Armed with an overloaded brain full of nutritional information, I headed into the sweet-laden holiday season determined to welcome my outcome with the embrace of awareness. My 2011 was spent immersed in hundreds of hours of courses studying over 100 different dietary theories in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where I was indoctrinated into all of the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” of what is most nutritious for our bodies. In other words, I am very aware of what food can do to and for our bodies. It’s been a fascinating journey and I enjoyed every energetic footstep.

As an experiential scientist, I also love to test theories on myself before I share them with others and the indulgent holiday season was ripe for my newest experiment and I was determined to enjoy every bite. I went cold-turkey on my metabolic balancing essential oil blend so that I could let my inner child out to play and be her most joyful self by living out all of her Christmas cookie fantasies and eggnog dreams.

I observed to see what she craved and how she felt and, as importantly, what my thoughts were about the food we were enjoying. I have heard for many years of the potential problems associated with white food, such as flour and sugar, and with that in mind I gorged on homemade cookies. Granted, they were organic, but still loaded with all the off-limits white stuff. There were no cravings for processed junk foods, but homemade goodies were a gift from the heavens!

You can probably already sense the dichotomy I set up within my body. I was eating foods that felt and tasted so good, but the logical part of my brain was telling me that eating these foods was going to make me sick and fat. Guess what happened? Yep…I got sick and put on weight. Everything that I had been told would happen did happen. This told me two things: my digestive system wasn’t working correctly and my thoughts about food still needed more tweaking.

As a former marketing executive I have a clear understanding of how persuasive and efficient any industry can be. Diet/nutrition is one of the largest publishing powerhouses; therefore, there is a lot of money thrown at promoting the latest diet fad. In addition, there is always some life-saving new supplement or exciting new food that will be the answer everyone is looking for, but that is routinely contradicted in the future for its other properties that reduce the benefits the industry originally claimed it had. It’s no wonder there is so much confusion about nutrition. We have been trained to believe that every time we take a bite of chocolate it’s going to go straight to our hips or is it going to act as an antioxidant and mood elevator?

I embarked on my journey in December with the intention to be conscious of my thoughts around food. As a perpetual student of quantum theory I have a belief that our thoughts about everything are powerful and transformational and that also relates to how we view food. Our bodies are innately brilliant and given the right resources they can heal anything and efficiently digest food. I know many of you are jumping for joy thinking that this means you can eat all the junk food your heart desires if you just say an affirmation! I wish we could roll back all of our years of programming and process any food without side-effects by just repeating an affirmation. For enlightened beings, I believe that to be true. However, my guess is that these beings would only put the most nutritious foods in their bodily temples. For the rest of us, there is an unlayering of muck that must occur in order to have pristinely clear thoughts and feelings about our body and how we nourish it.

We must begin by healing our brains. Yes, I did mean that to be plural. Many believe that our digestive system is our second brain. For example, when you think of an issue that is deeply disturbing, most often you’ll feel it as a discomfort in your stomach or intestinal tract in the form of pain, nausea, etc. Our digestive system is an integral part of our nervous system and when it is out of balance, our nervous system is affected. Many people who suffer from a variety of nervous disorders, food allergies, and immune system imbalances simply need to get their intestinal flora back into balance by ridding their bodies of the epidemic of candida, an overgrowth of yeast in the body, which is widely undetected and misdiagnosed in our country.

Testing for candida is free and easy and the benefits of bringing this overgrowth of yeast back into balance are endless. (Refer to this link for detailed instructions.) The candida life cycle causes your body to be in an acidic and inflamed state. When your body is predominately acidic it’s the perfect environment for viruses and bacteria to thrive. In many European countries it is becoming standard practice for doctors to rid their cancer patients of candida before other treatments are administered, provided further action is still warranted. They have determined that in all cases, cancer patients do have candida.

How can you rid yourself of candida once you have determined that you have it? The most comprehensive and successful approach involves diet and lifestyle shifts as well as supplementation. In most cases, once you have brought your body back into a state of homeostasis, you can begin to introduce the foods that you were once unable to tolerate back into your diet because your digestive system will be functioning at an optimal state.

Are you curious to know why candida has become so prevalent in our society? I was too. It seems that our ancestors had the right ideas and that not all modern-day advances have been for our highest good. Surprised? Me neither. Our ancestors made it through times when food was scarce by consuming fermented foods, ingesting cod liver oil, and raw dairy products. Did they know that these foods were going to keep their digestive and coronary system in peak condition or did they eat these foods strictly for practical reasons? I think it was both. Back in the day before the onslaught of diversionary tactics that keep us from tuning into our continual stream of higher thought, we knew what was best for our bodies and we adhered to that.

It’s time to get back to basics and find balance in all aspects of our lives. It isn’t only food that is crucial to a healthy existence. Our lifestyle choices that include relationships, spirituality, and movement are as vitally important if not more so than our dietary choices. When we are happy and fulfilled we are more tuned in to what our bodies need. Can you see why it is of utmost important to heal both of our brains? They must work in union and harmony with each other in order for us to make clear choices that will lead us to live our most valuable lives. By healing your gut and shifting your thoughts you can create the truly profound improvements in your life that have eluded you and move forward with ease and grace into the life you were destined to live.