Feel guilty every time you eat carbs? Yeah, me too.
I’ve really felt the candida-y heavy inflammation of sugar, and I know I feel better without. So, naturally I lean to fats and protein. I end up eating a bit more meat…and then get over meat. Then I eat more chocolate. The sweet cravings kick in, and I want coffee and CARBS. I have a few weeks of that, and then I feel puffy and go back to the Paleo.
Neither extreme is serving me.
None of these approaches are healthy.
Dr. Ornish (head of the Nat’l Preventive Med Inst.) presented a scientific review at Summit 2017: There is no proof that a high protein diet has health benefits.
In fact, a no carb, high protein and fat diet (with animal fat) causes greater rates of blockage in your arteries. Even Dr. Atkins of the Atkins diet died of massive heart problems.
At the same time, a high carb and sugar diet lends us towards obesity, diabetes, mental fog, and inflammation. So, what should you be eating?
Ayurveda says everything. We should be eating everything in the proportions that our bodies tell us they want that day.
Yes, your body will tell you what feels good to eat, if you let your brain get out of the way.
The problem with all diets is that tell you what to eat. Diets require your brain to choose based on a set of rules. That’s inherently a disconnect – Your stomach and your emotions are supposed guide what you eat.
Yes, I said it. Your emotions play a big role in it. The stomach brain connection is easy to understand:
Stomach: I’m hungry
Brain: Ok, let’s eat
Stomach: I’m full
Brain: Ok, let’s stop eating
But why emotions? We are hard wired to seek emotional relief/ comfort through food. Breast milk results in the release of anandamides (named after the Sanskrit ananda=bliss) in the brain that are the same we release after eating chocolate or cannabis.
So the idea that you can rid yourself of emotional eating is BS.
But, we can use the emotional body’s feedback to inform choices in food:
tired / depleted–> high prana, easy to digest, ojas building foods
melancholic / lethargic–> light, clean, simple high prana foods; warming, stimulating; smaller portions
intense / irritable–> more fat, greens, sweet taste, more frequent intake
Makes so much sense, right? …and this isn’t even tapping into the subtle energetics of food (rajas, sattva, tamas)
In Ayurveda, the practice around choosing food is the same as choosing a partner, or a color for your bedroom palette–it’s all just based on what the energetic effect will be, and make sure that’s the best fit for you now.
When I’m happy, I’m less triggered and less needing to soothe and control with food. I eat what I’m really craving and not overeating and grazing. That’s when my body feels best. That’s when I feel my food choices in an intuitive flow, and I’m not stressed about it.
But I’m not always going to be happy. So, how do I do this? This is a deep topic that is a lifelong practice, but here are my key approaches:
1. Embrace the ebbs and flows.
Everything in the natural universe is phasic. Instead of aiming to hold steady and rigid with one diet or approach, focus on keeping the variation in a healthy moderate middle ground. This means I don’t keep munching on the bag of chips or chocolate nibs, but instead put a few in a bowl and at least enjoy them. And really make sure I am aligned with eating more before refilling my bowl. Most times I don’t refill.
2. Talk to my stomach. Does this sound good to you? How do you feel after eating that? Are you really hungry?
3. Talk to my emotional body. You’re needing to feel like all is okay. Alright, I hear you. Are you nervous? What will make you feel better?
4. Check in before choosing!
Look, we’re creatures of habit. So let’s make the habit to check in instead of the caramel machiato. Which qualities are you craving? Which would feel best after you consume them? Which choice aligns best with your stomach and emotional body?
If we just listen, our bodies are telling us exactly what feels good. And that is exactly what is best for us at that time.
Once my friend told me his cheeseburger was healthy for him because he believed it to be, and that mine wasn’t because I was didn’t.
He was right. While his body told him he needed heavy quality, mine was saying I needed lighter, and warmer and easier to digest. Even making that cheeseburger vegetarian or paleo wouldn’t have been a better fit because neither felt like the qualities my body was craving–but pho’ would have.
If you really listen, and you commit to making as many bites FEEL aligned as possible, you can’t go wrong. Give your brain a break, it’s got so much else to worry about–right?
What do you think? Open to trying this approach? Is it too scary? Does it resonate? I’m curious…let me know in the comments below please! What do you want to hear more about with regards to food and eating?
Feeling my food choices,