What is your relationship with food?
Updated: Oct 13, 2020
First of all, let's talk about diets!
The definition of 'diet':
1. My understanding - choosing certain foods habitually as part of your meals.
2. noun "the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats."
3. noun "a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons."
4. verb "restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight."
I have deeply analyzed my relationship with food over the course of my last three decades on this earth.
These are the questions I have asked myself:
Do I have an eating disorder?
Do I practice control in my life by controlling what I eat?
What did I learn about eating from my parents?
Why do I eat the way I do?
What does Ayurveda say about eating the right way for my body type? Is it really that simple?
Do I eat emotionally?
When I am overeating, what am I really hungry for?
What emotions am I trying to soothe when I indulge in foods I am craving for?
Why does eating sweets make me feel sick right away?
Which foods create more dis-ease in my body?
Do I show respect and gratitude to the foods I am eating?
Which foods will support my body to thrive?
What about how I am feeling while eating?
What was my relationship with food growing up?
Did I equate certain foods with feelings of love and caring?
As you see, I apply holistic counseling to myself as I do with my patients.
Yes, I do emotionally eat, but now I am aware of it. I had this habit of abusing food to soothe my emotions temporarily followed by the feeling of guilt as my acne-prone face would start itching. No, I do not have an eating disorder (anorexia- starving, bulimia- throwing up after binge eating, overeating until the stomach hurts), but I have experienced very mild forms of anorexia and overeating. On a side note, eating disorders take root in childhood.
Growing up, I would crave salty and sour foods. I ate so much of imli (tamarind) with salt and chili, lemon juice in everything, sucking salted limes, salted fresh amla, salted dried amla, raw mangoes with salt and chili, and many other tart and sour fruits with salt. This was in India in the 90s when artificial and processed foods were not easily available. All this aggravated my Pitta dosha (ayurvedic constitution) over time.
Aggravated pitta craving is salty, spicy, and sour foods! Therefore, whenever I notice myself craving salty, spicy, and sour foods, I immediately choose cooling foods like cucumber and other raw greens. This greatly helps calm down my pitta dosha and gives me relief from endless cravings of salty, spicy, and sour foods.
Diabetes Type 2 runs in my family. Luckily, I do not have the sweet tooth. Even then, my HbA1c shows up in the pre-diabetic range (5.7%) since it was first measured in my late teen years. My primary doctor then accused me of eating a lot of donuts since I was working at Dunkin Donuts. As I said, I don't have a sweet tooth and I don't care for donuts. My diet was never really unhealthy. It is hard to have an unhealthy diet in an Indian household where my health-conscious mom cooks fresh meals daily.
Due to my genetic history, my body is at high risk of developing insulin resistance if I don't maintain a whole-foods based diet while avoiding processed foods. Until the diabetes energetic patterns are not neutralized in my genetic code, I will be on a whole-foods plant-based diet that supports my vata-pitta constitution. And no, just because this works for me does not mean it works for every single person on earth. I respect my individuality and that of everyone else.
Lastly, when it comes to emotions and food, there is so much that I have yet to understand. If I am feeling constricted while forcing myself to eat a healthy, yet tasteless food, then I may not benefit much from that 'healthy' food.
I am an avid follower of Abraham Hicks (and many Hay House authors including the Medical Medium Anthony Williams). Abraham Hicks is all about tuning into the good feeling emotions and then taking inspired actions for continued good feelings. Feeling is healing. Eating 'unhealthy' or 'healthy' foods when sad, upset, angry, disappointed, guilty, ashamed, anxious, fearful, scared will only temporarily distract you from feeling the heavy emotions. Not only that, it will propagate actions or behaviors that lead to feeling more of the heavy emotions. Yikes! What a vicious cycle! However, if I am feeling really good and then craving a pizza 'unhealthy' food, then it is healthy for me and best to take action to get myself that pizza and fully enjoy it! Eating 'unhealthy food' in this way will not create dis-ease in my body.
DIS-EASE is the emotional heaviness that keeps us from feeling at ease. Ease is the feeling of wholeness, peace of mind, wellbeing. Therefore, instead of forcefully changing the lifestyle, I would much more benefit from uncovering hidden limiting beliefs at the root of my emotional heaviness.
My business teacher Bob Proctor and mentor Nana Jokura say beliefs generate emotions, leading to actions that create our reality. That reality affirms our beliefs, emotions, and actions into an endless loop (reality) unless we consciously (by affirmations, emotional impact) change our beliefs. True healing is within- becoming aware and consciously changing the belief system that we not only unconsciously chose in this lifetime but also inherited from our ancestors. Some of these beliefs help us thrive, while others create dis-ease in our mind, body, emotions, and spirit.
My own healing journey has led me to study and experience the deep healing benefits of mind-body medicine.
For now, I am wanting to understand the human relationships with food - emotional eating, eating for energy, hunger out of desire, discipline around lifestyle, prevention of dis-ease, and how all that relates to living life to the fullest. My goal is to live life authentically, lovingly, and to the fullest!
There is a book I have been recommended to read, The Yoga of Eating: Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self by Charles Eisenstein. I look forward to divulging into the messages of this book and hopefully understand the human relationships with food.