A couple of years ago I came across some ideas about food choices that challenged everything I thought I knew about my body and the effects of what I put into it.
The idea of not drinking alcohol or caffeine and giving up gluten and dairy sounded ultra-healthy, but the thought of no cake or mojitos ever again? What a boring way to live, I thought.
Back then I judged making different food choices as an obsessive eating habit – a disorder even – where some foods were deemed ‘bad’ and others ‘good’.
The people I met who lived like this didn’t see it or describe it like that, but neither could they explain to me exactly how it made them feel in a way that I could understand. It goes without saying that it’s pretty challenging to experience what it’s like to be in someone else’s body.
If I really wanted to know and understand why anybody would eat that way out of choice, rather than necessity, I realised I would have to give it a go for myself.
I also noticed that people who’d made what I would have called ‘unconventional’ food choices, based on how different foods made their body feel, didn’t seem to be wallowing in a world of deprivation and self-pity.
In fact, they seemed more alive and fulfilled than most, and just getting on with their lives. It was me who was making a big deal about what they chose to eat, not them.
After suspiciously keeping my distance, eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I caved in. Giving up cake, champagne and ice cream had to have some benefits other than the obvious health ones, otherwise why bother with the effort? It was time to investigate.
I gently put to one side the cake, champagne and ice cream, in an experiment that I imagined would last a few weeks or months. Often I had a beer or glass of wine, bread, cheese or something else that I was attempting to temporarily abstain from in the name of my not very scientific experiment. But it didn’t seem to matter.
The less I ate of foods containing things like gluten, dairy and sugar, the lighter, cleaner and clearer my body and my mind felt.
It still amazes me that food can affect my body so much, because until recently I had never really considered the link between what I eat and how I feel, and even the quality of my thoughts.
But as I started making different choices about what to eat, I noticed that things began to change; the way I responded to situations was changing. Difficult conversations, although still difficult, became less intense. The internal emotional whirlwinds that I’d created (and blamed on others) took less time to dissipate. It felt like a fog I’d been living in – one that I couldn’t see even existed before – had started to lift.
The links between my body and my emotional and mental state have become much more obvious. When I eat lots of heavy food or too much food, I feel heavy, weighed down and foggy – like I’m operating on battery-saving mode.
It makes it easy for my mind to slip into a quicksand of circuitous and dull negative thinking and I start to feel lethargic and bored. Instead of focusing on what I can contribute to a situation and bring to others around me, I make it all about me and my life. My self-obsessed thoughts turn into a distraction and I forget about my responsibility to live fully and truly.
I still have ideas that pop into my head about my choices around food and how I ‘should’ be living. How come nearly the entire world eats gluten and dairy and drinks alcohol – surely it can’t be that ‘bad,’ if everyone does it? Isn’t it fussy and ungrateful to be choosy about what I’m eating?
But I’ve come to realise:
- It’s not about demonising food groups nor judging myself nor anybody else for what we choose to eat, but so much more simple: stop, feel, and choose from there – is this food really supporting and nourishing my body, and how do I feel after eating it?
- It’s not about shouting from the rooftops about how great I feel, but to just accept and allow what feels good by listening to my body
- There are no rules
Now what I choose to eat isn’t about rules, perfection or deprivation, but about learning to listen to my body and feeling the effects of what I put into it.
Every time I choose something – a food, drink, thought or emotion that doesn’t make me feel so good, I get to feel it – and I can choose differently next time, if I feel like it.
What has been amazing is that I rarely crave any of the stuff I used to. I’ve had a sweet tooth since I was a small child and used to love cakes and biscuits. But now I’d rather choose the stillness and solidness I can feel most of the time, over a sugary treat which makes me feel hyperactive and like I’m on drugs.
When I listen to my body like this, it totally removes the arduous ‘giving up’ of unhealthy foods, the battle against cravings, or strict regimes. Eating in a way that truly nourishes me becomes easy because my body just isn’t interested in foods that don’t make me feel good.
Eating to nourish my body, and how it feels afterwards, instead of just for the short-lived taste sensation, is a constant unfolding, with increasing clarity and an amazing revelation: I can choose the level of awareness that I want to feel in my body by choosing what I put into it, and it gets reflected back to me in all areas of my life.
The more I listen deeply to my body, the more it shares with me, and the steadier I feel. It’s amazing to feel how this has affected all areas of my life, far beyond how my body feels: from knowing what needs to be said in any given situation, to feeling clearer, having more trust in myself and knowing of what to do next, with far less need from anything outside of me.
The effects of what we choose to put into our bodies is profound.
By Bryony, UK
My Body’s Reaction to Gluten, Dairy and Sugar
The Body Knows
When it comes to food – let your body speak
I started every dinner with the words:” I choose awareness”- it is so easy to eat out of pleasure, but is it true pleasure, when the body feels like a heavy stone afterwards?
With all the contrasting studies out there these days in regard to food and diet getting stuck in the mentality of good and bad food, right and wrong food gets us all confused as to what is actually important, which is listening to our bodies and reading what it feels.
After removing the foods that I always felt were no good for my body from my diet I too felt that the “fog I’d been living in – one that I couldn’t see even existed before – had started to lift.”. And as it lifted my energy levels soared and my vitality with them. Life felt so different than it had ever felt which had me wondering why I had ignored my body’s wisdom for so long – 50 years in fact – simply so I wouldn’t lose out on the pleasures of life that, I was convinced, food provided.
‘The more I listen deeply to my body, the more it shares with me, and the steadier I feel.’ I experience this too Bryony, in all areas of life, my body is a great friend and guide for the choices I make, when I listen to it, I love the feeling of steadiness that comes with this.
“Now what I choose to eat isn’t about rules, perfection or deprivation, but about learning to listen to my body and feeling the effects of what I put into it.” Beautiful Bryony. What we gain is far greater than what we feel we may miss out on when we let foods that don’t serve us disappear from our daily menu.
I can so relate to this Bryony, as even though my body and being experience huge and unpleasant reactions from eating gluten and dairy, and I mostly watched what I ate because of this, I still struggled with feeling like I was ‘missing out’ when I couldn’t eat pizza or cakes so much so that I would end up have some knowing how unwell it would make me feel, which it always did. It was only when I began developing a loving relationship with my body that I began to also to honor the love I felt within me. From here I came to realise that this connection within me was worth more that any food out there and that I was not actually missing out on anything. Instead I have in fact gained a far greater quality of well-being and richness in my life, that I now am not interested in compromising again.
Whenever I walk past something I fancied a lot, before I changed my diet, I tune into how it actually felt in my body after eating it. The level of lightness and purity my body has is what I would not leave for this short moment of pleasure in my mouth. So it is easy to “withstand” although it is not really a withstanding. Interesting as well, when I don´t have a great day, something fancy to eat would attract my sight more than on a day when I am in full power.
Listening to my body and buying, preparing and eating food in response to what it has to say has made my relationship with food much simpler.
” The effects of what we choose to put into our bodies is profound.” . This is so true , from once I took charge of what I ate , and ate what felt right for my body , my body transformed over a few weeks. I stopped eating gluten , dairy, manufactured sugars , caffeine and I did not drink alcohol. It was like an outer covering of puffiness evaporated off me. I have since refined my food intake even more and now I feel my body is my body.
This is so true Linda and how much we appreciate ourselves for who we are not what we do.
It is also I have found as you share undeniable the impact of food choices on our thoughts and moods, when I eat chocolate or sugar I am yes racy in the body but more obviously irritable, less able to cope, quick to anger, defensive and reactive essentially. Some have the same thing with salt. The impact of food is like your share profound.
Just what I needed to read, thank you Bryony for the no nonsense sharing of a way of living that supports and heals, I am always experimenting and learning more about my choices.
Amazing article, what you share here is life changing. That by eating different foods arguments will disappear? Simply a total shift in what food can do. After eliminating gluten and dairy from my diet many years ago, I start to realize there is so much more about good that is there to be felt. And it goes deeper and deeper.
Food is a constant exploration for me and one that will be a constant refinement over time. Some foods I used to eat that still may be deemed as healthy but no longer feel good in my body. I love how our bodies constantly communicate what they feel and it is then our responsibility to nourish and nurture from those responses, to help us express from our bodies full potential.
I too find that the heavier my food the heavier my body feels…. I feel sluggish and down on myself. It’s so worth eating more lightly…. my body feels lighter, more open, clearer and I feel more joy!
Me too Rachel. I started to realize that feeling heavy is not normal, and that often it is a way to avoid feeling what is the body to be felt.
“Now what I choose to eat isn’t about rules, perfection or deprivation, but about learning to listen to my body and feeling the effects of what I put into it.” This is the beauty there are no reals it really is an individual experience and choice, what feels supportive or not supportive to my body, by stopping and listening to the messages of the effects of what I put into it.
Everyone needs to really feel why they quit to eat or drink certain foods. Otherwise it comes from a knowledge and not an experience felt in the body, which will be very solid, as it is a choice made from the body.
‘Every time I choose to put something into my body, a thought, a food…….’ this is so powerful and has made me look in a different way at how everything that goes into our body has an impact. It is only by trying different ways that we can truly uncover the effects of those things that separate us from the clarity and lightness you write of Bryony. So much ‘food’ for thought.
I love this – one of the best ways to learn in life what truly works and what doesn’t is to experiment. Our bodies are a beautiful science and it’s worth taking the time to know and understand what really supports them and what doesn’t.
‘The effects of what we choose to put into our bodies is profound.’ Yes, it is. More than what apparently may seem. Being present in our body supports us to choose the food that supports our presence in our body. When we allow ourselves to feel, we allow this process to begin and the food choices that come with this awareness, are definitely self-loving
Thank you Bryony for your confirming and encouraging blog. Food choices can still be a big stumbling block for me at times!
So much of the time people are changing their diets for ‘body’ reasons, … its great to read about the very strong effect upon our mind and emotional well being as well.
Making better food choices is not rocket science. You put cleaner fuel in, your vehicle runs better. The belief about healthy eating being boring is significant to be aware of as it the opposite of boring that we seek – be it stimulating or a salt/sugar buzz, reward or comfort when we go against what our body wants to eat.
‘The links between my body and my emotional and mental state have become much more obvious.’ – As we refine our relationship to foods, exercise and even just how we move every day, things that don’t support us and jar our body become starkly obvious.
I love this blog. To me it just reiterates that instead of judging the food choices of others we should try it and see how we feel! This brings it back to the body not the mind and what ‘it’ thinks. ‘stop, feel, and choose from there – is this food really supporting and nourishing my body, and how do I feel after eating it? This is still something I am learning and reading this I know I need to stop, feel and ask myself this question with food far more than I currently do. It is not about perfection, reaching a goal or being something it is about loving me more.
we all have to at some stage listen to our bodies… The thing is our body is always speaking to us, and if you don’t listen… Well it just speaks louder!
The observation that those around you who were beginning to change their diets by removing certain foods “didn’t seem to be wallowing in a world of deprivation and self-pity” would have been such a profound one and it seems like it got you thinking. I found that when I removed gluten, dairy and sugar from my diet those around me were certain that I was depriving myself and missing out on the culinary joys of life. They were worrying about me more than I was, but finally the worrying has stopped as they can see what a turnaround there has been in my health and in my life; hard to argue with living proof.
Great article, and thanks for the insight of your food and drink journey. It is like a before and after. What I recognize very much is the fact I was still eating gluten, diary, sugar or all the types of food that don’t support me it was very hard to imagine what it feels like living without them. Because it was my normal.
You live in a fog but don’t see the fog as you are totally in it.
I love how you describe the changes you experienced as you cut out various foods as being like a fog, that you were not even aware of, lifting. Perhaps this is why we can resist making changes because we choose to be ignorant of the huge impact eating things that are not supportive can have on us.
When I read the words, “challenged everything I thought I knew about my body and the effects of what I put into it”’ I realised that before meeting Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, my only relationship with food was my idealistic vegetarianism and eating whatever I could, so long as I could get away with it. This ‘getting away with it’ meant that I only monitored my input due to not wanting to get too overweight. There was no concern for my health, the lightness I felt in my body. It was all about satisfying my taste buds and feeling ‘full’.
What a great experiment that was…. choosing to let go of so much, and we can just go on learning from listening to our bodies.
What a great experiment that was Bryony, choosing to let go of so much, and we can just go on learning from listening to our bodies.
When I have a day where I look after myself, express whatever I need to and move in a way that supports my being, then I do not over eat in the evening. Every thing in me wants to honor my body with what, how and when I eat.
I know this very well Mary- Louise. Plus when I am very conscious present with whatever I do and don´t let thoughts rule my day, I am hungry, but I am not craving and don´t need much food either. What a great marker . The next step is accepting this and keeping this as the new standard.
‘Now what I choose to eat isn’t about rules, perfection or deprivation, but about learning to listen to my body and feeling the effects of what I put into it.’ This is one of the most amazing things about the food choices I have been making is that if I enjoy something and my body doesn’t tell me otherwise I carry on eating it, which means that the foods I have stopped eating I no longer enjoy. For example, I used to love chocolate brownies and a sweet tart made with confectioners custard and filo pastry. The other day I tried a tiny bite of something super sweet and was amazed how my taste buds completely rejected it. It doesn’t become hard to walk past the cake counter, there is no discipline needed as there is no part of me that would want to take away from the loveliness I feel inside.
The title of this blog says it all. Do we want to support ourselves to evolve and be in the health and nourishment of that or do we want to go round and round feeling comfortable and, if we are honest, stuck in patterns that lessen our light.
Our sense of taste and our choice of foods is determined by our relationship with ourselves and our willingness to deepen in life – to be more transparent, more loving, open, connected and surrendered much more so than it is determined by anything else.
How would it be if we were to each commit to our body in the same way in which we commit to our cars and tend to our belongings?
We are never not without our body for instance and yet do we honour our body, listen to see if we need to adjust our rhythm and tune and nourish ourselves with the full power fuel without unwanted debris? Our body will run on the fuel we put in – therefore it is wise to support ourselves rather than ingest what will never go the distance.
“Now what I choose to eat isn’t about rules, perfection or deprivation, but about learning to listen to my body and feeling the effects of what I put into it.” Upon reading your blog Bryony I realise how in the past my brain had felt like it was in a fog, but no longer, also my body feels much lighter and I now have more vitality, thanks to listening to my body and its wisdom.
Having given up an array of foods over the years, I do not miss any of them, as the lightness and clarity I feel not eating them far out weighs the taste sensation I got from eating them.
Bryony, I agree with this, ‘The effects of what we choose to put into our bodies is profound.’ I notice how I get super racy after eating anything sugary and that I find it hard to settle, I have also noticed this with children and I have noticed how I feel heavy and tired after overeating, and that I cannot be bothered in this state and really just want to go to sleep or I can eat light, nutritious foods and feel amazing, have lost of energy and feel light and playful – very different and so yes the effects of what we eat in our bodies is indeed profound.
Yes indeed, thank you for this. There is no question, anyone who chooses to embark on this experiement will share the same – what we consume has an effect on our physical and mental health. Our choice is to support ourselves or not by whether we choose to indulge the temporary stimulation of the senses or value the solidness of stillness in the body.
I have realised that my sense of taste and ‘favourite foods’ are all determined by the quality of my relationship with myself and the way I choose to live.
I agree Kylie if I am feeling great then I do not want to eat any food that is going to dull me down and I will be very particular with what I eat.