Tips on Mindful Eating to Beat Disease

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As one of the leading well-being sanctuaries in Asia, SANGHA Retreat frames important expert advice and facts from its inhouse nutritionist Gaby Luo on how to adopt a more mindful and aligned eating practice, incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet and how to reap its benefits and fend off chronic diseases.

Mindful eating is not just about eating itself, rather it is a practice to focus and raise self-awareness of your body’s need for the right foods and nutrients. Scientifically speaking, a diet that is low in palmitic acids (mostly in saturated, fat-rich foods) and high in oleic acids (abundant in olive oil and tree nuts) is anti-inflammatory and can enhance the sensitivity of the body’s insulin response.

Therefore, an effective way to decrease the inflammatory effects of your diet is to use an oil high in oleic acid to cook with, and to consume a predominantly plant-based diet. It is important to include a wide variety of non-starchy fruit and vegetables to balance your nutrient intake, the benefits of which are more explicit when they are eaten as opposed to drunk. 

Inflammation is not altogether detrimental to the body, in fact, it is one of your body’s natural defences against illness and injury. It is however, more commonly discussed how consuming a diet high in sugar and high fructose corn syrup triggers major inflammation that can lead to disease. 

For instance, Type 2 diabetes is closely related to obesity, cardiovascular disease, renal diseases and other metabolic syndromes – and is the most studied chronic disease that can be prevented or reversed by an aligned lifestyle where anti-inflammatory diets are key; and more effective than any other medical prevention.

The fused approach of holistic Eastern medicine and scientific nutrition combines an observation of an individual’s ailments to find the root of the issue, with a quantified measure of nutritional value, taking into account food acidity to identify and subscribe an ideal meal plan and recommended food diet. 

SANGHA Retreat recommends the combination of these two approaches, in which science is a tool, and TCM nutrition is a guide. The menus at SANGHA Retreat have been shaped by this philosophy, based on the wisdom of TCM nutrition, but evaluated scientifically to verify the diet programs are aligned with guests’ personal wellbeing journeys. 

Scientific nutrition is based on both the biological mechanism and epidemiological research, whereas TCM nutrition focuses on the body’s connection to its natural surroundings and how we should alter out diet according to our body’s reaction to its environment.

A more sensitive and mindful approach to diet, this contributes to the ideology that a ‘just right’ calorie intake is one of the key components in an anti-inflammatory approach to healthy eating habits. 

Our ‘A Taste of SANGHA’ introductory program offers insight into how this approach is manifested in the retreat’s nutritional advice and meal planning. A daily calorie intake is recommended for each guest quantified by Western science, and ingredients are chosen using TCM philosophy, according to the changing seasons. 

Gaby Luo – SANGHA Retreat, Resident Nutritionist

A registered dietitian in Australia and China, having obtained her master’s degree in food science as well as nutrition together with her experience in the global food & health industry, Gaby is responsible for the formulation of nutritional recipes for the health department of SANGHA Retreat by OCTAVE Institute.

She provides one-to-one nutrition guidance for guests, designs food programs to create nutrient balance, and believes that exquisite food and well-designed meals are the best nourishment for our bodies. 

A sanctuary for the mind, body and soul, SANGHA Retreat is redefining the intersection of modern science and ancient healing wisdoms, to provide a holistic, impactful wellness experience. The brainchild of visionary Fred Tsao, the retreat encourages guests to become fully immersed in their personal wellbeing evolution, through individually curated programs addressing the six key habits of life: eating, breathing, sleeping, movement, thinking and awareness.

Located on a serene peninsula overlooking the Yangcheng Lake in Suzhou, China, every element of the 47-acre retreat has been considered as a component of a holistic journey, from the AT ONE Clinic and AT ONE Healing Spa, to the THOUGHT FOR FOOD restaurant and daily schedule of Living Habits, designed around the body’s circadian rhythm. 

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