This is a question I am often asked, especially by new clients. They want me to advise them what kind of food they should eat to aid their healing. This is especially important to people who have allergies, food sensitivities, digestive disorders and the like. Here is a summary of what I have found to be really practical useful advice on diet. It is not medically approved. Some of it flies in the face of advice you can find online and elsewhere. I say it here because I have found it works better this way.
- Focus on building a healthy digestive system This is by far the most important step and the most overlooked. If your digestive system is not functioning well it really doesn’t matter so much what you eat. Nothing will be good for you. As your digestive system balances out you will find yourself less and less sensitive to what you eat. Allergies disappear. Bloating and other uncomfortable symptoms are relieved and you receive more and more nourishment from your food. So what this means is don’t start by looking at diet. Start by fixing your digestion. Then you will be in a good position to choose a good diet.
- Stop worrying and be happy The vast majority of digestive and food problems are closely linked with worry, anxiety and nervousness. Traditional Chinese Medicine links worry and excess thinking with imbalance in the energy of the stomach and spleen, which directly cause digestion problems. “Don’t worry, be happy” is excellent advice. It really works and is one of the quickest ways to heal the digestive system.
- Relax Learning to relax will help you stop worrying. Taking time to relax or meditate every day has been clinically proven to improve digestion – and it will help you be happier too.
- Let go of all fear of food This is a big one. We are surrounded by messages about food and many of them are negative. So many foods these days are said to cause cancer and other serious diseases. We can be forgiven for feeling afraid of eating. However this fear does far more damage than the food itself. I have seen many people heal serious digestive problems simply by letting go of all their fear that their food will kill them and allowing themselves to eat freely. This is not easy to do on your own, so it would be wise to get help if you feel this applies to you.
- Enjoy eating Enjoyment is life’s great healer. Even food that is not classically very healthy will be much more beneficial, or less harmful, if you enjoy and appreciate it. So if you are going to eat that chocolate cake please don’t feel guilty about it. You do more damage through guilt than through all that sugar!
- Be grateful for all your food I once heard a very wise woman say that she was grateful for absolutely every meal, whether she was eating at McDonalds or a home-grown organic feast. I often remember her words. They are good advice. Animals and plants have given their lives for you to eat, whether they are battery farmed or grow happily in someone’s garden. All food is part of the web of life. A little appreciation gives you energy and is good for digestion as well.
- Cook with love Do you remember the movie, Like Water for Chocolate? If you cook with anger, boredom, frustration, bitterness or any other negative emotion, all those feelings get poured into the food. This has a horrible effect on the digestion of all those poor people eating your food – including you. Food cooked with love is healing and nourishing. You deserve this as much as everyone else.
- Make healthy choices from an informed position If you have done steps 1 to 7 you are now in a strong position to start talking about diet. Start by deciding what your goal is for making choices about food. For example do you want a diet to help you stay young, keep you healthy, support a fitness regime, overcome a disease…?
Once you are clear what you want you will probably need to consult experts and get informed about the many options available. You can expect to put some work into this – but given how much time you spend preparing and eating food it is worth the investment. It will end up being a personal choice and there will probably be many changes over the years as we learn more about the effects of food on the body. But at least if you are happy and you have a healthy digestive system you will be making the most of all the food you eat.