I hear about a lot of new diets these days, and I wonder what is going on with these. Yeah of course I realise many of us have serious trouble digesting some foods, and there are foods we just dont want to eat due to spiritual, moral or ethical reasons, or because we are concerned about the environment. But what I don’t get is why are we being so fanatical? Sure in a few cases one may need to be, but mostly we’re just trying to figure it all out. Nutrition I mean. And weight loss. As I have blogged about in the past, depriving yourself will only cause you to binge, or worse still, create an acidic environment from all the stress involved with these restrictive and unhealthy diet regimes. There should be no cravings, if there are then we are deficient in something, (or our hormones are out of whack). Look deeper at what’s going on instead of trying some fad diet that is in no way sustainable let alone healthy. Wellbeing is not about being skinny – at any cost. It’s about being healthy, strong and happy.
I was in my teens when I realised that some foods were making me feel really sick. By that I mean bloated, overweight, loose stools, period pain and fatigue – these were my main symptoms and part of my daily life. The culprits were anything at all with preservatives or additives, msg, animal products, wheat and dairy. I kept eating them though as I was a teenager in the early 80’s and had never even heard of anyone being intolerant – let alone allergic – to anything, apart from family friends whose son was coeliac. Even then I didn’t really know what this meant exactly. I thought how strange it was that he couldn’t eat bread. He had also Downs Syndrome so I figured it was somehow related.
So I continued to eat the foods that were making me sick as what else was I going to eat back then? I mean chia, cacao, hemp, coconut, quinoa, millet and spelt were unknown to me, and most people. I continued to suffer with my digestive problems and weight issues, so Mum took me to specialists – who had no idea either. (I think they thought I was secretly eating crap which was just upsetting and frustrating.) Their suggestion was to have my gall bladder removed of course. I was around 12. Around the same time my menstrual cycle began and man was that painful. From the first bleed. So off to the specialist we went. I was diagnised with Endometriosis, but not until I was 18 and the gyno’s suggestion was to have babies soon or potentially I wouldn’t be able to, or a hysterectomy. Yup. So on the pill I went and for a good 10 years later dealt with the Candida overgrowth that resulted from being on the pill for about 4 years, until I knew better.
Mum started to become concerned that maybe my sensitive nature was causing some of these symptoms. Smart woman. So off to the psychologist we went. Two lovely women I remember. They saw me alone and by the end of the hour told Mum there was nothing wrong with me, and that I was a sensitive and well adjusted child.
So what was wrong with me? Why was I overweight and in pain even though I was an active kid and didn’t eat junk food? Well, there’s the million dollar question and one I’m sure many of you ask yoursleves daily, either about yourselves or a family member. So on this journey I went, and one I continue to travel on. The journey of true healing and Wellness.
When I see patients with symptoms similar to the ones I had when I was a child, and by that I mean ‘inflammatory’, the first thing I do is remove the foods that cause the most inflammation – processed and GMO food, animal products, transfats, and refined sugar. This is easy for the majority of people as we replace these trouble- making foods with gorgeous, yummy whole foods. Most people get well really quickly as the majority of food available to us these days is basically an experiment, and highly acidic. I give a bottle of herbs with a formula made up especially for that person, they change their diet, take the herbs and learn how to eat ‘mindfully’ (slowly) and off they go onto a healthier and easier life free of annoying and painful symptoms.
There’s no diet involved, no starving, no eliminating fruit, veggies, complex sugars, clean protein or whole grains or anything else that nature has provided for us – simply a switch to eating clean, natural, whole foods. It’s usually as simple as that. Yes I realise that our soil isn’t as fertile or nutrient rich as it once was thanks to decades of punishing it with chemicals used in commercial farming, which is why some supplementation is necessary. Not pills, but in the form of food as medicine. High antioxidant superfoods, and preferable organic.
My point is that there were no diets around when I was a child apart from Weight Watchers and sadly I tortured myself with this for years on and off, with no lasting results with weight loss or any other of my health issues, and the Pritikin diet, which we did at home for a while also. This diet advocates no fat. None. No tahini, avocado, nuts, coconut – nothing. This was considered the diet in the 80’s, a bit like Paleo or fructose- free is now. The Paleo Diet recommends we eat meat (and no real emphasis on it being organic) and no grains or dairy. Sure refined grains are a a big problem these days as they have been highly processed and we have eaten far too many of them since the agricultural revolution. Yes they can turn to sugar and ferment in our guts and yes this contributes to heart disease, diabetes, depression and weight gain – but eating some whole organic spelt, millet, buckwheat, brown rice or oats occasionally is not going to be a problem for the majority of us. And then there’s the Fodmap diet – don’t even get me started on that scary and restrictive ‘diet’. Seriously vegetables are not the problem. And the Fructose- free craze that seems to be sweeping the nation, or was, unit we’ve realised it’s not the answer either. When was fruit ever a problem for our ancestors? Especially if it’s organic. (The chemicals our food is grown with is a whole other matter, which is why I am a great believer in organic food. Yes most of us can afford it.) I agree processing fruit into a high fructose or corn syrup is nasty, and seriously bad for our health, and the planet. But as I’ve said again and again, avoid processed and refined foods, not wholefood in its original state.
I often wonder if it’s any coincidence that more people are suffering with digestive problems since the exact time GMO crops appeared in the early 1990’s. I think not. These foods are designed to blow up the insect’s stomach’s – apart from everything else wrong with them. I wonder – as many of us do – what they are doing to our stomachs, (and the earth, and our children’s future).
My digestive issues as a child I am absolutely sure came mostly from being an hyper- sensitive person. I feel too much. I held a lot of stress in my tummy, and still do. Subsequently my body doesn’t like hard to digest foods like those I mentioned above. It doesn’t let me get away with a whole lot, which I consider a blessing now. It has led me to study the relationship between the body, mind and spirit and how are bodies are being affected by chemicals and the processing of our natural food, and stress. I found my purpose early on in life, and that’s thanks to a dodgy digestive system that came about from being a worrier.
Just 2 weeks ago I couldn’t properly digest anything I ate, and I mean anything – not even water would go down. There are times in our lives that are challenging, we all know that, and each of us will present with different symptoms. Mine of course presents in my digestive tract. After eating or drinking, food and liquid sat in my osophagus and then maybe my stomach until I went to sleep at night. The pain was just awful. Of course I tried everythng – eating almost nothing, herbs, massage, physio’, pureeing everything etc. I had this exact symptom at exactly this same time last year so I was pretty sure what it was. The blockage last year was in my large intestine (as I found out from a colonic) and in the area Traditional Chinese Medicine relates to the lungs. As most of us know, the lungs and colon are the most sensitive in Autumn, and both are organs of elimination/letting go, and grief is what is stored in the lungs.
I have a grief that I live wth everyday. Sometimes it lays dormant but appears in Autumn, it lets me know it’s still there. After 2 weeks of pain in my gut and the subsequest weight gain that comes with not digesting your food properly (and the rabbit poos) it just disappeared.
I really do understand how frustrating it is when you’re doing everything ‘right’ and still your health isn’t good. It’s because we’re not doing everything right for our body and spirit. It’s begging for Spiritual Nourishment. For us to ‘let go’. I sometimes used to feel resentful that I was born with this overly sensitive character (thus a burdened liver/gall bladder) but also extrememly grateful, as it has given me insight into how it feels to struggle with ones health, and the desire to help others also heal.
I truly believe that the secret to Wellbeing – which is health + happiness, is not only to eat well. This is absolutely necessary but only one part of it. The rest is about Spiritual Nourishment. This means feeling supported and understood, it means having someone you can download with, something to get up in the morning for, and a community or tribe in which you feel a sense of belonging and security. These of us have a community, family and/or tribe that is concerned with our Wellbeing and safety, and you theirs, aiding development and exploration of ones creativity, feeling loved by someone or something, and to love in return. I see the Spiritually Nourished among us eat a bit of cake at a birthday party, drink alcohol more than we are told to or enjoy a gluten -packed pizza sometimes – and all without guilt because – they own their life. They’re not suffering with gluten or dairy intolerances or worrying about the fructose in the raw honey in the salad dressing, as it’s only once in a while.
Conversely, I see many more people these days who aren’t Spiritually Nourished asking me about juice fasting, some new diet they’ve read about, cross fit classes, Bikram yoga and the Fodmap diet etc. These intense activities are NOT the answer most of the time – I promise you this, as I have been there and done that. Starving yourself of self love by fasting in order not to deal with the real issue is not the answer. Fasting or juicing for the right reasons is a wonderful thing to do – to give your body a break every now and then – yes go for it. But be very sure of the reasons you’re doing something. Remember it’s not what you do it’s the way that you do it. Are you not eating that piece of fruit because some fad diet told you it was bad for you?
In Anita Moorjani’s book – Dying To Be Me – she writes of the deep fear she had of getting cancer. So deep in fact that she only ate organic, vegan food, (no exceptions). She was scared that if she broke this she would get cancer. Guess what? She got cancer in her 40’s, and had a Near Death Experience (NDE) in a coma for a week. She realised when she was between worlds why she got cancer, and was given the opportunity to return to life to teach others what she’d learnt. She did in fact do this (and cancer free) and has written the above book. I was with Anita in December last year for a few weeks at a festival, and everything she says made perfect sense to me. You get what you focus on. The Law of Attraction.
I believe we need to own our own life, be the captain of your own ship, do what you do with a good heart and a pure intention. Not coming from a place of fear. Joy and happiness are the absense of pain and drama, not the continual pursuit of pleasure or control.
So as far as diets are concerned, let’s lighten up a bit – so to speak. Find out what the true cause of your pain is. After all, our bodies are the physical manifestation of our subconscious mind, so if something is not right in our physical body, then something is not right with our ‘selves’. Taking more and more whole foods out is not the answer to true, deep and lasting healing. Accept yourself. I am no longer resentful that I have a sensitive body, because I know the flip side of it. I have a rich inner and outer life that continually seeks to better myself and serve the world. This takes its toll. Would I change it if I had the chance to be a person who didn’t care so much, so I could enjoy gluten without suffering for the rest of the day/week? Not a chance.
Please don’t get me wrong as I really do understamd that these issues I’m addressing are sensitive, and take up a lot of time trying to cope with on a day to day level, but I promise you once you reduce your exposure to chemicals and stress on all levels, your Wellbeing will represent your peaceful and healthy state of mind and body.
As always, in Love and Wellbeing,