Making Space to Listen to My Body

Hey, folks!

It’s been awfully quiet around here. Up until late January I was still blogging at The Happiness Review and I’m still posting new videos on my youtube channel, The Root of the Root. This winter has been an interesting one, and my partner and I are learning a lot about sharing space with essentially no privacy. (There are no doors, just curtains, on the doorways where we’re staying right now. Even the bathroom, if that helps bring the point home any further.) We were learning how to share space and also how to create space for ourselves. These past two months has been all about making space to listen to my body.

I used to be so in my head. I was always thinking about something, analyzing it, discussing it, couldn’t get enough of it. I’ve been pretty disconnected from my body. I always gravitated towards yoga and yet never lost myself in it. I couldn’t stop analyzing myself or how “well” I was doing, despite knowing that is apparently not helpful. My brain was convinced it had to be in charge, had everything under control, and so long as it was boss, then it’d all be ok.

Since beginning our cabin sitting gig in the beginning of February, I decided to re-visit my yoga practice. It had become stagnant and, again, I was just doing it because I thought I should. This time, though, my body was asking me for it. I was craving playful movement, and strong limbs. I was craving relaxed, stretched out shoulders, and a lower back that both melts into the floor and lifts me back up. Instead of going to yoga classes, I watched them online. (Do yourself a favor and check out Yoga with Adriene. Her channel is a huge contributing factor to me getting back into a yoga groove like never before!!) I did yoga almost (if not) every day. My body began feeling amazing. I started focusing not on what the teacher thought of me, but of how it felt. I now felt that when I stretched, I was opening up the spaces in my muscles for more prana, more life force, to flow through. And it felt amazing.

I am moving into my body, more and more. I am following my gut and eating food that makes me feel good.

I recently kept a food journal for about a week. I did this because as I mentioned in my recent-ish blog about acne, a lot of my healthy decisions were originally made to help heal my acne. Dealing with acne brought up the fact that certain foods did not jive well with me and my diet needed an overhaul. Overhauling one’s diet often means removing things. I had always struggled with this aspect; as soon as I felt like I was denying myself, I subconsciously freaked out and rebelled. I’d binge on something unhealthy and prove to myself I was incapable of making the necessary changes. I wanted to try a food journal because I wanted to have some “proof” for my mind to see what makes my body feel AWESOME and focus on that, instead. To stop imposing rules on my body, but rather, to ask it what it needs and doesn’t need.

I learned some incredibly valuable things. Namely, I have a tendency to eat a LOT of food standing up, while thinking about what to make for a meal. If it’s something I feel guilty about, I’ll probably scarf it down before even I can notice! I can sometimes overload my system snacking before I even start making my meal. I was drinking a LOT of tea, all the time, including with meals, and I think it often hurt my digestion more than helped. I noticed that I get psychologically stressed about anticipating the next meal. Often when I wasn’t even hungry, or had poor digestion, I’d make myself eat a meal, when my body was asking me to give it a break. Sometimes when my digestive fire is low, it needs a little break to get back up and running. A lot of the time, I was consuming social media the same time as my food. Instead of taking time to chew it, enjoying each bite, and grinding it down into an easily digestible form, I was gulping it down, dashing off to the next thing.

I learned that right now, my body isn’t jiving with most bread-type products, dairy, and unsoaked beans and nuts. I naturally stopped craving caffeine. (I mean, hey, this comes and goes, but overall, my body asked me to take a break.) For months, I haven’t been craving meat in any way, either. I noticed how awesome I feel when I’m eating fermented foods, drinking lemon-cayenne water in the mornings, doing yoga, writing in my gratitude journal, and making foods intuitively. I learned that making avocados a priority is worth it, because I feel amazing when I’m eating them regularly.

I didn’t restrict anything. I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted. It was simply a process to witness myself and to abstain, as much as possible, from judgment. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that judgement doesn’t get us very far.

I’ve been learning how to make food for myself. I love taking care of other people, and I felt sad at the idea of eating food separate from my partner, who doesn’t usually want what I’m having. But now? I’m loving it. I can learn how to make food exactly how I like it, no one else to please or consider. I can load tons of ginger into something that might seem overpowering to someone else (I’m pretty obsessed, what can I say) or pile sauerkraut on things that would make most raise their eyebrows at best.

But…isn’t that the point? All of our bodies need something specific. And they will always tell us when we make room to listen. A recipe is merely an entirely tweakable template. If you’re drawn to a recipe, choose it, and then let your gut tell you how to adjust the details!

Tonight I made this dinner bowl:

Image

It probably would’ve cost me around ten dollars at a vegan restaurant. The base of it is quinoa, sauteed broccoli, cauliflower, and kale with ginger, garlic, onions, and tamari. I added a scoop of home fermented sauerkraut, broiled tofu and freshly made guac. I piled it all on top of these amazing Utz organic corn chips and was in dinner nirvana.

Those ingredients are so simple, and yet out of all the food in the world, that’s what I wanted in that moment. And I got it!

Where are you in your relationship to food, your body and taking care of yourself?

Does it come naturally to you? Is it a struggle?

I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below!

Love, happy bellies & joyful bodies, to you all!

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