Zoot Calf Sleeves in Water
Article written by Daniel Max, Holistic HealthCounselor, Yoga Instructor, Shiatsu Practitioner, owner of SenseofSelf
Modern nutrition does not lend much attention to how diet influences our emotional being. While we may recognize how an emotional state can lead to certain eating habits, we haven’t paid much attention to how the foods themselves can create certain emotions or stress.
Food contains more than just vitamin A, B, or C. Just as our bodies pulsate with energy, food contains energy as well. As the two energies mix, our food can have either an expansive effect in our body or a contractive one.
When we consume sugar, caffeine, alcohol or drugs we feel “lighter”, hence more expansive. If we eat meat, eggs, salt, or hard cheeses, the feeling can be more grounded. This is a more contracted energy.
Too much contracted food can make us feel heavy and lethargic. Too much salt can make us feel tight. Too much alcohol or ice cream can leave us with a headache. Expansive has a more upward moving energy while contractive has a more downward one.
If an individual’s diet consists mostly of contractive foods, heavy in animal protein and cheeses, his or her diet can be too extreme on the contractive side. Since the body is always looking for balance, we may experience cravings for something expansive like sugar or alcohol to balance us out. A craving for a sweet dessert after a meal is not uncommon. Have you ever had an experience that you were so full and heavy but when dessert showed up, you were suddenly ready to eat more?
Cravings are not a bad thing as many of us seem to perceive them. They are the body’s natural search for balance. Not to say that the dessert is going to balance you out. It will most likely cause havoc, cancelling the digestion of your meal, leaving it to ferment undigested in the stomach. Even so, since the body is in search of finding center, the thought of something more uplifting when feeling full can sound appealing.
Each craving holds a clue to help us find balance. In this case, the desert craving may be a clue that the overall diet needs to consist of less contractive foods.
Lifestyle as well as diet can cause cravings for expansive foods.
When we feel stressed, our body will contract and muscles will tighten. This tightness is a state of contractiveness. If we feel contracted in life, we will crave expansiveness for balance.
At times of stress we may be reaching for a candy bar or a cup of coffee to keep going. We may crave a cold beer or ice cream at the end of a stressful day. If this is the case, your body is signaling it needs more expansive experiences throughout the day. Implementing some simple stress reducing techniques, can help eliminate the craving.
Can a person also be too expansive? Absolutely! If you are only eating fat-free, substituting breakfast with a cup of coffee, minimizing caloric intake, (while often binging on sweets), you are too extremely expansive. In this case, more grounding energy is needed. Often you can overcome the sweet tooth by adding more grounding foods such as healthy fats and a proper breakfast.
Our diet is woven into the fabric of our lifestyle with respect to our physical, biological, emotional and spiritual aspects.
Use your body’s feedback to understand how to change your diet:
If you feel tight, tense, or too rigid, reduce the amount of contractive foods. If you feel too spacey or scattered, increase your contractive foods and diminish the expansive ones.
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