Guest post by Elizabeth Butler MSc Dip ION
During the course of my career as a nutritional therapist, working mainly with those living with cancer, I’ve come to believe that it’s not the physical changes we make that matter most to our health, but the way we take care of our mind and emotional wellbeing. This has become so apparent over the years that I now design healthy eating plans with emotional ease and pleasure as the priority ingredients. Far too often I’ve witnessed people suffer negative health consequences as they religiously followed a diet that on paper looked to be highly nourishing but in reality was causing them anxiety and stress.
That’s not to say I don’t place high value on the nutrients in food. But the emphasis is always on how that food, or way of eating, makes a person feel. What’s wonderful is that when we enjoy what we eat our body opens to fully receive the nourishing gifts food has to offer as our nervous systems relax and digestive capacity increases. And interestingly, the foods that ultimately bring people most pleasure are not in fact the sugar-laden junk foods, they are unadulterated foods eaten as nature intended, those packed full of nutrients and naturally occurring vibrant energies. Even die-hard fast food fans will find their taste buds begin to crave the taste of fresh wholefoods after a period of re-education and adjustment. The following quote from one of my clients demonstrates this.
“We are really enjoying the diet. Our taste buds have completely altered and I can taste flavours in vegetables which I never knew existed!” Helen
So where should you start if you wish to improve the nutritional value of your diet without compromising the feel-good element? Well there are no rules as rules equal stress but there are a couple of guidelines I give to people as a starting point; if you stick to these you’ll never go far wrong. The first is to eat foods in their most natural, unrefined state. This has been said before, probably most famously by Michael Pollan who told us to “eat food”, meaning eat real food rather than what he describes as ‘edible food-like substances’. And if you base your diet on real foods such as vegetables, fruit, nuts, meat, fish and eggs you’ll be eating foods that have evolved over millennia to work harmoniously with our bodies.
The second guideline is all about love. It’s about choosing foods that have been produced with care, having fun as you prepare your meals and taking the time to eat feeling relaxed and with a sense of grace and gratitude. It’s about appreciating the journey of food, from field to plate. And then it’s about tuning in to your body and allowing it to guide you to the foods that it most desires. Learn to trust the innate intelligence of your body and it will draw you to foods that vibrate with precisely the energy it needs. I said the second guideline is all about love, which it is. In a nutshell I would put it like this: love what you eat and eat what you love.
If you follow these guidelines you can relax knowing that you are automatically nourishing yourself deeply, on a physical, emotional and even spiritual level. If you feel you need more specific guidance to help address particular conditions, I’d still encourage you to start with these changes using them as a foundation on which to build.
Elizabeth regularly runs an online course for people with cancer: Nourish and Thrive: Maximise your Body’s Own healing with Cancer. She is offering 3 free places to my readers on her next course (starts 7thMay) on a first come first serve basis. To find out more click here and to register just get in touch with her.