Longevity Series – Eat Until 80%

The elders of Okinawa in Japan always start their meals with the saying, ‘hara hachi bu’ - a reminder to stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full. This simple practice of mindful eating has deep roots in many cultures, so if you want to the next pillar in how to be healthy at 100, then this episode is for you.
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Welcome back to The Nick Broadhurst Show. I’m your host, Nick Broadhurst, also known as Broadhurst in the music world. You can catch all of my music, music videos, podcast episodes, and blog posts over at www.iamnickbroadhurst.com, and to check out my music just head into Spotify or iTunes, wherever you listen to music and search for Broadhurst.

And that song you were listening to is a song called Little Lover, and you can check that out at iamnickbroadhurst.com/littlelover. It was the very first single I ever released, so I have a massive soft spot for it, and it’s also my biggest song to date. And the music video for this you can watch in the show notes of this episode, iamnickbroadhurst.com/42, and honestly it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever created.

The team I had on this was amazing. It’s so beautiful and I had to learn contemporary dance for this, which was very new to me. And it’s actually something that Melissa and I have just started doing, we started doing ballroom dancing classes together which is so fun, so beautiful. It’s a great way to relax with your partner and bring a bit more mindfulness into your day.

And in this longevity series, this is the second pillar of the longevity; I encourage you to listen to this series in order. So you can go back to iamnickbroadhurst.com/40, and that will give you an overview of this longevity series, why I’m doing it and what the blue zones are.

And yesterday we did episode number 41 which was around moving your body naturally. And the strangest thing happened to me yesterday. I was running out of time to do my walk and I was looking forward to it because it’s in [inaudible: 01:50], this beautiful part of the world, it’s just mind-blowingly stunning, and it was raining and I knew I was pushed for time but I thought, “No bugger it, I’m going to do it, I’ve got to go.”

So I drove down and started my walk, and then I found myself running. Now I actually have never liked running, but yesterday I just started floating, it was the weirdest sensation, and I run barefoot in my earth runner sandals, which is basically barefoot, and I had this beautiful feeling of floating, it was such a sense of achievement. So simple, but so good just moving our bodies. It really changed my state in a massive way.

And in yesterday’s episode there are some amazing nuggets in there about some natural movement programs that you can start at home that can really really transform your mind and your body.

So today we’re going to be talking about something called Hara Hachi Bu, which is a Okinawan or Japanese saying that elders say this before they eat, and it roughly translates to, “Eat until you’re 80% full.”

Now why is this so important? Because it takes about 20 minutes for the full signal to reach your brain. So eating to 80% generally means you’re pretty much full. Right? Simple, makes sense. And this is important because it allows you to digest your food properly.

The energy that we get comes not only from what we eat but also what we digest. And in the 5000+ year old system of Ayurveda, which is a powerful, possibly I believe the most powerful system of mind, body healing in the world, it’s taught that undigested food is the root of all disease.

And we’re not just talking about food that we eat, but also food that are our thoughts and our emotions as well. And you can be eating all the green smoothies and kale in the world, but if you’re telling yourself stinky things in your mind, then your body will follow your mind.

Remember, we spoke yesterday about your body being the messenger. That reminds you, reflects back to you all the things that you are not doing, the areas that you are neglecting. Your body is your friend, it’s one of the kindest things that we can do is Hara Hachi Bu; eat until 80%. We want to take care of our beautiful earth suit.

So back to Ayurveda. And let’s talk about agni. Agni is digestive fire. And we want to keep that fire burning really strong because it’s the fire that digests our food. If you put too many logs on a fire, what happens? It goes out or the fire is greatly diminished. If you get the fuel just right, it burns super bright.

And that’s what we want, that is strong agni. Keep that in your mind when you’re eating food. Is the way you’re eating, is the food you’re eating, is it encouraging a strong agni, a strong flame?

And so much health springs from this one simple concept. If that fire is weak you are left with big chunks of unburned logs and coal. In Ayurveda this is called Arma. Arma starts in the gut but can actually spread into all 7 layers of tissue in your body. And that’s why they say it’s the root of all disease.

And Arma my friends is not a good thing. We don’t want Arma. We want what is called Rasa, which roughly translates to juice. It also translates to taste and many other things, but in this context we’re talking about juice. And just visualize that juice flowing around your body.

Rasa is the really fine ash left over from a fire that’s burnt everything up. And that Rasa or juice, instead of lodging in our 7 layers of tissue, actually nourishes those layers in our body. And for more on Ayurveda you can tune into my 4 part Ayurveda series, which you can listen to at iamnickbroadhurst.com/21. It’s really great. In fact it’s been the most downloaded episodes of all of The Nick Broadhurst Show, so definitely check that out.

But here are my tips for Hara Hachi Bu, eating until 80%. This is a very simple but very profound practice and I would love for you to give it a go. First of all, serve yourself on one plate or bowl and then put away your food. So you want to get good at seeing what actually fits in your tummy.

And this is imagine roughly, you know if you cup your hands together, what can fit in those two hands is roughly what’s going to fit in your tummy. Unless it’s a big bowl of salad which looks a lot bigger, but when you chew that down, you’re going to chew it into almost nothing, so that will condense right down. So that’s the first tip.

The next is to go easy on the size of animal protein or even the vegan protein sources that you are eating, because they are harder to break down. So roughly the size and thickness of your palm, maximum, and for me it’s even less than that because I’ve got a Vata Pitta constitution and a naturally weaker digestive power. So if I over eat, especially animal protein or even vegan protein, that Arma gives me red eyes.

It’s the first sign that I get, and I feel absolutely rubbish. My body is always telling me when I’ve overdone it and I speak about this in episode number 39, ‘Can Discipline Be Freedom?’ Because when I did this episode I really came unstuck that week and it’s a pretty open, pretty vulnerable episode, but definitely check it out; it’s a lot of fun.

And the next tip is to use smaller plates and bowls. This makes a huge difference for me. I used to use massive plates and fill them up, like it’s an excuse or something to just eat a truck load of food, but now I use a much smaller bowl and I break up my meals so that they digest properly.

And I follow some ancient food combining principles, which is common in many many cultures. And I will do an episode on this one day because it’s so powerful. This honestly, I had no idea about this. I’d heard about food combining but not in this way. This is a different way; it’s not what you’re thinking probably about food combining.

But in an activated nutshell what it means is, for me, my body loves a high carb diet. Remember, that’s what works for me because of my vata ectomorph body type. So all my meals have some sort of starch. And I always start with a starch like sweet potato or rice, then I go onto cooked vegetables, and then I go onto protein last.

But I serve them separately. So I’ll sit down eat my starch, then I’ll go up and get my vegetables, then I’ll sit down and eat the vegetables, and then I’ll go back and get the protein, then I’ll sit down and eat the protein. And what this does is just slows me down. It really slows me down.

And speaking of eating slowly, that’s the next tip. I actually use a teaspoon to eat all of my meals. I know that might sound a bit crazy but it really helps me. And I wonder is this why Asian culture use chopsticks? Could be, I’m really curious about that. I’ll have to look into that.

But slow down. And what we can do to slow down is just to stop. Make sure you’re sitting down, never stand up. Create space when you eat, don’t eat on the run, and we want to let our bodies know that food is on its way, that food is coming. We want to prepare our digestion, we want to take 3 deep breaths and give gratitude to our food. I speak about this at iamnickbroadhurst.com/34 in my episode ‘Bless Thy Food’.

And we want to avoid snacking. Unless you’re a vata ectomorph like me, the occasional snack could be okay because we don’t want to get catabolic. We want our bodies to stay full of energy and anabolic. But avoiding snacking is a general good rule because we want to let our digestion do its thing and fully break down the previous meal, create all that beautiful rasa.

Leaving at least 3 to 4 hours between meals is really really important. We don’t want to put food on top of undigested food. That creates arma, and we want that rasa, we want that juice to flow around our bodies.

Another great tip is to eat early. Have dinner no later, or at least finish eating by 7pm. Now we always eat at 5:30 and are finished by 6pm. And this gives us around 2.5 to 3 hours before we’re asleep at 9 or 8:30pm. We never want to go to bed with a full belly because the Vata Pitta Kapha doshas I speak about in Ayurveda are not just about your body types, but they’re also the times of day.

There is Vata Pitta Kapha time of day, and when we go to sleep we don’t want to be digesting food. I mean yes, we’re in a rest and digest state, but we don’t want to be digesting food in our stomach.

We want that to have fully moved through into our small intestine, so that when we’re actually going to sleep, we are digesting in our small intestine, not our stomach. Really really really important distinction. And I’m going to do a full series on how the Vata Pitta Kapha doshas dictate the flow of our days, it’s really really cool stuff.

And finally, to really known when you’re at 80% here’s a power tip. Stop when you think you’re getting close. Close your eyes and tune in, place your hands on your belly, breath and feel in your belly where you are at. Because many of us have over eaten for years and years without even knowing it. And that mechanism that lets us know that when are full has been dampened, it’s been dulled.

And I find that it takes me about one week, 21 meals or so for that mechanism to wake up again and for it to become more of a natural instinct. And I speak about this again overeating and binge eating in episode number 17, iamnickbroadhurst.com/17. And that episode is called ‘How to Stop Binge Eating’, it’s a goodie.

So there you have it. That iss Hara Hachi Bu, it’s the second pillar of longevity in this longevity series. I love this so much, this information is so cool and I’m not making this up. If you go back to the very first episode of the longevity series, episode number 40, you can hear more about the blue zones and where a lot of this information comes from. And it’s obviously my own take on it but this is simple and powerful stuff, and it’s free, and it’s not rocket science.

So don’t forget to hit the SUBSCRIBE button on your podcast app so that you don’t miss any of these episodes in the longevity series of broad new world. They will pop up in your new podcast feed if you hit the subscribe button.

And for all the show notes you can head to iamnickbroadhurst.com/42 and I’ll link to everything that I’ve mentioned today. And please do a massive favor, head into iTunes and leave me a 5 star review as well as a comment, because your comment tells me what you love; leave me a suggestion, tell me what you want more of, I am at your service.

And if you can share this with one person today, hit the share button, send a text message to someone with a link, or share it on social media using my handle @IAmNickBroadhurst, and I will definitely see it and I will respond.

So remember today to look up, see the beauty around you, see the beauty within you, be gentle with yourself, tune in to your body today when you’re eating, listen to when it’s 80% full. Be love, let love and intuition be your operating system today. And as always, have a beautiful day. I love you heaps. Ciao.

I would love to hear from you, so please tag me @IAmNickBroadhurst on social media, and use the hashtag #TheNickBroadhurstShow, or leave me a comment below (I read every single one!). And if you could take a minute to leave me a 5 star review on iTunes I would be very grateful.

P.S. Always listen to your intuition (and your doctor or practitioner) before trying any new health practice

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