Like clockwork, I pull out of the 7-11 parking lot, mind spinning with the array of toxic mistakes in my lap: Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie, two 16oz Gatorades, a bag of Doritos, an Almond Snickers bar, and a pack of Skittles. When I finally snap out of my trance, I realize I’m already at the front door, hands clutching my bag of crap like a dope fiend. I stow away my preciouses, knowing that after dinner I’ll be able to dig in and slide into that comforting sugar coma snugger than O.J.’s black glove. The next day, I wake up on the couch, slumped over with my neck sagging painfully into my shoulder. The detritus of wrappers and empty bottles stand testament to my evil deeds. Aside from the financial and physical repercussions involved in this addiction, my self-esteem tanks when I get up to look at my sagging gut and puffy face in the bathroom mirror.
Reckless self-care breeds sorrowful self-hate, and after recently that I’ve been suffering from significant chronic pain for over half my life. It’s been such a lonely, sad, and frustrating road, yet this struggle has made me dig deep for new ways I can take control of the runaway train that has me so derailed.
Almost to the point of obsession, I’ve been jumping head-first into mental and physical methods to heal and remain healthy: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, cognitive based therapy, breathework, Heartmath, journaling, cranial sacral therapy, hypnotism therapy, rolfing, acupuncture, yoga–just to name a few. Over the years, along with these methods, I’ve built my resolve and taken control of my spun-out existence. I’ve been steadfast in this mission; utilizing deep dedication, discipline, and commitment to integrate the good ones into my daily life and weed out the ones that harm or do not serve me.
I’ve made some tremendous leaps and bounds in this journey and am incredibly proud of myself. However, rich and sweet foods have been one part of my lifestyle I’ve clung to like a baby his blanky. Crappy food became a place of comfort and refuge, an escape from the unpleasant sensory experiences that have come to infiltrate my earthly existence.
From maintaining a healthy heart and brain, lowering cholesterol, increasing energy levels, improving circulation, lowering inflammation, and much, much more, a healthy diet can seriously affect one’s health and quality of life. Even the most conscious and informed eaters must work hard, day-in and day-out, to make sure they are consciously feeding their bodies with the type of fuel it needs.
For everyone it’s different. For myself, I chose to start with a simple diet that made sense, the Mediterranean Diet (more on this next post), and I’m really stoked to report that I haven’t had refined sugars, gluten, or dairy for the past few months!! I’ve always been advised and at times scolded for not paying sufficient attention to the kind of fuel I’m putting in my body (Juices, candy, processed foods, genetically modified, etc.), yet never utilized that steely resolve I know I’m capable of summoning to address my diet. Until now.
In addition to changing up my diet for healthier alternatives, I’ve become determined to educate myself and others as I make these adjustments. You Are What You Eat will be a regular series here on How to Heal With Neal— where I will convey the information I’ve gleaned about proper nutrition through books, online content, and my own experience on this healing journey.