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Weekly Health/Inner Development Post: Number 17: Nutrition

Nutrition has always been a popular topic for people seeking to improve their health and physical/mental state. The possibilities in different diets are endless: raw, vegetarian, vegan, carnivore, paleo, ketogenic, pescatarian, slow food, fast food, macrobiotic, cosmic nutrition, intermittent fasting etc etc, we could go on like that for and entire page. Summing up the advantages or disadvantages of a certain diet, or different diets, is an impossible task. Why? The amount of variables involved is simply too great. Humans have adapted to many different habits, and hence have adapted to many different food sources in their environment. An eskimo can live on an almost only fat diet, while someone living in the jungle can live on a diet made of plants, and some tribes in Africa mainly live on meat, blood and milk. Vice versa, an eskimo on an only plant diet would probably die, and someone adapted to living in the jungle on an only fat diet would probably die quickly as well. In short, slight variations in genetics play a big role. Next to that, each person also has a different body type, like shown in Ayurveda for example, or certain energetic qualities described in Chinese Medicine. Someone who has a very ´hot´ constitution energy wise, does not benefit from eating very spicy food for example, while someone who has a weak liver for example should be careful eating too much fat, and an exclusive vegan diet is not ideal for someone who is slow and cold a lot. Through personal experimentation over the years with many different diets, protocols, (intermittent) fasting etc, and by recently spending a couple of weeks diving into the latest trends in nutrition, I observed once again the same pattern as discussed in many previous articles: over-identification with a limited sense of self. What does this mean? People change their diet, or try out something new, and this can be advantageous to their health. Great......experimentation, trying new things, challenging oneself, is the only way to learn. However, many people than become ´identified´ with this diet, meaning it becomes part of their ´i-identity´, their ego, and often (not always) start seeing this diet as part of their personality. As a result, different diets are judged, ridiculed or not taken seriously, and the people that follow them verbally attacked. Now obviously there are some common factors which are present in all so called healthy diets: not eating lots of sugar, not eating many toxin/processed foods, moderation, etc. But even that does not have to apply to everybody. My grandmother and great-grandmother loved sugar and candy, and ate a lot of it, and reached the age of 98 and 101 while rarely falling ill in their lives. They probably never entered into ketosis (claimed to promote longevity) in their lives, or fasted, and just ate whatever they liked. As said before, the number of factors involved is so large, that it is impossible to make generalisations.

What about all the other factors involved when eating? Chewing well vs not chewing well, portion size, timing of meals, toxins and plastic in packaging, quality of produce, organic vs non-organic, hybridised vs non-hybrided, heated vs not-heated, drinking with food vs not drinking with food, cooked in certain way or could go on for 100 pages. The claim by some spiritual traditions that the physical body (and food) is not important, is of course understandable if one´s aim is transcendence, but in general, denying one has a body is just as strange as saying that one is only the body (both the result of over-identification with a certain belief system again). After trying out many different diets, and talking to many people on different diets, and having a good overview more or less what is out there, i observed one aspect is rarely discussed: what about simply sitting down, being calm and silent, and really feeling the body. Once one amplifies the awareness of the body, and the real hunger signals it gives, one can feel on an intuitive level what the body is craving for. If thirsty, water. If you only eat fruit, after a while you want some meat or fish or protein. Becoming sensitive like this, letting go of control, and really listening to the body creates a way of eating which is relaxed, calm and not dogmatic. If you ate too much somehow, you naturally fast. If you feel sick, the body naturally wants to fast too. If you are out walking with your daughter and you feel like eating a nice chocolate ice-cream, you share the joy of eating it without feeling guilty. Nobody who really becomes sensitive and listens to the body would stuff themselves with toxic food or huge meal portions. A balanced diet would come naturally if one really listens to the body, no matter what that diet might be (on the condition that food sources are available of course, and if not, the body is well adapted to (intermittent) fasting if needed). All the stress of worrying about following a certain diet, or being in a certain state (ketosis, fasting, intermittent fasting, only raw etc etc), is often way more toxic to the body than the benefits of that diet. Once all that stress and control is released, the body naturally corrects itself if really listened to. Soon we we realise that a toxic body is often the result of a toxic mind (changing mental habits is much harders than changing diet, so that is where the real challenge is). And if you do like a certain diet, great, than one knows it feels right and that is 100% fine without it becoming another attachment for ego. Now this does not mean being out of control....of course not, it means being calm, sensitive, amplifying the joy of eating because it feels intuitively right, and listening to the body while you try out different things. In time, one will know what the body, which its unique genetics, body constitution, energy, physical/mental needs, requires nutrition wise on an intuitive level without following or becoming a ´follower ´ of a certain diet.

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