Not on purpose, of course, but they just have SO many different activities scheduled between 11pm and 3 am - the time when really, I absolutely, positively have to be in bed, ASLEEP - and trying to figure out how to keep them happy and well-adjusted and me alive is proving to be quite tricky.
I live in downtown Jerusalem, where until a few months’ ago there were stabbings regularly happening almost every week (and during one really horrible period of time, almost every day…).
When terrorists aren’t trying to stab people and / or shoot them and / or run them down on purpose, my neighborhood is actually really pretty safe and genteel. But the trouble is, you really never know when the next ‘Ahmed the stabber’ is going to show up, and there’s something about trying to go to sleep when your teens are out of the house that seem to bring all these paranoid fears rapidly boiling to the surface.
So here we are, stuck in a paradigm where they (rightly…) want to have the freedom to be teens, and to do the things that teens like to do in the middle of the night, while I (rightly…) want to be able to sleep at least six hours a night so my brain doesn’t completely dissolve and drip out my ears.
I’m typing this on around four hours’ sleep, and I can literally barely see straight.
Which brings me to another point I’ve been pondering recently, about how so much of what we’re regularly taught is COMPLETELY NECESSARY FOR HEALTH can only really happen in a people-less, hermetically-sealed bubble.
It seems that health gurus that preach the benefit of 8-9 hours sleep every single night, and the importance of getting to bed by 10pm, just don’t have teens to contend with. Or small children. Or elderly parents, who often have their own dramas and difficulties that we need to help out with. Or friends. Or social lives (unless you count all those obsessive, daily ‘hot yoga’ classes). Or spouses who don’t always fit their nervous breakdowns, cries for help, late nights at work and desire to have an evening out into the ‘ONLY BEFORE 10PM’ box.
THIS ISN'T THE FIRST TIME THEY'VE TRIED TO KILL ME
Not that my teens are only trying to kill me by severely biting into my beauty sleep. In the past, they’ve also tried to kill me by absolutely refusing to pretend that probiotic sauerkraut is a salad, the sugar-free anything is eatable, that brown bread - and brown pasta and brown rice - is just as tasty as the real, white deal, and by forcing me to make at least two suppers a day - healthy for me, and yummy for them.
At the height of my healthy-food obsession, I was getting into regular fights with my kids (who were not even teens, at that stage) because they (rightly…) didn’t want to be forced into eating stuff they didn’t like just because it was healthy, and I (rightly…) didn’t want to be making them white pasta - which they absolutely love to bits!!! Especially with tons of high-fat cows’ cheese grated all over it!!! - that was also giving them stomach aches, zits and mucous issues.
Again, I come back to the idea that the healthy eating fanatics that insist that their kids just LURVE all that sprouted stuff, and kale cookies, and avocado chocolate mousse (which btw IS really yummy…) either have kids that are completely different from mine in every way, shape and form and / or are complete control freaks who give their kids no free choice and / or are lying.
But my teens aren’t going anywhere soon - thank God! - so I have to continue trying to figure out how to tread that fine line between doing enough to stay healthy, without causing them to go completely insane by insisting that I have everything my own way, all the time.
God gave me my teens. God made teens temporarily retarded, so they think they don’t need to sleep properly and eat enough, and they forget that while they get to sleep in until 2pm in the afternoon, other people in the house actually have jobs to do, and errands to run, that require them to be awake much, much earlier.
In the meantime, I’m learning that while 10 hours sleep is nice, five hours sleep is also doable, at least some of the time. If you don’t mind feeling like a zombie, sprouting a whole bunch of wrinkles and losing all pretense of coherent thought.
Once you’ve been in the ‘alternative health’ game for a while, you start to realize that a lot of what passes as ‘healthy’ eating is actually an eating disorder in disguise.
It can be so very difficult to spot this, especially initially, because deep down we all know that at least on some basic level, we are what we eat, and the more fruit and veg we can get down us, and the more whole grains we knock back, and the more ice-cream, margarine and jelly beans we avoid, the better it’s probably going to be for us, health-wise.
BUT - there’s a line that’s so easily crossed when ‘eating healthy’ actually turns into ‘eating disordered’, and in this post, I want to try to pin down where that line actually is.
THE FIRST RED FLAG: EVERYTHING IS BOILED DOWN TO FOOD
One big red flag is when the ‘healthy eating’ person starts to bring all their problems and issues - and everyone else’s problems and issues back down to food. Got a headache? It’s a food issue. Feeling sad, anxious or upset about something? It’s a food issue. Having serious relationship difficulties with your parents, spouse or kids? Man, you just need to eat more seaweed and steer clear of red meat!!!
And so on and so forth, until the whole awesome complexity of being a sentient human being with a spiritual dimension and a highly complicated inner emotional world is boiled down to how much gluten or sugar you’re consuming.
Sadly, this is something that I see SO OFTEN in the ‘healthy eating’ world, and amongst the ‘healthy eating’ experts out there that is pretty much passes as standard, normal behavior. And that’s such a shame, because people are rarely so black and white, and even when food is a major component in their issues, it’s hardly ever the only thing contributing to their problems or difficulties.
People typically eat junk when they feel overwhelmed by life, and when their self-destructive emotional and spiritual impulses are running the show. But here’s the thing: simply switching the diet over to wholefoods / raw foods / gluten free / sugar free / macrobiotic / whatever the fad of the month is doesn’t solve the underlying emotional and spiritual issues.
Over time, it can surely ameliorate them, and begin the process of moving to a much healthier overall mindset and approach to life which puts a proper emphasis on looking after the self, and dealing with cause and effect, but food is not the whole answer.
So that’s the first way you can tell if ‘eating healthy’ has morphed into ‘eating disordered’, when absolutely everything in the world is brought down to food, or the particular diet etc that the person happens to be following.
THE SECOND RED FLAG: A RIGID, JUDGMENTAL AND CONTROLLING ATTITUDE
Another key sign that ‘eating healthy’ has become ‘eating disordered’ is when the healthy eater starts to adopt an extremely rigid, judgmental and even controlling attitude towards people in their orbit that aren’t eating healthy, according to them.
Again, this is unfortunately such normal ‘standard’ behavior in the alternative health world that it’s completely off most people’s radars. But to call a spade a spade, when people start getting all uppity about other people’s ‘lack of self-control’ that they don’t just eat kale for lunch, or jog five miles before breakfast, or contort themselves into all sorts of ‘relaxing’ poses for three hours a day, that’s another big flashing neon sign that ‘eating healthy’ has become ‘eating disordered’.
Rigid thinking is one of the key signs mental health professionals look for when diagnosing serious issues including personality disorders, etc. The more ‘rigid’ a person is, the more controlling they are, the less flexibility or ‘give’ there is in their routine, their thought processes, their ability to roll with the punches and react to ever-changing external circumstances, the bigger the problem.
Again, let’s remember that so many people only eat unhealthily in the first place due to underlying emotional and spiritual issues that aren’t being properly acknowledged and addressed.
It’s the easiest thing in the world to ‘flip’ these issues into a rigid, intolerant and judgmental approach to food and life that’s anything but really healthy.
THE THIRD RED FLAG: THEY'RE ANGRY, MISERABLE AND STRESSED!
The last telltale sign that ‘eating healthy’ is really actually ‘eating disordered’ is the person’s own mood. Invariably, when people are truly ‘eating healthy’ in a balanced, truly useful way, they feel great, they feel happy, they exude calm and joy, and they tend to be pretty laid back individuals that are easy to get on with and be around.
By contrast, when someone is ‘eating disordered’ then they’re usually full of repressed (and not so repressed…) anger, prickliness and intolerance. They tend to be wound very tight, on the ‘mega stressed’ end of the relaxation scale, and to be very hard to be around or really get on with, for any length of time, not least because they often put the burden of their own incredibly high expectations (and diet prep…) on to you.
These are the people who will tut disapprovingly when they see you holding the Starbucks paper cup, or who have to tell you how many ‘bad’ calories are in that muffin you’re eating, or who encourage you / nag you to eat different, or exercise better, or fast more ALL THE TIME!!!
No conversation can pass that doesn’t have some reference to food, and if you’re not eating disordered yourself, that usually makes for a pretty annoying, stressful and aggravating exchange of ideas.
So, to sum up: if someone isn’t glowing with joy, if they’re a martinet about food, or hyper-anxious about everything they’re eating, if they can’t go with the flow and keep feeling the need to bring up their food (figuratively speaking…) every chance they get, and to lecture people about their diets - the chances are very high that they are eating DISORDERED, not eating healthy.
Whatever they’re actually claiming or telling you about their AMAZING!!! eating habits.
Hat tip: Mrs S.
So, I just got sent a very interesting article - full of real, bona fide science about how the body really works - that is making some very important points about how we eat is even more important than what we eat.
In keeping with the theme I've been developing on this blog, unhealthy attitudes about food - even super-healthy food - can be far more damaging to a person's health and wellbeing than eating chocolate icecream.
(Cue: gasps of shock and amazement.)
When we feel bad or guilty about the food we eat in someway, even subconsciously, that directly effects how well we digest it, and how much good it will do for us.
You can read the article for yourself HERE, but rejoice lovers of chocolate: common sense may be about to prevail on the extreme diet front....
(I can dream)
If you're a regular reader of this blog (God bless you) then you probably already might know that I'm VERY against all the scare-mongering and unhealthy food-based superiority and labelling that are unfortunately a big part of even the alternative health scene.
So why the scary title for this post?
Because the whole problem with Orthorexia is that it hides itself behind a very virtuous veneer, and preaches some very powerful things about food being the key to health, happiness and even, holiness.
(If you think I'm exaggerating about that last point, let me just say that I recently read something from a macrobiotic devotee that basically equated eating cheesecake with a form of satanic worship...)
But like so many things today, even a genuinely GOOD thing like healthy eating and looking after our bodies can be taken to such an unhealthy extreme, it starts to destroy the very things we're ostensibly trying to obtain.
There's a great website called: www.orthorexia.com that can tell you pretty much everything you need to know about orthorexia, and the following excerpts are taken from that site.
This is definitely an ongoing discussion to be had, because as more people move away from conventional medicine, and all the fibs and half-truths Western doctors are telling us about our health, many people are embracing healthy eating and other alternative practises as the 'cure all' for every problem they have.
But as you're learning with me on this blog and maybe also via my books, human health is never that simple. Human health requires a concerted effort to be made across all three levels of body, mind and soul, and when the mind and soul bit are left out or ignored, then things like orthorexia can easily develop.
excerpts from orthorexia.com:
"[F]ood can make you crazy. It hits you in the heart and goes to self esteem. It taps into all that is lonely and empty and needy, and promises to fill that emptiness. It triggers dark places. It can tie up your mind in knots so intricate and strong that even the search for healthiness can become unhealthy.
"Against this, the word orthorexia is a signifier. It indicates a limit, a point not to go beyond even in search of healthy diet. Or, if you’ve already gone beyond, it can help you find your way back."
Do You Have Orthorexia?
Do you turn to healthy food for happiness, for meaning?
Eating the perfect diet might make you less likely to get cancer, and it could prevent bloating and give you more energy. But it won’t make you happy. Using food as primary refuge is a form of spiritual materialism. You are filling the space that longs for love with mere stuff.
Does your healthy diet make you feel important?
“The strict diet helped me feel extraordinary when I was very fearful of being ordinary.”
Does your healthy diet make you feel in control?
Do you have to keep upping the ante to get the same kick?
“[Veganism] triggered a desire within me to be more and more extreme, more and more pure, and to achieve more and more nutritional perfection to the point where no foods were safe. ”
Do you use diet to ward off anxiety, not just about health, but about everything?
Has the idea of healthy food become a kind of brain parasite, taking over your life, ceasing to serve you and instead making you its slave?
You can continue reading more HERE.
There's a few topics that are considered so sacred in the world of holistic health, that few people dare to question them.
One of them is the subject of healthy eating. The basic idea is that the quality of the food you eat is the main factor contributing to a state of good health, or ill health.
While there's a lot of truth in the adage that 'we are what we eat', unfortunately the subject of healthy eating has also been taken to an extreme in the holistic health world, with some very unfortunate spin-off effects for many of the people who have been caught up with the 'healthy eating' doctrine.
This week, we're going to take a look at how food is only ever a part of the holistic health equation, and how any approach that doesn't also take a person's emotional and spiritual needs into account is never going to be the panacea it pretends to be.
In the next post, I'm going to share Myriam's story with you.
Myriam tried pretty much every hard-cord 'healthy eating' approach out there in an attempt to overcome her infertility. Not only did the diets her naturopaths put her on not 'fix' her infertility, they also exacerbated Myriam's emotional issues, leaving her in a pretty bad space, until God stepped in and helped her to get back on her feet.
I know it's not a popular thing to say, but just eating healthy food doesn't automatically solve all our problems and issues, especially when they're rooted in much deeper places in the soul.
Myriam is a 30-something mother of two from the New York area. She got in touch with Spiritual Self-Help to share the following story, in the hope that it will help others struggling with the whole issue of food, and fanatical eating habits.
Let’s start at the beginning: Growing up, my family ate the standard American diet, i.e. full of refined sugars, white carbs and meat, and really not very healthy. When I was a teenager, my mother went to see someone ‘alternative’ about a health problem she was having, and then ended up switching us all over to wholewheat bread, and cut out the Coke.
I pretty much ate that moderately healthy-ish way until I got married, in my early twenties, but food definitely hadn’t yet become my religion. That really only started when a few years’ into the marriage, we still hadn’t had any children, and I was starting to panic about my infertility and irregular menses.
I knew that diet and health were connected – everyone knows that, don’t they? – so I made an appointment with a naturopath who was a strict macrobiotic vegan, and from that point on, buckwheat and beans entered my life in a big way.
At that point, I still believed that my infertility was exclusively connected to my irregular period, and the macrobiotic diet was actually very good for me, initially. I felt calmer, and my period also started to settle down on a diet of wholegrains, cooked veg and no sugar.
But right from the start, I didn’t feel so happy on the diet. I felt like all the color had gone out of my life, now that I couldn’t have chocolate, or sugar, or ice cream. That was the first real hint I had that I had a lot of very deep emotional stuff wrapped up with the food. Even though the macrobiotic naturopath had promised that this diet would cure my emotional eating and cravings, I’d found myself calling up the microbiotic naturopath and telling her that despite eating the brown rice for a month, I was still having intense cravings for sweet things.
She said to me: “Ask yourself why you want the sweet things” – which sounded good in theory, but in practice actually didn’t help me very much, because if I had known the answer to that question, I’d have already been in a very different place, in regards to my eating habits.
I stuck to that diet religiously for a couple of years, but I didn’t get pregnant and I also gained a lot of weight on it, because even though I wasn’t eating chocolate, I discovered that you can still stuff yourself with buckwheat and that there were still plenty of ways of eating emotionally, even on a macrobiotic diet.
the all raw diet - but still no kids
Eventually, I could see that I wasn’t getting anywhere, so I went to a different naturopath who had a completely different approach to food: only raw, lots of fruit and vegetables, and lots of juices. “Yes!” I thought to myself when I found him. “This is the answer to all my problems!” And the truth is, I was much happier when I could eat fruit again. But I quickly discovered there were other issues with the all- raw approach.
I was literally spending hours in the kitchen every day, washing greens and making salads for me and my husband, to the point where it actually got pretty depressing. But then, the fears started to kick in: “If I don’t do this, then I won’t get pregnant, and it will be all my fault!”
I think the main problem was that both me and my husband were both trying to eat healthy, but we were still living such an unhealthy, stressful, lifestyle and couldn’t yet see how our lifestyle choices may have been affecting us on many different levels. After two months, I went back to the naturopath and told him it wasn’t really working out. To his credit, he told me: “If you’re not doing it happily, then it’s not going to work!” That was the only time that anyone mentioned that I had to actually be happy doing this stuff, and not just expect the food to magically fix the problem, all by itself.
The focus was nearly always relentlessly on the physical aspects of the food, while the emotional aspects of my eating were usually either completely ignored, or dealt with in a such a superficial way, it didn’t really get anywhere near to the real underlying issues.
He gave me permission to add some cooked vegetables and a little quinoa in to my diet, but I still couldn’t get over the feeling that I was being deprived, which meant that I gained more weight on that raw food diet than at any other time of my life. And I still wasn’t pregnant!
It was around this time that the unhealthy eating and body issues that I’d always had really started to explode. I was putting so much stress on myself that ‘if I don’t eat this stuff, I won’t heal! I won’t get pregnant!’ – and that was definitely reinforced by the attitudes of the naturopaths I was going to.
'it's my own fault i didn't get pregnant!'
The first one came across as very intolerant and judgmental, and when I didn’t fall pregnant right away she’d imply that I was partly to blame because I was too stressed and had been abusing my body for years with all sorts of evil food and toxins, things like: “Well, you’ve been abusing your body for years! What did you expect?”
Or, when I told her how I’d crave sweet things when I got stressed, she’d shoot back with: “YOU are choosing to eat that stuff. You have a choice.” Which on some level might have been true, but I felt she had zero compassion about the emotional difficulties I was going through, or perhaps couldn’t understand why just eating according to her food plan was not enough to help me truly heal on a much deeper level.
I’d been trying to have a child for six years, already, and it was a period filled with darkness, shame, fear and unhappiness for me, where despite all my healthy eating, I just kept gaining more weight and feeling more and more miserable.
In my experience, people usually turn to naturopaths when they’re feeling very vulnerable in some way, and I believe that if the naturopath is not a loving, compassionate person, but just approaches the whole problem as being rooted in a lack of self-discipline, or bad eating habits, it can really cause a lot of psychological damage to their patients.
The message I was getting, even if no-one explicitly said it, was that my fertility problems were my own fault, and that I hadn’t got pregnant because I wasn’t good enough, healthy enough, or looking after my body appropriately.
And I bought that story 100% for years, because it just reinforced all the self-rejection, beating myself up and other emotional issues I already had, that I’d kind of shoved into my eating habits. I guess I believed that I had to first reach what I perceived to be a high spiritual level, having worked on myself both physically and spiritually, so that I could then come to God and say, “Look, I’ve done all this work and I’ve gotten to where I should be. Now give me my prize! I deserve it!”
But then, the story collapsed: Months after giving up on all the ‘extreme’ diets, I fell pregnant. God had compassion on us, and gave us a child – but in the process, He completely pulled the rug out from under my feet. I suddenly realized that God was running the show, not me, and that He gave me my child when HE was ready for that to happen – regardless of how much buckwheat I was eating, or how much cucumber juice I was drinking.
"your body is full of garbage and toxins!"
At that point, I started to recognize some of the lies I’d been telling myself about my need to be ‘perfect’, and I made some progress on the emotional stuff. But the hardest part of the journey was still ahead.
A few months after the birth, I felt exhausted and stressed, like any first-time mother, I guess, and I developed some breathing issues that the doctor said was asthma. Again, I wanted to go the ‘alternative’ route, so I found an expert who came highly-recommended as being one of the best naturopaths in the state.
Initially, her approach appeared to be much more balanced than the other two I tried, combining some raw food and juices with a cooked evening meal. Only after two months, we’d move to the cleansing fast stuff.
But even so, she had a bunch of very strict rules and requirements that she was extremely meticulous about. I had to be in bed, asleep by 10pm… I had to eat only organic… I had to buy all these expensive, wild-crafted herbs and supplements, and take them religiously… I had to drink water only at set times, throughout the day, ahead of meals…
As a mother of a small child, it was pretty challenging trying to keep to all these dictates. When I told I’d try my best, she went into Yoda mode and basically told me that trying was not an option. “There is no try!” she told me. “I need to know that you are going to do this stuff!”
My nutritional guru made it very clear that I’d been eating garbage and pesticides, and I needed to cleanse my body – and only then was it going to function ok. Her emphasis was definitely on ‘cleaning out’.
scared to eat 'impure' food: the beginning of orthorexia
So, I followed all her advice and her rules – and that’s when I developed orthorexia. If something wasn’t organic, or sprouted, or if I didn’t eat it according to the food order she’d given me, or if it wasn’t ‘pure’ enough, I’d start panicking that I was messing up my body and poisoning myself with toxins.
“This is what I have to do to really be healthy!” I kept telling myself. But all the emotional stuff about not being good enough, or pure enough, and beating myself up all the time, started to get completely out of hand. The explicit message I was getting on the physical level was that my body was impure, and not good enough. I wasn’t OK the way I am.
But I also took that message to heart on the emotional level, too, and either the guru didn’t notice what was happening, or just didn’t know how to deal with it. The juice fast was pretty brutal, and lasted for a few weeks. During that time, I got really, really angry. It wasn’t because of the lack of food, because I was getting enough calories through juicing and I didn’t feel hungry after the first day.
When I told the guru what was happening, she just told me: “Oh, you just need to do another liver cleanse, once we’ve finished this one. You’ll see that this is going to open a locked place in your life, and you’ll be ready to do amazing new things once you’re done!”
None of those promises materialized for me. In fact, the whole process just made me crazy and I had more asthma at the end then I had at the beginning. Yes, I got thin, but I felt worse than I’d ever felt, emotionally. I was beating myself up the whole time, and for a long time afterwards I was scared to eat, because I didn’t think the food was ‘pure’ enough.
I was in a lot of emotional torment and I was obsessed with trying to keep this woman’s approval by eating what I thought she wanted me to.
A few months’ later, what finally broke my obsession and stuck-ness with the food was when God gave me another gift, and I got pregnant again naturally. God really sent me a clear message that He loves me, just the way I am, and that He was the one in control of my fertility issues.
the real problem is not just the unhealthy eating
Right up until the end, I was expecting her to address or at least acknowledge the emotional and spiritual dimensions to my health issues, but she never did. For all of them, it was really only about the food, and it never moved past that to address the deeper stuff, even when they’d run out of food-based solutions for my problems.
I learnt from this whole experience that the body is only the first level of the journey towards good health, but it has to go much wider and deeper than that. We also have to work on our emotions, and our negative character traits, too. We need to work on our spiritual belief system, too, and to internalize that we’re really not in control.
When naturopaths and others like them don’t include the emotional and spiritual aspects in their programs, diets and advice, they can really just pull people into despair, because if the health problem isn’t resolved through that particular program the person will just blame himself and believe that it is because he didn’t follow the program strictly enough.
The real problem is actually not just your unhealthy eating, and that can’t be the sole focus.
But all of the experts I listened to never lead me to believe anything other than eating the right food would solve all of my problems. Whatever ‘their’ way was, that was the only thing that was going to help me, and there was an aura of intolerance, superiority and criticism that surrounded the whole approach.
My real work now is learning to love myself more. I’ve started praying that the food I eat should be healing for me, and should have a healing effect on my body, and even if it’s not Grade A organic, to appreciate that I’m doing the best I can, and to not beat myself up about it.
The bottom line is that God is in the world, and that it’s not all down to me and the food I eat to stay healthy and happy.
Myriam told her story in the hopes that it will help others caught up in ‘unhealthy healthiness’ to know that there is a way they can enjoy their food and their lives again, and that they aren’t ‘bad’ if they can’t stick to the sometimes impractical requirements of many strict diets.
In the next post, we’ll take a look at orthorexia, and explore how unhealthy emotional attitudes to food can also manifest themselves in green smoothies and organic sprouted spelt, just as much as the more traditional addictions to chocolate cake and icecream.
One of the biggest misconceptions I had to deal with on my path to finding a happier, healthier lifestyle was a lot of very warped ideas about the importance of food in the ‘good health’ equation. Now, don’t get me wrong: food IS very important, and if we don’t get the proper nutrition our bodies need, that WILL have a big impact on our mental and physical health.
But it’s not the whole story – and maybe, it’s not even the main story. Over the years, I’ve come to believe that people only eat rubbish because they FEEL rubbish. The junk food is only reinforcing the true, underlying problem, that people don’t like themselves very much, and / or are trying to repress some uncomfortable, difficult feelings with food.
But this ‘negative’ mode can continue on the healthy side of the equation too, where people start following almost punitive diets and regimens, and begin to view icecream, pastry and meat as the biggest threat to the world since Bin Laden.
Of course we would all feel much better if we eat healthy most of the time. But negative emotions like guilt, anger, intolerance, control and judgment (all of which come in heaping amounts, on the ‘food fanatic’ side of the fence) are worse for your health than any trans fat or e-number ever could be.
Recently, I read something in Bernie Siegel’s book, Peace, love and healing that really brought this message home:
“A man with cancer who attended one of my workshops took issue with my having said that vegetarians get less cancer. In a letter, he explained his history:
I just can’t seem to let go of the fact that for eighteen years I was a vegetarian and natural hygienist and lived such a pure life (raw foods, exercise, meditation) and this should happen to me. In the Torah there’s a saying that goes ‘Man plans and God laughs.’
I once was on a radio program with Nathan Pritikin. We were debating the merits of which diet , or way of life was better – his or mine. It wasn’t really a debate, but a shouting match… He said ‘don’t eat nuts’ – I said nuts are a good source of protein. He said ‘only eat the whites of eggs’ – I said only the yoke, etc etc etc. He died of leukemia. I contracted cancer. Two schmucks arguing over how many angels can sit on the head of a pin.”
So the broad rule of thumb is this: the most you can keep the food and environmental ‘nasties’ out of your body, the better – but don’t get all fanatical about it.
Slowly but surely, the JEMI Database of God-centred practitioners is starting to fill up nicely.
Our newest joiner is Ellie Kumayama, macrobiotic chef and owner of the Pink Radish Healthy Cooking service.
You can find out more about Ellie HERE, or by clicking over to the Database.
Someone asked me: ‘What are the factors preventing fat people from slimming down?’
It’s a great question, because it’s not simply a matter of eating less, and healthier food. There are a whole bunch of deeper reasons why people over-eat, or comfort-eat, or store extra fat in their bodies. So in the next couple of posts, I want to look at two areas that are normally all but ignored in the quest for slimness, but which actually hold the key to losing the pounds.
The real reasons why people overeat
There are two main reasons:
1) Repressed emotions that the person is eating in response to.
2) Energy patterns in their body, related to the body's 14 energy meridians, that the person normally hasn't even heard of….until now.
It doesn't require a PhD to work out that if you eat more calories than you can burn off, that extra 'energy' gets stored as fat. But the real question is why do people feel compelled to eat more than they need, and to answer that properly, you probably need a whole bunch of PhD plus the gift of prophecy, because it's really not a simple matter.
And, it's something that's affecting more and more of the population. According to one study, 150 million Americans weigh more than they should, and included in that figure is 60 million Americans who are clinically obese.
Just let the enormity of those figures sink in for a bit.
The Energy Dimension of Weight Management
Donna Eden wrote a book called 'Energy Medicine for Women', which I highly recommend, and much of what I'm going to share with you now comes from a chapter in that book called weight management. According to Eden, the following factors affect how much food people eat:
The nine categories of over-eating
In the book, Eden then goes on to share her 9 nine categories of different types of over-eating, what causes them, plus energy exercises you can do to start curtailing the 'feed me' impulse at the level of the body's energy systems, before it's even materialised as an intellectual craving for a Snickers. The nine categories are:
Again, go buy her book and start following her recommendation for simple, easy-to-do Energy Medicine things you can to kill off your inappropriate food cravings.
Energy exercises, especially things like the Temporal Tap exercise (click to see an article on how to do it) can work wonders.
But in the next post, we’ll learn why understanding and acknowledging your emotions really holds the key to weight loss.
Recently, I read some new research that made a direct correlation between the amount of sugar you eat, and some really nasty diseases.
Now, I'm not saying that stuff is wrong, exactly, because on one level, what you eat for sure affects your health and Jews are big proponents of the idea that you are what you eat.
But important as food is, it's not the whole picture when it comes to health, or even scary diseases. Your emotional health and spiritual connection probably count for far more, as even studies in the secular world are starting to show.
Emotions and spiritual connection are even more important than diet
For example, a few decades' ago Dr Caroline Thomas did a whole big study following 1300 undergraduates at the John Hopkins Medical School over the course of many years, to see if their personalities, family relationships and emotional dispositions could somehow predict their health, in later years.
To quote Vibrational Medicine, by Dr Richard Gerber: "There were, indeed, common psychological factors among those students who had succumbed to cancer. Interestingly, the traits of the group that later developed cancer were similar to those who eventually committed suicide. They typically described themselves as emotionally detached from their parents.
"More students who eventually developed cancer had described negative early family relations than any other group in her study."
God is running the world, so don't panic
This shouldn't scare anybody, because remember, God is in the world, and everything is Divinely orchestrated for every single one of us, including our health challenges.
The point of quoting this passage is simply to underline a couple of hugely important ideas, that often get buried under the issue of diet and food, even in the holistic health world:
1) Your physical health is hugely dependent on, and entertwined with, your emotional state. In other work by psychologist Lawrence LeShan, links were also made between people regularly bottling up their negative emotions instead of dealing with them, and catastrophic disease like cancer.
2) You need a strong relationship with God to enable you to deal with your negative emotions (and related sugar cravings…) in an appropriate, healthy way.
This last point is crucial, because as soon as you forget about God, or leave Him out of the health equation, you're leaving the door wide open for a whole bunch of problems.
We all know people who religiously followed healthy eating regimens of every stripe and variety, who still got really ill. What's more, many people who got obsessed with food, and who devoted themselves to battling against all the many thousands of toxins currently found in our world and our food chain, got very stressed, miserable, negative and judgemental of themselves and others, as a result.
I've met more miserable 'healthy eaters' than I care to mention, who religiously avoid chocolate and sugar like the plague, while filling themselves up with far more dangerous substances like guilt, arrogance, anxiety and worry.
FACT: The world we live in is a very poisonous place, by all measures.
FACT: A whole bunch of the stuff that you eat, like sugar, and ingest by other means, like chemicals and environmental pollution, could for sure kill you in a heartbeat, if there weren't other considerations going on.
FACT: Repressed negative emotions do far more harm to your health and wellbeing in every single way, than sugar.
FACT: If God's not in the picture, all these other FACTS are enough to give you a heartattack.
Luckily, God is in the picture. The more you try to connect back to Him, the more energy you'll have to deal with your negative emotions in a healthy way; the more optimism you'll have about resolving all the issues facing you and the planet; and the less likely it'll be that you'll be tempted to munch away on the Ben and Jerry's, to try to ease the pain.