I often get emails and personal questions about diets and nutrition. ‘Is vegan better than paleo, is raw a pre-requisite to healing, is meat really bad?’ The variations of these questions are endless but at the end it all comes down to one:
‘I am confused and can’t decide what is the best way to nourish my body.’
I can totally relate. I get overwhelmed by the number of contradicting health and nutrition articles, too. I used to want to go vegan every time I read inspirational stories of healing and achieving mental clarity. Low-carb protein and vegetable rich way of eating was attractive for its flat stomach (no bloating), and a quick weight loss. Superfood-rich diet seemed like a dream come true for energy and anti-aging. Ayurvedic diet with its easy-to-digest foods and healing spices had it’s pull, too. A high fruit diet seemed hard to resist in the summer even if I were to believe that carbs are feeding candida and that ancient fruit that our ancestors ate was never as sweet.
Each nutrition theory has valid points and certain health advantages. Choosing the best one is not easy. The problem with all these nutrition theories and approaches is that it’s hard to follow one without breaking the rules of others. Many of them are contradictory in all aspects.
So How Do You Choose?
Here are 2 things that I tell everyone who asks ‘what is the best diet to follow’:
- First before labeling yourself as a paleo, vegan, or anything else, eliminate all processed food. No packages. Seriously! Being vegan or paleo won’t make you healthy if you rely on pre-made, packaged, processed stuff! There is vegan, fat free, low fat, gluten free garbage! Eating real whole food is more important than following a certain strict diet.
- Second, learn to check in with your body. This is the most important skill if you want to maintain health and avoid feeling overwhelmed and stressed by food choices. The benefits of this skill are innumerable!
- You will know what and when you need. Your body’s needs change all the time so sticking to one single diet is not always optimal. When you are getting a cold your body will crave completely different food compared to what you need after a good workout.
- You can track what foods work and what foods you might need to lay off.
- Masters of checking in with their body will never be compulsive overeater or food addicts as they are very unlikely to cause harm to themselves. I strongly believe that the disease that we experience in our body are the result of abusive habits and patterns that we carry.
You Already Know The Answer
Digestive problems, including bloating, pain, gas, irregularity are all causes of the inability to check in and to trust the body. When that happens, we start looking for answers in the books, advice from the experts, magic herbs, and cutting edge research pills but rarely do we check in with ourselves and pose a question to our own body:
What habit brought on the discomfort? What changes should I make?
You know the answer, it is just scary to trust it 100% because since childhood we are taught that somebody knows better than us.
A true wellness coach should not be telling you what to eat, they should teach you mindfulness and body awareness. This is the most powerful tool that can help you understand what your body likes and dislikes. Body doesn’t lie. We just don’t always listen.
In the beginning working with a nutritionist can be very helpful because it will cut down your experimentation and learning time. If you seriously consider investing into working with one, try Dana James, the founder of Food Coach NYC. She is amazing and very knowledgeable.
At the end though, the fastest way to health, weight loss, and feeling at peace with food is through slowing down and learning to listen to your own body. For this you need someone who can give you the tools to listen and understand your body. You can do it yourself through experimentation, your yoga teacher might be helpful, and I am always there for you if you want some guidance.
After a mindful eating workshop and a food combining lecture that I was recently teaching, several women noticed that they got bloated after having fruit post meals. Others noticed tummy troubles from mixing dairy and fruit. I didn’t tell them that they must stop eating those combinations but I encouraged them to observe the reaction of their body in certain circumstances. I gave them the tools and they came to the conclusion themselves. Once they noticed it, there was no way to deny it. Personal experience is the strongest one. We learn from our lessons better than from others’. Wellness coach can just help guide you in what to pay attention to and how.
Today I would like to share a short ‘Check in with your body’ meditation. Do it with me in the video below. Do it daily and soon you will be able to understand and trust your body’s language.
In the comments, let me know what is your body telling you today? What can you do to make it feel better right now?
Soon I will be sharing a great opportunity for 3 people to work with me privately for the next few months. Keep your eyes open!