Monthly Archives: August 2012

why I hate gluten free foods and you should to.

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“After I was diagnosed with celiac disease, I said yes to food, with great enthusiasm….I vowed to taste everything I could eat, rather than focusing on what I could not.”-Shauna James Ahern

I can’t tolerate gluten.  I swell up like I”m about to give birth to twins in 45 seconds.  My joints get knobby and stiff for a couple days after each exposure.  My depression flares and I want to flip life the bird and I would if my hands had any dexterity, but they generally just curl up into little half fists.

At first, this was a horrible shock .  Wait a minute…no pizza, no spaghetti, no calzones????  (There was clearly an early period of Italian food mourning.)  Then, hold UP…no cupcakes, no caramel brownies, NO CHOCOLATE CREME PIE!!!  This is NOT fair.  (“Life isn’t fair, honey.” in my mother’s voice kept answering me.)

So, I dropped all the foods that were making me sick.  And (stop me if you’ve heard this), I got less sick.  A lot less sick.  My carpal tunnel cleared.  My chronic body pain wasn’t.  My foggy depressive logic was replaced by actual logic.

I got really healthy.  This all happened before being gluten-free was a choice couched in trendiness, so if I wasn’t going to eat a well gluten-stocked brownie, I simply wasn’t going to have one at all.  A couple years in, gluten-free is everywhere.  I can get a pizza, I can get brownies, I can get pasta…sitting here right now, the cafe owner where I regular brought over a sample of a gluten-free “dream roll”.  Yes, it was very tasty.  And, it was tasty because it was sweet.

So, now, I can eat again the foods that I had to give up because of my gluten intolerance.  They sneak in pretty regularly.  I’m not at the top of my game anymore.  Although a glutenous brownie will make me sick immediately, a gluten-free one takes a little longer.  These food products that are now on the market are even less food like than the ones they’ve replaced.  Just removing the gluten does not make a brownie a great healthy choice.  Weston A Price called these kinds of foods “displacing” ones.  A salad with oil or a hunk of steak in butter or a red bell pepper dipped in guacamole?  Those are foods, naturally gluten free and nutrition packed.  When I choose to eat a “fraudulent” food, I have removed the space for nutrition, for nourishment.

We are an interesting species, I suppose.  We want what we want.  But, shun delusion.  Eating gluten-free (or any other food thing that disagrees with you) doesn’t give you an automatic jump in health, other than the obvious.  It is all in what you are really eating.  Sugar and vegetable oil and soy flour and “chocolate flavor” will make you a serviceable cake, but it will not nourish you.  It displaces the nourishment.

So, a list of things that are gluten-free:

Meat

Fish

Berries

Fruits

Coconut Oil

Butter

Vegetables

Nuts

Hmmmm….that happens to be the same list for getting the best nourishment anyway.  Cool how that works, huh?

body love 2, or quotation marks gone wild

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“The body, the flesh, is the source of all that it means to be human.” 

 -J. Martineau, 2012

I started talking last week about the issues that I see with the “body love” assumptions that the “movement” have.  (Let’s see what else I can “put in quotation marks”.)

Now, some true truth.  It is not love of your body/self that will get you to take care of your body/self, it is taking care your body/self that will get you to love your body/self.  I see this confused in a lot of people.  They want to put the emotion before the work.  Like I said before, if you’ve been raised not to love your body (and if you were raised on this planet in the last couple thousand years, you were), you are not going to just wake up one morning after being told that you should love your body and just love it.  (It is only for ease of expression that I call the body “it”.  “It” is you, but we’ve so long created a chasm between our “self” and our “body” that  we have a hard time understanding that “they” are the same “thing”.)  From now on, “it” and “you”, “your body” and “you” are interchangeable, okey dokey?

Back to the truthiness with a little story to illustrate:

When my son was born, I looked at him for the first time and felt something akin to shock that that little squirming thing was inside me and was now another person.    I felt protective, I felt attached, I felt a need to nurse him…you know instinctive things.  But, I can’t really say that love was one of them.  The great myth of motherhood (and body love) is that a parent instantly loves the squalling little bundle.  This isn’t true for everyone.  Then, I took that sweet thing home.  I washed him.  I nursed him.  I dressed him.  I watched him sleep.  I held him to me all day as I did things around the house.  I took him with me to work so I could hear him breathe.  I picked him up when he screamed for comfort.  Even in the very middle of the night…over and over.  Day in, day out.  I started to love him…I moved from practicing the role of caretaker to motherhood.  He’s taller than me, now, but I can tell you what every move of his eyebrows means, what he likes to eat, what he dreams of becoming one day.

To love yourself takes devotion.  It takes time and practice. .  It takes dedication and commitment.   It takes forming a relationship to yourself.  Your body, you…it is the longest relationship that you will ever have.  It really isn’t always easy.  There are nights when you have to decide between working late or getting yourself to bed so that your needs are met.  There are days when you are messy and covered in something weird, but you have to take care of it and that is how love happens with your body/self.  It is the day in/day out constancy of self care that will pay off in one day being able to tell just from the sound of your own breathing if you need a nap or a run or a square of chocolate.

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body love, part 1

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 There seem to be two basic approaches to health:

1. Discipline the body into obedience to one’s goals.

2. Love the body with complete abandon.

I will be writing about the first in a couple weeks.  But, I wanted to take some time and address the second in a two part series.  I will be touching on some ways in which I resolve my own frustrations with each.

I am a Holistic Lifestyle Coach and have a degree in Health Arts and Sciences from something of an alternative college. I was a massage therapist and yoga teacher and also walk the Wise Woman path and I love me some wheel of the year celebrations.  This information should lead you to believe that I stereotypically fall firmly in the camp of “body love”.  (Spoiler alert: I do…well, mostly.)  However, there is so much that annoys intrigues me about this approach.

One:  It is announced as a prescription.  Morbidly obese?  You just need to love your body.  Fibromyalgia?  Love your body.  Feel breathless after walking up a flight of stairs?  Love your body.  Wow, that’s frustratingly useless advice, isn’t it?

Two:  It is assumed that you know your body.  Do you love anyone that you don’t know?  Other than Robert Downey, Jr., I don’t either.

Three:  Love has lost a lot of meaning in our modern world.  I say that I love chocolate.  I say that I love my son.  I say that I love the sound of the Kardashian empire starting to crumble.  But, love is only truly appropriate vocabulary in one of those sentences.

Four:  Love is not only qualitative on the spectrum, but it also differs in degree.  The love that I have when I first fall in love and the love that I have after being in a relationship for a while.  It is qualitatively the same romantic love, but it has increased in depth.

Five:  Love is a process.  You will not wake up tomorrow morning loving your body if you’ve spent a lifetime (or even a few years) not loving it.

Six: Your body is not just one thing.  Since you are your body and you are so many things, so is it. (From here on out, I will not distinguish between the two, so firm is my belief that you are your body.)  You are the actual anatomy: muscles, kidneys, liver, bone, lungs.  You are the reflection of cultural values.  You are hormones and neurological information.  You are contextual.  (You are your environment.)  So, do you love it all in this model or just the width and breadth of yourself as summed up with a scale and tape measure?

I would love to hear from you, no matter where you are on this range of viewpoints.  Through discussion is knowledge pushed forward.  And, now, it’s time to dance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

part tres

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“There is more sagacity in thy body than in thy best wisdom.”

                                                    -Friedrich Nietzsche

Health is simple.  It isn’t necessarily easy in this society that we’ve created with a completely different intention in mind.  Everything from the clothes that we wear to the chairs we sit in are counter to health.

But, we all have bodies.  Each on of us has one.  I know…in the politically correct culture that no longer allows for sweeping generalizations about people groups, this is the one that is still true.  We all have bodies.  And, each one is amazing.  Each one wants to be healthy, as healthy as it can possibly be.

If you are human, you already have what it takes to be healthy:

1. You are curious.

2. You are a problem-solver.

3. You love to play.

4. You crave connection.

5. You thrive on good sleep and generous doses of sunlight.

6. You are a contributing force to the workings of the world.

7. You love to do things.

8.  You love to do nothing.

9. You crave fat and protein.

10. You are happier surrounded by beauty than not.

11. You can hardly help moving to the music.

12. You need a certain amount of stimulation to react to things.

13. You have a body.

This list may, hopefully, look a little different than other “what you need to be healthy” lists you’ve seen.  I grant you that it is not the “all your answers to your burning questions” list that you may have seen, either.  But, that doesn’t make it any less true.  Health lies in how you use the things that are innate in accordance with the needs of your species and beyond.  Your personal health is so tangled in the health of everything around you in ongoing dialogue that it becomes a gift you give to the world.

One thing you may not already have but could be a great present to yourself would be:

14. A great coach.

I would love to hear about what excites you and frightens you in your quest for health as a human being.