An essay by Linda Cohen, FES certified Flower Essence Therapist
Note: this essay has been slightly edited for presentation.
I have not only suffered from depression but also anorexia (as a young adult). Since turning my life around after 11 months in drug rehab, I can say I know a lot about the psychology of eating. I avoided food for the most part from ages 21-34, and was a pack-a-day cigarette smoker. When I finished my rehab program at The Areaba Cassriel Institute as a 36 year old woman, I began studying food and healing with Gary Null to become a Certified Nutritional Counselor. It was in Null's program that I discovered flower essence therapy, which he called "nature's vitamins for the emotions."
Flower essence therapy gave me great hope that I could survive my challenges and become connected with my "Starpath Destiny," or "higher" work. Using flower essences, made from the blossoms of fresh flowers, I found essences that matched my needs for healing and staying on track. I am now certified in Bach essences and with the Flower Essence Society (www.flowersociety.org).
It's like peeling an onion; uncovering the reasons, trauma, and internal negative emotional energies which impel self-medication with food. There are many essences that helped me. One in particular, though, Manzanita, has helped me for many years to view "the body as the temple of the Spirit."
Much like drug/alcohol/sex/gambling addictions, food addiction is used to block out "bad" feelings. With the flower essences and a formal education in nutrition, I began to view flower essences as "primary" nutrition along with relationships, environment, hobbies, thoughts and inspirations. This enabled me to create a balance with food, which I came to think of as "secondary" nutrition.
Even though we may believe we know what's right to eat, this can often change. If we listen to media and Dr. Oz-type programming we quickly can become confused: one week tomatoes are the best and the next week they are taboo! So eating right implies that we get in touch with our feelings and work with them, as well as plan ahead with our diets.
I have found one of the main reasons people "eat wrong" is poor planning; they're out, they skip a meal, and then they overcompensate with too much food (and most often the wrong food). This, coupled with little knowledge of what their particular nutritional needs are, the self-medicating aspect, and the horrors of the Western diet, sets up almost everyone in the masses for failure.
Eating right not only implies facing our emotional issues, but also education, planning, and working to discover what is healthy, healing food for us IN THE MOMENT. I believe this also implies an awareness of when and how we eat, not only what we eat. If we eat the right foods hurriedly, at the wrong time, scarf our food down, combine them improperly or cover up symptoms with over-the-counter medications, our digestion will be poor. This shows up in our total overall health, both physical and emotional.
In order to shift our negative habits around food, we need discipline and focus as well as impetus for change. For me, the flower essences come first, followed by an eating plan (I try to really chew my food and not eat randomly all day long), and then an education about food and my special needs. But no matter how much I know that leafy greens are good for me, if I'm in a horrible place emotionally, it's difficult to regulate my eating.
This is such an important subject, as we all have to eat. Today many people are living longer as well as unhealthier.
Linda Cohen is a Certified Holistic Nutritional Counselor, flower essence therapist, and writer of poetry and nonfiction. Born in New York City, Linda graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. from New York University. She received her Master's Degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Queen Mary College, University of London, in 1971. In 1991, she graduated from The Gary Null Health and Nutrition Program given through The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, and is recommended as a health counselor by Gary Null in his book Healing Your Body Naturally. After a 15-year affiliation, Linda received her certification as a flower essence therapist through the Flower Essence Society. In 1996-1997 she served as a staff writer and columnist for Movement Magazine: The Guide to South Florida's Night Life. She has counseled privately since 1991 at chiropractic offices, health clubs, and spas in New York City and Miami Beach. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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