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  • Writer's picturePenny Muller

Approaching Health

A next-level focus on health is part of The Great Awakening.

There is a big focus on health and food here on the island at the moment, and I would like to share some of my insights. I'm not a beginner on this topic. My mum decided to become a physiotherapist because she felt that naturopathy was too alternative in the 1970s to be a viable career option. My grandparents were well-versed on wellness alternatives long before this and had tried multiple types of diets during my mum's childhood. My dad reads more than anyone I've ever met and he was always ahead of the curve when it came to health. On each of our school excursion forms, he would write in bold - "ALLERGIC TO ALL VACCINES". Each school dentist would also receive a note from my dad, reading something like this - ''Under no circumstances are my children to be given fluoride treatment''.

I am sure that my parents and grandparents made many mistakes along their health journey, but this is inevitable with the exorbitant amount of conflicting information available in our world. We drank goats' milk from our own goats throughout our childhood and ate eggs from the chooks in the back yard. We always had vegetable gardens. We didn't see margarine or other vegetable oils, white bread, white flour, white sugar, white rice or white pasta in our house. All baking was done with wholemeal and alternative flours. My dad would bring his own wholemeal bread to BBQs because he refused to eat a sausage with white bread. Needless to say, we didn't always appreciate being different when we were children.

I spent my teenage years devouring every health and diet book available in our house - and there were many - as I was consumed with the pursuit of thinness, which I managed to achieve for a number of years. As a result, food, for me, became associated with guilt and fear rather than with pleasure. I remember, only a few years ago, the thought of upcoming birthdays playing on my mind for weeks beforehand. At work, everyone would have a birthday cake bought for them, and I wondered how I could avoid eating a piece of my own cake without anyone noticing. This is not a normal or healthy relationship with food, and it horrifies me to think of how entrenched that diet mentality was for me. I am incredibly grateful that I have had the opportunity to heal this, even if the process forced me to face one of my greatest fears - gaining weight - and I expect to experience a gentle, loving relationship with food and with my body for the rest of my life. One of my greatest gifts has been learning to trust my body rather than to attempt to be master of it.

I am very appreciative of the healthy start my parents gave me which has ensured my good health for most of my life. The educational basis they gave me was invaluable. I do believe, however, that we need to find a healthy balance in this regard, so we don't create fear and preoccupation with feeling that food is unsafe. The other day, someone I was talking to expressed horror that one would not buy all one's food at the health food store. Being someone who was aware of health food and health food stores for all of my life, I have watched these foods steadily infiltrate the mainstream. Health foods and organic produce can be obtained almost anywhere. Supermarkets offer many of the same brands at lower prices. To me, this is evidence of positive change in the world. However, we have to acknowledge that not all foods in the health food store are good for us. Some are processed.

My dad grows and sells plants at the market in Toowoomba every Sunday, and a number of years ago, a lady with a stall gave him a crystal pendulum and told him how to use it for determining whether foods were good for the body. My mum recognised this as similar to kinesiology - muscle testing - which we were familiar with, and was onboard immediately. Crystal pendulums have become mainstays in our family and we use them to check in on whether foods are good for our individual bodies, why or why not, and in what quantities. We ask if they are safe and whether they are beneficial. We also check vitamins, body products and makeup, and ask about any health issues we are concerned about. I now prefer to cultivate an intuitive approach to eating, but I still check in with the crystal occasionally, if the need arises. Over these years of trial and error with the crystal, we have discovered some common threads that I would like to share. With so much 'science' out there, it is difficult to differentiate between intellect and intuition when it comes to health. There are so many common beliefs that are hard to shift. Knowing that this is a controversial topic, and that people can have very strong opinions about it, my aim is only to share some points for you to reflect on if you wish.

1. The body likes variety: Often it is not a question of whether the food is good or bad but whether we are having too much of it. In my experience, most foods are okay in moderate quantities. The trouble with many humans is that we think that if something is good, more will be better. This is not necessarily the case. Even natural foods can be toxic in high quantities. The body can respond to subtle positive changes that we make. I find it interesting when people proudly state that they eat the same, 'healthy' breakfast of oats porridge every day. It's quite possible that although this might be a nutritious choice, the body doesn't necessarily like to eat oats every day. And, with the abundant choice available, there is no need for it to do so.

2. Not all health foods are good for us: According to the crystal (and I realize that it is my body or my higher self that is giving me the information, not the crystal pendulum itself), many so-called 'unhealthy' foods are safe for me in moderation. For example, white sugar is okay in small quantities, however the crystal gives a definite ''no'' to everything that contains stevia - a so-called healthy alternative. Stevia eaten directly from the plant would probably be okay. It is most likely the processing of it that is the problem. I remember my mum asking whether white pasta would be a better choice than a salad when eating out, and it said ''yes''. Salad vegetables, particularly spinach leaves, can be heavily sprayed and may not, therefore, be good choices if they are not organically grown.

3. Our needs change over time: Despite my healthy upbringing, I went through a health crisis a few years ago. Research over the years has shown me that adrenal/chronic fatigue is almost a rite of passage for someone like me - a highly sensitive empath - dare I say, Starseed soul (sorry to those who are squeamish about labels), who has spent a lifetime taking in the energy of others and attempting to survive in mainstream society. Illness can be part of the spiritual awakening process, allowing us to slow down and reassess all aspects of our life and move out of the matrix. Apparently, this is particularly evident if it happened around 2016 and 2017 - exactly when my health was at its lowest point. It felt like I experimented with every supplement and superfood known to man during those few years, and I checked in with the crystal regularly to guide me through. When checked with the crystal, all fruits and vegetables were okay for my body at that time, as long as they were organic. The crystal said ''no'' to most non-organic fruits and vegetables. Now that I am well, however, the crystal says most fruits and vegetables are safe for me, regardless of whether they are organically grown [As a disclaimer, this doesn't mean that organically grown fruits and vegetables are not the better choice of the two].

4. The answers can be surprising: My body has consistently told me that soy milk is okay for me in moderation, as long as it doesn't contain malt. Malt, as contained in 'healthy' soy milk brands like Bonsoy is a definite ''no'' for me. As is Vegemite, which also contains malt. In fact, my body isn't keen on anything coming from barley. I just asked whether this was because of the barley itself or the chemicals on it, and it said ''yes'', it is not good for me because of the chemicals. Other health products like maca powder have consistently been a definite ''no'', as well as chicory and chamomile - if they are not organic. I know that ginger is very good for my body as the crystal swings wildly in favour of ginger, even if it is crystalised - no pun intended. The crystal says ''no'' to many natural body products that I have tried, for example, some natural toothpastes and every natural deodorant I've used. I have opted to use products that are safe for my body - whether natural or not - rather than to continue to spend money on so-called 'healthy' products that are doing more harm than good. I check in every so often to ensure the products I'm using are still okay for me.

5. The body prefers some foods in certain combinations and quantities: Society tells us that dark chocolate is a health food. According to the crystal, 70% or 80% cacao dark chocolate is not good for anyone in my family. 45% is better - the body prefers a better balance of cacao and fat. The same applies to coffee - the body assimilates coffee better if it is balanced with milk or cream, rather than being black. The crystal says ''no'' to nuts that are too heavily roasted and says ''no'' to too many nuts. It has always said ''no'' to almond milk for me, even when I made it myself using organic almonds. My mum finds my grandma's nutritious almond cake too heavy for her stomach, and when my mum made some almond bread - with only nutritious ingredients - it said it was great for me for one meal but not good if I had it for a second meal on the same day.

I have mainly focused on food, here, but I understand, of course, that food is only one aspect of health. What we put into our bodies is incredibly important, but I believe it should be balanced with enjoyment. We were given this opportunity to live in physical bodies to experience pleasure through our senses, so we should make this part of our daily lives. Research shows that stress is a huge contributor to dis-ease and ill health, so we need to overhaul our lives holistically if we want to thrive. I believe we should still use our intellect to some level when making choices. Much of my answers from the crystal made sense when I reflected on them. Most unprocessed food is good for us in moderate quantities if it contains minimal chemicals and pesticides - which is in line with science.

We should also check in with our bodies to see how we feel when we eat certain foods. I sought out some of these answers because I had an instinct that certain foods were not good for me - they didn't feel good. Use a crystal or pendulum if you are open to it or use your intuition. Also, remember that the body is a highly intelligent instrument which will do all in its power to keep us in equilibrium. We should make good choices to respect and honour our bodies, but we do not need to be perfect. The quest for perfection can destroy our mental and emotional wellbeing. All is a balance.

*Photos are of produce my dad has grown here on the island since I've been living here this year.

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