07 Jul Wild Healthy’s Nutrition Manifesto | Nutrition Tip 1
Last year, when setting up my new website for Wild Healthy, I wanted to paste my 10 commandments onto the site, laying out what I consider to be the most important tenets to optimum nutrition, and my professional claims as to the power and purpose of diet and lifestyle management. My long-ago-earned English and Politics degree (NUI Galway, Class of 04, Hup!), means that there are few things that come easier to me than prose, haikus, fake Latin, and pseudo-serious political style manifestos. The pride of place finished product can be seen here.
The feedback I get for this Nutrition Manifesto is very heartening. Most people who come to Wild Healthy for the first time usually mention that the Manifesto was what sealed the deal and made them book the appointment. I’m always chuffed to hear that. We can only tell so much by searching online, and it was always my hope to put a little more of myself out there so people can decide if I’m the woman for the job or not.
Over the next few weeks, I thought I’d take the time to talk and walk through each of the points that make up Wild Healthy’s Nutrition Manifesto. What are the tenets to optimum nutrition and how can we get more health and wellness back into our lives?
1.”Respect Thy Body, for it is the only place wherein thy soul may reside, and it’s already had to put up with some crazy nonsense to date. Cut that thing some slack”.
Your body is phenomenal. Really, it is the most incredible machine with the most immense capabilities. It houses all the things that separate you from the rest of the animal kingdom, most notably, that big ol’ brain of yours, capable of rational thought, unprecedented scientific enquiry, unsurpassable emotional intelligence, proficiency in philosophy, language, the arts, and feats of strength and endurance that have allowed for its survival for millions of years. It’s difficult to be succinct about recognising the innate qualities that we possess, but I constantly need to talk through some version of this to my clients on a regular basis. People consistently rail against their bodies as useless, or embarrassing, or inadequate. If they could only see, at the cellular level, the absolute magnificence that occurs every second of every day; the sheer wonder of hundreds of millions of processes working together to promote survival and achieve homeostasis.
It’s absolutely time to cut that thing some slack. The pressure people put on their bodies because they don’t look a certain way is unsettling and totally misguided. A body that is breaking down, slowing down, or underperforming is a slightly different beast, however, and ill-health and ageing bring up a few facts that we cannot escape from. The body will get less adept at adapting as it gets older, things will eventually slow down and stagnate because it cannot last forever, and many bodies, even though not engaged in high-risk behaviour, will still incubate pathology or malignancy for reasons unknown. But if this is not your deal, if you are relatively young (under 55) and relatively healthy, and rail against your body because of purely aesthetic reasons, here’s a couple more facts for you: you have been socialised into believing that your body is only important because of what it looks like, you have forgotten the immense, mind-blowing magic of what your body is capable of, you are at the mercy of corporations that profit from your feelings of inadequacy, and billions of Euro are made from your personal insecurities every year. Trying to replicate what someone else is telling you to aim for, when your life is filled with hundreds of variable factors, will achieve nothing but frustration and apathy. Consider the nonsense you’ve attempted over the last decade, two decades, three decades, in the name of aesthetics. Creams you’ve bought, programmes you’ve signed up to, DVDs you’ve watched, equipment you’ve hired, all in the name of achieving that one thing that will finally be the game-changer. And then, when it doesn’t work, you slap your thighs, you starve yourself, you bruise your psyche, because you think you are the problem and your body just didn’t respond to the solution. These gimmicks are never a solution, so how could the body respond?
From this point on, we need to make different choices. We need to mindfully and purposefully say,”I refuse to do this to myself any longer”. “I will not treat myself in this manner any more”. “I will express gratitude for the body I have, and the health I enjoy”. It is a practice, and you will not change your mindset overnight. It will take time to re-programme a mentality that has, for so long, only validated aesthetics. But your body is deserving of your respect. Once you begin to recognise your capabilities instead of your failings, you can then begin to implement gradual and sustainable diet and lifestyle changes, and bit by bit you will achieve health and wellness. It’s that simple, but please, know that when I say simple, I do not mean easy. A simple approach is an uncomplicated approach. It takes time and discipline to shed all those factors that no longer serve us. Start with your self-talk. Be respectful of your body. Cut that thing some slack.