Monday, January 10, 2011

Awakening to Your Food: Enlightening Your Diet

I've been blogging about food a lot lately, and truly, it's an important topic. Everyone eats. It's one of our unifying traits as humans. We all have to do it. At this point, I've covered the need for connecting to your food and for healing bad eating habits, so now it's time to take this up to a new level.

Healthy Eating Leading to Enlightened Eating
If you've healed bad eating habits or eating disorders, you ought to be very proud of yourself. It takes a lot of work. The truth of the matter is that it takes a lot of work to get to our original healthy starting point. Additionally, if you've been working on finding the right exercise for your body, you're also being pulled into a better physical alignment to choose the right foods and the right amount of nourishment for you. I've already mentioned how helpful fasting can be to this whole process, and having just finished a 3 day fast, I still can't encourage you enough to do one if you're now ready to awaken to your food. I'd recommend starting with a 3, 7, or 10 day fast of some kind (please do your research first and check with a doctor before proceeding).

After you've made a lot of healthy eating changes, a fast is like one last pass through your body to clean out junk. Trust me--without being too graphic--strange and gross stuff will clear out. After the fast, you will be very aware of how every morsel of food tastes, feels, and digests in your body. It's an amazing amount of clarity, and it will get you started to aligning even more closely to your proper nutrition.


Step 2: Food Experimentation...Again
Because most people go through repeated cycles of deepening awareness, you'll probably feel like you've been at this road before. You're like "Didn't I have to do this to get started?" Yes. You did. Now you'll have to do it because your body is in a very different place and will be able to respond very differently to a variety of types of nourishment. It's almost like coming off heroin. You need methadone for awhile, but then you don't need that anymore. So you ate tons of ice cream before and realized that was unhealthy. Good job! Then you found other artificially sweetened foods to help you break the sugar addiction. Now, you'll have to take those out. Especially if sugar has been a big part of your diet, you're going to find that your healthy body has very different ways of getting its energy, which will be much more sustainable and healthy.


Trying Out Ayurveda and Other Ways of Eating
I know a lot of people like Ayurvedic eating practices and it's principles. It's pretty old, so I won't knock it. =) But as usual, I encourage you not to buy into a whole philosophy of eating. That's a mental contrivance. You need to continue to buy into what your body needs. Because while many types of nourishment (vegetarianism, et al) can be very healthy, you always want to be sure that you meet your daily needs. The further you go along on the spiritual path, the more you will discover that your daily needs change subtly or dramatically depending on what's moving for you and in your path. Locking yourself into an idea of how you should eat will actually become quite painful, as well as leaving you unsatisfied and not feeling well physically.

Enlighten Up Your Diet
In my own path, coming into an awakened awareness around my food has changed a lot of things, including my body. I've gotten lighter. My body knows how much weight it likes to carry, and so the amount of food I eat has brought me to a lighter body weight. That wasn't my mental choice, and it certainly wasn't necessary. That's simply what happened.

Enlightening your diet may not bring weight loss, and by God, please don't go into any of this with expectations of achieving a certain body weight or look. That's five kinds of ego, and you'll be immensely disappointed and unhappy if that's your approach. You may gain weight to achieve your natural and healthy body weight. I encourage you to embrace your body. Self-love is important. It heals old ego wounds and all the crap we've done to our bodies through the years of neglect or abuse.


Food and Awakening: It's Your Call
Once again, this is all your choice. You are immensely powerful. You know what you need to eat at this point. I could give you further thoughts on what I do and don't eat, but I think that will start to get in the way of you using your natural body intelligence. Body intelligence is a part of the overall soul intelligence, so it knows your life plan in its own way. It knows what it needs to do to equip your body with the best chances to fulfill this life purpose that your soul has come to achieve. In some respects, if you're unsure what your purpose is, your body may give you clues to it.  For someone who is supposed to be a yoga teacher, it may even hold most of the answers that you need, as you discover more and more in your body through a yoga practice. The body really is an amazing thing to have, and I encourage you to embrace it and nourish it with care so that it can help carry you through all the wonderful things you are here to do.

Next blog: Awakening to Your Life Work
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