What am I looking for?

This blog post about what food is not is exactly what I needed to hear.

I've been giving food a lot of credit lately for lots of different things, mainly hiding emotions, or causing me to be one way or another.

After reading that post, however I'm reminded that food is nourishment. That's it! It's the fuel my body needs to run on. Any resulting emotion that seemingly comes *from* the food is purely psychological. Food can't do that, only I can.

I know I have an addiction to food, and it's something that tortures me left and right—when I allow it. I'm hoping to be able to ask myself "what am I looking for" before stuffing my face with anything I know to lack the nutrients and health by body needs from a food.

Food = fuel.

I've been eating a lot more heavy, grainy, nutty foods lately and I've convinced myself that it has to do with the changing seasons, and changing life. I've allowed it, because it seems to be the way it is, and whenever I resist I get cranky and crazy and unpleasant to be around. Plus, resisting food has never been easy for me.

That post on Choosing Raw was really inspiring to me. It made me WANT to eat healthier. It made me WANT to eat pears for lunch. It helped me realize how much power I was letting food have over me. I want to take that power back.

My body needs carbohydrate calories from fresh fruits, and enzymes from raw foods, and water, and love.

A bagel with peanut butter doesn't give me any of that. What does a bagel and peanut butter give me? A heavy stomach, a foggy mind, a general feeling of slug that seems to drain the energy from my body while digesting. Where's the fuel there? There is none. NONE I SAY!


Jacques Cousteau! said...

"Any resulting emotion that seemingly comes *from* the food is purely psychological. Food can't do that, only I can."

When something makes you feel bad (reference your last paragraph for a description of what I mean) it has a much higher chance of having a negative affect upon mindset and emotional poise.

Whether or not these things are directly correlated to the food or not is irrelevant, because they still come about as a result of eating poorly.

So how, then, is it that food is not causing emotional responses? When we have energy and feel alive, we feel positive and uplifted. When we have our energy drained and feel lethargic and half dead, we feel intrinsically depressed as a result of--literally--a lack of "life" in us.

How then, is it that food is not causing emotional upheaval in such a context?

Jacques Cousteau! said...

I guess I kind of know what you mean, in the sense that maybe we are only likely to eat something that makes us feel bad as a means of dealing (in the short term) with emotional dis-ease in the first place...

Still, I feel conflicted with the statement that food "can't" influence emotions. I believe that is untrue, simply because I tend to feel bad after eating heavy foods even when it was not my intention to use food as a means of dealing with emotions. (ie, if a friend offers to buy me something that I wouldn't have gone out of my way to eat on my own.)

SbutterAMfly said...

I suppose I should rephrase what I mean by an "emotion coming from the food". Take, for example, a feeling of comfort that comes from eating something warm and soft. The warm and soft feeling, or satisfied emotion that comes from eating a cookie—it's purely psychological, and has nothing to do with the cookie. Warm and soft was an emotion that needed to be satisfied and a cookie turned out to be the answer in this example.

While a bagel with peanut butter may make me feel physically unpleasant, psychologically I lean to it to resolve something deeper… Like a subconscious want for heaviness and sluggishness.

That is what I was referring to in the statement you quoted.

To attempt to answer your question: I agree that it's possible for the awareness of our emotional poise to lower after eating poorly. I think that by having an awareness of this sort of thing happening, we can anticipate that our emotional awareness may lower as a result of eating something heavy and make a conscious decision to counter-balance the lack of awareness.

Or, perhaps heavy foods have been labeled as something that lowers awareness, and therefore in our minds they need to fulfill that roll. Do we eat the heavy foods to access a lower-aware state? Do I eat a bagel to lower my awareness because subconsciously, emotionally, I feel the drive to be less aware? Certainly something to think about.

I'll say that yes, heavy food can bring lower awareness with it, but I don't think that the food can directly *cause* "emotional upheaval".

I think the heavy food may lower awareness, which then, when triggered by something external, may (because of the lower awareness) result in emotional reaction, and if not noticed early (again due to lower awareness), may cause an upheaval.

By consciously choosing to counter-balance our awareness levels after eating heavy food, I believe emotional upheaval can be avoided. At least that's how I think it works for me anyway. We're all somewhat different.

Jacques Cousteau! said...

I agree with most of your post.

"By consciously choosing to counter-balance our awareness levels after eating heavy food, I believe emotional upheaval can be avoided. At least that's how I think it works for me anyway. We're all somewhat different."

I simply don't believe this is as effective a method as we'd all like to think it is. It's just not that simple, because you don't KNOW if you've successfully counter-balanced or if you've sunken to a state that is ambivalent towards the self or others... because the very definition of a lack of awareness negates the possibly of making such an observation.

It's like me saying "Oh, I'll just be more aware of when I indulge in my habit and potentially push my awareness levels down.".. but before I know it, I am under the wheels again, because a lack of awareness is intrinsically self-fulfilling.

Make any sense?

Jacques Cousteau! said...

Don't get me wrong... it is good to use the logic provided to ascertain that we want to eat healthier foods and make it a conscious choice to do so. I applaud that.

It's counter-productive to see it as a means to justify eating foods we know are bad for us just because we believe we have the ability to "overcome" these negative influences through pure willpower.

Just my opinion... it's a slippery slope to start using ANY positive logic or influence as justification of acts that we know are intrinsically self-impairing or self-destructive.

SbutterAMfly said...

Perhaps that's true. I feel that making the effort toward counter-balancing over and over, each time I eat something heavy, that maybe a little bit of it will sink in. And higher awareness remains for a little bit longer each time.

Maybe for the first month or so of doing this, yeah under the bus I continue to go. But I don't see attempting to make an effort to be any more harmful than what is already happening—as long as their is no attachment to the idea of the counter-balance efforts ABSOLUTELY doing anything, but making the effort just in case something will happen.

Jacques Cousteau! said...

At the very least, I would have to say that "conscious counter-balancing" has to be sought very actively, through an avenue such as meditation or yoga.

We can't just say, "Oh, I'm going to counter-balance that negative influence" and be done with it... the balancing must be actively pursued through some sort of physical "bringing of the self to the mat" (if you will) because the original influence was also supra-personal. (ie, came about from outside the self through an externally existing ingested substance's influence instead of through pure will of spirit.)

Even the possibility of overcoming an external influence with pure will of spirit requires that we submit to some form of meditative prayer or trance or what have you. That is then the act of willpower.

Without that active choice and the subsequent actions to bring that choice to life, we fall into unconsciousness.

So, in short: I believe that you are right, but only under the condition of dedication. One must essentially enter into a meditative state immediately upon ingesting anything that will diminish awareness.

Anything less than this sort of dedication seems to create a sort of "back log" or pile-up of awareness diminishment that can and will take the pilot right out of his or her chair.

Rambly Joe, reporting for duty...

SbutterAMfly said...

Good point.

I was imagining this being used during a period of difficult transition. Like, while we're wanting to eat high-raw, but we keep eating heavy foods anyway… At the time we're about to eat the heavy food, try to counter-balance the lower awareness in that moment. But don't use it as an excuse to eat the heavy food. That would indeed be counter productive.

Jacques Cousteau! said...

Making the effort is good. I wasn't saying it's a bad idea to lean towards that way... I am saying it is dangerous to fall into the belief that it's "working" because YOU really don't know if it's working without using a series of external references, which may become unavailable to you as a result of diminished awareness in the first place. This is a slippery slope, as I said. I just thought you should be aware of that, if you are going to play on it.

What it comes down to is that the belief that it is working can falsely arise out of the numbness and illusive safety-paper-bag-over-the-head that a lack of awareness inherently creates.

So how then will you know if you are succeeding with such a pursuit, or if you are actually falling victim to a state of unawareness without knowing it?

This is the epitome of my existence, so far... it happens to me constantly, even though I always say I will make an active effort when my head is up.

Despite our best efforts, awareness seems to slip in the face of enough toxicity.

I guess I can only speak for myself... but I do feel that I have a unique perspective upon your reality as well, and I believe that I have seen evidence of the same patterns in both of us and even in our close friends.

Anyway. Just rambling.

Jacques Cousteau! said...

Sorry for cluttering up your blog with my insecurities and bull-headed opinions... ;)

SbutterAMfly said...

No worries.
::hug:: :)

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