YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Warning: Long But Relevant Rant Below
In a time and place where the internet serves us a platform to share, speak and preach what we wish - I really wanted to start off this months newsletter with a small but very important disclaimer.I am not a nutritionist, naturopath, dietician or health coach of any sort nor am I trying or pretending to be an authority on any of these. In no way am I saying that any of the things mentioned in this newsletter should be replaced or considered as medical advice.I hope that you can view this letter the same way as if we were two friends having dinner and sharing our experiences around what we’ve been eating and how we’ve been feeling and nothing more than just that :)
It is said that we all live our lives like we’re chopped off at the neck and we treat it as if our heads and bodies live separately from each other. I started Hello! Sun years ago purely because I felt really passionately about sharing how the two go hand in hand and if we aren't mindful of what we put in our mouths and into our bodies, in time it will manifest physically (skin, weight, rashes, hair loss etc) or mentally (brain fog, depression, anxiety etc) in which are things that can either be helped or prevented by the foods we feed ourselves and our life. In 2010 I was given a diagnosis where I was sick and the doctors told me there was nothing I could do. My journey into understanding food and the idea that it could actually heal us started right here. Not only was I physically so unwell but the waves that followed for me both mentally and emotionally were so intense that on many days I woke up feeling so useless and at most suicidal. It was a time of really great suffering for me. I had lost my menstrual cycle for nearly a year due to neglecting my body both nutritionally and with feelings of unworthiness and it was through feeling so shit that I was suddenly graced with a little light in starting to question whether it could possibly be the things I was eating, thinking and doing that were playing god to the darkness I was experiencing in my life. This is what birthed over ten years of self study, reading books on top of books, watching so many documentaries, hundreds of talks all in a desperate aid to feel better. I started to find myself marveling at the science of food being medicine and finally understanding that nothing penetrates and programs us more than the the food we choose to shove down our throats, the thoughts we think and the environments we live in. I started to really wonder, what am I putting on my plate breakfast, lunch and dinner therefore feeding my systems morning, day and night? What are you eating and downloading into your program? Important Note: Food As Trauma Response I also want to note and honor here that food and our relationship with eating runs deep and is deeply personal. It's not easy to change our eating habits as a lot of it is psychological, ancestral, habitual or can result from years of using food as a trauma response. I really do hate how the wellness industry never really addresses these when they launch into telling you how to better live your life starting with a green juice. My sickness didn't just stem from a few weeks of self neglect. It stemmed from decades of suppressed trauma and the denial of it, that harvested some strong self abandonment and self destruction which gave birth to the years of disordered eating that happened to be very well aligned with some deeply embedded core beliefs I had about myself at the time. This took years and years to reprogram. We all know the equation to eating well but we must believe we are worthy or feel safe enough to do so otherwise we're never able to follow through long term. We must address our core wounds and beliefs and that's where it goes deep and gets psychological. My body and mind was finally so sick I was given no choice but to finally look things in the eye for which I am forever grateful as here is where the seed for Hello! Sun was planted.
Whenever I feel like shit or feel depressed or find that maybe my skin is flaring up or that I'm swollen and unwell - the most immediate thing I review is what I’ve been eating or drinking in the past few weeks along with life events that may have followed. Then you’ll see, the dots actually connect and it's okay, you can re-navigate. The cells in our body are constantly renewing itself and regenerating so literally - your cells are being made up of only by what you give it. If you want to just talk about the physical plane and structure - you really do become what you eat. What we eat can either help renew, clean or heal our cells or it can stress or mutate the cells causing it to age faster, break down, deteriorate or raise it’s alarm bells through the skin, the gut, our mood or at the most extreme - through cancer and diseases. We choose. The body doesn’t have a voice and these are the only ways it knows how to speak to us and get our attention to tell us that something isn't right. We must stop and listen. Sometimes I find it heartbreaking that once these things come up, we so often turn to doctors who prescribe us quick drugs without addressing the core issue or even turn to beauty blogs or google to tell us what we need to buy to fix what we want fixing. Rarely do we turn in and assess what we’ve been feeding ourselves, putting into our bodies that may have caused a chemical reaction in cell activity for these inflammations to form or for alarm bells to be rung. All of these things will keep lingering unless we get to the root of what caused the harm. As Anthony Williams said, whatever you're doing or feeling in your actual life, your organs are working 100 x more than you just to keep you alive through it. Think of your life as the shop floor and your organ and nervous system as the factory line during peak season.
Like a car, nothing else is responsible for how smoothly it runs, functions or deteriorates than the choice and quality of the fuel we invest into it. The body continues to amaze me at how many systems are in place that are able to clean, heal, detox, and renew itself and all it asks from us is for the right support. I could go on about the thousands and thousands of cases of people who have healed cancers, tumors, skin conditions, reversed diabetes through the use of food but I won’t go into that here - all I can speak from is my experience. I happily started eliminating foods that didn't make me feel good and went vegan, went off, got sick again, went raw, went back - all until I balanced out to where I needed to be. As I started to educate myself and eat better, years later I had healed what was damaged, my skin had renewed itself, I gained a healthy menstrual cycle, pooped every day, hair was 100 x stronger and longer but most importantly as a result of cleaning myself out - I felt the physical hold hands with the mental and both of them were able to walk themselves home again. It’s like what Dr. Alejandro Junger said - we are no longer eating food, we are eating food like products. Foods made by food scientists in labs under flurorescent lights, enhanced with chemical additives to get us addicted so we buy more and make them richer, subsidized food products like chocolate bars that are cheaper than buying fresh produce, "organic" foods that aren't actually organic?, chemically sprayed and waxed fruits and vegetables, hormone injected animals, genetically modified foods that disrupt our natural bio rhythms, soft drinks with ingredients that can cause brain seizures - I don’t mean to overwhelm you but the list goes on. I was extremely overwhelmed too. It seems hard to want to live a life and also live it eating well. I wanted to share with you a few things I think about when it comes to eating and share with you some resources so you too, if you’re interested, can gain an understanding to feeling better.
I struggled a lot with writing this newsletter as when it comes to food there are so many more intricacies that I feel are so important to discuss. Also to understand that for someone who may not have access to good organic produce or the financial means, or for those who are living with an eating disorder - I understand and really honor that to some, these words and tips may still feel unaccessible and alienating. I hope I have done my best and it can still serve you in some way :) Only take these on board if you feel compelled too - we are all on different journeys with food and our eating and I know better than to expect everyone is on the one ride. Be well, Angel x
Here are a few simple things that I take note of to eat well without it feeling so overwhelming.
Whole Foods Simple and easy. I always think - start from the ground up literally. Was this grown from the earth? For example vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains or was this made by man? Smoothies & Juicing Great way to quickly ingest all the nutrients, enzymes and vitamins your body needs straight into your bloodstream and digestive tract that you otherwise wouldn’t have time to prepare, cook and eat. Juicing extensively is also an amazing way to repair cell and organ damage. My rule of thumb is I juice or blend a combination of fruits and vegetables I don’t usually like to eat or know how to cook. For example, I don’t like carrots very much or beets so I juice them a lot. I eat a lot of greens like kale, broccoli, green beans etc so I’ll usually juice or blend other greens my body doesn't get as much through cooking like celery and cucumbers. Side Tip: Farty & Bloaty With Juicing & Smoothie-ing There is this thing called food combining. Some foods eaten with other foods don’t work so well in the gut and can cause bloating, gas etc. The best tip I learnt when it comes to juicing or blending is to do it first thing in the morning when your stomach is relatively empty. It’s a good way for your stomach to absorb what it needs and line itself without any interruption. Cooked foods take longer to break down and digest while juices and blended drinks run through much quicker. So if you eat cooked foods and then layer your juice or smoothie on top - it can sit on top of the cooked foods and start to putrefy and make you gassy and extremely smelly (you know the kind). Juice and smoothies digest quicker so better to have them first as to not create a digestion traffic jam. A lot of people laugh as we are always so quick to blame whole fruits and veges for our bloating and never the epic meal we had hours or the night before. Beware! "Organic" & "All Natural" Labels! Be careful of labels such as "organic", “natural”, "superfoods" and supplements etc. As healthy eating and all things wellness is in its major trending season, a lot of companies are monetizing off this and the US particularly is seeing a huge under regulation of labeling laws. The same companies that produce some of our sugar products are now cashing in and selling health foods under different brand names and a lot of them are just following the same production models as processed foods, cutting major corners to make them cheap and are usually a lower quality grade supplement or product. Always buy from who you trust. A great way to buy superfoods and supplements you can trust is going to your local (small) organic store or health foods store and talking to them about what they think are best. I rarely buy any super foods or supplements from Whole Foods or anywhere big. I suppose I'm abit skeptical, I just don’t trust huge corporations and some of the brands they carry. For my downtown New Yorkers, a great place to go is High Vibes in East Village and Dimes market. Do your research :) Groceries? When buying boxed or packaged foods, flip it and always read the label. There is a shit tonne of things being added to our foods (high fructose corn syrup in pasta sauce? Why?) and usually there are more natural, simpler and purer options that taste just as good sitting next to it on the shelf. Please! This one is so important! Also, the order in which ingredients are listed by law have to be from the highest to lowest weight contributed. So if sugars, additives or flavor enhancers are in the first few ingredients listed you know it's a baddie. Skin A lot of what happens on our skin can be in direct correlation with what’s going on inside us especially in the gut, liver, our hormones, our environment and emotions such as stress and grief. Check in with yourself and your body - try and assess what’s going on - what have you been eating? How are you feeling? What events have happened in your life lately? Then recourse, navigate, explore and experiment accordingly. Cutting out dairy, conventional sugars and fats is a HUGE plus for skin. If you are having issues with hormonal pimples, try and look at some things you may have been eating or products you are using that disrupt hormone production. Most commercial skin care products carry an array of ingredients that actually disrupt the endocrine system that's in charge of hormone production and distribution. Start to research and maybe detox things out. Give your body a break to cleanse - it may never have had a day off from our normal food routines and it can only do a sweep if it has time to breathe. Dedicate a time block to eat foods that help clean it up and strengthen those systems that it seems to be stressing. It might suck in the interim to cut out on some of your favorite things but for long term skin goals - you'll be grateful. And remember it won't happen right away. Think about how many years we've spent eating, drinking and abusing the system - we can't undo a lifetime just over 3 or 4 days. These toxins and parasites are well embedded into our cells and body. It will take time for your body and skin to take the breath, clean, make space, trust you, rearrange and rebuild. I love to go off Anthony William and what he has to say about skin - you can research him and your symptoms. And remember, skin always needs to breathe and see a few good mins of sun (bare faced, no SPF) :) Don't Hate Me But Dairy Is Usually A No :/ So delicious but a huge inflammatory food group. It can cause a lot of inflammation (I experience swelling) and particularly those with skin issues like eczema, acne or respiratory issues like asthma - dairy is a great thing to cut back. Bacteria and parasites love dairy too. I love dairy but feel so much better without it - again just try it out and see how you feel? You may feel better or not even notice a difference. If you wanted too, best to try it out for at least a month to give your body a chance to take it on, readjust and reprogram. My dear friend had cystic acne and we were living together at the time when I was vegan. I asked her to just try it out with me as we were cooking together anyway and it was incredible. Within 2 -3 weeks the chronic acne on her face had calmed down immensely. It was quite amazing to watch. Eat Your Colors So when you cook or go grocery shopping, try and be mindful of colors. Different colored vegetables hold different nutrients and so they say when you cook - try and use different colors to make sure you are getting a broader range of what your body needs. Eg: If I’m cooking tomatoes, I’ll go for a yellow capsicum instead of a red one. I’ll choose purple cabbage rather than green because I don’t eat many purple things but I eat a lot of greens. This is a simple way to diversify your nutrient range. Eating Things That Are Alive Because I Am Alive Foods have vibration and energy also. This might sound hippy and a little hookie so I won’t go into too deeply but you have high vibrational foods like living plants, fruits, plant proteins and also lower vibrational foods like foods that are fried, deeply processed or just "dead". Once what you eat is digested and compartmentalized into your cells and transported away - it can literally lift you up or drag you down. Something I’m always conscious of. Don't feed your body dead stock or cardboard paper food - make sure you eat things that are thriving and living like plants, vegetables & fruits as this will only be mirrored back into your cells and cellular activity. It's Okay To Not Eat It's okay to not eat. I say this because we tend to talk about food like clockwork and just eat for sake of it being lunchtime or dinner. It's important to be mindful and tune in to your body before you run out and grab something. You might not be feeling hungry and that's okay. You wont die, your body is so clever and the liver has nutrients and glucose stored away so you don't wither. I won't go into the benefits of fasting or juicing because it's not my place but I really did want to mention this here. Since we were born or however far back we can remember - we have been eating every few hours and our bodies have been constantly working to digest, delegate, transport, break down, eliminate what we eat and drink. This takes up a lot of its energy and attention. The only time it seems to rest is when we sleep, but even then we might be busy breaking down our huge dinner only to wake up and then start again with a big breakfast. Therefore our digestive systems never seem to get extended rest. It is usually in constant states of being stressed and strung out so when we stop eating for a little while and we give our digestive systems a little extra time after they finish the work they've been handed - that break actually allows them to take a breather and look around the room. In that fresh space, it will notice the things that have been broken that need fixing. It points its attention onto things that required healing a long time ago and starts to use its time and energy to finally attend at working and gutting out what it once had to ignore. That's how a lot of people who have had diseases were able to heal their bodies through fasting and juicing but again, not my place to speak more - I'll let some of the documentaries I've recommended below do the talking :) Go Plant Vegan Not Fake Vegan Speaks for itself :) No point cutting out cheese and milk for fries and frozen fake meat patties. Try your best x
Want to learn more? Here are some of the documentaries that have changed my life and books to get you started.
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