3 minutes just blew me away! I’ve always known that we have certain thought and behavioral patterns that we’ve developed over the years - many of them not beneficial to us, and I’ve had exposure to some amazing teachers that have offered tools to overcome those limiting beliefs.
But the way Douillard speaks about them in this short clip, and how he expands on this in the rest of his lecture, really resonated with me.
He goes into a lot about digestion and how so many of us are unable to eat wheat and dairy, and how our systems should be able to handle them (even though we probably wouldn’t eat them much if we could). He talks about the emotional reasons behind this “epidemic” as I call it - stress. Stress, in Ayurvedic terms, affects the body in the intestinal tract. He gets into how this works and how it’s all connected, which I found fascinating!
He also talked about how we are a society that has been drugged with sugar and how we are addicted to the hormone dopamine. We are constantly needing to be stimulated to get that “high” from dopamine, but then we experience a drop in dopamine levels after we do or eat whatever it is we crave. So our body seeks more dopamine to feel better - it looks for things to satisfy this stimulation, be it shopping, food, or some other stimulating behavior.
I have heard of dopamine, but had never heard it discussed in such a way that made so much sense to me.
In case you’re interested, one way to get off your dopamine high is to have more awareness of where you are stimulated - where do you get your dopamine? The other, is to increase your intake of vegetables (a discussion more in-depth than this blog allows me to go into). Pay attention to what you’re eating, and eat less sugar and more vegetables. Also, drink more water, especially 15 to 20 minutes before your meal!
When you start to come off your dopamine addiction, you develop more composure and walk with a more calmness that allows you to experience your true self. When you are on that “drug," you can’t experience this. When you move closer to your true self, you can then let go of the stories you created when you were younger to protect yourself, and major transformations begin to happen in your life.
Check out John Douillard’s website for more articles and videos and resources if you are interested or curious about Ayurveda.
And try this cookbook if you are interested in incorporating an Ayurvedic way of eating.
Have an amazing weekend, all! Namaste :)