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A Healthy Diet Can Be A Powerful Catalyst Of Emotional Healing

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Benjiro, Jul 4, 2021.

  1. Benjiro

    Benjiro Peer Supporter

    Greetings everyone,

    I haven’t logged on here in a while, but I wanted to make this post because I believe it will help some of you. Let me first give a brief outline of the path that led me to the main insight I want to share.

    When I first discovered mindbody medicine 5 years ago, I invested all of my energy into emotional healing. I stopped looking at the human body as a car that yielded a mechanical output based on a mechanical input. I started focusing on my biography, both past and present, as a means to improve my biology. This shift in my thinking was groundbreaking, and it alone enabled me to completely heal from disabling chronic neck and back pain of several years.

    I also started working out as soon as I was capable. Knowledge of mindbody medicine, journaling/emotional work, and exercise were my most important tools for a long time. A few years ago, I also discovered fasting as a tool to heal, both physically and emotionally. I intermittent fasted for a couple years, and completed longer water and dry fasts, with solid results, both for the mind and body.

    I later learned that you don’t have to completely abstain from consumption to get benefits from diet. I looked at a number of studies on animals, and I was shocked to discover that for so many species, the single number one way of getting them to live longer, or obtain better health outcomes, in cases where they do not live longer, is to restrict the daily quantity of calories they consume. I learned that eating a little less everyday was a way to get the same, and even greater, benefits than completely fasting, due to the cumulative effect. It makes sense intuitively; eating beyond the calories we need to function at peak levels creates extra work for our bodies that diverts energy from other bodily processes, like physical and emotional healing.

    My last discovery, as it relates to diet, had to do with healthy food. Why do they typically tell us to eat healthy? To lose weight? To not get sick 20 or 30 years later? I learned, similarly to the quantity of consumption, that the effects of what we eat is another huge input in the emotional health equation. What we eat, science says, influences our quality of sleep the same day. It influences how we feel the next day. It influences our ability to process various informational and emotional stimuli.

    I started eating only whole foods, lightly processed foods with nutritional value, nuts, legumes, and fruits and vegetables. I cut out all added sugars, artificial dyes, sweeteners, fried foots, fast food, excessive fats, and many other unhealthy ingredients and preservatives. I was gratified by how my emotional health started to improve within days, with slow and steady gains after that. When I ate healthier, I would wake up feeling a little lighter the next day. I felt better.

    One important note: A healthy diet isn’t just for overweight or obese people. I was always at a healthy weight, and so I never believed I could get much out of diet. Dieting, after all, is typically marketed to people who are overweight. I was in excellent athletic shape, as well, which added to my complacency. However, the truth is I ate way too much processed foods, way too much sugary drinks and added sugar, and not enough substantive food, like whole grains and vegetables, with high nutritional value. People who are overweight or obese may stand the most to gain by changing their diet, but there are powerful emotional and physical benefits for everyone.

    I know there have been many books written on “Eating To Heal,” and people say, "You are what you eat," so this is not an original discovery by any means. However, I wanted to share my positive experience here, because I don’t think diet gets enough play in mindbody circles. It is my belief that our experience of anger, sadness, fear, etc. is powerfully influenced by the food we eat, in addition to things like physical activity and our subjective efforts to deal with emotions in a healthy manner. Food, in a word, can either aid or impair our ability to process trauma.

    In sum, if you haven’t incorporated dietary changes and are already healing, a healthy diet can be a way to accelerate those gains. If you haven’t incorporated dietary changes and have been stagnant in your recovery process, a healthy diet can create a surge of momentum that tips the balance in your favor.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2021
    Cap'n Spanky likes this.

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