Do you worry about food? You are not alone.
Eating is such a basic daily routine, there is an idea that it should be simple. In fact is is very complicated for many people. It appears, in USA especially, we have a kind of collective eating disorder. We do not eat from our body’s real desire for nutrition. We eat from ideas in our heads about how we want to look and what is most “healthy” or simply from lack of care and in response to advertising and addiction to highly processed foods. This continuously turns our attention outward to find answers. I have found it is our connection to the language of our own body that will lead us to a healthy eating.
Transformation from Worry to Knowing
When I was in my early 20’s I had gotten caught in some dietary rules that were not serving me. I had cut myself off from listening to my body and instead would read and strictly follow dietary advice from books. I was way too thin, had constant gas and bloating and dreamt about food all the time. Although I ate a good quantity of the best quality foods I could not gain weight or find relief from my digestive woes. I was in this state when I found a deep calling to study with Susun Weed. I made my plans and went there to live for 3 months. I remember the first meal we had, abundant with whole foods. After dinner someone cooked up some left-over whole wheat lasagna noodles with maple syrup. I had gotten up to go bring my stuff to my room when they came in with the dish. They said “here, have some dessert.” Having been strictly avoiding all sugars for months, I said “I am not in a position to have that.” The cook said in a hearty voice “well, sit down and then you will be.” I did sit and I did enjoy the sweetness.
After that Susun’s only advice for me around food was to let go of all my “rules” and eat whatever I really wanted from the array of whole foods available during our meals. After my time there I gained weight and my digestion was strong. My body clearly told me what it wanted. In fact I found that I chose to avoid foods because I truly did not feel like having them as opposed to an internal battle thinking I “should” not have them.
The Wisdom of the Five Elements
When I learned Tibetan Medicine I had a new context for understanding what healthy eating is and why less rules and dietary regimens actually brought me more health. There are 3 basic elemental energies in Tibetan Medicine loong(wind), tripa(fire) and pekan (earth and water).
Loong (wind), is light, rough, cool, hard and unstable. Loong also drives all disease and exacerbates any situation by causing more anxiety, mental agitation and general increase of the severity of disorders. The primary cause for loong is attachment. The more we have internal attachment, giving a lot of importance to our beliefs and holding onto them with an iron grip, the more loong rises. The more we hold on tight the more we worry and the less able we are to hear what the body is really saying. In the case of eating, the more we are restrictive about our diet, worry about the results of what we are eating and have internal tension in relationship to what we are eating, the more we feed loong. The more we feed loong the more the mind is unstable, the digestion is irregular and the less relaxed about eating we become.
Care is Needed
It is true that there are many products being sold in our grocery stores that I do not think are safe to eat or at least to eat on a regular basis. There is a huge amount of processing done to foods that cause our body’s ill health. Then there are many whole foods grown with oodles of chemicals and are genetically modified so they are not really in a natural and whole state. For healthy eating I suggest staying away from GMO and chemically grown food whenever possible and sticking to whole, natural foods as much as possible. Some sources I trust for solid, wise nutrition information are The Weston Price Foundation, Susun Weed and the dietary guidelines pdf you receive when you sign up for our newsletter below.
Ways to Hone the Wisdom of Your Body
Pay attention before, during and after eating. Healthy eating starts with being relaxed. Take a few deep breaths before your meal and feel your belly and your body. Often you can already feel an effect from the food in front of you. While eating notice how your belly and body feel. After you are finished and while you are digesting notice how the food continues to affect you.
Ask yourself: “ Did that make me feel good? Does my tummy feel relaxed and able to handle the food? Do I have good physical and mental energy? Do I feel deeply nourished? Do I feel complete and comfortably full? Do I still have some craving? If not what is missing? Even if my belly is full do I still feel hungry for more fat or protein or anything else?”
Include a Wide variety of Whole Foods in Your Diet
If your body is given whole foods it is most likely to respond with desires that truly reflect your nutritional needs. Since our body’s are designed to survive we crave fat, sugar and salt. If we eat refined and highly processed foods that have concentrations of these substances, the body will become confused about what it really needs. In this case we can help it with the following healthy eating tips :
- Eat moderate amounts of whole fruits and whole grains instead of white flour and white sugar products.
- Eat organic fats from grass fed animals, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil instead of refined vegetable oils such as canola and soy oil and fats from animals raised on factory farms.
- Eat seaweed, sea salt, and foods high in minerals instead of refined table salt.
Feed Your Cravings
If you repeatedly deny strong cravings this really drives the loong(wind) and causes the language of the body to shut-down. If you are craving what you know to be harmful to your health this is sign of disharmony within. By increasing nutrition these unhealthy cravings will subside.
For example, if you really crave sugar, try eating some high protein or fat and see how you feel. Even eating protein and fat with sweet can mitigate negative effects of sugar on the body. Over the long run eat protein and fats in the morning and some at every meal. Try including some wild foods and herbal infusions to boost deep nutrition. Cravings for sugar or “junk” food are often a result of a lack of deep nutrition. However, accepting what you know to not be good for you such as white sugar and flour products on occasion is more connected with healthy eating than being overly restrictive.
Following these simple healthy eating tips will begin to encourage your body to talk to you. Remember to follow them when you can. Again, these are not rules to cause more obsession. When you forget or are too rushed, don’t worry. At any moment remember you can relax and ask your body how it’s feeling and what it needs. When you indulge it is best to acknowledge and forgive yourself. Harboring negative feelings or being in denial will not help develop the intuitive body’s voice.
If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below, or contact me for more individualized healthy eating plan.
Relax and enjoy the nourishment!