Each transformation taught me what I needed to understand about my body and how it reacts to various types of food.
Before I started my “healthy” journey I was a chronic dieter. Food was the enemy! The more I detested it, the more it plastered itself onto my body and molded me into the unhealthy person that I was.
After my diagnosis with Thyroid Disease, I became macrobiotic. It was a diet and lifestyle consisting of whole foods: whole grains, beans, vegetables, nuts and seeds, sea vegetables and an occasional piece of fish. It was mostly vegetarian and worked pretty well for a couple of years. But, it didn’t feel complete.
That’s when I moved toward veganism.
I removed my weekly fish ration and ate only vegetables and plant-based foods. That was a pretty easy transition because when I was eating Macrobiotically, I was not eating much animal protein anyway, and prior to that I was never a big meat eater. But, veganism didn’t feel complete either. I was often cold, and my blood pressure was frighteningly low: 80/50!
That’s when the extreme cravings began. I could eat half an entire jar of peanut butter in one sitting. And, my sweet cravings were insatiable. I wanted sweets after every meal, and in between meals, and even if I wasn’t eating a meal at all. All I wanted was sweets. And, when I did finally eat the sweet treats, I just couldn’t seem to get enough.
I felt deficient and knew I needed to change my diet once again because something about the way I was eating wasn’t complete. I would walk down the NYC streets and literally salivate while passing the corner shish kabob stands.
I wondered why my physical body would have that salivating reaction when my mind knew the literature about the “dangers” of eating animal flesh.
Thankfully, I listened to my body instead of the literature, and moved beyond the vegan fears and began eating meat again.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t eat street vendor shish kabobs! I made sure the meat was naturally and humanely raised.
And, it tasted great, and felt good in my body.
I ate more, and it felt even better. Wow, no more insane sweet cravings. I was feeling physically satisfied for the first time in years.
Then I ate more eat, and I started feeling sluggish. And, I overate meat, and that didn’t feel so good. My liver literally ached. Ouch… time for a liver cleanse!
Since that time of extreme dieting and figuring out what worked, what didn’t work and why, I’ve become a much more balanced eater.
For many years now I’ve been eating foods from ALL categories (meat, vegetables, fats, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruit, fish and dairy) and I feel healthy and balanced.
I’ve discovered an interesting thing. In the spring and summer, when it’s warm outside, I naturally crave more plants and fruits and less meats and fats. In the fall and winter, when it’s cooler, I naturally crave more meats and fats and less plants and fruits.
I listen to my body and honor how it reacts to the seasons and the earth that supplies my sustenance. And, it feels good.
I don’t have wild insatiable cravings anymore. I just eat delicious food that is lovingly prepared and naturally raised.
I guess you could say I’m a seasonal vegetarian. Or, a seasonal meat eater, depending on how you look at it.
Have you noticed that your diet changes with the seasons as well?
If not, pay attention to when cravings arise and what they may be telling you.
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.