Saturday, October 11, 2014

Does food control your life?

   Do you constantly think about being healthy? What affect different food has on your body? How to maintain health through diet? Well, if you are anything like me then these questions might plague your mind more often than you care to admit.
   And so began another part of my life's journey on 19th September 2014 when I arrived at Healing Castle Schochwitz ready to absorb village life having spent the last two years in a Metropolis. I started my holistic lifestyle about two years ago and was ready to continue with this journey here at the castle. I had already read that at the healing castle they only served vegetarian food and I was a little bit worried as up until this point I had been following the pretty carnivorous paleolithic diet. However, I figured that as long as I could have eggs a few times a week then I should be a-okay.
    If you haven't already been able to tell by now, my food intake is really important to me, as I believe (or believed) that health is the relationship between food and your body and to maintain good health you have to eat the right foods (right foods - correctness, being perfect - hmm?). So with a bit of guidance, and a lot of googling, I went from a wheat-free diet, to a gluten/dairy free diet, to the paleolithic diet, to the Candida diet back to the paleolithic diet and then to the GAPS diet. My food intake seemed to mirror the shape of an hour-glass with the most restrictive point being whilst I followed the Candida diet, and it really was restrictive! Now, of course, at no point in the last two years have I ever been on a "diet". I was just eliminating foods that were detrimental to my health. The more I read up on gluten, dairy, and sugar, the more that I was convinced that I was benefiting my health, and I certainly saw the benefits. I especially noticed the change when I went on the Candida (low sugar) diet as I was able to think more clearly, my sleep cycle improved and the back pain that had crippled me since I was a child went to its lowest intensity. What more proof did I need? It was not all smooth sailing however, as there were points whilst following these various diets where I had no energy and really was not able to maintain a big city lifestyle. Nevertheless, I persevered because the benefits were great!
    Ingrid, the spiritual extraordinaire that she is, started to quiz me about my gluten-freeness within the first few days of me arriving at the castle. She had experienced other volunteers this summer who also had restricted diets and they were constantly talking about food; the risks of eating certain foods, the importance of getting enough protein and they only shopped at the health food store. Taking this at face value it would appear that these volunteers were being health conscious and understood the importance of eating good nutritious food. However, Ingrid pointed out that the way the volunteers talked and behaved with regards to their food was obsessive. Food would be the topic of conversation whilst sitting around the dinner table and it was like they were not able to enjoy the food that they were eating as they were constantly questioning it. She inferred that the relationship they had was actually a form of control.
    Ingrid couldn't have spoken to me for more than two minutes, but what she was saying must have really resonated as I broke down. It seems paradoxical, but deep down I knew that I had an unhealthy relationship with food, even though I was trying to eat really healthily. As Ingrid spoke about the other volunteers, I realised that she was talking to me, about me. I had developed an obsessive and controlling relationship, which was heavy to realise and hear.
    Two days after my meltdown I ate bread for breakfast, cake for lunch and pancakes for dinner - all diets went out of the window! Needless to say I was really bloated by the end of the day, but surprisingly (for me anyway) I was also really emotional whilst I was eating the meals. To me this further confirmed that this relationship with food was obsessive. Why would I have a rush of emotions for eating a piece of cake? Rationally, I know that one piece of cake in the whole spectrum of having not had cake for over a year is really not going to do any major damage and so where was the emotion coming from?
    Will I continue to be gluten-free or not? I am really struggling with this question and so far have written, and deleted, a few conclusions that are, of course, all contradictory. It appears that there is a battle going on between mind and spirit, being played out with my body and I attribute this to my food intake. So since I have started eating wheat again I am not sleeping properly and I have broken out with a spot. My head is telling me "look at what this is doing to your body- just look".  I know I could stop eating wheat again, but my gut (soul, subconscious, spirit - whatever you call this) is telling me that there is something wrong with this food obsession and I know that I need to trust her as controlling my food intake does not make me happy.
    I have talked about food in this article, but it can be applied to other things as well. If we have to do something, anything, whether it concerns food, fitness, yoga or even meditation, to feel good then it might be time to reflect as to why you are doing it. I felt emotional about eating a piece of bread and so had to question where this was coming from and why I was letting it control my life.

Stephanie xXx

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