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John Beaulieu, N.D., Ph.D.
Imagine being so attuned to yourself that you know exactly what foods to eat. Rather than consulting a book or an expert on “right eating”, you could tune into yourself for the answer. Knowing which foods to eat is an art based on our inner ability to know what is good for ourselves. Through knowing ourselves we become culinary artists using different foods like a painter with a palate of colors. Our meals become inspired works of art filled with special energy.
For example, when you wake up in the morning ask yourself, “What would be a good breakfast for a successful completion of my day?” Perhaps you have to take a train to work and meet with people or maybe you are in the mountains looking forward to a day of relaxation. Different types of days require different foods. Perhaps a workday would require more grains where as a day in the mountains would require more fruit. The only one who really knows is you.
The ability to tune into ourselves and know what to eat is a fundamental principle of Polarity Therapy. Polarity Therapy is an energy-based approach to healing developed by Dr. Randolph Stone in the first half of this century. Dr. Stone was born in Austria and immigrated to the United States where he became an Osteopath, Chiropractor, and Naturopath. He than traveled around the world studying many healing arts in which he integrated an understanding of life energy into Polarity Therapy.
Because Polarity Therapy is an energy-based holistic healing art we look at nutrition in relationship with our thoughts, emotions, and body structure. In other words what we eat has a resonant effect on how we think, what we feel, and how we posture ourselves in the world. Foods can be used to support new thought patterns or reinforce dysfunctional thought patterns. Foods can be used to change emotions, and foods can be used to shape our bodies in different ways.
Knowing what to eat is a function of our life goals, and our daily activities in pursuit of those goals. We can learn to tune into and sense the effects of different foods on ourselves. The direction of our life must be in alignment with our individual spirit. When our thoughts, goals, and actions in the world are incongruent with our spirit the result is mental, emotional, and physical dis-ease. Within this context nutrition can be used as a form of nurturing and healing to help realign our lives to spirit.
As our life moves away from spirit we gradually lose our ability to know our nutritional needs. Either we indiscriminately eat anything or we rely on other peoples rules and opinions about eating. The result is a mechanistic and rigid “right approach” to eating. Rigid approaches to eating can be recognized by fear. For example when I first experimented with vegetarian eating my parents kept saying that if I didn’t eat meat I would die. Simultaneously my vegetarian friends kept saying that if I did eat meat I would die.
Nutrition is an art involving self-awareness, cleansing, and eating. Each step interacts in a holistic way to create and refine our inner guidance system of selecting and eating foods. Although we can individually examine each step it must be remembered that it is a whole process. The quality of that process determines our creative experience of eating.
Self-Awareness is the first and most often overlooked step in creative eating. Self-Awareness involves the consciousness placing of our intention on the foods we are planning to eat. Saying grace before eating is a wonderful practice of awareness. During grace we become aware of and acknowledge the food. I often recommend a moment of silence before eating. During this time allow the energy of the food to enter your awareness and prepare yourself to receive its benefits.
The opposite of awareness is the all to common practice of “eating on the run”. This type of eating is appropriately called “fast food” because it is rapidly cooked and eaten. There is a hot dog stand at Bellevue Platz in Zurich where busy workers rush up and expect to be served as quickly as possible. They then stand at a table and gulp there food down. Within minutes they are gone and another person takes their place.
Eating without awareness is a major contributor to the afflictions of modern society. We need to slow down in order to properly digest food. Improperly digested food accumulates in our colon, putifies, and creates Toxins which can lead to mental, emotional, and physical symptoms. These may include mood shifts, joint pains, Constipation, Diarrhea, body aches, nausea, gas, Belching, Bad Breath, Headaches, and fatigue. If these symptoms are ignored they can lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, colitis, ulcers, Arthritis, Heart Disease, cancer, and sugar disorders including Diabetes and Hypoglycemia.
Recent research supports empirical observations that the gastrointestinal system is connected to the brain and that there is a link between human emotional states and gastrointestinal problems. Whorwell, a British scientist, used hypnosis to study the effects of emotions on body functions. In his study colon movement was measured in 18 patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. While under hypnosis they were told to think of an incident that made them feel happy, excited, or angry. It was shown that anger and excitement over stimulated colon movement whereas happiness reduced and balanced colon movement.
Good nutrition always begins with awareness. Sometimes we forget the basic rhythms of life, the gift of our food, and savoring the joy of a good meal. We need a time of silence and centering where we allow our emotions to settle and our body space to move into the natural rhythms of digestion.
The next step in eating is cleansing. Cleansing is what it implies, cleaning ourselves out. By eating fast and improper digestion, Toxins can accumulate and build up in our bodies. From time to time we need to slow down and give ourselves an internal bath. As the Toxins dissolve and are eliminated from our bodies we can better determine what foods are good for us. Imagine Toxins as dirt on the windshield of your automobile. Sooner or later you have to slow down and clean the windshield to see where you are going.
Cleansing can be done in many different ways. The best way to cleanse is through the use of raw fruits and vegetables rich in natural minerals, Vitamins, and enzymes. The late Dr. Max Bircher-Benner of the Bircher-Benner clinic believed that eating raw foods passed a special energy from the Sun directly into our bodies. The result was increased well-being and a cleansing effect stimulated by enzymes.
A cleansing diet consists of eating only fresh fruit and vegetables for one to seven days. This should be a gradual process. Visualize a rising continuum of foods beginning with meat, and going to fowl, fish, dairy products, grains, vegetables, fruit, and water at the highest. Depending on where you are on the continuum, begin by eliminating that category. For example, you may begin by eliminating in three-day periods until the cleansing diet is reached. For example begin by eliminate meat chicken and fish over a three day period, next dairy products for three days, and than grains and cooked vegetables for three days.
The cleansing effect is best obtained by eating only fresh fruits and vegetables. Cold pressed oils can be used for the salads. The best salad dressing is cold-pressed Olive Oil, Lemon, and Garlic. My favorite salad which I call the intestinal broom consists of shredded cabbage, carrots, and beets. The only rule for food cleansing is to stick with fresh fruits and vegetables. You can combine them in many different and creative ways.
Another important form of cleansing is colon cleansing. Our colon has a natural digestive rhythm called parastalsis. When our life speeds up to the point where we forget to eat and/or eat fast at odd intervals, the natural rhythms of the colon can become erratic and fast or sluggish. The result is poorly digested food and the formation of small pockets in the intestine which hold fecal matter. Over time the fecal matter adheres to the colon wall and hardens. The result is poor absorption of nutrients and colon problems.
It is important to systematically cleanse our colons. The best method of colon cleansing is psyllium. Psyllium is a natural herb that when ingested absorbs moisture and expands in our colon. The effect is like soaking a dirty pan in water overnight. Psyllium is safe to use and has been shown to lower Cholesterol and help normalize blood pressure. When taking psyllium it is important to remember to drink lots of water since its effect is dependent upon holding moisture.
Adding different substances to psyllium can intensify its cleansing effect and can have a direct action on the colon. Some of my favorites substances are digestive enzymes, Bentonite, Aloe Vera, and black walnut. Digestive enzymes break down undigested food. Benotinie is a form of volcanic ash which creates a drawing effect causing hardened fecal matter to loosen. Black walnut taken in tincture form creates an uninhabitable environment for Parasites and Worms.
I recommend that clients begin colon cleansing by taking one teaspoon of psyllium in the morning approximately 15 minutes before eating. The psyllium should be mixed in 4-6oz of apple juice and consumed quickly. If you want to find out how it holds moisture just leave it in the glass for five minutes. It will swell, hold tightly to the side of the glass, and become spongy which is exactly what it does in your colon.
The third phase of Polarity Therapy nutrition is the selection and eating of different foods. For me this is the most creative and exciting phase. However it only works when we can tune into the different effects of food through awareness and cleansing. This phase is based on natural foods and before I introduce creative eating it is important to differentiate between natural and processed foods.
The further a food is away from its natural source the more it is processed. For example steamed spinach is more processed that raw spinach and preserved canned spinach is more processed that fresh steamed spinach. A certain amount of processing may be necessary i.e.: cooking meats and grains, and steaming vegetables. Processing taken to an extreme destroys all natural properties of a food including Vitamins and enzymes. Unfortunately our grocery stores are filled with super processed foods which have been heated to an extreme and filled with sugar, salt, and chemical preservatives.
At home we process foods using different types of heating, refrigerators, and microwave irradiation. Refrigerating and freezing foods retards molecular movement in an effort to slow down decay. The longer a food is left in the refrigerator the more enzymes and Vitamins it looses. Vegetables left in a refrigerator for a week or more will become limp and lifeless. Freezing has the same effect however with freezing many nutrients are lost during the thawing process.
A popular way to unthaw foods is through irradiation or micro waving. Microwaves use pico waves which have a deep penetrating causing a rapid increase in the vibrational rate of tissue and water molecules which generates heat and cooks the food. It is suggested that people avoid being near microwaves while food is cooking. With increased exposure, as with restaurant workers using microwave ovens regularly, there is an increase in symptoms such as Headaches, fatigue, irritability, sleeping problems, and deep tissue Burns. Microwave exposure may also cause hormonal changes and affect our immune defenses. Because the long-term effects are not really known I suggest that they be use sparingly.
In general heating foods through slowly through steamers is the best way to cook and/or thaw frozen foods. Steamers gently speed up molecular movement and actually help activate important Vitamins and minerals. Many people find it much easier to eat lightly steamed vegetables because they are in a sense partially digested through the heat of the steam. I often times recommend that my clients with low energy steam because they do not have enough fire to completely digest raw foods.
Polarity Therapy classifies natural foods into the five elements, Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. Each element is like a note on a keyboard which when played with the right sequence and sensitivity creates music. The principle of elemental food classification is based on where a food grows in relationship to the earth and sky.
Earth foods grow below the Earth and include carrots, beets, potatoes, yams, and all roots and tubers. Water foods grow from one to twelve inches above the earth and include leafy greens, squash, melons, milk, broccoli, and cauliflower. Fire foods grow from 12 inches to six feet above the earth and include meats, corn, oats, wheat, rye, barley, and seeds like Sunflower, flax, and Sesame. Air foods grow from six feet up and include apples, pears, peaches, bananas, and nuts. Ether is space and represents a space to grow as well as space for the elements to mix.
The five elements are a part of everything whether we are aware of it or not. For example if you build a fire and it gets too big and hot you may need water or earth to calm it down. If too much water is used the fire may go out. If a strong wind comes, fire may flare up again.
The same holds true for our bodies, emotions, and thoughts. Usually we eat certain foods to reinforce patterns in our life. When people work too much and eat fast they eventually “burn out”. At this point their metabolism slows down and they do not have enough fire to completely digest foods. If they continue eating in the same fiery way they may become overweight. Fat is too much water. To lose fat we have to burn it and the fire has to be built back up gradually.
Take out a pen and paper and write down what you have eaten for the past three days. Divide your foods into the elements and/or non-element highly processed foods. Discover what elemental foods you favor. For example I had a client who found he ate a lot of grains (Fire) and Fruit (Air). He ate very little water and earth vegetables. His also ate very fast. He said he wanted to slow down and appreciate life more. I recommended that he eat a salad including carrots and beets at least once a day.
The elements tell us a lot about ourselves. Earth has to do with our bones and security. Earth thinking is structured, down to earth, and slow. Water has to do with the fluids in our body especially lymphatic and cerebrospinal fluid. Water thinking is creative and flowing. Fire has to do with our metabolism, Circulation, and motivation. Fire thinking is inspirational and leaps out like a flame. Air has to do with our nervous system as well as governing the thinking process. Air thoughts are fast and quick. In the extreme they create Anxiety Disorders. Ether is silence and a place for the elements to mix.
When I have clients who think a lot or are overly involved with their thoughts, I suspect an Air element imbalance. I recommend eating more grains which are Fire to burn the extra Air. I might also recommend more Air foods because an energy principle is that extreme Yin makes Yang and extreme Yang makes Yin. In other words if you take something far enough it changes into its opposite. Most likely I would recommend more water foods. Air as wind dries up water. My goal would be to create a more moist and flowing environment. I may also recommend some extra root vegetables for stability.
My goal is always to teach my clients how to listen to themselves. I closely observe my clients bodies when I make a recommendation for holistic Resonance. Once I recommended that my client eat more beets, and I saw her jaw tighten and her feet rigidly curl up. At the same time she replied “okay” in a constricted voice. I immediately knew that my recommendation was incongruent with parts of my client. I changed beets to carrots and her jaw and feet relaxed. She smiled and said “that’s better” in a bright uplifting voice.
Eventually she will be able to recognize her own incongruencies. At that point she can walk into a store and look at different foods and know. For example when I wake up in the morning I ask myself what I want to eat. Some mornings muesli resonantes with my body and other mornings muesli contracts my body. Muesli is a good natural food. It is mostly Fire (grains) with some Water (fruits and milk). The question is will museli resonate with on that day.
The process can get subtler and subtler. One afternoon I was preparing to eat a salad when I noticed a tightness in my left shoulder. I tuned into the tightness and mentally ran through the ingredients in the salad. Overall it was resonate with my needs however the mushrooms were causing a slight constriction. I changed mushrooms to onions and immediately felt a wave through my body and my shoulder relaxed. Onions are Earth and because of their bitter taste they also stimulate Fire. I realized at that moment I needed the onions for a fiery security within the water of the salad to help me focus for an upcoming lecture I had to give that afternoon.
In general I do not believe in radically changing eating patterns. Eating is connected with our whole self. There are good reasons for the way we are eating. Most of the time I tend to add foods rather than take them away. The addition of elementally selected foods introduces a new frequency into our bodies. A person will naturally change their eating patterns if the new frequency resonates with their higher aspirations.
When people make radical eating changes they inevitably revert back to their old eating patterns. The result of these unsuccessful changes is a message to ourselves that change is difficult or impossible which we experience in our subconscious mind as failure. I use approaches more respectful of an individuals inner guidance. These approaches are based on elemental energy and choosing foods for success. A little change in the right direction can go a long way. After all the correct homeopathic remedy can have a profound effect on our health.
I am always asked the question what foods are highest in energy. I rephrase the question: What foods will resonate with the creative path of my life today? The more Resonance a food has within us the greater its healing effect. The word Resonance means to echo again and again and to return to sound. When we eat the correct food our whole being vibrates and returns to the sound of our soul.
The source of all healing is spiritual. When the actions of our daily life nourish our soul, our soul in turn nourishes our body. When our life actions are incongruent with our spirit we are like an airplane drifting off course. If a correction is not made we will crash. Some warning signs are physical symptoms which if left unattended can become problems which eventually need medical treatment.
There are many stories about people living to be hundreds of years old. I believe the secret is eating natural foods in alignment with our life path. Sometimes when we are off course we desperately turn to the “right approach” and it helps us. However in the long run the “right approach” limits our expression and distracts us from our own creativity. I believe to achieve greater health and happiness, we must take responsibility for the direction of our life and the foods we choose act as our fuel to take us further down the road.
Nutrition is a very individual topic filled with dogmas and beliefs. The only way through the maze is to listen to yourself and the feelings of Resonance moving through your body. To heighten your awareness of those feelings you need to slow down and cleanse yourself. As you tune into different foods after cleansing, your body will tell you the truth. Awareness is the key which allows us to listen to the answer. Remember the process awareness, cleansing, and elemental eating. If you get lost, slow down, cleanse, and than begin eating again. The answer lies deep within you and remember to always enjoy your meals.
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