This past week (in 2009), Dr. Ed Bauman of Bauman College visited his relatively new Boulder campus. As part of the school’s monthly Open House, a faculty member shares some of their wisdom in the form of a free presentation, and this time it was Ed’s turn. He spoke to a group of about 30 of us, calling his talk, “Metabolic Tune-up.” I always enjoy hearing others speak about health in order to understand their philosophy of healing or to discover a fresh perspective. In this case, because Ed has been curiously researching and sharing his information for so many years, I learned quite a lot and thought I might share some of what I learned.

Quite simply, our metabolism fuels our life. Our metabolic system takes the raw materials coming in: oxygen, water, macro and micro nutrients from food, sleep, sunshine, emotional interactions, and turns it into the energy we use to live. Whether I raise my arm to comfort a friend, move my lips to smile or simply sit and feel stressed, this all requires energy. It’s when this system isn’t functioning optimally that we notice: we’re tired, we’re gaining weight (storing energy rather using it), we’re depressed or we’re feeling poorly. Ed’s talk explained how to keep this system working well so we can feel our best.

What I learned from him seems so simple, but I think many of us have either forgotten or maybe we never knew about this system and how to care for it. First, if oxygen and water are required, then breathing and drinking throughout the day are necessary. It sounds insanely simple, but I’m sure most of us can use the reminder. It’s all part of what we need every day: a consistent pattern of nutrients. This was the gem I took away with me. This is what I teach my clients daily, but never before saw it exactly this way.

We wake up and take in the beauty of the day. Next we go through our morning ritual to prepare ourselves. Then, when we feed ourselves breakfast, the meal and the other components of our morning nourish us until lunch, when it’s time to replenish our system that has already used what we took in earlier. Lunch is an opportunity to take a break from our day to not only take in more nutrition from food, but it’s also a time to take a walk and breathe! Snack time gives us another break and another opportunity to refuel, and with dinner comes the chance to fuel our emotional selves by connecting with family or friends. In this way we have consistent intake to fuel our consistent output. Our energy, mood, nutrient stores, and abilities remain constant throughout the day!

How many of us wake up feeling behind, only to rush through the morning without taking in what we need to fuel our day? Lunchtime comes and rather than take a break, we eat at our desk while working: no stretching, no exercise, no deep breathing. By afternoon I observe that many people need a pick-me-up: coffee, soda, an energy drink, a power bar or a cookie. Once home, people often tell me they’re ravenous as they prepare dinner. At the end of the day I often hear, “I just need a little something sweet.” And as much as we would like it to, it just can’t make up for a day with very little nourishment or time for ourselves.

I know, in America this pattern gets repeated day after day, because we don’t know how to make other choices in the moment or we often feel stuck when our lives won’t let us take a break. When I worked in the corporate world, it never appeared there was time for snacks or breaks and certainly not breathing; I didn’t even have time to pee! With so little support for taking care of ourselves, it comes as no surprise that we’re not on top of the consistent pattern of nutrients we need to give ourselves throughout the day. It even sounds a bit revolutionary to think that our bodies were designed to take in small amounts of water all through the day. How many of us are good at this rather than hydrating ourselves with a full liter of water when we realize we’re thirsty and when did I last have any water to drink? Try a reminder on your phone or computer to help with this.

So whatever gets in our way of good health can be called a health hazard. But consider that health hazards are choices, not chance. You have the power to make a healthier choice in every moment. When you don’t know what that healthier choice is or how to do it simply, call me. As health counselors, Ed and I realize that our help has to work for you. I’m not an effective practitioner if my advice cannot be applied to your life. So let me know how I can help you breathe more life and energy into your day.

Edward Bauman, M.Ed., Ph.D. (University of New Mexico), was the Executive Director of Bauman College Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts. He is still a ground-breaking leader in the field of whole foods nutrition, holistic health, and community health promotion. After three decades of in-depth study of worldwide health and nutrition systems, Dr. Bauman created the ‘Eating for Health’ nutrition system which is the foundation of the Bauman College Nutrition and Natural Chef Training Programs. Now in retirement from the day-to-day functions of running a school, Ed still sees clients and is writing a new book. He also facilitates the bi-annual Bauman College Vitality Rejuvenation Retreats in Northern California.