One of the most important messages I teach at my Embracing Health Retreats, is that we need to become more aware of our instincts around food, and tune into our senses regarding what our body needs.
The next point most people make though, is that their body is telling them that they need hamburgers and chocolate every day!
The problem with our fast-food society is that most processed food is devoid of nutrients and has artificial flavours added. When we eat this food, our tastes and senses become confused. We think we are eating a nutritious piece of whole food because of how it tastes, yet when we receive only chemicals our body is confused as to the messages it is receiving.
The flavours of food are inextricably linked to the nutrient content. Some of the most flavoursome foods contain the most potent of nutrition. Take garlic for example, a very strong, pungent flavour, and also one of the most powerful medicinal foods you will find.
Charles Eisenstein in his brilliant book “The Yoga of Eating” explains it this way:
“Only by fully experiencing each bite of food does your body really know what it eating. The body adapts in subtle ways to the symphony of vibrations, to the millions of biochemicals represented by each bite of food, mobilizing various digestive and metabolic resources, absorbing what is useful and eliminating what is not, coming into harmony with the food. But the body can only do this if it knows what it is getting, in large part through the instruments of the senses. Part of the body’s reaction to this data will be messages that can tell you whether the food will benefit or harm it. You must pay attention to the food to really absorb it into the body for what it is.
Flavors are linked to nutrition – it is no coincidence that organically grown vegetables are both higher in vitamins and more flavorful, and that many potent foods have a strong and distinctive taste. The connection between flavor and nutrition is one reason why it is so important to eat whole foods, and why synthetic supplements normally bestow very little benefit. Additives and processing confuse the body by creating tastes not correlated with food’s nutritive energies.
Flavoring fools the body – for example it promises the body and apple, but no apple is to be found. After a lifetime of such letdowns, the body learns to distrust food flavors and loses the ability to distinguish healthful food by taste and smell.”
Which is why the process of detoxification has such ongoing and profound benefits. By juice fasting for several days, it seems to “re-set” the taste buds and our senses of smell and taste become much more acute. We are then able to tune in to whole foods much better and really feel what we are attracted to eat. Without artificial flavours clouding the senses, much more pleasure is found in whole foods and we find we are naturally drawn to the fresh flavours.