When I started studying nutrition professionally in 2008, I remember feeling blown away when I was introduced to the energetic power of food. For years I had looked at nutrition only in terms of calories and macronutrient (carb/protein/fat) ratios. I wanted to know how these would affect my body weight and didn’t go much further than that.
Learning how to look at food from an energetic perspective felt inaccessible in the beginning, so I kept it pretty simple. In many instances this was as intuitive as grounding myself with roots, getting focused with protein, and releasing tension with raw fruit. This was just one step in shifting into a far more supportive relationship with food.
To this day it still amazes me to think that each time we eat, the food that we’re ingesting is informing and affecting our cells, blood, body tissues, mood, and thoughts.
Low-quality foods can make us feel numb or congested. High-quality foods can help our bodies and minds feel lighter and clearer.
To support a clear mind and body…
Increase the amount of: leafy greens, fruit, vegetables, whole carbohydrates, omega 3’s, fresh herbs, clean protein, sea vegetables, and fresh water in your diet.
Decrease/eliminate the amount of: refined sugar, processed carbohydrates, dairy, poor quality protein, hydrogenated oil, processed and chemicalized foods, and artificial sweeteners in your diet.
Using the “adding in” method works well for most people and doesn’t feel too dramatic.
One Overlooked Challenge of Clean Eating
Then of course, there is the million dollar question: If eating clean, nutrient-dense foods could lead to a healthier physical body and a clearer mind, why in the world would anyone continue to eat processed foods?
There could be tens if not hundreds of answers to this question. Considerations might include:
the difficulty of changing habits
a lack of adequate willpower
the addictive nature of highly processed foods
lack of financial resources to purchase organic produce regularly
a rebellious inner self that needs some dialoguing
Today let’s focus on one postulation not listed above:
Eating clean foods may result in increased emotional awareness and sensitivity, which can feel uncomfortably revealing.
In other words, brain fog may serve a brilliant purpose. It can dampen our awareness.
Looking back, I see how I would reach for junk carbohydrates or overeating because I unconsciously wanted to dull my senses. After eating in this way, I remember feeling somewhat sedated or numbed-out and it felt easier to show up for a life that felt out of alignment or unexpressed in some ways.
Clients have experienced some version of this as well:
Getting a disappointing email and immediately walking to the cupboard to get a snack
Eating an extra serving of food every evening rather than face the probability that a job/career change may be in order
Eating processed carbohydrates throughout the day to distract oneself from the discomfort of poor body image (do you see the irony in this one?)
Having a glass of wine too many, in attempt to make a person that may be no good for you, more tolerable
Binge eating to numb the feeling of spiritual lack
Truth: We eat the way we eat for a perfectly good reason.
Clean Eating & A Willingness to Be Here Now
So in addition to improving your diet with the flexible guidelines above, consider the following suggestions to help mental clarity and emotional honesty feel safer:
Stay open and curious to your attractions and aversions
Practice developing a greater tolerance for your feelings as they arise (a good coach/counselor can help with this)
Give yourself permission to step into the fullest expression of who you are
Allow yourself to explore what you really want without judgment
Have a handful of ways to move energy through your body whether it’s through emotional release, yoga, hiking, jumping jacks, conversation, breathing, or a little hanky panky.
Have key people in your life you feel safe and supported by in sharing your vulnerability, struggles, and self-doubt, dreams, and victories.
Often time these are the areas that are missed when working with nutrition and dietary changes. Without the inner shifts that support a new way of eating, things may feel intense and we may fall back into old habits.
Thank you for your time and attention. I hope the coming of spring brings you the energy and clarity you desire and the eating habits and compassion that support them.
Stay tuned for upcoming workshops soon!