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Shedding the Processed World

This post was written by Angela
on June 6, 2012 | Comments (9)

We live in a processed world. As I’ve been learning to go back to the basics to some degree with my food and healthcare, I’m often surprised at some of the things I assume have just always been the way they are now. How could people have functioned without this, that, or the other? How is this recipe actually made all the way from scratch? What was done before antibiotics? Chemical pest control? Or toilet paper?! No, I’m not looking for an alternative for my toilet paper (that’s an invention I’ll keep for now, thank you), but working around other items that I’ve come to rely on can be scary, because this is my comfort zone. My tastes have learned to match what I’ve been presented with all my life and having to learn a whole new way is terrifying! I like what I like and I want exactly that, but when my body rebels sometimes I just have to suck it up and follow its lead.

My most recent excursion in this area has been in processed food. You might not think of it this way, but processed food is an invention and it’s one that hasn’t served my body well. Under the guidance of my physician I’ve been eliminating things I love, but that my body doesn’t. One of these (sniffle, sigh) is processed sugar. After week one I was proud of my achievement. After week two, I wanted to punch someone in the face. By week three I was pretty exhausted as my body continued to transition and recover, but I wasn’t really craving sugar in the way I absolutely needed it before. Still, there are those tricky cases where I had to stop and scratch my head thinking, “What do I do now that I can’t use processed sugar?” Case in point:

After a bout of sickness I wanted to help my recovery along by making sure I was getting enough electrolytes. I didn’t exactly know what these were (science has never been my strength), but I’d heard enough motherly repetition in the past to know it was important to some degree. When there’s fluid loss, whether from working out, an extremely hot and sweaty day, or an illness episode, my mental programming reminded me I needed to reestablish these guys.

You can go here for a full rundown on what electrolytes are exactly. I won’t get into the nitty gritty science, but making sure you maintain their presence helps to prevent everything from dehydration all the way to seizures that might result otherwise. In the past the assumption in my family was that you reach for a sports drink, like Gatorade, but since processed sugar wasn’t an option what was I supposed to do?

After researching I found out that electrolytes (along with a number of other awesome benefits) can be gained from a concoction of hot water, freshly squeezed lemon, sea salt (not table salt), and raw honey (RAW being the key word here). For more information on naturally restoring electrolytes and what each ingredient offers, check out this article. I especially love their mug!

Bolder people than me have made changes for the betterment of the world. While this is an encouraging element to some of my lifestyle changes, at least in the beginning my drastic habit changes have largely been based on demands my body has made that current practices in our processed world just can’t remedy. Out of respect I’ve listened and moved in other directions to serve those needs. In the process I’ve found that when you round that scary bend in the road and discover the alternatives, sometimes an “aha” moment hits you and a whole new world opens up. Yes, it can be scary, but once you see to the other side of fear it can be an empowering path to take with benefits that reach far beyond yourself.

What changes have you made that get you back to the basics, whether in transportation, health, entertainment, or other? What was your experience and how has it affected you and/or the wider world?

Reader Comments

Written By Jillian
on June 6th, 2012 @ 10:42 am

I’ve literally just started walking this path during the last six months. I decided I wanted to pursue a life path in health and wellness, and so many doors have opened for me. I’ve become certified in Reiki, and found myself working at a women’s health coaching facility, where I’ve learned amazing and amazingly frightening things about what I’ve been putting in my body! Once you cross that line, there’s no going back. You’re aware, and with every food choice or lifestyle choice you make, you understand more and more how you’re respecting yourself, or deciding not to. I’ve got a long way to go, and sugar IS my current battle, but all in good time. Congrats on your discoveries!!!

Written By Angela
on June 6th, 2012 @ 10:52 am

Jillian, good for you! In my experience it’s a snowball effect. Once you start it rolling one thing leads to another, to anotherm to another. Enjoy the ride! And make sure to watch for “The Healing Power of Reiki” by Raven Keyes, out this fall. It’s an AMAZING story and will awaken you even more to the potential you’ve opened with Reiki.

Written By Aster J.
on June 7th, 2012 @ 8:15 am

Hello Angela,

Reading your story was really inspiring. I am a Nutrition Science major, as well as starting the right red road to veganism. Many conversations among student express frustrations over trying to find alternatives to processed food. Myself I share a kitchen with my elderly parents who are addicted to processed foods. When I offer them alternatives, like fresh broccoli over frozen they don’t like it because the are used to the mush of the overcooked frozen butter covered broccoli. One other sad thing is my parent recently purchase a new refrigerator and there is no space for fresh produce, even though it has double doors and a down opening freeze. But I will tell you what it does have. In the freezer it has a special spot for frozen pizza. I miss the old refrigerator!

Good luck on your journey!

Written By Angela
on June 7th, 2012 @ 10:11 am

AJ, You’re right, this can often be a lonely and frustrating journey. If you take it in stages eventually finding those unprocessed things that you like becomes second-nature. I’ve found that it takes a sense of adventure and willingness to try new things several times, since our palettes are trained on the processed food. Equally important is self-confidence and making conscious choice without guilt or shame about the new boundaries you’re setting (I had a hard time with this). You can choose to make the changes for yourself, but don’t expect others to jump on the bandwagon! Eventually you might be surprised at the trickledown effect you have on those around you, but it’s really a very personal decision and the frustration from trying to “over-encourage” usually isn’t worth the battle. Best wishes in school!

Written By Shawn Tassone, MD
on June 7th, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

You have made the greatest transition we come to in this life and this is how to care for this earthly body. It took me 43 years to figure this out and after years of comforting myself with processed sugar and carbs I went Paleo in September and immediately lost 25 lbs and felt so much better. I felt old habits coming back and so added in cardio and weight training and the transition has continued. I feel like diet is one leg of the table with cardiovascular/weights being a second, hormonal balance being a third, and spirituality being a fourth. In each of those legs are other issues like toxins, nutritional or macronutrients and supplements, but if we could write a book on this those would be the four pillars. The table top is the psychological apsect holding all of this together and that is the hardest part to keep balanced.

You also hit the nail on the head about basically giving yourself a break. I figure if I can do my best 6 days out of the week and then have pancakes or something with syrup on the weekend then I forgive myself, but that has been a very hard road…..forgiving myself. I suppose that is part of the process as well.

Written By Angela
on June 7th, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

THis sounds like an interesting premise for a book! And I agree, forgiveness is important through it all. We’re up, we’re down, we’re learning. Why be so hard on ourselves?

Written By Shawn Tassone, MD
on June 7th, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

A book? Funny you should mention that, I already have the 12 page chapter outline for a Do It Yourself Coaching book on this very thing with Nutrition, Supplements, Hormones, Exercise, and Spirituality. Health Coaching is a large industry now and it is because we are so hard on ourselves. It is interesting you say this because I think we pick this up from our parents. Either we are trying to prove something or nurture something and it often comes out as self-deprication. I often say that without parents we wouldn’t need psychologists. We are constantly learning how to heal the wounds of our ancestors and hopefully we transmit fewer on to our own children or we stop the behavior completely. I think we can break the cycle in this lifetime.

Written By Luna F.
on June 14th, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

“After week one I was proud of my achievement. After week two, I wanted to punch someone in the face.”

LOL! Oh I’m so glad it’s not just me. 🙂

Written By Angela
on June 15th, 2012 @ 9:36 am

Luna, I think it’s a pretty typical reaction with detoxes or elimination diets. Always good to be honest, right? 🙂

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