“I researched ancient food wisdom. That is what Whole Person Integrated Eating is based on - what to eat and how to eat - to nourish yourself.”
In this episode, Deborah Kesten discusses her whole person integrative eating program and why food should nourish individuals physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially. She talks about the reasons for overeating and how individuals can manage their weight through holistic practices. Tune in to learn about diabetes and weight loss through a different approach.
Deborah Kesten is a nutrition researcher and award-winning author of Whole Person Integrative Eating: A Breakthrough Dietary Lifestyle to Treat the Root Causes of Overeating, Overweight, and Obesity. Whole Person Integrative Eating is a science-backed program for halting—even reversing—overeating, overweight, and obesity. And it may also help manage diabetes.
Giveaway: Head over to Yumlish’s social media to learn how to win a free copy of Deborah’s award-winning book Whole Person Integrative Eating: A Breakthrough Dietary Lifestyle to Treat the Root Causes of Overeating, Overweight, and Obesity!
Shireen: In this episode, Deborah Kesten discusses her whole person integrative eating program and why food should nourish individuals physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially. She talks about the reasons for overeating and how individuals can manage their weight through holistic practices. Tune in to learn about diabetes and weight loss through a different approach.
Podcasting from Dallas, Texas. I am Shireen and this is the Yumlish podcast. Yumlish is working to empower you, to take charge of your health through diet and exercise and reduce the risk of chronic conditions like type two diabetes and heart disease. We hope to share a unique perspective and a culturally relevant approach to managing these chronic conditions with you each week.
Shireen: Deborah Kesten is a nutrition researcher and award-winning author of Whole Person Integrative Eating: A Breakthrough Dietary Lifestyle to Treat the Root Causes of Overeating, Overweight, and Obesity. Whole Person Integrative Eating is a science-backed program for halting—even reversing—overeating, overweight, and obesity. And it may also help manage diabetes. Welcome Deborah!
Deborah: My pleasure. Thank you for inviting me.
Shireen: An absolute pleasure having you on. Diving right in, what really motivated you to research and create this non-traditional nutrition program that is also rooted in culturally relevant knowledge?
Deborah: Thank you for that question. I have been watching, as all of us have, for decades as millions of us struggled with weight. And we tried different diets and restricting what we're eating and counting calories and carbs and fat grams. And it's not working for most of us, not only in terms of losing weight, but in terms of the quality of our life and our relationship to food, which is such a huge part of our life. I was invited to speak with a clinical cardiologist in New Delhi, India. Oh, probably about 20 plus years ago, because I used to write for magazines and I was going to do an article on yoga and diet.
And I interviewed Dr. K L. Chopra, who was the father mentor of the thought leader. Dr. Deepak Chopra. And my first question was open-ended. Tell me, please about yoga and diet. And he quoted the Bhagavad Gita, which is 4,000 year old Hindu scripture. And he said, Pronto, the Sanskrit word for life force, your consciousness is infused into the food you eat based on the Bhagavad Gita teachings. And in turn, when you ingest that food, you ingest the consciousness with which it was presented. And he said, we in India, if Hindus espouse cooking with love, again, that's in the culture. Flavored with love, made with love and the thought would not let go. And I went, I figured here's a clinical cardiologist talking about infusing food with love. And he's talking about a 4,000 year old religion. And I thought if Hinduism espouses this surely other world religions and what I call cultural traditions have figured this out also because before nutritional science, which is only about a hundred years old before nutritional science, humankind turned to world religions for guidelines about what and how to eat.
So I researched ancient food wisdom. And that is what whole person integrated eating is based on what to eat and how to eat, to nourish yourself. And our research with more than 5,000 people showed it can actually halt and reverse overeating and being overweight.
Shireen: Can you help us understand a little bit more, what whole person integrated eating really is? And why do you really call it a dietary lifestyle?
Deborah: Well part number one, it's a dietary lifestyle because it's based on ancient food wisdom. And about twenty-five hundred years ago, Hippocrates who was often called the father of medicine, At his time of life and living, the word diet meant way of life. And over the centuries that traveled into Europe and certainly into the states and north America. And that has come to mean the prescribed restricted way of eating whole person integrated eating is based on ancient food wisdom, a distillation of all this research I did on world religions’ dietary guidelines, Eastern healing systems, such as Vedic medicine from India. Traditional Chinese medicine, Tibetan medicine, cultural traditions, such as yoga, nutrition, The co-author of Whole Person Integrated Eating, behavioral scientists, Larry Schwerwitz and d I put this all together and that's what whole person integrated eating is. It's not so much a new way of eating. It's a dietary lifestyle, a way of life to be practiced throughout your life. Not as a rigid regimented diet to go on and then go off. It's a way of eating a lifetime practice that lessens over eating and also leads to weight loss.
Shireen: Integrative eating is really based on nourishing all of you each time you eat, what does this mean? And why is this so important? And can you help us understand how food really nourishes us physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially? Like how, how is it all encompassed within the foods that we eat?
Deborah: Well, I will tell you, and I want to highlight that this was not something I'm making up. This is what and how we ate for thousands of years. And I have verified each element. I'm going to tell you about modern nutritional science. We distilled all the ancient food wisdom into seven perennial principles that have been guidelines about what we had to eat for thousands of years. And when I turned my kaleidoscope, twisted it a little bit more,what I realized is these seven elements comprise what I call four facets of food. That food nourishes us physically, but also emotionally, spiritually, and socially. And this is what I mean, the biological nutrition is facet. Number one, which is where most of us live. And that guidelines specifically for weight loss and optimal health mind, body. Is to eat fresh whole food in its natural state, as often as possible.
The second facet is what I call psychological nutrition. Food has a profound effect on our emotions and wellbeing. And the guideline for that is to be aware of your thoughts and feelings before, during and after eating. This is often connected with what we now call emotional eating. Many people. Most people eat out of negative emotions, such as anxiety and depression because food, especially high sugar, high carb food, highly processed food and white flour actually releases natural hormones. For example, serotonin, which calms and relaxes..
So the psychological nutrition is facet. Number two. And along with being aware of feelings and eating with positive feelings, the second element is to eat in a positive pleasant atmosphere, both emotionally, meaning nobody's fighting at the next table. Nor are you, you know, argument. And the second element is aesthetically pleasing atmosphere. Not the gas station while you're, I don't know, pumping gas and having a muffin at the same time.
Number three facet is spiritual nutrition, and that means eating mindfully and with gratitude from the heart blessing, food is gratitude from the heart. Which we did for thousands of years, it's less and less now in our culture. And the third element of spiritual nutrition is eating with loving regard. This has a huge impact on how food is metabolized and ultimately your health. And I'll be glad to give you examples. As we continue our conversation, scientific research showing this.
The fourth facet is what I call social nutrition. Sharing fare and eating with others in a pleasant atmosphere. That’s it. Four facets of food. And that is why I call it whole person integrative eating, because it is about nourishing yourself physically, but also emotionally, spiritually and socially.
Shireen: I want to now shift then to what are the root causes of overeating, overweight or obesity? Can you walk us through that?
Deborah: Absolutely. And these, I have cute names for each of them. Overeating styles as I call them, but they're all scientifically validated and statistically significant. They're the real thing. And they're strongly associated with overeating and becoming overweight. The first one is we're all familiar with this. This is in the psychological nutrition element, the overeating style of emotional eating. Eating to calm down, to treat, self-medicate negative feelings. The next overeating style is what we call food fretting, which is dieting. Overconcern about what you're eating and all of this is familiar. I call them the new normal over eating styles, not what was normal for thousands of years. Fretting is dieting. 50% of us, as I'm speaking with you right now, or likely dieting right now in, in the United States. So it's over concern about what you're eating and eating the best way possible. We often call this orthorexia, uh, eating best way, the right way, judging yourself, judging others around what you eat.All normal,
Fast Foodism about what you eat. All of us are familiar with this, which is lots of fast food and processed food and refined food and sugar, sugar, sugar, and carbs, carbs, carbs, and white flour and pizza and processed meat and, and lots of pepperoni and sausage, all familiar, normal to most of us.
This is how most of us eat. And these are the foods – These processed fast foods – are what we turn to when millions of us who have disordered eating and have binge eating issues and emotional eating issues. These are the foods we turn to. So it's not just gee, a family is going to McDonald's for lunch and dinner. It's also millions of us who have emotional eating issues,
The other, the next number four over eating style. And this surprised us. But again, statistically significant. Sensory disregard, not tasting your food, not savoring the food, not smelling the food, not looking at it. This was normal for thousands of years. It affects the way in which food is metabolized. And although most of you can't see me, nobody can see me right now. This is a podcast. In Italy, for those of us who are a little older, not necessarily, I dunno, a teenager who is listening, but in Italy, when you have a family sitting around a table, a stereotype gesture is “mmm.” Someone tastes the food and they put their fingers to their mouth and lungs and they go “mmm.” That's mindfulness eating. That's a pause of tasting your food. Of savoring the flavors and colors, and it's not in our culture anymore. Most of us are busy doing other things which lead to the next, over-eating style, task, snacking, doing things while you're eating, such as working at your computer and driving in your car and talking on the phone and watching TV all normal.
Again, eating with mindfulness, and I can give you examples of research showing how it affects metabolism and blood sugar levels and diabetes. How not eating mindfully affects your health and wellbeing. And the seventh overeating style is an appetizing atmosphere. Eating in unpleasant, emotional surroundings, psychological surroundings, meaning people might be arguing or I brought up the gas station before eating in your car in a traffic jam, but also eating in an aesthetically unpleasant environment. The philosophy of, I don't know, fluorescent light and noise and chaos. And now.
So the antidote to the seven new normal, over eating styles are the seven elements of the whole person integrated in the eating program. We found that when we did an online course over six weeks, 18 lessons, three a week, more than 5,200 people participated. And those who replaced their overeating style with the elements of the whole person integrated eating were the ones who just ate less as a natural side effect of making these modifications and also lost weight out dieting as a natural side effect of enjoying your food. It's different.
Shireen: One thing that really stands out to me here is when you're talking about all the different styles. There is an emphasis on what you're eating, but more importantly on how you're eating this food. Can you help us understand and help us clarify sort of the difference and why that is?
Deborah: Thank you. That's really fascinating to us because we didn't expect this. What we found is there are in the whole person integrated reading program, only one element about what you're eating, which is fresh whole food. The other six elements are about how you eat the psychological, spiritual, and social nutrition. And the six elements are eating with mindfulness, eating with gratitude, from the heart, eating with loving regard for the food and eating with others and sharing food with others. And we found that when you pay attention to your consciousness and your thoughts and the environment and your feelings, when you're eating. That it again, affects the way in which food is metabolized and in turn your health and wellbeing.
Let me give you a very interesting example because this is very new to everybody, but again, this is what and how we ate for thousands of years. It's not some magic diet I'm making. A I told you that when, what started this research was my interview with Dr. K L Chopra, who told me about Hinduism and cooking with Prama and loving the old guard for food. Well, maybe 20 something years ago, our researcher named Narem in the REM decided to find out if rabbits, who are fed a really high cholesterol diet, get heart disease. If their arteries would get clogged with cholesterol and plaque. And so he fed them this real high cholesterol diet, and it has three levels of cages. And when he looked at the results, he found that a third of the rabbits in these three tiers of cages did not get heart disease and couldn't understand it. Two thirds of the rabbits did get clogged arteries. So he retraced every step and he found that the research assistant, when she fed the rabbits, would take the rabbits in the middle cages out and hold them the most while feeding them. And it was those rabbits who did not get heart disease, or just very, very little couldn't believe this. He replicated this and got the same result. So that is, and this is published in a peer reviewed medical journal. So again, ancient food wisdom, your consciousness with which you eat affects the way food is metabolized.
We might call this now the overeating style, eating with stressed express, filled feelings, anxiety, and anger. Just not enjoying your food, not doing that Italian pleasant moment while you're eating or before your eating.
Shireen: So that's very interesting. I now want to switch gears to talk about the intersection between chronic disease, diabetes, weight loss. What suggestions do you really have for individuals struggling to tackle chronic disease and weight issues through your whole person integrated eating program?
Deborah: Wonderful question. Thank you. Most of us are struggling with food and what to eat and what I call eating by number. Cause we've learned this in the last hundred years to eat by number and count calories and count carbs and figure fat grams. This is not how we ate for thousands of years, we ate with others in a pleasant atmosphere and we ate fresh whole food. And let me talk a little bit more about that. What I mean by fresh whole food is fresh unprocessed fruits and veggies, whole grains, such as millet and keenwah and brown rice for example. And lagoons, meaning beans and peas and lentils and nuts and seeds, not roasted and not fried and not sugared up. Normal, fresh whole food. Those are the plant-based foods I just mentioned. And then there's dairy fish, meat and poultry, which are animal foods. When you eat a diet of mostly plant-based foods, fresh whole plant-based foods, fruits, veggies, whole grains, meaning it has the fiber and the germinate. Many of us have heard of wheat germ. It's kind of a dark, typical health food. Well, the germ is where all the good vitamins and minerals are. In the kernel, whether no, whether it's, I don't know, whole wheat kernel or brown rice kernel, or it's not white flag. It has the fiber and the germ. And that is what is going to heal you: the vitamins and minerals and phytochemicals and antioxidants and fiber fiber fiber in plant-based foods, fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.
That is what is going to heal you. And what I mean by that. It will have the power to balance your emotions and your physical health and your hormones and all of these chemical processes and as important to balance your gut and the bacteria and the fungus and all the, I think it's trillions of bacteria in your gut that become imbalanced when you eat lots of processed, refined, fried, typical, fast foods throughout America. Most of us eat it to feed those processed foods. Feed the bad. I'm putting the quote marks here as I say that word, bad bacteria and increase the amount of bad bacteria in your gut. Instead of having a balance of good bacteria and bad bacteria, this causes what is called inflammation throughout your whole body and what you eat like this.
And when you eat with stress which also causes inflammation throughout your body. It affects all the chemical processes that are normal in your system, that we all go through every day, every second to keep us alive, whatever that means the mystery of life. And it is fresh whole foods and the nutrients, including the fiber that are in fresh whole plant-based foods that are going to help balance and feel all of this. And it's not how most of us eat.
Shireen: Interesting Well we’re near the end of the episode. And he feels like this conversation can go on. How can our listeners really connect with you and learn more about your work?
My suggestion is this number one. I have an award-winning book, whole person integrated eating. My suggestion is take the what's your overeating style self-assessment quiz, it's 76 questions, and you can discover the overeating styles and trouble spots that you personally have to then decide where you want to start. What overeating style you want to start focusing on. Number three. We now have a certified whole person, integrative eating specialist. Please find a whole-person integrative eating specialist to help you do the program and visit my website at integrativeeating.com and snoop around. And learn about the certification program and how the quiz can help you.
Shireen: Awesome. And for our listeners out there, we have a special treat for you. Deborah is offered a free copy of her award-winning book Whole Person Integrative Eating: A Breakthrough Dietary Lifestyle to Treat the Root Causes of Overeating, Overweight, and Obesit. So head over to our social media after this episode on our Facebook page, to understand how exactly you can win a copy.
So thank you so much for that, Deborah. It has been an absolute pleasure having you on the show.
Deborah: Thank you for inviting me
Shireen: And to our listeners. If you head over to our social media, head over to our Facebook, let us know. Describe a time when you found food nourishing spiritually and socially, we'll see you on our Facebook page after this episode.
Shireen: Thank you for listening to the Yumlish Podcast. Make sure to follow us on social media @Yumlish_ on Instagram and Twitter and @Yumlish on Facebook and LinkedIn. For tips about managing your diabetes and other chronic conditions and to chat and connect with us about your journey and perspectives. You can also visit our website Yumlish.com for more recipes advice and to get involved with all of the exciting opportunities Yumlish has to offer. If you like this week's show, make sure to subscribe so you can hear more from us every time we post. Thank you again, and we'll see you next time. Remember your health always comes first. Stay well.