learning to feed myself  from the inside and out

almost everyone who heard that i had been diagnosed with cancer had the same reaction. “how is that possible? YOU? you are so healthy.”

well, yes and no…

i have always been reasonabley healthy, rarely even took aspirin, used to drink way more than i should, smoked for a few years, not heavily. a nocturnal smoker, directly linked to, “used to drink way more than i should”…ardently believed that my smoking and drinking were part of my balance. “everything in moderation”, i’d say, cigarette and cocktail in hand. “well, kind of moderation…well,  i am SO much more moderate than loads of other people i know…” my primary food group was cheese. not just dairy but cheese. cheese three meals a day. if i needed a vegetable, i put spinach in my quesadilla.  ice cream twice a day. ice cream was a perfectly acceptable breakfast dessert. ( i believe in dessert after every meal.) i would hear of people giving up dairy and i thought it was insane. i could NEVER do that! people who had dieatary restrictions made me roll my eyes, and vegetarians…well don’t even get me started. i found these people extemist, high maintenance, and just depriving themselves of the joys of eating. i loved to dine out, to cook, to eat, to relish. a true food hedonist. i ate everything and with gusto. not really a junk food or fast food girl, but still… i felt bullet proof. i do yoga 2 hours a day, ride my bike,  work out,  do african dance, ecstatic dance,  do thai massage. i work out all day everyday. i can eat what ever the hell i want.

when i started doing yoga, smoking stopped, drinking became occasionally and not more than a drink or 2. the more i started to step into my health, all of my health: my mental, physical, spritual and emotional health, those things didn’t feel right any more. it was gradual. it wasn’t a huge conscious decison, it just started happening. but my diet was a bit behind the curve.

when the cancer card came up, i radically changed my eating habits. no sugar, no dairy, coffee occasionally, a glass of wine maybe once or twice a week. 2 glasses of wine and i am hung over. seriously.  fresh juice every morning. magical green matcha tea every day.  protein smoothies, TONS of greens, kale is my new best friend. i lost 15 lbs. in 5 weeks without even trying. things i used to eat did not taste right. i did not miss them at all. i used to weep with joy when i walked by the cheese counter at the co-op. now it doesn’t register a response.  i am  becoming more in touch with my body and realizing what really “feeds” it, and what is just mindless injesting.

also, i truly understand that there is no one “way” for everyone. each person’s body is different. our systems respond differently, in the ayurvedic tradition there are 3 different doshas that determine body type, the food you should eat, what to avoid. what works for one, does not work for another.

i am learning what works for me. i am a carnivore. just am. my body responds and feels strong with it. venison and fish resonate the most. chicken next, then beef.  i do only organic and small portions a couple of times a week. tons of greens and veges. not a lot of fruit because of the sugar. no added sugar. stevia and maple syrup have saved my live. don’t have dessert after every meal any more, but have discovered utterly delicious alternatives to satisfy  my sweet tooth.

i never lord my food choices over anyone else, or bask in smugness when i go to someone’s house. i don’t beat myself up if i eat a slice of cheese once in awhile either. interestingly enough, it really doesn’t taste good any more. there is a new awareness as to how my body feels when i eat certain things.

i still love dining out and eating amazing food, and i am able to just taste things and savor them and not need to gorge myself on things that are not the main staples of my new dietary world. i never feel deprived. let me say that again, i never feel deprived. a whole new world of amazing food has opened up to me and i love exploring this new terrain.

for me, i felt like i was being asked to line up my inner and outer world. to practice what i preach. i am a yoga teacher and massage therapist. my work is to provide tools for others so they can do their self healing work. i seemed to be able to assist others in tending to themselves and neglecting myself in the process. i am now making choices that honor my higher self, not just follow cravings. i am finding that as i eat real, wholesome food, i rarely feel hungry. where as before i was hungry all of the time because my body was malnourished. i was starving for positive attention. positive nutrition. now i am feeding myself from the inside out and feeling like a new balanced woman in the process.