Healing through food has become increasingly popular in the medical field, for it has been found that the removal of certain food groups can aide in decreasing inflammation, curing type II diabetes, reversing the early stages of heart disease … and the list goes on. But how do we take the right perspective when trying to make healthy life choices in freedom and wellness without causing harm to ourselves through control and restriction? What I’m talking about here is understanding the difference between eating foods as fuel and medicine vs. disordered eating with a motive of image and control.
I have had my fare share of health issues, and because of that I’ve seen multiple doctors, tried many different medications, and even branched out into acupuncture, yet I’ve seen the most significant results through changing the food that I allow into my body. However, even though I recognize that food is a source of medicine, I also wrestle with an unfortunate history of disordered eating. As a result, my eating lifestyle has been a continual struggle; one where I’m trying to find a balance between what is healthy and unhealthy for me.
Thankfully, though, this struggle has slowly been resolving itself through the new approaches and the fresh perspective given to me by others in my life that also choose to use food as a healing source. Here is the collection of wisdom that I have been gifted with in the hope that it may help you, too, if you find yourself needing to distinguish between helpful and harmful eating habits.
You Do You
Type anti-inflammatory diet or healthy eating into Google and hundreds, if not thousands, of books, blogs, and forums will come up pertaining to eating as a source of medicine. Regardless of how many triumphal comments a certain eating lifestyle has, remember that not every diet is for everyone. We each have a unique genetic predisposition and can react differently to foods than others’ might. This will take some trial and error, but get to know your body and the ways it runs best. Experiment with a little bit more of this and a little bit less of that so that you can find a happy balance for what makes you feel like you.
Can, Not Can’t
Trying a new eating regimen can seem daunting. It usually takes one look at the list of foods you are to stay away from before the overwhelming feelings start to creep in. So, don’t do it! Instead, take some time to sit down and create a list of foods that you can eat. Look for interesting new recipes to try, go to your local farmers market for fresh organic finds, and spend quality time in your kitchen getting to know some ingredients that you might otherwise never have tried. Food in its natural state was created as a source of enjoyment and fuel to put into the body, so find the joy in what you are able to consume and have fun with it.
Choose Your Battles Wisely
This is the most important lesson that I have learned in my journey of consuming healing foods (and as a disclaimer, I know that there are many of you out there who are highly allergic to certain foods, so this one might not pertain to you and please use your own judgement here) but, not all situations are equal. There will be times, whether it be a social function or a special celebration, when all the “rules” need to go out the window. Don’t allow food to dictate your fun or your level of comfort in a particular situation. Use moderation. There are certain moments in life where it might be a requirement to say yes to a sprinkled cupcake and a sip of some champagne.
Remember The Why
It is so important with any intentional lifestyle change to remember the purpose of why you are making certain new choices in the first place. What is the goal that you are trying to achieve? If you are using food as a healing source, continue to remind yourself why you’re doing so: whether it be to feel more comfortable, to have more energy, to love your body or to decrease your bathroom runs. There is always a why component to a lifestyle change and it is of the upmost importance to continuously return to that purpose to carry you through the tougher moments.
These are just a few little bits of wisdom that I have learned over the past couple years and a little piece of the very intricate puzzle through my journey of finding peace with food. It is still a daily choice for me and not every day is a good day … but slowly I am finding that with healthy living comes my best version of abundant living.
Have you had to make a dietary change that’s impacted your lifestyle? What have you learned in the process?
Image via Milena Mallory