Wow. That really just happened.
I was hanging out, minding my own business, and my face fell into a box of supreme pizza. By the time I’d emerged, half was missing (the pizza, not my face).
Okay. Just kidding—this time around.
But when I first went paleo-primal a handful of years ago, Friday-night pizza was my Cheat Meal of Choice.
At some point, the day-after-pizza hangover stopped being worth it. Over time, my “cheats” turned into: 1) paleo-primal treats, such as grain-free baked goods, or 2) something that looked especially, well, special, while on vacation or eating out. Both of these are now rare occasions (happening once every two months, at most).
But boy do I know the feeling of overdoing it—whether on a cheat-meal pizza…or even “clean-eating approved” treats.
Ten grain-free, chocolate-chunk cookies in one sitting? Or that extra piece of flourless cake?
Can seem like a fantastic idea at the time. Can also set in motion a downward spiral (perhaps fuelled by feelings of guilt and shame). At the very least, the next day’s bound to feel a bit miserable.
For sure there’s a place for indulgence. And indulging in homemade paleo treats or something extra-special while traveling is far better than binging on white sugar and processed junk.
But overdo even “healthy” treats and a heavy, sluggish feeling starts to set in. (Not to mention a host of other possible symptoms, including inflammation and pain, acid reflux and digestive complaints, weakened immune and endocrine function, and whacked mood and sleep.)
For those working with a sugar addiction either presently or in the past, falling off the wagon can also derail efforts to regain freedom from unhealthy habits and patterns.
Unfortunately, for many desperate to resume clean-eating ways, these immediate consequences are only the half of it. Times of eating-induced “crisis” can make crash diets and detoxes a tempting option. Green drink, anyone?
Problem is, these quick-fix “solutions” offer short-lived (if any) relief. What’s more, they tend to make underlying problems and imbalances worse, hurting efforts to restore that optimal, best version of you.
So, what’s the cure? How do you get rid of bloat and regain balance when supreme pizza and chocolate-chip cookies win out over wise food choices?
The answer lies in a special prescription for balanced cleansing. One combining East-West elements for powerful—alchemical—outcomes.
Now, just to be clear, this is not your conventional “detox.”
This East-West prescription is about cleansing in a balanced, primal, Chinese Medicine sort of way—a way that boosts metabolism and repairs a digestive system weakened and clogged from over-indulgence (rather than weakening it further, as most conventional “detoxes” do).
It works for the same reasons Chinese Medicine and primal principles work generally…and because of the synergy that results from combining them in artful ways.
Though each half of this East-West prescription brings different perspectives and tools to the practice of “eating therapy,” they share core places of alignment:
1. The body and mind make up a holistic, interconnected system.
When there is balance in that system, wellness results. When there is imbalance, disease, discomfort and discontent arise.
Isolating one body part or symptom in hopes of “fixing things” is not going to work. Real, lasting solutions require attention to whole-system ecology.
2. Within this body-mind system, finding and maintaining balance is a process, not an endpoint.
We as well as our external circumstances are always changing, so the “balance” we’re seeking is organic and dynamic—not fixed. Moreover, there is always another level of wellness—a new, even better body-mind destination.
Sure, it’s common to settle into a decent okay point, but for the sake of curiosity, vitality and fun, why not ask: “Okay, what’s next?” Eating patterns, thanks to their impact on the whole body-mind system, have an important role in our continuous “becoming.”
3. There is no one best diet for all people (or even one person for all times).
Optimal eating is individualized, responsive and relational. True, certain ways of eating align with health and wellness in a more-or-less universal way. It’s safe to say, for example, that eating real, whole food supports body-mind balance. So does avoiding processed foods, chemically altered oils and added sugar.
But each person is different, and factors such as age, lifestyle and surrounds come into play. Individual or familial tendencies and variations are likewise important, as are health conditions and personal preferences. Within healthy-eating parameters, there’s plenty of room for making it all about you.
4. Eating is just part of the picture.
Paleo-primal and Chinese Medicine lifestyle principles encompass far more than set of “food rules.” Sure, eating well is part of “healthy, balanced living.” But so is adopting other habits and patterns that align with what our bodies and minds need to thrive.
We’re talking, for example, about getting the right balance of exercise and rest. And interacting with others in real-time, in-person ways. We’re also talking about communing with nature and remembering our place in the natural world..and, through all of this, approaching life with a sense of curiosity, wonder and play.
On all of these points, Chinese Medicine and primal principles are in sync and make for a powerful combination.
So…what does our alchemical East-Meets-West approach mean the Day After Pizza?
We get to the answer in Part 2 of this series. (Don’t worry—we’ll fix you up with a super-nice script).
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