Ten steps to a truly nourished life
March 13, 2013
What does it mean to live a truly nourished life? What do those people do? The people whose skin glows, who are smiling and playful, who seem to have an abundance of energy that is balanced and intact? With so much information out there, many of us struggle with choices about the simple and basic everyday needs for our well being.
There are stories of fatigue, depression, and self sabotage. Stories about people feeling sick and tired about feeling sick and tired. Many people are searching for the next diet or workout class that will really have them feeling better, lighter, and fresher. I want to talk about getting there with easy, free, and sustainable practices to help you get back to being yourself again, the you that feels fantastic.
1. Drink your water, and add lemon juice.
Water is life, it's that simple. Drinking water is one of the easiest and most convenient health practices. Many people suffer from chronic dehydration and don't even know it. Water assures everything is fluid and working synergistically. If you are a Truckee/Tahoe resident, you know how dry it gets here. Luckily, Tahoe water is extra special, and better out of the tap than many places can get with multiple filtrations. According to http://www.tahoeh2o.org, Tahoe tap water is higher quality than most bottled water and costs pennies per gallon.
And for the lemon … water is detoxifying on its own, but with fresh-squeezed lemon juice, it cleanses the body, especially the liver. The liver works hard day in and day out detoxifying our bodies. You might think lemon juice would be acid forming, but it is extremely alkalizing and great first thing in the morning: Move over OJ!
"Lemons contain pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to help with weight loss," according to an article in Shape magazine by nutrition and fitness expert Jay Cardiello. He says, lemons also "literally slow down the absorption of sugar into the body."
2. Chew your food
Here's another freebie. Thoroughly chew your food. It slows you down and makes sure your body gets all the nutrients it needs to function on a daily basis. Properly chewing also fights feelings of a bloated stomach and indigestion. Saliva helps break down the food compounds, allowing it to pass more smoothly through your digestive tract.
If you don't trust yourself to chew your food 25 times, cut your food up into little pieces. The next time you see that delectable plate of food, take pleasure in the taste, texture, and flavors when you chew bit by bit.
3. Take 10 deep breaths before eating
We rush, hurry, and hustle all day, who has time to eat? Make time. Take 10 deep breaths before you start. Deep breathing before you eat helps relax your body and aids in better digestion. This immediately calms your body and prepares it for food — a message to the body it's time to digest this properly now. This is also called mindful eating. Assess your food, feel how hungry you are or not, slow down and realize when you are full. Deep breathing also helps you slow down to chew your food thoroughly, helping you eat less.
4. Eat your fiber
Fiber keeps your digestive system flowing and clean. It is like a broom that moves through your system sweeping up and getting rid of the "garbage." When food is left behind or becomes impacted you become constipated and bloated. This can lead to digestive problems such as leaky gut, which is no fun. You'll find the most fiber in nuts, beans and vegetables. Grains are great, too, but offer slightly less than nuts and beans. Fruits have the least fiber, but don't skimp on them, either. Raspberries alone have 8 grams of fiber per cup. Fibersmart is my number-one recommendation. I take a scoop in a cup of coconut water as a mid-morning snack. Fiber is non-negotiable. Get it in where you can fit it in.
According to The Mayo Clinic fiber helps normalize bowel moments, maintain bowel health, lower cholesterol levels, control blood sugar levels and helps you achieve a healthy weight.
5. Eat organic
Organic food tastes better. I know this is a controversial topic, but I don't care; I am a 100 percent organic supporter. I support organic farms and believe we want an earth free from nasty chemicals. Food is not a science experiment.
Eating organic can get expensive. To scale back on cost, buy the important stuff as organic only. Fruits and veggies like apples, celery, strawberries, peaches and spinach are known to be sprayed with pesticides. Anything with high water content, you want organic. Certain foods are okay not to eat organic, like avocados and bananas, as their thick skins have a natural protection from the environment.
There are real benefits to organic foods that warrant the price, such as better taste and flavor, reduction of the toxic load in the environment and on yourself and knowing the origin of your food. Make a list of the foods you eat frequently, and see if you can start adding a few organic options to your diet on a weekly basis.
6. Eat with friends
Let's admit it. Eating with friends is fun. Studies show people who eat together promote greater solidarity, trust, and well being. A potluck, a picnic or corner diner is a great place to meet friends for a bite. Arrange to have dinner together once a week and take turns at each other's homes. If that's not an option, there are many groups online like dinner clubs to share a meal. Commit to at least one meal with friends each week. Eating with friends (or new people) slows you down because you are either listening or talking. You will notice that eating becomes another reason to be social, make new friends, and enhance current relationships. Food is a celebration: let's break bread together and celebrate life by sharing a meal.
7. Take your vitamins
You're not alone if you've felt confused as to what vitamins are best. Take at least one, high-quality multivitamin a day and add from there. Along with a host of other benefits, Vitamin D3, Vitamin C, and a Vitamin B-complex help support your immune system.
According to webmd.com here's what to look for when buying a multivitamin:
Eating a balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans), and lean protein sources most of the time means you'd do fine with a multivitamin with 100 percent or less of the daily value (DV) for a wide array of nutrients. Daily values, listed on food and supplement labels, help you determine how a serving of food or supplement fits into the nutrient needs of a 2,000-calorie eating plan.
Vitamins won't be as effective without the proper support from the foods you eat. Stick to healthy eating (and chewing) habits to get the vitamin's benefits.
8. Wash your hands
Want to avoid another doctor's visit? Wash your hands. With daily vitamins and nourishing foods, washing hands will help prevent catching a bug. Avoid touching your face and body — germs get into the orifices of our skin, eyes and nose and mix with the moisture, creating a fertile ground for growing germs. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), "Handwashing is easy to do and it's one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness in all settings — from your home and workplace to child care facilities and hospitals."
9. Prepare food with love
I can't say enough about the energy in food, and how we are literally what we eat. Tend to your food with care and love. Think of how nourishing it is for your body. Smell the fragrances, feel the texture, see the beautiful colors as you prepare your meals. Use all of your senses when you prepare your food.
If you had a bad day take a moment to refocus. "I am preparing this food with love, and I am grateful for the nourishment from the earth. Let my body assimilate goodness from these beautiful foods," is my favorite mantra.
10. Reduce stress
Stress is the real health killer. It truly affects the body. There is good stress and bad stress. Good stress is if you workout hard and your body adjusts and needs to heal to become stronger. Bad stress is when you feel like you may have a meltdown. One of the easiest ways to reduce stress is to get more sleep and at least 10 minutes of sunlight every day, and breathe. Reports show sunlight can lighten your mood and decrease feelings of stress or depression. Implement a regular walking or exercise routine a few times a week to get your endorphins (those feel-good hormones) pumping.
Yoga, meditation, and simply focusing on "one day at a time" are also excellent ways to reduce stress. A sense of peace will visit and then become a frequent visitor.
Stephanie holds a Bachelor's degree from California State University, Chico, in health science and health education. She is a wellness coach with an emphasis on holistic nutrition and personal raw foods chef. Find more at http://www.rawchefsteph.com.