Diet is a confusing and frustrating issue for many people. We’re either forcing ourselves to stick to a program that we think is healthy, and kicking ourselves for “failing,” or we’re just trying not to think about the whole thing.
Someone you know feels energized eating a certain way, while you might feel irritable and starving on that same type of diet. Clearly the key is biochemical individuality, and no “off the shelf” diet program can take your individual needs into account.
Diet is complex, yet it can be relatively simple at the same time. There is a complex of factors we need to look at to determine which foods are best for you—the foods that will strengthen your system rather than weaken it.
There’s a multitude of diet programs and opinions about what works best. Most are based on one particular aspect of diet, such as low-carb, or raw foods. People make some seeming progress with these one-size-fits-all schemes at first—mostly due to the fact that they’re eliminating the junk foods they were eating before.
Sometimes one small intervention, like cutting down on sugar or processed foods, can make a big difference. So even one of those pre-fab diets that doesn’t really fit you can give you some benefits at first, simply because of what you’re NOT eating. But we want to take it much further.
Many people believe that their food cravings are signalling a nutritional need for that particular food. But what we’re actually craving is the feeling that the food gives us, as a result of overstimulating certain endocrine glands. The overstimulation weakens and exhausts the gland, and sets up a vicious cycle in which we crave more of the food to get the stimulation.
By eating foods that strenthen the recessive glands and give the exhausted dominant gland a break, we can break that vicious cycle. Then the food cravings disappear, and the foods that are healthiest for us become the same ones we actually like!
Diet is no longer a battle of will and a matter of depriving yourself of the foods that you love. Your preferences shift as you begin to eat the foods that your particular body really needs.
You can begin to experience the deep feeling of satisfaction that comes from eating food that your body really wants and needs, which is a different experience from the kind of temporary satisfaction (followed by let-down) that comes from addictive cravings.
When you eat the foods that your exhausted dominant gland is telling you to eat, you’re relieving some tension, and that feels good in a way. But you’ll notice that you don’t really feel relaxed or satisfied in a deeper way. Something is missing…
The Four-Beat Life Cycle
There’s a cycle we naturally go through, which Wilhelm Reich called the life cycle or the four-beat cycle.
- We start with a tension, which in this case is hunger.
- It grows, and we feel charged.
- Then we need to satisfy the hunger, so we eat, and that discharges the tension.
- This should lead to a good feeling of satisfaction or relaxation.
Foods that are overstimulating and weakening for us don’t allow us to get to the relaxation, so we never feel finished. We feel relieved of hunger in a way, but still on the prowl for something else. Many people have this kind of experience fairly often.
But with the proper diet, we can be getting to the relaxation phase at every meal, feeling satisfied and complete. Hunger naturally arises again for the next meal, and we can experience the full four-beat cycle as it naturally occurs, without cutting it short and leaving ourselves stuffed yet still unsatisfied.