Food Prison, No More!
Today I want to talk food with you, yes food! However, let me first ask you a question: What does food mean to you? Not what the world says it is, but what it is for you personally. Is it a source of energy and nutrients for your cells? Is it something you give little thought about and just see it as a necessary means for survival? Maybe food something deeper for you, something that comes with social factors? Deeply ponder these questions for a minute or two.
Regardless of your view on food, it’s something we need every day. Food unites people. Think about it. How many first dates take place at pubs or restaurants? People gather for a drink as a means to get to know each other or “break the ice”, as they say! Many business meetings take place over dinner or lunch. You meet up with your friends for a drink and to have some fun etc. Food is social.
Every day you, me, all of us think about food in some regard. Now stop for a second and imagine life when your own family stopped inviting you over for dinner, when you stopped going out, when you struggled to find a partner and when you stopped having fun with your friends?
Why has this happened?
Most likely because what and how you eat is very different than most people. Well, this happened to me about 6 years ago when I decided to turn into a raw foodist. My life has changed completely. I started to see how my friends found it awkward to have me around because they had to buy and prepare food separately for my needs. I would refuse to have a drink with them and my mood and behavior changed, too. My feminine energy started overpowering my masculine side. My weight and physical strength declined. I became quieter, kinder, less aggressive, but also less attractive to girls as my figure fell victim to my food choices.
While at that stage of my life it was a necessary step to pursue raw foodism to help alleviate my health problems, I started to realize that I couldn’t live like that forever. I wanted complete freedom where I had my old friends back. I wanted to date girls again without sounding complicated when it came to eating and drinking. It was a terribly tough choice for me backed with fear, but I had a choice to make: was I to choose health or social status?
In all honesty, I think many people come across this dilemma often and if you have, you are not alone. On one side we want to be healthy, but on the other side modern society’s pressures cause us to sacrifice our health over our social lives. Can you relate?
It took me over a year to turn things around and come up with a solution. While I was still obsessed with my health, I was happy with my achievements over the year of sticking to a raw food diet. I completely healed my gut, my thoughts became clear with a faster reaction time, my organs started to work like a clock the way they were supposed to, my sleep patterns dramatically improved and I became more peaceful and patient. Oh and I can’t forget to mention my dandruff, skin rushes and allergies disappeared completely! I became free of all ailments and illnesses with no more medication needed-hooray! I was a new me in a new body, yet my social life suffered tremendously.
So, I started to experiment. I wanted to find a golden middle between being healthy and being “accepted” by society again and if I am being honest, I did miss that fat food sometimes and going out with my mates for a drink. The saying about only living once really stuck with me and I knew being so strict with myself wasn’t leading to optimal happiness.
So what did I do?
I made one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and embarked on an adventure to travel around the world. My trip included staying with and learning from well-known gurus, masters, shamans and spiritual teachers in different countries and continents. One of the first things I noted was that none of them were raw foodists or strict vegans, yet they were all vegetarians and/or included some fish. As they started asking me why on Earth I was so restrictive, I started really thinking to myself. Their diets were diverse and full of variety, colors and textures.
In talking about food diversity, I must share with you some of the coolest things I learned from each of the people I visited.
First up was my Dao master in China. He taught that different foods have different energy and that energy greatly impacts us humans in various ways.
Let me explain a bit further what he meant by this.
Raw food is cold food. Living in a cold climate requires your body to use extra energy to keep itself warm. If you live in a hot climate, this is different of course. Also, raw food is considered yin energy and lends itself as giving one more feminine energy.
Next up my yoga guru taught me about Ayurveda and different body types. Each body type requires a different type of food. How amazing!!
Leaning into the Shamans, I noticed they were pretty much eating everything and weren’t concerned about their physical body as much since they “lived” in the spiritual world.
With all these perspectives, I’m sure you can imagine I began to think and dig deep into my thoughts. Are these new age self-proclaimed health Youtube “gurus” wiser than gurus, masters, shamans who follow traditions and practices that are 5000 years old?
Further, my learning and questioning didn’t stop there. In Ukraine, religious people practice what we call a Great Lent. Ukrainian Catholic tradition includes both fasting (going without food at certain times) and abstinence (not eating particular foods at certain times). On many Wednesdays and Fridays year-round, the tradition encourages abstaining from alcohol, dairy, eggs, fish, meat and olive oil. The Church asks for 40 days of fasting for Great Lent, before Easter. Great Lent traditionally includes weekday fasting until noon, and meat and dairy abstinence thereafter.
In following along with these traditions, I remember my mom would only cook vegetarian food. We didn’t have any meat at all on Wednesdays, Fridays or during the week leading up to Christmas. Additionally, we would fast in the morning and only eat after 2pm.
Muslims also have similar traditions. They fast during Ramadan that lasts for a month. This means they fast every day from dawn to sunset during that time.
As you can see, there is no requirement to lock yourself into what may feel like a food prison.
Ask yourself, as I did- Is diet more important than your lifestyle, your sleep pattern, mental health and your social life?
All these factors work in synergy. Your diet will depend on many factors like your age, your current health state, level of activity, climate zone you live, your body type and so on and it will change accordingly based on changes in your life. Embrace change and let your body speak to you and pay attention to what it needs.
By food prisons I’m talking restrictive diets and unnecessary restriction. Many people often mistake short term diet with a long term lifestyle and that’s where the problem lies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging you to eat junk or processed food and drink alcohol. What I am saying is that it is possible to live a “normal” life and enjoy your favorite foods and drink if you are doing it in moderation and use some simple guidelines and detoxification techniques to minimize acidic impacts and oxidative stress on your body.
Let’s put it more simply. The more “bad” or acidic food you eat and alcohol consume, the more antioxidants and minerals you need to actively include in your diet.
But why you ask?
These unhealthy foods rob your body of essential minerals. You have to replenish them as soon as possible, to ensure your body is able to neutralize the acidity. These minerals and antioxidants will help body to combat oxidative stress.
You may want to consider doing a 4-week detox once a year, especially after a festive season or a period of excesses – in order to help detoxify your body and put you back on a healthier path. You may also need to exclude foods like meat, dairy products, sugar and alcohol temporarily just to give your body time to cleanse itself. Remember your body is unique and you are in charge so listen closely to your own needs.
If you can relate with this blog post and need help with tweaking your current lifestyle or help building an easy to follow detoxifying program so you can enjoy your current lifestyle and still stay healthy, why not visit my website or drop me an email to see how I can support you? From someone who has tried it all and been through a mess of unhealthy behaviors with food, I know I can lead you on the path to become the best version of yourself! We all are all trying to navigate this journey called “life”, so why not help each other out, and reach out! I’m here.