The micro puppeteers – microbes and food cravings
Today a friend sent an article[i] about the connection between our gut and brains, our moods, and what we feel like eating. There were three main points delivered about this connection and how our gut microbes are intimately involved.
We are, in a sense, puppets being controlled by micro-organisms that have come to live in our bowels. It would be easy to use this information as a way to shed responsibility for our food choices and blame the ‘alien’ microbes in our guts for all our indulgence in sugar, starch, comforting carbs or whatever we are craving and choosing to eat (especially when we know it’s wrong for us). However, in the game of cause and effect we must always go deeper and further back. What may be a cause will usually turn out to be the effect of another cause, and all causes come ultimately from energy.
How we behave and the material effects, are merely outplays of our original choice of energy each moment that we go through life.
Our relationship with food is no exception and is much deeper than any measurable physical effects.
The three connections mentioned in the article are briefly:
- Our moods and emotions affect our gut, and our gut affects our moods and emotions.
- A significant component of our personality, and thus how we react, express, and relate to the world, may be produced by the composition of our gut microbial flora.
- Our food choices may be driven by the microbes in our gut.
Scientists have found some compelling evidence for connections 1 and 2 in experiments on mice and to a more limited degree in humans (after all, you can’t cut human vagus nerves or wipe out their intestinal flora and replace it with someone else’s). In the article, the author states that connection number 3 is only an untested theory at this time, although she adds some experiential observations and questions.
Other scientists have experimentally shown how gut bacteria can communicate (for good or bad) directly with our human cells via hormones. So the science of the communication between microbes and our own cells is off to a solid start.
In my personal experience and that of people I have met, it’s not a theory but a clearly obvious fact!
My perspective is that regarding connection number 3, we don't need to wait for experimental science to prove that gut microbes can drive our food choices.
Most people with intestinal candida infections will tell you that no matter how committed they are to being sugar-free, even if they did not have a problem with it before, they will be driven to it, crave it, be restless and miserable without it, and it's the candida wanting it – but of course the symptoms get worse when they have the sugar!
Or if you've ever had a blastocystis infection in your bowel, you might have observed how this incorrigible parasite makes you want (against your will) the things it loves the most (like the carbs in grains). If you eat them, your gut blows up like a balloon as the blastocystis cells happily eat, breed and excrete gas and toxins at your expense.
Not to mention that these pests set themselves up nicely by suppressing your immune system and suppressing your healthy gut flora, thus weakening your defences and the opposing voice of reason from the friendly microbes. Many other pathogenic microbes have similar ways of affecting us.
This war of the microbes is something that really brings home the power of ‘listening to your body' for food choices, because some of the din comes from aliens that are not true, well-meaning, cooperative residents of our bodies. They have been allowed in, and I'm sure represent the wrong side of the fence in our energy choices! It's as if we set our body up to have a saboteur inside that can reinforce our cravings and choices for the wrong foods that our wayward spirit wants. An unpleasant accompaniment to this is that the resulting illness makes us miserable and we seek comfort from the wrong kinds of food that feed the bad microbes! A vicious cycle . . .
And why does our spirit want those foods? (Note that ‘spirit’ is not the same as ‘soul’).
We choose these foods (and other comforts) to block out this painful world we have created (of course). Who hasn’t heard these days of ‘chocolate therapy’? Or living for the soothing comfort and reward value of cake, ice-cream, crisps, sweets, biscuits and pizza? Eating these kinds of foods, for all the wrong reasons, dulls down our awareness, breaks the connection to our heart and the soul and thus our true connection with other people, keeps us feeling victimised, in protection and unable to sense truly what is going on around us.
Most of all we can blame something outside ourselves, or in the case of bad gut microbes, inside our bodies, for our unhealthy, numbing choices. “Microbes made me do it” – what a convenient, scientifically supported way to wriggle out of responsibility!
The presence of the bad microbes and the cravings and the food choices triggered by them are an effect of a much earlier cause. We must go back to the original choice of energy to find out why the wrong microbes gained entry in the first place.
The obvious question is: but how?
We live in our body, and the energetic quality of how we use it for every thought, word and action is what will either invite in disharmonious energies and thus things like bad microbes, or support us to be well.
What we can do going forwards is to prevent more of those unloving energies from ‘entering the pipeline’. The path out of this self-propagating mess we have created is by living in conscious presence – that is, being fully aware of our whole body in every moment and movement, so that mind and body are ‘in the same place doing the same thing’, with the most love and awareness of which we are capable.