Tag Archives: eating

Easier said than done.

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Health tips are happening on my Facebook page lately.  It’s just evolving in that direction.  Yesterday’s was the following:

“Eat when you’re hungry.  Don’t eat when you’re not.”

Yeah, groundbreaking stuff, there. I could almost hear the collective muttering, “duh” in a hushed exhale.

I concede that it’s not news.  It’s not avant garde.  It’s not the latest scientific breakthrough.

In my defense, however, chances are mighty, mighty good that you’re not following this old, ratty advice.  Chances are pretty good that you are probably trying to find ways to eat less than you are actually hungry for a lot of the time and eating way past that full signal other times.  How do I know that?  What, am I made of stone?  These things I speak of are things with which I am familiar, my friends.

Of course, in some part of your mind, or maybe a lot of your mind, you think that you can’t follow this little “rule” because there’s something quite wrong with you.  I mean, really, it’s so easy a kid could do it.  And before we cram crazy messages into their tender brains, they all do.

So if you can’t do it, what’s wrong with you?

Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  That’s right.  There’s nothing wrong with you.

There is probably something wrong with the nourishment that you are receiving though.  I’ll bet a shiny new quarter on it, actually.

Here are the reasons that I think following this most obvious and simple guideline is so difficult:

1.  We’re told that the body is not to be trusted.  We get this message from early on from everywhere.  So, when it’s 10:30 on a Tuesday morning and you’re still not hungry but stuff down some breakfast because you’ve been told that “it’s the most important meal of the day” or it’s 8:15 on a Monday night and your stomach is growling but you ignore it because “you’re not supposed to eat past 7”, you do this because you don’t trust your body.

2.  You are malnourished.  You will continue to eat until you get the nutrients that you need, not the calories that you need.  This is a crucial distinction.  We’ve shifted in the past 100 years to the caloric model of eating.  You can eat a pint or more of low-fat ice cream during a commercial break.  Just TRY and eat that much liver.  And if liver is gross to you, you can change that to steak.  Your body wants nutrients first and foremost.  You understand this.  A tablespoon of white sugar is not the same thing as a tablespoon of just about anything else.  The calories may be the same but the drive to eat more will not be sated with the sugar.  There are no nutrients.  None.  And worse, foods such as sugar and white flour actually use up your stores of other nutrients to digest.  So, you’re not getting “no nutrition”, you’re getting “negative nutrition”.  And what do you need?  Positive nutrition in order to feel full, good, and healthy.

3.  Malnutrition is not just a matter of food.  If you feel agitated, you may need to go for a walk or punch a pillow.  Cake will not allow the emotion to move through.  Cake will numb it and repress it and that can feel helpful at times, but the agitation is still there, just buried under cake.  The starvation you feel when loneliness overtakes you?  French fries really don’t give a flip about your struggles.  Friends do.  The craving you have for affection will not be met by squirting the whole can of whipped cream in your mouth.  This cycle only creates more agitation, more loneliness, more cravings for human touch.  In the same way negative nutrition creates deeper and deeper deficits, using food to do something it’s not meant to do, creates deeper and deeper emotional deficits.

4.  Portion prescriptions.  Once you are able to connect with your hunger, portions are the stupidest thing EVER.  There are days when I eat 5 snacks a day.  None are big enough to be called a meal.  Others, I eat the traditional 3 squares.  Some, I eat one big meal with a steak so big it can’t fit on the plate.  Once in a long while, I only want a smoothie for the whole day. Portions as mandated from the heavens assume that you are the same, day in, day out.  They assume that your level of activity is identical every day.  They assume that your hormones never fluctuate.  They assume that you at 18 is the same as you at 45.  Yes, I know there are “formulas” that allow for variance, but, really? Formulas?  How hungry are you today?  Well, eat.  If you’re not, don’t.  You don’t have to eat 5 meals a day if you’re not hungry five times a day.

I could probably go on and on but this will dissolve into a rant instead of something useful REAL quick, so I’ll stop there.  In short, eat when you’re hungry.  Don’t eat when you’re not.  Basically, Nourish yourself into Freedom.

If you haven’t joined us for #30daymove, yet, it’s not too late.  Never too late!

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Power vs Authority

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TThere has been a lot going on in the Nourishing Freedom world.  A lot of things that I’m getting more and more excited about.  (Excited and terrified often feel similar in the body, by the way, so I’m choosing to label it excitement.  Is anything scarier than having dreams become reality?)

One of those things has been doing some interviews, very casually right now as practice for the formal “real” ones that are coming quickly my way.  Listening back to them, I have noticed that I use the word authority like Madonna used to use trashy lace in the 80s.  I don’t use the word power.

I was born and raised under a dictatorship.  I grew up in that same dictatorship until I was 13 years old. (It’s no coincidence to me that we use the word regime to describe a dictatorship and it is the french word for diet.) After that, the country’s leadership changed as frequently as the aforementioned Diva.  Power is easily gained through manipulation, intimidation, bullying, money changing hands, bulk, strength, and so many other avenues.  I am sensitive to using power as a decent health model.

I am a post-wellness coach.  Wellness and the current health model is all about power.  Power over the body.  Trick it.  Hack it.  Bully it.  Buy it out.  Intimidate it.  Make it do what you want it to do through whatever means necessary.  Impose standards of perfection upon it that it can’t meet and then punish it when it can’t (and it can’t) meet those standards.  Purify it.  Clean it out.  Cleanse it.  Cleanse it.  Cleanse it.  It becomes a microcosm of the atrocities of ethnic cleansing.  Exert the power of an idealized, impossible purity onto the body and cleanse it of all hints of filth.

In short, we are living in an age where “health” is something of a totalitarian regime inflicted onto the body.  Health is a power that we try to control that winds up controlling us.

Authority, however, has always rung a little different to my ears.  I have known many, many people with very little power but with great authority.  I grant someone authority because they have earned my respect.  I acknowledge someone’s authority on a subject because they’ve done the work.  Authority is grounded in knowledge and in admiration.

When someone speaks from a position of authority, I listen and learn.  When someone speaks from their power, I listen but don’t trust a word.  With authority comes a knowing, deep and steady, that recognizes humility as valuable.  With power also comes a knowing: that power is fragile and can disappear in an instant and must be gripped through any means necessary.

There is a shift that happens when you start nourishing yourself, start nourishing your body.  It is a recognition of fragility.  It is the acceptance that our minds change, our thoughts flitter, that ideas are malleable.  These are the playthings of power.

The shift from power over the body to the recognition of the authority OF the body is one of the most radical paradigm shifts that one can undertake in their lifetime.  You will not have authority OVER the body.  This is difficult for us to accept, this humility before the body.  It is not comfortable to know that when my body says something loud and clear, it KNOWS.  It has the knowledge.  Your thoughts and perceptions about your body have been used to exert power over you by getting you to impose that power over it yourself.  The transformation that can be experienced by rebelling against this power structure and returning the authority to your body is something I could write pages and pages about but unless you go through it, it’s nearly impossible to get you to understand the depth, height, width of it.

In practical terms, health is sleeping when your body is tired.  It is eating in the way your body needs.  It is moving when your muscles beg for it and being still when you need to rest.  But, this is not on a schedule that someone decides on molding you to, it is by learning to respect the authority of your body.  What this means is that each of us will have a life that is unique to us but also just the same as everyone else that has a human body.  The details will glitter.  The particulars will dance in a one of a kind light but we will share all the joy and abundance that it really means to be a human animal.

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health versus hygiene

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Let’s talk teeth, shall we?

The majority of conversations about dental health are actually about dental hygiene.  Hygiene is a good thing, for sure, but so often we think we’re doing all the right things: brushing twice a day, flossing, even mouthwash! and a cavity bores its way through a tooth or we have to get a root canal.  Hygiene is not synonymous with health, not for the teeth and not for anything else, really. (I’m looking at you, chronic cleansers!)

In the 1930s a dentist named Weston A. Price traveled across the world and had the luxury that we no longer have in our homogenized world of meeting people who were living in the traditional ways of their ancestors.  This was truly a global expedition that he undertook and he photographed mouths from all across the racial spectrum (and we’re using racial lightly because we understand that race is quite the construct, right?).  In the vast majority of cases, dental hygiene was not exactly de rigueur.  (He reports on some older people who have tartar/plaque that is quite thick but perfectly health teeth and gums, exemplary, even. )

His interest was teeth.  But, his studies have shown to be some of the most valuable as far as health goes in the last couple centuries.  (note: that’s editorial, okay?  But, I dare you to find something more valuable.  In fact, comment below!)  What he discovered, among other things, was that teeth told quite the systemic story.  The inflammation of the gums or the rot of the teeth (still paying attention?) were the easily accessible image of what was happening under the skin.  In other words, healthy teeth and gums meant healthy people.

What can seem surprising to us on this end of the twice a year dental visit for free toothbrushes and lollipops (do they still do this?  Even at 8, I thought that was sending quite the mixed message.) and aisles of toothpaste choices is that the health of the teeth and gums had nearly nothing to do with hygiene.  What made healthy teeth, healthy gums, healthy people was diet.  Not enough nutrients, not enough absorption of nutrients and the teeth rotted.

Now, our dental health is a little harder to gauge accurately because we can so easily get cavities filled (even in porcelain so there isn’t even the telltale dark spot of mercury or whatever other strange thing they used to pour in the tooth holes), get new teeth, have surgery.  After a couple visits to the dentist (or crazier the orthodontist!  My generational story of bad nutrition is generally hidden because my teeth all fit in my mouth now.  Well, I have 4 less teeth and the others were pulled into place.), we can convince ourselves that we are in good dental health.

We’re not.

If our eyes are the window to our soul, then our teeth are windows into our bones.  Mostly because they’re, you know, bones.  Also, our gums tell us so much about the inflammation of our other tissues.  (For the incredible ease of teaching and learning, we’ve divided our body into systems, then tissues, then cells, etc.  It provides the illusion that our muscles kind of are glued to our bones.  Or that our organs are these sacs that are kind of floating in our abdominal cavity.  The truer truth is that our muscles become our ligaments become our bones become our tendons become our veins become our organs…like one unbroken morphing string.)  That is to say that what is happening in one place in our body tends to be happening everywhere.  Although the manifestation of rot in our teeth may not mean that our bones are rotting, it does mean that systemically we’ve got a malnutrition issue.

Are you still with me?

When the people that Price was studying left the traditional nutrient dense diets of their ancestors/culture and adopted the convenient foods of the “western diet” (you know what most of us grew up eating…mac n’ cheese, mayonnaise sandwiches, vegetable oils….) their teeth rotted.  Most surprising, when they had kids, their kids faces didn’t develop as they were supposed to and their grandkids had serious deficiencies.  (This mirrored a little of what Francis Pottenger was discovering with cats in his raw food studies.)  Not only were their offspring and grand-offspring’s teeth rotting, their bones weren’t developing appropriately and their faces were…pinching.

When your leg bones don’t grow quite right, those plastic sticks with synthetic bristles rubbed across your teeth seem a little….inadequate.

If you want shiny, white teeth, you can definitely pay for those and get them.  If you want healthy teeth that you don’t have to put in a cup at night, you may want to focus your energy and money on what you eat.

Okay, I hope I’ve convinced you.  Here comes the logical question:  Eat what?

Why, I’m so glad you asked.

These are some of the things that Price discovered were almost universal in traditional, nutrient dense diets.

1. Fermented things.  Fermented things are awesome because they practically make themselves.  My personal favorite to make is sauerkraut.  It’s basically a chop and wait proposition.  My favorite to eat?  Oh, honey!  Give me kimchi, give me old cheese, give me miso, give me herbal beers, give me cider, give me vinegar….give me fish sauce!  Basically, I’m of the “the more it reeks, the better it tastes” school of eating.

2. Raw dairy.  Where dairy was found to be consumed, it was eaten raw.  This is now illegal in most places.  If you can still get it, you’re lucky.  And you probably have better teeth than the rest of us.  You can still get cheeses made from raw milk in most places.  If you can tolerate cassein, have at it.  Most cheeses, fermented long enough (meaning hard) have much lower lactose levels, so this tends to be slightly less of an issue.

3. Organ meats.  Yes please!  Cow tongue, tripe, goat heart, chicken livers, ox balls…forget a multivitamin, eat an organ!  These are goldmines of nutrients.  I eat organ meat at least once a week.

4. Animal fat.  Here’s the thing.  Vitamins A, D, E, and K need fat in order for you to absorb them.  You can take all you want but with no fat in the diet, it’s kind of useless.  Yes, carrots have vitamin A and you can eat them until you’re orange in the face, but with no fat, no absorption.  And no absorption of these vitamins? (D is more a pre-hormone, btw.) Rickety bones and bad teeth.  And weird hormonal stuff.  And, oh, yeah, cancer.

5.  Bone broths.  Wealth can be measured to me by the jars of bone broth I have in my pantry or freezer.  I no longer have the jaw strength that my ancestors from way back had to break through at eat the bones, cartilage and marrow, but broth feels a lot better going down.

*Edited 12/20/2012:  In a gross and tragic oversight, I didn’t specifically mention BUTTER.  Oh, people, I’m wearing the hair shirt for this.  For some reason, I assumed (and you know what happens when we assume, right?) that raw dairy and animal fat combined would lead to the obvious conclusion that butter was implied.  HOWEVER, butter was not just implied in Price’s work, it was a golden, delicious, creamy cornerstone.  I apologize!  I LOVE butter.  I have fond memories of jars of it (yep, jars) being sent to my dad from his cousins who still lived in his home village.  It was different colors depending on the time of year and so….rich…so decadent.  We would eat it by the spoonful.  And it would dissolve and just go down smooth like….butter.  Yeah, there’s a reason we use that to explain how silky easy something is.  If you are still using margarine, please, please, please consider going back to the original health food.  When Price found the nearly universal use of butter in his work, he thought that there was a certain Activator X that it contained.  Yep, an X Factor.  (Visionary, this man.)  Come to find out, Activator X is vitamin K2.  K2 (other than that mountain face and really bad 90s movie about said mountain face) is one of the keys to strong dental health.  It works synergistically with A and D.  K2 is also a fat soluble vitamin, right?  Well butter is one of the best sources of K2 (foie gras is one of the VERY best!  Oh, lordissa..pleasure AND good teeth?  It’s almost like our tastebuds evolved in conjunction with our environment to enjoy the stuff that makes us healthy.  Weird, right?)   And Vitamin K2 in butter is wrapped up in satiny fat with a spreadable bow.  Three cheers to you nature!

You can read a more scholarly article about it (and be connected to a treasure trove of information!) here.http://www.westonaprice.org/fat-soluble-activators/x-factor-is-vitamin-k2#dental (Again, apologies, my link button is NOT working this morning!  Finger push-ups?)

There are more things, but this is getting long and you can definitely do some legwork of your own.

There were zero vegan groups found and only a couple vegetarian groups, but they were not 100%.  They would have some fish or other meats occasionally, but they were not among those with the healthiest teeth and offspring.

In short (too late), for better dental health I rely on eggs quick cooked in butter over my toothbrush.  But, you all appreciate the hygiene, too, I’m sure.

Nourish yourself to freedom.

*If you enjoyed this, like me on the book of face.  Also, find me on Instagram while I’m still on there before they pull that nutso shenanigan.  And, comment away, people!

I’ll be answering reader questions on Friday in a new way that I’m totally stoked about!

same but different

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I like to get feedback from my clients.  Yesterday, I found this waiting in my inbox.  I have the best clients in the whole wide world.  I currently have a couple open slots for distance coaching (Skype!).  Together, we can have the same results as far as your satisfaction but totally different because you are a different person with your own unique life.  

“Thursday 1:00 pm.  Every week for 3 months, I would rush to my computer for my precious Coaching appointment.  This week, instead, I’m having lunch : carrot soup cooked with homemade broth, coconut milk and cultured butter,  plantain chips, cooked in palm oil and no chemicals added, and trying cod liver.  I am also admiring the beautiful yellow flower that blossomed this morning in my room, close to my bed.

It started in my backyard.  We were seating on a colorful warm blanket, on the grass.  I was asked to briefly connect with my 5 senses.  Then, we moved to skype appointments to shorten the distance.

My feedback: Life changing and down-to-earth. Health and Connection.  Empowering, personalized, logical.  Really Nourishing Freedom !!!

I come from 20 more years of therapy, coaching and personal development workshops.  Anorexia, anxiety, depression, burn-outs, workaholism, perfectionism, control, isolation….are all in my resume.  And all the professionals that I had paid before had told me that the real remedy is to “practice self-love, connect with my inner child and take care of my self”.  Okay, I always responded.  But in my head the question remained “HOW do I f….g do  that” ?

It is so concrete, simple and natural!!!! Sleep well, eat well, have fun, breathe, relax, spend time with people that you love or that you can have fun with, spend time outside close to trees, water, the sky and the sun.  Yes, that is Self-Love-inner-child-care.  Taking care of my physical body, of my real needs as an animal-human-being.

And that answer to me IS life changing.  Nobody had taught me that before Nourishing Freedom.  And nobody had taught me the concepts of Freedom, Connection and Power in a way that I could understand and experience.

So, I learned the abc’s of sleep.  Quantity and quality.  Then, to eat for nourishment and pleasure.  To know what my body likes and doesn’t.  Sugar makes me tired and depressed, gluten or corn make be bloated, red clover flowers ease my PMS symptoms, broth-soup comforts and nourishes me.   We, focussed on specific herbs and tools to heal the symptoms of chronic stress and to break free from stressful lifestyle habits.  I went from workaholism to working part-time as an aerobic teacher in outside parks.  Gettingg paid to have Fun! Nature! and more time with my kids !

My kids ? The greatest bonus of it all.  Their health was transformed throughout my nourishing freedom journey.  They went from candy eaters to loving eggs, bacon, meat, soups, vegetables, almond butter.  As a result, these cranky-pale kids turned into joyful, energetic thick-colored-skin children.

The greatest transformation for me ? Besides my eating habits which do change EVERYTHING (my thoughts, my mood, how I love my kids) was  discovering my connection with nature and the deep impact on myself.   Walking barefoot in the wild, spending even 20 minutes lying on the grass or working along the river, feeling safe in the middle of nowhere in the mountains …is for me ABUNDANCE.  The real gift of being alive.

Am I now a 24-hour happy and perfect person? NO. Do I now everything about health ? NO. Is the sexual abused part of me healed forever? NO.  I am still this “special-needs-kid” who will always need to take care of herself and make choices to avoid certain uncomfortable symptoms and stay healthy.  I will still go through the gray clouds of life, the storms, rains, earthquakes, ….as well as the sunny days and full moon nights.   The difference lies in the sensation of freedom, connection and power.  Having the tools to take care of my REAL self = my body.  Being able to enjoy this variety of experiences.

Concretely, I am still focussing on decreasing anxiety, building a solid community, playing and nourishing myself every day.  But, now I have enough knowledge to continue the journey by myself.  Some wisdom to choose what I read, to stop believing most of the things people say and to instead trust everything my body says.

I also know that I can contact my favorite inspired Health and Lifestyle Coach if I need to.”  -Larissa G.

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