IS ‘CLEAN EATING’ GOOD FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH?
‘Clean eating’ is the new buzz and trend in the health, wellness and diet industry.
You can be sugar free, fructose free, gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, meat free, fat free, calorie rich, restricted calories, nut free, organic, vegetarian or vegan to name but a few.
In short, are you aware of what you is in the food you are eating? Is it processed or homemade, and does it look like food; i.e. can you easily pick out the ingredients and recognise them as the whole foods they once were?
The purpose of this particular blog post is not to condemn or critique the different trendy advice, advisers or diet plans, but answer a different question…
Is all this messing about with your diet and nutrition good for your body, and good for your mental health and overall well-being?
Can focusing on food this much in fact make you sad and anxious?
I’m not talking so much about what you eat, but why you eat.
I’m talking about eating from a place of kindness, not abuse or disorder.
There are many blogs, books and an all round general buzz around ‘clean eating’ and yet the number of eating disorders in the UK has never been higher. So how do you or your children or your parents navigate the advice, make changes that will benefit you, eat ‘clean’, and avoid messing up your body by not giving it what it needs and without slipping into starving, anorexia, binging, bulimia or orthorexia (when eating healthy turns obsessive)?
Quite a minefield I think you’ll agree and it’s no wonder so many people are a bit this and bit that, on this eating regime for one week and a polar opposite plan the next week. or month
Over the last few months / year I have been trying out all sorts of different eating styles (diets), from 5:2, to vegetarian, to low carb, to blood sugar, to low G.I, to dairy free, to high protein to name a few and have come to a very interesting conclusion.
It’s not about food type perse, it’s about quantity and the reason for eating.
Am I eating for hunger and nourishment or to eat, block or soothe emotions?
I haven’t always had the healthiest relationship with food as it was used as a tool and bargaining chip in a negative way during my childhood. So as someone who has greed as a primary function point in all aspects in life, food is feast or famine with me. Therefore I, like many of you, am an emotional eater.
So I’m calling for a change to how we look at food and am promoting a relationship with food that comes from a place of kindness.
Not indulgence, and not without responsibility or consequences, but loving kindness.
Food should be part of treating yourself with kindness.
It should be about fuelling and nourishing your body, not suppressing unwanted thoughts or feelings, or self-sabotaging.
Food is an opportunity for you to develop your relationship with yourself.
And if you’re really unsure ask yourself would you allow a child to eat the type of food or quantity of food you are eating? Or, look into your eyes in the mirror, look at your body in the mirror and connect back with yourself before you eat and ask yourself, look at yourself and decide if your body needs the food you crave, or is your mind trying to control you through food?
If it is a craving, sit with it. Meditate and ask the craving what it needs. Hold it. Love it and allow it to pass as all emotions will. Allow it to turn into what emotions it really is. Sadness. Loneliness. Grief. Anxiety. All these emotions will pass so stay with them and turn towards them and they will change and dissipate. Then return to food and ask your body, not your mind if you are still hungry. This is how you nurture a healthy natural and nourishing relationship with yourself, your mind, your body and food.
It’s not about cutting out food groups but understanding why you eat and what suits you, your body mind and digestion. They are all connected. They are all you.
If you would like help to understand more about this and to build yourself self relationship then get in touch and book your free meet and greet session.
Wishing you a happy, confident and nourishing healthy day!
Lydia – The Confidence Coach