When did we get so caught up in trying to eat what the overwhelming surplus of conflicting health information says is right, that we stopped eating in a way that’s right for us?
The wisdom our bodies hold is truly profound. They respond to every little thing going on in our lives and talk to us about everything from what nutrients it needs, to what road to go down for that big decision we have to make. But with so many fad “life style diets” and health trends, it’s no wonder we seem to be more in tune with what we’re told by the outside world rather than what our own bodies are trying to tell us.
Over the course of the past two years I decided to stop pretending that I knew what was best for me and instead asked my body to guide me. Learning to communicate with your body can be one of the most effective tools for your health and your happiness. To learn more on how to become more in tune with your body, read this.
Most of all, I believe yoga was the catalyst that helped me come in to my body and learn how to instinctively listen. There’s just something about connecting the mind to the body and the breath; learning how to become acquainted with and move into every corner of your body. I’ve spoken to many friends who have been on a similar yoga journey, and the truths their bodies have told them once they started to listen have been truly profound.
Here are a few things I learned from listening to my body. I want to emphasize again that we are all different, what I’ve been told by my body won’t necessarily be the same lessons you have to learn from yours. But that’s all part of the fun, loving all the twists and turns of the journey and finding joy within the beauty of the secrets that our amazing bodies reveal to us along the way.
Nuts make me really tired
It might be a bit of a no-brainer to many, but to me, this was my all-time favourite snack since I was a kid. Don’t even get me started on how much I love pepitas! I was in Bali for two months last year for a week long raw vegan yoga retreat. After the retreat, I fell back into a few of my regular habits which I thought were healthy, namely snacking on nuts. But I soon realized that each time I ate my beloved seeds and nuts, I was tired to the point of wanting to nap.
Turns out nuts take far more digestive energy to break down than fresh produce like the raw dishes I had been eating at the retreat. Foods that are dense in nature with high levels of omega 6 fats are strenuous on the digestive system. Now, I only have nuts and seeds to add some weight to a light salad.
Cacao isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
About two years after getting my diet pretty well in check, I jumped on the raw cacao band wagon and thought it was too good to be true! Chocolate vegan smoothies for breakfast? Yes please! But again, after assessing how I felt after adding cacao to my diet, something wasn’t quite right. I did some reading into the supposed superfood and found that for people with a sensitive stomach like mine or sensitivities to anxiety, cacao is just another nicely packaged marketing tool in the health industry.
While high in antioxidants and magnesium, the overall nutritional value of the food isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Many of the chemicals that cacao stimulates (serotonin, ananadamide, dopamine, and endorphins) all in the same manner over-stimulate the autonomic nervous system and adrenal gland, thrusting the body into a state of fight or flight, which for anyone who has dealt with anxiety knows…this is very undesirable.
Salty foods bring on sugar cravings
While I’m not too sure if there is any research to support this one, this is simply something I’ve noticed about my own patterns after I worked to cut out a lot of excess sodium and salty foods from my diet. Eventually I had just about eliminated adding regular table salt to everything and instead replaced it with fresh lemon. But on the odd occasion I found I was still craving salt, which was probably my body’s way of asking for the minerals, so I allowed myself pink Himalayan rock salt. However, not long after a meal I’d have a hankering for sugar! I’m still trying to get to the bottom of this one! If you have any clues let me know in the comments below.
I’m allergic to dairy
This has been the biggest and most profound discovery to date. Growing up chugging milk straight from the carton, feasting on cheese and creamy yogurt goodness, I was in denial for a few months before I started to accept and adapt to my allergy. My whole life I’ve had nothing but problems with my digestion. Doctors thought I had IBS or an E. Coli imbalance in my gut flora – I went through countless doctors, countless blood tests, and endless medications. Never had it occurred to anyone, including myself, that I was putting something in my body that it didn’t like. I decided to give it up for a month, and the changes in my energy, digestion, skin, weight etc were astounding!
Have there been times when you’ve listened to what your body has had to say? What did it tell you?