Food is highly personal. It’s nourishment and fuel, it’s comfort, medicine and love. There is not one formula or recipe that is right for everyone, and how we feed ourselves changes and evolves with the stages of our lives. That said, as natural as it is to nourish ourselves, food is issue-laden and complicated for many; it’s a journey - and requires navigation from the inside out.
My own journey with food has been painful, nourishing, and ultimately healing and quite delicious. The eating and body image ‘issues’ I had as a teenager and young adult made food a source of internal struggle. Out of a desire to be in alignment with my yoga and meditation path - my diet evolved to vegetarian in my 20’s. Food became about my identity, energy and my moral code. Then, as a result of sugar, carbs, artificial sweeteners, red wine and way too many antibiotics for the first 25 years of my life, I developed candida. Food had in many ways damaged me. I went on an ‘anti-candida diet,’ and this way of eating cured my imbalance at the time. I then entered a chapter of my life where I traveled the world. Back to being vegetarian, I tasted many cultures, and food was a vehicle for connection with people, places and experiences. I was digesting the world. After I returned home I became pregnant. My craving for animal protein was so deep and primal that I had to give up the vegetarian path quite suddenly and proceeded to eat many hamburgers for the next 3 months. Gross, but true. Food was a primal need, an instinct.
After navigating the pleasure points and obstacles of food through pregnancy and breastfeeding, with the residue of body image issues and the stress of balancing my career and motherhood, my autoimmune issues surfaced. (I have psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.) I felt scared of the trajectory my body was on, yet I was determined to understand and find a natural solution.
For the past 7 years I have stuck to a paleo-esque diet and food healed me (as a vegetarian at heart I lean towards less animal protein and more to vegetables). I dramatically reduced the inflammation in my body by removing grains, sugar and dairy. This approach to nourishment combined with yoga, training, bodywork and meditation has been my personal golden formula. It was a journey to get here and is ever evolving.
To the extent that we can understand our relationship with food as fluid and evolving, we create possibility for healing and balance. Alternatively, to the extent that we are ‘creatures of habit’ without the willingness to listen or respond to how our body is communicating with us, we are ‘stuck’. So the moral of the story is this - listen to your body, it speaks to you, and the way you nourish yourself is an ongoing conversation, to those willing to listen.