Did you know that your body talks to you? Well, it does: and as a matter of fact, it never shuts up!
It's not entirely our fault if we're blind to internal messages from the body: in English "body" and "mind" are two separate words, implying two separate things. But this linguistic anomaly fails to describe the elegant processes taking place within a human body. A much better way to think about this subject would be to employ the concept of "bodymind," i.e., the body that is a visible manifestation, an inevitable result, of a group of interacting subliminally held ideas.
More than anything else, living organisms are cybernetic creatures: in other words, "goal-seeking mechanisms". Cybernetic systems continually improve themselves by constant messages, or feedback, sent from one part of the system to another. The human body is thus a cybernetically based organism characterized by continuous, circular feedback loops moving within the bodymind. In his book Bodymind, Don Miller observes, "There's no bodily event that goes unregistered in the mind, and no mental occurrence that doesn't affect your body in some way."
One of our most damaging cultural blind spots is our failure to grasp the immense significance of both body-mind unity and the nonverbal cognitive abilities called visceral learning. When we are unable to perceive the entirety of our body's constantly circulating feedback loops, we see only a small part of the total--looking within a narrow spectrum, so to speak--and therefore we make bad choices having to do with our body's health.
The biggest obstacle to reading the body's messages is that we've lost the key to understanding what it's saying. It's very much as if the body were speaking highly rhetorical classical Greek, but because we didn't understand Greek, we took it to be spouting gibberish. In addition, the body's language, like classical Greek, is archaic: our food needs were defined several million years ago, long before the invention of processes food. Thus there may be an immense gulf between the food the body is actually requesting and what we in our ignorance select to eat.
Take, for example, the perennial human "sweet tooth," the bane of a fat person's existence. The question is logical: why do we even have a sweet tooth if we weren't meant to be eating Twinkies? Well, from the point of view of the archaic body, our inborn taste for sweetness might be intended as a pointer to sources of Vitamin C. Millions of years ago--through what may have been an evolutionary hiccup--humans lost the ability to synthesize their own Vitamin C, which is vital to stress management in the body. Humans therefore had to develop the cravings that would lead them to fruits, its richest source. Similarly, our inborn taste for salt probably exists because millions of years ago we were largely herbivorous and (like deer) needed salt to balance the overload of potassium our vegetarian diet provided. Now, however, food manufacturers capitalize on these tastes, increasing profits by giving us too much of "what we want"--more concentrated sources of salt and sugar than we were ever intended to consume--and we suffer accordingly.
Today's Words of Wisdom: "Our bodies are not two and not one. If you think your body and mind are two, that is wrong; if you think they are one, that is also wrong. Our body and mind are both two and one." Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind