When I wake up, I take a few minutes to assess my body. Find out where I’m sore, where my energy levels are at, and always finish by asking myself, “if I could eat anything today, what would it be?” This scrutiny applied on a regular basis helps me to identify what I am lacking in my diet or if something is amiss. Our bodies will always crave salt, sugar and fat, especially with the way our food system has them available in abundance. But it’s the process of listening to your own body without external stimuli to help manage our bodies better through food – it is extremely hard to do, but absolutely possible.
My husband and I previously went on a cleanse to reset our sensors which had been dulled to hazy buttery lumps thanks to general overindulgence. After consulting with several nutritionists on the matter, we were allowed nothing but vegetables for one week. Nothing synthetic, no starches, and no oils. The first couple of days were horrendous with headaches, lack of energy and overall aggravation at the world. While we certainly didn’t indulge too much in meat or dairy previously, I had an addiction to sweets, and my husband had an intimate relationship with caffeine. Our bodies had been conditioned to need these vices, and our bodies had convinced us it could not survive otherwise.
After the initial symptoms let up, we realized what a beautiful abundance we had before us and a truly rare insight we were gaining. We could now tell each other over dinner about what we craved, what our bodies truly needed not what we were conditioned to need. It was our body’s way of finally being able to get through the buttery, caffeinated, sugary fog and say “hey, I need some hydration and some vitamin C, supply me with some carrots and a tall glass of water pronto.”
Bring on the smoothie with berries and ginger for that zippy energy my body was telling me I so desperately need.
Since the epic cleanse, we have found ways to improve our health and treat our symptoms with food. I’m certainly not a doctor, and realize I need certain doctors and medicines to survive BUT, I have found an inner sanctity of healing through food. When you have a headache, where do you turn? The fridge, the water pitcher, the medicine cabinet? What remedies did your grandmother tout that may actually have some merit? Food for thought…
Here are some food related items things I’ve come to enjoy that help to heal or alleviate certain issues I’m having.
- Lavender- Great for calming and lowering one’s blood pressure, it can be steeped for a smelly good kitchen and to give your body a sense of ahhhhhh. I usually make a tea when I’m bound to have a stressful day, or a tall lavender lemonade to settle down and indulge.
- Honey- A natural sweetener with tons of minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins, it helps coat my sore throat and make me feel better about my sweetener of choice in everyday cooking. It’s also great for people who suffer from minor allergies and as a bonus, it never expires.
- Ginger- Is a wonderful digestive aid and a good energizing food stuff (minus the caffeine). Steeped in water for a tea is my absolute favorite. But it can also settle my upset stomach or provide a fun punch to soups and stir-frys for the added benefits in a different medium.
- Coconut oil- Is one of the best all around natural products for internal and external aid. Because of the lauric acid present, it can help heal wounds and cuts because of its’ anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Even on pets, it’s what I reach for on itchy spots! But aside from that, it’s great for hair and skin health, immune support and thyroid support.
- Chia seeds- I call these awesome nuggets of gold. Rich in minerals, antioxidants, and protein, they are teeny tiny powerhouses that pack a major punch. Chia seeds are high in soluble fiber and produce a gelatinous gel when mixed with water. In the digestive tract the gel creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down, thus slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar. Diabetics and those seeing spikes in blood sugar can greatly benefit. As for me, I usually use them in smoothies to help add a thickness to a shake I couldn’t achieve without cow’s milk or bananas. They also are a great crunch in salads.
Lavender, lemon and honey all offer some amazing benefits to my body in addition to satisfying an underlying craving or nutrients my body so desperately needs.
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medicine that caters to this idea, so my epiphany is really nothing new. Yet its practices focus on treating individuals, listening to that inner consciousness in our bodies, and healing through food. There was a lot to be expanded upon past my week of roughage, and general elimination practices. While it’s only the beginning for me, I wonder what you all think of this.
You may still look as an apple as an apple, but on my newfound path I see it as a source for satisfying my need for sweets, providing my body fiber for better digestion, and a way to refresh my tastebuds. I will always enjoy food and be able to see the beauty and diversity it offers (especially in the form of a pastry), but I can also now see that it can help me to rely less on the research lab and more on the abundance of mother nature and what my garden can provide.
To full plates and eating your tarte out.