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why go natural?

June 18, 2010

The last thing I want to do is blindly follow any healthy trend, because to me the point of healthy living is exploring what works best for my own body.

Even though I’m inclined to say that the natural food trend is beyond a fad, that it is just THE HEALTHY WAY, I am aware of the danger of believing this about anything without a reason why.

The way I came to the conclusion that natural often indicates healthy food has more to do with the learning process I’ve been going through the past year and a half and less to do with the fact that I live in the Bay Area, though I’m sure that has influenced me some & it certainly makes natural food more readily available.  But I have lived in the Bay Area most of my life, and it was really only recently, when I started listening closely to my body, that I truly “got” the importance of natural food.

Natural food feels better. That’s it.  That’s the reason I eat it.  It’s not as simple as it sounds, however, because it has taken me over a year to learn how to know what really feels good. I used to think eating a lot of carbohydrates felt good, but it was a different kind of good… it was a comforted and coddled kind of good feeling, not a healthy invigorated kind of good.  And although there is always that piece of us that wants an easier kind of satisfaction, the appeal of healthy choices grows exponentially as you continue making them.

The realization that healthy foods feel best happens to work well because this means incidentally avoiding corn syrups and hydrogenated oils and fake-sugar (which tastes to me like straight chemicals now!) and white flour, all of which I have read are bad for you, but that is just a footnote.  Of course, this is not a coincidence either; those items can be traced back to how I feel when I eat them too… especially white flour.  Now that I try not to eat white flour, when I do eat some I feel very strange:  I get a kind of antsy spike in energy.  It does not feel good for me.  I never used to notice this when I used to eat a lot of white flour.  In fact, I used to frequently crave foods containing white flour. It’s so interesting how your perception of what you like and need shifts as you take better and better care of yourself.

In fact, I was discussing weight-loss with Sam the other day… and it is so easy to get bogged down in negativity and confusion and hopelessness, but at one point in the conversation I heard myself say, “the more you do to take care of yourself, the more you want things that are good for you, and that is what matters.”  Woa, I thought, is that true?  Is that all?!  Out of all of the sweat and internal battling and scale stare-downs and nutrition-fact analyzing, this is the refined truth that emerges.  All that really matters is teaching yourself to want healthy things. Re-learning, actually, not just teaching, because I believe we are born wanting what is healthy and then we forget.  I guess re-learning to want healthy things is the process I’ve been in this whole time without knowing it.

And the cool thing is that when you actually want healthy things, the choice between health and pleasure no longer exists.  The whole concept of dieting and self-control functions under the assumption that you have to deny your body pleasure to get healthy or to look good.  This, I am pleased to say, is not always true.  If you go through the process I am in the middle of, eventually health is the pleasure of intimacy with your body, of knowing what it needs and satisfying those needs. And beauty is health.  They are all related.  How freaking awesome!

Personally, I am not there yet… which is to say, sometimes I am and sometimes I am not.  And maybe being 100% “there” 100% of the time doesn’t really exist, but it gets easier to meet my body’s real needs as time goes on. 🙂

❤ Diana Banana

image courtesy of http://www.dianecressey.com/images/img_nutrition_landing.jpg

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Katrinca Ford permalink
    June 18, 2010 10:15 pm

    You’re on to something important Diana. I think ultimately this is why diet foods don’t work. If we focus on calories and fat we make choices like substituting something even more processed and artificial in place of white sugar and fats. Our bodies find this even less satisfying so we eat more of it hoping to feel fed. When we eat what we really need we do feel fed so we know when to stop eating.

    • June 19, 2010 5:08 pm

      yes definitely! that makes a lot of sense. a friend told me this once a long time ago and I didn’t really get it at the time.

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