Browsing all articles tagged with Chinese

Stay Fit With Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a very personal discipline that is about training both mind and body. In this sense it is difficult to define exactly what it is. To some people it is a way of losing weight, to others a way of improving posture and balance and to still others a way of form of meditation and spiritual seeking.  Of course practicing it can also be about all of these things. It’s a kind of ancient Chinese cure all for everything from adolescent awkwardness to low self esteem to depression to poor posture…you name it!


Perhaps one way to sum up this discipline that can almost be described as a moving form of meditation and yoga combined is that it is about increasing personal power. If you are control freak you will love Tai Chi. The caveat is that the movements also teach you to let go and be balanced even in chaos.


In fact, the Chinese characters for Tai Chi Chuan can be translated as the ‘Supreme Ultimate Force’. The notion of ‘supreme ultimate’ is often associated with the Chinese concept of having both yin and yang in balance.  Yin if you will recall encompasses such qualities and elements as female, passive, dark, shrinking and yielding. Yang encompasses the qualities of male, forceful, light, expanding and force.  The reason Tai Chi is the ultimate dance of balance is that it combines both.


There is no one standard for Tai Chi. Most Tai Chi exercise sequences consist of a set of movements. Many are imitations of the movements of animals and birds and some of these postures are stances used for combat. However even if you are doing what seems to be a militant posture all of the poses done in Tai Chi are done gracefully. You move from pose to pose with soft, fluid gestures.


Don’t make the mistake in thinking that Tai Chi is a martial art, although it probably will make you more astute in some ways. It is mostly a meditation that helps harmonize the mind and body connection.  Once this happens you are able to generate and store more energy. In Chinese this energy is referred to as “chi”.


One of the aims of Tai Chi is to increase Chi and foster the popular circulation of it in your life. Not only are your health and vitality enhanced but your mind becomes more focused, less negative and able to manifest good things.


Handling Sugar, Fat and Salt Cravings

Many people who are addicted to overeating are addicted to either sugar, fat or salt. This is because these are three things that give stimulate the pleasure centers of our brains and calm us.


Battling a Sugar Addiction

To get rid of a sugar addiction you need to substitute it with foods that are still sweet but a bit better for you in terms of calories and nutrition. Vegetables such as squash, sweet potatoes and yams can help satiate the yearning for sweeter and creamy foods. Another good substitute is fruit, which has less calories than cake or ice cream.


Sometimes the urge to eat rich creamy things can indicate a shortage of calcium..  To help cut down on cravings for ice cream or cheese try taking calcium supplements, eating calcium rich foods like oysters, broccoli or Swiss chard and drinking low fat skim milk to balance the body out.


Fighting Fat Addiction

People who crave fat might have an anger issue or a bit of an oral fixation.


Craving fat is very primal as neoprimitive man used to eat the flesh of slaughtered animals that were still warm. This still awakens the pleasure centers of our brains. This is why stuffing warm fatty foods in our mouths helps calm us down. Fat also has nutritionists and dieticians call “mouth feel.”  Foods that are good for us often lack the satisfying feeling that fat has orally.


There are very few snacks that mimic the taste of fat but sometimes eating avocado, low fat butters and dipping bread in olive oil can have the same sort o mouth full. Muffins cooked with dates instead of butter might also have the same richness as fat.


Substituting for Salt

Sometimes overeaters crave salt because their bodies need more sodium. One remedy for this is to include more vegetables in your diet as vegetables contain a healthy form of sodium. A good substitute for high sodium dishes such as Chinese food or French fries is sushi. Both the seaweed and the raw fish are composed of healthy amounts of sea salt.

Drinking an excess of cola, coffee or alcohol can cause a shortage of sodium in the blood. If you are craving a bag of salty, greasy potato chips at the end of the day the culprit might actually be that martini you had last night or those two cups of coffee you had in the morning.


Many cravings have no physical basis at all. The key is to stop seeing food as a magic bullet to cure emotional problems and address your personal issues so that you do not develop chronically unhealthy eating habits that can undermine your weight loss.