Sugar has become the new “bad guy” of our diet replacing our demonisation of fat. While it is true that we need to reduce significantly the excessive levels of refined sugars and carbohydrates we eat, it is unreasonable to deny the need for sweetness in our diet.
In Ayuverda it is well recognised that sweetness is a significant and important part of our natural diet and it is nourishing and grounding. It is thought to cultivate compassion, peacefulness and love. But all healthy traditional diets would be getting sweetness from real,natural and local foods like fruit,veg,dairy,some fats and unprocessed grains. Sweet taste in nature is rare and desirable.
Nowadays though,our Standard American Diet(SAD) is sugar-dominant,our grocery stores are stuffed full of carbohydrate-heavy, processed products …and so are we!
Excess sugar it is a toxin to the body. It spikes our insulin levels, promoting fat storage, causing overweight and obesity, increasing the fat around our waist, causing insulin Resistance, Type 2 Diabetes,Cardiovascular Disease and Inflammation. In Ayuverda it is known to make the blood thick and sticky, causing high blood pressure, heart,skin and thyroid problems, poor circulation and inflammation in the body.
Human beings are attracted to sweetness, and so we gravitate towards these readily available, instantly gratifying foods…constantly, daily, even every couple of hours! This leads to so many of us struggling with feelings of addiction to sugar/refined carbs. This is certainly a “chemical” addiction but something deeper is going on too. There is a definate EMOTIONAL aspect to our addictions too. Afterall, sweetness is love, peace and comfort. Is that we are actually longing for?
The truth is that many women, and men, are using food as a substitute for filling a hunger in other parts of life. Its about a sweetness that’s lacking in life. This often starts in our early years as our thought patterns and beliefs are developing. We seem to muddle along for years trying to conform and fit in to perceived societal standards. But someday, and for most women it is during the perimenopause (in their late 30s), we start to develop problems with our health and especially our blood sugar regulation and mood disorders.This is also common in those following a pretty healthy lifestyle too, dieting and intesively exercising.
We look for reasons and inevitably think its physical: “I’m getting older/ it must be genetic, mum had it/ Ive got a chemical imbalance and so on. We often overlook the emotional impact on disease and have no idea how much low level chronic stress or unresolved emotional issues are trapping us in unhealthy patterns of behaviour.
What can we do ?
Well, a time will come when there has to be a moment of radical honesty. That something isn’t right. That you are really not happy. You may be busy, but you are busy doing the life you don’t want to be doing, being the person you don’t want to be
This is not about changing the exernal aspect of yourself or life but rather the internal. You keep so busy or use addictive behaviours (sugar, food, exercise, smoking, shopping etc) in order not to feel uncomfortable emotions.You are trapped in years of negative thought patterns which arise from deeply held beliefs from your past and despite many attempts to make new habits you eventually fall back to the old.
It’s time to deal with your emotional health if you want to live a life without habits that do not serve you, a life without Dis-Ease. Time to do the inner workout.
Taking responsibilty for your own life, your happiness and your health is not the same as blaming. It’s forward-looking,about taking back control and moving on with a new self-acceptance. It’s time to stop using food to quell your emotional needs.
Starting an emotional overhaul is a process that takes time. But there is nothing else that will help you attain inner peace. Here are some simple and initial steps to start on your journey:
Unprocess and Dejunk!
Its important to get a grip on your food intake first because while you are in the depths of the sugar cycle you can’t really think clearly at all. You are governed by disregulated hormones! So having an outsidein approach is imporatnt too. Basics:
- avoid all highly processed foods
- beware of foods commonly perceived as healthy like processed wholegrains and refined carbohydrates, such as pasta,bread,crackers,cereals,low-fat products, any products labelled “healthy”
- Eat REAL food, unprocessed and closest to its original form in nature
- Ensure adequate intake of proteins (yes, including red meat) and healthy natural fats
- Cook your own food
- Avoid seed oils
- Consider supplementation (Vit D, Mg, K2,B12, Omega-3 are common deficiences)
Get Out in Natural Light
- It changes your brain and charges your body with energy
- Increases serotonin and dopamine
- Regulates your bio-rhythm and improves sleep
- Improves your immune system (Vitamin D)
- 30 mins a day, dont wear sunglasses, or sunscreen for that time. Let the sun do its job.
- Breathe it in.
- Moderate intensity exercise decreases ALL mood disorders
- Walking is extremely therapeutic, especially in nature.
- Notice the beauty all around you.
- Focus on your breathing, become aware of how and where in the body you breathe.
- Build strength and muscle
- Maintain your range of motion with mobilty and stretching
No amount of self-improvement can make up for a lack of self-acceptance – Robert Holden
- Emotions have a very direct and physical impact on the body. Belief drives biochemical changes in our bodies
- Upgrade your thoughts. Watch how you talk to yourself. Become aware of your patterns of thoughts which then lead to behavious that do not serve you. Watch your negative affirmations. We are always from dawn to dusk affirming the negative -“I am tired /I am fed up/ I am going crazy/ I am hungry /I am too fat/I am really unfit
- Affirmations work whether negative or positive, so be positive or at least kind to yourself- I am doing well today/ I am healthy and well / I am thankful for my body/ I have peace/ I have a beautiful home. Affirmations are like planting a seed, it takes time to grow and change. Plant a beautiful seed to create a healthy beautiful life. Often prayer is a form of affirmation.
- Don’t bond with others over the awfulness of life. Friends or family who are focused on blame and negativity will have a huge affect on how you feel about life too. Avoid them!
- Emotional toxicity results in physical disease.
- Identify past triggers (without blame) that resurface often. Become aware
- When you are angry or reactive take a time out. Stop your self by saying STOP to yourself, breathe and try and figure out what you are reacting too. Is it really necessary? Take a step back and observe. Listen to yourself. Check-in often.
- When you feel an emotion, it often has a physical sensation. Stop and become aware of that feeling …where is it in your body, give it a description, place your hand on it, breathe deeply and slowly and visualise yourself letting go
- Use Grounding Exercises to start to repattern your brain and habits….things like deep breathing, using your senses, moving, stretching, yawning, smiling.
- Use Visualisation to change the images you see in your mind. See what you want to be, see it and feel it.
- THIS BOOTCAMP IS HARD. REALLY HARD,REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE. AND IT TAKES TIME. ITS A PROCESS AND ITS NOT A GROUP FORMAT, ITS UNIQUE TO EACH INDIVIDUAL. ASK FOR HELP OR GUIDANCE. FROM YOUR CREATOR, FROM THE UNIVERSE, FROM ANOTHER PERSON, A SELF-HELP BOOK, YOU-TUBE RESEARCH, A PROFESSIONAL OR ALL OF THE ABOVE ..Its ok to need guidance. Infact human beings are made that way…we learn and are guided by others. DO WHAT IT TAKES TO CHANGE YOURSELF TO HEAL YOURSELF.
We hard wired to seek love, joy, sweetness and health in life. Our desires are the force driving life forward, giving us meaning and purpose. Living a life devoid of pleasure causes illness, both physical and mental. And when I say pleasure, its not the hedonistic, selfish type, its the giving compassionate, making-a-difference type.
Our beliefs drive our thoughts which produce our emotions. Emotions are our body’s language, our currency, our energy-in-motion.Healing occurs when we liberate ourselves from beliefs that no longer serve us.And when we heal ourselves, we heal everything around us.