Making the Food-Body Connection

An apple a day

Somewhere in our cultural conditioning the relationship between health –physical, mental emotional, and
what we eat has been disregarded. The emphasis predominantly resides on physical characteristics of health and disease with little or no connection to the various influences and contextual relationships that set the atmosphere for disease to occur.

Our bodies are very wise and are designed to give us signs and symptoms indicating underlying imbalances. Paying attention to physical and mental-emotional symptoms and responding appropriately is the key. What typically occurs is that we don’t look deep enough to find what is out of balance. If you see water coming through your living room ceiling, would you stop the leak with duct tape, polyfilla, and paint and consider it fixed? No, you would take the time to figure out where the leak is coming from. Is there a toilet, sink, laundry machine above that isn’t working properly or pipe that has a leak somewhere? Is it coming from the roof down the wall of the 2nd floor to the ceiling of the 1st floor? There are many possibilities that need to be examined to find out the cause.

What we put into our bodies in the form of food has a considerable affect on our health and is an underlying factor to disease onset and progression. The challenge is to pay enough attention to what we eat and how it effects us. The 2nd challenge once we know how food affects us is to wake up from the denial and break destructive addictions and poor eating habits.

Intuitive Eating

Imagine how it would feel to be so in touch with your own body’s nutritional needs that you knew exactly what it needed and when? You naturally gravitated to the most nutritious and digestible foods. You intuitively knew the right amounts, combinations, and proportions of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and oils, to achieve optimal balance.

This is a possibility as we educate ourselves and listen to what our body is telling us.

False food cravings

Cravings of high sugar, processed fat and nutritionally devoid foods are the result of eating junk foods, fast foods, high sugar foods, refined and processed foods, food colourings, preservative and additives. These foods ruin our taste buds and are addicting. They are not our natural cravings because they have only been around for the last 60 years or so. These types of foods are in essence poisons and play havoc on our life energy because they are lifeless. Lifeless foods do not act to balance and regenerate us, but instead act to over-stimulate or depress immune function and hormone manufacture, secretion and action. It is not just women who are “hormonal”. Hormones influence emotional states in both women and men. Virtually every major function in the body is controlled and regulated through hormone and immune factors.

Detoxification: Clearing the slate to find the real you.

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to help the individual achieve balance or homeostasis on every level so they can be and accept their true selves. In many cases, the true potential of an individual is clouded by inappropriate dietary habits. One way to decipher which foods are working for you and which are working against you is to enter a detoxification program with a licensed health care practitioner. Some foods will be avoided and encouraged and some supplements may be prescribed to assist the body to excrete toxins and optimize bowel function. The food restrictions give the body a break from having to cope with food allergens, de-vitalized, chemicalized, and toxic foods on a daily basis so it can focus instead on healing damaged tissues and regaining homeostasis.

After a period of time restricted foods are re-introduced one at a time and a journal is kept noting how your body and mind feels. Energy and pain levels, bowel function and digestion, heart rate, mood, and mental clarity are some of the things to observe. You will be much more attuned to the real effect of foods on your system and will be able to tell much more quickly how each food affects you. Now you have made an experiential connection to food that is clear and less tainted with the mixed messages you had in the past. Your taste buds rejuvenate and toxic foods seem repulsive. You clearly notice which foods actually make you feel better on all levels. You have made an invaluable step towards better health, disease prevention and self-awareness.

Written by Kathleen Finlay , BScH, N.D., Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine