Food is the most primitive form of comfort.
I was never a picky eater, I was the kid who was willing to try anything. From a young age I have had an insatiable appetite for fine flavors. Never a fan of excess as far as drugs or alcohol, food has been my vice. If ever in a tough situation or pushed beyond my limits, I crave chocolate cake, mashed potatoes, and spaghetti the way a smoker might want for a cigarette. Because of this, my weight has fluctuated in my years since puberty as has my outlook on diet. For years I went without eating anything with wheat flour due to my grumpy great grandmothers question "do you eat a lot?" And her comment when I affirmed her suspicion "I can tell." The whole time I was avoiding breads, pastries, and cookies I was idolizing them, wishing terribly that I could simply devour an entire bakery. Then, after a disappointing dance competition, I decided that, in addition to processed wheat, I would cut out potatoes. At this point I became truly obsessed with my weight. Taking my dance coach's advise to jumprope everyday, I lost 10 ponds and was always hungry. I would binge on the weekends and starve myself during the week, such was my diet plan throughout my high school experience. I used food to check out from reality, similar to how a pot head uses marijuana. I recall several times, eating entire family sized bags of potato chips or cartons of ice cream, not because I was enormously hungry but because I was craving contentment or escape.
(pictured above are delectable raw flax crackers!)
Since having Tallulah, I have been forced to evaluate these eating habits on a daily basis. One reason for this is my desire to lose the whopping 60 pounds I gained while gestating (which I have successfully done by the way!) but another is that when you have a newborn child requiring your attention, it is nearly impossible to take leave from reality, even in your sleep. While I was accustomed to shoveling food into my mouth until I reached bloated happiness often prompting remarks such as "breathe, Tara"
or "She's eating like she's never seen food before!" I am now used to having to leave the table several times during a meal either to feed, rock, or change my daughter's diaper. Through this process I have found that I don't need to eat as much to reach satisfaction. I often return to my meal after my brief hiatus to find that I am no longer as hungry as I thought I was. It has started me thinking on the rules of the Yogis stating that when one completes a meal their stomach should be full of 1/3 food, 1/3 liquid and 1/3 air.
However, knowing these facts and applying them are two drastically different things. As it turns out, my admiration of food would serve as my wake up call. A month ago I made the grave mistake of ordering delicious looking tacos from the street vendor across the street. A week later I was doubled over vomiting for an entire day with a fever and severe stomach pains. A couple weeks after that I woke in the middle of the night to an unsettling pain in my lower left abdomen. When I awoke the next morning the pain hadn't ceased like I thought it would rather it had become worse, making it hard to walk. For a week a battled with this pain, hobbling around like an elderly woman to avoid using my the muscles that stretch over this inflamed organ. After numerous hysterical breakdowns (something that I discovered through research are a symptom of my condition) and extensive internet investigation, I found that I most likely have a parasite. My chronic tiredness, abdominal pain, recent onset of allergies, and crankiness are all a symptom of numerous parasite infections. Though antibiotics are one way of treating intestinal bugs, they are only 70% effective, I wouldn't be able to nurse, and they double the likely-hood of susceptibility to parasites in the future. The best and most natural way to eliminate the infestation is to eat a high fiber diet devoid of bread, sugar, dairy, and fat. Imagine my pleasure in receiving this information.
In my cleansing period I am beginning to see food as it should be seen, a means of nourishment, something to provide my body with nutrition rather than my brain with feel-good chemicals. I have been pushed to examine my hunger, to question whether I am really hungry or just bored, because overeating is also a culprit in spurring my symptoms onward. I have been prompting myself to put things into my body that lend the most use to my well-being rather than giving into innate cravings. This has been very difficult but it is the first time in my life that my health has depended on completely conscious food decisions. Along with my success in weight loss, I have put to rest my long-standing battle with unclear skin as well as the everyday sniffles I have always been known for. I have now added to my spiritual growth the letting go of my attachment to food, and it feels good.