How much time do you take thinking about what you eat every week? How do you nourish yourself? Do you put together a meal plan? Set aside time to batch cook one day of the week? Do you rush out the door, grab something at the office or on the way to work? Are you ordering in? It’s always good practice to start any change with an inventory of where you are in the present moment.
There are many ways to nourish your body. You can nourish yourself through mindful movement, physical nourishment (food/water), awareness, and attention. One thing we need to remember to touch upon is nutrition. No, I didn’t say diet.
I said, N u t r i t i o n.
You should be honoring yourself every day with what you put into your body in the same way you use amazing soaps, shampoos, creams/lotions, makeup, on the outside. Along with movement and sleep, nutrition is a pretty important building block that supports you in your everyday life, in your energy and hormone production and links in with how you feel and move through your life. It’s one of the essential things we need in our life. Without it, we couldn’t make it very long.
Are you tired, feeling sluggish in the mornings or mid-afternoon, not getting enough sleep, don’t have enough focus, have cravings all day, are bloated or crampy? It could be you’re burning the candle on both ends, and it could be you’re not eating (enough) of the rights foods that support your body with what it needs. As a nutritionist, I’m often asked what “diet” I prescribe my clients. Since there is no one size fits all approach and everyone’s needs & goals are different there is no one “diet” that works for everyone.
We are constantly bombarded online, in stores, and on social media with messages that if you eat this superfood or leave out that item that “things” will magically become better. What follows can be comparisons, unrealistic expectations and the overwhelming need to try something new. Don’t get me wrong, trying something new when your current state of affairs around food isn’t working is not necessarily a bad thing, but when we jump from bandwagon to bandwagon something gets lost in the shuffle. We become overwhelmed at the prospect of what is being portrayed looking for that “magic bullet” in our life when we might not even benefit from it. I’ll let you in on a little secret…
“EveryBODY is different.”
Let them be them and you be you. What foods give you energy? Let’s start there. If you enjoy eating oranges in the winter, eat them. Yes, they have sugar (also known as carbohydrates which our body uses to provide it with quick energy and the preferred macronutrient of our brain) but they also contain vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber as well as other vitamins and minerals. Should you eat 3 oranges in one sitting, probably not. Would I suggest a whole orange over a glass of orange juice? Well, that depends on a few other factors, but in a snack type situation, I would say yes.
How can you support your body to gain back energy? There are ways that you can support your body with nutrition that will help your self-love shine. When you take the time to care for yourself you are in a better place to take care of others, finish and complete projects, and usually have a better mindset. There is a saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Fill your cup first so that you are able to share your love and energy.
Food should nourish you.
When you are preparing, ordering, planning your meals – think about how the foods you are choosing nourish you. How are your food choices supporting your health and energy goals?
Are you training for something, just trying to make it through the day at work, making sure the laundry gets done and the little ones fed? You might also be thinking: “Does that mean no chocolate, ice cream or cake ever? What about crisps and fries/chips? What if I despise kale, brussels sprouts, and broccoli?” No. No. And, let’s chat.
Ready for some nutrition self-love?
1) Be kind to yourself.
When making shifts in your nutrition program. Start slow, add only one to two goals a week to start a shift in your habits. One habit that can easily get overlooked is adding in more water consumption. Don’t underestimate it. Hydration is at the foundation of good health. It’s an essential nutrient, as your body can’t produce it on its own. (Yes, you can get hydration from foods you eat: watermelon, soups, etc.) All of your body’s functions are dependent on your getting enough water throughout the day. Water is needed for absorption of nutrients, digestion, regulating your body temperature during movement, and easy elimination. It supports energy production as nutrients are able to get inside your cells easier with the help of water. Try drinking a glass of water more regularly and spread out your consumption throughout the day. Drinking a liter of water in one sitting will just ensure that your kidneys will be working overtime to filter out the excess fluid, it’s better to drink smaller amounts over the day. Tip: Bring a bottle with you to work and endeavor to finish it before the end of the day, then fill it up and finish the second bottle before you go to bed.
2 )Change it up
Even if you are a creature of habit and feeling overwhelmed at making some big changes in your routine, start where you are with what you have. Let’s say you are the queen of cauliflower but always prepare it in the same way, simply change the way you prepare it. Rice it (in a food processor or on a box grater) and sauté it in a pan with ghee, garlic, turmeric/curcuma, and black pepper. Slice it into steaks and roast it in the oven with different herbs and spices. Changing up how you prepare food can potentially change up your days and evenings. Foods will take on different flavor profiles when prepared in different ways. Not a fan of steamed broccoli? Try sautéeing it in a skillet with ginger and some tamari sauce for a bit of Asian inspiration.
3) If it hasn’t worked in the past …
… try again. All too often when we start to look at nutrition many people start the year/month/program out or have attempted to change their nutrition only to slide back into old habits and feel a bit over- (or even under-) whelmed. Well here’s the positive side of that situation, every time we start again, we learn a bit more about what does (or doesn’t) work for us. When you experiment and work on your nutrition, you are learning along the way about foods that work, timing that may have stuck or habits have become integrated into your life. When we make the choice to start again, we are loving ourselves enough to put the focus on us and make things better and grow in the process.
It’s time to invest in yourself and start loving yourself with foods that love you back. Pay attention to how your body reacts when you eat – make some changes that are workable in your life. You will have more energy, better focus and ready to tackle whatever the day might have in store – and you just might find a new favorite vegetable along the way!