Are You Putting Too Much Pressure On Yourself To Eat Well?
Posted Sep 05 2011 1:33pm
I just spent this last weekend working for a retreat hosted by the community house that I’m currently living in. I was appointed official cook for the retreat because everyone in our community knows my passion for health and knows that I like to play around with food. So I happily accepted the task and spent the last couple of days busy in the kitchen.
But unfortunately it didn’t really work out. Coming from a contemporary health background and living with a bunch of people who are also quite health conscious, we of course planned to make food that was nutrition packed and mostly raw. What we didn’t consider was perhaps that the participants in the retreat didn’t actually like our healthy way of eating. And oh they really didn’t! One participant in particular barely even ate for the first two meals simply because he was used to a “standard Canadian diet” and not the quinoa salad and raw oatmeal that we served up to him (fair enough).
This made me remember how long it took me to go from a “standard Australian diet” to loving eating healthier food. I don’t know if I’ve told you this but in my late teens and early twenties when I was at University, I practically lived off hot dogs, tomato pasta, coffee and beer. It took many years of slow transitions before I came to where I am now – and for me the slow transition was important because I needed to actually feel better with what I was eating. If I didn’t notice any improvement in my physical or emotional body then there just didn’t see much point. But the healthier I ate and the healthier my lifestyle became, I got sick a lot less, my body felt stronger and I just felt so much better. It was the best motivation to continue to eat well and to even explore deeper into the world of health and nutrition.
Since living in Peru I’ve found it a struggle to continue my super healthy way of eating. I have become sick with parasites three times in two months which has made me a little fearful of eating uncooked or unpeeled fruits and vegetables. This means I’m eating barely any raw foods and a lot less vegetables than I’m used to. I’ve also been doing a lot of plant medicine work which has been intense and at times ungrounding. And eating bread seems to help to get me back into my body and my feet firmly planted on the ground again. So bread has returned as a staple in my diet.
And while I’m okay with relaxing a lot and bringing in more of these foods that my body is no longer used to, I’ve found that consuming breads, some processed sugars, dairy and a lot of cooked foods again has made my physical body feel out of balance. I have less energy, my skin is always dry and itchy, and I just don’t feel that inner light and health that I usually do when I’m eating a lot of healthy foods.
So I guess the message that I’m trying to portray to you today in this article is that the best motivation for altering our diet is to notice how our body feels when we change what we eat. And usually this is best done slowly so that we can really feel the difference without experiencing a healing crisis, which can actually make it seem that the new food we’re eating is worse for us rather than better. Ideally we want to get to the point where we prefer and want to eat healthy food, rather than forcing ourselves to. You are human having a human experience and you should enjoy the pleasures in life. But we can make sure that those pleasures are also good for us too.
So if you’re new to eating well or are trying to improve your diet a little more, please don’t put pressure on yourself! Allow yourself to change and modify your diet as slowly as possible and allow yourself to enjoy the journey. In the Western world especially we’re usually to focused on the end goal rather than appreciating the ride along the way. Remove any preconceptions about what you “should” be doing or what level of healthy eating you “should” be at and instead, add a little of the good stuff in, take a little of the good stuff out and enjoy and love the experience.