Becca Chopra is my go to-person when it comes to learning about the chakras, the body’s seven “energy centers” of spiritual power. She has written a couple of informative and entertaining books on the subject that teach how chakras can affect everything from your love life to your health, wealth and happiness.
She has a new book out titled The Chakra Energy Diet and this time the topic is how eating right can not only balance your chakras—but help you lose weight, lower stress and gain more energy in the process. So you’ll not only look better, you’ll feel better too.
According to Becca, there’s a simple way to determine if your chakras could use a realignment: If you’re stressed out, feeling not so great, unhappy with the way you look, or out-of-control with food cravings, your chakras are not balanced. That means it’s time for some chakra work.
In the book, Becca moves from chakra to chakra, reminding the reader of the role of each chakra and helping the reader determine if a specific chakra is out of balance. If there is an issue, she talks to how it can be addressed through changes in diet, visualization techniques and yoga poses that can help you get your chakras realigned.
Here’s a quick overview of her approach as it relates to your diet:
Are you financially stressed, insecure or angry? Start feeding your Root Chakra with high-quality protein and foods that vibrate with the same color as that chakra—red foods like cherries and strawberries and root vegetables like red potatoes and red cabbage.
Are you lacking energy? Give your Solar Plexus Chakra a helping hand by eating complex carbohydrates like yellow millet or brown rice.
Want to be more loving and compassionate? Open the Heart Chakra with the help of fruits and vegetables, especially leafy green ones.
Need help with intuition and insight? Invigorate your Third Eye Chakra with dark blue, brain-supporting foods like berries and grapes, and without overdoing it, chocolate.
What about losing weight? Becca believes that one of the leading culprits when it comes to weight gain is stress. She points out that when you’re stressed, it causes a hormone called cortisol to surge, stimulating your appetite. The body decides it needs extra stores of fat or glucose and you reach for something to eat. She writes:
Most people are driven to eat comfort foods when stressed out, even if they’re not hungry. And comfort foods are usually high-fat, sugary or salty foods. You may be eating whatever is within reach to fill an emotional need, or cruising to the closest fast food window because you have no time to shop and cook a healthy meal.
So what’s the best approach to dealing with stress—and the overeating that comes with it? The author admits that the first thing she used to do when stressed was to reach for a bag of potato chips. But she’s found a better approach: take a breath and relax! She advises us to:
Put your hands on your tummy, below your navel, and feel it rise and fall with your breath. We often breathe very shallowly or even hold our breath when we’re stressed. Simple deep belly breathing can both calm the release of stress chemicals in the body and oxygenate your cells.
She then layers in how adjusting your chakras can help as well:
Using chakra colors, imagine breathing in bright yellow energy from the sun into your Solar Plexus or navel area and breathing out your stress. Or pull in inspiration from the heavens, visualizing violet or white light coming in with the breath through the Crown Chakra, and exhale your stress by breathing it out with awareness at the bottom of your feet.
Here’s one more tool that can help keep your appetite in check. Chopra credits Ann Doherty for the following meditation that can help you better manage your diet, by making you more aware of what and how you eat:
Hunger Awareness Meditation
- Before you eat, breathe in and out of your belly a few times to relax.
- Focus on your body and how you experience hunger.
- Rate your hunger on a scale of 1 (none) to 10 (very).
- If you’re not actually hungry, your cravings may be caused by dehydration – sip a glass of water or cup of herbal tea and see how you feel. If you’re fatigued, take a short nap or listen to a guided meditation (preferably with your feet elevated).
- If you’re truly hungry, make nourishing choices.
- Periodically stop, put down your fork or spoon and breathe. A fun idea is to try eating with your opposite hand to slow things down.
- Chew fully and slowly to give your body time to note satiety or fullness – it usually takes 20 minutes.
- Using non-judgmental awareness and experimentation, periodically rate your fullness on a scale of 1-10 (very).
- Stop eating when you feel 80% full or when you reach an 8, still feeling comfortable enough to go for a walk.
This post originally appeared on my Wake Up Call column at Patheos, June 13, 2014.