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Food and the Body’s Wisdom

Food and the Body’s Wisdom

Yesterday, I had lunch with a friend who for years has been dedicated to addressing her food sensitivities and responding to the ways in which different foods impact her body and her health. She told me that, after years of sometimes suppressing her body’s needs out of a desire not to be seen as picky, she has decided to stop trying to live according to the ideas and standards of others and to tend to her health in the way that is best for her, without feeling embarrassed. I was truly encouraged by her willingness to listen to her intuition and her body’s wisdom, regardless of the arbitrary assumptions that others may (or may not) be making.

My friend’s approach to eating is one that everyone should adopt. In our attempts to be healthy, we often turn to outside sources to tell us what we should eat. We follow diet crazes like the low-fat diet that was popular in the 1990′s, or the low-carb Atkins diet. Or we are influenced by proponents of various ways of eating who sometimes believe they’ve found a diet that is right for everyone. Certainly, many people have experienced wonderful health effects from a wide range of diets, and for those people, such diets may indeed be the most beneficial. But each body has unique needs.

For example, I was a vegetarian for four years but, due to my low blood sugar, I often experienced dramatic drops in energy, along with dizziness and nausea, because my protein intake was too low to maintain stable blood sugar levels. To be sure, dedicated vegetarians can find sufficient sources of protein, but I did not want to take the risk of damaging my health. My mother was hypoglycemic before she contracted diabetes, and some doctors believe that hypoglycemia can be a precursor to diabetes.

Two years ago, I reintroduced meat into my diet and I’ve felt much stronger ever since. The nausea and dizziness occur much less frequently, and I no longer experience dramatic drops in energy. I believe that purchasing ethically raised meat is extremely important. I buy organic, grass-fed beef and free-range chicken and eggs. I also try to buy my meat from local farmers as much as possible, and I am encouraged by the recent growth of biodynamic farming. I also highly respect the decisions of those who choose not to eat meat. Whatever eating habits one adopts, it is important to treat the animals and the land in an ethical way.

When it comes to our bodies, ultimately we know them more thoroughly than anyone else. When deciding how to eat, we should be mindful of how particular foods make us feel. We should not listen to the somewhat arbitrary judgments of others, who often do not know our full health history.

Read more: Diabetes, Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Health, Spirit

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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.

32 comments

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8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Our body is what we are born with ~ sometimes our bodies go against our wishes. Some of my friends are vegetarian and many thrive on this lifestyle while one friend is always terribly sick, catching every cold, flu, etc., despite spending oodles of cash on supplements. Many people just are not meant to be totally vegetarian or vegan. It simply depends on one's body. There should be no attacks on a person when they try a lifestyle and the body rebels. That is life. Or if they choose to eat meat.

No one berates someone if they are allergic to chocolate ,shellfish or penicillin. We are told one year that X is healthy and then the next year admonished not to touch it with a barge pole! Some say that eating whole wheat/grains is bad for us while others say we really need it. Some say that eating fruit is not good because of fructose while others say fruit is fabulous. Still others tell us we should only eat fruit by itself or the stomach will be filled with toxins if we mix it with other foods. Some say raw food only!

In the end we must eat to suit ourselves, our health ~ the less processed/ treated with pesticides/GMOs, organic and not factory farmed the better but in the end it is our health ~ our choice. If the body rebels against a food choice, we may well have to listen to if our health is affected. We all survive on organic matter be it plant, meat, fish, nuts...if Mother Nature redesigns the world where we all survive eating rock pate we can switch to that.

12:46AM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

ok

5:02PM PDT on Jun 4, 2012

thanks, great article!

1:41PM PDT on May 30, 2012

Thankyou.

12:00PM PDT on May 30, 2012

I think it is important to eat mindfully, regardless of what that diet might be, and people should listen foremost to their own bodies about what is best for them. This is an excellent example.

10:23AM PDT on May 29, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

10:01PM PDT on May 28, 2012

Thank you for this. Some years ago I started on a fully vegetarian diet on the advice of my doctor. I paid a fortune for all the vegarian protein alternatives and the various supplements I had to take as well. 6 months later I collapsed and was admitted to hospital because they couldn't bring me round as quickly as they should. For the next 4 months I was in and out of hospital for similar problems plus heart pain, breathing difficulties, severe energy loss, skin rashes, hair loss, problems with my eyesight, and much more. Nothing they tested me for gave a positive result. One of the nurses finally asked about my diet - I told them I'd been advised to go vegetarian by my doc - and I was promptly told (in no uncertain terms) to get back on the meat because the vege diet was "killing" me (not my words). I now eat as close to a 'natural' diet as possible, avoiding as many processed foods as I can. I make bread, cakes, biscuits, pasta, etc, from scratch so I know what's in them. Today I'm as fit and health as I was before the vege diet.

As you say, not all diets suit all people and I'm getting a little tired of people who bang on about going vege as the best thing you can do for yourself. It's not always the best thing.

2:02AM PDT on May 28, 2012

Today one must be diligent about what exactly we are putting into our bodies.

3:03PM PDT on May 27, 2012

Our food has changed so much in the last 50 years with the onslaught of; antibiotics, hormones, preservatives, colorings and now GMO. It is no wonder our bodies are fighting back with allergic reactions.

1:10PM PDT on May 27, 2012

Thanks for the info.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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