During chronic illness many of us will refine our diets attempting to regain health. Seems quite logical and necessary, and it is. Yet it can pull us into a whole new set of food issues with the “right” way to eat while ill and the all the “wrong” and “bad” foods for one’s health. That food chaos during illness quickly becomes a contributing factor to staying ill. It simply is too much stress and we need to take a step backward and look with food-friendly eyes at what we are doing to our stress levels during illness.
When we are given a diagnosis of disease, many of us make a wise choice to step up and help ourselves by cleaning up our diet. With diet being directly connected to our health, we look for the “rules” that will get us out of illness and disease. I’ve found that our bodies and minds are more complex than these rules.
Food chaos during illness may happen. We become aware of all the foods that are “bad” for us and food quickly becomes the enemy. Those food fights create chaos inside our minds, bodies and relationships instead of the calm we need to create an environment for health. That battle keeps us at war and in illness.
As we take a step back during illness, we can look at food as a source of nourishment and joy instead of the enemy. Redefining nourishment and joy can be a tool in determining the best diet for you.
What is nourishment? Your body needs nutrients, especially during illness. Every bite of food is important to pack in as many nutrients as possible. Yet, when we become overly legalistic about our diet, the stress diminishes the nutrients because our mind and body are not in a state of calm. A meal filled with peace and a few nutrients will get you down the road better than an agitated meal packed full of nutrients doing you no good at all.
What is joy around food? Joy simply is not only about our taste buds. During chronic illness we can find great joy in a healthy meal because it is contributing to our health. Now that is a joyful thought! We can also find joy in creating healthy food that makes our taste buds dance. We can discover creativity with healthy food that we never knew existed. Another way joy can be found is in knowing that you just ate a “comfort food” that calmed us enough to get through another day.
Nourishment and joy can also be found with friends and family who don’t begin to understand diet restrictions because of health. Instead of stirring up the hot topic of diet, keep the focus on relationships, not food. The “nourishment” can come from the treasured moments and not the food.
None of this is easy. Chronic illness and disease are a difficult and confusing time for most who encounter it. By being aware of the food chaos traps, we can navigate better. Our precious bodies have needs. As they are nourished with love through our food and relationships, they become more inhospitable to disease. Using a time of chronic illness to find a more peaceful place is one of the most rewarding experiences we can have.
Authentic. Believing. Caring.
Maribeth Baxter has reclaimed her life, to live it abundantly after her own life-threatening disease. 21 years experience in natural and alternative health. Passionate about walking with others on their journey. Compassionate about other humans and their struggles. As an Eating Psychology Coach she is in practice and enjoying blogging to educate people in the fine art of being messy.www.AmazingWholeness.com