Last October, I was diagnosed with a dairy allergy. Nothing too serious but eating dairy causes an immune system reaction in my body so definitely best avoided. I was surprised at the time (and a little bit devastated) as I had milk in my tea and ate yogurt and cheese most days. Surely this couldn’t be accurate, I was fine eating dairy products because I had no symptoms. Or so I thought…
Despite my disbelief, I cut out the dairy products and tried to adjust to my new diet. After a week, I noticed that the congestion at the back of my nose had lifted and I no longer had to clear my throat. My voice was stronger and I could breathe more freely. For years I had thought that I was picking up a cold from my children (who, being at primary school, seem to pick up everything going) but as an adult my immune system was stronger so it only resulted in a little sniffle. Where these profound improvements really down to a dairy-free diet?
My voice was stronger and I could breathe more freely.
The test came when I ate something with milk in it. It was a mistake and I didn’t realise straight away, but when the congestion returned with a vengeance, accompanied by a mild stomach ache, I knew what I had eaten. Ah yes I remember feeling like this, I thought: the stomach ache after drinking milky tea first thing in the morning, having to blow my nose after eating yogurt. Maybe I did have symptoms after all…
I am clearly a very slow learner as some years earlier, the same thing happened with wheat. I put the bloating, nausea and upset stomach down to a recurring stomach bug, again, courtesy of my darling children. At the time I was eating cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and probably pasta for dinner, and after four months I began to question whether this was indeed a stomach bug. With the benefit of hindsight, I can laugh at how the mind can rationalise – and over-rule – the signals from the body time and time again.
The mind had an answer for what my body was telling me,
but it was wrong.
Even with everything I know about Mindful Eating and tuning into the body, I did not listen. The mind had an answer for what my body was telling me, but it was wrong. The signals from my body were always there but I chose to ignore them or explain them away. However, there is no room for judgement or criticism with Mindful Eating and I repeatedly learn a valuable lesson: listen to your body it always knows the truth.
Mindful Eating practice
If you experience bloating, stomach ache, indigestion, nausea or some other symptom after you eat, what is your body telling you? Even if the symptoms are painful or inconvenient, your body is always on your side and these symptoms are a form of communication. Take five deep breaths to quiet your mind and tune into your body. Sit with the experience, however uncomfortable it might be, and ask your body what it’s telling you. Trust that your body (and not necessarily your mind!) will have the answer.
Please leave a comment below to let me know about your Mindful Eating experience. I’d love to hear what you learned from the practice.