Sensitive souls are greatly affected by what we eat. According to Dr. Elaine Aron, overstimulation depletes blood sugar, which in turn leads to greater overstimulation. On top of this, when we get overstimulated, we seem to have a natural urge to perpetuate it through further stimulation. One of the ways we might do this is by consuming foods with caffeine and sugar, which actually increase our overstimulation and ultimately drain our energy, despite producing short-term energy boosts.
What does this mean? As sensitive souls, we are naturally prone to overstimulation. So, eating regularly and eating well helps reduce our likelihood of getting overstimulated.
What makes this particularly challenging for sensitives is that in addition to our sensitivity, we must navigate a predominantly mass-produced food culture often driven by fad diets. This culture is rife with what I've come to think of as "politifacts" about food and nutrition.
I thought it worth sharing with you the results of a great deal of personal research I have done on nutrition. I'm not a nutritionist or a medical or diet expert. But while this information may not necessarily resonate for you, it may stimulate your own exploration of the topic.
What Works for Me
In addition to eating regularly, approximately four times per day, this is what I focus my eating habits on:
High-vibration foods. My teacher Sonia Choquette recommends that sensitives and intuitives eat food that is high-vibration, infused with sunlight, and either prepared with love or blessed after the fact. This means lots of fruits and vegetables, and in my opinion, the foods I describe following.
Whole, fresh, natural and preferably organic foods. I strive to eat foods that are as close as possible to their original form. In a TeleClass I took once, our instructor said, "If it's not food, don't eat it." In other words, she encouraged us to eat fruits, vegetables, grains, fats, and proteins that have not been processed into packaged or altered states. I also buy organic when I can.
Nutrient-dense foods. I eat nutrient-dense foods, those that are naturally loaded with nutrients ("super-foods") or prepared in such a way to increase their availability of nutrients. For instance, soaking, sprouting, or fermenting whole grains and soaking or sprouting nuts eliminates natural inhibitors to digestion, making their important nutrients more available to our bodies. Similarly, vegetables that have been naturally fermented with probiotic cultures are more digestible, therefore making their nutrients more available, too.
Raw and/or cultured dairy products. Rarely is it mentioned that raw milk and cultured dairy products like kefir contain the very enzymes and "dairy-loving" yeasts and bacteria that help us digest lactose. I adore kefir -- it is truly the perfect fast food. I also love yogurt, cultured butter and homemade creme fraiche.
Free-range, grass-fed and grass-finished animal protein. Although many people prefer not to consume animal protein, I find that eating lean protein from "happy cows" (as a friend lovingly calls them) incredibly grounding and nourishing.
Traditional fats. I eat organic, cultured butter and unrefined oils, like flax, olive and coconut oil, and cod liver oil. (I've found a brand that tastes great -- Nordic Naturals.) Traditional, unrefined fats are also nutrient-dense; they concentrate nutrients through the food chain. (Unfortunately, they also concentrate toxins if they are present in the environment, which is why it's so important to choose our food and fats wisely.) I use these fats in my cooking, salad dressings, and kefir smoothies. These are wonderful, supportive fats that have improved my mood, digestion and weight loss.
Natural sweeteners. I avoid processed sugar (and flour) as much as possible, and instead use stevia, honey, agave nectar, molasses, and Rapadura (organic dehydrated cane sugar juice) that have been minimally processed and still contain vital nutrients.
Natural beverages. For beverages, I drink water, vinegar water (raw apple cider vinegar, water and stevia), Pellegrino, herbal tea, kombucha (a cultured tea), and red wine.
How I Put It Together
The way all of this comes together is that I make kefir once per week, soak and dehydrate almonds and other nuts every two weeks, culture a batch of kombucha every three weeks, and once every month or two make a batch of "lacto-fermented, cultured vegetables." We eat the veggies as an instant side dish with most meals. Although these activities may seem time intensive, they take us an average of 45 minutes per week and blend nicely into the rhythm of our lives and streamline regular meal preparation. We mostly shop weekly, and we plan our meals so that creating dinner is not a rushed affair. The cookbooks mentioned below inspire most of our cooking.
Yes, I still eat pizza, break and bend my rules, eat processed-sugar cookies over the holidays, and generally try to be easy about it. But as I read recently in a magazine, "It's not how you eat all of the time, but how you eat most of the time." That works for me.
Full Moon Feast, by Jessica Prentice. Prentice is a Bay Area chef whose book is a wonderful combination of insightful commentary on the way we eat and delicious traditional recipes. On her website, http://www.wisefoodways.com, Jessica offers recipes and the free, thought-provoking "New Moon Newsletter."
Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon. Fallon's book is an incredible resource of controversial information about food and deeply nourishing recipes.
The Body Ecology Diet, by Donna Gates. This diet is "not for the faint of heart," because it requires significant adjustments in terms of food preparation and consumption. However, following the principles of the diet has enabled me to eliminate the need for medication for acid reflux. Donna Gates' website is http://www.bodyecology.com.
Cafe Gratitude. With three locations in the Bay Area, Cafe Gratitude is a spiritually oriented restaurant that serves raw and vegan food. I have found their meals to be incredibly nutrient-dense, filling and nourishing. Check it out here: http://www.withthecurrent.com/cafe.html.