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Nutritional Health

On changing your diet: Let go and look forward

Recently I have made a major move, from a big, spacious house, to a small apartment. It wasn’t just a move, it was a serious down-sizing. I had to let go of a lot. Much of it, to be honest, had a use or meaning in the past, but had become just “stuff” and the letting go of it all became necessary.

Everything I let go of had meaning to one degree or another. Some things were sentimental from an earlier time, some things had just become “part of the scenery.” Some was easy to let go of (”what was I thinking?!”) Other things stirred up tears, sorrow, laughter, memories.

One of the many lessons I have learned (or re-learned) during this experience is that letting go can be very hard. It isn’t inherently so, but because of the emotional attachment we have to our stuff (for good or bad), it can be a challenge. When I focused on what I had to let go of, it got harder. When I began to focus on what I had to look forward to, it became easier. Knowing that I couldn’t bring it all with me forced me to make some tough choices yet it made those choices easier to make. In the end, I now have with me things that I use, love and need. There is no extra “stuff” and it honestly is so liberating to not be burdened and surrounded by any of that.

This whole experience made me think of how challenging it can be to change the way we eat in order to help our bodies heal and feel better. If we have a true allergy to a food, it is a no-brainer to let go of that food in order to stay safe and healthy. For most of us, though, the idea of letting go of a food can be a real struggle. Eating processed foods has become the norm. Real food (the kind that has no labels, that you get it from the earth - at a farm, from a garden, etc.) is eaten less and less in place of processed foods that are more convenient. Since processed foods contain so many toxins and man-made substances that are designed to taste good, not be good for you, we get in the habit of eating them regularly. This is a big part of what leads to everything from those aches and pains, to excess weight, to more serious conditions and diseases.

The idea of letting go of foods can feel daunting. We focus on NOT eating something and that makes it a whole lot harder to do. If we switch our focus to what we can eat, and how much better we feel, it becomes easier. But, for many, the struggle to get through the letting go process stops the progress before it really begins. Sometimes we don’t even know or believe that we can feel better, so we don’t even try. In decluttering my old home, there would often be piles everywhere and it would be very chaotic. That really is an unavoidable part of the process. It is the same with switching from processed to whole, real foods and letting go of foods that make you feel poorly.

It is important to remember that it is a process. You can’t really skip that chaotic step. If you know that that is only temporary and what comes next is the reward of a clean, clear, healthy body, it really does become easier. As an experiment, choose a processed food that you eat regularly and see if you can replace it with a real food for one week. You may or may not notice a difference in your body in that short time, but it is a practice in letting go of something that is not serving you. As I discovered after letting go of so much stuff, I don’t miss anything that isn’t with me now. Maybe you will find that you don’t really miss that processed food, either!

Jeni Hall of Dublin is a board certified nutritional therapist practicing in the Monadnock region. Her mission is to empower you to heal your own body and keep it healthy. See www.jenihall.com, for more information.

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