It really wasn’t that long ago that we literally lived off the land. We ate what we could grow, we appreciated the seasons and moved with the ebbs and flows of mother nature. Yet, as we’ve evolved as a species we have moved so far away from this way of living and being. So much so that many of us are feeling the food confusion and relying on diet dogma to keep us ‘healthy’.
I can relate, because I’ve found myself in that place. The place of searching for answers outside of myself on how to ‘nourish’ and ‘restore’ my wellbeing. This quest saw me completely loose touch with what food meant for me, it also bread food fear and rigidity.
Eventually I became tired of these shackles and vowed to re-balance my relationship with food, which meant I needed to go back to basics and get clear on what it actually meant to me. My years in the competitive fitness industry saw me in a cycle of deprivation and over indulgence. Balance and eating to nourish were not things I was connected to. When I began working to restore my physical wellbeing this was still how I was using food. I thought I needed to put on weight to get ‘better’ and that’s what ‘experts’ were telling me but that still didn’t feel right for me. During this time I was also ‘researching’ all of the time, looking for the latest ‘superfood’ that held the answer.
Clearly I was still missing the point, it wasn’t the food. It was how I was thinking about the food (the labelling of ‘good’ or ‘bad’) and ultimately myself. When this lightbulb moment hit me like a ton of bricks my intuitive self started getting more airtime and guess what? It was here that I made the greatest progress physically, emotionally and energetically.
So how did I drop the shackles of diet dogma and food fear?
1. I literally asked myself what did I want food to represent for me? I wanted it to represent nourishment, energy, love, nurturing, enjoyment, taste and satisfaction.
2. I began looking at how my ancestors ate and the way in which they prepared the food they ate. It was slow, love filled meal preparation. Cooked with real wholesome ingredients. Fruits, Vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils and animal proteins. (NOTHING ever came from boxes).
3. I practiced ritual before I ate by giving thanks for my food whilst I was cooking it. I also repeated a mantra in my mind before I ate about what I would like the food to do for my body.
4. I allowed myself to reflect on how I felt after eating certain foods, what did I notice from the feedback my body was giving me.
5. I took 5 deep breaths before eating to allow my body to down regulate and prepare my nervous system for digestion. (stress around and about what we’re eating actually has more of a negative impact on the body then the food would, especially when its a one off).
6. I revelled in the satisfaction of the flavours I was experiencing whilst eating.
7. I stopped depriving myself instead if I craved something e.g. chocolate or pizza I would make the most wholesome, unrefined version as possible so I was satisfying the craving through nourishment.
I believe that food is meant to be fun and that we’ve just got to take it back to basics. Did it live or grow off the land? Did we prepare it appropriately (e.g. nuts, seeds, grains soaked)? Were we present and was it in the company of people or things we love (e.g. music, candles, friends, family)?
So take a moment to tune in and ask yourself what do you want food to represent for you?