THE COMMITMENT TO CHANGE
In my experience, it is difficult to switch to a plant-based organic diet (whole grains, legumes and derivatives, vegetables, fruits, seaweed, seeds and nuts), unless we make a real change at all levels. Why?
Food defines us as individuals. Since childhood it gives us a sense of belonging that appeals to our most basic emotions. Do you remember “mom’s food”? And how much you hated “that” dish? Do you remember?
Food goes far beyond the nutrition. We are multi-layered beings with a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual dimension. Our eating habits are deeply rooted within us. We often look for comfort in food. We seek to fill a void, or on the contrary, express emotions such as resentment, frustration or anger. We often punish ourselves by the way we eat. Our eating habits blatantly give away our emotions.
All these emotional attachments define our identity. You could say that our habits define us and keep us within our “comfort zone”.
That is why we understand how any change in our diet is a threat to our ego, our security, our comfort zone, our identity.
If you do not believe me, try to change your favourite sweet breakfast overnight, and drop that coffee without which “you cannot wake up in the morning”. We all know that sugar, refined flour and trans fats are not healthy. Theoretically it is all very easy, but what are we willing to do about it? How committed are you to yourself?
THE NECESSARY CHANGE AND ITS BENEFITS
I often hear “I am not 100% following the diet”. Now, what does that mean? What is actually happening is that we are not following it at all.
Should we adopt a macrobiotic diet taking a big leap and making a 100% change? Is it better to introduce changes in food little by little? In my experience, the best results take place when we embrace change wholeheartedly. I have often seen people who are willing to change something, but social, family pressure, cravings and resistance to change, jeopardize any chance of real change.
That’s what I call changing something so that I can actually change nothing.
I do not mean that it is absolutely necessary to change altogether from one day to the next, but in case you seek to experience a real and profound change, you must set a date when we will be adopting the new habits completely. There may be a period of transition, but it cannot be extended “forever”.
As I experienced it, a quick change in food makes things easier, you develop a liking for new tastes and stop craving the old ones much faster. Also, to recover your health, it is important to eliminate foods like sugar, processed or refined products, some dairy products, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, coffee, tea and other stimulants.
When we start following a healthy diet, we will experience some unusual physical and mental symptoms. We mustn’t be alarmed. They only indicate that the body is responding to change and is eliminating accumulated excess. This is a natural process, it means that our systems and tissues are self-healing, cleaning up accumulated excess for years.
This purification process should not last more than a week or ten days (period which takes the blood plasma to regenerate), although some of these symptoms may not go away until several months later, when the quality of our blood has increased.
Obviously, we do not have to experience all the following changes. Each person is different and the number of possible reactions can vary a lot:
POSSIBLE CHANGES WE MAY EXPERIENCE
1.-Rapid weight loss: By removing sweets and fats we will inevitably lose weight. Inflammation is also produced by the use of fertilizers, pesticides and additives. By choosing organic foods we can lose a lot of weight.
2.-Headaches: This adverse reaction is possible when you stop drinking coffee for a few days. We can minimize the discomfort by abandoning the habit little by little, but with a concrete time horizon, changing the coffee for green tea. There can also be headaches even if you do not drink coffee.
3.-Constipation or Diarrhea: Your intestines are being regulated and it will take a few days for the intestinal transit to normalize.
4.-Wind: It is because the intestinal microbiota is regenerating. You have to chew well to improve digestion.
5.-Abnormal sweating and frequent urination: We are encouraging the elimination of excess fluids. Sweat may become a little more acidic but this should not extend beyond a week.
6.-Skin discharge: The skin is one of the main ways of elimination. There may be burning and itching, redness, whitish tongue. This is the way the body eliminates excess animal fat, cured milk, sugar, spices, chemicals and drugs. The skin is a “secondary” elimination pathway when there is poor bowel function or the kidney or liver is saturated.
7.-Tiredness: At first you may feel more tired than usual. Then your vitality should return to normal as the body adapts.
8.-Irritability: Blood glucose levels have to be adapted and regulated, since we are eating slow-absorbing complex carbohydrates (whole grains and vegetables). After this phase we should feel calmer and calmer.
9.-Menstruation problems: The body is very wise and it is logical that, since the vital organs need to regenerate first, the body dedicates “all its energy” to recover. Thus, those “less important” functions (e.g. reproduction) can be “sacrificed” for a short period.
10.-Changes in libido: Libido can be diminished for one or two weeks but it should not be cause for concern since it is temporary and it will come back soon enough.
11.-Feeling the cold: The body is losing fat. You can be especially sensitive to the cold, especially if you have lost a lot of weight and the process of change takes place in winter.
12.-Cravings: During the transition period it is normal to crave old textures, tastes, and smells. You may miss especially what you enjoyed in your childhood. This is totally normal. You mustn´t feel guilty, just relax and investigate what the cause is. It is a reflection of the natural discharge process. As we get better, the toxins and mucus in our blood and organs are discharged through faeces, urine, sweat, mucus and other normal secretions. In case the cravings linger on for a long time afterwards, it may be a sign that you are passing out as salty or sweet.
Heed your body. It is very important, especially in this period. We must remember that “everything that has a front, has a side and the bigger the front, the bigger the side“. Adopting changes that will lead us to a more honest, straight forward and loving relationship with ourselves, will inevitably lead to a new relationship with ourselves and others.
We are all on a path of responsibility, love and commitment to ourselves, which really pays off.