That Four Letter F Word
That four letter F word, that simple short little word. How can so many things be explained by that one little word? And not just physical things, but our emotions are tied to it too., happiness, sadness, joy, loathing, depression, laziness and many many more.
Food. That Four Letter F Word. Pretty powerful word when you think about it.
Food is fuelling.
Food is satiating.
Food is life sustaining.
But it goes much deeper than this.
Food is disease.
Food is obesity.
Food is depression.
Food is our body functioning well.
Food is our body in a state of dysfunction.
"its time to start thinking about why we are eating as much as what we are eating"
We as a society have moved so far past using food for the reasons it was intended, for the reasons our ancestors ate - fuel, satiation and to sustain life. We eat for any and all number of reasons now. We eat for happiness, we eat out of sadness, we eat out of boredom, we eat out of misguided cravings, we out of sheer plentfiulness. I think it’s time to really start thinking about why we are eating as much as what we are eating.
In shifting the whole food paradigm to this fast on the go ready meal type of life we have found ourselves shackled to our food rather than set free by it. Often our bodies can't even distinguish hunger for they never reach that point, sure people may believe they experience hunger but with blood sugar dysregulation rampant, is it really actually hunger? Or is it perhaps the body just burning through all its glucose stores and demanding more. I must make note, that by sugar here, I am not referencing just the white stuff but sugar in general, so the sugar (and starches that convert to sugar in the body) in your favourite savoury foods as much as your sweet. Sugar is more than those white granules. It is in everything, and especially so when you are not consuming whole unprocessed foods from nature.
Sugar cravings anyone? Feel your energy dipping massively and need a quick bite to pick you up? Sorry to say, but your riding that sugar burning train.
Let me ask you this -
If you owned your dream car, would you run it on the crappiest budget fuel you could find?
Of course not, it wouldn't run properly.
So why do we do this to our bodies?
Unlike purchasing a new car, this body is the only one we get. Parts can heal, parts can regenerate, but some parts once we lose them (like my healthy gallbladder) or damage them, they are that way forever. Pretty simple when you look at it like that, right?
Except, I know what you are thinking – this doesn’t apply to you right? You have always eaten how you eat, and you are completely fine; sugar and refined processed foods have no impact on you; your just lucky you can eat what you want, right?
I’m sorry to tell you, but you are not the exception to the rule (as far too many of us believe we are), your body is 100% affected by what you choose to put in and on it. You might not have gotten really sick, or been diagnosed with anything, but odds are you experience symptoms of your dietary choices that you probably just choose to accept as part of your life.
Good whole food should not cause us pain.
We shouldn’t struggle to digest our food.
Our stomachs shouldn’t bloat for hours after meals.
We shouldn’t suffer from constant reflux with eating.
We shouldn’t have difficulty emptying our bowels, nor should we need to frequent the bathroom.
These things are not part of a functioning digestive system.
They are not just ‘your lot in life’.
Too many of us experience these or similar symptoms, symptoms that on their own don’t often amount to us seeing ourselves as “sick”, so instead we adapt and include it into our life. Much along the lines of ‘oh this is just what happens when I eat’, or ‘I feel like this no matter what I eat, so why bother changing my diet?’. THIS IS NOT HOW WE SHOULD BE LIVING. Dysfunction is not something we have to live with.
What would I know? I have been through those very thoughts. It took a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis, that lost me a perfectly healthy gallbladder, for me to realise that I was not the exception to the rule and that my body was capable of failing me as is so often said. (Although, I now see it as my body crying out to me for help, for nutrition, for me to start being kind to it, rather than it failing me). Recovering meant no more hospitals, it did however mean constant nausea, constant bloating, and constant constipation. I didn’t try nothing, I tried many things but I didn’t know enough and so I remember more than once just accepting that this was me now and I would manage it as best I could. And so manage it I did, my diet became fairly limited and fairly unexciting in order to keep my symptoms at bay. Which for a time they did, but eventually even my limited food selection stopped helping the situation. It was not until earlier this year when deep in Nutritional Therapy studies that it clicked for me - it didn’t take me a minute to get unwell why did I expect it to take a minute to be fully functioning.
That realisation gave me hope, hope that I could keep working to restore my dysfunctioning body and that this was not what the rest of my life looked like. I began approaching food from a healing perspective rather than from an elimination perspective.
What will provide my body with the nutrients it needs the most right now? What will best support the conditions I am experiencing?
A perfect example is my lack of gallbladder which despite what you may have heard is an important organ, it not only receives the signals to release the bile to aid the breakdown of your food but it ensures that bile is nice thin flowing consistency. So no GB? Basically bile that is poorly timed and sludgy. My new approach lead me to supporting my lack of a gallbladder, through bile salts and nutrients that encouraged the thinning of the bile I do have (that hangs out exclusively in my liver). Slowly I noticed I did not end up looking 6 months pregnant post every meal. I did not feel nauseous every day. And didn’t feel sickly full from a small serving. Progress.
The power of food became obvious to me through that experience, and if I am honest it continues to astound me the more I learn and the more I heal.
You are probably familiar with the phrase “eating your emotions” but so too is the concept “you eat your health”.
Think about it. Then remember we are all bio individual. We are not the same. Some of you will have gallbladder’s, some of you like me won’t, but the combination of things that created that path for you is undoubtedly different. So too needs to be your path to healing. Our bodies are designed to tell us what they need. They need us to listen, and to do that we need to be free of the earmuffs that processed and refined foods puts over our ears. The disconnect between what our bodies are telling us and what we are hearing (if we hear anything at all in many cases) is becoming frightening. Following the latest health fad or superfood promised to change your life will not work for every person for we are all different.
Food can be fuel.
Food can be medicine.
Food can be life sustaining.
Or it can be very different. It’s up to you. All you need is a willingness to change your approach towards food and the courage to say, ‘you know what, this is not my lot in life, I’m changing this’.