Day 2 of Refeeding - Confrontation
(This is a long blog posting today)
My time spent fasting required relaxation and restrained physical activity.
During my time here, I attended a number of lectures about sleep, reflexology, self beneficence, physical mobility, “how to return home”, the dangers of salt, oil, and sugar, about raw foods, and a number of cooking demonstration by chef’s and experts. All informative and all supporting a healthy lifestyle. These lectures/demonstrations resulted in introspection related to ourselves and with a greater understanding came self evaluation. For example, understanding the science of sleep in regards to health increased the urgency of understanding our own sleep habits and how they do or do not serve us. When you are learning and thinking, it is hard to not confront yourself. Clearly, the motivation and driver is functioning fully and having vitality in your life. Without that, it is just an “interesting topic.”
With our busy lives and many distractions, reflection can be a rare commodity. The luxury of being at TrueNorth is that it is hard, though not impossible, to avoid it. For those who use their time well, it can become a gift.
While at TN, I have used my time to confront a number of deeply held beliefs and behaviors about health and about food. I am confronting societal, cultural, and family pressures about the use of salt, oil and sugar that is ubiquitous in our foods. I am confronting the fact that those chemicals hit our dopamine pleasure receptors and cause us to overeat because of the pleasure it gives us resulting in continuous weight gain. I am confronting the fact that restaurants douse their food with these chemicals to increase the eaters happiness and to get them to come back and increasing weight. The insidiousness of this is it usually creeps slowly and overtime, this unhealthy non-life supporting activity finds us in a place we do not want to be. The result is that lifestyle and diet are the second leading cause of death and disease in the US behind smoking. Our sense are bombarded with these messages in magazines and TV. Even those who advocate a ‘healthy diet include these chemicals in their foods. The mixed messages continue with keto diet’s that advocate a high fat diet; the recommendations frequently advocate bacon and even on the books of some keto guru’s have a picture of bacon on their cover as a symbol of high fat. The only problem is that bacon and other cured meats are list at the top of the World Health Organizations list of proven carcinogens, and because of the preservatives found in bacon it is a class 1 carcinogen on par with cigarettes. Confusion makes it difficult for people to make informed choices. Often some people throw up their hands and say “who can you believe?”
I have had to confront my relationship with medical establishment who are ill prepared to help people become healthy and practice preventative medicine. I have had to confront the fact that if I leave health decisions up to my doctor, I will be on medications for the rest of my life and that my conditions will worsen over time. I like my doctor, I appreciate his help, but I know that he is ill equipped and untrained to positively impact my health. I have had to confront this health care system that is too often driven by “perverse incentives” and that it is easy to get caught up in a system this is unwilling and unable to offer their patients the help and support to have improved health other than prescribing medications or doing surgery. Many times it can be life-saving.
I have also been reflecting on my spirituality. I believe that I have spent too much time distracting myself away from expressing and realizing my core beliefs and that in doing so I have inadvertently had a hand in undermining my health. I have learned health is not just about eating nutritious food. In seeing our selfs as whole complex organisms, we need connection with others and we need to live authentic lives in order to live with vitality.
Lastly, I am confronting my personal habits. I am learning that habits are made and broken, and that habits that form and are strengthen over time can be challenging to undo. Also, developing new habits take work and repetition to become firmly established. To help me I am reading Atomic Habits by James Clear.
Sorry for the length of this blog today, I hope it might be helpful on your own journey. These are my opinions and experiences, your will be different. I am sharing this on this blog to reflect my journey.