Updated: Mar 10
Reclaim Your Health: What Does It Mean To Be Healthy? AND Is Healthy Food Always the Healthiest For You?
What does health mean to you? Some would say that health is the absence of disease, others arguably disagreeing, their definition aligning more with quality of life and longevity. What about eating and living healthy? What comes to mind? The mainstream portrays “healthy eating” as consuming light, detoxifying foods, emphasizing low sodium, sugar-free, raw vegan and gluten-free diets. We live in a world where green salads are deemed healthier than a bowl of beans and rice. This is when we need to get to the nitty gritty of what it actually means to eat healthy. To empower you on your health journey in reclaiming your health, consider asking the following questions around food and eating:
Where are the ingredients sourced from? Are they organic or sprayed with pesticides?
Is this a whole food? Can I imagine it once growing, or was it packaged and processed into a new shape looking nothing like its original components / source?
How was this food prepared?
How am I feeling?
Being hands on with the food we consume has the power to transform our relationships with our health.
By using our senses of sight, smell, sound, and touch, we can intuitively pick out quality foods at the market. The process of preparing meals with our own hands grounds us in our bodies and creates an alchemical experience in the kitchen, watching art and chemistry fuse to create something that nourishes us. By slowing down and being present when we eat, we increase our ability to optimally digest the food, making it available as nourishment in the body.
Paying attention to the energetics or qualities of food opens a deeper realm of understanding and connection. (Check out my blog post that goes deeper into the energetics of food by clicking here). This is when salads aren’t necessarily always the healthiest option. Imagine someone who eats salads three times a day. You notice they tend to be on the spacier side. Leafy greens are raw and light by nature. When digested, their qualities may have similar effects on someone. They are then buzzing off vital plant energy.
Can you see the correlation between food and personality tendencies?
Also, eating the same thing repeatedly, no matter what the food is, isn't going to be as nourishing and diverse in nutrients as eating a little bit from all the food groups. When the body grows accustomed to the same thing, it is more likely to plateau; what once was a medicine becomes a poison. Now take a bowl of rice and beans. It feels a light heavier, a little denser, a little sweeter. It’s going to provide a lot more sustenance and comfort after a long winter’s day of hard work out in the snow than a salad. Make sense? It sounds silly as the example is pretty extreme, but we can apply this same principle on a day-to-day basis. Choosing the appropriate foods in a given situation demands awareness by asking for full presence with how we feel and what we need.
The media highlights different diet trends like paleo and keto as healthy solutions. We count calories, restrict calories, demonize and highlight certain foods and food groups. Most health-seekers encounter this model of health first. They are introduced to a world where cleansing is the focus, and detoxing is favored over nourishing. It’s so easy nowadays to either be swayed by the popular health scheme or to ride the pendulum in the opposite direction by resenting it entirely.
Anticlimactically, without proper nutrition and understanding of what health and being healthy really means, “healthy food” can hinder our health, leading to binging, extreme eating, mood swings, negative body image, guilt, and disordered eating. We move so far away from our center to chase this idea of health, often resulting in skewed perceptions and the inability to discern which foods are actually good for us. In time, we stop listening to our internal hunger cues because we distrust the sensations our bodies tell us. We adopt a very general yet convoluted prescription of health by losing our ability to make decisions that could actually serve us better.
From a holistic lens, health is made up of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual states of being. Within this framework, we can experience the undeniable connection to nature that lives within us all. Whether seeking health for extrinsic or intrinsic purposes, the drive is always positive- its rooted desires coming from a place of seeking inner harmony. Someone expressing the want to “get healthy,” is another way of recognizing an imbalance within the body. Health and harmony are inseparable, and are our natural states of being. Health and longevity are achieved by walking the middle path of balance, and going to no extremes.
That is Whole. This is Whole. Wholeness emerges from Wholeness. Wholeness within Wholeness and that Whole remains. Peace in my heart, peace in my hands, peace in the cosmos.