If you know you have room for improvement when it comes to your healthy eating habits, I want you to know it doesn't have to be difficult. There are some really simple but effective things you can add to improve your nutrient intake and your overall wellbeing.
Key word: "add"! I'm not suggesting you to stop eating anything. Just add a few things in to what you already enjoy!
1. Green stuff
Okay this first one might be what you expected. BUT! Seriously. If it's green and comes from the ground, (i.e. it's a plant -- I ain't talking about green M&Ms), it's gonna nourish you and give your body so much goodness, and greens are basically calorie free.
It's really quite easy. If you like smoothies, add some spinach or kale into them and you probably won't even taste the greens. Add a handful of watercress to your sandwich. Next time you have your favourite dip on the table, get through at least one stick of celery with that dip, along your favourite chips/crisps.
I personally love greens and enjoy them. But maybe you hate them. So take them like medicine if you have to. Because food IS medicine. This stuff can heal! Grab a bunch of romaine and eat it like a rabbit, get it down you, and wash it down with some chocolate. I don't care, just get the greens in you.
But, also, thanks to food technology, you can now get a mega dose of greens in a really easy way. Loads of health stores and even the Wal-Mart in podunk (I can call it that, I'm from there) Petal, Mississippi stocks mixtures of green superfoods.
What is it? It's powder and found amongst the vitamins, and it's often sweetened with stevia so it doesn't even taste bad. It's made up of all the best (i.e. most nutrient-dense) greens such as wheatgrass, alfalfa, spirulina, and chlorella. Many of them add probiotics and other great stuff to them as well. Just one scoop a day is better than most multi-vitamin!
And trust me, it gets easier. Give it two weeks. Maybe 4 if you're totally new to greens. But I promise you'll start loving them.
Easy. Just drink more water.
If you want to be picky, you can get geeky about how to get the best water, with filters and alkalinising shizzle, and I welcome you to explore that if you want to. But if nothing else, just drink more water.
Our bodies are MADE of water. Like 70 or 80% or something. Google it if you wanna know the exact number because I don't know. I just know it's enough that it makes sense that if you're not drinking an adequate amount of water each day, your cells are gonna be shrivelled up and screaming out saying "I'm thiiiirrrrssstttyyyy" and not able to function properly because they're so dehydrated.
Oh and also your fascia needs water. Fascia is everywhere in the body and isn't made of cells, rather it's produced by cells. Who cares? Anybody that wants to become more flexible, more mobile, move without stiffness, soreness, or pain. Because when the fascia is dehydrated, it gets decrepid and withered.
Like the greens, if you hate water, then take it like medicine. Don't do it for your enjoyment, do it for your health. Just get it down you. At least 2 litres a day. Preferably spread out throughout the day.
Also like the greens, the more you do it, the more you're gonna love it. I promise. You'll find water becomes more and more satisfying.
3. Vitamin L
I'm talking about L-O-V-E! Love the food you eat. Put love into the food you prepare.
When you eat food that's come from a production line where people are hurriedly packaging that stuff to meet their daily quota so they can collect their paycheque and go home, or from a restaurant where people are going through the motions of just slapping together a sandwich, one right after the other, they don't care about you! They don't care about how your body digests that food.
Eat food that's been prepared with love. Or if you must buy pre-prepared food, put some of your own love into it. Bless it. Take a moment to be grateful that you get to eat it. Thank your body for the work it's about to do to digest that food.
Does this sound silly to you? Are you like "oh I was with her till now...but this is some airy fairy nonsense."
Food is like a hug. And a hug is food. Both nourish us, both are necessary for us to keep going through this crazy world with vitality. How would you feel getting a hug from somebody that doesn't acknowledge you as a person, and is only doing it because it's their job? Ew. It would be a cold and probably pretty awkward hug. I'd much rather get a hug from somebody who gives it with love.
Same with food. There's energy in everything. So eat good energy.
K. So, this is interesting.
How many times do you eat per day? Why?
What kind of diet are you on? Why?
How much do you eat? Why?
What food do you stay away from? Why?
How fast do you eat? Why?
How much food do you shovel into your mouth at a time? Why?
What times of day do you eat? Why?
How often do you overeat around other people? Why?
How often do you overeat when you're alone? Why?
Are you hungry, or do you just want to eat? Why are you eating?
I'm not interested in the answers to the first questions. I am interested in the answer to the question "why" and so should you be!
So many of our food habits are because it's tradition or what we grew up with, or as a mindless reaction or because what some article we read somewhere (or blog post!) suggested. I'm not saying don't take advice from people, but I am saying it's worthwhile to understand your own intentions.
Do you overeat sometimes? All the time? Why is that? Is there a trigger? How does it make you feel?
Ask yourself these questions. Become curious and figure out if you're doing something because "it's just the way things are" (e.g. eating three meals a day) or if it's because it's what really makes you feel good (e.g. maybe you prefer just two meals a day).
5. Understanding and compassion to yourself
This is an add-on to the mindfulness, especially if you're discovering some eating habits you're not so proud of like a tendency to eat a whole box of cereal when you're alone in the house and you realise it's a distraction from the uncomfortable thoughts circling around in your mind. Or...maybe that's just me.
Whatever your eating habits, make sure you drop the guilt. There's so much guilt associated with food these days. Just quit that. Be compassionate to yourself. You're doing your best.
Stress is our worst enemy. If you eat a salad and you're stressed about the spinach not being organic and all those nasty pesticides wreaking havoc in your gut, you're not healthy. If you eat a cookie and you loved every bite of it and you know you deserved it and it made you happy and you're not at all guilty, your body will, I reckon, be better off.
So summing up: Eat your greens, drink water, and prepare your food with love. Watch your food-related actions with curiosity--NOT judgement. Learn what your habits are around food and what you do based on what other people have told you vs. what makes YOU feel good. And do it all with compassion to yourself. Remember that you are part of this planet so compassion to yourself includes compassion to others and the environment around you.
Eat good energy.