There is no denying that wellness is a serious business right now. There seems to have been a mass movement in the collective consciousness towards delving deeper into health and wellbeing. Old beliefs and paradigms are shifting and it looks like people are wanting more. More health, more balance, more joy, more meaning, more life.
Old stagnant beliefs about health being just about the physical body are becoming dislodged and we are starting to understand that everything is connected and that we need to embrace all things to truly create change. This isn’t anything new, in fact a lot of this is old beliefs coming back into season, and for good reason.
The health craze is an interesting one as our relationship to health is entirely personal and our motivations often different. Some people are forced into healthy living due to a health scare; some are driven by curiosity and some by aesthetics. However, the intention behind anything you do can drastically affect the outcome.
One of the greatest teachings we’ve received along the way is the connection between the physical and emotional body. The two are not separate, how can they be? The physical body will often reflect what is going on with you on an emotional level which is why chronic disease can so often be linked back to unprocessed emotions and traumas. A physical illness can often be an invitation into exploring your internal world, to find out what is really lying beneath it all.
The physical world can also then perfectly reflect your internal world, as you will process and interpret the world according to your past experiences and beliefs, both conscious and subconscious. We are all essentially running a programme which started to imprint on us from day zero and often continues unchecked as we move through life unaware of how our thoughts and experiences continue to keep this programme alive.
Our perception of life will dictate to an extent how we experience it. Our approach to food and health can be the same. What is your relationship with food and your body? Why do you eat and how do you feel when you eat? Do you think of some foods as either ‘bad’ or ‘good’ and does that affect how you feel when you eat them?
So many foods have this good or bad label now and many people take pride in eating only good foods, or what they believe to be good foods. The social media world is full of people promoting their good and healthy lifestyles which often demonises other forms of eating or living. However, good can be pretty subjective and also constantly changing from a scientific point of view. Good food for a vegan could be viewed as bad food by someone who is paleo. Caffeine can be promoted as toxic by some nutritionists and a perfectly acceptable and nourishing tonic by others.
Has this actually created a neurotic health scene which is creating toxic emotions such as shame, judgement and guilt in the quest for wellness? There’s been times where I have been so obsessive over what I was eating and whether I thought it was healthy, that I actually made my digestive issues worse from being so uptight and scared of potential toxins, or that I wasn’t adhering to the philosophy I had decided to follow. It didn’t actually matter what I was eating, as I was causing my body to be in a state of pain and contraction with the thoughts and emotions I was having about the food itself. That’s not to say that some foods aren’t more nourishing and supportive to the body than others, but it does mean that your emotional state and beliefs around food are also important.
Sugar is a great example as it is now commonly agreed upon that it significantly contributes to inflammation, obesity and other conditions that create disharmony in the body. So we can all probably agree that it’s sensible to limit sugar and focus on whole foods like vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and proteins instead. However, is it realistic to give it up completely, considering how much of a role it plays in our socio-cultural experiences? Experiences that can contribute enormously to our enjoyment of life.
Sugar is often used as a symbol of celebration and can be a delightful indulgence. It can also be a useful tool when you need a quick pick-me-up (much like caffeine). But what if you decide to give it up out of fear of it causing rampant chronic systemic inflammation, or because your favourite blogger is sugar free. And then you just feel guilty and shameful if you do have some, like you are doing something bad.
It’s in these moments that we can actually resolve these unhelpful attachments or judgements we have to food, just by letting ourselves witness and feel the emotions coming up from a place of compassion. It is our judgement of something that gives it its energy, not the thing itself. So you can make a conscious, loving decision to stop eating sugar, or at least to reduce your sugar intake, knowing that it perhaps does not nourish your body fully.
Even if you do this, you can also make a conscious decision to allow yourself to enjoy it completely, if you do really want some, without judging yourself as to whether it is good or bad. This will put your body into a state of ease, meaning it will be able to digest effectively, whilst minimising any inflammatory response that potentially could occur. You will also be eating from a place of love and compassion for yourself, which are ultimately healing emotions. Perhaps nourishment really stems from your emotional body and then food is a reflection of its state of being.
We have always believed in balance at Sana Foods and sugar is one of those things where we feel like we’ve reached a gentle balance, by using unrefined sugar for our sweet treats. It’s still sugar but in its most natural form and in food that has been designed to support your digestion as much as possible. There’s always ways of doing something in the most nourishing way possible, both physically and emotionally, so it’s about finding that sweet spot for yourself.
RHIANNON BAKER | HEALTH & WELLNESS AUTHOR