The mind’s first step to self-awareness must be through the body. –George Sheehan
Recently, while at a writers seminar, one woman wrote about how she used to get in fights w/ another girl every day after lunch, before she knew it was caused by her body’s severe mental and physical reaction to sugar and wheat. Are you kidding me, I thought. I actually asked her to repeat herself. I’d heard her correctly. These foods took over her mind and body, as she described it. She reacted with rage, pummeling the other girl to the ground, causing her opponent to call her “crazy eyes”.
As extreme as this sounded to me, it was a reminder of what I already knew. What we eat affects the way we feel, and this truly is a gift. When the information of what is good for us and what is not is overwhelming, all we have to do is tune in to our bodies. As a yoga instructor and student, I am very familiar with the mantra, listen to your body. It’s our key to knowing when we are pushing too hard or not hard enough. Even more importantly, it’s where we feel our intuition, hence the terms, “gut feeling” and “heart wrenching”. Our body is our instrument for feeling everything.
So when it comes to diet, it really can be that simple. Listen to the body. It never lies. Though just some of us have food allergies, all of us have foods that fuel us and food that makes us sluggish, cranky or bloated. Sugar makes me tired, as does anything made from flour- bread, pasta, baked goods. I don’t even get the surge in energy I hear others talk about. I go right to the crash. A bowl of spaghetti leaves me wanting a nap. Likewise, a plate of cookies can send me to bed. I am fine with dairy, meat, nuts, rice, and of course fruits and vegetables, especially when raw. Water is my magic elixir. I feel icky when I eat anything packaged.
Though people react differently to different foods, it is generally accepted that hydrogenated oils, excess sugar, or basically any processed food versus whole foods, should not be consumed in excess. Some prefer to eliminate them altogether. Some studies suggest raw foods are far superior to cooked. And now there is also a lot of hype around gluten, and to quote from the article below, “There is an ever-growing body of research to support the fact that gluten sensitivity is not just an in-fashion health fad, but a real, pressing phenomenon that deserves our attention in a large-scale way.” Anyone who is curious or interested in this suggestion can read from the following link: http://fixyourdigestion.com/the-trouble-with-gluten/
Chances are, if your body is not tolerating gluten or any other food very well, you won’t feel great after eating it. Foods should be healing, energizing, and we should actually feel vibrant after eating them. Live foods make us feel alive. The information is out there in excess. Whatever we want to research- raw food diets, sugar addiction, gluten intolerance, foods that cause obesity and foods that help us maintain a healthy weight- there is no shortage of information, and often some of this information changes over time: The importance of dairy. The detriment of dairy. The merits of a vegetarian or vegan diet. The pitfalls of such diets. But where do we turn when all this information is just too much? Turn inward. Tune in. The body’s wisdom is always available, silently telling us what to do. We just have to pay attention.