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Food: Manipulation and Control

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Lily Rose, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    Food is as air and water, without which our bodies would cease to function. A fact so simple and basic. Our survival. Primal and fundamental.

    By its very nature, food, since it is utterly necessary, became easily a tool to manipulate and control ourselves and others.

    Food is withheld to invoke desired behavior or compliance.

    Food is pressed at us in social situation. Who has not heard "Eat more ... try this ... what, you don't like my cooking..." ? A person who serves food as Ego wrapped up in the presentation and production.

    Food has the power to comfort us and repel us. More than sustenance, it is a chemical onslaught, eagerly ingested.

    We are overloaded by media and marketing of what to eat and what not to eat. Alarmist news states this-or-that is tainted and recalled. Or the big dollar powers push the newest power foods claiming to fix all of our health needs. Magazines blast headliner titles of diets and pseudo nutrition.

    Where, in all this, can we find the simple Truth? We are scrambling to follow the latest lead on magic spells, guaranteed to extend our life, improve our energy, stave off this or that disease ....

    Yet, isn't it the search itself that amplifies our TMS? Is it any different than believing we must take that hot shower, or stretch, or take the drugs to ease and manage our pain?

    .... In a carefully tended organic field, I pick a sprig of herb and eat it ... 'aren't you going to wash that first?' At the patch of blackberries, no such question, only eager hands feeding the greedy body. Where is the difference? Either product, by the time it reaches the stores, has been handled, processed, touched, dropped, sneezed upon ....

    The quest to offer our bodies the best possible health is a worthy quest ... but we get led astray by clever words and pretty pictures, and more than that ... in our desperation, we find hope that if we eat just this exact combination of foods, everything will be just so much better ...

    And then there is the aspect of our self-abuse, using food to drown or distract our emotional pain.

    Food is life. Food can also be a sensual and meditative experience. Each bite can evoke gratitude for every single person that participated in bringing this meal to your body. The farmer who tilled and planted and tended. The workers who harvested. The drivers who transported. The factory workers who processed. The next batch of drivers. The store that received and distributed. The clerk who asked about your day as you made your purchase. The person who cooked the food (even if it was you!) and served it.

    If you are a meat eater, offering extra gratitude for the life that died ...

    Gratitude can alter your chemistry, and soothe your body. Gratitude can remind you to eat only what you need. Gratitude can remind you to treat gently those that would urge you to consume more than your body needs by using kind words in your refusal to have 'just one more serving'.

    Through TMS, we are examining our relationships with ourselves and with others. Our relationship with food is an aspect of this examination. It may be surprising what happens when our internal spotlight shines on this topic.

    with grace and gratitude,
    North Star, Forest and Msunn like this.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Lily Rose. I love your posting. You are absolutely right that food can make us healthy or sick, happy or depressed, feeling up or down.

    I must have stumbled upon the right foods to eat by accident because I never consciously thought of what I was eating until recent years,
    and I'm 83 now. I know what you mean about all the different diet and nutritious commercials we see on television. Every week if not every day some new food guru tells us we're doing this wrong and it's making us sick. Then they tell us to buy this plan or gadget or that and we can live to 100 without being sick or in pain.

    Here's what I decided makes sense and works. I began following it about two years ago and think it really keeps me healthy.

    I'm going to write about it in a separate Word document right now and cut and past it into my next reply soon as I finish it.
    I do it that way because something I hit the wrong key and the post I'm writing gets posted or disappears. I can usually find it again
    but just in case I don't, I do the Word-cut-and-paste thing. Back soon.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Lily Rose, here is what I eat. I also do not buy bottled water. I think most of those are frauds and the water is not really pure anyway.

    My suggestions for healthy food are not many or complicated.

    I eat three meals a day, every day.

    Breakfast is almost always:

    a bowl of oatmeal with a little fat free or low fat milk

    2 poached eggs (no salt or pepper but I like to add Oregano for flavor)

    1 piece of toast (with a little Country Crock fat-free or lowfat margarine)

    1 each: banana, apple, pear (eaten whole or put in a MagicBullet blender with

    some fat-free or low-fat milk)

    I sometimes skip the Oatmeal and have a mix of Cheerios and Raisin Bran cereal and a banana.


    A small salad (lettuce, spinach, 1 or two mushrooms, 1 garlic clove,

    some baby carrots, tomato) with cider vinegar and garlic dressing,

    or a little Ranch or blue cheese dressing)

    1 orange or other fruit.

    Or anything leftover from a dinner so long as I add some veggies.

    Or a grilled cheese sandwich (low-fat cheese but not always

    on toasted rye or whole grain bread)

    a bowl of blueberries, strawberries, or mixed frozen fruit, thawed.


    A salad like for lunch but maybe bigger (fresh veggies or I put them in

    The MagicBullet and make a veggie smoothie)

    Roast chicken leg and thigh, minus the skin

    Baked fish (I piece tilapia, salmon, flounder)

    I buy packs of frozen fish and thaw before baking

    Maybe a baked white potato (trying to eat more sweet potatoes)

    Sometimes a baked port chop

    I also like to make homemade soup (mostly chicken-vegetable-noodle, but sometimes


    I also like to make a pot of chili or just have a can of Jewel chili with a few

    crackers or noodles. I have a salad on the side with the chili.

    I don’t eat any candy except sometimes some chocolate (I need to buy dark

    chocolate but it’s so expensive).

    Instead of candy I snack on nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts).

    I’m allergic to coffee and tea with caffeine so never drink coffee and don’t

    even drink much decaffeinated tea but sometimes decaf chamomile or green tea.

    I like a beer or glass of red wine before or with dinner each evening.

    Saturday night dinner I pig out and have a frozen pizza I bake in the oven.

    I sometimes eat a few cookies or a slice of pie (apple or blueberry) with dinner.

    I NEVER eat at a fast-food restaurant (unhealthy and too expensive).

    I almost never eat in any restaurant (too noisy, too expensive).

    I never go on a diet. Most or all diets I think are too extreme.

    Instead, I eat whatever is bad in moderation or not at all.

    My menu is not scientific. It tastes good and so long as it has fruits and

    vegetables it seems to keep me healthy.

    I haven’t had a cold in years and am not on any medication.

    I’m “regular” each morning because the cereals and nuts give me enough fiber.

    This may not be any help at all but the main thing is eat as much fruit and vegetables as you can each day and avoid fats, frying, canned processed foods, and cakes and candy.

    “Good appetite.”
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Lily Rose,
    Yes, we can make ourselves crazy about food. Relative to TMS, I believe that thinking a lot about food is an example of thinking physically, not psychologically. We needn't do more than apply common sense and moderation to be healthy. I've read a few books by Michael Pollan about food, and he has 3 basic rules: Eat food. Mostly green. Not too much. (He defines food as not the overly processed, chemical-enhanced, food-like substances that one finds in the middle aisles of the grocery store. He suggests shopping around the edges of the store only.) I love the simplicity of that. I am attempting to eat more mindfully and with gratitude as you suggest. Actually, I'm attempting to do everything that way :)

    I "cut the cord" and no longer have TV--only what I can stream via the internet. It has made me much more selective about what I watch and what kind of messages I receive. I don't read magazines or newspapers anymore either, just a few selected sites online. This has reduced my stress and that sense of being bombarded with information and urged to buy things.

    My life is getting simpler as my health improves.
  5. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Food is such a powerful symbol and visceral part of our lives that it becomes a microcosm of how TMS and interpersonal dynamics play out in the rest of our lives. For many people, one of the most important parts of TMS healing is just learning to relax and let go, while still keeping things in balance. Of course this plays out with food as well. It's a great place to exercise mindful self-awareness and assertiveness, facing off against a miasma of meaning, interpersonal relationships, and unconscious feelings.

    Thanks for laying it all out for us!
    North Star, Msunn and Lily Rose like this.
  6. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    Walt ... I do not drink bottled water, either. I haven't for many years. When we lived at the Ranch with my husband's mother, bottled water was purchased by the cases, and the sheer volume of discarded plastic made me crazy. When we first got there, the family and crews didn't even recycle, instead just created heaps of garbage. I was so horrified by this practice. In this area, I am grateful they paid attention and a new container was purchased so they could easily recycle without expending much effort. Soon, other items were being recycled .... whew!

    When I started drinking the tap water, they were horrified, saying the well water was not 'pure' enough to drink. I shrugged it off and continued to defy the pressure to drink the bottled water. It was yet another stress to feel the disapproval, but I held my ground.

    Ellen ... shopping at the edges of the store, I like that image. There are some stores, though, that now put their produce in the center section. I think this is a sneaky way to further get impulse buys for those who head straight to produce.

    I strive for simplicity. Not the simplicity in ease of cooking (packaged), but simplicity in the ingredients.

    Forest ... as you say, seeking balance.

    with grace and gratitude,
    North Star and Forest like this.
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I too shudder when I think of all the plastic bottles of "spring" water are being tossed into garage and our water systems.
    I don't see how anyone who cares about their health can not care about the health of the planet and of the animals on or in it.
    Many species of fish are nearly extinct from dying because of ingesting plastic.
    North Star likes this.
  8. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    I believe that part of our healing journey isn't just about working on ourselves. Pema Chodron offers this lovely thought: We work on ourselves in order to help others, but also, we help others to work on ourselves.

    We do not exist in isolation. Everything we do matters. Everything we think, project, act out ... it all matters. It becomes part of the energy matrix. Our pain IS the pain of the world, and the pain of the world IS our pain. When we can work on our issues, when we can push back against the onslaught and turn it into positive awareness and energy ... it changes the world.

    with grace and gratitude,
    North Star likes this.
  9. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Now if only we could get big business and politicians to follow your concepts.
    Money and power corrupts. Not always or in everyone, but...
    North Star likes this.
  10. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Lily Rose, I really appreciated this thread. Some of your other thoughts on this topic have lingered with me Mostly about loving myself and realizing that I'm OKAY where I'm at RIGHT now. This has been a hard thing for me since my weight creeped back up over the past 10 years . I'm not happy with where I'm at and know that change has to come from WITHIN….NOT when I like the numbers, ie, my weight or pants size. And I also realize I'm going through hormonal changes and as you reminded me, dear Lily Rose, I'm at the weight that I need to be at right now.

    We eat very little processed food but still too much sugar. (I love baking - it's a creative outlet for me and part of how I love on my family since they enjoy the yummies.) And yes, I mainly shop the outside of the store. Costco's my favorite place to shop since they carry more organics for a LOT less than the supermarket. We have our own well and I have WAY more confidence in that than the dreadful water in town. (It's nasty…leaves green rings in drinking fountains!)

    I'm also addressing some food issues as TMS. Wheat is a trigger for GERD and chocolate for a rash. Right now, I'm treating these as a loving message from my body…."Hey! Don't eat this!" vs. the "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead approach." (Ie, tell my brain to knock it off and eat it anyway.) When I was a child, chocolate was taboo as I broke out in a horrible rash from it (first signs of TMS?) but I outgrew that and was fine with chocolate up until a few years ago.)

    One of my big challenges right now too is I am just so tired of cooking! I've been married for 25 years and have been the chief cook for all these years. My kids have enjoyed home cooking all their lives too. My friends were surprised that, when my kids were little, they had a hot breakfast (pancakes, hot cereal, french toast, etc..) more often than not. It wasn't because I was super mom…it was simply a lot cheaper than buying costly cereals (even the plain ones).

    We eat a lot of soups and crockpot meals. Somedays I have a houseful of teens when the kids have friends over so thrift is always a consideration when feeding a swarms of hungry teens.

    I get overwhelmed sometimes at all the dietary info an my good intentions which would be eating free range meat and eggs along with organic produce but that just isn't in the budget. So then I remind myself again to chill out…all's good. And Walt, you remind me that simplicity is always a good plan to stick with.
    Lily Rose likes this.
  11. sewmuch

    sewmuch Member

    What interesting posts. Food has been an issue with me for a long time. And free from TMS symptoms for 2 years, I am now suffering acid reflux to the point where some days my hoarseness prevents me from speaking. I was a vegetarian for 20 years, now eat organic humanely raised meat once or twice a month, and tested positive for gluten, tomato, citrus intolerances 2 years ago.

    Needless to say, food has become my nemesis. I try to healthy, no fast food, processed food, lots of fruit and veggies and water etc etc. But it is difficult to plan, nearly impossible to eat out, especially lunch. This is a real problem with business meals and clients. Now with acid reflux, I have gotten so I loathe the whole cycle of planning what to eat and when, shopping, cooking, eating, cleaning up etc. I feel like a prisoner. I often say if I could stop eating, it would solve a lot of problems. But this of course is impossible. Not sure how to deal with this, acid reflux, and how and if it relates to TMS.
    Lily Rose likes this.
  12. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    North Star .. I, too, have been married for 25 years. My husband was raised by his mother and three older sisters. He never cooked. Ever. Which is fine, as I consider cooking as my end of the deal. He does the icky dirty stuff ;) We did not have children.

    When you are ready, when you feel safe, things will change .. your perspective, your habits.

    I am lucky in that I have immediate access to organic food. We spent five years in an ag-valley that was almost all organic, and here, my circle of friends flood me with the bounty of their harvests. I teach them music (for fun!), and they provide me with all varieties of foodstuff. As for meat for my husband ... it is actually cheaper to purchase a 1/4 or 1/2 of grass-fed beef than to buy the regular stuff in the stores.

    In addition, I am veering my husband away from chicken. It used to be healthier, but now .. the growing number of reports are very alarming. My organic friends also advise against it. My husband doesn't mind at all!

    Food and food info is very overwhelming. Simplicity is the only real way to handle it. As many colors as possible from sources you trust.

    Right here, right now, you are exactly where you should be. Each day can bring about changes, and we decide where to go with them. Learning to love yourself is one of the most important aspects.

    Just remember ... you ARE beautiful ^_^

    Sewmuch, you are so right that eating out is difficult to do. We always plan any outing around getting back home for lunch, as I really cannot eat anywhere. I love Thai food, and sometimes will endure the IBS pain that hits just for the sheer bliss of taste-bud-heaven. Since I am a vegetarian, I also do not trust most places, since simple things like rice can be cooked in chicken broth, and the meal will still be called 'vegetarian' ... *shakes head*

    I enjoy eating .. the visual, the texture, the taste. Since I make my own meals, this allows me full control. My husband talks about taking photos of the meals I make him as I consider presentation an aspect of eating. I only use white plates, so that the meal is the full explosion of color.

    I also enjoy the clean up ... the warm water over my hands, the feeling of chaos into order.

    My sympathy and empathy in regards to the GERDS. I had that severely for awhile, but it is mostly under control now. I cannot imagine the frustration of being stuck with business lunches. When I had to be in public and it hit ... I would take Gaviscon. It worked exceptionally well for me. No matter what the cause of GERDS, allowing the acid to tear up the lining of your esophagus is to be avoided.

    For some reason, red apples are my best friend. They don't incite IBS or GERDS. What a delicious and sweet irony that we purchased an abandoned place that has old apple trees ...

    Has something changed that might have sparked the GERDS? Why now?

    You beat this before .... you know you can do this again. And again. And again. However long it takes, and however often it arises ... we will continue to fight.

    with grace and gratitude,
  13. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sewmuch, the fact that you've been pain free and boom! here comes GERD makes me think this IS TMS. The symptom imperative is a clever rascal. And since this is creating a lot of stress with business lunches remember to think psychological. It might be helpful to do some reflection and journalling on any factors related to you career that could be stirring up unresolved conflict.

    And of course, if this is all barking up the wrong tree….:rolleyes:

    But know this, like Lily Rose said, you CAN beat this! It won't always be like this. I know my episodes of GERD have been severe enough that I have great empathy for you. But I can also say, they HAVE passed. So while I have some dietary triggers, the occurrence of GERD is much less than what it was pre-TMS knowledge.

    Hugs to you, Lily Rose, for your kind words of encouragement.
    Lily Rose likes this.
  14. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Living with apple trees... what a treat! They must taste much better than what I buy at the store.

    I've been adding a lot of nuts to my daily eating. Pecans, walnuts, and almonds mostly. In the shell.
    I reach for them instead of candy or chips.

    I rarely eat in restaurants or go to fast food places. I prefer home cooking, even if it is only my own
    which can get monotonous.
    North Star likes this.

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