Ask 10 different professionals and you’ll get 10 different opinions about what to eat. There are so many different ideas about what to eat to keep yourself healthy, it can be hard to keep them all straight. Have you noticed this? And, the truth is, there’s not one good diet. There is no “best” menu that will keep everyone healthy. And, that’s because everyone is different. Each one of you sitting out there is unique in all the world! Each of you has been through different and amazing life experiences. And each one of you has different challenges you have to face. There are foods that work really well for your body that your spouse and friends can’t eat. And there are foods that are great for their bodies that will wreak havoc on yours. We all have that story about an uncle who ate nothing but Slim Jims & smoked 4 packs a day & lived to be 108, right?
There are general guidelines: More fruits & veggies. Less salt. Good fats. Avoid processed foods & artificial ingredients, blah, blah, blah. The art is in knowing how to design a life that makes these inputs possible. It’s really helpful to practice noticing how the foods you eat make you feel. This is one of the first steps to eating right, your way, every day.
Foods can be an amazing tool to help you move more comfortably through your unique health challenges. They are a fantastic ally in healing and comforting what ails you. Eating is an amazing magical process!! Think about it for a minute: When else do you put objects from the outside world into your body? You don’t! But, when you eat, you put substances from the outside world into your mouth, chew them up a bit, and then send ‘em on down into your body for transformation. It’s a magical alchemical process of digestive enzymes, and hormones and emotions, and it defines who you are. Are you familiar with the old adage: “you are what you eat?” It really is true! (Well, technically, you are what you digest & assimilate, but it’s close enough!)
The things you choose to put into your body either give it the strength to meet life’s challenges or they create additional challenges and difficulties. Eating food, this magical transformational process, is about interacting with the outside world. When you eat, you are, literally, inviting the world that exists outside to become a part of your insides, to become you! Who plans on living another 7 years? GOOD! Now, listen to what 7 years of good eating can do for you! Every 7 years, your body will have regenerated all of its cells. The fuel for this re-building and repair cycle is the food you eat! You have a chance to change your body for the better every time you purchase, prepare, and consume food or drink.
A word on calories. Who knows what a calorie is? Seriously, what is a motherlovin’ calorie? So many of these words we hold ourselves accountable to, define ourselves by, and judge ourselves for are constructs which have taken on connotations far beyond their basic meanings. We throw this word around & people tell you to “watch” them, so what are they, really? Calories are a measure of the amount of energy it takes you to burn off/process/transform a given quantity of food. So, when you’re eating (consuming calories), you’re doing work. Your body works all day long to turn the food you eat into you. Now, not all calories are created equal. Some foods are packed with nourishment (the humble blueberry). Others are what we refer to as empty calories (bleached white bread). So, at the end of the day, as you’ve been burning calories, which remember, is working to turn this food into you, you’re paid in gifts from the foods you eat. If you’ve been eating twinkies and fries and candy, you’ve basically been working for free! You get no nutritional return. No vitamin/ mineral/ plant chemical building blocks to help your body do its work of growing, fighting infection, giving you energy, relaxing you, taking away stress so you can enjoy life. The choice is yours. You make it every time you open your mouth.
Now, some of you may be thinking about the difficulties you face in making this work for you. Each of you has your own unique challenges in getting, preparing, and consuming foods and beverages which will nourish your body. And that starting place may be different for each of you. You may not know where to start. Some of you may be challenged by small incomes, others by physical changes in your body or injury. Some of you may have cravings that you’re working to overcome. You may be in a food rut, bored with your usual routine. Foods may taste different than they used to. You may be used to cooking for 5 and now you cook for 1, or used to cooking for 1 and now you cook for 5! You may have simply lost touch with the awesome sensual delicious side of food. What are some of the barriers you experience in getting good nourishment?
There are a wealth of materials & practices to help you overcome those challenges. Are you ready to make food work for you, work with you, to build a strong, functional body?!
If you’re curious for some new ideas, or are having trouble making food work for you, I can help find out about:
- how to eat mindfully and stay in control of your food choices
- how to use spices and herbs to make what you eat delicious
- how to cook well once and and make it last for the week
- how to cook well for 1 or 2
- how to shop on a budget for nourishing, healthy foods
- how to set up your kitchen to avoid cravings
- one-pan simple recipe ideas
- how to plan healthy meals
- how to plan & shop to save money
- quick healthy meals & snacks
- eating better on a budget
- how to make fruits & veggies affordable
- tips for livening up your vegetables
- how to create a meal-share cooperative cooking group with friends to keep you well fed with less work. This is in the development stages & I’d love to hear from you if you’re interested in learning more about it. The more of you who express interest in a program like this, the more likely it is to get off the ground.
Want to share some ways you make food work for you every day? Throw up some suggestions for the Herbalist Kitchen community in the comments!! What are some of your secrets to making food fun, functional, & affordable? How do you get those groceries in the door, under budget, get the cooking done, and keep food interesting?