Louise Hay and Heather Dane, co-authors of the book Loving Yourself to Great Health: Thoughts & Food -- The Ultimate Diet with Ahlea Khadro, explore the connection between digestive and emotional health.
Lynne Rossetto Kasper: There is a big statement in this book: "the ultimate diet." From what you three lay out, the diet is really just a part of an entire process.
Louise Hay: Isn't everything in life part of a process? Choosing food that really supports you and helps your health, that's part of a very good process.
LRK: One of the things you have become very known for, and you talk about in your book, is learning to love yourself.
LH: That's the most important thing in the world.
LRK: How did you come to this? Because this is not something that's easy or you just turn over one day and say, "I love myself and all else will follow."
LH: It was living life and learning, experiences. And becoming aware that the thoughts you think and the words you speak really have an enormous amount to do with how you live your life. If you think worry thoughts all your life, you will be worried, miserable and have lines all over your face. That's not a joyous person; you can't be a joyous person. But when you become aware of the process, then you can start to guide the process.
LRK: Heather, how did you come to this? What was your path?
Heather Dane: I actually had depression, and I also had very bad digestive issues growing up. At least from the time I was 10 years old, I never really felt well after I ate. It was probably a good thing that I didn't feel well because that's what got me on the path to looking for better answers.
I studied Louise's work, and I studied and researched the science behind digestive health and emotional health. I wanted my food to taste good, so I started to learn how to cook and to pick better ingredients.
What I came to realize is that when you make food a sensory experience and you bring your body back into it, it makes a huge difference. To experience the joy of food has a connection to your mind. We know this from science. Science now tells us that when you eat, you are feeding a team of bacteria in your body. If you feed them well, the bacteria in your body stay in harmony. There's a 24/7 connection from your digestive system to your brain, so there's a really good reason to pick better ingredients.
LRK: It's difficult for us to make that connection between the things that will really give us a sense of inner happiness, contentment, well-being and what we eat -- it's sometimes a hard struggle. How do you deal with that?
LH: Sometimes when you hear something brand new, you go, "Oh, rubbish, that's nonsense." You don't even give it a chance. But other times you hear something brand new and you think, "Oh, is that possible?" And you will explore. So it depends on how you approach it.
But I've always said that resistance is the first step toward learning. You could say the affirmation, "This is something I can do. It's easy if I take it step by step. Let's see what the first step is."
HD: I will say that in my own evolution of changing my diet, taste buds do change. As your digestive system heals, your taste buds start asking for the foods that you need.
Really connect to your body. As you eat notice how the food is affecting you, even if you're making no changes in your diet to begin with. We forget this process. Way back with our ancestors, when they were tribal people, they didn't know what food was safe to eat, so they would taste it. They would have this experience of knowing what foods worked for them. We've lost this process because food isn't dangerous for us anymore. We just eat what is there or what is easy for us.
But if we go back to feeling into the body and really listening to the body, we can find out: Did this feel good in my body? Do I feel satisfied a couple of hours later? Do I still have energy? Do I have any symptoms? Am I having a headache? Do I feel shaky? Am I calm or am I feeling a little nervous? Look for symptoms both emotional and physical, and even write them down. One of the things we talk about is doing a food diary, just writing down for an entire week or two what you ate and then how you feel.
LRK: I mentioned your names to two of my friends and their eyes lit up. It was, "Really, you are going to talk to them? This is fabulous." The next words that came out of their mouths in unison were, "Bone broth."
HD: Bone broth is wonderful because it heals and seals the digestive system. After you've just finished a chicken, you've got a carcass left. Most people will just throw that in the garbage. But instead of doing that, you can now put it into a stockpot or a Crock-Pot, cover it up with water. If you have ends of vegetables, skins of onions, egg shells, things like that you have been saving, you can throw them in. Add a little apple cider vinegar.
LH: Bring out the calcium.
LRK: Is that what the apple cider vinegar does?
HD: It pulls all the minerals out of the bones. What I love that Louise does is if you go into her freezer, you open the door, inside one of the bins she has a bag. In it she throws all her scraps throughout the week -- all the things we used to throw away, the ends of carrots.
LH: Onion peels, everything.
HD: When she's ready to make bone broth, she just takes the bones, all the scraps of vegetables and puts them into the stockpot, covers them with water, adds the apple cider vinegar and brings it to a boil.
LH: Then bring it very low. I cook it for at least 24 hours. The longer you cook it, the better you are getting all the minerals out of the bones and the vegetables. When that is strained, you have fantastic broth to work with.
If I cook a vegetable in the broth, I might take the vegetable out, eat it, but keep the broth. The next time I cook another vegetable, I put that vegetable in the broth.
LRK: It makes the bone broth better.
LH: Absolutely. You are constantly nourishing yourself.
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