On upleveling food and life…
I started the Plant Paradox diet pretty spontaneously on the suggestion of a new friend. I couldn’t wait to get started while I listened to the audiobook, hopeful that it would help us heal and feel better on the daily. But I didn’t understand that upleveling our food would start a chain reaction with upleveling the rest of our life.
The thing about healing - emotional or physical - is that it makes you look at things differently. Mainly because you have energy! Physical energy because your mitochondria (energy factories in your cells) are supported and aren’t suppressed by toxins or inadequate nutrients. Removing blocks to physical health becomes easier with each step you take. Each step makes you feel even better. And feeling better physically allows you to focus on your own personal development and emotional health.
We were already living a counter-cultural, ‘healthy’ lifestyle. We have been homeschooling for the past four years and have been eating healthier since 2011. We moved into a fix-er upper in 2012 and slowly turned it into our dream house. But somehow this spring, Plant Paradox created a snowball effect that showed up in the following ways:
- I removed toxins from my beauty and cleaning products. When you put so much work into reducing inflammation in your body by focusing on food, a natural extension is to think about the things that your touch or breathe too. I’m not sure why I held onto all those hair and makeup products that I knew weren’t the best quality. Probably because I had spent so much time on them. It didn’t take me long to go through my products using the Think Dirty app from the EPA. Many of the products I had to toss sort ’natural’ and ones I thought were safe for our family! It feels good to simplify products and routines as part of this process. And it feels like one big permission slip to step off the beauty product marketing machine - I don’t really need more than a few products now because my skin and hair are healthier than they’ve been in a long time. I’m enjoying brands I can buy locally like Kevin Murphy, Herbivore, and Ilia cosmetics in addition to Murchison-Hume cleaning products.
- I cultivated more meaningful friendships. Making time for what fills you up and feels good is so important. Saying no or letting go can be hard, but I now understand this to be an important part of our evolution. And there is science that backs the importance of our social connections to overall health. I have heard it said that we are the average of our 10 closest friends. I can see that my friends help define what is possible for me, and stepping into my worth has helped me reach out to people I admire and develop friendships. This is big work for my introverted personality!
- I prioritize my own alignment and listening to my intuition. When I started cultivating a relationship with my intuition last fall - everything started to change. I was able to let go of the ‘shoulds’ that were unconsciously running my life. I trusted myself and my own unique design for a happy life. Studying the Enneagram and Human Design helped me to understand what is not me and the patterns that I can get stuck in unconsciously. They allowed me to let go of what is no longer serving me and choose a new story to live out of. As a mom, and a homeschooler, I was so self-sacrificing that I couldn’t connect with myself enough to even know what I wanted and needed. Life was so demanding - of course I was self soothing! Asking myself simple questions to tap into my essence was a linchpin to upleveling and laid the groundwork for even deeper work that leaves me more fulfilled than I’ve ever felt.
- I started meditating regularly. It is hard to sit still when you don’t feel well or your brain is fuzzy. Getting quiet and watching my thoughts has been helpful, but it doesn’t come easy to me. I’m approaching building this habit as a discipline. I am more centered and calm and less reactive when I meditate regularly. But it isn’t something I enjoy at this point. I would like to move into a new relationship with it where it flows more easily. But I do not form new habits easily, so I’m content for now with setting an intention and practicing. I trust that it will get easier over time. I loved the book Bliss More by Light Watkins because it was so approachable and forgiving. It helped me understand why my brain behaves the way it does, and also why meditation hasn’t worked for me in the past. I also love meditating to Sarah Blondin on Insight Timer or using her Podcast. It feels like a hug and has helped me to actively rescript my inner dialog to one of more compassion, while making friends with that critic that shows up without fail (for this Enneagram 1).
Doing these things has not led to shiny happy unicorn status every day. But some days it does. ✨🦄