Listen to Your Body

Dear Caregiver,

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Your body is AMAZING! 

The human body is amazing. 

In every moment, it’s working to keep you alive. To heal you! 

Do you believe that? (It’s important to believe that!)

Even as you are in pain, tired, overweight, depressed, or feeling straight-up STUCK with your food-stuff, your heart continues to pump, your lungs continue to expand, and your digestive system continues to regenerate, all for beautiful magnificent you.

Your amazing body communicates with you, telling you which foods (and liquids) work and which don’t — some signs are subtle and others you might choose to ignore. 

Being in tune with your body is a practice, and as you change what you eat, you will receive all sorts of cues, shifts in symptoms, and new information to work with. 

When I first started to eat real food and listen to my body, I was amazed to learn that dairy was behind my chronic constipation, processed grains made me super irritable, and most oils in packaged foods were causing my joint pain! 

Listening to your body also means listening to your heart. This applies to animal products for many. If your heart says no, you have to honor that. If your head says no because of that documentary you saw, but your body says yes, it definitely becomes a more complex conversation.

Personally, I have found my body does better with (clean, pastured, organic) meat in it, and when I try any (and all) plant-based proteins, I literally do not digest them. 

My body talks. For now. Once my digestion is stronger and my food sensitivities resolve? It might be a different story! 

Trying new foods, popping into a 2-week cleanse, and tinkering with what I am choosing to buy and eat are all ways that I keep checking with my body to see how it feels about various proteins. I have found recently that one day per week of enjoying chickpeas or quinoa is fine, but if I do more than that, I become inflamed! 

Get curious and tune in: how is your body talking to you? Change a few things around and listen: what does your body have to say?

It can be a tough practice at first, because you might be conditioned to just do what needs to be done for everyone else, and your needs / the cues from your body might not even be audible!

Here are some cues you may receive when you eat something that your body doesn’t like. It could be not-real-food, like tortilla chips or frozen pizza, or a real-food, like rice or meat:

  • farts and burps

  • aches and pains

  • tears and fears

  • bloat and swelling

  • kinks and cricks

It can be hard to hear all the separate sounds your body might be making when there are so many going on at once, but once you start to eat clean, the volume gets turned up when you eat not-so-clean!

Those of you who have quit fast-food and then revisited it in a pinch know exactly what I’m talking about. The body doesn’t tend to like it when it gets something good for a minute, then you give it some crap. Silly body!

The real thing about listening to your body is that you have a choice to make after you hear what it’s telling you. 

You can decide whether to honor it!

Do you keep eating the thing and ignore your body? Or do you stop with that thing?

Or (more commonly) do you pick and choose when it’s worth it to get a headache or feel sluggish and moody and when it’s just not-at-all worth the evil mood and inflamed knees?

Most of us live in this in-between place, and it can be a frustrating realm.

But a deeply revealing one!

Here’s the cool thing: Your body changes SO MUCH, it can be helpful to come back to a food and test it again. I call this “doing research.”

And it’s a process. It’s a PRACTICE!

I’ve found that over the years of going back and forth, I have gotten better and better at honoring the cues of my body, and the time I spend bingeing on gluten-free cookies or cheese gets shorter and shorter, and way less appealing.

And then I come back to me. To my amazing body. To honor it.

Because that honestly feels better than the allure of some packaged treat. 

Now here’s my challenge for you:

Can you be in that in-between place of practicing listening to your body without becoming frustrated, overwhelmed, and angry at yourself / the world for what you hear?

That’s key!

Living in the grey and loving your body through all the food-chaos (farts, aches, mood-swings, and all!)



Visit our Nutrition page for more content and information from Ry @ The New School Kitchen

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