Picking what to eat is arguably the most consistent conscious choice we make daily. Or is it?
Our body is an immensely intelligent organism, a matrix of organs, hormones also known as chemical messengers, receptors, and a web of different cells. With over a billion reactions occurring in our body at any given second, it is the most intelligent machine that has ever existed.
We are 70% water, and each cell of our body depends on hydration.
Our brain is 60% fat.
We are 90% bacteria (mainly in our gut).
Our vital organs rely on a balance of macronutrients to function and beyond that – to thrive – and those are carbs, fats, and proteins. To dive deeper, we need amino acids and different cofactors to transform nutrients into bioavailable states. The number of tasks our body must perform to keep us alive, and thriving is paramount. And whilst this is all happening within us, it is completely absent from the view of a naked eye. It is undetectable. Which is why in the West, we often think of health and wellness only when something is visibly imbalanced or can be felt as pain internally. Preventative medicine is almost unheard of in our society.
An inevitable question arises – ‘’Why do we neglect our personal and collective health and wellbeing?’’
The answers are available to us, however, as we live in a world of opposites, what seems to be incredibly simple often comes with complexity, and this is precisely the case with wellbeing and our neglect of it.
As children, through the developmental stages of our lives (0-7, and 7-14) we grow up to adopt and borrow behaviours and habits that resemble those of our primary caregivers, be it our parents or someone else. And, depending on what that looked like for each person, the arsenal of knowledge is absorbed through our childhood. We get fed, and learn what we are taught, without much room to explore curiosity or exercise personal autonomy.
In the UK, most kids, and adults alike lack knowledge of how food is grown, where it comes from and the nutrient value it holds. Our educational systems do not place enough focus on the importance of healthy nutrition, instead we are taught about consumerism and the importance of money.
Later in life, through abundance of choice for most of us, we are programmed to indulge, and make choices through filters (sugar, fat, salt), instead of listening to our intuition. Our taste buds are unrefined, blocked and we struggle to make choices that are healthy, because we simply do not know what healthy is for us. We do not remember how it feels anymore, perhaps we never knew…We clog up our body’s intelligence, we skip meals, we lack quality sleep, we continue to live in stress/go mode, we rely on stimulants for energy, we snack on the go – all in all confusing our innate intelligence, and in turn numbing our connection to self and others, and the Earth.
We often fail to listen to our intuition, and instead conform to societal pressures and experiment with dieting, trying one thing after another, further confusing the body, and clouding its own judgement. We have started to outsource our morality.
And just like that, from the most intelligent machine in the universe – we are transformed into a time ticking bomb...
The point is – we are all born neutral, unless there are strong genetic predispositions to disease and allergies, and if we start thinking of nutrition as a core pillar for our wellbeing, we will make choices that are compassionate and true for us.
How can we best serve our body with food?
Acknowledgement of diversity is key. Whilst we are genetically 99.9% alike, the 0.9% answers for all our differences, our genetic predispositions, ability to digest food, convert energy etc, therefore one diet does not fit all. Often, we gravitate towards a particular diet due to our need for belonging or community, and whilst those are natural desires, awareness, and assessment of why you are where you are is important, to make a more informed choice.
Generally, FAD diets tend to focus on short term results, and they are incredibly efficient at it. The issue with FAD diets is that they are rarely sustainable long term, and by cutting out/down specific food groups, you may be causing yourself more harm than good.
However, there are a few things that are universally beneficial to all when it comes to healthy nutrition:
Wholefoods (foods in their natural form, unrefined)
Seasonal veggies and fruits
Balanced plates (protein, carbs, fats)
High intake of plants
Eating a rainbow of colours daily
Besides the basics, we can learn to use our innate intelligence and intuition and consume foods that our system is asking for. It is easier said than done, but it is possible and will serve us. It is a process, one which takes commitment and diligence, and the benefits are endless – more energy, better sleep, fluidity in movement, clearer thinking, self-sustenance. It is coming back home, to the self, to nature and cyclical living.
How do we move towards intuitive eating?
Well, first we must start with self-enquiry, a genuine desire to live in synergy with our instincts and needs. Secondly, I would encourage self-evaluation in the form of journaling. Some useful questions to ask yourself are below:
What is your relationship with food like? What words come up when you think of this? How does it make you feel?
Honestly evaluate your food filters – what are they? You can keep a food diary for a couple of weeks to identify any patterns.
How do you feel after eating food?
Your current diet – is it serving your highest good? Answer and explore this with honesty and without judgement.
And lastly, I would encourage implementation of change though a short body reset, a reboot. To reset the system, we must first break away from the chains of filters and unhealthy habits, this can be achieved with support from a nutritional therapist, detoxes and intermittent fasting.
It is not advisable to make radical changes as this can disrupt the mechanisms in our body, therefore a gentle yet scalable approach that is prior discussed with a trusted practitioner is desirable for any long-lasting change.
Once we start to eat intuitively, we start to live intuitively, claiming back our personal autonomy and standing in our integrity. Everything we need to know is within us, we just need to learn to listen...
Registered Nutritionist Dip CNM, mANP
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