Love What You Eat
by Paula Sirois
As a nutritional consultant, I encounter individuals in search of well-being or radiant health. Yet a such a state of health can be hard to define because it is based on a subjective feeling. So I simply ask my clients to look within themselves. A good place to start is to begin noticing when you feel good and when you don't. What foods agree with you and which ones do not?
I realize this advice is a bit radical. Most people seem to think that at least one degree in nutrition is necessary to determine what is good for them. But I would like to take away some of the mystique associated with eating and recommend that we pay more attention to the messages that our bodies are constantly sending us. Often people come to me expecting to be told that they must completely change what they are eating. Many ingest a steady stream of vitamins and supplements, and they are still feeling incomplete.
What are we doing stoking the medicine cabinet with vitamins? For starters, we are unconsciously reinforcing the belief that our bodies are not whole and must be fixed--that the body, on its own, is incapable of maintaining the balance needed to create a state of health. Really, all the knowledge you will ever need about diet is within your reach. Within you is an amazing storehouse of information. All you need to do is listen.
But this can be a bit scary at first. What if your Self seems to be telling you to eat meatballs and chicken fat? Or chocolate cupcakes and hot fudge? Why not honor that voice rather than suppressing it. See how you feel after you eat the food you are craving. Take notes. Your body has innate wisdom. Practice paying attention to the wisdom within you. Within a short time, you will be very surprised at what you learn. Your body is naturally attuned to the life force that sustains it. It is the mind that confuses things. So what I am saying is that we must practice discernment and learn by trial and error what foods work for us.
It is a good idea, as a basic rule, to avoid overeating--simply because our digestive tracts function at a disadvantage under such conditions. So we can be eating wholesome foods and creating a toxic condition by overdoing it. But don't take my word for it...notice how you feel after a meal. Pay attention. Many of us are fortunate that fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and organic meats are plentiful and readily available. It is helpful to drink eight glasses of pure water each day. But be careful about rules and restrictions that are imposed from without. Anytime you are looking outside of yourself for clues about diet you are negating your own inner knowing.
When you introduce foods that are wholesome and unprocessed into your diet, your body has fewer toxins being introduced from without. You may even notice a surge in energy as your body functions more efficiently. But I would avoid any sort of fanaticism, and recognize that a state of glowing health is not a commodity that can be attained and pocketed. The process of listening to your body involves remaining open to hearing what is required in each moment. Stop and consider: what does my body want today? You will notice that when we don't listen, we often wind up imposing rules that just won't stick.
Gorging on junk food after a nice big salad and tofu patties may be a sign that we are not listening. So go easy on yourself. Allow yourself the sweets if you are craving them. Perhaps by allowing it it will lose it's appeal. The mind is a funny thing that way--it tends to want what you tell it not to have. So play a little game and psyche yourself out. Allow yourself to have the treats you are craving. But also make an effort to include more nutritious foods in your diet. Pay attention to how you feel. Let your body guide you. Throw away the books by the so-called experts and listen within.
Part of the problem with listening to the so-called experts is that they all disagree. One doctor is pushing protein, another author is calling for more carbohydrates, still another is saying fats are coming back in style. Even the long-respected approach to dieting called calorie counting is coming into dispute as recent studies are showing that reduced calorie intake leads to a slower metabolism and a reduction in weight loss. So where does that leave us? Absolutely baffled!
Another element of my practice involves helping others to find joy in eating again. Worry and fear are creeping into our plates. How about using food to nourish rather than punish ourselves? Try candlelight, soothing music, a beautiful setting and, if possible, the company of those we love. Notice the effects when you make an effort to avoid argument and heated discussion during meals. This can do more for optimal assimilation and digestion than all the food combining rules under the sun.
A host of diverse cultures and religions have ritualized a few moments of sacred silence before eating. Perhaps there is something to it. Take a moment to imbue your food with the higher forces of love. Try breathing deeply and envisioning a healthful meal being assimilated into particles of light that travel to the cells of your body that need it most.
Visualize yourself in the state of health you desire. Now imprint that image in your mind, and allow your body to take you there. Continually affirm that your body is wise, and trust within. This is new territory for many of us. We are learning to tap into a higher source of intelligence. Guidance and help are available, we need only to remove the perceived blockages that seemed to deny us access to these higher realms. Holistic nutrition is about learning to communicate with your body. Instead of promoting an antagonistic relationship with your body, open now to the possibility--perhaps, for the first time--of being a trusted ally. Mind and body in synchrony....Just keep listening, and watch what happens.
Copyright © Paula Sirois.
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