Before I really get into this post, let me just say that diet-wise, I’m as quinoa, chia seed-obsessed as the next person. I’m constantly looking for creative vegan recipes and attempting to experiment in the kitchen. I’m a smoothie and juice guzzlin’ gal who has gained a bit of reputation among her friends as being ‘the one with the hippie diet’, so food, more specifically, healthy, organic, fresh and outrageously nutritious food, is incredibly important to me. I discovered this way of eating as part of my own healing journey, and I’ve never looked back. It gives me energy and it just works for me and my day-to-day life.
It’s incredibly easy to get caught up this in this huge dietary wellness craze that’s sweeping the internet and our high streets. As confusing and baffling as it can be sometimes, (what in the world is macqui again?!), it can only be a good thing. People want to know what’s in their food, where it comes from and how they can get the most nutrients from what they eat- amen to that!
However, we also need to be mindful about what we’re thinking as well as what we’re putting into our mouths. Filling ourselves with healthy food is amazing, but if our minds are all over the place and full of rubbish, then some of our good work in eating like a green vegan goddess can go to waste. Here are a few examples of why healthy eating is only part of the battle…
Some Examples of the Mind/Body Battle
- You look at yourself in the mirror and become convinced that you’ve gained a few pounds. You decide to stick to salads this week. However, every time you see a salad, you remember why you’re eating it in the first place and feel terrible about yourself. The self-loathing attitude drags you down and wipes out all the good work you’ve done nutritionally this week. You should be patting yourself on the back, not putting your body under further stress through anxiety and depression.
- You accidentally eat a Tim-Tam at work when no-one’s looking (click here to read all about Tim-Tams if you’re not from Australia!) You therefore beat yourself up for the rest of the day and berate yourself for ‘falling off the wagon.’
- You’re trying to cut down on your coffee intake, but you really fancy one on the way to work. You enjoy the first mouthful, but feel like you’ve let yourself down after that. The rest of the cup makes you feel angry with yourself and like a bit of a failure.
- You’re trying really hard to cut down on sugar when a colleague offers cake around the office for her birthday. You really don’t want a piece, but you take one anyway to be polite. You end up eating the whole thing and secretly resenting your colleague for offering it to you- doesn’t she know you’re trying really hard?! You feel bitter and right back where you started again (but damn, that cake tasted good!)
- You keep reading about all this people who went vegan and changed their lives, but you’d still really like to eat meat once in a while. You go vegan, but then your body calls out for meat, so you go for it. You feel sick to the stomach with anger and disappointment after your’ve eaten.
Do any of these sound familiar?
If you’re going to start a new healthy eating habits that you want to continue for years to come, you have to make it easy on yourself. You also have to make sure that you’re eating in a way that suits your lifestyle and body, not just because it worked for someone in a magazine (read this amazing article for more on this) If you’re eating like an angel, but your thoughts make you feel like the devil, it’s time to reassess your attitude to how to think and feel about food. Your thoughts, like your food, should compliment each others- here are a few ways to make it happen.
- Going cold turkey is not for everyone. I did it with coffee and got the worst headache I’ve ever had two days in. What got rid of the headache? You guessed it…! Ask for support or right down a plan of how you’re going to do it. Just add in two smoothies a week- easy! Then next week, maybe you could add another one in- done! Before you know it you’re whipping up two a day!
- Just focus on one thing at a time- becoming a yoga master/salad guru/meditation teacher/juice queen all on Monday and from this Monday on is hard work even typing it! Things will come up- you might not be able to get to yoga on Thursday, and that’s ok- there are plenty more classes on the timetable. The world didn’t stop and you managed to go on Tuesday anyway- good for you.
- If you want to eat that Tim-Tam or treat, just go for it, but make sure it’s from a place of love and not guilt. The minute you feel guilty about eating it, your mind has flipped on the ‘I hate myself’ switch again (My other half is very partial to a Tim-Tam every now and then, and of course I’ve had a sneaky one when no-one’s looking! Not very often, but always from a place of enjoyment and because it brings me joy). This goes for you as well if you’re trying to cut down on junk food, for example, or you want to do the Meat-Free Mondays thing in your house, but you can’t manage it. Having a takeaway or giving in to a steak does not make you a bad person- don’t let what you want to enjoy that evening make you feel that way. It’s only food after all.
- Experiment with finding the diet that suits you and your body- warning: this might take some time! Some people might not do very well on a vegan or raw food diet, some people can handle a bit gluten- everyone’s different. Have fun being creative and find out what works for your body and your energy levels.
If you’re eating food out of guilt, resentment, loathing, worry or self-hatred, your thoughts are not in alignment with the food you are putting into your mouth. Emotions such as these creates imbalances in the body and if not released can lead to illness and that ‘yucky’ feeling. Either choose a different thought or choose a different food- the choice is up to you. If you want to indulge, do it, but enjoy it wholeheartedly if you do. Healthy living is a practise and change doesn’t often happen overnight- love and respect yourself enough to choose food and thoughts full of goodness that will brighten your day, and you’ll enjoy it for life.
Love and living,