Wow! What an enormously long break we’ve been on from Food &Love Hack Fridays. And what an enormous gift it is to be back at it. Hi, I’m Stefani. It’s delightful to be back.
As I sit here and contemplate the sticky, smeared path of some neglected spill streak through my computer screen, it seems obvious to me what I have to write about today. I don’t know how long it’s been there. Months. Balsamic vinegar, I think. Why haven’t I cleaned it up? Have I grown fond of this spill? A tiny way to say “fuck you” to cleanliness norms? And what’s wrong with cleanliness norms anyway?
Do we subconsciously surround ourselves in disorganization or filth? Why? How might cleaning this all up help us hack our relationships with food?
Today’s hack: Clean your space.
The idea behind today’s hack is simple. The more areas in which we take care of ourselves, the easier it becomes to do so in others. If we sleep or rest more, we feel more energized and can exercise or do chores. If we take great care of our skin, that might translate to great care of our hair, or our teeth. If we exercise or do yoga, we might feel good enough in our bodies to forego sugary snacks. It goes just as quickly in the other direction. The more and more we slip in good health, in self-love, or in taking care of ourselves in one realm– for example, in sleep quality or in exercise– the less and less willing we feel to go the extra mile for the rest.
One of the most powerful of self-care projects I have personally experienced is keeping a clean, organized space.
Treating ourselves to a clean space, even though it takes a bit of work, is a way to tell ourselves that we are worthy. Clean spaces are welcoming, warm, and enable us to really relax into them like a true home. You deserve a welcoming space. Your deserve cleanliness. You deserve a home in which your soul feels as peace.
Studies in evolutionary psychology have demonstrated time and time again that the human disgust reaction runs deep in our bones. Thinkers who take that disgust reaction even further and use it to talk about religion and values (related to my own work in philosophy) find that the body’s physiological reaction to disgust sits at the bottom of our value, purity, and worth-based decisions. What kind of psychological message do we send to ourselves when we can feel crumbs crunch under our feet, see newspapers pile up in stacks next to the sofa, or cringe just a little bit when we step into the shower? Think of how much worse it is considering the fact that this mess is not just a fact of the universe, but is instead a result of our own regard for ourselves.
Did you ever have a roommate who didn’t clean up after herself or wash her dishes, and feel as though she was disrespecting your space and your worth?
Why not do the same thing for yourself?
When I’ve let my room move into warning mode–like when all of my pants are living in a pile on my floor–I have noticed that I naturally want to eat more. This probably has many contributing elements, though I think one of the biggest parts of this is the fact that I escape into food as a distraction. There are two big factors I want to be distracted from here: a) I don’t want to clean, so I am going to ignore that duty by eating, and b) I don’t want to think about the nasty thing it is that is occupying my space. I don’t want to see it, I don’t want to experience it. I’m having a disgust reaction to it. It might be minor, but it’s there. So I eat. Eating helps me forget things, at least for the moment.
Maybe you know what that feels like.
But I think the most important factor is that with a mess, I don’t benefit from the buoying feelings of self-love I get from cleaning. Instead, I just feel blah. Disorganized. Lazy. Average. Unmotivated. Less spiritual, less whole. I want to watch TV more than I want to be productive. Messes tend to facilitate poor self-care and poor self-love, and that’s never good for any of us.
The flip side gives us a pretty nice boost. When we clean our spaces, we clear up our minds. This is what things like feng shui, interior design, and architecture are all about. The environments in which we spend time naturally permeate our brainspace. If pristine, healthy, or organized, then the space facilitates a more peaceful existence.
This peaceful existence creates a space into which greater self-care can step. We can breathe more deeply, feel more comfortable, and relax into the world. We can absorb the serenity around us, and in doing so think of ourselves as increasingly integrated with that serenity. We become one with the peace our environment is trying to give us, and we become worthy of it.
With things like comfort, peace, and beauty surrounding us, we feel more spiritually whole.
We feel less like we need to be distracted.
And we feel less like we need to be fed physically, because we have not been fed spiritually.
Today’s task: Clean up!
We all live in different states of cleanliness. Some of us feel at ease with a bit of disarray around us, whereas others require pristine environments. Test your boundaries, and see if pushing beyond your norm into cleaner spaces makes your feelings of comfort and/or self-worth rise.
Clean your bedroom and your kitchen, or the places in which you spend the most time, first. Maintain it for as long as possible, and see if integrating consistent cleanliness into your life works for you. Maybe the time you used to spend munching on snacks can now be healthfully and happily diverted into cleaning-based self-care. Cleaning really is an act of self-love, so over time, if you think about it this way, it can become a truly meaningful and happy activity.
Once you have a clean space, think of what you might do with or in it. Yoga? Stretching? Lying on the floor and listening to music? Cooking for yourself, rather than ordering out?
Or shall you just go about your day, and just see how tidying up affects your soul?
You deserve a peaceful place, and both your body and your happiness may thank you.
Sean and I took the time a couple of weeks ago to sit down and really dig into the nitty gritty details of Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. It was a delightful interview and I encourage anyone interested in female hormones to take a listen.
In it we discuss the primary causes of PCOS and why it causes infertility, the different impacts of PCOS on overweight and underweight women, what I believe the different types of PCOS are, why women suffer health problems such as depression, anxiety, acne, and gut issues at twice the rate of men, and what hormones are necessary for a raging female libido.
Grab it at iTunes here!
Episode ten of Live. Love. Eat. has now been posted! In it I had the enormous honor of speaking with Karly Randolph Pitman, a woman who’s compassion, love, power, and wisdom is nearly palpable in just a skype conversation. Possibly the podcast that resonates the most with my own story, as well as with what I believe are the most powerful methods and insights for overcoming disordered eating.
In this episode, Karly and I discuss her history with bingeing and restricting, why everyone overeats at night, how marriage can’t fix your brain, and how the question why can ruin your (and nearly ruined my own) life.
Each episode of Live. Love. Eat. is an interview with someone who has stepped up to share the story of her (or his) relationships with food and with her body. She may be a disordered eater, he may be a paleo dieter, she may be totally at peace with her body or not. The whole point being that I can do all of the writing on my blog here that I want, but I will never be able to do something as empowering, comforting, and inspiring as sharing with y’all the beautiful and brilliant lives of others.
Search on iTunes or download and/or subscribe from iTunes here. We’d appreciate it if you left a review whether you like it or not.
If you’re not into iTunes, click here to download and/or subscribe.
Karly Randolph Pitman is in love with the human heart. With a bold goal of creating a world of compassion and belonging – where we’re free to give and receive love – she’s leading a movement to befriend our tender, imperfect human selves.
Karly helps people awaken by embracing every part of themselves with radical compassion. This process heals the roots of compulsive habits, fosters emotional healing, and removes the barriers to love. The result is belonging. Wholeness. Homecoming.
Karly is the creator of growing human(kind)nessTM, an integrative approach to heal the roots of food suffering like binge eating, food addiction, and body hatred – the arena in which she learned about self love. Growing human(kind)nessTM is a map for creating a loving, merciful relationship with your emotions, needs, thoughts, feelings, and precious body itself. This inner work changes how you relate to yourself, how you think about yourself, how you talk to yourself, and how you care for yourself.
Karly has done most of her work on overcoming sugar addiction, most of which can be found here. To see her most recent work, the 30 Day Lift, a program designed to heal self-love scars and overcome sugar addiction and bingeing in 30 days, go here.
My good friend and excellent chiropractic paleo coach Dr. Brad Fackrell has recently released a paleo thanksgiving cookbook– full of intuitive step-by-step instructions, easy-to-find-ingredients, healthful and enriching paleo foods, traditional recipes, and heaps and heaps of gratitude and love. It’s a glorious product, and it enables you to have all the delights and rich indulgences of Thanksgiving dinner, all the while remaining 100 percent paleo and 100 percent happy.
Really, though, it’s a delight.
And for just three dollars!!!
Dr. Brad is also the creator of some of my most favorite paleo tools. First, the Paleo 30 Day challenge, and also, one of the absolute coolest ideas, the online Paleo Cooking Class, which is right now available for only five dollars, an enormous steal if I’ve ever heard of one.
Cyndi Grasman of Bad Pickle Tees has announced the T shirt giveaway winner, Tonya Swann. Congratulations Tonya!!
Check out the beautiful tee Tonya won @ Bad Pickle Tees.
And finally, I am currently at San Francisco airport–armed for a day of travel with local, organic apples I purchased at the Weston A Price Foundation conference (50 cents a piece!), some organic Haas avocadoes, and a pound of carrots (already gone)–on my way back East from a week of delightful travels and even more delightful learning.
At the WAPF
conference I had the enormous pleasure to
-play entourage to my warm, brave, and lovely friend who just so happens to also be a New York Times Best-Seller Diane Sanfillipo (who gifted me with those kick-ass Paleo Power socks!!!),
-finally give an enormous hug to my long-anticipated real-world friend Liz Wolfe,
-delight in not just the huge information bank but also, and far more importantly, depth of laughter and wisdom in new dear friend and WAPF guru Chris Masterjohn,
-explore Mountain View with the world’s best hugger and kindest smiler, Lazy Caveman Badier Velji,
-laugh and grow through the well-practiced and experienced wisdom of cookbook and how-to pioneers, and super soon bride and groom Haley Mason and Bill Staley,
-spend the whole conference getting irked stares because I couldn’t stop whispering commentary with the enormously-educated, inquisitive, joyful and kind Steve Wright,
-feel buoyed about the future of American RD’s by the brilliant light and joy of RD-in-training Laura Schoenfeld,
-feel welcomed and embraced by the welcome and open hospitality of Michelle Tam and family of Nom Nom Paleo,
-meet the delightful woman behind Grass-fed Girl,
-enjoy the fermented, local, grass-fed, organic, happy plant and animal products at every meal of the WAPF conference, sourced by the hard-working and loving sponsors of the conference,
-learn an incredible volume and depth about relationships between the gut and brain, brain and skin, and gut and skin axes from the depthless paleo brain of Chris Kresser, which included an enlightening discussion of stress activators and hormones in the skin, and both nutritionally and topically how to aid those (supplement with Cod Liver Oil, Quercetin, Phytosphingosine, and/or apply topical probiotics),
-learn from Chris Masterjohn that fat soluble vitamins A, D, and K are necessary for human health and immune function, and that they require mineral co-factors such as zinc and less-touted but equally important co-factor CO2 (enhanced by carbohydrate consumption!),
-learn in another talk by Chris Masterjohn all about methylation, methionine, glutathione, and how poor methylation processes can lead to disurpted dopamine levels in the brain, which can promote anxiety and poor mood stability— and how we can enhance methylation by having adequate B vitamin, especially B12 levels, protein, folate (not folic acid, but the organic form found in liver and leafy greens), and vitamin C and polyphenols from fruits and vegetables,
-learn from both Chris Masterjohn and Steven Fowkes and Dr. Fife about the crucial and life-saving benefits of coconut consumption, especially for halting the progression of Alzheimer’s,
-benefit from the experiential wisdom of both Julia Ross of the Mood Cure and Natasha Campbell-McBride of the GAPS diet,
-meet tons of excellent doctors and naturopaths interested in fertility, women’s health, PCOS and natural cures (more on them forthcoming!),
-get boatloads of fermented cod liver oil and beauty balm (says Liz and Diane an absolute must) from Green Pastures,
-laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh, and learn and learn and learn.
I am heading out to the Weston A Price Wise Traditions conference a week early, which means I am leaving today for SFO, with my lovely soul-mate friend Alex (and co-director at Love Works, another site of mine) in order to get away and lounge… drink a lot of wine, and eat some Halloween candy… and also sleep among the Red Woods and campfires and harmonicas and friends.
I will be hiding my computer under a bed.
But I will check back here once, or perhaps twice at most if it turns out my addiction is even worse than I thought, and also because I want to keep up with whoever and whatever might want to discuss things re: PCOS Unlocked.
And then Friday the 9th begins the WAPF conference in San Jose, with some of my most delightful friends, and I could not be more thrilled to see them nor to meet and love many new people through the WAPF community.
I shall be back to blogging the following week! With a new podcast featuring Karly Randolph Pitman, an enormously gentle and brave soul, three podcasts right in a row on other shows–Stumtuous, Brad Fackrell, and Sean Croxton’s UW, and blogging more on menopause, hormones, pregnancy, love, and sex, oh my!
In fire and on love,