learning to deeply love and attend to the body — #foodie friday

Two thoughts I came up with in the last week and a half on our relationship with food and how we can learn to pay attention to our bodies. The second one was posted on Facebook here and the first one here.

healthyI understand comfort food. Yes, I do. But if what we’re calling comfort food is also contributing to making us unwell then we might want to reconsider exactly what is comfortable about such food. The process of finding new life-giving and sustaining foods is often called for at this juncture. It takes paying attention to the body and experimentation with how we feed it. In this way we can learn how to truly support the body with the food we put in it. This is not a process that is about feeling guilty and doing what is right. No. Instead it is a process of learning to deeply love and attend to the body.

and

Eat what makes you and your body healthy…this will evolve and change as your needs and understanding evolve and change. The one thing that should remain constant is that the diet should consist of mostly if not all REAL WHOLE FOOD. Beyond that whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or omnivore is UP TO YOUR BODY. The amount of raw vs. cooked food is also UP TO YOUR BODY. Whole real food…from there you have to listen and learn and be ready to change as is appropriate.

learning to listen to your body taps you into the nature of humanity, being human and all of life really.

I’m cutting and pasting my nutrition and gut health page below this quote. There is a lot of collected info from my personal journey with lots of links for additional more generalized information.

It’s taken years of study and experimentation to come to where I am now. This has been a process of uncovering layers and layers and slowly coming to understand my body and it’s needs. The study and experimentation continue. I’ve healed several long-standing health issues, most significantly I am NOW ENDOMETRIOSIS FREE. And most importantly the support of good food and nutrition is aiding my healing from the iatrogenic harm the drugs induced. 

Mental health and diet

Gut / intestinal health is foundational to all health including mental well-being. It’s the first thing attended to when I chose to come off psychiatric drugs. In healing my gut I needed to alter my diet. I’ve collected articles below that speak to these changes I made. Below are many posts and comments that highlight my journey healing the drug withdrawal syndrome, but that also unearths much research about supporting the body and brain for good health so that others might not ever choose psychiatric drugs.

People dismiss the importance of diet for mental health issues and they use the argument that if psycho-social programs like Soteria and Open Dialogue can heal those with “schizophrenia” it’s not very credible that diet has much to do with it. I find this argument rather lacking since, first of all, we don’t see a 100% recovery rate even in these programs. 15 to 20% remain unwell. What if diet were changed in these folks in addition to offering psycho-social supports? Also, being that we’re holistic beings, more than one thing can be causing dis-ease in our body/mind/spirit. We might find that attending to something psycho-socially gets us back on our feet and functioning, but we don’t feel REALLY good until we attend to diet and exercise etc.. It’s all important and it’s all interlinked.

Update: 1/2013 Wow, my latest discovery really shakes up everything I’ve been doing…though it’s all been part of the journey: histamine intolerance round-up — several posts on the significance of histamine in the diet. This sort of sensitivity unrecognized could lead to being drugged with psychiatric pharmaceuticals to begin with, so anyone taking some of these drugs might want to rule out this condition. Being that a lot of neuroleptics and benzos and it seems SSRIs too all have significant anti-histamine properties this may impact a good number of folks. I’ve been hearing about other people who find it is a significant issue for them since I first posted the information.

See also Foodie Friday posts: a collection of recipes and additional information about food, nutrition and diet

More recently I posted a wonderful video, with my commentary of a woman who cures herself with a similar diet:

Other most recent pieces:

People who have taken psychiatric drugs often have gut issues. Sometimes these issues predate the psych drug use (as it did for me) and sometimes the psych drugs destabilize the gut and body in general and so the drugs are the cause of such issues. In either case it’s common that the use of psych drugs in time will further exacerbate the problem.

Because everything works together as we are truly holistic beings I was able to heal all sorts of issues I had prior to setting off on this journey…a few of them are listed below.

Diet and nutrition have corrected multiple problems for me. A short list of the things that come to mind immediately is:

  • Twenty years of severe irritable bowel syndrome. (I went to dozens of gastroenterologists before discovering my own wellness through my own research)
  • Psoriasis, a horrible skin condition, is virtually gone.
  • My knees which were suffering from what seemed to be arthritis for several years are no longer painful.
  • My hair is much thicker and shinier than during my whole life. I had incredibly thin and sparse hair. It’s not luxurious even now, but the difference is amazing, striking and visible and palpable.
  • Vast improvement of my endometriosis which I’m still working on. (mostly endo pain free these days 2/2012) — NOW ENDOMETRIOSIS FREE: read the story here (1/2013)

We’re holistic beings and everything we do effects our whole being. So healthy gut is a somewhat central place to start and it seems to make sense for a lot of people as a large percentage of people have gut issues and an even larger percentage of people on psychiatric meds do.

For more posts more specifically on gut health see below:

The information provided here is by no means exhaustive. It’s a good idea to expand your research beyond what I share below as it mostly pertains to my own particular experience which sometimes includes others, but certainly there will be cases that differ from mine.

See also: (new)

Updated note: In our society today whether people eat animal products or not is a hot issue. I would prefer not to eat meat but have found I must. I’ve also found that I’m intolerant of dairy and eggs, so that leaves only meat and fish. I have found others like me in my community with similar physical ailments who have found that animal products are essential. I’ve experimented heavily with purely vegetarian methods of nourishing myself without meat since I deeply value the lives of animals and have failed. This choice does not come without pain. I’m always happy for those who find they can thrive without animal products and I certainly don’t begrudge those who can. I hope someday to regain enough health that I might be able to once again carefully tweak most if not all of the meat out of my diet. I write explicitly about this issue because we are all different and people need to find what works for both their body and their spirit together. Sometimes the needs of the body and the needs of the spirit seem to conflict. Such is life. Never simple. I take comfort in the fact that all of nature eats itself and I’m blessed with a consciousness that can recognize that I am part of this web of life, complicated and lovely as it is. (I’m currently NOT eating meat…which further underscores my point. I had to stop eating meat for the time being when I discovered the histamine intolerance…as I heal further that may change again…who knows)

It’s taken years of study and experimentation to get to the point where this next step was the obvious one to take. This has been a process of uncovering layers and layers and slowly coming to understand my body and it’s needs.

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters