Learning to Listen
In his latter years my cat, Raoul, suddenly lost muscle strength in his rear legs. Mystified, we took him to the vet. The diagnosis was diabetes. “Has Raoul changed his eating habits recently?” the vet asked.
“Yes he has,” we said, and we detailed a surprising change that we had noticed. All through his life Raoul had shown very little interest in dairy foods. Then all of a sudden, whenever we returned from the shops he would be sniffing in our bags and literally putting his paw on any milk, cream, yogurt, butter, cheese or ice-cream he could find. The vet explained, “He’s doing that because he knows that dairy is the best means open to him to regulate his insulin. That’s why he’s started asking you for those foods.”
I was amazed. My cat knew what foods to eat for his specific health needs. But how did he know?? Clearly Raoul was giving conscious attention to what his body was telling him. It got me to thinking; was I that in touch with my body’s signals to me? It was a challenge I decided to take up.
I later learned that humans can tap this subconscious knowledge of nutritional needs just as well as a cat can. When Ruth was carrying each of our three babies her consciousness of her body’s nutritional needs became dramatically heightened. What baby would need for each week of gestation appeared to correlate with specific nutritional needs.
Ruth’s body held information regarding which foods would provide the particular nutrients being demanded. This knowledge was held subconsciously. Each week Ruth’s body would extract this subconscious knowledge and communicate it to her consciousness. This happened on a regular basis through each baby’s 9 months of gestation. It’s a pattern of internal communication most parents are familiar with. We call it cravings.
To give our bodies what they need to support our health, we need to learn to listen to our cravings – and not just when we’re pregnant. Cravings are our God-given helpers! In pregnancy our bodies force that information from the sub-conscious to consciousness because the need is urgent. Keeping the flow of information open is the secret to optimizing our nutrition!
When I learned to include healthy fats in my diet – in the form of fish oil and flax seeds – the shift towards health in my own body was immediate and palpable. Suddenly I recognized that through all my adult life I had been suffering cravings for healthy fat. This is because I had been doing my best to live on a low-low-fat diet. I had mistakenly believed that low-fat eating was healthy. However I could only go so long on my low-fat regime before my body would cry out – “Please give me fat! I need faaaaaaaat!”
Because my conscious mind had no idea what healthy fat was my response was always to reach for my favourite kinds of fat – which are the kinds that are high in sugar – chocolate and ice cream. The moment I introduced the healthy fats my body really wanted those cravings ceased. Overnight. I can still enjoy chocolate and ice cream. But now I am physically able to enjoy them sparingly. Because my body already has the fat it needs!
I have two of these with every main meal – ie at least 6 a day
Over the last three generations many of us have been programmed to believe that eating fat is unhealthy. If you are still of that belief let me encourage you to get hold of the CSIRO’s nutritional guide to help you move away from that view. It was an erroneous view built on “research” and “public education” paid for by the sugar industry in order to support the consumption of products built on sugar syrups as an alternative to fat-based foods. This misinformation has damaged not only two to three generations of human health, but has trained us to ignore or feel guilty about our healthy fat cravings. That’s why I have told the story above. If you are having fat cravings you need to tune into them and find the best fats.
An important lesson for me on this journey was to learn what the body’s craving for clean water feels like. Many people confuse a craving for hydration with hunger for food. A lot of people don’t recognize thirst until they feel the thirst in their throat or mouth. But by the time you are feeling thirst there you will be badly dehydrated. I now appreciate that a craving for water begins in my belly, then in my chest, then in my head, then in my throat. I have learned to respond when the feeling first registers in the belly.
And what does the body’s aversion to water with toxins feel like? Years ago my neighbour’s dog, Sheba, had a better instinct for clean water than I did. Sheba would refuse to drink our town’s water because it was heavily laced with chlorine and fluoride. In fact she would positively recoil from it at the first whiff. Sheba’s owner had to buy bottled water for her. Back in the day I couldn’t smell the chlorine or feel fluoride. All I knew was that I couldn’t drink any volume of that water, however I tried.
As I began listening to my body I came to understand why I had struggled so much to drink enough water. Eventually I discovered clean, chilled water and I can drink it till the cows come home! I now filter our drinking water at home, and when I travel within Australia I always buy or take Pureau.
In my forties, from out of the blue, I had a reaction to peanuts that left me 3kgs lighter after two weeks of suffering. Because of Raoul I took note of what my body was craving. As my body began to heal and rebuild strength I realized I was craving a drink I hadn’t consumed for years. I wanted a very dry, sharp, apple cider. This time I had the acuity to add it to my diet sensing that was important to my recovery. These days I frequently include apple cider vinegar in my evening routine. I now know that if my mineral levels become depleted, the acetic acid of apple cider vinegar enables my body to rapidly reabsorb the minerals it needs to function well.
Tapping the Subconscious
Raoul-the-Cat taught me that our bodies have a myriad of systems – physical, conscious and subconscious – built into us to support our health and well-being. Listening to our bodies releases the power of those systems as we learn to recognize our cravings – whether for hydration, fat, minerals or other specific nutrients.
There are a number of ways of learning to tune in. One modality I enjoy using is Colour Testing. I use this modality in my Personal Coaching, in my local healing practice – 4 Elements Healing – and in my own health-regime.
The basis of Colour Testing is that different colours of foods carry different groups of nutrients. Colour Testing is a tool for observing your body’s response to different colours as a way of gauging what types of food your body is craving and is ready to absorb at that time. I have found this approach especially valuable when bodies are recovering after periods of sickness or depletion.
The great thing to know is that we are fundamentally wired to thrive. Our bodies hold a wealth of subconscious information ready to be tapped. So thank you God for wiring us that way! And thank you Raoul for cluing me in!