This article originally appeared on Doctor-Natasha.com on May 9, 2011.
So, what do we do? How do we feed ourselves properly? The answer is: get back in touch with your body’s inner intelligence. Just think: if your body needs so much protein right now + so much fat + so much carbohydrate + so much of vitamin B12 and so much of vitamin C, how would it let you know that it needs this particular composition of nutrients? And even if your body had a way of letting you know all this information, how would you go about providing this mix of nutrients? How are you to calculate all those factors and provide the right amounts? Well, Mother Nature is kind and it is not asking us to do anything so complicated. Instead it gave us senses of SMELL, TASTE, DESIRE for a particular food and a sense of SATISFACTION after eating it. So, when your body needs a particular mix of nutrients, it will give you a desire for a particular food, which contains just that right mix; this particular food will smell divine to you and taste wonderful, and you will feel satisfied after eating it.
But in an hour or two the needs of your body will change, and that particular food will not be appealing anymore for you; instead you will have a desire for another food, which nutritionally will serve you correctly for that particular moment of your life.
So, the only way for us to serve our bodies properly with the right food is to be in touch with our senses!
Let us think about it a little more.
The DESIRE for a particular food.
The word ‘desire’ has somewhat a negative feel for many people thanks to centuries of religious and political conditioning, desire is considered to be something we ‘have to resist’ and must not ‘succumb to’. Yet, desire for a particular food is the main way your body tells you what it needs at any particular moment nutritionally. So, when you get hungry stop and think: “What would I desire to eat right now? What is the most appealing food for me right now?” Forget about all the books you have read, forget about all the nutritional mantras of what you have to eat at a particular time of day, and just ask the question. The answer will come immediately, and just the thought of that particular food will fill your mouth with saliva. Respect your desire! Desire is your inner body intelligence talking to you, letting you know what it needs to keep you healthy, energetic and happy. If you listen to your desire every time you eat, you will be able to digest that food well and it will do you only good, because you have eaten it at the right time, just when your body asked for it.
Trouble is that in our modern commercial world people’s desires for food have been manipulated through the use of addictive and taste-altering chemicals in processed foods. Yes, many processed so-called ‘foods’ contain chemicals specifically designed to make them addictive. Listening to your desire only applies to natural foods – foods that Mother Nature has designed. Stop eating processed foods and your normal sense of desire for food will return.
The sense of SMELL
Have you ever observed animals? They will never put anything in their mouths without smelling it first. Why? Because wild animals are fully in touch with their instincts – their inner body intelligence. Sense of smell gives your body a lot of information about the food: is it safe to eat, has it been contaminated by chemicals or microbes, is it fresh, and most importantly, is it appropriate for your bodily needs at the moment? So, before putting anything into your mouth smell it: if it is the right food for you at the moment, it will smell very appealing. If it is not the right food, it will smell repulsive. Respect your sense of smell and listen to it.
Trouble is, that many people in our modern world have a damaged sense of smell due to use of synthetic perfumes. All smelly man-made chemicals, such as laundry detergents, domestic cleaning chemicals, so-called air fresheners and perfumes block the olfactory receptors (the smell receptors) in your nose. Your nose has a set number of olfactory receptors, and once they are blocked by a chemical, new molecules of that chemical coming in have nothing to attach to, so you cannot smell it anymore. We all have met people who smell like a perfume factory, but they do not realise just how excessively they apply their perfume onto themselves, because they cannot smell it anymore, their smell receptors in the nose are blocked with that chemical. The same happens with common laundry detergents, which use very powerful perfumes in order to disguise the unpleasant smell of the detergent itself. People who use them regularly are unable to smell them anymore, because these people are exposed to this smell all the time from their clothes, towels and bedding. These people cannot smell their food properly either, as their smell receptors in the nose are permanently occupied by their laundry detergent. To restore you sense of smell, remove all smelly/perfumed chemicals from your environment: replace your laundry detergent with a non-scented natural one and do not use any perfumes, scented personal care products or air fresheners. In a few weeks time your olfactory receptors will clean themselves up and your sense of smell will return.
The sense of TASTE
Food is one of the greatest pleasures of life, and so it must be! If the food is not pleasurable, then it is the wrong food for you at the moment (no matter how ‘healthy’ it is supposed to be)! So, listen to your sense of taste and respect it! It is your friend as it is one of the channels of communication between your body’s inner intelligence and your conscious mind. How else would your body tell you that it needs a particular mix of nutrients, but by giving you great pleasure from consuming them in the form of food?
The trouble is that many people have an altered or dulled sense of taste due to regular consumption of processed foods. Many processed foods contain taste-altering chemicals, which are deliberately added to the ‘food’. These chemicals are not only toxic, but can alter your perception of taste for a long time, so it is essential to stop consuming processed foods in order to restore your normal sense of taste. Many nutritional deficiencies can alter the perception of taste (zinc deficiency is particularly known for this). As you start consuming a natural wholesome diet your nutritional deficiencies will diminish and your sense of taste will return. Toxins in your mouth can also alter your perception of taste. Try to brush your teeth with cold pressed olive oil (or any other cold pressed oil) instead of toothpaste: this Ayurvedic procedure has a good record in detoxifying the mouth. Working with a holistic dentist is very important, as many dental materials in the mouth can make it toxic and alter your sense of taste.
The sense of SATISFACTION after eating
If you have eaten a meal appropriate for your body’s nutritional needs at the time, you will feel fully satisfied. There will be no cravings for something else, only a nice comfortable feeling of satisfaction, which will allow you to focus on other things in your life and forget about food for a while. It is important not to overeat, so you don’t feel ‘stuffed’.
However, if you listen to your sense of pleasure from food, then you will not overeat because you would stop eating as soon as the food stops being pleasurable. Pleasure on / pleasure off are the signals your body gives you to let you know about its needs. Your sense of pleasure will keep you eating as long as your body still needs the nutrients from that particular food; as soon as your body had enough of those nutrients, the food will stop giving you pleasure.
Cravings for sweet foods are common amongst GAPS people due to unstable blood sugar level. It takes time to normalise blood sugar and the most effective way to deal with it is to increase your fat consumption, particularly animal fats (within your pleasure zone, of course). So, consume plenty of animal fats with your meals. In order to keep your blood sugar at a stable level between meals make a mixture of raw butter (or coconut oil) with some raw honey to taste, put it into a glass jar which you can carry with you, and eat a few spoonfuls every 20-30 minutes all day. This measure can be very helpful in the initial stages of the treatment. As your blood sugar regulation will normalise through the use of GAPS Nutritional Programme, you will be able to gradually reduce and stop eating butter/honey mixture.
Check back next week for the conclusion of this 3-part mini series…