Hello and Aloha
This week’s “question of the week” is again about our eating habits:
Jungle of rules
Last week I asked you why you eat. Today, I’d like to invite you to think about what you eat. Nowadays we get swamped with information about which foods are good and which ones are bad for us, and the results could hardly be more contradictory: Eating a lot of fruits should grant our daily dose of vitamins, but eating a lot of fruits is also unhealthy because of the fructose. Animal protein is said to be essential for muscle growth, but it apparently also causes cancer. Coconut oil was considered to be unhealthy for years, bananas and potatoes as fattening. More recent diets encourage to use coconut oil for searing and to eat bananas for breakfast or potatoes for lunch. Carbohydrates, i.e. Pasta, bread, etc., are often completely banned from diets. Others experts allow carbohydrates, as long as they are wholegrain. Still others refer to the condemnation of white flour as “nonsense and monetary rip-off.” Some warn against a lifestyle without dairy products, while others preach that it is unnatural and unnecessary for adults to consume a baby cow’s food. In short, you can google any type of food, first with the addition “healthy” and then with the addition “unhealthy” and you will invariably always find a post that recommends you or strongly discourages eating the food you have searched for (I’ve tried it – there are even posts that expose pulses and chia seeds as harmful). And of course, everyone has the most reliable scientific findings and knows best. Which leaves us with the big questions: What can we rely on?
The wisdom of our bodies
I have a suggestion: Instead of using your thinking mind to find the best advice on what to eat, why don’t you listen to your body? Our body has its own intelligence and knows exactly what we need – we just forgot to to listen to it. The brother of my best friend has been struggling with various allergies all his life. Their mother has recently told me that already as a toddler, her son instinctively rejected the foods he was allergic to, before even tasting them. And this makes sense: It’s no longer a secret that diets don’t work and ultimately lead to weight gain. The so-called “intuitive eating” on the other hand has been proven to have positive effects on the psyche, health, and body weight. This does not mean that all studies on foods and their effects on our health are bad. A certain degree of information can help us to understand our bodies better and motivate people to consume fresh food in a time of junk food and food additives. However, what food a person needs is as individual as our fingerprints. No two organisms work exactly in the same way and no one knows better what we need than our own bodies.
“Eating what I want – that’s asking for trouble!”
To eat whatever I want to eat was just as revolutionary for me as eating when I’m hungry. However, I was facing quite a challenge in the beginning: I had to learn to listen to the voice of my body again. What I mostly heard instead was the voice of my conditioned mind, that either told me to follow all the advice I’ve ever heard on healthy eating or by telling me to do the exact opposite: to eat anything commonly known as unhealthy. So I ate all the forbidden foods on my “cheat days” or whenever I could not stand the rules anymore: chocolates, chips, cheese, pizza, biscuits, etc. And the worst thing was: no matter how bad this made me feel, I really believed that I physically craved those foods. This is also the first answer I get from people whom I advise to eat whatever they want. “But then I eat only greasy and salty foods!”, is then most common reaction. I can assure you from my own experience: That’s nonsense. Once you learn to not blindly believe the voice in your head that is convinced that those greasy and salty foods can grant you a moment of joy, you get a chance of coming in contact with your body. And I have never met anyone whose body had an honest need for fries and pizza every day. Eating so-called “unhealthy” foods compulsively is just as unnatural as eating only the “healthy” foods; neither one nor the other has anything to do with our real needs.
Today I eat what I want – at least usually, even if that means that my partner and I eat something entirely different for dinner sometimes. It happens that I have a strong inner need for certain foods – e.g. today at lunchtime for wholegrain bread with peppers and cucumbers – but sometimes I first have to sit down for a moment with my eyes closed and check in with myself, in order to figure out what I need. Ever since I listen to my body, my nutrition is rule-free and balanced, I have much more energy than before as well as healthy blood levels (even without eating meat). I generally feel at home in my body and also lost a few pounds. Additionally, eating what I want sends out a message of self-love and self-appreciation in a way that I feel worthy of getting exactly what I need.
In this sense I’d like to invite you to think about the initial question: what do you eat? Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or feel like talking. I wish you an amazing Sunday.
What do you eat? Do you rather listen to your mind or to your body when choosing food? Do you feel connected to your body?