Today, I’m going to talk to you about 5 major signs that show you are intoxicated by processed foods.
Our body is a wonderful tool. Actually, our body is perfectly made. It responds very quickly to outside events and to the food we feed it with. It is a very accurate barometer that gives us very straightforward guidelines as how to live a healthy and peaceful life. The only problem: we have forgotten how to listen to it, we ignore most of its signals or we have reprogrammed our brain to disturb the primary signals and give us wrong sidetracked signals.
So our primary focus first, is to recognise the signals.
So here are 5 signs that you are intoxicated by processed foods or by an unhealthy lifestyle:
- SIGN 1: FATIGUE
If you eat healthy food, exercise regularly and sleep about 6 to 8 hours per night, you shouldn’t feel tired. Yet, I hear many people complaining all the time that they don’t sleep well, that they are exhausted. At family gatherings, I see people falling asleep in the couch while the party is still going on. A lot of people get a post-lunch dip as well, getting heavy eye-lids after having eaten lunch. Or yawning all the time.
So what’s going on? First of all, we need to look at what we are eating. Secondly, we need to look at our lifestyle: our we sufficiently taking care of ourself? Do we set our limits (in work, family, etc)? Or are we constantly running and doing things for someone else, responding to urgent matters, instead of listening to our own needs?
The two go hand in hand. The most common reply I get during my cooking workshops is the following: “These recipes are great, I would love to adopt a healthy lifestyle, but I don’t have time, I’m too busy working all the time.” My answer is: you should make time! There will always be urgent stuff at work and deadlines, they will still be there tomorrow! But you only have one health! So it’s important to review your daily schedule and integrate some moments to take care of your health or to cook healthily.
But back to the fatigue: the constant fatigue most people experience, is due to an over-solicited liver. Our liver is our cleansing organ, so the more garbage we ingest, the harder our liver has to work. At some point the liver is saturated and it doesn’t function properly anymore and so we get exhausted. Luckily for us, we can easily get our liver back to normal by simply fasting or following a detox.
Now the link with processed foods: food that has been transformed or processed is unrecognisable by our body. While digesting, the body is trying to figure out what it is dealing with, and since processed foods are unrecognisable, the food is sent out as waste, or not useful, and so bowel and liver have to work very hard to decompose. Result: you feel very tired and moreover, you feel like you are always hungry and crave for more, because basically you are just filling your body with “empty” food so the body calls out for more nourishing substances.
Though we may be creatures that adapt to our environment, we are not ‘mutating’ or adjusting as fast as our technology. Therefore our bodies are not yet capable of assimilating a mix of industrially created substances. And though authorities keep telling us that processed foods and additives are completely harmless in small quantities, we now ingest a very big amount of them daily. Because they are in EVERYTHING! When you add all that up…
We are living, natural beings and have an in-born need for natural food. We live on Prana (life energy/vital energy/breath), as do all the living creatures. So we need food filled with Prana. I will talk more into detail about this topic in the next article.
So don’t give fatigue a chance and respect your body and its signals: nourish yourself with whole foods, fresh plants, legumes, vegetables, fruits, light, water, and yogic breathing.
- SIGN 2: BLOATING
How many of us (especially women) have not experienced a bloating sensation after dinner? You wake up in the morning with a flat belly and the more the day advances, the more bloated you get.
For most of us, this is linked to a sensitiveness to gluten. Again here, our flour used to make breads, pasta, dough, etc. has been modified over the years. Most gluten-sensitive people don’t have any issues with gluten when they eat bread from an artisan baker who gets his flour at the old, authentic mill. Nor when they eat bread made from old varieties of wheat.
But here again, the industrial era pushed the industries to come up with solutions with this quickly changing world: how to make pasta hold longer, how to have bread that is spongy, elastic and lasts for longer than 2 days? How to produce bread in a very quick way, in order to be able to sell more with a shorter preparation span? By adding multiple additives to the flour, by genetically modifying the crops, etc.
And like I mentioned above, our bodies can’t cope with so many additives and GMOs.
If you want to avoid gasses and bloating, then avoid eating too much wheat and gluten. When we look at a few centuries ago, we used to eat small amounts of bread. Today, we are submerged by sandwiches everywhere. You only have to walk 2 min. to find a sandwich bar, a pizza place, pasta cups, noodles, more sandwiches, buns, donuts, biscuits, cake, bagels, etc. That is way too much wheat and modified goods for one day! So imagine the consequences on your body if you have been eating like this for years! Time to stop our bread addiction!
Instead replace your sandwich by a salad, a soup, gluten-free crackers with a healthy spread, or bread made from spelt, rye or einkorn wheat, which is more easy to digest.
Another thing that causes gas and bloating is the wrong combination of foods. For more details on this you should follow my course in Ayurveda, but I can already tell you that mixing too many different food types together is also bad for our digestion.
For example, it is best to eat fruit isolated from any other foods. Eat fruit on an empty stomach in the morning, or eat fruit during the day (but separately from any other food). You would think that a healthy breakfast would consist of home-made granola, fresh fruit and yoghurt, but mixing fruits with dairy and cereals will give you just the same bloating effects as unhealthy food (though maybe a bit less, as you would still ingest some vitamins).
You can mix cereals with plant-based milk or fruit with plant based milk but avoid putting the 3 together in one meal!
In Belgium most families have been raised cooking with a combination of 1/3 potato, rice or pasta, 1/3 vegetables and 1/3 meat or fish. So we were brought up to mix all these very differently structured types of food in our stomach, leaving our stomach too full and confused. Because all these foods are digested and absorbed in a different way. Eat fruit after your supper, and the fruit will just ferment onto the rest of content in your stomach, causing even more gases.
Should you fix yourself a plate a 2/3 vegetables and 1/3 rice or sorghum you would feel a lot lighter and appeased.
- SIGN 3: DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS & IRREGULAR STOOL
All of the explanations above, will also cause digestive problems and irregular stool. What’s more is that we need to consider our n°1 enemy in the assorted processed foods series: refined sugar!
There is refined sugar in almost everything! Check the labels on the food you buy and chances are you’ll read sugar amongst the ingredients on 99% of them.
Refined sugar to me falls under the category of processed foods. Basically anything that has undergone some kind of industrial process or modification from its original texture is processed.
Did you know that the World Health Organisation puts sugar at the same level as cocaine?
It’s because sugar is as addictive (if not more) than cocaine and it’s also dangerous: it deregulates our whole body and disturbs our natural digestion.
With too much sugar and too much processed food in our daily life, we basically create an army of Darth Vaders in our bowel that defeat the Luke Skywalker army that was there first. The more sugar and processed foods, the stronger your Darth Vader army gets. The more whole-foods and fresh vegetables you eat, the more strength you give to your Luke Skywalker.
In conclusion: mixing too many different types of food will give you digestive issues. Consuming too much sugar will make your whole system crash. Too much bread will give muddy stool and gases. Too much processed foods will leave you with an exhausted liver, a deranged bowel, irregular stools (going from constipation to diarrhoea) and the list goes on.
- SIGN 4: HEADACHES OR DROUZY HEAD
In my experience, every time I had a headache in the past, it was usually linked to additives (the E-numbers in our commercial food) and sugar.
A lot of E-additives will cause drowsiness or headaches or a heavy head. Again, our body is trying to process it, but it can’t and it’s like a drug you are taking. So you get side-effects and when the effects wear off, you experience rehab symptoms.
If you have frequent headaches, try detoxing first (it might get worse in the beginning since your body is having detox symptoms), then eliminating all foods with additives and refined sugars. I can assure you, your headaches will be gone! But they will come back as soon as you succumb to unhealthy food again.
- SIGN 5: SKIN PROBLEMS
Last but not least are the skin problems, such as dry or cracked skin, pimples, oily skin, rash, itching, etc. In Ayurveda we often trace back skin problems to a disorder in your doshas. If your internal fire is too high, you’ll burn (inflammation, infection, …) and you’ll digest too quickly, so you get digestive problems. If your water is too high, you might have excess liquids (runny nose, etc) and if you have too much air and ether, you are airy, dry, thin, not hydrated, unfocused or exhausted. It’s too complex to explain this all in this article, as it requires a 7-day training minimum just to cover the basics, but you can already find a lot of good explanations on Ayurvedic sites such as Banyan Botanicals.
If you’re having skin problems, I would advise you to cleanse your body and hydrate it well with water – on top of eliminating processed foods from your daily diet. An easy way to cleanse the skin is the take a daily amount of brewer’s yeast or saccharomyces cerevisiae. It might give you more pimples in the beginning, because your body is pushing out all the toxines, but once it’s out, your skin will look ravishing. It will also restore your digestive system and give you stronger hair and nails. (but be careful because taking in too much will cause bloating again or gases).
Another excellent remedy is apple cider vinegar: it restores the natural PH of the skin. Ok, it is quite smelly but give your dry hands a bath of apple cider vinegar and they’ll become all restored and soft again.
What’s also very important is to hydrate your body. We mostly consist of water and we need to hydrate ourselves constantly. Most people suffer from chronic dehydration without even knowing it. Which in turn also causes headaches, skin problems, digestive problems and fatigue. We should all drink a minimum of 2 liters of water per day! And not sodas or coffee, that doesn’t count to get to the 2 liters!
And preferably water of good quality or water that you dynamise again before drinking it (I sell the carafes or jugs that dynamise water to its maximum potential. If you’re interested just mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or comment in the post)). Water is really ESSENTIAL! But water from the tap is rubbish! It’s still polluted with many rests of drugs, hormones, chemicals, that our waste water filtration systems can’t filter.
If you find it hard to drink so much water, here are some tips to make it easier:
- put a glass and battle next to you everywhere you sit, work or stay. Challenge yourself to drink a sip of water every time you look at the glass or bottle.
- If you get tired of drinking water, add some lemon juice to it or some red fruits to give it more taste. The berries and lemon give extra antioxidant effects.
- Drink a big glass of lukewarm water when you wake up. It should be the first thing you do when waking up (after using the bathroom! Eliminate first, then hydrate), because your body is dehydrated after a night of sleep.
So these were the major signs. I hope you enjoyed this article.
The more you start listening again to your body, the more your body will communicate with you. As long as you listen, you will feel great and in complete harmony with yourself and your body. But the moment you fall back into old unhealthy habits, your body will signal you with very strong signals! It often seems as though your body tolerates less and makes you suffer more when you disrespect him but it has more to do with the fact that you become better at listening, so you ‘hear’ a lot better.
Good luck and let me know about your own experiences!
Love & peace,