Nutrition

CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL

We've all heard of Ayurveda but what about it's ancient brother; food energetics? I've become rather fascinated with exploring the energy of foods and how we can intuitively learn (or re-learn) to nourish ourselves. Food is more than simply fuel. Food is living energy and wisdom that is beyond the science and mechanics of calories, grams, and nutrient values and has profound spiritual and emotional power. Every food has a function or a role to play in nature (real food that is) and every food has it's own unique energy, personality or character if you will. As do we, being bio individuals n' all. We can use these characteristics to not only understand our own bodies better but to help promote harmonious balance in the mind, body and soul. Sounds juicy, huh!

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, food is viewed as medicine rather than a form of entertainment. Don't me wrong, I love celebrating food with friends and family, any excuse for a food fiesta and I'm there, but when it comes to figuring out what food we need to eat on a daily basis to maintain the vibrant easy-breezy lifestyle we so desire then we need to understand what it is that YOUR body needs. Not the general public's.

Perfect example; chicken soup. We've all heard of chicken soup and it's miraculous healing qualities. Chicken soup for the flu, chicken soup for mobility, chicken soup for the soul. But why? Why not beef or sheep soup for the soul? If we break it all down to an energetics perspective we see that chickens are uniquely vibrant, energetic and animated animals. Where as cows, sheep and other animals are heavy and less radiant (cows are cool too just in a different way!).

We've know this for the ages and traditional people from around the world intuitively knew and lived by this. Still do! Since industrialisation, us "civilised" folk have lost touch with this intuitive way of eating and rely on modern science or worse, the media, to dictate to us what is "healthy". We are no longer able to register the subtle rhythms, harmony, and energies that food can convey and instead we restrict ourselves to a certain 'diet' that more often than not, completely goes against our own unique grain.

What do you see when you look at kale? Lungs? I wonder what it's good for then. Walnuts are another obvious classic! Walnuts are the only nuts that contain omega fatty acids essential for brain and nervous system function. It's a no brainer. 

How about root vegetables, what do they do out in the real world? Well, they are vital for the absorption and assimilation of nutrients for the rest of the plant. They are also grounding, as they keep the plant from flying away during turbulent times. 

Every food has a temperament or temperaments. Hot / cold, moist / dry or salty/sweet/bitter flavours, and food energetics determines how foods act on and move throughout our bodies. Using the principles of ancient Chinese yin and yang theories, we can choose foods that are right for own constitution, nourishing your needs and cravings and bringing it back into balance.

Red meat has a wet and thermogenic temperament and due it's proteins (as it has been re-affirmed for us by science) it causes a heating effect on the body. So if your a hot blooded, clammy individual, steaming at the ears whilst sitting in the traffic jam, then maybe reducing read meat and replace it with cooler, dryer foods will not only have physical effects on the body will have a cooling effect your emotional state as well.

Eating right for your own body does not have to be molecular science. But by using western nutrition facts and ancient eastern wisdom we can create a lifestyle diet that balances our bodies and adapts with us as we grown and change throughout the seasons It's not something that needs to be memorised or intellectually analysed because we already intuitively know what our bodies need. Tuning in and listening to our bodies is a practise within itself, by incorporating some simple spiritual practices like mediation, mindfulness we begin to become more sensitive to our needs. But this wouldn't be a good theory if it didn't come with some guidelines so here are some hot tips for you to start incorporating energetics into your life;

Food Character Observations:

Observe food the same way you would observe another person; dark hair or light hair, lean body or muscular body, big smile or sadness, well dressed or conservative, fatigued or high energy. By observing foods unique characteristics and gain an understanding around how they grow and develop can give you insight into how a particular food can nourish you through its correlations to your body and mind. Same goes with animals, but you can also observe their behavioural characteristics, keeping in mind the difference between farmed animals or free range animals.

History and Origin:

How long has the food been consumed by humans? Sweet potatoes have been grown and consumed by Asian and South American peoples for thousands of years. Chickens have provided nourishment for Asians and Middle Eastern peoples for 7 to 10 thousand years. Whole grains have been essential foods for 20 thousand years or more. In fact, the primary changes in the human diet is in food quality and most of these food changes only occurred in only last two hundred years.

Also, where did the food originate from? I'm not suggesting that someone living in the mountains thousands of miles from the sea should never, ever eat fish or sea vegetables. But knowing these foods and their original sources of nourishment can assist in making appropriate choices in your diet.

Support locally, eat globally - Steve Gagne

Bring your awareness to food Quality:

Instead of paying attention to “fat-free” or “whole grain”, rather take into consideration the quality. Our food quality can be basically determined by the naturalness of it and whether it is artificial or not. By sourcing naturally grown and naturally raised foods (as best we can), we become aware of the true nature of the food AND we create a healthy, conscious relationship to it (so much more rewarding than opening a cardboard box). Food that is grown with chemicals and preservatives, or those that are factory farmed with added hormones and genetically altered represent the lowest quality foods available for human consumption. Bottom line!

There are many fears surrounding foods today but most of these food fears can easily be reduced by first eliminating non food foods from ones diet and replacing them with real traditional foods.

WHAT REALLY CONTRIBUTES TO GOOD HEALTH

Let's go back to the 1950's and have a look at the jolly people from Roseto, Pensilvania. A conventionally 'unhealthy community' of Italian immigrants living in America. These guys were heavy smokers, who abandoned the Mediterranean diet for deep fried meat balls, soft drinks and a lot of red wine. Despite their somewhat debauterous lifestyle, the Roseto community had nearly no heart attacks between 1954-1961. This, of course, corsed for much speculation by western doctors and multiple studies were conducted but the only notable conclusion drawn was not about their physical health but more on their emotional and environmental health, as it certainly had nothing to do with their diet or genetics.

The Rosetians lived a Osho-esque lifestyle in a sense where everyone lived in a more primitive, tribal style community, sharing responsibilities of parenting, daily chores and finances. Everyone knew each other and lived in an 'open door' neighbourhood, stopping by afterowrk for a chat (with a few vinos), these people simply never experienced loneliness. They lived a life of love, feeling connected and like they belonged to a soul community that understands each other. These guys were actually really onto it! Here's a community smoking unfilterred ciggarettes, eating lard and slogging away all day in slate quarries yet defying all odds and duying of old age as a-pose to chronic disease like the rest of the American society. 

When you live in a state of love your body releases oxytocin and endorphins that activate the bodies self repair meconismns. You know that feeling when your freshly in love and your bursting with energy and feeling like you can take over the world? Yep, that's oxytocin. And a few other things of course. Loniness is one of the most significant risks to our physical health, it's even been shown that lonely people are more at risk to being sick that those who smoke. But when have we ever been told to consider our relationships as a part of our health program? 

Even the healthiest societies, with hordes of people who drink green juices, eat salads and have personal trainers still suffer from chronic disease and mental health issues. When we live a state of poor mental health, with no attention to our spiritual, sexual, or emotional health, our body is more often in stress response and therefore more susesptable to illness.

"No amount of kale is going to counter balance the poisonous effects of chronic repetitive stress responses in the body." Lissa Rankin, M.D.

We've been conditioned to trust someone in a white coat, who supposedly knows our bodies better than we do our own, to provide us with health solutions. We believe that our bodies aren't our business. We treat our bodies like we treat our cars. When they break down we take it to the mechanic to get fixed. But actually, it's never just one part of the car, it's the cooling system that's been affected by the water that you put in it that has gradually made the radiator stop working (OK, I'm not a car pro!). But mechanics aren't going tell you all that! Just like doctors don't always advise on the bigger picture.

Please don't take this the wrong way, I am by no means saying that western medicine doesn't have it's place and there is absolutely good intention there. But there is so much more to understand than what the doctor prescribes, and the real solution is more often than not, something outside of our physical health.

Our bodies know best and will instinctually tell us what is right for us. When you really start to listen to yourself you'll learn that maybe you don't actually need to lose 10 pounds, you need to let go of the destructive relationship\relationships in your life. You don't need to stop eating sugar, you need to start incorporating more self love into your life. And so on.

Lets try diagnosing the real reason why your sick. OK so let's say you've caught the flu. We can diagnose and treat that, easy. Lemon, garlic, raw apple cider vinegar, raw honey and all day in bed. But what about diagnosing the reasons why you have it in the first place. Where were you when you picked up the virus. What was happening at the time? What situation were you in that casued the suppression of your immunity and made you susceptible to infection? Did you have a run in with someone close to you? Were you going against your intuition and doing something you didn't want to do? Gain awareness around this.

It's not rocket science that we all need to decrease our stress responses, but how about we start looking at how we can increase our relaxation responses instead. We can do this by daily meditation, being in nature, having healthy fulfilling sex, expressing ourselves creatively, playing with animals and finding our soul community.

Ask yourself "what does my body need to heal?". Ask yourself "what is my body saying no to?". If you can answer that then you can write your own prescription. Learning to listen to your intuition is seriously powerful tool to have in your tool shed.

We can become victims of illness and let our illness control us. But we have the opportunity to learn from our illness, because illness is an opportunity for awakening. Maybe not straight away, your ready when your ready so be mindful to be kind to yourself and trust your timing.

"you cant force a rose bud to blossom with a hammer" Rachel Naomi Redding.

At the end of the day, it's important to relax with it and understand that it's about doing everything what we can and then surrendering as divine will always have the final say.  Many of you probably know Kris Carr and her work with Crazy Sexy Diet and Crazy Sexy Kitchen. Here's a woman who is doing everything right and she still has stage four cancer! 

The moral of the story is, you can eat all the salads in the world and still be unhealthy. Lets start re evaluating the food pyramid and start to incorporate other factors such as spirituality, relationships and career as these foods are just as important as what we put on our plate. Listen to yourself! You know! I know you you know! Because your body, is your business. 

LOVE xx