birthdays and balance
“Let food by thy medicine” is a popular quote attributed to Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician referred to as the “father of medicine.” This same message is taught by many doctors and health care practitioners of all stripes today. Food is amazingly powerful in our bodies. Food literally provides the building blocks for everything that happens within our bodies.
At the same time, I also hear a lot of comments about how “food is JUST food,” not medicine — stop elevating food choices to a moral issue and giving your relationship with food so much power. You are taking all the joy out of eating! Healthy eating becomes the be-all-end-all of everything, rather than one aspect of healthy living. Food IS simply food — eating healthy food is not a matter of right and wrong. No one should be shamed for their food choice. Food can be about taste, enjoyment, celebration, sadness, and even affordability and convenience.
Concept of Polarity
These two apparently opposite points of view are a perfect example of the concept of “polarity” — two principles existing on opposite poles or ends of a spectrum. These ideas may seem contradictory, but both are true and necessary in life.
In my “Kick The Sugar Habit” workshop, I talk about the idea of the polarity of food — expansive, blissful food as compared to contractive, grounding foods — and how this opposition works to create many of our food cravings.
But this principle doesn’t just apply to food — it applies to EVERYTHING in life. There is “opposition” in all things: Light and dark. Health and sickness. Hot and cold. Happy and sad. Sweet and salty. Heavy and light. Yin and yang. — There is power in finding the balance point between these two extremes —Finding a state of equilibrium.
Today is my 45th birthday!
(The 40’s have been the GREATEST! If you aren’t there yet, look forward to it. You are going to have so much fun!)
Five years ago on my 40th birthday, I had just started to see the true power of food to heal my body. I had always been into healthy food, but it took someone else to help me see that certain foods were the source of many of my problems. Changing my diet literally changed my life. I would never have guessed that food could be so powerful.
At the same time, over the last five years, I have also found that there is so much more to my health than strict food protocols. I have found that I can experience peace and joy in my relationship with food and my body, even within my food restrictions. I work to honor my body through mindful and intuitive eating in a way that was never possible for me before. I find pleasure and enjoyment with food, even as I honor what works in my body and what does not.
Look For Balance
Food is medicine — It is true that everything we eat is important. Food fuels our body. It effects how we feel. Optimal food helps us optimally function. Nutrition is how our cells get energy, how they repair, how they replicate. Proper nutrition is vital to health and healing.
Food is ALSO just food — As a society, we tend to get out of control with food. We let our food have all the power. We get obsessive about what we can or cannot eat. Or, on the other extreme, we just let it all go — “I can eat whatever I want.” “I don’t want to give up what tastes good or feels good to me.” “I’m just an emotional eater. I can’t help it.”
Both of these views can become dangerous, dogmatic extremes. The secret is to find balance and equilibrium between the poles. We can recognize the potential power of food to harm and to heal us, while also bringing it into proper perspective.
Our bodies are adaptable and amazing, given the right tools and building blocks. But we don’t have to do it perfectly. We can let go of perfectionism. We can approach health and our relationship with food from love and peace. We can nourish, honor, and respect ourselves — ALL THE PARTS OF OURSELVES — including the parts that want to eat chocolate cake and stay up too late.
The journey to discovering this balance starts with tuning into our body’s inner wisdom. We can begin taking time to examine our thoughts, beliefs, and feelings about our body and food. We can be willing to be uncomfortable with what we find, in order to evolve and transform into a higher version of ourselves.
The key is to embark on that journey with love, curiosity, and patience. When we find ourselves leaning too far to one extreme, we can take time to bring ourselves back into equilbrium, recognizing the truth and power of both poles. Relax and allow the journey to unfold with joy.
On my birthday, this balance is my hope for myself and for each of you.
Happy Independence Day!