Sunday, January 6, 2013


Did you know that the concept of a "cell" has been around longer than the microscope? The great thinkers of what is now India were aware, centuries ago, that the body is comprised of thousands of small units that performed specific actions; their belief was that it is an individual's responsibility to support the proper functioning of each of these units, so that all the bodily systems (including mental and emotional) could perform optimally. Of course, these rishis ("seers" or philosophers) also believed that once our body-mind-spirit is in perfect harmony we become capable of attaining Enlightenment, or a state of complete oneness with ourselves and with the larger universe. But regardless of whether you're striving for samadhi or simply seeking physical, mental or emotional well-being, there are things we can all do to ensure health on a cellular level.

The ancient wisdom of the Vedas (scholarly texts written thousands of years ago, covering spirituality, philosophy, as well as medicine and diet recommendations) tells us that cells have their own "intelligence" or knowledge of the job they are intended to perform. Translated for modern times, this simply means that our body does a lot of what it's "supposed" to do without much effort or interference on our part. For example, our heart knows how to pulsate so that blood can travel through the body, carrying oxygen and nutrients where needed. Our lungs and nostrils know how to work together to take in air and breathe out CO2; our mouths, trachea, intestines, and various other organs each have their own role in breaking down food and distributing the calories, fat, proteins, vitamins and minerals from each bite we take.

Pretty cool when you stop to think about it, huh? How amazing that I don't even have to know anything about the inner mechanics of my "vehicle", which takes me where I want to go and allows me to experience all the pleasures and pains of this planet -- all I have to do is go along for the ride!

So, you might now be wondering, if our cells take care of all this stuff on their own, what is this talk of responsibility? I can't control my heartbeat or what my body does with my food!

 Or CAN you??

Let's keep going with this vehicle metaphor: if you own a car, it's recommended that you use high-quality fuel, change the oil regularly, and pay attention when warning lights come on or strange sounds emit from your engine. The same guidelines apply to your physical body. If we don't eat, our bodies have nothing to keep them going; and the better the food is that we eat, the better the performance of our body mechanics. You need to rev up your engine regularly and not let it sit for too long, especially in cold conditions; you want to be careful that it doesn't overheat or get banged up by the elements (or other cars): this is the same as getting exercise, maintaining a sense of calm, and developing positive relations with the outside world (more on these concepts can be found in other posts). Makes sense, right?

If we take steps toward proper maintenance of our vehicle, then we can generally rest assured that it will run efficiently for many, many years without trouble. Same goes for our body: if we take good care of ourselves every day, we can prevent problems from arising in the future. These are the primary tenets of vedic nutrition -- prevention of dis-ease through maintenance of good health.

By taking control of what you take into your body, heart, and mind, you are empowering your cells to do the best job they can do.

By learning how to nourish our cells, we support their capacity to perform their functions -- and this DOES impact the steadiness of your heartbeat and the strength of your digestive and respiratory systems. It's not something to stress over too much, because the cells do have this innate intelligence, but it is important to be aware of what actions will support our cellular intelligence, and what will make it harder for our organs and muscles to do their job.

The tricky part comes in when our dashboard lights up, or when we notice a clinking sound every time we make a left turn. Do we ignore it and keep driving, open up the hood ourselves, or take it to the nearest auto mechanic? If we try to fix it ourselves, or even try to take it to an "expert", how do we know how to identify the problem (to avoid a mis-diagnosis) and act on a solution (without getting overcharged)?

Luckily, the Vedas gave us some tips to help us identify and solve a lot of health issues ourselves. Of course, it requires time and patience - no quick fixes here!

So how is this accomplished?

Now you might be thinking, "This must be easier said than done! How do I know what's really good for me with all this conflicting information out there?" The trick is to forget the fad diets and the changing food pyramid, and instead turn inward and tune into that inner, cellular intelligence. YOU know how you feel after a steak dinner versus a salad entree; YOU know what situations make you feel aggravated, what activities make you feel alive and which exercises make you feel bored. YOU are your own best guide through the maze of nutrition advice. Granted, it does take a certain amount of dedication to learn to really listen to your body, for example, to know when your cravings are emotional and when they are physical, or to get past the laziness factor and find out what kind of exercise you actually like instead of what all your friends are doing. But there are resources to help you.

Lots of information can be found online and in books. The very dedicated and patient among us can practice meditation and other awareness-building methods to create a clear awareness of what their body needs -- similar to cultivating one's intuition to help us decide how to act or respond in a confusing situation. Even practicing asana (the positions of hatha yoga) helps us feel more in touch with our body, how it works and what it needs. Many yogis notice that they become drawn to healthier foods and choices after regular practice, even if they never gave much thought to their diets before.

Want some extra, personalized guidance? A holistic or ayurvedic nutritionist can help you look at your self and your life as a whole, and determine what is "working" for you, and what practices or habits are less suitable for meeting your needs or your goals. It's important to understand that your body and mind are unique, and therefore you have unique responses to external stimuli, which calls for uniquely tailored diet and exercise recommendations.

At KRATU Wellness I help you determine your individual constitution, which gives clues to your psycho-physiological tendencies, and then create a personalized Life-Diet Guide to help you make choices that support the well-being of your physical body as well as your mental and emotional states. Visit or explore this blog to learn more, and contact KRATU Wellness today to begin your journey toward optimum body-mind-spirit wellness!

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