By now I think we have all heard about what we should eat, when we should eat, what we shouldn’t eat, when we shouldn’t eat, etc. It seems like you read something and the next article you read goes completely against what you just read. You try your hardest to follow along, but with so many conflicting things, it is hard to keep up, as the new information fills you with doubts.
Let me first start out by saying, I have tried it ALL. I have experimented with many different styles of eating and guidelines: Vegan, Raw Vegan, Paleo, Whole30, Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Juice Cleanses, Intermittent Fasting, etc. I feel like I could add so much more to the list, but you get the picture. Through all of these trials, I have learned what seems to have worked for my body and what hasn’t. I could go in depth about what has worked and what hasn’t, but again, that doesn’t mean it will work for you. That is what makes us truly beautiful though, our uniqueness and the power of each one of our minds and body.
As a very loose guideline, I do encourage people to eat less meat, less dairy, less soy, less bread aka wheat/gluten, and eat from the earth. However, I want you to pay attention to something you may not pay that close attention to the next time you eat – I want you to pay attention to your emotional side of eating.
Think about the excitement you get planning what you want to eat. How are you feeling? Do you feel excited for what you are about to eat? Do you feel like it is a chore to eat? Do you hate the idea of what you are about to eat? These emotions can release certain chemicals and hormones within your body that can then manipulate how your body actually absorbs what you eat. If you are excited about what you are going to eat, then I think you are off to the right start.
Now, not only is it important to see how you feel before you eat, but what about how you feel after you eat? Do you still feel excited after you are done eating? Does your body all of the sudden seem tired? Do you feel like you want to eat more but aren’t hungry? Do you feel sad? These emotions are actually more important than how you feel before you eat. If you don’t feel good emotionally after you eat, then you probably want to stay away from foods like that. Maybe they are too fatty (even if it is good fat); maybe your body actually has an intolerance to something you just ate.
There is a lot of science and theory we can go into when it comes to your emotions and your eating, but I think if you just pay attention to your emotions before and after, you can achieve great strides in your diet and what works for you! The goal is to achieve mental balance to stop the splurging and indulging, and avoid feeling guilty afterwards. The hardest thing I had to conquer was knowing it was okay to have a treat. Accepting the fact that you can have a treat, because you can, is to then not have the guilt afterwards. Holding onto that guilt is what can actually lead to worse guilt and distorted emotions. Maybe having a healthy treat would make you feel better. My personal favorite is to take an avocado, cacao powder and a bit of raw honey or stevia, put it all in a blender, create some delicious healthy chocolate pudding! It is my go-to when the craving strikes.
This is just one example, but thinking about how food mentally makes you feel is where you should begin. If it makes you feel bad, then don’t eat it or figure out why it makes you feel bad. Food should not be something that is negative to us mentally and physically, but positive. A positive life is positive health!