With the arrival of another new year it’s common that people think about ways they can improve their health, but with all the conflicting and confusing advice it can be hard to know where to start.
Do you regularly receive emails, or see pop up ads, telling you why you must never eat a particular food? Human nature makes us want to see what this potentially dangerous food is, so of course we read on and sometimes this advice is so militant and authoritarian it seems we should pay attention…. “Never eat eggs”,, “never eat bananas”, “never eat grains”, “never eat tomatoes”, “never eat cashews”, “never eat beans”, “never eat nightshades” “why I never eat chickpeas and you shouldn’t either”… the list goes on and on. The psychological stress about eating anything can insidiously and incrementally lead to the body learning a biochemical stress response at meal time.
The reality is we are all unique and as the saying goes “one’s man’s food is another man’s poison”. It takes work (initially) to attune to our own systems and learn what is best for us as an individual.
There are so many variables… anyone who has been following us for a while will have noticed our focus on quality .. quality matters, always….. and the closer a food is to its original, natural state, the better. One size does not fit all!
This article asks more questions than provides advice, to encourage exploration into how one learns to eat intuitively, for nourishment and enjoyment and to support our own individual biochemistry and wellbeing.
- Are we being slowly conditioned to not think critically or take responsibility for our choices?
- Is it simply easier to follow the latest diet or fad, than to tune in to our own bodies?
- Are we allowing our capacity to discern and to listen to our bodies to diminish?
- Is it possible that the part of the brain that allows discernment will atrophy if not used?
Taking charge of our own health and reclaiming our agency does mean commitment, initially, and taking responsibility. So, from a psychological perspective, it may be easier to just follow absolute advice from experts who think they understand your body better than you do. There are certainly times when professional help can assist you in finding the best way to support your health, or address a particular health condition, however this is very different to a blanket instruction to everybody avoid certain foods, or food groups.
Of course there will be some foods that some people can never eat, in the case of severe allergies, for example. Rarely though is there a food that no one can eat, ever… at least when we are talking about real food. The exception to this is toxic, ultra processed food and even this, for most people, will be tolerated if infrequently consumed and in small amounts.
Our motivation for writing the health articles we do is to empower people towards intuitive eating and attuning to our true needs, making the best choices for you, towards balance and harmony of the mind, body and heart.
- Eat to nourish
- Read labels when buying packaged foods
- Eat mindfully (not when stressed, with the focus being on enjoyment of the food not how many calories it has or whether it is good for us)
- Slow down eating, especially if you notice that you are always first to finish and often have that uncomfortable, over full feeling
- Eat without devices
- Set the table, to honour and re-establish ritual and enjoyment
- Eat with gratitude
Perhaps instead of following the latest fad advice, you may like to commit to knowing your system better. A good start may be to purchase a diet and symptom diary to help gain insight into unconscious patterns to help you begin to notice what foods nurture, what foods aggravate, and more importantly, what is the state of our nervous system when we eat. It only takes a few minutes to switch our nervous system from a sympathetic (stressed) state to a parasympathetic (rest and digest state), by simply grounding and noticing breath (without changing). You may be surprised at the information which reveals itself with this simple awareness exercise, and the choices you make as a result.
Happy New Year and we wish everyone a very happy 2023, filled with love, joy, connection and abundance.