Chances are you’ve had many moments in which your metabolism was transformed by something other than food, drugs, or exercise. Can you recall a time when you were sitting at home feeling low energy and sorry for yourself, a time when if someone asked you “How’s your metabolism?,” you would have answered that it was sluggish and stuck? Then quite suddenly the phone rings and it’s a love interest calling or it’s someone calling you with good news about money. Your mood instantly skyrockets. You feel alive and optimistic. And in that moment, if someone asked again, “How’s your metabolism?,” you’d say it was humming.
So what happened? You had an enormous energy rush yet you didn’t drink any coffee or take any drugs. It was a shift in your emotional world that ignited your body. That’s how quickly metabolism can change.
The good news is that we can use this power of the mind-body connection to create a new and more powerful metabolism without changing anything we eat or the amount we exercise. That’s where the 8 Universal Metabolizers come in. These are some of the most important missing pieces in our collective metabolic puzzle, the next generation of powerful biologic rejuvenators that will prove themselves essential to our health at the deepest level of medical reality.
Despite existing for quite some time, the 8 Universal Metabolizers have been long overlooked. That’s because we’ve believed that a metabolic enhancer must be exclusively of the order of a food, a pill, or a push-up, yet the 8 Universal Metabolizers are of a different category. Let’s call these metabolic enhancers transubstantial, meaning “above and beyond the realm of matter.” You can’t touch them, see them, bottle them, or sell them online, yet they are as fundamental to metabolism as vitamins, minerals, water, and exercise—perhaps even more so. Without them, we could never blossom into the vital biological beings we were designed to be.
But before we look at these unique transformative tools, let’s revisit the important fundamentals of what metabolism actually is.
Indeed, many people use the word metabolism but few know what the word means. If you asked a room filled with a hundred doctors and nutritionists “What is the definition of metabolism?,” you would likely hear a hundred different answers. It’s no surprise, then, that the average person would be confused about this topic. Let’s get down to basics and look at the classic textbook definition of metabolism:
Metabolism is the sum total of all the chemical reactions in the body.
Are you surprised it’s that simple? Of course, we can talk about the metabolism of such specific tissues as the liver and thyroid. We can talk about the metabolism of such specific substances as cholesterol. We can also talk about the metabolism of different body systems, such as digestive metabolism. People who say “I want to speed up my metabolism” are actually referring to calorie-burning metabolism, also known as thermic efficiency.
With this understanding, if we wanted to increase metabolism, we’d make it our business to kick-start our body’s chemical efficiency with exercise, drugs, the latest supplement, or the magic combination of foods. These approaches have certainly proven useful, but they are no longer adequate in describing metabolic reality.
This is so because metabolism doesn’t occur in the body alone. It operates equally and simultaneously in body, mind, emotion, and spirit. Astounding research in the mind-body sciences has conclusively demonstrated the connection between what we think and feel and the chemistry of the body. Science has revealed the profound effects of the chemistries of stress, relaxation, pleasure, and depression, and the effects that even prayer, pets, and other people have on our lives.
Indeed, everything that happens in our world from birth until death is part and parcel of metabolism. All sensory input that impacts the human nervous system undergoes some form of digestion, assimilation, and elimination. In this very moment we’re metabolizing elements of our last meal, words on this page, and important details of pivotal events that happened earlier this week or even previously in our lives. We metabolize our dreams, fears, and fantasies, our ups and downs, our jealousies and joys, the beauty that surrounds us, the betrayals we’ve suffered, and our fortunes and misfortunes—this in addition to all the frozen yogurt, chicken sandwiches, and sushi we eat. No wonder we take so many digestive aids. Taking all these elements into consideration, a new and fresher definition of metabolism looks like this:
Metabolism is the sum total of all the chemical reactions in the body, plus the sum total of all our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and experiences.
Not only is this definition more scientifically accurate and complete, you might also recognize it as intuitively correct. If you do, then you are in sync with such disciplines as Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, which for thousands of years have acknowledged the inseparable nature of mind, body, and cosmos.
Many of us are accustomed to believing the erroneous notion that somehow we’ve been shortchanged on our metabolic allotment. We think we don’t have enough to do what we need to do because somewhere the system has broken down. All we need do is fix it with a vitamin, a drug, a diet, or an exercise program. If only we could find the right expert with the right answer, it would all work out.
The truth is, we are born metabolically powerful. If you’ve made it this far, the miraculous body you inhabit has done a worthy job. The forces of the universe launch us with a life-sustaining thrust that enables us to gather along our journey all that we need to continue to soar. But when we stay trapped in fight-or-flight survival physiology because of chronic low-level stress; because of speed; because of a lack of breathing, awareness, and pleasure; and because of discordant rhythms and a negative personal story, we lose power big-time. Furthermore, we lose power when we surrender our dignity and our inner authority to a job, to money, to the “experts,” to hurtful emotions, and to a life of speed—to name just a few. Reclaim your personal power in these areas and you reclaim a wealth of metabolic strength. It’s as simple as that. And it’s as profound as that. Personal power and metabolic power are one and the same.
Here now, are the 8 Universal Metabolizers. Consider how you can use them throughout your day to take you to the next level of your personal and biological potential.
1. The Metabolic Power of Relaxation
What’s the main culprit that prevents us from having the digestive and calorie-burning power we were meant to have? Stress. Simply put, the same switch in the brain that turns on stress turns off digestion. The good news is that the same switch in the brain that turns on the relaxation response also turns on full healthy digestive power.
Eating in an anxious rush leads to nutrient excretion, calcium loss, and increased cortisol production—which translates to a loss of muscle and a gain of body fat. Start by taking 5-10 long, slow, deep breaths before each meal. You’ll cut short the stress response in less than a minute and return yourself to full metabolic power. In addition, eating fast puts the body in a stress state. Teach yourself to become a slow eater, and you will put yourself in the optimum state of digestion and assimilation—relaxation.
2. The Metabolic Power of Quality
Are you confused by all the conflicting dietary advice put forth by the experts? If so, here’s the most potent and foolproof nutritional strategy you can choose: Eat quality food. Quality means any of the following: real, fresh, organic, gourmet, lovingly grown and produced, consciously prepared. Quality means our food has a good story to tell.
It also means greater nutritional value. And that’s important because when we continually eat low-end mass-produced fare, the brain registers a nutrient deficit and signals us to eat more. So when it comes to overeating, many people who think they have a willpower problem don’t. They’re physiologically driven to overeat because of a lack of nutrient-dense food.
3. The Metabolic Power of Awareness
Once again, most of us who think we have a willpower problem when it comes to overeating don’t. We overeat because of lack of vitamin A–awareness. There’s something scientists call “the cephalic phase digestive response,” which is a fancy term for the “head phase” of digestion—taste, aroma, satisfaction, and the visual stimulation of a meal. When we eat unconsciously, the brain interprets this lack of awareness as hunger. And so we eat more. What’s even more problematic is that digestion and nutrient assimilation are measurably weakened when we “fall asleep at the plate” and fail to focus on our food. Teach yourself to “eat when you eat”; let go of multitasking when eating, and you’ll see your energy level and satisfaction level increase.
4. The Metabolic Power of Rhythm
Did you know that when you eat is as important as what you eat? Your ability to calorie-burn is strongest when the sun is highest in the sky—lunchtime—and weakest in the late evening hours. For centuries, sumo wrestlers have taken advantage of this metabolic fact by eating moderately during the day and heaviest at night.
So if you’re eating a small breakfast, a light and late lunch, and a big evening meal, beware. You’re on “the Sumo Diet.” The good news is that by resetting your eating to its natural rhythm, your metabolism moves to a higher and hotter beat. Have your biggest meal at lunch, a moderately sized breakfast, and a smaller size dinner, and watch the powerful changes in energy and weight
5. The Metabolic Power of Pleasure
If you don’t have vitamin P—pleasure—you don’t have a true meal. A sensuous dining experience measurably enhances nutrient absorption, while a meal that’s limp and without luster decreases it. Like it or not, we’re programmed at the most fundamental level of the brain to seek and receive pleasure. Those sweet taste buds built into your tongue have an important function: to turn you on. If we don’t get the pleasure we seek—either by denying ourselves or feeling stressed and guilty when we eat a “forbidden” food —the brain once again interprets this missed pleasure as hunger, and we’re driven to eat more. Practice the art and science of pleasured eating, and you master a new level of metabolism.
6. The Metabolic Power of Thought
Have you ever thought of your favorite food and your mouth started to water? Or thought of a distasteful food and felt ill feelings in your stomach? These experiences show that digestion literally begins in your mind. Our thoughts impact nutritional metabolism.
And indeed, negative thoughts about food directly inhibit digestion through nerve pathways, hormones, neuropeptides, and other bio-substances. Positive thoughts about food enhance digestion via these same pathways. What’s more, stressful thoughts such as “I’m too fat” or “I’m no good” create excess cortisol, which leads to decreased metabolism and increased weight. Take control over your thoughts, and you’ve made an empowering nutritional choice.
7. The Metabolic Power of Story
Remember our example of sitting at home, feeling low energy and sorry for yourself, and quite suddenly the phone rings and it’s a love interest on the other end or someone with good news and in an instant you feel energized and happy to be alive? This is the amazing power of how metabolism can transform when our inner story is rewritten. Simply put, by creating a positive story, we inspire a powerful metabolism. Rescript the inner tale you tell about food, health, and your body to a positive and enlivening one, and you literally rewrite your metabolism.
8. The Metabolic Power of the Sacred
Science understands that something as simple as prayer can catalyze a relaxation response in the body, which promotes optimum digestion, assimilation, and calorie-burning capacity. But have you considered that our connection to the sacred can access little-understood yet potent metabolic changes? Qualities such as love, truth, courage, compassion, faith, and forgiveness are potent metabolic enhancers. When life is calling these from us, they act as healing catalysts in the body, often releasing energy and power that take our metabolism to a new place. Positive rituals with food and body along with an expanded sense of purpose can both invigorate and inspire—which profoundly shifts our psycho-physiologic state.
Put these 8 ideas into practice for a healthier and much happier, more energized you!