I’ve been pondering the adage ‘you are what you eat‘ quite a bit lately.
Not in an overt, literal kind of way.
If that were the case, I would have long-ago morphed into something, ummm….slightly less recognizable than the Meghan I’ve seen in the mirror for the past 20-something years.
But also not not in a literal way either. I mean, one can’t just eat anything, at any time and in any manner and not experience some sort of fallout.
Society would lead you to believe otherwise, but it really is absurd to think that taking down one of these suckahs is a consequence-free choice.
Upsetting, I know.
This isn’t meant to be a soapbox-esque post about my nutritional predilections and prescriptions.
I’ve been marinating on is this concept of being not just what you eat, but what you consume.
‘Consuming’ meaning anything you incorporate into your personal space, directly or indirectly. Consciously or not. Physical space, mental space, emotional space, energetic space.
All the things.
Under that premise, everything from the food you eat to the social interactions you engage in to the toxins you’re exposed to to the habitual thought patterns that influence your outlook would count as ‘food.’
I’ve heard untold cries of desperation over not losing weight despite eating all the ‘right’ things, over being exhausted despite healthy amounts of sleep and exercise, etc. It’s not just about the obvious variables. Health does not equal diet + exercise + sleep. There can be no physical health without emotional health without mental health.
Everything we take in becomes integrated into our internal environment on a cellular level. On an energetic level. And it might not happen immediately but what we consume gets projected outwardly, manifesting in aesthetic representations of health or disease.
Sometimes we unwittingly become recipients of less-than-ideal food. Energy. Whatever you want to call it.
Running into the neighborhood big-butt-having busybody blabbermouth on your (already behind-schedule) way to an appointment would be a prime example. The butt is really immaterial. I just like alliteration.
Time and energy-draining situations like that make you wish ‘you are what eat’ was a literal truth, some sort of law of nature whereby you could whip out your wand and manifest a snack from thin air, Harry Potter-style, scarf it and transform into a food item beyond said annoying neighbor’s powers of recognition.
I think a lot of us suffer immensely from these types of energetic exchanges, the cumulative effect of which take a toll on us not unlike that of eating crappy food.
Likewise, trudging with trepidation every day to a job that puts a pit in your stomach is another way of consuming, taking in, breathing in energy that negatively effects you. Over time, your emotional frequency changes. Your perspective shifts. Your posture, digestion and energy level all take a hit.
It’s laudable to eat a nutritious diet, exercise appropriately and maintain a healthy sleep cycle, but health doesn’t begin and end there.
You could ascribe to a paleo or vegan diet, learn to meditate like a BOSS, or spend half your paycheck on obscure ‘superfood’ health supplements, but if you’re regularly slathering on commercial perfumes, lotions and makeup, or scrubbing your house with commercial cleaning products, you’re taking in a crap-ton of chemicals that are likely engaging in some nefarious dealings inside your bod.
I won’t journey into a side soliloquy about the endocrine-disrupting properties of commonly-encountered toxins, but suffice it to say they are playing an increasingly prevalent role in people’s wellness, physically, mentally and emotionally.
This isn’t to say that we should abandon modern living as we know it, throwing caution – and sticks of deodorant - to the wind in favor of fear-driven, anti-establishment existence.
As with all things, it starts with awareness. Baby steps. Spend a few moments when you wake up assessing how you feel. It’s not like you’re leaping out of the sheets at the first beep of your alarm anyway. You’re tired. Probably from the macaroni and cheese pizza you ate last night.
Being in tune with body, mind, emotions and energy is the most readily accessible – and therefore viable – tool for gauging how healthy and balanced you feel.
But for reals, yo. Bed meditation – beditation, if you will – is pretty much the bestthingever and easiestthingever for getting hip to your own internal game. I like to lie in bed upon waking for oh, I don’t know, 3, 4, 5 or 30 minutes and just notice the thoughts that come crashing into my brain.
Expectations and obligations rolling in like ominous rainclouds. Residual negativity or regrets from past poorly dealt-with situations crowding my mental space like parking lot piles of dirt-encrusted snow.
Notice how these thoughts and emotions manifest in my physical body. Sensations of tightness in my neck muscles, creakiness in my joints, constriction in my chest.
Am I breathing effortlessly or is it a conscious and laborious task?
Does my cervical spine crack 42 times when I turn my head to gander at the alarm clock? Hmm, my eyes feel burny and tight? Oh, could have been the hours and hours of excel spreadsheet work I did last night. Makes sense.
My quads feel like they’ve been invaded by muscle-crushing rocks? Oh right, I did do that killer tabata workout on the treadmill two days ago. Maybe I’ll take it easy today.
Right shoulder’s a lil’ clenchy? I did hold my phone between my ear and shoulder while on a stressful conference call for an hour yesterday. Perhaps I’ll carve out 3 minutes before the next call to do some mindful deep breathing and calm my ass-down.
Uncharacteristically fatigued? Maybe it had something to do with counseling a friend through a particular emotional situation.
You get the picture.
And from there, give yourself permission to modify your day as you need and to make changes as you feel ready for them.
Replace your household cleaners with green eco-friendly products. Pop in your earbuds (without music) whilst strolling past nosy neighbors to avoid soul-sucking inquiries into your personal life. Or maybe just eat a few more carrots if you crushed one-too-many girl scout thin mint cookies in the past week. Not that anyone would do that.
It starts with awareness. And maybe – maybe that awareness is processed. Accepted. Embraced. Absorbed. Metabolized into inspiration. Action. Change. Feel-y goodness. Feel-y in control-ness. Healthy. Balanced. Happy.