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Feel Good When You Eat, All The Time
The idea of “healthy” isn’t solely about unique nutrients or avoiding specific food; it is simply about wholeness. The root word for “health”, actually means “whole”.
Whatever makes your body feel whole, is by very definition, “healthy”. One key catch though – you need to learn how to listen to your body to know what whole feels like, for you.
More About Healthy Food and Taking the Morality Judgment Out of What We Eat…
When we think of what makes a food “healthy”, we really have to step back in time and understand what it means to be human. We need some context of our common history with food, before we can make an informed and wisdom-oriented decision about what is right for our body and our life.
Cooked Food – Where All Humans Came From
Let’s go to the very start, the first fundamental truth – the essence of being human is eating cooked food. That’s what Harvard Anthropologists and those who’ve studied the evolutionary path of human say.
We are a species of Great Apes – that’s our family in the Animal Kingdom – and the common belief is that the reason we accelerated so much faster that other Great Apes (like Chimpanzees and Gorillas), was because our common ancestors learned that after great natural fires, the animals and vegetation that were burned tasted better. Made them feel stronger. And so, they learned how to make fire so they could do the same thing on their own. This came before they walked upright most likely.
Eating cooked food that was more nutrient dense, because the fire broke down cruciferous vegetables that we’re less digestible before, making those nutrients more bioavailable in their small intestine (where Villi absorb all the nutrients of the food we eat). From this simple source, our fore-brain (aka our pre-frontal cortex or neocortex), grew and grew. This is the part of our brain that makes us distinctly human – all of our cognition, or conscious thought, our ability to consciously be spiritual, and create literally every tool, machine, computer, clothing, building or home, all of it comes from our fore-brain.
So What Makes a Food “Healthy”?
What does this have to do with “healthy” food? Everything. When we look at our common genetic history, it becomes clear that we are scavengers. The human body has evolved into being the most intelligent and efficient system that we’ve ever studied – more than any rocket ship, computer, or electric car. And it has become this way through thousands of year, really millions of years, of our ancestors listening to their body. Of feeling what was right to eat and figuring a way to eat it.
They didn’t count a calorie. They didn’t step on a scale and weigh themselves. And they certainly didn’t count macro and micronutrients. They had famine. Actually, famine has existed for all of human history, up until the past 60 years or so, and really just in the US and first world countries.
The point of this history and context is to remind you that “healthy” is whatever makes your body feel good.
The Connection: Healthy Food And Intuitive Eating
Now, some people who are excited about Intuitive Eating say you can eat anything, anytime, and as much of it as you want. This is half of the story.
The second half is listening to the body – attuning your mind to what the body is saying, really by asking some honest questions and giving honest answers, to yourself at very least.
Are you having the energy you want?
Do you have mental clarity or are you foggy after eating certain foods or quantities?
Do you have good digestion or are you constipated or gassy and bloated?
Is what you eat aligning and supporting the things you value in life?
What do you value in life?
Before judging a food as a “healthy” food, reflect back on the history of eating, how important food is to the wholeness of your life – your physical wholeness, your emotional wholeness, your mental wholeness, your social wholeness, and even your spiritual wholeness.
And remember, food isn’t just about eating so your body looks a certain way or you see a certain number when you step on the scale – food is a source of pleasure, of nourishment. Indeed, it is a sacred gift to be thankful for because it literally defines being human.