Special Diets/Meat and diabetes
QUESTION: Dear Evelyn,
Looking for information about anthroposophical medicine’s take on diabetes I discovered your answer to a woman's question on 3/31/2009, which really resonated with me. It made me realize I need to make a lot of changes in terms of my relationship to my body and life so I wanted to thank you for that. The dietary guidelines were also very helpful but I had a few questions about them that I wanted to ask you. First, my understanding is that meat and eggs connect one more to the body, which would seem to be helpful to someone who is disconnected from their body, yet you recommend staying away from meat because the body's ability to break down protein is weakened under diabetes. Eggs in moderation are all right though, I believe you said. I think I might understand; I seem to be more in possession of myself on a vegetarian diet, but I was hoping you could elaborate on the meat/fish/egg issue a little so I can better make sense of it.
Also, could you explain a little bit more about why it is important to cut salt out? Even unrefined sea salt? I am something of a salt junky (I cook most of my own food so I don't get a lot of extra salt, but I do like to add Celtic sea salt) so it would help to have more reasons to persuade myself to cut it out.
Finally, do you recommend eating 4-5 small meals a day?
My situation: I'm 33, male and, I suspect, glucose intolerant. I really would like to avoid getting diabetes and so am trying to make whatever changes I can to prevent that. I eat very healthily, although I am prone to overeating and have a sweet tooth. I think the main problem is lack of exercise and engagement with life though.
Thank you so much for the work you're doing here and sharing your knowledge and experience with the world. It's been healing just reading your responses to other people.
ANSWER: Dear Matt,
Wonderful to hear how we can create a chain of inspiration! It always fills me with optimism to hear somebody go in search of their inner truth, which is very much what you are doing with your inquiry, if you take an Anthroposophical approach.
You indicate an interest, an impulse, and above all a willingness to relate better to your self. This means to build bridges between inner and outer, and specifically linking spirit to substance. The body is an instrument through which we can play the music of the cosmos (and our own little ditty of the soul) and become truly human (more refined and divine). Diabetes (or sugar-metabolism disorders) indicates a fundamental mal-alignment or weakness: your soul-spirit is not arightly integrated with your physical body. The two types of diabetes point to two manners in which this can occur: insufficient day-time catabolic, awareness or the opposite of insufficient night-time upbuilding activities.
We can find an overly dominant headpole for the first type (I) of diabetes which prevents the astral-I from engaging in activities in the (darker, less concrete) lower, metabolic-limb level. As if one is afraid of the dark (unconscious) one sticks to what one knows (quite literally favouring knowledge over wise feeling). There is no real grip on real life (as it takes place in three dimensions, over a period of time). To simplify it here, we can blame intellectual pursuits, or a cerebreal predisposition (often a hereditory factor already prevalent in childhood).
In effect, the direct cause for an insulin deficiency giving rise to this diabetes is a weakened pancreas; this organ is precisely the mixing bowl for upper and lower metabolic processes. Often a highly underrated organ, at the foundation of our most complex and vital metabolic processes. A hormone hot-spot, attracting a lot of astral activity, stress just adds too much and is highly detrimental to the smooth running of incretions and secretions necessary for a healthy metabolism. Indeed the entire system is set to crash, fatally. One must supply insulin artificially to avoid death. This illustrates, though, that our quality of life (spiritually speaking) depends on a processes which APPLIES conscious day-time force to the metabolic realm. (The aim is not to be a genius in your head.) We need both a head and limbs to be whole: their cooperation is what makes us alive in a noble way. Unconscious chomping, instinctive fleeing, bored scratching is for animals. (Needless to say, of course one can live and be very whole without arms and legs, but that is not the point here.)
Type II is born out of an insulin resistance and glucose is not properly absorbed by the musculature and fatty tissues. It begins with the higher members (astral-I) being ignored as delivers of the spirit to earth and incarnation is not taken seriously. One becomes sluggish at the metabolic limb level (adipose) and is rather at the mercy of emotions and external stimuli than the protection and guidance of the I.
With a deficient amount of soul at the lower-pole the willing-factor is lost. Combustion is poor and the will to be very active (sports, walking, housework) becomes decrepit. One renders oneself an invalid through a lack of motivation to live soulfully (awarely). This involves not only a degree of discipline ("eat your greens", "go to the gym") but also the warmer element of devotion, which is hard to find in this day and age – explained by the era of individualisation we are going through which requires also a degree of standing alone, which can be a chilly affair until we learn to stoke the inner furnace of love.
The combustion-transportation line is defective, as it were, with the metabolic-limb system not receiving the higher-member vibe to engage in this trans-substantiation (willful, energetic) work. If it is not under the snappy management of the I, the largely etheric dominant lower pole will become increasingly less able to manage by itself. It then gradually starts to slack off and wrap itself up in a dark, sleepy, night-time mode of being, wanting to be left alone.
By stimulating the rhythmic, middle man, with aesthetic appreciation and sensitive bodywork, and reconnecting cycles of work and social life to nature and larger cosmic events (the festivals of the year) we enable the very sinking down into the body of these spiritual impulses (higher members). This is the type of connection with the body we seek.
Diet is key in the treatment of diabetes, not just from a chemical aspect but precisely because it emports, regulates and distributes cosmic impulses in a very dynamic manner. With an easier diet (meat or processed foods) the astral body is pandered to. Take the Christmas turkey, the Viking feast, the Roman altar offering, the Edwardian banquet, and the sweetshop fantasies of every child, and the endless bags of salty crisps teenagers devour. These are emotional foods which may give you an acute sense of self, but they do little to enhance the true inner backbone of this self: which depends on higher consciousness. The metabolic sugar-household is a representation of this consciousness: converting matter (sugars) into warmth (energy, but specifically cohesive, creative, heart-felt thinking, unique to humans).
Meat has long been the equivalent of efficient nutrition: a little goes a long way in providing energy and it sits a lot more warmly, softly, and juicily than, say, a more earthy beet smoothy, clearly. Your assumption that meat grounds you in your physicality stems from a materialistic view. Yes, it easy to incorporate (quite literally) but that means exactly less work, and fewer incarnational efforts made from a strictly human (I-organisational) perspective. It is why we give babies milk: the least foreign animal food, to give them an easy start. It is why milk and honey boosts vitality in the elderly (both products are very dynamising and prototypically charged with cosmic astrality owing to the way they are made).
When it comes to building up a self-ruled body we rather need to entice astral workings to do hard graft on a physical level. Dairy and meat are known to leave deposits in the intestines (slugs) and turn you sluggish, may this be indicative of the low levels of work being done there. When the belly loses its fire (activity or commitment to partaking of nature) and starts to lead an artificial and lazy life, it basically dismisses the astral, which will then go walk about, leaving the (engine-room) metabolic-limb system to minimal operations and embarking on projects of self-importance (illusion) in the cushier realms of the soul.
The I will have lost all interest in earthy matters, actually, and you will be left with a fake sense of self in control; an idolisation of your shadow self, a worship of a self-invented X-factor. This lie is self-perpetuating and leads to all sorts of warped relationships with food, body-image, (sexual) social relationships, you name it. It is also addictive to self-medicate on easy food, because snapping to reality leads to or low self-esteem and depression (largely a consumer virus).
Meat (or animal products) and mineral (sugary/salty - sweetmeats) as foodstuffs are digested in a two dimensional way (transformed into human substance). They are easily added to our own physicality with the additional problem of retaining (insubstantial) foreigness. Meat has the problem of foreign astrality, which alienates our human astrality from engagement. It may sustain us physically but it does little to help incarnate our soul more fully.
In digesting plant matter we open a channel to the cosmos and can let it shine into our very midst. It is this influence which then inspires the anabolism of our body: our sugar-metabolism is what makes us soulful! And a thorough study of the journey a bite of a sandwich makes through our inner planetary (organ) system – and how it affects who we become - is mind boggling intricate and special. To that extent: we are what we eat, if we so WILL it.
Minerals in our diets are splendid baits for the astral-I, giving it something to get a grip on and transform into soulful warmth. This is not a calorific kind of metabolism but the closest thing to trans-substantialisation. Our hormone household feeds this back to us. Activity on the hormonal level gives us cravings for sweet or salty things. We seldom feel like sucking a lemon or a grinding a bitter acorn.
A quartz-phosphor balance is important to monitor: this mineral balance maintains respectively a relationship between the ability to receive sense impressions and the intention to observe. Phosphor guides the I in its activity on a metabolic level. Quartz strengthens the I. Antimony and Iron achieve the same (typical incarnational matters, the former more obscure with an astral predominance, the latter a classic in our blood). Finally, calcium (triturated, as from the oyster) settles the restive astral into the ether, promoting a clamer more thorough metabolism. In Schuessler salts (homeopathic mineral line) we could recommend a supportive measure in taking no.10 (natrium sulfuricum 10-20 tablets a day) which promotes processes of secretion required for a healthy metabolism. Or manganum sulfuricum (no. 17, 7 tablets a day) which is required for carbohydrate breakdown.
These examples of medications for diabetes illustrates what I mean when I refer to minerals: on a more nutritional level we must think of the trace elements which work on our electrolytes. It is what makes plant foods so exciting and welcome to the spiritual quester! Their vitamins are full of life and their minerals are dynamics which prompt us to dynamise (metabolise, set in motion, think-feel-will). This is - aside - why the quality of our soil (basis for plant life) is one of the most quintessential factors to feeding a better humanity and the basic condition for real organic farming (bio-dynamically). Local products are encouraged for a joint quintessence: they will have got plenty of natural sunlight in which to mature, which adds a different quality (etheric!) unmatched by (sub-natural) greenhouse light.
When we consume raw mineral products (salt, sugar) we need to strip them of their mineral bodies. They need to be totally de-physicalised for their properties to be "released"and become absorbed and integrated, i.e. useful. We all know how detrimental to our health too much salt is, and why we should avoid tinned/canned foods and try to find a baker who does not overdose on salt). There will have to be such trace elements in the salt you use though! Not found in refined kitchen salt, which you already know and why you favour Celtic salt, instead. It is definitely worth while using only a quality rock or sea salt, which has been sourced from an energised place and mined with the preservation of its subtle qualities in mind (sundried etc). (If you are a lover of salt, like I am – from a mineroligists perspective, however! - you might like to tantilise your aesthetic sense by checking out out the gourmet salts at http://www.holzbach.de
A craving for salt, by the way, is the astral-body’s fix. It (not I) wants to do something, be something, rise to the power. If you give it what it wants (a kick), you spoil it and empower it. The I should step in as a stern parent and admonish it to taste the OTHER minerals in its food. Equally, a pinch of salt is what we need to open the goodness of nature’s stores to us: bland food is virtually inedible. Smelling salts and the expression "salt of the earth", and the many religious or spiritual rituals with salt (and ashes) all link into the importance and caution that comes with salt.
Sugar but also honey and other sweetners carry the same story. Another inspiring site to deepen your sensitivity towards this subject (the amazing stores of nature), I stumbled upon is www.honeytraveler.com. It presents a very attractive collection of honeys. Every detail counts and goes into making one food or substance entirely different to another even if chemically they seem similar if not identical.
The energy we derive from carbohydrates has been well appreciated by athletes; what they may fail to appreciate is how the digestion of complex carbs specifically stimulates the willing factor of the soul, which must be helpful to their discipline and drive. But it is more delicate a process than that which really benefits the individual. We also associate many risks with fanatics in sports who bulk up on carbs or keep fuelling with sugary drinks. Let me contrast this materialistic approach with the benefits of the oat diet often prescribed for diabetes (II) within Anthroposophy.
As a grass, and wind-fertilised plant, the oat preserves all its etheric energy without disspating it into the astral, with colourful, insect-attracting flowers. This is what gives it its nutritious kernel, with all the sunlight drawn within its body. We know how oats for breakfast set you up for a long morning, slowly releasing sugar while the digestion takes place, but work with this even more imaginatively if you can. Imagine unpacking that solar-etheric energy in the depths of your body, in the inner kitchen of your micro-cosmic belly preparing a most special red, Michaelic (courageous) liquour for the sanctum sanctorum of your heart.
We can find the same divine and inspired picture in golden wheat fields wafting their pollen dust beneath a cobalt sky. We can transcribe this further, if we are so theologically or alchemically inclined, and pin this recognition of goodness with Demeter, or Ceres, the mother of cereals, Virgo the nurturer of our zodiac, the Virgin Mary (the earthy face of Isis-Sophia): they all build pathways (meaning) between heaven and earth. Or one could simply bake a loaf of bread from scratch as a body-ether-astral-I meditation (each stage of this baking process corresponds to one of our four members).
Coming from a silica-rich plant, having absorbed all that light, air, warmth, cereal grains have formative properties which inspire the body to accept the rule of the (light and formative) I. Especially oats have these qualities as can be detected from their feathery panicles – quills of greening. This inspiration is what is actually at work in the digestive process of (good quality) grains (which retain these cosmic memories). This is how a wholesome and vegetable diet lessens the insulin-resistence of the muscluature and liver. Makes our inner workings robust again. It rewarms the body, and prevents the threat of secondary, sclerotic disease common to diabetes.
Glucose intolerance or hyperglycemia is not just what it is on a bio-chemical level. It informs us of the state of our soul: an indication of a flaccid will and a surrender to the volatile astral body, left to run hot or cold in all its varied (petulant and self-centred) emotions.
This loss of will power must not be confused with a loss of control – but it commonly is. In fact, stressing over how much one is at the mercy of fate, others, or the unknowable weakens the will all the more! One can only will what one wants and therefore knows/understands. It requires esoteric training if one really wants to master the art of willing.
Good parents are, intuitively, quick to begin with exercises that strengthen the I once it makes itself known in their children, at first as a wayward colt. It begins with waiting your turn, sharing, or not interrupting. In adolescence some kind of goal met (educational, vocational) is a training for the I which is to come of age at 21. This strengthening is done with a certain degree of discipline.
A great obstacle to the hygiene of the will is over-intellectualisation and sedentary life-styles. Exercise is the primary therapeutic recourse for incipient diabetes. Aerobic exercise is recommended alongside a mediterranean diet (lots of vitamin C rich veg and carbs). This brings the three parts of our organisation (upper, lower, middle) together, coordinating them in willful cooperation.
Another drawback of modern living is how little joy we experience, which compromises the health of the liver, which enjoys warmth, mirth, generosity. Overall we have become too stiff of soul, and this influences our sugar-metabolism. Take good care of the liver especially, with occasional (4-6 week) courses of bitter herbal infusions and artichoke elixer, and a regular spring detox with birch and lemon. Keep it awake and in motion. Eat small meals and make them very appetising (digestion begins with the eyes). Use carbohydrate rich meals in the evening: this stimulates the anabolic phase of the liver (which cycles from catabolic to anabolic in 12 hour periods, changing over at 3 am/pm – if you suddenly collapse at 3 pm or wake up regularly at 3am this is a good indicator for a liver weakness).
Another therapy is to push back an overly peripheral I with rosmary oil (wraps, foot-baths) The sulfuric-phosphor in its essential oil is brimming with warmth ready to flood your etheric and make it into a delicious pool for the I to glide into. While its spiky leaves clearly emport simple, straightforward (pointy) formative force it otherwise invests its life-force in the fabrication of aromatic essential oil. This paves the path of our will inwardly (to meander through the garden of our bowels rather than getting lost in the labyrinth of our mind) and down to the very root of our being (footsoles and all). Lavender is kin to rosemary and has a similar effect, working even more strongly on soothing the senses with its typical, calming scent. All labiates have this warming, stimulating property (thyme, lemon balm, oregano etc), but people with a weak I often find such fragrances too overpowering and they even may cause nausea.
Small meals a day must not become excuses to snack, but must be well planned and highly regular. Heavy meals or large portions demand a lot of your system so avoid this always. If you need to watch your weight you need to be extra strict, concentrating on the main three meals and inserting a mid morning and tea-time snack, but stop all eating at least 3 hours before retiring for bed (6-7 pm preferred).
It is therapeutic to challenge the I, by using all your tastebuds, and all your senses. Choose crunchy foods (to hear), colourful foods (to see), herbs (to smell), use your fingers to break bread or peel fruit (to feel) etc, etc.
Include bitter flavours to fortify the liver: try some artichoke or birch leaf elixer on an empty stomach. Otherwise dandelion root tea (unsweetened! Good luck!). It might not put a cheery smile on your sleepy face at first, but it will test the strength of your will power if continued for 4-6 weeks and your liver will become tremendously jolly and eager to manage your metabolism with the efficiency of a sharp butler (or organised party host).
Second to, if not even more important than diet, is exercise. The limbs need to become fully activated. A classical therapy is woodchopping: a meaningful, strenuous activity directing the will (precision required) and connecting head and lower pole (hand-eye coordination), while you remain strongly planted to the earth, feet astride (cycling or horseriding, not to mention swimming does this less, for example). Gardening on the whole is massively therapeutic for the I, and really teaches "being here". It aides incarnation-processes (your are enacting the hands-on activity of the I-astral in the anabolic, etheric, vegetative realm).
In sum. From a spiritual perspective glucose intolerance serves as a prevention for total disengagement of the I – if you heed its signs and act accordingly. A blessing in disguise?!
A resistence to producing insulin and substantiating (glucose to glycogen, transporting it to fatty tissues and muscles) is a resistence to incarnation. It relates to giving your self shape, forming your own opinions (which are generally, to quote Plato, defects of memory), taking a steady (emotional) stand, standing your own spiritual ground (contrast intended).
Where sugar-metabolism stalls self-realisation is compromised. So, we must seek therapy in all we do, and it is why euryhthmy or (traditional) yoga or qigong/tai chi can set you upon the right (consistent) path. Any artistic pursuit which gets you actively doing something creatively, plastically, "out there" (no day dreaming) is an opportunity for self-observation without the risk of getting stuck on navel staring. Acting or painting, but also reciting poetry or knitting a sweater (with a complictated cable) gently transforms the computational mind. New cogs of the soul are revealed and they can be oiled by your therapeutic measures. This will in turn set I-forces in motion and send them down deeper into the system. HOW you do these things matter, and not the skill it takes. Read the feedback, monitor your breathing: is it deep enough, free enough, calm?
If you keep in the forefront of your mind that illnesses arise to guide us towards a better self, diabetes becomes a most spiritual ailment, or a call to meet the Higher Self head on! Diabetes is basically a purely human disorder, effecting our core humanity, caused by typically man-made errors (poor choices, leaning towards sloth and indolence, neglect and pride). It can lead to our animal or unconscious and indifferent self or make us work on perfecting the self. The great surge in diabetes type 2 corresponding with the increase in (morbid) obesity but also in the elderly (too sclerotic) speaks for itself in this regard. It also tells most tragically of our rapidly failing WILL to be better human beings. We must step up onto the responsibility plate.
Symptoms of stress are the clamourings of our soul to be set free. Stress is a major negative factor in diabetes related illness. It crowns the mind force as super-power. Mr President the Milling Brain may visit the troops in the nether regions and they will fall into rigid formation, but little warmth flows out of this meeting. With hyperglycemia there can still be an efficient but mechanical system, but with additional stress and especially with ageing (40+), a natural stress factor, this separate organisation will disintegrate further and go AWOL. Fast food and alcohol precipitate this downward slope (they give permission not to bother with sugar-household matters, providing easy, surrogate sugars for the time being).
Music and art can be incorporated in subtle and effective ways as additions to a good diet; try listening to light, table music, like Telemann for example, or Mozart string quartets during dinner. Decorate your table with a candle and a card themed to the season/festival period. Dedicate your dinner (what it can do for you) to your finest intentions to do more general good. We are in this show together! Diabetes also begs us to see a new level of (imponderable) cooperation. We must find a new sweetness in our daily manna (spiritual awareness). It takes dedicated chewing.
You can use meals, or the (boring?) routine of "feeding oneself" and all the other aspects of nutrition (how it’s grown, traveled, sold, prepared, served etc) to educate your soul and invite the I back into its midst. It will then start to hunger for this spiritual attitude and you will find this resonated in a new upright strength. This is healing (the purpose of life?) – and you did not even need to be that ill for it!
Keep listening to your bright inner voice and following your intuition!
With my very best wishes to you,
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Dear Evelyn, thank you so much for your thorough reply. Sorry it took me so long to say so. I'm definitely going to take your advice to heart (and will). You mentioned in some other posts about a kind of blood-sugar rebooting, or recuperation, with either a apple/oat fast, or daily nettle-tea . Could you please say a little about that? I'd like to try something like that and I just wanted to get the specifics before I went off and tried it. Thanks again, Matt
ANSWER: Dear Matt,
Lovely to hear such a warm response to my response. Let's see if I can add anything useful to my previous response for you. It is surely a most curative or health enforcing step to weigh one's nutrition and dynamic processes as carefully as you are doing.
For indeed, in matters pertaining to the sugar household we look at the condition of our consciousness: how disciplined and aspiring is it? Man in general will search for support in this development (or self-realisation) in the physical realm – if even, only, subconsciously, by gradually finding foods and habits that are "healthy"for us. Illnesses, taken objectively, are merely helpful guides in this (high and spiritual) evolution process.
This physical, nutritional support is, perhaps, illustrated best by the complex sugar household. It leads us to study the liver and the blood, but also matters of the heart, starting with the chest-torso system. Esoterically this ends up with a thorough understanding of the threefold soul and its aspects of clear thinking, calm feeling, and purposeful willing. On the surface, our big friend the liver checks our progress: a healthy liver manifests a balance of the blood: turning into a spiritual sap in a daily rhythm.
As a great influencer of our mood (joviality or depression are signs of heightened or lowered liver function or its subtle dynamics) the liver makes an effective monitor of how we are "running" our house, or body. As our major metabolic organ it has a daily, regular rhythm in response to our food intake, and as a responsive and regenerative organ it is sympathetic to minor efforts you make to be a stronger person. Needless to say, we must leave more complex and innate liver conditions and chronic ailments to one side in this observation.
May it be paramount, to your inquiry, that nutritional choices or dietary manipulations can help direct your consciousness in a positive direction. Meal planning, regular and lovingly prepared meals, and "fair" and "green" product choices, the moreover, are hygienic measures for the nerve-sense system (stimulating the art of attention and consciousness): a sorely over-taxed system in modern man. Recall how this (sickly) nerve-sense predominance leads to a stressed astrality and soul body, which depletes the spirit of its true potential. The body merely is the poor messenger, as are its conditions of liver disease, weak kidneys, or diabetes etc.
It is not so difficult for the average person, already, to recognise how addictive sugar can be, which quite obviously can relate to a weakness of will. Now, the body very much is dependent on sugar for its normal functioning, but the best sugar for man is the sugar he makes for himself!
The starch we consume in carbohydrates is foreign to the human organism and must be broken down into glucose (in the small intestine). This is rebuilt into "human starch" or glycogen in the liver.This liver is a most alkaline reservoir, very plant-like as such (etheric), where base-forming elements (potassium and calcium eg) are stored. It receives from and caters to the astralised blood system, but should stand as an oasis calmly in the midst of soul activity as a centre for even higher spirituality. Sluggish ether (leaving astrality unengaged) or tempestuous nerve-sense agitation (making tsunami floods of astrality) disturb this metabolic process from stomach-through pancreas- small intestine and eventually liver track. The I-organisation finds no train to ride deeper into the organ system and give the soul its proper experience of itself. Organs become cool, sclerotic and disease (diabetes) sets in.
A realignment diet for a system which has become too dependent on easy sugars (simple sugars, white or void carbohydrates) and is showing the first signs of a weak and weary insulin production required to process all this junk (fatigue, hypoglycemia) aims to integrate the astral into the etheric better. This is to revitalise the metabolism and gradually offer it more challenges, more "foreign" elements, less easy to absorb than simple sugars, giving the metabolism a better work-out and strengthening it thereby (improving simultaneously the immune system). This is not meant to be a one-sided oat-apple-nettle diet, but these three elements coin the points you need to focus on.
In general, a diet which takes blood sugar balance into the utmost consideration is alkaline, and will predominantly offer you a choice of salads and whole grains. You don't want to go all-out Raw though, in such a curative situation (or ever, in my humble, anthroposophically inspired opinion), because this tends to be way too demanding and could leave you seriously undernourished. The I organisation is a warmth loving member and cooked food aids the development of consciousness in this manner. Prometheus did not bring us fire without good reason….
Where does the love of oats come from in a diabetic diet? This light filled, warm grain is a little different to the others it competes with (spelt, kamut, wheat, rye, barley, and the non-grass grains rice, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, quinoa) already in that it does not contain phytin which may compromise calcium uptake. But its special sugar level-friendly qualities are two-fold. They make a splendid breakfast - you can choose finer grains or soak the less broken ones over night in water to aid digestion (the latter retain more life-force intact: any processing done ahead of time, in a factory or mill, depletes this) and appeal to the effort their digestion requires: it brings down head forces and keeps the lower pole busy. This stimulates a rhythmic dynamic at the middle, circulatory and respiratory part, or a healthy blood flow, allowing the Ego (warmth) to settle into your body and be instrumental for your soul. Thus the liver is also kept warm, with no sudden peaks or sugar rushes overheating it, or leaving it suddenly too cold. Its silicon rich nature contributes to this.
Next its sweetness is inobtrusive in every sense. It does not fool the taste buds into any hyper-sensation but penetrates the whole soul in a transformative fashion. One is invigorated in a gradual and sustained manner. It takes a bit of effort (porridge classically fills you up), but it lasts longer (well into a sustained health and optimal productivity with a bit of luck).
Oats are preferred by many intolerance diets (fructose for example) and the basic reason is that they take time to digest and do not deliver instant glucose or fructose for absorption in the small intestine. They contain almost negligible amounts of disacchirides (sugar) which would require insulin for conversion into glucose. An additional plus is that the inositol in oats are good for reducing cholesterol levels (an added burden for diabetics). Oats are a very alkaline food, superb for reducing acidosis ("sour" blood and urine). Oats are high in minerals (manganese especially found in the liver and pancreas; and a great provider of energy; phosphorus: a bearer of inner light; potassium which gives vitality to the liver and musculature and etheric metabolism all helping to form glycogen and then later release it as sugar into the blood).
The starch of oats is very viscous, which inhibits absorption of sugar through the intestinal wall: so digestion and release of glucose is all very easy going. Their fibre may be seen to "scrub" the bowels mildly, cleaning up an excess of fermenting microbes (causing bloating, flatulence, yeasty conditions). Take care not to make a milky porridge with oats, then, which counteracts this anti-fermentative working. (Unsweetened) yoghurt, curds or kefir should be fine and beneficial even.
Of course we do not want to overdo it on oats alone, either! (In total you are looking to keep carbohydrate intake down to a 250 g max – you'll need a table for that. E.g. 100g of oatflakes gives 60 g of carbs, millet 65, corn 71, rice 75 – measured uncooked). Oats are not low on calories,and they may irritate more sensitive bowels if taken raw in large quantities, and sometimes such quantities will cause headaches (demanding too much of the digestive system, leaving you feeling too full). Try a bowl a day and see how it goes. Feel free to mix with popped amaranth or barley, buckwheat or popped quinoa, to keep it interestiing, just avoid excessively sweet fruit, like dried (dates, raisins, figs) or banana, peach, grape, cherry, plum. Berries add an astral touch (the sour "bite" a give-away clue).
Even diabetics can take some sweetning (it is a myth they can't have sugar) but it's about modifying big "hits" and reeducating your self to look for the sweetness within (foods, as well as your own heart!). Just don't eat ANY sugar you cannot identify (secretly smuggled in). Hypoglycemic lows after quickly absorbed sugar (fructose, glucose) will tell you not to spoil your tongue and punish your metabolism. It means taking care with indulgent fruits (smoothies are generally catastrophic).This is catering to the nerve-sense pole, after all, and that is something diabetes or a proclivity for it, is trying to get you to do a lot less of. Honey in tiny amounts encourages the I-organisation greatly (but take it in the evening – with nettle tea, perhaps).
What makes breakfast such an important meal to watch with diabetic tendencies is the innate rhythm of the liver: it gives off sugar (glycogen) to the blood from 3 in the morning till 3 in the afternoon. This is an Ego-impelled own rhythm you want to encourage with an active astral-ether collaboration: so fresh, crisp, wholesome food, and brisk exercise, and preferably a little dedicated contemplation to boot.
We all know how we tend to be freshest before teatime and can get our best lot of work done, and seldom feel like taking a (boring) class in the afternoon: this is the soulful inspiration we can experience for ourselves as subjected to the workings of our body. There is not much way around this, but we can minimise the inconvenience by keeping the machine RIGHTLY oiled and fuelled. When we feel rundown in the mornings, you know what time it is! Time for a big MOT (service); it is why lenten fasts were invented. Your consciousness, or spirit has become neglected (or abused) or de-pressed (pressed below other priorities, be it fun and feasting or mental stress).
It all goes back to breathing and building up your being: which is a mix of carbon (the physical) and the spirit (the I living in the warmth of your life-blood). This spirit breaks down the stores (glycogen) or building material, disolving it, releasing it from the liver into the blood: we are moved into action! Let's go, do something, be somebody! Needs must.
Where this breathing is impaired we become all vegetable,dull, apathetic (a clear liver symptom): one big dump zone-liver, a tropical rainforest full of carbon potential but little subtlety. Too much life not enough spirit. If you get this dynamic you will see how we cannot just look at the glycemic index of a food product to know if it has good sugar, or too much sugar, but we must look at the whole (life of the) product for clues as to how it is going to set our dynamic in motion. The sugar household is the final product of all the sum of elements we introduce into our life.
Think of a field of oats waving in the wind. I cannot post a picture for you here, in view of copyright policies, but google for some lovely lung shaped oats for a sense of their warm and airy nature.
Apple is a nice fruit, high in fructose but full of rose-power (rosacea family). Despite the sugar content, one must not avoid fruit or juice (fresh or very purely pressed in the case of berries or pomegranate, like Voelkel makes them) and you must have about 2 servings daily (2 apples = 24 g of carb which is about a recommended daily allowance for fruit).
If you want a bit of a strict diet to start you off on (for a spring cleanse) you could consider one of the following or alternate a raw-food day, a vegetable day and an oat day. A raw-food period must be kept short, and is usually advised if weight is also an issue, or after a period of excess (the holidays perhaps?). Then one would look to taking only raw vegetables and fruit. If weight is less an issue, and you are susceptible to cold weather then include hazlenuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, linseed and sunflower, olive and nut oils, and cereals. Do not feel cold! We want to activate a sense of inner warmth, after all. Take footbaths with rosemary (oil or bathlotion) if this relative fasting "slows you down". Raw food sites abound for recipe ideas, but I beg you not to get too wrapped up in the glam of it all… there are sundry pitfalls in a full diet switch, if you ask me. Keep it short and (not too!) sweet (diabetics and Raw food seldom mix in the long run).
On such a day then, break your fast with breakfast literally, first with a large cup of (fresh) leaf nettle tea and possibly a glass of grapefruit juice or a vegetable juice (with lactid acid, like carrot-apple). A little later – it is best to do something first (light yoga, a walk, housework, read something inspiring) have some meusli. Keep the carrot juice coming. If you want to sweeten the muesli use apple (dried, but only a miniscule amount) or berries (cranberry, blueberry etc): but remember dried fruit is extra sweet and not great to use for this diet.
To make a side-step now. This nettle is an important herb to keep on taking. It is high in iron, which already should connote benefits to blood and liver. But the story is more intricate than that. Iron relates to the I in so many beautiful images (think of the knight in shining armour, St. George and the dragon, the smithy, the geometric pyrite formations etc). It is a typical salutogenic metal: empowering the self-healing mechanism, like a heroic and vigilant knight errant. As a Mars plant it makes us fight for our health and our spiritual truth. It literally fortifies us. But this fortification must be carried in a living image (not just as a chemical "ferrum" component). By taking it as nettle we introduce great cosmic, planetary, star wisdom into our system.(I love to se how all plants carry more information than modern science has time or interest to tell us about.)
On a slightly more (spiritual) scientific note, a botanical study reveals how this tough and humble yet fiesty (stingy) plant can dramatically influence the astral body to take hold of the etheric and set a rhythm in flow: this in turn invites the Ego in. The upper and lower poles are brought together with a kidney impulse directing this in the sort-of middle (the dynamic of this astral organ is very subtle and extremely significant). Furthermore, nettle stimulates the gastric juices and pancreatic secretion preparing an ideal first major port for some serious and generative metabolic activity.
Lunch: best to have a hot meal, then, while your liver-processing is in optima forma. One must have the opportunity to prepare this, however, but a vegetable cocktail might make an alternative if you take this diet more as a semi-fast (during a quieter period when spring is mild). It is important to mix root, leaf and fruit parts for a blanced meal. Apple can be used for the fruit part, which goes rather well with beets or carrots. Collards, chicory, even dandelion leaves are highly recommendable: they are bitter! Which is excellent for perking up the liver. Coleslaw and sauerkraut. Tomatoes and peppers in moderation, the occasional ghurkin or cucumber also count as fruit parts (lactic acid used in traditional pickling is great). Keep on checking for sneaky additives in anything canned/bottled! (Avoid them if possible.) The Raw Foodies aren't crazy to juice and mix from scratch! (Only don't mush up everything you eat! You are not a 6 month old.).
In the evening, you may be quite peckish, but a light salad is best for this fresh start! At least the bulk of it will satisfy you for a while and get you over that difficult transition of liver rhythm, if you have an early dinner (around 5-6).
Drink as much nettle tea or carrot juice as you like for "snacks". Sorry can't offer you much more than that!
You can modify (and weigh down) this diet with rye crisp bread, orquinoa, buckwheat, chestnut flour crackers. A light spread of butter or a sprinkling of olive or sunflower oil is permissible. You may use yoghurt with your muesli for breakfast, which ought to make a bit (protein) addition. Add some millet or a baked potato to your lunch, filled with some cottage cheese, or sourcream or curds (and chopped chives or ghurkin). A serving of curds on the side, or as a dessert for extra protein can be allowed for dinner. Going hungry is not the point, but do experience some kind of sobriety and effort; this really amounts to the curative effect on a conscious level.
A vegetable diet for a single day or two day is very effective for lowering the bloodsugar after too much excess (a party or so) but also during/after an illness causing metabolic distress. Go on this diet for 2-3 days max, then add to it gradually and discover what tips the balance again (and cut that out in future). You would basically consume 1 or 1,5 kg of vegetables, cooked, juiced and salads, low in cabs (so not potatoes!). A tiny amount of carbohydrates from grains may supplement this on a very hungry (or mentally demanding) day. And a small amount of (vegetable oil) fat (dressing for a salad). You may include carb-poor fruits.
You can insert an oat-diet day into this above regimen. This is specifically beneficial if you feel acidic. You can take oats as grits, flakes, or boiled grains (soaked overnight). You would be looking to eat about 200 g oatflakes (uncooked) or an equivalent, spread out over 5 meals. If you want to be super strict soak these oats in water or boil in vegetable stock, no dairy or nut milks. Use fennel, thyme or savory leaf for flavour (go well with oats).
Modifying this slightly, add some apple or pear or carrot or other light leafy vegetables to these many delightful but all very oaty ways of preparing oats! Think of porridge or an oven bake.
Or how about a treat: oatcream! Milk, water in equal parts to make up 125cl, 15g porridge oats, 15g hazlenuts, ˝ teaspoon of malt syrup, a tiny splash of cream. Boil for a couple of minutes, leave in hothamper (or under a tea cosy, or duve) for 20 mins (slow-cooking =predigesting process).
A classic luncheon dish is oat and savoy cabbage cakes. Soak for one hour fine oat flakes (40g) in 50ml water, 2tbs of lactic-acidified milk (villi, yoghurt) ˝ tsp hazlenut or sunflower, or linseed oil. 50 g cabbage cut finely, 15 g ground hazlenuts. Season with chevrill in spring, or fennel in winter, nutmeg and carraway, a speck of mustard and a pinch of salt.: mix all lightly and form about 5 heaps on a baking tray, bake for 30 mins at 180 degrees centigrade (350 F. moderate, gas mark ).
Well, there's some ideas to get you started. I think the main thing is that you get the point of a moment of sobriety: it should actually enhance your entire eating experience and give you a renewed sense of self. The knock on effect should be a stabilisation of your blood sugar levels.
Such temporary diets can really help to reset your habits or cleanse your palet and awaken a new intuitive appetite. It is a kind of "religious" decision, to realign your lower self to your higher self. It may not be easy to commit to, and may be tricky to fit into a family or hectic life. But they need not last long to still be really effecive life-experiences. The effort must be consolidated and the purpose thoroughly understood, or you'll just be going through a fad.
Wishing you lots of warmth and light for this coming year, and may you embark on many self-enhancing challenges!
My best wishes,
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thanks again Evelyn, that's very helpful. I've been progressively eating healthier and healthier and more in tune with my body since I was a kid. Finding out at 15 that I was sensitive to wheat a major life change, and then discovering Weston Price/Sally Fallon and Ayurveda was another. And now anthroposophic nutrition which is just in a totally different realm. I pretty much use only whole foods and have cut out refined sugar and oils, etc., so I have definitely been making a serious effort, but there were some things that I wasn't aware of that I learned from your answers here that should be very helpful in the quest to strengthen my I/ balance my blood sugar. Given that I'm doing pretty well in terms of food choices I'm fairly certain it's a lack of movement/exercise that is the cause of the problem, and subtler things, so I really appreciate that you advocate for the less palpable aspects of life.
Also I was wondering if you have your own website or private practice? Or what could I do if I were interested in doing some more prolonged work in the future? (You mentioned that you do life coaching).
Thanks for your help,
Hi Dear Matt,
So lovely to receive your happy words.
I don't think I ever mentioned I do life coaching. I draw up the occasional horoscope for those interested in a general sense of direction. Studying lunar nodes and black lights can be helpful for people in their thirties to fifties, especially in backing up gut feelings or settling doubts.This can form a base for several other routes of self-exploration or new stones to upturn.
But I must add, that if you already found the clarity of my response a tad challenging then it won't get any easier the deeper we dive into esoterica.I will be less and less able to cut out details and more an more must cut to the chase! The better I get to know you the more cryptic and challenging I need to become,where I see that I can, because that is how your higher self gets prompted.Your lower self might not like that!
The problem with the life-conselling business is that in order to stay in business (especially long distance) the counsellors (or bloggers) tend to cut a lot of corners to remain commercially viable (or appealing). As a mother I would probably make a poor life-counsellor, because I have become far too practical, and astute in my detection of poppy-cock talk.
I am an old fashioned gal and do not have a web page, and have no time or qualifications for any kind of practice. I do study works and write essay, all day, every day, inbetween a load of other housewifey-motherhood and care-giver stuff.
If you ever have another question which spins off your path related to the daily routine you are on, please feel free to put it here in private mode, then I can give you my email for further contact pertaining to more general anthroposophical and similar background information to supplement your studies and practice of self-realisation. I am then also able to attach documents for you and need to worry less about infringing copy rights.
Keep taking consciously good care of yourself!