Can't see the wood for the trees
The horizon program on BBC Clean Eating - the Dirty Truth 21/01/17 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08bhd29/horizon-20162017-18-clean-eating-the-dirty-truth) had said some really useful information but left us feeling confused about food yet again! Let us look at this program in a little more detail….
Eating free from gluten and dairy and sugar
When you are unhealthy, unfit and have had years of lack of exercise to start the process of getting fit again you do not go out and run for 10 miles on day one. You do it gradually and your body gradually adjusts building up your muscle tone. The same thing needs to be done with a change in food. Avoiding gluten overnight can be too servere for some people causing a negative response. However we do not need to throw it all out of the window. Just like we do not throw out the idea that exercise is good for you if we overdo it in extreme. We come back to it more gradually. The same thing applies to going grain and pulse free. Your body needs to adjust to the new food being ingested. Not only is it a question of muscle tone in your digestive tract but also the whole micro-flora in your gut needs to adjust. This can take years, just like it takes 5 years for an organic soil to be certified organic. The most vulnerable and ill people in our society are those who desperately want to get better and will go to extremes to get there – this may not be the best route which was possible the case of Robert Young’s client (from the TV program). Ella Mills struck a better balance. However I think Ella Mills may have also indirectly been balancing her pH levels without knowing it.
With sugar this is even more addictive and needs to be a gradual process. However some people can cope better with the cold turkey effects!
Coming off all grains and pulses is addressing the micro-flora imbalance which may be a good process to go through to get it back in balance however it may be possible to return to these grains and pulses some time in the future but in moderation and when your digestion is stable and unstressed. You will naturally want to eat less of them as your body has adjusted to a lower carbohydrate diet and you will be naturally satisfied with much smaller quantities. This also ensures the healthy balance of micro-flora is maintained. When you reach this stage you are much more in tune with your body’s wisdom and know when to stop or at least you know you have over eaten much sooner!
Your belief system needs to adjust with it too as this affects your digestion. How can this be?
Well we all understand how stress can cause high blood pressure which can lead to heart conditions and also poor digestion. Stress and anxiety which one creates by ones mind weakens digestion allowing food to begin to ferment inside the colon creating an environment for the bad bacteria to flourish. So your mind creates your bacteria. The psychophysical process of digestion is significant. So if you are stressed about eating certain foods this will effect the digestion of them. You cannot talk about food unless you also talk about how you use your body and mind. In fact stress creates acid within the body’s cells, not just in the digestive system, so if you want to re balance your pH levels then you also need to look at the mental side of the individual.
Finally I would also like to add in the approach of the web of digestion. If we look at how we forecast the weather we need to take in many different factors, time of year, wind direction, cloud cover, temperature etc. These things work together to create the weather. For example in England if there is a westerly wind in the summer this creates warm air, but if it is the winter this creates cold air. This is just one example. We cannot look at things in isolation. Personally I use the bio-dynamic principle and the chi energy of foods to help with this process; we need to look at the internal weather within our bodies and awaken our own wisdom of intuitive eating. Vegetables have far more properties than just nutrition and these properties can be just as important. I think this is why people get so confused with what to eat. They touched on this in the program where they discovered gluten only seems to harm some people where they have a combination of genetic disposition (or behavioural/bacterially inherited), leaky gut, faulty immune system and an imbalance in the micro-flora.
Our habits of eating have been developed gradually over hundreds of years (creating a sense of what is normal, which may not be the same as what is natural). So we can no longer see what is truly healthy and natural and therefore changing seems so abnormal, radical, counter-intuitive and counter-cultural. However over time what feels natural will come to feel normal. We just need to do it gradually and open up to noticing our own internal weather system and landscape of digestion so that we can eat with more wisdom.