12 thoughts for food and how to implement scientific facts into everyday life

Well-being is a reflection of the harmony of Body and Mind. Food is essential for our mental and physical fitness. My approach to coaching and counselling aims to improve quality of life and therefore takes into account how and what we eat. Continuous lifestyle development is key to an open and sustainable experience.

“Dietary needs are similar to attachment needs – there are universal fundamentals, but each individual has unique characteristics and requirements. Just like we flourish with love and safety, we need the right energy for growth and to age well.”

Let me share with you my take aways from recent food science and how I adapt the finding in everyday life. Source of these guidelines is a German bestselling book about nutrition which is a conclusion of all scientific research studies about food since the 1950s* (Kast 2018).

Protein first, then carbs and fat

Harvard Health* says that we need 0.8grams of protein per kg of body weight. Protein saturates, we stop eating when we had enough. That’s why I chose protein as my starting point. I aim to reduce meat and fish to 3 meals per week (total of 450grams) and to cut out red meats as best I can for chicken and salmon instead. In addition I substantially ramped up plant-based protein: tofu, tempeh & edamame, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts (not good for kidney stones), almonds, spirulina, quinoa (as a “complete” protein contains all 9 essential amino acids), mycoprotein, chia seeds (2g per tbsp), hemp seeds (5g per tbsp or 14g), beans, broccoli stalk 4g / kale 200g = 2g, seitan (wheat gluten, 21g in 80g).

Coffee – filtered only

Can consume 4 cups daily, Contains several healthy substances. The few unhealthy oily substances need to be filtered out. Hence no french press 😦 and no espresso machine 😦

Dairy when it’s fermented. No Milk. No Butter

It’s a Yes from me for Yoghurt and Kefir: several health effects related to microbiom and digestion. And a Yes for Cheese: naturally high in calcium, good source for Vitamin K and Spermidine with various important metabolic functions.

Sugar and other Carbs

The common sugar consists of glucose and fructose. In particular fructose drives weight gain and increased intestinal fat. Attention: Fructose does not show in glycemic index tables, as the GI only measures glucose.

Avoid white rice, potatoes and white bread. Avoid french fries, chips and cookies and pastries that you have not made yourself (to avoid trans fats and sugar). Eat whole-grain bread and sometimes sourdough due to healthier digestion.

Fat – polyunsaturated good, trans fats never

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from fish (like salmon) and from plants (only ALA, not EPA nor DHA – taking fish oil supplements): Chia Seeds (10g cover RDA 1600mg), Brussel Sprouts, Algal Oil from algae, Hemp Seeds (even more than Chia), Walnuts (20g for RDA), flaxseeds (very high in ALA) and Perilla Oil (super-high in ALA).

Olive Oil

Good olive oil scratches in the throat when swallowing a teaspoon of it – it has to taste bitter and peppery. Buy pure extra virgin native cold pressed. Can be used for frying – can help keep fried meat healthier. Associated with anti-aging and significant reduction of breast cancer risk.

Fasting – continuous lifestyle vs. intensive time-outs

Although I am a big fan of detox fasting following the Buchinger method (once or twice yearly), I do want to feel fit, healthy and comfortable all year round. That’s why I am gravitating in most weeks towards time-restricted fasting with 8hrs of food intake and 16hrs of fasting. I am not religiously adhering to these times on a daily basis, but find them easy to calculate and to live. A typical day then looks like breakfast around 10am and last meal before 6pm.

Conclusions for a healthy diet

1. Eat food with more whole carbs in the morning: whole-grain cereals with fruit and yoghurt

2. Eat some fatty food in the afternoon or evening: cheese, avocado, olive oil, nuts

3. Find a time-restricted cycle that suits your needs while helping your discipline and can be integrated into your work-week.

4. Enjoy your food! Familiarise with a few foundations and give yourself a chance to make it through a short phase of adjustment – you will gain back health and fitness over time.

Sources

Bas Kast (2018): The Nutrition Compass / Der Ernaehrungskompass, 28th, Munich: Random House.

https://www.health.harvard.edu

Sebastian’s Events in Q1 2020

Skilfully riding the last waves of the pig year

I wish we could transition into a brand new year as if waving a magic wand – letting the inconvenient and disruptive things disappear.

However, we will face challenges in 2020. So, shall we question our priorities? Yes. Reallocating time to health and resilience.

Inner strength always precedes noticeable balance. Now is the time to look ahead with stillness – not inertia.

I am inviting you to take mindful action and to focus on what matters most: How you reach into the world.

The following offers are my way of reaching your world, Sebastian

Growing inner strength, finding your niche

Join the free intro and Q&A to my Mindfulness-based Cognitive Training program. Get to know the benefits, scientific research and program structure. Familiarise with the venue and fellow travellers.

RSVP here

Mindfulness Challenge January 2020

Free online group practice wherever you are
Can you commit to nine guided sitting meditations over 3 weeks?
By attending a series of 9 silent group meditations online you can …
# Connect in a virtual practice group based in Hong Kong
# Use your phone as an anchor to the present moment
# Have full control over convenience and mobility
# Make Sebastian give 200%

practice online with others in silence

Mind over Money

Gaining insight into how you are socially perceived is a powerful and transformative effort. What do people around you say about your conduct, energy, balance and presence? And how do you want to be seen and perceived in your interactions with others going forward?

Investing in your Self
Read article about better living

Mindfulness-based Cognitive Training Program

The gold standard of mindfulness-based non-medication approaches with the largest and most profound scientific research worldwide is available to everyone.

Benefit from building mental capacity, expanding awareness and cultivating presence. Participants learn to increase resilience to stress and negative thinking spirals.

Dates & Details

Investing in yourself is the biggest gift to your loved ones

In this article I explain easy to adapt alternatives for making a difference with your close ones and how you can yield surprising returns on your personal investments.

The end of year is the time to reflect on your SELF. Questions like “Was I successful in achieving what I wanted?” And “How content am I with the way I have lived?” can be a good starting point. However, gaining insight into how you are socially perceived is a much more powerful and transformative effort. What do people around you say about your conduct, energy, balance and presence? And how do you want to be seen and perceived in your interactions with others going forward?

People in our proximity are affected by the different states we are operating in. And often not in a good way. Clinical psychologist Paul Gilbert* differentiates three emotional regulation systems: DRIVE, SOOTHE, THREAT. Each system is associated with the activation of different regions of the brain and a signature brain chemistry. These operating systems can be seen and felt by others around us. The chronic and exaggerated activation of a system often strains individuals and relationships in families, marriages, friendships and at work.

People I am working with report to be most satisfied with life due to motivation and achievement …

  • when they perform using their strengths and feeling in their element
  • when they feel excited, focused and curious
  • when they pursue activities together with likeminded others

My clients also emphasise the contentment that arises …

  • when they get out of their heads and connect with their senses
  • when they are slowing down, taking care of their minds and bodies
  • when they bond emotionally and physically with partners, friends and people

Most people show an under-development of the soothe system and an over-reliance on the drive system which often leads to an imbalance that goes hand in hand with the activation of the threat system.

Although the threat system aims at protecting us from physical danger, it also gets activated in less helpful ways …

  • when we worry, procrastinate or experience anger and frustration
  • when we try too hard to succeed or get into a frenzy
  • when external events and adversities trigger fear, anxiety and unrest

Each individual’s emotion regulation map is unique. The first step to reach noticeable results is to map and understand in detail what your individual system-triangle looks like. The next and most important step is to implement sustainable improvements. It is recommended to address both steps with professional and emotionally safe support.

Although the following measures are commitments to self-care and self-development, the benefits go beyond individual well-being and performance.

Coaching for performance

With Coaching you will carve out what drives you and how rewards can help you to achieve. A Life Coach supports a healthy relationship with your motivation, values and strengths. Coaching is a relationship based on respect and challenge with an eye on realistic and organic growth that enables to stay open and with clear intentions.

Mindfulness for insight and attention

Becoming aware of the different experience in each of the three systems is essential for a more visible balance. Certified mindfulness teachers are able to instruct and guide formal and informal practices to train the attentional ‘muscle’ and foster self-awareness and insight through skilful enquiry.

Counselling for stability

The activation of threat is often a focus for counselling. A Counsellor helps to explore threats can be be triggered. For example by unhelpful personality patterns and maladaptive beliefs, by older or more recent trauma, by adversities in the environment (economical downturn, political crises, …) and through adjustment that comes with biological and psychological changes of the living situation (i.e. meaning, empty nest, …)

Groups for blank spots

Joining a group of likeminded people outside your usual circles is a great way to get familiar with how you are perceived by others. Participants of encounter groups seldom regret the challenge and almost always testify personal growth and gratitude for their peers.

*Paul R. Gilbert (2009) The Compassionate Mind: A new approach to life’s challenges. London: Constable and Robins

Is a “healing separation” the same as a “relationship detox”?

In this article I will draw parallels between variations of fasting and this exceptional approach to healing relationships. How can strict attachment fasting safe your marriage? Much like with food, when things seem too complicated, painful and hopelessly constipated there is the radical option of stopping everything you have tried so far -entirely.

Many couples are facing challenges in their long-term committed relationships. For some partners issues grow bigger over time, hibernated for years of marriage or vegetated under a blanket of complacency and the distractions of life. Others find themselves having to deal with crises, infidelity or unprecedented emotional episodes of their other halves, which manifest suddenly as outbursts or realisations of something broken.

In my practice I typically witness three pathways: A few couples sadly default back into their familiar and suboptimal patterns soon after having started the work. Then there are couples who come to the mutual or one-sided conclusion to end their relationship. This often turns out to be a deeply transformative and insightful process for both if properly supported by an experienced marriage counsellor.

And then there is a majority of suffering partners who want to work on staying together. In my opinion this can only mean to leave a good part of the relationship as we knew it behind and to start writing a new book – not just a chapter.

I do sometimes come across couples who are genuinely invested in their love-attachment and long-term commitment, but find themselves pulled into mutual suffocation, disappointment and poisonous energy that often also bleeds into family and friends. Like a nuclear power plant without regulating control rods, their reacting comes dangerously close to overheating and disaster.

A relationship detox can help to (re-)install emotional control rods for a safe and loving attachment. In order to rebuild their power plant of love some couples decide for a healing separation. Much as in any detox fasting, the primary goal here is to decouple the feed – of food or love – and internal processes of body and mind. Giving the individual time to adjust and to awaken self-healing forces that each living being carries.

Couples counselling helps to buffer the imbalance between a driving partner and a typically more reluctant one. The safety of a long-term relationship is fragile when emotions are faced with honesty. Individual counselling and therapy are crucial for both partners to maximise personal growth during the time apart.

In the same way detox fasting is an extreme and temporary way of cleansing, a healing separation is limited in time and targets to activate transformative processes of personal growth and development in each partner. For some couples it is the last resort and can be promising if mutually understood, agreed upon and with professional support.

Relationships that can benefit from an attachment detox typically experience several of the following symptoms:

  • The relationship dynamic feels like wearing a heavy cloak denying you the air to breath
  • Feeling emotionally constrained, often sensing a connection with childhood trauma
  • Not having been alone or lived in a way of self-reliance and independence
  • You actually want to divorce the old relationship but not your partner

Again, in the same way it is important to prepare for a detox fasting – mentally, physically and practically – it is essential to be clear of the what, when and how of the temporary decoupling. Expect the beginning to be difficult and even painful – you need to make it through a first phase of adjustment with “hunger-pangs”, cravings and emotional lows. After that, it gradually becomes easier, but with no certainty about how body, heart and mind will react.

The more you focus on what you want to detox from, the harder it will become. Or: The less you obsess with change, the better you enable it. One pitfall of each fasting diet is for the mind to find substitutes – “if I can’t eat, I now binge-watch Netflix”. In the same way the relationship detox can be misunderstood as a free zone for sexual and dating experiments. However understandable some motivations here might be, replacing one partner with another is defeating the purpose.

One Mind, Two Systems

Gaining insight in troubled times with Paul Loomans’ Time Surfing

Paul Loomans’ Zen approach to keeping time on your side is a refreshing and reassuring read with an unconventional perspective on time management. Unfortunately the unhandy landscape format, which might have been chosen to underline the unconventionality of the book, does not contribute to keep itself on your side.

This easy to read guidebook written addresses modern life time pressures and how to better deal with them. Loomans unfolds his own seven steps method that anchors in intuition and empowers readers to drop lists and other structured approaches.

The author differentiates between two systematically different approaches to managing your time. The first one is the accelerated, fast paced DOING that manages life with our heads. The second one is the slower paced, reflecting SENSING that comes from within us.

The last part of the book is dedicated to very practical applications in everyday life: understanding procrastination and deadlines; handling email mindfully, being master or servant of your smartphone and others.

I like a lot that his approach really is an alternative to the “getting things done” (GTD) and time management paradigms, which all proclaim more of the same. Namely that you can get things done by gathering tasks, detailing tasks and by then organizing them using tools and apps.

Contrary to this, the zen monk lays out how your experiencing self is able to manage your day, your personal as well as your work matters by cultivating intuition. Wait! Before your inner voice now goes off and says things like “oh well, intuition – that’s just an umbrella term for wishy-washy”, try to take this in:

“It is about using feelings and the awareness of how you relate to tasks in order to get them done. That is entirely different from letting lists determine your life!”

Remember the title “Time SURFING”? so don’t forget that it is all about the ride. There is no ride without a sense of ease and confidence. Without those whatever you do, soon becomes a bad trip. Use lists not to determine what you have to do, but as checklists to help you not to forget things. Your sense of ease will increase over time.

The house of love (Loomans calls it The four storey house) has a basement where our emotions live. Emotions are our bodies ancient, yet extraordinarily relevant communication system permanently transmitting signals from underneath. They can guide us to come to terms with whatever arises.

Background programs are rumination and worry we carry and accumulate in a day, a week or for months on end. Much like too many apps open on your phone or computer these programs eat into your capacity to function and hence bring your performance down. Address the emotional message of each background program. Not the content.

With regard to Deadlines he describes the unhealthy pattern of the procrastination monster: chronicle stress due to relying on your body’s survival system might in the short run help you to get things done and to deliver, but it does so in CLOSED state of mind and body.

Paying attention to transitions from project to project and to how to start a new project with an OPEN attitude allows us to surf time smoothly rather than paddle it gruffly.

Friday Feeds: connect and reflect.

The current social and political crisis is not the only stressor that weighs on Hong Kong’s workforce. Many employers want to address increased stress and distraction, loss of motivation and states of low mood and anxiety.

Tactful staff-care feeds productivity and well-being. Registered Counselling Psychologist Sebastian Droesler offers to bring group psycho-education, stress-reduction and individual coaching sessions into your company.

At the convenience of your office, he will take you and your team through steps to improve inner strength and enable self-reflection in the community. Offering a container for personal and collective reflection.

Stress-management in times of Crisis

The current social and political crisis is not the only stressor that weighs on Hong Kong’s workforce, but it is a major trigger of concern, worry and uncertainty. Hence, contributing to reduced productivity due to increased levels of stress, diversion, low mood, anxiety and the need for care.

I am impressed to hear how many companies take initiative to provide various platforms in the shape of team lunches, brown bag discussions and more flexible work arrangements in order to buffer disruptions but also to sharpen the sense of community with the message that we are in this together.

Last Friday I was invited to a logistics startup. The idea was to offer a lunchtime learning session followed by an afternoon of shorter 1:1 coaching and debriefing sessions that were offered to all staff. While the learning was more geared towards the psychology of crisis and interventions to cultivate inner strength, the individual sessions were greatly appreciated and quickly booked out by staff who wanted to address a broad range of personal matters and challenges at work.

All issues discussed had to do with personal and professional development linked to the special dynamics of a startup going through the phases of growth. Many team-leads were particularly keen to learn how not to cascade their stress and pressure downwards. Together, we explored effective ways of connecting with oneself and with others.

“The stories, the environment and the pure work ethic of accountability for others brought back memories and feelings from when I started working in a dot-com startup around 2000. Good times.”

Entering the open plan office with around 120 staff, I immediately felt at ease with a sense of curious awareness. A genuine vibe. It felt very much like me in Cologne in 1999, Hohenzollenring, Palmstrasse. Three floors above a fast-food chain. Dot-com spirit. Could I have been more downtown? Could I have been more right there? After my great 3 years at BOSCH automotive I went back to study Psychology. Then started from scratch. My first full-time job puzzled my parents and my friends with degrees of freedom that were unheard of. Sushi was a thing back then. I didn’t like it.

Kowloon 2019. Fatboys, pingpong table, pizza and gorges of computer screens. Face recognition to enter: People bow in front of a small screen to stare into a camera that opens the door. Almost Japanese I think. People visit me for 15′ sessions in a room that provides confidentiality. It’s fast paced, but I get the impression that it’s worthwhile to get down to one point, to probe and to challenge. As always in my job, I am happy how much trust I receive and how willing these strangers are to share with me with me some of their inner troubles and concerns.

Thank you for your trust.

F R I E N D L Y R E M I N D E R

Events September / October 2019

This is to remind you of the following upcoming events

  • Free Intro & Orientation to Mindfulness-based Cognitive Training (MBCT) next Saturday 21 Sep at 11:00am
  • Urban Dads Event on Thursday 19 Sep at 6:30pm
  • MBCT program starting on Sat 19 Oct at 2pm

Simply click the links below for all details.

Put on your partici-pants,
Sebastian

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FREE Orientation MBCT

Find out what the Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy program is about. Get to know the benefits, scientific research and program structure. Familiarise with the venue and fellow travellers.

Dates & Details

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Mindfulness-based Cognitive Training

MBCT is a solid evidence-based program with an expansive body of scientific research. It combines Mindfulness Practices, as a way of being present in a non-judging manner, with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as a way of becoming aware of and to prevent downward spirals and negative thinking patterns.

Dates & Details

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daddycation

Expecting a baby or recently became a Dad? Do you have questions about labour, birth & life with a new baby? Join us for a casual yet informative Urban Dads event. Bringing expecting and new Dads together, over a drink to discuss typical and specific challenges.

Info & Registration

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Copyright © 2019 Sebastian Droesler – MCouns, Dipl-Psych, B.B.A., reg BACP, All rights reserved.
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Sebastian Droesler – MCouns, Dipl-Psych, B.B.A., reg BACPThe Mindful Men Limited1302 13/F Tak Woo House 1-3 Wo On Lane, Lan Kwai FongCentral Hong Kong, Hong Kong  99999
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