Barbara Cartland said, “You become what you think. You are what you eat”. I heard a similar quote in the 1970s and it has come back to me many times since then.
Recently I spent a very unhappy night with old friends. Well into the evening, we were all sharing very strong political views. By that time, I was speaking coarsely – profanely actually – in opposition to their views. Over the month since then, I have remembered that evening with great regret. I wonder why I was unable to be more moderate in my own remarks while still sharing my own views.
My mother taught us “moderation in all things” and yet my ambitious, type A personality often leads me to respond to aggression with angry sarcasm.
Over the years, it has become important to learn to notice when my anger is rising. In my thirties, I started saying morning prayers and running to try to sate the anger beast inside me. In my forties, with the help of psychotherapy, I began my meditation practice and using prescription medication. More recently I’m learning to become very selective about the media I follow and who I spend time with.
Over the same thirty years or so, I have also gradually subscribed to Cartland’s second sentence, “you are what you eat”. My enjoyment of fried foods, red meat and saturated fat remains but by necessity has become less frequent over time.
While writing this blog, I realized for the first time how Cartland’s two sentences connect: Fried foods and aggressive speech both cause inflammation – one of the blood vessels, the other of my soul.
- Body food: Our body renews itself entirely over a period of time. And food is the source for cell regeneration. Inflammatory foods add inflammation to the process while many foods, certain fruits and vegetables, actually reduce inflammation.
- Brain food: Media choices, my own words in conversations, what I choose to think about and who I choose to spend time with can either inflame or reduce inflammation of my spirit.
It is said to be a Cherokee proverb that after describing the two wolves fighting inside him, a young brave asked an elder “which wolf, my good wolf or my bad, will win?” In the proverb, the elder responds: “whichever one you feed”.
Which one are you feeding today?