Monday, January 30, 2017

Eating For Your Mind and Body

Believe it or not, nutrition plays a key factor to overall wellness not just in the physical health but also with the brain health. Every aspect of your being is inner connected- what you do with one may possibly affect the other and vise versa. Whatever you eat or drink not only benefits/hinders your body but also your brain. I often use the expression "You are what you eat" when it comes to nutrition. We are given so much nutrients in our food which has the opportunity to heal our minds and to heal our bodies if we partake.

Food affects everyone differently- for the better or the worse. Some people have food sensitivities and they have to stay away from certain foods because their body is not able to tolerate them. So the same should go for your brain health- some people are triggered by certain foods and it is best to avoid them altogether. There is no shame around eating to better both your body and your mind.

If you eat lots of sugar and processed food, then prepare to feel like crap- A LOT. The key is moderation for these kinds of foods and only eat them sparingly if you have to. I know personally, I cannot eat a lot of sugar because it makes me crash afterwards- I feel like I am almost covered in a fog. Nor can I tolerate caffeinated products due to the many symptoms it brings including heightened anxiety and loss of an entire nights sleep. So, I know best to avoid my triggers that affect both my body and mind. It is important to pay attention to what your body feels like over time consuming a certain food or beverage so you might be able to know what your body is sensitive to. Mind and body awareness is so important because it can signal and communicate that something may be wrong.

As much as possible, I try to eat fruits and vegetables and cook at home from scratch, often times only shopping on the outside perimeter around the store. Granted, that has not been easy especially in the winter months when the cost of fresh food goes up and my energy levels are zapped. But, as much as possible, I try to make it happen. Afterwards I do feel better than compared to eating something processed. All the past generations had was fresh foods and they seemed be be healthier and fit then our society of today. We live in the fast food generation where it is easier to order out then to make meals at home. It is even easier to buy soups that come from a can then to make it from scratch. People are pressed for time in this busy world and there needs to be sacrifices to get everything in. However, sacrificing your nutrition should not be one of them. Nutrition is on the same scale as healthy sleep and exercising. All three are key to proper maintenance and care of one's body.

If sadly by chance the prices are too high for fresh produce then canned or frozen is the next best
thing just as long as there is nothing added to them. There are some people today that figure if they are drinking juice then they are getting their fruit intake. That may be the case however have you ever actually read the labels of the cartons? Some are so loaded with sugar and the ingredient that is listed the last is the fruit juice.... all the rest of it is water, sugar, and whatever else you may not be able to pronounce is added. Some may state that drinking so much of the juice equals so many servings of fruits or vegetables which it may indeed. I am not saying it doesn't. But, what they do not tell you is how much sugar you are consuming at the same time you are getting your intake. This is why it is so important to know what it is that you are eating and to read labels. I have made good decisions after reading what was in a product- if I cannot pronounce it then why am I eating it?

Along with the fast food thinking comes a lot of people unsure of how to actually cook. If people order out all the time or just heat things from a can, it becomes a challenge to know how to make something. Many who do not know how to cook something often don't even attempt to try- this is just how things seem to be lately. Not a lot of children are leaving the house with the basic tools to look after themselves- it is learned and not something that comes natural to everyone. This is why I stress the importance of family cooking and sitting down at the table at supper. I grew up where we sat at the table each night with each together talking about the day. More and more I hear about families sitting in different rooms watching tv and not talking about their day. We are losing our abilities to talk to one another. Family cooking and eating together helps with healthy eating and self esteem and strong family bonds.

So, if you are one of these people who are lost and don't know where to start but want to cook then the best thing to do is to research some food that has what you need in it for your mind and body. There are a lot of "super foods" out there that have many benefits. You could also pick up a cookbook with recipes in it that are designed around mood boosting. I received in the mail a couple days ago just that actually. I was blessed with a cookbook from the lovely Rachel Kelly who wrote a book that focuses on everything I need, called "The Happy Kitchen". The cover reads "Joyful recipes to keep you calm, boost your energy, and help you sleep...". Lately, I have needed help with all of these so when I heard I would receive a copy- I was totally over the mood ecstatic. I have flipped through the book and it has a lot of good looking pictures and recipes that I cannot wait to try. I hope that it will benefit my needs and desires to get me back on track to feeling better but it doesn't come without effort. But the effort will be worth it... I am worth it... YOU are worth it.

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