Updated: Mar 12, 2022
Ancient traditions seem to appreciate that our health is dependent upon our entire person becoming healthy. We can't have #addictions or discomforts or a bad temper and be simultaneously healthy. One can't be physically healthy and have an ill-mind, or vice versa. As science evolved and specialities emerged within healthcare, we began to divide and become narrow-minded about various states of dis-ease. We turned our backs on the concept of #wholeness and now see #holistic providers as the odd bunch working outside mainstream medicine. Ironically when you read the protocols of conventional medicine, they all state the first step is to implement a healthy diet and regular exercise but a convenience-based society jumps ahead to step two, pharmaceutical therapy, never having addressed the underlying issue in the first place.
We do this with our diets as well. We try each new fad diet hoping this will be the one, that we will apply better effort this time and create a true revolution for ourselves. With each one, we find less and less success, even creating worse health for ourselves with enough attempts. One diet will focus on counting calories, or points, another may have us monitor our #carbohydrates. Maybe you've tried focusing more on #protein, or more on clean foods, eliminating all #processedfoods. Whatever the current diet, the truth remains that we are, in essence, what we eat. We must also address the underlying issue beneath our food choices and habits.
We live in a country with an abundance of food. Everything is available to us. We have fast-foods, conveniently packaged and processed foods, all-you-can-eat buffets, and grocery stores with isle upon isle of calorie-rich "food-like" substances. We have so much excess and convenience that we have lost our ability to identify how our bodies need us to eat. We go out to dinner and then to a movie only to consume a second meal within the movie theatre simply because that's part of the tradition. It's comforting! The state fair wouldn't be the same without deep-friend OREOs and sugar drizzled elephant ears!
These habits of eating for comfort are engrained in us; it's part of our ancestral cell make-up. Our country's founding members celebrated their triumphs with a huge feast which we continue to celebrate today for essentially every national holiday by engorging ourselves to near coma. We have become completely disconnected to the effects our eating has on our state of health that people don't relate their #complexions, their moods, their bowel habits, or even their chronic illnesses to their food choices. They are surprised to realize they have Type 2 Diabetes even though they have been overweight and sedentary for the past several decades. We use food to distract ourselves from stress and discomfort. It is the cure our psyche requires which is why it is so hard to wake up and listen to our own intuition. Our bodies will not realize a state of vitality if we aren't mindful about our eating habits.
What is your Relationship with Food?
Are you consciously aware of what your body needs separate from any particular diet you've tried? I know that when I eat apples, that my body breaks out. Any tiny exposure to them, even as a preservative in a blueberry breakfast bar, will cause significant break out for me. I also know that I can eat very little food in any particular day or days on end and my hair will be impacted more than my body weight. In fact, if I restrict my calories more than six days while I might see weight loss initially, I will soon plateau or even gain until I once again eat more freely or offer myself some carbohydrates. Then I might see several pounds gone overnight.
More than almost anything else, my body requires a minimum of 5K steps daily, preferably10K. I can attend exercise classes, lift weights, and do yoga, but my body needs to be in geographic motion. Apparently I require a daily journey to stabilize my weight, which interestingly, is consistent with the adventurous nature of the Sagittarius. I also know that Pepsi is my greatest addiction. I know that when I study, I lose all mindfulness and can snack my way through an entire bag of salty pita chips and if I am really in the zone, I can down a candy bar too. This mental engagement into the tantalizing world of research becomes my greatest temptation for over-eating.
Beef is my mortal enemy, but chicken, eggs, and even dairy are very supportive of my health. As much as I would adore eating fresh fruits and vegetables exclusively, my body is quite dependent on meat #protein to maintain its vitality. This may be due to my body composition which is higher for bone and muscle mass than the average, but it is also most sensitive to routine and particularly sleep. The greatest impact of all or the greatest threat to my health is stress and lack of a healthy sleeping routine. When I am in fight-or-flight mode or when I push my bedtime routine, not only is it really hard to regain, but it elevates my cortisol levels so that I add weight to my midsection. This weight is the most dangerous of all. Interestingly, I have a normal body fat ratio overall but my visceral fat ratio, the fat surrounding my abdominal organs is elevated.
Knowing this about my diet really empowers me as I can strictly follow a calorie restrictive diet and do a multitude of exhausting exercises with a trainer at the gym, but if I am staying up all night catching babies or studying the newest published literature, then my health is going to suffer. I lose all resiliency with any misstep and suffer greatly. When I've maintained a healthy #sleep pattern, I can see the extra weight melt off of me and this was prior to doing any regular exercise.
Of course, knowing this and prioritizing self-care, filtered water, healthy snacks, sufficient calories in proper balance with a balance of motion, and adequate sleep doesn't help overcome the hurdles that present when my schedule changes. If any one of my lovely children show up unexpected cook-out ensues in which I will indulge even if I just ate because I am not being mindful and my body just follows routine as I enjoy their company. If I am spontaneous and take my kids on a hike, but leave without a proper snack or sufficient bottled water then I am stuck feeding them on the go. If I have a huge project due and can't find quiet time to think, then I stay up late to steal some quiet time, wrecking my schedule, and eating my way through the night. Less so today than in years before, if I give up on myself because I am discouraged or overwhelmed, then I delight in the comfort of food not caring that is brings harm to my body. Emotional and mental health are important pillars for maintaining proper physical health.
Our Food Choices Reflect Our Love for Ourselves
Not everyone is the same. While some diets work exceedingly well from some people, at specific points in their life, they don't work for everyone. Generally speaking we are evolving people so what once worked is unlikely to continue throughout your entire lifetime. It is therefore important to learn how to listen to your body and discern its changing needs. When we are in tune with our bodies we hear our bodies when it makes clear any particular activity or food is not supportive, and we recognize more readily what nourishes and energizes our bodies. We want to be kind to ourselves when we have a healthy love for ourselves and because our mission is to protect ourselves, those substances that were once so satisfying, yet harmful, lose their appeal.
Chinese Medicine or #Ayurvedic medicine teaches to identify one's natural state and when off balance, how to regain equilibrium. If we can identify imbalance early, then we don't have to wait until we are in a state of dis-ease and dis-comfort. We can adjust ourselves before we are obese and maxed out emotionally. This is the goal of our Wellness Consult. My hope is to identify what your baseline is and what supports your body and what has worked against it, while offering approaches for regaining proper balance. While I am happy to work with clients dealing with some level of chronic disease, certainly my goal is to help those who believe themselves to be without dis-ease really optimize their health. This has maybe never been more important in our lives than right now, as we face biological warfare and pandemic crisis. Protecting our health is absolutely vital.
Spend Some Time Becoming Present
Before you dive into creating any diet changes, take some time to observe your habits. Over-thinking is rarely helpful. It can be exhausting even and expensive, causing you to lose your way. What are your typical eating habits? Where do you eat? When do you over eat and when do you under eat? Do you cook at home often? How often do you eat out? Do you eat vegetables? Do you eat healthy fats? Do you eat fish? Do you eat a limited diet or a wide variety? Are you picky? Do you have food sensitivities? Does your body prefer more cold foods or more hot foods? All of this and more speaks a great deal about your body and its needs. Developing your intuition and developing more embodiment will help you discern how to best provide yourself balance as life creates natural imbalances. The key here is that awareness will cause these imbalances to not throw you as far from your path of optimal health.
Cleansing and Detox
These are topics I will likely explore more thoroughly in future posts, and certainly topics I explore in greater depth within the educational classes offered to Eden members, but most of us benefit from one or two cleansing diets each year. I typically do these in the spring and the fall. They are also helpful if you feel you've accumulated a bit of weight or toxins, are sluggish, foggy-minded, or over-burned emotionally. Our bodies do change with the seasons. Our appetites change. We sleep differently. Our moods are even effected. You'll discover what works best for you but as I open my house for the spring and close it up in the fall, I feel the need to cleanse my body too.
Let Bad Habits Fall Away From You
When I changed my mindset from trying to give up my bad habits to becoming more mindful and honoring the needs of my body, I saw things fall away from me that weren't healthy. You can do this too and I am happy to work with you on this journey if you'd like a partner.