This is a real FPL oldie, but having just arrived back from a 10-day culinary tour of Italy, I felt inspired to dig it up.
FULL PERMISSION EATING!
Remember these lyrics from the classic K.C. and the Sunshine Band?
"Baby, babe, let's get together.
Honey, hon, me and you.
And do the things, ah, do the things
That we like to do.
Do a little dance, make a little love,
Get down tonight.
Get down tonight."
Well, according to two studies, written about in the NY Times a bit ago, red wine will help you live longer and sugar won't kill you, even if you're diabetic. Woah! For real?
From one of the articles:
"Two large studies involving more than 21,000 people found that people with Type 2 diabetes had no reduction in their risk of heart attacks and strokes and no reduction in their death rate if they rigorously controlled their blood sugar levels."
And from the other:
"Red wine may be much more potent than was thought in extending human lifespan."
What gives? Well, the bottom line, if you want to skip ahead, is this: what promotes good health and longevity, first and foremost, are happiness and pleasure. Or, first read this...
A psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Paul Rozin, who specializes in, yes, the psychology of food, conducted a survey in America, France, Belgium and Japan in an effort to explain what is referred to as the "French Paradox." The paradox is basically this: the French consume a diet that is very rich and high in fat, yet they have a low rate of obesity and enjoy generally good health (The same can be said of Italians, in Italy, by the way).
Americans, on the other hand, are obsessed with counting calories and cholesterol levels and worry excessively about the effects of food on their bodies, yet they have a very high rate of obesity comparatively, and suffer with more health problems. Dr. Rozin’s survey suggests that the determining factor may be the different cultural attitudes towards food and pleasure.
Rozin is quoted in the journal "Appetite" as saying:
"There is a sense among Americans that food is as much a poison as it is a nutrient, and that eating is almost as dangerous as not eating." He goes on to say that "…when a major aspect of life becomes a stress and source of substantial worry, as opposed to pleasure, effects might be seen in both cardiovascular and immune systems."
Rozin’s researcher found that the French, on the other hand, of whom only 4 percent follow diets in line with the American recommended guidelines for fat intake, associate eating more with pleasure than with health.
In a related story, the New York Times ran an article in its "Eating Well" column, by Marian Burros, that quoted two professors on nutrition and obesity extolling the virtues and health benefits of enjoying such luscious holiday foods as foie gras, caviar and pumpkin pie, believe it or not!
Listen to this:
"Tucked in between the cholesterol and the saturated fat, the calories and the salt in the foie gras, the sausage stuffing and the standing rib roast, there are dozens of nutrients that are highly recommended by the food police. These are the vitamins and minerals and phytochemicals that may prevent cancer and heart disease and a host of other diseases. Everyone already knows that chocolate is a health food: Two pounds of it, particularly dark chocolate, has the same cancer-fighting antioxidants as a quart of tea. But did you know that each time you eat a three-ounce piece of pumpkin pie you may well be reducing your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration? The pumpkin in that small wedge of pie is filled with carotenoids, almost 3,000 micrograms of beta carotene, 1,900 of alpha carotene and 400 of lutein, the carotenoid connected with cataract prevention."
Where is this leading us?
Well, the Times also printed an article on Dr. Rozin’s study entitled, "If It Feels Good, Eat It." [FULL PERMISSION EATING!]
People will be up in arms perhaps at the suggestion that eating what we truly desire, what we really enjoy, is a reasonable guideline for a diet, yet that is precisely the message of these studies, and it is in keeping with the conceptual foundation of Full Permission Living, which is that human beings, if allowed to follow their undistorted desires, will naturally do what’s best for themselves and others without resorting to excess and without having to sacrifice pleasure. Furthermore, if one engages in any activity, including eating, with a spirit of enjoyment and gratitude, it is understood that what you take in will benefit you. That may be the original reason for saying a blessing before a meal - to get your mind and digestive system into a positive and receptive mode (gratitude) to aid absorption and facilitate nourishment.
I’ve often thought about the movie, "Michael", in this regard. John Travolta plays the archangel by the same name, and in the film the high-order angelic character is seen consuming huge amounts of sugar, drinking beer, smoking cigarettes and of course, dancing and cavorting with women. I asked myself when I first saw the movie, could such a spiritual being actually indulge himself in that manner and not suffer any negative consequences? Absolutely, I realized. Such a being would be so connected to his spiritual self, so full of joy and gratitude that whatever molecules he took into his body would immediately be transmuted into good nourishment. After all, everything is made of the same basic particles of energy, whether it’s steamed organic broccoli or a hamburger!
So what determines the effect of various foods on the body? It must be the individual’s state of consciousness, one’s inner beliefs and attitudes.
Indeed, my own grandfather, "Pete", lived without major illness until he died of old age at 91, and he regularly consumed sugar and salt, smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol until the end. How did he do it? Well, for one thing, he rarely indulged in anything to excess, but also, no matter what doctors, the media or younger worried family members said to him, he genuinely never believed these things would harm him. So, perhaps that is why they didn’t. He also rejected stressful behavior as a requirement for being successful, even though he had his own business to run which he did for almost four decades. I never saw Grandpa Pete anxiously rushing around or fretting about anything.
Now, let me issue a qualifier here - none of us is Michael the Archangel and most of us are not, in our hyper-vigilant, type-A culture, Grandpa Pete! Most of us are harboring hidden self-destructive or fearful beliefs and attitudes, and so will unconsciously use food and anything else to create suffering for ourselves if we're not conscious. So the "undistorted desires" part is crucial to living with full permission. Furthermore, if you believe that certain things are harmful to your health, you can’t trick yourself by superimposing another belief over that one and expect not to have disastrous results. How you feel about yourself and your body is a key element that must be brought into conscious awareness in order to be a "healthy hedonist," and the channels to your natural pleasure instinct must be cleared of blockages as well. In other words, a full-spectrum healing process may be needed before you can start indulging in the daily red wine and sweet treats.
Here are some great words of wisdom from Jane Roberts’ "Seth" book, "The Way Toward Health":
"The ideas you have, then, play a large role in the way the body handles its nutrients, and utilizes health and vitality…it is possible for your ideas to cause chemical reactions that impede your body’s ability to accept nourishment. If you believe that the body is evil, the purest health food diet may do you little good at all, while if you have a healthy desire and respect for your physical body, a diet of TV dinners and even fast foods may well keep you healthy and nourished. If we are talking about health, it is to your beliefs that we must look. It is up to you to form a body of beliefs that is worthy of your physical image – for you are nourished by your beliefs, and those beliefs can cause your daily bread to add to your vitality, or add to your cares and stress."
Yeah, yeah. Pass the tiramisu, please.
Oh, and don't forget...
"Do a little dance, make a little love,
Get down tonight.
Get down tonight."