“Spiritual Beings Know the Answer”
by: Shannon McKeown, MS, LDN (Human Nutrition)
Most of us are familiar with the idea that we are not human beings having spiritual experiences; rather, we are spiritual beings having human experiences. Integrating this idea into how we view ourselves and remembering who we really are helps us to trust the Divine Wisdom we carry within us to make choices for our Higher good. Remembering that we are spiritual beings is part of the discovery of what we are here on earth to do. This is why spiritual inquiry so often feels like remembering….because it is. What if I told you “the remembering” within your soul of what good nutrition is involves a whole food/plant based eating plan or vegetarianism as others may say.
You may retort….isn’t that extreme? On the contrary, I think it’s more extreme to have your chest cracked open and a vein removed from your leg to replace the one in your heart due to coronary artery disease. According to WebMD, more than a million of these procedures are performed each year in the U.S. because Americans are becoming more obese every year because of unhealthy dietary choices. Thanks to pioneers like Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, there has never before been such an enormous amount of empirical research done as there is now that supports a whole food/plant based eating plan as the quintessential standard of GOOD NUTRITION.
If a whole food/plant based eating plan is truly the epitome of good nutrition….then why isn’t the USDA Food Pyramid based on such nutritional values? Unfortunately, the scientists and experts in nutrition who develop America’s nutrition standards do not think the average American wants to hear the truth because it IS perceived as extreme. Add to that, many of the scientists who set these standards, sit on the boards or consult for many of the Big Food Companies like the National Dairy Council, United Egg Producers, or American Meat Institute. This would thwart the profits of the vary companies they support if vegetarianism became the gold standard of good nutrition, as it rightly is. The distinctions between government, industry and science have become blurred. This is the very reason we need to be
more in touch and aligned with our spiritual selves for the right answer to a very important aspect of our lives…..eating.
Good nutrition is the most powerful defense we have against disease and illness. So what is “good nutrition”…..really? It is a whole food/plant based eating plan that comes from nature because of the cornucopia of therapeutic nutrients and food substances within these foods that allow our bodies to maximally metabolize them. I will discuss two of these food substances shortly. But first, I want to
explain how our bodies react when it receives “good nutrition.” Our bodies work best and promote health when nutrients metabolize as a matrix and network of chemicals that come from the earth’s soil/ Mother Nature. When nutrients are allowed to work in concert with eachother….our health is exponentially increased.
Supplements are a perfect example of isolating nutrients. For example, several studies show the nutrient lutein, found in kale and spinach, reduces the risk for macular degeneration; not just because of the lutein present in the kale, but the matrix of other nutrients working with lutein to produce this benefit. Therefore, a lutein supplement cannot produce the benefit that foods like kale and spinach
can. Also, be cognizant of foods that are created by humans like high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners just to name a couple. These man-made foods metabolize in our bodies in a manner that affects our health adversely and changes our brain chemistry so that food almost becomes an addiction.
The body performs a delicate balancing act and utilizes an intricate system of mechanisms in deciding how to use the calories/nutrients being ingested. When our bodies receive “good nutrition,” it knows how to direct calories away from becoming body fat and into more desirable functions like metabolism, supporting physical activity and muscle contractions, keeping the body warm, or excreting any nutrient excesses. The body carries out many complex mechanisms that decide how calories get used, stored, or burned off. In addition, when our bodies receive “good nutrition”, the receptors that are found along the wall of the stomach send signals of fullness more efficiently than when we eat foods that are NOT of Mother Nature’s bounty.
Fiber is one of those nutrient benefits you can only get from nature and plants. Although fiber is not digested, it is vital for good health. Fiber pulls water from the body to the intestines to keep digestion moving. Fiber, also keeps our bowels healthy so that we are not susceptible to constipation type diseases. Most importantly, undigested fiber acts like sticky paper, which catches toxins and other
chemicals that might become carcinogenic within the intestinal tract. Numerous scientific studies have shown that vegetarian eating plans high in fiber lower the risk of certain cancers and levels of blood cholesterol.
Antioxidants come in a plethora of phytochemicals and macronutrient vitamins like C and E. When you eat a whole food/plant based eating plan that includes fruits and vegetables of many colors – you can assure yourself of getting a lot of antioxidant protection. Antioxidants protect against free radical damage. Free radicals are like the core of a nuclear reactor. If it begins to leak radioactive material, it can be very dangerous to the surrounding area. We are exposed to free radical damage on a daily basis from everything like sun exposure to foods we eat that are high in sugar and protein. Plants have a natural protection against free radicals because they carry out photosynthesis. Humans, however, do not have such ability. Thus, we can get our protection from nature by eating a plant based eating plan and being in harmony with nature.
As spiritual beings we see ourselves as one with nature/plants. Is it not perfect irony that the definition of “good nutrition” is PLANT BASED EATING!
For more than twenty years, Shannon McKeown has transformed people’s health using preventative nutrition interventions and counseling. Shannon has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in foods and nutrition and is professionally credentialed as a licensed dietitian and nutritionist in the state of Florida. She is breaking new ground by including in her nutritional counseling the center piece of all center pieces….God. Shannon believes your relationship with God and your God-self affect every other relationship, including your
relationship with food.
Shannon utilizes a more natural and holistic nutritional model inspired from her employment with the Seminole Tribe of Florida where she was drawn to the stories told by the medicine man about how the Seminoles were in tune with nature as their physician. This experience re-awakened her to a very old truth by Hippocrates, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Armed with this new inspiration, Shannon did extensive research during her graduate studies regarding heart disease and the many natural therapeutic benefits of foods such as: citrus for cholesterol management; plants like Aloe Vera and spices like cinnamon that improve glucose control; and superfruits that reduce inflammation and build immunity – just to name a few.
Shannon considers herself a spiritual impact teacher as much as a professional and passionate nutrition teacher. She engages regularly in the practice of meditation, energy healings, acupuncture, Bikram yoga, and swimming.
(At the time of this publication, Shannon lived in Austin, Texas, but she has since moved our of our area. We wish her well!)