If I asked you what is the number one food that causes inflammation, what would you say? Would you answer based on what a health expert or a spiritual teacher said? Or would you answer based on your unique body? Most people would answer based on the latest study, not their own body.
So what if I told you green juice (even the healthiest, no-sugar version) creates an inflammatory response in your body? Would you believe me? I’ll give you the answer, but a little story first…
Due to a busy schedule recently (300-hour yoga teacher training), I was hitting the local smoothie stores more than usual. And the green juice and fantasy of a yogi lifestyle seduced me. #damnit The delicious scents of freshly buzzed veggies and citrus somehow lured me back into a daily green juice habit.
After a week of drinking green juice, expecting to feel amazing, I found myself wondering why I was so damn bloated and gross feeling. What had I been doing differently to cause this, I wondered? That’s when I realized it was the green juice. The freggin expensive green juice.
My body likes cooked veggies best. Raw veggies aren’t digested by my system as easily, especially when the fiber has been stripped. So yeah, my body did not love the green juice. I stopped and felt better within a day or two.
But for years I tried so hard to be a vegetarian, listening to spiritual experts (and even some health experts) share how life would be better by eating vegetarian/vegan diet. The message being…
Your body is just a vessel…stay focused on feeding your soul!
That meant lots of grain, dairy, and veggies. But because I was so disconnected from my body (despite a regular workout and meditation routine), I had no idea I was simultaneously harming my body and starving it of what it needed to perform as I expected it to. I didn’t realize all the bloating wasn’t normal. Or the joint pain. Neither was feeling hungry right after I ate, or constantly thinking about food. It was only after I began tuning into my own body that I learned that it loves organic healthy meats, fish and chicken.
Is green juice bad? In general, absolutely not. But you’d need to be the judge of whether or not it’s the best choice for your body. Is it the best choice for MY system? No. I experience a happier body when I eat a grass fed burger with no bun/cheese than when I drink a green juice.
Honoring your body’s unique needs is a spiritual practice.
I see a lot of people in the spiritual community become completely disconnected from their bodies, just as I did. While I was busy having crazy amazing meditative experiences, I was so out of touch with how my body was responding to my lifestyle choices.
I had a spiritual desire to eat vegetarian or cut out animal protein, but it just didn’t work for me. All that grain and dairy was no bueno for my gut and thyroid, which was a hard nugget to swallow. (There can be a certain amount of shaming in the spiritual communities for not adhering to a vegetarian lifestyle.) But here’s the deal…
Your body is more than a vessel.
Your body gives you the energy you need to conquer your lofty goals and to feel happiness.
Your body gives you the energy to be creative and to give to others.
Your body isn’t an annoyance. It is the only thing on earth that listens to you 24/7 and does a sh*t ton of stuff for you without you even noticing.
When you learn to eat and make lifestyle choices that are aligned with your unique system, your body will give you more of what you want and need to conquer your dreams.
But if you’re relying on someone else, whose system is completely different than yours, to tell you how to eat healthy and honor your body, then you’re taking the long, hard road.
To answer the question, what’s the #1 food that causes inflammation? I can’t tell you that, but your body can! But I can recommend…
Allow your mind to follow your body.
Maybe you’ve heard the saying that the mind follows breath and our body follows our mind. Meaning, by slowing down our breath, we slow down our mind. And our body is always responding to our mind’s interpretation of our environment.
Naturally then, it might feel contradictory to allow our mind to follow our body. Meaning, listen to what our body is telling us and then mindfully make a decision about what to eat, how to work out, when to go to bed, and more.
I believe the ultimate form of mindfulness is being able to listen to your body and make choices based on what it’s telling you. What are your energy levels like? Your mood? Your bloating? Your level of feeling satisfied and full? Are you experiencing aches, pains or other symptoms? Those are a just a few ways your body communicates to you that something is off or is working fine for you.
So try it…just for a few days and see how you feel. See what you notice. Maybe that raw dinner you spiritually crave isn’t exactly what your body’s craving in order to feel satiated and full of energy. Or maybe it is. Only you will know through how your body responds.