The Beliefs We Feed Ourselves About Food
A friend asked me this question a week ago:
Is the food I'm eating really making my life difficult?
What I heard her ask was; Does What I Eat Affect The Quality Of My Life and If So How?
While I am not a nutritionist or good food guru, I have had some illuminating thoughts around this that I'd love to share and hear your thoughts on.
I am beginning to grasp the fact, that it all starts in the head. In other words, how we THINK about how we are feeding ourselves, is to a large extent, making WHAT we feed ourselves, DO what it does to us.
I am not talking about what we know. Yes, there is the nutritional science to back up the 'facts' - too much sugar will do X and too much salt will do Y and saturated fats are bad etc. Also, if you are into any kind of vegetarian/vegan or raw food eating, you already know the huge benefits of cutting out animal protein and that cooked meals are very acidic. However, I have been slowly grasping the deeper metaphysics of my eating habits these last two years.
It hasn't solidified into a philosophy, as such, but more a way of being around food or being WITH food. I've been conducting an inquiry into the beliefs I hold and how they affect me. Whether it's about food or my soul or who I am.
Is that a bit cryptic? I'm sure you'll get this.
The problem is, we aren't 100% in control of our THINKING. The following does NOT apply if you honestly don't care about what you eat.
As an example, the chocolate biscuit/bag of crisps/coffee we feel so bad about consuming. Each time we make the decision to eat something we THINK we shouldn't, it is going down to our systems loaded with negative thoughts. Our negative thoughts have already created a negative physical stress reaction, before the biscuit even gets to our lips: constricting of the internal organs, stress in the heart region, frown on the face, disassociation (glassy stare), hardening of the arteries, toxic adrenaline rush through the muscles etc. With all this going on inside, how could anything we eat, have a chance of being anything else but BAD for us.
So why do we eat this way?
If we didn't have the constant NOT ALLOWED! sign popping up around the foods we want to eat, I believe we'd have a much better time choosing what FEELS good and leaving what doesn't.
I am starting to grasp that a diet is not there to be used as a rule book to slap your naughty cookie-grabbing hand with, but a personal guideline for what YOU know you need, in order to FEEL good ALL THE TIME.
I added all the time, because a junk food junkie will say - but I feel really good when I'm eating my *junk food of choice*. However, we all know from past experience, that this is not true half an hour later. It is the norm for most people to have to take anti-acids, headache pills and drink more coffee, just to get through the day. When the cooked stodge is making the body so tired, you can't concentrate at work, you have no energy to exercise and no motivation to change your habits.
When I look at how I eat now, I see that I make choices based on how I want to feel. I want to feel a certain way, so I eat accordingly. At the same time I love certain flavours, textures and consistencies. When I want comfort food, for example, a raw choc mousse makes me feel deliciously decadent and sensual. I now know from research that it also has the added bonus of having:
more than 300 nutritional compounds and is one of the richest sources of antioxidants of any food on the planet! It's also very rich in magnesium and helps to balance the hormones. It's no wonder we crave it!
When I don't feel like chocolate (hardly ever!) I make fruit mousses using banana, mango, dates and cocunut cream and any number of other fruit combinations.
I have developed a way of eating through inquiry into my own body's cravings first, then into what nutritious foods have those vital ingredients in them, to guarantee the good feelings. I choose based on what I know those foods give me in terms of FEELING : ie energy, comfort, lightness,focus.
The second factor is nutrition. Surprisingly, it is NOT the first. No-one really eats something because they 'know it's good for them'- unless it's a child being forced to by a parent. We eat for taste and the feeling it gives us.
Ultimately, I believe that we will choose what we FEEL is good for our bodies - if the FEELING PLACE (our emotional well-being) is healed. The beliefs we feed ourselves around what we eat, are all important.
With this in mind, for interest sake, my meal-plan looks something like this:
Breakfast: What do I really want?: Light, happy, energy. Quick to consume. Sweet more than salty. Hydrating. Cleansing = Green smoothie or buckweat and seed granola with coconut milk and chopped papaya or green juice. If, on the very rare occassion I want salty, I choose something like my sweetpotato and onion crackers with nut cheese and avo. I always have a green juice. Various combinations of : Spinach, carrots, beetroot, apples, pears, celery and wedge of lemon or pineapple.
I have discovered, through trial and error, that if I don't have my daily morning intake of spinach, I crave salty snacks throughout the day. I found out, while picking my husbands organic spinach, that the stems of raw spinach are incredibly salty. These mineral salts are obviously what my body is looking for in salty chips and other junk food, when I haven't had my green juice breakfast. When I do drink a green juice - my system feels satiated, calm and balanced.
Lunch: Light and rich. Hydrating. Exciting, salty flavours. Energy food. Green and crunchy. Protein. Easy to prepare or ready-made = A big green salad, avo, nuts, sprouts, or just green juice and crackers with toppings: hummus, avo, nut cheese, tomato, olives and for dessert : raw chocolate smoothie or raw choc mousse. Fresh water.
Snacks: Really small amounts of Dates, nuts, coconut, dried fruit.
Dinner: Rich, filling, sweet, comfort food = green or raw choc smoothie or ...a green choc smoothie (with an added handfull of baby spinach...surprisingly yum!)
I seldom want something salty at dinner, but when I am eating out, I'll have a seed and sprout filled salad with chickpeas and avo or goats cheese if there is no avo.
I believe we can all make good food choices, based on an energetic charge in the body that one can feel when one is clear and calm enough to BE with it. Hence the need for a short period of detox (sometimes just a day) and quiet time, to shift focus and regain faith in one's own INNER GOD/DESS.
If we don't get that connection clear of emotional garbage, the noise that goes on in our minds makes the food choice decision come from fear, sadness, worry, insecurity etc instead. That is when we just choose a quick fix, self-medication type of food that dulls our senses and leaves us feeling doped and fuzzy.
Nourishing Your Soul
It's a funny thing, but we all put way too much weight behind taking action and give no value to the power of BEING STILL.
We all need time to rejuvenate in quiet peace. Just breathing into each moment, second by second. I need to watch the sun move across the wall, sometimes...
Without that time of nourishing our souls with peace and surrender- we can't actually SEE ourselves, FEEL our own thoughts or KNOW what we really need.
I absolutely say YES! to taking time to be at home for yourself and for your soul.
Sometimes, we are presented with a quiet 10 minutes in which we could simply sit down and be still - but we don't recognise it, because we have not intended to find it. I know that if I am intent on finding that time, it shows itself in amazing ways.
What do YOU feel?
Great article Leila and as you said very illuminating.I so agree on the importance to our health of having a good relationship with food and making positive choices not out of a sense of 'should' but out of a sense of what will taste and make me feel wonderful, what would my body really enjoy! So interesting to see what you eat too. Very inspiring :) xx