We hear phrases bandied about like “What you feed grows”, “You are what you eat”, “What you think about you bring about”.
So just what does this mean in relation to the health of our body and the health of our minds? To have a well body we need to have a clear adaptable mind.
We actually poison our bodies and minds far more with the thoughts we think, (thoughts that are out of alignment, toxic, negative and serve no value or purpose to our lives, or the lives of others) than we do with the food we put in our mouths. This is saying something when you look at all the sugar laden, chemical laden processed food that is the diet of many people today.
When we eat with guilt or judgmental thoughts about the food we are eating, our size, the size of those around us etc we are setting up a chemical guilt trip within the digestive system as to how our food is digested – and it aint good! When you feel judged or guilty, every cell in your body feels it and goes into defence mode and you can experience pain anywhere in the digestive system. Yep – just as you do when you are judged. When we are in defence mode, we do not “work well”, we do not think properly or make good decisions or take right action. Our little cells in our digestive system are just the same, and even our microbes pick up on these feelings and respond defensively! So how ever can we have a good healthy digestive system when its operation mode is “defend at all costs”?
I cannot speak just of the mind without the body and its bits and workings, nor can I speak just of the body, its bits and workings without including the mind…because everything is so interlinked and connected.
So in discussing the role of our diet on depression and imbalances of the mind, we also have to consider the minds’ role on our diet. We do not know which started the ball rolling, and actually it does not really matter, what IS important is that we make a difference. For by changing the mind we can change our biology (body) and by changing our diet we can affect the mind.
As I mentioned earlier about our thoughts being potentially toxic to our bodies and affecting how our food is assimilated in our bodies, I would like to begin our journey with the stomach and spleen.
In Chinese medicine these are the two organs associated with the earth element and work hand in hand together in many ways. The natural emotion of these two organs is worry. The primary “worry” is, “are my needs being met”? The job of the spleen is to worry about your needs, to gather nourishment from your food, physically nourishing your muscles and other tissues, as well as keeping your body clean and tidy and things being moved on. This includes the immune and lymphatic system health.
For our digestion to be healthy, therefore our mind to be healthy, we need nourishing thoughts, a healthy microbiome (healthy balance and colonisation of microbes within our bodies) and we need our worry to be focused inward. Thinking about the “wrong” things (things we cannot change, things that do not affect us etc) weakens our spleen and causes it to become inefficient – which causes lack of strength in our muscles, (which could appear as symptoms of Fibromyalgia or ME) the health and ability of our immune system to fight invasive pathogens and our lymphatic system to clean our dead & dying cells and identify cancer cells and deal to them. Our worry needs to be balanced.
Over worry causes confusion, anxiety, obsession with self or others, obsession with affairs we cannot change and causes challenges in our relationships. Our worry needs to be balance to have clarity, and healthy boundaries with ourselves and others.
Worry is important ONLY from the perspective that we need to look at things from all angles, to be able to make an informed choice of whether something is useful, helpful or needful for us to do or be; otherwise worry actually serves no purpose apart from making you sick and weak – both in mind and physical body. So look at things from all angles THEN LET IT GO!
The stomachs role is to churn our food and break it down so the small intestine can do its job. The stomach uses thinking to churn our food.
Going to bed on a full stomach is not a good idea, for you will either not be able to go to sleep, or if you do drop off to sleep your food will just sit and ferment in your stomach while you sleep, and you will most likely wake during the night with a “churning mind” as your body desperately tries to break up the food and get rid of it from the stomach.
So not enough thinking causes the food to stagnate in our gut. Stagnation breeds disease – think of a stagnant pond – it stinks, is not pure or healthy, no movement and no healthy life.
Too much thinking weakens the ability of our stomach to provide strength to our limbs. This weakness is mostly felt by way of “not feeling strong enough to face our day, to face our problems or to face life”. So we can see so soon, how if both the spleen and stomach are compromised by our worrying and thinking we can have digestive issues, mind issues and weakness in our body and compromised immune systems!
Imagine if we just kept churning our food – over and over and over again – we would get nothing – no nourishment, strength or energy and the food would just end up rotting.
Did you know you do this with your thoughts – still churning over stuff that happened yesterday or yester year! What is the point – you just get ill!
Am I making sense? If you have trouble with repetitive thinking, thinking that does not nourish you and you want help – consider a 15 min free consult to see what we can do and make sure to watch out for part 2