Your Body Always Tells a True Story
Guest Post by Caryn O’Hara, AHC.
We are the sum of what we eat, think, and do. If there is ever a time you aren’t sure about this, think back to the punch in the belly you felt when you were grieving, the uncomfortable excitement in the chest last time you were anxious, or that itch that wouldn’t quit when you were in seated stillness meditation. The body is an energetic field, a communication playground for all the systems to let us know what is working and what is not. Our job is to listen.
As an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, I help you conserve your energy. I help you see blind spots in your diet and lifestyle, those foods that don’t fully agree with you but aren’t always easy to see as a factor in limiting your health potential. I do this by finding patterns in relationships of all kinds, not just food, and guide you toward options that will suit your system in its entirety.
No doubt. The HxH lifestyle is rooted in 80×20 logic, which supports eating whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible. Eating this way nourishes the function of our organs and sustains energy in the body. If you aren’t familiar with how 80×20 works, refer to Helen’s previous post The 80×20 Lifestyle.
Traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda (eye-your-vay-duh), which is the longest consistently practiced healthcare system, follows the same foundational guiding principle. Ayurveda is actually the OG of 80×20! How cool. Right?
Ayurveda is specific in its methods, as with any fully developed medicinal system. It takes into consideration who you are naturally, your dosha, which is your archetype of sorts from a mind/body/soul perspective. When you learn what your dosha is, you can talk to an Ayurvedic practitioner about your health and they will be able to guide you to a better quality of life with little tweaks here and there. While this healing system is detail-oriented, an experienced healthcare provider won’t overcomplicate things so you will have a clear understanding of what you can do to uplevel. If you want to learn your dosha, I recommend visiting the Chopra Center’s online guide.
We, as practitioners, look at the whole body, which includes physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Anytime you choose to modify your diet or lifestyle you receive benefits across the board. Shifting to a 80×20 lifestyle isn’t solely about eating food to be in better physical condition. Yes, that happens naturally, but you gain so much more than that!
When you follow the 80×20 way of life, you immediately become an energy conservationist. Your cells spend most of their time being fed by foods that enhance their performance, which means they don’t use as much energy to digest and assimilate your food. Of course that leaves power for other things in life, increasing your stamina. And who doesn’t want a little more steam to rev up business or get sexy in the bedroom?
When you eat more whole foods, your body – or vehicle – is super fuel efficient. Your skin isn’t the only thing that clears. Mental clarity comes too. Emotions are much more regulated because hormones aren’t flying up and down, so mood swings and restlessness are a thing of the past. And the spirit! It soars because so much crap is out of the way. Literally!!
So let’s break down the 20% from the Ayurvedic lens.
If – scratch that – WHEN you indulge in treats, choose what you eat based on what fuels your heart and mind since you already know that food isn’t the healthiest choice for your physical body. Decide what you’re supporting. Emotional? Mental? Spiritual? The good news here is that we cannot separate body from mind, mind from heart, heart from soul. It is all connected.
Let’s say you feel sad because a relationship is ending or you lost out on a big promotion. Remember you can source power from what you choose to do. If you aren’t feeling especially clear and joyful, you might not cravel fresh, whole foods. That’s okay!! In fact it’s better to feed your emotional body at this point, which is more than likely craving sweets. Being too strict with your diet can cause you to feel even more upset because you’re shoving greens down your throat instead of nibbling on delicious dark chocolate. No thanks.
One thing you can always rely on is the fact that your body WILL NOT LIE. Even if you can’t detect which way is up or down, your body will tell you if you have eaten something it has a difficult time digesting. Some of the common side effects of eating foods that require a lot of energy for your body to digest are: bloating, stomach ache, gas, irregular poops (yes, poop!). Anytime you have these symptoms, it is always a good idea to wonder what you ate within the last 24 hours that could have contributed to it. When you eat something that creates a reaction, it is a good idea to entertain not eating it for a while.
Moderation is key. Once you start eating a cleaner diet, it is much easier to identify the nasty side effect culprits. If you think of food as medicine, it might help.
It’s the same effect – whether food or supplements or prescriptions. If we take in all kinds of foods/supplements/prescriptions at the same time and have symptoms of depleted energy, it’s challenging to pinpoint which of those is the villain. If we are, in this case, eating healthy foods 80% of the time it’s a whole lot simpler to know the cause of the discomfort.
Modern medicine is proving a lot of what Ayurveda has said for 5,000 years. The gut/brain connection is real. More than that, an unhealthy GI tract (mouth to anus) not only contributes to digestive disorders, but emotional imbalances, brain fog, migraines, mental illness, and neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease.
If you want to live with less stress and more freedom, it’s about eating well and doing things you love to do. Your lifestyle is just as important as the food. Leaning into strengths is crucial. What we do with our time is just as helpful – or harmful – as what we cook for dinner. In fact I spend most of my time focused on the way my clients think and what they do because behaviors are that impactful.
Rigidity doesn’t get you anywhere. So eat the cookie. Ride your bike in the rain and do headstands in the snow. But only if it makes you feel joy.
To book Caryn for one-on-one sessions, group programs, or transformational retreats –
Caryn has wisdom beyond her years and offers it to the world as a traveling Ayurvedic Health Counselor carrying out her mission to expand heart-centered consciousness of the world by connecting people to their innate healing wisdom.