I have never been a fan of dieting, but over the years my relationship with food has changed and I now love to eat the warm and yummy diet.
I used to subscribe to the eat-what-I-like-and-complain-about-the-consequences diet, but by the age of 40 that had made me big and bloated and lethargic and listless and sick and I finally decided it was time to start looking at other options.
The first thing I became aware of was that I did not realise how much certain foods affected me until I stopped eating them. Sometimes when we are in something it becomes normal for us, and it is not until we are out of it that we realise the harm it was doing… and this can be true for food, relationships, work situations and all manner of things in life.
When I realised I was falling asleep after lunch and in the car while driving and that it may have something to do with all the bread and cake I was eating, I, very reluctantly, gave up eating gluten and was astonished at the effects.
I started to feel less heavy, less bloated and tired, more vital and alive, and most of all, I started to feel. I had not realised how numbing gluten was, and once I stopped eating it, I started to feel all sorts of things, including the effects of other foods.
Dairy was the next to go. I loved dairy nearly more than life itself, the creamier the better, but eventually the snotty nose, blocked sinuses, being elbowed by my partner because I was snoring at night, and itchy skin became too much even for my stubborn will, and I let it go, albeit not without a fight.
At the time we were strict vegetarians, and we came to realise that if you stop eating gluten and dairy and you don’t like soy, and lentils really bloat you and make you fart, there is not a lot left to eat except vegetables and fruit!
So we started eating fish again… oh my goodness, what a revelation! Instead of feeling like we were starving all the time, we started to feel satisfied before we had stuffed ourselves with a mountain of food.
Now I am not saying that everyone should eat animal protein, and there are plenty of people in the world who survive and even thrive without it, but for us, it was a necessary part of our diet that we had been doing without for decades.
Once we started eating fish and meat again we were back on track with food.
But life since then has been a constant process of refining what we eat as our bodies continue to evolve and we adjust accordingly.
This process has not been as graceful as it may sound. We are both very aware and know what suits our bodies to eat and drink and what does not, but we are also both very stubborn and like to do what we like to do, including what we eat.
So we tend to continue to eat something that we know we shouldn’t while our bodies continue to speak to us, louder and louder and louder, and we finally let the food go only when they are screaming at us to stop.
To try and curb these stubborn wills of ours, we have stopped focussing so much on the food itself and started working more with how our bodies feel. We are working on living in a way that makes us feel lovely, including how we move, how we walk, how we express, and we are committed to building that lovely feeling in our bodies with all our choices in life.
As we continue to do this it becomes more and more clear which foods support that lovely feeling and which do not, and that too much of a good thing is not always wonderful, no matter what Mae West said. Even the lightest loveliest food in the world can make us feel heavy and tired if we eat too much of it.
The more we focus on that warm and yummy feeling in our body, on cherishing it, supporting it and building it, the less inclined we are to eat foods that do not support that feeling, and the more inclined we are to eat foods that still allow us to feel that lovely quality we are.
This is a very simple way to eat, and it is a diet that is tailor-made for you. For us now it means eating lamb, fish, green vegetables and salad, with a small amount of nuts, seeds and relatively low sugar fruit, but I am sure this will change, and it will be different for each of us.
What we have also come to realise is that it is not just about us. The way we eat affects the way we feel, about ourselves and about each other. We can eat in a way that allows us to feel the loveliness inside ourselves and in each other, or we can eat in a way that interferes with that… if I eat sugar, I instantly become irritable with my beloved husband, and if he eats carbs, he checks out and is no longer fully available to me…
We may be able to eat what we like and think it has nothing to do with anyone else, but it does. Our food choices affect the way we are, and we bring that same quality to all our relationships.
The key is not to make it so much about the food, but about focussing on that warm and yummy feeling inside and allowing ourselves to really feel how foods affect us and being willing to let them go if they do not support the loveliness we are.
Enjoy eating in a way that makes you feel warm and yummy inside, and warm and yummy with others too!
This article was first published on Unimed Living