The Heart Sutra: “Every decision I make is a choice between a grievance and a miracle. I let go of grievances and choose miracles.” - Deepak Chopra
As I look through various recipes that quite honestly appear to be top notch on the taste meter, when I dive into the ingredients, I can't help but wonder just why people put this stuff into there body's. So why do we?
Before I dive into this let me preface by saying I care. The reason why I write is because I care about people and can't stand to see people suffering needlessly while big food companies, big pharma and others with similar interests benefit so much from our pain. These giants in most cases are here to make money and as bad as it may sound as long as there are people buying, big food will keep making destructive foods and big pharma will keep putting band-aids on our issues with medications that really have no place in our medicine cabinet. Its not all, but there is a lot of conflict of interest here and you need people that look out for your best interest. If you choose to listen to this then that's wonderful, but if you choose not to, that's okay as well. Some may not be ready to hear things that are life altering. Anyway, on with the rest of the piece.
So why do we continue to put this stuff into our body's? Well, number one is that for most us of we grow up surrounded by sugar. Sugar is the filler that big food uses to replace the fat that is stripped out due to it's false link to coronary artery disease and high cholesterol. They do this for a reason and that's because they are in existence to make a profit. They know how to sell a product and they know that sugar is addictive! From that very first bite of sugary birthday cake we are hooked. Suddenly, kids don't want to eat the more plain things on the plate and instead you come back into the room to find your kid on the counter getting into the cabinet to reach the Oreos. You can't eat your vegetables, but you can polish off five times the serving size of cookies? I often wonder about things like this. Just why is it in our experience in the first place. If it causes so much issue then why are we presented with things like this. I think its because we need contrast in life and it is filled with highs and lows, positives and negatives and its essential really to know what we truly want. You don't know what you want until you are faced with something you don't want. This is a topic for another article, but I think it explains at least to me why we have things like this in our life.
The shift in culture has created one where we consume massive amounts of sugar all day, everyday! In a lot of cases without knowing. Do you know the common disguises for sugar in your ingredient lists? How about wheat, do you know how much it raises your blood sugar? I am not suggesting that big food companies are evil or even that sugar is "evil". But when you compare it with what the cigarette companies do to make sales, the separation becomes a little hard to distinguish if I am honest. Different delivery mechanism, but the same response in the brain. You get it and you want more and more. So when kids and adults alike are presented with a choice between something that we know will give us that "high" and something that is good for us, but elicits no brain response, we choose the high.
I think a second reason is our need to be satisfied by external things all the time. This is really addiction 101 and for me personally my life has been filled with a lot of quick fixes. As we grow up, we tend to lose that wonderful quality of being happy from the inside out as we are subjected to the many things that shape us as we grow older. I may be way oversimplifying this, but what we learn when we are young sticks with us. When we learn consciously and subconsciously that we can feel almost instantly better by eating a piece of cake, it sticks with us. Sweets become rewards for things done well or taken away when we are bad, so this is another psychological component that aids the addiction. Sweets take on a whole new meaning. Its the allure of happiness. Its happiness until you eat so much that you feel like crap, but then you learn that the crash goes away if you eat more later. So the cycle continues. It sets us for continued pain and heartache as we move into adult life.
My main point is this; learn how to focus on eating foods for the enjoyment of what it is doing for your body. Are you really aware of what sugar is doing to you for example? Are you really aware of what artificial colors and preservatives do to your body? How about wheat? Some might be aware and maybe you just don't care or maybe the desire always wins out. Its your life and you choose to do what you want to do. Its free will. From the course in miracles it states, every decision you make is either a choice between a grievance or a miracle. Sugar is no miracle. Processed foods are quite miraculous in concept, but implementation and impact on lives is very much a grievance. For others though, you can feel it in your bones and at your core. You know that it doesn't ultimately feel right, but you continue to do it until you are really forced to make changes. I cant really put my finger on it other than it is a voice inside, a very subtle voice that tells you to knock it off. Eventually the sugar, refined and processed foods will drive your body into the ground. Sorry to be harsh, but it will. The truth is that if you continue to drive your blood sugar up and up, it will literally drive you into the ground. Some cases the ending may be quick, but for most its a slow miserable process to the boneyard. If you continue to stress out the body with pseudo foods it will leave a mark. It doesn't matter if you are a world class athlete or not. It all has the same impact on the body and its always going to wreak havoc. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but eventually and nobody is spared.
So a page from my playbook looks like this. With autoimmunity, sometimes even if you are doing all the right things, you still may get a touch of a flare up or a full blown flare. There are so many factors that go into this, but every single time this happens, I have to make choices that are for the greater good of my body. Keep in mind this goes for anyone whether you are sick or not. My #1 example is liver or organ meats. The simple mention of liver makes me people cringe. I get it. Liver can be pretty yucky, but even more yucky if you tell yourself that it is. My main strategy is to know what it is doing for me. Every time without fail, a few extended meals with liver per week will usually give me enough nutrients to push through. In fact when I was having a really rough month some years back, I ate liver every day for weeks. For most that is way too much, but for someone not absorbing nutrients its critical. Its critical to reset. Its critical to give your body what it needs and that nutrients as opposed to the anti-nutrient of processed food is what it is screaming for. For the average person that gets the flu for example, what you do in the early stages is so important. If you continue to drink soda, eat sugar and processed foods during this time and disregard what your body needs, I am afraid you may be sick for a while. I hear people say, "oh, I cant take that, its freaking yucky". What if you had a crystal ball and you knew it would work? Would you consume it then? Maybe? Most likely not though because its not sweet and good tasting. Back to that again.
I get that we all desire good taste. By no means am I suggesting that we give up things that taste good. I am simply saying to be aware of what your body really needs. To this day, I consciously eat organ meat once a week and sometimes multiple times if my body tells me so. I take cod liver oil once a day and this is another thing that people will give the yuck face on. But smart people for decades have been doing these very things and are better for it. Look at some of the groups of people that have a very long history and you wont find a single long living culture that has consumed foods similar to the standard American diet. To reject things because they don't taste good is doing your body a big disservice. And keep in mind that with most things, you can make them taste wonderful. Take a look at great Paleo recipes out there. Great ingredients that are great for you and taste great as well. You just have to be willing to open your mind and practice discipline to make a different choice and take the time to create something rather than opening a box.
I come at this from a place of personal experience and I don't like to see people suffer needlessly. Quite possibly if I would have known more about these things back before I landed on the autoimmune spectrum, I may have changed somethings that would have helped me avoid this. Nobody is exempt from this spectrum by the way and how you treat your body today will dictate how it responds later. That's why I write these things because I want people to thrive and remove suffering. I hope this reaches you and makes you think a bit. Peace!
Ian Sandage is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who speaks from the personal experience of someone with autoimmune disease and the highs and lows of a health journey