Identity is a funny thing. There are so many things that go into one’s identity, and how you identify yourself. If I were to ask my mum about identity she would probably have a completely different take on it than I do at the moment, but I think the foundation is all the same. I woke up today having a bit of an identity crisis. First of all, I am sick!!! I woke up with a crazy sore throat, no voice and just a horrible head cold. Now, this is identity crisis number 1 because I am a holistic nutritionist, I pride myself on my immune system and my health!
Unfortunately, I have to admit that I neglected my health slightly over the holidays and my body and spirit took quite a beating. It wasn’t always a negative beating (if there is such thing as a positive beating) but, even so- it took a beating. I am speaking to some refined grains and sugars, ALCOHOL (although I tried my best to keep it to organic at most times unless otherwise unavoidable) and some emotional chaos. The thing is, life is a balance. If you are going to live your life and truly live it, you can’t always protect yourself from the negative and the pain (perceived pain or pain that your body is experiencing as you have another glass of wine or another bite of that delicious pumpkin pie with dairy, gluten and refined sugars)!
Pain is essential. In order to live, you must experience pain! In the past, I don’t think I would so readily say something like that. In the past, I have done what many of us do- and I run away from pain. This is not to say that I don’t ever run away from pain anymore. When I woke up this morning I had two thoughts- I should go on a trip (and then went on pondering where abouts I should go and who I should visit) and the other was I wish the Jiivala Entrepreneurship program I am doing for the month of February was starting today!
I was having a conversation with some friends & family the other day about instinct, specifically, human instinct! The thing is, we are still mammals, and although we live in a material, metropolitan world- our bodies still have the same biological pathways that they did when we were cavemen, wondering around naked (or almost naked) fighting saber tooth tigers and probably a whole lot hairier! That’s not to say that perhaps back then those “fight or flight” pathways weren’t stronger, but that’s also not to say that they were. Through time and evolution, our bodies have adjusted to our surroundings. Now a days, I would almost argue that those pathways are even more exhausted.
We are constantly in a perceived state of stress. Christmas time & the holidays is the best time to really ‘observe’ this theory in action or more comically put “observe humans in nature”. I was with my mum at the brand new TOPSHOP store in Pacific Center Shopping Mall (Vancouver, BC) and couldn’t help but steal a few giggles as we observed a member of the male species throw a tantrum (basically) in the checkout line. This guy was clearly under stress. I mean, honestly- I’m pretty sure the last thing he wanted to be doing was spending his afternoon in a shopping mall (during the holidays) in a store with blaring music (like you are at a rave), in the check-out line, spending more and more money on things that he could most probably do without. So, what is the product of this situation- his body is under stress.
So what does stress look like in the body? Well, first of all- our bodies are incredibly intelligent. Much more intelligent than us (our minds), and much more intelligent than we tend to give them credit for. As soon as a stressful situation (threat) comes into contact with us (emotional, spiritual, physical) such as a break up, eating an ice cream, or being betrayed- our bodies immediately will respond to this threat through a network of pathways which determine the level of this threat and whether or not this is the type of threat that requires an immediate “flight” response or it is safe to stay and “fight”. The thing is, now a days- there are so many threats going on all day long in our world, that our bodies’ are being put in a constant state of threat and fear! A few examples of threats that create stress in our bodies are: a man is walking down the street, he goes to the coffee shop and grabs a coffee & bagel w/ cream cheese- continues walking, spills the coffee on his hand (threat), takes a sip of his coffee (threat), has a bite of his bagel (threat), crosses the road (threat), car honks it’s horn (threat), gets shoved by oncoming pedestrian (threat). Just to put it simply!
So, if you think of these pathways like the pathways that deal with blood sugar- it would make sense that after a while, these pathways could become exhausted, and we could be in a constant state of stress or the opposite, our bodies could no longer deal with stress. Similar to blood sugar, a result of the over-consumption of refined sugars and grains is a disease called Diabetes. This disease is quite complex and would require more than just a simple blog post to discuss in detail- however, simply put– over-consumption of refined sugars and grains causes the body’s pathways to release insulin, take in sugar, and store glucose as glycogen becomes so over-used, to the point that the body either no longer makes insulin or it no longer responds to the release of the hormone, insulin.
Where am I going with this (you may be asking)? Well, I am somewhat in a stream of consciousness (sorry to disappoint), however, I think there is some method to my madness! Throughout the holidays, my body was in a state of stress. Before I started my schooling at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and was quite ill and had a very negative relationship with food and my body- I would always get sick! I’m talking about like at least 5-6 times a year and usually more. Being sick was a normal part of my week. So you can imagine how shocked I was when about 1 1/2 – 2 years ago I stopped getting sick. The flu would go around and I wouldn’t get shut down by it. Why? Because my body’s ability to handle stress became more efficient. I gave it a chance to have a break, and re-build. My immune system became stronger, and it’s ability to by-pass and process bacteria and viruses improved. This was a result of many different things. After all, I am a Holistic Nutritionist, so by no means will I ever claim that one thing contributes or makes up health, as a whole. Health is spiritual, physical and emotional. If you can practice to live in a way that keeps these three facets of life in balance- then you are helping your body to live in abundance and balance!
So, today is all about re-balancing. Allowing the pain to be felt, allowing my body the time to process it and tell me what it needs. My life has been undergoing quite a bit of change in the past few months- and at times I think I’ve been so busy that I haven’t given my body the time to process these changes. This tends to happen in life. Either you are completely unaware of it, you avoid it, or you don’t fully experience it. My advice to you is to just try to slow down, simplify and try to listen to your body. Your body is so smart- it will tell you what you (and it if we are separating the two) need to live in abundance!
Here are some of my go-to’s when I am not feeling well:
> Traditional Medicinals Ginger Aid Tea Or Throat Coat Tea w/ fresh lemon wedges and freshly grated organic ginger
> A couple organic lemon wedges throughout the day (I just eat them from the peel, and LOVE it)
> Chia pudding (full of protein, EFAs and many other amazing nutrients)
> Fresh Juice: Carrot, Celery, Cucumber, Beets, Ginger
> Soup: I’m either going to make a mushroom soup or a green vegetable and green lentil soup
> Water, water, water, water
> Sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep
> love, love, love, love
Finally- allow your body, the earth and love to cure you (in my case) or bring you back to balance (for the stressed man walking the streets). Once you just stop and allow those powerful, loving energies to run through you- that is when you will start living in abundance.
Genius is the ability to receive from the universe – I Ching
Lots of love on this grey, rainy Tuesday morning in Vancouver!