Do you eat to feed your body, mind or soul?
Over the years I have eaten a lot of meals, and not all of them have been to nourish my body. Sometimes I eat to feed my mind and soul, can you relate?
As a Registered Nurse and Holistic Nutrition Coach I understand the importance of feeding your body the right foods to nourish it well. However, as a wife, mother, traveller and women, this can sometimes be a difficult task depending on where I am, who I am with and what I am feeling.
The good thing about being educated in the area of nutrition as well as the human body is, when I find myself off track and eating wrong, I can quickly and fairly easily get myself back to balance when needed.
As the mother of 2 young boys
I struggled over the years to eat the healthy foods that I enjoy eating because I felt the need to ensure that everyone else was happy and eating what they liked. When my boys were younger and less self sufficient I would make 2 sometimes 3 separate meals just to please everyone at the table - I know that a lot of you can relate to this. I really hated this, and knew that when the kids got older I would have to kick this habit for my sanity since this is a pace I did not want to keep up. Now that my boys are 10 & 12 and are able to make themselves simple meals, even if it is just a PB & J, which is usually their easy go to, I can create meals that are more enjoyable for my husband and I knowing that no one is going to starve. The problem with this is that I don't enjoy watching my children eat sandwiches for dinner while my husband and I are enjoying whatever beautiful healthy creation I have come up with. As the boys grow they are certainly getting more adventurous with their meals and trying new things all the time. By setting a good example I know that one day they will open up their horizons and understand the importance of eating good wholesome healthy meals.
A delicious healthy meal made from scratch by my 12 year old son
Over the last 8 months
my family and I have been travelling all over the world and not been in our own home, with our own kitchen and our own tools. We have certainly enjoyed our experiences, but being on a budget, we have had to do a lot of home cooking instead of eating out, which can prove to be difficult when you are moving from place to place constantly and not really sure what each kitchen has stocked. We have been in kitchens equipped for chefs, as well as kitchens that are barely good enough for making toast. This has definitely been a test to my creativity, as well as my patience. Another challenge of course is making good meals when you lack the normal ingredients you are used to stocking, like spices, sauces and staples. Buying in bulk isn't possible when you are on the move, so making familiar meals isn't always an option.
During this time my body has not been nourished with the best whole foods. But knowing that we are on this amazing adventure and getting to try unique cuisine, such as Conchinita pipil in Mexico, which is an amazing pulled pork dish that everyone eats on Sundays, and eel that we caught fresh and fried up in New Zealand, makes it worthwhile. Eating foods like this is nourishing my mind and providing me with new recipes, experiences and tastes that I would not have experienced had I stayed in my comfort zone.
Prepping our fresh caught eel for dinner
As a women
I have times in my life where I need my comfort foods, healthy or not! Times where I am feeling down, unwell, or just craving something from my childhood, like Italian chicken and potatoes with an oil and vinegar salad. Chocolate is also a favourite go to as well. Thankfully my taste in chocolate has evolved and I not longer enjoy the sugar laden milk chocolate of my youth. I much prefer a dark rich cacao with a hint of peppermint. As women we deserve these moments, when hormones are flying high, or stress is creeping in. We can't feel guilty when we indulge in these foods knowing that we are feeding something deeper with these cravings, something right down in our soul - you know what I mean. We do have to be careful though that these cravings and indulgences don't get out of hand and cause us to spiral down a path we can't break free from.
Food for the soul! Can you tell which one is mine?...mmm!
Getting back on track
is a now a process that is simpler than it used to be. Here are 8 steps that I take to get myself out of these short term lapses.
- Stock my kitchen well - if I don't want to eat it, I don't put it in the cupboard/fridge
- Do a cleanse - after a trip or bad week, I can easily spend a day or two cleansing my body with whole foods, juices, smoothies, salads and soups, and get myself back on track
- Stay hydrated - Increase my fluid intake to help curb my appetite and keep my GI tract running well
- Keep up with my supplements and probiotics - taking them regularly keeps my energy levels up and fueling myself with the vitamins and minerals my body needs
- Stay well rested - when I am tired I tend to eat more sloppy and put less effort into eating well
- Exercise more - when I am exercising regularly I crave healthier foods
- Plan ahead - by being prepared and organized I can use my education and experience to make sure that I am eating what my body needs
- Be patient and kind - This one is the most important for me. I never feel guilty or have negative feelings surrounding my eating habits. By staying positive and understanding why I eat what I do and when I do, it keeps me from having feelings of lowered self respect and self esteem and prevents me from feeling empty and unhappy.
Never underestimate the power of positive thinking and awareness, these can be your 2 greatest tools when it comes to health and happiness.